Saturday, 28 May 2022

Firestarter (2022) - Movie Review

The 1984 film version of Stephen King’s Firestarter is… okay. It doesn’t reach the oft-underappreciated heights of the better movie adaptations, nor does it succumb to the amazingly goofy lows of those ‘90s TV miniseries. It mainly gets by on the personality of its cast, especially Drew Barrymore and George C. Scott, and while the treatment of its superpower-adjacent thrills was a little bland (especially compared to how bombastic King adaptations regularly get), there was enough on offer to make the whole package watchable. With how much of an upgrade more recent King adaptations have been, the idea of remaking this particular feature seemed understandable enough; there’s a lot left to work with. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was a feature that would feel this much like I’d been licking drywall for an hour and a half.

Friday, 27 May 2022

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022) - Movie Review

Bryan Singer’s X-Men changed superhero cinema in a big way. It proved that not only could comic book characters survive and thrive on the big screen in the new millennium, but what makes them worth reading about can effectively be translated into something watchable; this is something that superhero flicks struggled with for years prior. But I’d argue that Sam Raimi did just as much, if not more, for the sub-genre than Singer did.

Where Singer bent the edges of those characters to make them fit, Raimi instead made the cinematic artform bend to the dynamic visuals of the printed page. His Spider-Man trilogy remains a touchstone for the sub-genre to this day, and in a lot of ways, it reached heights that most of the MCU hasn’t been able to yet. So… yeah, hearing that he’d be helming a new capeshit feature had me wanting to see him come back on top, after spending the last several years either directing forgettable fluff or producing some particularly egregious horror movies.

Monday, 23 May 2022

After Yang (2022) - Movie Review

A film that gets described as a “metaphysical science fiction drama” in its Wikipedia page is like a siren call to me. And the story attached to it certainly doesn’t disappoint from that perspective, exploring what happens to a family when their adopted son passes away. Well, not so much ‘passes away’ as he shuts down and won’t turn back on, as this is set in a near-future where a company exists that basically sells artificial siblings wholesale, and said child (the titular Yang, played by Justin H. Min) is a ‘technosapien’ that couple Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) originally bought so that their other adopted child Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) had someone she could learn about Chinese culture from.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

The Northman (2022) - Movie Review

After two certified winners with The VVitch and The Lighthouse, writer/director Robert Eggers has cracked his artistic ambitions wide open with his latest. Shedding his New England aesthetics like a snakeskin, he now sets the stage for an epic historical revenge myth, co-written by himself and Icelandic scribe Sjón and itself based on the Scandinavian legend of Amleth. Yes, for the classics nerds amongst my readership, this is the same legend that inspired fellow classics nerd William Shakespeare in the creation of Hamlet. This film is the culmination of just about every storytelling idea and mood Eggers has been chipping away at over his career thus far, and what results from that is a production that redefines the word ‘visceral’.

Monday, 2 May 2022

Ambulance (2022) - Movie Review

Something weird has happened concerning Michael Bay’s reputation in recent years. After spending most of his career as a memetic punchline, the release of his last film 6 Underground seemed to spark a re-examination of his career against the larger Hollywood system. From what I’ve been able to gander, it seems that, in the wake of so much mainstream homogenisation of stories and even filmmakers, to the point where a lot of product can feel like grey mush shoved next to more grey mush, Michael Bay now feels like a breath of fresh air. There’s no mistaking his films for the work of anyone else, for better and for worse, and as an admitted auteurist, it is quite fascinating looking at this man’s body of work and seeing just how… fucking weird a lot of it is.

And I’ll admit it: I’ve taken part in that re-examination as well. After Pain & Gain showed flashes of a genuine talent underneath all the sensory extremes and bone-headed characterisation, and 6 Underground proving to be the most entertaining he’s been in ­years, I feel like I’ve also come around on the guy after spending quite a bit of my own time clowning on him. Some of that clowning is still justified, though, and the man is still on probation for his work on 2021’s crowning dumpster fire Songbird, but all the same, I found myself… looking forward to this movie?