The Forgiven (John Michael McDonagh 2022)

and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about John Michael McDonagh’s The Forgiven (2022), which we watched because I really quite liked The Guard (2011) and Calvary (2014), even though the director clearly drew the short straw and his brother got both Brendan Gleeson and the west coast of Ireland that year, is that bad things do happen to these awful people, although sadly those bad things are not bad enough and do not happen to enough of them or anywhere near quickly enough…

White Sands (Roger Donaldson 1992)

and so anyway, having now visited White Sands, New Mexico, it turns out that the best thing about White Sands (Roger Donaldson 1992) is, as I thought thirty years ago when I paid good money to see it in the cinema, not its amazing and far-too-good-for-this-rubbish cast, including Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Samuel L. Jackson, M. Emmet Walsh, Maura Tierney, Miguel Sandoval, Mimi Rogers and John P. Ryan, all of whom now look like baby versions of themselves, apart maybe from Walsh and Ryan, but the fact that it manages to draw together all the elements needed for a really tense, tight little B-movie paranoid noir thriller…except for a director capable of making one

My top 23 films of 2022

This year, I have watched 332 films, 208 for the first time – and of those 208, my top 22 were…

No, wait, first some awards

Brownest film
Le daim/Deerskin (Quentin Dupieux 2019)

Best opening sequence containing bad dancing
Limbo (Ben Sharrock 2020)

Best dog
In joint first place Dog (Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum 2022) and Paterson (Jim Jarmusch 2016) – but definitely not Dog (Andrea Arnold 2010)

Best performance by Daniel Radcliffe
Swiss Army Man (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert 2016), as a farting corpse

Best accidental thematic double bill
Titane (Julia Ducournau 2021) and Trafic (Jacques Tati 1971)

Best (and most unexpected) appearance of a character based on Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko
Tawny Pipit (Bernard Miles and Charles Saunders 1944)

Best (and most unexpected) scene of English schoolchildren being taught to sing ‘The Internationale’
Tawny Pipit (Bernard Miles and Charles Saunders 1944)

Best (and most expected) appearance of a Tawny Pipit
Tawny Pipit (Bernard Miles and Charles Saunders 1944)

Here’s my top 23 in roughly this order
Earwig (Lucile Hadzihalilovic 2022)
Sambizanga (Sarah Maldoror 1972)
Flux Gourmet (Peter Strickland 2022)
Nope (Jordan Peele 2022)
Radio On (Chris Petit 1979)
X (Ti West 2022)
He qi dao/Hapkido (Feng Huanh 1972)
Bu san/Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Ming-liang Tsai 2003)
Chemi bebia/My Grandmother (Kote Mikaberidze 1929)
Stranger than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch 1984)
Xian si jue/Duel to the Death (Siu-Tung Ching 1983)
Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt 2006)
Un monde/Playground (Laura Wandel 2021)
Everything Everywhere All At Once (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinart 2022)
Lucky (John Carroll Lynch 2017)
Bacurau (Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho 2019)
RRR (S.S. Rajamouli 2022)
Dolemite Is My Name (Craig Brewer 2019)
Dorosute no hare de bokura/Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (Junta Yamaguchi 2020)
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Rian Johnson 2022)
The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh 2022)
Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs (Stuart Cooper 1974)
The Bad Batch (Ana Lily Amirpour 2016

And here is the full list:
The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (Jack Sher 1960)
4 mosche di velluto grigio/Four Flies on Grey Velvet (Dario Argento 1971)
6 donne per l’assassino/Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava 1964)
2040 (Damon Gameau 2019)
The 355 (Simon Kinberg 2022)
20 Million Miles to Earth (Nathan Juran 1957)

Abaddon (Jesica Aran 2018)
The Adam Project (Shawn Levy 2022)
Advantageous (Jennifer Phang 2015)
Aelita (Yakov Protazanov 1924)
A.I. – Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg 2001)
Aladdin (Ron Clements and John Musker 1992)
Aladdin (Guy Ritchie 2019)
Algoritmo/Algorithm (Thiago Foresti 2020)
Alien (Ridley Scott 1979)
Alien (Ridley Scott 1979)
All the Old Knives (Janus Metz Pedersen 2022)
Alone (John Hyams 2020)
American Evil (Georgina Lightning 2008)
Aniara (Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja 2018)
The Apartment (Billy Wilder 1960)
The Appointment (Lindsey C. Vickers 1981)
Arsenal (Aleksandr Dovzhenko 1929)
Avril et la monde truqué/April and the Extraordinary World (Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci 2015))

