"The animal is out."
"The animal is out."
WOLF (18)
D: Mike Nichols
Columbia (Douglas Wick)
US 1994
125 mins


W: Jim Harrison & Wesley Strick 
DP: Giuseppe Rotunno
Ed: Sam O'Steen
Mus: Ennio Morricone

Jack Nicholson (Will Randall), Michelle Pfeiffer (Laura Alden), James Spader (Stewart Swinton), Kate Nelligan (Charlotte Randall), Christopher Plummer (Raymond Alden)

The biggest disappointment of 1994? Well, it's certainly one of them. 
A publishing editor is bitten by a wolf and begins to develop lycanthrope tendencies, including an increased aural perception and howling at the moon. 
The trouble is that this is a werewolf film that simply isn't remotely scary, instead it settles for a character study on a mythical beast and a romance between Wolfman Jack and Michelle Pfeiffer which doesn't work due to the complete lack of on-screen chemistry. 
An unfulfilling mish-mash of genres which don't go to the same parties.

"How can you be found when no-one knows you're missing?"
"How can you be found when no-one knows you're missing?"
D: Greg McLean
Roadshow Entertainment (Greg McLean & David Lightfoot)
Australia 2005
99 mins


W: Greg McLean
DP: Will Gibson
Ed: Jason Ballantine
Mus: François Tetaz

John Jarratt (Mick Taylor), Cassandra Magrath (Liz Hunter), Kestie Morassi (Kristy Earl), Nathan Phillips (Ben Mitchell)

An Australian Chainsaw Massacre of sorts, claiming to be based on true events, but since the story is the account of one who didn't bear witness to the events it's obvious that this is all dramatisation.
Three twentysomething backpackers, a guy and two girls, find themselves stranded in the outback after their vehicle breaks down. A bushman comes to their rescue and drives them to his junkyard in the middle of the remote desert, where it emerges that he's a sadistic psychopath and subjects them to torture and sexual molestation. 
Though the claims to be based on true events are nonsense, Wolf Creek is still an effective piece of horror, formulaic to a point but it benefits heavily from atmospheric photography and a creepily menacing performance from John Jarratt.

"More is never enough."
"More is never enough."
D: Martin Scorsese
Paramount/Red Granite/Appian Way/Sikelia/Emjag (Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland & Emma Tillinger Koskoff)
US 2013
180 mins


W: Terence Winter [based on the book by Jordan Bellfort]
DP: Rodrigo Prieto
Ed: Thelma Schoonmaker

Leonardo DiCaprio (Jordan Bellfort), Margot Robbie (Naomi LaPaglia), Jonah Hill (Donnie Azoff), Matthew McConaughey (Mark Hanna), Kyle Chandler (Patrick Denham), Cristin Milioti (Teresa Petrillo), Jon Favreau (Manny Riskin)

Step aside DeNiro! Leonardo DiCaprio has a brilliant collaboration going on which is beginning to rival the screen legend's partnership with the great director. This is the fifth film which DiCaprio has worked with Scorsese, following Gangs Of New York, The Aviator, The Departed & Shutter Island.

The Wolf Of Wall Street amounts pretty much to Goodfellas of the financial world. Based on the true story of Jordan Bellfort, a drug-addicted, sex-addicted, money-addicted stockbroker who lives life to full excess and pays the penalty when the FBI investigate his wrongdoing and underhand tactics.

This black comedy is as black as they come with DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and co all playing unsympathetic characters who get rich making others poor, indulging in the lifestyles of rich and famous and taking an insane amount of drugs.

Although the characters are morally unpleasant, this film is absolutely hilarious with the characters suffering from their own greed and self-indulgence.

In another year, DiCaprio might have won the Best Actor Oscar for this performance (he lost out to Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club).

At nearly 3 hours, this film is a long slog and the first hour rolls along slowly, but it's full steam ahead after that and a brilliant comedy of yuppie greed during the 1980's and 90's.

