Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2016

Review | Suicide Squad

Picture the scene: David Ayer is pitching his idea for Suicide Squad at the Warner Bros headquarters, frantically throwing ideas together from a badly drawn together notebook. He triumphantly points to a line in the script, one that is uttered after a male character punches a female in the face, that reads "she had a mouth." "HILARIOUS RIGHT?!" Ayer shrieks unable to control his laughter as the members of Warner Bros look at each other nervously. This whole analogy basically sums up the sheer disappointment of Suicide Squad and makes me question the future of DC's planned extended universe.

The plot, a term I'm using VERY VERY loosely, follows bad-ass Amanda Waller (played flawlessly by Viola Davis) recruiting a team of well known super-villains such as Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and others (literally they're not even worth mentioning because of how little screen time they have) to save the world from an ancient sorceress known o…

Lunch with Rylan

Wearing an all-black ensemble, Rylan greets us with a friendly hello and handshake, bearing that infamous grin on his face that so many know him for. He's in Waterstones' Reading today doing a signing for his new book, 'The Life of Rylan', which comes at a time where he is becoming a household name. Recently announced as the new co-host of TheXFactor, he also presents Big Brother's Bit on the Side and has a segment on This Morning, which he recently co-hosted with his partner Dan. With everything going on, we ask why now to write a book, when he could have done years ago?

   "I was offered to a book months after X Factor finished (being a former contestant) but I felt it was embarrassing, because I don't do products, but then last year I was asked again and they really wanted to know my story before X Factor, before anything really, so I agreed to do it but if I was going to do it I wanted to do it myself."

  While on the topic we bring up The X Factor,…

The Girls - Emma Cline

Everyone has fleeting memories associated with a particular summer. Whether that be a song, a holiday, excursions with friends, you recall it perfectly and you are transported to the summer of whatever year it was like it was yesterday. For me, the memory of my summer in 2016 will be reading the phenomenal 'The Girls', Emma Cline's debut novel. Set in the hazy summer of 1969, the book depicts a fictionalised account of the Charles Manson cult and subsequent murders, all through the eyes of a young teenage girl, somewhat trapped between childhood and womanhood,  who becomes captivated with the group of girls that dominate the cult. Basically, this is an incredibly compelling novel that everyone should read this summer.

   Cline makes it clear that this isn't about Manson, or this in case Russell, it is instead about, as the title suggests, the girls that hover throughout the novel, wearing their femininity and sexuality on their sleeve, stroking marks of independence all…

Review | Ghostbusters

As I strolled into the screening of the hotly anticipated, yet, controversial of the rebooted 'Ghostbusters', I could almost feel the apprehensions and skepticisms of people floating through the air like ghoulish apparitions themselves. The film's trailer is the most disliked video on YouTube to date, and the internet is just breeding with misogynistic haters claiming that women cannot be 'Ghostbusters' and they're simply not funny. It's easy to see why some people are reacting this way, the original film struck such a fine balance in being genuinely funny and scarily frightening at the same time and for the same reasons remains a cult classic to this day. People don't want a franchise they love so dearly skewered or distorted, which I respect but, for the most part, Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' delivers on the humour, the scares and the source material that paved way for this film to be made, while also proving that women have always, and wil…

We are Orlando

I've had over four days to try and attempt to dwell on the heartbreaking events that happened over the weekend. Yet I still struggle to find words. I open up every form of social network and find all manner of people exclaiming their disbelief, their anger, their pain. I wondered whether it was worth writing anything at all, whether I would be regurgitating what has already been said by others across the globe. But then, I thought, an echo of the same idea is what gets people noticed, gets people talking, gets a seed planted firmly in the brains of others. So what exactly do I have to say?

   I say that I'm stunned, and still in shock of this viscous, uncalled for attack on the LGBT community. Clubs like Pulse have offered a place of sanctuary and shelter for those who felt shunned from the outside world, a place to feel free and unrestricted. Where you could be anyone you wanted to be. No one cared what you wore, how flamboyant or introverted you were, whether you danced or …

In Conversation with Giovanna Fletcher

Packing out an entire Waterstones is certainly a fine achievement, but with the radiant smile and gentility Giovanna Fletcher conveyed with her adoring fans, she never once seemed overwhelmed by the experience. Giovanna, wife to Tom Fletcher, is now an established author, actress, presenter, blogger and mother of two (recently obtaining the title of mother of the year) and she was in town promoting her newest book, Always with Love, a sequel to her debut novel Billy and Me. I was fortunate enough to be allowed a brief interview with Giovanna after the signing, in which I had planned to discuss her newest book, how being a mum influences her writing and, perhaps most importantly, the all-round importance of Nutella (it's very important!).

