– arguably even more successful than its predecessor, Knives Out, this is another joyous whodunit spoof featuring Daniel Craig’s Detective Benoit Blanc that excels in both its premise and delivery. It’s in turns hilarious and, despite much silliness, far smarter than it admits to: a damning satire lampooning celebrity culture, Big Tech and capitalism in general all while meticulously spinning a twisty web of intrigue. A marvellous spectacle. I could watch it again right away.
– a reminder that aggregate ratings can be misleading or straight up wrong. Director Martin Campbell turns his GoldenEye to this slick, well composed action thriller, shooting excellent combat set pieces from London to Vietnam. The arch villain is relegated to a hollow McGuffin, and the story as a whole feels slightly undeserving of the high polish and stellar cast, but when that cast includes Michael Keaton, Samuel L Jackson and Maggie Q and they decide to step up and bring the charisma, they put on a helluva show.
– unexpectedly deep prison set crime thriller explores the journey of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s rich city-boy ‘Jacob’ as he transforms into fear inspiring lifer inmate, ‘Money’ Harlon. This is that rare film with such a range of themes and stories it could benefit from additional run time. He’s such an intriguing lead, as are each of the supporting characters, it’d have been interesting to see some of the gaps in his descent filled in, particularly his history with various inmates, and his wife’s new life trajectory. What’s there is great though, powerfully acted and compellingly directed. For the most part it sadly feels all too believable, even if the prison politics and hierarchy stretch credibility a little.
– Spanish language legal drama depicts the prosecution of former military commanders. Ricardo Darin is marvellous as ever, as are the whole cast. It’s an important piece of history told in an informative, compelling way, with wit and compassion, but it’s carried by the gravity of history and the weight of its performances rather than because the events themselves are especially cinematic or exciting.
– it’s not a clever or slick heist thriller and the main plot is uninspired, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it enjoyably weird, from its comically accented, awkward protagonist to its overlooked zombie outbreak setting and peter out ending. I was thinly entertained.
– every now and then a film is so bad that you marvel at the (mis)steps involved to get it green lit and into production. How did the script get sign off to be printed, let alone influential people taking the time to read it and money spent on getting it made? This is 90 minutes of stupidity. Russell Crowe’s psychotic killer rampages unhindered across a city to violently murder the loved ones of a random woman who honked him at a light. Time I’ll never get back. I implore you, don’t make the same mistake.
– taut and convoluted crime thriller begins so slowly and laconically as to be off-putting, but gradually ramps up the stress and tension until, as it all ties together, its endlessly plodding pace and quiet tone is at odds with your racing heartbeat. Edgerton is good in roles like this, and Sean Harris scarily impressive, too. Ended up pleasantly surprised.
– cartoonishly lightweight whodunit wastes its star power. Every character is a caricature: Rockwell’s detective an uncharismatic, lumbering alcoholic, Saoirse Ronan’s overenthusiastic sidekick too annoying, Tim Key’s commissioner a wide eyed buffoon. The comedy isn’t funny enough nor the plot clever or challenging enough. The smugly meta direction lacks nuance, too. If you’re hoping for something near the smarts and polish of Knives Out, as I was, this will disappoint.
– after the few episodes it takes to build some momentum, this black comedy about a group of sisters trying to kill their brother in law hits an enjoyable, albeit vaguely trashy, stride. The script is much more comedic than is acted, so it feels like a comedy played as a drama, rather than an outright black comedy, and many of the jokes don’t land. The five sisters (each acted with aplomb) behave pretty reprehensibly and are quite unsympathetic, so to get the viewer on board with their scheming, Claes Bang’s villain, JP, is made irredeemably grotesque and vile – a role he absolutely nails. Overall, the core conceit and structure (the time jumps between before and after his death) is hugely engaging and intriguing, even if the conclusion isn’t quite as unpredictable as Sharon Horgan and her writing team may have hoped.
– mis-marketed black comedy detective story is deadpan almost to the point of dreariness, but the actual mystery and the way it ties together is satisfying and the script is smart.
– this standout, above average French conspiracy thriller is exactly what I’ve been craving. Turns out I’m an absolute sucker for the attentive acoustician sub-genre (for another check out The Wolf’s Call, also French (Le Chant Du Loup)). Highly recommended for suspense fans, despite some icky Hollywoodised moments.
– Sympathetic but not uncritical depiction of Ted Kaczynski’s life and extremist views as he evolves from irate woodland luddite to the domestic terrorist known as the Unabomber. As an informative potted history, it’s quite interesting, as a piece of cinema, it’s dull. For anyone looking for a vastly more enjoyable retelling of Ted’s story, I highly recommend the series Manhunt: Unabomber.
– Aubrey Plaza’s Breaking Bad is a competent but loveless crime drama, delivered without panache. It feels functionally like a solid film, but is wooden, lacking some key ingredient that would make it enjoyable, be it passion, emotional connection, excitement or just style. It’s a shame as the components are there, just assembled into something not worth assembling.
– Innovative direction, artful symbolism and a wry wit isn’t quite enough to rectify this warped Korean tale of a police detective falling for a murder suspect. It’s an unlikeable, manipulative romance, and albeit intriguing, the resolution to the meandering story is unsatisfactory. It’s arguably worth watching to admire Park Chan-wook‘s craft alone though.
– Korean crime drama based on Japanese series, Suspect X, is sadly not particularly clever or engaging, despite mostly good performances and understated direction.
– if season one was flirting at the edges of technological plausibility, this time around the BBC’s deepfake conspiracy thriller goes full blown sci-fi, with just about anything with a lens compromised by spies, facial recognition operating at a magical 100% accuracy – with face masks and without racial bias – and Holliday Grainger growling her way through more MI5, CIA and Big Tech board rooms than there are in Silicon Valley…in London. But farcical as it is, it’s also a good crack, with those early 00s ‘24‘-style cliffhanger endings and enough twists to tie its own shoe laces together. All in all, silly and totally misrepresentative of technology, but quite fun.
– convoluted Korean sci-fi thriller riffs on the Groundhog Day repetitive loop. It’s intriguing up to a point, but also overly contrived, and the characters’ behaviour and motivations are unconvincing and eventually a little tedious.
– polished supernatural crime thriller has a distinctly Stephen King vibe to it. Some of the underlying themes have merit (standing up to bullies), but there’s not enough substance to the story and not enough development of the villain (Ethan Hawke in what is surely one of his easiest roles). The eponymous black phone remains a mystery throughout.
– you know when you’re a bit embarrassed to watch something because it has next to no qualities and at times feels actively bad, but you watch the whole season anyway? Yeah, me too.
– like wading through the marshes, this wet and affected courtroom drama is a slog from start to finish, with vanilla direction and broadly unimpressive performances.
– Novak’s true crime parody about a NY writer who tries to find podcasting success in Texas by exploiting the death of a girl he once hooked up with is most successful when it’s self-deprecating and scornful of the trendy, elitist media scene he belongs to. Fortunately, that’s most of the film. The final act is a bit of an own goal though, seeking to land some of the ‘profound insights’ he’s derided throughout. A slightly disappointing stumble at the end of an otherwise witty satire.
– abandoned this around the halfway mark. It felt refined but unlikeable. There are so many prison dramas, most more thrilling and engaging than this, and despite the performances and meticulous direction, I simply didn’t care enough about any of it to justify the time investment.
– engaging and polished crime thriller with some impressive (if weirdly stylised) performances and a suspenseful atmosphere. Disappointingly, the script goes on some strange and unconvincing tangents, with implausible dialogue, irrelevant subplots, and disconnected scenes. The result is compelling but unnecessarily rushed and nowhere near as tight or satisfying as it could have been, or as some comparable shows, like True Detective S03.
– Chris Pratt’s military revenge thriller is very silly and takes itself far too seriously, but it’s also a lot of fun, kinda like early Prison Break vibes. When Pratt’s Navy SEAL one man killing machine is finally let loose as a full blown psychopath on the run from the FBI, it ticks all the boxes for classic binge material: cliff hangers, predictable twists (that you still want to see resolve so your guesses are vindicated), cathartic violence (albeit at least once much too excessive – no-one wants to watch a man gutted and forced to unravel his own intestines)… the tone of the whole thing is very morally questionable, if not morally reprehensible, but if you can reconcile yourself with that, it’s very entertaining. I even think I’d watch a Season 2. You know, if the brain tumour gets resolved.
– inconsistent crime drama set in a former mining community where old alliances are still causing problems. While this is quite well produced and acted, the story depends on so many far fetched ingredients and manipulative narrative twists that it practically feels unfair to the viewer, and the ending (specifically the killer’s motives) feel like an absolute copout. Top marks for casting though, the younger, flashback versions of the older characters are very convincing.
– the buffoonery continues, still with enough laugh out loud moments to make it worth watching, even while just as many jokes fall flat. There’s also an inequality in the character arcs and their associated comedy, so some of the outlaws’ stories feel like tedium that must be endured to guffaw at the real stars of the show – Stephen Merchant and Jessica Gunning. I’m not left clamouring for an encore, but if another season emerged, I’d probably still watch it.
– harrowing true story of the Jamal Khashoggi murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on the orders of Mohammed bin Salman. The CGI infographic style of presentation didn’t really do it for me, but the story, CCTV and transcript footage is so jaw-dropping the alternative visuals really aren’t that relevant. Definitely worth watching, if only to remind yourself what individuals in positions of power get away with.
– aims for the suspenseful slow burn and it works up to a point, but it feels like it should have done more with the time allotted. Not bad, just underwhelming.
– tightly gripping true crime documentary shows the extraordinary plight of two oblivious girls caught up in one of the most high profile political assassinations of our time – Kim Jong-Nam. Though staid in style, the story is so captivating it really doesn’t need added panache. Brilliant.
– ironic that two of the best documentaries of our era each stem from passionate, articulate and inspiring individuals intent on highlighting the overreach (and in this case, murderous intent) of their respective enemy countries: Snowden in Citizenfour, and Alexei Navalny, with his extraordinary investigations into Putin and the Kremlin. That Putin can be so thoroughly exposed as he is in this documentary and remain in power goes to show the formidable death grip he has on Russia and its people. Hopefully this will not be the end of Navalny’s story.
– this odd little flick about a trio of macho, irascible friends getting heated in a garage skirts categorisation, with a Venn diagram broadly overlapping comedy, drama and crime thriller. It doesn’t excel as any of them, but still just about works overall, thanks to strong performances and some expertly delivered suspense at the start of the third act.
– not to be confused with the 2017 absurdist comedy drama of the same name, this dour Australian effort begins compellingly, with all the ingredients for a twisty ride, but in its reliance on tropes (phone battery dying, phone out of earshot, body buried in a building site, to name a few), and determination to make each scenario go from bad to worse, it derails itself, ultimately resulting in quite a bland and unexciting crime thriller.
– what begins as an intriguing conceit turns into a tedious waiting game for resolution. When it comes it’s unsatisfying and not a little confusing. Solid performances from central duo though.
– Not sure what the deal is with this flurry of absurdist, taboo-oriented, weird shit I’ve been watching recently. After this, The Death of Dick Long, and Fresh, it’s about time for something more vanilla. This is a focused, almost theatrical crime drama detailing the manias and twisted vendettas of residents in a single tower block. Scott Speedman gives a surprisingly great performance, but the pacing is off (it’s a drag), and the conclusion is so abrupt and dark it leaves you yelling at the screen. Definitely NSFW.
