B

"If it's in a word, or it's in a look, you can't get rid of The Babadook."
"If it's in a word, or it's in a look, you can't get rid of The Babadook."
THE BABADOOK (15)
D: Jennifer Kent
Icon/Entertainment One/IFC (Kristina Ceyton & Kristian Moliere)
🇦🇺 🇨🇦 2014
94 mins

Horror

W: Jennifer Kent
DP: Radek Ladczuk
Ed: Simon Njoo
Mus: Jed Kurzel

Essie Davis (Amelia Vanek), Noah Wiseman (Samuel Vanek), Hayley McElhinney (Claire), Daniel Henshall (Robbie), Barbara West (Gracie Roach), Ben Winspear (Oskar Vanek)

The Babadook is a low budget Australian horror film with much potential, but it doesn't quite deliver, falling a tad short in the final act following some brilliant build up in the first hour.
A single mother, struggling to cope with the behavioural issues of her son, reads him a bedtime story from a book which seemingly emerges from nowhere. Halfway through reading, she realises the book isn't meant for children at all and must console her crying child to sleep.
In the days that follow strange occurrences happen, preventing the woman from sleep and pushing her closer and closer to violent rage. Is she losing her mind, or is The Babadook a real malevolent spirit causing these paranormal happenings?
The story doesn't quite explain itself, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the climax still feels like a cheat.
It's a shame, since Essie Davis' performance is very good and there are some chilling moments in the opening two acts, especially with the inventiveness and dark artwork of the mysterious book.
The title is incredibly clever, being both an anagram of "a bad book" as well as the onomatopoeic imitation of an unwelcome knock at the door. Director Jennifer Kent also includes some clever references to old, classic horror movies, and the film refrains from bloodthirsty gore and clichéd gimmicks.
It has some faults, but is still head and shoulders above big budget Hollywood horrors released around the same time.
6/10

"A little pig goes a long way."
"A little pig goes a long way."
BABE (U)
D: Chris Noonan
Universal/Kennedy Miller (George Miller, Doug Mitchell & Bill Miller)
🇦🇺 1995
94 mins
 
Fantasy/Comedy
 
W: George Miller & Chris Noonan [based on the novel 'The Sheep Pig' by Dick King-Smith]
DP: Andrew Lesnie
Ed: Jay Friedkin & Marcus D'Arcy
Mus: Nigel Westlake
PD: Roger Ford
 
James Cromwell (Arthur Hoggett), Magda Szubanski (Mrs. Hoggett)
voices of: Roscoe Lee Browne (narrator), Christine Cavanagh (Babe), Miriam Margolyes (Fly), Danny Mann (Ferdinand), Hugo Weaving (Rex)
 
A magical children's fantasy about an orphan piglet who is raised on a farm and adopted by a sheepdog, who the pig admires and develops an ambition to learn how to herd sheep.
The movie was a huge hit in 1995 and was a surprise best picture Oscar nominee.  The animal animatronics are absolutely superb and it's a very sweet, good-natured fable for which you'd be hard-pressed to look at a bacon sandwich quite the same way after watching.
8/10

BABE: PIG IN THE CITY (PG)
D: George Miller
Universal  (George Miller, Doug Mitchell & Bill Miller)
🇦🇺 1998
97 mins
 
Fantasy/Comedy
 
W: George Miller, Judy Morris & Mark Lamprell [based on characters created by Dick King-Smith]
DP: Andrew Lesnie
Ed: Jay Friedkin & Margaret Sixel
Mus: Nigel Westlake; Randy Newman
PD: Roger Ford
 
James Cromwell (Arthur Hoggett), Magda Szubanski (Esme Hoggett), Mary Stein (Miss Floom), Mickey Rooney (Fugly Floom)         
voices of: Roscoe Lee Browne (narrator), Elizabeth Daily (Babe), Danny Mann (Ferdinand/Tug), Glenne Headly (Zootie), Steven Wright (Bob), James Cosmo (Thelonius)
 
The pig from the first movie goes to the big city and rescues animals from a pound.
Messy sequel which failed miserably at the box office and led to many executives at Universal picking up their P45's.
It's not actually that bad, it just fails to capture the magic of the first film and has a rather dark story which wouldn't captivate the imaginations of young children the way the first film did.
5/10

BABEL (15)
D: Alejandro González Iñárritu
UIP/Paramount Vantage (Jon Kilik, Steve Golin & Alejandro González Iñárritu)
🇺🇸 🇲🇽 🇫🇷 2006
143 mins
 
Drama
 
W: Guillermo Arriaga
DP: Rodrigo Prieto
Ed: Stephen Mirrione & Douglas Crise
Mus: Gustavo Santaolalla 
PD: Brigette Broch
 
Brad Pitt (Richard Jones), Cate Blanchett (Susan), Gael Garcia Bernal (Santiago), Koji Yakusho (Yasujiro Wataya), Adrianna Barazza (Amelia), Rinko Kikuchi (Chieko Wataya)
 
A dramatic, thought provoking ensemble piece, set in separate countries using different languages, yet the stories are all interlinked.
In Morocco, two boys are playing with a loaded rifle and accidentally open fire, injuring tourist Cate Blanchett, whose husband Brad Pitt battles to save her life.
Meanwhile, a Mexican housekeeper in California takes the children she is caring after to her son's wedding in Mexico, but they become stranded when returning stateside.
The third story follows a deaf Japanese student whose life has seemingly fallen apart following the death of her mother.                      
Despite this ambitious film taking place over such diverse communities and culture and having a language barrier to overcome, it works incredibly well.  The stories don't interlink as seemlessly as you expect them to, but it does demonstrate a butterfly effect theory which many would take for granted.
All the performances are great but Adrianna Barazza as the Mexican housekeeper torn between her duties and family commitments and Rinko Kikuchi as the hearing-impaired Japanese schoolgirl are the standouts.
8/10

BABY BOOM (15)
D: Charles Shyer
UIP/MGM (Bruce A. Block & Nancy Meyers) 
🇺🇸 1987
110 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Nancy Meyers & Charles Shyer
DP: William A. Fraker
Ed: Lynzee Klingman
Mus: Bill Conti
PD: Jeffrey Howard
 
Diane Keaton (J.C. Wiatt), Harold Ramis (Steven Buchner), Sam Wanamaker (Fritz Curtis), James Spader (Ken Arrenberg), Sam Shepard (Dr. Jeff Cooper), Pat Hingle (Hughes Larrabee)
 
Diane Keaton plays a career-minded executive whose life becomes overthrown in turmoil when she acquires a small baby (not hers).
An enjoyable yuppie 80's comedy which seems like a spin on the same year's incredibly successful Three Men & A Baby. It's not a bad film at all, but it's not very memorable and hasn't dated particularly well.
6/10
 
"All you need is one killer track."
"All you need is one killer track."

BABY DRIVER (15)

D: Edgar Wright

Tristar/Media Rights Capital/Working Title/Big Talk (Nira Park, Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner)

🇬🇧 🇺🇸 2017

113 mins


Crime/Thriller/Action


W: Edgar Wright

DP: Bill Pope

Ed: Paul Machliss & Jonathan Amos

Mus: Steven Price


Ansel Elgort (Baby), Kevin Spacey (Doc), Lily James (Debora), Jamie Foxx (Leon 'Bats' Jefferson), Jon Hamm (Jason 'Buddy' Van Horn), Eiza Gonzalez (Monica 'Darling' Castello), Jon Bernthal (Griff)


Possibly the coolest film of 2017, starring newcomer Ansel Elgort as the title character, a getaway driver for a group of criminals headed by kingpin Doc, who uses a rotating crew to carry out various robberies, with Baby being the only constant member, a quiet teenager with a huge love of music, making his speedy getaway to the accompaniment of his iPod's playlists.

In-between his trysts with the mob, he strikes up a romance with diner waitress Debora and dreams of a life away from crime, but always gets sucked back in by the overbearing kingpin.

The story does get quite messy in the final act, but the first two-thirds of the movie are quite excellent, especially the opening car chase.

The film was a massive sleeper hit in 2017, with many critics naming it amongst their favourite films of the year.

7/10


BABY GENIUSES (PG)
D: Bob Clark
Tristar/Triumph (Steven Paul)
🇺🇸 1999
95 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Steven Paul, Francisca Matos & Robert Grasmere
DP: Stephen M. Katz
Ed: Stan Cole
Mus: Paul Zaza
 
Kathleen Turner (Dr. Elena Kinder), Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Heep), Kim Cattrall (Robin), Peter MacNicol (Dan), Ruby Dee (Margo)
 
One of the worst films ever made, effectively ending the acting careers of Kathleen Turner and Christopher Lloyd.                      
The pathetic excuse for a plot revolves around, well, baby geniuses... The rest blends elements of storylines which have been used in various animated TV show's (The Rugrats, The Simpsons, etc) but the used in this film are rather forgettable and insulting to one's intellect, not to mention monotonously unfunny.
An even poorer sequel, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, was released a few years later.
1/10

"Born To Go Wild"
"Born To Go Wild"
BABY'S DAY OUT (PG)
D: Patrick Read Johnson
20th Century Fox (John Hughes & Richard Vane)
🇺🇸 1994
98 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: John Hughes
DP: Thomas Ackerman
Ed: David Rawlins
Mus: Bruce Broughton
PD: Doug Kramer
 
Joe Mantegna (Eddie Mauser), Lara Flynn Boyle (Laraine Cotwell), Joe Pantoliano (Norbert LeBlaw), Brian Haley (Victor Riley)
 
Fresh from the success of Home Alone comes another John Hughes written comedy about a juvenile getting the better of a bunch of dumb criminals.
It's nowhere near as a funny as Home Alone, but it is still quite entertaining seeing three idiots being outwitted by an infant.
5/10

BACHELOR PARTY (15)
D: Neal Israel
20th Century Fox/Aspect Ratio/Twin Continental (Ron Moler & Bob Israel)
🇺🇸 1984
105 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Neal Israel & Pat Proft
DP: Hal Trussell
Ed: Tom Walls
Mus: Robert Folk
 
Tom Hanks (Rick Gassko), Tawny Kitean (Debbie Thompson), Adrian Zmed (Jay O'Neill), George Grizzard (Ed Thompson), Barbara Stuart (Mrs Thompson), Robert Prescott (Cole Whittier)
 
Unfairly savaged by the critics for being too crude and puerile. It's a film about a bachelor party! What did they expect? Characters sitting around drinking tea, eating cucumber sandwiches and discussing cricket??
Yes, it does have a lot of guys drinking themselves stupid, indulging in drug-taking, having sex with prostitutes and participating in other shenanigans which aren't very Christian, but it's funny. Hilarious in parts, even though the humour is toilet filthy and quite cruel.
All the characters are complete and utter slobs and they all have one or two traits which are a bit irritating, but there is nothing obnoxiously bad about this film. In fact, it does what is says on the tin.
It's obviously not going to be for everyone's tastes, so those who find bad taste humour offensive would be best advised to steer well clear, but for those who like a bit of smut, you can't get dirtier than this.
Strangely, Tom Hanks is actually a bit embarrassed by this and tries to ignore the existence of this film... Why Tom? Don't forget about your roots!
6/10

BACK TO SCHOOL (15)
D: Alan Metter
Orion/Paper Clip (Chuck Russell)
🇺🇸 1986
94 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Stephen Kampmann, Harold Ramis, Will Porter & Peter Torokvei
DP: Thomas Ackerman
Ed: David Rawlins
Mus: Danny Elfman
 
Rodney Dangerfield (Thornton Melon), Sally Kellerman (Diane), Burt Young (Lou), Keith Gordon (Jason Melon), Robert Downey, Jr. (Derek), Paxton Whitehead (Philip Barbay)
 
A millionaire enrols in university as a freshman so he can spend time with his son.
The enjoyment factor of this film depends very heavily on whether or not you like Rodney Dangerfield. I don't. I think he's an unfunny, obnoxious, bug-eyed arsehole who actually makes me feel a bit sick.
4/10

BACK TO THE FUTURE (PG)
D: Robert Zemeckis
Universal/Amblin (Bob Gale & Neil Canton)
🇺🇸 1985
116 mins

Comedy/Science Fiction

W: Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
DP: Dean Cundey
Ed: Arthur Schmidt & Harry Keramidas
Mus: Alan Silvestri
PD: Lawrence G. Paull
Cos: Deborah L. Scott

Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly), Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett Brown), Lea Thompson (Lorraine Baines), Crispin Glover (George McFly), Thomas F. Wilson (Biff Tannen), Claudia Wells (Jennifer Parker), Marc McClure (Dave McFly), Wendie Jo Sperber (Linda McFly), James Tolkan (Mr. Strickland) 

Arguably the most iconic film of the 1980's and a landmark film of the special effects summer blockbuster.
Michael J. Fox delivers the performance of his career as Marty McFly, a skateboard riding, rock & roll lovin' teenager who sleeps in, is regularly late for school and hangs out with eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett Brown.
'Doc' Brown unveils his new experiment to Marty, a DeLorean automobile which has the capability of travelling backwards and forwards in time, with a little help from a kick of plutonium.  After an attack by Libyan terrorists who the scientist stole the plutonium from, Marty outruns them in the DeLorean and inadvertently winds up in 1955.
He tracks down Doc Brown so he can get help getting back to 1985 but also prevents his own parents from meeting, putting his own existence in jeopardy and must first ensure that they fall in love before travelling back to the future.
In my opinion, BTTF is not only the best film released during the 1980's, but one of the best movies of all time. All due to a screenplay which is absolutely genius, intelligent and funny. The execution by director Robert Zemeckis is brilliant as well, delivering the action, thrills and comedy in equal measure.
The scene in which Marty 'invents' Rock & Roll is cinema gold. How did this not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture?? (At least the Bafta's recognised it)
10/10

"Getting back was only the beginning."
"Getting back was only the beginning."
BACK TO THE FUTURE part II (PG)
D: Robert Zemeckis
Universal/Amblin (Bob Gale & Neil Canton)
🇺🇸 1989
108 mins
 
Comedy/Science Fiction
 
W: Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
DP: Dean Cundey
Ed: Arthur Schmidt & Harry Keramidas
Mus: Alan Silvestri
PD: Rick Carter
Cos: Deborah L. Scott
 
Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly), Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett Brown), Lea Thompson (Lorraine Baines/McFly), Thomas F. Wilson (Biff Tannen/Griff Tannen), Elisabeth Shue (Jennifer Parker/McFly), James Tolkan (Mr. Strickland)
 
Following directly on from the first movie, Doc Brown takes Marty McFly and his girlfriend, Jennifer, 30 years into the future to the year 2015 so Marty can prevent his son being arrested, a chain reaction which tears his family apart.  While in 2015, Marty acquires a sports statistics almanac which he plans to use for gambling, however his plan is foiled when 'old' Biff steals the book and the time machine...
When Marty & Doc return to 1985, they realise to their horror that it's a very alternate year to the one they know and love. Hill Valley is crime-ridden, Marty's father is dead and Biff is the richest man in America, a fortune he amassed by gambling!
Doc & Marty hatch a plan to return the present to it's 'normal' state by travelling back to the point in time when 'young' Biff acquires the sports almanac from 'old' Biff... Which just so happens to be 1955.
For entertainment value, this hits the spot, but it's so riddled with plot holes and paradoxes that it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but this will only bother you if you let it.
Director Robert Zemeckis did a brilliant job in the making of this, especially if you consider that some of the original cast didn't return (notably Crispin Glover as George McFly and Claudia Wells as Jennifer, replaced by Elisabeth Shue)
Many of the jokes are carbon copies from the first film, but that's all part of the joke. Despite a cliffhanger which leaves you hanging for the third and concluding part, this is still one of the best sequels of all time.
7/10

"They've saved the best trip for last... But this time they may have gone too far."
"They've saved the best trip for last... But this time they may have gone too far."
BACK TO THE FUTURE part III (PG)
D: Robert Zemeckis
Universal/Amblin (Bob Gale & Neil Canton)
🇺🇸 1990
118 mins
 
Comedy/Science Fiction/Western
 
W: Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale
DP: Dean Cundey
Ed: Arthur Schmidt & Harry Keramidas
Mus: Alan Silvestri
Pd: Rick Carter
 
Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly/Seamus McFly), Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett Brown), Mary Steenburgen (Clara Clayton), Lea Thompson (Maggie McFly/Lorraine Baines-McFly), Thomas F. Wilson (Biff Tannen/Buford 'Mad Dog' Tannen), Elisabeth Shue (Jennifer Parker), James Tolkan (Marshal Strickland)
 
The third and final film again follows directly on from it's predecessor. 
When the DeLorean time machine is struck by lightning at the end of the second film, it sends Doc Brown back to the Wild West of 1885. He stashes the time machine in a cave where it will remain hidden for Marty to find, which he does, and travels back to rescue the scientist before he's murdered by outlaw, Mad Dog Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson again).
With it's tongue firmly in-cheek, the movie mocks the traditional western, with Marty using the moniker Clint Eastwood while in the Old West so he can appear tougher. Unfortunately for Marty, this doesn't quite work, but he still gets a chance to introduce moonwalking and the Frisbee to the Wild West.
It sets up a thrilling ending in which the trilogy ends with a huge bang and not a whimper.
The second and final movies don't have the brilliant screenplay which made the first film such a classic but they do round off a very good trilogy. If Hollywood had sense they would leave these movies alone now and terminate any plans for remakes immediately. 
7/10
 
BACKDRAFT (15)
D: Ron Howard
UIP/Trilogy/Imagine (Richard B. Lewis, Pen Densham & John Watson)
🇺🇸 1991
136 mins
 
Action/Adventure/Thriller
 
W: Gregory Widen
DP: Mikael Solomon
Ed: Mike Hill & Dan Hanley
Mus: Hans Zimmer
PD: Albert Brenner
 
Kurt Russell (Stephen McCaffrey), William Baldwin (Brian McCaffrey), Robert DeNiro (Donald Rimgale), Donald Sutherland (Ronald Bartel), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Jennifer Vaitkus), Scott Glenn (John Adcox), Rebecca DeMornay (Helen McCaffrey), Jason Gedrick (Tim Krizminski), J. T. Walsh (Martin Swayzak)
 
Two firefighting brothers uncover corruption amongst senior staff members in their fire department.
As an action/adventure movie, this is a decent watch, with an interesting subplot about a 'fire demon' which is never really explored.  Instead, we're treated to a rather cliche-ridden thriller with a plot lifted from any detective movie of the 1950's with blue and white replaced with yellow and red.
The special effects are impressive, but the movie itself is nothing too special.
6/10

"He's been in his room for 35 years. It's time to let him out!"
"He's been in his room for 35 years. It's time to let him out!"

BAD BOY BUBBY (18)

D: Rolf de Heer

Roadshow/Fandango/SAFC (Rolf de Heer, Domenico Procacci & Giorgio Draskovic)

🇦🇺 🇮🇹 1993

114 mins


Drama/Comedy


W: Rolf de Heer

DP: Ian Jones

Ed: Suresh Ayyar

Mus: Graham Tardiff


Nicholas Hope (Bubby), Claire Benito (Mam), Ralph Cotterill (Pop), Carmel Johnson (Angel), Paul Philpot (Paul)


An awkward and disturbing black comedy from Australia, focusing on a mentally retarded man-child who had spent the entirety of his 35-year-old life trapped in a room by his incestuous mother who has convinced him that the air beyond the walls is poisonous.

Upon figuring out the truth and murdering his parents, he escapes to the world outside, which he finds as strange as the people find him.

Due to the nature of the story and the minimalistic style in which it's filmed, it would be an easy film to dismiss, but it would be appreciated by those who like things a little weird, particularly fans of David Lynch, since the film practically aspires to be an Australian version of Eraserhead.

