James McAllister

James McAllister

Film journo and online editor with a tendency to buy more DVDs than he knows what to do with. James has a hearty willingness to watch anything, a guilty love for action films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a fervent dislike of anyone who dismisses a film before they've seen it!

Film Review: Captain Marvel

Film Review: Captain Marvel

“I have nothing to prove to you,” says Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers towards the end of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s highly enjoyable introduction to Marvel’s mightiest female Avenger. It may be directed at Danvers’ enemy, but this is a statement that transcends the narrative boundaries of the MCU. To...

Film Review: Ant-Man and The Wasp

Film Review: Ant-Man and The Wasp

They say that size doesn’t matter, but that’s unlikely to be of much consolation to the makers of Ant-Man and The Wasp. For having been requisitioned to follow on from the gargantuan critical and commercial success of both Black Panther & Avengers: Infinity War, there’s no denying that, true to...

Film Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Film Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Grab your GoGo boots, slap on the sunscreen, and warm up that vibrato, for it’s finally time to return to the fictive Greek isle of Kalokairi; a lush landscape where the sky is always blue, the sea always sparkles, and where no problem is too big that it can’t be...

Film Review: Ocean’s 8

Film Review: Ocean’s 8

It would be easy to dismiss Ocean’s 8 as being little more than the cynical cash in it appears on the surface; a crass attempt to squeeze a few more bucks out of a stagnating franchise by assuming the façade of a contemporary ‘woman’s picture’. Indeed while this critic doesn’t...

The Changing Tide: Cannes 2018 Preview

The Setting Sun: Cannes 2018 In Retrospect

“The stairs to our industry must be accessible to all,” declared Cate Blanchett as she stood on the steps of the Cannes Palais during the premiere for Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun. Below her stood 81 other woman from within the industry, representative of the number of female filmmakers...

Cannes 2018: Mandy – First Look Review

Cannes 2018: Mandy – First Look Review

If someone had told me two weeks ago that the best film I would see at this year’s Cannes Film Festival would be a garish, blood-soaked exploitation thriller starring Nic Cage, I probably would have snorted at you with the sort of jeering derision reserved almost exclusively for certain members...

Cannes 2018: Capharnaüm – First Look Review

Cannes 2018: Capharnaüm – First Look Review

Nadine Labaki’s Capharnaüm isn’t a subtle film, but it’s one that will hit you hard. The story of a young boy navigating the slums of Beirut, it’s an idealistic but well-intentioned attempt to try and confront some of the pre-established socio-political structures within Lebanon; a country where you need a...

Cannes 2018: Solo – First Look Review

Cannes 2018: Solo – First Look Review

Bounding along some five months after the release of The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story is a film that appears to have been reverse engineered in the hopes of appeasing those few asinine fanboys who are still reeling from Rian Johnson’s forceful attempt to do more than simply...

The Changing Tide: Cannes 2018 Preview

Cannes 2018: The House That Jack Built – First Look Review

One wonders what it was about The House That Jack Built that persuaded Cannes director Thierry Fremaux to offer devious provocateur Lars von Trier a reprieve from his enforced exile. Presumably it wasn’t the scenes of duckling mutilation and toddler taxidermy that convinced him to change his mind, more likely...

The Changing Tide: Cannes 2018 Preview

Cannes 2018: BlacKkKlansman – First Look Review

“Dis joint is based upon some fo’ real, fo’ real sh*t.” The story of Colorado detective Ron Stallworth is one of those true-life tall tales that’s just so strange it couldn’t be fiction, and in the hands of Spike Lee it proves to be pure dynamite – the director returning...

The Changing Tide: Cannes 2018 Preview

Cannes 2018: Girls of the Sun – First Look Review

It would be so easy to become swept up in the obvious, outward significance of Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun. The first of only three films to play in this year’s Official Competition to be directed by a woman, the Saturday night premiere screening was preceded by a silent...

Cannes 2018: Cold War – First Look Review

Cannes 2018: Girl – First Look Review

The need for there to be a greater diversity in the stories we see told through cinema is once again a hot-button topic of conversation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. And the importance of such range is perfectly underscored here by Flemish filmmaker Lukas Dhont, who earnestly seeks to...

Cannes 2018: Cold War – First Look Review

Cannes 2018: Cold War – First Look Review

“Time doesn’t matter when you’re in love.” In Pawel Pawlikowski’s skilfully assured Cannes Competition feature Cold War, however, the passing of time matters greatly. We can see the initial yearnings of an attraction from the moment Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Zula (Joanna Kulig) first meet. He’s a composer, travelling around...

