The King’s Man [26/december/2021] Score: 5/10 There is a sparkle missing, something about bringing real world events into what is primarily an eccentric daft spy story, the strong, overpowering elements of tragedy written throughout the story around The Great War (as it was called) that takes away the mindless fun of the earlier films. Apart form that it can pass the time if you loved the earlier ones. Verdict: A war of feelings over this.
The Matrix: Resurrection [23/december/2021] Score: 7/10 It’s been a long time coming, but the Red Pill has been offered to you, will you take it, or stay in your seat and enjoy the fantasy world? Continuing the story from the third of the original trilogy and adding new, but not necessarily surprising features, this is more subtle in its drama and the sense of driven feeling for both resurrection and completion of the original character story arcs. So, there is a lot to achieve in this and at times it can be difficult to follow through the story when moving between the original themes of video game mindless action and more sophisticated story. Verdict: The Red Pill, tastes a little different this time.
Spider-Man: No Way Home [15/december/2021] Score: 10/10 If you are at home with multi-dimensional, multi-cosmic hiccups when an over-eager teenager asks a mad magician to cast a “little spell” over the world and set in motion chaos, haunting agony and redemption then you will be perfectly set up for this hurricane-ride of a storm of action, humour, pain and power. The perfect entertainment for this year of nonsense in the real world and a beautiful blend of light humour, adventurous action and soulful torment. Verdict: Get stuck into this web of drama while you can.
Dune (Part One) [9/december/2021] Score: 9/10 Okay, you’ve seen this before, the first feature film many years, ago, the book, the other books and the TV shows, which is one reason why I delayed in catching this at the cinema; but for this one, for the subtle quality of the sound, the underlying music track that picks out the mood perfectly and the beautiful imagery, the lighting and mood of the sun over the desert, this was worth a trip to the big screen. There are a couple of issues in this, like too many dark interior tones that made some scenes difficult to views, and the fact that this is just part one of the original novel. Fortunately the sequel, Part Two, has been given the go-ahead so we can all look forward to that one. However, if you are looking for a fast-paced all-action science fiction Dune has never been that one for you, this is much more about politics and religion than is has ever been about big battles, for now. Verdict: Magic spice, if you like the taste.
Resident Evil: Welcome To Raccoon City [3/december/2021] Score: 6/10 It’s a dark and stormy night, indifferent and self-obsessed men and women stumble and crash through the dark in the midsts of the bleak storm streaming down from the skies. It’s gone midnight and the countdown to the end has begun, for something stirs in the damp darkness. No one knows how to switch the lights on when they enter a room, the janitor gave up maintaining anything years ago, half the lightbulbs seem to have failed, doors squeak, dust plumes everywhere, shadows loom out of the darkness and the only torches (flashlights if you’re from America) can’t light as much as a candle if you enter and search a room in the gloom. Stumbling dumbly through the darkness, their muscles rippling out of their, tiny, tight T-shirts, which wouldn’t fend off a fleabite, a handful of well-armed cops must answer the call, their only other light is from the flashing bursts of ill-aimed gunfire, and the clock is ticking down to doom at dawn. Heartbeats race, blood flows and gushes, they really should be wearing something more than those T-shirts. Welcome to the beginning of the COVID Zombie Apocalypse. Verdict: Happy days are here again.
House of Gucci [26/november/2021] Score: 8/10 Machinations and munching on lines of their script as top level actors tell the tortuous, tragic and tremendous story of the turning of the tides at the world-famous fashion house of Gucci. More mafia with a touch of Greek tragedy then hard-headed business this is both tragically grand soap opera and partly insane comedy of style and stupidity as a family rips apart their heritage and teach the world that it’s not necessarily the best idea to hand your company over to the children when you retire. Verdict: It’s a style statement.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife [19/november/2021] Score: 7/10 Ignore the other one, this is more firmly on track to be a lively fun film that reunites the old and new casts, bring back the world-famous act of Zool, Keymaster and Gatekeeper (where would the end of the world be without them?) as dusty covers are pulled free from long lost treasures, and Ecto-1 howls again. Not the greatest originality, but if you want to wipe the slate clean of “that version” then this is a good start and offers up plenty of meaty fun for all ages. Verdict: Who’re you gonna watch this season?
Eternals [6/november/2021] Score: 6/10 Who? What? How? When? And Why!!?? Yes, it’s a very long played out origin story that does hold you to your seat for over two and a half hours but demands some patience as it tries to tell you all about the origins, past and present, the nature and the destiny of these entities. And if you have followed all the gossip and speculation and read the old comics about them then this is a slightly different origin story to surprise you all. Yes, it does need patience, and yes there is a typical Marvel story within, and yes, a good few teases of past information from previous films and a few little references to other variants (remember the image of a Celestial holding an infinity stone in Guardians of the Galaxy, why did it need an infinity stone?). And not forgetting the fun teases at the end of the credits for sequels to-come. But if you are looking for any strikingly different story with deeper engagement then this is formula milk not fine wine. Verdict: Needs eternal patience, but rewarding in the usual Marvelous fashion.
