I have ascended to the ranks of the gainfully employed.

I’m terribly happy. Right now, even as I type, I’ve got a glowing ember of joy in my chest; the kind of simple bliss that we all had when we were eight and knew Christmas was a couple of days away, or that first visit to a pretty girl’s bedroom. Even the simple act of breathing kindles it and spreads …

The Karate Kid (2010)

Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) is a thin, wiry and likeable 12 year old from Detroit. Leaving America with his mother, who is relocating to Beijing for work (his absent father is mentioned only once, in a memory-laden height chart) – he’s got his work cut out. He can’t speak Mandarin well at all, he’s got next-to-no-friends, he’s bullied by particularly …

Toy Story 3

“When I became a man, I put away childish things.” Toy Story 3 is a dazzlingly confident and magical picture that recalls Paul of Tarsus’s quote, but its makers have never forgotten what it feels like to be children. Pixar Animation Studios continue their near unbroken run of animation masterpieces with a colourful and emotional return to the best toy …

Blank City

I’m a sucker for documentary films that show me an outlet for unadulterated and exuberant passion. In and among the poverty of Seventies and Eighties New York, Celene Danhier’s remarkable film Blank City gives us a compelling and well worked out cinematic essay on the politics and artistry of the place and time. Ultimately, it is your basic talking heads …

Evil In The Time Of Heroes

Ancient Greeks and modern life meets zombies in a timeywimey action horror. Sounds like a laugh, right? Wrong. An ancient evil is released (don’t ask how – the movie doesn’t say), and a handful of survivors must hole up against a gargantuan zombie horde. The streets are deserted, other than the pockets of very fast-on-their-feet zombies. It’s like 28 Days …

The Last Rites of Ransom Pride

“We killed every man, we killed every child, we killed every goddamn dog! And we rode all the women, and when they couldn’t ride no more, we killed them!” Set in Glory, Texas and the Mexican border – The Last Rites of Ransom Pride is a rather dull action Western. The story deals with prostitute Juliette Flowers (Lizzie Caplan) and …

Outcast

Outcast is a strange concoction of occult fantasy and social drama – think Ken Loach meets Angel Heart and you’re on the right track. An Irish woman, Mary (Kate Dickie) and her teenage son, Fergal (Niall Bruton) move to a lower-class council estate somewhere in “Bonnie Scotland, Lothian” and try to settle down. They are being chased by a pair …

SoulBoy

Joe McCain (Martin Compston) is a young man in the slump of his life – not educated enough to escape from his rural village in Nowheresville up North, and has found nothing in his life to stir passion, other than girls. A gorgeous hairdresser, Jane (Nicola Burley) catches his eye, as does her collection of Northern Soul badges and records …

The People versus George Lucas

Fanboys are excellent at bitching about minutae over series they love; you give ’em an inch, they’ll run off with a list of gripes as long as your arm. While offering no new discoveries about the man in charge of Star Wars, Alexandre O Philippe’s movie is a rather affectionate fanboy love-in and whingefest about the galaxy far, far away …

Superhero Me

Superhero Me immediately makes me think of all those deliciously sad people who wrote Jedi as their religion at the last census. They are such lovely, deluded creatures. First-time documentary filmmaker Steve Sale decides to become a superhero. His journey begins by recruiting comic-book experts for basic intelligence, for various traits that superheroes must have. In desperation, he even interviews …