Every film we watch reviewed in 255 characters… or fewer!
Writes. Latest: 2019: East of England - a noir thriller.
Other books: Benches of Louth (2018); Juggernaut: a sequel to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (2017); Torc, (2016); The Prospect of This City (2015). Twitter: @eamonngriffin
A headstrong tomboyish princess battles with her mother when she is to be betrothed for political reasons. Perhaps the most Disneyish Pixar movie to date, Brave benefits from its focus on mother/daughter relationships and from a dark magical turn that sits awkwardly with the knockabout stuff elsewhere.
A driven archaeologist and crew investigate the Paris catacombs for a sacred alchemical relic. Decent location work, a photogenic cast, and a couple of unsettling early moments make promises that the movie can’t quite sustain, setting for straightforward face-your-demons stuff but no real story answers.
A closing-down hospital comes under siege from cultists outside, and from monsters within. 80s-tastic lo-fi splattery horror, riffing on multiple John Carpenter movies and others, not least Phantasm. Plenty of fun in its own right, even if it tends to go for striking images over consistency in character and story terms.
Edward Kennedy’s presidential ambitions are destroyed because of his involvement in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Sober political drama focusing on ambition, hubris, legacy, and arrogance. Decent performances and production values help, though there’s awkwardness in the focus on the politician over the deceased.
John McClane intervenes to stop mercenaries from freeing a high-value prisoner from a snowbound airport. Messy serio-comic sequel that bends over backwards to link itself to the first film. It scrapes by on residual goodwill from its predecessor, but that’s about it.
A young convict gets in over his head with a charismatic bank robber. Generally effective crime drama with a few black comic and slightly pretentious touches. Solid performances and a matter-of-fact approach to the action help.
A young woman, new at court, works to undermine her cousin and become the favoured companion of Queen Anne. Smart drama with a darkly comic sensibility, flirting between arthouse and mainstream. Excellent performances throughout, even if it bears only a passing resemblance to the actual history.
A motiveless killer attacks a campus at end of semester. Curious character-focused Halloween-derived slasher pic with strong elements (it’s well-shot, builds to a decent climax, the baddie is great) but which struggles to fill its running time, substituting frat boy hijinks for a genre plot. Not uninteresting though.
Students inadvertently conjure the spirit of a murdered alumnus: deaths ensue. DTV threequel taking a supernatural revenge rather than a whodunnit route. While thieving from multiple genre properties (including a kill lifted from Final Destination 2) there’s some agreeably gruesome moments, plus early appearances from Kate and Rooney Mara.
Struggling with the breakup of a long-term relationship, a man is visited nightly by a monster. Smart romantic drama/horror hybrid, with lots going for it in a lo-fi indie kinda way. Makes you wonder what Gardner and Co will come up with next. Recommended.