• Skyfall

    Skyfall

    ★★★½

    This superlatively dramatic, beautiful film falters in jingoistic concept and scattiness.

    The 'goes on missions' opener, astounding settings and cast chemistry top the franchise. Craig and a beleaguered M (Dench), now the star and Bond girl, give their best performances. Moneypenny (Harris), Q (Whishaw) and Sévérine (Marlohe) can and do act. Silva (Bardem) threateningly pops Bond a few notches along the Kinsey scale in a CGI Kowloon.

    A mixed score overlays plot holes, embarrassingly shit fake hacking and 'stay calm and carry on' nostalgia. Casino Royale's charm had a lighter touch. These quibbles aside, Skyfall may remain the best 007.

  • Carry On Spying

    Carry On Spying

    As a cash-in fad parody, this comes off inferior to 1967's Casino Royale.

    Jokes include: Kenneth Williams is gay; ladies have boobs; guns shoot people; and foreigners are so silly! Pinewood stars as Vienna and Algiers. A man in brownface pre-empts Octopussy's nailbed gag. A moderately good lair, monorail and femme army briefly feature.

    The witty orchestral score riffs on Rule Britannia. The satire more resembles The Third Man and Thunderbirds than Bond. Though not at all funny or sexy, this film may offer historical interest to... someone?

  • The Keepers

    The Keepers

    ★★

    BBC Shakespeare blew everything on the soundtrack. No money remains for passable wigs.

    See the Siberian tundra of Eriador realised in stagey, low-budget glory, with liberal lens lubing, sideburns, static backgrounds, and reverb. Merry's feet floof conspicuously from between Old Man Willow's roots. The chad goliath Bombadil yodeled his way into my heart. No other characters outsize hobbits.

    The fun, resounding electronica and suggestive panting soundtrack will stay with me. Blink and you might miss the larpy Nazgul, lady Legolas, 'gnome' Gimli, Balrog sock puppet or naff eagle. Gandalf dies without fanfare.

    Slavicise all the sacred cows for my pleasure.

  • Quantum of Solace

    Quantum of Solace

    ★½

    Bond scores 'going rogue' hat-trick in confusing, boring, writers' strike sequel.

    Baroque, choppy action choreography baffles. This violent film has nothing to say. It feels both short and padded with feast-or-famine dialogue, and distracting establishing shots. The script channels post-Iraq anti-American, anti-warming sentiment without conviction. The predecessor's plot overhangs, though what Quantum wants, why Mathis cares about Bond's redemption, and the whereabouts of Mr White escape me. We observe an upskirt shot of an assault survivor.

    Some scenes function well enough. The locations and stars look great. Craig's acting, and the Bond character concept, still better all the old films.

  • Casino Royale

    Casino Royale

    ★★★½

    Campbell's energetic direction returns from GoldenEye, bolstered by upgraded acting, writing and tone. Brutalised action drama replaces the fantasy formula.

    Vesper (Green) and meat-Bond Craig's flirting provides the series' best chemistry. Violence has weight. Action scenes connect, and especially the stairwell. Bond, less effortless chancer than streamlined thug, plays Texas hold 'em, not baccarat, and subordinates libido to vocation. Le Chiffre (method Mikkelsen) channels a tight, clicky Peter Lorre.

    Some crap remains in a Branson cameo, product placement and gender politics. Muting indulgences jettisons charm. This muscular, characterful film can take it, though. Destroy Bond's balls x

  • Die Another Day

    Die Another Day

    ★½

    Come see a superhero medical intrigue with shit, puntastic dialogue and post-production decadence, starring Halle Berry's incredible boobs.

    Eon collapses into poor lasers, gadgets, slow-mo and miniatures, a museum of itself. Aggressive colour grading renders North Korea (canonically exonerated) ur-grey. Bond marks the War on Terror with torture dance montage and braindead shag with supposedly 007-mirroring but ultimately silly NSA agent Jinx (Berry). Bond fakes arrhythmia to follow inexplicable vendettas. Graves (Stephens, armed with Logitech trackball, playing yellowface straight) and Frost (Pike) valiantly enact dreary panto. The MacGuffin remains at large.

    This movie contains many shiny things and some appealling human flesh.

  • The Three Caballeros

    The Three Caballeros

    ★★★

    Hold the racism; fly the flags! Support for World War 2 wanes in Mexico and Brazil. Pair Aurora Miranda (of the Good Neighbor policy Mirandas) with that Disney duck for a beautifully presented mockumentary / mediocre shorts compilation hybrid.

    José Carioca (Oliveira) and narrator (Holloway) speak smooth. Donald's slapstick and neon light sequences stun. The songs and drawings entertain. Actors fronting an animated screen splice with cels over live action footage through careful choreography and cuts. The physical interaction, though slight, has stupendous weight.

    It looks good, but barely holds together, and casts Donald horny, handsy and unlikeable.

  • Showbiz Kids

    Showbiz Kids

    ★★★

    Several charming interviews with child stars before, during and after fame portray the difficulties of that life.

    This compassionate film goes into contortion, coercion and sex abuse. Good luck to those who made it out. Many have not.

  • Tetsuo: The Iron Man

    Tetsuo: The Iron Man

    ★★★★★

    An industrial music video featuring brutal metallo-porn evokes my perfect expressionist nightmare.

    Constant, excruciating body horror escalates unrelentingly. Dialogue barely features, but the imagery courses through infection, birth, contortion, fascination, abject hilarity and irreconcilable lust. Toys, genitals, demons, phantasms and cats enjoin the writhing wire wool abyss. Stygian Power Rangers battle over grating foley in visceral stop motion action sequences filmed in alien planetscapes of monochrome twisted metal, and in banal daylight suburbs.

    Hatred, awe and fear of the penis sets up a tension resolved by transformation and total submission to the machine. Embrace this trans horror monstrosity and its thunderous soundtrack.

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

    Who Framed Roger Rabbit

    ★★★★★

    Untouchable. My favourite film. Perfect, except for the indigenous bullet.

  • The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash

    The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash

    If any japish hint will do, and you favour Beatles in-jokes especially, watch this I guess. Your extensive 'Fab Four' trivia knowledge should provide dividends in half a dozen faint chuckles of recognition.

    John becomes 'Nasty' (Innes), but tellingly, Yoko gets replaced by Hitler's daughter. Queerphobic jokes fuel several scenes. Bill Murray screams. The Rutles repeatedly assert Gentile heritage.

    This film pioneers a format but lacks teeth. Okay visual gags accompany songs more pastiche than parodic. Splendid 'Cheese and Onions' animated section and energetic LP mock-ups aside, expect a bland hour of Python and SNL sketch B-sides.

  • The World Is Not Enough

    The World Is Not Enough

    ★★

    Bond '99 digitises saw, torpedo and pipeline effects competently. Its ideas warrant better execution.

    Mr Bullion (Goldie), the Thames chase, chainsaw helicopter and 007's Dublin accent please me. Writers actually justify romance with cackling narcissist Elektra (Marceau).

    Negatives: excessive dialogue, labyrinthine plot holes (whose money did what?; 007 usually defuses nukes) and Bond repulsively haranguing Elektra for having been assaulted. A black belt pairs with brown shoes. Injuries receive poorly telegraphed payoffs. Q (Llewellyn) retires for nothing R (Cleese). M (Dench) gets a job.

    Dr Jones (Richards) convinces no less than other Bond girls. I deem it fine.