About Craig M

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by. My name's Craig and reside in the UK. I am a big fan of all kinds of movies and video-games, and occasionally write fiction when I get the time. I work as an administrative assistant 9-5, five days a week and enjoy it very much. For more info, please read the 'About me' section on my blog. Bye for now.

Thor Love and Thunder


Viewed – 16 September 2022 Disney+

I was quite hyped for this when I saw the trailer. Thor Ragnorok remains for me one of the more enjoyable Marvel movies, so going into this follow-up I was hoping for another dose of entertainment. This time we have Thor (Chris Hemsworth) out to stop a maniac warlord called ‘Gorr the God Butcher’, who blames the gods for the death of his daughter. Back on earth, Thor’s ex girlfriend Jane (Natalie Portman) is dying of cancer until she discovers hope in Thor’s shattered hammer.

Directed again by Taika Waititi (Jo Jo Rabbit) this mostly light-hearted adventure is full of jokes and visual pyrotechnics as Thor wages war and bumps into characters like The Guardians of the Galaxy and Zeus (Russell Crowe), all to the soundtrack of Guns N Roses. Yeah, sometimes the jokes don’t always land, there’s a few poor effects shots and I grew tired of the screaming goats quickly. Yet the action is fun, the tone is fun and the story good enough for this kind of thing.

It’s a shame then that, despite best efforts Christian Bale is simply ‘ok’ as the villain, failing to figuratively ‘jump out of the screen’. Otherwise, it’s hard to find much fault here. Many of the scenes are very enjoyable and I got caught up in the action and entertainment factor the movie was clearly going for. Natalie Portman also held her own alongside the gods (whilst avoiding ‘woke’ pitfalls of other recent movies). Overall better than critics and the generally negative culture of the internet might have you believe. Simply put – I’d watch it again.

Verdict: Good+

Men


Viewed – 26 August 2022 online rental

Alex Garland has become for me a director to watch. Both Ex Machina and Annihilation are two of the most interesting science fiction movies in years. However this latest effort dips his toe in the horror genre, so I was intrigued what this director would do. This has a woman escaping to the English countryside in an attempt to get away from traumatic events. However whilst staying in an old house she begins to feel like she is being stalked by mysterious men in the village and neighbouring woods.

Jesse Buckley (Fargo, I’m Thinking of Ending Things) is someone I’m finding I enjoy; a quirky actress who seems to just be getting better and better. Here she turns in arguably her strongest performance to date as a troubled, broken woman overcoming domestic violence. The movie is beautifully shot, full of creepy atmosphere as well a very artistic style, making even the simplest shots eye-catching. At the centre is a dream-like, occasionally nightmarish tone and it works well. A special mention should go to actor Rory Kinnear in possibly one of the most chameleon-like roles I’ve seen an actor in for a while. It’s both comical, weird and disturbing.

Towards the end Garland gets a bit carried away with his ideas. The final moments went to some utterly out-there places to make a point about guilt, paranoia and grief, of which it’s only partly successful. Overall a unique and unsettling experience that although doesn’t stick the landing, is still worth seeing.

Verdict: Good+

Prey


Viewed – 19 August 2022 Disney+

I’ve always been a fan of the original Predator, and also consider Predator 2 a decent sequel. However I haven’t bothered with any of the other movies. Yet I had been hearing good things about this movie so thought I’d give it a watch. In the early 17th century, a tribe of Native Americans find themselves hunted by a mysterious creature. A gutsy female in an attempt to prove herself as a hunter unwittingly becomes the only person who can take on this new threat.

Predator vs Apache Indians is certainly a novel concept, and is given a feminist twist with the central protagonist having to outwit not just an alien but also her male counterparts. With a backdrop of foreign invasion onto American soil, not just from the Predator this could have been a intriguing depiction of the plight of native Americans suddenly faced with a unique enemy … but with all the Natives speaking perfect English I soon realised this was that kind of movie.

