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Book: Flash for Freedom!

"I suppose in his way he had the makings of as big a scoundrel as I am myself."

Another entry into the Flashman papers - a series of bawdy, pulpy fictional memoirs underpinned by a surprising degree of historical accuracy. This time Flashy gets stuck on a slave vessel and has to dig his way out of trouble on numerous occasions. It’s generally a funny read until it gets punctuated by vivid, chilling descriptions of slave life. Framing such awful events through the eyes of our cad protagonist...

George MacDonald Fraser | Monday, Mar 19, 2018

Take 2: Rear Window

"Tell me exactly what you saw and what you think it means."

It’s always a joy to come back to this one. Hitchcock puts you in the same uncomfortable seat as Jimmy Stewart, spying on his neighbours, constantly questioning whether he should look away while simultaneously being unable to. The characters develop a nervous sense of humour as the story moves on which is one of the better things about the screenplay. It’s funny but the jokes just betray everyone’s nerves and...

Alfred Hitchcock | Sunday, Mar 18, 2018

Film: Atomic Blonde

"You can't un-fuck what's been fucked."

With the Berlin wall on the brink of collapse, MI-6 send one of their top agents (Charlize Theron) to track down a leaked list of active spies and reign in a potentially out of control station master (James McAvoy). This comes from the makers of action masterpiece John Wick, a film whose main strength is its no-nonsense style over substance approach. Atomic Blonde takes a somewhat more plot driven approach...

David Leitch | Sunday, Mar 11, 2018

Film: Paddington 2

"Are you quite sure you're ready for the workplace, Paddington?"

I never thought I’d say this but Paddington 2 is one of the best films of 2017, up there with Get Out, Dunkirk, Lady Bird and The Shape of Water (Sally Hawkins is in both, and is in the water in both). It’s larger than life and colourful but so closely paired to reality that you sink into its world like a pair of old slippers. You feel like you...

Paul King | Sunday, Mar 11, 2018

Film: Downsizing

"He never struck me as the kind of guy who'd go get small. Wow!"

In an attempt to save the world from over-population, scientists find a way to safely shrink humans to be 5 inches tall. The idea is that people can live in relatively ‘big’ houses while using fewer resources and taking up less space. Matt Damon and his wife Kristen Wiig go to have the procedure, but Wiig backs out at the last minute, leaving Damon small and alone. This is a...

Alexander Payne | Saturday, Mar 10, 2018

Film: The Shape of Water

"I don't want an intricate, beautiful thing destroyed!"

You might know this as the “mute Sally Hawkins fucks a fish-man film” and you would not be mistaken. However, don’t be fooled by the odd premise. In its own way The Shape of Water tells a sweet tale of love, loss and loneliness. It’s a spellbinding piece of work from Del Toro. The score, the set dressing, the cinematography are all set to charm the pants off the audience...

Guillermo del Toro | Sunday, Mar 04, 2018

Film: Lady Bird

"It's weird you shake hands."

The coming of age film seems to hold a certain allure to film-makers. It’s the perfect crossroads between ‘write about what you know’ and ‘write something people can relate to’, and when the right person comes along they always seem to find some untrodden ground. Greta Gerwig is that right person. Lady Bird has all the trappings of every film that came before it - a quirky independent lead, a...

Greta Gerwig | Sunday, Mar 04, 2018