Baby Face (Alfred E. Green 1931)
Bacurau (Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho 2019)
The Bad Batch (Ana Lily Amirpour 2016)
Bait (Mark Jenkin 2019)
Bait (Mark Jenkin 2019)
The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonagh 2022)
The Batman (Matt Reeves 2022)
Battletruck (Harley Cokeliss 1982)
Before I Hang (Nick Grinde 1940)
Be My Wife (Max Linder 1921)
The Big Combo (Joseph H. Lewis 1955)
The Bishop’s Wife (Henry Koster 1947)
Black Friday (Casey Tebo 2021)
Black Panther (Ryan Coogler 2018)
The Black Room (Roy William Neill 1935)
Blacula (William Crain 1972)
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (Ridley Scott 2007)
Blonde Crazy (Roy Del Ruth 1931)
Boiling Point (Philip Barantini 2021)
The Boogie Man Will Get You (Lew Landers 1942)
The Book of Life (Jorge R. Gutiérrez 2014)
Boss Level (Joe Carnahan 2020)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (Sam Peckinpah 1974)
A Broken Fan (Before the Big Collapse) (Assaad Khoueiry 2022)
Bubba Ho-Tep (Don Coscarelli 2002)
Bu san/Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Ming-liang Tsai 2003)

CALL END (Hakima Benjamin 2022)
Cat People (Jacques Tourneur 1942)
Censor (Prano Bailey-Bond 2021)
The Challenge (John Frankenheimer 1982)
Chaos Walking (Doug Liman 2021)
Chemi bebia/My Grandmother (Kote Mikaberidze 1929)
Chibusa yo eien nare/Forever a Woman (Kinuyo Tanaka 1955)
Circle (Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione 2015)
Coco (Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina 2017)
Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (Madeleine Olnek 2011)
Come Dancing (Bill Douglas 1971)
The Contractor (Tarik Saleh 2022)
Cop Car (John Watts 2015)
Copshop (Joe Carnahan 2021)
Les Créatures (Agnès Varda 1965)
Creep (Patrick Brice 2014)
Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg 2022)
Crumbs (Miguel Llansó 2015)
Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa 1997)

Le daim/Deerskin (Quentin Dupieux 2019)
Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (Gordon Flemyng 1966)
The Dark Mirror (Robert Siodmak 1946)
Day Shift (J.J. Perry 2022)
Dead Slow Ahead (Mauro Herce 2015)
Dementia (John Parker and Bruno Ve Sota 1955)
Un dessert pour Constance/A Dessert for Constance (Sarah Maldoror 1981)
The Devil Commands (Edward Dmytryk 1941)
Diabolik (Mario Bava 1968)
Diabolik (Antonio and Marco Manetti 2021)
Ditadura Roxa/Purple Dictatorship (Matheus Moura 2020)
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Sam Raimi 2022)
Dog (Andrea Arnold 2010)
Dog (Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum 2022)
Dolemite Is My Name (Craig Brewer 2019)
Don’t Breathe 2 (Rodo Sayagues 2021)
Don’t Look Up (Adam McKay 2021)
Dorosute no hare de bokura/Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (Junta Yamaguchi 2020)
Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder 1944)
Dr. Who and the Daleks (Gordon Flemyng 1965)
Dracula A.D. 1972 (Alan Gibson 1972)
The Driver (Walter Hill 1978)
Druk/Another Round (Thomas Vinterberg 2020)
Druk/Another Round (Thomas Vinterberg 2020)
Dünyayi Kurtaran Adam/The Man Who Saved the World/Turkish Star Wars (Çetin Inanç 1982)

Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (Fred F. Sears 1956)
Earwig (Lucile Hadzihalilovic 2022)
En fin de conte/A Fairy Tale (Zoé Arène 2021)
Eternals (Chloé Zhao 2021)
Everything Everywhere All At Once (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinart 2022)
Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi 1987)
Évolution (Lucile Hadzihalilovic 2015)
Évolution (Lucile Hadzihalilovic 2015)
Executive Decision (Stuart Baird 1996)
Extraction (Sam Hargrave 2020)

