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Olly Richards

Olly Richards

Articles (20)

Sonic vuelve a la pantalla grande pero ahora con Knuckles y Tails

Sonic vuelve a la pantalla grande pero ahora con Knuckles y Tails

⭑⭑⭑✩✩ La primera película de Sonic fue, sorprendentemente, un gran éxito. En los Estados Unidos, fue la película más taquillera de todos los tiempos basada en un videojuego. Cuando consideras la competencia, ese no es el alarde más impresionante, pero significa que Sonic fue lo suficientemente rentable como para que ahora tengamos la secuela inevitable. Es un poco más divertida que la primera película, muy poco divertida, y tiene un CGI menos barato. Al igual que la primera película, Sonic 2 tiene la eficiencia hueca de una película forzada para vender mercancías y para la colocación de productos. Lo hace mucho mejor publicitando el Four Seasons en Hawái que entreteniendo a su audiencia, sin importar la edad. La mayoría del elenco trabaja duro para vender un guión salpicado de chistes de pedos y escenas sin inspiración, pero está tan caóticamente trazado que rápidamente se vuelve agotador. Continuamos donde terminó la última película, con el erizo alienígena Sonic (con la voz de Ben Schwartz) viviendo como el peculiar hijo adoptivo del sheriff de un pequeño pueblo, Tom (James Marsden) y su esposa Maddie (Tika Sumpter). Desterrado a otro planeta al final de la última película, el villano Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) encontró el camino de regreso a la Tierra al inventar una máquina para "regresar a la Tierra". Accidentalmente, recogió a Knuckles (con la voz de Idris Elba con poco entusiasmo), un erizo que posee la misma supervelocidad que Sonic, además de una superfuerza y ​​

Muerte en el Nilo, la adaptación del libro de Agatha Christie

Muerte en el Nilo, la adaptación del libro de Agatha Christie

⭑⭑⭑✩✩ En 2017, Kenneth Branagh presentó Murder on the Orient Express de Agatha Christie, una pelusa anticuada con valores de producción lujosos. Apenas vital, pero con un fácil. Su segunda adaptación de Christie es efectivamente el mismo trato, pero el tren ahora es un barco y todos están hirviendo en lugar de helados.  Muerte en el Nilo encuentra al detective Hércules Poirot (Branagh) aparentemente de vacaciones en Egipto. Allí lo arrastran a la fiesta de bodas de la multimillonaria Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle (Gal Gadot), quien acaba de robar el prometido (Armie Hammer) de una vieja amiga (Emma Mackey) y lo agrega a sus posesiones. Hay un asesinato. No hay premios por adivinar a la víctima. Todos los sospechosos están atrapados en un lujoso barco de vapor, tratando de evitar la muerte o el arresto para poder volver a su champán. Si bien todavía es un elenco lleno de grandes nombres, no es tan deslumbrante como la primera película. Cuando el vataje de estrellas es una gran parte de la venta, eso importa. Con todo el respeto por el talento de los actores, tener a Gal Gadot, Annette Bening, Russell Brand y French and Saunders en la misma habitación no tiene el mismo deslumbramiento ni la misma logística impresionante que Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe u Olivia Colman. Las actuaciones son una bolsa mixta. Jennifer Saunders está agradablemente al borde de la pantomima como una comunista de champán, y Dawn French es conmovedora como su compañera. Gadot extr

The Power of the Dog, el regreso de la directora Jane Campion

The Power of the Dog, el regreso de la directora Jane Campion

⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ Ha pasado más de una década desde la última película de Jane Campion. Es difícil imaginar una mejor manera de anunciar su regreso que esta, una de las mejores —quizás la mejor— películas de su carrera. No es que Campion sea de fanfarrias, por supuesto. Ella hace películas que te atraen con un misterio silencioso, sumergiéndote en su mundo y sus personajes a su propio ritmo, y luego destroza todo de manera devastadora cuando está lista. The Power of the Dog es Campion en su máxima expresión. La historia tiene lugar en la década de 1920 en Montana, en un minúsculo pueblo rodeado de polvo y montañas. En este pequeño mundo, de un rancho, un restaurante y un montón de vacas, se gesta un drama descomunal. El rancho es propiedad de los hermanos Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) y George (Jesse Plemons). George tiene ambiciones de caballero, se viste con pulcritud y se codea con los dignatarios de las grandes ciudades. Phil es un vaquero tosco que intimida, pelea y nunca esboza una sonrisa. Lo único que cuida es la silla de montar de su difunto mentor, Bronco Henry, que trata como una reliquia sagrada. El trabajo es lo único digno de atención. George no comparte el compromiso de Phil con la soledad. Tiene un romance suave y luego se casa con Rose (Kirsten Dunst), la dueña de ese restaurante. Ella y su hijo, Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee de X-Men), se mudan a la enorme casa que comparten George y Phil. Phil intimida con petulancia tanto a Rose, acusándola sin fundamento de ser una cazafort

