Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man complete with arachnid arms

Spider-Man spun? Spider-Man: No Way Home is another gargantuan Marvel movie full of action, great power/great responsibility moments and the sort of emotion you’d expect in stories about a highly strung teenage superhero. Jon Watts is back as the director, and the writers are again Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers – all three have been behind the other webslinging adventures with “home” somewhere in the title, (2019’s Far from Home and 2017’s Homecoming, if you’re not up to speed). Fine craftsmen all. But. But. But. The suspicion lingers that this creative team knows what Marvel also obviously does – that these Spidey stories are done and don’t need doing any more, and that … Read more

Just Mercy

Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx

Just Mercy continues writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton’s zig-zag up the movie food chain. His breakthrough came in 2013’s Short Term 12, which not only made his own name but also that of Brie Larson, who is now playing Captain Marvel at god knows what hourly rate of pay. Trouper that she is, she turns out for Cretton again here, as she did in his last film, 2017’s The Glass Castle, though here she’s in a minor, supporting role to star Michael B Jordan. Just Mercy tells a true story, of a smalltime lumber guy, Walter McMillian, known locally as Johnny D, who was picked up by the cops for the murder of a … Read more

Soul

Joe playing jazz

  We’re so used to the phrase Pixar Movie that it’s often easy to forget that they are in fact directed by actual human beings, not rendering algorithms. Soul is co-directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, says the imdb, but the end credits of the film itself tell us that it’s “Directed by Pete Docter” and “Co-directed by Kemp Powers”, not “Co-directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers”. Kemp was heavily involved in the film, particularly at the conceptual and writing stages, but even so it still feels like a Docter film. His last one was Inside Out, the story of a little girl’s personality in crisis. And before that Up and … Read more

Annie

Quvenzhané Wallis and a cute dog

    Annie is the “turn that frown upside down” musical seemingly custom-built for stagestruck kids. But in writer/director/songsmith Will Gluck’s updating, it breaks out of the greasepaint shuffle-step limbo it’s been consigned to and makes a bold dash for the spotlight. Gluck opens with a swerve, showing us a precocious and stagestruck young ginger Annie holding her classmates to ransom with a show-and-tell delivered with weapons-grade winsomeness. Then swivels to reveal that this isn’t the titular Annie, but another one. The Annie we’re interested in is played by Quvenzhané Wallis, the cute kid from Beasts of the Southern Wild.   And god is she cute. A bright little button who is the making … Read more

Ray

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray

  A movie for every day of the year – a good one     23 September     Birth of Ray Charles, 1930 On this day in 1930, Ray Charles was born. Six times married, the father of 12 children, Charles also found time to help create what is now known as soul music, a fusion of gospel, jazz and blues, a prime example being his song Georgia. Sighted at birth, Charles started losing his vision when he was five and was completely blind by the age of seven, thanks to glaucoma. Charles was playing in bars in his early teenage years, by the time he was 19 he was having his … Read more

Miami Vice

Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell in Miami Vice

    So masculine it could be used an infertility treatment, Michael Mann’s feature length Miami Vice actually tells the same story that eventually ground down the TV series – Crockett (now Colin Farrell, then Don Johnson) and Tubbs (now Jamie Foxx, then Philip Michael Thomas) go undercover with a drugs gang, get so deep they’re not sure which way they’re facing any more, then refind themselves before screaming towards a guns-blazing finale, designer clothes looking immaculate. Built from what look like a series of high-end international aftershave adverts showcasing the very pinnacle of fast living, it is an out and out exercise in cool glamour. So was the 1980s TV series, of … Read more