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Directors: Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence Running Time: 124 minutes


It isn’t much of an exaggeration to call the Bad Boys series to date some of the most hateful films ever to make it to the multiplex. Bad Boys II was particularly repugnant; a cruel, homophobic, racist, cynical indulgence in all of the worst excesses of director Michael Bay, mindless and reactionary even by 2003 standards. That’s on top of incoherent action and grimly repeated buddy cop tropes, just about jolted into life by the chemistry of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Action movies have moved on, and most big budget blockbusters at least try to hide it when they have fascistic overtones or adolescent sensibilities. So seventeen years later and with its stars both in very different places in their careers, was there any good reason to resurrect these crass cops, besides their sworn oath to be bad boys til’ they die? Improbably, yes. This is very much the post Hot Fuzz vision of Bad Boys, its ludicrous macho bullshit has been exposed so thoroughly but so lovingly since by films like Edgar Wright’s that the only real way to move forward is to acknowledge and embrace the OTT tropes. Like a lot of aging franchises, For Life asks the question if it’s old gunslingers still have any gas left in the tank. Then, to raucous effect, it blows up that tank, doubling down on every excess and wallowing in something wonderfully wild.

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Director: Travis Knight Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr. Running Time: 114 minutes

For over a decade, the Michael Bay-inflicted Transformers movies have been a force for evil in the film world, a miserable exercise in corporate-asset churnery, a film series propelled by millions of dollars but decimal points of inspiration, a world-view that seemingly looked up to the US military and down on absolutely everyone else. First Shia Labeouf, and later Mark Wahlburg, the eejit ids of everything these films stand for (which is to say, nothing), ran and yelled and gawped through a swampy succession of increasingly convoluted and visually overwhelming CGI, and most any of the many watched it got nothing from it at all except for their hearts to be hardened, left for hours to stew in their own cynicism when faced with stupidity and sneers writ large in IMAX 3D; lazy mean-spiritedness blown up to overwhelming size. Merely not being that makes Bumblebee more than a breath of fresh air. It’s more a vital grasp of any air, wonderful oxygen gulped into screaming, scratched lungs that have been poisoned something noxious. On its own merits though, Bumblebee with its spirit, its optimism, and its creative enthusiasm, storms far, far ahead of everything else in the series so far, less a spin-off than a strike-out, a knock-out blow to its inferior predecessors, floating and stinging like, well you know.

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Director: John Krasinski Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe Running Time: 95 minutes

If asked to pick out the director of the next hit horror movie, Jim from The Office doesn’t spring first to mind, particularly considering John Krasinski’s previous directing credits have been a pair of sub-Sundance, sub-Braffian comedy-dramas. Then again, one half of a sketch show comedy troupe making his first film similarly wouldn’t have been pegged for horror greatness, and with Get Out, Jordan Peele subverted that expectation to the tune of $255 million at the box office, a win at the Oscars and the world at his feet. A pleasant surprise, A Quiet Place is smart-scary with a heart, a film built around a simple and effectively-used idea that demands to be seen in a packed cinema.

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