Marathon

Marathon (2021)

According to legend, in 490 B.C.E. a messenger ran without stopping from Marathon to Athens to report as quickly as possible the improbable victory of the Athenian army against the overwhelming numbers of an invading Persian force, and dropped dead after giving the news to the Assembly. This 26-and-a-half-mile dash would become the model for…

Too Late

Too Late (2021)

They say you should write what you know, and so Tom Becker has drawn on his personal experience in Los Angeles’ comedy scene to script Too Late for his wife, director D.W. Thomas, in what is their feature debut after making the shorts Back from the Future (2017) and Hey, FiBi! (2018) together. In keeping…

Mr. Vampie

Mr. Vampire (Jiāngshī Xiānshēng) (1985)

Mr. Vampire (Jiāngshī Xiānshēng) first published by Little White Lies, as entry 107 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column There is a scene some way into Ricky Lau’s Mr. Vampire (Jiāngshī Xiānshēng) where Taoist priest Master Kau (Lam Ching-ying) is invited to a ‘Western tea’ by the wealthy businessman Master Yam (Huang Ha). Unfamiliar with Western…

Sale

The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale (2019)

Text of an onstage introduction to The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale which I gave at the London Korean Film Festival 2019 These days, zombies are everywhere, and films about them have, like the creatures themselves, proliferated virally, overwhelming through their sheer numbers.  It wasn’t always like this. In the Thirties, Forties and Fifties, their…

Driven

Driven (2019)

The taxi is a vehicle of transition. Customers enter them at one point and exit at another, hopefully leaving behind little more than their fare, with the driver serving as catalyst for change. This is why, in films as varied as Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976),  Jim Jarmusch’s Night On Earth (1991), Gérard Pirès’ Taxi…

Mega

Mega Time Squad (2018)

Mega Time Squad first published by SciFiNow “This is Johnny,” says local self-appointed gangster Shelton (Jonny Brugh), introducing his sister Kelly (Hetty Gaskell-Hahn) to one of his underling ‘boys’. “He’s bloody dynamic.” Orphaned John (Anton Tennet) really is dynamic. He may just be a small-time criminal in a small town – Thames, New Zealand, to be…

Dementia

Dementia Part II (2018)

Dementia Part II first published by SciFiNow If Mike Testin’s Dementia (2015) was a serious, slow-burning domestic thriller in which an ageing, demented Vietnam War hero is revisited by his questionable past in the form of a vindictive bunny-boiling home carer, then Dementia Part II – co-directed by Testin and its star Matt Mercer – is…

Veteran (2015)

Review of film that formed part of the ‘0th’ Edition of the London East Asian Film Festival (LEAFF 2015) “No police has ever touched one of the superrich,” team chief Oh (Oh Dal-su) tells his detective Seo Do-cheol (Hwang Jung-min) in Veteran. Still, Ryoo Seung-wan‘s eleventh feature carefully teases out the points of contact between…

Top Five (2014)

First published by Sight & Sound, June 2015 Synopsis: New York City, present. Visiting from LA to promote his new, serious (and unappealing) historical film Uprize, comedian André Allen agrees to be interviewed by Chelsea Brown for a New York Times profile, despite having been mistreated in the past by the publication’s film critic James…

Just Go With It (2011)

Review first appeared in Sight & Sound, April 2011 Synopsis: Just left heartbroken at his own wedding, Danny is drinking away his sorrows when he discovers ‘the power of the wedding ring’ to attract women looking for no-strings sex. Twenty years later, and practising plastic surgeon Danny still regularly uses the ring as a pick-up…

Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son (2011)

Review first appeared in Sight & Sound, April 2011 Synopsis: Atlanta, Georgia. FBI agent Malcolm Turner is overjoyed that his alma mater, Duke University, has just accepted his stepson Trent for admission, but Trent would rather pursue a career in hiphop. Desperate to get his stepfather’s signature on a music contract, the teenager tails Malcolm…