2019 TV Highlights: Fleabag

I started writing this post back in October, knowing that I’d be unlikely to have time to write about more than one favourite TV show before the end of the year. I knew that the TV adaption of His Dark Materials hadn’t aired yet, and Dracula wasn’t due until New Year’s Day, but I was ready to call it: Fleabag season 2 was going to be my favourite TV show of 2019. Two months have passed since I made that claim, and having watched the entire show all over again, you know what? It really is the best show of


Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

People always ask you what you think when you’ve been to see a Tarantino movie. I think it’s because his movies a) have a strong directorial voice, and b) are the best marketed pseudo-arthouse movies out there. There are plenty of independent movies getting made, but they have neither the cachet, nor the name recognition of a Tarantino movie.  So, what did I think? I think Tarantino has a strong directorial voice, and there’s a lot to like and plenty to dislike in pretty much any of his films. That’s not the cop-out it seems, Tarantino’s movies are less about

The Shape Of Water

Most Anticipated Movies of 2018 – Revisited

I wrote about my most Anticipated Movies of 2018, and I thought it was time to revisit the list. Didn’t That Come Out Last Year? Not in the UK, sadly, otherwise I’d have seen them already. That’s the problem with Awards season, some of the best films end up straddling the New Year. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Martin McDonagh I saw it, it courted controversy for its ambiguous ending and portrayal of racism in small-town America, but I loved it. The Shape of Water – Guillermo Del Toro A beautiful fairytale, no wonder it swept the 2018 awards season.

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2018 TV Highlights: Killing Eve

Remember 2016, when Fleabag was, in my opinion, the greatest new TV show out there? Well writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge outdid herself with this year’s BBC adaptation of Luke Jennings’ Codename Villanelle novellas. It premiered on BBC America, so it bafflingly took months for it to air in the UK; even then it was buried on BBC3, perhaps to avoid it clashing with Bodyguard. In my view, Killing Eve was the better show overall. Writing in Rolling Stone, Jenna Scherer described Killing Eve as a “sexually charged female-buddy-comedy espionage nailbiter”,  and I couldn’t have put it better myself. While the espionage thriller aspects are really good,

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2018 TV Highlights: The Haunting of Hill House

When everyone writes their best of year lists, there will barely be one that doesn’t mention THOHH in at least respectful, if not gushing, terms. And truth to tell, it deserves it all, and I say this as someone who does not seek out horror as a genre. I wasn’t aware of the prior adaptations of the Shirley Jackson’s 1959 gothic horror novel, which considered one of the best literary ghost stories published during the 20th century. Writer/director and horror aficionado Mike Flanagan, adapted and wholly directed Hill House; while I’ve never seen any of his previous work, due to my

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2018 TV Highlights: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I never watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch back in its heyday, though I was aware of it. I probably wasn’t its target audience, as it skewed a little younger than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which started in the same year and also enjoyed seven seasons. However, when I saw the trailer for the rebooted Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I was instantly intrigued. It brought back vibes of Buffy, but fresher, edgier, and much less 90s. Something modern, even whilst immersed in Riverdale’s ambiguous period setting. I must admit to not being initially hooked into CAOS, a sobriquet I only realised after looking

The Shape Of Water

Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

I covered it briefly in my review of 2017 movies, but I do keep getting asked what movies I’m looking forward to in 2018. Partly so I don’t forget what’s coming up, I’ve expanded on the topic a little. Didn’t That Come Out Last Year? Not in the UK, sadly, otherwise I’d have seen them already. That’s the problem with Awards season, some of the best films end up straddling the New Year. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Martin McDonagh The Shape of Water – Guillermo Del Toro Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig. The Main List Untitled Chris Morris

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Best TV of 2017

Just as there have been some astonishing new movies in 2017, we’ve also been spoilt by some splendid new, or continuing, TV. Or serialised drama? Streaming episodic narrative? Longform visual storytelling? We really do need to lock down the nomenclature of this medium, “TV” just isn’t going work out in the long run.  But let’s be honest, most lists in this medium are largely going to top out the same. The Usual Suspects Big Little Lies and The Handmaid’s Tale are going to win pretty much all the awards going, and deservedly so. Stranger Things Season 2 will largely ride the coat-tails of

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Favourite Movies of 2017

What a year it’s been in the world of film! There have been left-field entries, surprises amongst tired franchises, successful sequels, and some unique movies that have managed to be a commercial success! Now, sadly I’ve not been able to watch as many films as I’ve wanted this year, life just hasn’t worked out that way. Were I to try and follow Scott Myer’s 1-2-7-14 methodology, I should have managed to watch 104 movies this year. Sadly I only made it to a total of 36 movies I’d never seen before, ranging from films released in 1995 (Copycat), to this

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Short film: Snow Steam Iron by Zack Snyder

Update: Snow Steam Iron is now available without the Vero app. Link Say what you like about Zack Snyder, but that man knows two things exceptionally well: montages and marketing. So, when struggling mobile-only social network Vero needed a brand ambassador, they knew where to go. While he’s taking a bit of a career break, he’s got plenty time to take their money, emblazon his name on their site, and create the short film Snow Steam Iron. Finding the short film is an exercise in frustration. There’s no direct link to it, you need to sign up to Vero, which

Emotional Fusebox Poster

Short Film – Emotional Fusebox When the list of 2014 BAFTA Nominations came out, after my glee that Birdman looked like it was going to get the acclaim it deserved, I started working my way through the list of short films. I hadn’t seen any of them, nor was I able to, due to the lock-in ‘feature’ of film festivals. But I had heard of Emotional Fusebox, partly because I think Jodie Whittaker is an excellent actress, with excellent turns in Broadchurch, Black Mirror and Attack the Block. So, I contacted the writer/director of Emotional Fusebox Rachel Tunnard, and she very kindly gave me a link to


Short Film – Vicious

I’ve always been a proponent, not just of short films, but of using the medium of short films to wring the most out of the chiller or horror genre. Freed from the requirement to sustain an atmosphere for 90+ minutes, the short film is effective in the build-up and twist, the vicious knife between the ribs, delivered so swiftly that it wounds brutally even when we see it coming. Coupled with an efficient use of resources to present its chills, the field is somewhat crowded with filmmakers hoping to match the blood-curdling success of something like Sandberg’s Lights Out, one of


Short Film – Textual Relationship

Textual Relationship, by Syd Heather, is a charming, bittersweet romantic comedy short adapted from a theatre short written by award-winning playwright Tom Glover. It explores the differences between ‘real-world reality’ and our more interesting fabricated online personas, via two characters courting via an online dating app, and then trying to work past their offline incompatibilities. Tom wrote the play for Descent Theatre, where actor David Frias-Robles saw the play and thought it’d make a great short film; and with that, he brought it to filmmaker Syd Heather. Syd, with a healthy roster of films behind him, instantly saw the potential in Textual