Rating 12 Length 2h28 Release 15.12.2021 Director Jon Watts About With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, our friendly neighborhood web-slinger is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life as Peter Parker from the high stakes of being a superhero. When Peter asks for help from Doctor Strange, the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man. Moon: Full moon during the climatic final fight Where to Watch: Cinemas Trailer:
I don’t think I’ve felt the buzz and hype of a film so tangibly in a cinema for a long time. Nope, upon feeling it walking towards my screen, not even when Force Awakens came out. Not even a Midnight screening has given me that excitement that I felt with those early Potter films. I watched people literally racing from a screen to the toilet, not wanting to miss a single second. As the usher scanned my ticket, he even reassured me that it was good and to enjoy it. It’s safe to say, I did.
The story is really good, very well structured and manages to balance the heavy castings impeccably. If you think of Maguire’s third outing and the ambitious plot weaving that attempted?! This film shows that it can be done.
The casting! Unless you’ve been sans internet for the last however many months, you’d know that Jamie Foxx, William Dafoe and Alfred Molina have returned to play off against an unfamiliar Peter Parker. All three bring what I loved from their previous performances and then some. Foxx, for me at least, gives a slightly different performance, but I have absolutely no problem with that. As for Dafoe and Molina. Both of them make it so hard to identify a favourite. Both of them bring their all, they bring the ham, but also manage to match the tone that Holland’s Spider-Man has established.
The humour is spot on, as always. It isn’t for everyone, but fuck them! I love it. I love every scene in which Ned does his thing, MJ does her thing and the humour that happens when they’re all together.
Tom Holland. What a beautiful, amazing and wonderful Peter Parker he is. Damn it, he’s *my* Spider-Man. It’s not that the other two were ever ‘wrong’ for the role. It’s just that the character works like Dr Who. You have *the* Spider-Man and that’s cool.
I’m still not sold on the use of Dr Strange. I love every bit he’s in and I totally understand why we need him out the picture. However, it lacks the finesse that Stark’s ‘hands off’ approach had and because of that, Strange feels a little bit like a plot device that gets fucked off stage until he’s of use again. Or, you know, like how Captain Marvel was used at the beginning of Endgame.
I get the feeling these events are happening alongside the events of Hawkeye, the tv series, but as I think there’s still an episode to go I can’t quite get them married up in my mind.
This film does rely on the audience being well versed in the Spidy-Verse. This is not the film that should ever introduce you to the character and, even from the trailers, people should know at least a casual knowledge of the Maguire and Garfield eras is necessary. For me, this isn’t a bad thing. However, I do need to acknowledge that some other films have been able to achieve what this film has, while providing a film that works without seeing the previous.
There’s a cameo that I’m still not certain about. The geek in me loves it, however there’s just something about it that reminds me of Clint Barton’s introduction into the universe in Thor; underwhelming.
Such a powerful, clever, outing that has gone straight to the top of my favourite MCU list. I want to go watch it again. I already know this is a film in which I will discover more on repeated viewings.
Rating PG Length 1h41 Release 2.12.2021 Director Michael Mayer About Desperate to avoid his family’s judgment about being single, Peter persuades best friend Nick to pose as his boyfriend on a trip home for the holidays. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
How the hell has Ugly Betty alum, Michael Urie, only just got a leading role in a film. I love this guy and he’s the ideal person to play Peter. He hasn’t aged a day either and I *must* know his secret!
The remaining cast was solid, but it is both Kathy Najimy and Jennifer Robertson that steal every scene they’re in.
Dan Finnerty makes a cameo with more of his musical stylings. Yep, for anyone wondering, that is the same Dan from the Dan Band that you may know from the Hangover.
Why, oh why, does there have to always be a second love interest? Why couldn’t this have been two meddling nieces helping her uncle find love? The reason why I hate it so much is that the third wheel in our rom-com is always written in such a forced way to ram it down our throats that ‘they’re not the one’. We get it, they’re not on the poster; we are not invested.
I’m a little disappointed with the use of Jennifer Coolidge. It was rather a bland character that led to a bland performance. The is a Queen of camp and larger than life characters and she was really stunted in this.