Scream, el sangriento regreso del ghostface a las salas de cine

Scream, el sangriento regreso del ghostface a las salas de cine

A diferencia de Ghostface, las películas de Scream nunca podrían ser acusadas de ser llamadas incómodas. Incluso cuando la serie comenzó a quedarse sin aliento después de las dos primeras entregas que redefinieron el género, todavía hubo un esfuerzo por seguir ideando nuevas formas de torcer las reglas del terror. El problema que tuvieron Scream  3 y 4 fue que se quedaron sin reglas. Se esforzaron por convencernos de que había una plantilla para trilogías y reinicios, pero tuvieron que inventar clichés para cambiarlos.Todo se volvió tenso y se perdió la mezcla de diversión y terror que hizo que las primeras películas fueran tan exitosas. Esta precuela-secuela-quinta parte,  revigoriza la serie evocando un nuevo ángulo, inspirado y usándolo para comentar sobre el estado del horror de la misma manera que lo hizo el original. Esta vez se trata de los fans: el mejor amigo y el peor enemigo de las franquicias cinematográficas. Los fans pueden mantener una serie mucho tiempo después de que la mayoría de la gente haya perdido el interés. Están complacidos con "secuelas", como The Force Awakens, Ghostbusters y, bueno, esto que les da el golpe de nostalgia de volver a ver viejos personajes, mientras intentan tentarlos con nuevos. Tratan sus películas favoritas como religión. Pero disgustar al fandom, tomando una dirección con la que no estén de acuerdo y se enfrentará a su ira. En Woodsboro, parece que alguien no está contento con la forma en que el legado de Ghostface se ha manchado

Matrix Resurrecciones: el regreso de Neo y Trinity

Matrix Resurrecciones: el regreso de Neo y Trinity

⭑⭑⭑✩✩ Generosamente, la cuarta película de Matrix no espera que hayas seguido de cerca las dos últimas películas para comprender lo que está sucediendo. Pero eso es tanto una fortaleza como una debilidad. La historia esta vez es mucho más simple, aunque a veces sigue siendo obstinadamente cursi, pero lleva tanto tiempo conectarla con la trilogía original que termina siendo mucho más pesada en exposición que en emoción. En última instancia, el resultado es más satisfactorio que las secuela y tercera entrega, pero tiene éxito en gran medida debido a ambiciones más modestas. Si hay algo que debes recordar de Matrix Revolutions, es que Neo (Keanu Reeves) y Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) murieron. La muerte no se quedó. Matrix Resurrecciones encuentra a Thomas Anderson, como se conoce a Neo en el mundo artificial de Matrix, vivo, aunque solo sea técnicamente. Es un diseñador de videojuegos de fama mundial, cuya creación más famosa es The Matrix, una trilogía sobre personas que viven en un mundo informático falso. Está deprimido, perseguido por extrañas visiones de una realidad alternativa imposible. Siente una extraña conexión con una mujer (Moss) que ve en su cafetería local. Él piensa que está perdiendo la cabeza, pero ¿está despertando a la verdad? Esta meta apertura puede sonar cursi, incluso hay una escena de un ejecutivo de Warner Bros., el distribuidor de Matrix tanto en ficción como en realidad, presionando por una secuela del juego de Anderson, pero funciona narrativamente.

Shang Chi y la Leyenda de los Diez Anillos, la nueva entrega del UCM

Shang Chi y la Leyenda de los Diez Anillos, la nueva entrega del UCM

⭑⭑⭑⭑✩ Los personajes menos conocidos a menudo funcionan bien para Marvel, dando más libertad de jugar y la oportunidad de reescribir la historia sin molestar a los fanáticos. Ant-Man y Guardianes de la Galaxia convirtieron las bajas expectativas en una gran diversión. Afortunadamente, lo mismo ocurre con Shang-Chi y la Leyenda de los Diez Anillos. Esta tremenda aventura de artes marciales nos presenta a Shang-Chi, un personaje de cómic tan oscuro que incluso el director y la estrella de la película inicialmente no habían oído hablar de él.  Shang-Chi muestra su historia de una manera agradablemente enérgica. Wenwu (Tony Leung), un hombre obsesionado con el poder, se convierte en el criminal más peligroso del mundo con la ayuda de 10 anillos que le otorgan poder. De manera bastante maravillosa, una voz en off dice que pudo haberlos “robado o encontrado en una tumba”, pero lo deja así. ¿Quién necesita más?  Wenwu tiene un hijo —con una mujer que es aún más hábil que él—, Sean (Simu Liu) quien vive en San Francisco, habiendo canalizado todo ese impresionante linaje en una carrera de estacionamiento de autos en un hotel. Él está feliz deambulando con su amiga Katy (Awkwafina), hasta que es golpeado en un autobús y, en una espectacular ráfaga de patadas y saltos, revela que de hecho es un luchador asombroso con un pasado muy misterioso. Hay una encantadora facilidad cómica entre Liu y Awkwafina, que da muchos momentos llenos de risas. Cuando llega la acción, aparentemente viene de

