Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan 2017)

410yY+U925Land so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Christopher Nolan’s latest clunkily structured storm und drang indulgence, Dunroamin’ (2017), which is all about his bungalow in Weymouth, is the emotional rollercoaster of the last few minutes, which starts you thinking that leaving Europe might actually be worth it if we get to abandon Kenneth Branagh on the beaches, but then moments later it turns out that losing Tom Hardy to the Germans is the true cost of Brexit…

Welcome to dulltopia and my two favourite angels

angelus novusMy essay ‘Dulltopia’ from the ‘Global Dystopias’ issue of Boston Review is now available online – it questions the claims made by Fredric Jameson and Slavoj Zizek about how boring contemporary dystopias are, then imagines these luminaries are right about how boring contemporary dystopias are, and then turns to slow cinema and the examples of Peter B. Hutton’s At Sea (2007) and Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead (2015), the latter of which I adore.

The essay ends with an allusion to Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus, every Marxist’s favourite angel thanks to Walter Benjamin, but in this context dismisses it in favour of an angel every bit as cool from Albrecht Durer’s Melencolia 1 – she is soooooooo bored and really pissed off and her dog is kinda funny looking.

The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu 2015)

The_Revenant_2015_film_posterand so anyway it turns out that the best thing about The Revenant (2015), Alejandro González Iñárritu’s bizarre picturesque slapstick epic of wilderness survival, in which beardy absurd terminator Leonardo DiCaprio repeatedly treads on the ends of rakes that slap him in the face as he – always out-bearded, always out-gurned – pursues Tom Hardy through Werner Herzog’s old stomping ground and a maze of try-hard-wannabe allusions to Tarkovsky, is not the indigenous-washing sequence in which Leo’s magical negro is played by a native American indian, nor is it the faithful historical reconstruction of a world without exposure, hypothermia or women, no, the very best thing about The Revenant is the sheer chutzpah of beginning with the line “It’s okay son… I know you want this to be over”…

Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs 2015)

magic-mike-xxl-poster-01and so anyway it turns out that the best thing about Magic Mike XXL (2015) is not that it has a credit for ‘tool manager’, though it does, nor that, thanks to a too-tight posing pouch, we finally get a glimpse of Channing Tatum’s wagging little doggie tail, but that in this post-truth era of alternative facts someone bothered to keep a full and accurate record of the great shirt drought of ought ’15…

Arizona: magazines, hobbies and casualties in the war on Christmas

It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it

Most pointless hobby ever

All your bible/archaeology/impalement questions answered in one place

Of course, it’s not as good as Bite
And just lying there, in the street, on the day Trump finally actually becomes President Elect, the latest casualties of the war on Christmas…



Things I have learned from the movies: The Gift (Edgerton 2015)

The_Gift_2015_Film_Poster1That any two guys, no matter how big the differences between them – say, decades ago, back in high school, one of them lied about the other being gay, which resulted in endless bullying and the poor kid nearly being killed by his own father – can learn to get along. Even if the former victim must drug, rape and impregnate the wife of his former tormentor to make him confront the truth about the past and the flaws within himself.[1]

A heart-warming tale of two men learning to forgive each other and move on with their lives.

[1] But did he actually rape and impregnate her? Whooo-oooo, you’ll never actually know for sure. Which I guess makes it okay. Sort of. As long as, either way, the wife is always merely the mere terrain on which the two guys work out their conflict. Anything more would be political correctness gone mad!

Child 44 (Espinosa 2015)

MV5BMTk1NTkxOTc5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODI0NTg0NDE@._V1_UY1200_CR88,0,630,1200_AL_and so anyway it turns out that the best fackin’ thing about Child 44 (2015) is not all the proper fackin’ swearing Tom “fackin'” Hardy does, cos there is no fackin’ swearing in it, nor is it the unbearably cute juxtaposition of Tom “fackin'” Hardy and a puppy, cos there’s no fackin’ puppy in it either, even though Tom “fackin'” Hardy and his MGB goons raid the apartment of a fackin’ vet, nor was it Gary Oldman’s ridiculous fackin’ overacting because for once there is very fackin’ little of that either, which I guess leaves Tom “fackin'” Hardy’s fackin’ accent as the best fackin’ thing in Child 44 cos of the way it wanders right the fackin’ way across the Soviet Union, from the fackin’ Ukraine to fackin’ Vladivostok to South fackin’ Africa, which was, I fackin’ swear, secretly part of the Soviet fackin’ Union…


