28 September 2017

mother! review

"I feel like I've just been assaulted". That's the first thing a friend of mine had to say after leaving the cinema following mother!, and it's also as accurate a description of director Darren Aronofsky's latest as you're likely to read. It's a cruel and upsetting movie that the vast majority of people simply aren't going to enjoy, but for some, it's also going to be nothing short of one of the most powerful cinematic experiences they're likely to have this year. If you already intend to see mother!, please, stop reading this review right now and simply go see it - it's definitely a film that benefits from knowing as little as possible about it in advance, and I'd hate to colour your opinion about what mother! is actually about before you've even seen it.

Yes, it's one of those kinds of films. It's also, I think, a masterpiece.

mother! follows a young woman (not one of the characters in mother! has a name until the credits) who is living with her older husband in his house, one that she has rebuilt following a terrible fire. After a stranger claiming to be a doctor shows up at their door, the husband invites him to stay with them, much to the chagrin of the young woman. Not long afterwards, the stranger's wife shows up and starts living with them too, and before long any semblance of normalcy has been broken as the house becomes over run with people.

22 September 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle review

I'm a pretty big fan of director Matthew Vaughn, but one thing that has always frustrated me is his reluctance to make sequels to his films. Not because his films desperately need sequels, but because the sequels end up being made anyway and never live up to his original film - Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past manages to waste all the potential that Vaughn's X-Men: First Class left the franchise with, and the less said about the abortive Kick-Ass 2, the better. So when it was announced that Vaughn would be returning to the director's chair for the sequel to his brilliant Kingsman: The Secret Service, I was genuinely excited - even if the world doesn't strictly need a second Kingsman film, at least this sequel had a decent chance of being good.

Instead, Kingsman: The Golden Circle quite firmly answers the question of why Vaughn doesn't make sequels.

Following an attack from a powerful drug cartel that devastates the Kingsman organisation, Kingsman: The Golden Circle follows Eggsy and Merlin as they travel to America in order to team-up with their American counterparts, the Statesman. It turns out that the Statesman have been looking after a somehow still alive Harry Hart since he was shot in the previous film, but the retrograde amnesia he's suffering from means he remembers nothing from his life as a Kingsman. Around the same time, the leader of the aforementioned drug cartel, the Americana-obsessed Poppy Adams, announces to the world that she's been poisoning her product, and won't release the antidote to her hundreds of millions of users around the world until the President of the USA ends the War on Drugs once and for all.

19 September 2017

It review

Is it sacrilege for a film critic to admit that his only knowledge of Stephen King comes in the form of Frank Darabont's adaptations of The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist? It certainly feels like it at the moment - every other review of Andy Muschietti's adaptation of It seems to be written by people well-acquainted with both the novel and the 1990 mini-series, and that can't help but paint me as at least somewhat ignorant when it comes to this film. That said, a fresh pair of eyes is often a useful perspective to have when it comes to adaptations of much beloved things, and from where I'm standing, It is nothing less than a damn fine horror movie, regardless of how much you do or don't know about the story beforehand.

Set over the course of roughly a year during the late 80's, It takes place in the small town of Derry, which despite looking like a fairly normal town has an unusually high rate of missing people cases, especially amongst children. After a young boy named Georgie goes missing during a rainstorm, his almost-teenage brother Bill becomes obsessed with finding him in the town's sewers - but soon discovers that there is something terrible lurking under the town, something that begins to hunt Bill and his group of friends by using their deepest, darkest fears against them.