Fast and Furious 8 (F. Gary Gray 2017)
Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw (David Leitch 2019)
Fast and Furious 9 (Justin Lin 2021)
A Field in England (Ben Wheatley 2013)
File Under Miscellaneous (Jeff Barnaby 2010)
Filmed in Supermarionation (Stephen La Rivière 2014)
Fire of Love (Sara Dosa 2022)
First Cow (Kelly Reichardt 2019)
First Men in the Moon (Nathan Juran 1964)
Flash Gordon (Mike Hodges 1980)
Flux Gourmet (Peter Strickland 2022)
Foo gwai lip che/Millionaire’s Express (Sammo Hung 1986)
Forbidden World (Allan Holzman 1982)
Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky 1948)
Fractured (Brad Anderson 2019)
Freaky (Christopher Landon 2020)
Free Guy (Shawn Levy 2021)
A Free Soul (Clarence Brown 1931)
La frusta e il corpo/The Whip and the Body (Mario Bava 1963)
Fury (Fritz Lang 1936)

Gakusei romansu: Wakaki hi/Days of Youth (Yasujiro Ozu 1929)
Gesetze der Liebe/Laws of Love (Magnus Hirschfeld and Richard Oswald 1927)
Get on the Bus (Spike Lee 1995)
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Jason Reitman 2021)
Giornata near per l’ariete/The Fifth Cord (Luigi Bazzoni 1971)
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Rian Johnson 2022)
The Golden Age (Hannah Hamalian 2021)
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (Gordon Hessler 1973)
Gonawindua (Giuliano Cavalli and Jorge Mario Suárez 2011)
The Gray Man (Anthony and Joe Russo 2022)
The Guilty (Antoine Fuqua 2021)

Halloween Kills (David Gordon Green 2021)
The Harder They Fall (Jeymes Samuel 2021)
Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby 1971)
He qi dao/Hapkido (Feng Huanh 1972)
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (Alexander Hall 1941)
High Noon (Fred Zinnemann 1952)
The Hill (Sidney Lumet 1965)
His House (Remi Weekes 2020)
His Wooden Wedding (Leo McCarey 1925)
Holy Motors (Leos Carax 2012)
Hoverboard (Sydney Freeland 2012)
El hoyo/The Platform (Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia 2019)
Hrútar/Rams (Grímur Hákonarson 2015)

Ice (Robert Kramer 1970)
Ichimei/Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (Takashi Miike 2011)
Idi I smotri/Come and See (Elem Klimov 1985)
Infinite (Antoine Fuqua 2021)
Innocence (Lucile Hadzihalilovic 2004)
In the Earth (Ben Wheatley 2021)
Invasão Espacial/Space Invasion (Thiago Foresti 2019)
It Came from Beneath the Sea (Robert Gordon 1955)
I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur 1943)

Jason and the Argonauts (Don Chaffey 1963)
Jennifer’s Body (Karyn Kusama 2009)
Jewel Robbery (William Dieterle 1932)
Jingle All the Way (Brian Levant 1996)
Jiu xian shi ba die/World of the Drunken Master (Joseph Kuo 1979)
Jodorowsky’s Dune (Frank Pavitch 2013)
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Brad Peyton 2012)
Jue quan/Seven Grandmasters (Joseph Kuo 1977)
Jupiter holdja/Jupiter’s Moon (Kornél Mundruczó 2017)

Kajillionaire (Miranda July 2020)
Kajillionaire (Miranda July 2020)
Kaleidoscope (Rupert Jones 2016)
Killer’s Kiss (Stanley Kubrick 1955)
Killing Them Softly (Andrew Dominik 2012)
Kimi no na wa/Your Name (Makoto Shinkai 2016)
King Kong (Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack 1933)
The King’s Man (Matthew Vaughn 2021)
Kona fer í stríð/Woman at War (Benedikt Erlingsson 2018)
Kozure Ôkami: Ko wo kasha ude kasha tsukamatsuru/Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (Kenji Misumi 1972)

