Personal Shopper: Texts From A Ghost?

Personal Shopper is a drama thriller film directed by Oliver Assayas. The plot sees personal shopper/ medium Maureen (Kristen Stewart), become stalked by an unseen mysterious presence after a ghostly run in. She hopes the otherworldly presences might be her recently dead brother, but it turns out to be far more malicious than that.

This film had me up until the last five minutes. The last five minutes put me off the film. Said minutes beg the question was this presence actually real at all or was it all in Maureen’s head. This to me is like saying it was all a dream and none of it matters because all of the drama all of the tension is taken out and rendered pointless.

I did enjoy the text conversations between Maureen, and I guess either her bosses’ killer boyfriend or this ‘ghost’, I liked how they built in tension over the course of the film, treading the line between menacing and friendly at times. It would have been nice if the film could have made clearer who was texting her, but I guess that is all part of the mystery the film ruins at the end.

I think Stewart is actually alright in this, she has moments of greatness where I buy her as a serious actor and think hey maybe she has something. However, she doesn’t seem to be able to maintain this throughout and it is definitely here and there rather than being consistent. I don’t think this will be enough to convince her detractors that she can act.

Overall, if we could ignore those last five to ten minutes, I would score this film highly, but because we can’t I have to give it a middling to positive score. I think this film does some really cool stuff and poses some interesting ideas, Stewart has her moments and there is some great tension to be enjoyed, it is just a real shame about that last scene.


The mystery.

The tension.

Stewart to a degree.


The mystery should be clearer.

The ending basically tell you that you have wasted your time.

Stewart is not consistent.


Reviewed by Luke

Made In Dagenham: Fight For What’s Right!

Made In Dagenham is a British biopic drama film directed by Nigel Cole. It tells the real-life story of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham Car Plant and the fight for equal pay.

I think this film is riveting, I can’t say how close it keeps to reality, but I would assume quite close as the real people were involved. Watching it I learnt about events that I had no idea about, I feel like this part of British history doesn’t get much attention when it comes to films, so I am glad this got made. I think this film raises a lot of key questions about our society and the petty arbitrary divisions within it; with the takeaway being if you want change you need to fight for it.

I think from a characterization position the only character that is done well is Rita (Sally Hawkins), not only do we root for her to win, we get to see through her eyes just how unfair and plain wrong the world was, and to some extent still is. However, the other characters aren’t so rounded and that would be my major criticism of the film. Rosamund Pike’s character Lisa only really exists to give Rita a pep talk when things seem their darkest, outside of that she is not developed at all; she might not a played a vital role in the real events so that might be why she has so little development, but then why include her at all? The same can be said for a number of other characters as well.

Overall, I think the lack of character development doesn’t hold this film back as the main character feels rounded and it is through her eyes that we see this world. I think this is a must watch as it highlights parts of history we might be unaware of and exposes issues that we need to face. I think Hawkins is at her best here and I really recommend you check this one out!


Highlight maybe forgotten history.


Gripping to watch.

You care about the struggle.


A lot of the characters other than Rita exist souly to push the story along.


Reviewed by Luke     

Love, Wedding, Repeat: Time To Move On

Love, Wedding, Repeat is a romantic comedy film directed by Dean Craig. The plot sees two almost lovers forced back together at a wedding, but will they be able to seize their moment this time around? Will there by some timey whimey shenanigans? Will none of it make sense? That’s a yes to all three.

So first off the bat, I really don’t like this film’s approach to relationships, I think it is tonally bio-polar; one minute the film will be saying how bad they are and then the next it will be saying they’re what gives life meaning. Get it straight, pick one or the other and stick with it.

Secondly the romantic leads in this film Jack (Sam Claflin) and Dina (Olivia Munn), have no on-screen chemistry together at all. None, not a drop. Whenever they interact together it feels cold and impersonal and then when they kiss at the end it seems awkward and forced, unwanted by both parties.

