Monday, 27 March 2017

Broadchurch - Season 3 (Weekly Reviews)

Continuation of the weekly Broadchurch reviews. The remaining four episodes of the ITV's final series can be found below...



Episode 5 (28th March 2017)


After last week re-discovered a more assured footing at the mid-way point, the fifth episode of Broadchurch's final season feels more like a melting pot of plot revelations used to spur the final run of episodes on, rather than a cohesive episode in its own right. It's still a solid hour of television that recalls the glory days of season one, but isn't tied together as cohesively as last week's masterclass in crime-drama and loses a little bit of the momentum.

Revelations that the Broadchurch detectives have a serial rapist on their hands adds a whole new layer to explore and the show goes full speed ahead with the notion, re-examining possible suspects, their motives and the change in timeframe, throwing everything they think they may know into jeopardy. Handling the reveal that Trish slept with Jim, Cath's husband, on the morning of the party brings the theme of revenge, we are reminded that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and we bring out a terrific side Sarah Parish' Cath; in fact, the whole scene is rather intense and possibly the highlight of the episode, crafting an insanely powerful atmosphere; "of all the women at that party, why would some rape you?" sent shivers down my spine and opens a whole new can of worms regarding character relationships across the board. These new characters are finally beginning to feel a little more fleshed out, five episodes into the series, meaning the intensity is ramped up as another layer is peeled back on every one of our new characters. Trish is fading from the focus a little bit, taking on only a cameo role in an episode and thus remaining a human face to remind on the consequences of the case, so a renewed focus of the trauma is needed. Lenny Henry's Ed is shrouded in mystery and definitely suspicious, bound to be somewhat involved in the unfolding case. Leo Humphries remains the most intriguing suspect to me and next week hints at a few more revelations regarding his shadiness and lies, while Aaron Mayford seems like the most obvious red herring going - but maybe that's the point.

Mark Latimer's search for Joe Miller comes to a little bit of a head as we get our first glimpse of Danny's killer and the promise of fireworks over the coming weeks. Beth Latimer slips out of mind a little, save for a couple of appearances to spur elements of the case on, while its nice to see Paul Coates dealing with a personal crisis and suggesting his character may have a little more of an impact on the series than he already has. The two sides of Broadchurch aren't colliding as efficiently as hoped with Beth, Hardy and Miller the only bridge between. Tennant and Colman excel again, with the scenes between Hardy and his daughter incredibly touching and telling, appearing to set up the series' end-point not so subtly but effectively enough. Another great scene, the opening quarter of the show in which the new victim reveals her reason for not reporting the cast to police - namely her fear of judgement and assumption that she will not be taken seriously - is emotionally-charged and Kelly Gough is brilliant in it but the rest of the episode partially drops off this focus on the case, shifting to the more middling 'whodunnit' side of the show.

Episode 5 is a bit of a bumpy ride but admittedly prepares an abundance of new ground to cover over the final three episodes. In terms of drama, it's brilliant and intense and atmospheric and well-acted, but the whodunnit in wearing a little thin now, mainly because Trish isn't at the focus and the emotional side of the case is not as profound when she fades from centre. It's an episode mediating on evolving and changing relationships and character dynamics, with the cracks finally beginning to show and paths widening, rather than closing, as we head for the final stretch. Episode 5 stumbles a little bit in places but I'm still hopeful for a home run.

B+


See you next Monday!

Power Rangers (2017) (Review)


Power Rangers is the next hopeful cinematic property dug up from the 80s to front a new film franchise. Lionsgate, with no Hunger Games entries in the foreseeable future and Divergent on life support, the studio is obviously inspired by the initial success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and are banking on a reboot of Haim Saban's superhero series to begin their next big-budget tentpole, after the success of their smaller releases - including La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, John Wick: Chapter 2 and Nerve - over the past year. With no connection to the series and no prior knowledge of the property beyond the obvious, what does a first timer think of this reboot?

After the Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), betrays the Power Rangers she is seemingly killed along with the others after Zordon buries the Power Coins to protect the world from her wrath. Years later, five teenagers discover the Coins and realise their new-found superpowers require them to protect the world from a revived Rita who goes about collecting gold to raise her minion, Goldar. Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly Hart (Naomi Scott), Billy Cranston (RJ Tyler), Trini Kwan (Becky G) and Zack Taylor (Ludi Lin) becomes the Red, Pink, Blue, Yellow and Black Rangers to stop the alien threat led by Repulsa. Is this new Power Rangers worth morphin' your hard earned money into a cinema ticket?

