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302. Requiem for a Dream (#84)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, with special guest Richard Drumm, 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.

This week, Darren Aronofsky Requiem for a Dream.

Four Brooklyn residents navigate addiction and isolation in its various forms, through Summer, Fall and Winter. There is no Spring.

At time of recording, it was ranked 84th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On “The Northman”, and the Desire to Make Movies Weird Again…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of The Northman in the United Kingdom this week and in the United States next week, it seemed like an opportunity to take a look at the welcome return of weird to the blockbuster arena.

Modern blockbusters are frustratingly generic. As budgets have ballooned and intellectual property has trumped high concepts, studios have grown increasingly conservative with their larger projects. This is part of what makes The Northman so interesting. It’s great to see a director like Robert Eggers receive a reasonable budget and a sizable platform in order to make a movie that speaks very specifically to his own aesthetic. It’s refreshing to see a movie this expensive that is this committed to its aesthetic.

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

New Escapist Video! “The Northman is a Breathtaking Blockbuster”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a three-minute film review of The Northman, which is in theatres in the U.K. and Ireland now and in the United States next week.

277. The Batman – This Just In (#67)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Graham Day and Niall Glynn, 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, a new entry: Matt Reeves’ The Batman.

Bruce Wayne is in the second year of his war on crime in Gotham, and things are not improving. Indeed, the city is thrown into anarchy when a new villain calling themselves the Riddler begins targetting city officials and threatening to unmask the city’s darkest secrets. Can Bruce survive what is coming? Can the Batman? Can Gotham?

At time of recording, it was ranked 67th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Podcast! Your Feature Presentation – “Ranking the Live-Action Batmen from Worst to Best”

The Escapist have launched a new pop culture podcast, and I was thrilled to join Jack Packard for the sixth episode. Jack and I get to rank the live action Batmen, in preparation for the upcoming release of The Batman.

275. The Godfather (#2)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Philip Bagnall, 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, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather.

Michael Corleone has spent most of his life running away from his family connections, enlisting in the United States Marines to avoid the siren call of his father’s organised crime empire. However, when Michael returns home for his sister’s wedding, events conspire to draw the prodigal son back into the family business.

At time of recording, it was ranked 2nd on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On Overthinking “Jackass”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of Jackass Forever this weekend, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the cultural phenomenon.

It’s possible to look at Jackass as the intersection of three overlapping traditions in entertainment, particularly American entertainment: the freak show, the silent comedy and early reality television. There’s a fascinating and heady cocktail at play in this, and Jackass exists as a curious modern hybrid. There is sense of evolution here. There’s perhaps something to admire in the way that the cast of Jackass retain control of their narrative.

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

268. Incendies (#110)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies.

Following the death of their mother Nawal, twins Jeanne and Simon find themselves dealing with dark family secrets bubbling to the surface. Nawal’s will includes two instructions for her children, to find both their father and their long-lost sibling. While Simon dismisses this last request as another manipulation from an emotionally-distant mother, Jeanne embarks on an epic journey to trace her family’s history and perhaps change its future.

At time of recording, it was ranked 110th on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On “The Matrix Resurrections” and the Rejection of False Binaries…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of The Matrix Resurrections on HBO Max and in theatres, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the film and its themes, in particular its relationship with the earlier films in the franchise.

The Matrix Resurrections is a movie that exists very much in conversations with the previous films in the series, expanding and developing the core themes that made the original such a hit. In some cases, director Lana Wachowski has taken the opportunity to expand upon and develop the big ideas in the previous films. In particular, The Matrix Resurrections is a film that rejects the idea of rigid boundaries – the red and blue pills, the black-and-white green-tinted filter, “us and them”, even Neo and Trinity. It’s a very thoughtful and considered update of the ideas that underpin the larger franchises.

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

New Escapist Column! On Making Sense of “For the Fans”…

I published a new column at The Escapist earlier this week. With the recent releases of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of SkywalkerGhostbusters: Afterlife and Spider-Man: No Way Home, it seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on the argument that franchise brand extensions exist “for the fans.” What does that even mean?

As a fan myself, I find myself unsettled and disturbed by the idea that these sorts of properties should exist primarily for the satisfaction and consumption of the existing fanbase, not least because it means validating certain kinds of fans above others and pushes franchises towards an aesthetic conservativism that often strangles them. Perhaps the best thing to do “for the fans” is simply to make media as good as possible and let history sort the rest out.

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