– the midseason break didn’t do the show any favours. It limps to the finish line despite the escalating insanity of every scene, falling to the same hurdle as so many other great dramas: likeable characters sacrificed on the altar of ‘dramatic intensity’. The humour is practically non-existent by its concluding episode, plot strands are introduced only to be resolved an episode later, and its attempt to go out with a literal bang left this viewer unconvinced. A great shame for the finale of such an epic show, but perhaps it was inevitable it wouldn’t meet its own high bar. Now it’s over, yet another reason to unsub to Netflix (if you didn’t already…)
– Nearly as weird a horror as The Death of Dick Long was a drama, this takes its cues from American Psycho, but lacks its depth. Quite compelling, fairly original, absolutely nauseating. Can’t recommend it.
– Apple’s MI5 black comedy spy thriller is an absolute romp. From the opening sequence to the cynical ending, it’s a series of biting exchanges and phenomenal performances, particularly from Gary Oldman (still original and hugely watchable after a ludicrously prolific and diverse career), and relative newcomer Jack Lowden, who I last watched in Calibre (which I also highly recommend). Great to see there’s a series two already lined up and shot. Lowden surely a shoo-in for Bond after this?
– unique, visually stunning and creatively directed by Will Sharpe, this theatrical mini-series about two middle-aged Brits accused of murder manages to vacillate between devastating and laugh-aloud hilarious every few minutes, with Olivia Coleman and David Thewlis both smashing it out of the park. It’d be easy to recommend purely on the basis of how distinctive it is, but it’s also nearly perfectly executed. Definitely gets a smiley.
– noir, low lit and low key reimagining of the caped crusader might be too ponderous and grimy for its own good. Pattinson’s Batman is a greasy straggle haired emo, a scarred wreck of a man, his aesthetic more misanthropic, washed out rocker than billionaire playboy. His tech is lo-fi and clunky, his boots thicker soled than Trinity’s. But there’s nothing wrong with Pattinson’s performance, nor his chiselled jaw or inevitably gravelly voice. It’s no fault of his that director Matt Reeves wanted sombre and sluggish over suave and swift. Nothing says sleek like jumping off a building, snagging a parachute on a bridge, getting hit by a bus then bouncing along the pavement like a discarded coke can. Every movement, be it a kiss or a car chase, feels unrealistically, achingly slow. The runtime could have been halved if characters just moved and spoke like normal people. But credit where it’s due: when all is said and done (three hours later), it is this stylistic choice, derivative of the noir serial killer detective thrillers of the late 90s, that conjures the thick atmosphere and carries the action. It’s not a great film, but it’s not bad either, and that makes it stand out in the superhero panoply.
– German serial killer thriller is overly graphic and about as silly as the genre gets but is so committed to its mystery and so outlandish, it works quite well as escapism.
– the name tells you the kind of film it wants to be, Chris Pine’s weird Pierce Brosnan haircut tells you the kind of film it is. Everything about it is unconvincing, unlikeable and oddly unmoving, particularly the dialogue and love story. Of the heavy weight cast, the only one actually pulling their weight is Jonathan Pryce. It’s a shame because it feels like the core conceit and set up could have been a success in the right hands and the genre is ripe for great storytelling.
– straight-laced German crime drama is the opposite of a whodunit, telling you exactly what’s happening when it’s happening without a shred of mystery. I spent the time hunting for twists and surprises that the show had no intention of delivering. The performances are mostly good, but the overall tone is dreary. At least it’s only five episodes.
– neatly crafted little crime thriller, only a few missteps short of brilliance. With its unity of time and place, it’s more like watching theatre than cinema, but no less engaging for it, and perhaps more so.
– Don’t think I’ve enjoyed a cop comedy this much since I was a kid. Inane from the get go, this is a silly rollercoaster ride, with laugh out loud slapstick, some genuinely sharp wit, and a few slick action set pieces. It’s a little too reliant on the latter towards the end, and could easily have shed some runtime cutting back on that, but highly recommended nonetheless.
– the only thing this has going for it is a beautiful location. It’s 90 minutes of waiting for something to happen with inexhaustibly dull and unpleasant company, and a script that has nothing worthwhile to say either. Hugely disappointing given my love for director Charlie McDowell’s film, The One I Love.
– a film with this storyline has no place being as brilliantly acted and heartfelt as this one. It’s a Fargo-esque black comedy tinged crime drama with a big old taboo twist and a knack for keeping you wondering. Not for everyone and very weird, but refreshingly different and kind of great in its own way.
– quite terrible Identity wannabe, wherein a handful of unsympathetic people get stranded at a visitors centre and none are who they appear. Starts run of the mill and goes downhill.
– Even as a fan of the genre, this disjointed Korean crime thriller feels as haphazard and lost as the characters it depicts. The acclaim it’s received is surely misjudged.
– as explicit as you’d expect a story based on a Twitter thread about strippers turned prostitutes to be, though probably less entertaining. Not sure what it’s trying to do given it doesn’t function as an emotive drama nor any kind of thriller, and it won’t crack a smile. Quite tedious actually.
– heavy drama is fairly unpleasant and unrewarding viewing, but somehow manages to keep you invested in the misfortune of its mentally deficient lead – persuasively played by Cosmo Jarvis.
– Del Toro’s latest is hugely overrated. It’s super immersive, with atmosphere and intrigue in spades, but the lack of rationale for key story developments is problematic. Despite the (excessive) time we spend with the characters, they feel thin, and ultimately we’re left with too many unanswered questions. The grimy gothic circus setting could have made for an interesting series though.
– an interesting premise, a la The Usual Suspects, where a man’s tall tale might get him off the hook in a murder trial, but its delivery is fundamentally flawed. Despite strong performances, every character is unlikeable and uncharismatic, the twist takes too long to develop and doesn’t really work when it comes, and the ending is of the ‘fence-sitting’ ilk (which doesn’t bother me but had my other half shouting ‘NO!’ at the screen). Given the dynamism of the story, the execution is horribly flat. Everything should have happened faster and with more panache. Watchable? Maybe. Only four episodes, but feels like two too many.
– misled by a higher than expected TMDb rating, I ended up watching this. It was terrible. Don’t waste your time.
– French language crime thriller does a phenomenal job of portraying an explosive dynamic between police and drug gangs in the ghettos of Marseille and includes some electrifying set pieces, but the first and final acts drag, the lack of real resolution is frustrating, and after the plot takes an abrupt change in direction, the concluding emotion is one of disappointment. A near miss at greatness, but still very watchable.
– even as a fan of Spanish-language cinema, I couldn’t bring myself to finish this small minded and uninspired crime thriller, packed full of tired tropes and unimaginatively presented. Avoid.
– as funny on a repeat viewing as it was the first time, albeit somehow even more hammy
– the BBC’s attempt at a Fargo-like, tongue-in-cheek, crime thriller set in small-town, outback Australia is pretty solid entertainment and a fun guessing game, but nowhere near great TV.
– endlessly simmering bent cop thriller stops just short of boiling point but still cooks up some of the best BBC drama of recent times. Martin Freeman is unrecognisable as copper Chris Carson, (looking like Russell Tovey’s dad), risking his marriage, his career and hard time while trying to stay on the right side of a mental breakdown as well as his new rookie partner (another terrific performance from Adelayo Adedayo). The script crackles with deliciously black humour and the soundtrack keeps your heart rate elevated a notch above comfortable. Excellent and just a few decisions away from masterful – but all the ingredients are still there, so maybe the inevitable sequel will raise the bar further.
– the family continue in the same blackly comic macabre vein that has been their hallmark throughout, and thankfully, the script and story have upheld their standard, too. This is one of Netflix’ best.
– thriller set inside a prisoner transport truck is mostly gripping while it lasts but proves forgettable. Javier Gutiérrez is excellent as ever, but as a whole, this doesn’t hold a candle to the best Spanish language crime thrillers.
– season 9 or season 1 of New Blood? Officially S01, but hard to envisage a S02 after the events of this one. The plot is as silly and impossible as ever, but it’s still a pleasure to see Michael C Hall step back into the familiar shoes of Dexter Morgan, serial killer. Despite annoyances and story inconsistencies that would never have plagued the first few seasons of the show and cement its massive drop in quality, surprisingly, it remains fun to unwind to and to second guess. The ending, then, puts an abrupt and unexpected stop to that and will prove hugely divisive (or straight up hated).
– underrated Scandinavian domestic violence drama is as bleak as expected with generally strong performances, and maintains an element of intrigue throughout. Its reliance on contrived indiscretions though, sensitive conversations overheard through open doors, behaviour witnessed through windows etc., means the depiction feels a little beyond the bounds of realism, even while the subject matter, sadly, is not.
– this is a compelling and illuminating show about the underhand tactics employed by Purdue Pharma to sell Oxycontin and the ruinous detrimental effects their selling of the drug had on communities and families in America. At times it’s harrowing and heartbreaking, but it’s also brilliantly well acted and well produced, with a (mostly) tight script and smart direction. Way above average drama and highly recommended.
– Jim Cummings is absolutely electric in an unexpectedly sharp satire about corporate culture, modern romance and suppressed sexual appetite. This blackly comic psychological thriller is altogether more sinister and rewarding than its erotic premise suggests and Cummings is just wickedly hideous. American Pyscho for new audiences and a new era.
– A case of the Netflix blockbuster formula: big stars, no brains. This is an exercise in character one-upmanship where the goal is to be the most annoying. Absolute trash.
– Stephen Merchant’s return to BBC comedy after his stint in the States is by no means perfect, but it has a high gag rate and the general silliness is charming enough that even the low brow jokes, rehashed Office skits and over-egged dramatics are easily overlooked. Good giggly fun with some genuine thigh slappers. Bring on Series 2.
– one of the finest TV shows I’ve seen, and certainly the finest I’ve seen from Spain. Barring one strange misadventure in the middle of the series, this is an epic, edge of the seat tour-de-force: smart writing with visually commanding direction and a killer score. The characters are nuanced, sympathetic and compelling, and without exception, the cast deliver their A game. Amazing that this isn’t one of the most talked about shows out there. Creator Isabel Peña is clearly one to watch.
– the latest (final?) film in the Department Q crime thriller saga sees another gruesome cold case unravelled. It’s all a bit over the top, but if you enjoyed the others or generally like an intriguing scandi-noir, this is more of the same.
– Rebecca Hall gives an amazing performance as a widower traumatised by her grief in this artistic and creatively ambitious little horror gem that, despite its supernaturalism, manages to feel grounded and harrowingly realistic. Deeply unsettling and moving in all the right ways.
– a smug and unfunny Tarantino / Ritchie wannabe, with plenty of contrived style but bugger all substance. Tedious and self-satisfied.
– family drama about a reluctant hitman fires out some interesting ideas but ultimately misses the mark.
– well intentioned drug drama with a strong cast, shame the story is so unimaginatively communicated. It feels like the bare minimum of film making, with nothing to commend it and a plum boring script.
– a fun, if chaotic, multi-lingual scandi-noir, with some interesting forays into grand themes such as race relations, but crammed with too many unrelated stories and a mystic/ druidic undertone that just feels silly. It’s got a quirky sense of humour though and the performances are all really strong, so while not in the league of The Bridge or The Killing, it’s worthy of the time investment.
– A fast paced, phenomenally well acted and convincing depiction of radicalisation that leaves you feeling angry, distraught and excited, but mostly like your nerves have been shredded with a cheese grater. Annoyingly, the narrative is undermined by contrivance and irrational, even farcical behaviour and judgment from some of the characters, but these dubious writing decisions are forgivable when the overall result is so compelling, and it could be argued they provide more opportunity to tell the greater tale. Very scary thriller.
– hardly The Killing or The Bridge, but this scandi-noir crime thriller is exactly what you expect from the genre, and a little better than average too. Relish the binge, then forget it.
