Sharp Stick

Kristine Froseth and Sarah Jo

Like a lot of Lena Dunham’s work, Sharp Stick is a quirky dramedy set among the delusional and self-obsessed. With its strong autobiographical element it sits neatly alongside her early web series Delusional Downtown Divas (which kind of says it all), her breakthrough movie Tiny Furniture, and her TV show Girls. Dunham appears in it, and also produces, writes and directs, but it all hangs on one-time model and star of Netflix’s The Society Kristine Froseth, as a spectacularly naive woman who lives at home with her jaded mother and influencer sister and then gets into sex all of a sudden, aged 26, after seducing the father of the kid she babysits. Dunham … Read more

The Spectacular Now

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now

Feeling, looking, sounding like a very dark John Hughes film (Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller period), The Spectacular Now also has in Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley exactly the sort of actors Hughes might have cast – not the prettiest, but the most personable, the most “relatable” as we now say. It’s Teller’s first starring role, after standing out in a series of supporting roles, notably adding a gloss to the comedy 21 & Over that the sub-standard joke writing certainly wasn’t delivering. And at first sight he’s playing a similar kind of character, the bright funny jock. Except this isn’t the successful jock the movies encourage us to pity – because of their muscular … Read more


Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh in eXistenZ

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 14 June Charles Babbage’s difference engine, 1822 On this day in 1822, Charles Babbage presented a paper to the British Royal Astronomical Society. It was called “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables”. What he was proposing was, in effect a mechanical computer. First conceived in 1786 by JH Müller, an engineer in the Hessian army, the difference engine was of interest to governments because it allowed them to produce tables (of whatever sort – tides, for instance) much more economically. To this end, in 1823 the British government gave Babbage £1,700 to make … Read more


Jude Law in eXistenZ

Combining two fields of interest of director David Cronenberg – the mediated-reality musings of Videodrome and the body horror of almost everything else he’s done – eXistenZ is about a video game designer dropping into the gamesworld she’s created, accompanied by a good-looking marketing trainee, to work out if it still all works after an assassination attempt on its creator. Jude Law is handsome and chiselled and pretty much perfect as the slightly blank computer-game virgin and Jennifer Jason Leigh also scores high as the programmer who’s developed a gaming environment so realistic that it makes real life look lacklustre. This parallel reality where industrial and organic coalesce (a gun that shoots human … Read more