“Red Sparrow,” directed by Francis Lawrence

Movie, 2018 A welcome characterisation of a strong female central character, dumped, somewhat, in what feels like and old-fashioned anti-Russian espionage film, albeit from the Russian Red Sparrow’s point of view. While much of the film feels modern, the routing out of the mole, the nipping across borders and coming up against double agents is a little passé, while the sex and gore feel overdone … Continue reading “Red Sparrow,” directed by Francis Lawrence

“Stan and Ollie,” directed by Jon S Baird

Movie, 2018 Biopic focussing on Laurel and Hardy’s final tour, which (in this film version) took place in the UK, before a few final shows in Ireland. A straightforward, no tricks account, showing the pair’s charm, love for each other, but also the problems which had been building within their relationship. Heart-warming stuff which may appeal to non-fans and fans alike, with some great period … Continue reading “Stan and Ollie,” directed by Jon S Baird

“Sorry to Bother You,” directed by Boots Riley

Movie, 2018 Satirical comedy with horror and sci-fi elements, charting the meteoric rise of a call centre operative. There are times when the film feels as if it’s going to capsize under the sense of its own significance, with power, race, workers’ rights, success and exploitation all crammed into the first few scenes, but it pulls through and delivers a prickly, full-on entertainment, which just … Continue reading “Sorry to Bother You,” directed by Boots Riley

“BlacKkKlansman”, directed by Spike Lee

Movie, 2018 A darkly and predominantly comic account if the infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan through the efforts of an afro-touting, colour-barrier breaking policeman. While there are a few moments of heightened time at the beginning of the film, during a dramatised portrayal of a Kwame Ture speech which raises and almost deifies the profiles and faces of audience members, it’s the combination of … Continue reading “BlacKkKlansman”, directed by Spike Lee

“A Quiet Place”, directed by John Krasinski

Movie, 2018 Vaguely prescient alien film in which family threatening beasts from the cosmos track sounds and use them to hone in and prey on human beings. Some great ideas and great atmospheric build-up, with some wonderfully shot locations. The film is a little overdone here and there with a little too much ‘Alien’ influence and some plot holes I’d usually forgive; but seem a … Continue reading “A Quiet Place”, directed by John Krasinski

“Borg vs McEnroe”, directed by Janus Metz Pedersen

Movie, 2018 Tennis fans will probably enjoy; non-tennis probably won’t enjoy this film. The degree to which one enjoys (or doesn’t enjoy) tennis will probably dictate how much enjoyment can be taken here. Borg and McEnroe may or may not be the fascinating characters they’re relentlessly flashbacked to be here, and the 1980 Wimbledon mens’ final was surely a classic, though the whole formula is … Continue reading “Borg vs McEnroe”, directed by Janus Metz Pedersen

“Happy Days”, by Jason Williamson

Fiction, 2018 Collection of gritty, drug and sex-addled sub and lower class Britain-powered pieces of writing. Williamson’s writing is powerful and persuasive, funny in places and hugely vivid. The slight problem with the book is in the tone – it’s unrelenting and there’s no quarter given to story structures in the pursuit of the scene and situations. Giving up his day job for a life … Continue reading “Happy Days”, by Jason Williamson

“Bird Box”, directed by Susanne Bier

Movie, 2018 Horror about a global infection which induces suicide and decimates civilisation. A gripping film which draws the viewer in, even though many of its set ups, tropes and twists are almost laughably predictable. Maybe mixing powerful scenes within a well-trodden narrative was intentional. I imagine my slight reservations about the obvious plot are informed around having seen many similar narratives. Besides, the effective … Continue reading “Bird Box”, directed by Susanne Bier