Stalker (Tarkovsky 1979) ⭐✩✩✩✩✩✩✩✩✩✩

1 out of 10 for this awful film.dog-stalker-620x350

I only went to see it because Jason Wyngarde told it me it contained all the things I like in films: trains, dogs and monkeys. He told me that by putting all three together in one film, Tarkovsky transcended genre.

Jason Wyngarde is a fool.

The film earns its one star out of ten for the dog. He is pretty cool. He shows up about halfway through in what you think is a dream sequence but then sticks around when everyone wakes up and pops up again from time to time.  He is affectionate and energetic, without being too bouncy, and he is still young enough that his paws sometimes seem too big for him. He is well-trained, unlike the rest of the cast, and gives the best performance in the whole film.

Tarkovsky clearly does not know what he thinks about trains. He sends mixed messages about them.

For a long time it feels like you are only going to hear them off screen, and then when you do eventually see them they are disappearing into the fog. But then the Stalker and his clients find a motor-driven buggy that travels along the railway line. The sequence is so exhilarating, capturing the real experience of riding the rails, that the film turns into colour to express how magical it all is. But then they ditch the buggy and for some reason, the inattentive Tarkovsky forgets to turn the colour back off.

And the rest of the film seems to blame trains for everything, from the polluted landscape to the glass the naughty girl carelessly breaks at the end.

From what I could make out from the people leaving the cinema behind me, a lot of people think that the dog, who is yelping offscreen, is moving it with his telekinetic powers. (Jason Wyngarde probably thinks that, too.)

Oh, and the monkey is not even a monkey.


Mad Max Fury Road (George Miller 2015)

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-Immortan-Joeand so anyway it turns out that the best thing  about Mad Max Fury Road (2015), George Miller’s hilariously overblown and rather sandy remake of Waterworld (1995), is not the way it captures with uncanny precision the realities of  the post-Brexit British utopia, nor the way Max  is captured by a Duran Duran-worshipping cult led by Simon LeBon, who, frankly, has let himself go a bit (see above), nor the way Max’s straggly mullet is promptly  shaved off so he looks less like Mel Gibson and more like the love child of Daniel Craig and Kenneth Cranham, nor the way Imperator Furiosa persuades Immortan Joe’s brides to escape with her in a big lorry to Tom Hardy’s myspace or something, but the way in which if you think about the film’s style and themes alongside Babe: Pig in the City  (1998) and Happy Feet (2006) you finally have utterly incontrovertible evidence that auteurism is a genuine thing that explains films…

Stockholm: beating Banksy, calling Zack Snyder (superhero), recalling puppies and the original Doctor

To my surprise, Stockholm pre-empted Banksy.


The original Dismaland, now called Gröna Lund, has been dismal ever since that night on 4 September 1967 when Jimi Hendrix refused to stop playing so they unplugged him. To overcome this shame, the city has recently opened a new venue, which enraged locals have already dubbed Dismaland Redux:


Indeed, so grim and crime-infested has the city become, that officials have been forced to turn to vigilante justice. When the roaming gangs of thugs get too far out of hand the police commissioner has no choice but to call on Zack Snyder for help, projecting a  sigil into the sky to summon his aid:


In his language, in any language, it means ‘hopeless’.

Long gone are the days of cheery social democracy, when the nearest thing to a threat faced by the city was the boundless energy of …


Clifford the Big Red Church.

What few people remember is that Doctor Who was originally a Swedish television show, although the streets of Stockholm and other cities are littered with reminders.


It was here that the Doctor faced such enemies as the newly hatched troll sheep,



the tiniest goat you have ever seen pooh,


and the dread advance of the robot giraffes of doom.

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