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Father and daughter fleeing the zombies

The Driver

There’s some confusion about The Driver. Starting with which film we’re actually talking about. Not Drive, the 2011 film by Nicolas Winding Refn in which Ryan Gosling plays a driver. Not 1978’s The Driver, by Walter Hill and starring Ryan O’Neal (and where Drive got a lot of its plot and cool style). Not another film from 2019 called The Driver (aka Acceleration), starring Natalie Burn and Dolph Lundgren. None of those, nor a slew of other films and TV series all called The Driver. No, this is The Driver starring Mark Dacascos and directed by Wych Kaosayananda. There leads to more confusion, since this The Driver is meant to be a sequel … Read more
Yûsuke Iseya in Casshern


A live action adaptation of the 1973 Japanese anime with a plot that is Godzilla in essence, except this time man’s interference with nature has produced a race of Neo-Sapiens – a deadly spawn out to kill the human race. Which can be saved by only one man – Casshern – a mortal reincarnated with an invincible iron body. It’s the debut feature by “acclaimed fashion photographer and music video director” Kazuaki Kiriya and, like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, it’s all CGI, apart from the humans. Unlike Sky Captain it’s decided to make things slightly less real, slightly more anime. Wise decision – we can now enjoy the backgrounds for what they … Read more
Steed arrives laden with gifts

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 30 – Take-Over

Take-Over it was called in 1969 when it first aired. In the intervening decades the word takeover has lost its hyphen but this episode of The Avengers remains fresh and watchable precisely because of its antique quality. But first a bit of a prelim – man being escorted to prison makes a run for it when the car he’s in breaks down. Instead of chasing after him, his guards just hang back and watch. They even pull out cigars. Then one of them flicks a lighter, and the running man immediately falters, then falls to the floor choking. Dead. With the opening credits out of the way, the plot proper gets underway. Tara … Read more
Borat leaving his village pursued by a mob

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

Sacha Baron Cohen retired his anti-semitic fake Kazakh TV journalist after the first Borat movie, 14 years ago, reasoning that when someone is that well known the joke – unsuspecting members of the public gulled into compromising situations – won’t work any more. So he either felt the time was right or he needed the money his most famous creation can raise – make benefit the Baron Cohen bank account – and out Borat is wheeled for what is essentially a re-run of the first film. That had a quest structure – Borat searching for Pamela Anderson – and so has this, except this time Borat is crossing the USA to meet Vice … Read more
Alice masturbates

Yes, God, Yes

Yes, God, Yes – a funny title pithily catching the twin obsessions of this slight but sharp movie. Sex and god. It stars Natalia Dyer, who somehow has managed to fit this in alongside the nine other movies and 30-odd episodes of the Netflix show Stranger Things she’s appeared in over the last six years or so. She was about 24 when she made this, but the big eyes and slender frame mean she can just about get away with playing Alice, a teenager from a sheltered background grappling with the first stirrings of sexuality at the Catholic school that seems almost unnaturally fixated on the carnal. Coming of agers with storylines that … Read more
The cast of Spike Island

Spike Island

There is a great film to be made about the whole Madchester/Stone Roses/Acieed moment of the late 1980s but Spike Island isn’t it. Fun but messy might be a fair way to assess it. Fatally flawed might be another. This is a film clearly going for epic. It wants to be the Apocalypse Now of a particular youthquake, with a basic “journey” structure – four lads in a wannabe band are trying to get to Spike Island, scene of the Stone Roses’ most famous gig, a night that defined/ended an era. Onto this is grafted the story of the band itself, its attempts to record a demo, get it to the Stone Roses, … Read more
Toni Collette as Kristin

Mafia Mamma

Two thirds good, one third bad, as George Orwell almost said, Mafia Mamma is a comedy about a timid, emotionally giving American mother who becomes a mafia don, a donna in fact, after her grandfather in the old country dies in gang-related circumstances and she takes over the firm. Not that Kristin (Toni Collette) understands any of that. As far as she’s concerned the old guy was a winemaker and at the point where she is heading off to Italy to attend his funeral, it’s as much to get some “Eat. Pray. Fuck.” as to pay her respects. The fact that she’s just caught her husband banging her son’s counsellor in the kitchen … Read more
Mory salutes the world

Touki Bouki

Often described as Africa’s first avant-garde film, 1973’s Touki Bouki sits at number 66 on Sight & Sound magazine’s most recent Best of All Time list, had its restoration funded by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation and was even referenced by Jay Z and Beyoncé in the promo material for their 2018 tour (which led to an interesting discussion about cultural appropriation, especially as their tour took in not one African country). Is it any good though? Films end up on lists for all sorts of the wrong reasons – tokenism, lobbying and groupthink to name but three. The good news is that it’s as great as its reputation, a genuinely refreshing, technically … Read more
Tea Leoni and Nicolas Cage in The Family Man

The Family Man

On with the florid jumper, down with the heavy meat-based meal and away we go for Christmas. Oh no it isn’t, I hear you shouting. See, you’re getting it. But, inexplicably, when this festive-themed movie was released in the UK on DVD, it was decided that the middle of the summer was the time to do it. Windows, that’s the reason – the scheduling slots decreed by the suits to give the cinemas time to milk the product first, before the home entertainment departments get their hands on the big cash-laden teat. It’s that sort of film too – two sets of concerns vie for a hold on the central character, played by … Read more
Meryl Streep in spectacles

Let Them All Talk

Meryl Streep, Candice Bergman and Dianne Wiest star in Let Them All Talk and even before it’s started the names alone seem to suggest two possible outcomes. It’s either going to be an American version of one of those British Dame Dramas, in which various theatrical Maggies or Judis are arranged fragrantly and tastefully, with the odd “fuck” thrown in to show the noble ladies are still down to earth. Or it’s going to be a female version of one of those Four Old Dudes Go to Vegas comedies, in which the once hip gracefully accept they’re now in the hip-replacement demographic, with the odd “fuck” thrown, possibly of the physical sort, just … Read more
Christopher Lee, Linda Thorson and Cecil Cheng

The Avengers: Series 6, Episode 14 – The Interrogators

Charles Crichton directs and Christopher Lee guest-stars in The Interrogators, so we’re expecting good things of this episode of The Avengers, right? The plot is a good one – writer Richard Harris fleshing out an idea by Brian Clemens – and hinges on army chaps being tested to destruction by an interrogation outfit run by army chap Colonel Mannering (Christopher Lee). But if Mannering is absolutely on the level and on our side, why are there sadistic Chinese soldiers also on the scene, one of them holding the dreaded fly whisk? Of course he’s not on the level. Why hire Christopher Lee otherwise? Rewind a bit and we get a quick run-through of … Read more
John Moulder-Brown, David Niven, Gina Lollobrigida

King, Queen, Knave

Here’s the sort of film King, Queen, Knave is – one where a pratfall comes with a sound effect, in case the pratfall wasn’t obvious enough. One where a woman’s breasts seem ready to be fondled, as if fitted with a homing device for wayward hands. One where an attractive woman at a certain point in the evening slips into “something more comfortable”. One where bed springs are noisy. It’s from 1972, it might be no surprise to hear, and stars David Niven, Gina Lollobrigida and John Moulder-Brown – Niven plays German department store magnate Charles Dreyer, Lollobrigida is his lusty younger wife, Moulder-Brown is Dreyer’s nephew, a gauche and timid young thing thrown … Read more

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