Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

The Guardians ready for actions

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 wraps up the grungey offshoot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with grace and style, as well as big bangs and some good jokes. There’s a touch of cinematic pathos in there too, as if GOTG3 is also to some extent saying goodbye to the big superhero movie as a cultural meme. The MCU, after all, is running out of puff. It’s the film that nearly didn’t get made in its current form. Writer/director James Gunn, very much the presiding mind in all the GOTG movies, got fired early on in the production process – some old Tweets came back to bite him – but ended up being … Read more

Fast X

Vin Diesel in black cap-sleeve T shirt

The word “family” is uttered 56 times in Fast X, number ten (there’s a clue in the title somewhere) in the series whose focus on interpersonal relations threatens to scupper it. And yet it keeps on going. The latest outing is not so fast, not so furious, maybe, but in a jimjams-and-pizza-and-beer kind of way, it’s a decent enough piece of entertainment – 1950s-melodrama acting with obsessively planned Buster Keaton-style stunts. There is a plot, there really is, of a disavowed, Mission: Impossible flavour, with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and gang being accused of some dreadful atrocity and then being pursued by the Agency it used to work for. The atrocity – a bouncing … Read more

Fast and Furious 9

Vin Diesel and John Cena face off

Call it what you like, Fast & Furious 9 – or F9, or F9: The Fast Saga – is no good, a terrible disappointment in a franchise that in a 20-year run has managed to be one of the most reliable suppliers of screen fun, banter and action. However, F&F has proved to be totally bombproof thus far, having survived the permanent loss of franchise mainstays (Paul Walker), temporary absences (Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster), a reverse takeover by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham (who have now been shunted off to their own spinoff, the Hobbs & Shaw franchise). It even survived the loss of director Justin Lin, who picked up the … Read more

Fast & Furious 6

Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 6

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 5 February John Boyd Dunlop born, 1840 John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish inventor and accidental businessman, was born on this day in 1840. After studying to be a veterinarian at Edinburgh University, he moved to Ireland and set up practice with his brother, in Downpatrick. His most famous invention was the pneumatic tyre, which he developed in 1887 as a way of making his son’s tricycle roll easier over the hard ground of his back yard. Dunlop was immediately struck not just by how much smoother the ride was, but by how much more easily the wheel rolled with a pneumatic tyre … Read more

Pitch Black

Vin Diesel in Pitch Black

A sci-fi shocker high on SFX, low on survivors and set on a planet where the self-serving and rather motley crew of an interplanetary cruiser are forced to pitch down after some unforeseen space ructions. It turns out that they are not alone on the planet. In fact this alien world is populated by some very unpleasant flying creatures who only come out in the dark. And – guess what – there’s a ginormous eclipse of the planet’s three suns on the way. Luckily, one of the spaceship’s number is gifted with uncanny nightsight. Unluckily, he is a vicious murderer locked in the ship’s brig. So there’s an awful lot of sucking of … Read more