Quickfire round-up: April-May 2017

Despite my great affection for this blog, various external pressures have forced me to neglect it for the past month or two. So, in an effort to deal with my backlog of overdue reviews I have devised this new emergency feature: the quickfire round-up.

The premise is simple; 5 films (or however many I’ve fallen behind by), 50 words each.

I would have dearly liked to say a lot more about all of these films – I often struggle to fully articulate my thoughts in 200 words, so 50 was positively painful – but I simply do not have the time. Any that make it into my top ten films of the year will receive a little more attention in December.

Normality will resume shortly, but in the meantime please enjoy this selection of bite-sized reviews.

 

‘Ghost in the Shell’

It’s a shame this film was hamstrung by its badly misjudged casting because, controversy aside, there’s a lot to recommend it; a vivid, neon aesthetic, well choreographed action sequences, an engaging plot and frequent nods to the 1995 original. With more thoughtful handling, it could have achieved so much more.

 

‘Beauty and the Beast’

The upward trajectory of Disney’s series of live action remakes continues, with this outstanding piece of work. Perfectly cast, touching and unexpectedly funny, it pays tribute to the 1991 classic while forging its own distinct identity. With sumptuous visuals and an enchanting score, it’s a treat from start to finish.

 

‘The Handmaiden’

This latest offering from South Korean maestro Park Chan-Wook is an arresting experience to say the least. An intense psychological thriller; it constantly wrong-foots the viewer as it moves between eerily disturbing and viscerally erotic. It’s a film steeped in genuine artistry, with two wonderfully versatile actresses at the fore.

 

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

Marvel’s loveable space rogues are back for more intergalactic shenanigans. The formula hasn’t changed much; plenty of anarchic hilarity, a few heartwarming or tearjerking moment and a killer jukebox soundtrack. Despite an overly crowded central cast and the odd forced emotional moment, the series has lost none of its charm.

 

‘Alien: Covenant’

After the ambitious but patchy ‘Prometheus’, Ridley Scott returns to form. The plodding first act is quickly overtaken by an intense flurry of stomach-turning horror. Most characters are bland and terminally stupid, but Michael Fassbender’s performance as twin androids is a delight. It’s a film well worthy of the franchise.

 

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