Paul Haine's website since 2000
236,475 words and counting

  1. I wrote recently about how infrequently I replay videogames, and how small the selection of games that get replayed even is. This summer, L.A. Noire became a strong candidate for inclusion. It's only my second playthrough but it turns out to be a great summer game: it's sunny most of the time, there's a big, beautifully-modelled city to drive aimlessly around in, the game is episodic so it's easy to slip in a go between, I don't know, barbecues and extreme frisbee or whatever the fuck people do during the summer, there's a compelling story, great performances, fantastic soundtrack, a selection of outfits and it's almost completely without challenge. It's my kind of game, but what kind of game is it?

  2. I walked out of Mad Max: Fury Road after barely an hour, which, judging by the uniformly-positive reaction everywhere to the film, puts me squarely in the role of Nancy Bellicec at the end of Body Snatchers. It'd be unfair to critique the film when I didn't see all of it so I'm not going to, but I did think a lot about why I reacted so poorly towards it, when it's objectively one of the best-realised films this year and a great example of its form.

  3. One of the biggest fan complaints about Man of Steel was that there was something very un-Superman-like about Superman, levelling Metropolis during his fight with General Zod but doing nothing to ensure the safety of the people; director Zack Synder estimated the death toll at 5,000, but somewhere around 129,000 seems more likely. Synder's claim that all those deaths are narratively necessary so that Superman can feel, like, really heavy with sadness is spurious; having Superman save people AND defeat Zod at the same time would have given him the moral high ground, but, whatever, this isn't the time or place.

  4. I've found it interesting that where Marvel has overwhelmed DC in the film world, the reverse has been true when it comes to TV. Where Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D struggled to be any better than tolerable and Agent Carter struggles to get distribution because oh my GOD she's a LADY, DC's been striding ahead with the remarkably solid Arrow and its sunnier, more fun spin-off The Flash, both of which have introduced a slew of DC heroes and villains ready for yet more spin-offs and team-ups.

  5. Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman is a film never sure what it wants to be, a tonally-mismatched piece that never commits to the horror of its initial situation, mixing scenes of rape and violence with ill-judged 'odd couple' moments of comedy and light slapstick.

  6. One of the many problems of renting a home in London is that all expenses are generally spared, so although you'll get the basics — a fridge, a washing machine, maybe a flushing toilet — you'll often find a small note reading "fuck you lol" in place of, say, light shades, or door handles. Curtains, in my experience, come very low down the landlord's impossibly-long list of "things I will only by from Poundland, and even then only during a sale"; you'll get a fitted sheet slung over a wobbling curtain rail, and you'll like it.

From the archives

Short reviews

  1. Big Hero 6 Animated Marvel film is funny, colourful, enjoyable, but in the end, kind of forgettable and mostly predictable.
  2. Out of Sight George Clooney & Jennifer Lopez eye-fuck each other for two hours and take part in the sexiest bath scene in film history.
  3. Only Yesterday A deeply satisfying animated flashback drama. Naturalistic, subtle, funny and poignant.
  4. From Up on Poppy Hill A sweet but slight Ghibli film. Glosses over post-WW2 family confusions in Japan in favour of a shallow school tale.
  5. After Hours An odd little Scorsese film from 1985 that’s far too sour, mean & dark to be the comedy it’s advertised as. Worth a look though
  6. Citizen Kane Pretty good! It’s basically the Citizen Kane of movies.
  7. The Kingdom of Dreams & Madness A very dramatic title for a very placid Ghibli documentary. Enjoyably calming and slow.
  8. Ocean Waves A short, pleasant character piece from Ghibli. Nothing fantastical, just a decent story about high school students.
  9. Mystic River The sort of solidly unchallenging work that Clint Eastwood’s been directing for a decade or so. Dependably unremarkable.
  10. The Age of Adaline The tragic tale of an immortal woman harassed and pestered into mortality by unwanted male attention. Terribly sad.