Emily Blunt y Dwayne Johnson se van de viaje por el Amazonas en Jungle Cruise

Emily Blunt y Dwayne Johnson se van de viaje por el Amazonas en Jungle Cruise

⭑⭑⭑✩✩ Casi se puede ver la génesis que llevó a la creación de Jungle Cruise, la última película de Disney que toma su nombre de uno de sus paseos en su parque temático. Hay mucho de La momia (una maestra va en busca de algo mítico y pide ayuda de un aventurero musculoso), un poco de Indiana Jones (un alemán excéntricamente malvado intenta llegar antes), y generosas cantidades de La reina africana (romance de barco y sombreros alegres) y Piratas del Caribe (malvados hechos con efectos especiales). Parece bastante fría, pero eso no significa que el resultado no tenga encanto. De hecho, está repleto de eso.Una gran parte de la razón por la que Jungle Cruise avanza alegremente es el casting perfecto de Emily Blunt y Dwayne Johnson. Blunt es Lily Houghton, una científica de principios del siglo XX que es rechazada por la comunidad académica de Londres porque es mujer. Harta de esperar permiso para realizar su trabajo, Lily roba una antigua punta de flecha que cree que la llevará a un árbol mítico en la selva amazónica que tiene el poder de curar todos los males. Es cálida e ingeniosa, es decir, ideal para Blunt. Johnson es Frank, un sardónico capitán de un barco de vapor que conoce cada centímetro del Amazonas y acepta ayudar a Lily a encontrar el árbol. Juntos son pura alegría: aceite y agua, pero perfectamente complementarios; peleando coquetamente a través de casi cada momento. Su claro disfrute es contagioso, y su carisma pura ayuda a suavizar las partes más difíciles del guió

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is reclaiming his story

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is reclaiming his story

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has been part of some surprising stories in his time. He was violent crime lord Mr Eko in ‘Lost’, Killer Croc in ‘Suicide Squad’ and a vicious killer in ‘Oz’ (he’s played a lot of killers). He’s appeared in a ‘Thor’ movie and popped up in ‘Game of Thrones’. But none of those fantastical narratives are half as startling as the one he’s turned into his directorial debut – his own. ‘Farming’ is an account of how, as a young black man, he became a white supremacist. The actor-turned-filmmaker was born in 1967 to Nigerian parents. At barely six weeks old, he was given to a white foster family in Tilbury, Essex. The hope was that he’d have a better life, but these were the dark days of Enoch Powell and the National Front. His blackness made him unusual – and largely unwanted – in a very white town. ‘Every time I went out, I was reminded [that I was different],’ he says. ‘It didn’t matter how much you tried to assimilate. I remember walking to primary school and a policeman called me over. He smiled at me, then spat in my face and drove away. I’d done nothing.’ A whole childhood of abuse brought the teenage Akinnuoye-Agbaje to the horrifying decision to join a gang of skinheads. He hoped it would give him some protection. Damson Idris (centre) as Enitan in Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s ‘Farming’.  Photograph Angus Young ‘I remember watching them clash with police,’ he says. ‘There was an area they used to hang out in and the police tried to move them on. They s

‘Succession’ creator Jesse Armstrong: ‘Rich and powerful people are a mess’

‘Succession’ creator Jesse Armstrong: ‘Rich and powerful people are a mess’

As Massive British Comedy writers go, Jesse Armstrong is probably second only to Phoebe Waller-Bridge right now. ‘Succession’, his brilliant HBO show about a chaotic media dynasty, won him an Emmy last month. He has ‘Peep Show’, ‘The Thick of It’, ‘Fresh Meat’ and ‘Veep’ on his gem-laden CV. Now he’s reteamed up with his ‘Four Lions’ co-writer Chris Morris for ‘The Day Shall Come’, an FBI-skewering satire that centres on a group of bungling black rights activists in Florida, which Morris also directs. When did ‘The Day Shall Come’ start for you?‘Maybe eight years ago? Chris had clocked these cases that weren’t technically entrapment by the FBI’s definition, but in common parlance would be. The case of the Liberty City Seven [a 2006 case very similar to the one in the film, in which a religious cult in Miami was nudged by the FBI to plan terrorist attacks it had no means of carrying out] was the germ that started it for him.’ As two middle-class white men, did you and Chris Morris worry if you were the right people to write about working-class black men in America? ‘It’s a valid question [and] you have to be aware of that. I remember going into “Four Lions” and thinking: This feels scary. It’s about terrorists and it’s white people writing about brown people. But the research guides you. Most of [the cases involved] people of colour. You do it carefully and be as honest as you can.’ ‘I don’t think you can think: God, Trump’s really crazy so we have to make the film crazier’ H

