Kirk Douglas dies


I think it would be remiss of me not to mention the sad passing of a true Hollywood great. Kirk Douglas, star of so many great movies and an actor I personally admired and enjoyed passed away today at the grand age of 103. Father of Michael Douglas and star of movies such as Spartacus and some of my personal favourites like Brian DePalma’s forgotten classic The Fury, as well as comedy heist movie Tough Guys, he will be sadly missed. R.I.P.

Bad Boys For Life


Viewed – 28 January 2020 Cinema

I can’t say the prospect of a third Bad Boys movie filled me with excitement. I’d lost interest in Will Smith as an actor a while back, and who had seen much of Martin Lawrence? Also it felt like a concept that was relegated to the past. However on seeing the positive buzz surrounding this I thought I’d give it a go. Smith and Lawrence return as the streetwise Miami detectives who following the escape of a dangerous Mexican cartel woman from prison, learn of a hit list targeting various cops and officials, including Smith’s Mike Lowrey.

Initially some of the dialogue and humour, that focuses on growing older and family commitments, felt a bit forced … but once the narrative hit its stride this observational humour began to gel better. The focus like previous movies, on Smith and Lawrence’s buddy chemistry was again the star and even 17 years later they still work great together. Smith proves heroic, reckless and layered rekindling my liking of the actor all over again. Also Lawrence proves at times hilarious with some perfectly timed one-liners – and that motorbike side car sequence is just gold.

Although series director Michael Bay isn’t behind the camera this time (but appears in a brief cameo) the visuals are stylish and the action particularly slick and visceral making this equal parts funny and exciting whilst not shying away from the violence. It feels very much like the older movies but brings it up to date with some genuine emotion and pathos amidst the pyrotechnics. Check it out.

Verdict: Recommended

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot


Viewed – 26 January 2020 online rental

I guess the warning signs were there from the off. An unfunny sequence right at the beginning gets our two stoner protagonists arrested, leading them to discover a movie reboot is being made, based on a movie they were the inspiration for originally. Yes, director Kevin Smith is back doing his nerdy comic book self-referential thing in a movie universe he created with cult favourites Clerks, Mallrats and the original Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back.

Meant as a satire of movie reboots, poking fun at Hollywood, social media and even ‘woke’ culture this should have been a laugh riot … considering once upon a time Smith was one of the sharpest voices around. Yet the script here struggles to be much more that an egotistical tribute to himself. As a fan, that’s a damn shame too as what’s here with a plot revolving around Jay (Jason Mews) finding out he has a daughter, is fine but the movie struggles with clunky dialogue that feels forced and jokes that really aren’t that funny. Attempts at emotion also fall flat not helped by the mostly wooden line delivery of Smith’s own daughter, Harley Quinn Smith as Jay’s illegitimate daughter.

These characters are likeable on a purely surface level, and what they get up to is occasionally fun. The wealth of celeb cameos are enjoyable too with Chris Hemsworth, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon appearing. There’s just clearly nothing left that hasn’t already been done with this world and it’s like even Kevin Smith knows that by this stage.

Verdict: Poor

The Favourite


Viewed – 23 January 2020 Blu-ray

Sometimes a movie peaks one’s interest for no particular reason. I guess I wanted to see this just because of its intriguing concept and the fact it had good word of mouth. That Olivia Coleman Oscar nod didn’t go ignored either. So what’s it about? In the early 18th century, Queen Anne (Coleman) reigns during a war with the French, and is dutifully aided by Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz). However when a maiden, Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives at the palace, the equilibrium is upset as she begins to court the Queen’s favour and a fierce rivalry ensues.

This reminded me of that other costume drama classic Dangerous Liaisons, with its similarly mean-spirited characters and manipulative behaviour. Similarly this is also rather sexy and interwoven some strong language amongst its often entertaining, quirky dialogue. Olivia Coleman may have got all the attention for her performance but I found her portrayal overly pathetic and silly, that whilst fascinating was far from award-winning in my opinion. Weisz is suitably bitchy, sexually-ambiguous and enjoyable but next to Emma Stone’s more interesting, conniving character she comes off second best. Yes, Stone is the stand out here, subtle, layered and just fun to watch with more of a character ark than those that surround her.

With expected lavish production and costumes, despite occasional bizarre camera techniques (were those fish-eye lenses entirely necessary?) this was a joy to look at. The movie’s not quite as daring or provocative as it could have been and where it goes is rather disappointing … whereas I had expected a dramatic, possibly shocking conclusion. Worth checking out though.

Verdict: Good

New decade – new system


Hi everyone.

I’ve been thinking of this for a while and wanting to move away from my usual ratings system, especially where I score movies from 1 to 5, often throwing in that awkward 2.5 /5 or 3.5 /5 score for movies that don’t easy fit in. So going forward I’ll be using simply a word for each part of the scale as follows:

Essential – this replaces the much coveted 5/5

Recommended– replaces 4/5

Good – replaces 3/5

Poor – replaces 2/5

Avoid – replaces 1/5

I’ve updated the reviews I’ve posted already this year and this new system will remain for the foreseeable future.

Craig.