6/10


"Whatcha gonna do?"
"Whatcha gonna do?"
BAD BOYS (18)
D: Michael Bay
Columbia (Jerry Bruckheimer & Don Simpson)
🇺🇸 1995
118 mins

Action/Thriller/Comedy

W: Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland, Doug Richardson & George Gallo
DP: Howard Atherton
Ed: Christian Wagner
Mus: Mark Mancina

Martin Lawrence (Det. Marcus Burnett), Will Smith (Det. Mike Lowrey), Téa Leoni (Julie Mott), Tcheky Karyo (Fouchet), Theresa Randall (Theresa Burnett), Joe Pantoliano (Capt. Conrad Howard)

High-octane action which propelled the careers of both Will Smith and Michael Bay. 
Two Miami cops investigate a gang that stole a fortune in heroin from the station house.
The plot feels like it's been relocated from a Lethal Weapon film, pitting two wisecracking, mis-matched cops against a group of bad guys. Aside from reworking it to represent black cops, the overall result is unremarkable, seemingly set in a Miami suffering from a bad dose of air pollution.
6/10

BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (PG)
D: John Sturges
MGM (Dore Schary)
🇺🇸 1955
81 mins

Thriller

W: Don McGuire & Willard Kaufman [based on the story 'Bad Time At Hondo' by Howard Briskin]
DP: William C. Mellor
Ed: Newell P. Kimlin
Mus: Andre Previn
PD: Cedric Gibbons & Malcolm Brown

Spencer Tracy (John J. MacReedy), Robert Ryan (Reno Smith), Dean Jagger (Tim Horn), Walter Brennan (Doc Velie), Ernest Borgnine (Coley Trimble), Lee Marvin (Hector David), Anne Francis (Liz Wirth)

A one-armed war veteran visits a small town in the middle of the desert only to be greeted with menacing hostility by the locals.
This movie is clearly a huge inspiration for the first Rambo movie, but it's better acted, better written and carries a lot more atmosphere.
Possibly the first movie to use "the whole town's in on it" as a plot device and it works incredibly well, thrilling from start to finish.
Spencer Tracy delivers a great performance as the one-armed stranger and the supporting cast are all top notch.
8/10

BAD GIRLS (18)
D: Jonathan Kaplan
20th Century Fox (Albert S. Ruddy, Andre Morgan & Charles Finch)
🇺🇸 1994
99 mins
 
Western
 
W: Ken Friedman & Yolande Finch
DP: Ralf D. Bode
Ed: Jane Kurson
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith
PD: Guy Barnes
 
Madeliene Stowe (Cody Zamora), Mary Stuart Masterson (Anita Crown), Andie MacDowell (Eileen Spenser), Drew Barrymore (Lilly Laronette), James Russo (Kid Jarrett), Robert Loggia (Frank Jarrett), Dermot Mulroney (Josh McCoy)
 
Virtually an all-female remake of Unforgiven, with a quartet of prostitutes replacing the vigilante trio in Clint Eastwood's western.
This might have been half decent if the characters were likeable and the performance were any good, but they aren't.
Maybe in the late 60's or early 70's Sam Peckinpah could have done something more promising with the premise, unfortunately Jonathan Kaplan's effort is a grim attempt on some form of women's lib melodrama in an environment that is usually best suited to masculine anti-heroes.
3/10

BAD GRANDPA (JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA) (15)
D: Jeff Tremaine
Paramount/MTV (Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Tremaine, Derek Freda & Spike Jonze)
🇺🇸 2013
92 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Jeff Tremaine, Spike Jonze & Johnny Knoxville
 
Johnny Knoxville (Irving Zisman), Jackson Nicoll (Billy), Catherine Keener (Ellie), Georgina Cates (Kimmie), Spike Jonze (Gloria)
 
From the team that brought Jackass to our screens, you know before even watching that this going to be as low-brow and gross-out as you can get.
It's all just a series of hidden camera sketches with Johnny Knoxville laden in incredibly convincing old man makeup, trying the patience of regular folk as he pushes the boundaries of bad taste.
For the most part, it's astonishing to see people reach the end of their tether with what they see as an elderly fellow acting like a complete jerk as he goes on a cross-country trip with his 8-year-old grandson.
Some jokes are funny, but for each good one there's three questionable ones and it's clear too see that a few of the situations are staged.
The whole movie ends in a joke which was done so much better in Little Miss Sunshine (qv).
Overall, this kind of humour worked better in films like Borat & Brüno, where the reactions seemed a little more genuine and the situations were far funnier.
Perhaps it would have worked better pared down as a one-hour TV special. As a feature-length movie, it's more embarrassing than it is amusing.
5/10

"How far would you go to get what you wanted?"
"How far would you go to get what you wanted?"
BAD INFLUENCE (18)
D: Curtis Hanson
Epic (Steve Tisch)
🇺🇸 1990
99 mins
 
Thriller
 
W: David Koepp
DP: Robert Elswit
Ed: Bonnie Koehler
Mus: Trevor Jones
 
Rob Lowe (Alex), James Spader (Michael), Lisa Zane (Claire), Christian Clemenson (Pismo), Kathleen Wilhoite (Leslie), Tony Maggio (Patterson), Marcia Cross (Ruth)
 
Rob Lowe is perfectly cast in this thriller, supposedly because of his bad boy reputation around the time it was made.  He plays the mysterious new friend of a timid office worker (Spader), who he manipulates into doing unsavoury things.
It has enough suspense to maintain it's running time but some might say it's 'Fatal Attraction with a couple of guys', I think it's a little better than that and the sort of thing Hitchcock would make, albeit with a little more ambiguity between the relationship of the two men.
6/10

"Gambler. Thief. Junkie. Killer. Cop."
"Gambler. Thief. Junkie. Killer. Cop."
BAD LIEUTENANT (18)
D: Abel Ferrera
Guild/Lt. Productions (Edward R. Pressman & Mary Kane)
🇺🇸 1992
96 mins

Crime/Drama

W: Abel Ferrera & Zoe Lund
DP: Ken Kelsch
Ed: Anthony Redman
Mus: Joe Delia

Harvey Keitel (The Lieutenant), Frankie Thom (The Nun), Zoe Lund (Zoe)

Abel Ferrera's 1992 contribution to exploitation films was met with controversy upon release, especially in Britain, where it was dubbed a "video nasty".
Harvey Keitel plays a corrupt, drug-addicted detective who uses his status to manipulate the law. Gambling heavily on baseball matches & in deep debt with gangsters, he investigates a case where a nun was raped and sees it as a chance of redemption.
Though Harvey Keitel brings an excellent performance to the screen, not one second of the film makes for a pleasant viewing experience.
6/10

"The only criminal he can't catch is himself."
"The only criminal he can't catch is himself."

BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS (18)

D: Werner Herzog

First Look Studios/Millennium/Saturn (Stephen Belafonte, Randall Emmett, Alan Polsky, Gabe Polsky, Edward R. Pressman & John Thompson)

🇺🇸 2009

122 mins


Crime/Drama


W: William M. Finkelstein

DP: Peter Zeitlinger

Ed: Joe Bini

Mus: Mark Isham


Nicolas Cage (Terence McDonagh), Eva Mendes (Frankie Donnenfield), Jennifer Coolidge (Genevieve McDonagh), Val Kilmer (Steve Pruit), Brad Dourif (Ned Schoenholtz)


It's a misconception that this 2009 movie is a remake of Abel Ferrara's similarly titled 1992 film. The only common ground the two films share are that they centre around a corrupt policeman, and even the director of this, Werner Herzog, has debunked any connection between the two films.

Nicolas Cage delivers his last truly great performance in this character study, in which he plays Terence McDonagh, a one decorated police officer following his heroics in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 

Even the opening scene shows McDonagh to be morally ambiguous and following his promotion he becomes addicted to narcotics, gambling and other legally questionable vices.

Eva Mendes provides good support as his prostitute girlfriend, but other cast members are practically cameo appearances.

Like the 1992 movie, it doesn't make for particularly pleasant viewing, but it's certainly worth watching for Nicolas Cage's performance alone.  It's unfortunate that his career was on a downward spiral following this.

6/10


"Party like a mother."
"Party like a mother."

BAD MOMS (15)

D: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore

STX/Huayi Brothers (Bill Block & Suzanne Todd)

🇺🇸 2016

101 mins


Comedy 


W: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore

DP: Jim Denault

Ed: Emma E. Hickox & James Thomas

Mus: Christopher Lennertz


Mila Kunis (Amy Mitchell), Kathryn Hahn (Carly), Kristen Bell (Kiki), Christina Applegate (Gwendolyn James), Jada Pinkett Smith (Stacy), Annie Mumulo (Vicky)


Wrist-slashingly unfunny chick flick, in which a workaholic mum has enough of being responsible, so acts the tramp with her girl mates, but we can't judge her badly because the film has a villain in the shape of Christina Applegate who is a bitch for no particular reason.

When Hollywood lobbied for more female empowering films is this really what they had in mind? The comedy is non-existent, stepping carefully so much as not to offend any demographic, except for men because fuck men. Men are scum, except for the hot Latino guy because he's hot. Hollywood bullshit which causes more damage than it does good.

The worst performance in the film easily belongs to Jada Pinkett Smith, who thinks she can just walk onto a set, read some lines and call it acting. The films only redeeming feature comes in the credits, where the movie's stars sit with their real life mothers on a couch and discuss their relationship. A rare tender moment in a total car crash of a film.

Bad Moms = Bad Movie.

3/10


"The battle for the street begins."
"The battle for the street begins."
BAD NEIGHBOURS (aka NEIGHBORS) (15)
D: Nicholas Stoller
Universal/Point Grey/Good Universe (Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen & James Weaver)
🇺🇸 2014
97 mins

Comedy

W: Andrew J. Cohen & Brendan O'Brien
DP: Brandon Trost
Ed: Zene Baker
Mus: Michael Andrews

Seth Rogen (Mac Radner), Zac Efron (Teddy Sanders), Rose Byrne (Kelly Radner), Dave Franco (Pete Regazolli), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Scoonie Schofield)

Released as Neighbors for its US release, the title was changed to Bad Neighbours for its UK release, so no connection would be made to a popular soap opera. 
Straight couple Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne play thirtysomething husband and wife with a newborn baby living on an idyllic suburban street. Everything goes to pot, however, when a fraternity house of rowdy students, headed by the usually clean-cut Zac Efron, move into the house next door, with all-night parties which cause a rift between the next door neighbours.
The potential for comedy is better than the comedy itself, and though there are a few moments of hilarity, the characters are too smugly annoying to evoke any sympathy for. 
This could have been a comedy with an audience splitting factor, with younger viewers on Team Zac and the older generation rooting for Team Seth. The truth is there's no good guy here and the comedy settles mostly on pot humour, dick and fart gags and ad-libs which are allowed to snowball into exhaustion.
Bad Neighbours isn't a bad movie, but it isn't particularly good either. An awful sequel followed, suffering from lazy writing and truly abhorrent characters.
4/10

THE BAD NEWS BEARS (PG)
D: Michael Ritchie
Paramount (Stanley Jaffe)
🇺🇸 1976
103 mins
 
Comedy/Sports
 
W: Bill Lancaster
DP: John A. Alonzo
Ed: Richard A. Harris
Mus: Jerry Fielding
 
Walter Matthau (Coach Buttermaker), Tatum O'Neal (Manda Whurlizer), Vic Morrow (Roy Turner), Joyce Van Patten (Cleveland), Jackie Earle Haley (Kelly Leak), Ben Piazza (Whitewood)
 
A washed up baseball professional coaches a team of troublemaking kids.
Disney-esque family film which spawned a couple of sequels.  Decent entertainment for a rainy weekend although it might appear a little too dated for younger children.
Increasingly hideous sequels followed.
6/10

"He doesn't care if you're naughty or nice."
"He doesn't care if you're naughty or nice."
BAD SANTA (18)
D: Terry Zwigoff
Dimension (John Cameron & Sarah Aubrey)         
🇺🇸 2003
91 mins
 
Comedy/Crime
 
W: Glenn Ficarra & John Requa
DP: Jamie Anderson
Ed: Robert Hoffman
Mus: David Kitay
PD: Sharon Seymour
 
Billy Bob Thornton (Willie Stokes), Lauren Graham (Sue), Tony Cox (Marcus), Bernie Mac (Gin Slagel), John Ritter (Bob Chipeska), Brett Kelly (Thurman Merman), Lauren Tom (Lois), Cloris Leachman (Granny)
 
An alcoholic, politically-incorrect and sexually perverse shopping mall Santa and his foul-mouthed dwarf accomplice plan on robbing the building on Christmas Eve, but their plans seem to be put in jeopardy when they get involved with a bullied schoolboy and a corrupt security chief.     
Those expecting a Yuletide movie of candy canes and mistletoe may be very surprised. It's all quite bad taste but is incredibly funny (if you can take the humour), but it's ultimately quite sad that this was the last screen appearance of John Ritter, who died during production, and his character just seems to fade out of the story without any resolution.
6/10

"Giving the holidays another shot."
"Giving the holidays another shot."

BAD SANTA 2 (18)

D: Mark Waters

Miramax/Broad Green/Media Talent Group/Ingenious (Geyer Kosinski & Andrew Gunn)

🇺🇸 🇨🇦 🇬🇧 2016

92 mins


Comedy/Crime


W: Johnny Rosenthal & Shauna Cross [based on characters created by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa]

DP: Theo van de Sande

Ed: Travis Sittard

Mus: Lyle Workman


Billy Bob Thornton (Willie Soke), Tony Cox (Marcus Skidmore), Kathy Bates (Sunny Soke), Brett Kelly (Thurman Merman), Christina Hendricks (Diane), Ryan Hansen (Regent), Jenny Zigrino (Gina)


This sequel to the 2003 black comedy is more of the same jokes, which really do push the boundaries of political incorrectness and bad taste.

A decade after his last heist, Willie Soke (Thornton) has hit rock bottom, hitting the bottle hard and is contemplating his own suicide when he receives a letter from his old partner in crime, the diminutive Marcus, who claims he's hatched a plan for a robbery which will net the duo in access of $2 million.

Upon their arrival in Chicago for their plan to take effect, Willie is reunited with his equally repugnant mother, the real brains behind the plan.

Many of the jokes are recycled from the first film, only with the volume turned up and quite possibly more disgusting. There are some very funny moments however (depending on your sense of humour), which save this from being just another cash-in sequel.

It doesn't quite capture the Christmas spirit like the original film did in its final moments, this is just a little too grubby for that. 

4/10


BAD TASTE (18)
D: Peter Jackson
Blue Dolphin/Wingnut (Peter Jackson)
🇳🇿 1987 (released 1989)
92 mins
 
Science Fiction/Horror
 
W: Peter Jackson, Tony Hiles & Ken Hammon 
DP: Peter Jackson
Ed: Peter Jackson & Jamie Selkirk
Mus: Michelle Scullion
 
Peter Jackson (Derek/Robert), Terry Potter (Ozzy), Pete O'Herne (Barry), Craig Smith (Giles), Mike Minnett (Frank), Doug Wren (Lord Crumb)

The title says it all: Bad Taste
It's the sort of film which is thrown together by a bunch of film students over a weekend following a drinking binge, with production values, special effects and makeup akin to a Troma film.
Nevertheless, the film amassed a huge cult following, mostly because it marked the debut of Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson.
The plot is inconsequential, it's just about a race of aliens who want to consume people and make Earth their equivalent of a fast food restaurant. It's all rather stupid, but good fun if you're in the mood for it.... and trust me when I say that you have to be.
4/10

"She doesn't give an F."
"She doesn't give an F."
BAD TEACHER (12)
D: Jake Kasdan
Columbia/Radar/Mosaic (Jimmy Miller & David Householter)
🇺🇸 2011
92 mins
 
Comedy 
 
W: Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stuanitsky
DP: Alar Kivilo
Ed: Tara Timpone
Mus: Michael Andrews
 
Cameron Diaz (Elizabeth Halsey), Jason Segel (Russell Gettis), Justin Timberlake (Scott Delacorte), Lucy Punch (Amy Squirrel), Phyllis Smith (Lynn Davies)
 
I don't particularly like Cameron Diaz at the best of times, so I'm clearly going to dislike a film in which she plays an incredibly unlikeable character.
She is the bad teacher of the title, coasting through her job (which she hates) and blaming all her shortcomings on an innocent, hardworking and honest colleague... And we're supposed to be rooting for the shallow wench?  In what backwards society exactly???
Perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad if all the other characters weren't so poorly written, but they are.
This film was about as funny as root canal treatment. I can't help but think that Bad Actress would have been a more apt title. 
3/10

"All Roads Lead Here."
"All Roads Lead Here."

BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (15)

D: Drew Goddard

20th Century Fox/TSG (Drew Goddard & Jeremy Latcham)

🇺🇸 2018

141 mins 


Mystery/Thriller


W: Drew Goddard

DP: Seamus McGarvey

Ed: Lisa Lassek

Mus: Michael Giacchino

PD: Martin Whist


Jeff Bridges (Father Daniel Flynn / Dock O'Kelly), Cynthia Erivo (Darlene Sweet), Dakota Johnson (Emily Summerspring), Cailey Spaeny (Rose Summerspring), Lewis Pullman (Miles Miller), Jon Hamm (Seymour Laramie Sullivan / Dwight Broadbeck), Chris Hemsworth (Billy Lee)


Agatha Christie meets Quentin Tarantino for this dark mystery-thriller, set at a seedy motel which straddles the California-Nevada border, where various characters spend the night during an undisclosed date in the late 1960's, and the timelines overlap and various events are seen from different perspectives as the film presents each character's backstory as separate chapters (rather than a traditional three act structure).

The ensemble cast here are simply excellent. Jeff Bridges, dependable as ever, is introduced as Father Flynn, a preacher with a memory problem. The second guest is Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), a struggling backup singer with dreams of fame. The two arrive at the hotel at the same time, and waiting in the lobby is Seymour Laramie Sullivan, an obnoxious vacuum cleaner salesman insistent on lodging in the motel's Honeymoon Suite. They're (eventually) met by shady concierge Miles Miller who almost immediately declares the El Royale "no place for a priest".  The fourth guest of the evening is mysterious hippy Emily Summerspring... and it's with her character's story that the events of the night begin to unfold, culminating in the introduction of Billy Ray (Chris Hemsworth), a Charles Manson-type cult leader with a taste for violence.

Critical reception for the film has been mixed, with many harshly dubbing it a knockoff Tarantino thriller, which I personally disagree with. It may have taken some inspiration from films like Pulp Fiction, but it certainly doesn't plagiarise them and has more than enough originality to stand on its own two feet. The script always keeps you guessing, the direction is stylish, the cast are great and the production design is amongst the best you'll see from 2018 releases. A tad too long, perhaps, although I really don't think there's a moment which could have been cut.

Most definitely checking in for.

8/10


BADLANDS (18)
D: Terrence Malick
Warner Bros./Pressman Williams (Terrence Malick)
🇺🇸 1973
94 mins

Crime/Thriller

W: Terrence Malick
DP: Bryan Probyn, Tak Fujimoto & Steven Larner
Ed: Robert Estrin
Mus: George Tipton & James Taylor
PD: Jack Fisk

Martin Sheen (Kit), Sissy Spacek (Holly), Warren Oates (Father)

One of the best directorial debuts comes from Terrence Malick, who only made a couple of films in the 1970's before a 20 year gap before directing his next feature (The Thin Red Line).
This is clearly inspired by Charles Starkweather-Carole Fugate homicides. Kit & Holly are two teenagers in love who go on a killing spree after Kit kills Holly's abusive, violent father.
The movie amassed a cult following as a thriller, but it's also a social commentary about aimless anger being the psychopathic killer's only way of means to connect with the world around them.
Badlands itself was clearly a huge inspiration to the 1994 movie Natural Born Killers (qv). Personally, I think this is better, but I'm a movie snob.
8/10

"Stories live forever. People don't."
"Stories live forever. People don't."

THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS (15)

D: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Netflix/Annapurna (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Megan Ellison, Sue Naegle & Robert Graf)

🇺🇸 2018

133 mins


Western/Comedy


W: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

DP: Bruno Delbonnel

Ed: Roderick Jaynes

Mus: Carter Burwell

PD: Jess Gonchor

Cos: Mary Zophres


Tim Blake Nelson (Buster Scruggs), James Franco (The Cowboy), Liam Neeson (The Impresario), Tom Waits (The Prospector), Zoe Kazan (Alice Longabaugh), Bill Heck (Billy Knapp), Grainger Hines (Mr. Arthur), Jonjo O'Neill (The Englishman), Brendan Gleeson (The Irishman)


This 2018 Western anthology from the Coen Brothers presents itself as a storybook of six various stories, each running approximately 25-30 minutes long, set in the Wild West frontier with a central theme involving death.

The opening vignette stars Tim Blake Nelson as the title character, a singing gunslinger who makes enemies during a dispute over a card game. The following episodes feature James Franco as a down-on-his-luck cowboy who resorts to robbing banks and Liam Neeson as a travelling showman whose act becomes increasingly less popular.  

