TV review – Everyone should be singing “Hap and Leonard, hallelujah”

It has become highly fashionable to discuss current US television as a ‘golden age’. Certainly judging by my social media streams discussing various TV shows (usually American, but with the occasional British breakthrough and Doctor Who) is as, if not more prevalent that talking about movies. So it’s something of a mystery why Hap and Leonard seems to be flying under the radar. Possibly because it is on Amazon streaming in the UK, which generally gets a much lower profile when it comes to broadsheet and blogger coverage than the more established Netflix. Well here are a few words to hopefully persuade you to give this terrific series a look.

It took me a while to come round to watch Hap and Leonard. I tore through the Joe R. Lansdale novels upon which the show is based in my early twenties, and was frankly nervous about another TV version of something I loved so dearly two decades ago (the watered down TV version of John Constantine springs to mind). But prompted by a few positive mentions from people with some modicum of taste (podcaster MJ Smith take a bow, @you_total_cult on twitter), and the fact that show runners Jim Mickle and Nick Damici had already made a good stab at adapting Lansdale with the 2014 film Cold in July I decided to take the plunge.

Well now I just feel like a total fool, because Hap and Leonard is about as near perfect an adaptation of Lansdale’s work as I count possibly imagine. Each series of the show adapts one of the novels over six episodes. The pace is leisurely, but never saggy, and the added scope of the TV format allows for a deeper exploration of not only the two principal characters, but also Lansdale’s colourful and occasionally grotesque supporting players. The more constrained timing of a feature film would pare many of these characters back to mere sketches, but over six forty-odd minute episodes there is time to explore.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Who are Hap Collins and Leonard Pine? Review follows… Continue reading

Best of 2017, horror, Movies, Reviews, thriller

Jordan Peele’s Get Out explores the uncanny landscape of racial tension

Coming to UK screens off the back of huge box office success in the US, low budget horror film Get Out is destined to be one of the most talked about films of the year. Review follows… Continue reading

Best of 2017, biopics, directors, Movies, Reviews

“Dear Lord, help me get just one more” – Hacksaw Ridge and the hellfire of combat

There follows a review of Mel Gibson’s triumphant return to the director’s chair Hacksaw Ridge. If you are looking for a review that will psychoanalyse Gibson you will be disappointed. I am entirely unqualified to go there, and will stick to discussing the actual film. Which is terrific. If you have followed Gibson’s fall from grace (and who hasn’t?) you can see Hacksaw Ridge and draw your own conclusions as to whether it is the work of a man actively seeking redemption or not.  Continue reading

best of 2014, british film, Favourite films, Movies

Favorite films – Pride (2014)

Shown this Christmas on BBC2, 2014’s Pride was my favourite film of that year and hopefully will find a wider audience on its terrestrial television premiere.

This is an article I wrote about the film (with a few minor edits) for the late and much lamented movie magazine Verite. Continue reading

Best of 2016, Movies

My 20 favourite films of 2016 – Part 1, no’s 20 -11

Obviously I have to do a top films of 2016 list right? No real ground rules, this isn’t the best films of the year, its my favorites from among the new films I have seen this year. My press screening attendance was limited this year, and my festival attendance non-existent, so it is a somewhat mainstream list and all these films received some kind of UK theatrical release in 2016.

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Movies, Reviews, thriller

Brad Pitt on autopilot ditches romantic thriller Allied into the channel

Opening in the UK on the 25th November, Robert Zemeckis, Brad Pitt, and Marion Cottilard hope to bring some classic Hollywood glamour back to the spy thriller. Do they succeed? Is the headline above a clue? Find out after the jump… Continue reading