Black Mass: A Hot Mess

It’s been a poor year for gangster cinema – Cell Magazine‘s Laurence Langan writes for Hollywood Hegemony on why Johnny Depp’s latest vehicle, Black Mass, does little to buck that trend.



You’re in the pub. Everyone’s talking. Politics, T.V or general gossip, it doesn’t matter. You’re having a good old gab. You jump in to the conversation with a flourish, monologuing passionately about the way the world is. Cement solid points and clever informed witticisms flow forth. Then, as you go on, you sort of lose track of what you’re saying. First you’re generalising. Now you’re quoting something out of context.  Then you’re just plain making something up. Soon, you trail off and mutter a sort of open ended, vacuous moral and quickly pretend you need to go and use the facilities. Exit stage left.

This kind of social awkwardness is what watching Black Mass is a bit like. A muddled, pointless ramble with zero self-awareness.  Continue reading

Norwich Radical Film Festival Launches

With the first Norwich Radical Film Festival scheduled for August 2015, the campaign to build a vibrant and varied platform for alternative radical politics began in earnest last month, with the first in what will be a monthly series of screenings.
Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone was screened to a full-house at Take 5’s Crypt in Norwich – and was brilliantly prefaced by festival Events Organiser and Spanish horror academic Irene Cuder (who you may recognise from our documentary film Witches and Bitches last year). The full introduction can be seen in the film below. If you like what you see, the next screening will be of Waltz with Bashir, on November 18th, 7pm at the Assembly House in Norwich. 

“Not on my watch”: Doctor Who shows us how to really treat Remembrance Day

On the 11th of November, as we remember those who have died in wars past and present, it is important that we learn the lessons of our painful history, and say never again. While news and television coverage of Remembrance Day seems to have long forgotten this though, helping re-purpose a ceremony that now sees wreaths laid to sanctify war, rather than to end it – there was still someone who took a stand for peace. The Doctor.

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Fear the Walking Dead

Beyond hastily constructed concrete walls and vicious barbed wire fences, the tedious humdrum of the ‘safe zone’ is drowned out, by a relentless and chilling noise. They say if you listen long enough your sanity will disintegrate quicker than the crumbling cement, meant as a temporary measure until the government or the army could regain control, now serving as an unwitting coffin. Continue reading

An Inspector Calls: a snapshot of 1912 — and of 2015

Alex Hort-Francis reviews the BBC’s adaptation of An Inspector Calls, and considers why it is still “better to ask for the world than to take it”.

I first read JB Priestley’s play at school. Amongst the terribly tedious Austin novels and obscure poetry we were compelled to study, An Inspector Calls has always stuck in my memory. Its atmosphere sinks deep into your imagination – the dimly-lit cosiness of an upper class home saturated with delicacies, as if the finer things in life could pressurise the air against the collective anguish eager to seep in. Back then I was — as far as anyone can be — apolitical. Watching Sunday’s BBC adaptation, I’m struck by just how subversive a choice of reading material Priestley’s play was for a grammar school in Kent. Continue reading

Jimmy Snuka and Misogyny in Wrestling

Snuka Argentino

In light of the charges brought against Jimmy Snuka, Adam Hofmeister examines the history of misogyny in professional wrestling.

TW: graphic descriptions of violence against women, rape, domestic violence.

2015 has been a very rough year for WWE. Dusty Rhodes and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper have vaulted off of the mortal springboard, Daniel Bryan has retired due to being physically broken in 3.5 million places and, most infamously, Hulk Hogan, the very face of wrestling itself, has been unceremoniously fired from the company for racist comments he made in (of all places) a sex tape back in 2007. Continue reading

What’s your favourite scary movie: In defence of Scream, in rememberance of Wes Craven

Today, Hollywood’s horror scene lost a member of its royalty, with the passing of Wes Craven. While there is a good deal of idealistic memorialising no doubt going regarding his career – which let’s be fair, was as filled with flops as it was with shocks – I feel the need instead to leap to defense to one of his most maligned successes; Scream (1996). While Scream’s legacy was, as was the case with the bulk of Craven’s hits, hindered by a string of less effective sequels, and while it arrived on screens very much toward the end of the ‘slasher picture’ rising star, in a box-office lull where horror looked destined for the bargain-bin, to my mind its genre-savvy social commentary and cutting social critiques make it the very apex of its cinematic genome.

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