2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY – EXPLAINED

I will attempt to do a full review of 2001 this year but for the meantime, here’s a video I made explaining the plot for people who haven’t seen it before.

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E.T. – THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL

1982; directed by Steven Spielberg; written by Melissa Mathison; 114 mins

Imagine a world in which popular, mainstream tastes coincided with someone like Alejandro Jodorowsky. Imagine if what we really loved was really out there, violent surreality and quasi-religious stories about poets and circus performers. Imagine that we didn’t like derring-do and heartwarming stories and three-act structures that move us to tears. I don’t think Steven Spielberg would give a fuck. I think he’d still make the same movies. Continue reading

SLEEPING DOGS

1977; directed by Roger Donaldson; adapted by Arthur Baysting and Ian Mune; 107 mins

Sam Neill on an island! We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Here is the movie that kicked started the entire New Zealand industry and the first to open in the US. It’s a hugely important movie and if you’re a film critic living in the country and you haven’t seen this one: that’s a crime! I have now atoned and watched and am happy to report that it’s really good! Continue reading

OKJA

2017; directed by Bong Joon-ho; written by Bong Joon-ho and Jon Ronson; 121 mins

A few years ago, I had a chat with a mate of mine, having just found out he was vegetarian. It was a chat that made me realise how full of shit us meat-eaters are. We always moan about; “vegetarians and vegans – always having a go at us!”… Thinking about it for more than two seconds, I’d never had that. Not once. All I’d ever heard was meat-eaters complaining about the tongue-lashings they’d never actually got. In the end, there is no argument against vegetarians and vegans. They are nice people with the courage of their convictions, which is a rare commodity in this day and age. Hasn’t stopped me eating meat. Okja, however, challenged me that bit more in it’s story about a little girl and her pet. Continue reading

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

2017; directed by Matt Reeves; adapted by Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves; 140 mins

[MAJOR spoilers!]

Whoever would’ve thought you could say the phrase; “a beautiful performance from Steve Zahn“? The man who used to be the most annoying element of any movie in the late 90s/early naughties, here, gives one of the performances of the year so far! As a mad old, Ben Gunn-esque chimp called Bad Ape (which, it seems, is what his Zookeepers used to call him all the time), he is essentially the comic relief role, which he carries off enormously well, never tipping it too far or upsetting any scenes. What he also does, however, is countenance the comedy with just the right sprinkling of tragedy and frailty. So, Steve Zahn’s good – what else is good about this third installment? Well… Continue reading

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

2014; directed by Matt Reeves; adapted by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver; 124 mins

An ape on horseback brandishing a machine gun has got to be one of the most striking images ever projected onto a cinema screen. In 1968, Franklin J. Schaffner presented us with a crash-zoom of said image and 46 years later, the effect remains undiminished. This, in part, is as much down to Matt Reeves‘ fastidiously intelligent approach to making us understand the anger of the apes as it is the seamless motion-capture performances by Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, [et al] exuding a real sense of physical threat. Is this the best of all the apes films? I think it has a very strong case to put forward because, whilst not without it’s flaws, it is the film that puts the most in and gives the most back. Continue reading