It is absolutely refreshing to see such diversity amongst the cast and characters of this superhero film, willing to change and experiment with different dynamics with an individual crop of recruits, including a queer character, one on the autism spectrum and a variety of races and ethnicities. Rather than becoming a novelty, the film really does benefit from a liberal outlook and inclusivity that earns the film some goodwill going forward. Power Rangers aims admirably high in this regard and does attempt to break the superhero mould with a more kid-friendly outlook on the genre, with just a few moments of bleakness in an otherwise relatively colourful spectacle. We see a committed cast of Rangers, with special mentions to Montgomery (who is basically the love child of Zac Efron and Chris Pine) and Tyler for their charming turns, with the two females delivering effective performances too; I'm yet to be sold on Lin's Zack and was easily the most unlikeable of the bunch and the hardest to root for. However, Elizabeth Banks steals the show (and is arguably the only reason I turned up at all), with a honourably camp and exciting performance as the film's villain, reminiscent of Charlize Theron's role in The Huntsman. She's over the top and joyful to watch and my interest in a sequel will depend entirely on her involvement.

Trouble is, Power Rangers takes too long to get going, is completely preposterous and not that easy to love, struggling to shake off the fact that it feels like a desperate, washed-up attempt at a new franchise, rather than an invigorating revival of one. The script is witty and apparently nods back to the original series with care but the screenwriters take way too long to launch us into action, essentially bifurcating the film into two halves that are both obviously flawed. Director Dean Israelite props up some of the scenes with colour and imagery, with a great underwater sequence crafted in act one, but he cannot handle the action set pieces effectively and they are poorly-executed; by the time the action set piece are delivered, its easy to understand the screenwriters reluctancy and delays, as they are so haphazard and energised with little oomph and balance outside of the performers. The character drama is solid but greatly sags in the middle, failing to use its time (a good hour and a half, that is) to develop all five of the leads fairly, placing Yellow and Black firmly on the peripheral. All of this results in a uneven and unbalanced tonal mess that means the blockbuster struggles to feel cohesive and is unable to decide what its wants to identify as, unsure on how to infuse genre effectively; the film desperately wants to keep its options open for future instalments, depending on which side of the story is more favoured by general audiences. Both are deeply flawed with a few sparks of greatness that it needs to harness for a successful franchise moving forward.

We're only three months into this year but if anything overtakes Power Rangers as the film with the most shameless, ludicrous product placing, I will be floored; my god, could they fit any more references or shots of Krispy Kreme in if they tried?! Our villain literally takes a donut break in the middle of all the chaos of the third act (and believe me, it is chaotic). It only serves to reinforce the notion that the reboot feels entirely like a cash-grab rather than a natural revival of the series, alongside the soundtrack that is designed entirely as a second revenue stream with its track-list bursting with some of the biggest pop tunes of the last few years. It makes some weak narrative choices, including the use of Goldar who is utterly unnecessary - a stronger focus on Banks' Rita would have benefitted the story, not only because she is underused but because the CGI used to craft the monster in this final third is rather woeful. These third act effects are glaringly bad, with this creature and the presence of molten gold shockingly amateur, even though the CGI is serviceable for the rest of the runtime. Oh, and like most blockbuster, it could do with a time trim in order to alleviate that enfeeble middle act that drags it down a little.

With lowered expectations, you will be able to find some enjoyment in this whirlwind of CGI but 'leaving your brain at the door' is hardly the way you want to proceed into a film, particularly with so much competition in the cinemas at the moment - most noticeably, Beauty & The Beast. It's serviceable and not nearly as bad as I was expecting for a first-timer but it's nothing to sing and dance about and doesn't leave me with a lot of promise for the franchise moving forward. The cast are all decent, we have some thrills, some genuinely great character beats and thankfully the misplaced joke about 'milking' a male cow doesn't set the tone for the entire piece - but it's not too far off either. There's a charm about Power Rangers that I didn't really expect and it feels more squarely aimed at kids than any other superhero film in the past year or so, so I'm hardly the demographic in mind. The diversity of the cast and heroes is terrific and really efficient in helping the film forge a vision of its own, with Montgomery, Tyler and Banks particularly deserving praise. Power Rangers isn't the dead on arrival flop expected but will require a lot of attention if Lionsgate continue with the further instalments, as they have made abundantly clear as their goal.

