An absolutely baffling Japanese-American neon Western wherein Nicolas Cage is strapped into a bomb suit to rescue a governor’s daughter who has gone missing and maybe ghosts did it or maybe it’s a curse? There has to be a fascinating story behind the production. This is a hot mess. It’s… Read more “PRISONERS OF THE GHOSTLAND (2021)”

Whatcha been readin’?

Since the pandemic started I’ve been leaning harder into setting wind-down time in the evening aside specifically for reading, and as a result have made my way through around twenty-seven books in the last eighteenish months. A couple of these were re-reads, but of the new ones I’ve compiled a… Read more “Whatcha been readin’?”


Part Cronenberg body horror, part Lynchian psychological trip, part weirder-bits-of-TrueBlood. Incredibly well shot and put together with a great specificity of vision that conjures a distinct and uniquely nightmarish take on 90s L.A. drenched in neon and black magic. Some truly disgusting visuals anchored by a fantastic cast of strange,… Read more “BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR (2021)”


An abandoned motel straddling the California/Nevada state lines plays host to six strangers with dark pasts. The cast is inspired, the production design is excellent and the stagecraft is fantastic. Cinematography is creative and makes the whole production feel like an elaborate stage play. Soundtrack is stacked with 50s bops.… Read more “BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (2018)”

VIVO (2021)

A colourful celebration of Latin American music, soundtracked by and starring Lin Manuel Miranda as the titular kinkajou. Skews to a younger crowd, with bright colours and high antics. Some of the designs are honestly pretty ugly but the story has heart and the songs are all original Mirandas, including… Read more “VIVO (2021)”

NARCOS (s01-03)

A little late to the party on this one, sure, but better late than never. The sort of prestige crime drama usually reserved for HBO, it marks a period of Netflix when they were trying especially hard to establish themselves as a viable rival. It really shows. Usually I avoid… Read more “NARCOS (s01-03)”


It’s… fine? Creature design is fantastic, VFX are A-grade, story is intriguing enough in principle: A war in the future recruits people from the present to battle an unstoppable alien force. Hijinx ensue. However, so much of the overlong runtime boils down to characters moving towards an objective while shooting… Read more “THE TOMORROW WAR (2021)”


Absurdly violent, ridiculously silly and very, very entertaining. The smartest move was definitely to just ignore that they made one of these in 2016 and throw a whole pile of fresh C-list characters into the grinder. Never once takes itself seriously, yet manages to take enough time to bring an… Read more “THE SUICIDE SQUAD (2021)”


Terrorists hijack a plane and unwittingly set off a vampire hiding onboard. If nothing about that premise makes you immediately say “fuck yeah” then I don’t know what more I can tell you to sell it. It’s ridiculous and it’s fun and it takes itself just seriously enough to stay… Read more “BLOOD RED SKY (2021)”


A cinematic Arthurian heroic poem, complete with knights, woodland creatures, saints, spirits and mythic quests. Run all of that through the sort of slow-burn style and striking visuals that A24 is known for and you’ve got The Green Knight. Incredibly well crafted, the sort of tone that the fantasy genre… Read more “THE GREEN KNIGHT (2021)”

M.O.D.O.K. — s01 (2021)

Robot Chicken-style supervillain sitcom. What better character to explore the weird supervillains and goons dynamic of the Marvel universe than a gigantic head in a floating chair? Tonnes of in-jokes, Patton Oswalt is perfectly cast, the whole thing is light, silly fun. Recommended.

THE STAND (2020)

Ironic that this released just as the world was dealing with a very real pandemic, so understandable that it was largely ignored or passed over given the circumstances. Stephen King stories are best treated as limited series such as this, as it gives the characters plenty of room to exist… Read more “THE STAND (2020)”

LOKI (2021)

The best of the Disney+ Marvel shows so far. Production design is outstanding, the cast is charismatic and strange. It’s a tight six episodes too, which is a real sweet spot for these series. Feels like the best parts of a Dr Who adventure mashed together with a big budget… Read more “LOKI (2021)”