However, due to a tight time schedule I have to share my alloted interview time with a fellow journalist, and I arrive into the room as the interview has already begun. After seeing Giovanna interact with the massing crowds downstairs and from her …

Review | X Men: Apocolypse

"Well, at least we can all agree, the third one is always the worst" chuckles Sophie Turner's Jean Grey after sneaking out with her peers to go and see Return of the Jedi. Whether this a sly dig at the poor reception of 2006's X Men: The Last Stand or a eyebrow raising self assesment of the very film presented, Bryan Singer creates a film that zips along nicely with plenty of fun to be had, but ultimately struggles to overcome an uneven pace, the bar set high by its successor Days of Future Past and a villain so lacklustre that feels wasted on the very talented Oscar Isacc.

   The film follows the establishment of En Sabah Nur, better known as Apocalypse, as he awakens from a millennial sleep and deems the world around him as inferior, so with the help of his four hoursemen, he plans to bring...well, the apocalypse. Alongside that, Singer gives us new incarnations of the mutants we know and love as they learn to control their powers and, importantly, learn how to func…

Review | Captain America: Civil War

Following on from last summer's double whammy of 'Age of Ultron' and 'Ant-Man', Marvel now finds itself firmly rooted in Phase 3, a darker, more humane place than of the more traditional superhero offerings in the past. Based on the mini series of the same name, 'Civil War' is a broody, mature film that triggers the downfall of the Avengers we know and love; ultimately leaving them in a place in which they will never be the same again.

  First and foremost, this is billed as a 'Captain America' film, though the marketing would have you think it's more 'Avengers 2.5 ft. Black Panther ft. Spiderman', but I do think the film aligns itself with Cap's point of view, his emotions and his motivations. The plot has the Avengers confronted with the idea of legal registration on all superhero activity following an accident in Nigeria, caused unintentionally by Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). This causes a split in the group, with Tony Stark (R…

What Belongs to You - Garth Greenwell

Over the course of that wonderful time in year when one season transitions into the next, I picked up John Williams' 'Stoner', a rediscovered masterpiece exploring the life and sadness of the central character across a mundanely painted image of Midwestern America. I longed for Stoner to reach some form of formidable happiness and found myself fully invested in the tale Williams wove. Fast forward two months and I find myself revisiting the same feelings in Garth Greenwell's truly astonishing debut, 'What Belongs to You'. 

Set in central Bulgaria, the novel opens, rather abruptly, with the narrator (of which his name is never revealed) visiting a bathroom stall and paying for a "transaction" with Mitko, a young high-spirited rent boy, and then begins a dangerous game of the unnamed narrator chasing his explicit desires repeatedly through more encounters with Mitko while struggling with a silent shame that is deep-rooted from his past. Interestingly, Mi…

The People vs OJ Simpson | A Cultural Significance

Last night concluded what was, arguably, the finest drama series to hit television screens in a long time. American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson has span over ten, excruciatingly tense weeks telling the story of how celebrity footballer OJ Simpson was famously acquitted with the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. Given that the trial took place when I was less than a year old, I can only commend the writers, actors and everyone involved at FX for bringing this story into the twenty first century and to ground the cultural repercussions of the trial that are still strikingly relevant today.


      Issues of intense media scrutiny, racism, driving sexism toward women and the pressure of fame are just a handful of topics handled in the series, but what makes it more illuminating if a tad concerning, is how most of these issues are still present today. Riots in the street after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of the police can be contextualised furt…

Review | 10 Cloverfield Lane

9 years ago, when Transformers was just hitting cinema screens, there was a mysterious trailer attached to it that got a LOT of attention. No credits, no information, just a flurry of images presented in found footage format with it culminating in the decapitation of Lady Liberty herself with one word: Cloverfield. Word spread, viral marketing peaked an almighty high and people got excited about the prospect of seeing this film. It worked as a fun, found-footage monster movie but in typical J.J Abrams style, left a lot open ended and raised a number of questions, to which many people expected a sequel. Flash forward to January 2016, and a trailer gets attached to yet another Michael Bay produced flick (coincidental?) with the banner 'Cloverfield' before revealing the full title of 10 Cloverfield Lane. I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one who lost my collective mind at the prospect of a sequel or some sort of tie-in (though Director Dan Trachtenberg and Abrams both sta…

Generation Youtube is CONCERNING.

Ah generation Youtube. I must say, it's admiring. Imagine it, waking up every day and making a few videos revolving around how many biscuits you can shove in your mouth at any one time, or talking about what you got from your shopping spree at Boots. Hunky dory right? We live in a time where this platform is MONUMENTAL and shows no signs of stopping at any point soon. The next generation of young teenagers and kids look up to people such as Alfie Deyes or Zoella, as inspiration. These are the Bowies, the Beatles, the Madonnas, heck, even the Spice Girls of the next generation. Last year, Deye's net worth was an astonishing £2.9 MILLION, whilst girlfriend Zoella makes a cool £50,000 a month. A MONTH. FOR TALKING ABOUT LIPSTICK.

     But I hear you ask, Kieran, nothing is wrong with these people! They are simply young entrepreneurs trying to make their way in the world. I agree whole heartedly, they are doing well to make a living for themselves, but what I don't agree with i…