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Film Review: The Commuter

“Someone On This Train Does Not Belong. All You Have To Do Is Find Them…”

Whilst many took to the idea that Liam Neeson had adhered to his word of refusing to star in any future action movies, something of which which he stated profoundly across media lines last year, it comes at no surprise that this week audiences are treated to The Commuter, the latest from Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra, whose reunion with Neeson follows on from their previous work together on Non-Stop and Run All Night, with the word of the Irish actor much more uncertain and dishonest since he laughed off the possibility of Taken 3 in 2013, a sequel which was then swiftly released only two years later. Whilst the obvious similarities to previous action movies are inevitable for a movie starring an actor recently renowned for jumped-up, high octane nonsense, Neeson’s latest is a movie both ridiculous and enjoyable in equal measure, a laughably absurd ideas thriller which although suffers from a wide range of clearly defined issues, is indeed up there with the better Neeson action movies to be released since his turn as the revenge seeking killer in Pierre Morel’s 2008 cult classic, Taken, a movie which launched a latter-stage chapter of the actor’s career to ridiculous levels of newly found action hero fame.

Approached by the mysterious Vera Farmiga during his daily commute, Neeson’s Michael MacCauley is tasked with attempting to hunt down a particular unknown fellow passenger without truly understanding the reasoning behind such, aside from the offer of excessive monetary reward. Jumping in and out of the shadow of previous film ideas as swift as the film’s chaotic editing, The Commuter is the type of movie which evokes so many previous stories that the film almost becomes a entertaining ferris wheel of bingo in which you tick off every film that comes to mind as the carnage unravels in the loudest and silliest way possible. Switching from Red Eye to Source Code to Under Siege 2 as quickly as possible within a completely manic first act which does manage to contain a rigid element of threat and mystery rather entertainingly, The Commuter then concludes with a amalgamation of Unstoppable and 16 Blocks with added predictability and cheesiness, and whilst Neeson’s latest is obviously not as smart or original as it may think it is, the action is decent enough and the tone is welcoming and undeniably crowd pleasing, and for a man who may have given up on action movies for good, you can’t deny Neeson does look like he’s enjoying himself. As are we.

Overall Score: 6/10


Film Review: Insidious: The Last Key

“I’ve Faced Many Evil’s In My Life. This One Is Different Though…”

Acting as the latest entry within the ongoing Blumhouse Production line of horror releases, Insidious: The Last Key, the fourth and supposedly final picture within the rather drawn out Insidious franchise, is the first big screen jump-fest to hit multiplexes this year, and whilst there is a lack of consideration, particularly from myself, in regards to why yet another sequel is necessary to a franchise which suffers from a bruising sense of unmemorability, aside from its’ rather creepy first entry back in 2010, The Last Key is a somewhat acceptable, time-passing affair. Directed by horror stalwart Adam Robitel, whose previous releases in the form of The Taking of Deborah Logan and Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension acts as confident evidence for his directorial appointment, The Last Key primarily focuses on Lin Shaye’s psychic ghost hunter, Elise Rainier, as she returns to face the fears of her childhood in order to help Kirk Acevedo’s Ted Garza who calls for aid after experiencing strange hauntings within the house Rainier and her long lost brother grew up in under the watchful eye of their monstrous father.

Suffering in a way which most contemporary horror sequels, prequels and spin-offs ultimately do by feeling just a little bit worse for wear in terms of the freshness of the narrative and overall surprise factor, Robitel’s movie ironically begins in impressive fashion, heading further back in time to explore Rainier’s childhood in order to lay the groundwork for the story ahead, and with two mightily timed jump scares to start off proceedings, The Last Key was in danger of becoming much better than one might have expected. Unfortunately, yet not exactly surprisingly, however, the swift move back to the somewhat present day then brings about the middling return to a horror blueprint which covers everything from screaming dead entities to an overkill sensibility regarding the use of cliched horror tropes, tropes which become tiring as they finalise by simply resorting each and every time to the cattle prod horror cinema audiences seem to lap up. With comedy which doesn’t always work coming from the Chuckle Brothers of horror in the form of Rainier’s bumbling assistants and a concluding reveal which is unsurprising and hokey, The Last Key is pretty much your substandard horror sequel, but for the impressive first ten minutes, a committed performance from Shaye and a sense that finally the series has been put to bed, Robitel’s movie isn’t a classic but it at least works in a audience pleasing kind of fashion which for many, is all that you need.

