May contain spoilers.

After a meteorite lands on a farm, a family find themselves infected by a mutant extraterrestrial organism.

From Richard Stanley the visionary atmospheric director of the sci-fi Hardware and occult thriller Dust Devil comes Color Out of Space, colour U.K. spelling?

After a long hiatus Stanley returns with a film more appealing to a wider audience, that said, the H.P. Lovecraft foundation source material with the director’s own touch it’s far from mainstream. Interestingly actor Elijah Wood is one of the producers. With practical effect visuals reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and Brian Yuzna’s Society (1989) it excels Huan Vu’s 2012 impressive low budget film adaptation. The colour and digital effects rival 2018’s Annihilation.

It’s a film about every family’s worst nightmare. Nicolas Cage’s Nathan and children deal with rural life, in a bid to help their mother’s Theresa (played brilliantly by Joely Richardson daughter of Vanessa Redgrave) recovery from cancer. Shotgun touting Cage is on arbitrarily oddball form when things start to fall apart and people get mutated. Elliot Knight plays hydrologist Ward Phillips, who knows there’s something wrong on the property, Tommy Chong as Ezra, aptly the pothead hermit and Josh C. Waller as Sheriff Pierce are notable even if their appearances are brief.

Madeleine Arthur is impressive as troubled Wicca practising teen Lavinia Gardner. Brendan Meyer plays Benny but it’s young Julian Hilliard that steals the show as Jack who can hear the alien.

Some of most creepy scenes include the siblings especially the well staged black hole cosmic meteorite crash. Lavinia has a terrifying memorable attic scene where she comes face to face with her mutated mother and younger brother. Stanley offers strange coloured vegetation, a smelly glowing pinky purple meteor. Fingers are chopped off, bug creatures fly around, a squid-like creature appears, there mutated alpacas, bolts of purple lightning which fuses people, he successfully captures the madness of Lovecraft’s work.

It may not be as rounded as Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski Void (2016) that drew from Lovecraft but it’s is a Stanley film after all with all the cosmic infection galore trimmings. Stanley and Scarlett Amaris script possibly could do with some more meat on the bones as the dialogue is sparse. That said, Stanley naturally goes for the subtle, intelligent filmmaking route, at times ambiguous rather than a spoon feeding.

It’s a fine looking film with Steve Annis’s cinematography, there’s vibrant special effects and a complementing eerie soundtrack from Colin Stetson, it’s also dark, terrifying, emotional and gut wrenching at times. In true Stanley style it’s expectedly arty but there’s plenty there for diehard horror fans too.

Colour Out of Space may not be Stanley’s The Island of Dr. Moreau remake we’ve been waiting for since 1996 but it’s a solid H.P. Lovecraft adaptation and a welcomed return to the directing chair.

Spoilers ahead!

After staging his own suicide, a scientist becomes invisible using a suit to stalk and terrorise his ex-girlfriend.

This is yet another adaption of HG Wells tale The Invisible Man, the domestic abuse angle offers a fresh perspective on the classic source material. It also, takes some of the intriguing urban elements of Hollow Man (2000) but replaces the traditional invisibility with a suit that came straight out James Bond’s invisible car from Die Another Day (2002).

It’s well acted, Elisabeth Moss’ performance as Cecilia the abused partner add emotion and weight to the proceedings. Aldis Hodge is notable as James Lanier, a police detective but it’s Michael Dorman as Tom Griffin, Adrian’s brother and lawyer who steals ever short scene he appears in.

The invisible action and effects are well staged and executed. Director Leigh Whannell offers subtle touches from visible breathe from an invisible source to appearing knives and floating guns. That said, it’s terribly frustrating, if you’re not partial to the ‘no one believes me’ scenario type of films. In this case the police and family refuse to believe her story. There’s a nice reveal in the latter half but the final twist you can see coming a mile away.

Overall, Whannell’s film may not follow Wells’ story or be as much fun as Hollow Man and other film adaptations but it is a welcomed and effective serious toned Invisible Man film, that comes with a reminder of the horrific abuse one can suffer from a partner.

Zombie killers Tallahassee, Columbus and Wichita leave the safety of the White House to travel to Graceland in Memphis to save a now grownup Little Rock.