The longest (& arguably best) episodes come after the halfway point of the movie, the first of which stars Tom Waits as a grizzled gold prospector who discovers an untouched valley, where he painstakingly seeks his fortunes, followed by "The Gal Who Got Rattled", starring Zoe Kazan as a woman travelling on a wagon train to Oregon, where the death of her brother leaves her penniless and alone.

The final story is set aboard a stagecoach, where the five passengers share stories with each other, and it's arguably the weakest of all six tales, ending the movie on a rather disappointing note.

As with all these types of movies, everyone will have their favourite segment, since they are all of varying quality- all shaggy dog tales in the Coen Brothers' usual style, but they all have an authentic feel about them, as though they are all genuine Old West folk tales.

A special mention also has to be made for Bruno Delbonnel's exquisite cinematography, thoroughly deserving of an Oscar nomination (at least), since all the stories are marvellously captured, particularly the vast vistas of the forests and desert.

Over 20 years in the making, the Coen Brothers originally penned the stories as separate films, before deciding to put them all together with their usual blend of drama, mystery and black humour.

Released on streaming service Netflix, it received a limited theatrical run at selected arthouse cinemas and is certainly worth catching on the big screen. 

7/10


BALLISTIC: ECKS VS SEVER (15)

D: Kaos (Wych Kaosayananda)

Warner Bros/Franchise (Elie Samaha, Chris Lee & Wych Kaosayananda)

🇺🇸 2002
91 mins

Action

W: Alan McElroy
DP: Julio Macat
Ed: Jay Cassidy & Caroline Ross
Mus: Don Davis

Antonio Banderas (Agent Jeremiah Ecks), Lucy Liu (Agent Sever), Gregg Henry (Robert Gant / Agent Clark), Ray Park (A.J. Ross)
 
At best, an action movie with a ridiculous title, this Matrix ripoff is as bad as movies can possibly get.
Antonio Banderas & Lucy Liu play the former government agents of the title, but they don't actually fight each other, instead they unite to fight a common enemy who has acquired robotic assassination tools.
Someone in Hollywood seemed to think this was a good enough idea to put into production, but it wasn't, especially with a director named 'Kaos' behind the wheel. 
1/10

BALTO (PG)
D: Simon Wells
Universal/Amblin (Steve Hickner)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 1995
77 mins
 
Animated/Historical
 
W: Cliff Ruby, Elana Lesser, David Steven Cohen & Roger S. H. Schulman 
Mus: James Horner
 
voices of: Kevin Bacon (Balto), Bob Hoskins (Boris), Bridget Fonda (Jenna), Jim Cummings (Steele), Phil Collins (Muk/Luk)
 
Decent animated film for kids with a history lesson thrown in.
It begins as a live action movie with a grandmother & granddaughter in Central Park, New York and becomes an animated movie when the grandmother explains the origins of the statue in the park commemorating Balto, a dog used to transport medicinal supplies in Alaska in the 1920's.
The animation isn't quite up to Disney standard but output from other production companies rarely is. A string of straight-to-video sequels followed.
5/10

BAMBI (U)

D: David Hand
Disney (Walt Disney)
🇺🇸 1942
70 mins
 
Animated
 
W: Perce Pearce & Larry Morey [based on the story by Felix Salten]
Mus: Frank Churchill & Edward H. Plumb
 
voices of: Bobby Stewart / Donnie Dunagan / Hardie Albright / John Sutherland (Bambi), Peter Behn / Tim Davis / Sam Edwards (Thumper), Paula Winslowe (Bambi's Mother)
 
One of the original Disney classics and still amongst the studio's best animated features.
The animation looks years ahead of it's time in this heart-tugging fable about a young deer growing up in the wild. The movie balances finely between cuteness and drama in the early stages before turning to adventure in the final moments.
Rabbit-sidekick Thumper must truly rank as one of the great animated characters of all time.
8/10
 
BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY (15)
D: John Hancock
Paramount (Maurice Rosenfield & Lois Rosenfield)
🇺🇸 1973
96 mins

Sports/Drama

W: Mark Harris [based on his novel]
DP: Richard Shore
Ed: Richard Marks
Mus: Stephen Lawrence
PD: Robert Gundlach

Michael Moriarty (Henry Wiggen), Robert DeNiro (Bruce Pearson), Vincent Gardenia (Dutch Schnell), Phil Foster (Joe Jaros), Ann Wedgeworth (Katie), Pat McVey (Mr Pearson), Heather MacRae (Holly Wiggen)

A rather old-fashioned tearjerker about a baseball star who is diagnosed with leukemia.
It has a couple of very good supporting performances, especially Robert DeNiro in one of his very early roles.
6/10

THE BANK JOB (15)

D: Roger Donaldson

Lionsgate/Mosaic/Relativity Media/Skyline (Charles Roven & Steven Chasman)

🇬🇧 2008

112 mins


Crime/Thriller


W: Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais

DP: Michael Coulter

Ed: John Gilbert

Mus: J. Peter Robinson


Jason Statham (Terry Leather), Saffron Burrows (Martine Love), Richard Lintern (Tim Everett), Keeley Hawes (Wendy Leather), Stephen Campbell Moore (Kevin Swain)


The Bank Job is a pleasant surprise of a heist movie and was much better than I believed it had every right to be, mostly due to a strong script and competent performances.

Based on some true events, the crime unfolds in 1970's London. Terry Leather is a former criminal turned straight, but with his car dealership struggling, he is approached by old flame Martine Love, who has a foolproof plan to rob a Baker Street bank, all under the auspices of her doing some dirty work for the government to locate some scandalous photographs which a militant civil rights activist is using as blackmail material for maintaining his freedom as he goes about his criminal activities.

The heist itself is pretty much the same as other films of the ilk, but the aftermath is where it peels itself apart from similar movies.

Jason Statham does a good job in the lead role and Saffron Burrows makes a good femme fatale in the context of this plot. Keeley Hawes is also impressive in what amounts to be a very small role.

A very entertaining caper which could easily have been just another Italian Job wannabe.

6/10


"Don't call me babe!"
"Don't call me babe!"
BARB WIRE (15)
D: David Hogan
Polygram/Propaganda/Dark Horse (Mike Richardson, Todd Moyer & Brad Wyman)
🇺🇸 1996
99 mins
 
Adventure/Science Fiction
 
W: Chuck Pfarrer & Ilene Chaiken [based on characters from Dark Horse comics]
DP: Rick Bora
Ed: Peter Schink
Mus: Michel Colombier
PD: Jean-Phillipe Carp
 
Pamela Anderson-Lee (Barbara 'Barb Wire' Kopetski), Temeura Morrison (Axel Hood), Victoria Rowell (Dr. Corina Devonshire), Jack Noseworthy (Charlie Kopetski), Xander Berkeley (Alexander Willis), Udo Kier (Curly), Steve Railsback (Colonel Pryzer)
 
Risible comic book adventure about a futuristic bounty hunter which tried to launch Pamela Anderson's acting career.
The plot could be easily summed up as a post-apocalyptic version of Casablanca set in a seedy strip club.
It should come as no surprise that the film was a huge flop and Anderson's film career came to nothing. What may come as a surprise is that the film was so terrible that it caused the original source comic book series to discontinue shortly after this film's cinematic release.
1/10

"Queen of the galaxy."
"Queen of the galaxy."
BARBARELLA (15)
D: Roger Vadim
Marianne (Dino de Laurentiis)
🇫🇷 🇮🇹 1968
98 mins
 
Science Fiction
 
W: Terry Southern [based on the book by Jean-Claude Forest]
DP: Claude Renoir
Ed: Victoria Mercantin
Mus: Bob Crewe & Charles Fox
PD: Mario Garbuglia
 
Jane Fonda (Barbarella), John Phillip Law (Pygar), Anita Pallenberg (Black Queen of Sogo), Milo O'Shea (Durand Durand), David Hemmings (Dildano), Marcel Marceau (Professor Ping)
 
Campy cult classic which is actually quite awful and pretty badly dated.
It does, however, feature one of the all time sexiest movie characters, portrayed by Jane Fonda, even though she doesn't have to do much acting...
It's bubble gum entertainment and not at all ashamed for it.
5/10

BARRY LYNDON (15)
D: Stanley Kubrick
Warner Bros./Hawk/Peregrine (Stanley         Kubrick)
🇬🇧 1975
187 mins

Historical

W: Stanley Kubrick [based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray]
DP: John Alcott
Ed: Tony Lawson
Mus: Leonard Rosenan
PD: Ken Adam
Cos: Milena Canonero & Ulla-Britt Soderlund 

Ryan O'Neal (Barry Lyndon), Marisa Berenson (Lady Lyndon), Patrick Magee (The Chevalier), Hardy Kruger (Captain Potzdorf), Steven Berkoff (Lord Ludd), Leonard Rossiter (Captain Quin), Arthur O'Sullivan (Highwayman)

A sumptuous schoolbook history epic from Stanley Kubrick about the life of an 18th century lord, which is gorgeous to look at but about as interesting as watching paint dry (unless, of course, you really enjoy period pictures).
Kubrick brings his usual meticulous standard to the adaptation of William Makepeace Thakeray's tome, aided by handsome cinematography and faithful production design, costumes and makeup. Where it falters is in the editing and running time, which could have been shortened without detracting much from the story. Ryan O'Neal is also curious casting as the Irish rogue who manipulates his way into English aristocracy after falling in love with a lady of wealth and becoming involved in a duel with an English soldier.
Critics seemed to enjoy it a lot more than audiences did, with many calling it the best film of 1975. A bold statement considering the strength of some of the films released the same year. The filmmaking standard is of much higher quality than the antiquated story, but as far as period adaptations go, this is of the very highest merit, despite the plot being a total dirge.
7/10

"Between heaven and hell there's always Hollywood."
"Between heaven and hell there's always Hollywood."
BARTON FINK (15)
D: Joel Coen
Universal/Circle Films (Ethan Coen)
🇺🇸 1991
116 mins
 
Thriller/Comedy
 
W: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
DP: Roger Deakins
Ed: Roderick Jaynes
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: Dennis Gassner
Cos: Richard Hornung
 
John Turturro (Barton Fink), John Goodman (Charlie Meadows), Judy Davis (Audrey Taylor), Michael Lerner (Jack Lipnick), John Mahoney (W. P. Mayhew), Tony Shalhoub (Ben Geisler), Steve Buscemi (Chet)
 
This Coen Brothers' black comedy is a snide dig at the 'Golden Age of Hollywood' and it's both darkly comic and thought-provoking.
Turturro plays the title character, a left-wing New York playwright hired by a big Mayer-esque studio to write a script for a wrestling picture, a field which Barton knows absolutely nothing about.
Holed up in a dingy hotel with peeling wallpaper and headache inducing lighting, Fink gets unwelcome help from the sinister salesman with his own secrets who's staying in the room next door.
Barton also forms a friendship with an alcoholic author and his secretary to help him overcome his writer's block and he ends up turning out his most personal work yet, but the Hollywood executive who hired him doesn't approve and leaves Barton floating in Hollywood limbo.
Like all Coen films, the plot takes on the characteristics of multiple genres, from screwball comedy to mysterious thriller, eventually settling in gothic fantasy with an ending which is quite literally, absolute genius.
As with all Coen films, this will please their legions of fans, but might leave the mainstream audiences scratching their heads. It's a very unusual and eerie satire of early Hollywood and the movie industry in general.
Amazing set decoration and photography elicit memories of film noir and John Goodman & Michael Lerner steal the movie from the excellent John Turturro with hilariously over-the-top performances.
The film made history at Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first film to sweep the big three awards (Best Film, Director & Actor).
8/10
 
BASEKETBALL (15)
D: David Zucker
Universal (David Zucker, Robert LoCash & Gil Netter)
🇺🇸 1998
103 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: David Zucker, Robert LoCash, Lewis Friedman & Jeff Wright
DP: Steve Mason
Ed: Jeffrey Reiner
Mus: Ira Newborn
PD: Steven Jordan
 
Trey Parker (Joe 'Coop/Airman' Cooper), Matt Stone (Doug 'Sir Swish' Remer), Yasmine Bleeth (Jenna Reed), Jenny McCarthy (Yvette Denslow), Robert Vaughn (Baxter Cain), Ernest Borgnine (Ted Denslow)
 
Two losers create a variation on basketball mixed with baseball in which players can unsettle their opponents concentration with vulgar insults, etc.
Juvenile nonsense with a couple of amusing scenes but it's merely a silly film with a silly plot. At 103 minutes, it really outstays its welcome.
4/10
 
"Flesh seduces. Passion kills."
"Flesh seduces. Passion kills."
BASIC INSTINCT (18)
D: Paul Verhoeven
Carolco/Canal+ (Alan Marshall)
🇺🇸 1992
122 mins
 
Mystery/Thriller
 
W: Joe Eszterhas
DP: Jan de Bont
Ed: Frank J. Urioste
Mus: Jerry Goldsmith
PD: Terence Marsh
 
Michael Douglas (Det. Nick Curran), Sharon Stone (Catherine Tramell), George Dzundra (Gus), Jeanne Tripplehorn (Beth Gardner), Denis Arndt (Lieutenant Walker), Leilani Sarelle (Roxy), Bruce A. Young (Andrews)
 
In-between the sex scenes, of which there are many, is a murder mystery concerning a serial killer who murders victims according to the plotlines in a series of erotic books authored by chief suspect Catherine Tramell (Stone).
The main investigator in the case, Nick Curran, begins a highly-sexed affair with the novelist, which have implications of his place in the police department.
The movie was a huge hit in 1992 and has many good things about it, particularly Sharon Stone's breakthrough performance and Jerry Goldsmith's eerie music score.
One thing that isn't justified however, is how Joe Eszterhas's screenplay sold for an outrageously high fee of $3,000,000. The dialogue is unrealistically corny and the ending is a major disappointment.
5/10
 

BASIC INSTINCT 2 (18)

D: Michael Caton-Jones
MGM (Mario Kassar, Andrew G. Vajna & Joel B. Michaels)
🇺🇸 2006
114 mins
 
Thriller
 
W: Leora Barish & Henry Bean [based on characters created by Joe Ezsterhas]
DP: Gyula Pados
Ed: John Scott & Istvan Kiraly
Mus: John Murphy
 
Sharon Stone (Catherine Tramell), David Morrissey (Dr. Michael Glass), Charlotte Rampling (Dr. Milena Gardosh), David Thewlis (Roy Washburn), Stan Collymore (Kevin Franks)
 
Basically it stinks, too. A sequel made 14 years too late, and if truth be told, shouldn't have been made at all. This is a repugnant, lazy cash-in and a great example of how not to make a film.
The film opens with Sharon Stone's femme fatale author Catherine Trammell being finger-fucked by Stan Collymore as she drives her expensive car at 100 miles per hour, culminating in a crash and murder.
If you can get past this scene alone you've done well, but there's no reward for sticking with it. Sharon Stone acts like a complete and utter bitch throughout the movie and deservedly destroyed her acting career.
All the mystery from the original film is replaced with Stone walking around like her shit doesn't stink and even if you're watching to see if there's any scenes where Stone gets the fuck of her life, you'll be disappointed.
Amongst the worst movies ever made.
1/10
 
BASIL, THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE (aka THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE) (PG)
D: John Musker, Ron Clements, Dave Michener & Burny Mattinson
Walt Disney/Silver Screen Partners II (Burny Mattinson)
🇺🇸 1986
80 mins
 
Animated
 
W: Pete Young, Steven Hulett, John Musker, Matthew O'Callaghan, Dave Michener, Vance Gerry, Ron Clements, Bruce Morris, Melvin Shaw & Burny Mattinson [based on the novel 'Basil Of Baker Street' by Eve Titus]
Mus: Henry Mancini
 
voices of: Barrie Ingham (Basil), Vincent Price (Professor Rattigan), Val Bettin (Dr. David Q. Dawson), Susanne Pollatschek (Olivia Flaversham)
 
Animated version of Sherlock Holmes, featuring a mouse as a proxy for the great fictional detective, on the case of the missing person and preventing a royal assassination, both plots masterminded by the evil Professor Rattigan.
This is one of the few animated films to surface from Disney during their sullen period of the 1980's.  It's actually quite good, but nowhere near as good as the old classics or the output during the 1990's.
6/10

BASKET CASE (18)
D: Frank Henenlotter
Analysis (Edgar Ievins)
🇺🇸 1982
93 mins
 
Horror
 
W: Frank Henenlotter
DP: Bruce Torber
Ed: Frank Henenlotter
Mus: Gus Russo
 
Kevin Van Hententyck (Duane Bradley), Terri Susan Smith (Sharon), Beverly Bonner (Casey), Diana Browne (Dr. Judith Kutter), Lloyd Pace (Dr. Harold Needleman)
 
A young man who checks into a tacky hotel in New York carrying a basket containing his surgically-removed Siamese Twin, now a deformed creature, with a plan hatching to exact revenge on the doctors who separated them.
It's a cheap schlock horror from a filmmaking era of exploitation, low budget 'video nasties'.
This is one of the better films from the period. It's either disgusting or hilarious, depending on your point of view on the genre.  Two lesser appreciated sequels followed in the 1990's.
6/10
 
"The true story of the death of innocence and the birth of an artist."
"The true story of the death of innocence and the birth of an artist."
THE BASKETBALL DIARIES (18)
D: Scott Kalvert
New Line/Island (Liz Heller)
🇺🇸 1995
102 mins
 
Drama/Biopic/Crime
 
W: Brian Goluboff [based on the book by Jim Carroll]
DP: David Phillips
Ed: Dana Congdon
Mus: Graeme Revell
 
Leonardo DiCaprio (Jim Carroll), Lorraine Bracco (Mrs. Carroll), Bruno Kirby (Swifty), Ernie Hudson (Reggie), Patrick McGaw (Neutron), James Madio (Pedro), Mark Wahlberg (Mickey), Michael Imperioli (Bobby)
 
Based on Jim Carroll's autobiographical memoirs of his own teenage years, when he descended from a promising student & basketball player at a catholic school into a world of drug-addiction, petty crime and prostitution.
Carroll's book once caused a sensation in-print, but Director Kalvert makes a huge error relocating the story to present day New York City, while the narrated poetry of the precocious writer feels incredibly pretentious.
The performances are decent without being entirely convincing, while the insinuation that Carroll kicked his habit on his own, with the aid of his poetry, is incredibly difficult to swallow.
Should have been a whole lot better- and would have been had the story been presented during the 1960's as it was when it was in print.
6/10
 
BATMAN (12)
D: Tim Burton
Warner Bros. (Jon Peters & Peter Guber)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 1989
126 mins

Action/Adventure/Crime

W: Sam Hamm & Warren Skaaren [based on characters created by Bob Kane]
DP: Roger Pratt
Ed: Ray Lovejoy
Mus: Danny Elfman
PD: Anton Furst
Cos: Bob Ringwood

Michael Keaton (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Jack Nicholson (Jack Napier/Joker), Kim Basinger (Vicki Vale), Robert Wuhl (Alexander Knox), Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon), Billy Dee Williams (Harvey Dent), Michael Gough (Alfred), Jack Palance (Carl Grissom)

Tim Burton's vision of Batman is a far cry from the campy TV show of the 1960's with Adam West prancing around in tights.
This revitalisation of the comic book movie targeted a more adult audience, whilst still being faithful to the core fans of the comic book franchise.
Gotham City is a dark, stylish, crime-ridden Metropolis of old, Art Deco style buildings. The majority of the police force are corrupt, taking back handers from the criminal underworld so it is up to Batman to watch over the city and deliver his own brand of vigilante justice.
One of the most feared of the Gotham City gangsters is Jack Napier, but after an involvement in an accident at a chemical plant, becomes the Joker. A maniacal clown like character with a sick sense of humour, played with hilarious fun by Jack Nicholson.
The Bruce Wayne/Batman character has had a number of actors play him over time and Michael Keaton never really got the plaudits he deserved in this and its sequel (Batman Returns). He's perfect for the part. Just the right blend of suave and mysterious for Bruce Wayne and just the right blend of dark and mysterious for the dark knight.
A huge hit in 1989 and still considered one of the best comic book adaptations.
8/10

BATMAN RETURNS (12)
D: Tim Burton
Warner Bros. (Denise di Novi & Tim Burton)
🇺🇸 1992
126 mins
 
