• Dead Space: Aftermath

    Dead Space: Aftermath

    ★½

    Nothing greatly wrong with the script and story and performances per se, conveying the bleakness and danger of the game, but the whole endeavour is hobbled from the get-go by bewilderingly awful computer animation, like early animatics accidentally got released into the wild.

    The 2D animation in the flashback segments is much better, though themselves distractingly depicted in different styles. Not different enough to be a stylistic reflection on the story told from different perspectives, but also inconsistent enough to…

  • Dead Space: Downfall

    Dead Space: Downfall

    ★★½

    An effective enough companion piece to the first game, touching on the themes beyond the violence and viscera, of which there is still plenty. Perhaps not a great deal more than watching people get ripped apart in different ways, but as far as adult animated adaptations of video games go, this is one of the better ones.

    More thoughts on the Games on Film podcast:
    soundcloud.com/gamesonfilmpod/86-dead-space-downfall-aftermath

  • Wife of a Spy

    Wife of a Spy

    ★★½

    Too staid and stuffy for its own good, passable fare for a BBC drama mini series perhaps, but I was hoping for much more. Though it has its moments, the film lapses too much into melodrama in place of actual tension, its twists and turns lack surprise, its thrills drained of excitement by the fairly flat film-making and plodding story-telling.

  • Pulse

    Pulse

    ★★★★

    A first time watch 20 years after release, yet Pulse manages to be weirdly prescient about what the internet would do to us (kinda), with everyone connected yet feeling isolated and alone. Computers are not treated in a flippant or cheesy way, while watching two decades on the dial-up modems, floppy discs and low-res grainy web video add an extra layer of the uncanny, like the tactile warmth an '80s horror film has when watched on VHS - though some…

  • Luca

    Luca

    ★★★★½

    Absolutely adored it. Instant top-tier Pixar.

    I think a lot of discussion of their recent work is really reductive. "Oh here comes another Pixar, get ready to have your heart crushed and/or mind-blown!" Of course, Pixar do lean into that, but talking about the opening of Up and the ending of Toy Story 3 ad nauseam (strong moments in overall so-so films) means when a film like Luca comes along, it gets dismissed for being too simple or generic. Yes,…

  • Skyfall

    Skyfall

    ★★★½

    I'll be happy when this era of Bond is over. I know it technically is now No Time to Die has been released, but who knows what's to come next? The self-seriousness of the mid-00s reboot feels a bit much now, when this kind of action extravaganza has been somewhat spoiled by the recent Mission:Impossible and Fast and Furious offerings. Not saying any of those films are better/worse, but for something that seemed so refreshing at the time, Skyfall's vibe…

  • The Kid Detective

    The Kid Detective

    ★★★½

    Not the breezy fluff you might expect, nor the Parks and Recreation meets Shane Black-style shenanigans the film briefly hints at early on. Amongst the neo-noir hijinks, it's a tale of bad things simmering beneath the surface of a small town, the dangers of being stuck in the past and a peaked-too-soon man-child crisis. It's still frequently funny, but also not afraid to get dark, with a pit of sadness at the core of both the film and the Kid Detective himself.

  • Sound of Metal

    Sound of Metal

    ★★★½

    The great lead performances and the immersive approach to sound elevate an already decent drama, though it does get a teensy bit dull at points, and falls off a tad towards the end.

    A good companion piece to Mogul Mowgli, which is rougher round the edges but a stronger film overall.

  • Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild

    Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild

    Hugely unessential even for fans of the series, this very wonky and charm-free mini-movie at least provided a clearer idea of the mythos and objectives of the games than even playing demos of three different iterations and watching the live-action film managed to achieve.

    More thoughts on the Games on Film podcast: soundcloud.com/gamesonfilmpod/84-monster-hunter

  • Monster Hunter

    Monster Hunter

    ★½

    Having seen all six of their Resident Evil films more than once each (and defended them - to an extent), I feel well-versed enough in what to expect from another Anderson/Jovovich/Capcom joint, but this is their least entertaining offering yet. It is bad, that is not a surprise, but it is crucially, and unforgivingly, boring.

    There are a couple of massive monster encounters which shows Anderson can construct a decent action setpiece that sells the scale. And yet the bulk…

  • School Radio to Major Tom

    School Radio to Major Tom

    ★★★½

    Sweet and charming throwback, taking its cues from Bowie, yet doing something different with something so familiar. Nothing more than that, but lovingly created and warmly nostalgic in the best way.

  • Laguna Ave

    Laguna Ave

    A lo-fi fusion of slacker cinema and cyber-punk, landing you in a scuzzy world of oddballs on the fringes of society, before morphing into something like a body-hacking The Day Shall Come. Though the film takes a while to find its focus, once the central duo join forces, their weird charisma and the film's off-beat energy pulls you through, with some really funny stuff amid (and often due to) its ramshackleness.