Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – 8/10 science fiction time-travel action war movie

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Cast / crew
Director: Doug Liman
Tom Cruise: Cage
Emily Blunt: Rita

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Tom Cruise is being all ace as an army media advisor but his world is turned upside-down when he is informed that these services aren’t needed any more and he’s going to the front line of the war. Oh yes, there’s a war on. With aliens.


This is a terrific science fiction action movie, a lot of fun, with decent brain-tickling action and, surprisingly, some gleefully funny scenes. Tom Cruise nails it throughout (though he always brings his A-game, that’s what makes his movies always worth watching) with his Tom Cruise-ness being spectacularly punctured by a having-none-of-it Brendan Gleeson leaving him to progress from confused terror to confident combatant. The ending: SPOILER I think he inherited the Omega’s time-reset ability and can now redo anything he wants. Therefore he survives the interview with the General in London and convinces him to bomb the pants out of the Louvre and then heads over to the base to strike up a romantic relationship with Emily Blunt. Likely to end up being the best summer blockbuster of the year.

This movie contains gruesome and unpleasant scenes, war violence, bad language and a fat man’s butt

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Remember Me (2013, PS3) – 8/10 third-person science-fiction action game review

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Cast / crew
Art Director: Aleksi Briclot
Art Director: Michel Koch
Technical Director: Jérome Banal
Producer: Nicolas Simon
Lead Technical Designer: Gautier de Souza
Lead Technical Designer: Jacques Trombini
Lead Environment Artist: Sophie Van de Velde
Lead Character Artist: Alexis Smadja-Fellous
Lead Visual Effects Artist: Timothée Letourneux
Lead Lighting Artist: Frédéric Cros
Lead Animator: Carole Chaland
Lead Animator: Alexandre Cuing
Cinematic Director: Jean-Luc Cano
Lead Designer: Philippe Moreau
Lead Designer: Marc Pestka
Music Composer, Orchestrator, Producer and Adaptor: Olivier Derivière
Director: Jean-Maxime Moris
Kezia Burrows: Nilin

Remember Me (2013)

Nilin is rescued from a memory-wipe facility by Edge and has little choice but to follow his instructions to stay alive. As she gradually remembers more skills he quickly sets her to work as a revolutionary but Nilin is conflicted about the chaos she is causing.


Remember Me deserved rather better than to be sniffed at by contemporary critics who moaned about stuff that exists in other more lauded games (such as the very mildly unruly camera and completely normal number of enemy types). The gameplay adds welcome wrinkles to the third-person brawler with its Pressen system. These are actions slotted into custom combos that can deal damage, heal, accelerate super-power cooldown or amplify the preceding Pressen; a combined effect that you design then execute during exciting, absorbing action. The gameplay is mixed up, as is the norm, with traversal and simple puzzles but a couple of riddles crop up and are something of an unexpected highlight. The cut-scenes are smoothly integrated and beautifully directed and edited, the art design is superb while Olivier Derivière’s music is unusual, effective and fitting. Remember Me drew me in and I wanted to see it through to the end. Well worth buying; don’t forget Remember Me.

This game contains sexual swear words, bad language, adult dialogue, violence

Classified 16+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 16 or over..
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.

Frozen (2013) – 8/10 fantasy Disney animated movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Story Writer Inspired by “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen: Chris Buck
Director and Screenplay and Story Writer Inspired by “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen: Jennifer Lee
Producer: Peter Del Vecho
Executive Producer: John Lasseter
Writer “The Snow Queen”: Hans Christian Andersen
Story Writer Inspired by “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen: Shane Morris
Songs Composer: Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Songs Composer: Robert Lopez
Head of Story: Paul Briggs
Head of Animation: Lino DiSalvo
Kristen Bell: Anna
Idina Menzel: Elsa
Jonathan Groff: Kristoff
Josh Gad: Olaf
Santino Fontana: Hans
Stephen John Anderson: Kai

Frozen (2013)

After a childhood accident nearly kills her younger sister, Princess Elsa has to hide to fact that she can produce ice by magic and isolates herself while trying to wrestle control over her immense power. As the time for her coronation approaches and a public appearance is unavoidable, the last thing she needs is any more stress. That’ll be when her sister tells her she’s marrying this dude she only met that day. Gaah!


Frozen has that rarest and most intangible of movie qualities: magic. This is the magic of Disney’s second golden age inspired by Howard Ashman and so it features songs that are integral to the storytelling. Why should it be that animation and songs go together so well and that the form is timeless? Anyway, it has never ceased to astonish me that directors saw songs as something that were bolted on to Disney’s past great animated movies. The songs, if used, are always part, indeed, I would say they were the heart, of the movie. They always tell you something, illuminate someone, touch you somewhere inside. The movie wouldn’t work without the songs (take note The Princess and The Frog). The power of the song is in telling the story, not augmenting it. Frozen realises this and the result is magic.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) – 8/10 science-fiction action adventure movie review

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Cast / crew
For: Gene Roddenberry
Director and Screenplay Writer: Nicholas Meyer
Kirk: William Shatner
Spock: Leonard Nimoy
DeForest Kelley: McCoy
James Doohan: Scotty
Walter Koenig: Chekov
Nichelle Nichols: Uhuru
George Takei: Sulu
Mark Lenard: Sarek
David Warner: Chancellor Gorkon
Kim Cattrall: Lt. Valeris
Rosana DeSoto: Azetbur
Christopher Plummer: Chang
Dedicated To and Original Series Creator STAR TREK: Gene Roddenberry
Story Writer: Lawrence Konner
Story Writer: Mark Rosenthal
Actor, Executive Producer and Story Writer: Leonard Nimoy
Screenplay Writer: Denny Martin Flinn
Producer: Ralph Winter
Producer: Steven-Charles Jaffe

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

When a disaster on Praxis, an important energy-producing moon, faces the Klingon race with the choice of military expenditure or survival as a species, they call to the Federation to arrange a peace. Three months from retirement, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are sent as a figurative olive branch to escort the Klingon Ambassador to Earth. After a less-than-successful diplomatic meal aboard the Enterprise, Kirk is rudely awoken by the sound of Enterprise firing on the Ambassador’s ship and his subsequent assassination. In the absence of the actual killers, Kirk and McCoy are arrested and put on trial.