– a powerhouse cast, and Farrell appears to have morphed into an actual powerhouse. The man is an ox in this show. He embodies the role brilliantly, such a weighty presence I worried my screen would come off the wall mount. Jack O’Connell, too, is riveting as his foil: a laudanum addicted surgeon haunted by the ghosts of a grisly past. Indubitably, this period drama isn’t for everyone. It’s grimy, gory and deeply unpleasant at times, with few likeable characters, but the cinematography works magic and the script largely stays a few oar lengths ahead of the viewer. If you can stomach nastiness, this is highly recommended.
– compelling and engaging TV crime drama sacrifices believability in a frantic effort to excite, and while it’s predictable and quite silly most of the time, it still mostly works as good fun. Would have been even better if they’d dropped the shoehorned family and relationship backstory.
– an affecting and slickly produced drama illustrating the problems of capitalism in the drug and alcohol rehab industry. Strong performances and sharp narrative. A pleasant (if slightly depressing) surprise.
– simmering PTSD drama with suffocatingly restrained direction is heavy going, but not bad.
– McAvoy blazes in this stressful crime thriller about a man hunting for his missing kid in the stunningly beautiful Scottish countryside. Grim but gripping, with a continual capacity to surprise.
– silly spy mystery starts fast paced and intriguing (if nothing else) then proceeds to sprint everywhere but in a sensible direction. A waste of time.
– Jose Padilha is one of the best directors working and I was set to love it, but this is flat. Good performances, interesting bit of a history, but I expected much more.
– mediocre and tonally chaotic spy thriller feels more like a BBC drama than a blockbuster but has its moments. An enjoyable enough genre piece.
– stressful and frequently annoying, this is nonetheless a provocative and evidently timeless exploration of gender power dynamics, jealousy and guilt. It’s much more of a play than a film, with a brilliant cast of three in a single location, relentlessly abrasive dialogue (a la Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and Linklater’s inventive camera angles doing a lot of work. Even so, one can’t help but feel this might have been much more successful in a theatre than on screen and it’s hard to recommend for a general audience.
– Damon delivers as always in this unremarkable but solid drama, and though the plot is clearly Amanda Knox inspired, that’s the bland backdrop: the real story is a second chance and second life for a man who had all but given up.
– an astonishing fly-on-the-wall account of a ten year mission to infiltrate North Korea, so far fetched as to be entirely unbelievable without the visual evidence documented here. Jaw dropping and totally gripping. The only question left is where is the accountability?
– Hugh Jackman speaks a few octaves deeper than a regular human and does his best deadpan Max Payne impression in this densely expositional dystopian sci-fi that leans so heavily into the neo-noir genre it’s practically a parody, with universally unlikeable characters, unfeasible tech and a wretched script offering lines like, ‘The past is just a series of moments. Each one perfect. Complete. A bead on the necklace of time.’ What a load of tosh.
– an upbeat and hugely entertaining punk reinvention of the eponymous childhood villain, though the sinister transition from sweet Estella to psychotic Cruella results in a climax that feels more unsettling and hollow than resoundingly victorious.
– Spanish language soap-thriller is fast paced, easy (if frustrating) viewing and good practice for learners; as a show, I can’t recommend it. The plot is insane, the script and acting typically hyperbolic, and the direction completely rote.
– the final series of the earnest and plodding police drama doesn’t make radical changes. If you liked the first six, this is more of the same. It’s a fitting and tidy conclusion, but not momentous.
– gripping unorthodox heist style thriller pits student geniuses against the stringent STIC exam rules. It’s too on the nose at times and pushes the boundaries beyond credulity, but it’s still a thoroughly entertaining watch and enjoyably different from ‘Western’ fare.
– weighty but worthwhile murder mystery with Bana on form and a smart, carefully paced subplot. Refreshingly subdued.
– Definitely not setting the world alight, but the dry humour and endless double crossing of this period crime drama made for an enjoyable few hours. The biggest disappointment was the overtly political ending which felt unearned in the context of the rest of the film. But that’s the point I guess…
– Taylor Sheridan continues to excel. This is like watching a Cormac McCarthy novel interpreted by the Coen Brothers. A smart script, visuals and direction top notch, amazing cast, heartfelt and thick with metaphor. Enjoyed it a lot.
– Guy Ritchie’s latest is all brawn, swagger and meaty muscle men. His trademark one-liners and quirky English wit don’t translate at all to American, and the opening act is too slow and broody to charm. That said, Ritchie still delivers a polished, stylish revenge thriller, worth watching even when we’ve seen Statham do it all before and know the ending’s a foregone conclusion.
– marvellous three part drama with fantastic performances from just about everyone involved and an effectively laconic script. Great to see Sean Bean demonstrate his significant acting talent and survive the series. It’s unusual in that we’re so accustomed to seeing violence in prison dramas that I found myself conditioned to expect it at every turn. In fact, the emotional violence of this series is much more brutal and affecting. Surprising, ultimately upbeat, and highly recommended.
– bank heist caper sports a stellar cast (both English and Spanish) but makes no attempt at realism. It’s just about enjoyable enough for some light evening entertainment. Low effort.
– where part one was seductively tongue in cheek and winsome, part two, I fear, relies too heavily on the charisma of its lead and fails to deliver a decent plot or cunning heists. The twists are too heavily forecast and the personal drama too much of a distraction. Hopefully part 3 will have the prep time to get back on track.
– a compelling crime drama, without a doubt, but for me personally, too oppressively bleak to actually enjoy. Instead, I admired its polish and the guesswork of the whodunnit, and readily moved on when it was over.
– For a movie that wants to be taken seriously, this takes far fetched and stupid to a whole new level. As well as a boys versus girls, playground level interpretation of feminism, it serves a stream of contrivances, and endless vile people to hate with not one to root for. It’s like receiving frustration via IV. What’s the time? Taser time. Absolute balls.
– far from just a Theroux family vanity project. Both in terms of plot and stylistically, this is a cross between Breaking Bad and Ozark. I’m yet to be convinced it’s on a par with either, but it’s not too far off. Its biggest issue is that for the plot to work, it’s contingent on a single contrivance: that in this family fleeing from the US government at all costs, neither of the teenage children, nor the audience, ever learn why they are being chased. That grows thinner and more implausible with each passing episode. Fortunately, they’re just about exhilarating and smartly scripted enough (barring some grimace-inducing social commentary) to keep the McGuffin rolling, but Season 2 will have a lot of explaining to do.
– (the one with Helen Hunt and Jon Tenney, not the freaky home video b-movie of the same name and year!) After an unconvincing start, this resolves to be much cleverer than it first appears. It still feels a bit forced, but the plot keeps you guessing and there are more twists (and satisfactory twists at that) than most movies get away with.
– Danish revenge comedy aims for black humour but leans too far into tragedy at times. It’s original, well-cast and acted, though its silliness distracts from an insightful depiction of grief.
– early Line of Duty may have been brilliant at times, but this series was dire. Bad scripting, a made-for-TV gloss and style of editing that feels dated in this day and age, and laughably unrealistic plot turns including shoot outs with automatic weapons in the middle of the street by teams of ‘bent coppers’ which appear to gain no media coverage nor warrant further investigation. About the only realistic thing in the entire show is the ending, which is unpopular because it’s so uneventful. Plus, every character has become a caricature and half of the lines uttered are catchphrases or clichés. So disappointing.
– No more or less than a magnificently choreographed symphony of violence. Cathartic.
– twisting thriller with a stellar cast starts strong then rapidly goes off the rails, stretching implausibility until it snaps and becomes straight up stupidity. A shame, as it seemed so promising, but shows like these – especially Spanish – never let realism get in the way of melodrama, and the standard suffers.
– simultaneously both enjoyable and uncomfortable, but not enjoyably uncomfortable. Clearly designed to provoke, I imagine post-cinema conversations varied wildly. It’s a shame Carey Mulligan’s Cassie was quite so unhinged and unsympathetic, else the viewer might have found it easier to root for her.
– may one day give this another shot, but at the point I gave up on it, it would have taken a miraculous sea-change to redeem it. Puerile, unfunny, and just really goddam boring.
– I wanted to like this much more than I actually did. It’s a powerful story, well acted and polished, but it struggles under its own weight, estranges the viewer rather than entices them. Worthy, but too in awe of its subject matter to deliver an enthralling crime drama.
– apart from its awkward title, this is an awkward film. Though the message is clear and, to some extent, lands, the way it depicts the brutality of gitmo feels gratuitous, particularly as the cast are all a bit too Hollywood-gloss to achieve the grittiness it seems to be aspiring to, and the script, too, feels like it was hammered out to a studio formula. In short, despite its “true story” claims, it feels inauthentic.
– disappointingly, the series never fully recovered after it’s 4th season dip in quality, but at least this is an improvement, and it’s still gripping and above average entertainment. It’s a shame this series adopted a strangely hallucinatory style of editing and direction, and felt a little too self-indulgent with its multiple dream sequences and graphic sex scenes. The final two episodes in particular felt decidedly out of character and tonally off. Nonetheless, absolutely worth watching for fans of the show and still highly enjoyable.
– enjoyably awful Spanish language prison thriller with a crazy and implausible plot, a terrible script, and editing that feels like whole chunks of the show were left on the cutting room floor. That said, the cast put in admirably hammy performances – with Flavio Medina as Peniche and David Chocarro as Santito both particularly riveting. They deserve much better roles. All in all, not worth it unless you’re a fan of this kind of shambolic telenovela melodrama. Shamefully, perhaps, I am.
– The first season of the show that feels dangerously close to ‘average’. Malotru is still out of control, buffeted around by circumstances, the loss of a key figure is seriously detrimental to the dynamic, and for some reason, the writers decided they’d lean into the tried and tested magic of hacking and AI for a bounty of deus ex machinas and other plot contrivances. It’s still an enjoyable ride, but this season fell far short of its predecessors, including with its uncertain and slapdash conclusion.
– the French spy thriller’s standard stays high, mostly, and the multitude of stories engaging – if a little familiar, despite a plot development that has the potential to derail the whole series.
– Malotru is back and so is the staggeringly high standard of screenwriting and acting. So compelling and fast paced, it feels like it ran straight into series three. Your love hate relationship with Marina Loisseau starts here…
– high stakes, nuanced and blisteringly tense French spy drama takes an episode to get going and then never lets up. With top notch performances and intelligent scripting, this is that rare gem: a truly great spy thriller.
– Netflix finally surprises with this wicked little cracker, an acerbic excoriation of wealth inequality and Western hypocrisy in a similar vein to Parasite. The pacing sags slightly in the middle and the ending is weird, but nonetheless, this is a great start to 2021 cinema. What a phenomenal performance from Adarsh Gourav.
– intriguing sci-fi thriller hugely undermined by a dreary mid-life crisis subplot and less than precise ‘time travel’ logic. Worth it for genre fans though.
– clearly aspired to be better than its end result and I applaud that ambition, but the script isn’t up to scratch and the direction and editing are also subpar. Disappointed this didn’t itch the crime thriller scratch, but nice to see Denzel in anything really….
– disappointing. Feels extremely rushed, inevitably, given 5 years of police work depicted in 3 episodes, and the script is 90% exposition. Acting also not great. That said, nice to see a Welsh crime drama that isn’t Hinterlands.
– ten episodes is far too long, and though both leads can hold their audience (extremely disconcertingly in Harry Treadaway’s case), the direction and scripting leaves a lot to be desired, with contrivances and implausible behaviour happening all over the shop. It’s also extremely gratuitous and graphic and generally pretty damn unpleasant to watch. On balance, with the range of high quality TV available now, I’d give this a miss.
– Like a Scottish answer to Better Call Saul or Breaking Bad. Top performances, top soundtrack, and creative direction. A totally unexpected little black comedy gem.
