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Olly Richards

Olly Richards

Olly has been writing about film for over 20 years. As well as Time Out, he’s contributed to Empire, The Sunday Times, GQ, Esquire, The Guardian, NME, Wired, and the BBC. Based in London, his preferred cinema is The Ritzy and, if available, he’ll opt for seat J12.

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Articles (31)

The best movies of 2024 (so far)

The best movies of 2024 (so far)

It’s still early days, but 2024 is already shaping up to be a gala year at the multiplex. Last year was a cracker – thanks to Oppenheimer, Barbie, Past Lives et al – but the next 12 months promise plenty, with Denis Villeneuve delivering a long-awaited Dune sequel, George Miller back at the bullet farm with Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, a resurrection of the Alien franchise, and a tonne of other big-screen fare to get excited about. So far, we’ve been spoiled rotten, with the achingly lovelorn All of Us Strangers, Yorgos Lanthimos’s riotous Poor Things, and Dev Patel’s eye-wateringly violent debut Monkey Man just a few of the good reasons to get to the cinema. So, the criterion for entry: some of these movies came out in the US at the back end of 2023 – Oscars qualification required it – but we’re basing this list on UK release dates to include the best worldwide releases from between January and December. We’ll be updating it with worthy new releases as we go, so keep this one bookmarked. RECOMMENDED: 📺 The best TV shows of 2024 (so far) you need to stream🎥 The 100 greatest movies ever made🔥 The best movies of 2023

The 100 best TV shows of all time you have to watch

The 100 best TV shows of all time you have to watch

‘The idiot box’. ‘The boob tube’. ‘The opiate of the masses’. For decades, television was maligned as one of the lowest forms of entertainment available, a conduit for hypnotising slop was actively making the populace dumber. Was that perception justified? Maybe, at times. The fact that it was being beamed directly into your home, and you had little choice in what to watch, made it seem worse.   Now, 70 or so years after it became widely available, other mediums are having to play catch up. The best shows compete with movies for cultural positioning, while elite filmmakers make movies for the small screen. The premiere of The Sopranos in 1999 is credited as the big bang that changed TV’s reputation, and the advent of streaming has made it so viewers actually have more to watch than anyone could possibly consume in an entire lifetime.   That makes selecting the 100 greatest TV shows much more of a challenge than it would have been 20 years ago. For that reason, we elected to limit the field a bit, leaving off talk shows, docuseries, variety shows and sketch comedy, instead focusing on scripted, episodic dramas, comedies and miniseries. Even then, it proved to be an exhausting task – after all, television has been popular since after World War II. While this list is dominated by 21st century programs, there are hundreds of shows from the pre-Sopranos era that deserve credit for pushing TV forward into its current golden age. Here’s what we chose as the best of the best. Recomme

El encantador Timothée Chalamet le da vida a Wonka

El encantador Timothée Chalamet le da vida a Wonka

En general, las precuelas son algo horrible, que despojan a los personajes del misterio o, en el peor de los casos, arruina precisamente lo que los hizo grandes (ver Maléfica convirtiendo a un villano clásico o las precuelas de Star Wars que nos dan el papel quejoso de Darth Vader) pero en este caso, Wonka es una precuela rara que lo hace bien. La visión del director de Paddington, Paul King, sobre la vida anterior a la fábrica de chocolate de Willy Wonka —de Roald Dahl— no intenta dar ningún retoque impactante ni ningún guiño astuto. Simplemente se siente como una extensión del mundo que creó Dahl, lleno de encanto, villanos silbadores y pura imaginación. La cinta comienza con Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) llegando a su metrópolis anónima, acogedoramente dickensiana y siempre cubierta de nieve, con un frasco de dulces en la mano y el sueño de abrir su propia tienda de chocolates. Su plan se ve inmediatamente frustrado por dos cosas: primero, un posadero intrigante (Olivia Colman, masticando espléndidamente el paisaje con una dentadura postiza amarillenta) que lo engaña para que se dedique a trabajar en su lavandería, y un trío de magnates del chocolate (Paterson Joseph, Mathew Baynton y Matt Lucas) que no quieren a Wonka en su parcela. Con su mente brillante y su perspectiva infinitamente optimista, Wonka idea planes elaborados para superarlos a todos y llevar su chocolate a las masas. Chalamet es un Wonka fantástico, poseedor de una voz digna de cantar (las canciones originale