Director Ruben Fleischer offers a surprisingly great laugh out loud sequel to a breakout sub-genre flick that was already saturated in 2009.

Packed with action and wit, the moment where stars Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, doppelgänger’s Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch’s characters meet is worth viewing alone.

Emma Stone is perfectly dry with another sharp funny performance. Both Harrelson and Eisenberg are on amazing form. Joining the cast is the excellent gun toting Bigfoot driving Rosario Dawson but it’s Zoey Deutch who steals the show with her character echoing a dizziness of Legally Blonde with hysterical efforts.Bill Murray turns up in the credits in a throwback to the first film.

The action setups and special effects are done well, with the music being the icing on the cake. It may not break new ground, but it doesn’t need too as it’s the enjoyable reunion that recaptures the spirit of the original which makes the film so edible.

Overall, likeable great zombie killing fun.

Some spoilers ahead!

Finn, Poe Dameron and the Resistance commence a final battle against new and old enemies of the First Order. As Rey tries to find out who her parents really were.

In terms of what a Star Wars film should be, director J. J. Abraham delivers a brilliant return form, layered with Lucas magic.

Rian Johnson’s Last Jedi as much as it tried to be different was too subtle in its script, and lacked fan execution. That said, whether by accident or design with the events of Rise it makes the dialouge of Last Jedi more pertinent, for example Luke says ‘he [Kylo] would bring destruction and pain and death, and the end of everything I love.’ So in retrospect he already saw the death of Han and Leia. Last Jedi actually works better now in since Rise of Skywalker and the lines especially between Rey and Ben have more relevance. Rise of Skywalker doesn’t pretend to be anything more or less than a Star Wars film. Adam Driver is impressive, thankfully many of the characters get room to breathe, John Boyega’s Finn, Daisy Ridley’s Rey and especially Oscar Isaac’s likeable Poe. Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) no pun intended gets to shine.

It’s packed with homages, throwbacks and treads new ground. Chewie gets his medal, Lando (Billy D. Williams) returns, finally we see a flashback of Leia (Carrie Fisher) training, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo cameos and the voices of many our favourite saga series main characters are heard. Denis Lawson even briefly appears as Wedge Antilles.

As much as harden fans would have liked all the force ghosts to appear it makes sense that Rey only saw those known to her, not just those who the audience knew. Leia, Kylo and Rey also get a fitting resolve. Even Hux gets closure. Mark Hamill’s Luke fittingly appears along with Ewoks, Jawas and Tatooine.

With excellent special effects, sets and music score it may not have the old school feel of Rogue One or Solo but it’s packed with action that echoes the likes of the Madalorian, Force Awakens and emotional energy of Last Jedi. It pushes buttons and fills satisfaction gaps that its predecessor couldn’t. It’s a great closure with on the nose fan satisfaction.

As a Star Wars film (while you could argue that no films should have been made since Return of the Jedi) it’s great, as a sequel to Last Jedi it excels.

Overall, Abraham’s delivers an almost impossible feat, some Star Wars magic.

Truck driver Frank Sheeran tells his story of how he gets involved with Russell Bufalino, climbing the ranks to become a top hit man and also goes to work for Jimmy Hoffa.

Directed and produced by Martin Scorsese and written by Steven Zaillian this offering from the legendary director is based on the 2004 book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. Its long run time has perfect pace, but don’t go expecting the roller coaster ride of Goodfellas or Casino, this echoes classics like The Godfather’s and Once Upon A Time in America’s pacing with the feel of JFK to name a few.

It’s poignant, funny and the violence boldly plays second fiddle to the characters and their relationships. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci are on fine form along with Harvey Keitel (whose screentime is limited) with their ageing special effects holding up for the most part (Pacino looks a little off at times). A casual viewer probably wouldn’t notice as they age from the 1950s onwards, it touches on many periods with great recreations.

For completion, it’s only crime is not including Ray Liotta and Johnny Depp.

Highly recommended.

A bounty hunter makes his way through the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.

Directed by Dave Filoni The Mandalorian chapter one is excellent, it may not be a feature length film but this live action series is thankfully the next best thing. Created by Jon Favreau and with Disney and Lucas Film wallet he offers great production values, practical effects, hidden FX and a music score to match, it does not disappoint.