Action/Crime/Fantasy
 
W: Daniel Waters [based on characters created by Bob Kane]
DP: Stefan Czapsky
Ed: Chris Lebenzon
Mus: Danny Elfman
PD: Bo Welch
 
Michael Keaton (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Danny DeVito (Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin), Michelle Pfeiffer (Selina Kyle/Catwoman), Christopher Walken (Max Schreck), Michael Gough (Alfred), Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon)
 
Tim Burton continues his dark vision of the franchise with this sequel to the 1989 film, in which Batman battles with the Penguin, Catwoman and a corrupt businessman called Max Schreck.
Michael Keaton once again delivers a good performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman, but the movie is stolen hook, line & sinker by Michelle Pfeiffer as the bookish secretary Selina Kyle with the sexy, alluring Catwoman as her alter-ego.
Production design, costumes, makeup and the visual effects are all top notch as well, but the film's main weak point is that the villains simply aren't villainous enough and the most menacing of the three is Christopher Walken's shady businessman.
Still, it's better than what Joel Schumacher dished up in the next two instalments to the franchise.
6/10
 
BATMAN FOREVER (PG)
D: Joel Schumacher
Warner Bros. (Tim Burton & Peter Macgregor-Scott)
🇺🇸 1995
121 mins

Action/Adventure/Fantasy

W: Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler & Akiva Goldsman [based on characters created by Bob Kane]
DP: Stephen Goldblatt
Ed: Dennis Virkler
Mus: Elliott Goldenthal
PD: Barbara Ling

Val Kilmer (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Tommy Lee Jones (Harvey Dent/Two Face), Jim Carrey (Edward Nygma/The Riddler), Nicole Kidman (Dr. Chase Meridian), Chris O'Donnell (Dick Grayson/Robin), Michael Gough (Alfred), Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon)

Some odious, money-minded studio executive clearly must have thought that the previous two Batman films were far too dark for children, so decided that there'd be all change and the result is something so camp that the 1960's TV show would blush in embarrassment.
Joel Schumacher replaces Tim Burton as director, Val "It's the car right? Chicks love the car" Kilmer steps in as Batman and Gotham City is replaced by some kind of circus.
Chris O'Donnell joins Batman's side as the incredibly obnoxious Robin as they battle criminals Two Face, poorly portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones, and The Riddler (Jim Carrey's madcap performance is probably the only good thing about this film).
All the set pieces are pale imitations of those from the Tim Burton movies and the screenplay is simply pathetic!
"Holy rusted metal, Batman!"? Bollocks!!
4/10

BATMAN & ROBIN (PG)
D: Joel Schumacher
Warner Bros. (Peter Macgregor-Scott)
🇺🇸 1997
130 mins
 
Action/Adventure/Fantasy
 
W: Akiva Goldsman [based on characters created by Bob Kane]
DP: Stephen Goldblatt
Ed: Dennis Virkler
Mus: Elliott Goldenthal
PD: Barbara Ling
 
George Clooney (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Mr. Freeze), Chris O'Donnell (Dick Grayson/Robin), Uma Thurman (Poison Ivy), Alicia Silverstone (Barbara Wilson/Batgirl), Michelle Gough (Alfred)
 
Nipples on a Batsuit.
Nipples. On. A. Batsuit.
Those four words could easily sum this pathetic excuse for a Batman film up perfectly. This is not a film, it's an advert for a range of children's toys!
The excuse for a plot sees Batman and Robin unite to defeat the duo of villains Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. Bane also features, but not really. Batgirl is also introduced, but not really. The script just goes from bad pun to bad pun with a couple of hokey action scenes thrown in, all of which are worse than the fights that featured in the campy 1960's TV series.
This film is so hideously bad, it killed off the franchise for 8 years and may have done it forever if it wasn't for the genius of Christopher Nolan.
George Clooney is pathetically miscast as both Bruce Wayne and Batman, Chris O'Donnell & Alicia Silverstone are obnoxious and irritating as his minions, Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers his career-worst performance and Uma Thurman unnecessarily vamps in every single scene.
Everything about this film is bad! The title really should've been Batman & Nipples. At least that way it could've been marketed as a spoof.
1/10
 
BATMAN BEGINS (12)
D: Christopher Nolan
Warner Bros. (Charles Roven, Emma Thomas & Larry Franco)
🇺🇸 2005
134 mins

Crime/Action/Adventure

W: Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer [based on the DC Comics & Characters created by Bob Kane]
DP: Wally Pfister
Ed: Lee Smith
Mus: Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard
PD: Nathan Crowley
Cos: Lindy Hemming

Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Michael Caine (Alfred), Liam Neeson (Ducard), Katie Holmes (Rachel Dawes), Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon), Cillian Murphy (Dr. Jonathan Crane), Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone), Ken Watanabe (Ra's Al Ghul), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Rutger Hauer (Earl)

Christopher Nolan saved the Batman franchise from the doldrums it was left in following Joel Schumacher's risible Batman & Robin.
Christian Bale gets his action man routine on as Batman and does a pretty good job as Bruce Wayne, while fine support comes from screen veterans Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Tom Wilkinson & especially Gary Oldman, who never really got his due credit for his performance as Commissioner Gordon in both this or the sequel, The Dark Knight.
Batman Begins fully explores the Bruce Wayne psyche following the murder of his parents and his alter ego coming into being and portrays the superhero as vigilante ninja, totally eradicating the groan-inducing campiness of the 60's TV show and Joel Schumacher's terribly misjudged contribution to the franchise.  It maintains the dark, gothic images and style which Tim Burton brought to his 1989 version of the film, which perhaps makes it unsuitable for very young children.
Nolan also handles the action scenes with maturity and brings a convincing science to Batman's gadgets and the underbelly of Gotham City's criminal network and the ending provides a nice segue which takes off straight away in The Dark Knight (qv).
Wally Pfister's atmospheric photography and Nathan Crowley's production design deserve mentions, simply for creating the most visceral and realistic Batman movie to the big screen (at the time of it's release at least) and the visual effects, CGI, models and miniatures were all handled with genuine craft and attention.
The only thing that prevents this movie a higher rating is the limp performance of Katie Holmes as childhood friend & love interest of Bruce Wayne, Rachel Dawes.  Thankfully, Maggie Gyllenhaal took up the reins for the character in the next film.
8/10

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (12)
D: Zach Snyder
Warner Bros/Ratpac-Dune/DC (Charles Roven & Deborah Snyder)
🇺🇸 2016
151 mins

Action/Science Fiction/Fantasy

W: Chris Terrio & David S. Goyer [based on characters from DC Comics]
DP: Larry Fong
Ed: David Brenner
Mus: Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL

Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), Holly Hunter (Senator June Finch), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince/Wonder Woman)

*SPOILERS*

So who wins???
In all honesty, Marvel win, and if DC comic properties are going to continue being tarnished by Zach Snyder it won't even be a close contest. 
Considering the film is called Batman v Superman, the fight itself is such a small percentage of the screen time that it might as well just be called Dawn Of Justice, but Snyder even fucks that up, because he's a clueless piece-of-shit director.
Throwing needless character upon needless character into the story, the film spends almost two hours creating a tension between Batman & Superman due to their conflicting ideologies, but when the fight does finally materialise, it's all due to Lex Luthor being a dick, manipulating their differences as a diversionary tactic so he can create a superior creature without distraction. In fairness, the entirety of the first and second act are completely throwaway. Seriously, just skip the first 90 minutes and watch the action unfold from there.
The action scenes are reasonably well done, with some nifty visual effects and the introduction of Wonder Woman kicks ass. Unfortunately, it's so boring before you get to this point, it's hard to empathise with the characters, negating any emotion that comes within the scene. It's just a huge mess.
When casting decisions were announced, there was much derision over the choice of Ben Affleck as Batman, but it has to be said that he does okay, despite the terrible script. Henry Cavill also looks the part as Superman, but what Snyder has done with the character is just horrible. Amy Adams is a weak link, lacking the sass which made Lois Lane such a great character in the comics, and she's reduced to a one-dimensional damsel in distress here. As said above, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is a great addition, but her alter ego's introduction goes on for way too long when there's too many other pointless characters getting in the way of story development. The worst casting decision, however, and by a country mile, is Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, who plays the part in the exact same way he played Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, although with a loud of nervous tics which seem to emphasis the manic sense of mind, but he's just too obnoxious and irritating. A completely wrong approach since Luthor is the evil brains to match Superman's heroic brawn.
I'm getting into SPOILER territory now, so if you've not seen the film yet, stop reading now...
Fuck you Zach Snyder, killing Superman off after just two movies when this is supposed to herald a Justice League which had the potential to rival Marvel's Avengers. What the actual fuck?? He's one of main characters and you've killed him off after five hours of bullshit??? 
As a huge fan of the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies, I was disappointed with what Snyder had done with the character in Man Of Steel and this film, but to do away with him before a proper director could do proper justice is simply criminal.
There are some who felt this was an improvement on Man Of Steel. I, however, consider it much, much worse. Easily the biggest disappointment of 2016.
3/10

BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED (PG)
D: Matthew Robbins
Universal/Amblin (Ronald L. Schwary)
🇺🇸 1987
106 mins
 
Science Fiction/Fantasy
 
W: Matthew Robbins, Brad Bird, Brent Maddock & S. S. Wilson
DP: John McPherson
Ed: Cynthia Schneider
Mus: James Horner
PD: Ted Haworth
 
Hume Cronyn (Frank Riley), Jessica Tandy (Faye Riley), Frank McRae (Harry Noble), Elizabeth Peña (Marisa Esteval), Michael Carmine (Carlos)
 
Styled *batteries not included, this is a twee fantasy about a group of elderly residents from a run-down Manhattan neighbourhood who are saved from being evicted by a group of miniture flying saucers.
This is basically a cross between E. T. & Cocoon. Too boring for kids, too schmaltzy for adults and too deadly for diabetics.
4/10
 

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES (12)

D: Jonathan Liebesman
Columbia/Relativity Media (Jeffrey Chernov & David Greenblatt)
🇺🇸 2011
116 mins
 
Action/Science Fiction
 
W: Chris Bertolini
DP: Lukas Ettlin
Ed: Christian Wagner
Mus: Brian Tyler
 
Aaron Eckhart (Sgt. Michael Nantz), Michelle Rodriguez (Sgt. Elena Santos), Ramon Rodriguez (2nd Lt. William Martinez), Bridget Moynahan (Michele), Ne-Yo (Cpl. Kevin J. 'Specks' Harris), Michael Peña (Joe Rincon)
 
Those expecting an action-packed science fiction extravaganza like Independence Day or the original TV series of V will be hugely disappointed, this film plays out like a video game.
Marines run around Louisiana (dressed to look like Los Angeles), blowing shit up like excerpts from metal gear solid.
No attention is paid to characterisation or believable dialogue, leaving a cast of capable actors all at sea.
A similar-themed film, Skyline, was released the same year, to weaker reviews, despite being a much better film.
4/10

BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (15)
D: J. Lee Thompson
20th Century Fox/APJAC (Frank Capra, Jr.)
🇺🇸 1973
86 mins
 
Science Fiction
 
W: John William Corrington & Joyce Hooper Corrington
DP: Richard H. Kline
Ed: Alan L. Jaggs & John C. Horger
Mus: Leonard Rosenman
 
Roddy McDowell (Caesar), Claude Akins (Aldo), Natalie Trundy (Lisa), Severn Darden (Kolp), Lew Ayres (Mandemus), Paul Williams (Virgil), John Huston (The Lawgiver)
 
Fifth and final film of the original Planet Of The Apes saga. Following on from the events of previous films, apes are the only survivors of a nuclear holocaust and are capable of communication through speech.  However, they begin to fight amongst themselves, with gorillas demanding supremacy over the small chimps.
If you're a fan of the previous films in the saga, this is worth watching as a concluding part, but isn't overwhelmingly recommended. Unfortunately, it's very low rent, with low budget action scenes, production design and special effects. Even the (dated) ape makeup looks less convincing in this than in previous films.
4/10
 
"He made a bet. She made history."
"He made a bet. She made history."

BATTLE OF THE SEXES (12)

D: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris

Fox Searchlight/Decibel/Cloud Eight (Christian Colson, Danny Boyle & Robert Graf)

🇬🇧 🇺🇸 2017

121 mins


Biopic/Sports


W: Simon Beaufoy

DP: Linus Sandgren

Ed: Pamela Martin

Mus: Nicholas Britell


Emma Stone (Billie Jean King), Steve Carell (Bobby Riggs), Andrea Riseborough (Marilyn Barnett), Sarah Silverman (Gladys Heldman), Bill Pullman (Jack Kramer), Alan Cumming (Ted Tinling)


This story was previously screened as a television movie in 2001, starring Holly Hunter & Ron Silver, and despite having budgetary restrictions, it presented a much better version of the story than this bigger budget film does.

Released in a year when disparity between gender pay was under scrutiny, it probably made good business sense to revisit this true story from the 1970's, where the world number 1 female tennis player Billie Jean King faced Bobby Riggs in what was meant to be an exhibition match to showcase the superiority of the men's game.  The match was of huge importance to King, who had been campaigning for equal prize money for many years leading up to the match and it won't come as a surprise who won the actual match.

Unfortunately, this film pays more attention to the politics than the match itself, and despite very good performances from both Emma Stone and Steve Carell, it feels like little more than a preachy sermon on modern social justice issues and how chauvinistic men were in the 1970's, rather than promoting equality in sports & entertainment.

5/10


BATTLE ROYALE (18)
D: Kinji Fukasaku
Metro Tartan/Toei (Masao Sato, Masumi Okada, Teruo Kamaya & Tetsu Kayama)
🇯🇵 2000 (released 2001)
114 mins
 
Action/Adventure/Science Fiction/Thriller
 
W: Kenta Fukasaku [based on the novel by Koshun Takami]
DP: Katsumi Yanagijima
Ed: Hirohide Abe
Mus: Masamichi Amano
PD: Kyoko Heya
 
Tatsuya Fujiwara (Shuya Nanahara), Aki Maeda (Noriko Nakagawa), Tato Yamamoto (Shogo Kawada), Masanobu Ando (Kazuo Kirayama), Kou Shibasaki (Mitsuko Souma), Chiaki Kuriyama (Takako Shigusa), Takeshi Kitano (Kitano)
 
In the not so distant future, following violent events in schools, teenagers are chosen by lottery to participate in a deadly game where they are stranded on a remote island and given three days to kill one another until there is only one survivor.
A novel approach on a theme which has been adapted since the days of Agatha Christie. There's a lot of satire in this to counterbalance the violence and unpleasantries.
Unfortunately, this may be one of the movies which will be forgotten about since the emergence and success of the similar themed The Hunger Games and its sequels.
7/10
 
"Take Back The Planet"
"Take Back The Planet"
BATTLEFIELD EARTH (12)
D: Roger Christian
Warner Bros./Morgan Creek/Franchise (Elie Samaha, Jonathan D. Crane & John Travolta)
🇺🇸 2000
117 mins
 
Science Fiction/Adventure
 
W: Corey Mandell & J. D. Shapiro [based on the novel by L. Ron Hubbard]
DP: Giles Nuttgens
Ed: Robin Russell
Mus: Elia Cmiral
PD: Patrick Tatopolous
 
John Travolta (Terl), Barry Pepper (Jonnie Goodboy Tyler), Forest Whitaker (Ker), Kim Coates (Carlo), Richard Tyson (Robert the Fox), Sabine Karsenti (Chrissy), Kelly Preston (Chirk)
 
Often hailed as one of the worst films ever made, and with good reason.
Based on a novel by Church of Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard, the story is set thousands of years in the future, where humans have reverted back to Neanderthal like state and a race of aliens called Psychlos are the dominant species.
The film was a labour of love for John Travolta, who co-funded the production, but it was flawed from the start, with a ridiculous story and a preposterous screenplay (it's simply laughable that the ending features a group of cavemen flying a Harrier jets which have lied dormant for a millennium).
The film was originally intended to be part of a trilogy, but plans for a sequel were scrapped because the first movie was so badly received by audiences and critics alike.
A much more interesting story can be found by doing an internet search for "franchise pictures fraud", detailing how one of the production companies ripped off many investors bringing this tripe to screen.
0/10
 
BATTLESHIP (12)
D: Peter Berg
Universal/Hasbro/Bluegrass (Peter Berg, Brian Goldner, Scott Stuber, Sarah Aubrey, Duncan Henderson & Bennett Schneir)
🇺🇸 2012
131 mins
 
Action/Science Fiction
 
W: Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber [based on the game by Hasbro]
DP: Tobias Schliessler
Ed: Colby Parker, Jr., Billy Rich & Paul Rubell
Mus: Steve Jablonsky
 
Taylor Kitsch (Lt. Alex Hopper), Alexander Skarsgård (Cmmdr. Stone Hopper), Brooklyn Decker (Samantha Shane), Rihanna (Cora Raikes), Tadanobu Asano (Capt. Nagata), Liam Neeson (Admiral Terrence Shane)
 
A pathetic excuse for a movie, supposedly based on the Battleship board game, but they may as well have called it 'Transformers On The Sea' since it's abundantly clear where the story gets it's real inspiration.
Everyone involved in the making of this tripe should be embarrassed (in fact, Liam Neeson looks it throughout) and Rihanna should stick to her bland, insipid pop music instead of attempting to act, she's excruciatingly bad. She could have at least sent herself up by saying the line "B-9, what's my name?". She actually may have during a part when my brain switched off. The 'script' really is THAT bad.
2/10
 
"Beaches ain't ready."
"Beaches ain't ready."

BAYWATCH (15)

D: Seth Gordon

Paramount/Contrafilm/Montecito (Ivan Reitman, Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz, Gregory J. Bonnan & Beau Flynn)

🇺🇸 2017

116 mins


Comedy


W: Damian Shannon & Mark Swift [based on the television series created by Michael Berk, Douglas Schwartz & Gregory J. Bonann)

DP: Eric Steelberg

Ed: Peter S. Elliott

Mus: Christopher Lennertz


Dwayne Johnson (Mitch Buchannon), Zac Efron (Matt Brody), Alexandra Daddario (Summer Quinn), Jon Bass (Ronnie Greenbaum), Priyanka Chopra (Victoria Leeds), Kelly Rohrbach (CJ Parker)


Baywatch is not a good film, but neither was the series, despite being a television staple throughout the 1990's.

Set on the sun-kissed beaches of Emerald Bay, where Lieutenant of lifeguards Mitch Buchannon oversees the safety of the visitors and is forced to take on three new Baywatch lifeguards, including obnoxious Olympic swimmer Matt a Brody, who he clashes heads with.

The lifeguard team soon uncover criminal affairs happening on their watch, but with limited judicial powers they take matters into their own hands to save their beach.

The humour here is very infantile, but as an easy, cheesy watch it's not the worst film in the world. The part fits Dwayne Johnson surprisingly well, but Zac Efron's "acting skills" stretch as far as flexing and sulking.

If you're looking for two muscular guys going topless at regular intervals or a bit of suntanned T&A, you've come to the right place. If you're after comedy, watch something else.