Every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie ranked from worst to best

Every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie ranked from worst to best

Over the past decade and a half, it’s often seemed like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, well, the only cinematic universe. Since officially kicking off in 2008 with the introduction of Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man – apologies to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man and Ang Lee’s Hulk – new instalments arrive like dandelion spores, and the whole planet lines up to consume each one. It’s a testament to the obsessively detailed world-building within the franchise – and, of course, the inescapable branding that goes along with it. But that doesn’t mean all MCU flicks are created equal. Far from it, in fact. For every monolithic, box-office-shattering event picture, there’s an Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Thor: Love and Thunder – inessential space-fillers that seemingly exist only to fill a quota on a studio’s release slate. And frankly, the latter seems to be occurring more frequently than the former these days. Against that complicated backdrop The Marvels has arrived and the picture looks no less muddy for the Marvelverse. With rumours of a return for Robert Downey Jr and one or two other OG Avengers, is Kevin Feige on the verge of hitting the big reset button? As our ranking of the 32 MCU flicks released so far demonstrates, the glory days are still where the gold/vibranium lies. Recommended: 🦸🏿 The 50 best comic book movies of all time💣 The 101 best action movies ever made🕵️ 40 murder mysteries to test your sleuthing skills to the max

Cacería en Venecia, estreno de un misterioso asesinato

Cacería en Venecia, estreno de un misterioso asesinato

Esta semana es el estreno de Cacería en Venecia, basada en el libro Agatha Christie, te damos razones para verla.  Después de dos viajes arruinados por la obligación de resolver asesinatos, Hércules Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), francamente, ya está harto. La tercera de las adaptaciones de Branagh de Agatha Christie, después de Asesinato en el expreso de oriente (2017) y Muerte en el Nilo (2022), encuentra a Poirot tratando de mantenerse solo en Venecia. Ignora a las personas que ruegan por sus servicios e incluso contrata a un guardaespaldas (Riccardo Scamarcio) para golpear a cualquiera que se acerque demasiado; sin embargo, por más que intente evadirlo, la muerte siempre encuentra su camino hacia Hércules. ¿Por qué ver Cacería en Venecia?  Lo encuentra gracias a Ariadne Oliver (Tiny Fey), una amiga novelista policíaca que invita a Poirot a una fiesta en casa de la excantante de ópera Rowena Drake (Kelly Reilly), en la que Joyce Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh) dirigirá una sesión de espiritismo de un renombrado psíquico fraudolento. La sesión sale tremendamente mal, alguien muere y Poirot no está del todo seguro de que no haya fuerzas genuinamente de otro mundo en acción. Al igual que las películas anteriores, todo es muy atractivo, con Branagh aprovechando el miedo innato de Venecia, llenando todo con muchas velas parpadeantes y nubes de tormenta turbulentas solo para asegurarse de que el pastel no quede sin huevos. Su elenco, que incluye a Camille Cottin de Call My Agent, Jamie Dor

Háblame, la nueva película de terror de A24

Háblame, la nueva película de terror de A24

En los primeros minutos de Háblame (Talk To Me), el debut como directores de los gemelos de YouTuber, Danny y Michael Philippou, parece bastante claro lo que nos espera. Comienza con el tipo de travelling largo y espectacular que adoran los nuevos cineastas; sigue a un joven a través de una fiesta mientras busca a su hermano menor. Lo encuentra con los ojos en blanco y ensangrentado, mirando a una pared. Mientras la multitud graba con sus teléfonos, el joven apuñala a su hermano y luego a sí mismo. Es una configuración efectiva pero bastante estándar para "adolescentes malditos". Pero es sólo una de las muchas veces que este horror aterrador e inventivo te lleva por un camino familiar y luego te arrastra por una ruta nueva e impactante.  La historia luego se centra en Mia (Sophie Wilde), una adolescente un poco extraña que toma malas decisiones. Está de luto por la muerte de su madre. En su soledad, se aferra a su mejor amiga, Jade (Alexandra Jensen), y a su familia: su hermano menor Riley (Joe Bird). Mia y Jade, además de Riley, van a una fiesta donde alguien saca una mano aparentemente maldita. "Agárralo y podrás darle la bienvenida a un fantasma en tu cuerpo". Pídele que se vaya antes de los 90 segundos o querrá quedarse. El reloj, por supuesto, corre… Los Philippous interpretan las escenas de posesión no como una comedia de terror sino como una comedia adolescente con drogas. La posesión se siente "increíble", un viaje que altera la mente, por lo que todos quieren hacerlo

