Friday, 10 February 2017

22 Things I Learned from Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

1. It’s easy to find a working Humvee lying around in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. The keys will even be in the ignition.

2. Ditto dot matrix printers, which will be fully equipped with paper and working electricity.

3. Previous franchise entry cliffhangers can be gesturally honoured but logistically and emotionally ignored.

4. Alice is a fickle friend, and cares nothing for K-Mart, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, and Ada Wong. But then, neither do you.

5. Tanks are way bigger on the inside.

6. Milla Jovovich never met a vehicle she couldn’t wreck.

7. Pharmaceutical company Umbrella manufacture and ostentatiously brand their own cufflinks, motorcycles (with BMW), and chainsaws.

8. Arbitrary deadlines do not make for compelling deadlines.

9. Ali Larter is the only one of the gang returning the producer’s phone calls.

10. Shawn Roberts isn’t worth the gym membership card his face is printed on.

11. You can never have too much Iain Glen.

12. But you can have too many clones.

13. That laser corridor deserves its own variety show.

14. Editor Doobie White (yes) apparently gets paid by the cut.

15. There are zombie hordes everywhere! Except when there aren’t.

16. Zombies are flammable! Except when they aren’t.

17. A devastated Washington DC, a businessman plotting an “orchestrated apocalypse”, relentless nepotism… this film may be prescient political satire.

18. Writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson has been watching Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies.

19. And RoboCop. And the latest Bourne fiasco. And, er, Daylight, I think?

20. Switching from native 3D to a cheap conversion is never a good idea.

21. If you like endless one-on-one combat filmed with swooping cameras and cut to ribbons so you cannot for the life of track what is going on, then boy is this the movie for you.

22. Alice doesn’t live here anymore. And neither do I.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

22 Things I Learned From John Wick

1. Contrary to expectation, Keanu Reeves is chock full of awesome.

2. This film’s trailer has more plot than this film.

3. Assassins have their own hotels.

4. Assassins have their own gold-coin based economy.

5. Assassins never fight in anything other than immaculate three-piece suits.

6. Stabbing yourself is a reasonable fight move.

7. Aggressive stunt driving is a great way to work off widower grief.

8. New York City is jam-packed with actors from HBO TV shows.

9. Dogs get delivered at night by courier.

10. The most exclusive nightclubs require you to shower before entry.

11. When in doubt, blame a nepotistic Russian crime syndicate.

12. Ornate churches are reasonable cover for money laundering.

13. You can never have enough gunfights, until you can.

14. You can always have enough chrome.

15. Michael Nyqvist may very well be able to act, and possibly to act well, but we see no evidence of this here.

16. The handcuffs can always be picked.

17. The best friend always gets tortured.

18. The villain always has a chopper waiting.

19. Don’t hang around Bethesda Fountain after dark.

20. It’s acceptable to kill approximately 6,567 people one-by-one in gruesome ways if you’re avenging the death of a cute puppy.

21. Since Reeves’s rhythmic, slightly off-tempo and quite beautiful fight manoeuvres make up exactly 96.7% of the running time, perhaps John Wick would have worked better as a ballet.

22. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the land of mediocre action thrillers, the one that can string together a halfway adequate fight scene is disappointingly hailed as a masterpiece.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

22 Things I Learned From Spectre

1. It’s acceptable to recklessly endanger civilians so long as they’re Mexican.

2. Long takes are a cheap way of making your film seem technically accomplished.

3. Rooftops are like Super Mario levels.

4. Spy laptops come with instant DNA scanners.

5. The villainous and endlessly resourced Spectre organisation only have the one branded ring, and they share it around.

6. The word ‘cuckoo’ is not scary.

7. Dave Bautista paints his fingernails.

8. Daniel Craig is a big fan of Roger Moore.

9. James Bond carries a tux everywhere, but not necessarily a gun.

10. You don’t need wings to pilot a plane.

11. There’s no point introducing magic nano-blood if you then don’t do anything with it.

12. Sam Mendes never conceived of a visual motif he couldn’t run into the ground.

13. Everyone massively overdresses for dinner.

14. There’s always a soft landing.

15. Unless you’re a villain.

16. In 2006 interrogations were being recorded on VHS tapes.

17. Truly evil people don’t wear socks.

18. One bullet is all it takes to blow up an entire building.

19. Hack writing deploys bland references as though they had inbuilt emotional and dramatic weight, and weren’t the cheap gimmicks they actually are. (See also: Star Trek Into Darkness)

