Author: Jasper Hagan

High class comedy? Tag is not it

There’s a devil’s bargain when you pitch a story to Hollywood. Sure, you lived an interesting story, or spent a long time researching it. But to get it adapted you risk your interesting true story being boiled down to the most generic thing possible. It might end up as something that sounds like a screenwriter lost a bet. It might be even worse. It might end up as Tag. The film revolves around the apparently true story of a group of friends who play tag every May and have been doing so for 23 years. One member of the...

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Hereditary: Is it the scariest movie ever?

Hereditary is a hard film to review. That’s not quite accurate – it’s easy to review (it’s fantastic, go see it) but it’s hard to write this review since a huge amount of what made the film as good as it is was going in as blind as possible. There’s an ongoing arm’s race between horror directors and increasingly media literate horror fans, who are hard to scare, and so the director has to keep wrong footing them. It’s rare that a film does that on a narrative level too. We start with a family attending the funeral of...

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Gringo’s all-star cast can’t save it

Gringo is a collection of familiar scenes acted out by characters straight off the imaginary screenwriter’s shelf and not executed nearly well or energetically enough to overcome its jumbled plotting and themes. The fact that the titular ‘gringo’ (slang for an American) is actually Nigerian in the film is a pretty clear sign of how much attention the creators actually paid. We follow Harold (David Oyelowo) a meek, mild mannered executive at a pharmaceutical company, as his scummy bosses, Richard and Elaine (Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron) head down to Mexico to try and cover up some of their...

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Have a laugh at The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin is the extremely funny take on one of the most turbulent and violent periods of Russia’s long, turbulent, violent history. It’s an odd subject for a comic, but Armando Iannucci, best known for his very biting political satires The Thick of It and Veep takes on a difficult topic, and depicts it in a way that plays to his strengths and puts it squarely in his wheelhouse. Stalin, in 1953, has let his long simmering paranoia boil over. There are daily proscriptions and executions. We’re constantly seeing the NKVD (the internal security service) hustling people...

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The problem with Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene is a movie for nobody. While non-believers won’t find anything of interest from historical, philosophical or cinematic perspective, it’s such a dull film that I doubt even believers will get much out of it. It’s a shame. Biblical movies have gotten a reputation for being dull over the years and they don’t have to be. It’s a bunch of very interesting figures in a very interesting place in a very interesting time, regardless of the viewer’s feelings about their religious significance. Darren Aronoksy’s Noah showed that you can do a great, weird film with the most familiar...

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