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!

Why you should watch Cathy Come Home before you vote

Cathy Come Home wasn’t made to inform, it was made to confront. When it premiered as part of the BBC’s Wednesday Play series back in November ‘66, 12 million people – a quarter of the British population at that time – tuned in to see Ken Loach’s seminal social-realist masterwork....

Hacksaw Ridge: DVD Review

There was a moment of brief dismay during this year’s Oscar ceremony, when it suddenly looked as if a brutish form of populism would once again break our optimism. For many, the awards were already a foregone conclusion, the early momentum swinging, as expected, towards Damien Chazelle’s delightful La La...

Kicks: Review

Comedian Demetri Martin once said that “if you put on flip flops, you’re saying: ‘Hope I don’t get chased today’.” Growing up in Oakland, where just taking a wrong turn in a bad neighbourhood could lead to a beating, or worse, Brandon (Jahking Guillory), a spindly & sensitive soul in...

Don’t Knock Twice: Film Review

Never mind knocking, you’d be better off giving this uninspired urban chiller from director Caradog James the widest of berths. His 2013 debut feature, The Machine, may have garnered enough critical praise to suggest he was a filmmaker who could talk the talk, but Don’t Knock Twice, his stagnant second...

Ghost in the Shell: Film Review

One could contemplate, for hours, the arguments for & against the judgment of director Rupert Sanders & his Hollywood moguls to cast a very caucasian Scarlett Johansson in the lead role of a live-action remake that’s based on an adored Japanese property, but the conclusion would ultimately be the same;...

Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang: Film Review

Shades of Spielbergian energy cast an endearing silhouette over this airy but assured big-screen adaptation of Spain’s much-loved 1950s comic book series ‘Zipi y Zape’; an affectionately adventurous vigour that matches the irresistibly mischievous vim of José Escobar Saliente’s original strip. Sent away to summer school as a punishment for...

The Eyes of my Mother: Film Review

There are many things one should say about The Eyes of My Mother, director Nicolas Pesce’s dark & disturbing debut feature, but it’s perhaps best to begin by declaring that this is not a film for the faint of heart. Indeed, even those with an unyielding tolerance for visual horror...

Beauty and the Beast: Film Review

You wish to hear a tale that’s as old as time itself? How about the saga of a film studio desperate to recapture the magic? We’ve seen Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the antagonist; had Mowgli’s adventures in the jungle painstakingly retold to us with photo-real clarity; and found...

LaLa Land: Awards and Applause

La La Land doesn’t deserve the awards, but it does deserve our applause Of his work, Busby Berkeley once said that he just “wanted to make people happy, if only for an hour”. The early 1930s was a time of great societal darkness; the world consumed by financial uncertainty &...

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