Time Out tries... Meals on Reels

Time Out tries... Meals on Reels

Let’s be honest, eating during movies is annoying. It’s hard to focus on gawping at ‘Avengers: Endgame’ or being traumatised by ‘Midsommar’ when someone’s ladling nacho cheese into their face two seats down. It’s enough to put you off both cinemas and food. At tonight’s screening at The Signal pub in Forest Hill, however, eating is not only encouraged, it’s the point. I’m at the inaugural night of The Signal’s Meals on Reels series, a new pop-up that pairs cult classics with themed food and drink. As the actors stuff their faces on screen, you do the same. ‘We were trying to think of an interesting spin for our screenings,’ says organiser Jess Beechey. ‘The tough part was thinking which films to do. Some of the suggestions – “Do ‘Chef’! Do ‘Willy Wonka’!” – would have been insanely hard. We settled on something a bit more unusual.’ Marwood goes on holiday by mistake in ‘Withnail and I’ at The Signal pub The film picked, perhaps surprisingly, is ‘Withnail and I’. A fabulous comedy, yes, but not one closely associated with food. Do they even eat in ‘Withnail and I’, those poor jobbing actors? There’s a nagging fear that I’m going to get nothing to feast on but cheap lager and lighter fluid – maybe a hint of a fine wine if I’m lucky. ‘There’s a nagging fear that I’m going to get nothing to feast on but cheap lager and lighter fluid’ It turns out, I’m very wrong. ‘Withnail and I’ is stuffed with grub. Within moments of the screening starting, I’m handed a fried egg sandwich, much

‘Thunder Road’ director Jim Cummings: ‘I failed for so many years’

‘Thunder Road’ director Jim Cummings: ‘I failed for so many years’

Jim Cummings should probably run motivational classes. Half an hour with the fast-rising filmmaker and you feel like you can do anything. ‘My advice to any [budding filmmaker] is don’t wait!’ says the boyishly enthusiastic 32-year-old. ‘Just make it. It’s going to suck the first time, but you learn!’ Cummings is speaking from experience. The New Orleans native has been obsessed with movies since he saw ‘Fight Club’ in 1999. He’s spent more than a decade working in filmmaking, mostly shorts, largely unsuccessfully. ‘I failed for so many years,’ he says. ‘I was a producer making things that didn’t really connect with audiences. I got to see why things were going wrong, but the feelings of inadequacy got smaller until I thought I could make something on my own.’ The result of that persistence is ‘Thunder Road’, a film he wrote, directed, stars in and co-edited. It’s no failure. In fact, it’s one of the most interesting directing debuts of the decade. Based on a short film that brought him festival success in 2016, it’s a hysterical comedy that also manages to be a profound drama about mental health, grief and broken families. Cummings plays a police officer who has just lost his mother. In the opening scene, 11 minutes of single-take awkward-hilarious brilliance, the cop expresses his grief via a dance routine to his mum’s favourite song, Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Thunder Road’. Sadly, his stereo doesn’t work, so he’s left flailing silently, humiliating his young daughter. The film b

Andrew Garfield: ‘I love my job but I was burning out’

Andrew Garfield: ‘I love my job but I was burning out’

From ‘The Social Network’ to ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’, Andrew Garfield has starred in plenty of acclaimed films. But his latest, from David Robert Mitchell (‘It Follows’), is dividing critics. ‘Under the Silver Lake’ is an intriguing neo-noir thriller with Garfield as a strange young man investigating the disappearance of his neighbour. His journey takes him into an adventure that is nightmarish, surreal and very confusing. The actor tells us about starring in a movie that even he can’t make sense of. This is a pretty mad film. Did you fully understand it when you read the script? ‘No and I still don’t. It’s still a conundrum to me. I don’t think it’s designed to be understood. It’s designed to be experienced. It’s like a dream. I had a dream last night that I was flying on the wings of a dragon while playing sudoku and feeding my unborn daughter sushi. I’ll never know what that means but it means something… This film is what it is and it doesn’t apologise.’ Were you familiar with David’s work?‘I’m a real wimp when it comes to horror films. I had to watch “It Follows” on my laptop in the middle of the day, occasionally taking breaks to look out the window, walk around outside in the sun, remind myself it’s not real. It was the freakiest, scariest thing I’ve ever seen but I loved it so much.’ ‘I love my job and don’t see it as a job, but in the same breath I was burning out’ Some people absolutely love this film and others hate it. How do you feel about that?‘I’ve

Listings and reviews (45)

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

2 out of 5 stars

The first Sonic the Hedgehog movie was, somewhat surprisingly, a huge hit. In the US, it was the all-time highest grossing movie based on a video game. When you consider the competition, that’s not the most impressive brag, but it means Sonic was profitable enough that we now have the inevitable sequel. It’s marginally funnier than the very unfunny first film and has less cheap-looking CGI. Much like the first movie, Sonic 2 has the hollow efficiency of a movie forced into being to sell merchandise and for product placement. It does far better at advertising the Four Seasons in Hawaii than entertaining its audience, whatever the age. Most of the cast work hard to sell a script peppered with fart jokes and uninspired set pieces, but it’s so chaotically plotted that it quickly becomes exhausting. We pick up where the last film left off, with alien hedgehog Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) living as the peculiar adopted son of small-town sheriff Tom (James Marsden) and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter). Banished to another planet at the end of the last movie, villainous Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) has found his way back to Earth by inventing a ‘getting back to Earth’ machine. Accidentally, he’s picked up Knuckles (voiced with little enthusiasm by Idris Elba), an echidna that possesses the same super-speed as Sonic, plus super-strength, and a super-grudge against our blue hero. A flying fox called Tails (voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey) comes to help Sonic and everyone dashes around

