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  • Review: The Knight Before Christmas in excuse for rambling film article

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 1st December 2019

    Ahh Christmas; the season of feelgood movies, peace and love to all, chestnuts roasting by an open fire, dressing gowns and comfy slippers, aisles of biscuit tins in Wilko, the excitement of the first snowflake, glitter, novelty plastic tat destined for a landfill, forcing yourself to like disgusting M&S sandwiches, family arguing about Brexit, splinters going up in the loft, more glitter, Boris Johnson what a character eh, tears as your wife's antique bauble gets smashed, fighting back consumerist guilt, the bulbs don't work, splinters coming down from the loft, kids screaming, lies upon lies about Santa, THE BULBS DON'T WORK AND SOMEONE NEEDS TO GO TO THE SHOP AND THERE'S GLITTER EVERYWHERE. It's December 1st.

  • Review: Earthquake Bird: who is he, what is his net worth, who is his wife?

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 25th November 2019

    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 rights. This year alone we've had Fractured, The Perfection, In The Tall Grass, and several more; it's as if their recommendation engine is stuck in a feedback loop. The 'unreliable narrator' I believe the gimmick is called, and it's a solid framework for building mysteries - just add a setting, a creepy secret, a few dead women, et voila: cinema. Well, the Netflix equivalent.

  • Review: Doctor Sleep feels like a lot of work for very little play

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 11th November 2019

    There’s a lot to be said about the context surrounding Doctor Sleep. About the impossibly high benchmark set by The Shining, about the challenge of reconciling Stephen King’s vision and Stanley Kubrick’s execution, and about choosing which source material to honour most. But honestly, ignoring all of that for now, my biggest takeaway from this film is... fuck, it spends a lot of time driving in a car. Every pre-set-piece scene is spent hauling across road for hours and every post-sequence respite is spent hauling back again, usually at night-time, usually while someone is asleep in the passenger seat. I have spent more time in cars while watching this film than I have on actual road trips. It seems Danny Torrance simply swapped one purgatory for another. Come drive with him. Forever... and ever... and ever...

  • 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: Too Old To Die Young wallows in neon-soaked misery

    TV Review | Luke Whiston | 22nd October 2019

    "It's been 84 years..."
    I gaze out upon the tundra, the sun slipping over the horizon as a bitter wind blasts ice shards across the landscape. I'm reminded of the seasons which have preceded me in the days, weeks and months now consigned to the past, and of the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice on this arduous journey, of which I am the sole remaining survivor. We lost our captain early, driven mad by the unerring stillness. Five crew perished recovering a password. The first mate ventured outside searching for spare HDMI cables some days ago, never to return. But I write this final entry with a note of triumph in my heart - final, because once my frost-bitten hands have rested my pen I too shall be taking a stroll into the darkness, but not before making one last entry: I did it. I finished watching Nicolas Winding Refn's Amazon Prime Original series Too Old to Die Young.

  • 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: Shaft (2019) is... what the hell did I just watch?

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 9th July 2019

    The danger with judging films based on what you want rather than what you get is you'll forever be on the lookout for things that don't agree with your blinkered view of the world. It's a slippery slope; one minute you'll be tapping furiously into Twitter trying to get Piers Morgan's attention, the next setting up a change.org petition with the vitriolic entitlement of a superhero movie manbaby. That said, they've somehow made a new Shaft film with the exact same comic inclination as an Adam Sandler movie, and while I'm happy the baddest badass motherfucker in town is back, I've never forced myself to sit through something so much in my entire life.

  • Review: Yesterday: I saw a film today, oh boy

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 30th June 2019

    A common pub argument I have with a friend of mine is that the Beatles weren't as influential as everyone makes out. I tell him there weren't bands before the Beatles; just solo singers and backing groups. I tell him that artists didn't write their own songs before the Beatles. I tell him that the album wasn't an artistic endeavour before the Beatles; just a commercial ruse to package up a hit single or two with some filler and sell them again. He still won't have it. Obviously he is an idiot, but I hope to Christ he never sees Yesterday, because it'll only strengthen his wildly incorrect view. While it does have at its heart the idea that this was the most special collection of songs ever written, it overlooks that what the boys gave us all wasn't just the songs: it was far more than that.

  • Review: Rocketman is a Bo Rhap glow-up... but then again, no

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 22nd May 2019

    Put Bohemian Rhapsody out of your head: this jukebox musical about a flamboyant rock singer directed by Dexter Fletcher is nothing like that jukebox musical about a flamboyant rock singer directed by Dexter Fletcher. In principle at least, Bo Rhap made sense as a tribute to the mercurial nature of the Queen frontman, a celebration of his musical genius and his tragic legacy. Rocketman, however, is quite different. For starters, Elton John (Tantrums & Tiaras, Kingsman 2, every other fucking episode of the The Graham Norton Show, apparently) is alive and well and executively producing his own vanity biopic. As a celebration of Elton's music, Rocketman delivers a satisfying and foot-stomping soundtrack of wall-to-wall bangers, but as an exploration of the man himself, it lacks any notable dramatic impetus outside of the generic rise, fall and rise template. It's less a movie, more a West End stage musical in search of a worthy hero.

  • Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 is a war on the senses - and on the balls

    Movie Review | Becky Suter | 17th May 2019

    We all know there are six basic story types: the fall, the fall then rise, the rise then fall, the rise from nothing, mismatched buddy cops, and stop that wedding. The third installment of the John Wick franchise delivers a seventh - the fall then rise then kick you in the bollocks, go to Casablanca, rise, then literal fall. The film's subtitle, Parabellum, translates to "prepare for war" - in this case a war on limbs, vital bodily organs, and your ability to stomach extreme violence, so you can't say it didn't warn you.