Actor Pedro Pascal expertly echoes Boba Fett injecting his own nuances and movements into this new lead character. The tone is perfect and feels like Star Wars should.

It is not just all new Uber characters and elements. It welcoming builds and expands George Lucas’ established universe. For example recycling/reusing established species and droids (including the Ewok’s Battle for Endor’s Blurrgs) to name but a few. Filoni also offers an IG bounty droid mirroring the IG-88 ESB character. You get to see a bounty droid in action.

With a job from Carl Weathers’ Greef Carga, Pascal’s Mandalorian tracks a target for a well-paying client (Werner Herzog) he freezes and shoots his way through the episode with The Man with No Name prowess. With the help of an indigenous character Kuill (voiced by Nick Nolte) and the bounty droid IG-11 our hero proves his honour durning a surprise reveal of a familiar unknown Star Wars species at the closing of the first episode.

Overall, aside from some iffy CGI it’s pretty much a TV Star Wars action adventure dream come true. Captures that Stars Wars magic.

Chapter 2: The Child

When Jawa’s strip Mando’s ship, he must undertake a dangerous task to retrieve an item to trade with little thieves to get them back.

Disney and Lucasfilm offer another quality episode echoing the serial tone of the Planet of the Apes TV, ‪Star Trek‬, Flash Gordon series’ to name a few and a handful of Western films.

Nick Nolte is again memorable as his moody character Kuillas as he helps The Mandalorian mediate with a group of Jawas. There’s some great action scenes, Mando (brilliantly played by Pedro Pasca ) climbing a Jawa’s
Sandcrawler vehicle, killing and burning Jawas, fighting a Rhino-like creature harking back to Attack of the of Clones’ Reek. To top this episode off theres a bit of force ‘magic’ thrown in for good measure as Mado’s bounty gets to show off his skills.

Overall, director Rick Famuyiwa delivers an action packed standalone episode with the overarching thread still teasingly present.

Chapter 3: The Sin

The conflicted Mandalorian violates his bounty hunter code and goes on a rescue mission with grave consequences.

The Sin is another strong instalment as Mando grapples with handing over the baby of his last bounty. Director Deborah Chow’s offering oozes atmosphere of the fallen Empire and hints of the new Republics lack of reach and power to bring peace to the galaxy.

In the third episode Mando shoots, stabs, electrocutes, burns and explodes his way through Stormtroopers and bounty hunters like butter.

The sets and special effects here are first rate, the narrative is strong and the action comes thick and fast. It also spends time to explore the Mandalorian’s culture also beliefs and fans are treated to a great shootout in the closing act with help from his armoured friends.

Carl Weathers gets a little more screen time. More trilogy Star Wars sub-characters appear which is a joy for fans. Packed with nods, the Empires science devision hark back to Rogue One, IT-O Interrogator droid from New Hope, glimpse of an order 66-like purge and even a battle droid from the prequel films to name a few.

Overall, the series goes from strength to Mandalorian forged beskar armour strength, successfully expanding the Star Wars universe.

Chapter 4: Sanctuary

The Mandalorian teams up with an ex-soldier to protect a village from raiders.

The Sanctuary is a solid enough entry which in the closing doesn’t go they way the casual viewer may expect with The Mandalorian making another important choice.

However, it does fall short of expectations story wise feeling very much like a Star Trek episode/film, with Western themed plot that echoes of likes of The Three Amigos, Blazing Saddles, High Plains Drifter to name a few, in which the indigenous village population must learn to protect itself against the odds of a greater danger.

That said, Star Was fans will find it great to see an AT-ST walker included in the plot. This episode introduces a new and welcomed character, the action orientated soilder namely Gina Carano as Cara Dune. Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian is on his usual perfectly cast form. It a shame they didn’t use an already established spieces as the raiders (although they are reminiscent of something from Ewoks).

With great effects, action setups and a little heart it’s good but excluding the main overarching story, this filler episode’s plot is slightly worn.

Chapter 5: The Gunslinger

A wannabe Bounty hunter requests Mandos help to bring in a nutritious assassin.

Chapter five is joy that returns Star Wars fans back Tatoonie and Mos eisley cantina as Mando travels across the dune sea to do a job to get credits to repair his ship.