Overall Score: 5/10

Film Review: Darkest Hour

“You Cannot Reason With A Tiger When Your Head Is In Its’ Mouth…”

Proclaimed by many as history’s greatest Briton, the enigmatic presence of Winston Churchill has been the focus of much filmic and televisual escapades ever since the conclusion of the Second World War, and whilst there has been a continued succession of recent releases over the past few years or so detailing similar events, Joe Wright’s (Atonement) latest, Darkest Hour, is a much welcome, audience pleasing history lesson which details the rise of Churchill’s ascent into the role of Prime Minister during the early years of the Second World War. Propelled by a staggeringly dramatic and joyously brilliant career defining performance by Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Wright’s movie covers similar ground obtainable in the likes of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk in it’s detailing of Operation Dynamo, Lone Scherfig’s Their Finest in regards to the period detail of war-torn Britain, and of course, Jonathan Teplitzky’s own depiction of the great man in last year’s Churchill in which Brian Cox’s (Manhunter) own portrayal was similarly well received, and whilst the overall picture doesn’t succeed in attempting to offer something new to the already overcrowded war drama genre, Wright’s direction and management of Oldman’s performance results in undoubtedly the definitive portrayal of Britain’s most iconic and favoured wartime leader.

Filled with wit, solid dramatic timing and an uncanny usage of famous characteristics and mannerisms, Oldman’s performance is one of immense proportions, an awards touting tour de force which of course utilises to full extent a generous helping of makeup and costume design, but crucially one which doesn’t come across as something of a caricature in its’ depiction of the more obvious Churchill behavioural patterns. Managing to fit in everything from the mumbling, slobber fuelled and sometimes completely incomprehensible dialogue to the constant yet important prop of the infamous cigar, to which Oldman’s own admission caused a touch of nicotine poisoning, the performance is the reason many will flock to the cinema to see the movie, and whilst Oldman’s transformation is remarkable, the change isn’t so dramatic that the actor inside is weighed down too much for his original talents to be indistinguishable. Concluding in a similar manner to Dunkirk with the show stopping “We shall fight on the beaches” speech, this time presented within the grandiose halls of the House of Commons, Darkest Hour is the sort of Oscar bait drama which although seems primarily to be a showcase for the brilliance of its’ leading actor, still manages to be a well played and thoroughly enjoyable piece of cinema, and with Bruno Delbonnel’s (Inside Llewyn Davis) smokey cinematography and a well measured orchestral soundtrack to move it along, Wright’s latest is the kind of awards pushover that’s not trying too hard to make you enjoy your stay and for that alone, Darkest Hour is a solid thumbs up.

Overall Score: 7/10

Film Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

“You Know, If You Hadn’t Stopped Coming To Church, You’d Have A Little More Understanding Of People’s Feelings…”

With the likes of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths on his curriculum vitae, Irish screenwrite Martin McDonagh has become renowned in the entertainment trade for snappy and subversive tales which blend the darker traits of the human spirit with rib-tickling comedic undertones, and his return this week with the hotly anticipated jet-black drama, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is an interesting example of a movie which has both equal measures of excellence and fundamental, unforgivable sin. Primarily following Frances McDormand (Fargo, Hail, Caesar!) as the grieving, unpredictable and potty mouthed Mildred Hayes, who in her attempt to call out the workings of the local police force after her daughter’s violent death instinctively causes anguish within the community with the implementation of the titular billboards, McDonagh’s latest carries all the traits and features you would expect when glancing over the director’s previous endeavours on film, but with primary characters within the narrative which ease on the side of utmost vulgarity and gaping plot inconsistencies which become too jarring to ignore, Billboards is a movie which is the epitome of a picture where the whole is lesser than the sum of its’ parts. Whilst performances all around are seemingly note perfect, with obvious plaudits directed to McDormand’s fiery justice seeker and Sam Rockwell’s idiotic, racist and utterly despicable local law enforcer, Officer Dickson, the real heart and centre of the piece is undeniably Woody Harrelson’s Sheriff Bill Willoughby, whose key involvement in the direction of the narrative is the only true character where emotional investment and engagement is truly viable.

