Category Reviews

Ready Player One

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writers: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline (screenplay), Ernest Cline (novel)

Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Lena Waithe, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg

Cert: 12

Running time: 140mins

Year: 2018

What’s the story: 2045, Colombus, Ohio. In an over-populated world where trailer parks have become cities, the masses seek enjoyment in the virtual reality world of the Oasis. Expert gamer Wade Watts (Sheridan) and others attempt to win a competition that awards them vast wealth and control of the Oasis. Evil corporate CEO Sorrento (Mendelsohn) unleashes an army to ensure no mere gamer wins the ultimate prize.

What’s the verdict: Tron. The Matrix. Ready Player One. Each generation gets the VR adventure story it deserves...

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Eureka! Blu-ray: Re:Born

Director: Yûji Shimomura

Writer: Benio Saeki

Cast: Tak ∴, Akio Ôtsuka, Yura Kondo

Cert: 15

Running time: 100mins

Year: 2016


What’s the story: Former special forces soldier Toshiro (Tak ∴) works in a small convenience store in rural Japan, caring for the orphaned Sachi (Kondo). But, dangerous enemies from his past, led by the mysterious Phantom (Ôtsuka), force him to settle old scores.

What’s the verdict: With action films arriving faster and thicker than kicks from The Raid’s Iko Uwais in a particularly foul mood, they had better come strapped with a good USP.

Re:Born’s is the close-quarter knife-fighting style practiced by both hero Toshiro and his most lethal opponents...

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Mom and Dad

Director: Brian Taylor

Writer: Brian Taylor

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Zachary Arthur, Robert Cunningham, Samantha Lemole, Lance Henriksen

Cert: 15

Running time: 83mins

Year: 2017


What’s the story: Brent (Cage) and Kendall (Blair), both in the grip of mid-life crises, live in a state of increasing resentment with their kids Carly (Winters) and Josh (Arthur). Then, without warning, parents all over the country begin violently turning on their children.

What’s the verdict: Reportedly, Nicolas Cage declared this the most enjoyment he has had making a film in ten years. We’re right there with you Nic. What seemed like another direct-to-rental dud, Mom and Dad is a short, sharp, sensational satirical shock.

American Beauty meets 28 Weeks Later, this is a film for...

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Den of Thieves

Director: Christian Gudegast

Writer: Christian Gudegast (script), Christian Gudegast, Paul Scheuring (story)

Cast: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, Dawn Olivieri

Cert: 15

Running time: 140mins

Year: 2018


What’s the story: Career bank robber Ray Merrimen (Schreiber) is planning the ultimate heist. Can loose cannon LA County Sheriff’s Dept. cop “Big” Nick O’Brien stop him?

What’s the verdict: Den of Thieves is a film so derivative it would be simpler to list the ways in which it fails at being Heat.

Michael Mann’s 1995 crime opus was an icy-cool, blue-tinted study of flawed cops, code-bound criminals, and the blurred moral distinction between them. The type of film of which Jean-Pierre Melville would have been proud.

Den of Thie...

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The Cloverfield Paradox

Director: Julius Onah

Writer: Oren Uziel (screenplay), Oren Uziel, Doug Jung (story)

Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Chris O’Dowd, David Oyelowo, Zhang Ziyi, Roger Davies

Cert: 15

Running time: 102mins

Year: 2018 


What’s the story: Astronauts aboard space station Cloverfield discover reality is lethally twisted after they successfully complete a particle accelerator experiment designed to solve a global energy crisis.

What’s the verdict: Cloverfield is about everyday life jolted by a seismic event. Fitting then that home entertainment giant Netflix surprise released this third instalment in producer J.J. Abrams’ anthology franchise.

Unsurprisingly, expectations were high...

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Hatchet (2006)

Director: Adam Green

Writer: Adam Green

Cast: Kane Hodder, Joel Moore, Tamara Feldman, Mercedes McNab, Robert Englund, Tony Todd

Cert: 18

Running time: 85mins

Year: 2006

Review originally posted 5th Oct 2007 on

What’s the story: A motley crew of characters board a Louisiana haunted boat ride, but are soon on menu of deformed murder machine Victor Crowley (stuntman Hodder).

