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Sicario 2: Soldado


2015’s Sicario was a coming together of several brilliant talents. Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, who also delivered great scripts with Hell Or High Water and Wind River; director of photography Roger Deakins, who drew closer to his elusive Oscar; the fine acting chops of Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin; the ever improving director Denis Villeneuve, whose subsequent films Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 cemented his standing as one of the finest directors working in Hollywood. 2018’s Sicario 2: Soldado reunites Sheridan’s writing with Del Toro’s enigmatic Alejandro and Brolin’s bullish yet principled Matt Graver, but minus the other prominent figures with Stefano Sollima behind the camera and Dariusz Wolski on lensing duties. New cast members include Isabela Moner, Matthew Modine, Catherine Keener and Elijah Rodriguez, their presence expanding the scope of this follow-up. Concerns over terrorism and pirating give the film a more global flavour, although these elements serve more as a distraction than contextualisation. The film’s subject matter feels ripped from the headlines as immigration is a prominent feature, much of the film involving Mexicans illegally entering the United States. While there is (currently) no wall, there are certainly obstacles as well as opportunities for those willing to exploit the desperate. Into this potent mix Matt sends Alejandro, with the goal of starting a war between drug cartels. The film is efficiently put together, with several gripping set pieces including a gruelling gun battle on a deserted desert road. Oddly, the film’s more affecting moments are quiet interchanges, especially between Alejandro and Isabel Reyes (Moner), daughter of a cartel head that Alejandro takes custody of. Their relationship is engaging, while Matt’s clashes with his government superior Cynthia Foards (Keener) and Secretary James Riley (Matthew Modine) highlight the political agenda. Unfortunately, these disparate elements are not cohered, while a subplot involving young Mexican-American Miguel Hernandez (Rodriguez) never convinces. Worse, the film lacks the nihilism of the original, and in its final act there are several moments that could be shockingly cruel, but instead the film loses its nerve and takes the narrative beyond its natural conclusion. The border has many interesting stories, but this is one of the lesser ones.

89th Annual Academy Awards – Final Predictions



With the Academy Awards now hours away, it’s time for final predictions. I’ve given my detailed views on some of the categories already, but now it’s time for the full list, including what I think will win, and what I would vote for were I a member of AMPAS (none of this ‘should win’ nonsense on my blog, thank you!).



Predicted winner: La La Land

Preferred winner: Arrival



  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Predicted winner: Damien Chazelle

Preferred winner: Denis Villeneuve

With all its plaudits and despite its naysayers, La La Land looks set to pick up the big awards. I enjoyed the film fine, but do feel that others, including Manchester by the Sea and Hidden Figures, and especially Arrival, warrant as much if not more attention. So while I see La La Land dancing its way to Best Picture and Directing, my heart belongs to Arrival.



  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

Predicted winner: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Preferred winner: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea



  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Predicted winner: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Preferred winner:  Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals



  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Predicted winner: Emma Stone, La La Land

Preferred winner: Emma Stone, La La Land (only one I’ve seen!)



  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Predicted winner: Viola Davis, Fences

Preferred winner: Viola Davis, Fences


All the acting nominees I’ve seen were impressive, and I’d be happy with most of them winning. But it would make me very happy if Nocturnal Animals could pick up something.


  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

Predicted winner: Moonlight

Preferred winner: Arrival



  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • The Lobster
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • 20th Century Women

Predicted winner: Manchester by the Sea

Preferred winner: Hell or High Water

Tricky ones, but I think I’ve said my piece.




  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Silence

Predicted winner: La La Land

Preferred winner: Arrival

It is always tough to determine if this award will follow patterns, or rely solely on the skill of the Director of Photography nominated. In this case, much as I love Arrival and would like it to win, I anticipate the long takes and crane shots on location in La La Land will shimmy the film to another award.


  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land

Predicted winner: Jackie

Preferred winner: Jackie

This award typically goes to period films, for good reason, and all but one of these nominees is exactly that. For La La Land to win here would be a bit odd, colourful as the costumes in that film are. After its victories at BAFTA, the Awards Circuit Community Awards and the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, Jackie seems like a safe bet here.



