Showing posts from 2015

Films of the Year - 2015

Where I would usually just post a list of my ten favourite films of the year on Facebook and hope to attract upwards of eleven likes and three comments calling me pretentious, this year I've felt compelled to say a few words about my top two films of the year - Cemetery of Splendour by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Mia Madre by Nanni Moretti. At first when I came up with my ranking I thought very little connected the two films, and then, the more I thought about them, the more I found points of similarity between the two that point to a radical shared agenda.

The first aspect on which the films share common ground is their exploration of trances and dreams. They set about this in different ways, so that the similarity can be easy to miss: Moretti's cinematic language is ostensibly forthright and realistic, whereas Weerasethakul's very aesthetic has to do with trances and slumber. Mia Madre, about the professional and personal struggles of a woman trying to make a film whil…

Honeys of the Year 2015

1. Pearl Liaison from RuPaul's Drag Race, for being sickening

2. Oscar Isaac, for having the highest handsomeness to talent ratio in 2015

3. Carlos Acosta, for retiring at his most bae

4. Big Sean, because, bless him, you don't need to be the best rapper when you're the hottest rapper

5. Jérémie Elkaïm, for being hot when he shouldn't be in Marguerite et Julien

6. Alexander Skarsgard, for being hot when he shouldn't be in Diary of a Teenage Girl

7. Sufjan Stevens, for being the hottest and only person to make the best album this year

8. Deray McKesson, for being the hot face of Black Lives Matter activism

9. Dustin Brown, for services to tennis sexiness 

White Paper on the Future of the Moon

Executive Summary: this report finds that although 99% of respondents in surveys since the beginning of time said “I love the moon, I like looking at it at night - sometimes it’s crescent and sometimes it’s full, I like that”, now feels like the right time to think about either changing the moon or selling it off in order to receive better results. The moon has been around too long and is beginning to feel antiquated in this era of content on demand. These days a 9 year old can just dial up a Vine on their smartwatch, so why would they want to look at a big orb that will still be there tomorrow? Added to which, last year someone with a pencil wrote a paper saying we don’t actually need tides, so the moon needs to think very carefully about the service it provides.

Please respond to the following questions in this wide-ranging public consultation, so we can work out how best to work with the moon to optimise everyone’s experience.

1. Isn’t the moon a bit shit sometimes? Often you can’t…

So You're Writing An Article About Modern Man

You are a man and you have decided, or been commissioned by a desperate editor with two pages to fill, to write a thinkpiece about ‘the new man’. Who is the modern man? What does he think? What does he wear? What beer does he drink and why? Congratulations! You are about to add to a rich and storied genre, whose practitioners’ aggregate Pulitzer count is through the roof. Here are some helpful tips to assist you in writing this era-defining piece:

1. Give a brief precis of the history of modern man. This can go back to the 80s, or the 60s if you are determined to be exceptionally rigorous. Mention the swinging sixties and Mick Jagger, of if you are starting your history in the 80s, talk about yuppies and Magnum P.I. Then seamlessly guide us through to the present day. Feel free to mention any or all of the following:
Nuts Magazine
Paul Gascoigne’s tears at Italia 90
David Beckham
Mad Men

2. Coin a new portmanteau for the bullshit phenomenon you are purporting to describe in yo…

Au revoir l'enfance

Louis Malle made Au revoir les enfants, his masterpiece about childhood, set in a French school, in 1987 - the year my family moved to France and I started going to school there. I didn't see it in the cinema at the time because I was six, but a couple of years later it came to be among a handful of bashed-up VCRs my family regularly watched

Au revoir les enfants tells the story of a friendship between two boys - one Catholic, one Jewish - at a boarding school during the Second World War. The film shows the kids at play, in class, and venturing out with their teachers for the odd excursion beyond the school gates. It is shot through with nostalgia for childhood, but is also uncompromising in its examination of loneliness and exclusion. Malle's intuition for the soulfulness of children, the way he grasps their sense of alienation from the world of adults, makes the film poignant and vivid.

The world I went to school in when I arrived in France over forty years after the film…


KINGSMAN,  a new ultra-violent Bond pastiche for attention-deficient 4Chan users, out today, is an almost breathtaking example of moral double standards. Matthew Vaughn, who oversaw the train wreck in question, not only has his racist, classist, homophobic, sexist, violent cake, but he eats it. Oh, how he eats it.

The film tells a basic story (we intend 'basic' here in its Web 2.0 usage, meaning 'obvious' or 'unsophisticated') of a young man being groomed by an old secret service of spies to become one of them in order to save the world over and over. The protagonist, known as 'Eggsy' in order to signpost his working class origins, is recruited by dashing posho action man Colin Firth to join the Kingsmen, an old bunch of secret agents who use umbrellas to fight, and all wear suits and glasses and have side-partings to denote their upper-classness. Having made it through an arduous training process during which 'Eggsy' defeats a selection of absu…

The Birdman's Comeback, or (I Don't Need To See That)

In an early scene in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's new film, Birdman, the main character, an old ex- movie star looking to make a name for himself in a new play on Broadway, speaks to a group of assembled journalists in his dressing-room. Among them are an excitable Japanese fellow who wants to know if Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) will make a follow-up film in his old 'Birdman' franchise, and a pretentious journalist who drawls at length about the act of creation. That journalist is played by Damian Young, whom viewers of the TV show The Comeback will recognise as Mark, husband to Lisa Kudrow's Valerie Cherish, an old ex- TV star looking to make a name for herself in a new TV show on HBO. To say that the comparison does not flatter Birdman may be more to do with The Comeback's strengths, particularly in the way it critiques the world it is set in.

The two works are defined by their method. The central conceit of  Birdman is that the entire film has been craftily edite…