Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

I’m starting to think we don’t need James Bond any more. Taron Egerton’s Eggsy is the Bond for the millennial era, cheeky, cool and hard as nails. The Kingsman movies take the loving approach of a homage and crank up the crazy to 11. 

The Golden Circle is the second Kingsman film based on Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons comic books, directed again by Matthew Vaughan and scripted by him and Jane Goldman. This movie being an original tale, as there was only one comic book and they’ve already adapted that. 

The whole band is back together and clearly having a whale of a time making these films. It’s like the Roger Moore era of Bond but with swearing, ultra violence and a bit less sexism. 

The first Kingsman, way back in 2015 was a breath of fresh air. It seemed to come out of nowhere and blow everyone away.  A new franchise with unexpectedly fresh characters played by unusually cast actors. Who’d have expected Colin Firth to be a bad ass spy? 
So does the sequel live up to the first installment? Sort of. It’s not quite as good as the first, but it’s still a bloody good action romp. I think the reason these films both work so well is that the characters are incredibly well rounded. The world feels real and lived in, despite the crazy sci fi weapons and super villains. World building is a term thrown about a lot but the Kingsman universe really feels rich and open. 

This second film follows Eggsy and Merlin, picking up the pieces after the Kingsman organisation is destroyed by the lovely yet evil Poppy. A drug baron out to become world famous as a businesswoman. Because in 2017, being famous is the most important thing ever. Julianne Moore doesn’t get too much to do as Poppy, but the cast is huge and she gets some very memorable moments. Our surviving Kingsmen join forces with their American equivalent Statesman, of course, to try to save the world. Fairly simple stuff, but it’d all about the journey not the destination isn’t it!?

What I liked about this movie, as I did the first, was that it has a sort of sympathetic villain. Sure, Poppy is a homicidal killer, but she’s sweet and her ambitions aren’t too nefarious. Just like how Valentine wanted to kill people to save the planet. Sure, she’s a far fetched super villain with an ego the size of the earth and an obsession with Elton John. Her robot dogs being named Bennie and Jet and not allowed to harm Elton was a great touch. 

I loved seeing Colin Firth and Mark Strong back, with a nice cameo from Michael Gambon, the kingsman team full of great British actors. I won’t spoil Harry’s return but it’s not as daft as I was expecting. I’ll admit I was somewhat skeptical at the idea of an American team, but Statesman were fantastic and didn’t overstay their welcome or jump the shark. Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges and Channing Tatum were all superb but I really enjoyed Pedro Pascal as Whiskey. Dry humour and believably bad-ass. 

The real show stealer however, was Elton John. I’m not gonna ruin any of that, just enjoy it.

So. Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Not quite as original as the first one, but a bloody good action movie. Roll on chapter 3.

8/10

For Fans Of:

Kick Ass

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Skyfall

Moonraker

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mother! (2017)

Darren Aronofsky has made possibly the most polarising film of the decade. Mixing psychological horror with heavy handed religious allegories as well as being a satire of fame, mother!  is in my opinion one of the best films of the year. However it is certainly not for everyone, thoroughly dividing audiences and critics alike . I’m going to be discussing the plot frankly and in detail including the ending, so please go and see the film before reading! 

FULL SPOILERS AHEAD  


Written and directed by Aronofsky, mother!  has a phenomenonal cast, led by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. Their nameless characters reside in a large, curiously shaped house, currently being renovated solely by Lawrence after a fire destroyed it. The chemistry between the two leads is why the film works, if their relationship doesn’t click, the film would simply fall flat. Our leads are a couple, living together alone in a large house in the middle of nowhere. Bardem a writer struggling with his creativity, Lawrence the muse, rebuilding and renovating the house they live in. 

Unexpectedly,  Ed Harris arrives, followed soon after by a mesmerising  Michelle Pfeiffer, a married couple with temptation issues. Outstaying their welcome and acting like they own the place, their two sons arrive soon thereafter, one jealously bludgeoning the other to death. 

It was at this point that I realised one of the influences of the film, which feels odd to write. Darren Aronofsky has essentially retold the bible as a horror movie. Harris and Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve. The sons, played by real life brothers Domhnall and Brian Gleeson: Cain and Abel. Making Bardem’s character God and Lawrence being mother earth. 

