Jim Mackney

Jim Mackney

I am 26 year old freelance audio visual creative and writer. My writing includes film criticism and sports writing. I am also a Media Studies teacher and have been teaching at an inner-city London school for the last four years.

Midsommar: So-so Scandi shocker

Midsommar: So-so Scandi shocker

★★★☆☆ Midsommar is writer/director Ari Aster’s follow up to his debut smash hit, Hereditary. Hereditary focused on family life and the horrors that begin at home with guilt and resentment boiling over, descending into a grisly nightmare. Here with Midsommar, Aster serves up a similar affair but instead of a...

Film Review: Cold Pursuit

Film Review: Cold Pursuit

Liam Neeson may have blighted his career with the admittance of his “rape revenge” anecdote and in truth, it does sour the viewing of Cold Pursuit, a film with a plot built near solely on revenge… The Norwegian Hans Peter Moland directs ‘Cold Pursuit’, remaking his own 2014 film In...

Film Review: Alita – Battle Angel

Film Review: Alita – Battle Angel

Growing up, my understanding of Robert Rodriguez films consisted solely of Spy Kids. I did not watch Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn or subsequently Sin City or Machete. I suppose his work is a cultural blind spot for me but in truth I felt let down by Spy Kids, the...

Film Review: Assassination Nation

Film Review: Assassination Nation

If you splice Mean Girls, Spring Breakers and Tarantino levels of blood together you end up with Assassination Nation. Focusing on how the suburban enclave of Salem “loses its motherfucking mind”, after a mysterious hacker divulges the town’s deepest, darkest secrets online. Sam Levinson’s film starts off with its pedal to floor and doesn’t relent for a dizzying 110 minutes. The fatal trigger for the town is...

Film Review: First Man

The opening to First Man is an intense, dizzying few minutes which you hope is a dream sequence as it cannot be real life. The sound is deafening, the rickety nature of the X15 aircraft Armstrong is flying, brought home with full force as he ascends further into the atmosphere than intended. Although we know how First Man ends this is a glimpse...

TIFF 2018 – First Look Review: Retrospekt

Retrospekt is a drama from director Esther Rots, which comes nearly 10 years after her 2009 debut, Can Go Through Skin. The plot follows, Mette (Circé Lethem) a social worker who specialises in supporting female victims of domestic abuse, and her descent into danger by getting too close to a case she...

Film Review: The Happytime Murders

The Happytime Murders is the first feature film presentation from the production company, Henson Alternative, a relatively new arm of the Henson Company and it is a shame that the first feature length film to come from them is a woefully unfunny, cold picture where the initial humour wears off...

Film Review: Mission Impossible – Fallout

Film Review: Mission Impossible – Fallout

Name three action film heroes? You probably went for… Bond, Bourne and McClane. Or maybe The Rock? Perhaps however it is time to re-consider Ethan Hunt. Tom Cruise has played Ethan Hunt since 1996. 22 years and six films later we arrive at Mission: Impossible - Fallout. Surely this once...

Film Review: Hotel Artemis

Film Review: Hotel Artemis

Setting films in one place or over one night run the risk of not being able to gain enough depth to the characterisation or theycan feel hemmed in by their own surroundings. Hotel Artemis attempts to tell its storyboth over one night and in one location, drawing the audience in...

Film Review: Path of Blood

Film Review: Incredibles 2

It has taken Pixar nearly 15 years to deliver a sequel to the much-loved Incredibles, which is an eternity in cinema. When Bob “Mr Incredible” Parr (Craig T Nelson), Helen “Elastigirl” (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huckleberry Milner) and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) appear on screen, literally seconds since...

Film Review: Whitney

Film Review: The First Purge

The First Purge’s marketing campaign caused a stir when it released a teaser trailer in the style of a political advertisement. It riffed on classic Republican adverts and baited Donald Trump’s base, with a narrator asking the question, “What makes America great? The answer's simple, really, Americans make America great....

Film Review: The Bookshop

Film Review: Sicario 2 – Soldado

How do you approach making a follow up to a film that didn’t need a follow up? Do you stay true to the themes and tone of the original or forge a new path across the Mexican desert? Stefano Sollima’s Sicario 2: Soldado opts to stay true to what made...

Film Review: Bobby Robson – More Than A Manager

Film Review: Bobby Robson – More Than A Manager

Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager is a well-crafted documentary that focuses on both Robson’s football and personal life. So much so that the film does not open with a typical, fawning introduction but instead we are given a detailed and grisly account of the invasive cancer surgery Robson went...

Film Review: Edie

Film Review: Edie

Sheila Hancock plays the eponymous, Edie in this drab and slow moving film about a woman slowly moving. We see Edie in the first instance as a carer for her frail, elderly husband, George who seems to be nearly completely incapacitated. Her life as we first see it appears to...

