Paul

News, Reviews & Features
  • Review: Horse Girl opts for style over substance, but it's a close-run race

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 12th February 2020

    If making lots of one thing is an objective measure of goodness, then Netflix are really good at these thrillers where the protagonist is having a tough time clinging on to reality. Yes I know sometimes they just buy the distribution righ- ...hang on, this is my intro to Earthquake Bird. Ok, well as broadly similar as Horse Girl is to all those other films, there are a few things setting it apart worth talking about. So let's saddle up pardner and giddy on up to the re-he-view! *yeehaws on chair in Costa, falls off, breaks pensioner's hip*

  • Spinning a yarn: the twisted sickness of Phantom Thread

    Movie Feature | Luke Whiston | 4th February 2020

    "Wuaghhhurg" - that's the exact noise I made towards the end of Paul Thomas Anderson's 2017 period romance about a genius dressmaker and his ingenues, which to all external appearances was the simple tale of a sexy rich gentleman misogynist and the women falling prey to his sexy rich charms, set against the backdrop of a Brexiteer's image of 1950s London. I didn't know how wrong I'd be. And it doesn't mean anything that I'd mixed up Phantom Thread with In Fabric and was expecting some spooky ghost action. Although there are hauntings in this, just not of the chain-rattling variety.

  • Review: 6 Underground is Michael Bay at his Michael Bayest

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 16th December 2019

    The man, the dream. The man is Michael Bay; Hollywood's eternal manchild, able to somehow tap into the mind of a prepubescent boy. The dream is to blow up as much shit as possible, sending hot sparks flying over even hotter chics in lingerie as our hero flings another zinging retort into the bad guys like nasty little comedy bullets. It's not clever. It's not classy. He thinks it is. But it's bold and tough, and you will respect the awesome might of military technology, else be visited in the night by wicked-rad army ninjas in stealth Blackhawks. Bayhem is in session, sit up and pay attention, DAD!

  • Review: Last Christmas has everything she wants if you watch without prejudice

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 12th November 2019

    What's it going to be for George Michael, then? The Bohemian Rhapsody-style rock biopic? The Rocketman stylised musical? The Yesterday excuse to bump the songs up the list on Spotify a bit? Well, none of the above, really. Last Christmas is something a bit different: a festive romcom where his songs are there but largely non-diegetic, even though he himself is present in the form of posters on walls and in characters' conversation, so more of a tribute that informs a story. It's an affectionate and funny one too, and the kind that you recognise a fair bit is wrong with, but gosh-darn it, everyone's singing and having a lovely time, and it's Christmas, so just pour yourself a nice tall glass of mulled shut-the-hell up juice and go with it.

  • 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: 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!

  • Review: Knock Down The House captures the highs and lows of hope

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 15th May 2019

    How can it be that every week feels like the series finale of America? The dumpster fire of Donald Trump's presidency that has engulfed our lives and timelines since 2016 can't be good for the collective psyche, and it's strange to think that a mere three years ago this constant gnashing background noise wasn't the norm. But US politics has measures in place to course-correct, namely a series of midterm elections whereby successful candidates can win a Senate seat, thus increasing their party's reach within Congress. At least that's what I understand from Wikipedia. I live in England, where we bow to whoever has the tallest top hat or the fanciest swan. Before today everything I knew about the American political system I learnt from The Simpsons.

  • Marvel's Cine-CHAT-ic Universe: Ant-Man (2015)

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray, Matt Looker, Becky Suter, Ed Williamson, Luke Whiston | 8th May 2019

    This is it. This is the one where the wheels finally came off. 11 movies deep into the Marvel's Cine-CHAT-ic Universe feature, Ant-Man marks the occasion where everyone has officially lost interest in the concept, due to us being five years and ten movies out of step with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We didn't spoil the Endgame, the Endgame spoiled us.

  • Review: After Life is not deft enough to avoid causing friendly fire

    TV Review | Ed Williamson | 22nd March 2019

    To promote his new Netflix show After Life, Ricky Gervais is out doing the podcast rounds, and telling anyone who'll listen why people who are offended by any of his jokes must have misunderstood them. He's probably right in some cases. But what he never considers, or at least never acknowledges, is that if a lot of people are misunderstanding your jokes, maybe it's because you aren't skilled enough at delivering them.

  • Review: Glass is a fragile follow-up with wasted promise

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 17th January 2019

    No one knows the importance of a good ending like M. Night Shyamalan. He has built his entire career on them. He knows that many film flaws can be forgiven along the way if, right before the credits roll, he can suddenly wow an audience so that they leave only talking about that ending. It’s a circus approach to storytelling, saving the big top narrative stunt for the final act, but it works. In the case of Split - an otherwise divisive film - it worked so well that the ending itself manifested a whole sequel. But no one should be in any doubt that it’s a cheat. A big last-minute reveal teasing a forthcoming crossover might be an original way to have a shock twist, but it doesn’t automatically make for a good ending to what came before it. Just as it doesn’t automatically make for a good beginning for what comes next.