Paul Haine's website since 2000
233,044 words and counting

  1. The conceit behind Patema Inverted, a 2013 anime by Yasuhiro Yoshiura, is that at some point in the past, scientists inadvertently reversed the direction of Earth's gravity, causing mass destruction and many deaths, with the survivors splintering into two societies, one above ground and one below, each subjected to an opposing gravitational force: those above appear to be pulled down into the planet, and those underground appear to be pulled upwards, toward the sky.

  2. January is the most miserable month of the year. It's dark when you leave for work and it's dark when you leave for home. It's properly cold, and not the bullshit December cold where it never drops below 13C, but serious, gale-force windchill cold with sleet, rain, and snow. You don't have any money because you got your last salary on December 20th and you've already spent it because you're terrible at managing your own finances. There's nothing to look forward to in January except the end of January.

  3. Around the start of last year I was performing my annual "Stroking of the books" ritual, where I saunter around my living room admiring my collection and my tremendously good taste in literature. I paused to stroke the largely-unread collection of Dickens' Penguin Clothbound Classics, I gritted my teeth at the irritatingly mis-matched, incomplete and incomprehensible set of Prousts, I briefly fondled my expansive collection of BFI monographs on serious, important films such as The Big Lebowski, and I stopped to feel the weight of my oversized books on film poster history and the Sega MegaDrive. I made my annual resolution to re-read books more often, and then promptly forgot all the books on my shelves in favour of reading something new.

  4. My annual film highlights post, in which I highlight 20 films from all that I saw during 2014. This time I've selected from 232, and as usual the only limitation is that I saw the film last year; no restrictions on release date. The films listed aren't necessarily what I'd call the best, but I think they're all noteworthy for various reasons. I think this might be more of a downbeat list than previous years. Such was 2014.

  5. In 2008, Jean-Claude Van Damme appeared as an unflattering version of himself in JCVD, a washed-up film star unable to find work who returns to Belgium and finds that a misunderstanding during a post-office heist helps revitalise his career. It's a pretty good film, and there's a lot of similarity between it and Birdman, which sees Michael Keaton playing an equally-unflattering version of himself as a washed-up former comic book film star trying to put on a Serious Play in a bid for relevance.

  6. Big Eyes, the story of mid-century artist Margaret Keane who took her husband to court to prove that her popular portraits of big-eyed children were by her, and not him, is more interesting as a new direction for Tim Burton than it is as a film in its own right.

From the archives

Short reviews

  1. Time of the Wolf A turgid post-apocalyptic drama in which survivors gather together to shriek uselessly at each other. Dull and irritating.
  2. The Duke of Burgundy A fascinating, attractive oddity. Left me slightly baffled but content.
  3. The Astronaut Farmer One of those inoffensive, tepid, banal non-entity films that fill out the weekday afternoon Channel 5 schedules.
  4. Belle Finely crafted but a little placid.
  5. The Boxtrolls Heart-meltingly attractive stop-motion animation. The film itself is a bit weak in comparison, but enjoyable enough.
  6. Last Tango in Paris Utterly ridiculous from start to finish.
  7. In A Lonely Place Solid ‘50s crime drama, though the idea of an instantly-recognised, celebrity screenwriter feels a bit far-fetched now.
  8. The Last Temptation of Christ Not sure how to judge it. Did what it set out to do, I guess? William Dafoe gives good Christ, at least.
  9. The Machine A dreadfully-serious and mostly-forgettable sci-fi flick. Serviceable at best.
  10. The Warriors A stone-cold classic.