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Fritz outside the Golden Glove

The Golden Glove

Should a serial killer movie sympathise with its killer? The Golden Glove (Der Goldene Handschuh) comes perilously close to going all-in with real-life killer Fritz Honka (Jonas Dassler), who killed four women in Hamburg between 1970 and 1974 and then hid their body parts in his attic. Grim, seedy, sleazy, disgusting, vile, the negative adjectives have piled up in discussions about this undoubtedly brilliantly made movie. I’d go for “pitiless” or “cosmically ironic”. More verbosely, it’s a cool exercise in the manipulation of the human tendency to imprint (like a duckling for the first “mamma” object it sees on hatching) suggesting the omnivorous writer/director Fatih Akin has been watching Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance trilogy … Read more
Elizabeth Debicki and John David Washington


After pausing for Dunkirk, a (for him) human-scale drama, Christopher Nolan is back on Inception/Interstellar territory with Tenet, a grandiose exercise in hi-tech bogglement that doesn’t shortchange the fans. It’s spectacular like Operation Desert Storm was. Designed to shock and awe, it’s a technological marvel that would almost rather there were no humans involved at all. Can’t we get drones to do the acting? Actually, drones have done a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to the plot, because rather than come up with anything too new, Nolan has taken a whole load of James Bond bits and pieces and then given a quick wipe over with a massive spend on … Read more
Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

It’s tempting to look at writer/director Sofia Coppola’s biopic about Marie Antoinette as a coded self-portrait – young woman born into immense privilege, continuing in the family business, expected to have an understanding of the hoi polloi though with no experience thereof, allowed to indulge her whims, and so on. Perhaps it’s a better film seen that way, because as a straightforward biopic it’s full of problems, chief of those being the inertia at the centre, where Kirsten Dunst’s Marie – the Austrian princess bought in by the French to produce an heir – and her spouse the Dauphin (Jason Schwartzman) sit like a pair of bland puddings while around them wheel a menagerie of exotic … Read more
Max von Sydow, Patrick Stewart, Kyle MacLachlan and Jürgen Prochnow


Dune. Not Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 behemoth, that pleasure still awaits. But David Lynch’s 1984 version, the only film in his career that he wished he hadn’t made and will not talk about in interviews, except to say he shouldn’t have made it. And not the theatrical version either, but the “extended” one worked up for TV so it could be shown in two 90 minute chunks. Lynch hated this one so much he had his name taken off the credits. So welcome to another “Alan Smithee film”. Acutally Lynch originally had a four-hour cut in mind but had managed to get the running time down to three hours. Not short enough for his … Read more
Rory Cochrane, Jason London and Sasha Jenson

Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused is Richard Linklater’s 1993 film doing for 1976 what George Lucas’s American Graffiti (1973) did for 1962. That is, it looks back fondly at a group of teenagers on the cusp of adult life on their last day/night of high school, while also observing how long ago it now all was, and in more than plain old years. Like Lucas’s gang, Linklater’s crew are a mixed crowd of jocks and nerds, lookers and plain-Janes and Johns, sensitive souls and bozos, cool kids and the terminally awkward, kids whose best days are to come and those whose lives have already peaked. The style builds on the loose, superficially disorganised approach of … Read more
Patrick Macnee and Lind Thorson

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 1 – The Forget-Me-Knot

Exit Diana Rigg, enter Linda Thorson. Out with the old, in with the new in The Forget-Me-Knot, a handover episode that saw Diana Rigg leave The Avengers and Linda Thorson join it. Much has been said about Thorson – a good overview can be found here at Avengers Forever – and I’m not going to add to it here, except to say that I reckon she makes the best of what looks like a very bad situation. Departing/returning showrunner (all also detailed at Avengers Forever) Brian Clemens is clearly angling to ditch her as soon as he gets his feet back under the table and throughout this series again and again brings in … Read more
Channint Tatum pushes Sandra Bullock

The Lost City

Sandra Bullock enters “getting too old for this shit” (© Mel Gibson/Danny Glover) in The Lost City, a knockabout adventure designed to be taken with an ironic pinch of whatever you fancy. Park critical faculties at the door and dive in. Explicit reference is made to Bullock’s antiquity at several points but actually the remarkable thing is that, in spite of the fact that she’s been making films like this for about 30 years, there still seems to be tread left on the tyres. From the very opening seconds of the movie, when Bullock is introduced as a writer of romantic adventure fiction whose sales are slipping as fast as her self-confidence, it’s … Read more
Barthélémy Karas, as voiced by Daniel Craig, in the Anglophone version of Renaissance


Daniel Craig, Romola Garai, Ian Holm, Catherine McCormack and Jonathan Pryce? That’s quite a cast and it’s just for starters. And for a French anime-style sci-fi too, the “French” bit being the clue that the names are actually here to revoice Gallic product for Anglophone consumption. What they’re lending their voices to looks interesting though, a futuristic story about a kidnapped geneticist (Garai) who turns out to have the key to immortality. The USP of Renaissance is its look – the actors have all been motion-captured, then converted to the harshest black and white renditions of themselves. This is unusual though hardly revolutionary: as a technique it can be traced back to Walt … Read more
Skull in the foreground, human behind

Let the Corpses Tan

Pastiche nudged into madness, Let the Corpses Tan is a Sergio Leone film on psychoactive substances and the third feature-length outing for Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, who specialise in this sort of weird pastiche/homage. Their 2009 feature debut, Amer, baked Lynch, Kubrick, Svankmajer and Argento into a kaleidoscopic revisit to the Euro soft porn/arthouse crossover of the 1970s. Their The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears was an onslaught of stylishness in a dream-infused slasher movie ripe as a liquid Camembert. In between they also did the O Is for Orgasm segment of The ABCs of Death compendium movie, a sado-masochism-inflected view of sexual congress that was all leather, taut stomach and … Read more
Luo walks the city streets

Long Day’s Journey into Night

First things first: Long Day’s Journey into Night has nothing at all to do with the Eugene O’Neill play of the same name, or with any of the movie spinoffs. Confusion piled on confusion, or possibly mischief-making, when Gan Bi’s film first debuted in China, where it was marketed as a big multiplex romance, when in fact it is a beast of a very different colour. Audiences, to say the least, were not amused. There isn’t much of a plot in this bizarre dreamy mystery, but what there is concerns a guy whose father has just died taking up the search for a woman he knew 20 years before. The one who got … Read more
Raya and Sisu

Raya and the Last Dragon

Remember when Disney princesses just lay about in glass cases waiting to be kissed? Raya and the Last Dragon gives us the latest iteration of the new style of Disney female, joining Mulan, Merida (from Brave) and Moana in a kick-butty world of smarts where any obvious interest in looking glasses or clothes is deeply suspect. Disney love the ™ symbol but as I write Raya has not yet been made a part of the Princess Line™. She’s up there with the best of them so it can only be a matter of time. Her film has a driving story with emotional depth, a good voice cast, doesn’t overdo the cutes and there … Read more
Liz Fraser, Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg on set

The Avengers: Series 4, Episode 17 – The Girl from Auntie

The Girl from Auntie this episode is called, a nod to The Man from Uncle, which had debuted about six months earlier on US TV and become an instant hit with its sexy spies, gadgets, 007 goofery and strong sense of the ridiculous, having clearly drunk from the same well as The Avengers. All that said, sadly this is not a great episode, though it is stuffed with good things. It’s also not particularly heavy on Emma Peel, who was perhaps off talking to the Bond people – Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore having made waves – or just enjoying a bit of a break when the episode was in production. She turns up in … Read more

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