Saturday 30 April 2022

Quiet Time

 This is probably the first time in a long time I've only written and posted less than 4 posts in a month. 

I used to make sure I write two posts a week, now that seems an insane concept to me. Partly due to time constraints because work and other commitments and partly due to lack of inspiration. This month I have been busy with day job tasks, as we get closer to Cannes, it's just become more difficult to separate from that mind set. There has also been opportunities which I have already mentioned in a previous post. This month I have written a feature but that will be in print later this month (hopefully) and I was a guest on The Matinee podcast HERE. But not much else to show for my film viewing. 

I have read quite a few scripts - but I can't discuss these. I've also watched films for work and again, I can't discuss these. It's frustrating.

I know its going to be busy over the next couple of weeks too so things won't pick up here until June, also that depends on opportunities again.

My time has been spent catching up on TV (Our Flag Means Death) and obsessing over new TV shows (Heartstopper) and getting round to Ten Percent which I am very much enjoying. A few films in between as well as watching Poirot and just taking it easy. 

Hopefully I will have more to share than this in the next month.

Friday 15 April 2022


Controversy and Paul Verhoeven are familiar with each other, whether it’s for a reveal in a shot that is talked about for years later, or for one of the most loved ‘so bad its good’ films made or for his subject matters of his later films. His latest, Benedetta, didn’t escape controversy when the film was selected for a festival in the US and the local Catholic group protested it. Even before all of this excitement, the premise alone attracted speculation and if we’re all being honest, titillation. But as always Verhoeven tricks us with this smoke screen of expectation that there will be something to shock us when in fact he delivers a thrilling story that happens to involve a lesbian nun who claimed to have visions of Jesus.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE

Wednesday 13 April 2022

The Northman


As Hollywood goes through it’s trends, releasing films of similar veins, the outsiders continue making films that challenge the norm and new insight to genres that have been neglected. Vikings were once a source for cinematic appeal, briefly. If anyone can recall that over dramatic swashbuckling action film starring Kik Douglas and Tony Curtis as friends and rivals in the 1958 classic, The Vikings, Robert Eggers’ vision will definitely knock any remaining memory from your mind. Eggers’ take on the Vikings is something to behold and marvel at. There is violence, death, horror, copious amounts of blood and deep-seated vengeance at the core. Those who are squeamish, need not see this epic. However, they would be missing out on a truly fantastic mesmerising slice of cinema.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Sunday 10 April 2022


 There have been articles, posts, comments about gate keeping and supporting others, bringing people up with you and I still see more of this ilk but there is also been a steady stream of commentators on success. I am well aware there is an argument for the natural decline of film criticism and the downfall of the ‘old white male critic’ in favour of diverse voices. 

Obviously, I still believe that film criticism is an important part of the film exhibition and distribution vein of the film industry as a whole. I also strongly believe that diverse voices are needed, as with most creative things, varied opinions spark conversation. And not the kind where people try to best each other, that should have no place in film, at any stage. The heinous issue about whether a film critic or film journalist is worth listening to is same conundrum as the writer has about whether a film is good or not, it is all based on opinion. Film criticism is not excluded from the age-old problem of ‘it’s who you know’. I’ve encountered this issue time and time again, but this has nothing to do with gate keeping but about cliques. If you are a lone wolf trying to succeed as a film critic you have to hustle in your own way but will find it much harder without a pack. I’ve seen various writers in the last few years ‘move up’ and have that ‘access’ that I’ve been striving for for years, but as I am not in the ‘right’ clique and I haven’t met anyone who genuinely wants to uplift others writers, such sharing contacts, invites etc, seeing others moving up makes me think this was all for nothing. We have moved on to the age of the ‘young male white critic’ and I have only seen a few women ‘move up’ in the film criticism sphere. Can a film critic remain at the same point and be content? Or are you only worth a damn if you are ‘successful’? I wonder what does it even mean to be considered successful. 

Having been writing for over 10 years about film, a degree I never used under my belt (also about film), in the last year I haven’t watched that new releases and having retreated back into my cine-shell watching my old favourites, the ones I gave a second chance and that never ending pit of straight to streaming platform. I think is it time to ease into what I’m used to and stop worrying whether I am successful or not. Unlike many film writers of the moment, I was constrained by needing to get a job and when I found that film criticism is what I wanted to pursue, it was already too late. I had my full-time job and writing about film on the side. Then there was the pressure to make money from your side hustles, which any writer would tell you is difficult. Not being able to have the same access as others who didn’t have to worry about their day job meant that I was cut out in favour of those who were students and had the time. Just like any uphill struggle I was faced with publications not wanting to give me an opportunity because I was still ‘new’. I am by far not unique in experiencing these problems, but it is disheartening when it keeps happening, even now. 

They say Film Twitter is poisonous and that is correct. But through the poison you find friends and fellow writers who don’t want to start an argument at the drop of a film release. I thought maybe the key to success looks like the number of followers going up steadily or maybe it is the precious blue tick but really it’s when you receive a box of gifts from a distributors on a regular basis and get to brag about because who wouldn’t? There are moments of joy that mean more privately than publicly. 

If being cut out of the running for opportunities due to my full-time job was bad, then being cut out because I live in London was even more crushing. This ‘postcode privilege’ that I kept hearing about but had never even benefitted from just made me feel like I was one of the perpetrators in stopping regional film screenings. Film screenings should be held around the country or at least screener should be sent out more willingly, regardless of postcode. I can’t help the fact I live in London. I grew up here and I like it (for the most part) here. It should not be a reason to discount someone JUST because they live in London. It’s infuriating. 

What I have learned over the last few years as to how to be successful is that I must live outside London, have the freedom to be able to go to any screening/interview/junket, automatically have the right access to films, have the right circle of film friends and if I’m being really honest, a man. 

If anyone is reading this and thinking harshly of me for saying such things, I can’t stop you. The realistic truth is not easy to swallow. I have come to terms with this reality many times. You might think I’ve done nothing to try harder, but I have, oh but I have. Emails, messages, meetings, promises made by others, I am still trying. It all comes down to who you know and unfortunately not what you know. 

Apologies for the bleakness, but it’s been a tough decade.