God of War – 2018’s Game of the Year

2018 was a good year for games. Red Dead Redemption II, oddly reluctantly and despite its overlong story, offered extended periods of exploratory calm that offered glimpses of gaming's true potential. Hollow Knight's Switch port paired a sublime game with the perfect platform, and offered a superlative sense of discovery and risk. Spider-Man wonderfully perfected its … Continue reading God of War – 2018’s Game of the Year

Mortal Engines

Lacking some of the cynicism of other franchise-launchers, Mortal Engines is nonetheless an limited adaptation of the first of Philip Reeve's excellent YA novels. Now looking certain for commercial doom, it's a creditable maiden voyage in intentions but not execution. Reeve's setting is the film's primary strength, a nuclear post-apocalypse in which surviving cities have been … Continue reading Mortal Engines

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Crimes of Grindelwald

J K Rowling, whatever her faults, has tremendous form when it comes to intricately planned plots and reveals. The Fantastic Beasts series, with this unintelligible second outing, is at risk of exposing her as more of an improviser than previously thought. The Crimes of Grindelwald opens with a series of changes to seemingly sensible conclusions from the … Continue reading Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Venom

Inhabiting the odd twilight zone between the MCU and a standalone continuity, Venom is Sony's semi-aborted attempt to capitalise on the success of the Deadpool films. R-rated antihero films are proven to work, so it's sad to see the studio opt for a PG-13 option, a soft 15 in the UK. This half-heartedness cuts to Venom's core. Tom Hardy is … Continue reading Venom

Climax

Gaspar Noé's reputation needs scant introduction. The provocateur has seemed to be running out of rope in recent years, his last effort Love critically condescended to alongside the automatic box office failure he's used to. With Climax he has bafflingly resecured some of his cachet, despite a messy and unfocused contrivance of a film. Audiences are introduced to a cast … Continue reading Climax

The Predator

For better or worse, Shane Black has revivified the Predator franchise with this slick but shallow thriller. Shying from typical reboot territory, The Predator is a straight sequel, explaining the murderous aliens' presence on Earth in largely forgettable form. Antihero Quinn McKenna is our protagonist, a military sniper who witnesses the gory crash landing of a Predator in the … Continue reading The Predator