  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight

Predicted winner: Arrival

Preferred winner: Arrival

This is an interesting one, as Hacksaw Ridge won the BAFTA but Arrival the Eddie (from the American Cinema Editors). I loved Arrival and found Hacksaw Ridge pretty good, and the potential overlap between the various institutions means this could go either way. But maybe Arrival will be this year’s Mad Max: Fury Road, picking up various post-production awards if none of the ‘major awards’. For that reason, I would like to see Arrival walk away with this award, and I believe it will.


Predicted winner: Star Trek Beyond

Preferred winner: Suicide Squad

I know nothing about A Man Called Ove, and the sheer range of weird and wonderful make up designs in Star Trek Beyond make it a likely winner. That said, I would like Suicide Squad to win, because I think the negativity this film received was excessive and it would greatly amuse me if the naysayers have to admit to the existence of ‘the Oscar-winning Suicide Squad’.



  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Passengers

Predicted winner: La La Land

Preferred winner: La La Land


  • ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream),’ La La Land
  • ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling,’ Trolls
  • ‘City of Stars,’ La La Land
  • ‘The Empty Chair,’ Jim: The James Foley Story
  • ‘How Far I’ll Go, ‘ Moana

Predicted winner: ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream),’ La La Land

Preferred winner: ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream),’ La La Land

As a musical, it would be rather odd if La La Land did not win in these two categories. While I’m not the biggest fan of La La Land, I did find the solo ‘Audition’ to be very stirring (being one of those fools myself), and I would be happy to see that pick up an award.



  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

Predicted winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Preferred winner: Arrival

An interesting collection here, with two science fiction films, one contemporary (and very colourful) musical, along with two period films, one which features fantasy elements and the other, like the musical, is about Hollywood. Due to its BAFTA victory, I see this going to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, although the nostalgia and self-love of La La Land and Hail Caesar! might bring them success. For me, the production design of Arrival was a key element to its eerie alienness, and something I would like to see rewarded.



  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully

Predicted winner: Arrival

Preferred winner: Arrival

Back in 2013, there was a tie for this award between Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty. Both were favourite films of mine, and Arrival was my top film of last year. So maybe the pattern will continue. I would also like my top film to win something, hence my pick.


Predicted winner: Arrival

Preferred winner: Arrival

Since Arrival is unlikely to win anything else, I can see it picking up both Sound awards. And I want it to, so there.



Predicted winner: The Jungle Book

Preferred winner: Doctor Strange

After winning the BAFTA as well as an Annie Award and the Awards Circuit Community Award (as well as others), The Jungle Book looks set to pick up the Oscar as well. Much as the animals and landscapes impressed me in The Jungle Book though, the inventiveness and outright trippiness of the visual effects in Doctor Strange had me (sorry) spellbound, and it gets my vote for most impressive visual effects of last year.



  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Predicted winner: Kubo and the Two Strings

Preferred winner: Zootopia

Kubo and the Two Strings has done very well at previous award ceremonies such as BAFTA and multiple Critics associations, but Zootopia/Zootropolis was one of my favourites of last year, so it gets my vote. It did win the Golden Globe, so maybe Disney’s delightful comedy about prejudice and tolerance might just strike a chord with the Academy members, in this time of strife and division.



  • Land of Mine, Denmark
  • A Man Called Ove, Sweden
  • The Salesman,Iran
  • Tanna, Australia
  • Toni Erdmann, Germany

Predicted winner: The Salesman, Iran

Preferred winner: The Salesman, Iran

The director of The Salesman, Asqhar Farhadi, has stated that he will not attend the Oscar ceremony in protest of President Trump’s policies. Whether Farhadi attends or not, as an act of defiance I hope that the Academy rewards the film, and I would too.


