Movie Reviews - 2018

First Man (2018)

For a film about a historical event which looks ahead to a future where we move past partisan politics into a world of discovery, First Man has turned out to be surprisingly political and controversial.

Perhaps this was inevitable. Very little that emerges, culturally, from the American sphere right now isn’t loaded with some level of subtext, be it a coded sideswipe at the alt-right or pointed rejection of the liberal left. Everything has to be ‘relevant’. You almost want First Man to run and hide from such analysis.

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Podcast Appearance: The Movie Palace – The Night of the Hunter

If you listen to my podcast The X-Cast regularly, you’ll have heard the name Carl Sweeney.

Having cut his podcasting teeth on my X-Files show, Carl this year has broken out to develop The Movie Palace, a podcast which looks every week at a brand new film from Classic Hollywood. This week, it was my turn to guest for the first time, discussing my choice – Charles Laughton’s one and only film as director, 1955’s The Night of the Hunter.

This was a great discussion, and the film was incredibly fun to watch again with one eye on the research. If you’re a classic film buff, you’ll enjoy this, and you’ll definitely dig Carl’s top drawer show. I’ll be back on it again in December all going to plan talking about a film we tease at the end of this…

PSA: May contain me singing. Brace yourselves.


The Purge 1×04 – ‘Release the Beast’

The Purge has made the translation to the small screen and on a weekly basis, I’ll be reviewing the show in capsule form for Set The Tape. Here’s a preview of my review of the fourth episode, Release the Beast.

One aspect of the Purge which none of the incarnations of The Purge have truly explored are the consequences, and this is something ‘Release the Beast’ makes a point of getting into, utilising the television format to stretch out the concept as a way of interrogating bigger sociological ideas… to an extent.

Yes, the law may allow you to ‘purge’, as part of the New Founding Fathers of America’s fascist rationale to retain the visage of a democratic iron grip of the United States, but The Purgehere investigates the societal consequences. For steely office boss Jane (Amanda Warren), the contract killing of her boss on Purge Night was always a distant proposition – a death that would happen by her order but not her hand, and therefore she felt a diminished level of responsibility, and some level of justification given his previous, creepy advances.

Seeing psychotic co-worker Alison murder a colleague in cold blood because she believed he would be promoted over her snaps Jane into the reality of what she’s done, and places her character on a redemptive arc which could underpin The Purge as a series itself and it’s central question – what is America?

Read the rest of this review here.