Thirdly, midway through the film someone dies, and the film resets itself, I am not going to go into the time bending too much because it was confusing and even after watching it, I don’t understand it. Clearly, someone over at Netflix HQ was like “we need a gimmick, you there, write one in”. No thought was given to it.

Finally, the side characters are awful just awful. This works in two senses, they’re awful people who do bad things and you actively root against and also, they’re awfully written at best they’re a collection of mean spirted clichés.

Overall, this film proves that just about anything can be green lit at Netflix and that is why they will continue to put out junk like this. Stay far away from this movie!


I’m struggling to come up with something.


The leads have no chemistry.

The time stuff feels gimmicky and forced in.

The side characters are awful.

It is not a joy to watch.

It feels too long.


Reviewed by Luke

The Lodge: Effective Birth Control

The Lodge is a horror thriller film directed by the due behind Goodnight Mommy Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz. The plot follows a father (Richard Armitage), and his two children who go on a camping retreat with their father’s new girlfriend Grace (Riley Keough), after the death of their mother. Spooky stuff related to Grace’s past in a cult keeps happening which makes her question her sanity.

This film is unpleasant, I had to do something else while I was watching it to even finish it. I expect a lot of people will have a very strong reaction to this film either positively or negatively; it is very polarizing like that. Personally, I hated it. I will give the film one thing though, it shows the effects of gaslighting perfectly and I applaud them for taking that risk, simply it wasn’t for me.

The spooky things I mentioned earlier include the oldest boy hanging himself, or at least so we think. It turns out that the kids hate Grace so much, for no reason they hate her from the off, that they have faked everything including the hanging to get her to kill herself. This twist is what put me off the film because it unravels it in two ways.

Firstly, the idea that we are supposed to believe two kids concocted and executed this incredibly elaborate plan is beyond ridiculous. Then when you start to think about the implications this causes for the rest of the film it falls apart even more.

Secondly, after all this is revealed we are supposed to still care about the kids. Why? Why should we care about them after this. Frankly I don’t sympathise with them, they get what they deserve for trying to make a woman kill herself for no reason.

Overall, it was certainly trying to provoke a reason, sadly it wasn’t a good one it got out of me.


It has guts to pull that twist.


It makes no sense.

The kids are detestable.

It all feel pointless and done without reason.

It was off putting, but maybe that was the point.


Reviewed by Luke    

Batman, Gotham By Gaslight: Boring Batman

Gotham By Gaslight is a straight to DVD superhero film directed by Sam Liu. The plot is an Elseworlds Batman tale set in a Victorian Gotham City that see the Caped Crusader go up against Jack The Ripper. This leads to a fight atop a burning ferries wheel and a traumatising reveal.

I have been looking forward to this for quite a while, but I have to say it was not good.

My main issue with this film is that it managed to make Batman fighting Jack The Ripper, an insanely cool premise, be boring. The pacing of this film is so poorly done that it becomes infuriating after a while, you just want to see the two of them fight, but they just keep padding it out and padding it out.

The characters lack any kind of charisma, they just feel bland. No new ground is tread here the only character that is slightly furthered is James Gordon (Scott Patterson), and that is in a very Elseworlds way; he is Saucy Jack.

The two things I enjoyed about this film are they don’t make Joker Jack, which would have been incredibly obvious, and I also love the characterisation of Selina Kyle aka Cat Woman (Jennifer Carpenter). I thought Selina in this was pitch perfect she was very take charge and was at the forefront of the fight back. I also loved how this film handled her relationship with Bruce.

Overall, not doing the obvious and having a good Bruce Selina dynamic is not enough to make up for the fact this film could not hold my attention.



Not making Jack The Ripper Joker.


It wastes a great premise.

It was boring.

It feels long for an hour and 20 minutes.

It didn’t leave an impression.


Reviewed by Luke

The Look Of Love: Coogan Takes On The King Of Soho Sleaze

The Look Of Love is a British biopic about the life of pornography/ real estate mogul Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan), directed by Michael Winterbottom. The film charts his life, the highs and the lows, the trials and tribulations. It is a cautionary tale.