– Gawd almighty! This is a scarring and difficult watch; it ought to carry a warning or something. Most disorienting and savagely twisted thing I’ve seen since Eraserhead, except with stylishly stark colours, modern technology and today’s desensitisation to extreme violence, this is so much more harrowing. I genuinely think it’s a health hazard…
– not a patch on the original Unabomber series. The scripting is farcical at times, and it’s dismaying that most of the story and characters are completely fabricated. Honestly though, for fans of high stakes crime thrillers, this is still an engaging and easy-viewing romp.
– visually impressive and filled with fine performances, this string of striking but grisly set pieces is still a bit too gruesome and heavy to wholeheartedly recommend.
– simply terrible.
– thoroughly enjoyed this crime thriller. Though the casting is a little distracting, the story keeps you guessing right up to its gritty ending. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a while.
– fire and brimstone in Gladstone in this slow and dreary neo-Western starring an achingly weary and world-weary Kevin Costner. It’s all too much effort and mostly nonsensical anyway. As if this year wasn’t hard enough.
– Hugh Laurie demonstrates why he’s consistently chosen as a leading man, but I’m not sure this series is really anything more than a juicy political soap opera. Light, easy viewing, and for both these reasons, also quite boring.
– aaaand I’m up to date. No great surprises here. The sexual slack between Cardinal and Delorme is tied into a bow while the duo plod through snow investigating revenge killings.
– not to be confused with the classic of the same name (or any of its incarnations), this is a gritty, high intensity police thriller that plays out like a French remix of City of God and Training Day. At once tender and brutally, shockingly savage, it’s a pièce de résistance and a must watch.
– spanish thriller along the same nasty lines as Mientras Duermes. Javier Gutierrez is strong as always, but it’s just too damn unpleasant to enjoy. The spaniards excel at this skincrawling format.
– well-titled, sinister stalking thriller is a bit too focused on its two leads, and compelling as their performances are, it needed diluting with a subplot or a few more characters. Overall, this punches above its weight.
– more of the same, but Cardinal is on the backfoot and Delorme takes lead.
– much like series one, this is short and easy viewing. Not such a good story as the first season – often stupid and predictable in fact – but it (just about) hits the crime spot.
– quite gruesome but enjoyably straightforward cop show, short episodes and a short season. This is no True Detective, but it’s ideal for filling the gap between bigger and better TV shows.
– as expected from one of the writers of (the original) The Killing, this is an above average scandi crime thriller with twists aplenty and a delightful capacity to surprise. Though imperfect, it’s an enjoyably puzzling mystery for anyone with an appetite for the genre.
– J Lo plumbs the depths of sleaze in this tiresome and drawn out drama about strippers drugging then robbing punters. A feminist rallying cry it’s not.
– this spanish-language bank robbery comedy is enjoyably lighthearted, but in some ways, the calibre of the crime deserves a more serious retelling.
– a fantastic and fantastically timely piece of cinema. Sorkin’s script is characteristically sharp and pacy, and the cast are at the top of their game. Rarely do I feel so animated by a film, but this is certainly stirring. A must watch.
– fair to say this is an above average kidnapping thriller, and the vexing reliance on contrivances to make it all work is offset by its patient direction and performances. Shame it’s so damn nasty, but that’s the genre I suppose.
– the bad title sets the tone for this ludicrously stupid but improbably engaging serial killer thriller featuring the magnetic Robert Sheehan. I haven’t shouted at the TV so much in ages. Quite cathartic actually…
– this slow paced crime drama is acrimonious with confused messaging and a tonal dissonance that never sits right. Feels like a well financed student film, despite the stellar leading duo.
– a brilliant cast and cinematic direction elevates this above the mainstream. Thoroughly gripping, even though you know what happens next…
– hammy and Hollywoodised with an exposition heavy script but still quite enjoyable.
– Ozark-vibes comedy finds humour in the blackest of places. It fluctuates between highly entertaining and hugely depressing, and its slow pace might be off-putting to some, but it’s pleasingly original.
– both leads are phenomenal in this fast paced, slickly shot headscratcher that’s as confusing as it is engaging and either too clever or too tangled for its own good. Not as enjoyable as Nolan’s last few films (excluding The Dark Knight Rises which is a bad anomaly).
– light-hearted sci-fi scandi crime series playfully ridicules modern and historic societal attitudes while erring on just the right side of spoof. Definitely not high art, and definitely unfinished after one series, but there’s enough fun and mystery here that I’m happy to recommend.
– fairly standard scandi-noir, some duff writing, stupid coincidences and a lot of personal relationship drama that dilutes the intrigue and distracts from the plot, but it’s watchable enough if murder mysteries are your cup of tea.
– Koresh gets a (somewhat) sympathetic depiction in this immediately compelling dramatisation of the Waco catastrophe. The filmmakers caveat their portrayal to some extent, and it remains unclear how factual it is, but this is a pretty hard hitting indictment of the ATF and FBI’s approach to the standoff. Gripping from the off, and definitely recommended.
– slightly protracted but excellent comedic drama with two stunning lead performances: Allison Janney is genuinely the best in the business and Hugh Jackman is nearly unrecognisable (within reason).
– surely other people must be getting bored of all this costumed absurdity. Even Margot Robbie can’t save this eye-rollingly wretched display and the cocky humour doesn’t help (Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool has a lot to answer for). Bad doesn’t begin to describe it.
– Romanian Spanglish crime drama is convoluted in the extreme, with allegiance switching and betrayals galore. It’s sumptuous to look at and keeps you guessing, but the conclusion doesn’t tie things as neatly as hoped, and the tone is too deadpan to be fun.
– monosyllabic Icelandic drama is a slow, sombre and stress inducing contemplation on grief. Artful and affecting, but it drags.
– unusually, a show that gets better with time. It’s reassuringly steady and unambitious; not shock and awe, just the enjoyably slow piecing together of disparate cases and clues.
– I wanted to like this much more than I actually did. While clearly a Bill Hader vanity project, he’s easily good enough to carry it, and in a silly way the plot just about works. The tone is all over the shop though, sometimes slapstick goofball (and unfunny) comedy, sometimes sharply witty, and sometimes quite devastating drama. If it were consistently smarter and funnier, it might work, but as it stands, it falls short.
– a predictable, unpleasant and unconvincing concoction that long outstays its welcome.
– as dramatic and bleak as the subject matter dictates, complete with protracted execution sequence. Doesn’t do anything new with the formula, but sadly these films are still very necessary.
– asinine romcom lucks into a few laughs but is mostly just desperately stupid.
– an underwhelming and unsatisfying third series with a feeble plot, tiresome new characters, and mostly try-hard humour. Nothing worth sticking around for.
– hesitant to award the Smiley not because it’s undeserving, but because it’s like having boiling hot water splashed on your face for two hours. It’s emotionally scolding, furious and furiously intense, with a soundtrack that’s as dominant as the powerhouse performances it lifts. I felt damaged after watching it, but somehow a little bit stronger too.
– by and large, this is an engaging and addictive drama but its innumerable flaws (dated gender stereotypes, predictable twists, endless contrivances, to list a few) lead to an underwhelming and disappointing conclusion.
– on a second viewing this still holds up as an intense cinematic experience, though as a result of the current political situation and rioting in the USA, it feels a little less comfortable as entertainment.
– Italian crime thriller reaches for high stakes but descends into melodrama instead. The story is an absurd, rambling, meandering mess, beleaguered by endless contrivances. There’s nearly nothing here to like.
– for an emotive premise, the Devs cast seems to have been carefully selected and briefed to be devoid of emotion. It results in dry and deadpan delivery that’s a real turn off, and in some cases downright infuriating (see preachy, expressionless Alison Pill as Katie who seems to be trying her hardest to stop viewers wanting to engage at all). As a fan of sci-fi, I’ve come to expect some pseudo-science-philosophy-waffle, it’s often required exposition, but here, presumably in an attempt to be profound, the explanatory science and logic is told in a condescending, imperious fashion, and the line between confident, self-assured plot, and smugly complacent “we know something you don’t know”-ism is crossed time and again. It’s a shame and especially frustrating as predeterminism is not even a particularly challenging concept. There’s so much going on here, and some of it is brilliant (like the soundtrack, set design and Nick Offerman’s simmering performance), but unfortunately, it ties itself in knots trying to one-up the viewer, and ends up collapsing inwards. If this was a first draft, the potential would be so exciting, but as a finished product, it falls very far short.
– gentle and understated comedy epitomises everything I love about Latin American movies. Charismatic characters, sensitive and thoughtful direction, and of course, the beautiful language.
– A promising start then it all falls apart. That’s the plot, as well as a review. This Montana set Western follows unsympathetic, even despicable characters, through an endless stream of farfetched and usually violent contrivances. The scenery is beautiful, the premise is strong, the execution is near terrible. Show creator Taylor Sheridan is a serious talent, a pity he’s only credited with story for the first two episodes (by far the best).
– To contrast with the Smiley of Approval, maybe I should introduce a sad face for truly disappointing films. Given my fondly nostalgic memories of its progenitors, this pitiful, unfunny excuse for an action comedy would certainly deserve one. A generous viewer might argue the buddy cop duo themselves at least retain a degree of charisma, but even that’s a stretch. A great shame.
– when brilliant writing meets convincing acting and memorable cinematography is cut with creative direction, you end up with a show as consistently compelling as Better Call Saul. Jimmy has come a long way since we were first introduced to his origin story, but Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould pace his development just right, with barely a foot wrong. Unfortunately, the wrong foot in this season falls in the final episode, which is a real clanger given the deliberate realism of the series so far. This might well be the best show currently on TV though, and over 50 episodes, the occasional misstep can be forgiven.
– though the black witted crime drama remains a cut above most of its competition, this season dips in the middle, returns to retread some old ground, and has a sense of inevitability about it that is dangerously close to tedious. That said, it ends with a bang, the comedy remains laugh out loud at times, and the main cast are as terrific as ever. It’s a shame the writers lean into ’emotional conflict’ so heavily they could be following notes from a university lecture on creative writing. It grates.
– batshit crazy biopic cum true-crime documentary about the deadly rivalries between private zoo owners in the USA. Definitely unique and worth watching for the extraordinarily eccentric characters and the eye opening lives they lead. The chronology is chaotic though and the whole series too drawn out. It also feels a little manipulative, as these shows so often do, withholding key information or revealing it in drips to frame audience opinion and maximise shock factor.
– the eponymous Thurgood Marshall and Jewish lawyer Sam Friedman face bigotry, discrimination and an uphill battle for justice while defending a black man on trial for rape. Plain sailing legal drama, neat and unambitious, but enjoyable enough.
– surrounded by unconvincing performances, static direction and dodgy editing, Peter Dinklage (aka Tyrion Lannister) turns sleuth and rummages through memories to solve a murder. It’s a disappointingly weak manifestation of a sci-fi premise which, though unoriginal, has stacks of potential.
– Martin Freeman is well cast in this tense and punchy drama detailing the fall from grace of Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, who caught a serial killer then spent years fighting for his career as well as pursuing justice for the victims’ families. No comment on the facts of the case, but as a TV show, this is polished and absorbing, if a little heavy on the drama and liberal with the exposition. It’s definitely worth a watch.
– if every character wasn’t so annoying, and the plot wasn’t so ludicrous, this very-BBC-TV cop thriller could have been good. As it stands, it’s certainly bingeable, and paced fast enough you might overlook its endless irrationality. I’m afraid I couldn’t.
– corrupt cop thriller is formulaic, predictable and contrived, but more egregious still: it’s boring.
