Tim Burton directs Paul Reubens, EG Daily and Diane Salinger in this road movie where single minded man boy Pee-wee Herman crosses America searching for his stolen bicycle.
A sweet, naive treat. A children’s film for adults – this has bags of confidence. The comedy comes from the lack of blinking or winking no matter how strange or goofy it gets. Reubens is fully committed to the bit, Burton keeps things visually exciting even as a gun-for-hire. Stop motion, carnival colour schemes and Corman-esque horror jut into the subject and the director’s shared love of Eisenhower-era kitsch. Will happily watch the sequels at some point.
Ruben Fleischer directs Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg and Tati Gabrielle in this adventure blockbuster based on the treasure hunting video games.
A pleasant approximation of the superior gaming series. The casting works, although the banter between this Nathan Drake and Sully merely only reaches “Alright” on the buddy chemistry meter. The set pieces are OK by default too, by the end of the first hour you’ll be hankering for something a bit extra than a scrap in a Papa Johns though. Then a extended finale really delivers… an all out battle between two rotting galleons suspended in flight by helicopters. The wham bam spills over in remedying spades, almost reaching Indiana Jones levels of absurdity and excitement. Roll on number 2!
Magnus von Horn directs Magdalena Kolesnik, Julian Swiezewski, and Aleksandra Konieczna in this Polish drama following an emotionally frazzled social media influencer as the pressure to maintain her healthy, sunny image begins to chafe with her more complicated daily life.
Well acted character study that often looks great. Even though we are pretty much constantly following Magdalena Kolesnik’s Barbie doll fitness instructor in almost the first person we aren’t sure if her emotional lows are symptoms of an imminent breakdown or another gambit to broaden her social media fame. Kolesnik deftly walks the tightrope between vulnerable and calculating right up until the last shot. Not a subject I’m massively interested in but a solid exploration with some nasty twists.
Jay Chandrasekhar directs Kevin Heffernan, Brittany Daniels and himself in this horror comedy set on an island resort where a mystery slasher is killing the sex crazed staff.
Nowhere near the stamp of Super Troopers and with very few laugh out loud jokes. Still Broken Lizard prove a hard comedy ensemble to dislike even at middling power. They are clearly having a great time together and that is infectious. They are generous to guest players Bill Paxton, M.C. Gainey and especially Brittany Daniels. The slasher stuff is on a par with any low budget straight horror from the mid-80s. “Peenolope.”
Perfect Double Bill: Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
Douglas Sirk directs Lana Turner, Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner in this remake of the 1934 weepie following the fortunes of two single mothers; a white career woman and her dedicated black maid whose own daughter can “pass”.
My nanny’s favourite movie. Sumptuous production design. Progressive characterisation. Multiple tissues needed. The funeral epilogue is one of the best exploitations of Technicolor cinema ever. The complex performances of Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner blow the petty and vapid white characters off the screen.
James Wong directs Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ryan Merriman and Kris Lemche in this horror sequel where survivors of a rollercoaster tragedy realise Death is still engineering their demises in a series of unlikely accidents.
A series highlight. At least four stupendous kill sequences… especially the deliriously silly topless tanning booth trap. Only the cliffhanger ending feels like an uninspired afterthought. Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes her mark early into her career as a believable final girl.
Jeff Tremaine directs Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and Wee Man in this legacy sequel to the extreme stunt and prank show.
The new recruits do a lot of that hard work, leaving the old familiars to chuckle at the sidelines… but this was never solely about people getting whacked in the nutsack. It is about the camaraderie, the surreal lengths and breadths of the set-ups. Just check out that now de rigueur epic opening. LA exotic animal handlers probably got their biggest paychecks in years. Wee Man has not seen Dirty Dancing. People get whacked in the nuts repeatedly. For boys of a certain age this is like coming home for Christmas in so many ways.
The Hughes Brothers direct Larenz Tate, Keith David and Chris Tucker in this war movie / heist movie where a black Vietnam veteran finds his home coming so unwelcoming he turns to crime.
The inverse of Forrest Gump. Same historical beats, very different outcomes. The flow of this is too bitty to really work. There’s not enough focus on any constituent part for you to really feel like we are getting a full story rather than a necklace of scenes. Once or twice you even question the validity of why one moment made the cut when others are skipped over. When The Hughes’ want to make an impact however they excel; their threatening characters are truly menacing, the shift from Bronx romance to the ‘Nam is masterful, the heist is a terrific action sequence, if a head gets butted it explodes with a sluice of blood. It is impossible to say a movie with such a visceral moment as a Recon marine keeping any enemy’s severed, rotting head in his rucksack is unmemorable. Yet all the grim, good stuff joins together very poorly.