Archive for December, 2015

December 20, 2015

City A.M.: “Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie” review

The Peanuts Movies

Above is my review of “Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie” for City AM, published 18th December. For the online version of the review click here.

December 19, 2015

BBC Oxford “Star Wars The Force Awakens” review, 17th December


Please click the link above to listen to my review of “Star Wars The Force Awakens” for BBC Oxford, broadcast 17th December. As well as looking at the film I preview my documentary “Oxfordshire At The Movies”, and look at the UK Box Office.

December 16, 2015



I don’t normally do this on the website, but I’ve decided to put down my thoughts on the new “Star Wars” film as I won’t be reviewing it in writing for any outlets (my radio review is out tomorrow).
This is a SPOILER FREE review, however if you absolutely positively do not want to know anything about the film, turn away now (although honestly, why did you click here in the first place?).




… Ready?….






Ok, this is the briefest summation of the plot, and nothing you won’t find out in the first two seconds of the opening crawl (which I cried a little bit at, by the way). Luke Skywalker is missing, and everyone is after him. Chiefly, The First Order, established from the ashes of the Old Empire, and the Resistance, the good guys. Caught in the middle are scavenger are Rey (Daisy Ridley) and former storm trooper Finn (John Boyega), who come across key information to the whereabouts of the Jedi Master.

You can relax. Lessons have been learned. That means no midichlorians, no trade embargoes, no irritating child actors, no cold, glowy CGI environments. This is proper Star Wars, and it’s a hell of a ride. The chief goal of this film is to set up the ones that follow, so we’re meeting the gang and going on an adventure. There are several jaw-dropping moments, including a chase with a famous old spaceship and a scene at the end which will have everyone talking. Abrams clearly adores this franchise and makes everything feel legitimate. The rusty, dirty spaceships, the practical effects, the humour in the script- he knows what you want, and he’ll deliver it.

If there’s a weakness it is that nostalgia factor. A lot of the plot feels similar to previous films, and while that’s no bad thing when it’s done this well, there are some moments where you get caught up thinking “oh this scene is a nod to this…” If that sounds vague, please bear in mind I’m trying to keep things spoiler free, which is very hard in a film filled with twists and reveals.

One thing that strikes you is how well the new characters fold into the universe. Ridley and Boyega are the focus, and win you over pretty quickly – the former has the demeanour of a younger, feistier Kiera Knightley; while the “Attack The Block” actor is endearingly haphazard. The friendship that builds between them is one of the most compelling things in the plot. Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron feels like he’s transported from 1977 – a dashing pilot who dips in and out of the story but is one of those very cool support characters these films used to be so good at. Kylo Ren, another character that can’t be talked about at great length, is the best Star Wars villain since you-know-who.

Then there’s Han. If you’re at all a fan of these films this will bring a tear to your eye, because he’s back. It’s not Harrison Ford trying to rehash an old character, it’s him slipping straight back into the swagger of the universe’s favourite smuggler. The trailer moments (“It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. The Jedi. They’re real”) are for once a little more special in context, and that’s about all that can be said without ruining it. Oh, and Luke? Just wait and see.

For fans who love the originals, this will feel like a huge ‘welcome back’ hug after the disappointment of the prequels which, compared to this, feel like expensive fan films made by children. A masterpiece of cinema? No quite, but this is the Star Wars film you’ve been looking for.

December 11, 2015

City A.M.: “Hector” and “Grandma” reviews

City AM


Please click the images above to read my reviews of “Hector” and “Grandma” for City A.M. An online version of the reviews can be read here.

December 11, 2015

BBC Oxford Reviews, 10th December


please click the link above for my film reviews for BBC Oxford, broadcast 10th December. Myself and host Holly Samos look at the films “By The Sea”, “Hector” and the Home Entertainment release of “The Bad Education Movie”. We Also look at the UK Box Office.

December 7, 2015

Stuff Magazine: “Steve Jobs” review

ImageSJ stuff

Please click the image above to read my review of “Steve Jobs” for Stuff Magazine.

December 7, 2015

City AM: “Christmas With The Coopers” review

City AM

Christmas With The Coopers

please click the image above to read my review of “Christmas With The Coopers”, as published in the 4th December edition of City A.M. You can read the online version of the review here.

December 7, 2015

Empire Magazine: “Last Impressions” article


Empire December

Please click the image above to read my article “Last Impressions” for the December issue of Empire Magazine, discussiong last instalments of famous franchises.

December 4, 2015

BBC Oxford reviews, 3rd December


Please click the link above for my BBC Oxford review, broadcast 3rd December. Reviewing “Victor Frankenstein”, “Christmas With The Coopers”, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” on DVD and looking at the trailer for “Batman Vs Superman”. I also look at events in Oxford and the UK Box Office.

December 4, 2015

Radio Times: “Victor Frankenstein” and “The Night Before” reviews

RT Logo



please click on the logos above to read the reviews for “Victor Frankenstein” and “The Night Before”