“Second verse, same as the first” John Wick: Chapter 2 review

John Wick: Chapter 2 review – by Rob Stoakes

UK certification: 15

14886217_1040838869357950_851251975_nIt all comes full circle. Long-time readers of this fair website will know that I joined the fold in 2015 and my first review was for a ho-hum little “best action movie in years” called John Wick. Now we just need a sequel to Big Game and a really disappointing Avengers movie and the cycle will begin once again.

But yes, John Wick. One could make a convincing argument that it is the ultimate action movie as far as the nuts and bolts go. It’s got a simple, easy to understand plot that’s set up in less than ten minutes, the protagonist is sympathetic without being soppy and the villains detestable without being unentertaining, the action is crisp and clean and the violence takes place in varied locales with different styles, intensities and spots. So, all those things modern action films have forgotten how to do. Continue reading

The Great Wall -Disappointingly pedestrian

The Great Wall review: by Adam Brannon

UK certification: 12A

14859347_1040969846011519_1192281544_o-copyAcclaimed director Zhang Yimou has been at the helm of some of China’s greatest film assets. 1991’s Raise the Red Lantern is widely regarded as one of the defining foreign-language films of its period and 2004’s House of Flying Daggers received huge critical acclamation for its stunning cinematography and exceptional script.

Here, Yimou teams up with one of Hollywood’s greatest assets, Matt Damon in a monster flick to rival all others. But does The Great Wall showcase the very best from its director and leading man? Continue reading

Drive-in Cinema: the Experience!

14859347_1040969846011519_1192281544_o-copyA drive-in cinema is probably not the first thing you’d associate with a rainy winters evening, but that’s exactly what I did at the end of January.

After accepting an invitation to attend a screening of Jurassic World at the Moonlight Drive-In Cinema (how could I resist?) I cleaned the car and invited two friends along for the ride. In this article, I share my experiences of the evening as a whole; from the film itself, to the food and atmosphere.

Continue reading

“A Depressing Itchy and Scratchy Episode” Hacksaw Ridge review

Hacksaw Ridge review: by Rob Stoakes

UK certification: 15

14886217_1040838869357950_851251975_nMel Gibson is not a name I expected to see in Oscar Season. Not because his films are bad, mind, far from it. It’s just that he’s in that category of filmmakers shared by Roman Polanski and Lars Von Trier. Because of their reputations outside of their work, any appraisal of their career comes with more asterisks than a French comic book shop.

Gibson’s career homicide, in particular, seemed so devastating that he could invent a machine that cured diabetes with warm hugs and his obituary would still credit him as “The messiah-complex bigot who admitted to strangling toasters, don’t hatefully glare too much at the picture above or his madness may infect you.” Continue reading

“Plot twist, it’s actually good” Split review

Split review: by Rob Stoakes

UK certification: 15

14886217_1040838869357950_851251975_nIt 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