REVIEW: The Shape of Water & Brawl in Cell Block 99 (LFF Day 6)

Okay, so I may have skipped a few days, but both of these films were fresh in my mind and my thoughts on them actually seem to have made it onto the page in semi-presentable form.

 

The Shape of Water

5 Stars (5 / 5)

With The Shape of Water, Guillermo Del Toro has delivered a film that is at once a luminous love letter to ‘50s sci-fi and a pricking commentary on prejudice.

REVIEW: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

3 Stars (3 / 5)
When, in 1977, Carly Simon sang “Nobody Does It Better” in reference to Britain’s favourite secret agent, 007, she couldn’t have foreseen the coming of Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton).

While the idea of a working-class lad OHMSS had been covered in slightly more low-key form of Harry Palmer,1 Matthew Vaughn’s comic-book-inspired Kingsman: The Secret Service was the first to do so while embracing the fundamental silliness of the whole super-spy concept.…

REVIEW DOUBLE BILL: American Made & The Limehouse Golem

American Made

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Scarface, 1932 and ‘83. Goodfellas. The Wolf of Wall Street. War Dogs. American Made is just the latest film to take aim at the dark, opportunistic side of the American dream.

“Based on a true story”, as such films generally are, American Made is the story of Barry Seal, a pilot extraordinaire turned TWA lifer, recruited by the CIA in 1978.…

REVIEW GRAB-BAG: The Dark Tower, Logan Lucky, & The Hitman’s Bodyguard

The Dark Tower

2 Stars (2 / 5)
Or How to Make Soup out of Stephen King’s Keystone Series.

In brief: Take an epic eight-book series inspired by both Lord of the Rings and Spaghetti Westerns,1 strip away the character and the uniqueness, boil down the mythology and the plot, and reduce to 95 minutes.…

CINEMATIC GRAB-BAG: The Great Wall & Trespass Against Us

The Great Wall

2 Stars (2 / 5)
To misquote the film’s tagline, “Three years, $150 million to make, what were they hoping to prove?”.

Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall is at best a misguided curiosity – people kept trooping in and out of my screening like it was a visitor’s ward.…