Not long after this, Lawrence falls pregnant and Bardem’s new work inspires a legion of new fans and followers, with the tone and style of the film changing as a result. This is Aronofsky’s New Testament section of the film, very different from the first half, complete with a visceral, graphic version of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and a literal take on communion. A warzone of body parts and gore with some of the heaviest and disturbing scenes I’ve ever seen in a mainstream Hollywood movie, that will certainly stick with me for quite a while. 

It’s clear to me that Aronofsky is not just retelling the Bible. That would be an insult to the layers and depths that mother! goes to. Coming across at times like a stage play, the basic setting of this bare house enables us to truly digest the performances and story. I feel and I’m sure I’m not alone on this, that the movie is also a comment on the creative process as well as the cost of fame. In fact, you could ignore all the Biblical references and just view the movie as an allegory of the creative process and it would still be a resounding success. Artists of any kind will know the pains and labours of creating something so personal and then letting it go into the world to be criticised, lauded and for people to feel a connection with it, feeling ownership and entitlement of your work.  Then of course to attempt to start again and repeat the whole process. As Bardem’s Him says near the end, nothing is ever enough. 

I found the cinematography highly original and wholly oppressive, every scene is either of Lawrence’s face, over her shoulder or from her perspective. This really builds a claustrophobic feel, generating an anxious feel and confusing the audience as to the geography of the house. Sometimes feeling that rooms change floors or corridors lead elsewhere. The set design, while bare and bleak, suits the feel of the film. The touches like a bleeding floor and the David Lynch style dreamy shots of something biological within the house starting to turn to ash are the icing on a very bizarre cake. 

You can definitely see the influences of the likes of Polanski and Von Trier as well as riffs on his own earlier work , but mother! never really feels derivative, instead existing in its own grim little bubble. 

Since leaving the cinema and mulling it over, I’ve changed my review score three times. A captivating, visceral and concise piece of art, mother! is certainly an acquired taste,  but will also be talked about for years to come. 
9/10

For Fans Of:

Martyrs

Antichrist

Mulholland Drive

Rosemary’s Baby

The Top 10 NEW Characters in Twin Peaks: The Return 

While you’re still processing that ending, let’s have a look back at some of the new additions to the Twin Peaks lore. Obviously this list will include spoilers for all three seasons so don’t carry on if you’ve not yet seen the whole thing! 

When a new season of Twin Peaks was announced, I think a lot of us would admit that we were mainly just excited to see all of our favourite characters returning. Sadly some didn’t make it back for The Return , which I’ve covered here.  

This article will cover my picks for the Top 10 NEW Characters. David Lynch and Mark Frost have worked their magic again to bring us some more wonderful and strange characters, who would have fit right in, back in the original series. Well except maybe Chad. 

If you like this list, or if you think I’ve missed anyone or I’m totally wrong, leave me a comment below or find me on twitter

One last thing, my podcast did an interview with David Patrick Kelly, who played Jerry Horne in both the original and new series. He talks about the Return, the original series, working with David Lynch on Wild At Heart and even gives us an exclusive musical performance of the Twin Peaks theme. Apple users can find it here on iTunes. It’s available here for everybody else!

Let’s Rock! 

Chad 

Just kidding, fuck Chad. 

10. Freddie Sykes


After a small appearance in episode 2, Freddie, James’ British colleague appeared again in episode 14, delivering a long monologue describing how he was taken into a portal, encountered The Fireman and was gifted a green gardening glove, giving him the power of a piledriver. Played by newcomer and YouTube star Jake Wardle, Freddie was instantly embraced by the audience. The following episode, Freddie showed off the power of his enchanted glove and teed himself up for a role in the finale, as everyone headed towards the Twin Peaks sheriff station. Here, Freddie played an important role in the defeat of Mr C and BOB, fulfilling his destiny in the process. 

9. Bill Hastings 

The erstwhile Shaggy, Matthew Lillard gave the performance of his career as schoolteacher Bill Hastings. Dragged into the whole mess of Lodges and Demons and Tulpas, Bill is wrongly jailed for murdering his secret girlfriend, double crossed by wife, who herself ends up murdered by Mr C . Bill’s scene with Agent Tammy Preston in the interrogation room will surely go down as one of Peaks’ greatest ever scenes. I’ll certainly never think of Scuba Diving the same way.  Sadly, poor Bill got his head crushed by a sneaky Woodsman, which was a shame as the poor chap had been through enough! Lillard is due a career renaissance after his appearance here, showing his acting chops are more than worthy of a big time comeback. 