De autos a animales, llega a los cines Transformers: El despertar de las bestias

De autos a animales, llega a los cines Transformers: El despertar de las bestias

A estas alturas, probablemente sepas si la saga de Transformers es para ti. Van seis películas (siete, si cuentas el spin-off de Bumblebee ) y esta no es una franquicia que busque reinventar las ruedas. Cada entrega tuerce y reorganiza los mismos elementos; una baratija que podría destruir la Tierra; un malo de plata; un humano con mala suerte; una vaga alusión a la civilización antigua, y los rodea con una acción de bot contra bot impresionantemente animada.  Rise of the Beasts está directamente ligado a la misma fórmula, pero resulta ser uno de sus activos. Le da a la audiencia para qué están aquí y nada más. No hay nada de la complicación excesiva de las películas de Michael Bay, que a menudo presentan una trama humana demasiado rebuscada, y no infla el tiempo de ejecución. Esta entrega comienza en un pasado no específico con un grupo de animales Transformers, los Maximals, que huyen de su planeta de origen mientras es atacado por el dios robot devorador de planetas Unicron y su secuaz Scourge. Escapan con la llave transwarp, un dispositivo que permitiría a Unicron viajar a través del tiempo y el espacio, comiendo planetas a voluntad. Después de esconderlo en la Tierra, el escondite favorito de los Transformers, desaparecen. Corte a 1994, donde la guía del museo, Elena (Dominique Fishback), encuentra la llave y la activa accidentalmente. Eso despierta a los Maximals y los Autobots, que han elegido a un nuevo amigo humano, Noah (Anthony Ramos), y todos se embarcan en una mi

John Wick vuelve al cine para seguir pateando trasero en su cuarta entrega

John Wick vuelve al cine para seguir pateando trasero en su cuarta entrega

⭑⭑⭑✩✩ Sin duda hay personas que memorizan cada parte de la historia de los asesinos y su intrincada estructura de poder, pero la trama de John Wick nunca ha sido realmente el fuerte de la serie. Su principal atractivo está en las escenas de acción, las peleas y en lo escenarios cada vez más ridículos. Y esta cuarta película ciertamente no defrauda a los espectadores.  Hay escenas en un gran hotel lleno de vitrinas y reliquias antiguas; a través de un edificio en llamas; un club nocturno ridículamente grande en Berlín; peleas en el Arco del Triunfo en hora pico; sin olvidar los escalones de Sacré Coeur. El recuento de cadáveres es enorme. Hay tantas peleas que ocasionalmente puede dejarte insensible a los golpes, agotado por un montón de puños. John Wick (Keanu Reeves, mostrando nuevamente que puedes ser una estrella de cine fascinante sin actuar mucho) fue dado por muerto al final de la última película. Ahora, emerge de su escondite para librar la guerra definitiva contra The High Table, la organización de asesinos que efectivamente lo posee. Finalmente, cree que ha encontrado una manera de ganarse su libertad. En su camino se interpone el último villano de The High Table, impecablemente formado por el marqués de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård) y alrededor de un millón de secuaces.  El director de la franquicia, Chad Stahelski, una vez más monta todo de manera impresionante, con el aspecto tecno-gótico característico de la serie al máximo. Si bien todas las escenas de acción son e

