Review – Seventh Son

It’s actually kind of amazing that a movie so full of individually awesome moments can be as insultingly, unforgivably terrible as Seventh Son. It’s kind of impressive, even. You need to really commit to awfulness in order to undermine something as inherently cool as two dragons fighting to the death, say, or the hero riding a troll over the edge of a waterfall. There’s a different orc-ish dude with tusks who fights using wrestling manoeuvres, a witch who turns into a bear, another who turns into a leopard, and even a four-armed Shiva-style swordsman. Somehow, they’re all boring.

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Review – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

A decade before the events of 9/11 made him go a bit bananas, Frank Miller released a series of neo-noir comic books under the collective title of Sin City. The stories were all pulp crime fiction full of overwrought dialogue, set in a monochrome world with only the occasional splash of colour – red lips, green eyes, yellow bastards; a world where women are “broads”, all power structures are openly corrupt, everyone smokes, and the men are just as much horrible monsters as they are chivalrous heroes.

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Review – A Cure for Wellness

A Cure for Wellness is an old-school, Lovecraftian gothic horror picture that comes directly from the addled mind of Gore Verbinski – and Christ, you can tell. It’s wildly ambitious, the production design is immaculate, the visuals are remarkable, it’s cripplingly self-indulgent, much, much too long, the narrative doesn’t hold up to even a cursory examination, and it’s just about the most depraved thing to have been bankrolled by Hollywood in recent years. It’s a movie I expected to mostly like and ending up mostly hating; a true love-it-or-hate-it marmite experience, albeit one in which the marmite is swimming with eels and being forced down your throat by a mad scientist.

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Review – Jessabelle

Jessabelle (not to be confused with the similarly-titled Annabelle, although it’s not much better) is a curious, frustrating Halloween-horror picture. Curious, because it spends its first act not actually being a horror film at all, but instead a slow-burning psychological story about a fractured family in the Louisiana bayou. But frustrating all the same, as it quickly descends into a rote procession of genre clichés steeped in facile Southern Gothic mysticism, which quickly demolishes all the suspense and atmosphere the film spent a third of its running time painstakingly building.

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Review – Beauty and the Beast

Review Beauty and the Beast? Is there any point? If there was ever a movie that you already know whether or not you like, it’s this one. This new version is steady, workmanlike entertainment, but that’s all it is. Surprisingly little has been lost in the transition from animation to live-action, but nothing tangible has been gained, either. It’s almost a beat-for-beat retread of Disney’s 1991 classic. The songs, the characters, the vaguely sinister undertones – it’s all there, preserved and polished. And spit-shined. And buffed and trussed and draped with gilt and glamour.

Look, it’s a bit overdesigned, is all I’m saying.

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Review – Kong: Skull Island

If you’re lucky enough to be anything like me, a movie about a giant gorilla getting into fistfights with ravenous prehistoric lizards doesn’t have to do much in order to impress you. And Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island, the second instalment of Legendary’s “MonsterVerse” after 2014’s Godzilla, certainly doesn’t do much. But it does manage to impress – mostly just by being a ludicrously-expensive variety of the gonzo B-movie creature-feature you’ve always wanted Kong to star in.

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