Shiny Shelf
By Julio Angel Ortiz on 02 January 2013 2 COMMENTS

‘Django Unchained’ plays like a beautiful dirge.


By Alex Fitch on 01 August 2012 Comments Off

Fun, but over familiar; if you’re bored of the Olympics and have seen The Dark Knight Rises, ‘Ted’ is a reasonable way to spend a couple of hours in an air conditioned room.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 30 July 2012 Comments Off

So, we have, at last long last, the finale to the ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy.

By Alex Fitch on 21 June 2012 Comments Off

Slickly made, the film is captivating in its set pieces which utilise 3D post-production well, including a duel between Abe and a vampire in the midst of a horse stampede and recreations of battles during the civil war…

By Alex Fitch on 13 April 2012 1 COMMENT

An enormously entertaining horror comedy; ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ updates the fantasy horror genre as seen in films like the Evil Dead trilogy for knowing modern audiences.

By Mark Clapham on 10 April 2012 Comments Off

Seeing a vast array of co-production funders at the start of a film suggests, to me at least, one of two things:
Firstly, that this is some serious art piece where filmmakers of real passion have hustled money from all over, inspiring support with their great idea.
… OR …
… it’s some big tax write-off.
‘Shadow [...]

By Jonn Elledge on 12 January 2012 Comments Off

Despite what Disney cartoons and breakfast cereals may have taught us, animals cannot talk.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 04 January 2012 1 COMMENT

‘Ghost Protocol’ makes no bones about where it stands: it is an action movie through and through.

By Eugene Jones on 08 December 2011 Comments Off

Tsui Hark’s Tang Dynasty detective story is a thrilling adventure, though for western viewers the mystical elements make the mystery a little hard to follow.

By Alex Fitch on 31 October 2011 Comments Off

I have to admit I was never the greatest fan of Tintin comics or the classic animated series, but even a casual knowledge of them makes it obvious this film does a disservice to both.

By Alex Fitch on 31 August 2011 1 COMMENT

Pedro Almodovar’s most accessible film in years, a story of murder, kidnap and substituted desire that returns to some of the themes of his 2004 thriller Bad Education

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 02 August 2011 1 COMMENT

‘Captain America’ is a fun action ride that doesn’t try to put on airs.

By Mark Clapham on 28 June 2011 Comments Off

Green Lantern is a briskly entertaining and enjoyably broad superhero flick that doesn’t seem to know quite which audience it’s aiming for.

By Jonn Elledge on 10 June 2011 Comments Off

It’s not a great sign when the cast list for a film makes more interesting viewing than the film itself.

By Stephen Lavington on 01 June 2011 Comments Off

The Hollywood career of Jason Statham is reminiscent of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Doggedly working the straight-to-DVD schlock martial-arts beat, Statham has laboriously clambered to the top-rank of action stars. Like Van Damme it’s got to the point where no-one even feels the need to hand-wave away his accent – Statham just IS.
Sadly, and also like [...]

By Mags L Halliday on 12 May 2011 3 COMMENTS

contains spoilers… for ‘Lord of the Rings’.
Steven Moffat has a thing about spoilers. You’d have guessed it, given he snuck the word into ‘Doctor Who’ and then turned it into River Song’s catchphrase. But his recorded complaint about fans posting spoilers made BBC Breakfast News (and elsewhere).
I agree with Moffat. The kind of person who [...]

By Mags L Halliday on 03 May 2011 Comments Off

‘Woochi the Demon Slayer’ has a fatal flaw but is otherwise a lively tale of good, evil and personal stylists.
Just as an Archgod is about to banish all the evil goblins from the world with his enchanted pipe, three impatient Taoist gods disrupt the spell. The goblins are freed, the Archgod vanishes and two wizards [...]

By Mark Clapham on 26 April 2011 Comments Off

Great Odin’s Raven! Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Thor’ is remarkably uncompromised.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 07 April 2011 Comments Off

All you need to know about ‘Sucker Punch’ is that it is the slickest B-movie ever made.
Now, if you’re feeling bold and continued past that initial assessment, what else I can tell you about ‘Sucker Punch’ is that the movie is clearly an exercise in imagination. There is no end to the amount of good [...]

By Mags L Halliday on 21 March 2011 Comments Off

‘71 Into the Fire’ takes a little known incident of the Korean War and gives it well-deserved epic treatment.
There’s a broad trajectory war films take, as the war they depict recedes into history. During the war they are obviously propagandist. Immediately afterwards they are patriotic and heroic. Then comes lighter fare, then films that question [...]

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By Mags L Halliday on 14 March 2011 Comments Off

‘Vallanzasca, gli angeli del male’ (‘Angel of Evil’) is a slick portrayal of a smooth criminal. It purports to be the true story of a criminal whose gang ran riot in Milan in the 1970s.
‘True crime’ films are, of course, nothing of the sort. The messy reality of events is neatened up and causality is [...]

By Mark Clapham on 02 March 2011 Comments Off

If I say that ‘True Grit’ is pretty much a perfect movie, it’s not so much that I’m placing it in some imaginary canon of great films, or saying that it’s impossible to improve upon, merely that it has all the elements you might want in a visit to the cinema, and that all those [...]

By Mags L Halliday on 28 February 2011 Comments Off

Starting on 1 March, we’re planning to say ciao to a range of contemporary Italian cinema at London’s Italian Film Festival.
We love a film festival here. There’s something very satisfying about a week immersed in cinema, looking at themes that emerge from a well-curated programme.
The Italian Film Festival’s programme includes ten new Italian films across [...]