What’s the verdict: It’s Mardi Graaaaaaaargh as a boatload of New Orleans tourists is splayed and slayed in Adam Green’s canny mix of gore and guffaws. The ghosts of Friday the 13th, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Deliverance are resurrected and horror fans will be elbow deep in the slaughter, star cameos and neat twists on the slasher movie.

Hatchet believes in doing horror the old fashioned ...

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Eureka! Blu-Ray: The Housemaid

Original title: Cô Haû Gaí

Director: Derek Nguyen

Writer: Derek Nguyen

Cast: Nhung Kate, Jean-Michel Richaud, Xuan Kim

Cert: 15

Running time: 105mins

Year: 2016

What’s the story: Vietnam, 1953. An orphaned young woman finds work as a housemaid at a large rubber plantation. When she and the French plantation owner begin a relationship, ghosts from the past return.

What’s the verdict: Derek Nguyen’s confident feature debut, the third highest grossing horror movie in Vietnam’s history, proudly wears its genre finery. But, amidst the J-horror and K-thriller borrowings it boasts surprises of its own.

With Nguyen permitting himself a healthy ration of spectral jolts lifted out of the Ringu and Ju-on playbook, at surface level this is a traditional tale of ghostly goings-on...

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Arrow Video Blu-Ray: The Cat o’ Nine Tails

Director: Dario Argento

Writer: Dario Argento (screenplay), Dardano Sacchetti, Luigi Colli, Dario Argento (story)

Cast: Karl Malden, James Franciscus, Catherine Spaak, Cinzia De Carolis, Tino Carraro

Cert: 15

Running time: 115mins

Year: 1971

EXTRAS: medium_5

What’s the story: When blind crossword puzzle designer Arno (Malden) overhears a blackmail plot, it pulls him, adopted daughter Lori (De Carolis) and reporter Giordani (Franciscus) into a world of intrigue and mass murder. Do the head of a local scientific institute (Carraro) and his daughter Anna (Spaak) have anything to do with the mayhem?

What’s the verdict: Traditionally regarded as Argento’s disappointing sophomore effort after The Bird with the Crystal Plumage wowed audiences, time has been kind to The Cat o’ Nine Tails...

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The Man with the Iron Heart

Director: Cédric Jimenez

Writers: Cédric Jimenez, Audrey Diwan, David Farr (screenplay), Laurent Binet (novel HHhH)

Cast: Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike, Stephen Graham, Jack Reynor, Jack O’Connell, Geoff Bell, Mia Wasikowska

Cert: 15

Running time: 120mins

Year: 2017

What’s the story: After joining the Nazi party, disgraced Naval officer Reinhard Heydrich swiftly becomes Himmler’s second-in-command and an architect of the Holocaust. In 1942 in Prague, while escalating the Nazi’s genocidal policies, Heydrich becomes the target of an Allied Forces assassination plot.

What’s the verdict: Operation Anthropoid, the plot to assassinate Heydrich, has quietly become a sub-genre of World War Two cinema.

Two high profile versions of the event were released in 1943...

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Darkest Hour (2017)

Director: Joe Wright

Writer: Anthony McCarten

Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Stephen Dillane, Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Ronald Pickup

Cert: PG

Running time: 125mins

Year: 2017


What’s the story: As Britain stands alone against the Nazis, and its army awaits capture at Dunkirk, newly appointed prime minister Winston Churchill clashes with critics in his own party about fighting Germany or negotiating for peace.

What’s the verdict: Unlike those brothers who shared his family name, Joe Wright has yet to successfully land a project. Sometimes his films soar briefly. But, audience expectations crash to earth with a sense of frustrated disappointment (Atonement) or outright annoyance (The Soloist).

Darkest Hour promises to be the director’s most sustained movie yet...

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