"Nice to see you in action, one more time, Captain Kirk." – Captain Sulu

In what must be a unique cinematic event, the original Star Trek cast literally sign off from their motion picture series and must have been deservedly proud that it was done with this spectacular and interesting, generally well paced and smart movie. Boasting social commentary, courtroom drama, murder mystery intrigue, one of the greatest beards in movie history (Kurtwood Smith), a prison escape, a dude who doesn’t have knees where his knees are and a classic space battle resolved with intellect (and a lot of photon torpedoes, admittedly), The Undiscovered Country is a terrific movie with a lot to like. Not included in that list would be Kim Cattrall who threatens to undermine everything with her lack of acting ability. Generally, though, the movie is handled surely by Wrath of Khan director Nicholas Meyer and is headlined by wonderful work from William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. It certainly was nice to see them in action one more time.

This movie contains graphic violence, gory scenes, unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Always (1989) – 8/10 fantasy action romance Steven Spielberg movie review

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Cast / crew
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenplay Writer: Jerry Belson
Writer (Original Screenplay) “A Guy Named Joe”: Dalton Trumbo
Writer (Original Screenplay Adaptation) “A Guy Named Joe”: Frederick Hazlitt Brennan
Writer (Original Screen Story) “A Guy Named Joe”: Chandler Sprague
Writer (Original Screen Story) “A Guy Named Joe”: David Boehm
Richard Dreyfuss: Pete Sandich
Holly Hunter: Dorinda Durston
John Goodman: Al Yackey
Brad Johnson: Ted Baker
Audrey Hepburn: Hap
Producer: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Frank Marshall
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Music: John Williams

Always (1989)

Fire fighting pilot Pete saves best friend Al’s life by sacrificing his own. He is sent back by an angel to help influence the life of another trainee fire-fighting pilot, Ted Baker. However, a chance meeting by this trainee reintroduces Pete to his former love, Dorinda. Will he concentrate on his duty or will he make a futile attempt to rekindle his long-lost romance?


This is a forgotten Spielberg; a gem awaiting your discovery. This is an emotionally engaging fantasy romance with some good humour and outstanding action. It’s certainly not above criticism as it’s not consistently convincing and the Dreyfuss-Hunter romance for the first part of the movie feels lifted from an animated movie. However, all of the action sequences are extremely thrilling and spectacular, there are a number of lovely scenes and the climax works emotionally. Also, Always contains a mighty Hitler moustache gag that you probably won’t ever see again in a Spielberg movie.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue, mild bad language, mild unpleasant scenes and Holly Hunter in adorably chunky white socks

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.


Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002) – 8/10 fantasy action movie review

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Cast / crew
Director and Executive Producer: Chris Columbus
Screenplay Writer Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling: Steve Kloves
Producer: David Heyman
Writer (Original Novel): J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter: Daniel Radcliffe
Ron Weasley: Rupert Grint
Hermione Granger: Emma Watson
Kenneth Branagh: Gilderoy Lockhart
Nearly Headless Nick: John Cleese
Rubeus Hagrid: Robbie Coltrane
Professor Filius Flitwick: Warwick Davis
Vernon Dursley: Richard Griffiths
Professor Albus Dumbledore: Richard Harris
Lucius Malfoy: Jason Isaacs
Professor Severus Snape: Alan Rickman
Petunia Dursley: Fiona Shaw
Professor Minverva McConagall: Maggie Smith
Molly Weasley: Julie Walters

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Unhappily existing at his Muggle family anxious to return to Hogwart’s, Harry Potter is visisted by a house elf who’s mission is to stop him attending this year at all costs. Despite the elf’s best efforts, Harry manages to get to school but he might wish he hadn’t as petrified animals and students and writing in blood on the walls warn of the re-opening of the legendary Chamber of Secrets and the unleashing of the horror within.


Significantly better than the first episode with vastly improved special effects, more interesting photography and lots of ideas and good moments. Kenneth Branagh steals the show as a superstar wizard, Jason Isaacs is good value as what will hopefully be a recurring character but the two male leads, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, provide the movies’ unshakable heart and soul.

This movie contains intense scary scenes, violence, strong unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.


Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971) – 8/10 comedy western review

Cast / crew
James Garner: Latigo [Smith]
Suzanne Pleshette: Patience
Harry Morgan: Taylor
Jack Elam: Jug May
Producer: William Finnegan
Writer: James Edward Grant
Director and Executive Producer: Burt Kennedy

Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971)

When conman Latigo Smith rolls into town escaping from the clutches of fiancée Goldie with all her money, he soon succumbs to his one weakness: the roulette table. And loses all his money, of course. However, he soon thinks up another scheme by getting local horse-holder (!) and town idiot Jug May to pose as legendary gunslinger Swifty Morgan and hiring out his services despite neither of them being able to fire a single shot in a straight line.


Terrific comedy western which may disappoint on first viewing because it is not in the same style as predecessor Support Your Local Sheriff (1968). It may go above the heads of youngsters by ditching the more slapstick elements of its predecessor Support Your Local Sheriff in favour of mind games and gags more related to human weaknesses. However, the adults in the audience will still enjoy this. Garner, Morgan and beautiful, big-eyed Pleshette are all on top form but are outshone by the wonderful Jack Elam as his trusting sidekick Jug May. There’s even three (count ’em) top-notch ‘ass’ jokes.