  • Fire at Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • OJ: Made In America
  • 13th

Predicted winner: 13th

Preferred winner: Life, Animated



  • Extremis
  • 1 Miles
  • Joe’s Violin
  • Watani: My Homeland
  • The White Helmets


  • Blind Vaysha
  • Borrowed Time
  • Pear Cider and Cigarettes
  • Pearl
  • Piper


  • Ennemis Interieurs
  • La Femme Et Le TGV
  • Silent Nights
  • Sing
  • Timecode

Pass – I know nothing about these films.


89th Annual Academy Awards – Supporting Writing


As Oscar night draws near, predictions are running high as to who will walk away with golden baldies. I’ve made my predictions in what I consider the easy categories – Picture, Directing, Leading Actor, Leading Actress and Supporting Actress. Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is trickier, as we have a varied bunch of nominees. Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water is the only previous winner (for Best Actor in a Leading Role in Crazy Heart), he is the oldest of the nominees and he is a major star nominated for a Supporting Role. All of these factors work in his favour. However, Bridges has not won any awards for his performance, and AMPAS tends to follow the patterns of the Golden Globes, BAFTA and the various guilds. In this respect, Dev Patel’s victory for Lion at BAFTA, and Mahershala Ali’s win for Moonlight at the Screen Actors Guild, gives both of them an edge, not least because of the overlap between these institutions. As I’ve mentioned before, young actors are less likely to win, and Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea will probably have future opportunities, although the same is true of Patel. Perhaps Patel’s victory at BAFTA was a moment of British pride in one of our own, and the same may be true of the American Ali come Oscar night. For my money, I would like Michael Shannon to win, because I really liked Nocturnal Animals and thought he was great in it (weirdly, Nocturnal Animals did win the Golden Globe for Supporting Actor, but the nominee in that case was Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Come the night though, because of the overlap with the SAG and the likely desire of the Academy members to reward Moonlight with something, I predict this award will go to Mahershala Ali.


Lion and Moonlight are also strong contenders for Best Adapted Screenplay and, after its BAFTA win, Lion seems a likely contender. Then again, Moonlight was the winner at the Writers Guild of America. Again due to the overlap between the Guild and the Academy, I see Moonlight as the likely winner of Adapted Screenplay, although my preference would be Arrival. For the Best Original Screenplay award, Manchester by the Sea looks like the strongest contender. Were Hell or High Water to win anything, this is the most likely. Both films feature ordinary Americans dealing with extraordinary but very human problems, but with Manchester by the Sea likely to lose out on Picture and Directing to La La Land, it seems far more likely to win in this category. La La Land could add to its collection here, but I predict Manchester by the Sea will be the winner come Oscar night.


89th Annual Academy Awards – Acting Up


Acting is the part of movies that everyone thinks they understand. Frequently, we hear or read fellow film fans declaring: ‘Oh, the acting there was great’, ‘The acting there was rubbish’, ‘So and so is overrated’, ‘Why didn’t she get nominated?’ Strangely though, these judgements rarely provide detailed reasoning as to why certain performers or performances are or are not worthy of great accolades. In a similar vein, there was significant consternation when the Oscar nominees were announced, with notable omissions described as ‘snubs’, but little explanation as to why. Granted, Amy Adams was predicted to be a nominee either for Arrival or Nocturnal Animals (or even both), but for her to be left out simply indicates that when it came to voting for nominees, other performers garnered more than she did. In any case, I find it far more interesting to look at what is, rather than what might have been. Let us therefore cast our eyes over the nominated performers this year.

After the diversity controversy of the last two years, it is significant that of the twenty nominees across the four acting categories, seven are performers of colour. Granted this is only 35% of the total number, but nonetheless it is a definite improvement over previous years. Furthermore, some of the performers of colour are hotly tipped to win. Three of the nominees for Actress in a Supporting Role are black, including Naomie Harris for Moonlight, earning her first nomination, and Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures, who previously won for The Help. Spencer’s co-star from The Help, Viola Davis, has already won the Golden Globe, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild awards in this category, as well as various critical associations, for her performance in Fences. She is therefore very likely to win the Oscar as well, making the most controversial aspect of her victories the fact that she is nominated in a Supporting Role. There is no other female role in Fences, so technically Davis is the Lead Actress (an argument that could also be made for Nicole Kidman in Lion). Her being put forward for the Supporting category is probably a tactical move by the studio, ensuring that Davis does not have to contend with the tougher competition in the Leading Actress category. If so, this tactic has paid off, and I predict that Davis will continue her winning ways.