"The legend is alive."
"The legend is alive."
D: Joe Johnston
Universal/Relativity Media (Scott Stuber, Rick Yorn, Sean Daniel & Benicio del Toro)
US 2010
103 mins (extended version: 119 mins)


W: Andrew Kevin Walker & David Self [based on the screenplay by Curt Siodmak] 
DP: Shelly Johnson
Ed: Dennis Virkler & Walter Murch
Mus: Danny Elfman

Benicio del Toro (Lawrence Talbot / The Wolfman), Anthony Hopkins (Sir John Talbot), Emily Blunt (Gwen Conliffe), Hugo Weaving (Francis Aberline), Geraldine Chaplin (Maleva)

Remake of the 1941 Lon Chaney classic, this version may appear glossier, with more expensive special effects, but this adaptation is still left wanting.
A man returns home from America and discovers that he is a werewolf, he is subsequently committed to a lunatic asylum, but upon the full moon escapes to spread bloodshed through Victorian London.
The biggest curiosity about the film is that it won an Academy Award for Best Makeup, when the majority of the werewolf scenes are done using CGI. Worth watching for the transformation scene, but it doesn't have anything on An American Werewolf In London (qv).

D: James Mangold
20th Century Fox/Marvel (Lauren Shuler-Donner & Hutch Parker)
US/UK 2013
126 mins

Science Fiction/Action/Adventure

W: Mark Bomback & Scott Frank [based on characters created by Chris Claremont & Frank Miller]
DP: Ross Emery
Ed: Michael McCusker
Mus: Marco Beltrami

Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Hiroyuki Sanada (Shingen Yashida), Tao Okamoto (Mariko Yashida), Rila Fukushima (Yukio), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey)

This is proof that Wolverine needs the X-Men more than the X-Men need Wolverine.

X-Men: First Class went by without the iconic character (albeit a brief cameo) and was thoroughly enjoyable with plenty of action scenes whilst remaining faithful to the original comic source.

This is more a spin-off, following on from the events in X-Men: The Last Stand, with Logan (aka Wolverine) sobbing into his sadness beard as he grieves about losing the woman he loved. He then travels to Japan to see an old man, who as a young soldier he saved from an atomic blast in Nagasaki during WWII. The old man went on to become a successful Japanese entrepreneur who offers Logan a chance to become mortal again. Logan refuses and the old man dies later that night.

The Yakuza ambush the old man's granddaughter, who Logan protects and goes into hiding with, though his mutant powers are diminishing and it's not clear why. It turns out it's the work of another mutant, a viper woman who's work was keeping the old man alive beyond his years, leading to a showdown with a robotic samurai which is all a bit of an anticlimax and incredibly predictable.

Hugh Jackman does his best with what he's given, he really is the only actor who can do justice to the character but the script and poorly staged action scenes let him down. It has to be said that for a film of this magnitude, the visual effects are absolutely horrendous.

Overall, this is a bit of a 'fuck you' to fans of the X-Men films, although a post credit sequence featuring Magneto & Professor X give some hope that the character will get a chance of redemption in the next X-Men outing.

D: Gene Wilder
Orion (Victor Drai)
US 1984
86 mins


W: Gene Wilder [based on the screenplay "Pardon mon Affair: Un Eléphant ça Trompe Enormement" by Jean-Loup Dabadie & Yves Robert]
DP: Fred Schuler
Ed: Christopher Greenbury
Mus: John Morris; Stevie Wonder

Gene Wilder (Theodore Pierce), Kelly LeBrock (Charlotte), Charles Grodin (Buddy), Joseph Bologna (Joe), Judith Ivey (Didi Pierce), Gilda Radner (Ms. Milner)

Remake of a French farce which follows much in the footsteps of Blake Edwards' 1979 sex-comedy 10 (qv).
En route to work, a married man spots a beautiful woman in a red dress and becomes obsessed with the thought of taking her to bed.
Tacky, tawdry and dated, the film is memorable only for three reasons; the first being Stevie Wonder's Oscar-winning song "I Just Called To Say I Love You", the second is in it's homage to Marilyn Monroe's iconic skirt uplift from The Seven Year Itch, and the third being Kelly LeBrock getting out of bed naked, covering her boobs but not her muff.
"Who gives you courage to face the world?"
"Who gives you courage to face the world?"


