Verónica (Netflix Review)

Carla Campra, Ángela Fabián, and Sandra Escacena in Verónica (2017)

15 – 105mins – 2017


 

GAME NIGHT FRIGHT

Based (albeit sketchily) upon a real-life case from Madrid in 1991, this haunting new horror from [REC] co-director Paco Plaza takes full advantage of its “true crime” roots by beginning and concluding with title cards establishing the unique police case which investigated this occult-dabbling nightmare. Purportedly this was the first ever case in Spanish history to be officially attributed to “paranormal phenomena”.

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The Greatest Showman (Cinema Review)

PG – 105mins – 2017


 

THE PRINCE OF HUMBUG

Eight years in the making, this original musical ring-mastered by Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman and directed by first-timer Michael Gracey is a spectacular if haphazard showpiece which often struggles to marry song and story with a true feeling of authenticity. Ironically for a film about a purveyor of hoaxes, The Greatest Showman has been criticised for taking giant liberties with its biographing of circus founder P.T. Barnum (Jackman) and his unconventional star attractions.

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The Big Sick (Cinema Review)

15 – 124mins – 2017


 

BEST SEEN COLD

While The Big Sick’s reputation precedes it, literally all I knew about this acclaimed indie rom-com prior to last night’s Cineworld Unlimited cardholder preview screening was that critics were raving about it Stateside, and it co-starred Ruby Sparks herself, quirky cutie Zoe Kazan.

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DRAGON TEETH (Book Review)

Written by: Michael Crichton

Released in the UK by: HarperCollins, 1st June 2017

285 pages


 

BARE BONES

Following buccaneering adventure Pirate Latitudes and shrink-ray techno-thriller Micro, Dragon Teeth is the third posthumously released and previously undiscovered novel from prolific author, screenwriter and director Michael Crichton since his 2009 passing. Despite exhibiting a wealth of research, this historical Western archaeology lark is – by some degree – the least accomplished of the three, and a far cry from the bestselling scribe’s other dinosaur adventures.

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Diana (DVD Review)

12 – 108mins – 2013


 

QUEEN OF HEARTS

A few years ago, before I had watched The Queen, Stephen Frears’ Academy Award-winning film about the monarchy’s reaction to the death of Princess Diana, I tried to blag my way through a discussion about it with an acquaintance who I knew had a high-brow taste in films. “It’s a serviceable drama,” I blagged, “but it plays like a TV movie.” This fabricated nugget came from my vague memory of hearing a critic make a similar derogatory comment. Plus, I knew the Peter Morgan-scripted piece of speculative fiction was produced by Granada (A.K.A. ITV). “And what’s so wrong with a TV movie?” my acquaintance shot back. I was stumped; ruse unravelled.

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Bleed For This (DVD Review)

15 – 112mins – 2016


 

AFTER THE LAST

In my review of survivalist horror The Shallows I commented how the man-versus-shark sub-genre is now at a severe disadvantage, having to come up with a pretty special story to not fall into the shadow of the behemoth Jaws. The same rule can be applied to boxing films where Rocky rules the roost. Perhaps this is why audiences failed to turn out to see Bleed for This is cinemas last November (it failed to recoup its $9million budget), but this Miles Teller-starring biopic is so much more than a second rate “Italian Stallion.”

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The Bye Bye Man (Film Review)

15 – 96mins – 2017


 

VISION MESS

Purportedly based on the real-life anomalous phenomena detailed in the chapter “The Bridge to Body Island” from Fortean Times contributor Robert Damon Schneck’s book The President’s Vampire, this supernatural horror adapted by Jonathan Penner is an admirable attempt to conjure up a modern-day bogeyman in the same vein as Freddie Kreuger and Candyman. Sadly, director Stacy Title’s film was crucified upon its theatrical roll-out in January, so it seems quite likely that the legacy of The Bye Bye Man will die out sooner than anticipated.

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The Colony (DVD Review)

Image result for the colony 2016

15 – 110mins – 2015


 

INSIDE OUT

“Law and order will be reintroduced in Chile.”

When German photographer and grassroots revolutionary Daniel (Daniel Captain America: Civil War Brühl) is abducted by General Pinochet’s secret police during a military coup in Southern Chile, his air stewardess girlfriend, Lena (Emma Regression Watson), courageously joins a cult masquerading as a charity organisation in order to infiltrate the sealed-off complex and break him out. But will Colonia Dignidad’s shady leader and “lay preacher” Paul Shäfer (Michael The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Nyqvist) allow them to leave his sadistic “Heaven on Earth”?

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War Dogs (DVD Review)

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15 – 109mins – 2016


 

ARMS AND THE DUDES

“This isn’t about being pro-war… this is about being pro-money.”

It is 2005 and the War in Iraq is ongoing. Struggling to support his girlfriend (Knock Knock’s Ana de Armas) and incoming new addition, 20-something Miami Beach masseur David Packouz (Allegiant’s Miles Teller) is persuaded into the morally murky waters of online international arms dealing when he reconnects with old childhood friend Efraim Diveroli (Sausage Party’s Jonah Hill) at a hometown funeral.

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Florence Foster Jenkins (DVD Review)

Image result for florence foster jenkins 2016

PG – 101mins – 2016


 

SONGS IN THE KEY OF SHITE

“It’s very droll, I do declare.”

Boasting formidably prestigious star power (Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant), a consistently-assured director (Stephen Philomena Frears) and garnering near-universal critical acclaim for its “hilarious” and “poignant” portrayal of the human spirit (so says The Observer), I thought I was in safe hands with this biopic of the “inspirational” woman dubbed the worst opera singer of all time.

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