Thankfully the portrayal of the Predator is spot on, brutal and cool, making favourable comparisons to the first movie. It’s also suitably gruesome in parts – although the editing means it never gets that grisly. Amber Mudthunder is great in the lead role and proves a capable badass in some well choreographed fights. I also found her quite likeable and I’m intrigued to see what she’ll turn up in next. Her character did feel a tad one-note though, with little more to her than wanting to be a ‘hunter’. Yet this was still a Predator movie in its tone, and was well shot, tense and at times exciting. It can’t touch the original but I still had a good time with this.

Verdict: Good

Top Ten Favourite Movies


I’ve hesitated for a while about doing a ten favourite movies of all time, as I find my list can change. However there’s always been certain titles that will always be there. So I thought I’d finally compile a list. These are not necessarily the ‘best’ movies ever made, but movies I personally enjoy watching. In reverse order of greatness…

10

Blue Velvet

Still for me the definitive David Lynch experience. Easier to follow for his style of movie but still weird, dream-like and mesmerising.

9.

American Psycho

Although I find the book overly graphic and just not as interesting, Christian Bale’s electrifying performance makes this highly re-watchable, quotable and perversely entertaining.

8.

Goodfellas

The perfect mob movie. Energetic, fascinating, shocking, and with all-round great performances. The star of the show however is Martin Scorsese’s expert direction.

7.

Dazed & Confused

The ultimate ‘comfort movie’ for me. I love watching this and chilling out to the music, the characters and the laid-back seventies vibe. A great snapshot of a time and place that’s endlessly watchable.

6.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

The ultimate action movie. Possibly the greatest sequel of all time. James Cameron’s slick direction, amazing action, stunning effects. This has it all.

5.

The Big Lebowski

My favourite Coen Brothers movie, a great chill-out movie, massively quotable, very funny with one of the greatest double acts ever put on screen.

4.

Back to the Future

So much nostalgia for this as it formed my childhood. Doesn’t seem to age, is still as fun and re-watchable as ever. Just one of the most enjoyable movies ever made with the other great double-act of Michael J Fox & Christopher Lloyd.

3.

Leon

One of the coolest thrillers ever made. A star making debut from Natalie Portman, a badass Jean Reno and Luc Besson’s super-slick direction. This also has my favourite Gary Oldman performance.

2.

Pulp Fiction

Still Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. An ingeniously woven crime opus, great performances all round, cool music. What’s not to love?

1.

Almost Famous

Another great ‘comfort movie’ for me. That seventies vibe, a charming, funny and feel good coming-of-age drama that is just so satisfying with great performances and so many memorable moments. Love this movie.

Monster


Viewed – 13 August 2022 Blu-ray

I can’t believe I never watched this movie until now. Telling the true story of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, this follows Aileen (Charlie Theron) during the period in her life where she worked as a prostitute and befriended a girl at a bar (Christina Ricci) who she develops a relationship with. However as they struggle to get by, Aileen descends into serial murder after life kicks her down one too many times.

Hooker with a heart of…

A fascinating story is brought to life by Patty Jenkins’ gritty, authentic direction and especially an amazing performance by an unrecognisable Theron, who makes Aileen sympathetic, sad and chilling. How she portrays a likeable if rather trouble woman who becomes incredibly unhinged is powerhouse acting. She every bit deserved the Oscar. Christina Ricci is also layered and interesting, in one of her finest roles.

The story of Aileen Wuornos is a unique one, as she was not a typically ‘evil’ killer, more a victim of society, upbringing and likely mental illness. This captures all that, along with a powerfully tragic love story. Although I never condoned Aileen’s actions, especially as the murders progressed, I did come away feeling sorry for her. A must see.

The newly released collector’s edition from Second Sight is something to behold. Packaged in a hard back case, it comes with a nicely detailed booklet with essays by Anton Bitel, Hannah Strong & Shelagh Rowan-Legg. You also get 6 art cards. On the Blu-ray the movie is presented in fine shape. It’s often a dark, grainy movie but detail is very good throughout. The soundtrack is in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio and although a mostly tally movie, dialogue is very clear. The occasional music cues also sound decent. Extras consist of several featurettes and documentaries exploring the making of and the real life person. There’s also a (very enjoyable) commentary from Director Patty Jenkins, Charlize Theron and producer Clark Peterson. An essential purchase for fans of the movie.

Verdict:

(the movie) Essential

(the Blu-ray) Essential