CREED II

Cert 12 Stars 4

Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren return to reignite the Cold War as they face off once more in a typically two-fisted and enjoyably bruising bout from Sly’s ‘Rocky’ boxing franchise.

A loose retelling of Rocky 4, the former fighters are now the trainers of the younger generation, which sees Michael B. Jordan’s world heavyweight champ take on the son of the Russian who killed his dad.

It scored a knockout £160m worldwide on a puny £40m budget due to the strong character work and screen history that gives emotional weight to the heavy punching.

POSSUM

Cert 15 Stars 3

This disturbing psychological British drama from debutant director and writer, Matthew Holness, is a deeply unsettling small budget success.

Sean Harris oozes self-hate as Philip, a gaunt and socially inadequate puppeteer who returns to his dilapidated childhood home in Norfolk to confront his dark past.

Once there he’s confronted by Alun Armstrong’s aged relative, who mocks Philip with memories of a calamitous fire which damaged the property sometime ago.

This is a dark portrait of shame, guilt, anger and torment which refuses to offer comfort or shelter to the audience.

HALLOWEEN (2018)

Cert 18 Stars 3

Scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode to the horror slasher franchise which kick-started her career, as forty years after she survived the killing spree of masked knife-wielding psychopath, Michael Myers, he returns once more to torment her.

And her star presence helped to scare up nearly £200m world wide on a terrifyingly tiny £8m budget, making this the biggest grossing episode of the eleven strong series.

It’s success was also helped by being a direct sequel to the 1978 original, and by basically pretending all the other films don’t exist, it’s easy to catch up.

GREEN BOOK

Cert 12A 129mins Stars 3

This US road trip comedy-drama about a classical concert tour is an amiable and sentimental journey with plenty of pretty scenery, but painfully straightforward and devoid of surprises.

Astonishingly it’s scored for five Oscar nominations including nods for its stars, Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, with the former also winning a prestigious Screen Actors Guild gong.

They play an African-American pianist and his Italian-American driver, on a tour of the racially divided US deep south during the early 1960s.

One is snobby and the other slobby and I didn’t really warm to either of the disharmonious pair, and directed by Peter Farrelly, of Dumb and Dumber fame, it feels very much a cover version of Steve Martin’s classic, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but not as funny or as moving.

There’s no real sense of danger, and the scenes where the white guy explains African-American music to the black guy, is every bit as tin-eared and cringe-worthy as it sounds.

OCCUPATION

Cert 15 Stars 3

An alien attack threatens the human race with extinction in this hard working low budget action sci-fi.

Former Neighbours and Home and Away star, Rhiannon Fish, joins a disparate group of survivors of a small country town who rally around as resistance fighters, while veteran actor Bruce Spence appears as the alien leader.

With some decent character work and no little flair or shortage of ambition, writer and director Luke Sparke squeezes in as much explosive action as his can into his agreeably no-nonsense old school end of the world affair.

MCQUEEN

Cert 15 Stars 4

I’ve only a vague recollection of controversial British fashion designer Alexander McQueen as someone who was on the periphery of the 1990’s Britpop scene.

However by using never-seen before home movies, interviews with family, friends and collaborators, and footage from his catwalk shows, this striking and intimate documentary shows he was a key force of Cool Britannia era and put me straight on the extraordinary talent the working class London lad possessed.

It also conveys the pressures he suffered to maintain his standing in the industry, which contributed to his shocking early death in 2010.

 

 

DEAD NIGHT

Cert 18 Stars 3

No good deed goes unpunished in this brisk and blood-soaked supernatural slasher horror which sees a family on a trip to remote cabin, ironically for the good of their health.

En route they offer shelter to a woman they find passed out in the snow,  but their act of is one they come to regret.

It’s reasonably stylish with more some decent atmosphere and fulfils its modest ambition of offering some unfussy old school chills. Plus it’s always great to see veteran screamstress, Barbara Crampton, of 1980’s horror flicks such as Re-Animator, back on the screen.