Llega ¡Shazam! La Furia De Los Dioses a todos los cines de la CDMX

Llega ¡Shazam! La Furia De Los Dioses a todos los cines de la CDMX

En medio de la melancolía de la mayoría de las películas de DC (Batman, Superman, Justice League), Shazam de 2019 fue una dosis de alegres tonterías. La historia de Billy (Asher Angel), un niño huérfano que puede convertirse en un superhéroe adulto (Zachary Levi) gracias a un don mágico, fue una fantasía. Esta secuela tiene más o menos el mismo trato. A veces se esfuerza por dar el mismo grado de emoción ahora que sus personajes son adultos jóvenes, en su mayoría lo logra junto a algunas bromas ingeniosas. Ha pasado bastante tiempo desde la última película, Billy ahora vive felizmente con su familia adoptiva, pero se acerca su cumpleaños número 18 y no sabe qué le depara el futuro. Por ahora, vive una vida de adolescente normal mientras lucha contra el crimen en secreto con sus hermanos adoptivos, quienes comparten su habilidad para transformarse en superhéroes. Billy quiere que hagan todo juntos, pero los demás quieren forjar sus propios caminos, tanto los superhéroes como los normales. Mientras tanto, un par de dioses furiosos (Helen Mirren y Lucy Liu) han venido a reclamar el poder que creen que Billy les robó. Hay mucho que discutir aquí, con seis héroes y múltiples villanos, y el director que regresa, David F. Sandberg (Lights Out), hace un buen al mantener las cosas enérgicas y sin enredos. En un elenco fuerte, Jack Dylan Grazer se destaca como Freddy adolescente, que se desliza a través de la adolescencia como un pato sobre cemento húmedo.  Y Levi nuevamente presenta

Comienza la Fase 5 del UCM con Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Comienza la Fase 5 del UCM con Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

⭑⭑✩✩✩ Hay mucho peso sobre los diminutos hombros de Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). Esto, aparentemente, es el comienzo de la llamada "fase cinco" del Universo Cinematográfico de Marvel. La fase cuatro, de Black Widow a Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, representó un período triste para una franquicia que necesitaba un reinicio. Pero Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania es la misma vieja fórmula, en lugar de un nuevo comienzo.  Es un error desde el principio. Por un lado, poner a The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) en el título es exagerar enormemente su participación. Ella simplemente zumba al borde de la historia. El atractivo de Ant-Man siempre fue que era el Vengador menos impresionante, un padre tonto que sabía que en realidad no debería estar allí, pero hizo lo mejor que pudo. Esto intenta elevarlo a un superhéroe dramático, pero no funciona. El encanto de Rudd se ve atenuado al despojarlo en gran medida de los fragmentos de comedia; no hay diversión con los cambios de tamaño de Ant-Man. Hay demasiado hombre, pero no hay suficiente hormiga.  Scott Lang (el alter ego de Ant-Man) está muy feliz en su vida posterior a los Vengadores. Él, Hope (Lilly), su hija Cassie (Kathryn Newton) y sus suegros Hank (Michael Douglas) y Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) viven alegremente, hasta que uno de los experimentos científicos de Cassie los arrastra a todos al "Reino Cuántico"; un universo oculto de mundos alienígenas y manchas sensibles. Todo el Reino Cuántico vive atemorizado por Kang (Jonathan Majors), un ser

Smile, la película de terror para ver en Día de Muertos y Halloween

Smile, la película de terror para ver en Día de Muertos y Halloween

⭑⭑⭑✩✩ Smile no te da mucho tiempo antes de que empiece a aterrorizarte. Justo después de conocer a la Dra. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), una psiquiatra quizás demasiado comprometida con su trabajo, está sentada con una paciente que insiste en que está siendo acosada por una entidad sonriente asesina. Rose se sorprende cuando la mujer aterrorizada comienza a retorcerse en el suelo. Mirando hacia otro lado brevemente para pedir ayuda, Rose se da vuelta para ver a la mujer cortarse la garganta, con una horrible sonrisa en su rostro. Lo que sea que la perseguía ahora viene por Rose, sonriendo ampliamente mientras arruina su vida. Durante aproximadamente la primera mitad, el debut de terror de Parker Finn es curiosamente espeluznante. Hay ecos de It Follows, el hit de 2014 de David Robert Mitchell sobre una entidad que acecha incesantemente a sus víctimas. Hay una sensación persistente de amenaza y una cotidianidad en su aspecto que hace que el horror sea más discordante. Rose sigue viendo a alguien en la distancia mirándola lascivamente, pero no están lo suficientemente cerca para ver con claridad. Está convencida de que algo la atormenta en casa, pero podrían ser los nervios los que la engañan. Existe una clara posibilidad de que todo esto esté en la cabeza de Rose.  Ciertamente es creíble que el trauma de ver a un paciente cortarse la garganta, apilado sobre el sufrimiento infantil no resuelto de Rose, le haya dado una patada severa a su salud mental. Finn y Bacon (excelentes en