This movie contains adult dialogue and violence, unexpectedly and extremely unpleasant scene (just about off-screen finger-breaking, twice).

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.


Shadow of a Doubt (1942) – 8/10 Hitchcock crime suspense drama movie review

Cast / crew
Teresa Wright: Young Charlie
Joseph Cotten: Uncle Charlie
Writer (Screenplay): Thornton Wilder
Writer (Screenplay): Sally Benson
Writer (Screenplay): Alma Reville
Writer (Story): Gordon McDonell
Producer: Jack H. Skirball
Acknowledgment: Thornton Wilder
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Shadow of a Doubt (1942)

When Uncle Charlie arrives in the small Californian town of Santa Rosa, he is welcomed with open arms by his family, especially his niece, also named Charlie. However, she soon begins to harbour doubts about her favourite uncle.


"We’re not talking about killing people. Herb’s talking about killing me and I’m talking about killing him." – Joseph Newton

Something clearly evident here is the sense of glee that Hitchcock, and no one else, brought to the subject of murder and was a critical element in making his films so entertaining. Even though he usually made crime thrillers, Hitchcock also consistently made his films will-he-get-away-with-it’s not who-dun-it’s. He then backs that up by making it a very real possibility that the villain (a successfully cast-against-type Joseph Cotten) will, if not succeed at his malevolence, get away with it. Hitchcock’s repeated success at balancing these two elements (among others) is why he is a genius.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.


Skyfall (2012) – 8/10 Bond / M movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Sam Mendes
Writer (Characters’ Creator) James Bond 007: Ian Fleming
Daniel Craig: James Bond 007
Judi Dench: M
Javier Bardem: Silva
Writer: Neal Purvis
Writer: Robert Wade
Writer: John Logan
Ralph Fiennes: Gareth Mallory
Naomie Harris: Eve
Bérénice Marlohe: Sévérine
Albert Finney: Kincade
Producer: Barbara Broccoli
Producer: Michael G. Wilson

Skyfall (2012)

While attempting to retrieve a list containing the identities of every undercover agent in NATO territory, Bond is badly injured – at one point, he is presumed dead – but his irrepressible call of duty compels him to attempt a quick return to active duty. M wants him back too, as he is her man for fighting those in the shadows.


"Some men are coming to kill us. We’re gonna to kill them first." – James Bond
This is a less bombastic than usual, great-looking Bond which manages to deliver a myriad of welcome touches of humour and nods to the franchise including a better-than-expected cameo from Goldfinger. Sad to say, the action is not given enough clarity once more, not as shredded as Quantum of Solace thankfully, but generally the audience isn’t given quite enough information to comprehend the scene (leaving the opening crane sequence of Casino Royale the only iconic action of Daniel Craig’s Bond so far). The real goods in Skyfall is the cast. The movie truly captivates when Bardem’s bad guy eventually makes his classic entrance. He’s cool, insane and unsettling quite apart from his memorable physical appearance and ghoulish secret. Daniel Craig conveys Bond’s strut managing to withstand considerable onslaught from the moving times, his own aging, injured body and Bardem’s hand. But the absolute highlight of Skyfall is Judi Dench. She knocks one-liners out of the park (she’s much better at them than Craig), she has chemistry with absolutely everyone, she has charisma beyond her diminutive size, she conveys humanity and necessary hardness. It turns out that this isn’t just a Bond film, it’s a M film.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, bad language, adult dialogue and violence and mild sexuality.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.


Fletch (1985) – 8/10 classic comedy thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Chevy Chase: Fletch
Joe Don Baker: Chief Karlin
Dana Wheeler-Nicholson: Gail Stanwyck
Richard Libertini: Walker
Tim Matheson: Stanwyck
Music Composer: Harold Faltermeyer
Writer (Original Novel): Gregory McDonald
Writer (Screenplay): Andrew Bergman
Producer: Alan Greisman
Producer: Peter Douglas
Director: Michael Ritchie

Fletch (1985)

Undercover reporter Irwin M. Fletcher is investigating a drug smuggling ring when he is asked by Alan Stanwyck, a wealthy young man with bone cancer who thinks Fletch is a druggie, to kill him.


Classic, if slightly forgotten (along with the equally good Stakeout), eighties comedy thriller which, unlike Beverly Hills Cop before it and Lethal Weapon after it, was actually a comedy. This is a timeless, charming, generously funny movie with Chevy Chase on iconic form (he always says the witty thing you wish you’d said)  but the surprise is that the mystery story is good and every supporting character has something that’s interesting, important or fun about them. Special mention for Harold Faltermeyer’s classic music and theme song.

This movie contains mild swear words, adult dialogue and drug references and violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.


Looper (2012) – 8/10 time-travel thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Writer and Director: Rian Johnson
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Joe
Bruce Willis: Old Joe
Emily Blunt: Sara
Paul Dano: Seth
Noah Segan: Kid Blue
Piper Perabo: Suzie
Jeff Daniels: Abe

Looper (2012)

Thirty years from now, time-travel will be invented and immediately outlawed. Thanks to the difficulty of disposing of bodies in the future, time-travel becomes the exclusive domain of criminal organisations who send targets back in time to be shot on arrival by loopers. Eventually, all loopers know that they must close the loop, that is, their last target will be themselves, sent back from thirty years in the future. When Joe is to close his loop, a momentary hesitation allows his older self to escape and embark on a mission to change the past.


