The best and worst films of 2015… that I didn’t review

Jeez. 2015 was a stinker. Mostly, it was a year racked with cinematic let-downs – as a long list of franchises made big budget returns to the screen only to disappoint. Like going through the motions with a former lover, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Terminator, the James Bond franchise all reused their same stale old tricks while sadly tarnishing the memories of a pristine and exciting affair from long ago. And yes, I appreciate Star Wars 7 wasn’t an utter disaster. But really, can you look me in the eye and tell me it worked as a standalone film? If this were the first one you saw, would you be queueing outside Odeon in the bleak December cold waiting for tickets to its sequel? I doubt it. Anyway, I digress – Star Wars was not really interesting enough on either end of the scale to register on this list. The rules are the same as last year, “definitive best and worst lists are so impossibly selective, and rely on a reviewer seeing literally everything in order to be credible. This is not that.” So here goes, the best 3 and worst 3 I never reviewed – and one of each that I did. Let’s make the best of what was a disappointment of a year, and hope that surely in 2016, things can only get better.

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Twas the night before Christmas…

IT’S JUST ONE HOUR UNTIL THE DAY ITSELF. We at Hollywood Hegemony hope that your stockings are crammed with goodies. But if it’s coal then at least you’ll have this Christmas gem to wake up to; our very own ‘analysis’ of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. So, merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nightmare.

Speeches against…

Following a disasterous vote in Parliament yesterday, where 66 “Labour” MPs voted in favour of shelling Syria, the news has been awash with sycophancy, none worse than the glowing reviews currently being slathered over Hilary Benn’s over-done performance.

The Shadow Secretary for Murder made what has been described as a “powerful,” “emotional” and “compelling” case for a bombing campaign that “moved MPs to tears” according to the Blairite rag that is the New Statesman. Every other say on the matter has basically been airbrushed from history – in favour of celebrating a speech that has dragged Britain into another blood-stained shambles of a conflict. Hooray for war. Hooray for slaughter. Hooray for repetitive strain. Continue reading

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.

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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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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