8. Tammy Preston

 

Beautiful and poised, Crysta Bell as Agent Tammy Preston is a great addition to the Blue Rose Task force. With Jeffries, Cooper and Desmond all AWOL, Gordon Cole needed some new blood. Tammy is the audience surrogate in a lot of her scenes and I her interactions with Gordon and Albert are sometimes hilarious and sometimes intense . A regular Lynch collaborator, Bell is usually a musician, so while her acting may not be the best, she truly is part of the Blue Rose team and proves her worth by the season’s end. 

7. The Mitchum Brothers 

 Jim Belushi and Robert Knepper’s Vegas casino bosses went from terrifying villains to offbeat comedy heroes throughout The Return. Cemented as firm fan favourites in the episode where they took Cooper/Dougie out to kill him in the desert, the Mitchum’s bring a quirky sense of  fun to the show,  largely missing in the early stages of season 3. Belushi in particular standing out with a startling performance, reminding us all of why he was such a star in the 80’s and early 90’s.  

6. Richard Horne 

I suppose Twin Peaks The Return needed a psychopathic, abusive young criminal. The original has Leo Johnson after all. Filling that role this time out is Richard Horne, son of Audrey and apparently Mr C. We’re never privy to the exact details. 

Played by Eamon Farren, Richard is introduced as he brutally assaults a female patron of the Roadhouse. Then in the following episodes he manages to kill a child, attempt to murder the witness, bribe a cop, assault his own grandmother for money and go on the run. 

Luckily for the citizens of the Washington state town, Richard gets his comeuppance at the hands of his (possible) father. I’d have liked a bit more time with Richard or just a bit more of his backstory. 

5. Frank Truman 

Replacing a beloved character is not an easy job, so Lynch and Frost decided to bring in a new Sheriff instead of recasting Michael Ontkean’s Harry Truman. Robert Forster plays Frank Truman, Harry’s brother, and brings a level of gravitas to the show. 

We find out Frank had a son who died and is constantly berated by his wife, yet deals with everything with nothing less than class and patience. He feels like he has been part of the mythology all along, which is probably the highest compliment to a new character. 

Interestingly Forster was cast as Harry in the original show before having to drop out, and gives us a look at what could have been. 

4. Wally Brando

 

When Michael Cera was cast, a lot of fans correctly guessed he was playing the grown up son of Lucy and Andy (or Dick Tremayne). I don’t think anyone truly had any idea just what that would bring us. Wally Brando’s short, bizarre appearance was pure distilled Twin Peaks. An intensely emotional moment, where Bobby Briggs, who is now Sheriff’s Deputy sees Laura Palmer’s picture. The tears fill his eyes and Angelo Badalamenti’s glorious Love Theme plays. We then go to Michael Cera in leathers sat on a motorbike. Genius.  Robert Forster’s straight faced reaction to Wally was almost as funny as Wally himself.  

An obvious Marlon Brando tribute, Wally had returned to visit his godfather, Harry S Truman, who we never see but learn is sick. 

May the road rise up to meet your wheels, always Wally. 

3. Janey-E Jones 

Regularl Lynch collaborator Naomi Watts being in The Return was a given. Showing up as the wife of Dougie Jones, one of Cooper’s doppelgangers, Janey-E was at first shrill and annoying, but after showing her bad-ass side quickly became a highlight of every episode she was in. Watts’s performance being stellar every week. The eventual reveal of her being Diane’s half sister was a shocker but sort of totally made sense. Did the E in Janey-E stand for Evans?  

2. Diane Evans 

The new cast member I was most excited to see in The Return was Laura Dern. Another Lynch muse, Dern appeared alongside Kyle McLachlan in Blue Velvet, leading me to hope she would be integral to the plot. Her casting as the mysterious Diane (yes, that Diane from Coop’s tape recorder) was a stroke of genius. Diane’s biting attitude, constantly saying “Fuck You” to everyone and secretly communicating with Mr C, kept us on the edge of our seats wondering what her motivations were all season.