The Phantom of the Open

The Phantom of the Open

3 out of 5 stars

It’s not just its 1970s setting that gives Craig Roberts’ based-on-truth comedy a retro mood.It feels like something pulled from the late-’90s, when every British film seemed to be aboutNorthern eccentrics showing off. It has a bit of the mood of The Full Monty or Brassed Offabout it, and if it’s not as good as either of those it has a gentle upbeat cheeriness that’shard to resist.Mark Rylance plays Maurice Flitcroft, a crane-driver from the north east of England who decides to have a crack at entering the British Open golf championship. Flitcroft has never picked up a golf club but doesn’t see why that should be any barrier. If you don’t try you won’t know if you’re any good at it. Maurice tries and he isn’t, amassing the worst score ever seen in the championship. Yet his pluck and eternal optimism make him a minor sports star as he upsets the stuffy golf world and keeps entering the championship in a series of increasingly absurd disguises, defying repeated bans.Rylance, sporting a pair of false teeth almost as absurd as those in Don’t Look Up, is terrific,underplaying Flitcroft’s absurdities so that he comes off as sweet-natured optimist, ratherthan the arrogant chancer his actions suggest. Sally Hawkins is affecting in the quite dull roleof Flitcroft’s wife, whose entire life seems to be dedicated to supporting her husband. It feels like something pulled from the late-’90s, when every British film seemed to be about Northern eccentrics showing off Simon Farnaby’s script

Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile

3 out of 5 stars

Kenneth Branagh’s 2017 version of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express was old-fashioned fluff with lavish production values. Hardly vital, but an easy watch. His second Christie is effectively the same deal, but the train is now a boat and everyone’s boiling hot instead of freezing cold.  Death on the Nile finds detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) apparently on holiday in Egypt. There he gets dragged into the wedding party of multi-millionaire Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle (Gal Gadot), who has just stolen the fiancé (Armie Hammer) of an old friend (Emma Mackey) and added him to her possessions. There is a murder. No prizes for guessing the victim. All the suspects are stuck on a luxurious paddle-steamer, trying to avoid death or arrest so they can get back to their champagne. While it’s still a cast full of big names, it’s not as dazzlingly A-list as the first film. When star-wattage is a big part of the sell, that matters. With all respect to the actors’ talents, getting Gal Gadot, Annette Bening, Russell Brand, and French and Saunders in the same room just doesn’t have the same dazzle and logistical impressiveness as Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe and Olivia Colman. Branagh conjures some pulpy backstory for Poirot’s moustache. The film could use more of that The performances are a mixed bag. Jennifer Saunders is enjoyably on the edge of panto as a champagne communist, and Dawn French touching as her companion. Gadot misses the cruel, egotistic

The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog

5 out of 5 stars

It’s been over a decade since Jane Campion’s last movie. It’s hard to imagine a better way to herald her return than this, one of the best ­– perhaps the best – films of her career. Not that Campion is one for fanfare, of course. She makes films that draw you in with quiet mystery, steeping you in her world and its characters at her own pace, then devastatingly shatters it all when she’s ready. The Power Of The Dog is Campion at her finest. The story takes place in 1920s Montana, in a miniscule town surrounded by dust and mountains. In this tiny world, of one ranch, one restaurant and a whole lot of cows, outsized drama brews. The ranch is owned by brothers Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George (Jesse Plemons). George has gentlemanly ambitions, dressing neatly and hobnobbing with big-city dignitaries. Phil is a rough-hewn cowboy who bullies, brawls and never cracks a smile. The only thing he gives any care is the saddle of his late mentor, Bronco Henry, which he treats like a holy relic. Work is the only thing worthy of attention. George does not share Phil’s commitment to solitude. He gently romances, then marries, Rose (Kirsten Dunst), the owner of that restaurant. She and her son, Peter (X-Men’s Kodi Smit-McPhee), move into the huge house George and Phil share. Phil petulantly bullies both Rose, baselessly accusing her of being a gold-digger, and Peter, mocking him for behaviour he considers unmanly: making paper flowers and simply enjoying the company of his mother. For

Scream

Scream

4 out of 5 stars

Unlike Ghostface, the Scream movies could never fairly be accused of phoning it in. Even as the series started to gasp after the first two genre-redefining instalments, there was still an effort to keep coming up with new ways to twist the rules of horror. The problem Scream 3 and 4 had was that they ran out of rules. They tried hard to convince us there was a template to trilogies and reboots, but they had to invent clichés to upend them. It all became strained and lost the mix of fun and terror that made the early films so successful. This reboot/sequel/’requel’ reinvigorates the series by conjuring an inspired new angle and using it to comment on the state of horror in the same way the original did. This time it’s all about the fans: the best friend and worst enemy of movie franchises. Dedicated fans can keep a series going long after most people have lost interest. They’re pandered to with ‘legacy sequels’, like The Force Awakens, Ghostbusters and, well, this, which give them the nostalgia hit of seeing old characters again, while trying to tempt them with new ones. They treat their favourite movies like religion. But displease the fandom, take a direction they disagree with, and you face their wrath. In Woodsboro, it seems someone is unhappy with how Ghostface’s legacy has been sullied with lame copycats, so they’re killing relatives of the original Scream victims in an attempt to reboot the story. This time it’s all about the fans: the best friend and worst enemy of mo

