The Monuments Men – 3/10

Utter, total, turd.


The prospect of a cast featuring Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and George Clooney is mouthwatering to say the least. Add to the fact that The Monuments Men is Clooney’s directorial follow up to the widely successful Ides of March and we are talking about one of the most anticipated films of 2014. It is difficult then to fathom how the end product is so bland and forgettable.

Aside from a typically strong Cate Blanchett performance as a Parisian art curator, the rest of the cast sleepwalks through this one with even the great Bill Murray offering zero respite. Worse than the acting is the script which is so humourless and self righteous it is actually difficult to sit through The Monuments Men until the end.

The message seems to be that art is more valuable than anything, even life, but against the back drop of the second world war this idealistic attitude is borderline offensive to the millions of young men and women that lost their lives. Tonally the film can’t decide what it wants to be. It flits between ‘comedy’ (in the loosest sense of the word) and forced camaraderie to create a frustrating viewing experience.

After universally poor reviews hopefully we can collectively forget about The Monuments Men as a species and just pretend that Bill Murray was never even involved. George Clooney should probably stay in front of the camera exclusively from now on, he is a handsome bastard after all.

Dark Places – 1/10

Unfortunately no Garth Marenghi in sight…

Chloe Grace Moretz desperately trying to show everyone she is an adult now.

Where to start?

Dark Places borrows heavily from the real life story of the Amityville murders as well as Truman Capote’s true crime novel In Cold Blood. Other plot points such as a nod to the hysteria around devil worshipping in 1980’s America and child abuse are seemingly thrown it at random.

Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl (another film I hated) is also behind the book from which Dark Places is based and it massively shows. Like Gone Girl almost every character is a cliché and none of the increasingly bizarre story rings true. Gone Girl and Dark Places must be two of the most ridiculous, far fetched films released in the last ten years.

Instead of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike we have Charlize Theron and woefully miscast Nicholas Hoult. Alongside them and doing nothing to improve matters are Chloe Grace Moretz playing a cow murdering, pouting maniac and Christina Hendricks who is the only person to come out of this mess with any credibility.
Charlize Theron wanders around glumly in a hat throughout.

Dark Places is nasty, predictable and in some places totally fucking laughable. The idea that the events leading up to the home invasion and murder that drives the plot could ever happen is completely absurd. I am actually offended that Gillian fucking Flynn and director Gilles Paquet-Brenner would serve up such a trite, daft and embarrassing piece of work. There is barely a single scene that didn’t drive me further away from the unintelligible and banal story and by the end I would have been laughing out loud had I not been consumed with a white hot rage.

Without a doubt the worst film I have seen this year.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 3/10

Producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman continue to flog dead horses whilst ruining people’s childhoods.


Contrary to popular belief I actually think that Michael Bay did a decent job with the first Transformers movie. It was pretty faithful to the cartoon and the child in all of us fulfilled an ambition to watch robot behemoths battling it out. The problem with taking on the turtles project isn’t just the execution but the source material itself.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had already spawned four feature length movies, various TV shows and endless merchandise before this project begun. There was a clamour to see a return of the Transformers by the time it was rebooted in 2007 but is anyone really interested in seeing the ailing TMNT brand rebooted? (apparently yes according to the box office results).

Anyone hoping for a nostalgia trip back to their childhoods will be bitterly disappointed. Some characters such as April O’Neil and Shredder are unrecognisable from the cartoon whilst others such as Casey Jones, Krang and Bebop & Rocksteady are absent entirely.

The only constant is the turtles themselves who are still stuck in a time warp of pop culture references and horribly dated 80’s pastiche. Even with comedic genius Will Arnett featuring prominently, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is never intentionally funny and the script throughout is unforgivably cheesy and cringe inducing.

People don’t particularly act in Michael Bay films but even with such low standards Megan Fox continues to be an annoyance and is woefully miscast as April O’Neil while William Fichtner and Whoopi Goldberg look faintly embarrassed throughout.


All this equates to a franchise that didn’t need rebooting filled with rubbish acting and corny dialogue. Possibly the worst reboot of all time.

Mr. Brooks – 3/10

Men speak. Drive in cars.


When you make the decision to cast Dane Cook and Demi Moore as your supporting cast you are essentially killing the film before it gets started. Dane Cook constantly looks like he is trying to waft a wasp away from his face and Moore is as terrible as ever. There must be some kind of plot going on here but it is difficult to know exactly what it is. One definite thing is that Kevin Costner is a serial killer because his imaginary friend makes him do it. Original. The only vaguely new thing about Mr. Brooks is that Costner’s daughter also becomes a serial killer. The fact that this plot point is almost immediately abandoned renders this pretty redundant however. Just a nothing film.

House of 9: 3/10.

Nine strangers wake up in a house together and try not to outwardly groan at the grim predictably of their situation.

house of 9

One of the most bizarre casts assembled in recent years (Dennis Hopper, Peter Capaldi, Kelly Brook(!)) conspire to make something you could just about classify as a ‘movie’. As I have stated before horror as a genre is the most guilty of taking an original idea (Slasher, Found Footage, Haunted House) and running it into the ground until it is ruined. House of 9 takes the bold step of taking an idea already ran into the ground (‘psychological’ gimmicky horror – thanks Saw) and adding absolutely nothing to it.

Dennis Hopper gets though it by speaking in about 6 wildly varying accents throughout the film, Peter Capaldi looks faintly embarrassed throughout and Kelly Brook looks genuinely confused and lost by the whole thing.

Despite all of this I found House of 9 mildly interesting. Watching this film is akin to watching two giraffes have sex, you are never bored but there is no artistic merit to it.

Frozen – 3/10

Erm… I have no idea how to describe this plot… Disney on ice?


There is nothing inherently wrong with Frozen. It ticks all the boxes for a Disney film. A princess, a villain, mild peril, (endless) singing, some cute little creatures (coming to a toy store near you) etc etc. The problem is there is nothing great about it either.

Frozen for me felt like Disney by numbers, no different to countless other films churned out by the famous rodent based company.

Frozen is absolutely a kids film. I don’t want to keep banging this drum but whilst Pixar are producing films that appeal equally to kids and adults, Disney are still making flat out kids movies. That is not really a criticism as surely that is what Disney is for but Pixar has shown there is a lot more to offer than lowest common denominator stuff. But I guess from Disney’s point of view If ain’t broke…

Frozen is probably a decent children’s movie but it is a distinctly average movie in general. Highest grossing animated movie of all time though. Go figure.