• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Non-Review Review: Greyhound

Greyhound is a tight and claustrophobic maritime thriller that knows pretty much exactly what it’s doing.

At its best, Greyhound capitalises not just on Tom Hanks as the patron saint of dads, boomers and the American cultural memory of the Second World War, but also as a time-displaced Jimmy Stewart. This makes a certain amount of sense. Despite the presence of character actors like Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan and Elizabeth Shue, Tom Hanks is the only star in Greyhound. The film remains tightly focused on Captain Ernest Krause, the commander assigned to protect a convoy of supplies crossing the Atlantic shortly after America’s entry into the Second World War.

It doesn’t exactly shatter expectations.

It makes sense that Greyhound should be tailored to Tom Hanks. Hanks wrote the screenplay, adapting it from C.S. Forrester’s The Good Shepherd. More than that, Hanks has demonstrated his strong interest in the history of American involvement in the Second World War with films like Saving Private Ryan and television series like Band of Brothers and The Pacific. As such, Greyhound feels like it fits perfectly within the actor’s wheelhouse.

This is an illustration of how effectively Greyhound works. Greyhound is a movie that knows what it needs to deliver, and sets about delivering that in the most efficient manner possible.

The old man and the sea.

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: Promising Young Woman

This film was seen as part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020. Given the high volumes of films being shown and the number of reviews to be written, these may end up being a bit shorter than usual reviews.

Promising Young Woman is a deeply uncomfortable watch. As it should be.

The basic premise of Emerald Fennell’s theatrical debut is decidedly thorny. Cassandra is a thirty-year-old woman who spends her weekends going to bars and acting so drunk that she can barely stand. Inevitably, a “nice guy” arrives to volunteer to help. He usually bundles her into the back of a taxi and takes her back to his place. Then, things get very uncomfortable – particularly when they realise that Cassandra is nowhere near as incapacitated as she appears to be. It’s a hell of a hook.

Promising Young Woman is the kind of film that is going to generate lots and lots of “discourse.” It will stoke strong opinions. It will spark uncomfortable conversations. It is an incredibly loaded film. All of this makes Fennell’s accomplishment all the more impressive. Promising Young Woman is a remarkably confident and assured debut feature, a film which navigates an almost impossibly fraught subject with a surprising amount of charm and wit. Promising Young Woman is heartbreaking and hilarious, raw and riotous, often pivoting between extremes in the space of a single scene. It’s a deft balancing act.

However, the most remarkable thing about Promising Young Woman isn’t just the way that Fennell manages all these tensions within the film. Promising Young Woman manages to create a palpable and compelling tension with the audience – a perfectly calibrated push-and-pull that knows exactly which buttons to push and when, for maximum effect. Promising Young Woman is a film that challenges its audience as much as its characters, and that is what makes it such a striking piece of film-making.

Note: It is probably best to see Promising Young Woman as blind as possible, without any real foreknowledge of what the film is doing or how it does it. This review will not go into too much depth, but discussing the film means discussing some of those mechanics. Consider this a light spoiler warning, and an unqualified recommendation.

Continue reading

The X-Files – Ascension (Review)

This August (and a little of September), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the second season of The X-Files. In November, we’ll be looking at the third season. And maybe more.

Ascension is effectively a giant chase sequence and an epilogue to the first six episodes of the second season. While lacking the tight focus of Duane Barry, Ascension moves fast enough and provides enough plot momentum that it feels like a satisfactory conclusion. For an episode that was essentially written to deal with a cast member’s unexpected pregnancy, it’s a pretty fantastic piece of television.

Keep watching the skiis... er, skies!

Keep watching the skiis… er, skies!

Continue reading

Star Trek (DC Comics, 1989) #19 – Once a Hero… (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the episodes with some additional materials – mainly novels and comics and films. This is one such entry.

Once a Hero… is a notable story for a number of reasons. The most obvious is that it’s Peter David’s last issue of DC’s monthly Star Trek comic, departing the comic book after a pretty bitter disagreement with Richard Arnold, who was overseeing Star Trek licensing at the time. Given that David wrote The Incredible Hulk for twelve years and remains a prolific and well-liked comic book creator among the comic community, as well as a guiding light in Star Trek tie-in fiction, that’s a pretty damning indictment of Richard Arnold right there.

However, Once a Hero… is also notable for being an in-depth exploration and reflection on the “red shirt” narrative convention that the franchise loved so dearly.

A grave adventure...

A grave adventure…

Continue reading