Cats – review

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The first film I ever walked out of was also the first one I ever saw in cinema. I can’t have been any older than two, and my mum took me to see Aladdin, thinking that it would would no doubt be an enjoyable animated experience for a young kid. No such luck. Two-year-old me was absolutely terrified by the snarling tiger-face of the Cave of Wonders and immediately burst into tears. We left after about five minutes, my mum no doubt ruing the wasted price of tickets. Continue reading “Cats – review”

1917 – review

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The First World War remains comparatively uncultivated cinematic land compared to World War 2 (perhaps because it is harder to find easy heroes and villains in the Great War’s imperialist clash of empires). Those films that do exist (think All Quiet On The Western Front or Journey’s End) tend to focus on the drawn-out horrors of trench warfare – the tedious, anxious, mud-soaked, lengthy waiting periods between shocking outbreaks of mass slaughter. Continue reading “1917 – review”

The Best Records of 2019

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They say that bad politics makes for good music. 2019 was another step in the wrong direction in many ways but at least the adage has been proved true, with the release of a number of great albums directly confronting the screwed up realities of the day. It was a year that saw the breakthrough of some promising young stars, the return of some long-absent metal legends, and the rise and rise of British hip-hop. Here’s my favourite records of the year, starting with: Continue reading “The Best Records of 2019”

Knives Out – review

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Perhaps fittingly for a man known for his unexpected twists on genre films, Rian Johnson (director and screen-writer of Brick, Looper and The Last Jedi) was apparently a huge fan of Agatha Christie as a child. What better way then for him to recover from the bruising experience of making a Star Wars film than to take on Knives Out, a gloriously devious homage to the great writer’s whodunnits. Continue reading “Knives Out – review”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – review

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – the (alleged) finale to Disney’s mega-budget sequel trilogy – reveals to you pretty much instantly what kind of film it’s going to be. The opening crawl begins with the surprising announcement that a major antagonist fairly firmly established as dead by the previous movies in the series is in fact doing quite well actually, and references an apparently hugely significant occurrence that fans could only have seen as part of a tie-in advertising event in the video game Fortnite. It’s a perfect summary of everything wrong with Rise, which is less a movie than an incoherent sequence of marketing tick-boxes. Continue reading “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – review”

The Best Games of 2019

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For sheer quantity of great games, 2019 has been one of the strongest years in gaming since the start of the decade. The calendar has been crowded with great releases from January right through to the end of the year, so much so that this year’s edition of my annual best games games list leaves out a number of titles, like Devil May Cry 5 and Bloodstained, that any other year would likely have made the cut. In an era dominated by  mega-budget AAA releases, 2019 was also a banner year for indie games – a sign that studios don’t need millions of dollars and teams of hundreds to make games that strike a chord. Here, then, is my list of the top ten games of 2019, starting with: Continue reading “The Best Games of 2019”

The Best Films of the Decade

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It’s been a tumultuous decade for cinema – a decade of Disney-fication and live-action reboots, where streaming services began to replace traditional cinemas and long-form TV shows began to surpass films in terms of star quality and glitz and glammer. It’s a decade that saw Hollywood forced to confront some of its demons of the past and present – the decade of #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite. Heading into the 2020s, the world of cinema faces arguably its greatest challenges since the early decades of its existence. For all that, the last ten years have also given us some terrific films which deserve to obtain classic status. Here’s my list of the greatest films of the 2010s. Continue reading “The Best Films of the Decade”

The Best Games of the Decade

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Compared to the seismic shifts of the 80s and 90s, the development of gaming as a medium has, on the surface, been relatively slow and steady over the past decade – graphical improvements have been relatively marginal, and the much-anticipated breakthrough of VR and motion sensing technology never caught on to the extent anticipated. Continue reading “The Best Games of the Decade”