REVIEW: FrightFest 2019 – Day 2 (August 23rd)

Dark Encounter

By Mike Jefferson
Dark Encounter is a sci-fi horror with all the alien menace you could ask for, but not much actual drama.

A year on from the disappearance of eight-year-old Maisie, her family gather in commemoration at the house of her parents Ray (Mel Radio) and Olivia (Laura Fraser).…

REVIEW: Rampage & A Quiet Place

Rampage

An outsized force of nature is running amok in your local multiplex – and I haven’t even gotten to the giant albino gorilla.

Fresh off the massive success of Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is channelling his considerable brawn, breezy charm, and smouldering charisma into a project that, despite its roots in a 1986 arcade game, feels like a throwback to a dumber, more innocent time.…

REVIEW: Annihilation

CONTAINS SPOILERS

Alex Garland is one of the relatively few directors working today who truly deserves to be called a visionary.

His latest film, Annihilation,  a dreamlike adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name, is, to say the least, a smart, ambitious, multi-ethnic, female-led sci-fi.…

REVIEW: The Cloverfield Paradox

By Rob Daniel
Twitter: rob_a_Daniel
iTunes Podcast: The Electric Shadows Podcast
The original Cloverfield is about everyday life jolted by a seismic event. Fitting then that home entertainment giant Netflix chose to surprise release this third instalment in producer J.J. Abrams’ anthology franchise.

REVIEW: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets makes imagination boring

The space opera is well on its way to becoming my least favourite genre; romcoms included.

Embracing a gaudily frenetic aesthetic may make for a great splash panel in a comic book but it rarely leads to satisfying cinema. Case in point: Luc Besson’s latest, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.…

Arrival is a Möbius strip movie that home-schools Interstellar

Oh for the days of Close Encounters when we dreamed that first contact would be as elegant as five simple notes.

Arrival, the latest film from Sicario director Denis Villeneuve1, looks at the complexities of communicating with an alien race.1 When twelve mysterious craft appear at sites around the globe, linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is drafted in to help start a dialogue with their occupants before China and Russia set off an inter-species war.2 Where do you begin, though, when you know nothing about their language or customs?…

Morgan is a generic sci-fi thriller straight off the assembly line

A man stands in front of a glass cell, ready to question its occupant; a woman who is not truly a woman. If she fails the test, she will likely be terminated.

Where that scenario provided the focal point of last year’s Ex Machina – a restrained study of trans-humanism and toxic masculinity – in Morgan it is part of a much more generic effort.…

High-Rise is the cinema of concrete and chaos

 

There’s something about the technology-driven dystopias of JG Ballard that appeal to a certain breed of director.

Steven Spielberg’s mainstream adaptation of Empire of the Sun is ironically something of an oddity of an oeuvre encapsulated by the steely paraphilia of David Cronenberg’s Crash.…