A great standalone spy film that’s biggest flaw is that it maybe came a few years later than it deserved. It’s refreshing to have Natasha reframed and to have her backstory finally filled in, and the supporting cast here is one of the best things about it. It’s a made… Read more “BLACK WIDOW (2021)”


A tremendously sweet and strange tale about a human/deer hybrid boy traversing a post-apocalyptic world. Each episode feels like a chapter from a storybook. The characters are endearing and the cast is great. The connection between the hybrids and The Sick which has ravaged the world is a solid, dark… Read more “SWEET TOOTH s01”


CONTENT WARNING: Sexual assault. Billed as a black comedy (and it’s certainly black), it’s the sort of film that seems to be verging spilling into pure revenge fantasy but instead reveals itself to be a story of pain inflicting pain, tangled up in rom-com tropes. There is no moral lesson.… Read more “PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020)”

LUCA (2021)

Possibly the lightest, summeriest Pixar film to date — one that’s thankfully not interested in heavy emotional subject matter but would rather just present a nice, simple story and it delivers a delight. Two young sea monsters sneak up on land to win a triathalon so they can buy a… Read more “LUCA (2021)”


Solid family adventure film with the obligatory gorgeous Disney Animated visuals. At what point do we stop commenting on how pretty each new one is, given that the next one will inevitably somehow manage to surpass it? Nonetheless, design aesthetics are fantastic here, and unique among their animated collection. It’s… Read more “RAYA & THE LAST DRAGON (2021)”


A-grade small-town murder-mystery with a great supporting cast, twisty plot reveals and a great lead performance from Kate Winslet. Honestly, much more is potentially spoilery so if you got through all those hyphens without already skipping over to look up where it’s available for you to watch then maybe this… Read more “MARE OF EASTTOWN (2021)”

Bo Burnham: INSIDE (2021)

When this whole pandemic situation started we knew that there was terrible art out there being made about it. Just some really dreadful, insufferably thoughtless bad takes. But out there too are some diamonds — pieces of creativity that encapsulate and express the time beautifully. This is the latter. Calling… Read more “Bo Burnham: INSIDE (2021)”

THE DRY (2020)

Small town murder mystery against the backdrop of Australian drought. A well constucted thriller with solid performances, great cinematography and a permeating hostile atmosphere overlaying the modern case with a unsolved death in the town 25 years earlier. The dry, dead isolation of inner coastal Australia is on full display,… Read more “THE DRY (2020)”


Y’all, Zack Snyder is not a good filmmaker. I’m sorry if this is how you had to find out. His pacing is awful, his characters are flat, and his one usual exception (that famous eye for dazzling cinematography, usually by filming comic compositions other people designed) is almost entirely absent… Read more “ARMY OF THE DEAD (2021)”


A metal/noise drummer suddenly experiences almost total hearing loss and has to deal with a complete upheaval of his nomadic life. This came in with the 2021 Oscar for best sound design, and for good reason. Never treated like a gimmick, the audio design switches seamless from traditional cinematic mixing… Read more “SOUND OF METAL (2019)”


An alternate history drama where the Russians landed on the moon first, kicking off a prolonged, multi-generational space race of one-upmanship sustained by the wounded pride of the United States. It’s bloody great. Moreover, it’s a fascinating exploration of human motivations to greatness and high ambition as well as being… Read more “FOR ALL MANKIND (s01/02)”


It’s tough to really discuss what sets this apart from any other coming-of-age superpowered story without utterly spoiling the thing that sets it apart. So more generally I can say that it has fun takes on a lot of well-worn tropes and has a couple of refreshing things to say… Read more “INVINCIBLE s01”


Is it a bad movie? Yes. Is it the good sort of entertaining? Also yes. Some brilliantly ridiculous action stacked in around long stretches of flat exposition and some weird character choices. The plot’s a mess and the acting’s stilted but it’s also fun when it’s chewing scenery and revelling… Read more “MORTAL KOMBAT (2021)”


A total masterstroke of modern genre television. Less the Cthulhu mythos elements of Lovecraft’s stories, but rather taking small, weird tales of scifi, cosmic horror, occult organisations, time/space travel and wrapping them all in post-Korean wartime black United States. So of course, all the supernatural darkness and horror that comes… Read more “LOVECRAFT COUNTRY s01 (2020)”