3/10


"The biggest movies of all time just got a little makeover."
"The biggest movies of all time just got a little makeover."
BE KIND REWIND (12)
D: Michel Gondry
New Line/Partizan (Georges Bermann)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇫🇷 2008
100 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Michel Gondry
DP: Ellen Kuras
Ed: Jeff Buchanan
Mus: Jean-Michel Bernard
PD: Dan Leigh
 
Jack Black (Jerry McLean), Mos Def (Mike Coolwell), Danny Glover (Mr. Fletcher), Mia Farrow (Miss Falewicz), Melonie Diaz (Alma Sykes)
 
A freak accident at a small video store erases all the tapes and the two clerks who work there produce their own low-budget versions of the movies, which, become more popular with the customers than the original films.
The idea here is brilliant, but unfortunately this movie was made at least 15-20 years too late, when DVD and Blu-Ray had already revolutionised the medium of home entertainment.
There are some funny moments, peaking with the 'Sweded' versions of Ghostbusters & Rush Hour 2, but the story descends into mushy schmaltz in the last 20 minutes.
5/10
 
THE BEACH (15)
D: Danny Boyle
20th Century Fox/Figment (Andrew MacDonald)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇹🇭 2000
120 mins
 
Drama/Adventure
 
W: John Hodge [based on the novel by Alex Garland]
DP: Darius Khondji
Ed: Masahiro Hirakubo
Mus: Angelo Badalamenti
PD: Andrew McAlpine
 
Leonardo DiCaprio (Richard), Virginie Ledoyen (Francoise), Guillaume Canet (Etienne), Tilda Swinton (Sal), Paterson Joseph (Keaty), Robert Carlyle (Daffy)
 
A much better film got lost in translation here. Leonardo DiCaprio (miscast) plays an American traveller who discovers a remote island off the coast of Thailand where a community are living in ennui, but there paradise is disrupted when the cannabis farmers on the same island want the interlopers to leave.
The story is clearly a metaphor for the Vietnam war, but a lot of time is wasted on Leonardo DiCaprio's character going through a slow descent into paranoia, including a needless 'video game scene' which doesn't fit in at all with the rest of the film.  
It is beautifully photographed however and has a very good selection of music on the soundtrack.
5/10
 
BEACH GIRLS & THE MONSTER (15)
D: Jon Hall
Edward Janis Films (Edward Janis)
🇺🇸 1965
70 mins
 
Horror
 
W: Joan Gardner
Mus: The Illusions
 
Jon Hall, Sue Casey, Walker Edmiston, Arnold Lessing, Elaine DuPont
 
Cheapo Creature From The Black Lagoon ripoff with a monster as unconvincing as the performances. The title says all you need to know about the storyline. Perhaps it could be forgiven as a piece of B-movie drivethru trash if the direction weren't so incompetent, but when the boom mike makes so many appearances it might as well be a credited member of the cast, there's really no defending it. 
1/10
 
BEACHES (15)
D: Garry Marshall
Warner Bros./Touchstone (Bonnie Bruckheimer-Martell, Bette Midler & Margaret Jennings South)
🇺🇸 1988
123 mins

Drama

W: Mary Agnes Donoghue [based on the novel by Iris Rainer Dart]
DP: Dante Spinotti
Ed: Richard Halsey
Mus: Georges Delerue
PD: Albert Brenner

Bette Midler (C. C. Bloom), Barbara Hershey (Hillary Whitney Essex), John Heard (John Pierce), Spalding Gray (Dr. Richard Milstein), Lainie Kazan (Leona Bloom), Grace Johnston (Victoria Essex)

One of the great 'women's pictures' of the 1980's, a funny, touching and ultimately tearjerking tribute to a friendship which began from childhood and spanned decades.
C.C., a precocious child singer meets Whitney, a young girl from an affluent family, under the boardwalks of Coney Island beaches and the two become best friends, staying in touch as they grow up.
They both get married and subsequently divorced and then huge tragedy strikes when Hillary is diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Many critics have harshly adjudged this film as maudlin and about as good as a TV-movie-of-the-week, but these opinions are very harsh.  What Beaches lacks in cinematic production values, it more than makes up in performances and it gives Bette Midler her finest and most memorable performance.
The soundtrack is also a big favourite with the audience, with 'Wind Beneath My Wings' going on to be a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic following the movie's release.
8/10

BEAN (PG)
D: Mel Smith
Polygram/Working Title/Tiger Aspect (Peter Bennett-Jones, Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner)
🇬🇧 1997
90 mins

Comedy

W: Richard Curtis & Robin Driscoll [based on the TV show created by Rowan Atkinson & Richard Curtis]
DP: Francis Kenny
Ed: Christopher Blunden
Mus: Howard Goodall
PD: Peter Larkin

Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean), Peter MacNicol (David Langley), Pamela Reed (Alison Langley), Harris Yulin (George Grierson), Johnny Galecki (Stingo Wheelie), Andrew J. Lawrence (Kevin Langley), Tricia Vessey (Jennifer Langley), Burt Reynolds (Gen. Norton), John Mills (Chairman)

Based on a hugely popular British TV show about an accident prone moron, this big screen adventure seems to forget everything that made the TV show such a treat.  In the television programme, the slapstick was so incredibly funny with the visuals alone that it did not have any necessity for dialogue.
The Mr. Bean in this film is annoying more than enchanting and the comedy misses more than it hits. If the point of the movie was to introduce American audiences to the character, then the producers missed a huge trick. The US is probably thinking that the British are very easily humoured. Piffle!
4/10

"He's an orphan at the start of a journey. A journey to survive."
"He's an orphan at the start of a journey. A journey to survive."
THE BEAR (PG)
D: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Price/Renn (Claude Berri)
🇫🇷 1988 (released 1989)
93 mins
 
Adventure
 
W: Gerard Brach [based on the novel 'The Grizzly King' by James Oliver Kurwood]
DP: Philippe Rousselot
Ed: Noelle Boisson
Mus: Phillipe Sarde
 
Bart The Bear, Douce The Bear, Jack Wallace, Tcheky Karyo, Andre Lacombe
 
A refreshing adventure story shown from the point of the view of two bears, one an orphan cub, as they traipse the wilderness and try to stay ahead of two hunters who want the large Kodiak bear as a trophy shooting.
Brilliantly photographed and filmed in the great outdoors of Canada, this really is a treat for the eyes and a tense adventure movie in which you're not rooting for the human interest.
7/10

THE BEAST WITHIN (18)
D: Philippe Mora
MGM/United Artists (Harvey Bernhard & Gabriel Katzka)
🇺🇸 1982
90 mins

Horror

W: Tom Holland [based on the novel by Edward Levy]
DP: Jack L. Richards
Ed: Robert Brown & Bert Lovitt
Mus: Les Baxter

Ronny Cox (Eli MacCleary), Bibi Besch (Caroline MacCleary), Paul Clemens (Michael MacCleary), Don Gordon (Judge Curwin)

A rather crudely produced creature feature loosely based on a 1981 novel of the same name. You'd think it was a werewolf movie, but it really isn't, though there's plenty of references to lycanthrope legend.
On the night of her wedding, a woman is raped in the woods by an unseen beast.
17 years later, her hospitalised son is suffering from hallucinations and fever, as it soon emerges that he is the offspring of the aforementioned beast. No spoilers there, it's quite obvious.
Practically every element of filmmaking is quite poor here, with ropey acting performances, a script full of terrible dialogue, weak characters and incessantly annoying music which fails to be creepy but just won't let up.
The best thing about the film is Tom Burman's makeup effects, which are disgusting, but incredibly well executed.
Still, this isn't worth going out of your way for.
4/10

THE BEASTMASTER (15)
D: Don Coscarelli
EMI/Ecta (Paul Pepperman & Sylvio Tabet)
🇺🇸 1982
188 mins
 
Fantasy/Adventure
 
W: Don Coscarelli & Paul Pepperman
DP: John Alcott
Ed: Roy Watts
Mus: Lee Holdridge
PD: Conrad E. Angone
 
Marc Singer (Dar), Tanya Roberts (Kiri), Rip Torn (Maax), John Amos (Seth), Rod Loomis (King Zed)
 
An unremarkable sword & sorcery comic strip adventure with performances and production values slightly better than a glut of others released around the same time. 
Unfortunately, the success of this one was very much eclipsed by the far superior Conan The Barbarian, released the same year.     
4/10

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (12) 
D: Benh Zeitlin
Fox Searchlight/Cinereach (Dan Janvey, Josh Penn & Michael Gottwald) 
🇺🇸 2012
93 mins

Drama

W: Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin [based on the story 'Juicy & Delicious' by Lucy Alibar]
DP: Ben Richardson
Ed: Crockett Doob & Affonso Gonçalves
Mus: Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin

Quvenzhane Wallis (Hushpuppy), Dwight Henry (Wink)

This movie saw debutante Quvenzhane Wallis become the youngest ever nominee for a Best Actress Oscar and it was an accolade quite richly deserved, her performance carries the entire film.
She plays Hushpuppy, a six-year-old girl living in a remote part of the Bayou called "The Bathtub" along with her bad-tempered father.  When a storm leaves their vast homeland flooded, her     father teaches her some rules of survival before he succumbs to poor health.
Aside from the great performances, this film does suffer from a rather slow-moving narrative, especially during the opening 20 minutes and would probably be most enjoyed by fans of arthouse pictures. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it, although it's not one I'd choose to watch more than the once.
7/10
 
THE BEAUTICIAN & THE BEAST (PG)
D: Ken Kwapis
Paramount (Howard W. Koch & Todd Graff)
🇺🇸 1997
105 mins
 
Comedy/Romance
 
W: Todd Graff
DP: Peter Lyons
Ed: Jon Poll
Mus: Cliff Eidelman
PD: Rusty Smith
 
Fran Drescher (Joy Miller), Timothy Dalton (Boris Pochenko), Ian McNeice (Ira Grushinsky), Patrick Malahide (Leonid Kleist), Lisa Jakub (Katrina Pochenko), Michael Lerner (Jerry Miller), Phyllis Newman (Judy Miller)
 
More of a twist on The King & I than the film the title would suggest.  
A New York beautician is hired as a teacher to the children of an Eastern European dictator, who she begins to fall in love with.
If you can take Fran Drescher's accent (which sounds like fingernails across a blackboard), you may enjoy this romcom, but its appeal is very limited.
4/10

"True love is a force to be reckoned with."
"True love is a force to be reckoned with."
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES (12)
D: Richard LaGravenese
Warner Bros./Alcon (Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Erwin Stoff & David Valdes)
🇺🇸 2013
124 mins
 
Fantasy/Romance
 
W: Richard LaGravenese [based on the novel by Kami Garcia Margaret Stohl]
DP: Philippe Rousselot
Ed: David Moritz
PD: Richard Sherman
Cos: Jeffrey Kurland
 
Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan Lawson Wate), Alice Englert (Lena Duchannes), Jeremy Irons (Macon Melchizedek Ravenwood), Viola Davis (Amarie Treadeau), Emmy Rossum (Ridley Duchannes), Thomas Mann (Wesley Jefferson Lincoln), Emma Thompson (Mavis Lincoln / Sarafine Duchannes)
 
A family of spellcasters live in hiding in a small town in the Deep South.  The daughter of the family falls in love with a boy from school.
*yawn* This movie was nowhere near as interesting as its synopsis or the trailers.
It's another modern fantasy in the Twilight mould, based on "young adult literature" which I haven't read and have no intention to. The subject focuses on witches rather than vampires and werewolves but it's still the same story as Twilight, set in a small town where all the characters talk like Forrest Gump. 
Emma Thompson & Jeremy Irons seem to have lots of fun, but the rest of the cast are unremarkable and the characters quite one-dimensional.
I'm sure this film would be enjoyed by its target demographic, but I'm certainly not part of that.
4/10
 
"He saw the world in a way no one could have imagined."
"He saw the world in a way no one could have imagined."

A BEAUTIFUL MIND (15)

D: Ron Howard
Universal/Dreamworks/Imagine (Ron Howard & Brian Grazer)
🇺🇸 2001
134 mins
 
Biopic/Drama
 
W: Akiva Goldsman [based on the book by Sylvia Nasar]
DP: Roger Deakins
Ed: Mike Hill & Dan Hanley
Mus: James Horner
PD: Wynn Thomas
 
Russell Crowe (Josh Nash), Ed Harris (William Parcher), Jennifer Connelly (Alicia Nash), Paul Bettany (Charles Herman), Adam Goldberg (Sol), Judd Hirsch (Helinger), Christopher Plummer (Dr. Rosen) 
 
*Spoilers*
Though it was marketed as a thriller, this is nothing of the sort, but still, it should be watched knowing very little about it before having any potential surprises ruined by a film review.
Biopic of the brilliant Nobel prize winning mathematician John Nash, who unknowingly suffered from schizophrenia which caused him paranoid delusions and obsessions, causing strain upon his marriage and other relationships.
Russell Crowe is absolutely fantastic in a role he really should have won an Oscar for (he won the previous year for Gladiator) and Jennifer Connelly is equally impressive as a student at Princeton who he later married.
The film is very much in the style of the biopics of the 1930's (The Life Of Emile Zola, The Story Of Louis Pasteur, etc.), giving a simple narrative to a very complex subject.
A lot is missing from the biography by Sylvia Nasar, most notably Nash's bisexuality and divorce/remarriage, but this is understandable for the dramatic structure and length of the film.
Oscar winner for Best Picture 2001.
8/10
 
BEAUTIFUL THING (15)
D: Hettie MacDonald
Film4/World (Tony Garnett & Bill Shapter)
🇬🇧 1996
91 mins
 
Drama
 
W: Jonathan Harvey [based on his play]
DP: Chris Seager
Ed: Don Fairservice
Mus: John Altman
PD: Mark Stevenson
 
Linda Henry (Sandra Gangel), Glen Barry (Jamie Gangel), Scott Neal (Ste Pearce), Ben Daniels (Tony), Tameka Empson (Leah Russell)
 
A drama about two schoolboys on a tough South London housing estate who begin a gay relationship together. 
The film is very well-intentioned but takes a really politically correct stance and lacks any real conflict, especially since it presents a (then) controversial subject in a gritty, urban location. Much better use of an underlying theme was utilised to greater effect in My Beautiful Launderette (qv).
If you're not a Mamas & Papas fan then the soundtrack to this will really get on your tits, although the film just can't be hated simply for the purpose of tolerance and acceptance that it serves.
5/10
 
BEAUTY & THE BEAST (U)
D: Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise
Walt Disney/Buena Vista/Silver Screen Partners IV (Don Hahn)
🇺🇸 1991
85 mins
 
Animated/Fantasy/Musical
 
W: Linda Woolverton [based on the fairytale by Madame Leprince de Beaumont]
Mus: Alan MenkenHoward Ashman
 
voices of: Paige O'Hara (Belle), Robby Benson (Prince Adam / The Beast), Jerry Orbach (Lumiere), Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts), Richard White (Gaston), David Ogden Stiers (Cogsworth)
 
A return to top form from Disney after a decade of near dormancy. The movie also sparked a host of animated movies from Disney which saw them regain their stronghold on the market.
The story follows a prince who is turned into a monstrous beast by a curse and must find true love to return to human form.           
Beauty & The Beast became the first animated movie to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, an accolade highly deserved, and all the Alan Menken-Howard Ashman penned songs are all fabulous.
A treat for children and adults alike. 
8/10

BEAUTY & THE BEAST (PG)

D: Bill Condon

Disney/Mandeville (David Hoberman & Todd Lieberman)

🇺🇸 2017

129 mins


Fantasy/Musical


W: Stephen Chbosky & Evan Spiliotopolous [based on the 1991 screenplay by Linda Woolverton & the fairytale by Jean-Marie LePrince du Beaumont]

DP: Tobias A. Schleissler

Ed: Virginia Katz

Mus: Alan Menken; Tim Rice & Howard Ashman

PD: Sarah Greenwood

Cos: Jacqueline Durran


Emma Watson (Belle), Dan Stevens (The Beast / The Prince), Luke Evans (Gaston), Kevin Kline (Maurice), Josh Gad (LeFou), Ewan McGregor (Lumiere), Ian McKellen (Cogsworth), Stanley Tucci (Cadenza), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Potts)


Disney studios seem to be quite content churning out live action version of their famous animated classics, with Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella and The Jungle Book all having big budget makeovers, to varied effect.

The 1991 version of Beauty & The Beast made history by being the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, so to say that this live action update had big shoes to fill is an understatement.

Visually, the film ticks all the right boxes, with outstanding production design, costumes and visual effects which really bring the fantasy world to life, but aside from the technical aspects the rest of the film is a bit of a disappointment, failing to have creative licence with the material in the same way some of the studio's other adaptations have and settles on being a practical shot-by-shot update with occasional moments being a little more family-friendly. All the famous songs from the 1991 film are reinvigorated with live action choreography, but it's really just the same song and dance.

The real issue with the film is the casting, particularly Emma Watson, whose performance as Belle is far too preciously smug to make the character enchanting, elegant and overwhelmed by her whole experience. Everyone else from the ensemble is fine, but their characters are underwritten to allow Belle to have the lion's share of the screen-time.

Disney enthusiasts will enjoy this more than Joe Public, but even the most ardent Disneyphile would agree that the animated classic is head and shoulders above this. It just feels a little too corporate and safe.

6/10


THE BEDFORD INCIDENT (PG)
D: James B. Harris
Columbia/Bedford (James B. Harris)
🇬🇧 🇺🇸 1965
102 mins

War/Drama/Thriller

W: James Poe [based on the novel by Mark Rascovich]
DP: Gilbert Taylor
Ed: John Jympson
Mus: Gerard Schurmann

Richard Widmark (Capt. Eric Finlander), Sidney Poitier (Ben Munceford), Martin Balsam (Lt. Cmdr. Chester Potter), James MacArthur (Ensign Ralston), Eric Portman (Commodore Wolfgang Schrepke)

Though produced in Britain, the political tension of this Cold War drama would have been magnified on the other side of the pond.
Set on-board a Naval destroyer, a belligerent and ruthless captain gives chase to a soviet submarine and considers using nuclear arms, much against the recommendations of his advisors.
The two central performances of Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier are excellent and all the production values are incredibly well done considering the age of the movie. 
The film has shades of Dr. Strangelove, though without the satirical humour. Crimson Tide and The Hunt For Red October also touched on very similar themes.
7/10

BEDKNOBS & BROOMSTICKS (U)
D: Robert Stevenson
Disney (Bill Walsh)
🇺🇸 1971
117 mins
 
Fantasy/Musical
 
W: Bill Walsh & Don da Gradi [based on the book by Mary Norton]
DP: Frank Phillips
Ed: Cotton Warburton
Mus: Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman
PD: Peter Ellenshaw & John B. Mansbridge         
Cos: Bill Thomas
 
Angela Lansbury (Eglantine Price), David Tomlinson (Emelius Browne), Roy Snart (Paul Rawlins), Cindy O'Callaghan (Carrie Rawlins), Sam Jaffe (The Bookman), Roddy McDowell (Mr. Rowan Jelk), Bruce Forsyth (Swinburne)
 
A rather cynical attempt by Disney studios to emulate the success of Mary Poppins, this time with Angela Lansbury as the kindly witch who becomes carer to three children, taking them on adventures on a magical bed to escape the atrocities of the Second World War. 
All the production values are decent, as are the special effects for its age, though some of the animation is nauseatingly headache inducing, even on a small screen. The story and songs are nowhere near as memorable as Mary Poppins and Angela Lansbury doesn't quite have the same screen presence that Julie Andrews brought to her role.
6/10
 
"The head of the family is the one with the tail."
"The head of the family is the one with the tail."
BEETHOVEN (U)
D: Brian Levant
UIP/Universal (Joe Medjuck & Michael C. Gross)
🇺🇸 1992
87 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Edmond Dantes & Amy Holden Jones
DP: Victor J. Kemper
Ed: Sheldon Kahn & William Gordean
Mus: Randy Edelman
PD: Alex Tavoularis
 
Charles Grodin (George Newton), Bonnie Hunt (Alice Newton), Dean Jones (Dr. Herman Varnick), Oliver Platt (Harvey), Stanley Tucci (Vernon), David Duchovny (Brad), Patricia Heaton (Brie)
 
Predictable comedy about an idyllic family who adopt a big, slobbery St. Bernard dog which torments the father of the household by causing general havoc and annoyance, but the rest of the family adore the mutt, particularly the younger children.
Entertaining family fun for it's duration but it does little more than wag its tail and beg to be liked.
5/10
 
"The Newton family is going to the dogs."
"The Newton family is going to the dogs."
BEETHOVEN'S 2ND (U)
D: Rod Daniel
Universal (Joe Medjuck & Michael C. Gross)
🇺🇸 1993
89 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Len Blum [based on characters created by Edmond Dantes & Amy Holden Jones]
DP: Bill Butler
Ed: Sheldon Kahn & William Gordean
Mus: Randy Edelman
PD: Lawrence Miller
 
Charles Grodin (George Newton), Bonnie Hunt (Alice Newton), Nicholle Tom (Ryce Newton), Christopher Castile (Ted Newton), Sarah Rose Kerr (Emily Newton), Debi Mazar (Regina), Christopher Penn (Floyd)
 
A surprisingly decent sequel to a rather average film. The story sees Beethoven father a litter of pups which are target for kidnapping by a criminal couple.
Despite the story being quite basic, it's a decent family film with its heart in the right place, despite some silly scenes which provoke eye-rolling rather than laughter. Even more sequels followed, but weren't of any particular merit and were subsequently released straight to video.
5/10
 