If it had a bit more style and swagger this character-led time-travel action movie could have been an out-and-out classic. As it is, what’s there is jolly good with an excellent character arc. A selfish assassin is confronted with opportunities to be less selfish. Bruce never takes them (even though it looks like he has thanks to his late-life love, his character is ‘I want, I want’ all the time, even then, and consistently does anything to get what he wants), Joe does gradually and eventually. The movie stumbles when it hits the unavoidable paradox moment all time-travel stories have (when Joe doesn’t shoot Bruce, then does, then doesn’t again; what is happening is we are switching protagonists for a while, but not actors or, exactly, characters) but, despite the confusion, we soon get back into the plot. There are a lot of great moments (a door set high in a wall seemingly just for one joke banging a goon’s head; the brilliantly, horrifically gruesome fate of an escaped looper conveyed without gore or violence; ‘You know there’s another waitress who works weekends. Her name’s Jen.’; scurrying into a safe during a tantrum; a mother diving to save Joe not her son; Emily Blunt remembering she’s got a penis outside), the story is strong, Pierce Gagnon (the child) is fully evil, Bruce’s targets are unexpectedly killed and he probably doubles his movie bodycount in just one year with this and The Expendables 2.

This movie contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and fictional substance abuse and strong, graphic violence, gory and unpleasant scenes and sexuality, nudity.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Attack the Block (2011) – 8/10 urban alien monster movie review

Cast / crew
Writer and Director: Joe Cornish
Producer: Nira Park
Producer: James Wilson
John Boyega: Moses
Jodie Whittaker: Sam
Alex Esmail: Pest
Franz Drameh: Dennis
Leeon Jones: Jerome
Simon Howard: Biggz
Nick Frost: Ron

Attack the Block (2011)

A gang of South London teenagers, fresh from a mugging, come across a strange dog-like creature who crashes from the sky onto a car and attacks them. They chase it and beat it to death but when they look at it, it doesn’t look like a dog… it looks like money from the tabloids!


This is a movie with some remarkable things about it. Principally, keeping us watching after our horrible heroes mug a woman and beat what they think is a dog (that attacked them) to death. The usual way of accomplishing this is to make something else in the movie more horrible than them but the monsters proper don’t show up for the first quarter of the running time. So why are we still watching? That’s what’s remarkable. Certainly John Boyega’s performance and usually un-menacing face are critical, as is the group’s camaraderie. Once the brilliantly designed and executed monsters turn up, it’s a tense, thrilling, pleasingly focused (no conspiracies or worldwide attacks) horror movie which grips and never let’s go.

This movie contains sexual swear words and substance abuse and graphic, gory and unpleasant monster violence.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) – 8/10 Hayao Miyazaki animated fantasy movie review

Cast / crew
Writer (Original Novel) Howl’s Moving Castle: Diana Wynne Jones
Jean Simmons: Grandma Sophie
Christian Bale: Howl
Lauren Bacall: Witch of the Waste
Blythe Danner: Madame Suliman
Emily Mortimer: Young Sophie
Josh Hutcherson: Markl
Billy Crystal: Calcifer
Executive Producer U.S. Production: John Lasseter
Producer U.S. Production: Rick Dempsey
Producer U.S. Production: Ned Lott
Director U.S. Production: Pete Docter
Director U.S. Production: Rick Dempsey
Writer (English Language Adaptation): Cindy Davis Hewitt
Writer (English Language Adaptation): Donald H. Hewitt
Writer (Translation): Jim Hubbert
Writer (Screenplay): Hayao Miyazaki
Music: Joe Hisaishi
Producer: Toshio Suzuki
Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

After notorious heart-eating wizard Howl rescues her from an attempted sexual assault, young haberdasher Sophie is targeted by a rival witch and cursed with an old age spell and the inability to tell anyone about it. She leaves home and moves in with Howl as his cleaner but finds that he is nothing like his monstrous reputation.


While certainly B-grade Miyazaki thanks to an eventually incomprehensible plot, this beautifully animated, paced and scored movie remains enthralling from beginning to end, tickling your imagination and gently massaging your eyes and ears. It’s like magic; Miyazaki genuinely captures your imagination and relentlessly engenders wonder. How does he do that? While Miyazaki is clearly the most important ingredient, it cannot be overstated how critical Joe Hisaishi’s scores are. They are light and wondrous and magical and we are fortunate that these two masters have come together and given us so much joy in their movies.

This movie contains gory and unpleasant scenes and mild nudity.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) – 8/10 science fiction action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Writer: George Lucas
Director: George Lucas
Producer: Rick McCallum
Executive Producer: George Lucas
Ewan McGregor: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman: Padmé
Hayden Christensen: Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid: Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
Frank Oz: Yoda
Samuel L. Jackson: Mace Windu
Christopher Lee: Count Dooku

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

The galaxy is in turmoil as war continues to wage between the Republic, spearheaded by the Jedi, and the Separatists, with Count Dooku at the helm. Dooku’s latest plot has seen him capture the figurehead of the Republic, Chancellor Palpatine, and his droid commander General Grievous is holding him. As they try to leave Coruscant, two Jedi mount a desperate rescue mission to retrieve the Chancellor unaware that the Sith Lord Darth Sidius is watching the execution of his life-long plan unfold exactly as he has foreseen.


“You were the chosen one!”

His choice of Hayden Christiansen is still irreparable but George Lucas plugs the gap in his saga with this potentially distressing action opus that, for me, works overall. While easy to criticize for some clunky (though eminently quotable) dialogue, inconsistent acting, an occasional lack of editorial sharpness and generally indistinguishable action, the overall impact is undeniable. Of special note is Ian McDiarmid’s delightfully devious and devilish performance. It is delivered with cunning and panache and is a joy to behold. Ewan MacGregor nails his stuff consistently and really sells the heartbreak and disbelief at the turning of Anakin.

This movie contains strong violence, extremely unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.


