Film Review-Clerks III

Kevin Smith, the once-indie film-making prodigy, has made his entire career not from his film Clerks, but from the tale of its production. In 1993, Smith famously used multiple credit cards and raised $27,575 to create a charming, dialogue-driven film during his off-hours at the New Jersey convenience store where he worked during the day. 

As a fan of Clerks and Clerks II, I gave Kevin Smith’s latest film, Clerks III, a chance despite his recent lacklustre output. While it is marginally better than Tusk and Yoga Hosers, it falls short in many ways. The movie is a meta-comedy that heavily relies on references and recreations of scenes from the original film, which can be expected, but the execution is so lazy and uninspired that it left me in disbelief. The film fails to expand on the source material in any meaningful way, making it one of the laziest sequels I have ever seen.

Kevin Smith seems to have made a deliberate decision to cater solely to his podcast subscribers, which I am, and alienate everyone else, which is unfortunate. The movie is filled with callbacks and references to the original, but the way it was written — by simply rehashing old material — ensures that it will never be as quotable as its predecessor. While the original film was endlessly quotable, this one falls short due to its lack of originality.


Episode 268: Doctor Who am I?

Martyn and Pete are joined by Matthew Jacobs and Vanessa Yuille, who discuss their excellent documentary ‘Doctor Who am I?

Doctor Who am I? follows Matthew Jacobs, writer of the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie, as he is reluctantly dragged back into the American Whoniverse, in this funny and moving documentary about finding family in the unlikeliest of places.

Doctor Who am I? is currently screening in the UK, with American dates to follow. Check out Twitter and Facebook for more info. The Blu-ray and DVD are due for release on November 28th.

Twitter: Martyn, Pete, Sam, Gerrod,

Instagram: Martyn, Chris, Sam


Film review-Black Adam

Warner Bros. Discovery faces multiple challenges that threaten the success of their entertainment empire. Changes to the streaming service HBO Max, the Batgirl cancelation, and the redirection of the DC Extended Universe have all negatively impacted the studio’s reputation. Despite attempts to re-approach the model through different creative perspectives, the DC Extended Universe has yet to establish a consistent cinematic universe. The main issue seems to be the lack of consistent quality over time.

Black Adam, the latest addition to the DC Extended Universe, features a solid performance from Dwayne Johnson as the titular anti-hero. However, the chemistry between the cast members falls short, with the Justice Society of America lacking meaningful substance. The humourless, hollow screenplay fails to balance the dramatic intensity with the comedic beats that made Shazam! successful. The film’s overall aimlessness and narrative misdirection warn that CGI-ed mass destruction is not enough to rebuild a brand.

The superficiality of Black Adam contradicts any signs of progression for the DC Extended Universe, accusing them of misusing their characters. The film presents a bare-boned and uninspired “good vs. bad” narrative without much of a story to support it. There’s a disregard for audience expectations, needs, or desires, relying on expensive-looking excuses for an origin story. While the post-credits scene featuring a thrilling cameo may excite DC fans, it does not make up for the film’s overall shortcomings.

In conclusion, Black Adam’s solid performance from Dwayne Johnson is overshadowed by its aimlessness, lack of chemistry, humourless screenplay, and narrative misdirection. Warner Bros. Discovery and their DC Film team must focus on crafting comprehensive works of fiction that meet audience expectations, needs, and desires, rather than relying on high-volume talent to attach themselves to projects.

Review-The Banshees of Inisherin

In 1923, on a tiny remote island, just off the coast of Ireland. Two friends find themselves at odds. When one of them decides he doesn’t like the other anymore.

It’s as basic a premise as one can think of for contemporary storytelling. And in his wondrous, wonderful, and exquisitely contained mini-opera “The Banshees of Inisherin,” writer-director Martin McDonagh takes this straightforward premise and sets it ablaze, using it as a backdrop to explore the conflict in man, the nature of pride and spite, the significance of companionship, and the curious edges of the male ego.

It’s a darkly comic drama that packs an emotional gut punch, after emotional gut punch and consistently finds new ways to deliver brutal body blows.

After portraying hitmen in McDonagh’s 2008 cult classic “In Bruges,” Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson reunited for the role of the men who are no longer friends when the film opens.