(5/10)

Summary: Power Rangers is a mixed bag; it forges its own vision with an inclusive cast, unique characters and decent performances but that only occasionally distracts from a terribly uneven story, weak CGI and awfully distracting product placement.

Highlight: Respected actresses going gaga for a superhero/fantasy film is one of my favourite things. Elizabeth Banks has so much fun here.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Life (2017) (Review)


Continuing the emerging niche market of adult sci-fi fare during the pre and post summer blockbuster window, Life joins the likes of Arrival, Passengers, The Martian, Interstellar and Gravity in offering something wholly original in the tentpole and franchise-fuelled industry. While my particular fondness of the genre is a little hit and miss, the marketing and trailers for Life set out a terrific piece to continue the torch, infusing this Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds outing with horror similar to that of the Alien series. Therefore, I'm genuinely disappointed to report that, despite the name suggesting otherwise, there is no signs of Life in this sci-fi horror adventure.

Six members of the International Space Station successfully capture a space probe returning from Mars with a soil sample that proves to be the first evidence of extraterrestrial life. Managing to extract a single-cell from the sample, Biologist Huge Derry grows it into a multi-celled organism that grows quickly in an adjusted atmosphere. However, realising that each cell in the organism is a myocyte, neutron and photoreceptor (meaning it can move, think and see), they quickly realise that this may be a discovery they live to regret. Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds star as the names-above-the-poster while Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Baker and Olga Dihovichnaya perform in supporting roles. 

Note above that I haven't provided any names, as the characters are completely forgettable, with the script failing to afford any depth or development to any of the six scientists aboard the ISS. You struggle to care for them or will for their survival, as the film plays out with little urge and in an entirely perfunctory way, caring more for a plot that feels completely derivative of similar films, than characters or even thematic advancement, which is where a lot of the promise actually lays. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick's script is shallow, indicative of the entire picture, never delivering anything beyond surface detail and struggling to maintain even that basic level. Characters are picked off on by one in what strives to be inventive ways but never really achieves, providing everything by-the-numbers with little consideration beyond that sequel they try to set up. Director Daniel Espinosa attempts to jazz it up but its largely hit or miss, with some elements that feel entirely 'style over substance', including the unnecessarily elongated opening sequence - although, admittedly, the very final shot is truly gorgeous but completely out of place in this otherwise sub-standard flick. Special effects are decent but nothing overly remarkable, especially when held next to the likes of Gravity and Interstellar, or even Alien, which the film so openly aspires to be. Even the production design is unspectacular, particularly for a film of this budget (roughly $58 million).

While various elements let the film down, the most glaring issue with Life is that it is genuinely boring. It's incontrovertible to suggest that Life isn't without its moments, crafting some spots of genuine intensity, peppered mainly throughout the first act and the transition into the middle act, as well as a couple of moments at the very end of the picture, but besides that, it never nearly compels you to stay throughout it, endlessly drifting into stretches of boredom and complete perplexity like a body floating in space. Aforementioned ending is entirely predictable but still thrilling, with a sprinkle of scenes predominantly based in the lab promising; but apart from these brief moments, everything else struggles to hit the mark, imitative and poorly executed with little in the way of convincing you this is anything other than a place holder until the next sci-fi picture comes rolling around. Kelvin, the alien at the heart, is decently designed and is the closest to memorable the film manages. In this premise exists a genuinely exciting film but the final product is far from that, a shadow of its potential and a truly forgettable exercise in conventionality.

Both the lead and supporting performances are decent enough but no one is truly given an opportunity to shine, restricted in doing so by the poor and uninspired script that leaves you with a couple of eye-rolls every now and then. Without meaning offence to the BBC show, Life is basically an episode of Doctor Who extended into a feature-length runtime - except, this isn't a Weeping Angel masterpiece or Dalek classic, but instead a series filler only placed to pass the time in the middle of a weaker season. Much like your average series of Doctor Who, it suffers from pacing issues and its 103 minute runtime could do with a 15 minute trim to make it a more robust piece of cinema which could possibly alleviate a few of its nagging issues; that would also result in a tighter script with less time to deviate and one that may make more sense with a stronger notion of cohesion. A shorter time would possibly cut out a lot of that boredom too, which is probably the most perplexing element of this film.

