Film

My Best & Worst 2016 Films

Unknown

2016 was the year that movie scripts full of self-referential crudity finally reached Peak Ironic and burned themselves out, thank goodness. Now perhaps we can go back to good stories, well told. Let’s have no more business success stories or B-team superheroes. I also hope we’ve seen the last of a very tired trope, the […]

The Founder

the-founder-trailer

There’s a good reason why Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’ remains such a touchstone in the American psyche. The national ambition is to sell big (Britain, let’s remember, was accused of being ‘a nation of shopkeepers). In ‘The Founder’ Michael Keaton plays Ray Krok, the desperate salesman who goes from flogging milkshake machines to […]

Trading On Fear

1008

An extraordinary new documentary, ’13th’ from Netflix sheds light on a little-understood loophole in the US Constitution. The 13th Amendment says that there will be no slavery except for those convicted of a crime. The clause allowed for involuntary servitude to be used as a punishment in the aftermath of the Civil War. America comprises just […]

Peter Cushing: Not Forgotten – And Not Gone

star-wars-peter-cushing-grand-moff-tarkin

The first big shock I got watching ‘Rogue One’ was how much better it was than the last Star Wars film, a piece of forgettable fan service masquerading as a movie. But then, this supposedly stand-alone adventure is from Gareth ‘Monsters’ Edwards, a British director who already has great form. The second was realising that […]

The Problem With ‘Snowden’

primary-snowden-600x315-1

I would like to think of myself as one of Churchill’s children, imbued with a fundamental knowledge of what is required to be a decent, moral person. It puts me on the side of Edward Snowden, and this past week I’ve become fascinated by the backlash against Oliver Stone’s film about him. In the UK […]

Rowling VS Pullman

hdm-covers

Yesterday Charles commented on my complaint that JK Rowling (whom we all rightly regard as A Good Thing) has in the past not been too worried about developing characters or plots, and that the books offer a full-scale retreat into happier times. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s nice to see a sub-plot in […]

Why You Need To Watch Korean Films

Unknown

Hollywood’s most original thrillers tend to come from the smaller studios. Films like ‘The Invitation’ and ‘The Guest’ worked really well, but they’re relatively low budget chamber pieces. A great action film needs more than just stunts and set pieces (and we must know now after sitting through endless identical Tom Cruise films). Korean cinema […]

Review: ‘Embrace Of The Serpent’

201614508_1_IMG_FIX_700x700

How I missed this in cinemas is mystifying but I won’t forgive myself for not seeing it in the big screen; a transcendent, elegiac masterpiece directed by Ciro Guerra that feels like a bookend to ‘Heart Of Darkness’. ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ plots the parallel journeys of two pairs, each a European explorer and a […]

Hallowe’en Special: ‘Night Of The Demon’

IMG_7477

In the first of a few posts on Hallowe’en I thought I’d do something a bit different this year and take a look back at a classic supernatural film, to see how it holds up. Jacques Tourneur’s ‘The Night of the Demon’ was made in 1957 and was based on Montague R James’s short story […]

All Aboard! Best Movies Set On Trains

Train To Busan

  ‘Train To Busan’ is deservedly a massive hit for South Korea – an action adventure about zombies that makes ‘World War Z’ look like ‘Carry On Camping’, and manages to be both thrilling and heartbreaking within its streamlined runaway plot. It’s Zombies On A Train – thanks to a spreading biohazard that forces a […]