REVIEW: Phantom Thread

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest is a meticulous study in mastery and the submission.

In what will proclaimedly be his final performance, Daniel Day Lewis stars as Reynolds Woodcock. A revered fashion designer in postwar London, his refined demeanour – his lithe form always impeccably attired; silver hair swept back gracefully from his forehead; that characterful crooked nose – conceals a bundle of neuroses and repression.…

REVIEW: The Commuter

3 Stars (3 / 5)
In his fourth collaboration with director Jaime Collet-Serra (Unknown, Run All Night), Oscar-nominated-actor-turned-punchy-man1 Liam Neeson stars as Michael Macaulay, insurance salesman.

Fired from his job after ten years, and already old enough to qualify for a senior rail pass, Michael is on his regular commute home, trying to figure out how to tell his family, when he’s approached by a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga)2.…

REVIEW: Winchester

2 Stars (2 / 5)

Gun-house, not fun-house.

The House of Haunted Hill. The Shining. Poltergeist. The Amityville Horror. The Conjuring. The haunted house is perhaps the staple trope of the whole horror genre. The things that go bump in the night are, as a rule, scarier when they’re living – or not living – in your home, and in Winchester, the Spierig Brothers have given themselves some prime real estate to play with.…

REVIEW: Early Man

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

Aardman Animations’ latest sends comedy back to the Stone Age… but not in the way you might hope.

We open, according to a subtitle, on Neo-Pleistocene Earth, tracking away from a furiously erupting volcano. Dinosaurs tussle up on a ridge; a tribe of primeval persons are exuberantly beating the tar out of one another; all of which are expertly made of plasticine.…

REVIEW: Darkest Hour

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)
Darkest Hour gives us the British bulldog as belligerent underdog in this un-illuminating portrayal of legendary Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his first few weeks in office.

It’s 1940 and Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup; dignified and resigned in a role originally intended for John Hurt) has been driven out of office.…

REVIEW: Good Time & The Post

Good Time

4 Stars (4 / 5)
This seedy, ‘70s-inspired crime thriller from the Safdie Brothers might equally be called “Bad Decisions”.

It’s certainly a bad decision for hustler Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) to yank his developmentally-disabled brother Nick (Ben Safdie) out of therapy and bring him along on a bank robbery.…

REVIEW: Paddington 2

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

That adventurous, well-mannered British bear has returned to the big screen1… and not a moment too soon!

The first Paddington was, for me, an unexpected delight, delivering one of the biggest laughs of any film in 2014.…

REVIEW: Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

3 Stars (3 / 5)
Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express is undoubtedly a grand production, but lacks the elegant simplicity to be a truly first-class entertainment.

Unlike Sydney Lumet’s 1974 adaptation, this is less a starry, lavishly-upholstered murder mystery than a modern-day blockbuster that just seems to be based on an Agatha Christie novel.…

RETROSPECTIVE: Perfect Blue – shades of Hitchcock in animated psychodrama

Twenty years on, Perfect Blue remains an almost perfect thriller.

A Hitchcockian study of identity, desire, and obsession recast in animated form, the film goes to some twisted places that even the Master of Suspense might shy away from.

Mima (voiced by Junko Iwao) is lead singer in the cutesy J-Pop quartet CHAM!, who, at the age of twenty-one, is looking to make a career move into acting.…

REVIEW: Geostorm

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)
To say that Geostorm is as dumb as a bag of rocks is an insult to hardworking geological processes.

It’s not that time and energy, and roughly $120 million, didn’t go into the production – it’s that they did and, despite extensive reshoots, this is what we ended up with; a film, which if not quite putting the “disaster” into “disaster movie”, is certainly, on its own terms, a mess.…