1. My feelings on Tom Holland's Spider-Man and Paul Rudd's Ant-Man in Captain America: Civil War reflect my feelings on the film as a whole: fun, but disposable. I enjoyed watching, but I can't imagine wanting, or needing, to watch the film again.

  2. I've had to accept that The Walking Dead isn't going to tell the story I want it to tell. Whether it's for budgetary reasons, or for a self-imposed need to stick closely to the events of the comics, or just a failure of imagination on the part of the show runners, I have no idea. The Walking Dead is going to tell the story of Rick and a few others finding what seems like a sanctuary, attempting to settle there, and then losing it to a hostile outside force, forcing a retreat into the woods. The details vary — sometimes the hostile outside force is a large herd of the undead, sometimes it's David Morrissey — but the basic story beats tend to be the same.

  3. I didn't hate Josh Trank's Fantastic Four, though it offers up so many reasons to do so. In its final form it's certainly a flawed work, awkwardly-constructed with a self-conscious script, shoddy plotting, a small cast and a sparsely-populated world that combines to give the film the feeling of an Amazon Original Series pilot instead of a blockbuster comic book movie. While I can't recommend watching it, I'm still interested in how a large part of its failure comes from ignoring the last 15 years of comic book cinema.

  4. A recent trip to Oxfordshire let me try out the recently-refurbished 'GWR' trains, introduced after First Great Western rebranded to their historical title of Great Western Railways, a rebrand so exhaustive they've designed their new trains for 19th century body shapes.

  5. I didn't see Star Wars: The Force Awakens because on the day I planned to see it, it was raining. There was no way I was going to get from my flat to the cinema without ending up with wet jeans which meant I'd have to sit in a full cinema in wet jeans watching a film that, I realised in a moment of epiphany, I had no interest in. I'd booked a ticket in advance like everybody else, swept up in the hype, not because I particularly cared about Star Wars as a franchise, but because of the sense that there would be conversations about the film and I'd want to be involved in them.

  6. When a character in Paolo Sorrentino's Youth introduced herself as Paloma Faith I knew the name, but I had no idea if this really was Paloma Faith, or an actress playing the part of Paloma Faith. The former scenario baffled me because there's no particular reason for Paloma Faith to be in the film playing herself, and the latter because there's no good reason for an actress to be playing the part of Paloma Faith in a film where Paloma Faith's presence has no bearing beyond a brief name-drop that's lost on the rest of the cast.

From the archives

  1. Theatre of Blood : Ludicrously brilliant black comedy in which Vincent Price really needs to learn to take criticism better.
  2. The Jungle Book (2016) : Shoe-horned songs aside, a solid, thrilling remake with some incredible CGI. Idris Elba’s Shere Khan is a perfect villain.
  3. The American Friend : A grimy German adaptation of Ripley's Game that looks like an Edward Hopper painting come to life. Bleak, but brilliant.
  4. Watchmen : A juvenile interpretation of the source, lacking nuance and understanding, but it’s viscerally, meatily entertaining nonetheless.
  5. The Fallen Idol : In which an annoying, talkative child holds the key to a possible murder, yet nobody offs the child. BAFFLING.
  6. Bound : A pre-Matrix Wachowski net-noir thriller. Stylish and sexy with a great score and script. It’s a bit tawdry, but in a good way.
  7. Star Trek: Generations : Plot is remarkably stupid but I get a kick out of seeing the TNG cast in a proper film, and the action holds up well.
  8. Doctor Mordred : An off-brand ‘90s Dr Strange adaptation that’s pretty solid, considering. Bonus points for always-watchable Jeffrey Combs.
  9. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World : Once you get past the fact that Scott Pilgrim is a massive arsehole for most of the film, this is quite fun.
  10. The City of Lost Children : One of my favourites. Every scene packed with surreal, grotesque, fairytale detail.
  11. Mississippi Grind : By-the-numbers story about gambling losers, very familiar stuff. Helped by Ben Mendelsohn, but hindered by Ryan Reynolds.
  12. Rollerball (1975) : Got to admit, if our sporting heroes were allowed to flat-out murder their opponents in the ring, I would watch sports.
  13. U.S. Marshals : Most of The Fugitive cast returns in what feels like a direct-to-video pseudo-sequel. Tone & story both wander distractingly.
  14. A Girl At My Door : A taut little Korean drama that bubbles unsettlingly throughout. Stars Doona Bae, who seems brilliant in everything.
  15. The Unforgiven : Forgettable, by the numbers ‘60s Western, the kind that turns up on Bank Holidays & makes you think you don’t like westerns.
  16. Sunset Boulevard : Not just a stone-cold classic, but also taught me this perfect seduction technique.
  17. Bedknobs and Broomsticks : Watched for thousandth time; still no closer to understanding how Bruce Forsyth is an old man in this, & also now.
  18. Mona Lisa : Gripping, grimy ‘80s British neo-noir with another flawless Bob Hoskins turn. Nice to see Robbie Coltrane as well.
  19. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? : Just impossibly perfect in every way.
  20. Almost Famous : Absurdly charming, though I’m a sucker for any film with a good singalong scene.
  21. The Last Seduction : Fantastic ‘90s noir with Linda Fiorentino as an ice-cold femme fatale. Great score, and Bill Pullman at his grizzliest.
  22. Felicia’s Journey : Perfectly unsettling ‘90s kitchen-sink thriller with Bob Hoskins at his most sinister.
  23. The Diary of a Teenage Girl : Impeccably performed & beautifully shot, all ‘70s haze & smoke. Bel Powley as the lead is astonishing.
  24. From Here to Eternity : Yeah, pretty good.
  25. Anomalisa : Funny & beautifully animated, but it’s another film about a middle-aged white, straight man in a mid-life crisis. Enough of this.

More short reviews