Author: Jasper Hagan

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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Tomb Raider is a fun night at the movies

Tomb Raider is the long, carefully paced first half and the rushed second half of two quite different movies. It’s a fun time, but you will be surprised at how early it ends. The film features Lara Croft (played by Alicia Vikander and Alicia Vikander’s impressive abs) trying to solve the mystery of her billionaire father’s disappearance on a small island off Japan, raiding a few tombs while she does it and fighting off mercenaries. It’s based on the extremely long running game series (the first game came out way back in 1996) though it takes most of its...

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Red Sparrow is no date movie

Red Sparrow is a solid spy film but it is not an easy watch. It’s a low-key throwback to Cold War-era spy films, but distinguishes itself through cruelty to its characters and, to a lesser extent, its audience. Broadly speaking, there are two types of spy films. One is quiet, with deals in narrow alleyways and dimly lit apartments, while the other starts out that way, then everything explodes into car chases in the third act. Red Sparrow is very much the former, which makes sense, given the subject matter. After an injury ends her ballet career, Dominika (Jennifer...

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Helen Mirren’s new movie WILL scare you!

Winchester was not what was expected. It’s good, but it really did catch me off guard. It’s about Sarah Winchester and her remarkable house. The heir and majority shareholder of the gun company spent the latter part of her life endlessly building and rebuilding her mansion, driven by the guilt of the many killed by her company’s products. In a situation all too prescient, Winchester repeaters (which you’ll recognise if you’ve ever watched a Western) were high powered, high capacity rifles with a very high rate of fire for the time, that found their way into private hands as...

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