Film Review: American Honey

This article was originally published to The National Student on 10th October 2016

When Star (Sasha Lane) meets Jake (Shia LaBouef) he proposes that she join him and his friends in their work as a travelling magazine sales crew, in Andrea Arnold’s latest Cannes triumph. 

Their instant spark convinces her to abandon the broken and impoverished home life she leads in Kansas, and set out with the team. Under the watchful eye of the white trash queen bitch Krystal (Riley Keough), she travels the south and Midwest of America, selling subscriptions and experiencing a greater amount of life than she previously had. But as she pursues a relationship with Jake, her newfound freedom and family is placed in increasingly precarious situations.  Continue reading

Film Review: Nerve

This article was originally published to The National Student on 27th July 2016

★★★★☆

You’d be hard pressed to think of a film from the last year that opens with a scene more on-the-nose as Nerve.

NerveEmma Roberts’ Vee is procrastinating on her Macbook, Facebook stalking her high school’s football star, and listening to “sick choons” on Spotify. We see close ups of her cursor as it hovers over various icons; it waits temptingly over the “Like” button for her crush’s photo; we see her biting her lip, her facial movements tentative in extreme close-up; Vee gets a Facetime call from her best friend Sydney (Emily Meade). Continue reading

Justice League, Wonder Woman, Blair Witch and all the other best trailers from San Diego Comic-Con

This article was originally published to The National Student on 24th July 2016

Every July, film studios flock to San Diego Comic-Con, the biggest event of its kind in the world, to show off their latest productions to the nerdiest people in the world.

In recent years, to side step the piracy problem, those same studios have been releasing the footage they show there to the general public, within a few hours.

We’ve collected the best (or otherwise) footage revealed in the famed Hall H from the last few days, of the films you should know about over the next year.

Spoiler – there’s a lot of superheroes… Continue reading

Album Review: Band Of Skulls – By Default

This article was originally published on The National Student on 25th May 2016

★★★★☆

The biggest departure for Band of Skulls on their fourth album By Default may in fact be the album artwork.

Their first three albums all fit the same visual themes, with kaleidoscopic, multi-coloured Rorschach tests belying the reliable, riff-laden songs beneath, which only built in scale with each album. Here, we’re instead presented with a near-empty concert hall, except for a lone guitarist and the band’s kit. Not as eye-catching an image, but there’s a palpable sense of empty space in the frame, full of opportunities just waiting to be further explored. It’s a perfect metaphor for an album which strips back the band’s instruments, relying entirely on lead guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, yet never feels detached from previous work. It’s a fresh start from where more is possible, especially when the band plays around with empty spaces in their sound.

Continue reading

Film Review: Alice Through The Looking Glass

This article was originally published to The National Student on 11th May 2016

★★☆☆☆

How do you make a sequel to one of the most successful, critically savaged films of the century?

2010’s Alice In Wonderland was a green screen, Tim Burton-fever nightmare, with few characters who actually resembled real people, personality or appearance-wise.

This sequel, more than half a decade later, obviously seeks to capitalise on the more than Billion-dollar grossing success of the original, and without Tim Burton behind the camera (he’s serving as a producer; the guy behind-the behind-the-camera guy), you’d hope it could indeed be an improvement. 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

Review: Sisters

This article was originally published to The National Student on 11th December 2015

This year, seeing the lead character of Trainwreck and now of Sisters be women in their 30s and 40s who refuse to quite let go of their 20s party-lifestyles, we may be due a moratorium on the word ‘manchild’. A more gender neutral term is needed: like ‘The Un-grown’.

Sisters follows Kate (Tina Fey) and Maura (Amy Poehler), titular siblings of the picture. Kate is a single 40-something mother who’s recently been let go from her job and can’t find a permanent home. Younger sister Maura is divorced and still single after two years, worrying too much about other people in her nice, organised way to sort her own life out. Continue reading

Live Review: Lonely The Brave @ Talking Heads, Southampton – 23/11/2015

This article was originally published to The National Student on 26th November 2015

Following the re-release of their debut album The Day’s War, summer spots at several festivals including the main stage at Reading and Leeds, and several months in the studio, Cambridge rockers Lonely The Brave returned to Southampton gig spot Talking Heads midway through their November tour. Continue reading

Review: Spectre

This article was originally published to The National Student on 29th October 2015

It may not seem like it, but in the three years since Skyfall graciously fell upon audiences, there’s been something of a sea change in the spy movie genre.

Where Casino Royale saw Bond catching up to Jason Bourne and the hardened, realistic aesthetic of those films, Skyfall was an introduction of classic Bond tropes to the Daniel Craig-era of modernity and roughness. Craig has proven that he can act his way around the nasty elements of a character several decades past his time. Continue reading