– A horror movie title for a drama detailing a litany of corporate horrors. Though a handful of moments are so Hollywoodised as to stretch credulity, the bulk of this David versus Goliath saga is compelling, jaw-dropping and powerfully affecting. A perfect example of the power of film to educate as well as entertain.
– after an intriguing and promising start, this Stephen King mystery abandons the mystery, introduces a human-possessing demon and an expositional clairvoyant, then sinks the viewer into their very own hell: boredom. Hugely disappointing, an absolute waste of time.
– Clint Eastwood’s attack on government and the media is badly timed and hamfisted in places, but it’s (mostly) engaging and boasts consistently excellent performances from Hauser, Bates and Rockwell.
– suspenseful cop thriller with tight direction and strong performances, particularly from leads Stephan James and Chadwick Boseman. A shame they opted for so many shoot ’em ups rather than a smarter script, but what it does, it does well.
– very ‘made for TV’ binge mystery starts intriguing but farfetched and gets progressively more and more inane. None of it adds up, none of it is remotely plausible outside of the realms of TV land, and it’s stupid even by those low standards. Save yourself the eyerolls and vexation: avoid.
– a long, moody film noir a la Chinatown; atmospheric, mostly well acted, and simply directed (in contrast to its convoluted plot). It’s a shame that albeit engaging and definitely worth watching, it falls a little short of its potential. Love the jazz soundtrack.
– international detective story boasts a cast at the top of their game, a hugely witty script and more excitement by episode three than most series have reached by their finale. Unfortunately, it struggles to sustain its focus, becomes diverted by petty relationship dramas and ill thought out plot strands and so misses the bullseye. That said, fantastic TV show, highly recommended. Great soundtrack too.
– named after the most devastating year of The Great Famine in Ireland, this revenge drama is as dour as the title suggests. The production and score is solid, but the plot’s unremarkable and overall it’s too flat to recommend.
– it is a relief to see such a proficient return to form from Guy Ritchie who delivers an innovative, irreverently funny and fast paced helter-skelter ride featuring his by now trademark one-liner quips, slickly stylised direction, and an hilariously addled narration by Hugh Grant’s oleaginous private investigator. Everyone is at the top of their ham game, and this is an absolute riot.
– without doubt a brilliantly concocted and immersive feat of film-making, but it’s so relentlessly high stress, angst-ridden and chaotic it’s hard to enjoy. Adam Sandler utterly embodies the role though, his finest performance.
– Andrew Scott is engaging as a complicated simpleton in this basic crime drama, but overall it seems amateurish with some strange scripting choices and jarring audio flashbacks.
– a politician scapegoated in a financial scandal frantically tries to prove the corruption runs deeper. Excellent performances and a fast paced, compelling script, but the plot is occasionally confusing, and the ending is an outrageous disservice to viewers. Almost brilliant, but falls short.
– JK Simmons’ doppleganger sci-fi definitely suffers from an overly ponderous pace and dour tone, but if you’ve the patience for it, there’s a smart spy thriller at its core, with a pleasantly convoluted and twisting plot, fantastic acting and an evocative musical score.
– basically an extended bar brawl with a foul-mouthed cockney narrator. Oddly characterful and entertaining, though some dodgy production gives a B-movie feel.
– Scorsese rewinds the clock with Pacino, Pesci and De Niro back in their well-worn mobster shoes and retreading old ground with new technology. It’s a polished and accomplished epic, but despite modern techniques, somehow feels anachronistic, as if rediscovered and remastered from a bygone era of cinema. The 3.5 hour runtime may be offputting to potential viewers, but for those who can spare the time and patience, it’s a rewarding, if slightly underwhelming experience; a feat of film-making and a feat to watch.
– very funny and enjoyably head-scratching whodunit spoof that laughs at itself and the genre, but still delivers a murder mystery worth unravelling.
– a partially-sighted, beefcake cop pursues criminals with an unwilling, goofy Uber driver. Yep, this is absolute rubbish.
– a mixed bag of mystery and intrigue whose brilliant cast and sometimes sharp script is tempered by bad subplots and ludicrous allusions to the supernatural. An enjoyably compelling experience overall, but proves ultimately disappointing.
– this dry, stilted and stubbornly unfunny karate-centred black comedy is weird enough to be oddly compelling, but fails to land a punch.
– from Gattaca writer Andrew Niccol comes another solid dystopian sci-fi noir. It’s sometimes contrived but, on the whole, is intriguing and smarter than average.
– documentary raising the alarm on data manipulation and election rigging is certainly timely (if anything, belated – Twitter just banned political advertising). It deserves viewing, particularly by big data skeptics and critics of Carole Cadwalladr, but in its efforts to be mainstream and accessible, it barely scratches the surface of these major issues, with a narrow focus on a small cast of characters.
– perhaps the most bingeable of the show’s seasons despite a jarring and tedious historical plotline about Smurf. The writing is smarter and wittier than the last series (admittedly a very low bar to beat), and the plot moves at a fast pace through major, character-changing events. If you were on the fence about carrying on after S03 (and I wouldn’t blame you), this is worth resuming. If not, I wouldn’t bother starting Animal Kingdom at all.
– there’s nothing more criminal in this series than the way it has turned a menacing, high stakes crime drama into a chaotic, madcap and asinine catalogue of errors; as if the writers decided as long as they included the stock ingredients of drug-taking, sex and random acts of violence, they could avoid actually having to drum up a compelling storyline or any innovative new heists. This is terrible writing with nearly nothing to redeem it. As a fan of series 1, I can only hope they seriously upped the game for season 4. I’m not holding my breath.
– engrossing as this sometimes is, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before (and in this show no less). The Narcos formula begins to feel tired; thin on ideas and excitement, with twists and turns bordering on predictable, and plot strands that run to nowhere. It doesn’t help that the characters this season aren’t charismatic and the ending, when it comes, concludes nothing.
– very much a sequel to offer closure on Jesse Pinkman’s story. It plays more as an extended episode of the show than a standalone film, with some slightly laboured exposition to help fill the gaps. It’s an unnecessary but no less welcome return to Breaking Bad, and although it doesn’t bring anything new, Gilligan’s trademark camerawork and strong performances make for another engaging and competent production.
– whether its ambition is to highlight the depravity of greed at all costs or not, this dog eat dog thriller is sick and repellent, depicting a viciously sadistic sequence of events it would be indecent to recommend. Grim indeed.
– where Heath Ledger’s Joker exploded on screen in a dazzling spectacle and jolt of adrenaline, Joaquin Phoenix’ character deteriorates like rot, until sympathetically unhinged becomes fully detached and he sucks chaos towards him like a black hole. It’s a masterful performance. Kudos, too, to Scott Silver and Todd Phillips, who have dared to introduce shades of grey to a genre dominated by black and white, added enough social commentary to stir up the zeitgeist, and still crafted an utterly compelling origin story for one of the most loathed and adored villains in the superhero catalogue. It’s only appropriate to award the smiley…
– refreshingly original and thought provoking take on the time travel genre, where time and its nature is the centrepiece rather than a cheap plot device. Things escalate a little too fast, but overall this is fairly excellent, and has flown remarkably low under the radar. Deserves more attention.
– Somewhat goofy time travel thriller offers thinly plotted entertainment value, but nothing more substantial.
– Though clearly a series on a mission, the impressive acting and well paced cat and mouse story allows for some didactic freedom without the script becoming too preachy. It takes a few episodes to really kick into gear, and the extensive exposition is tiresome, but once it has you, it’s extremely compelling viewing and a very refreshing addition to the crime genre.
– wildly original as well as just plain wild, this is a superhero misadventure with more dark twists and psycho kinks than a comicon in a bondage dungeon. The script is often too try-hard, whether in attempts at shock or humour, and the characters and Machiavellian scheming sometimes just too obvious, but as a cocktail, it’s hard not to swallow the lot with a giddy smile and extend the glass for more. Cross Deadpool with Banshee and you’re somewhere close – Antony Starr sure can pick ’em.
– teenage kicks turn sour in this contrived and unemotional little thriller, tightly knit, but too frivolous to excite (or even entertain).
– Mark Duplass’ blackly humorous and curiously sympathetic serial killer has certainly carved himself a niche in the genre, but this iteration works more as a depraved character study than a horror.
– three generations of Shaft buck the man and take on the crooks of Harlem in this silly, tongue-in-cheek action remake. Its humour stems from irreverantly playing with questionable notions of masculinity, casual misogyny and millennial bashing, and though it tries to do it with enough swagger that nobody cares, it still feels a few decades too late. Not offensive, just a bit pathetic.
– the crazed family of thieves continue to trample each other and everyone nearby in their attempts to earn a quick buck, get high or get laid. While there are some major plot developments this series and it remains easy viewing, the show feels less even-handed and considered than its prequel, with a reckless, scattergun approach that is messy and unconvincing.
– some will hate its overt comic book stylings and video game sensibilities – the shamelessly titillating nudity, caricatured villains and vividly graphic violence – but for fans of the genre this is a slickly produced and exhilarating ride.
– tight little crime thriller shot nearly entirely within a getaway car. Boasts a surprisingly strong cast and innovative direction to keep the intensity rolling.
– Really wanted to like this despite the brazen and hamfisted rip-off of the Stranger Things aesthetic, but it’s protracted, humourless and unoriginal, with unsympathetic characters and drab direction.
– there are plenty of problems with this show, but none register for long before they’re superceded by a nailbiting thrill or a move that leaves you squirming. Though it wallows in gratuity – the whole cocktail of sex, drugs and violence – and the whole conceit stretches plausibility, it goes to plenty of dark places that a lesser show might not, and though the dialogue can seem trite at times, the cast (nearly) uniformly deliver even the weaker lines with an unhinged edge that keeps you gripped and their deranged characters intact. Echoes of Bloodline (2015) but far less restrained.
– silliness abounds in this French crime farce that follows a bunch of imbeciles trying to pull off a drug deal in Spain. Its stylish direction shows potential, taking obvious cues from Guy Ritchie, but the lunacy is all a bit much.
– exciting and tense French crime thriller feels as though it’s missing something, but remains a very solid effort.
– fairly engaging but its plodding pace would have benefited from more detective work and less wishy-washy romance. For a vaguely similar story, far more compellingly spun, watch True Detective S03.
– Afraid to say I gave up on this after a few episodes. Beautiful scenery, but the pace is paralysingly slow, the script and premise both vague and unconvincing, and the lead actress is nearly devoid of emotion. Life is too short.
– Though polished, this is thoroughly miserable from start to finish. Whether accurate or not, it doesn’t make for enjoyable viewing.
– rose-tinted reimagining of the life and times of the eponymous Irish/Australian scoundrel. Youthfully exuberant performances from its all star cast don’t disguise the uninspired direction and dated style. Tame.
– deliberately dry and burdensome style could be off-putting to some viewers, but those with patience will be rewarded with a slickly directed, well shot and wrly amusing heist thriller of the sort that are few and far between these days.
– As per the first series, though on paper the premise suggests an intense and suspenseful crime thriller, in practice, the ingredients feel undercooked, lukewarm, not even raw. The inherently interesting subject matter proves compelling enough to keep watching, but never excites.
– this unique Korean masterpiece is first and foremost an hilarious black comedy, but more than that, it’s also a searing critique of class and capitalism, stacked full of metaphors and insightful dialogue, that feels simultaneously both horrifyingly prescient and reflective. Genius.
– Brilliantly well produced and acted, but there’s an unrelenting inevitability to this Italian crime drama that makes it very tough viewing, like watching a prolonged torture scene. An excellent film if you can stomach it.
– Unhappily devoid of excitement or emotion, this underwhelming and torturously slow haunted house mystery tries to get under the skin but gets on the nerves.
