1. My feelings on Tom Holland's Spider-Man and Paul Rudd's Ant-Man in Captain America: Civil War reflect my feelings on the film as a whole: fun, but disposable. I enjoyed watching, but I can't imagine wanting, or needing, to watch the film again. →

  2. I've had to accept that The Walking Dead isn't going to tell the story I want it to tell. Whether it's for budgetary reasons, or for a self-imposed need to stick closely to the events of the comics, or just a failure of imagination on the part of the show runners, I have no idea. The Walking Dead is going to tell the story of Rick and a few others finding what seems like a sanctuary, attempting to settle there, and then losing it to a hostile outside force, forcing a retreat into the woods. The details vary — sometimes the hostile outside force is a large herd of the undead, sometimes it's David Morrissey — but the basic story beats tend to be the same. →

  3. I didn't hate Josh Trank's Fantastic Four, though it offers up so many reasons to do so. In its final form it's certainly a flawed work, awkwardly-constructed with a self-conscious script, shoddy plotting, a small cast and a sparsely-populated world that combines to give the film the feeling of an Amazon Original Series pilot instead of a blockbuster comic book movie. While I can't recommend watching it, I'm still interested in how a large part of its failure comes from ignoring the last 15 years of comic book cinema. →

  4. A recent trip to Oxfordshire let me try out the recently-refurbished 'GWR' trains, introduced after First Great Western rebranded to their historical title of Great Western Railways, a rebrand so exhaustive they've designed their new trains for 19th century body shapes. →

  5. I didn't see Star Wars: The Force Awakens because on the day I planned to see it, it was raining. There was no way I was going to get from my flat to the cinema without ending up with wet jeans which meant I'd have to sit in a full cinema in wet jeans watching a film that, I realised in a moment of epiphany, I had no interest in. I'd booked a ticket in advance like everybody else, swept up in the hype, not because I particularly cared about Star Wars as a franchise, but because of the sense that there would be conversations about the film and I'd want to be involved in them. →

  6. When a character in Paolo Sorrentino's Youth introduced herself as Paloma Faith I knew the name, but I had no idea if this really was Paloma Faith, or an actress playing the part of Paloma Faith. The former scenario baffled me because there's no particular reason for Paloma Faith to be in the film playing herself, and the latter because there's no good reason for an actress to be playing the part of Paloma Faith in a film where Paloma Faith's presence has no bearing beyond a brief name-drop that's lost on the rest of the cast. →

From the archives

In brief

  1. Sleeping With Other People : Just…shit.
  2. Sheba, Baby : Possible I needed to be a lot drunker to appreciate such a trashy piece, but I did enjoy Pam Grier & a great soundtrack.
  3. Welcome to the Space Show : Wanted to love this kids anime but it outstays its welcome by about 45 minutes, and left me bored and confused.
  4. The Aviator : One of my favourites. Endlessly re-watchable for weird cinematography, for Cate Blanchett’s Hepburn & for the Wainwright cameos.
  5. The Black Dahlia : Looks great, sounds great, dreadful performances from everyone who’s either flat & wooden or coked up to the nines.
  6. The Long Goodbye : Obviously a classic, but also notable for an early Schwarzenegger moustache.
  7. Bride of Re-Animator : Just utterly fucking ridiculous and I wouldn’t change a bit of it.
  8. The Misfits : An oppressive, emotionally-wrought film, all the more so for knowing that it was Monroe’s last film. Flawed, but worth watching.
  9. Walkabout : Dreamy cinematography and a haunting soundtrack. Kind of dull as well!
  10. Plein Soleil : Great ’60s French Talented Mr. Ripley adaptation. Creepy, stylish, sophisticated, and men have never been prettier than here.
  11. Battle Royale : The older I get, the more reasonable the solution presented in this film seems to me.
  12. The Witches : Grotesque, terrifying Roald Dahl adaptation in which some blameless, kindly old women are brought to ruin by a horrible child.
  13. Kung Fu Hustle : Chinese martial arts comedy that parodies…pretty much everything, I think. Utterly preposterous and I love it to bits.
  14. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind : One of those brilliant early Miramax flicks from when Sam Rockwell seemed poised to take over the world.
  15. Wings of Honnêamise : Could’ve been a solidly respectable anime; ruins it all by making lead character attempted rapist midway through. Avoid.
  16. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) : [INCOHERENT SCREAM]
  17. Captain America: Civil War : Fun, but no real depth.
  18. Midnight Special : Superb Nichols & Shannon collaboration, made me feel like I was watching Close Encounters for the first time. Astonishing.
  19. Theatre of Blood : Ludicrously brilliant black comedy in which Vincent Price really needs to learn to take criticism better.
  20. The Jungle Book (2016) : Shoe-horned songs aside, a solid, thrilling remake with some incredible CGI. Idris Elba’s Shere Khan is a perfect villain.
  21. The American Friend : A grimy German adaptation of Ripley's Game that looks like an Edward Hopper painting come to life. Bleak, but brilliant.
  22. Watchmen : A juvenile interpretation of the source, lacking nuance and understanding, but it’s viscerally, meatily entertaining nonetheless.
  23. The Fallen Idol : In which an annoying, talkative child holds the key to a possible murder, yet nobody offs the child. BAFFLING.
  24. Bound : A pre-Matrix Wachowski net-noir thriller. Stylish and sexy with a great score and script. It’s a bit tawdry, but in a good way.
  25. Star Trek: Generations : Plot is remarkably stupid but I get a kick out of seeing the TNG cast in a proper film, and the action holds up well.

More short reviews