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News, Reviews & Features
  • Review: Enola Holmes is an energetic romp that runs out of steam

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 10th October 2020

    English people sound one of three ways in Hollywood films: grubby urchin begging for a crumb of bread, Hugh Grant being wanked off by a malfunctioning robot, and Sherlock Holmes. Having been an English person for nearly forty years and travelled most of the country, I have never met a single person who sounds like any of them. Obviously I'm not tossing off enough floppy toffs. But just because we don't sound that way doesn't mean we don't think like it - which I'm about to handily prove by adopting my finest Sherlock big posho internal monologue for a review of Enola Holmes, what what!

  • Review: The Peanut Butter Falcon is more than a silly nammm peanut butter

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 10th September 2020

    What cultural works wouldn't be improved with the addition of wrestling? Imagine John David Washington's Tenet protagonist performing a reverse suplex... in reverse! Or Queequeg acting as a hype man for Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. Or the Little Women charging towards the ring one by one in a furious royal rumble. Bargain Hunt cage match. See? There's a whole genre there waiting to be discovered. This is going somewhere.

  • Review: Color Out of Space is high on promise but lands with a bump

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 13th March 2020

    Richard Stanley is a tantalisingly distant figure in filmmaking. His filmography reeks of such pure talent you wonder why he's not a bigger name. The answer to that lies in the documentary Island of Lost Souls, which recalls Stanley's involvement in the ill-fated big budget 1990s take on The Island of Dr. Moreau. To say it didn't go well is an understatement, with everything from the elements to his erratic star Marlon Brando working overtime to derail things. Subsequently Stanley left the mainstream under a cloud (literally a cyclone), which is why Color Out of Space is being bandied as 'The Return of Richard Stanley' - given a fresh chance to bring a H. P. Lovecraft short story to life with Nicolas Cage in the lead. With such a dizzying rider it can't possibly live up to the hype, can it?

  • Encounter at Midpoint: just what the h(olod)eck is going on in Picard?

    TV Feature | Luke Whiston | 6th March 2020

    I'm finding Picard a very difficult show to place - part mawkish reverence, part campy nostalgia, quite a lot of waiting for that classic TNG vibe to kick in. Will it ever settle on a tone? I'm not the hugest Trekkie but back in the day The Next Generation was perfectly timed for getting in from school, doing your homework, then sticking on Sky One to have an adventure with Jean-Luc and the crew of the Enterprise D, hopefully learning something about the nature of humanity (or at the very least a holodeck episode where they're all wearing period costumes). So there's a lot of fondness there. And sure all my friends were out smoking and necking, but who are they going to call on to arbitrate grave matters of existentialism? Probably not me as I've fallen out of contact with many of them in the 20 years since. I wonder if they've ever looked me up and seen I write about Star Trek on the internet now? Oh God, I've wasted my life!

  • Review: The Two Popes entertains, occasionally enlightens

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 15th January 2020

    They're just two normal fellas, these guys. Sure they live in gigantic palaces and take part in rituals affecting the lives of millions of people based on doctrines written hundreds of years ago in the belief a giant bearded ghost man watches everything you do in the bathroom, but they like a pint just like you and I. Who cares if you're expected to bow and kiss their ring to show respect else you'll go to hell if they like to watch the big match? They're just two normal fellas. Two normal fellas in charge of a 2000-year-old nonce festival.

  • Review: The Irishman is a slow burn deconstruction of mafioso mythos

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 14th December 2019

    I wonder if I'll live to be old, and if so, what secrets will I have accumulated by then? I don't mean secrets like things I ate that weren't mine; more like the sort of intimate knowledge that could change the course of history, sunk so deep it weighs down the soul of even the hardest immoral criminals. I guess that's why Martin Scorsese chose to make a three-and-a-half hour film about violent mob assassins involved in some of the most shocking conspiracies the world has ever seen, and not the time I took my girlfriend's Toblerone from the fridge and denied it because I was scared.

  • Review: El Camino is a familiar dose that goes down easy (drugs)

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 27th October 2019

    It would make absolutely no difference to anything whether Breaking Bad spin-off movie El Camino existed or not. If in a few years' time show creator Vince Gilligan responded to a fan question at a Comic Con panel with his plan for Jesse instead, the cultural impact would be much the same. That said, Gilligan can direct the hell out of the world he created and this re-visit is a reminder of the show's absorbing style, and of one of the central tenets of Bad: how much chaos can one person cause?

  • Review: Hurricane is cheap as chips but rises above to tell a stirring tale

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 25th September 2019

    "Chaos with Ed Miliband or stability with me" David Cameron declared in 2015, before quitting and plunging the country into a turmoil the two Prime Ministers since have managed to somehow make worse. But despite austerity measures and fox hunting and all the other cartoonishly cruel Tory pursuits, nothing compares to the completely avoidable damage leaving the European Union is going to wreak. Food and medicine supplies interrupted; regions of industry due to be decimated; the Pound Sterling crippled - all because of vain grabs for glory by power-hungry millionaires who got lucky that enough people on Facebook could be convinced the Romanian brickie down the street was the root cause of all their problems, and not the hereditary bankers with secret offshore accounts waiting to stiff their fellow countryfolk. But the harm is done, and we can never go back to a time when Sunday dinner wasn't a simmering saucepan of gritted teeth pleasantries, ready to boil over as you ask your freshly emboldened racist aunt to please pass the bloody swede. Well I wish we could find a way to project Hurricane onto the White Cliffs of Dover and force all the gullible idiots who voted for Brexit to watch it, not least because to do so they'd have to GET IN THE FUCKING SEA.

  • Review: Murder Mystery commits the crime of not being very mysterious

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 25th June 2019

    Shhh the kids are asleep. It's mummy and daddy time now, a chance to do all the things you can't do during the day. Let's make a cup of tea and put on a film. Two hours gone and now it's bedtime. The film was fine. Not good, not bad. Just fine, but more importantly we survived today. Lamp off. Start again tomorrow. One day closer to death. Everything is just fine, and it's not for me to judge that your life has become a static series of achievement-void days spent clockwatching and sometimes not even seeing the sun.

  • Review: Wine Country is a waste of a great ensemble cast

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 17th June 2019

    One thing that fascinates me about film-making is not the how of how movies are made, but the when. We see stars grow in real time these days and very often, once their careers have developed enough, they become producers - meaning the shows and films we watch follow their whims. That explains why we get a glut of movies about having babies, followed by a wave of thirties singleton rom-coms, and these subjects mould the wider zeitgeist. And now we're entering what should be the most interesting phase, where all your favourite stars are burnt out and holding grudges: the mid-life crisis. Fight! Fight! Fight!