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 ​​

Listings and reviews (72)

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

3 out of 5 stars

Nobody cares about the plot. That’s the arguably depressing but also self-aware lesson the King Kong/Godzilla franchise seems to have learned. After a number of entries that half-tried to create humans you cared about or allegories for whatever, 2021’s Godzilla Vs. Kong was primarily just a showcase for big things hitting each other and was far more entertaining than any of its predecessors. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire has a greater number of big things and a smaller number of humans. Its brainless brawn is again pretty entertaining, until the credits roll and you can instantly forget the whole thing. Its set-up is that Kong is now living in the Hollow Earth, a parallel world full of giant monsters. He is lonely, continually hunting for others like him. When he eventually finds kin it’s no great family reunion. They’re led by an evil ape, who looks kind of like an orangutan going through an awkward teenage growth phase and is plotting to make his way to the world above. Thwarting this requires Kong to team up with Godzilla, who is gallumphing around the world looking for fights, and a few humans who fill in the bits between the CGI. That’s about as complex as it gets. There’s no human antagonist. There’s no significant development in the existing characters (Rebecca Hall as a scientist, Kaylee Hottle as her adopted daughter, and Brian Tyree Henry as the requisite comedy screamer). There’s a pleasing addition to the cast in Dan Stevens’ kaiju-handling veteran, introduced v

Shoshana

Shoshana

3 out of 5 stars

This is not the first time Michael Winterbottom has navigated the eggshell ground of the Israel/Palestine conflict. 2022’s Eleven Days In May, a documentary he co-directed with Mohammed Sawwaf, portrayed harrowing life in Gaza during an Israeli bombing campaign. This drama, based on real characters and events, goes further back into the past, to the days before the founding of the state of Israel.  In the latter half of the 1930s, as the Jewish population in Palestine is growing, there is constant conflict with the Arab population over who has rightful claim to the land. Violence is ever present, with terror attacks from both sides and no realistic prospect of a resolution. The British, given control of the area following World War I, step in to ‘keep peace’, in their own heavy-handed way. Officer Geoffrey Morton (Harry Melling), a man who views most in the region with disdain, is brought in to track down the head of a Zionist militant group, while policeman Tom Wilkin (Douglas Booth) is assigned to undercover work in Tel Aviv.  At a party, Tom meets the title character, Shoshana Borochov (Irina Starshenbaum), a journalist and member of the underground army Haganah, which is set on establishing a Jewish state. Tom and Shoshana fall in love, a union always complicated by their respective positions in a febrile situation. Handsomely executed, but rather like walking through a museum exhibition As a history lesson, it’s interesting, if understandably complicated to follow. Thoug

The End We Start From

The End We Start From

4 out of 5 stars

The all-conquering Jodie Comer turns in another terrific performance in this too-close-for-comfort sci-fi. Comer plays an unnamed, heavily pregnant woman whose waters break just as her pretty suburban home starts to flood. This is not merely a minor domestic issue or a walloping metaphor; persistent heavy rains have put much of the United Kingdom underwater, leading to the evacuation of cities, a shortage of food, and mass panic that drives desperate people to desperate things. Her child’s earliest days are a fight for survival. Adapted by screenwriter Alice Birch (the excellent Lady Macbeth) from Megan Hunter’s 2017 novel of the same name, The End We Start From follows a well-worn path but gives it a scary sense of plausibility. Many climate change disaster movies focus on drought and unbearable heat, but here the country is thrown into turmoil by rain than won’t stop. While the journey through a disintegrating country covers a lot of disaster movie tropes – marauding gangs, ineffectual military, a possibly mythical safe paradise – the cause of it is chilling in its simplicity.  While the journey through a disintegrating country covers a lot of disaster movie tropes – marauding gangs, ineffectual military, a possibly mythical safe paradise – the cause of the disaster is chilling in its simplicity. There is no sudden, cataclysmic event, just very bad, ceaseless rain. It’s a problem we already see most years, simply beefed up.  This cataclysm is reachably close to normal life

