• Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

    Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

    ★★★★

    Marcel finally makes it to UK cinemas two years after its US release. I'm a sucker for stop-motion so have been waiting patiently for this, having enjoyed the YouTube shorts which inspired this.

    It's a twee, cutsie affair, reminiscent of Aardman's Creature Comforts and works in the same way - the humour coming from the juxtaposition of the human dialogue overlaid on little Marcel the Shell.

    If you've haven't seen the YouTube shorts I'd check these out first and if you want 90 minutes more then this is for you!

  • Empire of Light

    Empire of Light

    ★★★★

    This is a slow-paced, contemplative film that blends in themes around racism, mental health and the beauty of cinema. It's all sumptuously shot in, of all places, Margate, and is a love-it or hate-it movie depending on how you respond to the pacing and its multiple strands, none of which feel fully realised by the end of the movie.

    Despite these concerns I enjoyed the movie thanks to the knockout cast featuring Olive Coleman, Michael Ward and Toby Jones. I…

  • All Quiet on the Western Front

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    ★★★★

    This is a harrowing viewing experience as we follow young German volunteers into the trenches in the last days of World War One. It's a fascinating watch counterpointed by the arrogant generals, a good distance from the front, making reckless and foolish decisions that cost many innocent lives.

    This is has very high production values and I'm glad I saw it on Netflix as I was able to take a break from the brutality for a short while mid-film and…

  • Corsage

    Corsage

    ★★★½

    Hmmm... There was a fair bit of buzz around this so I guess my expectations were high, but though there was a lot to like - including Vicky Krieps performance and Marie Kreutzer's direction, the whole left me underwhelmed. Not much really seems to happen - and what does happen happens two or three times.

    I get it's about frustration and purpose in life etcetera but it didn't work for me. There were some odd anachronistic choices that kept pulling…

  • I Wanna Dance with Somebody

    I Wanna Dance with Somebody

    ★★★½

    The musical biopic trope is getting a little tedious with the same old obstacles of family, partners and drugs offset by the razzle dazzle of fame and glory. It either needs a really exceptional life story or a great director to get one of these above the bar - see Elvis as the only biopic that did it for me this year.

    I Wanna Dance with Somebody is a fairly bland offering - there were few obstacles in Whitney's rise…

  • Glass Onion

    Glass Onion

    ★★★★

    Good fun but not as impactful as the first one. The setup and the characters weren't quite as appealing as in the original Knives Out, though Janelle Monáe was great.

    Still, some nice plot switcheroos and a few decent gags kept us entertained and keen to see the next in the series!

    I've watched the first film about four times and still love it. Don't think I'll be coming back to this one quite so often, but it's a winning formula and I'd like to see Daniel Craig make more appearances as Benoit Blanc than he did as James Bond.

  • BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

    BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

    ★★★★

    So I get some of the criticisms levelled at this, it probably is a bit too long and I can see why it might be labelled 'self-indulgent' but it practically an autobiography so I'm going to give it a pass. It's one of the few films I've seen this year that I've any appetite to see again. This is partly because I knew little about Mexico, so many of the references were a bit lost on me - but thanks…

  • Avatar: The Way of Water

    Avatar: The Way of Water

    ★★★★

    This is pretty much what I expected. On the plus side it looks great and the alien world and combat sequences are all superbly imagined. On the down side it's about an hour and a half too long, the plot is unimaginative and there are few surprises along the way. For long stretches it does feel like you're watching a cut-scene from Horizon Forbidden West or Modern Warfare 2.

    These heavy CGI movies (and computer games for that matter) need…

  • Where the Crawdads Sing

    Where the Crawdads Sing

    ★★★

    OK, so this is one of those ‘beloved book’ adaptations where I haven’t read the beloved book. However the person I saw this with had read, and loved, the book and we both agreed the movie was sadly lacking.  The murder trial was set up in the first two minutes and then it’s a series of lengthy flashbacks to tell the unlikely story of the outsider marsh girl, who, despite being alone and abandoned raises herself with perfect hair, teeth…

  • The Gray Man

    The Gray Man

    ★★★

    This high octane action fest from the Russo Brothers is a predictable piece of nonsense that makes no sense and and is so laughably over the top the body count must run into the hundreds.  It’s a Netflix movie and is streaming from any day now but I thought I’d see it on the big screen.  It certainly plays better in the cinema, but not sure it saved it from being an unexceptional experience.  

    Ana de Armas is the…

  • Thor: Love and Thunder

    Thor: Love and Thunder

    ★★★½

    I wanted to like this much more than I did, but for me at least it tried too hard to be funny all the time. Jokes were repeated within the film and rehashed from earlier movies, as were some set pieces.  The Guardians of the Galaxy appearance was brief and pointless with the same shtick from Thor again. I enjoyed Russell Crowe’s Zeus once, but suspect the playing-everything-for-laughs approach won’t support multiple viewings. 

    It’s a shame because there’s an interesting…

  • Elvis

    Elvis

    ★★★★

    Baz Luhrmann is pretty much the perfect director to take on the glitzy drama of the life of Elvis Presley; and in Austin Butler he’s found the perfect actor to portray him. There’s a great chemistry between actor and director here and Butler brings Presley to life, particularly in his younger years, as Luhrmann’s breakneck pacing and editing whiplash us through his rise under the corrupt tutelage of ‘Colonel’ Tom Parker – Tom Hanks as the bad guy for a…