Can you really get away with ‘selling out’ simply by revolving the opening third of your cash-in sequel around a wry mockery of studio pressure? Not likely. Certainly, this fourth entry to The Matrix franchise hardly serves as conclusive evidence for the defence. Lana Wachowski directs, for the first time without the input of her sister, and is co-writer to novelists Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell. The result is an overlong feature that’s deftly bonkers starting stretch slowly – painfully – gives way to something more familiar. Something generic. When asked after her absence, Lily Wachowski lamented a lack of interest in retreading old territory. Lana had no such qualms and does just that, largely failing to justifying why in the process.
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Big and red are just two words to describe the four-legged giant of children’s literature that is Clifford the Big Red Dog. This is the beloved canine creation of author Norman Bridwell. A star of no fewer than eighty books, between 1963 and 2015, Clifford is the lovable, clumsy and loyal companion of young Emily Elizabeth Howard. He’s also the star of Walt Becker’s brand new Hollywood franchise launcher. This isn’t Clifford’s first foray into cinema but it marks his debut in live action and his biggest budget to date. As it goes, the film’s a charmer and should leave fans seeing red for only the right reasons.
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Fifteen years on from Casino Royale, few will deny Daniel Craig’s stamp on the James Bond franchise has been transformative. In the star’s latest and last, all that has come before finds reprisal. There’s room too for one last push at progression. No Time to Die crackles with the energy of its exquisite cast and heaps bombast and spectacle into a melting pot long since boiled over. It’s rather too daft for it’s own good, and can’t quite best Skyfall in a ranking of Craig’s five stints, but proves a belter nonetheless.
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