Cannes 2018: Image Book – First Look Review

Cannes 2018: Image Book – First Look Review

Never one to be bound by convention, Jean-Luc Godard decided to shun the customary post-premiere press conference for his new film, Image Book – playing in Cannes as part of the Official Competition – and instead opted to answer the questions due to be posed to him via a FaceTime...

Cannes 2018: One Day – First Look Review

Cannes 2018: One Day – First Look Review

Not all heroes wear capes. Take Anna (Zsófia Szamosi), for example. From the outside looking in, she lives a simple and secure existence. Mother of three adorable children, living together in a spacious apartment with her husband, and working a job that’s both stable & rewarding. On the page, it...

Cannes 2018: Birds of Passage – First Look Review

Cannes 2018: Birds of Passage – First Look Review

There’s a particularly telling scene early on in Ciro Guerra & Cristina Gallego’s riveting Columbian crime saga, Birds of Passage. Two friends are celebrating in a local shanty bar, reaping the rewards of their latest “business deal” – selling dope to members of the American Peace Corps. They raise their...

The Changing Tide: Cannes 2018 Preview

Cannes 2018: Everybody Knows – First Look Review

Though unlikely to be particularly indicative of a wider critical response, it’s impossible to ignore the snorts of incredulity that echoed throughout the Debussy theatre in the Cannes Palais, following a key narrative revelation halfway through Asghar Farhadi’s occasionally compelling but frustratingly contrived festival opener, Everybody Knows. Up until that...

The Changing Tide: Cannes 2018 Preview

The Changing Tide: Cannes 2018 Preview

The poster for the 71st Cannes Film Festival features a shot of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina locking lips in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 film, Pierrot le Fou. Inspired by the work of French stills photographer Georges Pierre, it’s a handsomely mounted image of idyllic romance, emblazoned against a backdrop of...

Film Review: Mary And The Witch’s Flower

Film Review: Mary And The Witch’s Flower

The shadow of Studio Ghibli stalwart Hayao Miyazaki looms over Mary And The Witch’s Flower, the debut feature from the newly established Studio Ponoc – founded by leading film producer Yoshiaki Nishimura, in the wake of Ghibli’s decision to halt production following Miyazaki’s retirement back in 2014. Adapted from Mary...

Film Review: Avengers – Infinity War

Film Review: Avengers – Infinity War

Warning: Though this review is spoiler free, the film’s set-up is referenced throughout. “It’s not overselling it to say that the future of the universe is at stake,” declares Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange with a solemn tone. He’s referring, of course, to the coming of Thanos (Josh Brolin), a galactic...

Film Review: Killing Gunther

Film Review: Killing Gunther

The classics of his heyday – the Terminators and the Predators – are always going to be the titles that people reflect upon of when they think of the name Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it is arguably in the years since returning to the big screen after his extended political absence...

Film Review: A Wrinkle In Time

Film Review: A Wrinkle In Time

While those of you on this side of the pond are unlikely to be familiar with A Wrinkle In Time: Madeleine L’Engle’s seminal YA novel, originally published in the early 60s, and the first instalment in her highly lauded ‘Time Quintet’ series. Over in America the book is something of...

Who Should Triumph At This Year’s Oscars?

Who Should Triumph At This Year’s Oscars?

With contributions from: Christopher Marchant (CM), Jim Mackney (JMack), and Linda Marric (LM) Even for those of us who are fortunate enough to spend many-a-day indulging in our love of film, Awards Season is more a marathon than a sprint; an annual slog through the year’s most entitled set of...

Film Review: Dark River

Film Review: Dark River

Not even a compelling central performance from Ruth Wilson is enough to save Clio Barnard’s rustic, social-realist melodrama, Dark River, from being the first major cinematic upset of the 2018 calendar. Having made such a huge impact with her first two films – bracing docu-hybrid, The Arbor, and her acutely...

Film Review: The Shape Of Water

Film Review: The Shape Of Water

In eyes of Guillermo del Toro, ‘monster’ is a relative term. So when Richard Jenkins’ Giles, our nominal narrator, tells us that The Shape of Water is a story “of love & loss, and the monster who tried to destroy it all,” it would be unwise to assume that the...

Film Review: Black Panther

Film Review: Black Panther

“Just because something works, doesn’t mean it cannot be improved,” we’re told early on in Ryan Coogler’s courageous new entry into the Marvel canon. Loyal fans who have stuck with the series since the first Iron Man will no doubt be relieved to hear that this exhilarating blockbuster yarn doesn’t...

