War for the Planet of the Apes | Review

★★★★

Apocalypse Now is the new Spartacus. Certainly, declaring yourself to be a film in imitation of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam war classic seems very much in vogue this year.

For those who found the poster for Kong: Skull Island ‘on the nose’ just wait until you see the shot for shot likenesses to be found in War for the Planet of the Apes, the third in Matt Reeves’ Planet of the Apes reboot series. Heck, at one point – getting one up on hacks ready with the puns – the slogan: ‘Ape-ocalypse Now’ can be seen sprayed over the walls of an underground tunnel. Unlike Kong, however, Reeves’ film borrows both style and substance in his homage. War is a hugely satisfying round off to a superlative trilogy.

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Cars 3 | Review

★★★

The Cars films have always felt a little like Pixar, the pioneering animation studio behind Toy Story, Up and last year’s Finding Dory, in the third rather than fifth gear.

Cars 3 is the second sequel to have spawned from the 2006 original; the third in a franchise that has, for over a decade now, whiffed somewhat disappointingly of commerce rather than creativity. With over $10bn banked already from merchandise alone, Cars has certainly proved itself to be a hugely profitable vehicle. The unfortunate result is a series that opportunistically loads each new film with fresh and disposable characters at the expense of developing old ones. Cars 3 won’t win over the naysayers – it’s got its predecessors’ rusts and some – but fans should be satisfied whilst those on the fence may find themselves surprisingly touched by the time the credits role. Naturally too – damn it Pixar – the animation itself is dazzling.

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The House | Review

★★

‘The House always wins.’

Except…when it really, really doesn’t.

Such is the case with The House, the latest tired frat comedy from Brendan O’Brien and Andrew J. Cohen, writers of the Bad Neighbours films and last year’s Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, with Cohen in his directorial debut. This one teams the admirable and winning talents of Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell as Scott and Kate Johansen, parents of Alex (Ryan Simpkins), who turn their neighbour’s basement into an illegal casino to raise enough money to send their daughter to college.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming | Review

★★★★

Peter Parker is a geek. He’s a bit lame too; a BIG fan of the Avengers and a bit of a doofus. A whizz in class, Peter’s hopeless with girls, kind of unreliable and a tad goofy. To his favour, he just happens also to be ripped, hyperactively acrobatic, armed with spiderweb wrist shooters and, in the hands of a youthful and effervescent Tom Holland, boy is he endearing.

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Baby Driver | Review

★★★★★

Baby Driver’s been a passenger in the Edgar Wright career vehicle for over twenty years. Having conceived the concept – that of a getaway driver with a unique relationship to music – in the nineties, it was in directing the music video for Mint Royal’s ‘Blue Song’ that Wright first had a play. There Noel Fielding played the eponymous driver in an electrically entertaining four minute venture of boogieing to put shower singers to shame. Wright could quite easily have parked the idea there and then. What a sign, then, of his sheer brilliance and audacity as a director that he held on and has now produced something even more spectacular. Baby Driver is breathtaking. A film that will be treasured for generations to come.

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