Superhero films are not very good. Sure, it was widely acknowledged that Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice were both weak sauce, but Marvel are hardly purveyors of beauty and truth. Formally, they contribute nothing of worth to cinema and actually detract from the medium as even less competent films attempt to […]
How can lighting be tragicomic? Is it possible that the way you light the room can make you laugh while still simultaneously making you feel melancholic? It doesn’t seem like something that should be possible, yet that’s somehow what Aki Kaurismaki manages in The Other Side of Hope. His film is supremely visual, utilising colour, […]
“Horses are the wings of men.” Centaur opens with this Kyrgyz proverb about the magic of horse-riding and then proceeds to demonstrate it, visually, as the eponymous horse thief steals a thoroughbred and gallops off into the night, his hands lifted triumphantly into the air. This enchanting opening is the highlight of Aktan Arym Kubat’s […]
Most people going out with their mates for a few drinks and talking about philosophy don’t end up achieving much. Karl Marx went out drinking with his pal Friedrich Engels; after a few too many cognacs and lots of heated discussion about the Hegelian dialectic (a pleasant reminder of Hail, Caesar!), he ends up deciding […]
The Berlinale has, so far, featured two films in competition about politicians arguing over the course of a dinner (or an intended one, anyway). While Sally Potter’s The Party is occasionally clumsy, it is also outrageously funny and a world away from the absolute slog that is Oren Moverman’s The Dinner. The most compelling reason […]
The title Barrage is, of course, a pun. It can mean a weir, or anything blocking a watercourse, as well as a bombardment (military, verbal or sporting). The title of this small chamber-piece wants to let you know that you’re in for both – there’s a literal weir that plays a role in the final […]
On Body and Soul opens with the peaceful image of a stag and roe deer wandering through a snow-scattered forest. It’s not long, however, before the film moves to an abattoir, where cow carcasses are casually beheaded. Such an eye-opening clash of the serene and the grotesque is just one of the many oddities about […]
I write regularly for VODzilla, a website that specialises in writing about films and television available via streaming. You can read my work here. Recently I wrote about A Series of Unfortunate Events, a new TV series from Netflix.
Stop reading this review. It’s only here to talk about a new Netflix show that you really shouldn’t watch, not unless you want to have an utterly horrible time watching something grimly inventive with an utterly macabre sense of humour. Perhaps you enjoy watching a hammy actor trying to access the fortune of three fiendishly intelligent children. Maybe you like laughing at hilariously exaggerated misery and production design that oozes gothic gloom. Yet this is a most upsetting tale and this review will only compound the misery by detailing the various ways in which the Baudelaire orphans suffer, so only read on if you are prepared to hear stories of frightful villainy and violence against some rather remarkable children.
I reviewed Martin Scorsese’s Silence for Christian theology blog Think Theology.
A black screen. The escalating hum of cicadas. One word appears on screen as the noise stops. Silence. Then, the camera slowly reveals hot springs in the Japanese mountains, almost a beautiful sight until you realise why we are there. Five western missionaries are having the scalding hot water poured slowly over their skin, while a sixth, Padre Ferreira, is forced to watch.
It’s a stark, disturbing and gripping opening to Martin Scorsese’s latest. It lets you know that you are in for a harrowing 161 minutes, as relayed by someone in complete control of his craft. Silence is a masterpiece and it led to probably the most profound spiritual encounter I’ve ever had in a cinema.
I appeared on the Janice Forsyth show at the start of the year to review Silence, Assassin’s Creed and a Monster Calls.
No longer available on iPlayer.