BFI & Radio Times Festival: a write-up

Is TV as we knew it dying?

What was once a communal experience – households across the nation gathered before the glow of the cathode ray tube – has now become a more private experience.

It seems not to matter how you consume the latest episode of must-watch telly, be it Broadchurch or Bake Off, alone or in company, live or via catch-up, so long as you’re able to take part in the water-cooler discussion come Monday.…

Rogue One: helpfully titled man on mission movie; also Star Wars

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
Ever so slightly longer ago in a galaxy pretty well-known to us at this point…

After forty years of galactic-scale family squabbles among the Skywalker clan, Disney’s latest addition to the franchise seeks to remind us that there are other families in the Star Wars universe… to a point.…

Kong: Skull Island (Electric Shadows podcast)

The Electric Shadows Podcast reaches Episode 20!

In this landmark episode, myself & Rob Daniel talk Kong: Skull Island – but did we go ape for it?
We also go off track into some trademark tangent undergrowth, and find time to tackle Paul Verhoeven’s controversial Elle, Anna Biller’s deeply feminist melodrama The Love Witch, plus Fassbender-Gleeson Traveler drama Trespass Against Us.

FEMINIST GRAB-BAG: The Love Witch & Elle

The Love Witch

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Love is a many-splendoured thing. It can also be deadly, especially when magick’s involved.

Such is the takeaway from The Love Witch, a flawless ’70s-style melodrama from writer-director/musician/editor/set-art-costume-production-designer Anna Biller.

An obvious “passion project”, in more ways than one, the film is a delicious slice of feminist theory masquerading as Technicolour confection.…

CINEMATIC GRAB-BAG: Beauty And The Beast (2017) & Get Out

Beauty And The Beast (2017)

3 Stars (3 / 5)
Obligatory “tale as old as time” reference.

Disney’s original Beauty And The Beast holds a special place in my heart: it was, according to my parents, the first film I ever saw in the cinema; aged just eighteen months.

Kong: Skull Island: monkey see, monkey well done

SPOILERS

 

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
A U.S. flyboy plummets out of the sun; hooked to a parachute.

His fighter plane death-spiraling into a flaming wreck on the white sand of Pacific beach. His panicked grappling with a Japanese pilot, his nemesis; a battle to the death on a clifftop drenched in searing light.…

CINEMATIC GRAB-BAG: The Great Wall & Trespass Against Us

The Great Wall

2 Stars (2 / 5)
To misquote the film’s tagline, “Three years, $150 million to make, what were they hoping to prove?”.

Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall is at best a misguided curiosity – people kept trooping in and out of my screening like it was a visitor’s ward.…

Logan (Electric Shadows podcast)

In Episode 19 of The Electric Shadows Podcast, Rob Daniel & myself get all X-cited about Logan, Hugh Jackman’s swansong to the X-Men franchise. And – spoiler alert – this Wolverine can really cut it in a film that boasts amazing action, genuine emotion, and a chilling vision of where Donald Trump’s America is heading.…

Logan: an elegiac, sincere, and bloody end to an era

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

SPOILER-FREE

“You should take a moment, feel it.”

We’ve come a long way since a fresh-faced, devil-haired Wolverine first popped his claws in an Alberta biker’s bar back in the original X-Men.

Now, seventeen years and nine films later, Hugh Jackman is heading down south of the border for Logan; a farewell letter to the role that took him from a London production of Oklahoma!