"The name in laughter from the hereafter."
"The name in laughter from the hereafter."
BEETLEJUICE (15)
D: Tim Burton
Warner Bros./Geffen (Richard Hashimoto, Larry Wilson & Michael Bender)
🇺🇸 1988
92 mins
 
Comedy/Horror
 
W: Michael McDowell & Warren Skaaren
DP: Thomas Ackerman
Ed: Jane Kurson
Mus: Danny Elfman
PD: Bo Welch
Cos: Aggie Guerard-Rodgers
 
Geena Davis (Barbara Maitland), Alec Baldwin (Adam Maitland), Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice), Catherine O'Hara (Delia Deetz), Glen Shadix (Otho), Winona Ryder (Lydia Deetz), Jeffrey Jones (Charles Deetz), Sylvia Sidney (Juno)
 
A delightful and surreal treat which made Tim Burton a household name purely for his occult, off-the-wall visual style. Geena Davis & Alec Baldwin play a middle-aged couple who have an automobile accident in their small New England town and spend the afterlife in their home trying to scare off a family of yuppies who have just moved in.  They summon the help of 'Betelguese', a mischievious demon who claims to be an expert at scaring people off, but he does more harm than good.
The movie amassed a huge cult following since it's 1988 release and is often considered one of the best comedy-horrors of all time. 
Michael Keaton steals all the laughs at the demonic ghost and the special makeup effects are absolutely brilliant, even by modern day standards. Unfortunately, the other special effects don't look as good by comparison.
8/10
 
BEFORE SUNRISE (15)
D: Richard Linklater
Rank/Castle Rock/Detour/Filmhaus (Anne Walker-McBay)
🇺🇸 🇦🇹 🇨🇭 1995
101 mins
 
Romance
 
W: Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan
DP: Lee Daniel
Ed: Sandra Adair
PD: Florian Reichmann
 
Ethan Hawke (Jesse), Julie Delpy (Seline)
 
The film is an incredibly simplistic boy-meets-girl story but is a perfect example of on-screen chemistry.
Ethan Hawke plays Jesse, an American travelling through Europe, he crosses paths with Celine (Julie Delpy) on a train and after spending awhile talking, decide to spend the night together in Vienna before he catches a flight back to America and she returns to her native Paris.
The movie is practically all-dialogue, but what makes it work is the realistic relationship that develops between the two characters. Unfortunately, the mystery of whether or not the two meet again has been answered by the fact there are now two sequels to this movie. Nevertheless, I think this is one of the great romance movies of the 1990's (maybe even the best).
8/10
 
"What if you had a second chance with the one that got away?"
"What if you had a second chance with the one that got away?"
BEFORE SUNSET (15)
D: Richard Linklater
Warner Independent/Castle Rock (Anne Walker-McBay & Richard Linklater)
🇺🇸 🇫🇷 2004
77 mins
 
Romance
 
W: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy & Kim Krizan [based on characters created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan]
DP: Lee Daniel
Ed: Sandra Adair
PD: Baptiste Glaymann
 
Ethan Hawke (Jesse), Julie Delpy (Seline)
 
Nine years after the events in Before Sunrise, Jesse & Celine meet again, this time in Paris, and rekindle their romance after spending the evening together in Vienna in the first movie.  Both are nearly a decade older and they've both created an art form as a tribute to their encounter in Vienna, Jesse has authored a book whilst Celine has written a song. 
At just over 70 minutes, this is more a companion piece to the first film, but can stand on it's own merits due to the realistic dialogue and electric chemistry between the two characters.  
I personally think Before Sunrise is the best romance film of the 90's and this is a very fitting follow-up.
Before Midnight (qv) followed in 2013.
8/10
 
BEFORE MIDNIGHT (15)
D: Richard Linklater
Sony Pictures Classics/Castle Rock (Richard Linklater, Christos V. Konstantocopolous & Sara Woodhatch) 
🇺🇸 🇬🇷 2013
109 mins

Romance

W: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy [based on characters created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan]
DP: Christos Voudouris
Ed: Sandra Adair
Mus: Graham Reynolds

Ethan Hawke (Jesse), Julie Delpy (Seline)

A perfect third part to a very enjoyable trilogy of films, starting in 1995 with Before Sunrise and following on in 2004 with Before Sunset.
This third movie brings the whole love story between Jesse and Celine into context.
The first movie was about love as a fantasy, focusing mostly on spontaneous passion.
The second movie was about idealistic love, with the couple having a second chance at their relationship.
Before Midnight is about realistic love. Jesse and Celine are now in their 40's, vacationing in Greece with their twin girls whilst Jesse's thoughts are mostly occupied on spending more time with his son and a custody battle with his ex-wife. 
Like the previous two films, the film is very conversation focused, with a number of one-set scenes lasting 10-20 minutes each, all peppered with realistic dialogue and characters, culminating in Jesse and Celine having a rare break from their girls for an evening of romance which is on the verge of ruin by the notion that their fairytale love story is in peril. 
Both Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are fantastic, just as they were in the previous two films and you can't help but feel for both characters standpoints on a crisis which has the potential to tear them apart.
All in all, this is a brilliant trilogy of a love affair which spans three decades.
8/10

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD (15)

D: Sidney Lumet

Capitol/Unity/Linsefilm/Funky Buddha (Michael Cerenzie, Brian Linse, Paul Parmar & William S. Gilmore)

🇺🇸 2007

117 mins


Crime/Thriller


W: Kelly Masterson

DP: Ron Fortunato

Ed: Tom Swarthout

Mus: Carter Burrell


Philip Seymour Hoffman (Andy Hanson), Ethan Hawke (Hank Hanson), Marisa Tomei (Gina Hanson), Albert Finney (Charles Hanson), Rosemary Harris (Nanette Hanson), Michael Shannon (Dex), Amy Ryan (Martha)


Sidney Lumet's final film before his death is directed with the vim and vigour associated with the films he made much earlier in his career, despite the veteran director being in his eighties when the film was shot.

Taking its title from a traditional Irish proverb, Kelly Masterson's debut screenplay focuses on two brothers, both in financial difficulty, who plot to rob their parents' jewellery store in what they believe will be a victimless crime. 

The film uses a non-linear narrative to crank up the tension, and the ensemble of performances are all excellent, especially Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke as the criminal siblings. The only disappointment is the final scene, which doesn't quite tie up all the loose ends.

7/10


"This is what love feels like."
"This is what love feels like."
BEGINNERS (15)
D: Mike Mills
Focus Features/Olympus (Leslie Urdang, Dean Vanech, Miranda de Pencier, Lars Knudsen & Jay Van Hoy)
🇺🇸 2011
104 mins
 
Comedy/Drama/Romance
 
W: Mike Mills
DP: Kasper Tuxen
Ed: Olivier Bugge Coutte
 
Ewan McGregor (Oliver Fields), Mélanie Laurent (Anna Wallace), Christopher Plummer (Hal Fields), Goran Višnjić (Andy)
 
Beginners is a bittersweet comedy-drama about love, but more importantly, about new beginnings, not only respective of Ewan McGregor's fledgling relationship with Mélanie Laurent, but also of the relationship he has with his terminally ill father, recently out of the closet and coping in his first homosexual relationship with a much younger lover.
Incredibly well written with colourful characters and directed in a quirky style of it's own, the film gives an incredibly able cast a good platform to exercise their acting talents, of which Christopher Plummer is the standout, winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance. 
7/10

"Ever wanted to be someone else?"
"Ever wanted to be someone else?"
BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (15)
D: Spike Jonze
Universal/Gramercy/Propaganda (Michael Stipe, Sandy Stern, Steve Golin & Vincent Landay)
🇺🇸 1999
112 mins
 
Comedy/Fantasy
 
W: Charlie Kaufman
DP: Lance Acord
Ed: Eric Zumbrunnen
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: K. K. Barrett
 
John Cusack (Craig Schwartz), Cameron Diaz (Lottie Schwartz), Catherine Keener (Maxine), Orson Bean (Dr. Lester), Mary Kay Place (Floris), John Malkovich (John Horatio Malkovich), Charlie Sheen (Charlie)
 
Craig Schwartz, a filing clerk/amateur puppeteer discovers a portal on floor 7 & a 1/2 of his office block which leads into the mind of John Malkovich, where you can literally see and experience what Malkovich does (for 15 minutes).
Upon this discovery, Schwartz and a fellow employee decide to exploit the situation for financial gain. It's much funnier than it sounds.
This oddball, surreal gem introduced us to the crazy minds of director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.  It's a witty, highly original movie unlike anything you'd ever see or experience before or since. 
8/10
 
BEING THERE (15)
D: Hal Ashby
Lorimar/North Star/CIP (Andrew Braunsberg) 
🇺🇸 1979
130 mins
 
Comedy 
 
W: Jerzy Kosinski [based on his novel]
DP: Caleb Deschanel
Ed: Don Zimmerman
Mus: John Mandel
PD: Michael Haller
 
Peter Sellers (Chance), Shirley MacLaine (Eve Rand), Melvyn Douglas (Benjamin Rand), Jack Warden (President Bobby), Richard Dysart (Dr. Robert Allenby), Richard Basehart (Vladimir Skrapinov)
 
Capra-esque fable about an illiterate gardener who rises to political power and becomes a national celebrity.
Fondly remembered for one of Peter Sellers last and greatest performances. It drags in parts but the final scene is a rather iconic cinematic moment.
7/10

"He's a Jew. He's a Neo-Nazi. With one true enemy... Himself!"
"He's a Jew. He's a Neo-Nazi. With one true enemy... Himself!"
THE BELIEVER (18)
D: Henry Bean
Pathé/Fuller (Christopher Roberts & Susan Hoffman)
🇺🇸 2001
98 mins
 
Drama
 
W: Henry Bean
DP: Jim Denault
Ed: Mayin Lo & Lee Percy
Mus: Joel Diamond
PD: Susan Block
 
Ryan Gosling (Danny Balint), Billy Zane (Curtis Zampf), Summer Phoenix (Carla Moebius), Theresa Russell (Lina Moebius), Garret Dillahunt (Billings)
 
An intelligent, well-spoken Jewish student moonlights as the leader of a Neo-Nazi gang.
Interesting drama about hatred and self-loathing with an excellent early performance from Ryan Gosling.
An uncomfortable watch in places, with themes similar to 1998's American History X, but still a very good film.
7/10

BELL, BOOK & CANDLE (PG)
D: Richard Quine
Columbia/Phoenix (Julian Blaustein)
🇺🇸 1958
103 mins
 
Comedy/Fantasy
 
W: Daniel Taradash [based on the play by John Van Druten]
DP: James Wong Howe
Ed: Charles Nelson
Mus: George Duning
PD: Cary Odell
 
James Stewart (Shep Henderson), Kim Novak (Gillian Holroyd), Jack Lemmon (Nicky Holroyd), Ernie Kovacs (Sidney Redlitch), Hermione Gingold (Bianca de Pass), Elsa Lanchester (Aunt Queenie Holroyd), Janice Rule (Merle Kittridge)
 
A book publisher slowly discovers that his new girlfriend is a witch.
The plot is very similar to 60's TV show Bewitched (which was probably inspired by this) but lacks any real comedy. There's no slapstick or farce, therefore the final result is the sort of film Disney would release in the early 1970's with some very questionable casting decisions, especially James Stewart, far too distinguished an actor to be in this kind of fare.
5/10

BELLE DE JOUR (15)
D: Luis Bunuel 
Paris Film (Robert Hakim & Raymond Hakim)
🇫🇷 🇮🇹 1967
100 mins

Drama

W: Luis Bunuel & Jean-Claude Carriere [based on the novel by Joseph Kessel]
DP: Sacha Vierny
Ed: Louisette Hautecoeur & Walter Spoht
PD: Robert Clavel
Cos: Helene Noury & Yves Saint Laurent

Catherine Deneuve (Séverine Serizy / Belle de Jour), Jean Sorel (Pierre Serizy), Michel Piccoli (Henri Husson), Genevieve Page (Madame Anais), Pierre Clementi (Marcel), Francisco Rabal (Hippolyte)

Catherine Deneuve stars as a sexually-repressed housewife who begins working as a prostitute, but only in the afternoons, earning her the name Belle de Jour.
The film is typically Luis Bunuel, mixing scenes of fantasy into the narrative with seamless effect. The cinematography is exquisite, as are some of the costumes which the beautiful Catherine Deneuve wears. 
Though the subject matter was hugely controversial for the 1960's, it's rather tame in comparison now, though it has inspired many other works. 
The final scene, like the film itself, is an acquired taste.
8/10

BELLE ÉPOQUE (15)
D: Fernando Trueba
Mayfair/Lola/Animatografo (Andres Vicente Gomez)
🇪🇸 1992 (released 1993)
109 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Rafael Azcona
DP: Jose Luis Alcaine
Ed: Carmen Frias
Mus: Antoine Duhamel
PD: Juan Botella
 
Fernando Fernan Gomez (Manolo), Jorge Sanz (Fernando), Maribel Verdu (Rocio), Ariadna Gil (Violetta), Miriam Diaz-Aroca (Clara), Penelope Cruz (Luz), Gabino Diego (Juanito)
 
In Spain during the 1930's, an army deserter finds refuge in a house of a widower with four beautiful daughters, with whom the deserter has a romance with each of.
If this was made in Britain or the United States it would be classed as a sex comedy (and would probably be crass), but this is very respectfully done with some good performances, especially from the actresses playing the four daughters.
A surprise winner for the Foreign Film Oscar of 1993.
6/10
 
BEN-HUR (PG)
D: William Wyler
MGM (Sam Zimbalist)
🇺🇸 1959
217 mins

Historical/Religious

W: Karl Tunberg [based on the novel "A Tale of Christ" by General Lew Wallace] 
DP: Robert L. Surtees
Ed: Ralph E. Winters & John D. Dunning
Mus: Miklos Rozsa
PD: William A. Horning & Edward Carfango
Cos: Elizabeth Haffenden

Charlton Heston (Judah Ben-Hur), Haya Harareet (Esther), Jack Hawkins (Quintus Arrius), Stephen Boyd (Messala), Hugh Griffith (Sheik Ilderim), Martha Scott (Miriam), Sam Jaffe (Simonides)

At the time of Jesus Christ, an enslaved Jew battles against the Roman Empire and witnesses the crucifixion.
At the time of production, this was one of the most expensive films ever produced.
This three-hour plus historical epic has many good reasons to watch it, particularly the chariot race scene, but due to its exorbitant length, probably wouldn't be one to watch over and over again, despite it being on TV perennially over Easter time and other religious holidays.
The film won an unprecedented 11 Oscars, a record which was held for 38 years (Titanic & Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King also hold this record haul)
8/10

"Brother against brother. Slave against empire."
"Brother against brother. Slave against empire."

BEN-HUR (12)

D: Timur Bekmambetov

Paramount/MGM/Lightworkers (Sean Daniel, Joni Levin & Duncan Henderson)

🇺🇸 2016

125 mins 


Historical/Drama/Adventure


W: Keith Clarke & John Ridley [based on the novel by Lew Wallace]

DP: Oliver Wood

Ed: Dody Dorn & Richard Francis-Bruce

Mus: Marco Beltrami


Jack Huston (Judah Ben-Hur), Morgan Freeman (Sheik Ilderim), Toby Kebbell (Messala), Nazanin Boniadi (Esther), Rodrigo Santoro (Jesus)


Why remake a classic? Well, aside from the obvious financial gains it has to be noted that Lew Wallace's novel was a successful stage production, as well as finding life as two silent films before the epic 1959 production made its bow and swept the Oscars. It also has to be said that this "re-imagination" draws just as much inspiration from Gladiator, Spartacus and other films cut from the same cloth, but the overall result is still a complete disappointment.

The bare bones of the story remain intact, a Jewish prince becomes an enemy of the Roman Empire and is sold into slavery, crosses paths with Jesus on his journey for revenge and the whole film is geared towards the chariot race finale which was the iconic scene of the 1959 film.

Every aspect of the production pales in comparison to the Charlton Heston version, and though lots of money has been thrown at it, the acting is not much above pantomime standard and the CGI fails to impress. A Twilight love story is also unwelcomely crammed  in just to tick the box for a teenage girl demographic.

A truly pointless exercise. If you want to watch Ben-Hur, watch the 1959 version. Embrace the classics rather than feed the greed of big Hollywood studios. They don't care about art anymore, they just want your money.

3/10


BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (12)
D: Gurinder Chadha
Helkon SK/Kintop/UK Film Council/Filmfoerderung (Deepak Nayer & Gurinder Chadha)
🇬🇧 🇩🇪 2002
112 mins
 
Comedy/Sports
 
W: Gurinder Chadha, Guljit Bindra & Paul Mayeda Burges
DP: Jong Lin
Ed: Justin Krish
Mus: Craig Pruess
PD: Nick Ellis
 
Parminder Nagra (Jesminder 'Jess' Kaur Bhamra), Keira Knightley (Juliette 'Jules' Paxton), Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Joe), Anupam Kher (Mohaan Singh Bhamra), Archie Panjabi (Pinky), Shaznay Lewis (Marlena 'Mel' Goines), Shaheen Khan (Mrs. Kaur Bhamra), Frank Harper (Alan Paxton), Juliet Stevenson (Paula Paxton)
 
An 18 year old girl from a strict Sikh family wants to play football, much to her parents annoyance because she can't make aloo gobi or round chapatis (honestly, that's a line in the script).
This annoyingly twee multicultural comedy plays it safe by Bending it Backwards to be as politically correct as possible, but is actually quite racist towards white people and their attitude towards multiculturalism, especially since it's set in a part of London which has had a huge Asian community for decades! (I know this because I used to live there)
The characters are unrealistic caricatures, the story lacks genuine credibility, especially the unnecessary romance which borders on criminal and does not result in the adult coach being disciplined by the Football Association. We're also treated to Keira Knightley going through the whole film with a scrunchface and another character who comes out as gay for absolutely no reason.
The PC brigade at the UK Film Council probably thought they had the best thing since Chicken Balti here. I'd rather have watched a film about a young girl whose dream was to make the perfect aloo gobi and cling onto her strict Indian values but her parents are pressuring her into embracing a relaxed Western culture. 
5/10

BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (15)
D: Ted Post
20th Century Fox/APJAC (Arthur P. Jacobs)         
🇺🇸 1969
94 mins
 
Science Fiction
 
W: Paul Dehn & Mort Abrahams [based on characters from the novel 'Monkey Planet' by Pierre Boulle]
DP: Milton Krasner
Ed: Marion Rothman
Mus: Leonard Rosenman
PD: Jack Martin Smith
 
James Franciscus (Brent), Linda Harrison (Nova), Charlton Heston (Taylor), Kim Hunter (Zira), David Watson (Cornelius), Maurice Evans (Dr. Zaius), Paul Richards (Mendez)
 
Decent first sequel to the original Planet Of The Apes film which for the first part feels like a remake, following the same formula from the first movie.
James Franciscus is an astronaut on search and rescue mission, seeking Charlton Heston and his party from the predecessor. 
Charlton Heston isn't present for half this movie, but does turn up towards the end when it is revealed that a psychic and telekinetic subhuman race who worship an atomic bomb live beneath the planet.
Not at all bad as far as sequels go, but it's not worth watching if you didn't enjoy the first film. 
5/10

BENJI (U)
D: Joe Camp
Mulberry Square (Joe Camp)
🇺🇸 1974
86 mins
 
Comedy/Drama
 
W: Joe Camp
DP: Don Reddy
Ed: Leon Seith
Mus: Euel Box
 
Higgins (Benji), Patsy Garrett (Mary), Allen Fiuzat (Paul Chapman), Cynthia Smith (Cindy Chapman), Peter Breck (Dr. Chapman)
 
A loveable little dog thwarts some kidnappers and rescues some children.                      
Cute children's film from the 1970's with camera angles from the dog's point of view to separate it from the plethora of Lassie-type movies. The theme song received an Oscar nomination. It's not the best film of its type, but the dog is so loveable and cute, you can't help but enjoy the proceedings.
6/10
 
BENNY & JOON (12)
D: Jeremiah Chechik
MGM (Susan Arnold & Donna Roth)
🇺🇸 1993
98 mins
 
Comedy/Romance
 
W: Barry Berman
DP: John Schwartzmann
Ed: Carol Littleton
Mus: Rachel Portman
 
Johnny Depp (Sam), Mary Stuart Masterson (Joon), Aidan Quinn (Benny), Julianne Moore (Ruthie), Oliver Platt (Eric), CCH Pounder (Dr. Garvey), Dan Hedaya (Thomas), William H. Macy (Randy Burch)
 
