Star Wars: The Last Jedi – review

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After the the let-down that was George Lucas’s much-maligned prequel trilogy, the Star Wars franchise got firmly back on track with 2015’s hugely enjoyable The Force Awakens, which was both a critical and commercial success. Unsurprisingly as a result the hype around follow-up The Last Jedi, helmed and written by Looper director Rian Johnson, has been ferocious. But despite some spectacular moments this over-long and under-engaging sequel singularly fails to live up to expectations.  Continue reading “Star Wars: The Last Jedi – review”

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The Best Games of 2017

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2017 was a big year for games, with the reinvention of some beloved old series and the release of the new Nintendo Switch, not to mention a few games already being touted as among the best of all time. With games getting larger and more complex all the time there’s never quite enough time to play more than a fraction of the year’s big releases, but here’s my list of my favourite games of 2017, starting with: Continue reading “The Best Games of 2017”

The Best TV Shows of 2017

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We live, as we’re often told, in the Golden Age of TV. And though the likes of Breaking BadThe Wire and The Sopranos may no longer grace our screens, it seems like ever year some new show appears to challenge for their mantle. 2017 was no different, with the emergence of some of the best new shows in years, along with the (in some cases long awaited) return of some beloved fan favourites. Here’s my list of the best TV shows of 2017, starting with: Continue reading “The Best TV Shows of 2017”

The Best Albums of 2017

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2017 has, in many respects, been a pretty bad year – for the economy, for politics, for truth and decency. Thankfully, it’s also provided the conditions for some of the best, angriest, most politically aware music in years, and, in particular, the continued resurgence of grime, Britain’s most exciting and vital genre. It was hard to narrow it down, but here’s my top twenty albums of 2017, starting with: Continue reading “The Best Albums of 2017”

Call Me By Your Name – review

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Call Me By Your Name, the wonderful new coming-of-age drama from Italian director Luca Guadagnino, exudes a seductive sensuality from every pore. Set in northern Italy during the early 1980s, it offers a vision of an Italian countryside summertime so vibrant and lush you can practically feel the sun beating down, the warm breeze blowing through the orchards, the cool lake water, the cobblestones underfoot. Even if Call My By Your Name weren’t a terrific piece of cinema – and it very much is – it could still have functioned perfectly well as a Visit Italy video. Continue reading “Call Me By Your Name – review”

Thor: Ragnarok – review

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The Chris Hemsworth-starring Thor series, about an inter-dimensional Norse god from the realm of Asgard who occasionally teams up with Captain America to fight evil, has always been, frankly, a little difficult to take seriously. Now with Thor: Ragnarok, the third movie in the franchise (and seemingly the billionth comic  book film this year), its creators finally seem to be admitting that fact. Like Evil Dead 2 and 21 Jump Street before it, Ragnarok reboots the series as a straight-up comedy – and is all the better for it.  Continue reading “Thor: Ragnarok – review”

Blade Runner 2049 – review

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Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, a grandly ambitious slow-burning sci-fi, received rave reviews on its release last year, the critics charmed by its intelligence and thoughtful approach. Yet I found myself underwhelmed by it, turned off by its absurd and trite final act. His new film, Blade Runner 2049, is history repeated in more ways than one. A follow-up to the 1982 classic Blade Runner, in which Harrison Ford’s cop hunted rogue android ‘replicants’ across a dystopian near-future Los Angeles, Blade Runner 2049 is on occasion genuinely captivating, yet ultimately begins to wear out its welcome.  Continue reading “Blade Runner 2049 – review”