Peter’s whole ‘I’m in this position in my career but it’s not a career I want’ bs really rankles me. It doesn’t mesh with everything else about his character and where he is at the start. His family are supportive, so why didn’t he give his plant shop dream a shot from the start?! Also, who the hell goes back to small town, America to open up a niche shop?! The story arc would have worked much better if he’d had the plant shit as a hobble, been incredibly unhappy in his job and have the realisation he needs to make a change.
Possibly a *little* too understated to enlarge your heart three sizes, but it’s certainly much more upbeat than last year’s LGBTQ offering Happiest Season (2020)
⁃Adam Scott impressed me in this. The first thing I saw him in was Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and from that point, I avoided everything with him in. Since seeing Parks and Rec though, everything has changed. There’s something about him in this that allows him to play the character as someone out of his depth without being weak. Brilliant.
The satire that isn’t spoof. There is comedic elements, it does delve heavily into the plot points of The Omen and other horror movies, but in a much more ‘love letter’ approach than many other lampooning films.
That unexpected, left field, ending was rather impressive.
Not all the humour landed for me. I think it’s the SNL improv approach that I just cannot get a handle on. However, SNL has been running longer than I’ve been alive, so I’m sure there is an audience for it.
I don’t like the story telling device of being introduced to a movie at the midpoint, to then see what happened to get there. With the exception of The Hangover, I find it is a form of storytelling that only works well with tv shows and characters an audience are familiar with.
It was a decent offering and one I might watch again.
Rating PG Length 1h38 Release 26.11.2021 Director Mary Lambert About To escape a scandal, a bestselling author journeys to Scotland, where she falls in love with a castle — and faces off with the grumpy duke who owns it. Moon: none Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
Cary Elwes has provided us with another decade of heartthrob thirst-bait. Yes, we’ve perhaps seen him take on more villainous roles in the new millennium, but this is right up there with Princess Bride, Lady Jane and Robin Hood. His accent is good, the grump persona makes the enemies to lovers entertaining.
I cannot complain about the cast on the whole. Brooke Shields is the ideal leading lady who charms the village and the villagers themselves are so wonderful, I’d happily have another film just focusing on them.
The plot is light and requires no effort to watch. Just wait till it gets dark, wrap yourself in a blanket and brew yourself a hot toddy and you’ve got the perfect evening ahead.
The inevitable fight was so forced and half hearted. I get that the couple, and the audience, need a catalyst to split them up. You know, if we’re going for formulaic like this film ultimately did. However, the outburst was so utterly irrational and it did spoil that charm the film had going for it.
With such a short run time,this film spends way too long on the set up. There are better ways to have her situation told on screen without it taking up so many scenes. Personally, I’d have it where she’s in the airport, all the magazines have the author on the cover, a nearby tv screens her interview.
There really isn’t much of the enemies to lovers section. I really wanted more. Perhaps dedicating the time from the opening to this section would work wonderfully.
A plot by numbers Christmas romance that’s made much easier to watch with Cary Elwes in the lead.
Rating12a Length 2h22 Release 16.4.2014 Director Marc Webb About Spider-Man embarks on a mission to protect his loved ones when OsCorp, owned by his childhood friend Harry Osborn, unleashes a slew of genetically-modified villains against him. Moon: Full moon when Harry grabs Gwen Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
The way this film starts and ends is brilliant. Having us come in, part way through the action is refreshing and pulls you in right away. Then that mid-punch cut to credits allows you to take the story home with you; your imagination takes over and allows Spider-Man to linger with you a little longer.
I love the score and music choices; from Peter Parker having the Spider-Man ringtone, to the use of Electro’s words in the music that accompanies his attendance at Times Square.
I love the references. Particularly the Jaws reference while Parker troubleshoots his webbing devices.
Again with the outcast and diversely abled as the villain. I refuse to call any neurodivergent person disabled. However, for the purposes of this film, it does appear to use Max’s neurodivergent characterisation for the age-old cliche.
