On Failure

It’s 2:40am on a Saturday, in Southampton, and I can’t sleep. Because I failed again this week. And indeed again, and again, and again.

A friend of mine (and a few others) have told me that I’m special. That I’m going to go far, and that people need strong personalities like my own, even if it intimidates them. A not even slight secret about me: I’m bad at keeping my mouth shut. If you get me to talk, then I talk a lot, and I do so passionately. And I’m never shy to disagree when I see something that contradicts my values and my viewpoint. Maybe all of that’s why I seem to fail so much when I have to rely on the opinions of other people* to achieve success. Continue reading

Lessons from Listening to 100 albums in 3 months

In December 2015 I caved. I finally signed up to Spotify. My music world shifted on its damn axis. I was catching up on a few albums from 2015, so that I could submit an informed Top 10 of the year to The Edge, which meant multiple new albums each day.

Before the end of March,  this had become the new normal. Since the start of 2016, I’ve been going to the “New Releases” page of Spotify every Friday and saving as many albums as caught my eye. I didn’t start this with a goal in mind, but. 100 albums* in three whole months felt like a milestone. In that time I’ve actually learnt some things about music.

Continue reading

Review: Eliza And The Bear – Eliza And The Bear

This article was originally published to The Edge on 10th April 2016

Eliza and The Bear’s eponymous debut album is what happens when you put fans of Mumford and Sons in a room with fans of Imagine Dragons, shake the room vigorously to cause violent arguments and steamy sex as bodies fall into each other, and then have them exit, dazed, to tell a record executive exactly what they learned from each other – except none of the interesting sexual or philosophical lessons, but just what musical sounds they now enjoy. Continue reading

Review: The Huntsman: Winter’s War

This article was originally published to The Edge on 7th April 2016

In The Huntsman: Winter’s War, the current trend of spinning franchise potential out of old and new properties, through sequels, prequels, spin-offs, and more besides, has reached the apogee of cynicism and laziness.

Chris Hemsworth stars as Eric “The” Huntsman, reprising his role from the 2012 dark and gritty Snow White and the Huntsman. Here, we discover his origin story, not to mention that of “deceased” Evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), her sister Freya, the Ice Queen (Emily Blunt), who raised Eric and his forbidden lover Sara (Jessica Chastain) to be her Huntsmen. All collide, when Eric is asked by Snow White’s forces to find the magic mirror of Ravenna, at the same time as Freya attempts to recover it for her own evil schemes. Continue reading

In Defence of Cinderella (2015)

This article was originally published to The Edge on 1st April 2016

Disney are a multi-billion-dollar movie-making monopoly, with more films being made than one realises, but they’re also producing many of the better ones, for instance in the case of Marvel Studios. Disney are responsible for two of the biggest modern pop culture sensations: the nostalgia we have for Disney animations, and superheroes. If the latter are our modern myths and demigods, the cartoons are the new Shakespeare.

While the Disney remake production plan – this year’s The Jungle Book and Pete’s Dragon are both live action versions of “classic” Disney animations – is easy to see as a cynical money-making scheme (which is definitely part of it), they’re also being remade, reimagined, and retooled just like Shakespeare. Once we see the remake plan like this, and we stop judging Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella for not being “original”, it’s far easier to see why it’s a great film. Continue reading

Review: Anomalisa

This article was originally published to The Edge on 30th March 2016

In the voiceover of the trailer for Anomalisa, David Thewlis asks “What is it to be human?” and “What is it to be alive?”. These questions appear to be part of a grand, inspiring speech (a customer service adviser and motivational speaker), begging for applause. Yet Kaufman’s film takes these rhetorical questions and turns them into the desperate search of a human falling apart. Almost ironic, considering Stone is a puppet. Continue reading

Review: Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

This article was originally published to The Edge on 25th March 2016

After two years of excitement coupled with slight befuddlement, it’s finally here: an explanation for whyBatman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is called Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. It’s not because the film focusses on the conflict between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent and their caped identities, although it certainly does at some point. It’s not because the film is about the birth of the Justice League, although there’s glaring attempts at that. It’s not even because nobody showed Zack Snyder the word “VS” in a dictionary (for which there is unfortunately no textual explanation).

It’s because this is not one film. It’s at least two, slammed together, containing a trailer for a third. Continue reading

Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

This article was originally published to The Edge on 15th February 2016

When the first spoken line of your film is a deadpan bastardisation of Jane Austen’s legendary opener (“it is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains”) the audience has a choice to make. You can turn your nose up at the utter ridiculousness, which at the time is delivered with no tonal awareness. Or you can laugh with the film’s endearingly silly attitude. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is certainly not for everyone. Continue reading

Review: Goosebumps

This article was originally published to The National Student on 15th February 2016

If you never experienced the Goosebumps TV show or the books whilst you were growing up, it’s entirely possible that the movie adaptation will escape your attention.

Childish scares and twists, with endearingly cheap-looking monsters, and Jack Black, could be almost unbearable. So which of the hundreds of these classic kids’ stories did the director of the thoroughly terrible Gulliver’s Travels bring to the screen?

Surprisingly and ambitiously enough, he brought all of them and none of them. Continue reading