REVIEW: Annihilation


5 Stars (5 / 5)
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
2 Stars (2 / 5)
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.

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

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)
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.…

Arrival is a Möbius strip movie that home-schools Interstellar

4 Stars (4 / 5)

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

3 Stars (3 / 5)

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

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)


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.…

Star Trek Beyond gets ahead by going back to basics

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)


Space is no longer the final frontier in cinema. In fact it’s a bit passé.

Where’s Kubrick’s star-child once evoked the wonder of journeying into the unknown, science fiction has since placed its emphasis more on the inherent risks of interstellar travel.…

Independence Day: Resurgence is a regurgitated mess of sci-fi epic

1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

They’ve back, just when we might have dared to hope that we were safe the next wave of big-budget blockbusters with meaningless subtitles sweeps into cinemas.

Just as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice failed to set the world alight by treating its material with undue reverence, Independence Day: Resurgence fails to set the world alight — while narratively doing exactly that — by treating its material with no reverence whatsoever.…

Midnight Special lays its light on us

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)


The fourth film of 37-year-old Arkansan director Jeff Nichols, Midnight Special feels like a narrative made to fit its title.

Named for an old folk standard, it follows Roy (Michael Shannon), and his son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher), a goggle-wearing preteen gifted with supernatural abilities.