Aliens

The moon from Alien has been colonised, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?

Aliens ranks highly among both the best and worst things for movie sequels. The good is what you’ll already know, whether you’ve seen the movie or not: Aliens is a great sequel because it’s really quite different to its predecessor. The bad is what only occurred to me as I considered what came after it: James Cameron put the idea in the heads of Ridley Scott et al. that this was a world that needed to be exhaustively explored. Continue reading “Aliens”

Batman Begins

After training with his mentor, Batman begins his fight to free crime-ridden Gotham City from the corruption that Scarecrow and the League of Shadows have cast upon it.

Did you know that Batman was created by Bob Kane? Of course you did. Everybody does. So why does Batman of all superheroes need an origin story? You know the hero – a pop culture icon. But Batman Begins isn’t an origin story for a superhero. It’s an introduction to one of the most iconic mythologies of the twentieth century. Continue reading “Batman Begins”

Stand By Me

After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.

The first time I saw a dead body was, like the characters in Stand By Me, in the company of three friends. From the top of bales of hay stacked twenty feet high, Dan, Jacob, Joe and I saw a swarm of flies pestering the body of a sheep – its guts were hanging out. But for such a relatable story, Stand By Me falls a little short of my own childhood’s sense of adventure. Continue reading “Stand By Me”

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke.

For so cruel and unforgiving a villain as Darth Vader, one doesn’t expect him to fail. And yet, that’s exactly what he does – letting Luke Skywalker (shock twist: his own son) slip through his fingers in the closing moments of The Empire Strikes Back. It’s far from a victory for the good guys, though. It’s proven to be a gruelling two hours, and as the credits roll, I’m still left wondering if A Fool’s Hope would have been a more accurate title for the trilogy’s opening instalment. Continue reading “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back”

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

Late in 2015, having gone on and on about the importance of The Lord of the Rings films to me, I decided to read the books. I’ll be the first to admit I wouldn’t have picked them up, let alone finished them if it wasn’t for the films. But now that I’ve experienced both, it’s clear to see the differences between them. Continue reading “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”

Monsters, Inc.

To power their city, the monsters of Monstropolis scare children so that they scream. But when a “toxic” child gets through, two monsters realise things may not be what they seem.

In 2001, when I was nine, I’d already been writing stories for fun for as long as I’d been able. But Monsters, Inc. and Pixar’s wonderful approach to storytelling proved to be one of my earliest wake-up calls: I needed to do something creative with my life, and I needed to tell stories. Continue reading “Monsters, Inc.”

Inglourious Basterds

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner’s vengeful plans for the same.

Inglourious Basterds has its indulgences. But when Tarantino is described as masturbatory, I argue: this is a man who has loved movies all his life – a passionate authority on 20th century cinema. Countless homages across his entire filmography illustrate a love of film, and a love of sharing it. He’s not masturbating. If anything, he’s hosting an orgy, and we’re all invited. Continue reading “Inglourious Basterds”

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the universe from the Empire’s world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.

I have no memory of an edition of A New Hope when it was just called Star Wars. I also don’t recall ever seeing Han shoot first. Such are George Lucas’ revisions, which are not so damaging as the circlejerk loves to preach, but instead make me question my own experience of the film. Continue reading “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”

The Princess Bride

While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

The Princess Bride is everything an adventure film should be, and yet it slipped past my childhood unnoticed. I suppose that’s because it’s a cult film. Eurgh, I hate that phrase, but I’m using it (I suppose) to emphasise the modesty of its success upon release, and its quotability. It’s a film people go to midnight screenings of – half to actually watch the film, half to enjoy the company of other “cultists”. Continue reading “The Princess Bride”

Back to the Future

A young man is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown, and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence.

Today, October 21st 2015, is the day that Marty McFly time-travels to in Back to the Future Part 2. I asked for the Back to the Future box set on DVD when I was about eleven, because the films were always on around Christmas time and I never got the chance to sit and watch start to finish. Continue reading “Back to the Future”