By Alex Fitch on 23 February 2011 Comments Off

…as dumb, violent, action, drink smuggling films go, it’s the best I’ve seen in a while.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 17 February 2011 1 COMMENT

‘Dark Metropolis’ is a slickly shot indie sci-fi movie that aims high with its concept. Humanity has lost a 300-year old war to their genetically engineered offshoot called the Ghen.

By Alex Fitch on 16 February 2011 1 COMMENT

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reprise another version of their amiable bromance that’s been featured in all their collaborations and is an entertaining Sci-Fi romp aimed at fans of the genre.

By Mark Clapham on 20 January 2011 Comments Off

Watching ‘Missing’ I was unsure of whether it was a coldly scathing portrayal of male violence against women or a tasteless, and for the most part extremely slow, horror film.

By Alex Fitch on 12 January 2011 Comments Off

It’s beautifully shot, has a great soundtrack and a gripping performance by the lead. However not a film I feel I’ll ever want to watch again…

By Lance Parkin on 31 December 2010 Comments Off

This is a movie that practically begs you to compare it to things that are a lot better.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 29 December 2010 Comments Off

The B-movie is something that is quickly falling into irrelevance. With the drop in the cost of producing movies in the digital age, what was previously considered camp trash is now indie, and with it comes a greater measure of respect than previously.

By Shiny Shelf on 27 December 2010 Comments Off

Like Scrooge, we’re a bit at sea about what the future holds for our favourite kinds of nonsense.

By Shiny Shelf on 26 December 2010 1 COMMENT

Another trailer of interest, this time the teaser for Danny Boyle’s ‘127 Hours’, starring the always-interesting James Franco:

‘127 Hours’ is in cinemas nationwide 5 January 2011.

By Shiny Shelf on 24 December 2010 Comments Off

One late Christmas Eve Ebenezeer Scrooge was visited by three spirits who showed him things from the past, the present and the Yet To Come. This is like that, but with three reviewers & Shiny’s usual pop culture nonsense. Merry Christmas.

By Alex Fitch on 17 December 2010 Comments Off

Like most belated sequels to 70s / 80s family blockbusters, ‘Tron: Legacy’ has the weight of history, technology, and nostalgia to live up to and like ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’, it is a sequel that doesn’t satisfy fans of the original or new audiences either.

By Mags L Halliday on 29 November 2010 Comments Off

You’d be forgiven for not knowing it but Leslie Neilsen was not just a white-haired deliverer of deadpan lines. He was also the romantic lead in one of the most seminal SF films of the 1950s.
‘Forbidden Planet’ is off the scale. It blew its budget retelling Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ as a space exploration story. Morbius [...]

By Shiny Shelf on 26 November 2010 Comments Off

To take you into the weekend, here’s the trailer for ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’, coming to Blu-ray and DVD on 27 December 2010.

By Sarah Jane Vespertine on 24 November 2010 Comments Off

More from Grimm Up North 2010: ‘13 Hours’, ‘Slice’, ‘Chop’, ‘Primal’ and ‘We Are What We Are’.

By Mark Clapham on 23 November 2010 2 COMMENTS

I’m finding it hard to get quite as worked up about the Joss-free ‘Buffy’ remake as many fans of the series are.

By Sarah Jane Vespertine on 17 November 2010 Comments Off

Day Three of Grimm Up North 2010: Evil in the Time of Heroes, The Pack, and Amer.

By Sarah Jane Vespertine on 11 November 2010 Comments Off

How can anyone resist a film with the title ‘Dead Hooker in a Trunk’? I certainly couldn’t, and am very pleased I gave in to temptation.

By Sarah Jane Vespertine on 11 November 2010 Comments Off

Day Two at the Grimmfest: ‘The Reeds’, ‘Dream Home’ and ‘Alien vs Ninja’.

By Sarah Jane Vespertine on 10 November 2010 Comments Off

Day one of Manchester’s ‘Grimmfest’ horror film festival: The Last Man On Earth rescored by Animat, and new Brit-horror ‘Outcast’.

By Jonn Elledge on 08 November 2010 Comments Off

It isn’t just that ‘Burke and Hare’ is bad, although clearly it is.

By Mags L Halliday on 04 November 2010 Comments Off

Jackie Chan’s latest martial arts film is a more sombre affair, with a disconcerting subtext.

By Jonn Elledge on 26 October 2010 Comments Off

Michael Lewis intended ‘Liar’s Poker’, his seminal 1989 book on his career as a bond trader, to be an exposé.

By Mags L Halliday on 20 October 2010 Comments Off

‘Suck’ combines vampires with a rock’n’roll movie, and wears its cheapness on its leather sleeve.

By Jim Smith on 15 October 2010 Comments Off

A sensitively played and beautifully shot adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Booker nominated 2005 novel, ‘Never Let Me Go’ is a harrowing and deeply affecting film.

By Matthew Badham on 04 October 2010 Comments Off

I had high hopes for ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’, about which I’d heard good things. I’m afraid, however, that viewing this film was a pretty disappointing and also slightly depressing experience.

By Stephen Lavington on 30 September 2010 Comments Off

‘Good Hair’ is nominally a study of the multimillion dollar black hair industry, but has some deeply resonant things to say about the wider question of race in American society.

By Jim Smith on 29 September 2010 Comments Off

To call something “charming” is often to patronise it; but ‘Bella’ is charming. It charms you, with its warmth & its performances.