A decent entry into the “creepy isolated cult” sub-genre, told with plenty of breathing room over six episodes. Not as fantastical as I was hoping it would turn out, but nonetheless a fairly effective thriller told in two parts: three days (episodes) each of someone arriving on the island of… Read more “THE THIRD DAY (2020)”


Y’know what? I had fun with it. It’s kinda funny how this franchise went from the tonally grounded, disaster movie feel of Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla to the high-tech Hollow Earth kaiju showdown extravaganza here. It’s a big step up from King of the Monsters (2019), partly because the runtime… Read more “GODZILLA vs KONG (2021)”


What can a horror film ponder on religion or biblical themes that wasn’t already covered by The Exorcist? Well, if SAINT MAUD has anything to say about, it some fairly damning critique of blind faith through the eyes of a wildly unreliable narrator. Heavy content warnings for self-harm, as Maud… Read more “SAINT MAUD (2019)”


A solid start to the MCU’s new Disney+ arm. A little slow to start for the first two or so episodes, but quickly gets comfortable playing with its concept and pushes what’s expected of a superhero show out into some interesting directions. I’ll save the big plot twists and geekery… Read more “WANDAVISION (2021)”

HIS HOUSE (2020)

An impressive debut from writer/director Remi Weekes, centring in the experience of a Sudanese refugee couple who have settled in the United Kingdom only to find something terrible has followed them across the sea. Some really well executed scares, quick pacing and an organic escalation into horror that makes excellent… Read more “HIS HOUSE (2020)”


A little late to the party on this one, but glad I got around to it. All the charm and personality of Fantastic Mr Fox plus all the usual trapping of a Wes Anderson flick. Positively dripping with style and meticulous production design. The plot is tight and quirky and… Read more “ISLE OF DOGS (2018)”

New art!

I’ve been learning 3D software in my spare time the past few months and it’s been awesome to be able to start producing concept pieces so fast and have them look so awesome! I build the models in Blender, then export to Substance Painter for texturing, then back into Blender… Read more “New art!”

BLOODBORNE (2015) // PS4

A hunter is a hunter, even in a dream. Being a Dark Souls fan this one has been on my wishlist for years and I was excited to finally have a system to spend time slashing my way through the beasts of Yharnam to discover what the rituals of the… Read more “BLOODBORNE (2015) // PS4”


Stephen King really has a way with small towns and supernatural murder. Based on the book of the same name (which I haven’t read), it tracks the investigation into what at first seems like a very clear cut murder that quickly starts to escalate and destroy the community. Tone and… Read more “THE OUTSIDER (2020)”


A decent enough sci-fi drama trapped in an identity crisis. There’s two tales happening in parallel and it takes a long time to become apparent how they’re linked, and only in the final ten minutes or so do the two threads really twine together. Problem is, George Clooney’s story is… Read more “THE MIDNIGHT SKY (2020)”

TED LASSO — s01 (2020)

For a show that’s framed around an American football coach moving to the UK to coach soccer it’s really about everything except that. There’s an infectious earnestness and shameless good-natured bent it all that you can’t help but get invested in. And damn if the relentless optimism doesn’t just get… Read more “TED LASSO — s01 (2020)”


First and foremost, it’s hard to to address the posthumous presence of Chadwick Boseman as the long-departed leader of the titular Bloods — a young man taken well before his time. The choice to have him remain the only youthful member of the cast makes his ghost loom large, since… Read more “DA FIVE BLOODS (2020)”

SOUL (2020)

All the emotional storytelling you’ve come to expect from Pixar wrapped up in stunningly brilliant abstracted visuals and perfect sound design. In a lot of ways it presents as Ratatouille for music, but it has much more to offer while still keeping a light enough touch that you never feel… Read more “SOUL (2020)”

WONDER WOMAN 1984 (2020)

Eh. Feels like an 80s movie through and through, from direction to VFX composition, it’s as much the aesthetic of the Donner-era Superman as anything else. Thing is, there’s some super-sketchy political messaging in there regarding the Middle East, and the final hopeful climax of the film that sees all… Read more “WONDER WOMAN 1984 (2020)”