Whilst the character of Hayes has a self defined purpose due to the tragic loss of her daughter, her penchant for unwarranted violence and vulgar sensibility highlights the key flaw in a script which not only is tonally wild, but isn’t comedic or sharp enough to come across anything other than played with a straight face, and for a movie which tackles poorly a wide range of issues ranging from rape to institutionalised racism, McDonagh’s script is one of the most nihilistic portrayals of the human race presented on screen in recent memory. With the comedic elements completely absent therefore, the continued use of petulant swearing and offensive set pieces do ultimately lead to extensive nitpicking in terms of plot inconsistencies, with the most obvious being a complete lack of any realist sense of consequence for any of the major players within the piece, with people being violently attacked in front of gazing witnesses, children being assaulted and police stations being burnt to the ground, with the characters at fault then seemingly left without any sense of punishment, and for a movie whose primary basis is Hayes’ search for justice, the feel of the movie just seems terribly conflicted and contradicted. Finally, we get to the character of Rockwell’s Officer Dickson, whose revolting, old-fashioned sensibilities and racist, sexist and bigoted views are seemingly forgotten over the course of the movie’s runtime, with McDonagh handing the character over to the audience as a sort of redemptive figure of hope which I completely and utterly rejected, and whilst Rockwell’s performance is undeniably brilliant, his respective character isn’t and whilst Billboards is indeed brilliantly made and is helmed by a flashy pace which zips along nicely, the key message and feel of the movie ultimately left me with a nasty taste in my mouth, and for a film to successfully manage that, McDonagh’s latest is a film I can admire but ultimately cannot bring myself to like.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: Brad’s Status

“You’re Fifty Years Old And You Still Think The World Was Made For You…”

Tackling notions of the mid-life crisis and looking back on a lifetime gone swiftly by, School of Rock writer, Mike White, directs and provides the screenplay for Brad’s Status, a low-key and pleasantly thoughtful comedy which utilises the leading star skills of Ben Stiller who returns to the big screen after a somewhat nonexistent cinematic footprint over the course of the past few years or so. Whilst Stiller’s comedy can somewhat not exactly hit the mark, take the likes of Zoolander 2 for instance, the emergence of White’s script and a wide range of lovely supporting performances from an extravagantly well-versed cast, proves to be a solid winning return for the comedic stalwart, and although the underlying narrative point of the movie is one which has been tackled before in a wide range of differing movies ranging from American Beauty to last year’s Ingrid Goes West, Brad’s Status is a cool, sombre and sometimes heartwarming drama which doesn’t ever feel the need to raise up from its’ subtle examination of its’ titular leading character.

Accompanying his son, Troy (Austin Abrams, Paper Towns) along the East Coast whilst they seek out potential future colleges, Brad Sloane (Stiller) reminisces about the success of his out of touch school friends whilst he contemplates his own life’s middling mediocrity, one which is full with seething regret and unwarranted shame in comparison to his long lost forgotten acquaintances. With the narrative primarily explained through the use of Stiller’s voiceover and some rather excessive yet undeniably comedic dream sequences which convey’s Sloane’s belief of his friend’s individual successes, White’s movie works primarily thanks to a brilliantly conflicted leading performance from Stiller alongside the grounding of its’ youthful cast, with the likes of Abrams and Shazi Raja counteracting Sloane’s contempt for the world by explaining its’ true riches in a It’s a Wonderful Life style monologue. Whilst the movie falls at times for swaying too much from the central narrative and limiting its’ actual comedic zingers to a minimal amount, White’s movie is still an interesting social drama which reinforces the idea that when put to good use, Stiller is still an important and welcome leading star.