D: Stephen Chbosky

Lionsgate/Mandeville/Participant Media/Walden Media/TIK (David Hoberman & Todd Lieberman)

US 2017

113 mins 


W: Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad & Stephen Chbosky [based on the novel by R.J. Palacio]

DP: Don Burgess

Ed: Mark Livolsi 

Mus: Marcelo Zarvos & Bea Miller

Julia Roberts (Isabel Pullman), Owen Wilson (Nate Pullman), Jacob Tremblay (August 'Augie' Pullman), Izabela Vidovic (Olivia Pullman), Noah Jupe (Jack Will)

Wonder is the story of August Pullman, a young boy with a rare facial deformity (Treacher Collins Syndrome), and his family around him.

Home-schooled by his mother from early childhood, his parents now feel the time is right to enrol him at a public school where he initially has trouble fitting in, but his creativity and intellect help him find acceptance and attain friendships. Simultaneously, his sister has her own troubles with friendships and relationship and his parents have there own issues to deal with.

This drama film does have very good intentions, but comes off as very twee and the fact that the Pullman family are more on the socialite side of society than working-middle class does damage the triumph over adversity theme. 1985's Mask (qv) tackled similar themes in a much better way and was a significantly better film.

Wonder has good performances and excellent makeup work, and makes for good family viewing, but it also feels like an Oscar-grab movie with its overall treatment. Worth a single watch, but it won't inspire you with wonder.


D: Curtis Hanson
Paramount/Mutual (Scott Rudin & Curtis Hanson)
US 2000
112 mins


W: Steve Kloves [based on the novel by Michael Chabon]
DP: Dante Spinotti
Ed: Dede Allen
Mus: Christopher Young

Michael Douglas (Grady Tripp), Tobey Maguire (James Leer), Frances McDormand (Sara Gaskell), Robert Downey, Jr. (Terry Crabtree), Katie Holmes (Hannah Green), Richard Thomas (Walter Gaskell), Rip Torn (Q)

Michael Douglas stars as Grady Tripp, an academic novelist suffering both writer's block and a mid-life crisis whilst his protégé, a young student sees his fortunes turn upwards.
This black comedy is mostly a series of disasters for it's leading man, who gives his best screen performance for the best part of a decade, helped by a witty screenplay adapted from Michael Chabron's novel.


D: Woody Allen

Amazon Studios/Gravier/Perdido (Letty Aronson, Edward Walson & Erika Aronson)

US 2017

101 mins


W: Woody Allen

DP: Vittorio Storaro

Ed: Alisa Lepselter

Kate Winslet (Ginny Rannell), Juno Temple (Carolina Rannell), Justin Timberlake (Mickey Rubin), Jim Belushi (Humpty Rannell)

2017 seemed to be the year of Wonder, with a whole clutch of releases similarly named (Wonder Woman, Wonderstruck, Wonder) including Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel, named after the Ferris Wheel at the Coney Island amusement park which serves as a location for this film.

I do find Woody Allen's films quite hit-and-miss, but I do admire the fact that he's made at least one film per year since 1982, even though they're all pretty much the same story, just at different locations with different performers.

This one stars Kate Winslet, Juno Temple & Justin Timberlake in the love triangle between a recovering alcoholic's second wife, his estranged daughter from a previous marriage and a young lifeguard. In what seems to have become Allen's trademark, all the pieces are set up and characters fleshed out, before the film ends without really resolving anything, and it does so here quite frustratingly, making this little more than a shaggy dog story.

Good performances and dialogue, and it's a crisp and breezy 101 minutes. It's just a little bit pointless.



D: Patty Jenkins

Warner Bros/Ratpac-Dune/DC (Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder & Richard Suckle)

US 2017

141 mins


W: Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder & Jason Fuchs

DP: Matthew Jensen

Ed: Martin Walsh

Mus: Rupert Gregson-Williams

Gal Gadot (Diana, Princess of Themyscira / Wonder Woman), Chris Pine (Steve Trevor), Robin Wright (Antiope), Danny Huston (Gen. Erich Ludendorff), David Thewlis (Sir Patrick Morgan), Connie Nielsen (Hippolyta), Elena Anaya (Isabel Maru / Doctor Poison), Lucy Davis (Etta Candy)

Gal Gadot's portrayal of Wonder Woman in 2016's Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice (qv), was arguably the best part of a very dull movie.