It’s in the blood. I’m actually a little on the fence about this one. On the one hand, it allows the universe to explain the impact of others using the research. On the other, it is Chosen One plotting and to me it feels done. Even in 2014, never mind rewatching here in 2021.
The slow-motion! Way too much for me. Not so much in and of itself, but more because I’ve been conditioned to hate it by someone I used to go the cinema a lot with. It triggers all the complaints in my head. Only some of which are valid.
The certainly felt like there was more dependence on CGI for this outing, and some of it really shows. Rather than look like it was from a cartoon, it looks like it comes from game play at times.
Gwen and Peter/ Spider-Man is only here because I loath the fact that they make them SUCH a great team, for *that* to happen to her. That dynamic was incredible.
A decent offering and I will be honest, I am quite sad there wasn’t a third outing.
Rating 12a Length 2h16 Release 3.7.2012 Director Mark Webb About Peter Parker, an outcast high school student, gets bitten by a radioactive spider and attains superpowers. Soon, he is forced to use his abilities to fight a monstrous foe. Moon: Full moon during the final scene Where to Watch: netflix Trailer:
Yes, it is another origin story but I do like how different it is to the 2002 version. This is no Batman, we’re not seeing the same scenes with different actors. I also love that with this origin story, we get a glimpse of Peter’s childhood and the fate of his parent’s. The way it ties into his journey of becoming Spider-Man is also really clever.
Martin Sheen and Sally Field as the Aunt and Uncle was just perfect. Sheen has this was of having a firm and fiery nature without it being too harsh. There’s always that understanding that it’s coming from a place of love. As for Field, gah! She doesn’t quite beat the previous Aunt May, but she is a joy to watch and is able to give us wisdom and love in bucket loads.
I love that Garfield’s Peter doesn’t give a shit about keeping his identity too secret. It makes for a much different, better, type of hero. Telling Gwen, showing his face to the kid in the car it all allows him to be a little more grounded and have a little more support. It also gives us the added conflict with Captain Stacy and I wouldn’t change that for anything.
I don’t like how both Peters have this stalker vibe when it comes to their crushes. While I loved that it set up Sheen for the whole “He has you on his computer”, I really do hate that he has her as the desktop wallpaper. Creepy!
Yet another villain with a disability. Yes, this one has a little bit of a connection in terms of it being the driving force for the character’s research. There’s also the logical leap of using genetics from animals that are able to regrow body parts. However clever and ‘rational’ the plotting might be, it still remains a problematic trope and one that has a massive impact upon how disabilities are seen in society. It really is a shame because Rhys Ifans does a brilliant job.
In the run of all Spider-Man movies up to 2012, this is the strongest by far. We have a decent Peter Parker who fairs well as Spider-Man.
Rating 12a Length 2h19 Release 4.5.2021 Director Sam Raimi About Peter Parker becomes one with a symbiotic alien that bolsters his Spider-Man avatar and affects his psyche. He also has to deal with Sandman and maintain a fragmented relationship with Mary Jane. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
The one thing every one of Raimi’s films have gotten right is the feature’s main villain. Thomas Hayden Church! God, I love Thomas Hayden Church! I could listen to him all day, I’ve yet to see him give a bad performance (Although it is fair to say that I might never give Crash Pad another watch, but that has less to do with anyone’s performance and more to do with the mortifying predicament of watching Domhnall Gleeson explain he’d had his tongue up another character’s cootch… while watching it with my Dad!) I would say that Church’s Sandman is the most serious of Spidey’s enemies and I’m glad there was no hamming. While I’m sure THC is capable, it would have clashed with the overall darkness this instalment seemed to be going for.
Yay for attempting to bring in another bad. Yes, I do mean attempt. However, I’m glad of them increasing the number because it was getting a little too predictable.
Peter and Harry’s eventual team-up. Brilliant, loved it. Came too late for me, but I personally think the whole Harry story arc was a load of bollocks.
Harry, Harry, Harry. What the fuck did they do to this storyline?! Like, why have the memory loss for Peter not to learn from his mistake and tell the poor bloke the truth? Well, I know why… the film cannot handle three villains. To be fair, it can barely handle two, so I think that’s why Harry is side-lined, then Sandman. It’s just a fucking mess.