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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) – 8/10 much-sniffed-at Star Wars science fiction fantasy action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Writer: George Lucas
Director: George Lucas
Producer: Rick McCallum
Executive Producer: George Lucas
Liam Neeson: Qui-Gon Jinn
Ewan McGregor: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman: Queen Amidala
Natalie Portman: Padmé
Jake Lloyd: Anakin Skywalker
Pernilla August: Shmi Skyalker
Frank Oz: Yoda
Terence Stamp: Chancellor Valorum
Chris Sanders: Voice of Daultay Dofine

Star Wars: Episode I – Phantom Menace, The (1999)

As the Trade Federation is manoeuvred by the evil Darth Sidious to blockade the planet of Naboo, the young Queen Amidala determines to break out and travel to the city-planet of Coruscant and let the Republic Senate know of their situation. She is helped by two Jedi ambassadors, master Qui-Gon Jinn and apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi, and by an underwater resident of her planet, the Gungan Jar-Jar Binks. On their way, however, their ship is damaged and they are forced to land on the desert planet of Tatooine. With no way of getting off the desert planet and Naboo coming under increasing pressure to opt out of the Republic and become part of the Trade Federation, time is running out fast, but a chance meeting with a boy named Anakin Skywalker heralds an unexpected change in the destinies of all concerned.


Much-criticised return to directing for George Lucas but I think it is a quality blockbuster with undeniably astounding visual impact and special effects integration. An ambitious plot and a memorable new character in Liam Neeson’s pitch-perfect Qui Gon Jinn reveal that thought was spent on the story as well as the visual design and it also contains, without doubt, one of the finest swordplay duels in cinema history. I really don’t understand what many people moaned about.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.


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Millions (2004) – 8/10 uncynical childrens drama adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Daniel Boyle
Writer: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Alex Etel: Damian
Lewis McGibbon: Anthony
James Nesbitt: Ronnie
Daisy Donovan: Dorothy
Christopher Fulford: The Man
Leslie Phillips:
Frank Cottrell Boyce: Nativity Teacher

Millions (2004)

When a giant bag of cash falls into seven-year-old Damian’s life he presumes it’s from God and happily and generously starts using it to help others. However, his benevolence soon attracts attention and then the truth about the source of the money is revealed.


This charming, remarkably uncynical tale features a stunning performance from Alex Etel under the tutelage of director Danny Boyle (who remarkably, along with writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, had his credit removed when shown on BBC television). A final scene in Africa is fitting but feels like Richard Curtis snuck into the editing room at the last minute. The rest of the movie is much cleverer, entertaining and effective at communicating economic, consumerist and moral messages without being cloying or manipulative. Time and again, Danny Boyle shows us he is a master filmmaker; skilled at each genre he tackles and always making movies that are more interesting, worthwhile and just plain better than expected. And this one? This one is nicer than expected.

This movie contains saint peter smoking something and threat.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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“Crocodile” Dundee (1986) – 8/10 classic eighties romantic comedy movie review

Cast / crew
Paul Hogan: Australia: [Michael J.] Mick ‘Crocodile Dundee’
Linda Kozlowski: Australia: Sue Charlton
Mark Blum: New York: Richard Mason
David Gulpilil: Australia: Neville Bell
Michael Lombard: New York: Sam Charlton
John Meillon: Australia: Walter Reilly
Writer (Original Story): Paul Hogan
Writer (Screenplay): Paul Hogan
Writer (Screenplay): Ken Shadie
Writer (Screenplay): John Cornell
Producer: John Cornell
Director: Peter Faiman

“Crocodile” Dundee (1986)

Sue Charlton, a journalist writing for a New York newspaper covers the story of an Australian who survived a crocodile attack and is reputed to be a real character, Mick “Crocodile” Dundee. Upon completion of the story, she invites Dundee back to New York to see what he thinks of big city life and how he adapts to the vastly different culture and surroundings.


Two fish-out-of-water movies for the price of one and an irresistible star-making performance from co-writer Paul Hogan are two of the generous ingredients of this classic eighties’ romantic comedy. Director Peter Faiman doesn’t make the frequent independent film-makers’ error of pacing things too slowly or insisting on flash but pointless camera work. He also manages to deliver something which most directors in their lifetime will not manage: a genuine all-time great cinema scene. The chinese-whispers / standing-on-heads climax is charming, truly delightful, on a par with anything else in cinema history and sends you out on a magical movie high.

This movie contains sexual swear word, adult dialogue and substance abuse and violence and references to prostituion and transvestism.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) – 8/10 science fiction adventure movie

Cast / crew
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Writer: Rick Jaffa
Writer: Amanda Silver
Producer: Peter Chernin
Producer: Dylan Clark
Producer: Rick Jaffa
Producer: Amanda Silver
Senior Visual Effects Supervisor: Joe Letteri
Visual Effects Supervisor: Dan Lemmon
James Franco: Will Rodman
Freida Pinto: Caroline Aranha
John Lithgow: Charles Rodman
Brian Cox: John Landon
Tom Felton: Dodge Landon
David Oyelowo: Steven Jacobs
Andy Serkis: Ape: Caesar

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

After five years of testing his latest anti-Alzheimer’s formula on chimps, scientist Will Rodman is ready to go to the next stage: human trials. Not only does it reverse the affects of Alzheimer’s but, on a normal brain, it increases intelligence. A disastrous presentation to the board, however, leaves him without a project, without credibility, without funding but with a baby chimp, Caesar, who has inherited the formula from it’s mother.


This is a good movie which hopes that a couple of significant plot holes and Hollywood-isms will be forgiven among the outstanding technical achievement (Andy Serkis and Weta Digital) and compelling coming-of-age story well disguised as a mad scientist / prison escape movie. Having a highly relatable core (Caesar matures into an independent soul and leaves his familial home) gives the movie something solid to build on while Andy Serkis and Weta Digital’s work as Caesar (building on ILM’s Davy Jones in POTC: Dead Man’s Chest) gives the movie endlessly impressive visuals and character. P.S.: I was very happy to see that humankind wasn’t wiped out by Caesar in any way and there isn’t a twist ending.

