Film

The Supernatural On Film Part 1

Last night I saw ‘Hereditary’ in a cinema with broken-down air-conditioning, such was my desperation to catch it. I’m addicted to good supernatural films, ie. not the bump-and-jump scare tactics of anything that says ‘From the producers of ‘The Conjuring’. But there’s a paradox at the heart of every supernatural film. To truly work it needs […]

120 BPM

When it comes to films about the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which had its beginnings over 35 years ago (yes, it’s been that long), it’s instructive to see how different countries have dealt with the subject. Hollywood gave us the execrably tasteful ‘Philadelphia’, which I always think of as ‘An Officer and a Gentleman 2’, independent US […]

I Am Curious, Giallo

Every movie lover has pet hates. The two genres of film I least enjoy are chick-flicks and westerns, although there are a tiny number of both I’ve admired, ‘Prelude To A Kiss’ and ‘When Harry Met Sally’, ‘The Big Country’ and ‘The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford’ among them. I grew […]

Neglected Films No.16: ‘It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World’

1963’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was not well received in England. It was just too…American for repressed UK critics who were okay with Elia Kazan movies but not Technicolor fare. Had they bothered to look beneath the surface they’d have found something a whole lot darker. The film was unashamedly populist. It […]

The Return Of Serious Science Fiction

Literary SF has a small but dedicated following, and usually defeats me, although I read a lot of it growing up, mainly because the ABCs, Aldiss, Asimov, Ballard and Clarke, were ubiquitous in paperback. There has been a gradual move toward ‘adult’ SF lately, but mostly on film. The genre has split itself into sub-groups; […]

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 […]