Film Review: Mansfield 66/67

Film Review: Mansfield 66/67

Mansfield 66/67 focuses on the last two years of the Hollywood bombshell’s life and the documentary presents a slightly odd portrayal with much of it focusing on the salacious newspaper column inches that surrounded Mansfield’s final days and her relationship with the founder of the Church of Satan, Anton Lavey....

Film Review: The Strangers – Prey At Night

Film Review: The Young Karl Marx

The Young Karl Marx is directed by Haitian film-maker, Raoul Peck, whose previous work, I Am Not Your Negro - a documentary focusing on James Baldwin - earned him an Oscar nomination. His latest effort is an intense period drama of the early life and work of Karl Marx. The film...

Film Review: You, Me and Him

Film Review: You, Me and Him

The term ‘British comedy’ is not one to often conjure much hope and a genre known really for more misses than hits (for me), the latest British comedy to attempt to achieve success is the rather damp squib that is You, Me and Him. Starring actors that have been known...

Film Review: Love, Simon

Film Review: 120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)

120 BPM (Beats Per Minute) is a French drama film by Robin Campillo, focusing on the actions of ACT UP Paris, a direct-action movement looking to effect change in the fight against the Aids epidemic of the 1990s. The film is moving, combining triumph, failure and bliss to create a...

Film Review: The Bachelors

Film Review: The Bachelors

J. K. Simmons stars in this heartfelt indie-drama focusing on loss and grief. Simmons plays Bill Palet, an ageing Maths teacher and recent widower after 30 years of marriage. Bill’s adolescent and sensitive son Wes (Josh Wiggins) is also struggling to come to terms with his mother’s sudden and early...

Film Review: Mary Magdalene

Film Review: Mary Magdalene

Films that fall under the banner of ‘Biblical Epic’ tend to follow the rule that for every Last Temptation of Christ there is a Passion of The Christ. Mary Magdalene is the latest film to fit comfortably under the banner of ‘Biblical Epic’, and it’s from the director Garth Davis...

London Film Festival 2017: The Watchlist

Award Season Round Up – The Big Three

The 2018 Award Season is finally over and after all of the vast number of differing ceremonies and awards that have been given out, I have a few thoughts on 2018’s major winners. I could have chosen any number of awards ceremonies, but it seems fitting to take the Academy...

Film Review: Mom and Dad

Film Review: Mom and Dad

Nicholas Cage does a good line in B-movie flicks, they’re often quite bad but well loved because of the manic, hyper-real performances Cage gives and Mom and Dad is no different. In a typical American suburb tensions smolder below the surface in this horror-action-(unintentional?) comedy. The premise is that a...

Film Review: Birth of the Dragon

Film Review: Birth of the Dragon

George Nolfi’s tale of the ‘birth’ of Bruce Lee (Philip Ng), set in an evocative representation of 1960s San Francisco is at best an entertaining B-movie and at worst a straight to video bargain bin flick. The story focuses on a pre-legend Lee and his fight with Shaolin Master Wong...

Film Review: Lady Bird

Film Review: Lady Bird

Lady Bird is a film that deals with the trials and tribulations of first love, losing your virginity, and the final year of high school in a way that is rarely seen on the big screen. Each section of the film is given its own space to breathe, and although...

Film Review: Last Flag Flying

Film Review: Last Flag Flying

Richard Linklater’s latest film is a sequel, of sorts, to Hal Ashby’s 1971 great, The Last Detail, which starred a young Jack Nicholson. That film was concerned with questions around the ideas of legacy & impermanence, and Last Flag Flying continues this tradition, whilst also being shot through with a...

My Top Five Pixar Films

My Top Five Pixar Films

Pixar changed the game for animated cinema when they emerged from under the shadow of Disney back in the mid-90s, and have since gone on to make a string of high-calibre films that have been defined their visual vim and thematic intelligence, achieving significant worldwide success. Nearly everyone has a...

Film Review: Eric Clapton – Life In 12 Bars

Film Review: Eric Clapton – Life In 12 Bars

Lili Fini Zanuck’s latest film is a rock-doc that chronicles the turbulent life of Eric Clapton. The connection between director and subject goes back at least a quarter-century with Clapton scoring the only other film she has directed, Rush in 1991. The documentary the pair have created is engaging for...

Film Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Film Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Grief isn’t an emotion that can be easily managed, or simply placed into a box and thrown to the back of the downstairs cupboard. It isn’t an emotion that is fleeting; it lingers, manifesting itself through our actions and often making them appear irrational and suspect. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing,...