Her own origin story doesn't fail to entertain either, meaning there is hope for DC comics to have their own movie universe to rival Marvel. 

Wonder Woman's story starts on Themyscira, a secret island populated with Amazonian women, of which Diana, the young princess is kept in the dark that she's actually an immortal goddess who possesses great strength. 

The idyllic paradise soon comes under attack from an attempted Nazi invasion when an American spy crashes into the surrounding sea, prompting Diana into leaving the island on a quest to find the God of War, who she believes is the force behind World War II.

Gal Gadot is excellent in the lead, bring beauty and brawn to present a strong superhero who still remains incredibly feminine, there's also a love interest in the shape of Chris Pine to satisfy a romance angle and the comic relief is reasonably well-written.

All the visual effects and technical work is of the high quality you'd expect from a Hollywood blockbuster and it sets up the next film in the DC series (Justice League) nicely.


"What's the worst thing you ever did?"
"What's the worst thing you ever did?"
D: Nicole Kassell
Newmarket (Lee Daniels)
US 2004 (released 2005)
87 mins


W: Nicole Kassell & Steven Fechter [based on the novel by Steven Fechter]
DP: Xavier Perez
Ed: Brian A. Kates & Lisa Fruchtman
Mus: Nathan Larson

Kevin Bacon (Walter), Kyra Sedgwick (Vicki), Eve (Mary Kay), Mos Def (Sgt. Lucas), David Alan Grier (Bob), Benjamin Bratt (Carlos), Michael Shannon (Rosen)

Nicole Kassell handles difficult subject matter very well in this small independent film. Kevin Bacon plays Walter, a paedophile who is released from prison after 12 years and returns to his home town where he finds it increasingly difficult to settle back into life, caught in a vicious circle of self-loathing and helplessness. The subject matter doesn't skirt around the issues that it raises, neither sensationalising or even evoking pity for Bacon's character, who gives an excellent performance in a determinedly focused and low-key role. It's not a pleasant watch, but a very powerful film about a very challenging subject.

D: Mike Nichols
20th Century Fox (Douglas Wick)
US 1988
113 mins


W: Kevin Wade
DP: Michael Ballhaus
Ed: Sam O'Steen & Richard Nord
Mus: Carly Simon

Melanie Griffith (Tess McGill), Harrison Ford (Jack Trainer), Sigourney Weaver (Katherine Parker), Joan Cusack (Cyn), Alec Baldwin (Mick), Philip Bosco (Oren Trask), Kevin Spacey (Bob Speck)

Melanie Griffith plays ambitious secretary Tess McGill in this women-in-business rom-com. After a string of unsuccessful jobs, she finds herself as an assistant to career bitch Katherine Parker, but when the boss is hospitalised after a skiing accident, Tess has her own stab at mergers and acquisitions with the help of charming businessman Jack Trainer.
This small girl in the big city fable is very much a product of the yuppie 1980's and could easily be likened as the female equivalent of the testosterone-packed Wall Street (qv). Melanie Griffith gives a delightfully charming role in the lead, but her thunder is stolen by her scene-stealing best friend Cyn (Joan Cusack). It's also impossible to ignore Sigourney Weaver's performance, who plays the office bitch to perfection.
D: Michael Apted
MGM/Eon (Michael G. Wilson & Barbara Broccoli)
US 1999
125 mins


W: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade & Bruce Feistein [based on characters created by Ian Fleming]
DP: Adrian Biddle
Ed: Jim Clark
Mus: David Arnold

Pierce Brosnan (James Bond), Sophie Marceau (Elektra King), Robert Carlyle (Victor Zokas), Denise Richards (Christmas Jones), Robbie Coltrane (Valentin Zukovsky), Judi Dench (M), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), John Cleese (R)

Pierce Brosnan's third appearance as James Bond sees him take on a villain who is immune from feeling any pain. 
The film begins well, with an action-packed gambit which seems to be the staple of Bond movies. It soon goes downhill though, especially after the introduction of Bond girl Christmas Jones, played by a hugely miscast Denise Richards, who may be pleasing on the eye, but can't act for shit.
Certainly better than Brosnan's next outing as 007 (the awful Die Another Day).
D: Marc Forster
Paramount/Skydance (Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner & Ian Bryce)
US 2013
116 mins