Lamb (Valdimar Jóhannsson 2021)
Last Night in Soho (Edgar Wright 2021)
Let Us Be Seen (Elspeth Vischer 2022)
Limbo (Ben Sharrock 2020)
Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs (Stuart Cooper 1974)
Liu lang di qiu/The Wandering Earth (Frant Gwo 2019)
Locked In (Our Lockdown Stories) (William Powers, Lucy Groenewoud and Amy Browne 2022)
Lola Montes (Max Ophuls 1955)
Looper (Rian Johnson 2012)
The Lost City (Aaron and Adam Nee 2022)
Lou (Anna Foerster 2022)
The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson 2009)
Lucky (John Carroll Lynch 2017)

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller 1981)
Malignant (James Wan 2021)
Mandy (Panos Cosmatos 2018)
The Man from Toronto (Patrick Hughes 2022)
The Man They Could Not Hang (Nick Grinde 1939)
The Man with Nine Lives (Nick Grinde 1940)
Marlina si pembunuh dalam empat babak?Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Mouly Surya 2017)
Marlina si pembunuh dalam empat babak?Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Mouly Surya 2017)
Marlina si pembunuh dalam empat babak?Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Mouly Surya 2017)
Marte: Loga/LOGA – Mars Projections (Jane de Almeida 2021)
Marte: Loga/LOGA – Mars Projections (Jane de Almeida 2021)
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Peter Weir 2003)
Matango/Attack of the Mushroom People (Ishirô Honda 1963)
The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski 2021)
Max Wants a Divorce (Max Linder 1917)
Mayhem (Joe Lynch 2017)
Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt 2010)
Meek’s Cutoff (Kelly Reichardt 2010)
Men (Alex Garland 2022)
Mi quan san shi liu shao/The 36 Deadly Styles (Joseph Kuo 1979)
The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (Preston Sturges 1944)
Missão Berço Esplêndido/Mission Splendid Cradle (Joel Caetano 2021)
Un monde/Playground (Laura Wandel 2021)
Moonfall (Roland Emmerich 2022)
Morgan (Luke Scott 2016)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (Brian Henson 1992)
My Childhood (Bill Douglas 1972)
My Ain Folk (Bill Douglas 1973)
Mysterious Island (Cy Endfield 1961)
My Way Home (Bill Douglas 1978)

Nectar (Lucile Hadzihalilovic 2014)
Neptune Frost (Anisia Uzeyman and Saul Williams 2021)
Nightmare Alley (Guillermo del Toro 2021)
Night of the Eagle (Sidney Hayers 1962)
No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen 2007)
Nope (Jordan Peele 2022)
The Northman (Robert Eggers 2021)
Nuevo Rico (Kristian Mercado 2021)

O Brother, Where Art Thou (Joel and Ethan Coen 2000)
Okja (Bong Joon Ho 2017)
Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt 2006)
One Night in Miami… (Regina King 2020)
The Outfit (Graham Moore 2022)

The Pajama Game (George Abbott and Stanley Donen 1957)
Pariah (Dee Rees 2011)
Paris Blues (Martin Ritt 1961)
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch 2016)
Paterson (Jim Jarmusch 2016)
The Path Without End (Elizabeth LaPensée 2011)
Petit Maman (Céline Sciamma 2021)
Pet Sematary (Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer 2019)
Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson 2017)
Phase II (Kelly L. Sears 2022)
Pillow Talk (Michael Gordon 1959) 
Pin Cushion (Deborah Haywood 2017)
Playtime (Jacques Tati 1967)
Pleins feux sur l’assassin/Spotlight on a Murderer (Georges Franju 1961)
Poetic Justice (John Singleton 1993)
Point Break (Kathryn Bigelow 1991)
Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper 1982)
Possessor (Brandon Cronenberg 2020)
Princess Tam Tam (Edmond T. Gréville 1935)
The Proposal (Anne Fletcher 2009)
The Purge (James DeMonaco 2013)

Queen & Slim (Melina Matsoukas 2019)

