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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. If you're going to make me book a table in advance for breakfast, you ought to be offering something special. The views of the Shard, the unique menu of Duck & Waffle, or the reassuring bustle of The Wolseley. Berners Tavern seems to always require booking, but I'm not sure that it offers anything that justifies it.

  6. Though no part of Soho can really be considered 'off the beaten path', stumbling upon Damson & Co. felt like a little reward for going down the vaguely-less-trafficked Brewer Street, a short walk away from the 100 other breakfast spots of Soho and with approximately 10% fewer people. It's a small place that's easy to overlook with a couple of tables and booths inside, and a bar for the losers who turn up too late and have to sit there like Depression-era dustbowl miners, all lined up on stools with their elbows touching.

From the archives

Short reviews

  1. Tales From Earthsea Incoherent Ghibli adaptation of Le Guin’s novels that felt like it’d been made from offcuts of other Ghibli films.
  2. Black Sea Boringly predictable submarine drama; only point of suspense was which way Jude Law’s accent was going to go from scene to scene.
  3. My Old Lady This comedy/drama was darker than expected, but really well done. Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith both excellent as usual.
  4. Escape from Alcatraz Solid dramatisation of a successful escape from Alcatraz, but you know they’re going to escape, so…not much tension.
  5. The Falling An enjoyably-sinister schoolgirl psychological drama, though as the lead, Maisie Williams is the weakest link.
  6. The Animatrix These short animations based on The Matrix are a mixed bag; still the only good thing ever to be spun-off the original film.
  7. The Canyons Dreadful. Like watching porn if you took out all the sex and just left the story, acting and script.
  8. Phase IV Almost certainly the best ant-based sci-fi film I’ll see this year.
  9. Dark City As brilliant now as it ever was. Looks and sounds great, and Rufus Sewell and Richard O’Brien have never been more watchable.
  10. Clone A terribly dull cloning/incest drama that manages to be both boring and kind of icky at the same time. Avoid, despite Eva Green.