Batman V Superman

May 27, 2016

Let’s start with the good. Batman V Superman, which sounded like an awful idea, actually has a terrific story. The Caped Crusader, following a lifetime of fighting crime in his native Gotham, has lost the will to fight the good fight and has taken to branding his victims, often nonces, insuring them a death sentence when they are committed for their crimes.

Clark Kent is horrified by all of this vigilante behaviour, as it flys in the face of his idealism. But while he has embraced the dream of his adopted nation, his adopted nation is threatened by Superman’s super powers. So, in the wake of a 9/11 style tragedy, they rush to assign blame to him-the other, for acts of terrorism, both around the world and on American soil.

Leading the charge against him is Batman, who suffered a loss at ground zero for which he holds Superman personally responsible. While Lex Luther whips up anti-superhero sentiment with his fascist analogies and talk of the threat posed by idolatry.

The Daily Planet seizes on this, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) fights to disprove it, while Wallace Keefe (Scoot McNairy, a stand out), a former Wayne Enterprises employee crippled in the movies opening salvo, goes slowly insane.

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The Revenant

March 3, 2016

The narrative simplicity of Dora the Explorer meets the survivalist shtick of Bear Grylls in director Alejandro G. Iñárritu gorgeous, gory and- seemingly, never-ending scavenger hunt.

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Spotlight

January 24, 2016

If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to abuse one, a point proved, beyond all doubt by director Tom McCarthy in the excellent Spotlight. Looking at how the Catholic Church covered up and facilitated the actions of Paedophile priests in Boston, while hot-shot lawyers profited off of those same actions, it’s a well deserved ode to the journalistic profession, so often portrayed in a venal hue on the silver screen.

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Trumbo

January 19, 2016

Being aware of the waspish word of mouth Trumbo received when it was released in the United States may have helped me see it, not as the missed opportunity it very clearly is, but as the inoffensive, entertaining biopic it ended up being. Like Carol and Brooklyn, which similarly lost themselves to a fan girls flit of fifties fashions – divorced from the politics and peculiarities of the day, the movie is more an aesthetic pleasure than an inciting watch.

It draws no parallels between the self-censorship of the entertainment industries, then and now. Between the demonising of certain sects and creeds in the name of patriotism. Or the line between an artist’s politics and their work.

It’s wholly unoriginal, uninspiring and underdeveloped.

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Grandma

January 19, 2016

“You’re just a footnote,” Lilly Tomlin callously tells her girlfriend as she casts her aside at the start of Grandma, a movie that seems to believe the same thing about its plot. The main reason to see this movie is to see the excellent Lilli Tomlin in a leading role for the first time in almost three decades. 

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A Very Murray Christmas

January 19, 2016

Tis the night before Christmas, and all through the States… families are sitting down before their telly boxes to indulge in Billy Murray’s star-studded seasonal confection.

Except an unexpected blizzard has shut down the airports, the roads, the bridges and tunnels. So where Pope Francis should be nuzzling down between Iggy Azzelia and Paul McCartney- part of the cooing A-List audience expected to guffaw at Murray’s every action, cardboard cut outs stand, lifeless, instead. Rather than bantering with bright lights of the entertainment industry- like George Clooney and Miley Cyrus, he’s faced with empty space and dead air. 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like a ‘Christ-mess’, with threats of legal action from Amy Pohler and Julie White’s good cop/bad cop producers replacing visions of sugar plums dancing in his head, as our master of ceremonies goes through an existential crisis. Anxious and alone, how do you light up the holidays, when you despair at the season?

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In The Heart of the Sea

January 19, 2016

The inability to act has never been a barrier to stardom. But the ability to speak has been a prerequisite since the dawn of the talkie. Chris Hemsworth shows that’s no longer true for his starring role in Ron Howard’s In The Heart of The Sea, a Behind the Music-style peak at the ‘true’ story behind Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. 

Pulping this horrific inspiration, and splattering its key moments into the trailer like chum, it’s big, dumb and full of cum, a movie that’s so pubescent in its choices that it’s hard to take offence- or interest, in what it does, beyond a little wry amusement.

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Christmas with the Coopers

January 19, 2016

Once you make peace with Christmas with the Coopers being derivative dross, you can actually enjoy it for what it is. A clichéd mess, yes, but a star stuffed one, who comfortably cruise the typical narrative of the seasonal flick, making silly dialogue fly and familiar situations fresh. 

They’re the icing on the mouldy marzipan, the gravy on the dry, burnt turkey. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a sour-to-sweet tale of familial harmony, a false sense of connection that stinks like Brussels sprout farts, yet there’s comfort in the passing.

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Brooklyn

January 19, 2016

John Crowley’s melted cheese direction will bring a smirk to the most hardened of cynics who sit through his adaptation of Colm Tobin’s Brooklyn, which may as well come with the caveat, An American Sceal. A Transatlantic twaddle about a woman torn between her new life and her old, it’s handsomely made and well acted, but so hell bent on tugging at the heart strings of it’s most likely audience- the emigrants resettled around the world, that it has no real soul at all.

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Carol

January 19, 2016

There won’t be a wide eye in the house at the end of Carol, Todd Hayne’s pretty, vacant, trudge through the 1950s tropes that tart up this tale of a love that dare not speak its name. 

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