13 October 2016

Luke Cage season one review

There is a lot to like about Luke Cage, the latest Netflix series set in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. For a start, it's an unabashedly black TV show in a time when the default remains lily-white, and it's full of the kind of things that great TV relies on - interesting characters, a great cast, and a strong sense of style. Unfortunately, this is all undermined by a lack of direction that comes close to derailing the entire thing at times, which raises the questions - at what point does something stop being flawed and start being... simply not all that good?

Set in Harlem, we follow the super strong, bulletproof Luke Cage as he attempts to get his life back to normal after the events of Jessica Jones. He's working multiple jobs off-the-books, including sweeping hair at a local barbers and washing dishes at Harlem's Paradise, a club owned by gangster Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes. But after three kids ruin a gun deal between the local gangs by stealing the money at gunpoint, Cottonmouth starts searching all of Harlem for them, bringing him to conflict with Luke.

8 October 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children review

Tim Burton has always been a director that I've never really been able to get on with. It's hard to deny that the man has a consistent sense of style, but you've got to remember that he hasn't released a truly good film in pretty much the entire time I've been alive, so it's difficult for me to see his shtick as anything other than a glossy cover for otherwise incredibly mediocre to downright bad movies. As such, I went into Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children assuming that it would be yet another poorly crafted movie coated in a thick veneer of Gothic wankery - but much to my surprise, it's actually... well, fairly enjoyable.

It's been described by many as Tim Burton's version of X-Men, and to be honest it's hard to argue with that. Miss Peregrine, like the children she cares for, is a Peculiar - that is, someone born with special powers and unique abilities that make living in human society difficult, if not entirely impossible. As such, she and other Peculiars like her look after young Peculiars by creating time loops in which they can live in peace.

1 October 2016

The Magnficent Seven review

Can a film really be praised just because it doesn't technically do anything wrong? Is it OK to criticise a film for simply being adequate? At what point does "purely acceptable" stop being good enough? These are the kind of questions posed by Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven, a remake of the 1960 film of the same name and one of the most staggeringly ordinary movies I've ever seen.

You know the drill. We follow Sam Chisolm, a bounty hunter hired by the townspeople Rose Creek to protect them from Bartholomew Bogue, a businessman who is forcing them out of their homes in order to better capitalise on the nearby mines. Rounding up six unlikely allies, Chisolm and his motley crew travel to Rose Creek in order to liberate the town from Bogue's men and protect it and its people from the inevitable violent retaliation.