Film Review: The Cloverfield Paradox

Film Review: The Cloverfield Paradox

“This experiment could unleash chaos” remarks Donal Logue’s faceless news pundit about a third of the way through this unexpected, and frankly unnecessary addition to the Cloverfield saga. Though the first two films – 2008’s Cloverfield and 2016’s 10 Cloverfield Lane – didn’t share any direct DNA within their separate...

DVD Review: Marjorie Prime

DVD Review: Marjorie Prime

“The things you forget,” ruminates Lois Smith’s Marjorie mournfully towards the start of Michael Almereyda’s futuristic contemplation on memory and mortality. Now in her mid-80s, Marjorie suffers from a vascular form of dementia that causes her to regularly lose touch with the memories of her past. Living with her daughter...

Film Review: Downsizing

A curious oddity in more ways than one, Downsizing heralds writer/director Alexander Payne’s return to original storytelling, his script here being the first since his debut feature, Citizen Ruth, to not be adapted from a novel. Like Ruth, Downsizing is a gutsy contemplation of American society, but one that’s unlikely...

DVD Review: When The Wind Blows

DVD Review: When The Wind Blows

The melancholic tones David Bowie mournfully set the mood for Jimmy Murakami’s revered adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ traumatic graphic novel. Originally released in 1986, when the world was gripped by the threat of nuclear war, When The Wind Blows was celebrated at the time for its humane consideration of a...

Film Review: Coco

Film Review: Coco

There was a time when the release of a new Pixar film was looked upon by critics and consumers alike as something of a cultural event. But recent years have proved there to be major chinks in the animation powerhouse’s creative armour; the shameless merchandising of the Cars franchise; the...

TLE Film’s Review of the Year: 25 Best Films of 2017

TLE Film’s Review of the Year: 25 Best Films of 2017

With Contributions From: Jim Mackney, Sam Inglis, Wyndham Hackett Pain, and Mike McNulty Editor's Intro 2017 was a year to remember, although perhaps not always for the right reasons: Trump, Brexit, the threat of war with North Korea… and let us not forget the ever-present fear that we may soon...

Film Review: Pitch Perfect 3

Film Review: Pitch Perfect 3

Towards the end of Pitch Perfect 3, Brittany Snow’s Chloe declares to her fellow Bellas – without even the vaguest hint of irony – that it’s time for them all to start new chapters and move on with their lives; a conclusion many members of the audience are likely to...

Film Review: Star Wars – The Last Jedi

Film Review: Star Wars – The Last Jedi

Warning: Though this review is spoiler free, the film’s set-up is referenced throughout. “Good guys, bad guys, these are all just words,” says Benicio Del Toro’s inscrutable space-hacker DJ about a third of the way through The Last Jedi; his own allegiances, tellingly, enigmatically blurred between the dark and the...

Film Review: Blades of the Immortal

Film Review: Blades of the Immortal

It is only fitting that Takashi Miike should begin his 100th feature film by saturating the screen in a shower of blood. The prolific Japanese director behind Ichi the Killer, Audition, and perhaps most significantly here, 13 Assassins, has always had an ebullient fondness for flooding his frame with gore,...

Film Review: Brigsby Bear

Film Review: Brigsby Bear

It’ll come as no surprise to many of you that this endearingly gentle if excessively whimsical oddity from ‘The Lonely Island’ crew first debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. With its geeky sensibility towards the creative process, and its cloyingly sentimental exploration of a subject matter that arguably demands...

Film Review: Love, Cecil

Film Review: Love, Cecil

Those who aren’t particularly au fait with the work of Cecil Beaton, the Oscar-winning set and costume designer behind My Fair Lady and Gigi, are likely to find plenty of little nuggets to mine from this attentive if airy documentary from Lisa Immordino Vreeland. It opens with an exert from...

Film Review: Battle of the Sexes

“Male chauvinist pig versus hairy-legged feminist”, that’s how former world champion tennis player Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) pitches the titular exhibition bout between himself and twelve-time Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) in this disappointingly conceited biographical dramatisation from Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris....

Film Review: Ingrid Goes West

Film Review: Ingrid Goes West

The saturation of social media within our society may be celebrated by some for bringing us all closer together, but as Matt Spicer demonstrates with his sardonically incisive directorial debut, a life lived online isn’t always one big party. Indeed, for twenty-something Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza), it’s nothing but a platform...

Film Review: The Florida Project

Film Review: The Florida Project

The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida may promise its patrons a fairy tale dreamscape filled with beautiful princesses, handsome princes, and shining stars to wish upon. But for many of those who live in the shadow of “the most magical place on Earth” on Route 192, life is instead...

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