The Matrix Resurrections

The Matrix Resurrections

3 out of 5 stars

Generously, the fourth Matrix film does not expect you to have closely followed the last two films to understand what’s going on. But that is both a strength and a weakness. The story this time round is much simpler, although still stubbornly noodly at times, but there’s so much time taken connecting it to the original trilogy that it winds up much heavier on exposition than excitement. The result is ultimately more satisfying than films two and three, but succeeds largely due to more modest ambitions. If there’s one thing you need to remember from Matrix Revolutions, it’s that Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) died. Death didn’t stick. Resurrections finds Thomas Anderson, as Neo is known in the artificial world of the Matrix, alive, if only technically. He is a world-famous video game designer, whose most famous creation is The Matrix, a trilogy about people living in a fake computer world. He’s depressed, haunted by weird visions of an impossible alternate reality. He feels an odd connection to a woman (Moss) he sees in his local coffee shop. He thinks he’s losing his mind but is he just waking up to the truth? This extremely meta opening may sound cutesy – there’s even a scene of an exec from Warner Bros., the Matrix distributor in both fiction and reality, pushing for a sequel to Anderson’s game – but it works narratively. The Matrix is a series about layers of reality, where the entire world was reset at the end of the original trilogy. Lana Wachowski is

Eternals

Eternals

2 out of 5 stars

Marvel’s been going through an experimental phase of late. TV shows WandaVision and Loki went really high-concept, with good results. Shang-Chi was more fun buddy comedy than action spectacular. But experiments don’t always work. Departing from Marvel’s snarky, wham-bam formula, Eternals is an attempt to do straight-faced sci-fi. Sadly, the result is over-stuffed and underpowered. Marvel nabbed director Chloé Zhao before she won her Oscar for Nomadland. You can see why she was picked. Eternals is a story about humanity and nature versus nurture. Zhao likes unhurried stories that dig into the human condition, but she has little time to scratch beneath the surface with Eternals. With ten new heroes and a story that covers all human history, there’s simply too much to get through. The Eternals are God-like alien beings, sent to Earth by a bigger God-like being to protect humankind from not-entirely-explained monsters called Deviants. Eternals have been on Earth for 7,000 years, sworn not to interfere unless Deviants are involved. They’ve watched wars, genocide and endless destruction, reluctantly letting humans make their own mess. After millennia on standby, they’ve gone their separate ways. Then the Deviants return. Much of the film is a ‘let’s get the band back together’ quest. The problem is we’ve barely met the Eternals before we’re supposed to invest in their internal tensions. Marvel used five films to introduce the members of the Avengers before uniting them. Eternals wa

The Many Saints of Newark

The Many Saints of Newark

3 out of 5 stars

The Sopranos was never really crying out for a prequel, but as prequels go, The Many Saints of Newark is better than most. While it’s inessential and a bit of an expansive footnote, it contains plenty of well-judged moments for fans and never does anything to harm the legacy of one of TVs greatest shows. Taking place in 1960s and ’70s Newark, it centres on Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), father of The Sopranos’s Christopher. Dickie is part of a growing crime family, headed by his dad, the charismatic monster Aldo ‘Hollywood Dick’ (Ray Liotta). Dickie operates with a softer approach than his father. He’s firm but reasonable and shows kindness to those close to him, particularly his young ‘nephew’ Tony. As his power increases, however, Dickie’s soul blackens. For Tony, the man who was once a moral guide starts to become a lesson in how to command respect through fear. For Sopranos fans, The Many Saints of Newark provides lots of satisfying backstory and character detail. The show’s creator David Chase, co-writing here with Lawrence Konner, who wrote three episodes of the show, is far too smart to throw around big twists for the sake of it. Instead, he weaves in moments that deepen existing characters but don’t dramatically change them. There are hints of how Livia Soprano (Vera Farmiga, as wildly dramatic as you’d hope) became such a horrible, manipulative mother; there’s a fun evolution for Silvio’s toupee; and there are several moments that cast Uncle Junior (Corey Sto

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

4 out of 5 stars

Lesser-known characters often work out well for Marvel, giving more leeway to play and the opportunity to rewrite history without upsetting fans. Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy both turned low-expectation into big fun. The same, happily, is true of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This hugely enjoyable martial arts caper introduces us to Shang-Chi, a comic-book character so obscure that even the film’s director and star initially hadn’t heard of him.  Shang-Chi gets its backstory out of the way in pleasingly brisk fashion. Wenwu (Tony Leung), a man fixated on power, becomes the world’s most dangerous criminal with the help of ten power-bestowing rings. Rather marvellously, a voiceover says he may have ‘stolen them or found them in a tomb’ but leaves it at that. Who needs more? Wenwu has a son with a woman who’s an even more skilled fighter than he. Cut to that son all grown up, now called ‘Sean’ (Simu Liu), and living in San Francisco, having channelled all that impressive lineage into a career parking cars at a hotel. He is happy bumming around with his friend Katy (Awkwafina), until he’s hassled on a bus and, in a spectacular flurry of kicks and leaps, reveals he is in fact an astonishing fighter with a very mysterious past. Director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) nails this opening section. There’s a lovely comedic ease between Liu and Awkwafina, and lots of big laughs. When the action hits, it comes from seemingly nowhere in thrilling f