The revelation of Diane as a Tulpa was pretty shocking, even though we knew something wasn’t right. Of course the real Diane returning to Coop was inevitable and the last two episodes certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard. 

1. Woodsmen 

Few things have been more terrifying in Twin Peaks than these creatures. A worthy successor to the sheer horror of BOB, a version of the Woodsmen originally showed up in the background of a scene in Fire Walk With Me, but it was Episode 8 of The Return where they really shone. 

“This is the water and this is the well. Drink full and descend. The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within.”

We had a first glimpse of a Woodsman in the jail cell next to Bill Hastings, but they’ve made their presence felt a few times since. Creatures of abstract terror, relentless and not to be reasoned with, the Woodsmen are a truly unique and Lynchian villain, surely never to be topped? 

GOTTA LIGHT?

Thanks for the reading. Don’t forget to leave a message below if you have comments or criticisms of my choices! 

The Dark Tower (2017)

Stephen King’s epic fantasy series has had a long troubled road to the screen. Going through creative teams such as Abrams/ Lindelof and Ron Howard/ Brian Grazer, eventually landing at the trustworthy hands of Danish director Nikolaj Arcel and Akiva Goldsman. Yes. That Akiva Goldsman. Writer of Batman and Robin. 

Let that sink in. 

They trusted this huge, potential franchise to the guy who wrote all those ice puns and gave Batman a credit card with Forever as the expiry date. 

Tom Taylor plays Jake Chambers, a troubled young boy  having visions of a Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba)  and his battle against the Man in Black (Matthew McConnaughey). The Man in Black wants to destroy The Dark Tower, which protects the multiverse. We never really find out his motivation other than he’s a bit evil. 

Getting critically mauled on its release, I expected very little to enjoy, so imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a fairly enjoyable, sci-fi romp. Landing somewhere between Thor and Masters of the Universe, The Dark Tower is a kind of cheesey, entertaining fantasy/western/pulp/sci-fi film. It’s short, so wastes no time in getting the story going and rarely pauses for breath. It’s also a Stephen King greatest hits collection, with constant references to Shining and people who Shine as well as dropping hints to Cujo, IT and a few other King classics. 

Of course there are some faults. The plot is fairly basic, and quite messy in places, missing out some key details, leaving the audience to try and figure out things for themselves. Oh and McConnaughey sounds overdubbed and slightly louder than everyone else, maybe an Adam Sandler/Little Nicky situation requiring a re-recording. He’s…. not up to his usual standard by the way, sort of flat. I wanted crazy scenery chewing and didn’t get it. Elba is fantastic on the other hand. Deserved much more of a meaty role than he was given. Roland’s scenes on our Keystone Earth were hilarious, Elba’s deadpan delivery was impeccable.

The Dark Tower should have been the next Harry Potter series. Huge scale epic fantasy movies, filled with real stakes and humour. What we get is a canonical sequel to the books that is sort of a remix of the entire series. Now, I’ll admit I haven’t read TDT series yet, but it’s on my to read list. If anything the film has made me want to read them more than ever. 

6.5/10

For Fans of:



Thor 

Masters of The Universe 

Transformers

Christine 

Top 10 Twin Peaks Characters NOT in The Return. 

We’ve all been losing our mind over Twin Peaks: The Return this summer. So, as Mark Frost and David Lynch’s oddessy into terror, hilarity and the surreal heads towards its conclusion, I’m taking a look at some of the best Twin Peaks characters who haven’t returned. 

This is, of course, a personal list, but if you think I’ve missed anyone or you disagree with my reasons, leave me a comment below or find me on twitter! BOB isn’t on the list as despite Frank Silva having died in 1995, his character and likeness have made it onto The Return, similar to Major Briggs, played by the late Don S Davis. 

Obviously this will include spoilers for the original two seasons and Fire Walk With Me

Also. Let’s get some business out of the way, my podcast recently had a Twin Peaks themed episode featuring an in-depth conversation with David Patrick Kelly, who plays Jerry Horne. David even played the Twin Peaks theme on the mandolin to open our interview. It’s truly breathtaking and something I am very proud of . If you use apple devices you can search iTunes for Supernerds UK or if you’re on Android just click here

Let’s Rock. 