This movie contains violence.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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The Young Victoria (2008) – 8/10 romantic epic movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer: Julian Fellowes
Producer: Graham King
Producer: Martin Scorsese
Producer: Tim Headington
Producer: Sarah Ferguson
Emily Blunt: Queen Victoria
Rupert Friend: Prince Albert
Paul Bettany: Lord Melbourne
Miranda Richardson: Duchess of Kent
Jim Broadbent: King William
Thomas Kretschmann: King Leopold
Mark Strong: Sir John Conroy
Jesper Christensen: Baron Stockmar
Harriet Walter: Queen Adelaide

Young Victoria, The (2008)

Victoria will be the next Queen of England but as she hasn’t turned eighteen yet, she is seen as an easy target for manipulation and control. Various parties seek to gain influence over her: one by force, one by charm and one by love.


This is a lovely movie, crisp and beautiful; a fairy tale based on truth. It doesn’t make the usual mistake of trying to make the Royal’s just like us with ordinary problems; Victoria’s life brings with it entirely other problems from Mark Strong’s puppy-kicking villain through being (initially) callously manipulated to balancing the role of Queen and wife. Even though we will never have these issues, we do recognise them and understand their challenges and they are interesting, especially when presented as elegantly and economically as this.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue and a mild gory and unpleasant scene, violence and mild sexuality.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Idiocracy (2005) – 8/10 satirical science-fiction comedy movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Mike Judge
Luke Wilson: Joe Bauers
Maya Rudolph: Rita
Dax Shepard: Frito
Terry Crews: President Camacho
David Herman: Secretary of State
Producer: Mike Judge
Writer (Story): Mike Judge
Writer (Screenplay): Mike Judge
Writer (Screenplay): Etan Cohen

Idiocracy (2005)

After being accidentally hibernated for 500 years, instead of one, the most average man in the US Army librarian Joe Bauer finds himself in a crude, barely coherent world where he is now the smartest man on the planet.


This is something of a satirical masterpiece and should be required viewing for all citizens of the planet. Mike Judge extrapolates our impatience with learning, endless diet of ever-cruder entertainment and unbalanced production of children to the less-educated, poorer populace to an America that, in 500 years, is on the brink of extinction through undefeatable stupidity. Horrifyingly, it’s all too easy to see society go this way and most people who have never been to America rather presume that this is essentially what it’s like anyway. However, never forget that this movie was made by an American (Mike Judge) for an American company (Fox), so there’s still hope. Outside of the successful sniping of satirical targets, the movie is also warm-natured, fun and nice and enjoyable, crisp and entertaining.

This movie contains sexual swear words, crude and adult dialogue.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

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Panique au village aka A Town Called Panic (2009) – bonkers Belgian animated adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Writer (Scenario): Stéphane Aubier
Writer (Scenario): Guillaume Malandrin
Writer (Scenario): Vincent Patar
Writer (Scenario): Vincent Tavier
Director: Stéphane Aubier
Director: Vincent Patar
Producer: Philippe Kauffmann
Producer: Vincent Tavier
Stéphane Aubier: Cowboy, Max Briquenet, Mr Ernotte
Vincent Patar: Cheval, Maman Atlante

Panique au village aka A Town Called Panic (2009)

After a birthday present for Horse ends up with the destruction of their house and a bill for 500000000000000000000000000000000 bricks, Cowboy and Indian think it can’t get any worse. After rebuilding the following day, the trio awake to find that someone has stolen their freshly constructed house.


Mad but breathlessly, addictively, exhaustingly brilliant animated adventure which remains relentlessly positive and upbeat and has a very sweet core. And mad. This is one of those films made by people whose minds clearly do not work in any way like ours. I suspect you would not predict a single sequence or story beat throughout the entire movie and, in this case, it’s all the better for it. Essential. And mad.

This movie contains a mild swear word and extreme comic violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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A Close Shave (1995) – 8/10 stop-motion sheep-rustling romantic comedy action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Nick Park
Peter Sallis: Voice of Wallace
Anne Reid: Voice of Wendoline
Key Character Animator: Steve Box
Writer: Bob Baker
Producer: Carla Shelley
Producer: Michael Rose

A Close Shave (1995)

Wallace and Gromit become entangled in a fiendish sheep-rustling plot when they are called on to wash the windows of beautiful local shopkeeper Wendoline Ramsbottom.


It feels so mean giving this wonderful, hilarious, imaginative, technically astonishing film eight stars. Yet there is a lack of emotional involvement (with the romance and Gromit going to prison elements) that was there in The Wrong Trousers. Still, you can look at those linked screenshots and realise that the even the weaker elements are peppered with wonderful ideas and funny gags. It culminates with a completely classic chase climax featuring sheep, a motorcycle, porridge and a terminator. The sequence is absolutely gob-smacking and extraordinarily funny. In summary, then, this is an eight, yes, but a must-watch, all-time classic.

This movie contains momentary and mild comic violence.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.


Thor (2011) – 8/10 Marvel superhero fantasy action movie review

AmazonBuy Thor at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Screenplay Writer: Ashley Edward Miller
Screenplay Writer: Zack Stentz
Screenplay Writer: Don Payne
Story Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Story Writer: Mark Protosevich
Executive Producer: Stan Lee
Chris Hemsworth: Thor
Natalie Portman: Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston: Loki
Stellan Skarsgård: Erik Selvig
Clark Gregg: Agent Coulson
Colm Feore: King Laufey
Ray Stevenson: Volstagg
Idris Elba: Heimdall
Jaimie Alexander: Sif
Rene Russo: Frigga
Anthony Hopkins: Odin
Second Unit Director: Vic Armstrong
J. Michael Stracyznski: Townie
Stan Lee: Stan the Man
Supervising Stunt Coordinator: Vic Armstrong

Thor (2011)

Enthusiastically investigating a strange phenomenon, arrogant scientist Jane Foster and her colleagues drive into man in the middle of a sudden windstorm. They wonder where he came from but the answer will completely redefine their world view: he is Thor, Odin’s son, stripped of his powers, separated from his blessed weapon Mjöllnir and exiled to Earth for his arrogance.