Were Davis nominated in the Best Actress category, her main competition would be Emma Stone in La La Land, who like Davis has picked up the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and now looks like a dead cert to pick up the Oscar. This is Stone’s second nomination, after getting the nod for Best Supporting Actress in 2014 for Birdman. Her predicted victory is perhaps surprising, since three of the other nominees (Ruth Negga, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep) play historical figures, which often attracts Academy votes. But perhaps the array of skills Stone displays in La La Land – singing, dancing and acting at acting – have won her this love from her peers, and come Oscar night I foresee Miss Stone will add to her awards collection.


It’s you!

89th Annual Academy Awards – Directing


Following from my previous post, let’s consider the nominees for Achievement in Directing:

Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villenueve, Arrival

As is often the case with the award for Achievement in Directing, familiarity mixes with the new. Mel Gibson is the only previous winner here, whose Braveheart also picked up four other awards including Best Picture. Much like BraveheartHacksaw Ridge is a historical war film, with some technically complex and very impressive battle sequences that would have been difficult to direct, so Gibson’s nomination makes sense. The film is also something of a comeback for Gibson, who fell out of favour with Hollywood and audiences for his extremely foolish remarks some years ago. Despite that, I suspect that his past may well prevent him picking up the award. Of the other four nominees in this category, none have previously been nominated for Directing, although both Damien Chazelle and Kenneth Lonergan were previously nominated for Writing – Chazelle for the Adapted Screenplay of Whiplash and Lonergan for the Original Screenplays of You Can Count on Me and Gangs of New York. Barry Jenkins is significant, as only the fourth black director to be nominated for the Academy Award, again suggesting a wish among Academy members to compensate for previous years’ lack of diversity. The directorial styles of the five men (as usual, women have been completely excluded this category) are distinct, Chazelle opting for a range of long takes and crane shots while Lonergan favours an intimate, composed approach. Villenueve also favours long takes but combines this with discontinuous editing and a ‘dirty sci-fi’ aesthetic, while Gibson utilises a classical style with frequent moments of slo-mo (I’ll get back to you on the style of Jenkins once I’ve seen Moonlight).


As with Best Picture, the subject matter is likely to be a factor when it comes to actual voting. Gibson delivers a true story about a character held up as an American hero; Lonergan crafts a tale of grief in small town America. Jenkins’ film is also concerned with urban American life, while Villenueve’s film features grief like Lonergan, although that is combined with aliens. While Hacksaw Ridge’s subject matter is common Oscar bait, Gibson’s own past may come back to haunt him. I confess to cynicism as regards Jenkins and Villenueve, and do not believe the Academy members will vote for a film concerned with black and LBGTQ issues, nor for a science fiction film director. Granted, Gravity did win Directing in 2013, but this can be credited to the elaborate artistic and technological innovations required for that film (and there were no aliens). This award feels like a two-horse race between Lonergan and Chazelle, but after his success at BAFTA, I suspect that the nostalgia and sheer bonhomie of La La Land is likely to win Chazelle the Oscar as well.

89th Annual Academy Awards – Initial Impressions on Best Picture


Amid great fanfare as only the Academy can deliver, the nominees for the 89th Annual Academy Awards were announced on 24th January 2017. As always, the AMPAS members have come in for sneering over their ‘snubs’ and everyone, their pet bandicoot and the bandicoot’s veterinarian (and probably the veterinarian’s tennis partner) believes that they know better. Well, I do not know better, I’m just a guy on the Internet with some views. Rather than declaring the most deserving winners, I find it far more interesting to analyse the nominees, consider what these nominations represent and make some educated guesses about what might win and, more importantly, why.

