Ghost in the Shell | Spoiler-free Review

When Ghost in the Shell debuted in manga form in 1989, we were living in a pre-Internet age – a time of William Gibson cyber-punk fiction, the personal computer held infinite potential and the year 1999 still felt like the far-flung, robot-filled future. It was a pre-The Matrix time. It was a more innocent technological age.

Doctor Strange – Movie Review [SPOILER-FREE]

I appreciate Doctor Strange—it tries really hard to hit all the right notes; it works to make you smile. Scott Derrickson had a tough gig with this one, I suspect—trying to sell audiences on the philosophy and magic of Marvel’s laconic wizard in a post-Avengers, post-Guardians of the Galaxy world.

Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

It’s long – too long by a good hour. And the chroma key (green screen) moments still fly in the face of otherwise sterling production values. Why? Who knows. It deviates from the core story with lumpy stretches of exposition and wholly invents action scenes solely to provide popcorn-chewing moments late in the film. The…

Review: ‘Lawless’

Nearly as potent and ballsy as the gut-rot moonshine being peddled in the film, ‘Lawless’ is clearly a Nick Cave product. It would take a man of his trademark darkness and viciousness, in partnership with filmmaker John Hillcoat (who also directed the 2005 Cave-written film ‘The Proposition’ and 2009’s bleak ‘The Road’), to craft something…

Review: ‘On The Road’

Jack Kerouac’s arguably most noteworthy work, ‘On The Road’, is a rambling quasi-autobiographical account of his early-20s life as a beatnik writer in search of …something. Inspiration, hard work, a sexual awakening – perhaps the American Dream, preceding Hunter S. Thompson by a good 20 years. That part’s never really clear—and perhaps that’s why this…

Review: ‘Ruby Sparks’

I identified with this film more than is probably healthy – and I think that points to a certain reverberating honestly to ‘Ruby Sparks’. It tackles the realities of relationships – the irony being, the one that sits at the heart of the film is entirely fictitious and constructed. Ruby Sparks is a parable of…

Review: ‘Hit & Run’

Once upon a time, this film originally shared the title of famed 1980s arcade game, ‘Outrun’. There’s little else in common between the two really, other than ‘Outrun’ and ‘Hit & Run’ sharing a backbone of high-speed car chases – and, frankly, it’s for the best. I suppose it’s coincidental, but it does establish an…

Review: ‘The Bourne Legacy’

Following the death of author Robert Ludlum in 2001, the Bourne series was left to Eric Van Lustbader to continue the tale. Rather than let sleeping dogs lie, the Hollywood machine has sought to carry on the cinematic legacy with an original spin-off tale, aptly titled ‘The Bourne Legacy’ though not related to Lustbader’s novel…

Review: ‘Bully’

With the rare exception, everyone has been on the receiving-end of bullying in some form at one time or another. ‘Bully’, a confronting documentary by filmmaker Lee Hirsch, smartly contends that this isn’t simply a natural part of growing up but an ugly social phenomenon that has been swept under carpets and into the shadows…

Review: ‘Magic Mike’

A friend of mine has already turned ‘Magic Mike’ into a verb. A verb that could be used in the sentence, “What am I doing tonight? A glass of wine, a warm bath– maybe a Magic Mike.” She hasn’t even seen the film, just the trailer in which Channing Tatum and his beefcake co-stars strip…

Review: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

So. Spider-Man. Did we really need a reboot of a series that had the major Hollywood treatment barely a decade ago—spawning three films and countless games, toys and comic book ephemera? Nah. Not really. But then, when you consider how corny and downright lousy Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 was – and certainly parts of 1…

Review: ‘Men in Black 3’

Well, that’s nice. It feels good to finally review a film on here that isn’t a flabby dud—and it comes from an unlikely corner. Men in Black 3 is a charming, colourful and frequently funny third tale from Director Barry Sonnenfeld and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg. After the dry-heave-inducing second movie managed to screw up…