• Smile

    Smile

    ★★★½

    Smile is dumb as a bag of rocks. I know this. It's trying to say something about the nature of trauma, how it's passed on from person to person but I really don't think the film is interested in anything more than a surface-level exploration of this.

    And I know the effects are laugh-out-loud goofy.

    And I know there's a huge stretch in the middle where the short film was stretched and they squashed in a few too many dull…

  • The Wonder

    The Wonder

    ★★★★

    Look maybe it’s just because I’m still all fucked up from Halloween but for ages this film felt like it was hinting that it was going in a folk horror direction. And I was girding myself for some proper spooky shit, but the turn comes and the horror is so much worse and the performances are so perfect that it nailed me hard. Then, to hammer it home, that final shot genuinely made me gasp, being made so suddenly aware of how well and completely the whole film had swept me into it.

  • Lost Bullet 2

    Lost Bullet 2

    ★★★½

    Still reaches the thrilling highs of the first film, but missing the joyous spark that gave it such a sense of fun. Would have been much better without the setup for another instalment.

  • Accident Man: Hitman's Holiday

    Accident Man: Hitman's Holiday

    ★★★½

    Watched this on a plane and the eyeball death made me laugh out loud and the stranger beside me looked horrified. “It’s okay!” I wish I could have said, “it’s a kickass Scott Adkins film, you’d love it too!”

  • Charade

    Charade

    ★★★★½

    I was feeling pretty depressed over the weekend and couldn’t settle into anything. I started watching three other films but bounced off within five minutes of each because my brain just wouldn’t calm down. Then I saw Charade was Mubi’s film of the day and it was exactly what I needed.

    I’ve seen a few people on here knocking the film because it hasn’t really got any proper stakes, with Hepburn and Grant being too effortlessly charming. But sometimes this is…

  • Hellraiser

    Hellraiser

    ★½

    Hellraiser (2022) takes an interesting universe and story and sands down the sharp edges until it's barely recognisable as a Hellraiser film. There's no grime here, no seediness, no kink. At one point, we walk through a fancy orgy where, at most, we see a couple of people dry-humping in a corner, among a group of people just having a nice chat presumably about their plans for some weekend DIY.

    Although maybe I'm the asshole and this is exactly what…

  • Athena

    Athena

    ★★★★

    Loses a little bit of steam in the back half but that opening sequence is breathtaking. A beautiful 10 minute one-take* steadicam shot through absolute chaos. The best setup for any film I've seen this year.

    * it took a rewatch for me to pick out where the cuts were, but they're so clean I can't fault it.

  • You Are Not My Mother

    You Are Not My Mother

    ★★★★

    There’s a huge untapped market for modern horror that builds on all the creepy shit in Irish folklore (Corin Hardy’s The Hallow being the most recent example) so it’s good to see it being used as effectively as this. Bonus points for setting it in a suburban estate in the 21st century and not just some cliched forest. Bonus bonus points for all the shots of Edenmore, Harmonstown and Coolock, even if I did drive my wife insane constantly pointing out where…

  • Confess, Fletch

    Confess, Fletch

    ★★★½

    I enjoyed this immensely at the time (“enjoyed immensely” in this case meaning “I put this on after 10pm on a weeknight and managed to watch the whole thing in one sitting” which is still the best metric I have of whether I’m enjoying a film) mostly because it was reminding me of all the charming and well put together detective films i grew up with in the 80s but now I’m writing this three days later I’m struggling to remember a single thing about it. A candy floss of a film.

  • Prince of Darkness

    Prince of Darkness

    ★★★★½

    Susan? Radiologist? Glasses?

    I’d almost say that this is one of those films where Carpenter’s ability to execute doesn’t quite live up to his incredible ideas, but honestly that last shot of Catherine is so simple and haunting that I can’t not love this film.

  • Malignant

    Malignant

    ★★★★

    There’s an unkind take that says this is a bad film with a bonkers ending. And the first half is unquestionably strange. James Wan is a pretty great director who know what he’s doing but for most of its run-time, this film actually seems to be badly made. One particularly distracting example is where rear-projection car journey has the car going at a wildly different angle to the background. Conspicuously basic shit that makes the film feel cheap, almost soap…

  • Penda's Fen

    Penda's Fen

    ★★★★★

    For a film that’s almost 50 years old, it’s jaw-dropping how so many of this film’s explorations of Britishness, multiculturalism and religion still resonate so loudly in the 21st century. It would be easy to say that this could have been made today but honestly there’s no way such a dense, philosophical allegory for a teenager’s psychosexual awakening would ever be made in 2022 (and this went out on national tv in 1974? Jeeeesus).