10. Catherine Martell 

Piper Laurie’s Catherine Martell was the source of a lot of the soap opera storylines in the original series, shouting abuse at her long suffering husband Pete, conducting shady business deals and having illicit trysts with Benjamin Horne. Well. Until she died. Then there was the reveal that she was actually alive and posing as the secretive Japanese businessman Mr Tojamura. Because of course she was. 

Which leads me nicely to 

9. Pete Martell 

The late Jack Nance, who sadly passed away in 1996 in strange circumstances, fitting of a Twin Peaks storyline, played Pete Martell. Jack was a long time Lynch collaborator, appearing in most of his films, even being the iconic star of Eraserhead. Arguably the show’s everyman and its heart, Pete was the fisherman who found Laura Palmer’s body, in that legendary first scene. 
 “She’s dead, wrapped in plastic!” 

Nance’s offbeat persona gave Pete life and he was a delight to watch. Whether butting up against Catherine, trying to look after Josie Packard or accusing the Log Lady of stealing his car, he always raised a smile. 


8. Josie Packard. 

Sticking with characters associated with the Mill is the beautiful and mysterious (I feel I will need to thesaurus another word for mysterious soon) Josie. The wife of Andrew Martell, Catherine’s dead brother and the heir to his fortune. Romantically involved with town Sheriff Harry S Truman, Josie was often swept up in other people’s greed. She ended up as Catherine’s maid at one point, then was the subject of a business rivalry between the no longer dead Andrew and Thomas Eckhardt. Oh and she was the one who shot Coop in the season one finale. 

Her final fate is pretty terrifying.  Josie, about to be arrested, suddenly stiffens and dies. As Harry cradles her body, Coop sees BOB, appearing from nowhere, taunting him about Jose’s death. Then the Man From Another Place appears, dancing on the bed. Jose’s spirit seemingly ended up trapped in a draw knob, but more likely trapped in The Great Northern Hotel for eternity. 

7.  Donna Hayward 

A curious omission from the new season was Donna Hayward. Laura Palmer’s best friend and James Hurley’s true love, Donna was a key part of the original show. Her father is the town doctor and her involvement with James and Maddy is at the forefront of the season one mystery. Played by Lara Flynn Boyle in the original series, Donna was smoldering intensity buried beneath a small town girl next door. Boyle refused to return for Fire Walk With Me, the role recast with Moira Kelly. I’m not sure whether this show of disloyalty prompted Lynch and Frost to leave the character out this time round or with no real focus on Laura, they simply just didn’t find room for Donna. 


6. Annie Blackburn
 

Heather Graham’s Annie wasn’t in our beloved Pacific northwest portal to insanity for very long, but she made a big impact. Cooper quickly fell for the lovely Annie, who was as wholesome and optimistic as him. Unfortunately the diabolical Windom Earle decided to insert himself into their relationship and exact his twisted revenge by taking her into the Black Lodge. Despite a time-disjointed Annie appearing to Laura in Fire Walk With Me, I think she’s firmly dead and not returning.
“HOW’S ANNIE!?!” 


5. Windom Earle
 

When we’re told Dale Cooper’s former partner has escaped from prison early on in Season two, I don’t think many people would have expected where that would lead us to. Initially appearing as a disguise wearing,  hammy villain, Windom kidnaps Leo Johnson, freshly woken from his comatose state. Clearly relishing his performance, Kenneth Welsh is the villain we didn’t know we  needed, adding urgency and pace to the second season. Windom,  we realise has been driven insane, both with his desire for revenge on Coop and his obsession with the Black Lodge. Meeting a truly awful end at the hands of BOB, I’m fairly certain Windom isn’t coming back, but who knows?! 


4.  Leo Johnson

A terrifying figure in Season one due to his abuse of his wife Shelly and his possible involvement in Laura’s death, Eric Da Re as Leo should have been a huge part of season 2 and beyond. Unfortunately for him, he ends up comatose in a wheelchair wearing a party hat. Later, freshly woken and acting as Windom Earle’s pawn, Leo was last seen in a precarious situation, trapped in a cabin, having to hold a rope with his teeth to stop spiders dropping on his face. Sadly, he’s probably still there. 


