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News, Reviews & Features
  • 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: Us is an iconic horror that doppelgängs up on our innate fears

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 25th March 2019

    Of all the books I read while studying English Literature at university, there are very few that I can say really stuck with me so much that I think about them on a near-daily basis. One that did is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe called William Wilson. If you’re not familiar, it’s a deeply sinister tale in which the narrator describes being tormented throughout his life by infrequent run ins with his doppelgänger, a figure that looks, acts and dresses exactly the same as him, until he is eventually driven mad. The story struck a chord mainly because my professor made a compelling case at the time for how this horror works on a psychological level, but also because he had us analyse the many thematic instances of ‘doubles’ throughout the text. This, he explained, includes William Wilson’s own alliterative initials, which are made up of two 'W's or, rather, 'double-you's. And it was at that point that I thought he was just really reaching.

  • Marvel's Cine-CHAT-ic Universe: Thor: The Dark World (2013)

    Movie Feature | Matt Looker, Ali Gray, Becky Suter, Luke Whiston, Ed Williamson | 11th February 2019

    You wouldn't think we could be less efficient in meeting our goals re: this recurring feature, but we managed it - please enjoy this torturous discussion on Thor: The Dark World, a chat which was called "uninspired" by one of its own members while he was still discussing it.

  • 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.

  • Review: Mandy is a hypnotic nightmare of blood, drugs and damnation

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 10th October 2018

    Another year, another London Film Festival, another annual peruse of the festival programme choosing films that sound fascinating in theory without really knowing what to expect in practice. Take Mandy, for example, which the programme describes as “a film so singular, perverse and beguiling, it’s almost impossible to define”. Ok... maybe try though? “Think of the most exquisitely nightmarish LSD trip imaginable, then multiply it by ten”. Hmm, I have no idea how to do that, but it sounds interesting. Ok fine, I’ll see it. “Don’t just see Mandy, experience it”. WHAT IS THIS IS IT EVEN A FILM.

  • Review: The House With A Clock In Its Walls is a fun waste of time

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 18th September 2018

    Ugh. September. The worst month by some distance. Nothing good has ever happened in September. I checked history, which verified and confirmed: September is a dud. All the blockbusters are a distant memory, the big Christmas movies are too far away (see also: Christmas) and even the tiresome slog that is Oscar season has yet to get underway. That just leaves shitty geriaction movies where Denzel Washington kills people, horror movies that are too crap to save for Halloween and oddball movies that genuinely don't fit in anywhere else in the calendar. Mercifully, that last sub-genre occasionally yields surprising results, which is where The House With A Clock In Its Walls chimes in: it's not quite enough to salvage the September cesspool, but it is a fun kids' fantasy that does just about enough to distract you from the backslide into the arse end of the year.

  • 20 exciting and totally achievable ways the DC Universe can rebuild

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray | 17th September 2018

    The DC universe is broken. Henry Cavill is done with Superman. Ben Affleck is too goth even for Batman and reportedly wants an escape route. Wonder Woman accidentally became the most successful one and now all the men at the studio have no idea what to do with her. And Aquaman... exists. Forget whatever humanitarian crises the Fake News Media are pushing on you this week: we need to focus our efforts on figuring out how to fix these adult manbaby movie franchises, and STAT. These 20 ideas to fix the DCCU by yours truly are a start, but frankly, I'm not hearing anything coming from your end. Is this thing even on?

  • Discussion: Impossible - Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray, Matt Looker, Becky Suter, Ed Williamson | 9th August 2018

    Timed perfectly to coincide with Fallout's three week anniversary, here is our fifth and final Mission: Impossible catch-up, for Chris McQuarrie's Rogue Nation. Thanks for Reading: Impossible!

  • Discussion: Impossible - Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

    Movie Feature | Ali Gray, Matt Looker, Becky Suter, Ed Williamson | 1st August 2018

    Look at all those colons! Our Mission: Impossible discussion has kicked into a higher gear, by which I mean we're scaling the lofty heights of Ghost Protocol, its incredible set-pieces, its rubbish villain and one very special false arm. Join us please, otherwise all this editing was pointless!