I reviewed Moana and its themes for Think Theology.
Yet there is still a nagging feeling, when watching Moana, that Disney are stuck in a thematic rut. The opening song in English is a revamp of the same ideas explored in the opening number to Beauty and the Beast. There, Belle longs for more than her provincial life, here, Moana is convinced of the virtues of staying within her community and finding everything she needs where she is. This is presented as the bad option. Her song that follows, which is an absolute belter, is then about looking to the horizon and sailing off by herself to find out who she truly is. The entire film revolves around her ‘finding herself’.
I’ve appeared on the radio recently a number of times to review films. Most recently I was on the Janice Forsyth Show reviewing X-Men Apocalypse, Sing Street and A Hologram for the King.
I wrote about the latest film from Studio Ghibli from a Christian perspective, for Think Theology.
When Marnie Was there is an adaptation of a British children’s novel from the ‘60s and lands towards the gently fantastical side of their canon. For fans, watching it comes with the bittersweet sensation of knowing that this is the last film you will see by such a consistently brilliant studio. The studio has wrapped up production for the foreseeable future and one of the last great bastions of hand-drawn animation has fallen. For those previously unaware of the film-makers, this could be the perfect introduction to their work. Whether you are a novice or a merch-wearing devotee, it’s a stunning piece of storytelling that proves the studio never lost its power, even at the very end.
I appeared on the Janice Forsyth show again to discuss Glasgow Film Festival, the Oscars and the latest cinematic releases.
I was on BBC Radio reviewing three films released that week, Brooklyn, Kill Your Friends and He Named Me Malala.
I wrote about the new drama for my Think Theology column.
Sorkin’s film, directed by Danny Boyle, is a league ahead of most biopics. Where many try to plod through the events of a man’s life, this condenses conflicts with fellow Apple staff-members, the progress of technology over 14 years and Jobs’ role as a father into three acts, each set before a product launch. The idea that all of the people who have serious issues with Jobs would turn up at the same time before the next leap in technology is announced is, evidently, a fanciful one. This, however, is a drama, not a documentary, andSteve Jobs is theatrical and grandstanding without ever claiming to tell the whole story. We learn everything we need to without actually having to see many of the events play out, and the result is something far leaner and with a much greater dramatic impact than many a biopic.
Clink on the link below for my reviews on the Janice Forsyth show.
The start of a new column dedicated to the kids section on Netflix, for Vodzilla.
Have you ever dipped into Netflix’s kids’ section? It’s a realm of gaudy coloured franchises you never knew existed, threequels made for around 10p and forgotten films from the 80s that, even then, no one watched. A strong backbone of Disney classics infinitely increases the average quality of the section, but even they made Chicken Little. We at VODzilla.co are dedicated to covering all things streamable, so, naturally, the best way to tackle the breadth of cinema available for kids from the service is to get someone to watch them all. An adult. With no children.
Are there diamonds in the rough? Will Tinkerbell change lives? How long will this writer stay sane? Each article in this column will assess the films using three key questions: Will kids like it? Will adults like it? Is it well made? Welcome to NFK: Netlix for kids.
I reviewed the Weinsteined cut of the Grandmaster for streaming reviews website VODzilla.
It’s difficult when writing about The Grandmaster not to review the film that you haven’t watched. Three different versions of Wong Kar Wai’s martial arthouse film exist, including the 130 minute version released in China, and this, the Weinstein-d cut that’s 108 minutes long and re-arranged to be more chronological, with intertitles to explain things to apparently stupider audiences. Given the sluggishness of this edit, it’s difficult not to think wistfully of something closer to Wong’s vision and wish you were watching that, instead. Sometimes, though, you have to review the film put in front of you.
I appeared on the Janice Forsyth show to review Inside Out, Maggie and the Legend of Barney Thompson.