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.

In 10 Cloverfield Lane, Abrams et al swing by Maple Street

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

One woman, two men, and an underground bunker. 

As its residential title might suggest, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a far more localized affair than its so-called spiritual predecessor, found-footage monster flick Cloverfield.

Both the output of J.J.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens recaptures much of the old magic, but leaves it to future installments to take the risks.

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

 A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

After the prequels more or less managed to strip the gloss off the franchise1, it seems apt that the opening lines of Star Wars: The Force Awakens refer to a sort of redemption.2

This long-awaited, almost mythical follow-up to the Holy Trilogy3 has the added advantage/burden of returning to the three characters we actually care about; namely Luke4, Han, and Leia.

The Martian: by far the best film to maroon Matt Damon in space

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

Are the 2010s the decade that made space travel cool again?

Gravity swept the Academy Awards back in 2013, Interstellar reminded us of the potential wonders of the universe in a way that no one had arguably done since Kubrick – Marvel even got in on the action with Guardians of the Galaxy.…

Terminator Genisys feels like a superfluous do-over for a franchise whose glory days are long behind it

2 Stars (2 / 5)

2015 has so far been the year of the long-awaited sequel, from the motorized mayhem of Mad Max: Fury Road to the dino disaster flick that was Jurassic World.

Compared to the time that’s passed since the character of Max Rockatansky, and Islas Nublar and Sorna, last appeared on our screens — 29 years and 14 years respectively — it seems like only yesterday that we failed to thrill to the dubious charm (or lack thereof) of Terminator: Salvation.…

Chappie: more bats**t conceptual sci-fi from Neil Blomkamp

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

Forget about Paul Verhoeven. Step aside, the Wachowskis. There’s a new master in town when it comes to bats**t conceptual sci-fi.

South African director Neil Blomkamp is well known for his allegorical social commentary – apartheid in District 9, health care and the 1% in Elysium – but the underpinnings of Chappie are mainly philosophical.…

Predestination is a slick, hermetically-sealed sci-fi treat

3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

Is there any genre with more potential for ideas than sci-fi?

Not restricted to the realms of the realistic or the possible, yet generally ruled by the same forces that make our world tick, science fiction is a way of deconstructing the human experience, of really getting to the heart of our identity, who we are, where we’re going. …

Jupiter Ascending aims for the stars and ends up burying itself

1 Stars (1 / 5)

 

Arthur C. Clarke famously wrote that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

By the same token, any sufficiently misconceived work of science fiction is apparently indistinguishable from utter bollocks. Case in point: the Wachowski’s latest bloated epic, Jupiter Ascending; a film that substitutes the interconnectedness of the flawed but ambitious Cloud Atlas for a story with just as much scope and infinitely less point.…

Guardians of the Galaxy could be a brave new world for Marvel

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

Having come to define the superhero genre, after nine films and six years, Marvel has finally dared to go a little weird.

While there’s a definite built-in audience for the likes of Iron Man and Captain America, the Guardians of the Galaxy are relative unknowns.…

Edge of Tomorrow makes respawning fun

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

If at first you don’t succeed, get covered in boiling alien blood and try, try again.

What the forgettably titled Edge of Tomorrow most reminds us, however, is that Tom Cruise is at his best when not playing an outright hero.…