For this first post, let’s take a look at Best Picture. Drumroll, please! The nominees for Best Motion Picture are:

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

Generically, these nine films are an interesting bunch. A science fiction film (a rare nominee in itself); a domestic drama adapted from a successful stage production; a war film; a modern Western; a historical drama; a musical; a true life story; a bereavement drama; an LGBTQ drama. Perhaps these nominees show a certain self-reproach on the Academy’s part over the lack of diversity among previous years’ nominees. Fences, Hidden Figures and Moonlight could all be classed as ‘black films’, while Lion is also concerned with issues of race and racial identity. Moonlight is a film with LGBTQ concerns, a rare thing indeed for the Academy to take notice of. More cynically, La La Land and Manchester by the Sea are typical Oscar fare featuring white men dealing with the problems of being white men. While these two films are fine examples of such dramas, they are hardly challenging in their subject matter. Whereas last year’s nominees included films critical of US institutions, only Hell or High Water and Arrival offer such a critique of current events.

Several of the nominees feature award-friendly subject matter, including American history (Fences, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge), World War II (Hacksaw Ridge), nostalgia (La La Land, Hell or High Water), true stories (Hacksaw Ridge, Hidden Figures, Lion), Hollywood self-love (La La Land). As I have commented previously, films with historical settings are frequently rewarded, which would work in favour of Fences, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge and Lion (more recent history, but Lion is based on a true story, which the Academy also often rewards). However, according to various publications, the smart money is on La La Land to be the big winner, despite or perhaps because of its nostalgia for the ‘grand tradition of MGM musicals’, as well as having a record number of 14 nominations, equalling those of All About Eve and Titanic. Perhaps the light-heartedness of La La Land will work against it, while the weightier subject matter of Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea will carry them through.

Subject matter is not the only factor, however. Analysis of previous winners demonstrates that winners of the Best Picture award also win one or more of these other three awards: Directing, Film Editing, Writing (both Original and Adapted Screenplay). Five of the five Best Picture nominees are also nominated for Directing – La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Arrival. Of these, Arrival, Moonlight, La La Land and Manchester by the Sea are also up for Writing (the first two for Adapted, the second two for Original). Furthermore, only Arrival, La La Land and Moonlight are also up for Directing and Writing. Combine these factors with the non-award friendly genre of Arrival, and the potentially controversial subject matter of Moonlight, and La La Land emerges as the frontrunner. Were I a member of AMPAS, I would vote for Arrival, my top film of last year, but I suspect come the night La La Land will be dancing all the way to Best Picture.

Review of the Year – 2016

2016-movie-posters-dragonlordThere is significant consensus that 2016 was a thoroughly horrible year, with the deaths of many beloved figures and the ascension of hateful policies and individuals. However, the rot did not affect film releases, which remain as varied as any year. Perhaps inevitably, many films passed me by but, nonetheless, here are my top twelve films of 2016, and all titles ranked in order of preference. As always, my list is based on U.K. release dates.

Top Twelve (in musical form)

On the twelfth day of Christmas

The movies gave to me

Twelve Anthropoids


Eleven United Kingdoms


Ten Revenants


Nine Eagle Hunts


Eight Big Shorts


Seven Spotlight scoops


Six Strange Doctors


Five Noc-tur-nal Animals


Four Eyes in the Sky


Three Zootopians


Two in a Room and


A heptapod Arrival!


In more traditional list format:

  1. Arrival

Film of the Year: An eerie, enthralling, exquisitely balanced, inspiring and magnificent sci-fi drama.

  1. Room

A sublime, magnificent, heartwarming, heartbreaking tale of the terrible and the wonderful.

  1. Zootropolis

A brilliantly inventive, hilariously zany, poignant and intelligent anthropomorphic comedy.

  1. Eye in the Sky

A tense, nerve-shredding thriller of surveillance, globalization, military, political and ethical conundrums.

  1. Nocturnal Animals

An exquisite, haunting, beautiful and intoxicating drama, suffused with style, pain and regret.

  1. Doctor Strange

Inception crossed with The Matrix, enhanced with Harry Potter and amped up to ‘Are You Nuts?!’