Overall Score: 6/10

Film Review: All The Money In The World

“I Hired You To Do Things That Other People Can’t Or Won’t Do…”

Whilst last year’s Alien: Covenant offered up a pretty solid attempt at dragging the reputation of its’ respective franchise through the gutter, the return of director Ridley Scott still manages to incite a cool sense of fangirl-esque anticipation, particularly when Alien and Blade Runner still remain undisputed masterpieces of cinema, and even though the American still hasn’t hit the high notes his reputation is built on since perhaps American Gangster, the residual feeling of hope for his next classic still remains. Hampered in post production due to the widely publicised sexual harassment claims made against leading star at the time, Kevin Spacey, Scott’s latest, All The Money In The World adds an extra layer of interest to its’ release due to Scott’s decision to recast Spacey’s role as oil magnate, Jean Paul Getty, weeks before its’ slated release. With Christopher Plummer willingly taking up the mantle left by the departed Spacey, Scott’s nine day reshoots with the actor offers up fundamental questions of the quality of the final product, and whilst there is no doubting the manner in which Scott manages to carve out some decent performances from his trio of leading stars, All The Money In The World is a staggeringly underwhelming and mediocre affair, one which suffers from a wildly paced opening first half and a movie which once again reignites the issue of Scott’s dedication of quantity over quality.

With the movie assuming the audience has previous knowledge of the key players involved in the drama which occurs on-screen, David Scarpa’s screenplay, based upon John Pearson’s 1995 book, “Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty”, essentially offers no fitting backstory or character development for any of the movie’s leading players, with the first hour of the film a jaw-droppingly dull affair, unaided by amateurish editing which moves the action back and forth between a rafter of time settings in a manner both nauseating and convoluted that you begin to lose track and interest almost immediately on what the overall message and narrative endgame the film is attempting to convey. When the movie does finally settle down heading into the second hour however, the emergence of Plummer’s brilliantly cold and inhumane performance as Getty and the back and forth presentation of hostage and hostage negotiator does becoming an interesting affair, but with the sloggish journey it takes you on to get there, Scott’s movie doesn’t have the sharpness or the nuance to be any more than just a mediocre examination of a story which in other hands may have been much more rewarding, and when a movie utilises the cliched usage of The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” to represent the hippy free feel of the 1970’s, you know it’s going to be a rather laborious affair.

Overall Score: 5/10

Film Review: Hostiles

“Sometimes I Envy The Finality Of Death. The Certainty. And I Have To Drive Those Thoughts Away When I Wake…”

Reuniting with Christian Bale after their work together on 2013’s Out of the Furnace, Black Mass director Scott Cooper returns this week, screenplay in hand, with Hostiles, a taut, uncompromising and viciously gritty Western set in the final years of the 19th century which follows Bale’s Captain Joe Blocker as he is tasked with escorting Wes Studi’s aged and dying war chief back to his sacred homeland in time for his oncoming passing. Developed from a manuscript left by the Oscar winning screenwriter, Donald E. Stewart, before his death in 1999, Cooper’s latest combines the nihilistic harshness and visceral violence of his previous works with an elegant, thematic fuelled character study which utilises the treacherous backdrop of the rocky plains of Native America to discuss notions of death, forgiveness and the mirror image qualities of right and wrong, and whilst many will head into the movie ready in wait for an abundance of action, Hostiles is brilliantly akin more to the likes of Unforgiven and Bone Tomahawk in its’ fascination with the complexity of the human spirit over the generic and cliched Westernised shoot em up style action, and with some standout performances from its’ leading stars, Cooper’s latest is his most mature and richly rewarding release to date.

