In praise of Dwayne Johnson’s performance in Pain & Gain

With the release of Baywatch, Dwayne Johnson ventures into raunchy comedy mode, as the much beloved remembered TV show gets an affectionate piss-take update. Word of mouth on the reboot may be mixed, but that certainly isn’t a reflection of Johnson’s comic abilities. Cocksure humour was a key component of his wrestling persona, The Rock,… Read More In praise of Dwayne Johnson’s performance in Pain & Gain

How The Lost World taught me that films could be cruel

Twenty years on from its summer ’97 release, any reverence for The Lost World: Jurassic Park is largely restricted to people holding up for it as the best of the franchise’s sequels. Which is perhaps fair and certainly understandable, especially given that directors Joe Johnston and Colin Trevorrow, the series’ most recent torch bearers, have not managed… Read More How The Lost World taught me that films could be cruel

Review: The Other Side of Hope (Aki Kaurismäki, 2017)

Finnish writer-director Aki Kaurismäki is one of those filmmakers who scarcely tweak their formula, his own being a brand of deadpan, hangdog absurdism. His style is one that’s been refined through years of intense practice; his films all sort of look and feel the same, despite different plotting. But that’s no bad thing. The beauty… Read More Review: The Other Side of Hope (Aki Kaurismäki, 2017)

Review: The Secret Scripture (Jim Sheridan, 2016)

The most striking moment in Jim Sheridan’s The Secret Scripture occurs in the very first scene, as a soft Irish voice repeatedly states, “My name is Rose McNulty. I did not kill my child.” Older and younger incarnations of Rose are played by Vanessa Redgrave and Rooney Mara respectively. The former dictates an account of her misfortunes… Read More Review: The Secret Scripture (Jim Sheridan, 2016)