How Popular Cinema Could Be Popular Again

Cinema was always called the populist medium. Generations of young audiences grew up with Bambi and Batman, Tarzan and Terminator, then went on to the world of Marvel superheroes, cheerfully unaware that these stories stemmed from comics dating back to the 1960s. Hollywood is going through one of its periodic growing pains. Its domestic revenue […]

The Return Of The Friday Song

It’s about time we reinstated this occasional end-of-the-week knees-up. When I think of all the truly weird films I’ve seen, Leo Carax’s ‘Holy Motors’ is one about which I remember almost nothing at all…except for the intermission. Dennis Lavant remains a truly committed actor (who probably should be committed). For me Carax’s best film remains […]

No Time For Bond?

Never go back, that’s all I can say. Despite what anyone may try to convince you, James Bond films were dad films that are now granddad films. Last week I went over the old 007 movies in the light of new books coming out on this pop-cultural phenomenon, including Thunderbook, a very funny fanboy scene-by-scene […]

Wish I’d Dunnit

A review of a whodunnit by someone who writes them.   NO SPOILERS At first glance Rian Johnson’s film ‘Knives Out’ is a throwback to the Golden Age of the paperback whodunnit, complete with a baroque mansion, numerous dubious relatives awaiting the reading of a will and a freelancing detective who’s helping out the slower-witted […]

Have Horror Films Turned Into A Different Genre?

Something quite extraordinary has happened to the humble horror film. After a century of vampires, werewolves, serial killers and zombies it seems to have finally grown up. Horror had always been planted with the seeds of its own destruction. It felt like a cultural dead end, any nascent intelligence trampled flat by the need to […]

Thinking About Film 1: Too Much Sugar

A maid leans out of an upstairs window, calling to the lady of the house, who is in the garden clipping roses. MAID: Oh Ma’am! I’ve swallowed a safety pin! LADY OF THE HOUSE: Oh so that’s where all my safety pins go. A Victorian cartoon illustrating very British humour. We don’t do sentiment but […]

H-H-H-He’s Back

Sometimes it’s best not to revisit favourite old books, films and TV shows, but my eidetic mind requires that I keep a catalogue of everything that has influenced me – then ideally alphabetise it in storage boxes. Let’s not go there. One’s attitude to these favourite things can change over time. The comedian Tony Hancock, […]

Ad Astra: Lost In Space

No Spoilers As one critic said; ‘Brad Pitt. In space. You got me.’ And so it would seem. The Venice Film Festival adored James Gray’s space epic, the first serious SF film out of the gate in a long while, although there were rumblings of discontent. Now, having seen it and heard Gray talking about […]

Collecting The Obsolete

I have a terrifying film collection, cobbled together over a quarter of a century of working in the film business, including hundreds of rarities and a lot of very obscure British movies, and now it’s all obsolete. Or is it? With the swapping of DVDs for Blu-rays a collectors’ market has been created. But most […]

Favourite Soundtracks No 4.

What’s that? You don’t remember Favourite Soundtracks 1, 2 and 3? Just run a search and you’ll find this was a series I started in 2015 and then…just forgot about. Film scores have always interested me because they ameliorate narrative. Some composers overpower visuals (John Williams, Michael Nyman), others are too generic (sign of a […]