With Bale giving an outstanding full body performance, moustache and all, as the grizzly war torn Army Captain, who against his fundamental beliefs is forced to work alongside Studi’s equally murderous and contemplative Native chief, the narrative weaves and twists through themes which touch onto the strangeness of human nature and the idea that man’s true belonging is one of a fundamental survivalist nature which cannot ever be deceived. Setting the drama within a stark and desperate period of time of American history, the environment of the piece is beautifully presented by cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi, a regular counterpart of Cooper, who captures the soaring, rocky vistas in eye-widening fashion, whilst the handling of the film’s darkest elements are too expertly managed, with Cooper’s presentation of the on-screen violence unnervingly realistic, with the opening act involving Rosamund Pike’s family a blueprint intended to both set a baseline for the tone of the movie and reassure its’ audience that Hostiles is a movie not at all for the faint of hearted. A few missteps aside, including the unnecessary inclusion of Ben Foster’s character which somewhat sidetracks the pacing of the piece, Cooper’s latest is an emotionally engaging and overwhelmingly powerful drama which follows in the footsteps of Bone Tomahawk, Slow West and Hell or High Water by being a contemporary Western which manages to be both fresh on its’ own terms and respectful to its’ inspirations, and on that basis alone, Hostiles is a wholly rewarding cinematic experience.

Overall Score: 8/10

Film Review: Molly’s Game

“You Managed To Build A Multi Million Dollar Business Using Not Much More Than Your Wits…”

The first film of 2018 has swiftly arrived and brings with it the talented presence of writer/director Aaron Sorkin whose screenplays for the likes of The Social Network, Moneyball and Steve Jobs have placed him at the top of many’s list for the most in-demand screenwriter in America. Turning to the director’s chair for the very first time, Sorkin utilises the prestigious talents of Jessica Chastain in a dramatic representation of Molly Bloom’s autobiographical memoir about the rise and fall of her independently managed luxurious poker empire and the subsequent legal battles following the fallout of a statewide led criminal investigation. With Sorkin’s recognisable literary craft sweeping throughout, Molly’s Game is a rigorous exercise of the American’s unmistakable style audiences have grown to respect and love, and whilst a lengthy and bloated narrative timeline does weaken the finished product and prevent the movie being held in the same esteem as previous Sorkin penned releases, Molly’s Game is a flashy full house of a movie with a Chastain on unmissable form.

Beginning with a quickfire introductory voiceover outlining a young Molly Bloom’s disastrous Olympic skiing experience, Sorkin’s narrative weaves its way sharply and smoothly throughout a first act which follows Chastain’s Bloom as she develops from wandering idealist to opportunist successor, one who uses her real estate agent contact (Jeremy Strong) to flex her intellectual muscles and take over control of an infamous and highly prestigious unlicensed poker ring. With the money flowing, the famous faces increasing and a drug addiction mounting, Sorkin’s script attempts to mix in a wide range of elements of both a personal and dramatic nature of which the source material may have successfully delved into on paper, but even with a two and a half hour runtime to play with, these multiple plot threads do end up feeling convoluted come the final act where even the addition of a ever reliable Idris Elba does strangely seem somewhat added on, with his character never really having the depth to solidify his existence. However, with Chastain owning a leading role which carries all the charisma and charm you would expect from an actress renowned for playing similar characters in Miss Sloane and Zero Dark Thirty, Molly’s Game is a zippy and smart character drama which excels thanks to the involvement of a writer whose move to directing has began more than rewarding.