Shang-Chi y la leyenda de los diez anillos

Shang-Chi y la leyenda de los diez anillos

4 out of 5 stars

Els personatges menys coneguts solen funcionar bé a les pel·lis de Marvel, ja que donen més marge de joc i l’oportunitat de reescriure la història sense molestar els fans. Per exemple, 'Ant-Man' i 'Guardianes de la Galaxia' van convertir la baixa expectativa en una gran diversió. El mateix passa amb Shang-Chi, un caprici d’arts marcials que ens presenta un personatge de còmic tan obscur que ni el director ni l’estrella del film n’havien sentit a parlar mai. Sean (Simu Liu) fa una vida normal a San Francisco, fins que una baralla espectacular revela que és un lluitador sorprenent amb un passat molt misteriós. La lluita del bus i una seqüència sobre unes bastides a l’exterior d’un gratacel són dues de les millors baralles de qualsevol film de Marvel. I de fet, durant la primera hora, sembla que podria haver estat una de les seves millors pel·lícules. Llàstima que el potencial s’allunya en una segona meitat encara molt entretinguda però menys inspirada

Shang-Chi y la leyenda de los diez anillos

Shang-Chi y la leyenda de los diez anillos

4 out of 5 stars

Los personajes menos conocidos suelen funcionar bien en las pelis de Marvel, ya que dan más margen de juego y la oportunidad de reescribir la historia sin molestar a los fans. Por ejemplo, 'Ant-Man' y 'Guardianes de la Galaxia' convirtieron la baja expectativa en una gran diversión. Lo mismo ocurre con Shang-Chi, un capricho de artes marciales que nos presenta un personaje de cómic tan oscuro que ni el director ni la estrella del film habían oído hablar. Sean (Simu Liu) lleva una vida normal en San Francisco, hasta que una pelea espectacular revela que es un luchador sorprendente con un pasado muy misterioso. La lucha del bus y una secuencia sobre unos andamios en el exterior de un rascacielos son dos de las mejores peleas de cualquier filme de Marvel. Y de hecho, durante la primera hora, parece que podría haber sido una de sus mejores películas. Lástima que el potencial se aleja en una segunda mitad todavía muy entretenida pero menos inspirada

Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise

3 out of 5 stars

You can almost see the mood board that led to the creation of Jungle Cruise, the latest Disney movie to take its name from a theme park ride. There’s a lot of The Mummy (a female academic goes in search of a mythical something-or-other and enlists the help of a brawny adventurer), a bit of Indiana Jones (an eccentrically evil German tries to beat them to it), and generous dollops of The African Queen (boaty romance; jaunty hats) and Pirates of the Caribbean (cursed CGI baddies made of jungle detritus). It seems rather coldly engineered, but that doesn’t mean the result is without charm. In fact, it’s packed with it. A huge part of the reason Jungle Cruise clips along cheerfully is the perfect casting of Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson. Blunt is Lily Houghton, a scientist in the early 1900s who is shunned by London’s academic community because she’s a woman. Fed up with waiting for permission to conduct her work, Lily steals an ancient arrowhead that she believes will lead her to a mythical tree in the Amazon jungle that has the power to cure all ills. She’s witty, warm and resourceful – i.e. ideal for Blunt. Johnson is Frank, a sardonic steamboat captain who knows every inch of the Amazon and agrees to help Lily find the tree. Together they are pure joy: chalk and cheese, yet perfectly complementary; flirtily bickering their way through almost every moment. Their clear enjoyment is infectious, and their sheer charisma helps smooth the rougher parts of the script (expect a lot

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‘The Batman’: 8 things you might have missed

‘The Batman’: 8 things you might have missed

The Batman, the latest reinvention of the Dark Knight, gives us a new take on the comic character known as ‘the world’s greatest detective’. But how good are your own detecting skills? The film is packed with nods to other movies, music and art, and holds some sneaky hints about the characters and the future of the franchise. How many of these did you spot? Warning: contains spoilers for The Batman throughout Photograph: Warner Bros. Pictures/© DC Comics 1. Kurt Cobain was a major inspiration for the movie Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is a lot more grungy than previous iterations, with his emo eye make-up, floppy fringe and sulky demeanour. Matt Reeves said the touchstone for Wayne was the late Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain. He told Esquire, ‘Early on, when I was writing, I started listening to Nirvana, and there was something about ‘‘Something in the Way”… What if some tragedy happened and this guy becomes so reclusive, we don’t know what he’s doing? Is this guy some kind of wayward, reckless, drug addict?’ And the truth is that he is a kind of drug addict. His drug is his addiction to this drive for revenge. He’s like a Batman Kurt Cobain.’ Cobain also inspired Paul Dano, who plays the Riddler. He told NME he listened to ‘‘Something in the Way” a lot, absorbing the lyrics about a lonely man living on the street: ‘That song, those words, that refrain, became hugely important to me. Nirvana became a part of that [character].’ Photograph: Universal PicturesJimmy Stewart’s