Gunslinger is another great episode with loads of nods to the films, speeder bikes, Tusken Raiders, droids as far back as episode I and II, an EV droid from RotJ, Dew-backs of New Hope to name a few. Even the table where Han Solo killed Greedo appears and Beggars Canyon where Luke used to knock about gets a mention!

It’s a welcomed fan service episode that new comers and sci-fi fans would also appreciate with its great effects, sets, music, direction, action setup and shoot outs.

There’s an interesting tease in the closing that hints at a beloved villain saga character may well be returning.

All in all a return to Star Wars form.

Chapter 6: The Prisoner

A team of unsavoury characters plan a prison ship breakout with the help of Mando.

With double crosses and century guards part 6 is a standard prison break affair only its just what the Star Wars universe needs on screen (better the the brief breakout in Rogue One), echoing Predator and Batman in terms of weapons and action.

Directed by Rick Famuyiwa and written by Famuyiwa and Christopher Yost. The anti-hero group cast are great Mark Boone Junior is on subtle form, Natalia Tena is a little OTT but Clancy Brown and especially Bill Burr are on point.

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) is more physical and the bounty hunter character’s morals are fleshed our a little more.

It’s a solid enough episode with icing on the cake being a squad of X-Wings turning up in the closing.

Chapter 7: The Reckoning

Kuill and Cara Dune team back up with Mando in a deal to take the heat off the child he protects.

Director Deborah Chow offers tension infused episode, tightly paced with plenty to enjoy. There’s creatures in the night attacking the group, more Ugnaught-isums from Nick Nolte’s voiced Kuill. Carl Weather gets more screen time and development. The Child’s healing powers are reenforced (connecting it to the recent Rise of Skywalker saga film).

More double crosses, action and tests of conscience. More Star Wars nuggets, familiar droids, more Blurrgs (from 1985’s television film Ewoks: The Battle for Endor) Stormtroopers, a tie fighter, Deathtroopers and Scout-troopers and their speeder-bikes, to name a few. Interestingly it pushes the benefits of the fallen Empire now that there is no order.

A welcomed darker instalment that ends on a dramatic cliffhanger.

Chapter 8: Redemption

Mando, IG-11, Dune and Karga must face off against Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and a legion of Stormtroopers in one final battle to save the Child.

The season 1 finale is yet another fine instalment. You know you’re hooked and a series is doing something right when you get upset that Scout-troopers harming the Child and characters that make self-sacrifices bring a lump to your throat, namely IG11 and the fate of Kuiil.

We get more of Mando’s backstory through flashbacks as his parents hide him from a battle droid and get to see more Madalorians in action.

Baby Yoda, er, The Child gets to shine in this episode and the special effects used to bring him to life are impressive. Once again Gina Carano’s Cara Dune and Carl Weathers’ Greef Karga offer a solid backbone to the episode as Mando discovers the fate of the Madalorians as they try to escape via an underground river of lava.

Overall, a satisfying ending to a strong first season.

As he walks the streets of Gotham City Arthur Fleck is isolated, bullied and disregarded by society causing him to descend into madness turning him into the anarchy iconic criminal known as the Joker.

Channeling the likes of Taxi Driver, American Psycho with a dash of The King of Comedy director Todd Phillips offers an outstanding Joker origin film, so much so and Oscar worthy it feels too good to be a mere DC superhero movie.

Joaquin Phoenix is mesmerisingly outstanding, making Fleck both sympathetic and menacing. The Wayne/Batman connections are weighty and dramatic enough not to induce eye-rolling. Cinematographer Lawrence Sher delivers the atmospheric grit of the late 70s into an early 1980s set Joker.

The psychological aspect is reminiscent of American Psycho with a play on what is real and what is not. Its intriguing throughout watching Fleck’s metamorphosis into something quite edgy and creepy during the briskly paced running time.

Phillips expertly injects violence that is hard hitting, that emulates the simmering and brutal kills of The Godfather, Goodfellas and the like with a tragic character and dark comedy at its core.

It’s a must see, if anything, it’s arguably too well made to be a comic book movie.

An expert hitman is pitted against his own clone run by a government sanctioned security service Gemini.

Director Ang Lee offers a solid fun actioner with an injection of science fiction that echoes the likes of Assassins (1995) and the 6th Day (2000) with a feel of John Woo’s Face Off (1997).

