Category: Movie Reviews

John Carpenter’s Vampires: 5 easy upgrades

John Carpenter’s Vampires is a mess, but like other films in his later work, there’s a frustrating sense that things could have been better, with just a little rejigging. Not great, but a considerable improvement. A few zero-cost measures might have left a pleasant B-Movie flavour, as opposed to the aftertaste of failure. There are…




Valerian: some questions

Luc, Luc, be honest: this is a first draft, right? Because it feels an awful lot like that. Not that I’m complaining: there is something glorious, for anyone who’s sat through a screenwriting course, about a script with such utter disregard for the rule book. (You are aware there’s a book, right?) So how in…


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DS9: Sleazeball to the rescue

What a gift it is for an actor to possess truly corrupt features – shifty eyes, a built-in sneer, the jowls hanging heavy with bitter experience. A long career is far more attainable for the villain than it is for the pretty boy or the action hero. Harris Yulin is one so blessed, a go-to…




The Intruder/ Shame (1962)

As we approach 2017, movie lovers in search of guidance could do worse than take in this Roger Corman ’62 Shatner fest, a black and white morality tale populated by all manner of familiar demons. Shanter plays Adam Cramer, a charismatic cynic drawn to the resentment and fear bubbling under the surface in a small southern town. Cramer has been despatched by…




Alien 3

Alien 3, the most underrated of underrated SciFi movies, is probably where the Alien franchise should have drawn to a close. Script problems, David Fincher’s disavowal of the final product, and poor box office combined to taint it so badly that talented upstarts like Neil Blomkamp feel perfectly justified in bypassing it all together, winning…




They Live (1988)

Google John Carpenter’s They Live and worrying indications of a remake surface. You can understand why someone might think about it. The ’10s’ (or whatever) have passed much like a replayed 1980s – a time of rampant, exploitative capitalism; of oblivious, ostentatious greed; of ‘masters of the universe’ lording it over a docile, hypnotised mass….




Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

With a creepy-crawly themed column to write for The Engineer, but brain drained of power, watching a trashy bug movie too easily became justified as ‘research’. Spiders stars Bill Shatner, and with higher than expected reviews on the internet – not great, you understand,  but not as abysmal as the same year’s similarly titled Empire…




Ghost in the Shell (1995)

A reader recently compared Steeple to 1995’s Ghost in the Shell, Mamuro Oshii’s hugely popular manga adaptation – and this prompted an insomniac 1am viewing, with the lights off and earphones in. That’s a good way to experience the movie – submerged, isolated, like Major Motoko Kusanagi on one of her diving expeditions, waiting to float…




Mad Max, Interviews, reviews, Travelodges and Cons

Just time to post a quick update after a pleasantly busy October. First, I don’t think I posted a link to my Gollancz Blog review of “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Read it here. Read my other movie reviews on thingaboutchickens here. Second, I was privileged in October to speak to Boo from Geek Syndicate – all…




Double Bill: A Boy and His Dog (1975) and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

God the cinema could be a grim old place in the mid-70s. Carrie, Chinatown, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Taxi Driver, Marathon Man, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. Where the Marvel age swigs and chokes on life like Cola from a shaken-up can, 70s filmmakers chewed it like a Fray Bentos pie, in a grinding search…