Like they do every day at 2:00 p.m., the unassuming Pádraic (Farrell) stops by Colm’s (Gleeson’s) beachside cottage to see if he wants to join him for a pint, at the local pub. But this time he’s snubbed by Colm. Later, he arrives, and Colm declines Pádraic’s offer to sit next to him. Pádraic, like the other patrons in the pub, is unable to comprehend just what is happening. The following day, Colm makes it very clear. He tells him, “I just don’t like you no more.” Did they have a drunken fight? Was it something he said? It’s not really that easy. Colm, who enjoys the arts and plays the fiddle. Has come to the realisation that Pádraic is boring. He’s sick of discussing the same issues, over and over. He just wants to be left alone.

Pádraic is gobsmacked to lose his closest friend, whilst Colm desperately seeks to leave some sort of musical legacy behind. Others like Siobhán (Kerry Condon) and Dominic (Barry Keoghan) are left to choose between picking up the pieces or looking out for themselves.

Condon and Keoghan absolutely shine in the film and steal every scene they’re in. Siobhán is easily the smartest person on the Island, confined by the attitudes of the era. Whilst Dominic is a deeply troubled character. Keoghan is a shoo-in for best supporting actor at the BAFTAs.

In lesser hands, Colm may seem unreasonable in his behaviour but Gleeson plays him with such world-weary depth, it’s impossible to dislike him. Farrell is also incredible as the bemused underdog, Pádraic.

It may not be as re-watchable as In Bruges, but The Banshees of Inisherin is a masterful exploration of the complications of male friendship.  Undoubtedly one of the best films of the year.

The Banshees of Inisherin is out in the UK on October 21st.


Doctor Who Am I

Matthew Jacobs wrote the screenplay of the film Doctor Who, starring Paul McGann in the title role. In the documentary film Doctor Who Am I, filmmaker Vanessa Yuille follows the British writer from his home in San Francisco into American Doctor Who fandom, particularly the conventions Gallifrey One and Long Island Doctor Who. Jacobs becomes our celebrity tour guide through this subculture but it’s signalled from the start that this is really his story, a personal journey that’s recalled and developed throughout the course of the film.

Drawn into the role of convention celebrity, we see Jacobs being rather flip with a fan early on as he sells an autograph from his table. We get the obligatory con-doc interviews with cosplayers, notably one identifying herself as a Time Fairy, with a lit-up dress and spinning orange scarves representing ‘regeneration energy’. She’s a great example of how fans wrap myth round themselves only to extend it with their own imagination. Art inspires art, and in response to the work he’s done, there’s been something waiting on account for Matthew Jacobs.

In writing the 1996 movie – which failed in its attempt to launch Paul McGann’s Doctor into a series – Jacobs confesses to “two fatal errors: we made him half human and we had him kiss.” Yet those two points have proved influential to The Doctor’s later relationships with Earth and its people. It seems more likely that beyond its poor TV scheduling, the show was just too weighed down by its own mythology to capture fresh imaginations. A good half hour is devoted to the star’s predecessor in the title role.

Matthew talks with former colleagues Paul McGann, leading lady Daphne Ashbrook and producer Philip Segal at conventions and in the workplace. Their own takes on Doctor Who and its fandom have developed over many years and it’s welcome input to a writer who for years actively avoided this world.

Perhaps not entirely fearlessly, Jacobs sits down with his critics in their memorabilia-strewn homes. Yet interest lies not in taking an old film to pieces but rather in what’s happening to Matthew Jacobs now. For each fan getting disappointment off their chest there are two recounting tales of delight and in one case even gratitude, from a fan who escaped into the ‘TV movie’ to survive great personal trauma. Soon Mr Jacobs begins to realise his journey through this documentary is fulfilling a similar role.


Doctor Who Am I is available now on DVD, Blu-Ray, digital and in cinemas. For details:

Review-Everything everywhere all at once

In Everything Everywhere All at Once, the filmmakers masterfully embrace the absurdity of life to explore deep philosophical concepts such as family dynamics and existential crises. The film follows the journey of Evelyn, a launderette owner struggling to break free from her father’s disapproving gaze and her own patriarchal hang-ups. As she discovers the existence of a multiverse with millions of versions of herself, she navigates through her complicated relationships with her daughter, husband, and the IRS agent who’s auditing her.

Stephanie Hsu delivers an exceptional performance that stands out against a cast of familiar faces. However, it is Michelle Yeoh’s portrayal of several intriguing interpretations of her character that draws on her storied cinematic career and brings depth and nuance to the role. Yeoh is undoubtedly a strong contender for the Best Actress Oscar, making her character’s journey even more compelling to watch.

