An origin story for The Joker, filtered through his attempts to show anyone can become like him if they have a single day traumatic enough. Okay expansion of the iconic Moore/Bolland graphic novel. Doesn’t add much except running time; for completists only, perhaps, though those unfamiliar with the book may appreciate it more.
Near-immortal warriors induct a new recruit, while being hunted for their DNA. Patchy superhero-ish flick from a graphic novel. The film can’t decide whose story this is, telling the veteran’s and the newbie’s, rather than focusing. The result is overlong and slow, but with strong moments, a badass declaration of love, and some solid action.
The life of an Australian outlaw, as narrated to his child. An excellent adaptation of the Peter Carey novel, with vivid performances and a distinctive visual approach. The best movie version of the Ned Kelly story to date, and a strong arty outback Western in its own right. Recommended.
Three friends accidentally conjure a priapic demon. Fun loose adaptation of the John Updike novel, offering four meaty roles for enthusiastic players. Nicholson is controlled, all are having fine time, and Miller’s direction is elegant throughout. A good job done all around.
After a heist goes wrong, a hunted thief flees the States to England, where a favour is owed. Though it starts and ends strongly, looks good, and has a grimy post-industrial feel throughout, a saggy middle act and clunky plotting flaw this adaptation of the Richard Stark novel. Plenty of TV faces in support though, plus a climax shot at Southport and Blackpool pleasure beaches.
A bare-knuckle boxer, a meth dealer, and a cop’s lives intersect over drugs, money, and a fight tournament. Lean, autumnal adaptation of the Frank Bill novel. Very different to its source material in tone, but nevertheless a rewarding movie, with something to say about working-class America as well as delivering in genre terms. Recommended.
A meteorite causes hallucinations and mutations to spread across a New England farm. Well-made adaptation of the HP Lovecraft short story. A slow burn that earns its weirdness well, accumulating details carefully, and playing properly with madness. Played commendably straight, though with many subtle genre nods for horror fans.
A Boston ex-cop, fresh from jail, partners with his new roommate to unravel the conspiracy that led to his imprisonment. A loose adaptation of a post-Robert B Parker Spenser novel, and not a good one. A by-the-numbers comedy thriller that doesn’t do its characters justice, despite a decent cast.
Harry and friends, now on the run, must destroy the magical items sustaining Voldemort. The first half of the final novel – more or less – is a decent chase adventure, with a darker tone than before; the splitting of the source material allows for pacing to be improved, through the structure necessitates a forced cliffhanger bridge to Part 2.
Voldemort’s rise develops; a fightback begins. Middling fifth instalment treading water between the establishment of the nemesis as a real threat, and its crystallisation; meanwhile, Hogwarts is put into special measures. Okay for fans, and well-enough done, but no classic.