Category Reviews

X-Men: Dark Phoenix – The Electric Shadows Podcast


In episode 64 of The Electric Shadows Podcast, Robs Daniel and Wallis show remarkable restraint in largely eschewing X-related puns as they discuss Dark Phoenix.

But, they do talk about the long, windy road of this 19-year-old franchise, why in some ways it is superior to the MCU, where it has stumbled, and what they think of the latest instalment.

Which, of course, is a retelling of a plot events previously visited in X-Men: The Last Stand (aka, the Brett Ratner one, aka the black sheep of the X-franchise, but actually containing good stuff and certainly better than X-Men: Origins – Wolverine).

They also rank the entire series best to worst and make room for favourite moments.

So, pop your headphones on and let us X-cite you. Damn, almost made it to the end!


 


To chec...

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Hellboy (2019)

Director: Neil Marshall

Writers: Andrew Cosby (script), Mike Mignola (characters)

Cast: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Stephen Graham, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim

Cert: 15

Running time: 120mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: In modern-day Britain, Hellboy (Harbour) battles wicked witch Nimue (Jovovich), who has returned to unleash pestilential havoc on the land. Hellboy is joined by his adoptive father and demon hunter Professor Broom (McShane), the magically gifted Alice (Lane) and gruff Special Forces agent Daimio (Dae Kim).

What’s the verdict: Hellboy 2019 arrives with a diabolical number of strikes against it.

Fan backlash that it’s not a Guillermo Del Toro/Ron Perlman reteaming to tie up story threads from 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army...

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Beneath Us

Director: Max Pachman

Writers: Max Pachman, Mark Mavrothalasitis

Cast: Lynn Collins, Rigo Sanchez, Josue Aguirre, Roberto Sanchez, Thomas Chavira, James Tupper

Cert: 15

Running time: 83mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: Four undocumented Mexican workers take a job finishing construction work on the private land of a wealthy couple. But, they soon discover their hosts have plans for them beyond drywalling.

What’s the verdict: Director Max Pachman’s feature debut mixes social commentary and merciless suspense for a timely horror chiller.

Alejandro (Sanchez) ekes out a living day-labouring, scraping together money to bring his wife and young son to America. His brother Memo (Aguirre) arrives on his doorstep having hopped the border...

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Glass

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Glass-poster-1-647x1024.jpgDirector: M. Night Shyamalan

Writer: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark

Cert: 15

Running time: 129mins

Year: 2019


 


What’s the story: In a mental institution, a doctor tries to convince the seemingly superhuman David Dunn (Willis) and Kevin (McAvoy) and the brittle-boned Elijah Price (Jackson) they are not real-life superheroes and villains.

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What’s the verdict: We blame Christopher Nolan. His Dark Knight trilogy received the plaudits for bringing superheroes and villains into a world recognisably our own. And made a few billion bucks into the bargain.

No-one really mentioned M...

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2018 – Rewind and Re-View

Time thwarted us and we didn’t get chance to write up a review of 2017. We weren’t going to allow a second year to pass without forcing our opinion of how the year in cinema shaped up on the cinema-going public.

2018 may have seen politicians outdo themselves in dumb-fuckery and the world was put on final notice regarding climate change. But, amidst the wreckage there were pleasures to be had. Many of them found within the dark confines of your local picture house.

Here are some of the most notable moments. But, to match the mood of the year, we’ll open on a downer…


WORST FILM OF THE YEAR – You Were Never Really Here

Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of Jonathan Ames’ novel is not bad in the sense that it is poorly made...

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Director: David Yates

Writer: J.K. Rowling

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Jamie Campbell Bower

Cert: 12

Running time: 134mins

Year: 2018


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What’s the story: When dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Depp) escapes justice, Newt Scamander (Redmayne) unites with his old wizarding schoolmaster Albus Dumbledore (Law) to stop the villain’s plan to enslave the “No-Maj” (i.e., no-magic) world.

   

What’s the verdict: So arrives the second of a planned five films in the Fantastic Beasts (and Where To Find Them) Harry Potter prequels, based on a Hogwarts textbook of the same name.

With the Fantastic Beasts movies following eight previous Potter outings, we are firmly in lucrative franc...

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Halloween (2018)

Director: David Gordon Green

Writers: David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jeff Fradley

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Haluk Bilginer, Rhian Rees, Jefferson Hall, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle

Cert: 18

Running time: 106mins

Year: 2018



What’s the story: 40 years after the events of Halloween, Laurie Strode (Curtis) must protect daughter Karen (Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Matichak) from unstoppable killer Michael Myers when he escapes from prison.

What’s the verdict: For a franchise with an unkillable boogeyman, a 40th anniversary movie was always likely. Less certain was if said movie would be any good.

Halloween’s 1998 20th anniversary instalment, H20, was a worthwhile reuniting of Jamie Lee Curtis and her most enduring co-star...

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2018 London Film Festival – Mid-Festival Round-Up

An exquisite torture when attending the London Film Festival is working out how many movies can be viewed over the twelve days before physical shut down occurs. Two or three a day seems reasonable. But, with 225 feature films showing (plus a further 160 shorts), 24 or 36 movies begins to seem like small beer indeed.

A first amongst first world problems, we know, but there is so much to feast upon and so little time. And sleep tends to encroach at some point (typically around day 4).

What is genuinely good fun is seeing how the disparate films can be bunched together. What themes emerge across the movies? Below are our observations of this year’s London Film Festival at the midway point.

Sure, it is arbitrary as all hell – key films we were unable to attend include Vox Lux, Beautiful Boy...

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Suspiria (2018)

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Writers: David Kajganich (script), Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi (1977 script)

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton Angela Winkler, Lutz Ebersdorf, Mia Goth, Chloë Grace Moretz

Cert: 18

Running time: 152mins

Year: 2018



What’s the story: 1977, Berlin. Susie Bannion (Johnson) arrives at the Markos Dance Academy, not knowing it is run by witches.

What’s the verdict: Remake Suspiria at your peril was the consensus opinion. Director David Gordon Green realised that and abandoned his attempt, having more success with 2018’s Halloween remake-sequel. Darren Aronofsky paid homage in Black Swan rather than tackling head-on.

Dario Argento’s 1977 horror masterpiece is too delirious, too of-a-moment, too one-man’s-vision to be effectively replicated decades later...

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Fahrenheit 11/9

Director: Michael Moore

Writer: Michael Moore

Cast: Michael Moore, Donald Trump, Rick Snyder, Emma Gonzalez, Alexandria Occasio-Cortez, David Hogg

Cert: 15

Running time: 128mins

Year: 2018



What’s the story: Michael Moore looks across America to see what paved the way for Donald Trump becoming President.

What’s the verdict: Michael Moore’s explosive new film is a paean to the grassroots activism that has mobilised in the face of Republican and Democrat indifference and corruption.

For Donald Trump is not Moore’s only target. Indeed, he is correctly depicted as a conniving opportunist able to see self-gain in a wrecked system. The film presents an urgently argued account of the road he took to seize the White House.

Moore is master of editing found footage into a compelling narra...

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