John Wick left the realm of any grounded reality a long time ago. The sequels embraced more extravagant, and frankly, sillier elements to great success, but the franchise's fourth instalment takes this to another level entirely. Reeves and Stahelski seem to be inflicted with a violent compulsion to top any set-piece that came before, resulting in an operatic spectacle of countless bullets, invincible protagonists and bewilderingly hard landings. With visuals as striking as the fight choreography, the picture’s influences - from Hong…
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania 2023
Marvel's phase four offered both nostalgic highs and incoherent lows. This well-oiled machine began to feel like it needed some maintenance, with its vibrant charms deteriorating and its pre-existing flaws becoming more pronounced. It almost seems unfair that Ant-Man and The Wasp are the characters burdened with launching this next phase and hopefully rectifying mistakes made in the previous wave of releases.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I am not overly fond of the first…
I suppose there is some ironic fun to be had in Hypnotic’s commitment to escalating stupidity, that’s if you can tolerate the laughable dialogue, endless contrivances and a Ben Affleck in autopilot. It's a piece that mimics other sci-fi thrillers of much greater quality and innovation, and is mostly hollow despite its lame efforts to surprise. Frankly, Hypnotic is just properly rubbish, but is schlocky in a way that some may find slightly entertaining.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2018
Original and invigorating are not words I would usually reserve for a modern superhero release, yet, very few films are more worthy of those words than Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. An incredibly talented team of animators created a moving comic book of bewildering kineticism and vibrancy. The piece, through its introduction of Miles Morales to the world of cinema and its unique take on Peter Parker, reinvents familiar figures with great confidence and wit. Aside from its distinctive style, influencing many who would follow, the film is simply a well-drawn Spider-Man story, understanding what makes that character – or those characters – endlessly relatable and beloved.
Lot 36 2022
It’s hard not to be excited about a horror anthology curated by the great Guillermo del Toro, though by its very nature I imagine the quality will vary. Lot 36 is not the most auspicious start, failing to make the most out of its limited runtime. Tim Blake Nelson is effective as the bitter, bigoted Nick Appleton, and we are eventually treated to some creatively designed but not well polished monster effects. Unfortunately, the film just doesn’t muster up enough intrigue or suspense to justify spending time with such an unlikeable protagonist.
Athena is a technical marvel with an unflinching grasp on its dynamic spectacle. Preoccupied with a subject of great poignance, director Romain Gavras captures ferocious rebellion with a confidence rarely seen in modern cinema. The most astounding thing about the picture is that it (mostly) manages to sustain the incredible intensity infused by its hypnotic opening.
Ill-judged ending aside, this is one of the best films of the year, so of course it has just been dumped on Netflix with very little marketing. Athena is a piece of work crying out to be viewed on the biggest screen possible.