Dunkirk – review

Christopher Nolan has directed some spectacular films over the years but his last feature – the tedious, bloated and seemingly endless sci-fi snoozefest Interstellar – was, without exaggeration, one of the worst films I’ve seen in a long time. So for the first time in the career of a director I’ve always admired, I approached Dunkirk with something like trepidation. Was Interstellar just a blip, or was it indicative of a director who’d lost his touch?

I needn’t have worried. Dunkirk is a simply extraordinary piece of film-making. Continue reading “Dunkirk – review”

The Big Sick – review

The American science-fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon once defended his genre of choice from the claim that “90% of science fiction is crap” by retorting that “90% of everything is crap.” In recent years, it’s sometimes felt like the romantic comedy genre has been trying to go for the full 100%. With each fresh insipid and unfunny title, a new Bridget Jones’s DiaryFour Weddings and a Funeral or When Harry Met Sally felt further and further away. What a relief then it is to have that bad run ended by this thoroughly charming Judd Apatow-produced Sundance favourite: The Big Sick is comfortably the best rom-com in years. Continue reading “The Big Sick – review”

The Best Zombie Movies Ever

Few film-makers can be said to have defined a genre the way George A Romero, who died this week at age 77, did for zombie films. While he wasn’t the first director to make a movie featuring zombies (earlier films tended to cleave more closely to the Haitian voodoo zombie myth, beginning with 1932’s White Zombie), his Dead trilogy (NightDawn, and Day) popularised the now-standard image of zombies as flesh-eating corpses risen from the grave. They also established key genre rules, such as that a zombie bite is fatal, and that the only way to kill one is to destroy the brain. Virtually every zombie film, TV show, video game and book released since Night of the Living Dead owes an extraordinary debt to Romero. But after so many years, how do his movies stack up against the genre’s best? Here’s my list of the ten best zombie movies of all time.  Continue reading “The Best Zombie Movies Ever”

It Comes At Night – review

It’s a sign of the overall ambiguity of It Comes At Night, the hair-raising new chiller from writer-director Trey Edward Schults, that it’s never entirely clear what ‘it’ is. ‘It’ could  be the deadly virus that has ravaged the world at large, forcing Paul (Joel Edgerton), wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and 17-year old son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr) to barricade themselves in their woodland homestead. ‘It’ could be the nightmares that plague Travis whenever the sun goes down. ‘It’ could be the intruder who one night breaks into their home. Continue reading “It Comes At Night – review”

Wonder Woman – review

Even in an era where no summer is complete without a tidal wave of comic book adaptations filling every screen in the land, female-led superhero films remain as rare as a mint condition Action Comics #1. The last one of any note was 2004’s Catwoman, a film so catastrophically terrible that even now it’s spoken of in the hushed, maudlin tones used to describe a horrific road accident. Continue reading “Wonder Woman – review”

The Red Turtle – review

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It’s very, very unusual for Studio Ghibli to release a film not made entirely in-house but though the famous Japanese animation studio’s name features prominently in the marketing material for The Red Turtle, it’s Michaël Dudok de Wit who wrote and directed this production. Though his name is likely unfamiliar to most cinemagoers, Ghibli’s founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata have long been fans of the UK-based Dutch animator (who won an Oscar for his 2000 animated short Father and Daughter), and in this breathtakingly wonderful film he repays their faith in him a thousand times over.  Continue reading “The Red Turtle – review”

Ranking the Alien Movies

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Few movie series can boast the longevity of the Alien franchise, which now spans eight films over nearly forty years. It’s hard to over-emphasise just how influential the Alien movies have become since the release of the first film in 1979. The alien has become one of cinema’s most famous, universally recognised monsters, while in Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley the series has arguably Hollywood’s most celebrated female protagonist.

With so many instalments in the series, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the quality has been…somewhat variable. With the release last week of the franchise’s latest entry, Alien: Covenant, I decided to go through and rank all eight films from worst to best, starting with:  Continue reading “Ranking the Alien Movies”

Alien: Covenant – review

“You can’t go home again,” Thomas Wolfe once wrote. Someone should really tell Ridley Scott, whose persistent attempts to return to the Alien universe he created are beginning to look more and more misguided. First there was 2012’s Prometheus, a muddled mess of a film where Scott’s execution fell far short of his ambition. Now he’s back with Alien: Covenant, and it’s another deeply disappointing entry in a once great franchise.  Continue reading “Alien: Covenant – review”