– atonal film noir plays with expectations without ever meeting or bettering them. Despite an interesting, clinical style with some imaginative direction and a dreamy soundtrack, it sets its sights on sinister black comedy but winds up bafflingly humourless instead.
– brilliantly crafted historical drama depicts the harrowing tragedy informatively and ungratuitously whilst remaining utterly engaging. A rare feat that more than deserves the acclaim and audience recognition it has received.
– crime caper that goes as awry as the faux bank heist it portrays. Without exception the characters are annoying and unlikeable, the direction is uninspired, and while incompetence can be amusing, it is more often infuriating, as it is here. Hugely disappointing.
– Both Zac Efron and Lily Collins turn in brilliant performances in this risky biopic of serial killer Ted Bundy. In its execution though, the executioner is allowed too much sympathy. Albeit almost certainly the point, his repeated denials are credited with enough plausibility throughout as to be nearly convincing despite the widely known truth and ultimate outcome of his case. It leaves you wondering if the same cast and crew could have delivered a less troubling and thus more satisfying film.
– though on the surface the conceit has some echoes of Disturbia (2007), this is a much more compelling and convincing film, with a plausible set up, backstory and conclusion. The puerile teenage interludes are tedious, but the overall execution is suspensful and engrossing. A pleasant surprise.
– an original story told with wonderfully earnest performances and understated direction, but this heartfelt crime drama lacks the pace to really hook the viewer, relying on the intrigue of its premise and the promise of something more to keep them invested. It’s ultimately a little disappointing.
– slow paced but extremely intense crime drama documenting the misery and despair of a mother after she loses her husband and only son to a terrorist attack. So bleak it’s hard to recommend as entertainment.
– solid if unexciting show, worth watching, particularly as an educational historical piece highlighting the significance of the case as well as the simmering race issues at the time. Not the most fun I’ve ever had though…
– dark and tonally dissonant crime drama with a B-movie feel but methodical execution. Unfortunately reveals its hand early so surprises are few and far between.
– A satisfying mystery that intrigues and excites thanks to carefully calculated performances from a cast at the top of their game, and a sharp and quick witted script.
– Sadly far inferior to its predecessor, this time it forgoes the cat and mouse excitement for a focus on relationships, resulting in the kind of banal drama found in any other run of the mill TV show. There are enough key ingredients to entertain, but it’s disappointing.
– albeit easy viewing, this is an uneventful, tame crime drama, so thin as to be condescending. Time better spent elsewhere.
– Bland, bleak and laboured prison drama that adds nothing to the genre. Deadpan to the point it lacks soul and energy and ends up a tough watch.
– Polished if formulaic gun slinger following a pair of washed up lawmen on the trail of Bonnie and Clyde. Unimaginative and a bit flabby, but serviceable.
– a strong season for fans of grumpy Harry. It’s not cutting edge TV, it’s basic, borderline procedural crime drama, but the characters have a cantankerous charm about them, and the soundtrack and general atmosphere is somehow calming. In the absence of better crime thrillers, this is just dandy.
– the predictable but compelling BBC crime drama continues, as far fetched as ever, and no less entertaining.
– if you can weather the first two unremarkable and slow paced episodes of this, it develops into a brilliantly acted and compelling crime drama where for all your suspicions, the truth only really emerges in the final seconds. Surprisingly powerful.
– comparisons to Inherent Vice are deserved, though I think the snowballing mystery in this is actually far more satisfying. Don’t be fooled by the gently intriguing trailer, this is a conspiracy movie for conspiracy theorists. It’s like watching a cheerful descent into mental illness.
– drab and nasty crime drama
– this script was not nearly deserving of such a strong cast. The dire writing and absurd plot leaves even actors of this calibre looking like soap stars. Crap.
– Lars just throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. Nothing it seems. I wanted to like this. Dillon is excellent, but the film is just exhaustingly dull, vacuous and unpleasant for the sake of it. Not worth the time.
– gentle heist drama with a sympatico Robert Redford giving his swan song performance. Gentle, with a great soundtrack and feel good vibes, this is short and comfy viewing, for fans of the actor, not the genre.
– a gripping enough way to spend a few hours, but surprisingly plain. The wasted potential is especially disappointing given its stellar cast.
– above average crime thriller following four US students who plot an art heist. Slick storytelling and direction with an excellent soundtrack.
– as per the plummeting trend, the eye rollingly stupid crime thriller is more gratuitous and more ridiculous than ever. Waste of time.
– unimpressive but solid enough crime drama a few beats too short of a thriller, and a few scenes too short of an ending. Humdrum.
– fiercely powerful and exceptionally difficult viewing. Brutal, sickening, offensive, but brilliantly well done. There is no entertainment here, but if you want to feel angry, if you want to get fired up, if you want to shed tears of fury for past and continuing injustices, this is the drug for the job.
– gratuitous and trashy whodunnit crime thriller with no wit, charm or smarts. The few bits of genuine intrigue remain unsolved at its conclusion, and the murderers motive (and unexplained obsession with Poirot) is farcical to the point of annoyance. Avoid.
– A film about corruption, patriarchy, racism, domestic abuse, prostitution, police shootings, adultery, greed…too many ingredients ultimately undermine this thriller, but it still packs a punch and delivers vastly better entertainment than the usual fare.
– after the initial depiction of the event itself, which is morbidly compelling despite being more shocking and grotesque than you might even imagine, the extreme tension dissipates into extreme tedium as the usual dramatic beats take over, and a long and unexciting court case gets underway. There’s little here to entertain.
– a spanish language narcotics soap opera, a telenovela in every respect but production values. The story is predictable, character behaviours stupid, and every episode follows the exact same formula: risk of arrest being averted by a litany of increasingly absurd coincidences, contrivances, and deus ex machinas. If it wasn’t for the love of the language, it’s unlikely I’d have watched past episode two, and all the warning signs are there in episode one. If you want an amazing thriller about drug trafficking, there are so many to choose from, don’t choose this one.
– this crime drama is a mixed bag. It keeps you guessing, but is too poorly paced and drawn out to be exciting or properly compelling. A shame, as the performances are good.
– An above average whodunnit wrapped in political intrigue and cultural hierarchies and deferences. Our fascinating protagonist isn’t some blundering alcoholic battling with his demons as he solves cases; he is shrewd, capable, relentless, he sees much and says little, he is enigmatic but sympathetic, and his performance is fastidious and crisply delivered. The programme is soap operatic in many ways, excessively long (episodically and as a series), and it does suffer curious quirks and melodrama that are a million miles from realism or even plausibility, but overall these inadequacies don’t undermine its value as fun and extremely engaging television.
– Based on episode one only, this is a plainly unoriginal and formulaic drama following the tropes established by The Killing, The Bridge and other far superior scandi-crime dramers/ thrillers. Given how competitive this space is, shows really need to do better to stand out.
– Great series overall and they handled a difficult plot turn mostly well, although it cast a glum shadow over the remaining episodes. This is a reliably solid detective show in a landscape that suffers from a drought of decent murder mysteries. Hope Bosch S05 gets the go ahead.
– disappointing crime drama mainly detailing the troubled love story between the two gay protagonists rather than the robbery. Sort of big budget arthouse, not my bag.
– Grisly Spanish crime drama, protracted but compelling if only to see how the whole nasty, twisted tale unravels. Very effective understated soundtrack.
– moderately entertaining, but not a patch on the trilogy that came before. Unfortunately it emulates Ocean’s 11 so closely it feels unoriginal and trite, doing no favours for its screaming effort to be a female showcase for a female audience (Doncha know there’s nothing women love more than shopping, glamour and jewellery?! An ‘A’ for effort Hollywood…)
– disappointing film overall, especially given the absurdly high rating it has on TMDb (and elsewhere…) It also doesn’t make a lot of sense at times, in a way that I’m not sure was down to the translation/ culture.
– this murder mystery is short on quality in just about every regard. the acting and direction is bland, the script stunted, and it’s so strangely and scrappily edited as to leave you feeling you’ve watched two thirds of a thriller. The ingredients for a much better film are there, but they’re served up uncooked and cold.
– Spanish language police drama about a corrupt police unit who terrorise the locals to make arrests and increasingly antagonise the community with violent results. Polished, but simply not engaging enough to recommend highly. Elite Squad and its sequel delivered the same concept much more convincingly and enjoyably.
– Henceforth destined to be called simply ‘Soldado’, this sequel to the cartel thriller matches the suspense of its predecessor beat for beat and imitates its visual style mostly successfully. The ending feels too hastily wrapped up and slightly sloppy, with some niggling unresolved questions, so it doesn’t feel quite as polished or perfectly packaged as the original. Nonetheless, this is one hell of a film, brilliantly acted and scripted. It’s certainly a worthy sequel. Shame about the crap title.
– wonderfully original British crime drama. Unfortunately the climax of the series teeters a little too close to the edge of the rails.
– frenetic and overwrought crime drama that plays like a prolonged episode of Fargo. Not bad, but not worth the effort.
– enjoyable continuation of the conspiracy thriller, but clutching at straws and contrivances in a way that series 1 didn’t need to. Still great entertainment, I’m just glad it was wrapped before it descended into farce.
– the one gripping heist sequence towards the end is very tightly executed, but the rest of this macho thriller is so testosterone fuelled and trite it’s off-putting. Too long as well.
– An intriguing and arresting pilot episode is followed by what must surely be one of the finest and most original conspiracy thriller series Britain has produced. There are some occasional lines of cheesy expositional dialogue, and the plot frequently strays into absurdity, but for sheer entertainment and thrilling momentum, this is an instant classic. Neil Maskell in particular is a rivetingly sinister villain.
– solid enough crime drama, not exactly fun though. Often slow and confusing, with a sense of inevitability that’s never turned on its head.
– absurdly blockbusterised. Boring. And that god awful moustache.
– oddly compelling given its subdued and deflated style, with sensitive performances from all involved, but beyond competency, there’s little to excite or to recommend here.
– A classic, conventional crime thriller. Compelling, with various intriguing twists and turns. If only the ending wasn’t so drawn out it would be even better.
– hilariously dated art heist flick starring Brosnan on top suave form. Amazing how times have changed in two decades. Good fun though, shame it sags in the middle.
– not Aronofsky’s descent into madness of the same name, this Korean drama follows a mother seeking to exonerate her son from a murder charge. Atmospheric and well shot, but it didn’t move or excite me.
– horribly violent, bleak and macabre Korean crime thriller, too unpleasant to recommend.
– brilliantly suspenseful and well constructed Korean crime thriller of the sort that’s all too rare these days. Great film.
– Fast paced, wholly gripping Korean heist thriller. Quick witted and adrenaline filled. A great ride.
– good yarn, well spun, even while the actual plot is utterly preposterous. Solid entertainment.
– gorgeously shot and stirring crime thriller that grips from the brutal opening sequence and doesn’t let up. Gets under your skin.
– for once the critics didn’t batter it unfairly. This is fairly appalling.
– German noir crime thriller, mostly gripping, if a little over the top. The plot is undermined by a plethora of extraordinary coincidences, but for fans of the serial killer genre, this is worth a watch.
– average Spanish-language crime thriller
– what starts as a trashy Spanish heist thriller turns borderline unbearable as the plot twists itself into a ludicrous, inconsistent and often nonsensical mess. Then after 13 absurd episodes, the season ends abruptly and unsatisfyingly. Unless season two is a work of utter genius, I cannot recommend this.
– Thoroughly engaging and enjoyable TV drama exploring the mystery of why a missing and presumed dead boy’s DNA is showing up at murder seasons. Utterly ridiculous and implausible, but compelling.