This film is a testament to having it all, but also being fundamentally empty. Raymond might be rich, but he isn’t happy, he is never happy. I think this film plays out almost like a tragedy because it shows us how this incredibly wealthy man is just trying to make himself feel something and he just can’t. I think this biopic could easily have just been showy and it is to an extent, I will get back to that, but more so it dives deep it analyse the mind of this man, that is what it sets out to do.

When I say this film is showy it is a critique. This film can be gratuitous at points, I understand the nature of Raymond’s work, but the nudity is constant and not really done in a tasteful way. It almost feels a bit creepy and voyeuristic at points, almost as though it is fantasy fulfilment. I understand that it was probably done to show how the character has everything, however, I thought it could have been done better.

Coogan is on top form here. He is trying to play the character in far more of a dramatic way than he normally does, there are a few comedic moments, but Coogan mostly plays the character straight and it works. Crucially the centrepiece of this film is Raymond’s relationship with his daughter (played by Imogen Poots), and I am glad to say that is strong. Both nails the drama and craft characters we end up caring about; even though they’re terrible people.

Overall, this is more thoughtful drama than comedy it is helped by great performances from Coogan and Poots but let down by over the top nudity.


Steve Coogan.

Nails the drama.

It makes you care about the characters.

The relationship between father and daughter.


The nudity is too much.


Reviewed by Luke   

The Royal Tenenbaums: Family stands together

The Royal Tenenbaums is a quirky comedy film directed by Wes Anderson. The film follows the Tenenbaum family and their associates as their often-absent father appears back in their lives claiming to be dying, but actually wanting to reconnect.

This is the best film I have seen in a while; it rivals The Darjeeling Limited for my favourite Wes Anderson film. There is just something so warm about it even in its sadder moments, we the audience can relate to the Tenenbaums, they’re not perfect and there are issues a plenty, yet they try and be better people and I think there is something heart-warming about that. As cliché as it might be to say, this film has a lot of heart.

The comedy of this film was also spot on for me. It made me laugh a good few time and smile throughout. I particularly liked Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, I thought she was the funniest and had the best scenes overall.

The best thing about this film are the performances. This film managed to do the impossible and make me like Gwyneth Paltrow even if it was just for a few hours, it also boasts fantastic performances from everyone else involved; particularly the Wilson Brothers and a short but sweet turn from Bill Murray.

My one issue with the film, was Ben Stiller. I like Stiller and I think this character grew on me overtime, but he and his performance are in nowhere near the same league as everyone else; he is completely blown out of the water, but then again he always was going to be.

Overall, I can’t recommend this one highly enough, just terrific from start to finish.


The heart.

The comedy.

Making me like the snake oil saleswoman that is Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Wilson Brothers.


Ben Stiller.


Reviewed by Luke     

Scooby Doo And The Witches Ghost: The Classics

Scooby Doo and The Witches Ghost is an animated family horror comedy film directed by Jim Stenstrum. The plot sees the gang travel to New England to meet up with famous author Ben Ravencroft (Tim Curry); a not so subtle play on real life horror novelists like Stephen King. The town believes the witch that is plaguing them is actually the ancestor of Ravencroft, he denies the claim, so the gang set out to get to the bottom of it.

After watching the monstrosity that is Scoob the other night I needed this, I needed to watch the good Scooby Doo; the Scooby Doo I grew up on. The animated straight to video Scooby Doo films of the late 90’s early 2000s will always have a special place in my heart and this is chief among them for several reasons.

The first is that for once in Scooby Doo lore the monster turns out to be real, yes, this isn’t an old man in a mask this is a real witch and real magic. Personally, I don’t mind this deviation from the norm if anything I think it gives these films an edge; this would come to become a staple of these animated films.