TENET (2020)

What a mess. Ok, positive first: The soundtrack slaps. The performances are all excellent. The execution of the practical effects and the stunts are great. But… The sound mixing is, BY FAR, the worst I’ve heard in a blockbuster, possibly ever. Action scenes are thunderously loud even with the volume… Read more “TENET (2020)”


It’s hard to tell at what point of this film’s absurdly protracted release things started coming apart — clearly there was a distinct vision at one point and all the mess of its production just muddied that so much that what we got was just sort of a flat, disjointed… Read more “THE NEW MUTANTS (2020)”

LEGION (s01-03)

It’s hard to pin Legion down, since it’s very proudly one of the least superhero-y comicbook-based TV series of the past decade despite being populated by very comicbooky characters and ideas. It’s more of a psychedelic mind trip through gorgeous production design, S-tier cinematography and a plot and cast of… Read more “LEGION (s01-03)”

RELIC (2020)

A haunted house where the ghosts are the ravages of old age. Brilliant production design and great performances, a spookfest drawn from slow and creeping dread rather than jumps and frights. Also great to see yet another solid entry into the quality Australian horror canon — another argument for support… Read more “RELIC (2020)”


Now that introductions and an initial conflict in the first season are out of the way it’s much more fun just to let the characters be themselves… while scattered across the timeline of 1960s Dallas, Texas. Of course, there’s another apocalypse looming and a trio of time-hopping Swedish assassins to… Read more “THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY (s02)”

THE BOYS (s02)

Just as bloody, cruel and pointed as season one, but a bigger shift to the humanity of all the characters makes it feel much less nihilistic, and as such it’s more engaging. I liked the first season plenty, but was curious to see if they slid towards the kinda offputting… Read more “THE BOYS (s02)”


A descent into a fragmenting mind that at first seems like it might land too far the side of twee and meet-cute but veers off into the strange and tragic. Alison Brie paints a convincing picture of someone suddenly and very rapidly losing their mind to PTSD in a world… Read more “HORSE GIRL (2020)”

DARK (s01-03)

An elegant, intricate knot. The sort of story that screenwriters all wish they were clever enough to pull off this effectively. It’s just the right length, brilliantly self-contained and full of endearing characters and so much mystery that you’ll be going right back to the start to figure out where… Read more “DARK (s01-03)”


Much more subdued than what you might expect from a Lonely Island movie but still light, easy and fun all the same. Effortlessly charismatic performances from both Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti and the always welcome JK Simmons wildcard. Could have maybe gone a little bigger on its premise, but… Read more “PALM SPRINGS (2020)”

HANNIBAL (s01–03)

Not so much a review as an appreciation post (plus I wanted to paint Mads in the role). Anthony Hopkins is iconic and no slight against him, but Mikkelsen is the perfect casting for Hannibal Lecter. He oozes a chilling charisma, excercising total control of everyone around him. In fact,… Read more “HANNIBAL (s01–03)”


A good little caper film about a peaceful co-op group conspiring to steal their money back from a corrupt councilor after the Argentinian market crash of the early 2000s. A great cast of oddballs and small-town folk, light and easy and charming. Recommended.


A motherf***ing charming, bloody delight. You might feel inclined to dismiss this for its proximity to the aggressively mediocre SUICIDE SQUAD film, or that on the surface it looks wannabe-DEADPOOL edgy — it’s really anything but! Think of it as Adult Swim-toned Elseworlds DC universe satire wrapped around a sort… Read more “HARLEY QUINN (s01/02)”


A nice, simple little scifi thriller with the look and feel of an early Cold War-set episode of STRANGE TALES or THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Does a great deal with very little, and has some really creative camera work that beautifully describes the distances around a small town somewhere in 1950s… Read more “THE VAST OF NIGHT (2019)”


While the main thrust of the plot may be about a mixup of the Antichrist at birth and his coming into his power at the cusp of the apocalypse, the real shining heart is the friendship between an angel and a devil who are both terrible at their jobs. Seldom… Read more “GOOD OMENS (2019)”