A sweet romantic drama about an extroverted mime (Depp) who falls in love with an artist with a history of mental health issues, but her overprotective brother wants to keep the two of them apart.
Johnny Depp's career was still blossoming when he started in this and he's absolutely perfect as the young misfit and does some fantastic Buster Keaton & Charlie Chaplin impressions to amuse the lovably quirky Joon.     
It's a nice film, but it doesn't really explore the mental illness theme or the potential family crisis in the subplot, but it's worth watching just for the performances of Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson
6/10

BEST SELLER (18)
D: John Flynn
Orion/Hemdale (Carter de Haven)
🇺🇸 1987
110 mins
 
Crime/Thriller
 
W: Larry Cohen
DP: Fred Murphy
Ed: David Rosenbloom
Mus: Jay Ferguson
PD: Gene Rudolf
 
James Woods (Cleve), Brian Dennehy (Dennis Meechum), Victoria Tennant (Roberta Gillian), Allison Balson (Holly Meechum), Paul Shenar (David Madlock), George Coe (Graham)
 
I've always thought James Woods was a very underrated actor & his performance in this movie is amongst his very best.
He plays a hitman who teams up with cop-turned-author to blow the whistle on his politician former-boss and his company formed with stolen funds.
It's not your typical buddy-buddy picture, in fact, it's the very opposite. Woods is not a pleasant person, whilst his "partner" Brian Dennehy is whiter than white.
A surprisingly good thriller from the pen of Larry Cohen, best known for writing schlock horror movies of the early 80's.                      
6/10
 
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (PG)
D: William Wyler
Samuel Goldwyn
🇺🇸 1946
182 mins
 
Drama/War
 
W: Robert Sherwood [based on the novel 'Glory For Me' by Mackinlay Kantor]
DP: Gregg Toland
Ed: Daniel Mandell
Mus: Hugo Friedhofer
PD: George Jenkins & Perry Ferguson
Cos: Irene Sharaff
 
Fredric March (Al Stephenson), Myrna Loy (Milly Stephenson), Dana Andrews (Fred Derry), Teresa Wright (Peggy Stephenson), Harold Russell (Homer Parrish), Virginia Mayo (Marie Derry), Cathy O'Donnell (Wilma Cameron), Hoagy Carmichael (Butch Engle)
 
One of the best war films ever made doesn't actually deal with the conflict itself, but the aftermath of the events and the affect it has on it's men.
Three soldiers come home after World War II and return to their small community to find it incredibly difficult to adjust back to civilian life following their experiences overseas. 
Each serviceman has their own story; Al Stephenson returns to his wife and family and his old job as a banker; Fred Derry's wife has left him and he has no career prospects and struggles to find meaningful employment and Homer Parrish returns home with hooks for hands, hoping to settle down with his fiancé and plan a marriage (Homer was played by Harold Russell, a real life amputee).
Complete with a fantastic cast, this war drama is considered one of the all time classic films and with good reason.
One of the best films of our lives.
10/10
 
BETTY BLUE (aka 37.2 LE MATIN) (18)
D: Jean-Jacques Beneix
Constellation/Cargo (Claudie Ossard & Jean-Jacques Beneix)
🇫🇷 1986
120 mins

Drama

W: Jean-Jacques Beneix [based on the novel '37.2 le Matin' by Philippe Djian]
DP: Jean-Francois Robin
Ed: Monique Prim
Mus: Gabriel Yared

Beatrice Dalle (Betty), Jean-Hughes Anglade (Zorg), Consuelo de Havilland (Lisa), Gerard Darmon (Eddy), Clementine Celarie (Annie), Jacques Mathou (Bob)

A waitress embarks upon a steamy affair with a budding novelist and inspires him to get his work published.
This erotic drama has plenty of sex scenes, but is by no means a softcore pornographic film, featuring an amazing performance from the pouting beauty Beatrice Dalle.  It received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1986 and was a huge hit in its native France.
6/10

THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES (12)
D: Penelope Spheeris
20th Century Fox (Ian Bryce & Penelope Spheeris)
🇺🇸 1993
93 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Jim Fisher & Jim Staahl [based on the television show created by Paul Henning]
DP: Robert Brinkmann
Ed: Ross Albert
Mus: Lalo Schifrin
PD: Peter Jamison
 
Jim Varney (Jed Clampett), Dabney Coleman (Milburn Drysdale), Diedrich Bader (Jethro Bodine / Jethrine Bodine), Erika Eleniak (Elly Mae Clampett), Cloris Leachman (Granny Moses), Rob Schneider (Woodrow Tyler), Lea Thompson (Laura Jackson), Lily Tomlin (Jane Hathaway), Buddy Ebsen (Barnaby Jones)
 
Big-screen adaptation of a 1960's television show about a hillbilly family who strike it rich with oil and move to California to live in a Beverly Hills mansion.
While TV show was a memorable hit during it's time, this is a very average big screen transition. Hastily written with obvious jokes and clearly a cash-in on the moderate success of the recent Addams Family movies. Watch any episode of the TV show instead, it's much funnier.
4/10
 

BEVERLY HILLS COP (15)

D: Martin Brest
Paramount (Jerry Bruckheimer & Don Simpson)
🇺🇸 1984
105 mins
 
Comedy/Crime/Thriller
 
W: Daniel Petrie, Jr. & Danilo Bach
DP: Bruce Surtees
Ed: Billy Weber & Arthur O. Confirm
Mus: Harold Faltermeyer
PD: Angelo Graham
 
Eddie Murphy (Axel Foley), Judge Reinhold (Detective Billy Rosewood), John Ashton (Sgt. Taggart), Lisa Eilbacher (Jenny Summers), Ronny Cox (Lt. Bogomil), Steven Berkoff (Victor Maitland), James Russo (Mikey Tandino)
 
Arguably Eddie Murphy's best and funniest screen performance as Detroit cop Axel Foley.  
Following the murder of one of his friends, Axel travels to Beverly Hills to investigate, using unconventional methods more suited to a confidence trickster rather than a man of the law, which get him on the wrong side of the strictly by-the-book local authorities.  
Despite the film being a rather run-of-the-mill fish out of water story, it's given unique freshness from Eddie Murphy's exuberant performance and an incredibly funny screenplay. Harold Faltermeyer's iconic music also became something of legend, becoming a hit in 1984 plus remixes later on which propelled it up the music chart. (Damn you Crazy Frog!)
8/10
 
"Axel Foley is back. Back where he doesn't belong."
"Axel Foley is back. Back where he doesn't belong."
BEVERLY HILLS COP II (15)
D: Tony Scott
UIP/Paramount (Jerry Bruckheimer & Don Simpson)
🇺🇸 1987
102 mins
 
Comedy/Crime/Thriller
 
W: Larry Ferguson, Warren Skaaren, David Giler & Dennis Klein [based on characters created by Daniel Petrie, Jr. & Danilo Bach]
DP: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Ed: Billy Weber, Chris Lebenzon & Michael Tronick
Mus: Harold Faltermeyer
PD: Ken Davis
 
Eddie Murphy (Axel Foley), Judge Reinhold (Billy Rosewood), Jürgen Prochnow (Maxwell Dent), John Ashton (John Taggart), Ronny Cox (Andrew Bogomil), Allen Garfield (Harold Lutz), Brigette Nielsen (Karla Fry), Dean Stockwell (Chip Cain)
 
Axel Foley is back in California! This time he helps fellow detectives Rosewood & Taggart to solve a series of crimes dubbed 'The Alphabet Robberies', which have in turn made the Beverly Hills chief of police a victim of a shooting.
Despite not being anywhere as good as the first film, it's still good fun, has a few moments of laughter and has a pretty decent soundtrack.
6/10

"In for the ride of his life."
"In for the ride of his life."
BEVERLY HILLS COP III (15)
D: John Landis
UIP/Paramount (Mace Neufeld & Robert Rehme)
🇺🇸 1994
104 mins
 
Comedy/Crime
 
W: Steven E. de Souza [based on characters created by Daniel Petrie, Jr. & Danilo Bach]
DP: Mac Ahlberg
Ed: Dale Beldin
Mus: Nile Rodgers 
PD: Michael Seymour
 
Eddie Murphy (Axel Foley), Judge Reinhold (Billy Rosewood), Hector Elizondo (Jon Flint), Timothy Carhart (Ellis DeWald), Stephen McHattie (Steve Fulbright), Theresa Randle (Janice Perkins), John Saxon (Orrin Sanderson), Alan Young (Uncle Dave Thornton), Bronson Pinchot (Serge)
 
The third of the Beverly Hills Cop movies seems to forget what franchise it's from and decides to follow the formula from Die Hard instead. Makes sense since Steven E. de Souza also wrote the script to that movie too.
Axel Foley investigates a counterfeiting operation at a Disneyland style theme park, setting up a finale which takes place amongst roller coasters and merry-go-rounds.
John Ashton & Ronny Cox have the sense to stay away from this one, but Bronson Pinchot reprises his role as Serge from the first movie, although in this one he's an arms dealer rather than a camp art dealer. Only the screenwriter knows why. 
4/10
 
BEWITCHED (12)
D: Nora Ephron
Columbia (Penny Marshall, Nora Ephron & Douglas Wick)
🇺🇸 2005
102 mins
 
Comedy/Fantasy
 
W: Nora Ephron & Delia Ephron
DP: John Lindley
Ed: Tia Nolan
Mus: George Fenton
PD: Neil Spisak
 
Nicole Kidman (Isabel Bigelow / Samantha Stephens), Will Ferrell (Jack Wyatt / Darrin Stephens), Shirley MacLaine (Iris Smythson / Endora), Michael Caine (Nigel Bigelow), Jason Schwartzman (Ritchie), Kristin Chenoweth (Maria Kelly)
 
Pathetic re-imagination of a 1960's TV show about a man who is married to a witch and doesn't get on too well with his mother in law (also a witch).
Nora Ephron tries to be clever here by having the story about a producer remaking the TV show and unknowingly casting a witch in the lead role. That's about as exciting as it gets. It's a misconceived, atrocious comedy with two odiously miscast leads who have absolutely no on-screen chemistry and the rest of the cast look as though they're just there because they had bills to pay.
The only funny thing about this film was when it was parodied in Family Guy, with little Stewie Griffin going to obscene lengths to track down Will Ferrell just to punch him in the face.
2/10
 
"Open your heart. Find your voice."
"Open your heart. Find your voice."

BEYOND THE LIGHTS (12)

D: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Relativity Media/Homegrown/Undisputed Cinema (Stephanie Allain, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Ryan Kavanaugh, Amar'e Stoudemire & Sharon Tomlinson)

🇺🇸 2014

116 mins


Romance/Drama/Musical


W: Gina Prince-Bythewood

DP: Tami Reiker

Ed: Terilyn A. Shropshire

Mus: Mark Islam


Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Noni Jean), Nate Parker (Kaz Nicol), Minnie Driver (Macy Jean), Danny Glover (Capt. David Nicol), Machine Gun Kelly (Kid Culprit)


This small independent film from 2014 isn't without its flaws, but is certainly carried by two strong lead performances who make a very likeable on-screen couple.

The plot follows Noni Jean, a pop singer whose career is practically ruled by her overbearing mother. On the cusp of huge breakthrough success, she is saved from a suicide attempt by a young police officer with political aspirations and the two embark on a romantic relationship which could affect both of their professional journeys.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw really steals the show here with her breakthrough film performance, performing her own singing in a role which was tailored for her to keep her native British accent.

It does feel a little like a version of The Bodyguard for a younger, more modern audience, but it is quite well done and the performances make the characters realistic, even during the scenes which are a little unconvincing.

The overall theme about being true to oneself overrides the rather unrelatable one about the pressures of fame which occupy the first half of the movie.

6/10


"The world is more giant than you can imagine."
"The world is more giant than you can imagine."
THE BFG (PG)
D: Steven Spielberg
Disney/Amblin/Reliance/Walden (Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall & Sam Mercer)
🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇨🇦 2016
117 mins

Fantasy

W: Melissa Matheson [based on the novel by Roald Dahl]
DP: Janusz Kaminski
Ed: Michael Kahn
Mus: John Williams
PD: Rick Carter & Robert Stromberg
Cos: Joanna Johnston

Mark Rylance (The BFG), Ruby Barnhill (Sophie), Penelope Wilton (Queen Elizabeth II), Jermaine Clement (The Fleshlumpeater), Rebecca Hall (Mary), Rafe Spall (Mr. Tibbs)

Steven Spielberg would seem to be the perfect choice to direct a live action version of Roald Dahl's classic children's story. In collaboration with both Disney and late screenwriter Melissa Matheson (who penned E.T.), it would seem to be an ideal combination of talent, and though the final result is a good film for young children, those who remember the original book with nostalgic affection may feel a little disappointed.
The story doesn't stray too far from the source, starring Ruby Barnhill as precocious orphan Sophie, who, in the early hours of the morning, witnesses the Big Friendly Giant as he sneaks around the streets of London collecting dreams. To prevent her from telling anybody what she's seen, The BFG snatches Sophie from her bed and takes her back to the land of the giants, but her life is in danger from the man-eating giants who lurk outside the BFG's cave.
Spielberg originally planned to tackle this project in the 1990's, with Robin Williams in the title role. Personally, I think that would have been much more inspired casting, though Mark Rylance looks the part, the attempts at comic delivery aren't quite as good as what they could have been with an iconic comedian such as Williams' delivering the same lines.
The CGI effects, production design, cinematography and music are all of the high standard you'd expect from Steven Spielberg, and while the magic has enough to capture the imaginations of young children, it is unlikely to have the same effect on adults.
5/10

BICENTENNIAL MAN (12)
D: Chris Columbus
Columbia/Touchstone (Wolfgang Petersen, Gail Katz, Neal Miller, Lawrence Mark, Chris Columbus & Mark Radcliffe)
🇺🇸 1999
140 mins
 
Science Fiction
 
W: Nicholas Kazan [based on the novel 'The Positronic Man' by Isaac Asimov]
DP: Phil Meheux
Ed: Neil Travis
Mus: James Horner
PD: William Reynolds
 
Robin Williams (Andrew), Sam Neill (Richard 'Sir' Martin), Embeth Davidtz (Amanda 'Little Miss' Martin / Portia Charney), Wendy Crewson (Rachel Martin), Oliver Platt (Rupert Burns), Stephen Root (Dennis Mansky)
 
If ever a movie needed a better screenplay... Robin Williams plays a robot servant who starts telling knock knocks jokes, leaves the family stead, wanders around the earth for 200 years wanting to become human and then shags Embeth Davidtz. Classy.
Celine Dion sings a saccharine song over the end credits about how we should all love one another, including robots. Something like that- I lost interest by then. 
I want to blame Chris Columbus for how terrible this is, but perhaps the movie was tailored for the comedy act of Robin Williams and his shtick.  It's a genuine shame, because a brilliant concept was hampered by an absolutely awful script. The last 20 minutes is dripping in so much saccharine that it could actually induce vomiting.
4/10
 
BICYCLE THIEVES (LADRI DI BICICLETTE) (U)
D: Vittorio de Sica
Produzioni De Sica/Mayer/Burstyn (Vittorio de Sica)
🇮🇹 1948
89 mins

Drama 

W: Cesare Zavattini [based on the novel by Luigi Bartolini]
DP: Carlo Montuori
Ed: Eraldo Da Roma
Mus: Alessandro Cicognini

Lamberto Maggiorani (Antonio Ricci), Lianella Carell (Maria Ricci), Enzo Staiola (Bruno Ricci), Elena Altieri (The Fortune Teller), Vittorio Antonucci (The Thief)

If films were regarded in the same way as classic paintings, Bicycle Thieves is on a par with The Mona Lisa. Vittorio de Sica's film is the very epitome of foreign language cinema, utilising such strong imagery that it's entirely possible to follow the story even without the aid of subtitles or knowing the spoken language. 
In post-WWII Italy, an unemployed labourer is offered work putting up cinema billboards around Rome, a job which requires the use of his bicycle. Halfway through his first day, his bike is stolen and the police are reluctant to help. The following day, he and his young son search the city and are frequently met with hostility by the people they meet.
Though the story is a relatively simple one, it plays out like a Greek tragedy, with the bicycle as metaphor for a man's dignity in the eyes of his child.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing is the performance of the two main actors, played by non-professionals but thoroughly convincing throughout the films running time.
One of the all-time greatest foreign language films.
10/10

BIG (PG)
D: Penny Marshall
20th Century Fox/Gracie Films (James L. Brooks & Robert Greenhut)
🇺🇸 1988
102 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Gary Ross & Anne Spielberg
DP: Barry Sonnenfeld
Ed: Barry Malkin
Mus: Howard Shore
PD: Santo Loquasto
Cos: Judianna Makovsky
 
Tom Hanks (Josh Baskin), Elizabeth Perkins (Susan Lawrence), Robert Loggia (MacMillan), John Heard (Paul), Jared Rushton (Billy Kopeche), David Moscow (Young Josh), Jon Lovitz (Scotty), Mercedes Ruehl (Mrs. Baskin)
 
Undoubtedly Tom Hanks finest comedy performance with a brilliantly witty script with some funny and bittersweet moments.         
Young Josh Baskin makes a wish on a mysterious fortune teller machine at a fair that he wishes he were big... The next morning he wakes to discover he's a thirteen-year-old in an adult body. Chased out of the family home by his mother who doesn't recognise him, he runs off to New York City and gets a job in a toy company, where he rises to an executive position because he still thinks like a child... But he still misses his family, his friends and ultimately, his childhood. 
Big is an absolutely wonderful film about wanting to grow up, but more importantly the things we take for granted in our younger years.
Solid entertainment for kids, but also a brilliant and nostalgic film for adults to enjoy.  
A highlight of 1980's cinema which has dated particularly well considering it's over thirty years old.
8/10
 
BIG BULLY (12)
D: Steve Miner
Warner Bros./Morgan Creek (Lee Rich & Gary Foster)
🇺🇸 1996
93 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Mark Steven Johnson
DP: Daryn Okada
Ed: Marshall Harvey
Mus: David Newman
PD: Ian Thomas
 
Rick Moranis (David Leary), Tom Arnold (Roscoe 'Fang' Bigger), Julianne Phillips (Victoria Tucker), Carol Kane (Faith Bigger), Jeffrey Tambor (Art Lundstrom)
 
A former school bully returns to his bullying ways when one of his victims returns to their old school as a teacher.         
Asinine, moronic slapstick made far too long after the popularity of its two main actors had waned (if indeed Tom Arnold had any).
3/10
 
"Once you adopt a kid, you've got to keep him."
"Once you adopt a kid, you've got to keep him."

BIG DADDY (12)

D: Dennis Dugan

Columbia (Allen Covert & Jack Giarraputo)

🇺🇸 1999

93 mins


Comedy


W: Steve Franks, Tim Herlihy & Adam Sandler

DP: Theo Van De Sande

Ed: Jeff Gourson

Mus: Teddy Castelluci


Adam Sandler (Sonny Koufax), Cole Sprouse / Dylan Sprouse (Julian McGrath), Joey Lauren Adams (Layla Maloney), Jon Stewart (Kevin Gerrity), Leslie Mann (Corinne Maloney), Rob Schneider (Nazo)


Adam Sandler cranks his manchild act up to complete jerk in this puerile comedy aimed at the lowest common denomination of audience.

Sonny Koufax is a college dropout who thinks that adopting an infant child will impress his girlfriend, but it only proves how immature he is as he goes about his usual business with no paternal nous at all. This could have been a new spin on Three Men & A Baby, but instead just goes for fart humour.

For some reason, Big Daddy is considered amongst Adam Sandler's best works, but I really didn't like it. I guess I just demand more intelligence from movies, comedy or otherwise.