The Last Duel [21/october/2021} Score: 9/10 This will not be felt, touched or experienced by most, with its journey into mediaeval reality and cinema realism, as we follow, somewhat like a detective story, the true story of a crime of rape in the 14th Century and the resulting exercise of justice at the point of a lance. If you do want a slower, thoughtful and brutal reality to escape all the world’s stupidity, or just a reminder that stupidity is not a modern invention, then this will lift you up or help you come to terms with the rotten world. Verdict: History at its Grimmest.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage [15/october/2021] Score: 8/10 Let’s all enjoy the low rent hack journalists with his “parasite” as they try to navigate their way through the world and misfortunes. At least it makes a change from other low renters in the real world and the other virus we don’t name. Verdict: Bite me.
No Time To Die [6/october/2021] Score: 10/10 And so at last we come to the final outing of Bond, James Bond, for now, with the culmination of fifteen years’ of adventures in one single story arc that follows the life and times of Britain’s superhero through an age of cynical transformation that stripped off the gloss and brought us to a new grittier and tougher place suited perfectly for the world we have come to live in. Everyone’s expectations ought to be met here, even a few of the sillier ones, to bring a smile to your face on this adventure to save the world from idiocy and runaway insanity. Verdict: Time enough for all the love in the world.
Shang-Chi And The Legend of the Ten Rings [11/september/2021] Score: 8/10 Marvels are back and throwing new spins on the superhero saga as they begin the new post-Iron Man-style phase in their adventures. With more added magic pouring out from the ancient realm of China, with dragons, magical rings of power (no, not Those Rings of Power), cute and weird trans-dimensional creatures, and swordplay of the most poetic kinds, plus the standard “Fight!”, all the rich ingredients are here. Along with a starring and sterling performance from that great British Actor Trevor Slattery, he who performed as The Mandarin no so long ago. Verdict: Magical.
Free Guy [13/august/2021] Score: 7/10 For silly video game fun and a weird ride then this will break you out of any misery felt from all the nonsense in the real world (if you do come out of your own binge-watching/video game arenas to see what the real world is up to). Verdict: Foe “Escape(ism)” Select THIS.
Suicide Squad [3/august/2021] Score: 9/10 Do NOT take this seriously. If you have ever taken any superhero film seriously this is the antidote, this is the Blue Pill, to wake you up, laughing. If you’re not sure whether they are a load if idiots in silly costumes, then here is an answer for you. If you ever wonder about the insanity of the politicians and executives in control of “black ops” and all that then here is a fine example of their nuttiness. If you want to see a city attacked by what looks like a really nice starfish then this is just the right place to come and have all your COVID cures in one right-left-right-jag. Verdict: Suicide Squid?
Jungle Cruise [3/august/2021] Score: 8/10 It’s Pirates of the Caribbean on a river. Sort of. Another Disney thrill ride turned into a fun, comedic and entertaining film for all the family to giggle at, and some lack of creativity in the “monstrous baddies” art department. Without that small distraction and with a little more creativity it could have been a bit more grounded; but I suspect there is potentially much more to come if all goes well at the box office, now settle back for this adventure. Verdict: Take a ride.
Black Widow [14/july/2021] Score: 8/10 Celebration, memorial, adventure of the heroic Black Widow before her sacrifice to save the universe? And a lot of family fun and bickering, squabbling and action along the way that take the usual comicbook edge of the more brutal realities of the world that those long ago Cold War times. After the tale of the Winter Soldier the Black Widow follows her own path of glory and redemption to uncover her own history and new threats to the world from the dark times of the Cold War. but in the end it all boils down to the families she’s had over the years, past and present and all she’d them. Verdict: Codename: The Families Affair.
Fast & Furious 9 [25/june/2021] Score: 9/10 The family are back and the bad guys, and girls, are in trouble. Despite taking time out and hopefully retiring from the frantic pace of throwing cars, and themselves, up, down, and around the world there are still challenges and old, old memories and past deeds, to deal with as ghosts haunt every shadow and every happy memory. The world will not let them rest and so the family must rise once again to save the world. In these very daft times we all need to know not everything should be taken all that seriously. Don’t mind the Minions. Verdict: It’s a family thing.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard [14/june/2021] Score: 6/10 Shooting! Banging! Violence! Car chases and family issues! Happy(ish) endings, for some. Verdict: Switch your brain off, it really won’t do you any good here. Grin like an idiot, is useful.
Peter Rabbit 2 [14/june/2021] Score: 8/10 A bunny’s got to do what a bunny has to do, and in this case – It’s Time for an Adventure! A family adventure for all the family as our hero Peter and his family set out on an adventure in the Big City down the lane. But there are dark forces lurking in the shadows of big city street, things an innocent, albeit mischievous, country bunnykin shouldn’t dare get involved with. Being the rebellious kind he is Peter is drawn to trouble like a happy magnet to a nail and find himself wrapped up in a scheme: a heist! Yes children, it’s time to gang up and hold up the local town for all their worth and steal a fortune! Verdict: The perfect heist movie for this time.