Chris has written 14 reviews for films rated ★½ .

  • The Green Knight

    The Green Knight

    ★½

    Basically a series of visually glossy, increasingly monotonous set-pieces that would be best described as hollow. What's meant to be taking place underneath these ornate surfaces feels muddled, stifling a supposedly spiritual journey since we're never able to sense the changes that the main character is undergoing; that's a pretty significant issue as it's the crux of the entire story. It can't really explore the ambitious concepts it clearly wishes to like accepting death through virtue and reckoning with the…

  • Cruella

    Cruella

    ★½

    Decidedly lousy, but compared to the absolute dreck that most of these Disney remakes have been (to call both The Lion King and Aladdin a waste of time would be an understatement) that's a marginal improvement. Cruella at least feels like someone had an idea; it's a crap idea but one all the same.

    Here is the fundamental problem with this film, the entire enjoyment of Cruella de Vil as a character (at least in the animated original and Dodie…

  • The Empty Man

    The Empty Man

    ★½

    Aptly named because it certainly left me feeling empty.

    I don't get the underground buzz that this has received at all; the scatter-brained merging of occult mystery, cosmic horror and police procedural is so half-baked on every front that it falls to pieces as soon as its ideas start to solidify. The root of the narrative has potential as some sort of paranormal puzzle, but it just descends into stupidity the longer it goes on before reaching a third act…

  • I Care a Lot

    I Care a Lot

    ★½

    Despite Rosamund Pike's spot on portrayal of a stone cold sociopath, I found this vibrant attempt at blending crime thriller and black comedy to be incredibly unfocused. For all it's attempting to do it ends up landing in a prosaic middle ground; the decided lack of depth, wit and darkness means it doesn't leave much of an impression. It's given some energy by the snappy editing style and Pike's turn is packed with suitably detached malice, but that doesn't add…

  • The Little Things

    The Little Things

    ★½

    It feels like this film was stumbled upon by a person dusting the archives and the studio decided now was as good a time as any to release it. It's trying so hard to emulate Seven but it can barely muster enough intrigue to become Three and a Half. Almost everything about it is banal; the central mystery is overly simplistic, the characters are all one-note, the direction is unimaginative and the score doesn't match the material at all. The…

  • Promising Young Woman

    Promising Young Woman

    ★½

    Carey Mulligan gives a typically strong performance but I haven't the faintest clue what the film around her is trying to achieve. A revenge thriller without the thrills, a satire that lacks any astuteness, a character study which offers barely any insight; it's striving for some kind of pathos but the whole thing feels so superficial. It's just throwing out vague statements without even bothering to examine them: deep down all men are degenerates, grief is a burden, the police…

  • Tenet

    Tenet

    ★½

    I don't think I've ever seen a film where almost all of the dialogue is exposition and it still doesn't make any sense.

    Someone needs to tell Christopher Nolan that convolution doesn't equal intelligence. This isn't some complex puzzle for us to solve, it is just told in the most incoherent way imaginable. Every single scene is the protagonist being told some portentous gobbledygook revolving around the central gimmick. But when you peel back the layers of scientific babble and…

  • Pieces of a Woman

    Pieces of a Woman

    ★½

    Yet another drama that thinks the only way to display heavy themes is by having people aimlessly mope around and participate in theatrical arguments. Barely anything resonates since every character is a walking cliche (the aloof wife, the unstable husband, the overbearing mother, etc) with nothing below the surface. Vanessa Kirby tries but has nothing to work with and the less said about Shia LaBeouf's histrionics the better. The well crafted opening sequence aside, this is just monotonous tedium and not particularly interesting or insightful when it comes to examining its important subject matter.

  • Mary Poppins Returns

    Mary Poppins Returns

    ★½

    Another belated 'sequel' cut from the same cloth as The Force Awakens which is ''let's just do an inferior beat for beat remake with modern updates and pray that the audience is so blinded by nostalgia that they simply accept it''.

    Outside of some pretty visuals this a slog to get through; full of contrived whimsical moments, forgettable songs and shoddy direction from Rob Marshall. Nothing really works on the character front either, from Emily Blunt's stifled central performance to…

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    ★½

    I'll give props to Jim Carrey whose witty delivery and boundless energy makes a small amount of this work, but my word is this an unpleasant experience overall. The grimy colours, the obnoxious camera angles, the drab production design, the gloomy tone; it all combines to make this feel less like a fun festive film and more like an unnerving fever dream after you've drank too much eggnog.

    Expanding the source material doesn't work as it results in the addition…

  • Forrest Gump

    Forrest Gump

    ★½

    The more I scrutinise Forrest Gump, the more I find myself totally perplexed by what it is trying to achieve.

    It is both monotonous and insipid. Forrest luckily stumbles into something he can mindlessly do, becomes successful, meets some famous people and reunites with Jenny who runs away after a short period. Rinse and repeat throughout the entire film. It's no wonder this appeals to boomers so much, it's effectively an empty guide to the United States in the late…

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

    ★½

    Overly substandard, but not quite as aggressively dull as On Stranger Tides because there are at least a few cool set-pieces and visuals this time around. Yet so much of this film just feels uninspired, from the plot which is like a video game side quest to the exposition-laden dialogue to the inept attempts at comedy. The new leads are irritatingly bland, Javier Bardem is given nothing of interest to work with and it's morbidly impressive how much Johnny Depp is phoning it in as Jack Sparrow.

    How I wish this series had started and ended with Verbinski's trilogy.