There is a scene about two thirds of the way through Joker, when Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck is found outside a hospital by two detectives and briefly questioned. It's a miniature of all that Joker could have been, and all that it fails to achieve. The scene is tense and taut, with Fleck responding to … Continue reading Joker
It's tempting to think, in platitudes, that family is the same the world over; that we all have our blood ties, at the end of the day, and these connections will out. That's not really true though, or is simplistic, more kindly. Different cultures have radically different attitudes and expectations when it comes to family … Continue reading The Farewell
It's one of those curious coincidences that in the same month that Control featured strange invasions fuelled by beings from something labelled "the astral plane", Astral Chain should emerge with exactly the same basic concept and language. The similarities effectively end there, though both do feature a degree of mystery and otherworldliness. Where Control is … Continue reading Astral Chain
There's space for a lot more mystery in mainstream games - for fewer precise map-markers and arrow-straight narratives. Remedy's Control seems to be fighting that tide of conventions, for as much as it's also a conventionally impressive third-person shooter. You play Jesse Faden, a mysterious young woman arriving at the equally mysterious Federal Bureau of … Continue reading Control
Quentin Tarantino is indulgent. It's nothing new. What is more surprising is that his indulgences in OUATIH are a mixed bag, thematically slapdash despite their occasional brilliance. This is an atypical film from QT. Rather than an extended and multifaceted plot threading itself over time, we see the meandering stories of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), … Continue reading Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
If Endgame was an enormous banquet of a film, a gluttonous self-indulgence just about earned by a franchise that is increasingly dominating the planet, Marvel seems to have positioned Far From Home as a wafer thin mint to finish the lot off. But so soon after the release (and obviously-motivated re-release) of the generation-spanning Avengers … Continue reading Spiderman: Far From Home
I get it. I get the draw of it all. The challenge that feels insurmountable, before rearranging itself into beatable patterns over time, all funnelling into the dramatic catharsis of victory. Soulsborne games (is that moniker still current, given the latest entry?) demand precision, dedication and care, and reward players with drips of mythic story … Continue reading I’ve given up on Sekiro, and I’m not sorry
With all the inevitability of a purple half-giant snapping his fingers, the Avengers saga rumbles to a close, the world's box offices crumbling before it.
Are DC finally beginning to figure it out? If they can't have the world-beating, all-conquering cinematic mega franchise that Marvel have built, could they at least have a few films that aren't absolutely hideous? The closest conclusion available is now a hard "maybe". Zachary Levy is the titular Shazam, the title itself referring to the … Continue reading Shazam!
I may, eventually, get a tattoo marking the importance of another author’s work on my body. I may find another set of chronicles that I can’t stop myself reading annually, regardless of the outrageous commitment of time they demand. I may discover another written universe comparable in its inexplicability and allure. But for now, Gene … Continue reading Terminus Est: Gene Wolfe, 1931-2019