With a notable supporting cast that includes the likes of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Douglas Hodge, Benedict Wong and (somewhat wasted) Ralph Brown you’d think it would be a entertaining dramatic hit however everyone feels so relaxed that there’s no real sense of danger. With paper thin motive the Jason Bourne-like government conspiracy scenes never quite hit the mark lacking some much needed weight.

Even though the whole film seems an excuse for Will Smith to face off against the parallel universe Fresh Prince of Bel-air assassin, Smith is great in the duel young/old roles along side a menacing Clive Owen. Smith, however, like the reset of the cast feels flat, even during the emotional highs, possibly due to the colourful locations, cinematography and Ang Lee’s general directing style.

The CGI de-aged effects are a mixed bag at times as excellent as the wacky fight setups but at others not as effective as the young Sarah Conner in Sky Dance’s other release Terminator Dark Fate.

With global-trotting fights, chases and shoot outs throughout there plenty to like right up-to a little clone twist in the closing act along with a surprise death.

Overall, Gemini Man is a lot better then the trailer makes it out to be but it’s odd tonally flawed entertaining action film.

In Mexico City a young woman named Dani Ramos becomes the latest target of a cyborg assassin, Rev 9, from the future sent by ‘Legion’.

Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) offers a standup Terminator outing correcting Genisys working as a sequel to Terminator 2. However, opening with Endoskeleton Terminators which are wiped out because of the events in T2, a young John and (excellently CGI rendered young) Sarah Connor – it then takes a sudden story turn to present day. Miller flashes forward at times to a possible or inevitable future (never clarified in Dark Fate if it can be prevented as in T2). These snippets introduce a Salvation like future with bizzare fast moving tentacle Terminators and the creation of an technologically augmented super soldier.

It has better casting than Terminator 3 (namely poorly cast Danes and Stahl). But don’t get too excited though as it barely has the grit or grounded practical feel of The Terminator nor the substance and style of the second. Frankly there’s too much CGI which takes centre stage ripping you out of the action. That said, as a CGI driven modern action film younger viewers may find it more appealing, but this is where the likes of Halloween (2018) and also Mexican themed Rambo: Last Blood have a slight edge over Miller’s loud big outing as the aforementioned focus is on the characters not just the effects.

Emotionally the film belongs to it’s cybernetically enhanced soldier Grace brilliantly played by Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton, who returns as Sarah Connor. Both actors have great chemistry. Hamilton is great here, Miller keeps it refreshingly female orientated.

Gabriel Luna’s advanced Terminator model whose skin and skeleton can function as two separate bodies is interesting but his incognito infiltration element, to blend into any surrounding is wasted as he blatantly goes on wacky outlandish killing sprees in plain sight.

Schwarzenegger lights up the screen as Terminator but it leaves very little impact, it’s a pitty he didn’t show up in the flesh in Salvation. His 101 model has some good lines and generous amount of screen time. Many elements are rehashed from T2, others echoing the underrated Salvation, Dani Ramos (played by Natalia Reyes) is the new the Sarah Connor but with a welcomed little twist on the story.

Miller and writers thankfully keep it coherent compared to the last outing, but they never really explore the time travel whys and what. Also Kyle or Ginger never get a mention from Sarah’s lips, given her subtler scenes with both leads it felt like a missed opportunity.

Overall, with less CGI it could have been great, never the less it’s an enjoyable Terminator film, maybe coming from an analog age it’s just not my Terminator film.

While attempting to save her father during a hurricane, a woman finds fighting for her life against a group of hungry alligators.

Alexandre Aja (director of the underrated Maniac and overlooked Pyramid) offers a excellent exciting creature feature flick.

The glue here though is a good performance by Kaya Scodelario as Hayley. Barry Pepper is also on his usually form as her father Dave. The premise is simplistic enough. There’s moments reminiscent of The Shallows, Rouge and 47 Metres Down to name a few.

Where Aja excels is with the practical and digital effects, as looters, police and other fodder are devoured on the rising waters and storm backdrops. The tension at times is as well executed as the alligators themselves especially the setups where Hayley is trapped in a house.

Overall, it’s no game changer or as visually ground breaking or clever as Aja’s other works but it is a recommend creature feature, especially thanks to Kaya’s dedicated performance and alligator moments.