The other reason this film is a tour de force when it comes to Scooby Doo films is simple, The Hex Girls (Jennifer Hale, Jane Wiedlin and Kimberly Brooks respectively) . The Hex Girls feel like they belong in the world of Scooby Doo, they feel organic and baked in. Of the new characters created for these films The Hex Girls are easily the most memorable and their song at the end is a terrific way to end the film.

My one note would be, because Ravencroft and The Hex Girls have such big parts it can leave the gang at a bit of an end. Scooby and Shaggy (Scott Innes voices both), have something to do, but what are Daphne (Mary Kay Bergman), Fred (Frank Welker) and Velma (B.J Ward) doing?   

Overall, good classic Scooby Doo that reminded me why I cared about the characters.


The real witch.

The Hex Girls.

Scooby and Shaggy.

Nice animation and a distinct tone.


The gang outside of Shaggy and Scooby aren’t used meaningfully.


Reviewed by Luke   

An American Haunting: The Danger Is Closer To Home

An American Haunting is a horror film directed by Courtney Solomon. It follows a family that is cursed by the supposed Bell Witch after a property dispute, things then take a turn for the paranormal and then a twist leads to a far darker revelation; but no spoilers just yet.

So, this was not the film I thought it was, I was looking for the Owen Wilson staring horror film The Haunting and mistakenly put this on. However, it wasn’t entirely terrible. Yes, a lot of it was very samey, it was all very safe, and no boundaries were pushed, and you will have seen a lot of ‘the scares’ before in other films.

Despite that this film does two thing I think are worth talking about, two things that I think save it from being a stinker.

The first is the period setting. The horror genre has become infested with horror films set in modern times, where someone is always recording everything on their phone, or live streaming a demonic possession so, it is nice to see a film like this that strips away all the modern flair and gets back to basics. I think the choice of setting really does a lot to help the film stand apart from other more modern horror films.

The other is the twist. Spoilers here. The twist is that there is no curse, no demon. The girl’s father has been going into her room at night and abusing her both physically and sexually; he was the entity. The latter half of the film has a focus on parent child abuse and explores some really dark areas, revealing that both the mum and daughter knew about it, but blocked it out. I will applaud them for having the balls to land this twist.

Overall, a fairly generic affair, but it does have its moments where you can see little bits of potential.


The twist.

The period setting.


It wasn’t scary.

A lot of the horror is stuff we have seen better before.

None of the characters were memorable.


Reviewed by Luke

Take Shelter: Are The End Times Nigh?

Take Shelter is a psychological thriller drama film directed by Jeff Nichols.  The story revolves around family man Curtis (Michael Shannon), who starts having nightmares about the end of the world as the film progresses these nightmares get worse and start to bleed over into his real world and Curtis becomes convinced that something bad is going to happen.

I appreciate Jeff Nichols; he is one of the most consistent but also incredibly underrated filmmakers working today: check out his whole filmography to see what I mean. What I think Nichols does so well is deal with complexity, in his films nothing is ever clear cut, nothing is ever as it appears. In relation to this film, we are never given an answer one way or the other whether Curtis is getting visons of the end of the world if he is suffering a mental break. The film ends and then it is up to us to draw our own conclusions.

Normally, I would hate that kind of ending I would say it is pretensions and a sign of someone who can’t write an ending. However, here it works, the ending fits nicely with the overall feel of the movie; it is natural. Something that again helps to get rid of any notions of pretentiousness is how down to earth this film feels, everything about it seems set in our world with characters that could easily exist. This is very true of Shannon’s Curtis as well as Jessica Chastain’s Samantha, both feel very real and fleshed out and both actors give magnificent performances.

Overall, this is a terrific film, it is genuinely tense and surprising throughout. My one issue with it is that it does feel a little drawn out and could probably do with a much tighter edit to trim it down. A lot of fun all the same.


Chastain and Shannon.

The ambiguous ending.

The tension.


It is too long.

A lot of the supporting cast is very forgettable.


Reviewed by Luke