The Fate of the Furious Review

Sunday, 23 April 2017 16:39

Given that The Fate of the Furious is the eighth entry in the surprisingly enduring Fast & Furious franchise, we all know what to expect from a Fast film by now: muscular men in muscle shirts driving muscle cars, scantily clad women cheering them on, increasingly outrageous action set-pieces and, most important of all, family. As much as the series’ focus has shifted from street racing toward grand-scale heists and globe-trotting espionage, it has also doubled down on its focus on the family at the centre of it all. Familial themes powered both Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7 and are once again integral here, with one particularly juicy hook: fiercely loyal patriarch Dom Torretto (Vin Diesel) has turned on his makeshift family.


Free Fire Review

Monday, 03 April 2017 22:02

With one eye on seventies crime cinema and a set-up that echoes Reservoir Dogs, Ben Wheatley’s raucous shoot ‘em up Free Fire can’t help but feel like one of those Tarantino knock-offs that poured into cinemas in the ‘90s. But Wheatley, as always, puts his unique spin on it, avoiding any convoluted plotting and whittling down the backstory until all that’s left is a lean, violent and darkly comic excuse for one big, messy gun fight.


Get Out Review

Friday, 24 March 2017 00:14

Films about racism hew closely to the same template so often that when something as fresh as Jordan Peele’s Get Out comes along, it’s all the more effective. Instead of the usual worthy period piece that depicts black characters overcoming prejudice, Peele tackles the subject through a whip-smart and wickedly funny horror. Crucially, it’s also set in the here and now, not in a shameful bygone era that some might like to think we’ve moved past; this is the contemporary black experience and all of the anxieties that entails.


Kong: Skull Island Review

Friday, 17 March 2017 23:38

In a cinematic landscape where iconic characters and beloved stories are boiled down to properties that can be milked for every ounce of franchise potential, it’s no surprise to see King Kong resurrected. The giant ape has been a big screen icon since his big screen bow in 1933 and now he’s back and definitely bigger than ever - if not exactly better – in Kong: Skull Island. Though the film manages to capture the scale and presence of an impressively rendered Kong, it fails to bring anything new to the table and leaves its heavyweight cast with very little to do.


Logan Review

Sunday, 12 March 2017 19:59

The term ‘superhero movie’ probably conjures up images of Marvel Studios’ bright-and-breezy Avengers series or the highly stylized bombast of DC’s latest offerings. It’s easy to forget that the ‘superhero movie’ can be anything, that the presence of superpowers needn’t define the genre. Logan, the latest film in the Wolverine spin-off series, is an ideal reminder of that fact. Returning for his second stab at the X-Men series’ most iconic character, director James Mangold strips away the trappings of the larger universe for a much more coherent and focused character study that owes more to Westerns like Shane and Unforgiven than it does to its superhero contemporaries.


Moonlight Review

Monday, 06 March 2017 23:19

Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight is a film that finds universality through its specificity and defies expectations at every turn. It tells the story of a young, black, gay man in Miami at three points in his life, split into three distinctive chapters. Each part plays out like a satisfying short film of its own but together they form one stunning whole; an intimate, poetic exploration of identity, masculinity, race and sexuality that is unmistakably personal and all the more powerful for it.


GFF 2017: Berlin Syndrome Review

Friday, 03 March 2017 23:25

After 2012’s acclaimed drama Lore, Australian director Cate Shortland returns to Germany to try her hand at genre filmmaking for the first time with captivity thriller Berlin Syndrome. The result is an exercise in nerve-shredding terror that largely avoids both the clichés and the pitfalls of this particular subgenre, choosing instead to explore the fascinating, ever-changing dynamic between its two lead characters.


GFF 2017: Katie Says Goodbye Review

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 23:38

In a dusty small town, a young woman harbours dreams of escaping her troubled trailer-park life to find happiness in the big city. Sound familiar? It should do, as the set-up for Wayne Roberts’ debut feature Katie Says Goodbye is the stuff of any number of American indies and the film initially plays like a laundry list of tropes. Its titular character, the eternally optimistic Katie (Olivia Cooke), is not only a sweet-as-pie pit-stop waitress but also a hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold. She’s scraping together enough cash to go start a new life in San Francisco, but not before the film inflicts a remarkable amount of pain and misery on her.


Fifty Shades Darker Review

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 23:14

Regardless of what the title might have you believe, Fifty Shades Darker is a far lighter affair than its po-faced predecessor, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s stylish but dull Fifty Shades of Grey. Taylor-Johnson has been replaced here by James Foley and while the visuals aren’t as slick, he doesn’t take the material as seriously and as such the film is more enjoyable, even if it’s almost completely devoid of any real drama.


Fences Review

Monday, 13 February 2017 23:13

Denzel Washington is one of the most compelling and powerful actors cinema has, and Viola Davis is quite possibly the only actress who can match his raw power. Fences gives these two towering performers a perfect showcase for their talents as they reprise the roles they played to Tony-winning effect in the late August Wilson's play of the same name, which Washington himself adapts for the big screen.

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