Ke Huy Quan’s return to the big screen after many years away is marked by a heartfelt and authentic portrayal of Evelyn’s doting husband. Although he may be out-acted by his female counterparts, Quan’s performance showcases his talent and adds to the film’s overall quality. The addition of Jamie Lee Curtis adds a much-needed dose of humor to the absurdity of the plot.

While the film blends several genres to uncover universal truths, it does rely heavily on sensationalism to cover up plot inefficiencies. Despite this, Everything Everywhere All at Once offers a unique and entertaining experience that challenges viewers to embrace the absurdity of life, the universe and everything.


Episode 282: The unbearable weight of massive talent

Martyn and Gerrod bring you the latest in entertainment news, as well as a review of the new Nicolas Cage film, The unbearable weight of massive talent.

The podcast Smartlink.

Artwork by Beeble Pete. Adapted by Penny Smallshire.

Running Down Corridors can be found here.

We sound familiar can be found here, More than just an impression can be found here.

Comedians talking about football can be found here, Cister Act here.

Twitter: Martyn, Chris, Sam, Gerrod, Pete

Instagram: Podcast, Martyn, Chris, Sam

Film review-Morbius

It’s rarely a good sign, when the press screening for a film is the day before its release. So I attended the screening for this with very low expectations and those expectations were met.

“Morbius” is a very lacklustre and anti-climactic addition to the Sony Marvel universe. Jared Leto stars as Dr. Michael Morbius, a famed blood disease specialist who becomes a superhuman with vampiric abilities after his work goes awry.

Unfortunately, “Morbius” fails to elevate the originality of its comic book inspiration and instead relies on formulaic storytelling and forgettable characters. The lack of atmosphere and striking resonance robs the film of its ability to captivate and engage its audience. Despite the film’s special effects, they do little to salvage it from its poor craftsmanship and dull storytelling.

The one bright spot is Matt Smith’s portrayal of Morbius’s lifelong friend, Milo. Smith seems to be having an absolute blast in the role, injecting a much-needed dose of energy and charisma into the otherwise lackluster proceedings. Despite the script’s shortcomings, Smith’s performance is a testament to his talent as an actor and his ability to inject life into even the most underwritten of characters. While this may not be the vehicle that propels Smith to Hollywood stardom, his presence is certainly a welcome one in an otherwise forgettable film.

An amusing aspect is the film’s attempt to pass off London tube stations as New York City subways. Despite the best efforts of the production design team, the tube stations are unmistakably British. It is a reminder that no matter how big the budget or talented the crew, some details are just too difficult to fake convincingly.

The post-credit scenes add another layer of confusion around the Spider-Man anti-hero, leaving audiences with more questions than answers. It is a shame that even with ample time to rework its flaws, “Morbius” struggles to manifest its quality. As such, Sony Pictures has succeeded only in draining life from this vampire film, leaving it a forgettable addition to the Marvel Studios canon.


Episode 281: The Batman

Martyn and Gerrord are joined by Antoni Pearce. The dynamic trio talk about The Batman. Spoilers are contained within, obviously. 

The podcast Smartlink.

Artwork by Beeble Pete. Adapted by Penny Smallshire.

We sound familiar can be found here, More than just an impression can be found here.

Comedians talking about football can be found here, Cister Act here.

Twitter: Martyn, Chris, Sam, Gerrod, Pete

Instagram: Podcast, Martyn, Chris, Sam


Film review-Scream (2022)

Scream 2022 is a “re-quel,” part reboot and part sequel, which brings back some familiar faces while introducing a new cast of characters.

I must admit, I had our reservations going into this film. It’s been 25 years since the original Scream hit cinemas and made a lasting impact on the horror genre. Could this new take live up to its predecessor’s legacy?

After watching the film, I can say with confidence that it does deliver some thrills and chills. The film’s brutality is certainly a step up from the previous installments, with plenty of blood and gore to satisfy horror fans. However, I do have some reservations.

Firstly, the film can be quite silly at times, with tenuous links to the original and some questionable plot points. It’s not always clear if the film is trying to pay homage to its predecessors or simply rehashing old ideas.

On the other hand, the film is still chock-full of horror references and genre awareness, which is sure to please die-hard fans. The co-directors do an excellent job of inserting nods to Wes Craven’s work and playing with genre conventions.

The cast also delivers strong performances, particularly Melissa Barrera as Sam and Jenna Ortega as Tara. They have great chemistry and bring a fresh energy to the film. It’s also great to see Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox return to their iconic roles.

Overall, Scream 2022 is a fun and entertaining horror movie that will satisfy fans of the genre. While it may not have the same impact as the original, it’s still a solid addition to the franchise.