Radio On (Chris Petit 1979)
Random Acts of Violence (Jay Baruchel 2019)
The Reckless Moment (Max Ophuls 1949)
Red-Headed Woman (Jack Conway 1932)
Red Notice (Rawson Marshall Thurber 2021)
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (Johannes Roberts 2021)
Robin Hood (Ridley Scott 2010)
Roman Holiday (William Wyler 1953)
RRR (S.S. Rajamouli 2022)
Ryojin nikki/The Hunter’s Diary (Kô Nakahira 1964)

Sambizanga (Sarah Maldoror 1972)
Scary Places/Shapes and Places (Pamela Falkenberg and Jack Cochran 2020)
Secret Beyond the Door (Fritz Lang 1947)
See Us Come Together (Alyssa Suico 2022)
Seungriho/Space Sweepers (Sung-hee Jo 2021)
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (Nathan Juran 1958)
Shao Lin Si shi ba tong ren/The 18 Bronzeman (Joseph Kuo 1976)
Shao Lin xiao zi/The Shaolin Kids (Joseph Kuo 1975)
Sharpe’s Company (Tom Clegg 1994)
Sharpe’s Honour (Tom Clegg 1994)
Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright 2004)
Shelley (Ali Abbasi 2016)
Sherlock Holmes (Albert Parker 1922)
Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton 1924)
Shi fu chu ma/The Old Master (Joseph Kuo 1979)
Shock (Mario Bava 1977)
Showgirls (Paul Verhoeven 1995)
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (Sam Wanamaker 1977)
Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly 1952)
Smokey and the Bandit (Hal Needham 1977)
Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (Robert Schwentke 2021)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (Jon Watts 2021)
Stranger than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch 1984)
The Suicide Squad (James Gunn 2021)
Swiss Army Man (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert 2016)

Tawny Pipit (Bernard Miles and Charles Saunders 1944)
Tayne pechati drakona/The Iron Mask (Oleg Stepchenko 2019)
Tenebrae (Dario Argento 1982)
Terminal (Vaughn Stein 2018)
A Terrible Beauty (Iram Ghufran 2022)
A Terrible Beauty (Iram Ghufran 2022)
Terrore nello Spazio/Planet of the Vampires (Mario Bava 1965)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (David Blue Garcia 2022)
They Live (John Carpenter 1988)
The Thief of Bagdad (Raoul Walsh 1924)
Thor: Love and Thunder (Taika Waititi 2022)
Tie zhang xuan feng tui/Lady Whirlwind (Feng Huang1972)
Titane (Julia Ducournau 2021)
Trafic (Jacques Tati 1971)
Tremors (Ron Underwood 1990)
Troll (Roar Uthuag 2022)
Twin Town (Kevin Allen 1997)
The Twonky (Arch Oboler 1953)

Uchûjin Tôkyô ni arawaru/Warning from Space (Kôji Shima 1956)
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (Tom Gormican 2022)
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (Tom Gormican 2022)
Uncharted (Ruben Fleischer 2022)
Uncle Buck (John Hughes 1989)
Upstream Color (Shane Carruth 2013)
Us (Jordan Peele 2019)

Valhalla Rising (Nicolas Winding Refn 2009)
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Andy Serkis 2021)
Vuelven/Tigers Are Not Afraid (Issa López 2017)

Warui yatsu hodo yoku menuru/The Bad Sleep Well (Akira Kurosawa 1960)
Who Killed Captain Alex? (Nabwana I.G.G. 2010)
Who Killed Captain Alex? (Nabwana I.G.G. 2010)
The Woman in the Window (Joe Wright 2021)
Work It Class! (Pol Diggler 2021)

X (Ti West 2022)
Xian si jue/Duel to the Death (Siu-Tung Ching 1983)
Xing xing wang/The Mighty Peking Man (Meng-Hua Ho 1977)
Xiu chun dao/Brotherhood of BladeYang Lu 2014)
Yi dai jian wang/The Swordsman of All Swordsmen (Joseph Kuo 1968)
Yip Man ngoi zn: Cheung Tin Cheu/Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy (Woo-Ping Yuen 2018)
You Don’t Nomi (Jeffrey McHale 2019)

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (Zack Snyder 2021)
Zola (Janicza Bravo 2020)
Zvenigora (Alexander Dovzhenko 192

David Gaffney, Out of the Dark (2022)

Thanks to a mutual friend (also called David), David Gaffney sent me a copy of his new novel about a traumatised man obsessed with an obscure British film noir.

