Under the Skin (2014)

Under the Skin (2014)

Under the Skin is a challenging viewing experience. Those attending entirely off the back of “I heard Scarlett Johansson gets naked in this” will find themselves faced with a film more in tune with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey than Species. From its opening screen of black inexplicably infiltrated by white lights and rings that…

Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning in Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent is studio-mandated fan fiction, a Sleeping Beauty remix with sumptuous visuals that never really provides a good reason for existing. I’ll grant that it’s the first competent execution of the post-300 “artificial live-action” aesthetic, but the narrative adjustments to the classic tale – a sympathetic villain, an excoriation of dictatorial hierarchies and a hefty…

The Cat Returns (2002)

The Cat Returns (2002)

The Cat Returns is one of those sweet, charming fairytales until all of a sudden it isn’t; like most Studio Ghibli pictures, there’s depth behind this charming, colourful animation. When Haru (Chizuru Ikewaki/Anne Hathaway) saves the life of a cat on her way home from school, she finds herself caught up in the intricacies of…

Cheerleader Massacre (2003)

Cheerleader Massacre (2003)

You know what you’re getting into when you watch a film with a title like Cheerleader Massacre. Bad acting is par for the course: the actors might look like the Days of Our Lives type, but their thespian ability falls short of even that mark. There’s no reason to be surprised by home-video quality cinematography…

Prince Avalanche (2013)

This isn’t going to be a review of Prince Avalanche. Stop by Rotten Tomatoes and you can find a raft of those, talking about the charming atmosphere of David Gordon Green’s buddy comedy, the laidback performances of leads Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch and the way the fire-ravaged California forest and Explosions in the Sky…

Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

There’s been a wealth of conversation recently about the increasing homogenisation of superhero films: Matt Zoller Seitz kicked off the discussion with his piece on “Things Crashing Into Other Things” and I can’t dispute his points. Even if you enjoy most of the new wave of big budget superhero pictures, it’s hard not to notice…

January Jones in her underwear (naturally) in X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men: First Class is a breezy slice of blockbuster. It’s fun while dabbling in the conventional superhero stuff – origin stories and brief banter, all interspersed with the mandatory action – but stumbles when it tries to be something more than disposable entertainment. There’s a lot to like here. Matthew Vaughan frolics through the sixties…