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News, Reviews & Features
  • Review: Dolemite Is My Name is a rose-tinted celebration of flawed ambition

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 5th November 2019

    Is Eddie Murphy back? Judging by the last few months he's made a great deal of effort to distance himself from his 1980s sexism-laced standup routines, so he's definitely trying to come back. You can be cynical about it and say this is housekeeping in an attempt to reinvent his image for the new age of woke comedy, or you can accept he's genuinely trying to make amends and move onwards and upwards together into Liberal PC Heaven, where there are no guns and all the Pokemon you can catch. Whatever it is I'm not sure the best way to do it is via a celebration of blaxploitation; a genre laced with sexism.

  • Review: Fractured won't exactly change your world, but has a good try

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 29th October 2019

    One of my favourite subgenres of horror is the one where there's a huge build up to something tragic, and then you tag the 'sad trombone' sound effect on the end, rendering it hilarious. Like at the end of The Mist when Tom Jane euthanises a car full of survivors because they think the monsters are coming and there's no escape, but when he steps outside it's the army rumbling down the road to rescue them. Sad trombone dot mp3! Fractured is like that but every scene.

  • Review: In the Tall Grass is a creeper but it won't make you soil yourself

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 14th October 2019

    "This is like one of those rubbish Stephen King film adaptations" I blurted out not long after In The Tall Grass had started - which was fine because I was watching it on Netflix at home. A few minutes later while checking out the film's IMDB page on my phone - again, fine - I saw it actually was a Stephen King adaptation, that also happened to be rubbish. Maybe if I'd been paying more attention the film would have seemed less rubbish. Or maybe if it was less rubbish I wouldn't have been tempted by my phone, despite being a near-40-year-old adult who should know better. Maybe cinemas should be cheaper. Maybe Netflix shouldn't exist so I'm forced to go to a cinema and concentrate. Basically whatever makes it someone else's fault except mine.

  • Review: Avengement roundhouse kicks the dictionary in the throat

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 3rd October 2019

    The most tense pub situation I've ever been in was on a Sunday morning in a Wetherspoons, in Bristol. I'd gone there for breakfast despite the owner's recent stance on Brexit; the promise of free coffee refills enough to overcome any amount of bigotry. I joined the queue at the self-serve machine and edged my way forward, but two people shy of my goal disaster struck: the machine had stopped working. The air turned immediately oppressive, and remained so for several minutes until an extremely nervous man came to put new beans in the machine under the watchful, angry, twitchy eyes of the entire pub. It's no exaggeration to say if he'd spilled a single bean the place would have erupted in an orgy of savage violence. So in a way I feel like I have already lived through the events of Avengement, aka the sweariest fucking film ever cunting made.

  • 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: The Red Sea Diving Resort sinks under the weight of its own clichés

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 16th September 2019

    Is it still white saviour complex if the events actually happened? Or is it a different kind of white saviour complex; one for the benefit of white audiences, to make them feel better about conditions in other countries that probably had something to do with them sticking their oar in at some point in history? Are we challenging ourselves by broaching such subjects in the first place: a tacit acceptance of blame by not sugarcoating the human casualties of conflict? Was a film ostensibly about ethnic cleansing the right time to show off Chris Evans' side-ass and the top bit of his pubes? Many questions.

  • Review: Secret Obsession features the world's worst criminal mastermind

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 6th September 2019

    Secret Obsession is on a par with Murder, She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, or any other daytime TV show with 'murder' in the title, which has just struck me how psychopathic that was to expose a generation of elderly people to. The film is so cheap I was convinced an opening chase sequence would lead to a fake-out, ending with the victim waking up in a sweat, or an in-movie director shouting "cut!" as it's revealed we were on a movie set all along. It's another worrying sign of the content Netflix is curating. So was this TV movie-level rubbish dumped on Netflix, or dumped in the bins out back and somehow ended up on their servers? No I don't know how that would work either, but it makes more sense than the killer's plan.

  • Review: The Great Hack will make you want to delete your Facebook account, data, self

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 4th August 2019

    Facebook went downhill as soon as your mum signed up. The day she arrived with her Farmville requests and then started phoning you in the middle of a work day asking why you hadn't yet taken the "Which Shoe Are You?" personality quiz, it was in decline. And not just because it was irritating when she (or it could have been your dad, I don't know your family) would wish people a happy birthday by commenting on old posts they'd made about broken dishwashers five years ago, or confusing the search bar with their status update ("Ma Suter is tesco opening times christmas thank you"). It went downhill because she, and then the rest of us by default, put weapons into the hands of people who wanted to spark a culture war and now we cannot guarantee fair elections worldwide.

  • Review: Elizabeth Harvest brings a touch of class to the male wank fantasy

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 16th July 2019

    A few months ago I forced myself to watch Eli Roth's Knock Knock. It was a truly pathetic faux-apologetic excuse to show two young actresses naked, under the pretence it was all okay because they were getting revenge on shitty men. That's not to say I'm above looking at pointless nudity - I am a shitty man myself - but it has made me wary of how films are presented and my own sense of dismay when something turns out to be as grubby as you'd hoped it wouldn't be, even if a part of you secretly hoped it would be.

  • Review: I Am Mother wears its influences on whatever robots have instead of sleeves

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 1st July 2019

    Once again I find myself pondering the meaning of life in a Greggs. I like the way the servers don't indulge in the folly that producing coffee is a lengthy, complex task. They turn around, press a button, and 15-20 seconds later a cup is plonked on the counter. That's not to badmouth the baristas of other chains - I'm sure there's a skill to what they do - but the process is needlessly prolonged with steam bursts and putting bendy tubes in milk cartons. The staff of Greggs understand the purpose of my visit and their role in it as facilitators of quick hot brown slop. To extrapolate that to its only logical conclusion, we can ascertain that they value above all the one thing that binds human existence and has led to this exact moment we are all experiencing in unison: time. It's 8am and already it has been a big day.