• Joe Versus the Volcano

    Joe Versus the Volcano

    ★★★

    Joe Versus the Volcano is an exceedingly odd, surreal comedy-drama, written and directed by John Patrick Shanley. It's surprising that Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment agreed to make such an unusual picture.

    It's a very uneven effort with some funny moments and striking visuals. Tom Hanks is perfectly cast as he mixes hapless character study with physical comedy, playing a hypochondriac named Joe Banks who gets diagnosed as being terminally ill with a "brain cloud". When wealthy businessman Lloyd Bridges finds…

  • Karen

    Karen

    To say that writer/director Coke Daniels is no Jordan Peele is a severe understatement of the facts.

    Karen tries very, very hard to blend social commentary about the "Karen" phenomenon, BLM and white privilege with Cape Fear style thriller, and falls resoundingly flat on its ass. The script is completely dumb and heavy-handed, spelling out everything multiple times just in case we don't quite get it - yet still, somehow, our African-American neighbour protagonists keep on giving her chance after…

  • Jennifer's Body

    Jennifer's Body

    ★★★

    "Do you know how hard it is to make it as an indie band these days? There are so many of us, and we're all so cute and it's like if you don't get on Letterman or some retarded soundtrack, you're screwed, okay? Satan is our only hope. We're working with the beast now. And we've got to make a really big impression on him. And to do that, we're going to have to butcher you. And bleed you. And…

  • Earth Girls Are Easy

    Earth Girls Are Easy

    ★★★½

    This sci-fi romantic comedy musical was directed by Julien Temple, who was also behind countless music videos since The Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen, as well as the flop British musical Absolute Beginners.

    It's insubstantial and air-headed but filled with colourful, quirky charm. The humour is amusing and the songs are appealing. Geena Davis has great chemistry with alien Jeff Goldblum, who was her husband at the time. The latter's fellow extraterrestrials are played by Damon Wayans plus a…

  • Miracle Mile

    Miracle Mile

    ★★★★★

    Miracle Mile is one of the great unsung films of the 1980s. It's the second of just two features to have been directed by Steve De Jarnatt, who is mostly known for his work on various TV series.

    Told mostly in real time, it's a disturbing yet strangely beautiful tale of impending nuclear annihilation. With 50 minutes to go until Los Angeles is reduced to ashes, all Harry Washello (Anthony Edwards) wants to do is to reconcile with his girlfriend…

  • Scream

    Scream

    ★★★

    This sequel-cum-reboot of the classic Wes Craven meta-horror is a mix of both the inspired and the tired. Co-directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett do a pretty decent job of emulating Craven's flair for tension and terror during the obligatory stab-heavy setpieces. There are some great kills with more gore than we've seen previously from the series (that 18 rating is properly earned). Some of the meta-commentary is fun and smart, with a few neat updates that take in the…

  • Cocktail

    Cocktail

    ★★½

    The theory of filmmaking quality goes like this: if it becomes bad enough, it automatically revolves right back around and becomes good. Myself, I would dispute that this is necessarily the case (having suffered through the likes of Manos the Hands of Fate, Gigli and Cosmic Sin). However, assuming this cinematic donut does exist, Cocktail spins around it with such jaw-dropping centrifugal force that I genuinely don't know what to make of it minute-to-minute.

    It was released around the time…

  • Dracula

    Dracula

    ★★★

    "An autopsy? On Lucy?"
    "No, no, no. Not exactly. I just want to cut off her head and take out her heart."

    Francis Ford Coppola's version of Bram Stoker's much-adapted horror novel is a huge mess - but a beguiling, amusing and fascinating one at the same time. Gary Oldman is excellent in the title role and the visuals are beautiful throughout, almost in the manner of a Mario Bava or Antonio Margheriti film if they were given a $40…

  • Porky's

    Porky's

    ★★½

    Porky's is basically a smuttier, Canadian-made version of American Graffiti. While it was widely panned by critics of the time, it went on to become a major box office success for writer/director Bob Clark, who was previously best known for his horror ventures such as the cult classic Black Christmas.

    It's very much a movie that I have mixed feelings about. The humour is pitched at a pretty crude level, being that it is based around adolescent male sexual experience/…

  • Quick Change

    Quick Change

    ★★★

    This offbeat comedy-thriller plays out like a heist movie version of After Hours. It's an entertaining but rather hit-and-miss effort with humour that revolves around a bevvy of oddball characters. Some of these are funny, especially the ridiculously pedantic bus driver. Others aren't funny at all, especially the Arab cab driver who (haha!) can't speak a word of English.

    Stars Bill Murray and Geena Davis really help to carry the movie along amiably enough, although third billed Randy Quaid lets…

  • The Darjeeling Limited

    The Darjeeling Limited

    ★★★★

    The Darjeeling Limited is one of those Wes Anderson films that touches heavily on one of his favourite themes: that of brotherly ups and downs, tensions and reconciliations.

    It is widely regarded as one of the director's (relatively) lesser efforts and, to be fair, it feels a bit slight compared to some of the others. Nonetheless, it still offers a ton of charm, with a number of subtly touching and humorous moments, plus a typically beautiful visual aesthetic making heavy…

  • Another Man's Poison

    Another Man's Poison

    ★★★

    The formidable presence of Bette Davis succeeds in making a silk purse out of a sow's ear of a movie. Well, just about. Based on a play called Deadlock by Leslie Sands, this might have worked well on stage but comes across as overly talky and convoluted on film. The number of different characters that turn up at the one house during the course of the story ultimately borders on the ridiculous.

    Still, while Davis has been saddled with a…