So Long, Lois Lane

This time Lois fell off a building and Superman wasn’t there to catch her. Margot Kidder has died too young. In ‘Paperboy’ I wrote this about the DC Comics character of Lois Lane: ‘Lois would be humiliated, bullied, deceived and placed in danger by a man who was prepared to disguise himself under rubber masks just […]

The Evolution Of Suspense

I consider myself a bit of an expert in scaring people. I spent my whole childhood in a state of irrational fear, and started writing horror stories as a way of exploring my own worst-case scenarios, and by doing so curing them. There are a couple of hundred short stories of mine knocking around, although […]

Fishes Out Of Water

Apart from ‘Boy Meets Girl’ there are very few plots that have names, but ‘Fish Out Of Water’ is one of them. What is it about this time-honoured idea that plays so well again and again? Comedy is largely about discomfort and embarrassment, elements that dominate many comedies. Lately, there have been several transplanted wholesale […]

Night At The Cinema Museum 2

I think my taste has always been a bit suspect; I’ll quite happily watched terribly flawed films if they have an odd sensibility, but I cannot forgive poor writing. So my trash-aesthetic is a lower-set bar for films than books. Here are there remaining choices I made for the poor devils at the Cinema Museum, […]

Night At The Cinema Museum 1

I started to write this piece some time ago but never finished it – so I’ve concluded it now, and am running it over two days. ‘British film’ has always been a bit of a tautology, the punchline to a national joke on a par with ‘British car industry’. When I was in my early […]

Will Hollywood Be Annihilated?

Trigger warning; this is an unapologetically film industry-oriented column, but for me it’s an interesting subject. The Netflix movie ‘Annihilation’ is making waves for all the wrong reasons, but may ultimately turn out to favour the mega-channel and give Hollywood a spanking. Here’s why. The formerly unassailable studio system had dreams of global domination, but […]

Are Critics Getting Less Critical?

Halfway through director Sally Potter’s critically-feted ‘The Party’, the feeling came over me that I was watching a terrible film. Six guests gather for a dinner party to celebrate Kristen Scott-Thomas becoming the Shadow Health Minister, but secrets tumble out within seconds of their arrival. The guests are archetypes; Cillian Murphy tips up with a […]

Best Political Films

The best political films struggle to find box office traction because, as one audience member in a Camden cinema told me, ‘I don’t come here to be taught stuff.’ He went on to explain that he had a hard job and movies were his way of checking his brain out, in which case I’d recommend […]

FilmTalk 1: Water Cooler Moments

You Know, For Kids It’s infantamalisation, says a friend. Remember when films were for grupps? We’re all teenagers now. No, I say, it’s not as simple as that, it’s about the development of macro-demographics. What are we arguing over? Why, the new Star Wars movie, of course. The film is heading toward its first global […]

The Christmas Movie List

‘It’s A Wonderful Life’? Too schmaltzy. ‘Elf’? Even the stills make me feel physically ill. ‘The Grinch’? That isn’t a movie, it’s waterboarding. Okay, maybe I’m not a Christmas person. Christmas is a gradual declension of spirit, from when you were six and unable to sleep for excitement, to when you’re fifty and eating nuggets […]