The Weight of a Basketball: The Lobster and the Tyranny of Social Conformity

Successful speculative fiction is essentially sociology. It’s grounded not in the details of the alternate reality it concocts, but in investigating how societies and individuals would react to different structures and opportunities. The best speculative fiction isn’t inspired by spaceships or wizardry; rather, it’s impelled by an overriding interest in human nature – a considered,…

Miss Julie (2014)

Miss Julie (2014)

I assume that the melodramatic machinations of Miss Julie played like gangbusters in 1890s Sweden, but a century later it all rings pretty false. Bergman acolyte Liv Ullmann sneaks in a reference to Cries and Whispers in the opening flashback and executes an excellent final shot, but otherwise can’t overcome the inherent staginess of the…

Timothy Spall in Mr Turner (2014)

British Film Festival 2014

November last year introduced the inaugural British Film Festival, a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stale slate of nation-centric film festivals. It’s not that I don’t have a lot of respect for local festivals like the Italian, Israeli, French etc festivals – I only saw one of my favourite films of the year…