3. Dick Tremayne. 

I get that this may not be a great choice for a lot of people, but I truly don’t care. Ian Buchanan as heelish menswear salesman Dick Tremayne was a slimy, awful character and that’s why I loved him. Lucy’s one time love interest and possible father to her unborn child, Tremayne gets a fair amount of screen time in season two and thoroughly chews the scenery. 

His scenes with Andy were pure comedy gold, both of them competing to be the best potential father. At one point the two of them end up looking after an increasingly mischievous child named Nicky, who Dick eventually thinks may be the devil. 

Dick is a hilarious addition to the cast and fits in marvellously, antagonising some of our most  beloved characters. Probably best not to mention Pine Weasels though.


2. The Man From Another Place 

“! kcor s’teL” 

Michael J Anderson’s backwards talking Black Lodge inhabitant is arguably the most iconic Twin Peaks character ever, possibly only topped by a plate of Cherry Pie. 

His appearances were few and far between, but every time he’s on-screen, he’s electric and you just can’t take your eyes off him. His red suit and reversed  dancing were simply unlike anything ever seen before.  Sadly, after Anderson wasnt offered enough money for his liking to return, he decided to slander Lynch with some truly bizarre and libellous claims and was replaced onscreen by a talking, monstrous tree.  


1. Sheriff Harry S Truman 

The town Sheriff, leader of the Bookhouse Boys and Cooper’s new best friend, Sheriff Truman is one of the only characters in the whole of Twin Peaks not to be bizarre or surrreal. A straight laced officer of the law who only has everyone’s best intentions at heart. Michael Ontkean had second billing on the credits too, reflecting his importance to the show. 

Truman’s stoic nature and sly humour endeared him to the audience just as much as it did Cooper. His reaction to Coop disappearing into the trees and the Black Lodge at the end of season 2 finally gave him a “What the hell?” realisation of just how crazy this town really is. 

Michael Ontkean has now retired from acting and lives in Hawaii, clearly preferring the sun and tropical island to the rainy Pacific Northwest. His part was not recast, instead Robert Forster plays Sheriff Frank Truman, Harry’s brother. A welcome addition but not a replacement.

 

So that’s the list! As I said at the start, leave a comment or tweet me if I missed anyone you would have added. 

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this list please check out my articles on the original series, the feature film Fire Walk With Me and my reviews of Episodes 1&2 and 3&4 of the Twin Peaks: The Return. 

Sharknado 5 : Global Swarming (2017)

Every summer, director Anthony C Ferrante treats us to the new installment in SyFy’s now legendary Sharknado franchise. If you’re unfamiliar with these films you’ve been seriously deprived of some wonderful entertainment.

 The story of Fin Shephard (Ian Zeiring) and his estranged wife April (Tara Reid) accompanied by a multitude of amazing cameos as they all bid to save the world from random tornados, somehow filled with ravenous sharks. Sharknado is pure, glorious trash with awful special effects. Cheap and cheesey and never po-faced, the Sharknado series is just about having fun and seeing which C-Lister is gonna be eaten next. 

Which brings us to Sharknado 5: Global Swarming.  Opening simultaneously with both an Indiana Jones inspired tomb-raid under StoneHenge and a Sharknado attack on London,  you get the feeling that this is a lot more over the top than you were expecting. Which, for a series that put sharks in space and turned Tara Reid into a robot superhero is saying a lot. 

This fifth movie uses the Sharknado’s new found power of teleportation (yep, I’m serious) to enable closely shot, inexpensive action scenes all around the world. Visiting London, Rome, Sydney and Tokyo, we see each country and their respective terrible local celebrities. Representing the UK we get Sam Fox, Katie Price, Jedward,  Louis Spence and for some reason, Brett Michaels. Yikes. Australia fares slightly better with Olivia Newton-John.

The plot is completely bloody ridiculous, Fin and April’s son has been taken into a Sharknado and they have to chase it around the world to get him back. Fan favourite character Nova ( the stunning Cassie Scerbo) returns as part of a secret sisterhood of the Sharknado, who at one point transform the Sydney Opera House into a flying battle station. Look out for the cameo of Fabio as the Pope, an especially odd scene that I didn’t think would be topped. Well. Until the final scene melted my brain. 

