Very occasionally, history offers epochal anecdotes so cinematic in their telling that it is hard not to imagine the real event as having been written and produced by Hollywood itself. The May to June evacuation of the British Army from the beaches at Dunkirk in the second year of the Second World War is exactly one such moment. Indeed, an unlikely tale of heroism in which underdogs overcome all odds to seize victory from the grasps of defeat, the story of Dunkirk has gifted, in many ways, a exemplary template for decades of cinematic offerings.
Continue reading Dunkirk | Review
When Judd Apatow wants ‘the big conversation’ it’s not just the comic-addressee who should get excited. Previous convos, with Steve Carell, Kirsten Wiig and Amy Schumer, in which the producer asked each talent: ‘have you any ideas?’ led to The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Bridesmaids and Trainwreck. His is an impressive eye for potential and one with an extraordinarily surefooted track record. Now Apatow has unearthed The Big Sick, the funniest rom-com of recent years, by mining the experience and skill of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. He knows how to pick ‘em alright.
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Tra la la!
To young fans of Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants book series, that hark of arrival is as familiar and welcome a caw as ‘to the Batmobile’ might be to their parents. The novels have sold more than 70m copies the world over since launching in 1997, with the series concluding at book twelve only two years ago. Given their success – Captain Underpants has been translated into over 20 languages – it’s perhaps surprising that it’s take this long for a film to materialise.
Continue reading Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie | 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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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.
Continue reading Spider-Man: Homecoming | Review
There’s a moment in Karl Freund’s original 1932 The Mummy – a then original feature designed to replicate the themes and successes of Universal’s contemporary horror films: Dracula, Frankenstein etc. – in which the Mummy himself (Boris Karloff playing Imhotep) is awoken from his sarcophagus slumber behind an unaware Ralph Norton (Bramwell Fletcher). It’s a scene that’s not quite as effective as it might have been but one that works by virtue of the brilliant tension of expectation that comes with viewers knowing exactly what is coming.
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On paper, the plot of Marc Webb’s Gifted reads as being somewhat saccharine, clichéd and kind of generic. It’s the story of a bachelor, Frank (Chris Evans, sans lycra for once), bringing up the precociously ‘gifted’ Mary (Mckenna Grace). She’s the daughter of his similarly progenic sister, whose life of pressured genius led to her suicide some six years earlier.
When Mary’s school teacher, Miss Stevenson (comic, Jenny Slate), discovers the girl’s intellectual brilliance and spreads the word, it is not long before her Grandmother (Lindsey Duncan) appears on the scene, demanding custody and promising a future of elite education leading to greatness. A court case ensues, with Frank fighting for the right to give Mary the right to the life he claims his sister wanted for her: ‘Just dumb her down into a decent human being’. Sounds rough, but he means well.
Continue reading Gifted | Review