Split review: by Rob Stoakes
UK certification: 15
It would be like M. Night Shyamalan to throw an out-of-nowhere, poorly telegraphed plot twist into reality itself.
There he was. Hollywood’s very own Icarus. Once called the new Stanley Kubrick after two knockout classics and one overrated but still alright flick, now one of the most popular punchlines in cinema history, a man who has no editing process in his own head and will let any idea get to paper without consideration of its worth.
It is a cautionary tale of what happens when an artist is told so early in his career that he is untouchable, and then continues to believe it long after the rest of the world changes its mind. Continue reading
La La Land review: by Rob Stoakes
UK certification: 12A
Scriptwriters! Directors! Anyone who works in film! Are you reading? Well, of course you are, the only reason movie reviews exist is to stroke your egos. I have some special advice for you, one storyteller to another. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Now, allow me to put my advice in patronising capital letters.
SHOW, DON’T TELL!
I am sick and tired of moviemakers who forget that film is a visual medium. I play video games, and by far the worst part of any video game is when I’m not allowed to play the game anymore while a mini-movie tells me what the plot is. Every gamer hates that bit! So why is it acceptable for films to start thinking that they’re books? Continue reading
The Handmaiden review: by Rob Stoakes
UK certification: TBC
Park Chan-wook is possibly a lunatic. You might not be familiar with his name, but you’ve definitely heard of Old Boy. If you haven’t seen Old Boy, by the way, I will hunt you down and eat your soul. But yeah, the man has a brand of insanity that is hard to place. His stories are all skeevy, with a violent and sexual edge that makes most of his films difficult to watch, but he then breaks it up with goofy slapstick. It’s like if Charles Manson made the Looney Tunes.
Take his most recent film, The Handmaiden. Wikipedia describes it as “an erotic psychological thriller”, but some of these scenes wouldn’t go amiss in a Minions picture. There are several pratfalls, an artist looking to his student to find an embarrassing stick figure on her canvas, and the main character stopping someone from hanging themselves and then dropping them while distracted. If the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme was in this, this would be the best comedy of the year. Continue reading
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story review: by Adam Brannon
UK certification: 12A
The Star Wars universe just got a whole lot bigger. When Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was announced by Disney a couple of years ago, diehard fans of the sci-fi saga met the news with a huge dose of scepticism.
After all, the prequel trilogy was an unmitigated disaster, doing all it could to destroy not only the greatest villain in the history of film, but the series itself. Then Gareth Edwards was announced as director, whose film credits include the brilliant Monsters and Godzilla, which was critically praised but received a lukewarm reception publically.
THEN Disney announced the film was undergoing “heavy” reshoots to its first cut, reportedly due to executives being unhappy with the finished product’s tone.
So it’s clear that it’s not been plain sailing for Rogue One, but that headline isn’t a misprint – the finished article is just that damn good. But why? Continue reading
Moana review: By Rob Stoakes
UK Certification: U
It’s weird how long it took for Hollywood to get Dwayne The Rock The People’s Champion The Brahma Bull The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment It Doesn’t Matter What His Last Name Is right.
After all, here’s a wrestler who wasn’t very good at wrestling but so good at talking and had such good facial expressions that IT DOESN’T MATTER! which the wrestling fans among you read in his iconic shout. So, what’s he used for when he enters Hollywood? Shutting up and scowling.