• Altered Carbon: Resleeved

    Altered Carbon: Resleeved

    ★★★

    Altered Carbon, the series, never quite found the audience it needed. I thought the premise was interesting and the execution often compelling, from the film-noir Detective procedural vibes of the first season to the higher stakes of the second. It never quite fired on all cylinders, though. It had an uneasy balance and pacing; certainly not enough action for some, too much for others.

    The anime take would see to avoid many of these problems, and the Takeshi Character can…

  • Bordertown: The Mural Murders

    Bordertown: The Mural Murders

    ★★★

    Genius serial killer movies are having a strange comeback; as are serial killers in general (How many movies about Ted Bundy do we need, people? preferably zero) but the difference between now and the 90s is that we have all had 15 years of Criminal Minds and the Crime Broadcasting System to hit most of the possible angles.

    That is to say, if you are thinking of watching this, then yes, it all happens pretty much as you would expect.…

  • The Nutcracker (Royal Opera House)

    The Nutcracker (Royal Opera House)

    ★★★½

    The Nutcracker is a huge holiday tradition all over North America, with companies putting it on every year— this was never really the case in Europe, although it has started to catch on. Here the Royal Ballet in london has been doing essentially this version for years and years. Of course, the lack of real plot causes directors to want to fiddle with the show idea and make it their own. 

    The original is very Alice in Wonderland, in that…

  • Belfast, Maine

    Belfast, Maine

    ★★★★

    Finally added to my soon to be complete Wiseman list - 

    While this is instantly recognisable as a Wiseman documentary - it is a bit of a new idea for him. 

    While he had explored various under-seen aspects of society before, it is actually quite bold to try and tel the story of entire place, even if it is a small fishing town in Maine. 

    While it does start the way you might expect, with mists and boats going to…

  • Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time

    Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time

    Twice Upon a time is quite self-consciously both an ending of an era and a love letter to the series that Showrunner has loved for all his life. The strange return/invention of the Mondassian cybermen is given a new relevance with the stunt at the opening here, something most shows could not do, "Previously on Doctor Who, in 1966....." (!)

    (Of course Moffat can resist the urge to clarify an issue of continuity, hammering home that our first doctor really…

  • Killing Them Softly

    Killing Them Softly

    Ambitious but almost fatally flawed, Brad Pitt produced this odd hitman feature that takes place in 2008 during the financial crisis and presidential election. There are lots of voice overs from speeches by Obama, a some from George W Bush and Treasury Secretary. The not at all subtle opening is all about this as we see two giant billboards, one for Obama, one for McCain, and our little guy gangster wannabe walks underneath them. Ben Mendelssohn does great work and…

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★★

    Dune: Part One is not made by Marvel, but without the MCU, it would certainly not exist. 

    It’s rapturous reception is the triumph of Cinema Maximus, where more is more and the best direction is always more direction. 

    That’s not to say there aren’t many pleasures to be had here. Villeneuve certainly knows his way around a striking image, whether it be the ships rising from the water amongst the green backdrop of the House of Atreides homeworld— or even…

  • Star Trek: Generations

    Star Trek: Generations

    ★★★½

    A strange hybrid introducing the TNG to the Star Trek movie universe but also relying on a fair bit of meta nostalgia and wistful thinking of the possibilities of the past. 
    While the plot might be a tad less ambitious than “All good things…” we do well to put Picard in a new emotional space- it is an interesting foil to the Data emotion chip plot which anchors the TNG crew side of the tale. 

    The debut of the Enterprise-B…

  • Mass

    Mass

    ★★★★½

    Sure to be memorialized in many reviews as 'a meditation on grief,' I think the phrase obscures more than enlightens when thinking about Mass as a viewed experience. Even the title seems to have an obvious meaning which is just beyond your grasp. There are a number of references to religion during the course of the proceedings, but almost all (other than overly-earnest church worker Judy) are allusions without much definitive weight to them. Our hymn at the end (not…

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Sometimes a movie will hit a certain point, and you just click off from that moment on. For me an implausible moment in "the Dark Knight Rises" caused me to nitpick the entire movie from that point. I I was certainly primed to hate Spectre from the moment Waltz was cast. He was an extremely lazy choice for a villain, and the 'reveal' of Spectre and Blofeld is extremely anti-climatic and happens exactly as you expect. I mean He. Even.…

  • Casino Royale

    Casino Royale

    ★★★★½

    Top shelf Bond worthy of all the Bollinger

    It even found a way to incorporate the silly gun barrel sequence in the movie. A dark and gritty cold open leads to another more traditional African action sequence, where Bond's contrasts with the Parkour champion further develop his character. This is also a very good classical action sequence, full of little mini dramas and jokes. Bond's relationship with M is also interesting enough right off the bat.

    The script is good…

  • Strawberry Mansion

    Strawberry Mansion

    ★★★★

    Probably one of my top two from Calgary International Film Festival 2021

    Partly because of how much it is committed to being itself. Bizarre props and dream logic and all. I mean how can you turn away from the retro-cute dreamcatcher machine?

    Our lead is just stiff enough to root for, and there is enough strength in the aesthetic not not feel cheated by the budget at all.

    With its big heart and adorable couple at the centre, it's hard to say no to this one.