I love these movies. Each year we get the gift of a trash masterpiece surely to go down in history as a camp classic. 

Look, I’m not going to pretend it’s a high budget masterpiece. I’m not even going to pretend it’s art. It is however, genuinely hilarious and totally over the top entertainment. All five of these movies just want to make you smile and laugh and judging by the latest cliffhanger ending, Sharknado 6 will be even more insane and fun.  I can’t wait. 

10/10 (it couldn’t be any lower) 

For Fans Of: 

Jaws 4

Twister 

Shark Night 3D

Scary Movie 4

Baby Driver (2017)

In a summer full of franchise movies and mediocre sequels, Baby Driver is nothing short of genius, a hyper kinetic, music-infused, symphony of destruction. Edgar Wright has assembled an all star cast and strewn them across a beautifully stylised heist thriller. 

 
Ansel Elgort’s Baby is our almost silent protagonist. Orphaned in car crash as a child, Baby listens to music constantly to drown out his tinnitus. After stealing a car he shouldn’t, Baby is forced into getaway driving for bank jobs, by Doc, a mysterious criminal (Kevin Spacey). 

Baby spends his time between jobs creating songs mixed with secretly recorded audio clips  from his criminal work and dancing, oblivious throug the world around him.  Oh and falling in love with a beautiful waitress named Debora. Or is it Jonathan? Either way she’s played by Lily James channelling Madchen Amick, uncanny how much she looks like Amick’s Twin Peaks’ waitress Shelly Johnston . James is charming and her relationship with Baby is pure Hollywood and I loved it. 



Like a mix of both Ryan Gosling in Drive and Kevin Bacon in Footloose , Baby owns the screen and Elgort really steals the show. When you’re acting alongside Kevin Spacey, John Hamm and Jamie Foxx, that’s pretty good going. 

The mix tapes are a handy metaphor for the movie. You’ve seen it all before, but never chopped up and mixed like this. Every bullet hits the beat of a song, every door slams to a drum, Wright using his trademark editing to stunning effect. Remember in Wright’s own Spaced how drugged up bicycle courier Tires would dance to music made from everyday sounds? It’s like that, but to the Nth degree. It’s truly breathtaking. The soundtrack is chosen masterfully, Wright combining the right song for the right scene perfectly every time. 

The ensemble cast adds a level of pedigree and weight that makes Baby Driver just feel solid. It’s Baby’s story but everyone else has enough quirkiness or depth to be memorable. Its a world I’d liked to have spent more time in, so hopefully we will get some prequel comics or blu ray extras. Wright did this with Shaun of the Dead so fingers crossed. 

Every character has a cool code name, Hamm is Buddy, Foxx is Bats, Spacey is Doc, Eliza Gonzalez is Darlin’. Randomly, Flea, bassist with Red Hot Chili Peppers pops up as Eddie No-Nose, formerly Eddie The Nose. There are a few great gags during Doc’s heist meetings that I wouldn’t want to spoil, but those scenes are all hilarious and must have been a joy to shoot. Tons of room for improv. 

A film about driving has to have some excellent  car stunts right? Of course.  The stunt team did an amazing job, Wright saying in a pre-film intro that they used as much practical driving as possible and no CGI. It shows. It feels gritty and rough and real. 

The soundtrack is as much of a character as anyone.  Baby’s multitude of ipods, each one for a different mood, filled with killer tracks. From the opening scene set to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion track Bellbottoms, you get the sense of how Baby’s hearing and love of music will shape the flow of the film. I noticed a lot of heads bopping in the audience during the movie and one guy even tapping his leg as he strutted down the aisle to go to the bathroom during the movie. 

It’s almost like a musical in some ways, the songs driving the pace of the film. Wright has always had an ear for perfectly fitting songs and Baby Driver is the product of that.

Whilst not being the most original story you’ll ever see, Baby Driver is a beautifully made film that will surely stand the test of time, or at least the next few years. For me, it was like if Tarantino had grown up in the ipod generation. Snappy, quotable, violent and funny. 

It’s been a while since we’ve had a film that was just this cool. 

9.5/10


For Fans Of: 

Hot Fuzz 

Footloose 

True Romance 

Horrible Bosses