A Chinese-American family returns home to attend a cousin’s wedding, except the wedding is fake and the family are really gathering to say goodbye to their grandmother whom they haven’t told is dying. Awkwafina should have received more than just the hushed critical attention she got for this — she… Read more “THE FAREWELL (2019)”

FUTURE MAN (s01-03)

A slacker janitor beats an impossible videogame that turns out to be a recruitment tool from time-travelling warriors that need him to be their saviour. What ensues is a ridiculous romp across multiple timelines, the most callous disregard for the dangers of time-travel, a whole episode dunking on James Cameron… Read more “FUTURE MAN (s01-03)”


An Australian horror comedy quite unlike anything else — you’d be forgiven in the first half hour for thinking you were in for a sort of quirky dramedy or even a romcom. And then there are zombies. And suddenly this has become a seige movie with a bunch of five… Read more “LITTLE MONSTERS (2019)”

ONWARD (2020)

Somewhere around the middle of the Pixars — not as stellar as COCO or even the underrated RATATOUILLE, but comes back in the third act with an unexpected final stretch that puts it above, say, the similarly medium MONSTERS UNIVERSITY or BRAVE. Feels like a lot of time was spent… Read more “ONWARD (2020)”


One of the best highschool movies ever. I’m an entire highschool graduate’s lifetime removed from that part of my life now, but this is such a well executed, funny, sincere comedy that I was flashed back to that long gone headspace of hormones and excitement for the next phase of… Read more “BOOKSMART (2019)”


It’s actually good! Like, to the point where it’s really a shame that this will fly under most peoples’ radars entirely — it’s much closer to something like THE VVITCH than to, say, SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN. Cool visuals, interesting design choices, trippy cinematography and a much darker angle… Read more “GRETEL & HANSEL (2020)”


CUBE, except vertical and the levels represent society. Low budget sci-fi horror with a decent hook and some visceral, nasty things to show you. Fairly blunt in its sociopolitical metaphor, but it’s not really trying to be clever beyond making the broad strokes of commentary. It’s fairly plain what it’s… Read more “THE PLATFORM (2020)”

THE LODGE (2019)

Small scale isolationist horror with a great handling of atmosphere and enough tricks up its sleeve to make you think it’s any one of half a dozen different sorts of movie at any point in time. Even a cursory summation of plot threatens to give away too much. A cabin.… Read more “THE LODGE (2019)”


An extended TWILIGHT ZONE episode in all the right ways. If that’s your jam then this is worth a look without reading anything further at risk of spoilers. What of the plot can’t be extrapolated from the title and the first few minutes of the film are best left untold,… Read more “VIVARIUM (2019)”


It’s… fine, actually? I don’t really have any attachment to the character beyond the Genesis games and even then found his Radical 90s ‘Tude to be a marketing department trying too hard, but this isn’t terrible. It’s kinda just a sweet and simple enough story about friendship, broken up every… Read more “SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (2020)”

DEVS (2020)

Minimalist contemporary-set scifi with excellent production design and a languid, contemplative pace. Not for everyone, mostly because it’s very slow and it chooses to skew hard into heady philosophy — pretty standard territory for writer/director Alex Garland. But those inclined towards this sort of thing will love it. Skirts around… Read more “DEVS (2020)”


Still the best videogame adaptation of any sort, and this latest season sees gory, bloody action tempered by an expansion of the cast, new mysteries and a deeper exploration of personalities following the climax of season two. Perhaps slower and more contemplative than the preceding seasons, there’s a lot of… Read more “CASTLEVANIA s03”


Great cast, great production design… but ultimately it’s a pretty by-the-numbers wannabe creature feature which feels stuck together at a disjointed pace in a way that sacrifices any tension or tone for predictable jump scares and expositional dialogue. Not outright bad in any regard, just kinda middling and doesn’t flex… Read more “UNDERWATER (2020)”


It’s great! Paranoid, economical, and leaning on a stellar lead performance from Elisabeth Moss and some really creative camerawork to sell what is essentially an absence, but also a very distinct presence. The camera lingers and follows what isn’t there, behaving as though empty space is being filmed with someone… Read more “THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020)”


There’s something inherently difficult in translating this specific short story to the screen, given that the titular “colour out of space” is supposed to be indescribable by nature and film is an inherently visual medium. Still, there’s some interesting work done with colour grades and some really neat glitch-style VFX… Read more “COLOR OUT OF SPACE (2019)”

KINGDOM: s02 (2020)

Zombie plague + feudal Korea + beautiful cinematography + devious political machinations = an absolute winner following a similarly great first season. Lots of twists and turns, great choreography and characters. It’s on Netflix now. Highly recommended.


