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Atomic Blonde

August 9, 2017
Charlize Theron, the new pin-up girl for Hollywood dominatrix chic

For a snapshot of the way mainstream cinema has changed over the past 50 years try watching Guy Hamilton’s Funeral in Berlin (1966) before venturing into David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde. As a fan of those early Len Deighton espionage novels, I always thought Funeral in Berlin was a pretty shallow piece of work. The redeeming … More


Baby Driver

July 22, 2017
Ansel Elgort revs up his iPod in Baby Driver

Baby Driver is one hell of a soundtrack in search of a film. A big step up for British director, Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), it tells the story of a youthful getaway car driver named Baby, who can’t seem to get through any part of the day without musical accompaniment. The … More


Alien Covenant

May 19, 2017
Katherine Waterston meets the Alien

Damien Hirst must feel pissed off that the release of Alien Covenant occurred after he’d already completed his massive Venice Biennale exhibition, Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable. Amid bronze and marble effigies of every conceivable mythological creature, every pop culture icon from Mickey Mouse to Yo-Landi of Die Antwoord, the only character missing … More


Snowden

September 22, 2016
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Snowden' (2016)

Snowden belongs to a peculiar new genre: the fictionalised re-make of the successful documentary – in this case, Laura Poitras’s award-winning Citizenfour (2014). The question for viewers is whether director, Oliver Stone, has brought anything new and vital to the mix that was not canvassed in the real-life film. The answer is ‘no’, unless we … More


The Nice Guys

May 26, 2016
Ryan Gosling & Russell Crowe in 'The Nice Guys' (2016)

Take Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, a sassy blonde teenager, and a salacious story that revolves around the Los Angeles porn industry circa 1977, and you have The Nice Guys. It’s not so much a formula film as half a dozen formulas that director, Shane Black, has mixed together to create a surprisingly fizzy cocktail. … More


X-Men Apocalypse

May 19, 2016
Tye Sheridan in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' (2016)

Not having bothered to watch the past seven – or is it eight? – X-Men films, I feel at a disadvantage when it comes to reviewing this latest installment in a long-running franchise. I didn’t avoid the previous films for any special reason, merely a lack of interest in the overblown superhero genre that has … More


Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

March 31, 2016
Henry Cavill in 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' (2016)

At the age of twelve I read Marvel comics with religious dedication. As a fan one made a clear choice between the Marvel universe and that of its great rival, DC comics. While DC may have had those two archetypal superheroes, Batman and Superman, Marvel had a whole raft of characters that seemed more imaginatively … More


Point Break

January 7, 2016
Edgar Ramirez & Luke Bracey in 'Point Break' (2015)

There is no shortage of extraordinary nature cinematography in Point Break, but after watching The Revenant, it felt as artificial as a cartoon. The heavy imprint of CGI is all over this film, which is barely more than two hours of eye candy arranged over the flimsiest of plots. Before seeing this movie I would … More


Star Wars: The Force Awakens

December 17, 2015
John Boyega & Daisy Ridley in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (2015)

In preparation for the new Star Wars movie I planned to work my way through the six previous installments in this never-ending saga. At the end of the of year there is virtually nothing to write about until Boxing Day brings a swag of new releases, so I had time to do my homework. It … More


In the Heart of the Sea

December 4, 2015
Chris Hemsworth in 'In the Heart of the Sea' (2015)

Ron Howard is the kind of old-fashioned director Hollywood loves. He is happy to work with trash such as The Da Vinci Code (2006), but able to rise to the occasion when given a more challenging assignment such as Apollo 13 (1995) or Frost/Nixon (2008). The skill is to make the trash seem a little … More