Tiresome and tedious, Life never comes to grips with the promise its premise hints at, with the interesting themes foregone for narrative work that feels conventional every step of the way, in terms of both science-fiction tropes and horror cliches. Humanity's hunger to know more than they should and the consequences of actually finding extra-terrestrial life would be a more interesting idea to play with, but is abandoned for a more perfunctory, uninspired angle derivative of a lot of the tension its deserves. A few decent directorial flourishes are effective and the cast is passable with the material they are afforded - but on the whole and rather ironically, Life is rather lifeless experience.

(4/10)

Summary: It is with no pleasure at all that I must report that there is no sign of Life here. It is a soulless exercise of science-fiction and horror conventions, with a weak, uninspired script weighing down what could have been a promising continuation of the new-found 'sci-fi for adults canon.

Highlight: The last shot is genuinely beautiful - it is honestly one of the most beautiful things I've seen. It also signalled the end of the film, so it was a win-win.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Beauty & The Beast (3D) (2017) (Review)


Disney have travelled quite the rocky road with their live-action fairytale sub-genre; Pete's Dragon and The Jungle Book were really excellent; Maleficent and Cinderella were both decent enough; while Alice In Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking Glass register on the lower end of that spectrum, with a plethora of remakes in the pipeline over the coming years. Beauty & The Beast is the next in that billion-dollar grossing series, with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens starring in the titular roles. Considered a firm fan favourite by many, it has a lot resting on its shoulders - so just how does the tale as old as time stand up to the deeply loved original and should you be its guest?

Sacrificing herself for her father, Belle (Watson) is taken prisoner by a Beast in his enchanted castle, in which all his furniture comes to life. Under a spell, the Beast must show that he can love, and be loved in return, before the final rose petal falls, or remain a beast forever. With time quickly passing, Belle could be their only hope to return to their normal lives and break the spell, if only she can teach him how to love. The filmmakers have promised some new additions and tweaks to the original story to make it more suitable to contemporary audiences, with 35 minutes added on to its runtime in the process. Has the memory of the original been damaged with this retelling? Or has it somewhat improved the beloved animation?

Honestly, it does neither, falling somewhere in between. It plays out exactly as you expect it to, a carbon copy that lacks justification and is devoid of imagination. It's absolutely warming and feel-good, likely pleasing the intended audiences with this beautiful re-sell, but there's no denying that this is somewhat of a copy-and-paste job. Some sequences feel entirely shot-for-shot and any new additions and depth added to various backstories are evidently tweaked for inclusivity, becoming far too pronounced and garish, as if for the sake of it. That's not how it should be handled, as the 'issues' the film strives to normalise and sensitise audiences to (LGBT characters, interracial relationships etc.) stand out for being too imaginative in a film that otherwise lacks it. In equal parts, that is both brilliant and unfortunate; it certainly doesn't dampen my appreciation towards Disney for attempting to bring audiences into the 21st century, but I just wish it didn't feel so revolutionary by default. If the film had felt like a new imagining of the tale, instead of sticking so cautiously to the beloved source material, these moments of progression would be a breath of fresh air, but instead they feel planted in a film otherwise too connected to its roots. We develop on a few plot strands but nothing overly profound, although details on Belle's mother is a nice addition.

Beauty & The Beast brings together a tremendous ensemble cast, all helmed by Emma Watson in a role that feels custom made for her English class; it's a decent performance, as she handles the music, the action and the humour efficiently, even if she doesn't always seem comfortable in some of the more CGI-orientated moments. Watson's collaborative efforts with the filmmakers in their attempt to unburden the film from its problematic 'Stockholm syndrome' set-up is notable, with an attempt at making Belle a more feminist role-model but its not fully convincing and still a little icky - a fundamental character flaw that clouds the film more than anything else. Dan Stevens is pretty restricted and their relationship is not fully explored, despite their love being the central plot element of the piece. Luke Evans and Josh Gad's double act is particularly impressive, with Evans' Gaston infusing an unshakeable likability with sheer arrogance and irritability (thanks to the man himself) while Josh Gad's LeFou delivers a subtle and affirming performance as Gaston's sidekick with his wavering dedication to his partner in crime well-realised. The pair's village sequences and song 'Gaston' are some of the film's standout moments, bringing a real oomph to the film when the pace  begins to falter. A game voice cast succeed to varying degrees, with Emma Thompson the absolute highlight, perfectly affording her a moment to shine during her heartbreaking reprisal of the theme song, which we are treated to on two occasions. In fact, many of the musical sequences are among the strongest - Be Our Guest, my personal favourite, is the only returning classic to underwhelm.

