Category Reviews

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Writers: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Margaret Qualley, Julia Butters, Al Pacino, Bruce Dern

Cert: 18

Running time: 161mins

Year: 2019


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What’s the story: Los Angeles, August 1969. Has-been actor Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) grinds out a living guest starring on production line TV shows, backed up by his stuntman Cliff Booth (Pitt). Living next door to Rick is Roman Polanski’s wife Sharon Tate (Robbie).

What’s the verdict: Quentin Tarantino’s 9th movie (if you include Four Rooms and Grindhouse, this is actually the twelfth QT movie we’ve paid to see) sees him use a familiar title gimmick for a movie that dazzles and defies expectations.

His most relaxed movie since Jackie Brown, this ...

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Toy Story 4

Director: Josh Cooley

Writers: Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom (screenplay and original story), Josh Cooley, John Lasseter, Valerie LaPointe, Rashida Jones, Will McCormack, Martin Hynes (original story)

Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Christina Hendricks, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Keanu Reeves

Cert: U

Running time: 100mins

Year: 2019


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What’s the story: With Woody (Hanks) increasingly becoming sidelined during Bonnie’s playtime, he wonders what the future holds. When the young girl’s homemade toy Forky (Hale) is lost during a family holiday, he takes it upon himself to reunite them.

What’s the verdict: As we currently reside in the darkest timeline, trepidation about a Toy Story 4 is understandable.

Toy Story 3 tied an Osc...

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Child’s Play (2019)

Director: Lars Klevberg

Writers: Tyler Burton Smith (screenplay), Don Mancini (original characters)

Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Hamill, Gabriel Bateman, Brian Tyree Henry

Cert: 15

Running time: 90mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: Single-mum Karen (Plaza) gives 13-year-old son Andy (Bateman) a Buddi doll for his birthday. His initial bemusement turns to terror when it transpires this doll, which answers to Chucky, is murderously malfunctioning.

What’s the verdict: Above all other rules of the slasher film, no.1 is the killer never truly dies. That goes double for killer-doll Chucky, who due to the vagaries of Hollywood copyright laws, is owned by two different companies.

Universal currently has the rights to the original saga (at seven films, we’re calling it a saga)...

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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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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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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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