Five ways that ‘No Time to Die’ will change Bond for ever

Five ways that ‘No Time to Die’ will change Bond for ever

It took a lot longer than anyone expected but finally, after 15 years, the Daniel Craig Bond era has come to an end. From Casino Royale to No Time to Die, it’s been an uneven run, but one full of ambition and some spectacular highs – arguably the greatest highs in Bond history. Now that we’ve watched Craig’s farewell, this is what No Time to Die tells us about the future of Bond. Warning: contains mild spoilers for No Time to DieBond has (hopefully) finally solved its sexism problemWith rare exception, women in Bond films have been devices to move the plot along rather than agents of their own destiny. As much as the Craig era has tried to right that (Judi Dench’s M getting a larger role; Vesper Lynd becoming the first Bond love interest with her own full story), it’s still had its bleakly misogynist moments. Bérénice Marlohe’s Sévérine being surprised by Bond in the shower in Skyfall, shortly after telling him about her life as a sex slave, was a low point. In No Time to Die, the franchise finally establishes new female characters who exist outside of Bond’s gaze. He beds nobody new. Ana de Armas’s CIA operative Paloma may be in the traditional ‘Bond girl’ vein – beautiful, half his age, dresses impractically for action – but, crucially, she shows not a glimmer of sexual interest in Bond. It’s Lashana Lynch’s Nomi, the new 00 agent, who really shakes things up, though. She can do Bond’s job as well as him, she’s not in awe of him and she can match him on kiss-off lines. It

Backyard Cinema has a new home – and it’s where they used to film ‘Ready Steady Cook’

Backyard Cinema has a new home – and it’s where they used to film ‘Ready Steady Cook’

After years of pop-ups around London, starting in a literal back garden, Backyard Cinema has found a permanent home. The popular immersive movie company has taken over the old Capital Studios building in Wandsworth. Once used to record music videos for David Bowie, as well as several series of ‘Ready Steady Cook’ – yes, the Ainsley Harriott once walked its halls – the vast space reopens on Friday September 13 with a 250-person cinema and an enormous bar. ‘This is something we’ve wanted for years,’ says Backyard Cinema’s co-founder Dom Davies. ‘When we found this building, with two huge studios, we couldn’t believe it. We want it to become an entertainment hub with the cinema at its heart.’ The venue has the same feel as previous Backyard Cinema venues, but finessed. The cinema space resembles a crumbling theatre, strewn with vines and lit by huge chandeliers. A special-effects-heavy pre-show will include lightning and glowing, smoke-filled bubbles drifting over the audience. Seasonal elements like the hall of Christmas trees have been supercharged, but we won’t give away all the secrets. The bar at Backyard Cinema. Photograph: Andy Parsons The cinema, bar and courtyard, with food offerings from Honest Burger and Motherclucker, are just phase one for the building. Given three storeys to play with, Davies and his partner James Milligan plan to add karaoke booths, a second screen, another bar and possibly a theatre space and mini-golf. Their hope is that the cinema becomes ju

‘Pet Sematary’ Review: Stephen King’s 2019 Horror Movie Remake

‘Pet Sematary’ Review: Stephen King’s 2019 Horror Movie Remake

Three stars ‘Pet Sematary’ is exactly the kind of horror movie that is ripe for remaking. The 1989 version of Stephen King’s creepy novel is fairly well remembered, but it’s far from a classic, not even the cult kind. You can reinvent it without really annoying anyone. That’s exactly what the creative team on this movie have done. They’ve hacked up the narrative and resurrected it in a slightly different, weirder form.  The script keeps the same rough shape as King’s novel. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their young daughter and son move to a quiet Maine town in the hope of a simpler life than the one they had in Boston. Louis learns of a spooky burial ground behind his house, which he discovers has the power to raise the dead. First, he buries his dead cat, which comes back whiffy and mean, but soon grief drives him to test its powers on someone human. In the details, the writers have some mischievous fun, changing key elements to give the film its own surprises (avoid all the trailers if you want some major ones preserved).Directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer make the tone just a little cheesy, as the premise deserves, but not overripe. The scares are easy – sometimes literally a cat jumping from the shadows – but cleanly done. Helped by intense performances from Clarke and Seimetz, there’s a deep human sadness running beneath the silliness.  Head here for ‘Pet Sematary’ screening times in London.

Lily James on her local cinema and dancing to 'Moulin Rouge!'

Lily James on her local cinema and dancing to 'Moulin Rouge!'

Born and raised in Surrey, Lily James has starred in 'Baby Driver', 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' and 'Downton Abbey'. She's played Cinderella and Winston Churchill's secretary, and this week is headlining the handsomely-named 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society'. Next up she's in Danny Boyle's new comedy. But did we want to ask her about any of these things? No we didn't. We wanted to know whether she eats popcorn at the cinema and hear about that time she had a spontaneous dance party during a screening of 'Moulin Rouge!' Click below to find out more. 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' is out on Fri April 20. Read our review here.Ten new films to see in April