Film Reviews

From 2001 to 2007 I reviewed films for the magazine Matrix. The magazine was published by the British Science Fiction Association and aimed at science fiction fans.

Below is a selection of the reviews I produced during that period.

28 DAYS LATER

In 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle delivers a post-apocalyptic vision of London peopled by wild-eyed lunatics infected with pure rage. They chase ordinary folk through the streets howling inpain and anger and are prone to projectile vomiting. It doesn’t sound too different from the West End on a normal Friday night, says Martin McGrath. Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on 28 DAYS LATER

APOCALYPTO

I have a feeling that if I knew anything at all about the Mayan people that I would probably be deeply, deeply annoyed by Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. It has the feeling of authenticity – from the idyllic jungle village to … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , | Comments Off on APOCALYPTO

BATMAN BEGINS

Princesses, god-like alien boy scouts and billionaires. When I was a child DC superheroes never appealed, and I think the reason lay with their remoteness from the real world. Sure they would occasionally sweep down from their secret bases onto … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on BATMAN BEGINS

CHILDREN OF MEN

One of the many surprising things about Alfonso Cuarón’s adaptation of PD James’s novel The Children on Men is the transformation of a dry and highly conservative novel into an exciting and, at least on the surface, quite radical movie. Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on CHILDREN OF MEN

EQUILIBRIUM

Equilibrium borrows liberally from great works of science fiction from the past. 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World should all get together and kick the living daylights out of this small-minded piece of rubbish, says Martin McGrath. Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on EQUILIBRIUM

GHOST IN THE SHELL 2

The original Ghost in the Shell (GitS) was a landmark in quality animation and it remains one of the most satisfying post-cyberpunk sf action movies ever made. Mingling philosophy with wild action sequences, GitS was an almost perfect blend of urban grittiness, large weapons, technology fetishism, big ideas and stylish violence. Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on GHOST IN THE SHELL 2

GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES

Regularly lauded as the best anime of all time, Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaro no Haka) now has a UK region “special edition” DVD release. US film critic Roger Ebert has said that this film belongs on any list of … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES

IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON

For the first time, watching In The Shadow Of The Moon, I came to understand why some people are so convinced that the Apollo landings were a giant hoax. Looking back on it from our more fearful times the whole … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON

KING KONG

“It was beauty that killed the beast” is one of the greatest lines in cinema and one of the greatest lies. Oh, beauty made the beast vulnerable but it was greed, Karl Denham’s greed for money and fame, that got … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on KING KONG

KOSMOS AT THE BFI: SOVIET HISTORY THROUGH AN SF LENS

It is a cliché to argue that science fiction is never about the future but always about the time in which it is made. Yet, as with many a cliché, there is often a nugget of truth beneath the grimy … Continue reading

Posted in Blog reviews, Feature, Film Review | Tagged , , | Comments Off on KOSMOS AT THE BFI: SOVIET HISTORY THROUGH AN SF LENS

PAN’S LABYRINTH

Pan’s Labyrinth is a visually stunning film. The extraordinary imaginations of director del Toro and cinematographer Navarro have created a truly spectacular fantasy land full of images that will live with the viewer long after they have left the cinema. … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on PAN’S LABYRINTH

RETURN OF THE KING

The last time I expressed my disappointment with Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Matrix 160) I received a couple of letters that can only be described as hate mail. The unsigned author was keen to point out … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on RETURN OF THE KING

SCI FI LONDON 2011

Includes reviews of Dinoshark (2010), Sharktopus (2010), One Hundred Mornings (2009), Zenith (2010), Gantz (2011) and Super (2010) [p5-6] I love B-movies. That’s why, while most of the rest of the country was sitting down to ogle the frocks and … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

SERENITY

At the end of Serenity, ship’s captain Mal (Fillion) has a little speech about the first rule of flying a spaceship – “it ain’t all buttons and charts” he says, but “love that keeps her in the air when she … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on SERENITY

