‘Late Night,’ directed by Nisha Ganatra

Movie, 2019 Story of a complacent and barbed chat show host who, when threatened, begins to mend her ways, sharpen up her act and work with her writers and presentation. The casting of the very British Emma Thompson is a good choice in what, otherwise, feels very slick and American. The main story chugs along and the various relationships and situations look at the role … Continue reading ‘Late Night,’ directed by Nisha Ganatra

‘The Maiden Heist,’ directed by Peter Hewitt

Movie, 2009 Enjoyable comedy-thriller about three art gallery security guards and a plot to save each of their respective works of art from being callously sold off and shipped to Denmark. This is a film which touches on the veneration of old art and its displacement by flashier, more twinkly pieces, but which focuses right down on the relationships between the three main characters, which … Continue reading ‘The Maiden Heist,’ directed by Peter Hewitt

‘The Sellout,’ by Paul Beatty

Novel, 2015 Terrific, fast-paced novel, in which black identities, cultures and essences are examined and explored with and through old minstrel actors, vanishing city names in Los Angeles ghettos and various intellectuals and bus drivers, fighting questions of who they are and how they should behave. A real gritty and trippy ride, with some great angles and attitudes along the way; the questions of other … Continue reading ‘The Sellout,’ by Paul Beatty

‘Fright Night,’ directed by Tom Holland

Movie, 1985 A movie of its time, with dated effects, dollops of self-referential genre shenanigans and a refreshing lack of subtlety and nuance. That said, the worn down tropes and the mismatch on the tricky accomplishment line of ‘comic-horror, weighs the film down, as do the high school protagonists and their interactions with each other. A film which probably  seemed neat and clever at the … Continue reading ‘Fright Night,’ directed by Tom Holland

‘Eaten by Lions,’ directed by Jason Wingard

Movie, 2019 One part coming of age, one part social commentary, which is well done, wears its heart boldly on its sleeve, has some decent performances, but ultimately falls over itself, and just doesn’t deliver enough gags. A problem for a comedy and a shame, as the issues and challenging of norms all pay off nicely. Things feel a little flat, however, and some of … Continue reading ‘Eaten by Lions,’ directed by Jason Wingard

‘They Live,’ directed by John Carpenter

Movie, 1988 One of those full-bloodied action films, where the excuse of the machismo being ‘of its time’ partly but doesn’t wholly expunge the embarrassment of some, and particularly the longer buddy punch-up scene. And yet, ‘They Live’ offers plenty of invention and wit in the way things are set up at the beginning of the film. Things are believable and persuasive and the dystopia … Continue reading ‘They Live,’ directed by John Carpenter

‘Our Man in Havana,’ directed by Carol Reed

Movie, 1959 A curious film, which is neither thriller, satire nor comedy but has a potshot at each of them along the way. The result feels a little downbeat, though reasonably enjoyable, with an odd, jarring ‘Third Man’ dramatic photo composition here and there and the odd moment of real discomfort along the way. More, you feel, could have been made if the film went more … Continue reading ‘Our Man in Havana,’ directed by Carol Reed

“Sixty Six,” directed by Paul Weiland

Movie, 2006 Story of a young man in 1966, looking forward to and particularly planning his bar mitzvah, against the backdrop of a dysfunctional family, and the unexpected success of England’s football team in the World Cup. While most modern films about the plucky underdog facing an uphill struggle tend to feel cloying and grotesque Sixty-Six  wins through; possibly through looking at a minority community, … Continue reading “Sixty Six,” directed by Paul Weiland

“Moxie,” directed by Amy Poehler

Movie, 2021 Enjoyable film about the political awakening of a gawky student, under the influence of her mother Saud student secretly sets up a Riot Girl inspired feminist movement at her high school. If some of the set-ups and character interactions feel just a little obvious and contrived, there is nonetheless a warmth in this film, which is looking at one cultural issue, also brings … Continue reading “Moxie,” directed by Amy Poehler

“Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead,” by Barbara Comyns

Novel, 1954 A rather curious, totally compelling and wonderfully atmospheric novel about the spread of madness in an English village. The setting and tone, after an extraordinary opening flood scene, feel very genial, though the presence of death is at turns outrageous and quite shocking. Some strong, weak and driven characters sort themselves out in the first part of the book, and while the story’s … Continue reading “Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead,” by Barbara Comyns