In order to bring in Gwen Stacy, did the film really have to shit all over MJ the way it did?! What’s worse is that Gwen gets booted out of the film after the emo-Jazz scene. There needed to at least be a resolution there because the character, and Bryce Dallas Howard who did a brilliant job, deserved better.
The retcon of Uncle Ben’s killer. In fact, the continuation of bringing Uncle Ben’s death to the forefront of the plot really doesn’t do this trilogy justice. This retcon removes all of the importance of Peter’s reveal to Aunt May in the previous film, it cheapens the death of the assumed killer in the first film and, worst of all, it bloats this stinking floater way more than necessary.
The infamous ‘Emo Peter’. While I’ve discovered during this rewatch Maguire’s Peter is a total douche all the way through, it is this Venom inspired interlude that is hardest to digest. Yes, we have found meme enjoyment over the years but I think watching it, is very different that utilising the stills. Fuck me, I want to die a little inside because of how bad it all unfolds and just how shit Maguire is with it; it’s too big for him.
I’d only seen this once before, in the cinema. I’d remembered this feeling of hating it, but I always put that down to the fact that I went on to have one of the biggest fights with a dear friend hours after I’d seen this. I never really spoke to him again after that and I do really miss him.
However, it wasn’t that. This film is an underdeveloped, post morning-coffee turd. It’s so bad that even when I missed the crucial part of the final showdown, I could not bring myself to rewind.
Rating 12a Length 1h58 Release 12.11.2021 Director Rawson Marshall Thurber (fun fact: He’s the Quiznos guy from Easy A) About In the world of international crime, an Interpol agent attempts to hunt down and capture the world’s most wanted art thief. Moon: Full moon sighted as Reynold’s character goes home. Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
It’s a pretty solid story. Not that I cared, at all. Why? Oh, I was here for the Johnson/ Reynolds dialogue. They understood the mission. Their interactions were *chef’s kiss* perfect. I don’t quite know what it is about these two together, but they’re dynamite. The only pairing I’d want more is Reynolds and Jackman and with both, I could have had them sitting, in a room, just reading the lines. Yes, it would be fair to say it really is down to Reynolds’ delivery of a lot of the lines, but if you’ve seen the latest in the Hitman’s Bodyguard series, you’d know that it’s more than that.
That said, there are some amazing action sequences, location shoots and excuses to dress up. It’s The Mummy meets Bond, by way of Danny Ocean. Its perfect for a Saturday night watch when you don’t want to think too hard.
Cal Gadot almost gets there. There’s crazy in the performance, but the actress pulls it back and I really wish she didn’t. Gadot could have given us something shy of Harley Quinn and I know I’m splitting hairs, but in a film as good as this, I do have to critique something.
Green light the sequel already, you cowards!
Had everything I really needed in a movie like this, so there’s really nothing to complain about. Only thing is, this review is a little redundant as it would appear that most people have already watched Red Notice this weekend.
Rating 15 Length 1h52 Release 16.09.2011 Director David Dobkin About Best friends Dave, a married lawyer, and Mitch, a playboy, envy each other’s lives. Hilarity ensues when their bodies get swapped, and they realise their lives are not as great as they had imagined. Moon: not sighted Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman are pretty decent in this body-switch. Reynolds does seem to be able to handle both characters a little better, but Bateman equally works well when he’s acting in scenes with Reynolds. You could also argue that his character is trying to represent Dave.
The supporting cast, particularly Alan Arkin, Leslie Mann and Olivia Wilde is great.
The whole thing with getting Mitch, who is really Dave, to go on a date with Sabrina… but for her to end up with Mitch post switch-back. Like, the film makes it go really well. They almost seal the deal. What I’d really want is for Dave to realise they’re not compatible. Right? It’s not like Dave was pretending to be Mitch, he was totally being himself so I don’t get it.
