RSS feed for Cactus Matt
  • Assassin's Creed

    Assassin's Creed

    ★★

    It's difficult to pinpoint exactly when and why and where this otherwise well made, well shot video game adaptation completely falls apart. From the get go things never quite feel right, and there's no discernible single thing to blame. Fassbender is good, as are the supporting cast but they never seem to believe a thing they are saying, the action feels weightless and without threat but it's all still Hollywood competent, that is to say, it's not Uwe Boll, and yet... it often comes close to feeling within the same cinematic wheelhouse. Boring and hard to recommend for anyone other than the curious.

  • Ghost in the Shell

    Ghost in the Shell

    ★★★

    The overriding feeling coming out of this overly-glossy anime adaptation is why does it exist? It's not a bad film, but that's only because of everything it takes from the superior source material, though truthfully the source material is far from infallible. At best it's a sometimes less dumb Aeon Flux, at middling a more dour Fifth Element at worst an intellectually stunted Blade Runner, in a nutshell it really can't carve out its own identity amongst various unflattering comparisons, but it's hardly the worst to come out of Hollywood in recent years.

  • The Lego Batman Movie

    The Lego Batman Movie

    ★★★★

    It's no doubt been said before, but when a computer generated depiction of a plastic toy can evoke more charisma, pathos and sheer entertainment value than the real life cinematic equivalent the paradigm has definitely shifted. While recent and current depictions of the caped crusader have lacked in almost every way, The Lego Batman Movie (and by extension Lego Batman) is a hilarious, entertaining and exciting adventure, with sublime voice acting and flawless animation.

  • Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu

    Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu

    ★★★★

    The TV anime Steins;Gate could be considered to be the greatest anime show ever made, so its both expected and perplexing to see a cinematic continuation of a story that was ostensibly completed by the time the last episode rolled. Every little thing that was good and great about the original show is present but it's diluted through a cinematic eye that cares more for a ninety minute presentation than it does for adding to an already exhaustive universe. It's very good- great even (to be expected from the people behind it) but it's also mostly unnecessary. But... it's very very good all the same.

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

    ★★★

    It's good, it's fun it's even sufficiently emotional at points, but at the same time its manufactured and manipulative and for all the positive components (its cross-cultural cast, its non traditional narrative) it is ultimately a forgettable experience which is a shame because it deserves to be more, even if you're looking at it strictly as its narrative positioning between the titular Star Wars trilogies. The last third is deserving of a better and braver film, but ultimately its as much a Star Wars film in all the ill disappointment such words conjure as it is a Star Wars film in the most treasured nostalgic ways.

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    ★★★★

    There was the real potential for this film to be nothing more than a cynical cash in on the Harry Potter franchise with this, the first of a planned series of films set in the aforementioned's universe. It is with relief and delight that it's not at all the situation, as while the plot is inherently predictable there remains a considerable warmth, familiarity and charm that's quintessential to J.K Rowling's pen. The acting is great, this visuals are tight and the action is fun but ultimately its attention to universe detail and characters that excel it beyond the everyday Hollywood blockbuster.

  • Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry

    Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry

    ★★★½

    Shonen genre anime is often known for sprawling storylines of gradually heightening scale, intensity and action. Story arcs can span from as few as a handful to as many as dozens of episodes. Condensing the tone and pace of this format to an under 90 min movie results in an uneven and scattershot experience for even fans of the series. But like the series itself, even when the plot lags for whatever reason, the ever reliable characters of Fairy Tail remain its beating heart. Indeed, amongst all the fight scenes and chaos its the character moments that make the film worth watching, but strictly for fans.

  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    ★★★★★

    Fear is subjective; and it is so, without equivocation that I say Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is the second scariest film I've ever seen in my life. Having watched it ten years ago for the first time it made an indelible impression on my psyche and cinematic sensibilities, having rewatched it in 2017 for the 'return' of Twin Peaks and time nor age has dulled its incising effect. A cinematic nightmare in the truest, most positive sense of the phrase; poignant, traumatic, ethereal and raw, it's an inescapable and unforgettable experience from beginning to end.

  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

    Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

    ★★★½

    The potential for comedy in a music based mockumentary film from arguably the funniest music based comedians (The Lonely Island) is enough to sell a film alone, especially for fans of the titular trio. But this isn't a film version of The Lonely Island, even if some of the songs could've been ripped straight from their albums. What's here instead, while thin on originality, is still wonderfully funny at points and well acted even if it seems like they're playing it safe half the time.

  • Zoolander 2

    Zoolander 2

    ★★½

    Zoolander 2 spends a lot of its running time eagerly making reference to the first film, be it in the form of call backs, repeated jokes, lines, cameos or just plain flashbacks which more often than not hinder the experience as they show just how lazy the script is. This sequel is at its best when it's being weird and original, and while it doesn't hold a candle to its predecessor and is often stupid to embarrassing degrees it's nowhere near as bad as the likes of Friedberg/Seltzer and Adam Sandler atrocities. It's occasionally very funny, but too often falls short.

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

    ★★

    Even as a fan of Zack Snyder's divisive Man of Steel it's evident from the outset that the wealth of thematically and narratively rich material around Bruce Wayne/Batman's character is prioritised to the detriment of Clark Kent/Superman's development. But if that was the worst of problems with this film then that would be a blessing as what's here is a dull, bloated, misguided exercise in over-serious, self righteous allegory with all the subtlety of a fist to the face. It's a handsome film, Wonder Woman has promise and Affleck is good, but there's little else to recommend.

  • Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess

    Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess

    ★★★½

    For fans of the series this cinematic offering is more of the same which is a double edged sword. While the show has the breadth of time to spread story arcs of over multiple (sometimes up to a dozen twenty-five minute) episodes, the story here feels truncated and new characters hastily developed and ultimately underused. It is however still a fun adventure with good animation, action and voice acting but nothing that couldn't have been done on the show. Non fans will likely be left confused, annoyed or bored as it does solely pander to fans.