  1. Spotlight

An enthralling, absorbing, compelling journalism thriller about community, tradition and responsibility.

  1. The Big Short

An equally hilarious and horrifying tale of economic, intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

  1. The Eagle Huntress

An enthralling, inspiring tale of courage, determination and the tensions between genders, tradition and modernity, wilderness and civilization.

  1. The Revenant

An immersive, enthralling, ethereal yet tactile portrait of survival, nature and revenge.

  1. A United Kingdom

An epic yet intimate tale of love, duty, defiance and justice, in equal parts angering and uplifting.

  1. Anthropoid

An exquisitely detailed, brutally grim and unflinchingly gruelling wartime thriller.

Honourable Mentions

  1. Under The Shadow

A gripping, atmospheric, terrifying Iranian Gothic of fears both natural and supernatural.


  1. The Girl on the Train

A dark, gripping tale of fractured minds, damaged lives, voyeurism and victimhood.


  1. Queen of Katwe

An unsentimental yet heartwarming and progressive tale of hardship, courage and strategy.


  1. The Infiltrator

An intricate, stylish tale of identity, loyalty, moral, legal and financial interconnections.


  1. Hell or High Water

A measured, melancholic and gripping modern western of bonds and devotion between little people.


  1. Star Trek Beyond

A measured yet thrilling, warm and intelligent sci-fi adventure of duty, family and purpose.


  1. Kubo and the Two Strings

A gorgeously imaginative and sumptuously realised tale of storytelling, destiny and belonging.


  1. Deadpool

A fast, furious blend of high octane action, knowing humour and politically incorrect fun.



  1. X-Men: Apocalypse

A truly epic super-bonanza of power, regret, choice and destiny.


  1. Captain America: Civil War

An intense, gripping globe-trotting revenge thriller of loyalty and the proper uses of power.


  1. The Jungle Book

A gorgeously designed, sometimes meandering but ultimately uplifting retelling of a timeless tale.


  1. Rogue One

A stirring, planet-hopping, slightly unbalanced but compelling sci-fi war movie.


Pretty Solid

  1. Finding Dory

A warm, wacky and wild watery wonder of family, memory and destiny.


  1. The Light Between Oceans

A sweeping, moving and enthralling romantic epic of repression, duty, desire and love.


  1. The BFG

A squifflingly scrumdiddlyumptious felim of dreams, delights and whizzpopping wonder.


  1. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

A grim, brooding, lumpenly paced yet intriguing exploration of power and our responses to it.


  1. Tale of Tales

A gorgeous, sumptuous adult fairy tale of identity, duty and desire.


Decent Enough

  1. Me Before You

An endearing and moving portrayal of connection and choice, in equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking.


  1. The Divergent Series: Allegiant

A slick, stylish sci-fi tale of memory, identity and the panopticon.


  1. The Nice Guys

A sharp, witty and often hilarious buddy comedy of 70s’ shadow and sleaze.


  1. Jason Bourne

A grim, gripping, muscular thriller of concerns new and old.


  1. Ghostbusters

A boisterous and energetically scrappy if somewhat overstretched paranormal comedy adventure.


  1. Suicide Squad

A shambolic but stylish assembly of freakish figures and super villainous set pieces.



  1. The Magnificent Seven

A politically correct and well orchestrated if sanitised and far from operatic action western.


  1. Allied

A detailed, measured period spy romance of loyalties, devotion and nostalgia.


  1. The Accountant

An atmospheric and sometimes gripping but also unbalanced and messy thriller.


  1. High-Rise

A quirky, creepy, kaleidoscopic portrayal of Sartrean social insanity in the Infernal Tower.


  1. Warcraft: The Beginning

An over-designed but still stylish splat of a fantasy epic.



  1. The Huntsman: Winter’s War

An attractively designed but uneven and lacklustre fantasy adventure.


  1. Inferno

A hollow, preposterous, unengaging, mess of a thriller.


  1. Independence Day: Resurgence

Turkey of the Year: a disparate, discordant and messily inferior sequel.