W: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelhof [based on the novel by Max Brooks]
DP: Ben Seresin
Ed: Roger Barton & Matt Chesse
Mus: Marco Beltrami

Brad Pitt (Gerry Lane), Mirielle Enos (Karin Lane), James Badge Dale (Capt. Speke) Daniella Kertesz (Segen), Fana Mokoena (Thierry Umutoni)

Though this film claims to be based on the book by Max Brooks, the only similarities between the two mediums are the title and the subject of zombies. 
The book follows a survivor of a zombie apocalypse as he interviews other survivors in the quest of discovering the source of the 'virus', this adaptation merely copies the formula from other zombie flicks, with a UN official jetting across the globe in the hope of finding a cure, while his family risk being denied military protection should he fail.
The production values, visual effects and makeup are all very well done, but as an adaptation, this is lazy screenwriting, especially with so many other films and TV shows floating around which are basically the same thing.

"Good food. Fine ales. Total annihilation."
"Good food. Fine ales. Total annihilation."
D: Edgar Wright
Universal/Relativity/Working Title (Nira Park, Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner)
UK 2013
109 mins

Comedy/Science Fiction

W: Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg
DP: Bill Pope
Ed: Paul Machliss
Mus: Steven Price

Simon Pegg (Gary), Nick Frost (Andy), Martin Freeman (Oliver), Eddie Marsan (Peter), Paddy Considine (Steven), Rosamund Pike (Sam)

Following Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz comes this third part of the 'Cornetto Trilogy' and it's by far the weakest of the three.

While the previous two films were silly without being stupid, The World's End is just stupid. 

The story concerns a group of five friends who haven't seen each other since their school days in the early 90's. They hook up to participate in an infamous pub crawl of 12 pubs in their old home town and half way through the evening discover that their old neighbourhood is populated with robotic humanoids.

In a nutshell, it's Invasion Of The Body Snatchers wedged into a pub crawl.  There are a couple of amusing moments but none of the jokes are 'laugh out loud funny' and the most original one in the entire film is that Nick Frost is playing the mature, responsible character whilst Simon Pegg is the raucous, immature, irresponsible one.

Ironically, the film was released at a time when all the pubs in Britain are facing extinction (which was perhaps intended), but there seems no real point to the film and it's a huge disappointment compared to the previous films from the same acting/writing duo.


D: Rich Moore
Disney (Clark Spencer)
US 2012
101 mins


W: Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee, Rich Moore & Jim Reardon
Mus: Henry Jackman

voices of: John C. Reilly (Wreck-It Ralph), Sarah Silverman (Vanellope Von Schweetz), Jack McBrayer (Fix-It Felix), Jane Lynch (Sgt. Calhoun)

This Pixar movie draws many comparisons with Toy Story but I still think it's the best animated film released in 2012 (much better than the same studio's Brave, which bored me beyond belief).

Much like Toy Story, it follows an array of characters who spring to life when there are no human witnesses, this time it's characters from the world of video games.

Ralph is a bad guy from an 8-bit arcade called 'Fix-It Felix', in which he demolishes a house while the good guy repairs it. Sick of a repetitive existence of not being appreciated, he game-jumps so he can be viewed as a good guy, but succeeds only in putting other video games in peril. 

The story is great for kids of all ages and the references to video games of the 90's will keep the maturer viewers pleased.

Despite not being too original, it's a good, fun movie with some sweet and funny moments.



D: Rich Moore & Phil Johnston

Disney (Clark Spencer)

US 2018

112 mins


W: Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribon, Rich Moore, Jim Reardon & Josie Trinidad

Mus: Henry Jackman

voices of: John C. Reilly (Wreck-It Ralph), Sarah Silverman (Vanellope Von Schweetz), Gal Gadot (Shank), Taraji P. Henson (Yesss), Alan Tudyk (Knowsmore)


The hypocrisy of Hollywood at its very finest here, since The Emoji Movie did the exact same thing as this in 2017, but because this is Disney and it crams in some SJW agenda feminist message about toxic masculinity (misandry seems to be very big in 2018) this is being considered a good film. Piffle!