Though it provides plenty of action and Asgardian spectacle, Thor’s best moments come when it is being rather more Loki. I’ll wait. This movie about the reality behind the gods of Norse mythology has a surprisingly reasonable dramatic backbone and sense of humanity as a tale of a god learning humility. Kenneth Branagh puts together a movie which is fine during the action but has a more solid than usual base, genuine character development for Thor and some surprisingly memorable visuals, particularly Idris Elba’s Heimdall and Chris Hemsworth’s remarkable physique. Patrick Doyle’s score is very good and critical in adding emotional involvement. All in all, this is Marvel Studios’ best film to date.

This movie contains violence

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.


Trigun: Badlands Rumble (2010, Action Comedy) – 8/10 anime movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Satoshi Nishimura
Writer (Original Manga): Yasuhiro Nightow
Writer (Story): Yasuhiro Nightow
Writer (Story): Satoshi Nishimura
Writer (Screenplay): Yasuko Kobayashi
Shou Hayami: Wolfwood
Tsutomu Isobe: Gasback
Masaya Onosaka: Vash the Stampede
Maaya Sakamoto: Amelia
Hiromi Tsuru: Meryl
Satsuki Yukino: Milly

Trigun: Badlands Rumble (2010)

Twenty years after saving legendary robber Gasback’s life, Vash the Stampede returns to the town where the somewhat questionable event took place and where Gasback is intending to gain revenge against a treacherous henchman turned highly successful businessman. The businessman, Cain, has set up a massive $$300,000,000 bounty on Gasback’s head but among the bounty hunters that stream into the town is Amelia, a beautiful young woman who seems to have a more personal beef with Gasback.


Vash the Stampede is one of Japanese animations most brilliant creations: an apparent buffoonish mega-outlaw ($$60,000,000,000 bounty) who is a self-effacing mega-hero completely committed to not killing anyone (good or bad) or letting anyone else kill. If you’ve got the tone of the character (he can take some acclimatising), it’s wonderful stuff and a lot of fun. His buffoonery is jolly, his awesomeness is awesome. Mad House once again spectacularly present his antics, delivering a deceptive plot very well and making sure it’s as stylish and impressive as can be from the opening robbery of world history’s most protected bank vault through to SPOILER Vash making his hero’s entrance for the climax.

This movie contains sexual swear words and strong melee violence, graphic gun violence.


Le Corbeau aka The Raven (1942, Small Town Poison Pen Henri-Georges Clouzot Drama) – 8/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Pierre Fresnay: Rémy Germain
Ginette Leclerc: Denise Saillens
Writer (Scenario): Louis Chavance
Writer (Adaptation and Dialogue): Henri-Georges Clouzot
Writer (Adaptation and Dialogue): Louis Chavance
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Le Corbeau aka The Raven (1942)

A small French village becomes the domain of a poison pen writer who call themselves The Raven. Their target is Germain, a lascivious local doctor with a reputation for performing abortions, but soon their scope widens.


Splendidly riveting small-town drama. It always impresses me how films from this period had no real problem with presenting adult scenarios. They didn’t need to shy away from them and there is no confusion over what is going on. Here we have adultery, abortion, sex out of wedlock, insanity, jealousy, morphine abuse and murder-by-proxy without a thrusting bottom in sight. Oh, and plain murder (or justice, should we say). And the entire town degenerates into a mob. There’s even a brilliant scene where a politician finds out he’s been replaced by reading a newspaper which feels like a gag sixty years too early. This film where a French town writhes in the mire of mistrust caused by informants (and, we shouldn’t forget, the naughty goings on in the first place; the Raven doesn’t lie) was made by a French filmmaker in the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. Brilliantly, he managed to upset both the French (‘we’re not spineless immoral self-white-washing tattle-tales’) and the Nazis (‘no-one’s going to want be an informant after watching this’) at the same time. So, a bit brilliant, then.

This movie contains a mild swear word, adult dialogue, references to substance abuse and gory and unpleasant scene and sensuality.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who (2008, CG Animated Fantasy Adventure) – 8/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Jim Carrey: Horton
Steve Carell: Mayor
Carol Burnett: Kangaroo
Executive Producer: Chris Wedge
Producer: Bob Gordon
Producer: Bruce Anderson
Writer (Original Book): Dr. Seuss
Writer (Screenplay): Cinco Paul
Writer (Screenplay): Ken Daurio
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Director: Steve Martino
Jimmy Hayward: Obnoxious Who

Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! (2008)

Horton, an elephant, hears a voice coming from a speck floating on the wind. Presuming that there must be something living on the speck, he attempts to make contact and while his jungle friends think him a bit odd at first, it quickly becomes a stern test of character.


An unexpected treat, this terrifically fun adventure also manages to cram in valuable morality lessons alongside well-animated, funny, energetic gags. Jim Carrey’s vocal performance is superb and, along with the character design and animation, helps makes Horton an immediately endearing, honest-hearted hero. I loved the gag with the numb arm for the Who Mayor but just about every gag hit the sweet spot. It’s also nice to report that there were no adult or sexual jokes in the body of the movie (there’s one in the end credits song, bafflingly) and there’s no interspecies sex. (Yes, this was not produced by Dreamworks.)

This movie contains violence, scary scenes.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

The Last King of Scotland (2006, Semi-Fictional Biopic) – 8/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Forest Whitaker: Idi Amin
James McAvoy: Nicholas Garrigan
Kerry Washington: Kay Amin
Simon McBurney: Stone
David Oyelowo: Dr. Junju
Gillian Anderson: Sarah Merrit
Director: Kevin MacDonald
Writer: Peter Morgan
Writer: Jeremy Brock
Writer (Original Book): Giles Foden
Producer: Andrea Calderwood
Producer: Lisa Bryer
Producer: Charles Steel

Last King of Scotland, The (2006)

1970: ambitious newly graduated doctor Nicholas Garrigan travels to Uganda for some excitement and fun and gets more than he bargained for when he becomes private physician to Ugandan President Idi Amin.


