Short reviews

  1. Spawn

    A remarkably-loathsome piece with no redeeming qualities; nonsensical story, horrible characters, rough special effects, and Nicol Williamson’s last film. What a waste of talent

  2. The Death of Louis XIV

    I think a rewarding watch if you have the patience for it, but there’s no escaping the fact that this really is just two hours of watching an old king die, so be prepared

  3. Alien³

    The occasional CGI Alien is the only thing that dates this film; it’s otherwise a beautifully moody, bleak, hauntingly-scored piece that only improves with multiple viewings

  4. Sahara (1943)

    A pretty straightforward wartime drama that’s made more notable by the presence of Humphrey Bogart, who gives the film a gritty classiness it might otherwise have lacked

  5. Tomorrowland

    A turgid slog through a meandering story and increasingly-overwhelming spectacle, I generally love Brad Bird but this all felt like a misstep

  6. The Matador

    Pierce Brosnan at his sleaziest best, and paired with Greg Kinnear this almost has the feel of a Shane Black comedy; it’s even partially set during Christmas

  7. Cargo

    This Netflix zombie drama is outstanding: original, affecting, thrilling and heartbreaking. Martin Freeman especially delivers a tremendous performance

  8. The Witch

    An unsettling and compelling horror that had me gripped from start to finish. Oppressive, bleak and nasty

  9. Jackie Brown

    Endlessly rewatchable, perfectly performed, wonderfully shot, scripted and scored. Tarantino’s never made a better film than this one

  10. Kidnapping Freddy Heineken

    Despite the film-deadening presence of both Jim Sturgess and Sam Worthington, there’s a decent-enough thriller here that doesn’t do much that’s new, but does it all pretty solidly. Anthony Hopkins always a delight, as well

  11. Footloose (1984)

    Hard to extract the film from the cultural artefact it’s become, but I really did enjoy it. It might be stupid and cheesy but everyone’s having fun and the whole cast is at their best

  12. Blunt Force Trauma

    I’ll usually defend the underrated Ryan Kwanten but this is a sluggish and self-serious piece that squanders its set-up. Bonus points for Mickey Rourke acting alongside a parrot, though

  13. The Yakuza

    Slow, stylish and brutal, this is handsomely-shot and punchily-performed; Robert Mitchum remains cinema’s greatest coat-wearer

  14. Kill the King

    An odd but engaging piece that dramatises an apocryphal tale of a couple out to murder Elvis. Plays a bit like if 500 Days of Summer featured serial killers instead of — even worse — Morrissey fans

  15. Star Trek: Generations

    By today’s standards this Crossover Motion Picture Event feels almost subdued; the film itself has never been great, but the nostalgia value alone sees it through. Nice character beats, and the Enterprise crash still holds up nicely

  16. Summer Wars

    A fun but forgettable anime that’s a little too preachy about family values for my tastes

  17. Solaris (2002)

    This never seems to be particularly well-received but I’ve a soft spot for it, finding it beautifully shot and sensitively performed. Also features George Clooney’s bare arse a total of two (2) times, so, you know, there’s that

  18. A New Kind of Love

    A pleasant-enough romantic comedy that’s dated about as much you might expect a 60s romantic comedy to have dated

  19. Star Trek Beyond

    The film reboot series has always felt to me like the dumbest of all possible Star Treks, but in true Trek tradition they’ve nailed it after a couple of false starts. Colourful, brisk, fun, and full of character

  20. New Jack City

    Loud, lurid, brash and incredibly 90s

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