Not only is this a weak sequel, I believe it actually does great harm to the original film and the messages it conveyed, such as being happy in yourself, and even those perceived as bad guys can have good within them. There's none of that here. In fact, Ralph isn't even the main character. It's all about Vanellope and her emancipation from the patriarchy, because fuck men. In a kid's film. Well done Disney.

The plot sees Ralph and Vanellope escape their games when Wifi is installed at the games arcade and they journey through the Internet to find a new steering wheel on EBay for Vanellope's racing game after it was accidentally broken. In the first film, Vanellope was unable to leave her game because she was a glitch, but she can in this sequel because "reasons".

Through their online journey, a metropolis of product placement creates their new world of discovery with large buildings representing Snapchat (you know, for kids), Twitter (because this worked so well in The Emoji Movie) and Buzztube (an amalgamation of Buzzfeed and YouTube, because even young children should have Buzzfeed's content shoved down their throats). Their quest also introduces them to a car-racing game along the lines of Grand Theft Auto, completely inappropriate for Vanellope's age market, but who cares, seedy violence and a dangerous atmosphere is good for underage kids. This game also has a main female character because toxic masculinity must be stopped! 

Disney simply can't resist the opportunity to pimp its own shit here, so Star Wars and Marvel also make an appearance, as well as Disney Princesses who have a big scene where they want to ABOLISH THE PATRIARCHY, because TOXIC MASCULINITY. Remember, this is an important theme in a kids movie, and since Ralph is portrayed as an insecure doofus and all the other male characters are either criminals or pushovers, it's very easy for Disney to push this skewed message on the easily brainwashed.

There's also messages that a woman should do whatever the hell she pleases regardless of consequences, because the patriarchy must be stopped, so she abandons her game to live on the internet and despite gaining the steering wheel, Ralph goes back to his world alone like the awful, awful man he is.

Another bit of propaganda shoved down our throats is that we shouldn't pay attention to comments we read on the internet... especially those written by men, and we should believe everything we are told by Buzzfeed, Disney and other corporations, don't have independent thought at all. Do as you're told, you peasants. Buy their merchandise! Buy their merchandise! Buy their merchandise!!

This isn't Wreck It Ralph 2. It's The Emoji Movie 2.


"Never give up without a fight."
"Never give up without a fight."
D: Darren Aronofsky
Fox Searchlight/Wild Bunch/Protozoa (Scott Franklin)
US 2008
104 mins


W: Robert Siegel
DP: Maryse Alberti
Ed: Andrew Weisblum
Mus: Clint Mansell

Mickey Rourke (Randy 'The Ram' Robinson), Marisa Tomei (Cassidy), Evan Rachel Wood (Stephanie Ramzinsky), Mark Margolis (Lenny)

A dramatic study of life, work and relationships shown through the eyes of an has-been. Mickey Rourke delivers an excellent performance that lived up to all the hype as Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a wrestler forced into retirement for health reasons, trying to mend the broken relationship between himself and his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood).

Marisa Tomei is also deserving of praise for her performance as Randy's closest friend, an aging stripper with her own plans for a better life.

Darren Aronofsky's movies aren't always for every taste, but I'd recommend The Wrestler to most people. A dramatic, often heartbreaking and sometimes amusing story of who we are, who we were and who we aspire to be. The parting shot will linger on the mind for days.



D: Ava DuVernay

Disney (Jim Whitaker & Catherine Hand)

US 2018

109 mins

Adventure/Science Fiction/Fantasy

W: Jennifer Lee & Jeff Stockwell [based on the novel by Madeleine L'Engle]

DP: Tobias A. Schliessler

Ed: Spencer Averick

Mus: Ramin Djawadi

Storm Reid (Meg Murry), Deric McCabe (Charles Wallace Murry), Levi Miller (Calvin O'Keefe), Oprah Winfrey (Mrs. Which), Reese Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit), Mindy Kaling (Mrs. Who)

Disney studios, with their politically correct mindset, decided to prove a point by appointing an African-American Woman as a director for a multi-million dollar production, and though Ava DuVernay's 2014 movie Selma was amongst the best films of the year, nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, it's one thing to direct a serious biopic about Martin Luther King's political activism and a completely different thing to dip into the realms of science fiction fantasy, especially when the subject is adapted from a novel many deemed to be unfilmable.