The nudity, to me at least, is the one thing that’s keeping this film from being a 12a and, lets face it, a body-swap is 12a or lower territory, the family lesson learned… it all lends itself to a lower rating, and a better film. Am I a woman of a certain age a bit pissed of all these perky breasts on my screen?! Well, mine have never been perky, so perhaps?! That said, it is still gratuitous and it doesn’t add to the film. (I mean, come on… we can ALL do with one less slow-mo walk to Sweet Cherry Pie in our lives, right?!)
The CGI babies. They’re not quite at the level of Twilight’s abomination, however, that CGI chocolate starfish is a hard pass! Then there’s the mid-film knife skills that just make my brain hurt. I’m sure this is more to do with this being a repeat viewing, but it really sucks!
The poo jokes. There’s babies involved, I get there is a well there to be used. I have my issues with the projectile shit, but the biggest culprit for me is the “I need to lay off the Thai food” open doored shit Jamie takes. I’m calling bullshit on this! What a gratuitous, unfunny scene. Unless Jamie and Dave have some massive kink, she would be closing the fucking door on that shit, pun very much intended. Now, had it been the other way around, I’d have had no problem believing that Mitch, in Dave’s body, would have done this being used to living alone. That would have made for a so-so believable scene, and given Jamie cause to question what the blokes had said earlier. However, to suggest that this woman would habitually undress, leave the door open so her husband can have a direct view of the bog, and proceed to have a wet and squelchy shit. The smell of which will plague the bedroom for god knows how long?! Nope, not buying it. I know, I know, it’s not that deep! You’re right. Toilet humour is low, its superficial and I fucking hate it.
This is one of those films I actually forget I hate. Its Hangover, but a pale imitation. Thank fuck the Hangover buzz was left behind in the early 2010’s.
Rating 12 Length 1h29 Release 27.1.2017 (Sundance. No UK release) Director Alethea Jones About Four women whose only common ground is their kids’ preschool class, decide to get together for a harmless dinner. The night begins as a disaster, but the combination of alcohol, karaoke, and a cute bartender leads to an unforgettable night where these seemingly different women realize they have more in common than motherhood and men. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
Toni Colette is always a pretty decent watch, and this is no exception. She could have taken any on any of the four main “moms” and made it work, but this embittered and closed of personality was quite refreshing to see her as. Molly Shannon can be a bit of a hit and miss for me, but she keeps it closer to her Never Been Kissed performance and that’s just spot on for me.
Bridget Everett keeps popping up in films I watch and I need more of her. If you haven’t already, you need to check out Patti Cake$ which she won a Best Supporting Actress award. In this, she’s giving us Melissa McCarthy meets Kathryn Hahn, but with her own brand of chaos that will generate most of the viewer’s laughs.
The story is simple enough and it’s fair to say it’s a condensed version of Bad Moms with a tone akin to the Hangover and Book Smart.
The liberal use of the word ‘c*nt’ is always a win for me. It’s my favourite swear. Might not be for everyone like, but there’s one interaction that just wouldn’t be as funny without its use.
It’s come out at a bad time. It’s a saturated market for this genre. From the trailer, you would be forgiven for thinking that it offers nothing new. However, you must give it a go. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
It’s not a very diverse cast. It’s all white, all middle class. It’s a shame, because it just feels lazy.
I’ve just started to tolerate Adam Scott. Why, then, does he go and give me the very character of his I absolutely hate?!
Having the woman cheat. It’s a cliché and I’m done.
It’s a decent offering, it’s just a shame that there are so many others on offer.
Rating 18 Length 2h19 Release 7.2.1997 Director Ron Howard About When a millionaire’s son is kidnapped, he adopts a novel technique for tracking down the kidnappers and recovering his son. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix, ITV4 @ 23:20 on 8th November 2021 Trailer:
In an opening akin to Speed (1994), you’re given a lot of information in a short space of time. It’s not pulling any punches and you know who the target is and you sense it could happen at any moment. There’s little things that will set a viewer on edge; from the party happening in the millionaire’s penthouse apartment, to a reporter gaining access and approaching Mel Gibson’s character.
