REVIEW DOUBLE BILL: American Made & The Limehouse Golem

American Made

4 Stars (4 / 5)
Scarface, 1932 and ‘83. Goodfellas. The Wolf of Wall Street. War Dogs. American Made is just the latest film to take aim at the dark, opportunistic side of the American dream.

“Based on a true story”, as such films generally are, American Made is the story of Barry Seal, a pilot extraordinaire turned TWA lifer, recruited by the CIA in 1978.…

RETROSPECTIVE: New Battles without Honour or Humanity

Few things can be relied on to sell a movie like sex and blood.

Packaging is, however, important; especially in terms of genre. As audiences slowly grow disenchanted with old reliables – as Americans did with Westerns and musicals back in the mid-‘60s – it’s important for studios to get one step ahead.…

REVIEW GRAB-BAG: The Dark Tower, Logan Lucky, & The Hitman’s Bodyguard

The Dark Tower

2 Stars (2 / 5)
Or How to Make Soup out of Stephen King’s Keystone Series.

In brief: Take an epic eight-book series inspired by both Lord of the Rings and Spaghetti Westerns,1 strip away the character and the uniqueness, boil down the mythology and the plot, and reduce to 95 minutes.…

REVIEW DOUBLE BILL: Atomic Blonde & Shin Godzilla

Atomic Blonde

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)
James Blonde. Joan Wick. Taken with a pinch of Salt.1

It may sound derivative, but it’s a formula that can reap bountiful rewards. You take a frosty cool female lead, drop them into a previously male-dominated genre, and unleash their ass-kicking potential.…

PODCAST: Atomic Blonde & Shin Godzilla [Electric Shadows]

In Episode 29 of The Electric Shadows Podcast, myself & Rob Daniel explain why Atomic Blonde ultimately fails to detonate and why you should check out the monstrously fun Shin Godzilla.

I also outline again to Rob D. why he really doesn’t need to bother seeing Valerian and we both discuss why a gay love scene in the next James Bond might justify Daniel Craig staying in the role.…

RETROSPECTIVE: Desire, criminality, & hope in Prick Up Your Ears & Victim

2017 marks fifty years since the Sexual Offences Act was introduced in the UK, which led to the partial decriminalization of male homosexuality.

It’s also, coincidentally, fifty years since the death of taboo-busting gay playwright Joe Orton.

The BFI is currently presenting two separate seasons inspired by these events, Gross Indecency and Orton: Obscenities in Suburbia.…

RETROSPECTIVE: The Swimmer in the Age of Trump

‘When you talk about The Swimmer will you talk about yourself?’

So runs the poster tagline of Frank Perry’s sunny, psychologically fraught 1960 melodrama. While it’s true the film’s themes do have, if you’ll pardon the pun, a certain currency, they do seem particularly relevant in this; the so-called Age of Trump.…

REVIEW: The Emoji Movie – sad face, poop emoji, poop emoji, fuck this shit

Now I usually enjoy giving a terrible film a booting as much as the next reviewer, but there’s something about The Emoji Movie that’s so utterly dispiriting that it even takes the joy out of that.

Rather than simply being utterly misjudged in the way that, say, Batman V Supermanthat redoubtable object of loathing for me, was misjudged – The Emoji Movie gives no impression that anyone ever sincerely expected it to be good.…

REVIEW: A Ghost Story is a meditative look at haunting and hauntedness (starring a man in a white sheet)

It seems silly, doesn’t it? The image of a man in an oversized version of the most rudimentary children’s costume: a plain white bed-sheet with eye-holes cut in it.

It’s also one that, in the context of A Ghost Story, becomes strangely haunting.…