Joeblade

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

  1. Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon had already proved themselves with the beautiful, well-received debut The Secret of Kells, a film I fell soundly in love with back in 2010. In 2014 I listed Moon Man in my annual roundup of film highlights. Song of the Sea, a story of a boy and his sister questing their way home through Irish mythology, continues their winning streak.

  2. Ant-Man is a fun, serviceable but ultimately forgettable film, forever at risk of collapsing from too much thought on its wobbly narrative. Case in point: towards the end, Michael Douglas's Hank Pym catches his daughter, Evangeline Lily as Hope, kissing Paul Rudd's Scott Lang. "When did this start?" asks Pym. Good question, I thought, because there'd been no setup, no sexual tension, no romantic back-and-forth. The kiss is a moment apparently in the script because someone thought they should be kissing at that point. It doesn't make a lick of sense and has no consequences anyway. Such is Peyton Reed's Ant-Man.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

From the archives

Short reviews

  1. Jackie Brown Everything about this pulpy Leonard adaptation feels right. Great editing, amazing soundtrack, Pam Grier & Robert Forster.
  2. OSS-117: Cairo, Nest of Spies French spy-spoof from the people behind The Artist. Funny & artfully-made, though weirdly homophobic at times.
  3. Slow West A wonderful vignette of a western. Beautifully shot, scored and performed, with not a single moment wasted.
  4. Sweet Smell of Success Perfect. A script that’s 100% quotable, horrible characters, amazing score. Never tire of it.
  5. Anchors Aweigh Presented without comment
  6. Kingdom of Heaven Extended cut is a big improvement on the original but nothing can help Orlando Bloom’s blandness, and Eva Green is wasted
  7. Automata Middling bit of sci-fi that threatens to be interesting for a while before losing it. Like a cheap Asimov adaptation.
  8. The Man from Earth Engrossing, thoughtful piece of sci-fi of the stuff that Star Trek used to be made of. Intensely conversational. I like.
  9. Inherent Vice A bit like The Big Lebowski without the wit, coherence or directorial flair. Might do better on multiple viewings though.
  10. The Third Man Cinema’s greatest smirk