Did they forget to add real credits at the start or did the graphic design place just give up? Did they spend all their budget on these banging scenic wide shots and that one big swanky party scene? Why is this character named Harry Hole? Is it a translation error?… Read more “THE SNOWMAN (2017)”

ATERRADOS // Terrified (2017)

Super effective at creating a sense of dread as a group of specialists investigate a rash of supernatural occurrences in a small Buenos Aires neighbourhood that begin to seep and bleed from house to house. Full of unsettling imagery and well executed horror tropes, even if it ultimately isn’t really… Read more “ATERRADOS // Terrified (2017)”


I’ve really never been one much for biopics, finding that the restrictions of condensing a person’s lifetime down to a relatable 90-120min slice with a clear through-line and character arc tends to oversimplify what it is to be a person, even a great and notable one. So I come out… Read more “ROCKETMAN (2019)”


A movie with an identity crisis: trying at once to step away from the pre-existing DCU while at the same time still allowing itself to be shaped by it in all the wrong ways. I don’t really care a whole lot for the sort of post-production face-tattoo neon-edgelord style that… Read more “BIRDS OF PREY (2020)”


The two MALEFICENT movies exist in a weird tangent of the Disney live-action reboot universe. On the one hand they’re an interesting perspective shift on the classic Sleeping Beauty tale with a surprisingly A-list cast (Jolie! Pfeiffer! Ejiofor! Fanning!) mixed in with some surprise appearances (Warwick Davis! Ed Skrein!). They’ve… Read more “MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL (2019)”


What if Superman hadn’t been sent to Earth as a refugee but rather as a kind of sleeper agent to a race of cruel alien warmongers? Alternatively: Superboy the movie but he’s creepy and psychotic and it’s vaguely a methaphor for puberty. A further case for the notion that the… Read more “BRIGHTBURN (2019)”


Somehow I’ve managed to run up a backlog of stuff to review while editing my novel, and I’ve not the time to paint up something for each of these so here’s a handy bundle all in one place! JOHN MULANEY & THE SNACK LUNCH BUNCH UNCUT GEMS MARRIAGE STORY UNDER… Read more “REVIEW SPECTACULAR SIX”


Basically Hide & Seek: The Movie with a dark sense of humour and rapid ramp up into a grand and bloody crescendo. Never once takes itself seriously, the cast is great, the plot’s a rolling good time right through and Samara Weaving makes for an iconic figure, splattered with blood… Read more “READY OR NOT (2019)”

TERMINATOR: Dark Fate (2019)

Yeah, it’s fine. Much more promising at the start with good characters old and new, some absolutely belting fight sequences and a legitimately great evolution of the Terminators into the new REV-9 model. Gabriel Luna is pitch perfect as a faster, meaner twin machine, and the physicality of the role… Read more “TERMINATOR: Dark Fate (2019)”

HAIL SATAN? (2019)

The most fascinating thing about this documentary is that going into it you likely have these very entrenched cultural ideas about what Satanism is, and you very quickly learn that none of it is in alignment with what The Satanic Temple actually practices or stands for. In fact, many of… Read more “HAIL SATAN? (2019)”

FROZEN 2 (2019)

In some ways more charming than the first, in others less inspired. Kind of a mixed bag — half the songs were forgettable and the overall story felt like a bridging episode between a strong first film and a bigger, more creative third one. But the visual design is wonderful,… Read more “FROZEN 2 (2019)”

JOKER (2019)

I took a while getting around to this largely because the hyperbole was exhausting, and look, having literally just watched it, I still don’t really see the need for an origin story for a fundamentally enigmatic character, even if this is the best version of that story we were ever… Read more “JOKER (2019)”