Where Beauty & The Beast really excels in is its sumptuous, lavish beauty, with its rumoured $160 million budget splashed onto screen in all its exuberance and extravagance. Production elements are stunningly-designed and brought to life, with a impressive level of detail paid to each; the costumes are lush and exciting, props and decorations are dazzling, most of the sets are exquisite and, for the majority, the CGI is strong. Vibrant and bustling village-set sequences, including that enjoyable 'Belle' opening and the climatic 'Kill the beast!' moment, contrast with the more dull and drab castle exterior sequences, which is unsurprisingly where the film loses a lot of its spark - including a relative lull during the middle act. Alan Menken's score is pretty enchanting, with the new musical additions working effectively on the whole (except that bizarre Evermore addition which feels tonally awkward). Director Bill Condon helps accentuate some of the magic, with some really nice touches, demonstrated no more so than during the ballroom scene and, ironically, the final ballroom scene, with cinematographer Tobias Schliessler finding further beauty in his vision. We've got some terrific usage of 3D, amplifying the visual spectacle, with the ballroom scene even more impressive; it's not overly remarkable but does help in highlighting the magic.

Beauty & The Beast has a lot to like but there's little to love; while it fails to distinguish itself from the beloved original, it never really tries to break out from its shadow either. It is the definition of playing it safe, escaping to the middle ground of fantasy musical live-action and Disney's own sub-genre. You cannot help but will the film to try something new or something different. Its charm is undeniable and ignites a nostalgia within you that will greatly influence how much you enjoy this remake - and it is a remake, rather than a re-imagining, as that suggests imagination was actually involved - of the tale as old as time. While I am not naive enough to believe that Hollywood is designed for any other reason that making as much money as possible, this is the first time during one of Disney's live-action re-imaginings where I've caught myself, mid-movie, questioning their justification in reviving this particular property, with nothing new to say in the final product. It's really fine, delightful and splendid at times and it will absolutely win round audiences, but the final outcome is unshakeably perfunctory and lacks the imagination that made the original so enjoyable in my eyes.

(6.5/10)

Summary: Beauty & The Beast is decent enough, with stunning production elements, joyful musical numbers and a game cast - but there is little new offered to this tale as old as time, making the final outcome largely perfunctory and unimaginative.

Highlight: Emma Thompson's version of 'Beauty & The Beast'. I want to shake the person's hand who came up with the idea.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Get Out (2017) (Review)


Get Out looked like trash. After seeing the trailers a couple of times attached to various films in the lead up to its release, I had dismissed it as another horror misstep, your typical 'early year' flaky horror flick simply designed as counter-programming, to fill the gap in essence. But then, something huge happened: launching to critical acclaim, rave reviews, huge box office receipts and even a few whispers of future Oscar glory, the film captured a zeitgeist and is quickly becoming one of the most successful horror films of all time, never mind one that infuses comedy into the fold. The sub-genre is arguably the most difficult one to nail, emphasised by its dreadful success rate -  so how does this example, marking the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, fare and should you get out to see it?

Black photographer Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) leaves with his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), for the suburbs to meet her parents, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener). Although she tells him she has never had a black boyfriend, she assures him that her family are not racist and will accept him as they have her previous partners. With his concerns initially alleviated, he slowly begins to realise something is not quite right, when Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and Walter (Marcus Henderson), two housekeepers, continue to act peculiar. As you can probably tell from the marketing and plot summary alone, the film deals with themes such as racism and divide in this biting social satire and commentary, that has seemingly struck a chord amongst cinemagoers, particularly with audiences on the other side of the pond as it now begins its international roll-out.

Despite my initial reluctancy that a horror-comedy could ever be effective - having never seen or fully brought into an example before -  Get Out sets the standard unbelievably high. Horror and comedy are such opposing genres with such alternative aims, yet Peele uses elements of each and blends them into an almost faultless film. The uncomfortable use of humour helps craft an uneasy atmosphere that is perpetuated throughout the entire film, sustained from the first frame (which is very possibly one of the most effective horror opening scenes in recent memory) until the very last. It indulges in a few horror conventions but the infusion of comedy is enough to disconcert you, with every jump and scare feeling fresh and unique. All of this is in thanks to Peele's assured direction; it's unfathomable that this is only his directorial debut, as he projects an unwavering confidence and skill, from the balance of tone to the bold direction, the razor-sharp script to the solid execution. Of the script, Peele somehow manages to avoid pushing its themes too drastically and forcefully, understanding when and where self-control is required and refusing to play the blame game. It really is masterful and the type of film the edge of your seat is made for, tremendously running at an efficient and unpredictable pace all the while.

