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News, Reviews & Features
  • Review: Unicorn Store sparkles but doesn't shine or, er, something

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 23rd April 2019

    Hey everyone, it's the new movie starring Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson! You know, the one where she has to make a bunch of defining choices regarding her responsibilities in a fantasy setting! While making quips! Actually Unicorn Store was completed a few years ago but has only just been released by Netflix, in what is presumably a Captain America-style tactical decision to capitalise on Brie Larson's new-found Marvel fame. But don't read too much into this apparent dumping on a streaming service because while it's not exactly a Vision to behold and a bit low-key (Loki) on the life-affirming front, it's not a Hulking great mess either! Thanos!

  • Review: The Highwaymen is your dad's new favourite film

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 11th April 2019

    I was reading an article today about the cartel leader El Chapo, who is currently in prison for murder, drug trafficking and money laundering, among other things. So beloved is El Chapo, and so cherished his image by the common folk of Mexico, he's been able to launch a fashion line from his cell. It's a curious feature of the human brain that we allow ourselves to be attracted towards these dark figures, hailing them as heroes despite the devastation their crimes have caused. I guess all it takes is a media-friendly mugshot and enough degrees of separation to empathise with someone who would do you harm if you ever crossed them. Back at the start of our modern press age, Bonnie & Clyde were like a prototype of the El Chapo phenomenon; shown a dose of forgiveness due to the romanticism associated with their escapades. The reality was they were killers who needed to be stopped - an inevitability due to the attention they'd brought upon themselves - and the job fell to two middle-aged men, sent criss-crossing endless dusty roads in an olde timey car. But just because there's nothing sexy about that story, does it mean it shouldn't be told?

  • Review: Isn't It Romantic is a pleasing trope inverter

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 3rd April 2019

    I don't have a problem with tropes. If you've had a long day and just want to unwind watching one of the Chrises drift a car or fight some pixels, a well-placed cliché can fill the gaps between any distracting thinky bits to keep the plot ticking along - allowing your eyes to glaze over as your body slowly powers down. Tropes are a useful form of cinematic shorthand. But imagine not being overwhelmingly tired all the time, and also wanting to be entertained while using your brain. What do you stick on? A sci-fi? Action-thriller? If I said there was a romcom that met all these needs you'd probably say "shut the hell up with that", to which I'd reply "Click through for the full review", and you'd say "Sir, this is a Burger King", then I'd say "Please like and subscribe." And then the police would arrive.

  • Review: Triple Frontier is quite literally a miserable slog

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 27th March 2019

    Grrr, men! All muscles and sweat, guns 'n' grit, sports and spunk. But sometimes emotions too. Manly men, rappelling from helicopters, growing a beard. Laying our souls bare to one another in a series of grunts. Real men can communicate using open palm hand gestures to navigate through the streets of life son. Drop and give me fifty no-scopes. Men are complicated contradictions: chiselled yet indefinable; poets and filthy bog creatures; an army of one yet no man is an army. Caps. The only thing that can understand a real man is an even more realer man. Grr! Bloody men!!

  • Review: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind soars, is uplifting, etc

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 20th March 2019

    Q) What do Titanic, Zero Dark Thirty and The Last King of Scotland have in common? A) They all used real history to tell a story involving fictional characters. In the case of Jack and Rose they were avatars to illustrate class divide. Zero Dark Thirty needed a way to connect the hunt for Bin Laden from beginning to end so they made up a CIA agent. And who even knows what the author of The Last King of Scotland was smoking because I can't think of another story like that at all. It's like they made up a best friend for Hitler. Why would you do that? Honestly. Point is, when you want to stretch history for entertainment you have to be delicate with the facts, otherwise you risk misrepresenting what actually happened or offending those who were there. Although Billy Zane can do what he wants. The man is a gift.

  • Review: Behind the Curve lets us gawp but doesn't offer any insight

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 11th March 2019

    It's so sad to hear about Piers Morgan. Oh, nothing's happened to him. I mean just generally whenever he pops up it makes me feel sad that an adult would cultivate mock outrage in pursuit of attention. We should cut him off so he can disappear forever, but he's harmless really - a fart in the wind - and everyone sees the desperation in his tiny haunted eyes. And he's a coward. To properly grab people's attention nowadays you have to go down the alt-right route like Hopkins and Milo, baring your wretched soul fully in a self-immolating endgame; not have a dig at vegan pastries from the safe space of a colourful sofa. He's a rank amateur. What does this have to do with flat earthers? Well, they're the same thing as Morgan aren't they? Poor deluded fuckers confusing passing glances with validation, convinced they're part of the fabric of reality, when really they're touching cloth.

  • Review: Velvet Buzzsaw paints a dark canvas but is worse than the sum of its p-arts

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 8th February 2019

    A few years ago I had a bit of an epiphany regarding my personal relationship with art (such as it is that the purpose and understanding of art as a human endeavour is the result of a complex mish-mash of evolutionary need and life experience resulting in a unique perspective held only to oneself imho). It was around the time of political unrest in a country - not going to say which one but it was one of those problematic countries you see on the news often, don't like the gays much - where a group of artists had collaborated to send a satirical message to their government which was more than likely going to see them turn up in a ditch. It was an act that made me question my complete self: would I, a comically stereotypical white man, ever do anything so profoundly brave with my creative output? I mean besides calling Nigel Farage a cock on Twitter? Probably not. I'll probably just carry on ascending to middle class via osmosis, stopping to tut whenever Netflix raise their prices by 20p so they can continue making mediocre originals.

  • 20 additional ways Netflix are 'improving' their service

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray | 20th August 2018

    Drastic news from the streaming industry this week, as it's been revealed that Netflix are testing a new 'feature' where trailers for other Netflix shows play between episodes. So, ads, basically. Netflix, you've done it again! This business model could revolutionise the television industry!

  • The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 16th October 2017

    Time was, you could get a bit of a reaction by saying Adam Sandler was a good actor. You'd be the toast of the cognoscenti, lauded for your brave and rare insight, or at the very least one of those professional contrarians who make film Twitter such a rich and challenging environment. These days the evidence is there and the idea's not controversial: everyone knows he can do it when he can be bothered changing out of his tracksuit. Maybe it's time to think of him a bit differently.

  • Rewriting the synopsis of Our Souls At Night, the title of an actual film

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray | 9th August 2017

    If you are British, you are probably already laughing at that title. If you're American, you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about. If so, please read this tweaked synopsis, which I punched up to play to the film's biggest strength: its amazing title.