SIN CITY

Whichever way you looked at it – and mostly I do my looking upwards, from the gutter – the streets of Sin City are mean. Really mean. They’re the kind of mean that makes junkyard dogs nervous. They’re the kind … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on SIN CITY

SOLARIS

Sometimes an opening shot will tell you everything you need to know about a film. Star Wars had huge spaceships, flashing lasers and chest rattling music. From the very beginning, that was going to be a big, brash, exciting movie. … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on SOLARIS

SPIRITED AWAY

If your previous encounters with Japanese animation stretch only as far as Akira and the occasional juvenile movie featuring giant robots, then Spirited Away may be as pleasant a surprise to you was it was to me.

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on SPIRITED AWAY

STAR WARS (DVD RELEASE)

I have never understood the violent passion aroused by Star Wars. I know some people hate it, regarding it as somehow debasing science fiction (and, indeed, the whole of cinema) though for me they remain an entertaining and imaginative sequence … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on STAR WARS (DVD RELEASE)

STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH

The greatest irony in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is that the original generation of Star Wars fans have, through their constant complaints about the prequel trilogy, forced George Lucas to make a film that many of them would … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH

SUPERMAN RETURNS

The infuriating thing about Superman is that the mythology of his origin – two Jewish boys (Siegel and Shuster) reacting to Naziism by creating a golem – is far more interesting than the hero they created.

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on SUPERMAN RETURNS

THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT

There will be those who claim that the best thing about Nick Park and Steve Box’s magnificent Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is the distinctively British humour – this is a film full of brilliant groan-inducing puns, … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT

THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE

As a horror film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose hardly breaks new ground owing, as it does, a huge debt to William Friedkin’s superior The Exorcist for pretty much every chill or thrill that it offers. What makes it interesting, … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE

THE INCREDIBLES

For my money the previous holder of the title “best superhero movie ever made” is M Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, a film that is intimately familiar with the genre’s tropes – the relationships between heroes and villains, between heroes and their … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on THE INCREDIBLES

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

Comics, at least in the hands of a talented creative teams, are a much denser medium than film. Comics can encompass more visual information and more complex literary ideas, page for page, than a film script. This is certainly true … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

THE LIFE AQUATIC

A lot of people are really going to hate The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Some sad, possibly miserable, people are going to walk from the cinema bemused, cursing the director and his cast for wasting two hours of their … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on THE LIFE AQUATIC

THE PLANET

It is tempting, with a film like The Planet, to be condescending. Like watching a dog deliver Hamlet’s soliloquy, it is easy to be impressed that the performance is taking place at all and ignore the quality of the delivery.

Posted in Film Review, Review | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

THE PRESTIGE

One of the major themes running through Christopher Nolan’s adaptation of The Prestige is that many things in life (magic tricks, rivalry, love) retain their appeal only so long as there remains mystery about their inner workings. Knowing the secret … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on THE PRESTIGE

THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP

One of the most common criticisms I’ve heard levelled against The Science of Sleep is that it is a “slight” film – that in it simplicity, wit and even innocence, somehow Michel Gondry’s new film fails to be serious enough. … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP

TIDELAND/THE WICKER MAN

Sometimes you watch a film and you can’t help wondering what the director was thinking when they made it. A major movie is a huge collaborative effort and the director is the captain of the ship. Everyone looks to them … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on TIDELAND/THE WICKER MAN

V FOR VENDETTA

Let’s start with the obvious, whether Alan Moore’s name is attached to this movie or not, V for Vendetta is about the most reverential adaptation of a book that any author could reasonably wish for. There are flaws, serious flaws … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on V FOR VENDETTA

WARS OF THE WORLD

Typical, isn’t it? You wait nearly fifty years for another movie adaptation of The War of the Worlds, and then three turn up at once. This year has seen the release of two straight-to-DVD versions of the story, The War … Continue reading

Posted in Film Review, Journalism, Review | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on WARS OF THE WORLD