In a nutshell, the plot follows a gifted young girl, who along with her brother and best friend, are transported across time and space by three supreme beings so she can rescue her estranged father from the forces of evil.

The movie bears some resemblance with 2009's The Lovely Bones, mostly in the respect that it's style over substance with the plot taking a back seat for bright and colourful visual effects to do its stuff... unfortunately, even the effects in this movie are very poorly done, perhaps because the director had little experience in using them.

DuVernay has since commented that the film is aimed solely at young girls between 7-14 years old, but this doesn't convince me. A good film should be able to transcend barriers such as age and gender. Perhaps I'm being a little harsh, especially since it does take chances with experimental methods rather than playing it safe, but that's just fancy talk for throwing things at the screen just to see what sticks. It's not harsh at all to call the film a complete mess, which is made even worse when people call it a "noble failure" due to it being a beacon for diversity and inclusion. 

Disney very proudly proclaimed that DuVernay was the first female person of colour to direct a film with a production budget of more than $100m... they were slightly more quiet when it emerged that the studio lost more than $80m on this vanity project.

Politically correct or not, A Wrinkle In Time is a complete mess of a film and amongst the worst released in 2018.


"An innocent man has nothing to fear."
"An innocent man has nothing to fear."
D: Alfred Hitchcock
Warner Bros (Alfred Hitchcock)
US 1956
105 mins


W: Maxwell Anderson & Angus MacPhail
DP: Robert Burks
Ed: George Tomasini
Mus: Bernard Herrmann

Henry Fonda (Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero), Vera Miles (Rose Balestrero), Anthony Quayle (Frank O'Connor), Harold J. Stone (Lt. Bowers), Esther Minciotti (Mrs. Balestrero)

The Wrong Man is one of Alfred Hitchcock's lesser known films, but is equally as good as many of his most well known movies.
Henry Fonda gives an astounding performance as Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero, a jazz musician and family man who is arrested for a crime that he didn't commit and may face a lengthy prison sentence when all the evidence appears to conspire against him, leaving his attorney with an impossible job and driving his wife to the brink of insanity.
The story is based on a real life event, tweaked slightly for dramatic effect. 
Fans of Hitchcock won't be disappointed with this one.

D: Nick Park
BBC/Aardman (Peter Lord & David Sproxton)
US 1993
29 mins


W: Nick Park & Bob Baker
Mus: Julian Nott

Peter Sallis (voice of Wallace)

Wallace & Gromit's second adventure is a brilliant inventive piece of stop motion animation from director and creator Nick Park.
The eccentric inventor and his super smart dog are framed for a jewellery heist by their new lodger, a cat burglar penguin, who uses their latest creation to carry out a robbery.
The film won an Oscar in 1993 for Best Animated Short Film.
D: Lawrence Kasdan
Warner Bros./Tig (Jim Wilson, Kevin Costner & Lawrence Kasdan)
US 1994
189 mins


W: Dan Gordon & Lawrence Kasdan
DP: Owen Roizman
Ed: Carol Littleton
Mus: James Newton Howard
PD: Ida Random

Kevin Costner (Wyatt Earp), Dennis Quaid (Doc Holliday), Gene Hackman (Nicholas Earp), David Andrews (James Earp), Linden Ashby (Morgan Earp), Jim Cavaziel (Warren Earp), Jeff Fahey (Ike Clanton), Joanna Going (Josie Marcus), Isabella Rossellini (Big Nose Kate)

It was a harsh criticism of Kevin Costner's staid, unemotional performance as the legendary lawman in this biopic and especially unfair that he won a Razzie for Worst Actor of 1994. There were plenty of worse performances the same year (see Milstead Movie Awards for my personal picks).
It's true that the film is overlong, spanning Earp's life like an old David Lean epic, but the handsome photography makes it a far easier watch. Costner, far from awful, is still most definitely upstaged by the rest of the cast, especially Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday. 
Tombstone (qv) released a year earlier, presents a more bite-sized version of the same story, but Wyatt Earp is by far the more meticulously produced of the two films.