Wonka

Wonka

4 out of 5 stars

In general, the prequel is a horrible thing, stripping interesting characters of mystery or, at worst, ruining the very thing that made them great (see Maleficent turning a classic villain into a bland goodie, or the Star Wars prequels giving us Darth Vader’s whiny roots). Wonka is the vanishingly rare prequel that gets it right. Paddington director Paul King’s take on the pre-chocolate factory life of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka doesn’t attempt any shocking retconning or sly winking. It simply feels like an extension of the world Dahl created, full of charm, hissable villains and pure imagination. It begins with Wonka (Timothée Chalamet) arriving in its unnamed metropolis – cosily Dickensian and ever dusted with snow – clutching a jar of sweets and a dream of opening his own chocolate shop. His plan is immediately scuppered by two things: first, a scheming innkeeper (Olivia Colman, splendidly chewing the scenery with yellowed false teeth) who tricks him into a life working in her laundry, and a trio of chocolate magnates (Paterson Joseph, Mathew Baynton and Matt Lucas) who don’t want Wonka on their patch. With his brilliant mind and endlessly upbeat outlook, Wonka devises elaborate plans to best them all and bring his chocolate to the masses. King, again working with Paddington co-writer Simon Farnaby, has such a strong sense of tone. As with Paddington, he keeps it wondrous but with the slightest edge of sarcasm. His camera dances through elaborate musical numbers and delights

The Marvels

The Marvels

3 out of 5 stars

Sort of a sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, this is very much an MCU movie ‘for the fans’. If you’ve devoured every film and TV series Marvel has pumped out, you may well have a great time with this series mash-up. If you’re a casual Marvel viewer who doesn’t know your Kree from your Skrull, you might struggle to keep up with a film that aims to be a zippy comic adventure but is weighed down by unclear plot. To put it as briefly as possible, Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) is floating around in space feeling very bad about the Kree/Skrull civil war she accidentally caused and doing jobs for Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson). One of those jobs involves investigating a strange hole in the universe, which is also being inspected by Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), a superpowered astronaut and associate of Nick Fury/Danvers’ estranged niece. In Jersey City, far from all of this, is Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), aka Ms Marvel, a teenage superhero who idolises Captain Marvel.  When Danvers and Rambeau touch the space hole, it somehow causes Danvers, Rambeau and Khan to switch places. From then on, any time they use their powers, they switch, often at inopportune moments. All this is somehow connected to Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), a Kree warrior who has secured a powerful artifact and is bent on revenge against Captain Marvel for causing the war that destroyed her planet. The confusing nature of this set-up is something the film never manages to get past. The place-switching is the

A Haunting in Venice

A Haunting in Venice

3 out of 5 stars

After two leisurely trips ruined by the obligation to solve murders, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) has, frankly, had it. The third of Branagh’s Agatha Christie adaptations, after Murder On The Orient Express and Death On The Nile, finds Poirot trying to keep himself to himself in Venice. He ignores people begging for his services – and even hires a bodyguard (Riccardo Scamarcio) to punch any who get too close – yet try as he might to evade it, death always finds its way to Hercule. It finds him thanks to Ariadne Oliver (Tiny Fey), a crime novelist friend who invites Poirot to a party at the home of ex-opera singer Rowena Drake (Kelly Reilly), at which a seance will be conducted by Joyce Reynolds (Michelle Yeoh), a renowned psychic/fraud. Oliver wants Poirot to help decipher which side of the slash Reynolds falls on. The seance goes wildly awry, someone is killed and Poirot is not entirely sure there aren’t some genuinely otherworldly forces at work. Like the previous films, it’s all very handsome, with Branagh making much of the innate spookiness of Venice, chucking in lots of flickering candles and roiling storm clouds just to ensure the pudding isn’t under-egged. His cast, which includes Call My Agent’s Camille Cottin, Jamie Dornan and Belfast’s Jude Hill, while less starry than usual, all leap in with wide-eyed, lightly camp performances that fit the mood. Fey in particular enjoys hamming it up as a 1940s broad so arch and sassy you half expect her to start dealing card

