Black Panther

Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan & Lupita Nyong’o
Rating: 12A Duration: 134 minutes Release date: 13 February (UK)

You really do have to hand it to Marvel Studios. After 10 years and 18 films they have constructed a universe from nothing. Back in 2008, household names such as Spider-Man and the X-Men were busy marking the end of their trilogies with films that were lacklustre in the very least. Meanwhile DC were riding the crest of a wave with the huge success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Marvel had just got the rights back a variety of heroes, and with Iron Man they were embarking on something bigger than we could all imagine. Despite all the good Marvel have done, the one thing they have failed to produce is a superhero film led by a person of colour. Black Panther arrives with much fanfare after a starring role in Captain America: Civil War and it can’t have come soon enough. Continue reading “Black Panther”

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Batman: Gotham By Gaslight

Director: Sam Liu
Starring: Bruce Greenwood, Jennifer Carpenter & Anthony Head
Rating: 15 Duration: 78 minutes Release date: 5 February (UK)

Continuing DC’s recent trend of animated films based upon popular graphic novels comes Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. Pitting Batman against Jack the Ripper in 19th Century Gotham is an idea that works really well in short story form. But, when turned into a 78 minute film it runs short of ideas and much like last years The Killing Joke, it has to introduce new elements to fill out its run time. Continue reading “Batman: Gotham By Gaslight”

Blade Runner 2049

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford & Ana de Armas
Rating: 15 Duration: 164 minutes Release date: 5 February (UK)

Realising that you don’t like a film that has been, very nearly, universally praised is a hard thing to take. Sometimes it’s difficult to admit something to yourself, especially when the common consensus is against you. But, here I am, I’ve just watched Blade Runner 2049 and I sit with my head in my hands wondering where it all went wrong. Was it me? Was it the film? Is there an unspecified amount of peer pressure to enjoy this film? Or was it just monumentally boring? I almost feel sad saying this, but Blade Runner 2049 was a chore of a film and despite being utterly beautiful, I found myself devoid of enjoyment or interest while the film ran for nearly three hours. Continue reading “Blade Runner 2049”

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth & Mark Strong
Rating: 15 Duration: 141 minutes Release date: 29 January (UK)

The first Kingsman film was an unbridled joy. The way in which it would send up the po-faced seriousness of Daniel Craig and Sean Connery’s James Bond in favour of the more goofy Roger Moore films was a refreshing take on the stale spy film. It had charm and good looks in Colin Firth and Taron Egerton, and with Matthew Vaughn at the helm, it also had the confidence needed to make a film like that work. So, where do we go with the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle? Well, we get a film so ludicrous it borders on parody and a film that is not shy about who it offends or to what extent. It’s like that bloke down the pub who re-tells jokes he’s heard down the other end of the bar. Yeah, we’ve heard that one already mate, now piss off. Continue reading “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”

mother!

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem & Ed Harris
Rating: 18 Duration: 121 minutes Release date: 22 January (UK)

It would take someone with the mind of Darren Aronofsky to create a film like mother! I truly am loathe to think of anyone else who would be able to form an idea for a film like this and then be brave enough to put it on the big screen. So ambitious, crucial and brave is mother! that it was never going to be an easy sell and it was always going to divide audiences. With themes as varied and ranging as the bible, the apocalypse, famine and torture to name but a few – mother! is that rare beast of a film that wears it all on its sleeve and leaves absolutely nothing behind, for better or worse. Continue reading “mother!”

American Assassin

Director: Michael Cuesta
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton & Taylor Kitsch
Rating: 18 Duration: 111 minutes Release date: 15 January (UK)

Based upon the novel of the same name, American Assassin is a film stuck somewhere between Jason Bourne and John Wick. Attempting to keep a balance between stark realism and over the top violence, American Assassin is a film that isn’t sure what it wants to do and fosters an uneven tone which doesn’t really work. Fortunately, the film is saved by solid performances from Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton as the elite CIA operative and his headstrong new protegé. Continue reading “American Assassin”

Leatherface

Director: Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor & Finn Jones
Rating: 18 Duration: 90 minutes Release date: 8 January (UK)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is an odd one indeed. Beginning with a film that bottled lightning with its raw terror and unhinged psychopathic family determined to fuck shit up, it seems odd to think that this series is now on its eighth instalment. After multiple sequels and attempts at rebooting the series, we are back to where it started, well almost anyway. Continue reading “Leatherface”