The story itself is brilliantly developed. Without spoiling anything, this film makes daring choices that, as a bystander, you can actually see logic in. Not only that, you are in a position where you know the moves of both the protagonist and antagonist. Something that is not often pulled off as well as this film managed. Being in a position of knowing something Tom doesn’t could have had that ‘they’re behind you’ panto tone but with Ron Howard’s direction, it holds much more gravitas to it.
Ron Howard is a competent film maker. He’s not someone who has a style that could enable me to pick out his filmography, but there’s that seal of quality on them.
Sitting here in 2021, it’s hard to remember that Mel Gibson was consistently in the annual Quigley List of top ten most bankable stars. While he seems to be able to avoid ‘cancel culture’, he certainly hasn’t been a leading man for at least a decade. However, thirty seconds of screen time in something like Ransom and any viewer who was alive before Y2K will remember why this man was so in demand. This isn’t to say I excuse anything he’s accused of or absolve him of any of the antisemetic views, misogyny or domestic violence. What I am saying however, is that there is a detachment of the actor and the roles he plays. Something I don’t think can be said of others. Gibson commands your attention as Tom, he wins you over before there’s even a need for you to be on his side. Then there are those moments of vulnerability, of determination and Gibson is the only one who could have ever given us this Tom Mullen. As I was watching, all I could think of was that we don’t have a contemporary actor that could bring to a role what Gibson does and, toxicity of him as a person aside, it really is a shame.
The rest of the cast is incredible. From the stroke of genius of having Rene Russo reteam with Gibson, to up and coming Liev Schreiber doing sketchy the best way he knows how. All of this quality casting ensures that there’s a quality to match the action. Had this been made today, or even then with a lesser director, the focus may have only been on the action and it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good.
One thing I do love about the dialogue is that Tom questions how much the kidnappers ask for in ransom. Had he not done this, I may have thought £2 million was the going rate to demand from millionaires. That one line allows those viewing from the future to understand that something’s not quite right.
The Bad (spoilers within)
It is not a perfect plot. There are some bits that, because of how good this film is, stick out like sore thumbs. Quite a lot of it occurs in the final act. Firstly, I’m not so sure police are allowed to accept reward money? For me, that’s a big red flag and I’m wondering why Tom is so accepting of handing over the money. Secondly, the FBI now know the detective is with Tom, so lay person me works out pretty quickly that the jackass is going to have his radio on him. So why the fuck would you let him know you’re on to him?!
I don’t buy the motivate of Jimmy Shaker. I needed more of a connection to Tom to buy it fully. The idea of Tom buying his ‘way out of things’ came across as such a trigger that it was personal to Jimmy. There was also the repeated line that the money was deserved, that it was *his* money. There’s still a question mark over it all.
Poor Donnie Walberg. First you have to deal with the fact that Donnie is Marky Marky if you’d ordered him from Wish. Then his character goes and wins the viewer over with his remedial charm and all round good heart. I, personally, was rooting for him to be the one that saved the day, before the proverbial rug was pulled and he exited stage left before the audience hits the halfway mark.
It’s not a popcorn watch in the slightest. It’s gritty and will leave any viewer on the edge of their seat and perhaps even hugging their little ones a little closer. A wickedly smart story that will keep your attention, long after the credits roll.
Rating PG Length 1h 43 Release 15.9.2021 Director David Yarovesky About Scary story fan Alex must tell a spine-tingling tale every night, or stay trapped with his new friend in a wicked witch’s magical apartment forever. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
The opening of the film is really off putting. It throws you in the deep end, for the purpose of a payoff later in the film. It doesn’t work for me and makes me a little detached from the protagonist.
The theme of abuse and trauma is a little too on the nose for what should be a children’s film. To also contain it in such a way in a fantasy film is a little problematic when a lot of children are made to believe everything they experience is in their own head.
It’s really dark, and scary. Which, yay, its Halloween. However, this is not a family affair and it will scare little ones.
Krysten Ritter was born for the role she plays, if not a little too young looking for the role. The fear and the horror comes from her unpredictability and clashing sugary sweet look.
The way in which Alex’s stories are told really is awesome. The stylised approach really allows to make a distinction between Alex’s stories and Alex’s experiences.
Its not too sure on its target audience, so be aware if you intend to watch with little horrors.