3/10


"An adventure as big as life itself."
"An adventure as big as life itself."
BIG FISH (PG)
D: Tim Burton
Columbia (Richard D. Zanuck, Dan Jinks & Bruce Cohen)
🇺🇸 2003
125 mins
 
Comedy/Fantasy
 
W: John August [based on the book "Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions" by Daniel Wallace]
DP: Philippe Rousselot
Ed: Chris Lebenzon
Mus: Danny Elfman
PD: Dennis Gassner
 
Ewan McGregor (Younger Edward Bloom), Albert Finney (Older Edward Bloom), Billy Crudup (Will Bloom), Jessica Lange (Sandra Bloom), Helena Bonham-Carter (Jenny Hill), Alison Lohman (Sandra Templeton), Robert Guillaume (Dr. Bennett), Marion Cotillard (Josephine Bloom), Steve Buscemi (Norther Winslow), Danny DeVito (Amos Calloway)
 
Not exactly a return to form for Tim Burton, but a huge improvement on his atrocious remake of Planet Of The Apes.
The movie is a cross between a fantasy and a whimsical tale of nostalgia, told in flashback from Albert Finney's point of view; as a younger man (portrayed by Ewan McGregor) he lived a life of many adventures tying into significant events of American history, a la Forrest Gump.
It's all exaggerated whimsy, but well made with great production design, visual effects and makeup. The bittersweet ending ties all the loose strands together in a near little parcel.
Far from the director's best, but certainly not disappointing.
7/10

BIG HERO 6 (PG)

D: Don Hall & Chris Williams
Disney (Roy Conli)
🇺🇸 2014
102 mins

Animated 

W: Jordan Roberts, Dan Gerson & Robert L. Baird [based on characters from Marvel Comics]
Mus: Henry Jackman

voices of: Ryan Potter (Hiro Hamada), Scott Adsit (Beemax), Daniel Henney (Tadashi Hamada), T.J. Miller (Fred), Jamie Chung (GoGo), Damon Wayans, Jr. (Wasabi), Genesis Rodriguez (Honey Lemon)

A technological Disney film for a technological age, one which also ties into the highly marketable Marvel comic book movies to ensure some decent box office success.
Big Hero 6 is set in the fictional city of San Frantokyo (an American version of Tokyo or an oriental version of San Francisco. It doesn't quite elaborate), where a 14-year-old prodigy creates a scientific breakthrough for a convention to get into a prestigious robotics school, but when his invention is stolen by a villain with nefarious means, he upgrades his late brother's nurse-robot into a flying, fighting superhero, and with the help of his buddies they form an alliance to save the day from the bad guy's evil plans.
As with all modern animated films, the computer animation itself is a wonder to behold, creating an imaginary world almost without borders and making it seem like a traditionally filmed location.
There are many references to other Marvel films, particularly Iron Man, and the plot itself strikes many similarities to Avengers Assemble.
Still, this is a film which could be enjoyed by those who are fans of the genre, or ideally as a doorway for young kids who are too young to watch the live action equivalents.
7/10

THE BIG LEBOWSKI (18)
D: Joel Coen
Polygram/Working Title (Ethan Coen)
🇺🇸 1998
127 mins
 
Comedy/Mystery
 
W: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
DP: Roger Deakins
Ed: Roderick Jaynes & Tricia Cooke
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: Rick Heinrichs
 
Jeff Bridges (Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski), John Goodman (Walter Sobchak), Julianne Moore (Maude Lebowski), Steve Buscemi (Donny), Peter Stormare (Karl Hungus), David Huddlestone (Jeffrey (The Big) Lebowski), John Turturro (Jesus Quintana), David Thewlis (Knox Harrington), Ben Gazzara (Jackie Treehorn), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Brandt), Sam Elliott (The Stranger)
 
Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski is a lethargic stoner who is mistaken for a disabled billionaire with the same name whose bimbo ex-porn star wife has been kidnapped. The wheelchair-bound billionaire asks the slacker to be the middleman for the ransom money, but all 'The Dude' really wants is a replacement rug and to hang out with his bowling buddies.
You probably do have to be a fan of the Coen Brothers, who have created a genre all to themselves, to fully enjoy this.
It's pretty much a Shaggy Dog story which makes it up as it goes along, but it features the usual offbeat, zany characters and situations synonymous with the filmmaker's other works, not to mention stuffed with hidden jokes and cryptic metaphors which may not be picked up on during an initial viewing.
Jeff Bridges absolutely steals this movie, making "The Dude" one of the coolest and laidback movie characters in cinema history.
8/10
 
THE BIG MAN (aka CROSSING THE LINE) (18)
D: David Leland
Palace/Miramax/BSB (Stephen Woolley)
🇬🇧 1990
116 mins
 
Drama/Crime/Sports
 
W: Don MacPherson [based on the novel by William McIlvanney]
DP: Ian Wilson
Ed: George Akers
Mus: Ennio Morricone
 
Liam Neeson (Danny Scoular), Joanne Whalley-Kilmer (Beth Scoular), Billy Connolly (Frankie), Ian Bannen (Matt Mason), Hugh Grant (Gordon)
 
A rather run-of-the-mill drama featuring a decent Liam Neeson performance as an out of work miner in Scotland who turns to underground bare-knuckle boxing run by a crime syndicate to earn his bread. 
It's a rather gloomy watch, but the fine performances make it watchable.
6/10

BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE (12)
D: Raja Gosnell
20th Century Fox/Regency (David T. Friendly & Michael Green)
🇺🇸 2000
98 mins
 
Comedy/Crime
 
W: Darryl Quarles & Don Rhymer
DP: Michael O'Shea
Ed: Bruce Green & Kent Bedya
Mus: Richard Gibbs
PD: Craig Stearns
 
Martin Lawrence (Malcolm Turner), Nia Long (Sherry Pierce), Paul Giamatti (John Maxwell), Terrence Howard (Lester Vesco), Anthony Anderson (Nolan), Ella Mitchell (Hattie Mae Pierce), Jascha Washington (Trent Pierce)
 
FBI agent Martin Lawrence dons a fat suit and makeup to disguise himself as an obese granny in order to catch an escaped bank robber.
A low brow comedy with fart jokes which is basically a black version of Mrs. Doubtfire with a slight inclination into the crime genre.
Martin Lawrence seems to fancy himself as the new Eddie Murphy, but he simply doesn't have the charisma.
If the sight and sound of a fat black woman breaking wind amuses you then you'll find this a comedy treat. 
4/10
 
"This is a true story."
"This is a true story."
THE BIG SHORT (15)
D: Adam McKay
Paramount/Regency/Plan B (Arnon Milchan, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner & Brad Pitt)
🇺🇸 2015
130 mins

Drama/Comedy

W: Adam McKay & Charles Randolph [based on the book by Michael Lewis]
DP: Barry Ackroyd
Ed: Hank Corwin
Mus: Nicholas Britell

Christian Bale (Michael Burry), Steve Carell (Mark Baum), Ryan Gosling (Jared Vennett), Brad Pitt (Ben Rickert)

The Big Short is a totally remarkable film due to the fact that there really isn't a good guy in the extraordinary true story that is brought to the screen. The dog-eat-dog world of housing, finance and stocks and shares is laid bare as a quartet of investment traders foresee a scenario where owners of prime real estate could default payments on their mortgages and money can be made by gambling against the banks that the housing market will crash. Michael Burry, a former neurologist turned Wall Street financial expert, heads the action, betting more than $1 billion of his investors money into the scheme, mostly against their wishes.
Screenwriters Adam McKay and Charles Randolph make the plot easy to follow for those who aren't involved in the world of finance without resorting to dumbing down the material. They also lend some humour to the serious subject matter without being sordid or inappropriate.
The ensemble cast are fantastic, especially Christian Bale as Michael Burry and Steve Carell as Mark Baum, possibly the only character with an honest conscience. 
The film was nominated for Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars, and in all honesty, it probably should have won.
8/10

THE BIG SICK (15)

D: Michael Showalter

Amazon/Filmnation (Judd Apatow & Barry Mendel)

🇺🇸 2017

117 mins


Comedy/Drama


W: Kumail Nanjiani & Emily V. Gordon

DP: Brian Burgoyne

Ed: Robert Nassau

Mus: Michael Andrews


Kumail Nanjiani (Kumail Nanjiani), Zoe Kazan (Emily Gardner), Holly Hunter (Beth Gardner), Ray Romano (Terry Gardner), Adeel Akhtar (Naveed)


The Big Sick offers a breakthrough role for Pakistani-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani, who plays himself in this partly autobiographical rom-com, in which he embarks upon a romance with grad student Emily Gardner, where they are met not only with culture clash obstacles, but a mysterious illness which leaves Emily comatose.

Emily's parents travel to the big city to watch over their daughter's state of health and become charmed by Kumail's personality.

The film is practically a 21st century twist on Love Story with more focus on humour, and though the dialogue feels like it was written by Buzzfeed staff, there are many charming moments and some good performances, particularly from Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as Emily's parents.

It's not a surprise that many critics are naming The Big Sick amongst their favourites of 2017.

7/10


THE BIG SLEEP (PG)
D: Howard Hawks
Warner Bros (Howard Hawks)
🇺🇸 1946
118 mins

Crime/Mystery/Thriller

W: William Faulkner, Jules Furthman & Leigh Brackett [based on the novel by Raymond Chandler]
DP: Sid Hickox
Ed: Christian Nyby
Mus: Max Steiner

Humphrey Bogart (Philip Marlowe), Lauren Bacall (Vivian Rutledge), John Ridgely (Eddie Mars), Louis Jean Heydt (Joe Brody), Elisha Cook, Jr (Jones), Regis Toomey (Bernie Ohis), Sonia Darrin (Agnes), Bob Steele (Canino), Martha Vickers (Carmen)

The Big Sleep is often considered the best detective picture of the 1940's and it's a claim which is difficult to argue against.
Based on one of Raymond Chandler's most famous novels, Humphrey Bogart slips into the shoes of lead character Philip Marlowe with complete ease, taking on a case which involves blackmail, pornography and murder. 
The story is years ahead of its time, full of mystery and suspense, and even an unsolved element.
Lauren Bacall is perfect as the catty femme fatale and her on-screen chemistry with Bogart simply sizzles.
A few characteristics now seem a bit old-fashioned, but for 1946, this is simply stellar filmmaking.
9/10

"Some people pick the damndest places to start a fight!"
"Some people pick the damndest places to start a fight!"

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (15)

D: John Carpenter

20th Century Fox (Larry J. Franco)

🇺🇸 1986

99 mins

 

Adventure/Fantasy/Comedy

 

W: W.D. Richter, Gary Goldman & David Z. Weinstein

DP: Dean Cundey

Ed: Mark Warner

Mus: John Carpenter

PD: John J. Lloyd

 

Kurt Russell (Jack Burton), Kim Cattrall (Gracie Law), Dennis Dun (Wang Chi), James Hong (David Lo Pan), Victor Wong (Egg Shen), Kate Burton (Margo Litzenberger)

 

A comic-book style fantasy adventure which, by all rights, probably wouldn't have been made at all had it not been conceived in the 1980's.

Kurt Russell does his best John Wayne impression as a roguish, wisecracking truck driver who finds himself caught up between rival Chinese gangs in San Francisco's Chinatown, culminating in a showdown with an ancient wizard who abducts a pair of women with the intention of marrying them to give him even greater power.

It's all a rather silly and incredibly cheesy attempt to emulate and capitalise on the success of the Indiana Jones movies, but it has moments of thrilling action and hilariously ridiculous comedy, in a style which could have only been got away with in the 1980's.

A flop during its cinema run (possibly because it was released the same week as Aliens), it did go on to have huge cult success when it hit the home video market. I don't consider it demonstrative of director John Carpenter's best work. It is good fun though.

6/10

 

"History is about to be rewritten by two guys who can't spell."
"History is about to be rewritten by two guys who can't spell."
BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE (PG)
D: Stephen Herek
Castle Premier/Interscope (Scott Kroopf, Michael S. Murphy & Joel Soisson)
🇺🇸 1989
89 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Ed Solomon & Chris Matheson
DP: Timothy Surstedt
Ed: Larry Bock & Patrick Rand
Mus: David Newman
PD: Roy Forge Smith & Lynda Paradise
 
Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston), Keanu Reeves (Ted "Theodore" Logan), Robert V. Barron (Abraham Lincoln), Terry Camilleri (Napoleon), Al Leong (Genghis Khan), Rod Loomis (Sigmund Freud), Dan Shor (Billy the Kid), Tony Steedman (Socrates), Jane Wiedlin (Joan of Arc), George Carlin (Rufus)         
 
With the aid of a time-travelling phone booth, two high school slackers abduct historical figures like Joan Of Arc, Abraham Lincoln & Socrates and bring them back to modern day California so they can pass their history essay and not flunk their exams, success of which keeps them together for the sake of their band, Wyld Stallyns, whose music eventually changes the world for the better.
Bill & Ted is virtually a one-joke movie about idiot time travellers which nevertheless amassed a cult audience amongst the MTV crowd of the late 80's and early 90's, when the surfer-dude / stoner character was all the rage, Bill & Ted are a little more innocent than that, and the double act between the two leads works particularly well.
It's all very stupid, but fun unpretentious nonsense never hurt anybody. Keanu Reeves went on to become an A-list star following the success of the film, but whatever happened to Alex Winter?
6/10

"Once... They made history. Now... They are history."
"Once... They made history. Now... They are history."
BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY (PG)
D: Peter Hewitt
Columbia Tristar/Orion/Nelson (Scott Kroopf) 
🇺🇸 1991
93 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Ed Solomon & Chris Matheson
DP: Oliver Wood
Ed: David Finfer
Mus: David Newman
 
Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston / Evil Bill / Granny Preston), Keanu Reeves (Ted 'Theodore' Logan / Evil Ted), William Sadler (Death), Joss Ackland (Chuck De Nomolos), George Carlin (Rufus)
 
The two Californian boneheads from the first movie return in a sequel which sees them killed by two futuristic robot lookalikes. 
In the afterlife, the real Bill & Ted must challenge the Grim Reaper to a contest in order to reclaim their souls so they can return to their town of San Dimas to ensure that their rock band wins Battle Of The Bands and their music creates a utopic future society.
The plot is far more simple than it sounds and the jokes pretty much revolve around the way the two main characters talk (i.e. like idiots).
Despite gathering a rather large cult following it has dated incredibly badly.
4/10
 

BILLY ELLIOT (15)

D: Stephen Daldry
UIP/Working Title/BBC/Arts Council/Tiger Aspect (Greg Brenman & Jon Finn)
🇬🇧 2000
111 mins
 
Drama
 
W: Lee Hall
DP: Brian Tufano
Ed: John Wilson
Mus: Stephen Warbeck
PD: Maria Djurkovic
 
Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), Julie Walters (Mrs Wilkinson), Gary Lewis (Dad), Jamie Traven (Tony), Jean Heywood (Grandmother), Stuart Wells (Michael), Nicola Blackwell (Debbie)
 
Uplifting British drama set in County Durham during the mining strikes of 1984, while his dad and older brother are involved in strike action against their employers, 11-year-old Billy is learning ballet, much to the disgust of his father, who wants his son to learn boxing.
Young Jamie Bell is absolutely fantastic in this drama, torn between his love of dance and his dysfunctional family. Julie Walters is also brilliant as the teacher who inspires Billy, as is Gary Lewis as his stubborn father.
A slice of North East lives during a troubling period with a genuinely exhilarating feelgood factor. It's no surprise that a stage play was born off of the success of this movie.
8/10
 

BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK (15)

D: Ang Lee

Tristar/Studio 8/L Star Capital/Film4 (Marc Platt, Ang Lee, Rhodri Thomas & Stephen Cornwell)

🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇨🇳 2016

113 mins 


Drama/War


W: Jean-Christophe Castilli [based on the novel by Ben Fountain]

DP: John Toll

Ed: Tim Squyres

Mus: Mychael Danna & Jeff Danna


Joe Alwyn (Billy Lynn), Garrett Hedlund (Staff Sgt. David Dime), Kristen Stewart (Kathryn Lynn), Chris Tucker (Albert), Steve Martin (Norm Oglesby), Vin Diesel (Shroom), Makenzie Leigh (Faison Zorn)


A complete misfire from a director who can produce so much better. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is an absolute dirge which attempts to highlight PTSD of a marine returning back to the United States after a tour of duty in Iraq.

Presented as a hero with his unit as the halftime entertainment of a football game, Billy Lynn begins to suffer flashbacks of the conflict overseas, but that doesn't stop him fucking a cheerleader for no reason whatsoever.

Though this broke new ground of the filmmaking process (photographed at 120 fps) and there are moments which are visually striking, neither the story nor the characters are particularly engaging, the marines are portrayed as mindless meatheads and the anti-war sentiment doesn't come across at all. It's little wonder that this film bombed heavy at the box office.

Long, disappointing and pointless.

4/10


"He's every woman's dream and one woman's nightmare."
"He's every woman's dream and one woman's nightmare."
BIRD ON A WIRE (15)
D: John Badham
UIP/Universal (Ron Cohen)
🇺🇸 1990
111 mins
 
Comedy/Thriller
 
W: David Seltzer, Louis Venosta & Eric Lerner
DP: Robert Primes
Ed: Frank Morriss & Dallas Puett
Mus: Hans Zimmer
PD: Philip Harrison
 
Mel Gibson (Rick Jarmin), Goldie Hawn (Marianne Graves), David Carradine (Eugene Sorenson, Bill Duke (Albert Biggs), Stephen Tobolowsky (Joe Weyburn), Joan Severence (Rachel Varney)
 
Frenetic chase comedy about a lawyer and her ex-boyfriend who try to outrun those trying to kill them. 
It's been done before, it's been done since, this is barely memorable for any reason except for the moderately amusing pairing of Mel Gibson & Goldie Hawn.
4/10
 
THE BIRDCAGE (15)
D: Mike Nichols
United Artists (Mike Nichols)
🇺🇸 1996
119 mins
 
Comedy
 
W: Elaine May [based on the screenplay 'La Cage Aux Folles' by Francis Veber, Edouard Molinaro, Marcello Danon & Jean Poiret]
DP: Emmanuel Lubezki
Ed: Arthur Schmidt
Mus: Jonathan Tunick & Steven Goldstein
PD: Bo Welch
 
Robin Williams (Armand Goldman), Nathan Lane (Albert), Gene Hackman (Senator Keeley), Dianne Wiest (Louise Keeley), Christine Baranski (Katharine), Hank Azaria (Agador), Dan Futterman (Val Goldman), Calista Flockhart (Barbara Keeley)
 
American remake of a French cross-dressing farce from 1979 about the son of a gay nightclub owner who persuades his father to act straight at a dinner with his future in-laws, a conservative senator and his wife.  His father's partner however, a drag act, insists on joining them at dinner posing as the boy's mother.
As far as remakes go, this certainly isn't terrible, but it's simply too stereotypical and old-fashioned to be funny, it is quite entertaining though with some decent performances. It probably came out 10 years after it would have been best appreciated.
5/10
 
BIRDEMIC: SHOCK & TERROR (15)
D: James Nguyen
Severin/Moviehead (James Nguyen & Tim Ubels)
🇺🇸 2008 (released 2010)
92 mins
 
Horror
 
W: James Nguyen
 
Alan Bagh (Rod), Whitney Moore (Nathalie), Janae Carter (Susan), Colton Osborne (Tony), Adam Sessa (Ramsey)
 
This is so atrociously bad that I actually find it insulting that this movie managed to find a distributer whilst many better films are still stuck in purgatory.
I don't acknowledge that this is meant to be a bad low budget film, plenty of them were made during the 1960's and still managed to provide adequate entertainment, whereas this doesn't provide any, all due to terrible production values, where all the rules of general filmmaking are ignored for something cheap and shoddy. What makes it even worse is that director of this pathetic excuse for a film actually took it seriously, with product placement for a ecological website thrown into nearly every scene.
In a nutshell it's a ripoff of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, but most of the film is wasted with establishing shots and 5 minute scenes of a character sitting in traffic, getting petrol, sitting in traffic, walking into work (no dialogue, just shots which had clearly been filmed in pickups - the period after principal photography when a second unit crew go out for establishing shots and non-essential close ups, etc.).  
When the horror/thriller element of the film does get going, it's far too late to generate any interest because you just don't care about the lifelessly dull characters. 
Without all the nonsensical filler, this may have passed the cut as a short film (20-30 mins) and while it still would have been pretty bad, it wouldn't have been an insulting waste of time, equipment and celluloid.
Honestly, there is nothing good about this film. The direction, acting, photography, editing, sound and special effects are below what I would associate with even an amateur movie. The attacking birds explode on impact and have the ability to spray acid at their victims. We'll have to talk to Charles Darwin about that one.
Of all the terrible films I've seen, of which there have been several, this has to be the worst of the lot. Scoring nothing out of ten for a rating is generous.
0/10