Anchoring the film further is the terrific central performance, as well as some enduring supporting turns. Black Mirror's Daniel Kaluuya delivers a performance of nuance, control and restraint during the first half, making for an even more impactful second half that allows him to flex his acting muscles wonderfully. There's something inherently likeable about Chris, upturning horror character tropes effectively and giving your someone to root for as everything unfolds. Allison Williams is tremendous as Rose, exuding a warmth and compassion that ensures the pair are well-matched particularly when contrasted with Chris' more sedated personality; she shows a lot of promise here and her name is well worth making a note of, in a similar vein as for what The Witch did for Anya Taylor-Joy's. Disconcerting and alarming, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener and Caleb Landry Jones deliver startling performances as the more questionable members of the Armitage family, alongside 'family members' Betty Gabriel and Marcus Henderson who perform with a great sense of control and poise. Lil Rey Howery is flat-out hilarious as Rod, a friend of Chris and Rose, with a continually amusing and sharp portrayal as his concerned friend. Each of the actors, most noticeably Whitford and Gabriel walk the fine line between dramatic and comedic performances expertly, always delivering when needed, including one scene in which the latter, a shaken Georgina, begins manically laughing with tears streaming down her face; you honestly do not know whether to laugh yourself or cry or sink into your chair or cover your eyes in fear - it is a hypnotising performance and encompasses everything great director, writer and producer Peele does with this film.

So many more individual elements add to the success of Get Out; the excellent score and phenomenal soundtrack which accentuates that comedic element further, with the opening scene contrapuntally underscored by 'Run Rabbit Run' (despite its reputation as trashy television, this is the one element absolutely mastered by Fox's Scream Queens horror-comedy anthology series) masterfully, as well as the reprisal of a famous musical's defining track; intermittent bursts of horror and/or gore that are never overly excessive and infrequent enough to prevent turning less-sensitised viewers off completely; a genuine, startling unpredictability - even if/when you clock a few of the twists, you can never lay claim as to where this film is heading in the long-run. Some people may have find issues with the fact that the film chickens out of saying anything lasting in the end, dismissing one of its major plot strands with an unexplained resolution that niggles just slightly. Perhaps the most major flaw of this film though is its spoiler-filled trailer; not only does it suggest an end-project not nearly as terrific as its outcome, but it's stuffed full with spoilers that dampens the thrill of witnessing it all unfold. Thankfully the third act is left unrevealed but you get too much of a sense of what to expect from the beginning two acts, causing it to somewhat lose the element of surprise. It's exactly the opposite of what Suicide Squad (sensational marketing, dreadful final product) and Passengers (hid one of the early major twists, completely changing the notion you approach the film with) did, implying that Hollywood still has a long way to go in balancing its trailers and marketing to expectations. Basically, the more blind you go into this film, the better for your enjoyment and surprise.

Get Out is an effective, creepy and calculated social commentary that is every bit as biting and sharp as you would hope, thanks to a confidence from first-time director, writer and producer Jordan Peele. It's infusion of horror and comedy under the same roof is notably unsettling, with a heady mix of politics, humour and fun. It's unbelievably smart and subversive, twisted and slick. One fear of mine heading into this film, almost four weeks after it landed in the US, is that it wouldn't connect with UK audiences as it did with our friends over the pond - but after sitting in a screening with the most enthused audience for a good while, all my qualms were squashed and I am convinced this will be an equally large hit here as well as abroad, even if some of the themes and characters are not as immediately recognisable. Get Out is a fine, fine film that deserves it heralding as a contemporary horror classic.

(9/10)

Summary: Get Out is a razor-sharp social satire that is every bit as thrilling and shocking as it is hilarious and creepy. Balancing out two contradictory genres is a difficult feat, yet first-time director Jordan Peele pretty much masters it on first attempt. The contemporary horror classic of our age is here.

Highlight: "You know I can't do that babe"