Overall Score: 8/10

TV Review: Doctor Who Christmas Special – “Twice Upon a Time”

“You May Be A Doctor, But I Am ‘The’ Doctor, The Original You Might Say…”

Introduced briefly within “Day of the Doctor” via the iconic gaze of his distinctive grizzly eyebrows, Peter Capaldi’s interpretation of the travelling Time Lord has undeniably been my own personal favourite of the modern incarnation of the series since it began back in 2005 due to a wide collective of reasons including the Scottish actor’s personal fondness for the ways of the classic series in which he has both played courteous respect to and adapted upon to become the first real “true” Doctor since the series was revived. Of course, many will undeniably disagree, but for a fan whose introduction to the series began years before talks of a revival even simmered to the surface, the likes of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker were critical in identifying the blueprint archetypes for the characteristics of the Gallifreyan, and what Capaldi’s tenure has accomplished is the way in which it has brought back these fundamental elements of the classic series in which I hold in such stupendous esteem. With “Twice Upon a Time” therefore, not only do we wave a melancholic goodbye to the Twelfth Doctor, but to showrunner Steven Moffat too, who after seven years at the helm hands the reins over to Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, and what the two great Scots have left us is a surprisingly low-key tale of two falling Doctors who are unable to cope with the thought of their oncoming, inevitable death, and whilst Capadli’s tenure doesn’t conclude with as big as bang as previous regeneration tales, “Twice Upon a Time” is a fitting and emotionally engaging final act.

Beginning with a recap which takes the audience to events depicted in William Hartnell’s own regeneration story, “The Tenth Planet”, David Bradley’s uncanny interpretation of the original Time Lord is re-introduced, setting the narrative in motion for a cautionary tale which favours discussion and contemplation over over-zealous nonsense, and an easy to follow secondary plot thread which completely counteracts the rather ploddingly handled Matt Smith finale, “Time of the Doctor” which decided to monkey wrench in as many narrative arcs and plot twists as humanly possible. With a returning Pearl Mackie added to proceedings, her presence is rationally explained and wholly justifiable, resulting in the return of the delicious chemistry between herself and Capaldi which encompassed the entirety of Season Ten, and with David Bradley scarily matching the politically incorrect mannerisms of his respective Doctor, the first three quarters of the episode balances notions of death, both before and after, to a more than entertaining, sombre extent. Of course, with regeneration much publicised, the concluding act of the episode dedicates its’ time to Capaldi’s farewell tour, with particular returning faces resulting in a fusion of both fan-pleasing giddiness and heart dropping sadness, and with a final speech which not only reinforces Capaldi’s merits as a terrific dramatic actor but a truly perfect Doctor, the time inevitably comes for the first sight of Jodie Whittaker as Doctor number Thirteen, and whilst her time on-screen is way too short to make a reputable impression, the future looks bright for a show which is heading in a direction of both freshness and excitement. Farewell, Mr. Capaldi, you were and still are the Doctor we needed. The King is dead, long live the Queen…

Overall Score: 8/10

Film Feature: Looking Forward to Film in 2018

2018 In Film

Whereas 2017 proved that audiences were more inclined to disperse away from a turgid summer blockbuster full to the rafters with trashy, monetary fuelled nonsense and head instead for the likes of interesting, well-made movies in the ilk of Andres Muschietti’s It and Christopher Nolan’s spectacle epic Dunkirk, particularly within the UK, 2018 is the chance for Hollywood to recompense for their sins in a year which once again features endless amounts of sequels, remakes and franchise continuing cash cows which counteract the release of independant and much more interesting movies which although tend to falter at the box office in comparison, do tend to be the movies which make more of an impact throughout the year. As per the norm at Black Ribbon at the start of a new cinematic year therefore, here we will look forward to 2018 in film, picking out the highlights of a year full to the rafters with new and hotly anticipated movies and attempting to gauge which ones will be the real hits of yet another twelve months of visiting your local cinema.

