Crawl review brutal alligator horror is a snappy summer surprise

Piranha 3D director Alexandre Aja returns to the water for a lean, suspenseful tale of a father and daughter trapped in a flooding, predator-filled house Withholding a film from the press until the very day that it opens is usually the surest sign said film is a catastrophe. (The recent example of Luc Bessons misfiring assassin thriller Burning Bright, which saw a young woman stuck in a house with a tiger while a hurricane edges closer, Crawl sees a young woman stuck in house with an alligator while a hurricane edges closer an astonishingly similar premise yet one played out with a great deal more skill. Part of that is because, well, alligators tend to evoke a great deal more …

Point Blank review mediocre action thriller remake lands on Netflix

Anthony Mackie rises above a rickety remake of a French thriller about a nurse teaming up with a criminal after his wife is kidnapped In order to create the optimal viewing experience for rickety Netflix thriller Point Blank, a quickie remake of the acclaimed 2010 French film, expectations should either be lowered or, even better, eradicated completely. Its an easy-to-follow strategy given that a) Netflix original films are patchy at best and b) heres yet another one of them thats received no form of marketing push. The Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston comedy I Am Mother was a pleasant surprise given that no one really knew it existed until the day it dropped. In a different era and with a bit more …

Anna review Luc Besson’s empty assassin thriller shoots blanks

A vacuous performance from model Sasha Luss sinks the directors attempt to add a modern spin on his 1990 thriller La Femme Nikita Who or what is Anna? Answers include a reminder of director Luc Bessons action movie credentials, an attempt to start a female-fronted assassin franchise and a showcase for the acting talents of model Sasha Luss. Or at least thats what could be said of the film, sight unseen. Because in actuality, the delayed, and rather dumped thriller (distributor Lionsgate refused to screen the film for press) is an unqualified failure on all three counts, a wide-releasing multiplex dweller that instead works best as an undemanding late-night TV watch, exactly where it should have been offloaded in the …

Men in Black: International review a galactically gormless fall to earth

This latest outing for the government agents tasked with policing pesky space invaders is a charmless and pointless affair Its time once again for what must now be called the Meh in Black, making another intensely tiresome and pointless reappearance, now with Chris Hemsworth on exceptionally charmless animatronic form in their dark suits, like Tussaud dummies with a contractual obligation to appear in a bad film. They are equally dead-eyed with or without the dark glasses. The MiB franchise based on Lowell Cunninghams 1990 comic book series about secret government agents battling aliens was looking pretty moribund at the time of the third film in 2012, when Josh Brolin gamely joined the familiar duo of Tommy Lee Jones and Will …

Superheroes and freaky cats: how Captain Marvel rewrote the rules

From the story behind Nick Furys eyepatch to the rehabilitation of the Skrull, the latest Marvel film has altered comic-book canon in fruitful ways If theres one thing we should have been primed for, prior to viewing Captain Marvel, it would be to expect the unexpected. Marvel is a studio that, time and again, has chosen to twist comic-book canon to suit new needs, rather than deliver overly faithful adaptations of the original work. The addition of the Skrull, a race of alien shape-shifters, to the Marvel universe, Captain Marvels trailers showed Skrull disguising themselves as human while fighting Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) naturally led observers to suspect they were up to their old tricks. To twist that narrative on …