Strays

Strays

3 out of 5 stars

This summer has seen a slew of movies that look like kids’ stuff but hide something more adult. Barbie used a plaything to deliver a powerful feminist manifesto. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles packed some post-teen intelligence. And now we have Strays, which is ‘adult’ in the less refined sense of the term. It’s a movie about cute animals with foul mouths. It may not be the most sophisticated premise, but it works to an amiable degree.  Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) is a sweet, naive border terrier who lives with Doug (Will Forte), a stoned, nihilistic bastard. Doug hates Reggie and keeps trying to abandon him in far-flung places. But Reggie, a heartbreaking idiot, always finds his way home. Eventually, Doug drives Reggie so far away that it seems impossible he’ll make it back.  That Reggie’s no quitter, though, and he enlists the help of a stray named Bug (Jamie Foxx), failed police dog Hunter (Randall Park) and forgotten family pet Maggie (Isla Fisher) to help him return to the man he loves. But once his new friends convince him that Doug is a jerk, his motivation turns to revenge – specifically, he wants to bite the penis off his abuser. It’s fun to spend 90 minutes in this dog-eat-dick world. Director Josh Greenbaum’s first movie was the absurdist triumph Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar. Strays shares many of that film’s qualities: it’s loosely assembled and teeters on the edge of messy, yet somehow emerges quite charming and sweet. Writer Dan Perrault keeps it simple

Talk To Me

Talk To Me

4 out of 5 stars

In the opening minutes of Talk To Me, the directing debut of YouTuber twins Danny and Michael Philippou, it looks pretty clear what we’re in for. It begins with the sort of showboating long tracking shot beloved by new filmmakers, following a young man through a party as he hunts for his younger brother. He finds him blank-eyed and bloodied, staring at a wall. As the party throngs record on their phones, the younger man stabs his brother and then himself. It’s an effective but pretty standard ‘cursed teens’ set up. But it’s just one of many times this terrifying, inventive horror leads you down a familiar path and then pulls you down a shocking new route.  The story then settles on Mia (Sophie Wilde), a slightly odd teenager, and vessel for bad decisions, who is grieving the death of her mother. In her loneliness, she clings to her best friend, Jade (Alexandra Jensen), and her family – younger brother Riley (Joe Bird) and had-it-with-your-nonsense mother Sue (Miranda Otto). Mia and Jade, plus tagalong Riley, go to a party where someone brings out an apparently cursed hand. Grip it and you can welcome a ghost into your body. Just expel them before 90-seconds or they’ll want to stay. The clock, of course, ticks over…  The Philippous play the party possession scenes not as horror but druggy teen comedy. Possession feels ‘amazing’, a mind-altering trip, so they all want a repeat hit. When things go wrong, they’re less terrified of the dead than they are of cops and angry parents.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

3 out of 5 stars

By this point you probably know if the Transformers series is for you. We’re now six films in (seven, if you count the Bumblebee spin-off) and this is not a franchise that ever seeks to reinvent the wheels. Each instalment twists and rearranges the same elements – a trinket that could destroy Earth; a silver baddy; a down-on-his-luck human; some vague allusion to ancient civilisation – and surrounds them with impressively animated bot-on-bot action.  Rise of the Beasts is squarely tied to the same formula, but that turns out to be one of its assets. It gives the audience what they’re here for and nothing more. There’s none of the over-complication of the Michael Bay movies, which often featured far too much convoluted human plot and not enough smashing, and it doesn’t bloat its running time. Beasts begins in the non-specific past with a group of animal Transformers, the Maximals, fleeing their home planet as it’s attacked by planet-devouring robot god Unicron and his henchman Scourge. They escape with the transwarp key, a device that would allow Unicron to travel through time and space, eating planets at will. After stashing it on Earth, Transformers’ favourite hiding spot, they disappear. Cut to 1994, where the key is found and accidentally activated by museum intern Elena (Dominique Fishback). That awakens the Maximals and the Autobots, who have picked up a new human friend, Noah (Anthony Ramos), and everyone embarks on a mission to prevent an apocalypse.  By the series’ fa

