REVIEW: Bad Samaritan

Dean Devlin’s latest is proof that it’s sometimes easier to deliver thrills on a micro-budget.

Geostorm may have $120 million to play with, but the result was a CGI storm in a teacup – and pretty weak tea at that. With Bad Samaritan, however,  Devlin provides us with a neat, kitschy little B-movie steeped in entertaining tropes.…

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: 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.

FEMINIST GRAB-BAG: The Love Witch & Elle

The Love Witch

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Love is a many-splendoured thing. It can also be deadly, especially when magick’s involved.

Such is the takeaway from The Love Witch, a flawless ’70s-style melodrama from writer-director/musician/editor/set-art-costume-production-designer Anna Biller.

An obvious “passion project”, in more ways than one, the film is a delicious slice of feminist theory masquerading as Technicolour confection.…

CINEMATIC GRAB-BAG: A Cure For Wellness & Patriots Day

A Cure For Wellness
1.5 Stars (1.5 / 5)

A Cure For Wellness is a film I wish was better.

A psychological horror with grandiose ambitions, it stars Dane DeHaan as Lockhart, a callow young stockbroker with ice-chip eyes dispatched to retrieve his company’s CEO from a remote “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps.…

The Infiltrator doesn’t go deep enough

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Bryan Cranston goes Donnie Brasco in this 80s-set crime thriller.

Bob Mazur (Cranston) is an unassuming U.S. Customs agent with wife Evelyn (Juliet Aubrey) and two kids. He’s also undercover as Bob Musella, a flash, ingratiating money launderer for the Columbian mob.…

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.…

London Film Festival 2016: 10 films to get excited about

Well, it’s that time of the year again.

It’s a well-known but little commented upon phenomenon that each year Christmas comes to London roughly three months early – at least for capital-based cinema buffs – as, each October, the BFI hosts the London Film Festival.…

The Purge: Election Year has some great visuals but a rickety social platform

2 Stars (2 / 5)

The Purge: Election Year is a film that’s more intriguing as a product of its time than as a work of cinema.

Setting its usual flurry of vigilantism against the backdrop of a Presidential election is an inspired choice – especially one as incendiary as this – but, other than which, it’s just business as usual for the franchise.…