The Greatest Showman: A Nightmare Of Tent-Sized Proportions

*SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Greatest Showman, predominantly that it’s a car crash*

19th Century circus pioneer PT Barnum is credited with coining the phrase “there’s a sucker born every minute”. The latest retelling of his story, The Greatest Showman, seems to have taken such a sentiment to heart. This is a word-of-mouth hit which condescends to its audience every second of its runtime. It’s creators expect the audience to buy into the feel-good tale of a grinning hero who spots a niche in the market for the afflicted and vulnerable and uses them to make himself filthy, stinking rich – whilst selling itself as a celebration of the very thing he exploits.  Continue reading “The Greatest Showman: A Nightmare Of Tent-Sized Proportions”

“I’m just the back-up”: Manchester By The Sea Review

Living in the shadow of somebody else is nothing new to Casey Affleck, brother of Ben (of recent Caped Crusader fame). Despite excellent turns in The Assassination Of Jesse James and Out Of The Furnace, Casey has long played second fiddle to his precocious older brother. His character Lee in Manchester By The Sea is no stranger to being on the back foot either, even in himself – but the role finally affords Affleck place to turn out by far the best performance of his career – and finally step into the limelight.  Continue reading ““I’m just the back-up”: Manchester By The Sea Review”

“I guess I’ll see you in the movies”: La La Land Review

Unlike other genres of film, pulling off a classic musical means simply abiding by one simple formula:

Great Songs + Great Dance + Dynamic Characters
A Healthy Dose Of Self-Awareness

Pull that off (no easy feat in itself), add some camp and a level of optimism about the world that’s tantamount to denialism and Bob’s Your Uncle: you’ve landed yourself a Singing In The Rain. Despite being touted as revivalism of the MGM classics, and criticised in places for being a rote application of said formula, the stunning La La Land in fact thrives and lives in three key addendums to the blueprint:

a) The Camera Dances Too

The death of musicals has long been greatly exaggerated. TV sitcoms have been keeping the genre alive for decades (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Simpsons both aired one this month alone), Continue reading ““I guess I’ll see you in the movies”: La La Land Review”

“Everything Has Become A Metaphor”: Demolition Film Review

Demolition is a film defined by its contrivances. Critically and promotionally; talk of the movie has been dominated by the novelty, and sometimes derived for the ‘wackiness’ of its central premise. In it, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Davis, a man who loses his wife in a car crash and, having never been attentive enough to love her in life, attempts to do learn how to do so in death – through correspondence with a vending company who owns a machine which ate his change shortly after her death and by the literal dismantlement of various objects in his life. In other words: it’s not hard to see why. But a dodgy premise is not cause to right off a project (I’m looking at you, Breaking Bad). The pull of the film hence became the presence of Jake Gyllenhaal who, after the streak of Prisoners, Nightcrawler, Enemy and Everest has joined the likes of Joaquin Pheonix and Oscar Isaac as two of the most reliable young actors in American cinema – and the director, Jean-Marc Vallee of the excellent Dallas Buyers Club and Wild. Thanks to their respective talents, Demolition works: against the odds.

Continue reading ““Everything Has Become A Metaphor”: Demolition Film Review”

No More Horsin’ Around: Bojack Horseman Season Two Review.

Long gone are the days when a new Netflix show was an event. The bold new network drops something every other week now, and the misses amongst the hits matter much less. Bojack Horseman is absolutely a hit though; a cartoon about a talking horse which manages to be both the funniest comedy out right now, and a show so deeply existential it’s more of a spiritual successor to Mad Men than any series that’s debuted since its end.

It’s worth taking a moment to note the shows assets for a second, because they’re easily forgotten. It has Will Arnett, Alison Brie and Aaron Paul as the three leads, which might be the most impressive line-up in TV comedy today. Oh, and it’s a show about a washed up celebrity talking horse and it doesn’t even suck. In fact, it’s pretty damn good.

Continue reading “No More Horsin’ Around: Bojack Horseman Season Two Review.”