This is almost as good as this kind of movie gets but it doesn’t offer any illumination. However, seeing as James McAvoy’s character behaves in a typically human manner by acting selfishly and gladly going along with whatever is happening and turning a blind eye to salve his conscience, I suppose not much illumination is needed. Director Kevin MacDonald’s grip on the film is exemplary. We are interested and invested from the beginning and once Forest Whitaker’s mammoth Idi Amin supernovas onto the screen about twenty minutes in, there’s no going back. The depth of audience investment becomes clear during the climax where SPOILER two extremely grisly scenes (just the right side of gratuitous) become so much more powerful and cannot be blithely ignored.

This movie contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and extremely grisly scenes and sex scenes, nudity.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

The Matrix: Reloaded (2003) – 8/10 science fiction action movie review

AmazonBuy The Matrix: Reloaded at Amazon

Cast / crew
Director, Executive Producer and Writer: Andy Wachowski
Director, Executive Producer and Writer: Lana Wachowski | Larry Wachowski
Producer: Joel Silver
Neo: Keanu Reeves
Morpheus: Laurence Fishburne
Trinity: Carrie-Anne Moss
Agent Smith: Hugo Weaving
Niobe: Jada Pinkett Smith
The Oracle: Gloria Foster
Link: Harold Perrineau
Persephone: Monica Bellucci
Commander Lock: Harry J. Lennix
Merovingian: Lambert Wilson
Keymaker: Randall Duk Kim

The Matrix: Reloaded (2003)

Neo is troubled by dreams that appear to depict the death of Trinity and knows that only one person can help him unravel things: the Oracle. Meanwhile, the machines are boring their way inexorably toward Zion. Morpheus thinks the key to their salvation lies inside The Matrix, but may his beliefs be entirely misplaced?


Genuinely stunning but you may have no idea why what’s going on is going on. Only Revolutions would reveal the extent of the story’s coherence (the pretentious philosophical content is interesting but probably evades comprehension on first viewing) but the presentation is absolutely jaw-dropping. Every action scene is fantastic with clear choreography, technique and topography. The standout scenes are the Infinity Smith brawl and the Keymaker chateau fight and freeway chase; the latter is among the greatest action scenes ever filmed featuring, I think still uniquely, our heroine riding a motorbike full pelt the wrong way against four lanes of busy traffic.

This movie contains sexual swear words, Sex scene (Carrie-Anne Moss & Keanu Reeves), nudity, inferred / animated female nudity and orgasm, Extreme fantasy violence, some graphic violence, gory and unpleasant scenes, Offensive gesturing

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.


Les Diaboliques (1954, Classic Crime Thriller) – 8/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Simone Signoret: Nicole Horner
Vera Clouzot: Christina Delassalle
Paul Meurisse: Michel Delassalle
Charles Vanel: Alfred Fichet, le commissaire
Producer: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Writer (Original Novel) “Celle Qui N’était Plus”: Pierre Boileau
Writer (Original Novel) “Celle Qui N’était Plus”: Thomas Narcejac
Writer (Screenplay): Henri-Georges Clouzot
Writer (Screenplay): Jérôme Geronimi
Writer (Screenplay): René Masson
Writer (Screenplay): Frédéric Grendel

Les Diaboliques (1954)


Les Diaboliques opens with an excuse for it’s existence and most people will be coming to it because of the connection to Hitchcock’s Vertigo but, as everyone who’s ever seen it can testify, this is a classic in it’s own right. Henri-Georges Clouzot takes a great story, delivers intrigue and tension when he wants to and convincingly builds to a proper scary climax. More attention could have been given to the retired investigator and other teachers at the school to make their parts add fun flavour to the main course but otherwise, this is a must-see masterpiece.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, mild swear words and substance abuse and violence, inferred sexual violence, unpleasant and scary scenes.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Last Action Hero (1993, Arnold Schwarzenegger Fantasy Action Buddy-Buddy Comedy) – 8/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: John McTiernan
Writer (Screenplay): Shane Black
Writer (Screenplay): David Arnott
Writer (Story): Zak Penn
Writer (Story): Adam Leff
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Jack Slater / Himself
F. Murray Abraham: John Practice
Art Carney: Frank
Charles Dance: Benedict
Frank McRae: Dekker
Tom Noonan: Ripper
Robert Prosky: Nick
Anthony Quinn: Vivaldi
Mercedes Ruehl: Mom
Austin O’Brien: Danny
Producer: Steve Roth
Producer: John McTiernan
Executive Producer: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Last Action Hero (1993)

Through the use of a magic ticket, film fanatic Danny Madigan gets transported through to the world of the cinema and gets hooked up with his beloved screen hero, Jack Slater. Helping Slater solve the current ‘movie’ mystery, things take a turn for the worst as the bad guys get hold of the ticket and transport through to the real world causing mayhem as they do.


Hugely entertaining action movie which has several super sequences and is great fun throughout. It suffers very slightly from John McTiernan’s usual problem of feeling a bit too long and it definitely could have used some fine-tuning to some of the non-action sequences and silly reaction shots (there wasn’t time before the film had to be released) but there is a nice pile of gleefully cheesy one-liners ("Do you want to be a farmer? Here’s a couple of acres?" is my favourite, delivered by Arnie before booting a dude in the goolies) and the action is consistently spectacular, fun and thrilling.

This movie contains a single sexual swear word, mild swear words and violence, mild unpleasant scenes, mild gory scenes.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.