Reviews

Review: ‘Ant-Man & The Wasp’ delivers big with small stakes

Posted by Matthew on July 08, 2018
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The first Ant-Man is a good film. Immediately following Avengers: Age of Ultron is was light, funny, full of great performances, and had refreshingly small, personal stakes. Ant-Man & The Wasp continues these traditions: it’s a light, funny movie with some great performances, smaller, more personal stakes, and it immediately followed Avengers: Infinity War which had literal end-of-the-entire-universe stakes. Is this new entry in the Marvel experiment good though? Yes, yes it is! Is it better than the last one? Well… maybe?

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Review: ‘Hereditary’ is the scariest movie I’ve seen all year

Posted by Matthew on July 07, 2018
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You should go into this as cold as possible. I’m here to tell you that it is good and it is scary and you should see it. I will tell you why I believe these things but, honestly, anything I might say might spoil at least some of the experience for you so you’re better off taking my word for it and just seeing it. But I you really must know, bring the family to read the rest of this. It’s very important you bring your whole family.

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Review: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ actually kinda sorta works

Posted by Matthew on July 04, 2018
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Jurassic Park is a great movie. More than that, it is one of my favourite movies. You can debate its quality if you like –I know that plenty of people rank it in the middle of Spielberg’s filmography– but for me it is the film that made me believe in movie magic. I feel it’s important that you know this going into this review, and that you also know that none of the films in the rest of the franchise come close to recapturing that original magic, and that includes this one.

This one at least tries to do something new and different, so that’s something.

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Review: A Quiet Place

Posted by Simon on April 04, 2018
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There’s a section in the second act of A Quiet Place where everyone I could see in the cinema had their hands clamped over their mouth. It’s a strange thing to be in a room full of people sat in total silence, straining to watch a movie that is desperate in its own absolute quiet. This is A Quiet Place, John Krasinski’s directorial debut, at its very best – tension gnawing through the screen, audience in the palm of its hand, waiting for the inevitable snap.

And snap it does.

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Review: Annihilation

Posted by Simon on March 03, 2018
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Oscar winner.

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Simon’s Games And Movies Of 2017

Posted by Simon on December 20, 2017
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It’s been a hell of a year, to put it mildly. Thankfully, we’ve had a great twelve months of games and movies to take our minds off the world slowing falling into a Trump-shaped festering sinkhole.

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Review: Thor Ragnarok

Posted by Simon on November 10, 2017
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I really miss the sci-fi movies of my childhood. Big, colourful, often funny, always exhilarating; so much fuel for imaginary spaceship battles around my bedroom. I’m sure much of this comes from older eyes and wearier brains, but I find sci-fi these days to be too bland, too unwilling to risk shapes and ideas. The resurgence of Star Wars has taken big steps back to the fantasy side of sci-fi, and Guardians Of The Galaxy got close with its amazing ship design and snappy script, but I often felt myself seeking more of the fun.

Well, not any more. We’ve known for a while that Thor Ragnarok would be colourful and funny – director Taika Waititi’s What We Do In The Shadows is one of my all-time favourite comedies – but what I was not prepared for was Ragnarok having so much more. Far from being all-out comedy, it’s a meaty, gorgeous slice of sci-fi bliss.

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VIFF Review: ‘Wonderstruck’ is a magical, moving tale for all ages

Posted by Matthew on October 15, 2017
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Todd Haynes movies, love ’em or … not? Wait, does anyone not love Todd Haynes movies? Anyway, the point is that the man is a consummate visual storyteller, and in that regard Wonderstruck might be his magnum opus. There two main stories, one set in the 1970s and another in the 1920s, each with a child protagonist and each moving in their own ways. If you’re thinking that they might be connected, yes, of course they are both to each other and a third story told later in the film.

It would have been easy to adapt this story, a kids novel, for kids but Wonderstruck is a moving tale for all ages.

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VIFF Review: ‘Bad Genius’ is a slick caper film

Posted by Matthew on October 15, 2017
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How far would you go to get an A in school? Bad Genius tells the story of a group of kids who want (or need) to get high marks but don’t want to put in the work, and it tells that story both slickly and hilariously.

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VIFF Review: ‘Columbus’ is one of the years best

Posted by Matthew on October 15, 2017
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It’s easy to say that Columbus is architecture porn for one good reason: it is architecture porn. Video essayist Kogonada’s feature film début frame buildings in ways that I can’t recall seeing them framed before: not only in just the right light and at just the right angle, but with just the right context. This is why it’s misleading to say that it is architecture porn: because it’s so much more than that.

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VIFF Review: ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ is hilarious, heartbreaking, and hopeful

Posted by Matthew on October 14, 2017
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Lipstick Under My Burkha is a hilarious movie that explores the daily lives of women in India. It’s also a heartbreaking movie that explores the daily lives of women in India. It’s a movie that has to be hilarious because if it wasn’t, it would just be heartbreaking, and it’s important that this story end with some hope.

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VIFF Review: ‘A Fantastic Woman’ is a beautiful, important movie

Posted by Matthew on October 12, 2017
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An older man, Orlando, spends a day at a spa and then heads to a night club to see a woman sing. She is his girlfriend Marina, and they are very much in love. After the performance he takes her to dinner, and later at home they make love against the floor to ceiling windows of their shared apartment. Later that night he falls ill and they rush to a hospital where he dies and she is immediately treated like a criminal. Not, however because of the bruises on his torso and the impact wound on his head he obtained from falling down the stairs on their way to the car, but because she is transgendered.

The rest of A Fantastic Woman follows Marina as she copes with not only losing the love of her life but also coping with the prejudices of the the doctors, the police, and the bulk of her lovers family. It’s not the easiest watch but it’s vital one.

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VIFF Review: ‘Borg vs. McEnroe’ is frustratingly not quite good (but Shia LaBeouf is great in it)

Posted by Matthew on October 12, 2017
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The rivalry between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe was one of the ages, and their match at the 1980 Wimbledon Championship is probably one of the greatest matches in the history of tennis. Borg, on track to win his fifth consecutive title had a reputation as being cool and graceful under pressure. McEnroe, the new comer at the beginning of his ascendancy had a reputation as a hot head who regularly threw tantrums on the court and argued with umpires. Even their styles of play were opposite with Borg playing from the baseline and McEnroe rushing to the net. Literally everything about this match makes it ripe for a great movie which is why it’s so frustrating that it isn’t one.

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VIFF Review: ‘God’s Own Country’ is quietly great

Posted by Matthew on October 11, 2017
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People are going to compare God’s Own Country to Brokeback Mountain. It’s inevitable because they cover much of the same ground: two men spending time away from the world and looking after a herd of sheep form a relationship. That isn’t completely unfair because the basics are remarkably similar but also because they’re both great movies.

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VIFF Review: ‘The Green Fog’ with Kronos Quartet playing live was something else.

Posted by Matthew on October 11, 2017
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Guy Maddin makes weird films. This isn’t a complaint, it’s a compliment of the highest order. In a world where studios are making only the safest of choices on a daily basis weird, experimental film is always some of the most important film around. The Green Fog is no exception: it re-imagines Hitchcock’s Vertigo using clips from other films (new and old) and television from the 70s and 80s –all also shot in San Francisco–, and only one single shot from the film itself.

It’s something else and the fact that Kronos Quartet were there to play the original score live made it truly a once in a lifetime experience.

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