– self aggrandising and smug tale, hero worshipping Barry Seal and the drug-running, CIA informing lifestyle he led. Easy and generally entertaining viewing though.
– bleak crime drama, too heavy for my tastes, and without anyone to root for.
– intriguing, often gratuitous and unnecessarily drawn out crime mystery. Disappointing.
– I don’t think masterpiece is too strong a term for this marvellous conspiracy thriller. Way ahead of its time in terms of cinematography and directorial style. Vastly better than I could have imagined after so many years. Utterly convincing.
– heavy and depressing but interesting crime drama. I wanted more from it.
– beautiful cinematography, good acting, great soundtrack. All in all, a solid, slow burning crime drama.
– often disturbingly graphic, but this is a strong and well structured crime drama
– fairly average period crime thriller. A great cast but still underwhelming.
– drawn out, rambling and mostly nonsensical. Waste of time. Disappointing from such a powerhouse director and cast.
– Fast paced action thriller, as plausible as Prison Break but similarly enjoyable.
– Christopher Plummer turns in a fantastic performance in a heartfelt and moving crime drama.
– Harrowing and compelling as this story is, and I did (mostly) enjoy the film, I was really disappointed that there wasn’t more to it. I expected a twist, or a revelation, or some kind of climax. Whilst real life doesn’t always come with neat red herrings and gut punch reveals, that is what the best crime thrillers deliver. I wonder if this might have been a better “based on a true story” rather than a direct biographical retelling.
– Strikingly artful and brilliantly directed but not a particularly enjoyable film
– I really enjoyed this again on a repeat viewing, although it definitely does sag in the middle, and the supporting cast aren’t up to Barratt’s comedic calibre.
– strangely intense given its limited cinematic scope and singular location, but not my cup of tea. Very dated.
– hugely disappointing, chaotic and superficial heist thriller. Engaging, but utterly devoid of substance.
– high octane stunt heist extravaganza to an excellent soundtrack with the atomically precise direction of Edgar Wright. What’s not to like?
– disappointing crime thriller, particularly given the rave reviews ahead of its release. Not even close to the benchmarks set by The Bridge and The Killing.
– a character assassination, a hatchet job, whatever you call it, the press did a number on Jefferies, and this is a solid retelling of the prejudiced and malicious destruction of his reputation
– ludicrous but thoroughly engrossing and engaging to the bitter end. And it is a bitter end. I hope they pull S05 back from the edge of the abyss.
– far better than the second season, and its mistakes easier to forgive. It follows the same tropes and gives itself to tedious moralising at times, but this was a good fun whodunnit.
– far inferior to the opening season, but this was still entertaining for the most part.
– so much more impressive on a second viewing, perhaps in part with maturity and in part from a greater and more complete understanding of the trick. A fantastic film to be sure.
– a blow by blow, hour by hour retelling of the Boston Bombings. I’m not informed enough to be able to judge its accuracy, but it doesn’t feel gratuitous in any way. It’s focused on the community reaction, the strength of people there in the wake of the attack, and the police officers and security officials who worked to find the guys afterwards. There are definitely moments when they go off on one banging the drum for America and freedom, and the flavour of patriotism is a bit intense, but under the circumstances, it’s kind of forgivable, and it doesn’t detract much as a viewer. Bit long, and feels a bit too soon to be making it, but overall pretty solid.
– a far fetched and self-conscious but mostly enjoyable crime series, with a finale that hugely disappoints. It seems the creators gave up on actual cases in favour of pseudo psychological thrills and set pieces, and the show suffers hugely as a consequence.
– a strong, high concept pilot episode disintegrates into a dull, muddled mess of a crime drama.
– impressive French drug v police drama, like several series of The Wire compressed into two hours. Zampa rivals some of the greatest movie villains.
– sci fi romance that fails on the science and the fiction, but somehow remains enjoyable, perhaps partly thanks to Chris Pratt being a loveable baffoon. J Law is always solid casting too. The lasting question as the credits roll, though: where the hell did Andy Garcia come from?
– vastly superior to its first season, this crime thriller drama is very engaging TV. It suffers from some clumsy exposition and occasional offtone acting, but largely this is an excellent ride.
– strong criminal drama with a frustratingly abrupt and unearned conclusion. Billy Bob Thornton is terrific, and the plot is intriguing and nuanced, but the rushed delivery in eight episodes was totally insufficient and ultimately disappointing.
– terrific heist drama with stellar performances from both Ben Foster and Chris Pine. A slow burn, but excellent
– solid enough thriller, and probably the best of the trilogy, but still falls far short of the ‘greats’ of the genre
– poor courtroom drama and scripting, and irrational, ill-formed character actions, slowly bled the promise of the excellent pilot until we’re left with a glorified, prolonged episode of Law & Order. It’s an enjoyable watch, but after a very strong start, it didn’t come close to its potential. A great shame.
– nonsensical plot with not enough malice in the team of criminal sociopaths, and not enough spectacle to be fun. Indestructable omnipotent villains with synthetic voices are sooooo tedious.
– horribly graphic documentary exposing, again, the savagery of the war on drugs, from the perspective of the vigilante groups battling the cartels.
– coarse, unlikeable, oddly self-aggrandising… just generally a bit crap (not to mention the plot is as wonky as John Travolta’s hair piece)
– wickedly funny detective crime caper. Chemistry between Gosling and Crowe is surprisingly feisty and the script is laden with black humour and unexpected slapstick. Just a great, fun film.
– a waste of everybody’s time, unaided by the intensely unlikeable hipster crime solving team at its heart. Dreary, convoluted and beyond improbable. Don’t bother.
– gripping and well confected courtroom thriller.
– slightly gratuitous spanish language cartel thriller. Oddly sparsely scripted, with the titular character cowering from bullets in lingerie for most of the film. Not recommended.
– shouty black and white prison drama with a strong and understated performance by Sean Connery. The military formula grates.
– gritty and gripping heist movie, delivered with a lot of style, but lacking in smarts. Very Antoine Fuqua in style.
– Gripping court room true crime documentary. Builds steam to around episode 8, but the final few are superfluous.
– Hugely enjoyable and feel good heist love triangle comedy. Billy Bob Thornton is a joy and the whole film is a lot of fun.
– graphic and unflinching look at a prison in the 70s and its slow and inevitable descent into hell. Most unpleasant. Brilliant theme music from Nick Cave though.
– Light hearted heist thriller.
– Enjoyable sioux murder conspiracy whodunit. Yup, its a pretty specific genre… I liked it.
– Intriguing journalist conspiracy thriller. Not as exciting as we have come to expect, but some of the set pieces are beautifully suspenseful: doubly so given its age.
– deliciously intriguing Agatha Christie whodunit. Consensus on the killer was formed pretty early, but some red herrings put you off the scent before confirming your early suspicions. A lot of fun! I wish good whodunits were back in vogue…
– truly awful ‘foreigner’ film of two teenagers trapped in a Thailand prison for drug smuggling
– highly entertaining, if unabashedly puerile police precinct sit-com. It’s no Sunny in Philly, but it’s a great show to destress to! Short episodes make for easy viewing too.
– Striking and artistically directed drug cartel thriller. Fantastic, nail biting, edge of the seat stuff from start to finish. I would see it again in an instant.
– Fast paced (perhaps too fast paced), drug cartel crime thriller charting Pablo Escobar rise and fall from power in Colombia. Sharp acting and excellent direction, it’s a minor pity that the script frequently borders on US propaganda. Terrific TV though.
– Never ceases to amuse and excite. Owen is indubitably a smooth criminal. One of the last decades best crime thrillers.
– fairly average prison drama with Stallone at the helm. I probably wouldn’t advise bothering with it.
– It turns out the US remake was essentially a shot for shot rework of this original danish serial killer thriller which enormously undermined the impact of this for me. Clearly a solid film though, and pleasantly unpleasantly twisted.
– A fantastic crime cum revenge action thriller that grips tight early on and keeps you breathless until its spectacular conclusion. A new favourite in this genre.
– It’s not often I declare a remake superior to the original, but in many ways I prefer The Departed to this crime thriller. The direction and acting are all top notch, but a couple of story twists were nicely refined for the US version. That said, this happily skips alot of the sappy Hollywood romance and tones down the caricature.
– Fantastic spanish language crime thriller exploring theories surrounding the assassination of Colosio, the Mexican presidential candidate in 1994.
– A playful, whimsical foray into crime for Rufus Sewell. Good fun.
– Wry humour and master villains, this is a gripping crime drama with a lot to enjoy, but somehow it resolves to nobody’s satisfaction.
– Try hard surrealist crime thriller in the vein of Twin Peaks (it even sounds similar). Dillon is very watchable but the show is tediously try-hard.
– Enjoyable crime thriller. What it lacks in finesse and style, it makes up for with heart. I’m sure follow ups will be more assured.
– Intriguing, if slow, crime drama. Very dark and exploring interesting themes, this is poignant and somehow delicate, and yet disappointingly fails to really impress.
– Pay close attention and this unexpected crime drama will pay dividends. Powerfully understated, with excellent performances to a man. Refreshingly original.
– Better than its predecessor. Another nordic crime thriller. A little more explicit and violent this one, the plot doesn’t unravel as suspensefully as it could, but it’s a tightly spun yarn.
– Vacuous heist/ con artist thriller that plays the usual cards and tricks with a hyper modern and unrealistic twist. Nowhere near as fun as it should and could have been, with all the ‘focus’ evidently misplaced on gloss instead of substance.
– Utterly inane, wacky, off the wall serial killer comedy that baffles more than it entertains, although it’s worth watching to the end simply for the final credit sequence. Ryan Reynolds is a dream.
– Gritty and compelling French police serial. A solid series.
– Dated and decidedly average serial killer thriller.
– superb spanish thriller, dark and layered. Similar to True Detective in style and tone.
– comically stale heist comedy that retreads the usual steps and tries to sell itself as swish. A dull cliché.
– Kristen Stewart demonstrates she has acting chops in this solid prison drama. A bit laboured, with one or two missteps, but on the whole, this is quite affecting.
– Bog standard crime thriller with Neeson in his usual washed up oldtimer role. Not worth the time.
– overwrought, exposition heavy, subplot laden and contrived. Downey Jr is in his fast-talking arrogant default, while Duvall does his part convincingly, although it could have been played just as firmly by any number of ageing actors. The whole film sets out as a tearjerker, and that ambition is all too obvious in the script and editing. The comedy is often misjudged (and largely based on the interjections of a ‘retard’) whilst all of the female roles exist solely as sex objects for Downey Jr. This is the kind of film that with a lesser cast wouldn’t cause a ripple in the film industry, but with these kinds of heavy hitters will probably be getting Oscar nods. Most frustrating.
– Wonderfully directed, with an almost avant-guarde use of cinematography (given it’s era). It’s not a fast paced conspiracy thriller, but it’s compelling, intriguing, and rewarding overall for viewers who love to think and analyse.
– Gripping, if at times frustrating, Aussie conspiracy thriller. Solid acting in difficult roles, but as is so often the case, the show fails to offer any lovable, or even likeable characters, and consequently isn’t as enjoyable to watch as it could, and should, have been.
– terrible, drab and unenjoyable serial killer ‘thriller’ that suffers from issues left, right and centre. Avoid.
– Slow burning Aussie crime drama that stumbles over some clumsy dialogue and wooden acting. The execution might not be perfect, but it still commands a solid level of intrigue. If only it had upped the pace.
– A well shot, acted and tought crime drama, it’s a shame it descends in to such chaos. Still worth a watch though.
– outstanding and offensively underrated spanish crime thriller. Powerhouse acting and superb direction. Deserves further viewing.
– Fantastic prison drama with great performances, in particular from Newman.