Beginning the year and acting as a cure for the inevitable celebration hangover is Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game, a dramatic adaptation of Molly Bloom’s career as the high-profile poker runner with a brilliant central performance from the ever reliable Jessica Chastain and a supporting cast featuring the likes of Idris Elba and Kevin Costner. If the first day of 2018 is primarily acting as a day of recovery however, the first weekend of the year brings with it a stack load of new releases including the Ridley Scott directed All the Money in the World, featuring a thrown in Christopher Plummer after the much publicised Kevin Spacey debacle, as well as the latest Christian Bale movie, Hostiles from Black Mass director, Scott Cooper. Heading through January and into February therefore, Oscar season sweeps along with the likes of Darkest Hour, Steven Spielberg’s The Post, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and of course, Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest, Phantom Thread, featuring Daniel Day Lewis’ self-proclaimed final on-screen performance, and whilst all are seemingly on show primarily for awards consideration, neutral film fans can take comfort in the release of the Ryan Coogler directed Black Panther just on the stroke of the half term holidays, one of three MCU related releases over the course of the year.

With the Greta Gerwig directed Lady Bird featuring the radiant presence of Saoirse Ronan, and Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water closing out the end of February with a much anticipated bang, the following weeks bring with it Francis Lawrence’s Red Sparrow, an American spy thriller which reunites the director with Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, alongside the likes of the Walt Disney released A Wrinkle in Time and the science fiction spectacle sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising, both of which are guaranteed to light up the box office to some extent before summer hits, even with the likes of the second Spielberg release of the year in the form of Ready Player One acting as healthy competition. Carrying on through to Easter, the latest X-Men installment in the form of the Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams starring, The New Mutants, gets a release, whilst the Martin Freeman starring horror portmanteau, Ghost Stories also comes to cinemas after a handful of trailers which immediately pricked up my attention, yet the holidays will undoubtedly belong to Avengers: Infinity War, the biggest release of the MCU so far which brings together the many plot threads set in place since the franchise’s inception back all the way in 2008 and a movie which will undoubtedly break a handful of blockbuster records with a rising wave of anticipation after its’ recently released trailer. We can’t wait.

Skimming through May and into June, the money machine which is the Star Wars universe continues with the Ron Howard directed Solo: A Star Wars Story featuring Hail, Caesar! star Alden Ehrenreich as the titular space cowboy, whilst the likes of the ensemble comedy thriller Game Night and Deadpool 2 are sure to find audiences in their own right, particularly the latter after the outstanding commercial success of its’ predecessor back in 2016. With A Monster Calls director on directorial duties for the latest Jurassic Park movie in the form of Fallen Kingdom, with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard both reprising their role from the previous installment, the most interesting sequel of the month goes to Sicario follow-up, Soldado, featuring the return of both Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin from the stunning Denis Villeneuve thriller back in 2015, with a screenplay once again from the extraordinary scribing talents of Taylor Sheridan, and if the dark underworld of the American drug trade isn’t for you then maybe Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again or Mission: Impossible 6 is indeed the sequel for you. Whilst the latter end of the year does simmer down in terms of possible future releases, the likes of Shane Black’s The Predator, the latest adaptation of Robin Hood and the final MCU release of the year in the form of Ant-Man and the Wasp, will hopefully all be there to entertain the masses before the final three months of a jam packed year of film.

With a Star Wars release absent from the Christmas schedule for the first time since 2015, the remaining couple of months of 2018 open the floodgates for a wide range of eclectic releases including the likes of the Tom Hardy starring Venom, Andy Serkis’ take on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book and even the newest release in the everlasting and indestructible Halloween franchise. Sticking on the lines of horror releases, Eli Roth’s The House With a Clock In Its Walls will appease an incredibly niche fanboy audience whilst Don’t Breathe director, Fede Álvarez takes over from David Fincher on the continuation of the Americanised Millennium series with The Girl in the Spider’s Web featuring Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander. From a personal point of view, Whiplash and La La Land director, Damien Chazelle also returns with First Man, an autobiographical drama focusing on the life of Neil Armstrong, and with both previous releases managing to receive full marks here at Black Ribbon, the bar is set exceptionally high. No pressure. Finishing the year with the likes of Aquaman, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Mary Poppins Returns, it’s fair to say 2018 is set to end with a considerable bang, but of course, with so many releases to come, please stick with us for another twelve months of movie reviews as we attempt once again to point you in the right direction of where you should be spending your well earned pocket money. Enjoy!