The biggest and best movie magazine in the world. Made in the UK. Huge. That’s all you need to know.

This issue’s strong points:

  • This issue is definitive proof that Empire are the Kings of Layout. I honestly didn’t think I could read another word about Grindhouse, though I understand the coverage here given that it’s still to come in the UK. Yet, the double-feature layout here – where they mirror the film perfectly by splittling the coverage of each half and bisect it with a two-pager on the trailers – is so brilliant, yet so obvious, no one else thought to do it. Also…
  • To celebrate their 18th borthday, they include a "naughty" section for 18 and over in the middle of the mag chock full of screenshots and articles of gore, onscreen nudity from name actresses, hentai (seriously), and lots more. Absolutely not feasible in America, but boy is it kickass here.
  • Peter Jackson: The Early Years. Incredible stuff that you’ll find in almost no other mag this prominent.  
  • Again, there are many great smaller features like "Where are they now" article where they catch up with the likes of Martin Kove and the first chick infected with Rage in 28 Days Later, the "Movie Trial" feature wherein they look at a notable recent film and have two writers prosecute it and defend it, and so much more. It’s beautiful.

This issue’s weak points:

  • The Pirates cover story is actually much better than many of their recent covers on the titans of summer, yet it just pales in comparison to the rest of the issue. It’s almost unfair to call it a weak point. It’s like Kurt Rambis with the 80s Lakers dynasty: Actually pretty good, but shit by contrast to its God-like company.
  • This is worth every penny of the hefty American price and you should probably buy a copy for a friend. So. Much. Substance.

Overall: 9.5 out of 10

2. WEEKLY #934

Sure, their film reviews are hated by geeks. Yes, they follow trends incessantly. And yes, music coverage is generally an afterthought. But it’s surely the most fun weekly read out there, and they have television on lock. Plus, they’ll surprise you every now and then with a great piece on overlooked entertainment industry plebs like personal assistants and bodyguards. When it’s on, it’s an incredible value. When it’s not…wait a week.

This issue’s strong points:

  • Again, their coverage of a major summer flick trumps Empire. It’s easy to figure out why. EW gets that Johnny Depp is the part of the franchise that matters and gives him his own Q&A. Empire focused on Verbinski and Chow, who’s not the world’s best interview. Having a non-standard production art cover helps, too.
  • Good reviews section, and the smaller upfront features are solid.

This issue’s weak points:

  • The non-Pirates features are weak. A week with Joey Fatone and his Dancing With the Stars partner?! I don’t give a fist.
  • Overall, it’s a slight comedown from recent front-to-back readable issues, but it’s still good and a definite improvement from where they used to be. 

Overall: 7.0 out of 10