Posts in FILM REVIEW
Review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Rob Letterman, 2019)

Billed as the first “live-action” Pokémon film, Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Rob Letterman, 2019) adapts some of the franchise’s core themes and mechanics. The film also continues the endeavour of augmented reality game Pokémon GO (2016) – which on release sparked a sensation that saw players from all walks of life hunting Pokémon in the spaces around them via their mobile phones – to bring Pokémon into the real world. These efforts are pursued through various forms of transmedial dialogue with other Pokémon texts.

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Review: Tolkien (Dome Karukoski, 2019)

I probably should admit upfront that I am an avid fan of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. When Peter Jackson’s trilogy was released back in 2001-2003, I devoured the books and watched each film three times at the cinema. I marvelled at the extended DVD versions (with a complete running time of over 11 hours) and trawled through all the extra bonus material countless times over. I was even lucky enough to visit some of the film locations during a visit to New Zealand, a place that is stunning enough without CGI wizardry.

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Review: Dumbo (Tim Burton, 2019)

It was with a degree of trepidation that I went to see the “live-action” (in reality, animation/live-action hybrid) remake of Dumbo. After all, the 1941 original, both narratively and in terms of its characters, is such that it cannot be easily translated into the hyper-real form of CG animation that is typically billed (inaccurately) as “live-action” and retain the whimsy and sweetness of the original.

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Review: Captain Marvel (Anna Boden and Ryan Flack, 2019)

Running parallel to the ongoing battles about women superheroes is another that flashes across the surface and into the depths of Captain Marvel: a fight about the status of animation within the blockbuster. Christopher Holliday (2018), Stephen Prince (2012) and Paul Wells (2008) are among those to have discussed the integration of CG animation technologies into the fabric of Hollywood filmmaking, in guises as diverse as character animation and digital grading. CG animation now skitters across the surfaces of big blockbusters – perhaps especially the fantastic worlds of superheroes - producing characters like Rocket Racoon and Iron Man, creating the worlds they inhabit and the powers they use.

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Review: Mary Poppins Returns (Rob Marshall, 2018)

It is a common mistake to suggest that Disney’s Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964) is perfect. She never once claimed to be such a thing. In fact, I imagine she would have been quite indignant at the very suggestion. “Practically perfect”, that was the expression she used. Not perfect, but close enough to perfect for us not to quibble too much over the difference.

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Review: The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Eli Roth, 2018)

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Eli Roth, 2018) marks director Eli Roth’s first foray into family-friendly fantasy, following a career established largely within horror cinema thanks to his directorial debut Cabin Fever (Eli Roth, 2002) and the Hostel films (Eli Roth, 2005-2007), which consolidated the much-maligned and highly graphic “torture porn” subgenre as a strong current of post-millenial Hollywood (see Jones 2013; Kerner 2015). Alongside Death Wish (Eli Roth, 2018) released in March of this year, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is also Roth’s second feature to hit cinemas in 2018.

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Review: Venom (Ruben Fleischer, 2018)

When Sony announced that they were making a solo vehicle for Venom, one of Spider-Man’s most popular villains, independent of Spidey’s ongoing film series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, many fans were baffled. Not only is Venom an antagonist first and foremost, but more than any other villain his existence is predicated entirely on his relationship with Spider-Man.

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Review: Saving Christopher Robin - A Review of Two Winnie-the-Pooh Films

In the past twelve months, cinema audiences have been treated to not one, but two films based on the eponymous children’s book character, Winnie-the-Pooh. Both focus on male protagonists and explore the psychological effects of growing up and the responsibilities associated with adulthood. Both are live action dramas with frequent forays into animated fantasy sequences. And both films are British / American co-productions with a strong emphasis on the past, nostalgia and heritage.

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Review: Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird, 2018)

The Hollywood landscape into which Pixar’s twentieth computer-animated feature Incredibles 2 (Brad Bird, 2018) now sits is very different to the filmmaking climate of the original. Back in 2004 when audiences first glimpsed the superheroic exploits of the Parr family – headed by patriarch Bob/Mr. Incredible, wife Helen/Elastigirl, alongside their three children Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack – the resurrection of contemporary superhero cinema was still very much in its infancy.

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