Fast X

Fast X

4 out of 5 stars

After 22 years, $6 billion at the box office, and approximately 3000 mentions of ‘family’, the Fast & Furious franchise is finally wheel-spinning off into the sunset. But in keeping with its commitment to never underdoing anything, it’s bowing out with a multi-part finale. The next installment is going to have its work cut out topping this for both scale and unfettered batshittery.  If you’re a long-standing fan, Fast X is about the greatest F&F movie you could hope for – a big, absurd pick-n-mix of popular characters (many raised from the dead), callbacks to favourite action sequences, and some new, silly ways to smash cars together. If you’re new to the series, one might ask why you’re starting here, then suggest you bring earplugs. It begins with a flashback to Fast 5, the point at which these films happily left logic in the rearview mirror. In Rio, Dom (Vin Diesel) and his team steal a bank vault, drag it through the streets and, after much car-chasing, use it to squash a baddie. Now we learn that the baddie had a son, Dante (Jason Momoa), who is now out for revenge. He doesn’t want Dom dead. He wants him to suffer endlessly. And making him suffer endlessly means drawing him into a series of elaborate setpieces and threatening everyone he loves. Your usual F&F deal. The next movie is going to have its work cut out topping this unfettered batshittery Momoa brings an unhinged energy to proceedings. There has always been a tonal disparity in this franchise’s performances, wh

Renfield

Renfield

4 out of 5 stars

How Nicolas Cagey do you like your Nicolas Cage? If the answer is absolute tongue-lolling, gurning, rollercoaster-cadence, hootin’-n-hollerin’ Nicolas Cage at all times please, then this is the film for you. His performance as Count Dracula is one of his greats, prancing – soaring – over the top at all times. Yet, while it’s all excess, it’s also one of his most focused turns. Every doolally choice is in service of the story. And that is what is great about Chris McKay’s (The Lego Batman Movie) stupid-but-very-smart movie: it is constantly ridiculous, but it always knows why it’s being ridiculous. It has the most wonderfully daft concept. The ‘Renfield’ of the title is Robert Montague Renfield (Nicholas Hoult). Once a lawyer, he made a foolish bargain with Dracula that saw him doomed to spend eternity as his familiar, bringing the vampire victims to suck dry and laboriously resurrecting him every time he’s burned, staked or buried. In return he gets to live forever and experience superpowers, but only when he eats insects. It is, many decades have taught him, not the best deal. Now he is stuck in New Orleans, with a mostly-rotted Dracula, who doesn’t have the strength to find his own victims. Renfield could just leave him but… he can’t. They are locked in a codependent relationship: Renfield is too scared to leave his boss when he’s forgotten life without him, and Dracula is literally dependent on Renfield for survival but too arrogant to admit it.  That presents a juicy vein

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

3 out of 5 stars

Amid the self-conscious gloom of most of DC’s movies – Batman, Superman, Justice League – 2019’s Shazam was a welcome dose of light-hearted silliness. The story of Billy (Asher Angel), an orphaned boy who can turn into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) thanks to a magical gift, it was a zippy, Amblin-esque bit of wish-fulfilment fantasy. This sequel is much the same deal. If it sometimes struggles to muster the same degree of wide-eyed excitement now that its characters are young adults, it mostly gets there with a strong cast, some witty gags and large quantities of unabashed enthusiasm. Picking up some time after the last movie, Billy is now happily living with his foster family, but with his 18th birthday approaching he’s uncertain of where his future lies. For now, he’s living a normal teenage life while also secretly fighting crime with his foster siblings, who share his ability to transform into superheroes. Billy wants them to do everything together, but the others want to forge their own paths, both superhero and regular. Meanwhile, a pair of furious gods (Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu) have come to reclaim the power they believe Billy stole from them. There’s a lot to wrangle here, with six heroes and multiple villains, and returning director David F Sandberg (Lights Out) does a commendable job of keeping things brisk and tangle-free. In a hefty cast, Jack Dylan Grazer stands out as teenage Freddy, who is gliding through adolescence like a duck through wet cement.  Zacha

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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