– Audience insulting twists, police incompetence, bad judgements, gratuity and cliches galore mar what could otherwise have been a moderately entertaining, if intellectually challenged, serial killer thriller. Frustration ruins a TV series though, and my God, this show is frustrating viewing! (We’re talking worse than Dexter S07)
– Creatively directed by De Palma, but massively overacted and with such blatant and crass exposition it feels hugely dumbed down, particularly as the plot is already so predictable. Still a more or less enjoyable conspiracy flick.
– And the award for stupidest, most protracted death scene goes to… 80s thriller that fails in so many ways: an obvious set up, terrible lines of script, bad acting, disposable and ditzy female roles, and totally irrational character behaviour – including a policeman who is told of a murder happening metres away and chooses to arrest the witness. Unfathomable stupidity on every level. How are films like this given the greenlight?
– Gritty, realistic police show. Strong characters and good acting but perhaps the characters are all a little too unlikeable.
– Decidedly average bent cop conspiracy thriller. Likens itself to Training Day (and is directed by the writer, David Ayer), but operates in a different league entirely. The performances are solid, especially from Whittaker and Reeves, though this remains ultimately dull.
– moderately amusing British murder mystery comedy. Silly, very lighthearted, and consequently entirely forgivably hammy!
– Give it a chance. Yes it’s stylised, yes it’s testosterone fuelled and macho, but the story really gels together tightly as the episodes progress, and the characters endear themselves quickly. The writing is smart and witty, even laugh out loud at times, and whilst the female characters are indubitably sexualised, they are also strong willed, intelligent and resilient. It’s an excellent hybrid of procedural and serial, with an overarching narrative that progresses swiftly enough whilst always including a novel element each episode. Highly recommended, and with room still to grow. Antony Starr is a revelation.
– Convoluted but nonetheless intriguing detective drama. A bit too long.
– Albeit nothing revelatory, this is a solid drug based crime thriller told in flashbacks.
– A little formulaic, but a solid conspiracy thriller, if much, much too long.
– The usual ‘journalist uncovers conspiracy’ style thriller, but Redford’s gentle direction and acting endears itself. Leans a tad heavily on the drama for the runtime.
– An old french prison escape drama. Black and white and clearly extremely dated, but nonetheless gripping.
– a terrific epic of prison life in French Guyana, exploring friendship, hope and survival. Strong performances and a great script bless us with a very emotive and thought provoking film.
– the premise and set up for this crime thriller are so bad, and so badly executed, that the suspension of disbelief necessary to enjoy it becomes an immediate issue. The chase is adequate, though the cliches and contrivances stack high. Not worth the time.
– Comparisons to Chinatown aren’t too far off. This crime drama is similarly disappointing. It’s not bad, but given the level of acclaim it has achieved, this viewer certainly expected more. Some fantastic lines of dialogue somewhat make up for the slow and convoluted narrative. Gould is great.
– Terrific, powerful performances from the entire cast, in particular Ben Mendohlsen who is just fantastic. Standard, tense, exciting prison drama fare.
– Some of the greatest moments of TV, and some that are utterly pretentious. Hits and misses, but mostly hits. The lead performances are astounding and the cinematography is bang on the money. This is well worth watching, I look forward to season two.
– Solid Korean murder mystery tackling various difficult themes. Not the thriller that the hype suggests, but very good nonetheless.
– Faster than the first, and better for it. Mistakenly overlooks the conspiracy angle in favour of reshifting the political landscape, but hopefully the third series will pick up where it left off. Very happy to see Jimmi Simpson and Boris McGiver in play.
– Graphic and gritty tale of Henry Young, held in solitary confinement in alcatraz for over three years. Marred by formulaic pacing and courtroom tropes.
– A total farce, literally. Funny and plain ludicrous in equal measure, this is a frivolous ‘heist-gone-wrong’ romp.
– Bizarre. A compelling heist movie up until about the two thirds mark, where it’s as if an entirely different director took over, and starting juggling storylines left right and centre, oblivious to all of the plot strands he was dropping. Immensely frustrating and so disappointing as this could have been, if not great, then very solid and entertaining.
– Long, stylish heist thriller. Very dated and sedate by modern standards, but intriguing and nonetheless riveting. The plot isn’t immediately clear and leaves a lot to speculation.
– DeNiro and Duvall offer up equally strong performances as brothers at odds in this thoughtful, familial crime drama. Not electric, but impressive nonetheless.
– Mindless entertainment. Everything you’d expect from a blockbuster with this cast. Government conspiracy and explosions. Good fun!
– Excellent, criminally unsung buddy heist drama. Perhaps Jeff Bridges best role, and the most laid back I’ve seen Clint too. Cinematography, dialogue and soundtrack are spot on.
– Another serial killer thriller centred around a chess genius, this performs better than Uncovered but still feels like a tired cliche. Once the initial chess scene is set, there’s little to distinguish it from the hundreds of other noir thrillers aspiring to be more than bargain basement fluff.
– I really tried to like this. Mads Mikkelsen is a terrific actor, but this show is just agonisingly bad. The script is weak at best, shoddy at worst. All of the actors are coasting. Gillian Anderson hasn’t played a different role since… ever, and every episode seems to be an attempt to shock. The colour grades and sfx are stylised to distraction whilst the plot itself fails to flesh out any kind of compelling, plausible thrills or drama, and is consequentially surprisingly boring. The fact that practically everything Will says suggests that Hannibal is the killer, and everything Hannibal says has a murderous subtext, leaves you wondering how an entire team of “FBI behavioural experts and profilers” can be so unfathomably oblivious . This is like starting Dexter in season five; bad and poised to plummet further.
– After a slow start, this conspiracy thriller soon picks up pace and fires on all cyclinders, keeping you utterly gripped. Brilliant BBC Drama.
– A film that makes every effort to prove that chess goes hand in hand with crime and intrigue, where the chess pieces are the clues to murder and are taken entirely literally, knight for knight, castle for castle. Unbelievably bad – one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. Terrible acting and the script is almost entirely exposition, not to mention there is an utterly bizarre sexual obsession throughout, way beyond the ordinary 90s smut.
– Captivating, powerful and well composed prison drama.
– Riveting crime drama. Terrific performance from Newman.
– A peculiar, downbeat dramedy following the eccentric lives of three teenage boys who choose to live in the woods. Naturally their nirvana falls apart with the introduction of a girl. An intriguing, worthwhile watch, but nowhere near the laugh out loud experience anticipated off the back of that killer trailer. Make sure you’re amped up on caffeine before you embark on this journey…
– A solid period biopic detailing the life of a contract killer. For all its executions and mob bosses, it remains a morbid family drama at heart.
– Brilliant. Fairly ludicrous, but played out with such conviction and sincerity that it works. An exciting, novel, action thriller.
– Iconic movie with classic lines, a top notch soundtrack and some truly innovative camera work for the era. A powerhouse psychotic performance from Andy Robinson as the killer, and the usual hardnosed Clint with his magnum and trademark sneer. It has significantly dated and it’s a pity that the plot doesn’t quite add up, but it’s definitely one to watch.
– Illuminating biopic about Albert Desalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler. Very dated with clumsy direction techniques, but nonetheless worth watching for anyone interested in the psyche of serial killers.
– Forgettable whodunit. Decidedly average.
– Weird and unconvincing story juggling the occult and the supernatural with a straight up detective case. Disappointing.
– The eponymous Judge dessimates a tower block of drug fuelled gang members in this straight forward action shoot ’em up. Laughably ludicrous but good, mindless fun.
– Thought provoking and unflinching. Edging in to gratuity with a few scenes though, and despite obvious efforts still felt a little shallow. We are as distant from Simon at the end as we were at the beginning.
– An excellently unsettling dialogue driven thriller from down under. Hugo Weaving delivers a very different, but nonetheless brilliant, performance as the victim of a police manhunt. Could have done with a little more resolution.
– A superbly compelling, if thoroughly flawed, time travel suspense thriller. Highly recommended.
– Nauseatingly puerile and astoundingly dull, the humour is thin on the ground at best, although Bateman is as always a pleasure to watch. One or two laugh out loud moments make it just about watchable.
– after a slow first act, a compelling story and dialogue driven thriller emerges. It’s a little too vindictive and gratuitously nasty in tone for my tastes, and the twists take the movie from a clever critique of pharmaceutical ethics to more standardised, familiar territory, but Jude Law and Rooney Mara are excellent and it is original enough to warrant careful viewing.
– Exudes a sense of smugness despite clearly falling short of its ambition. The acting is hammy at best, and the thrills anticipated. When you think villainous Martin is going to show up – he is, usually in a doorway.
– an incohesive, ramshackle mess. Timberlake gives a bad, inexperienced performance, more sulky teen than Pulitzer hunter, while Freeman and Spacey are thrown in for star factor alone. Inexplicably shifts from conspiracy thriller to flamethrower shoot’em up in the final ten minutes. Avoid.
– lots of the usual Woody Allen rambling and hyper incredulity, but not as humorous as Annie Hall or Manhattan.
– A classic Mamet heist flick – totally underwhelming, devoid of any thrills or skillful twists. Watchable, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
– a very dark film, considerably better than the lacklustre title implies. Ominous, unsettling, but less resolved than I might have liked. Still highly recommended.
– Sidney Poitier utters his immortal line “They call me Mr. Tibbs!” A top notch murder mystery set in racist Mississipi. A great film, but a step below Mississipi Burning for my tastes.
– as a portrayal of an assassin, this is one of the best I’ve seen. As a film, it’s above average, but unable to rival the likes of Leon. Watch it nonetheless, you won’t be disappointed.
– throughly enjoyable if not especially high brow. An underrated feel-good heist movie.
– spices up about half way through and takes a turn for the significantly better, but it’s still a little too patchy for a ‘cool heist’ to sit in the same league as Ocean’s 11.
– one of those truly, scarringly bizarre, brutal, graphic and mind mangling films. Sick, but morbidly intriguing. Don’t watch with anyone you could be embarassed with…
– Incredible, beautifully shot and and outstandingly well acted drama. It should be compulsory viewing so we are all forced to evaluate how quick we are to judge.
– a classic, dark scandinavian crime drama. Solid but underwhelming
– Old school Michael Mann, synths and all. Classic noir thriller, very worth a watch but I won’t pretend it hasn’t dated.
– an excellent if not remarkable conspiracy thriller with solid performances all round, don’t be fooled by the cover photo and shoot’em up name
– excellent scandinavian thriller with twists and excitement aplenty.
– you think you’ve seen shaky cam? think again. Bad bad bad. Macho, patriotic, glorifying the police, but mainly just totally boring.
– flat heist flick with very little to brag about. Banderas agonisingly smarmy and Freeman is usual self. A walk in the park for these two and it shows.
– a misogynistic, badly written and thus frustratingly inadequate foray in to the death row genre
– subpar assassination conspiracy thriller, nonetheless worth a watch if you’re in the mood
– well executed until it’s final act, a worthwhile killer croc movie
– implausible but nonetheless intriguing murder mystery
– Smacks of The Parole Officer and Knights of Prosperity, except both were done better. One for if you’re really bored.
– almost documentary-like conspiracy thriller using a considerable amount of original footage surrounding JFK assassination
– awful script but the direction shows a lot of promise from newcomer McKendry
– contrived serial killer thriller with a totally implausible plot
– original and very blackly comic heist movie
– a shockingly brutal film, extreme violence against women
– Cusack has a lot of fun as the killer with a conscience in this black comedy
– watch it for Aidan Gillen as the cop killer
– shambolic and smug whodunnit in the style of Identity
– a lacklustre serial killer thriller that bleeds out when it incorporates voodoo magic
– family fun, but not much of it