20. It’s acceptable for a black female field agent to hang out with the white men during the mission planning stages, but she has to wait in the car while the important stuff happens.

21. Spending $300m and being two-and-a-half hours long doesn’t make you big.

22. Quoting past franchise outings in illogical ways and giving a character a Proustian name doesn't make you clever.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Alternate Take

Some more wittering on from me about Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, plus the rest of the franchise:

Friday, 7 August 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Review

The opening of this fifth Mission: Impossible film gives us Tom Cruise taking a running leap onto the wing of an enormous cargo plane and holding on for dear life as it climbs into the sky. It is tremendous fun, but it does not really serve as a model for what follows [full review at over at]   

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

22 Things I Learned from Ant-Man

1. Tanks can go from zero to sixty in two-point-five seconds.

2. Criminals enjoy waffles.

3. There are ants everywhere.

4. Helicopters can crash in major urban centres without consequence.

5. The button for the laser grid is always switched off at the last possible millisecond.

6. Paul Rudd’s head is just slightly too big for his body.

7. Michael Pena never met a relief he couldn’t comic.

8. It makes so much sense for a man who has built a shrinking suit to also be able to speak to ants that this correlation is not even worth discussing. (Also, why not bees? Or bears? Or other people?)

9. Seeing a villain outright murder someone is not enough to prove their villainous credentials. They must also kill a lamb.

10. Ex-cons have no rights whatsoever.

11. I fancy a Baskin Robins Mango Fruit Blast. I wonder why?

12. Bobby Cannavale and Judy Greer make an absurd couple. They are also both making careers out of being wasted by Hollywood.

13. You can get up to pretty much anything in your back garden without arousing suspicion.

14. Marvel are still casting Janet van Dyne.

15. There is only one police precinct in San Francisco.

16. For heist films to work the location of the heist has to be clearly laid out, and should ideally have at least a couple of interesting architectural details.

17. The subatomic realm looks like a late-90s music video.

18. Romantic relationships happen offscreen.

19. The idea of a cultured Mexican is inherently absurd.

20. You don’t need cities crashing to the ground for an exciting action finale.

21. Bathos is all well and good, but it can get pretty tiresome.

22. Somewhere, Edgar Wright is shrugging.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Which of These 22 Decisions From the Makers of Terminator: Genisys Was the Worst Decision?

1. The spelling of the title.

2. Thinking it is endearing/appropriate to turn everything into a punchline.

3. Letting Arnold Schwarzenegger continue phoning it in.

4. Hiring Jason Clarke but giving him no direction.

5. Hiring Jai Courtney.

6. Wasting Matt Smith.

7. Wasting Byung-hun Lee.

8. Sampling the song ‘Bad Boys’ over a mugshot montage.

9. Thinking that helicopters can do that.

10. Thinking that school buses can do that.

11. Featuring an affectless I-can-load-bullets-faster-than-you pissing contest scene.

12. Endowing the villain with inconsistent powers and motives.

13. Making Terminators essentially unthreatening in any guise.

14. Filming everything like an NBC TV show.

15. Attempting a lame critique of contemporary techno-culture.

16. Having the characters bicker like children. Constantly.

17. Aping a Marvel film (also, see above).

18. Aping a Resident Evil film.

19. Ruining all interesting twists with horrendous marketing.

20. Resembling bad fan fiction.

21.Treating the iconic star of the franchise like a 1970s sitcom character.

22. Progressing beyond the first production meeting.