Set primarily in the Midlands of the 1980s, Out of the Dark falls somewhere in the terrain triangulated by Mike Hodges’s Get Carter (1971), Chris Petit’s Radio On (1979) and Andrea Arnold’s Red Road (2006).

It is also under the influence of JG Ballard. But its motorways are not London’s near-future-but-never-happened orbitals, nor are its high-rises desublimating enclaves of bourgeois acquisitiveness and hierarchical obsession. Rather, it all takes place in actually-existing concrete landscapes of marginalisation, disconnection and dereliction –  ‘neither in Walsall nor West Bromwich’ and thus ‘equally inconvenient’ in all directions. And it is rather more grungily quotidian and irreal-adjacent than anything in Ballard – closer, perhaps, to M. John Harrison or Ramsey Campbell.

And while the story it tells is full of twists and turns, genre-playfulness and sharp observations – as is the story within the story – what I loved most about Out of the Dark is something much more personal. I was born in Staffordshire, in a small-now-swallowed-in-the-conurbation Staffordshire village, but all my family were from Birmingham, from the Perry Barr/Perry Beeches parts of Great Barr, with outliers in Handsworth and West Bromwich; and behind my paternal grandparents mid-terrace two-up/two-down (with an outside loo), on the far side of the allotments onto which the garden backed, was an aerial stretch of the M6. And although we moved down to Devon when I was four years old, there is something ineffable about the litany of place names threaded through the novel: in chapter five alone, Perry Barr, Great Barr, Sarehole Mill, Kings Heath, Cotteridge, the impossibly distant Worcester, Bourneville, Harborne, Dudley Road, Perry Barr Island, Aston Lane, Swan Island, Billesley, Walsall…

And if this is nostalgia, it is not inappropriate for a novel enamoured of noir – especially when, for me, it is so oneiric and bittersweet.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nicholas Meyer 1982)

…and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nicholas Meyer 1982) is the way in which Kirk passes the real Kobayashi Maru test when he is backed into a no-win situation by his two best (i.e., only) friends, barely able to suppress their rivalry for his affection, competing with each other to present him with the bestest of best birthday gifts, with Bones giving him reading glasses and Spock giving him the most monumental edition of Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities ever printed (more disproportionate even than the Neo’s humungous copy of Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation), so massive in fact that it must be the largest of large-print editions ever printed, and he serenely navigates these tides of desire by changing the conditions of the test and reading it with his reading glasses on…

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Patrick Hughes 2017)

… and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Hughes 2017), and undoubtedly the reason it is currently blighting our screens with a sequel, is not motherfucking Salma “motherfucker” Hayek, motherfuckers, although she is otherwise the best thing The Hitman’s Bodyguard, nor is it the bizarre decision to set part of it in the middle of Coventry…

The Bull Yard, Coventry city centre

…no, the very best thing about The Hitman’s Bodguard is – having inexplicably set some of it in Coventry, which makes no geographical sense – to then have Coventry played by Kensington.

some rich fucks’ houses, Kensington

Finally, the compleat Midsommar (Ari Aster 2019) one-sentence review tweets


So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Bizarre Demonisation of ‘Scandinavian Style’ Social Democracy

So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Dangers of Undertheorised Participant-Observation Methodologies

So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Need for Strong Research Ethics Committees and Rigorous Approval Processes

So l finally saw Midsommar, or, the Never-Decreasing Need for Ari Aster to Hire a Script Editor

So l finally saw Midsommar and I am left wondering: what is the point of dressing up as a bear if you are not then going to punch out a nun?

Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (Wegener 1920)

The-Golem-1-e1574353233440and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Paul Wegener’s Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (1920) is not the stunning 4K restoration, which makes it look like a completely different film to the one that’s only been available in shitty prints and ropey transfers for decades, nor is it sniggering at the subtitle, which I am told by a German friend would nowadays  mean ‘and how he ejaculated into the world’ , no, the very best thing about this film about a creature fashioned from clay and brought to life through mystical powers, is the way it it loses all credibility the moment Fabian (Lothar Muthel, below right, shirt-cocking, full-Winnie-the-Pooh) starts to express an interst in, well, girls…