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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: 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: The Laundromat is a quick spin with spotty results

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 24th October 2019

    It sucks that there are people in the world whose only goal is the pursuit of wealth without any thought for the human cost, and that these people live lives of fabulous opulence we could only imagine while poverty exists, but that's the natural result of a society based on capitalism. I mean, we're all like it to some extent - we've got to pay the bills and put food on the table, and the goose game on Nintendo Switch isn't going to buy itself - but those who possess the ability to hoard more money than they could ever spend are equipped to rise to the top of the heap at our expense. It's a maddening situation, although if pushed I'd say I was more angry about geese right now. That seems like a problem I could solve. Forget billionaires; we need to kill all the geese.

  • Review: Between Two Ferns: The Movie justifies its own existence... just

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 11th October 2019

    There are a few hurdles to clear before getting on board with Between Two Ferns: The Movie. Firstly, the idea of a fairly one-note sketch show stretched to feature length is inevitably going to require padding. Secondly, stars playing wacky exaggerated versions of themselves gets tedious real quick. And thirdly, celebrities being pranked yet are clearly in on the joke because they'd never have agreed to appear otherwise is a bit, y'know, shit. I guess if you're able to separate yourself by a few degrees then you stand a chance of being entertained by the quasi-meta comedy on offer. But if you can't do that then, well, you're screwed really. It's hard work enjoying films these days.

  • 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.

  • Men In Black: International was released and every critic made the same joke

    Movie Feature | Matt Looker | 8th July 2019

    Attention filmmakers! If your movie franchise contains a unique narrative device that also serves as easy ammunition for critics to use in the event of a bad review, don't kid yourselves that they'll rise above it. They'll latch on to that reference like it's a personal gift from you to them. Thank you, they'll say. Thank you for making our jobs and deadlines easy. Because that's what good film reviews should be. Easy.

  • Review: Rim of the World walks a fine line between stupid and clever

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 18th June 2019

    McG's (ugh) Netflix Original (UGH) Rim of the World (UGHHHH) is a sexist, misogynistic, inexplicably racist low-hanging-fruit-picking embarrassment that by rights should be shot into the sun and every trace of its existence burnt to ashes, and the people responsible sterilised so they don't accidentally send their kids to Hollywood film school and make another one like it. That would be if the sexism, misogynism and racism wasn't being delivered by 13-year-old children. Which I'm afraid in the arena of bad taste qualifies this for some sort of filmic equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

  • Review: The Silence echoes better films, but you'll watch it anyway

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 29th April 2019

    I feel like I've decoded the Voynich manuscript. Something seemed off about The Silence but for the longest time I couldn't put my finger on it. It's a noticeably cheap-looking film - a continuation of the worrying Netflix trend of picking things up that are, shall we say, 'Poundland versions of proper films' - but has a decent enough cast. The intrigue deepened. So I looked it up and suddenly everything fell into place: it was written by Shane and Carey Van Dyke of the Van Dyke dynasty, purveyors of the infamously terrible Asylum 'mockbusters' which were funny for five minutes in 2006. I don't know exactly how these things work with a dozen production companies and distributors and whatnot, but I do know what Netflix have done here is they've rebadged a film that was probably destined for The SyFy Channel. And as everyone knows you can't polish a turd. Believe me I've tried, it goes everywhere.

  • Discussion: Impossible - Mission: Impossible II (2000)

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray, Matt Looker, Becky Suter, Ed Williamson | 18th July 2018

    This doesn't really need an introduction. We're talking about all the Mission: Impossible movies. Online. It says so in the title. Just get on with it. Today on Discussion: Impossible: it's Mission: Impossible II! Before we start, I must insist you all open this window and have this music playing in the background to set the scene and take you back to a very specific, very terrible time and place.

  • The First Purge

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 6th July 2018

    The Purge is an odd, scrappy sort of franchise that's stumbled clumsily into the zeitgeist without so much as taking its mask off. The first movie, released in 2013 in the middle of the Obama administration, was a high concept home invasion thriller that preyed on the fears of suburban white folk, starring Ethan Hawke, the most Caucasian man in the observable universe. Now, after five years, two sequels and one particularly flatulent Trump, The Purge has flipped its racial politics completely: starring an almost total African-American cast, prequel The First Purge has aligned itself with black fears of a government out to extinguish them. It’s quite the position for a low-budget horror movie to take (studio Blumhouse were also behind Get Out, another racially charged genre picture that blew up), but this prequel never quite fulfills its brief of winding back the clock to ask why America felt the urge to purge in the first place.