• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

287. Top Gun: Maverick – This Just In (#50)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Luke Dunne and Joe Griffin, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, Joseph Kosinski’s Top Gun: Maverick.

More than thirty years after graduating, top naval figther pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell is summoned back to Top Gun. His assignment is to train a new generation of hotshot fighter pilots for a seemingly impossible mission. However, Maverick quickly discovers that what is past isn’t ever truly past.

At time of recording, it was ranked 50th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

Continue reading

New Escapist Column! On How “Strange New Worlds” Embracing a Familiar “Star Trek” Staple: The Unfunny Comedy Episode…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+. The fifth episode released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

Spock Amok is a transparent attempt at a comedy episode, a genre that has always posed a bit of a challenge for the Star Trek franchise. The various spin-offs and sequels have a fairly even hit-and-miss ratio when it comes to delivering high concept laughs within the franchise’s science-fiction framework. Spock Amok returns to the goofy concept of body transformation and swapping that drove earlier franchise attempts at comedy, from Rascals to Body and Soul. The results are mixed, but that feels very true to the franchise’s roots.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Top Gun” as a Monument to Reagan’s Eighties…

I published a new piece at The Escapist over the weekend. With the release of Top Gun: Maverick at the weekend, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the original Top Gun.

It is debatable whether Top Gun is a good movie. However, it is a defining movie. There are few movies that so profoundly and so effectively capture a time and place on film. Top Gun is a movie that is very much in step with the era around it, the story of a nation still recovering from the trauma of Vietnam and embracing a rugged individualist fantasy as a way of working through the lingering after-effects. At its core, Top Gun is a movie about the necessity of letting go of one’s guilt or responsibility towards others in order to be the best that one can be.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! On How “Star Wars” Learned the Wrong Lessons from Solo…

We’re thrilled to be launching a fortnightly video companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch every second Monday, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel. And the video will be completely separate from the written content. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

With the arrival of Obi-Wan Kenobi on streaming, it seems like a good time to take a look back over Disney’s ownership and management of the Star Wars brand. In particular, Solo: A Star Wars Story, which was the moment where everything seemed to go wrong for the company’s vision of the larger franchise. It should be possible to learn from past mistakes, and Solo certainly provides an ample amount of education material, but can Disney learn the right lessons?

New Escapist Column! On “Top Gun: Maverick” as a Tom Cruise Movie About Tom Cruise Saving Movies…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Top Gun: Maverick, it seemed like a good opportunity to talk about the blockbuster sequel. In particular the way that it is a movie that is very consciously and very deliberately built around its star.

Tom Cruise has been described as one of the last movie stars, and that means that the actor exerts a certain gravity on his projects. Most Tom Cruise movies wind up being about Tom Cruise in one way or another. This is particularly true as Cruise has entered the later years of his career, as Hollywood has changed around him and as he has found himself having to constantly fight to assert his own relevance in a rapidly-shifting market place. Most recent Tom Cruise movies are about this, in one way or another, and Maverick is no different.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On the MCU’s CGI Problems…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of the trailer for She-Hulk last week, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the raging debate over the very questionable use of computer-generated imagery.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest multimedia franchise in the world, and its projects enjoy some of the biggest budgets. So why do so many of their special effects look so terrible? There are a number of reasons for this, tied to both larger cultural trends, the visual effects sector as a whole, and the peculiarities of Marvel Studios’ production methodology. The result of all this comes together to explain why some of the most expensive movies on the planet look so cheap.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Irish Independent Column! On the Rehabilitation of the “Star Wars” Prequels…

I published a new piece at The Irish Independent this evening. With the release of Obi-Wan Kenobi next week, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the slow and steady rehabilitation of the Star Wars prequels.

To a certain generation of Star Wars fans, the prequels will always be an abomination. Over the years, the three films have become a punchline to a joke that nobody began, an impression reinforced through popular culture. However, recent years have seen an appreciable shift in how the prequels are portrayed, with fans seeming to come around on the films and Disney seeming to fold them into the larger marketting of the brand. It’s interesting to look at how (and why) that happened.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

285. Trainspotting (#173)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Emma Kiely, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting.

Using heroin to numb the pain of simply existing, Mark Renton drifts through a series of episodic adventures in nineties Edinburgh. Renton and his friends find themselves caught up in a web of sex, violence, drug abuse and existential malaise, grappling with challenges both large and small as they struggle to make it out the other side of their experiences.

At time of recording, it was ranked 173rd on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

Continue reading

New Escapist Column! On the Urge to Stop Imitating John Carptenter and Just Hire John Carpenter…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Firestarter in theatres and on Peacock, and the way that the movie draws overtly from Carpenter, it seemed like a good opportunity to ask the question: why aren’t studios simply paying John Carpenter to make movies?

After all, Carpenter is a director who is responsible for some of the most influential and beloved horror movies ever made, including The Thing and Halloween. Modern horror owes a massive debt to Carpenter, a debt that it repays by paying him as an original creator, as an executive producer, or even as a composer. However, with Carpenter openly stating that he would love to return to directing under the right conditions, it’s worth asking why studios haven’t done more to assure those conditions.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “Strange New Worlds” Takes Small Steps Towards Improvement…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. We’re doing a series of recaps and reviews of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is streaming weekly on Paramount+. The third episode released this week, and it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the series.

Like both Strange New Worlds and Children of the Comet, Ghosts of Illyria is drawing on a familiar stock Star Trek plot. This is the traditional early-season viral infection plot, recalling The Naked Time, The Naked Now, Babel or Dramatis Personae. It’s a tried and tested formula. That said, there’s a good reason for a young show to try an episode like this, primarily as it invites the cast to push themselves outside of their character templates, so the production team can recognise and develop interesting new facets of these characters. It’s not the worst idea for a first season episode.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.