Film Review: Brad’s Status

Film Review: Brad’s Status

The idea of Ben Stiller playing a self-pitying white dude is not a particularly original one, yet here he finds himself once again in this new film by School of Rock writer, Mike White. Essentially a comedy drama, Brad’s Status is a film that yearns to be thought-provoking and rewarding,...

TLE Film’s Review of the Year: Five Total Turkeys From 2017

TLE Film’s Review of the Year: Five Total Turkeys From 2017

2017 has blessed the viewing public with some truly outstanding films, including Moonlight and Blade Runner: 2049. The heights of both direction and cinematography have been pushed to their limits, but alas there has to be a flipside. This list is a run down of some of the worst films...

Why I Watch Elf Every Christmas

Why I Watch Elf Every Christmas

“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favourite colour?” I have wanted to answer the telephone and say that to someone ever since I first watched Elf, but considering it would probably make me look like a mad man I haven’t. Instead, I quote it in my head every time someone mentions...

Film Review – Bingo: The King of the Mornings

Film Review – Bingo: The King of the Mornings

Bingo: The King of the Mornings is directed by the Oscar-nominated editor, Daniel Rezende, who worked on Meirelles’s City of God and Bingo is his directorial debut and Brazil’s official Academy Awards entry for best foreign film. It is ultimately a redemption drama, based on the true story of the...

Film Review: Mountain

Film Review: Mountain

When you visit a museum that occupies the fields of science or natural history there is often a screening room playing a documentary about the state of the world or showcasing one of the wonders of the world. It is these films that Mountain a documentary, funnily enough, about mountains...

Film Review: Mountains May Depart

Film Review: Mountains May Depart

There is an inescapable sadness that runs to the core of Mountains May Depart, the new film from director Jia Zhang-ke. It’s ambitious in its plotting, with three sequential narratives set in differing time periods. The first, set in 1999, is the most intriguing, with characters Liang (Liang Jingdong) and...

Film Review: The Dinner

Film Review: The Dinner

When watching The Dinner, you can imagine the producer shouting during casting, “Get me Richard Gere! Steve Coogan! Laura Linney! The brother from Orange is the New Black!” It is a shame that despite the stellar cast The Dinner possesses, the film completely fails to inject life into a melodrama...

Film Review: Most Beautiful Island

Film Review: Most Beautiful Island

Most Beautiful Island wants you to understand how hard life is for Luciana (played by writer/director Ana Asensio), an immigrant living in New York. The film piles on scene after scene of Luciana not being good enough; she is late for her baby sitting job, has to suffer through the...

Five Great Gruesome Horror Films

Five Great Gruesome Horror Films

The days are growing shorter, the nights are drawing in, and the temperature is plummeting. Horror films are an acquired taste, some people love them and some people despise them. I am firmly in the former camp, and happy to be a fully-fledged, card-holding horror fan. This list looks at...

The School of Life (L’ecole Buissonniere) : Film Review

The School of Life (L’ecole Buissonniere) : Film Review

L’ecole Buissonniere is a slow moving French period drama, one that is perfect for a cold, drizzly Sunday afternoon. This is not intended as a criticism and the film acts in the same way dunking a freshly ripped piece of bread into a steaming bowl of stew is often the...

Lurking In The Shadows: 10 Great Horror Films You May Not Have Seen

The Silence of the Lambs: Re-release Review

The Silence of the Lambs is a piece of classic horror cinema, and in the great canon of Hollywood horror it sits happily alongside The Exorcist and Nosferatu. The film is being re-released as part of the “BFI Thriller: Who Can You Trust” season and has been artfully up-scaled and...

Film Review: Zoology

Film Review: Zoology

“Zoology” is a film that starts off bleak but ends up becoming enchanting as it move towards its conclusion. Written and directed by Ivan I. Tverdovskiy and starring, Natalya Pavlenkova as the principal character, the story focuses on a middle-aged woman who grows a tail. This may seem like a...

Film Review: Killing Ground

Film Review: Killing Ground

“Killing Ground” is a horror film by Tasmanian born writer-director Damien Power. It is a film that takes its cues from other Australian horror cinema such as Wolf Creek and the film has tones of the low budget British horror, Eden Lake. The film focuses on Sam (Harriet Dyer) and...

‘Back to Burgundy’ (‘Ce qui nous lie’) Review

‘Back to Burgundy’ (‘Ce qui nous lie’) Review

A sense of history hangs heavy over ‘Back to Burgundy’ (‘Ce qui nous lie’), the new film from French filmmaker, Cedric Klapisch. ‘Back to Burgundy’ is a sentimental film and one that has a very good first act with the strongest writing of the whole film, nicely setting up the...