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Articles By Eric Hillis

In recent years there has been much talk among the cultural commentariat regarding the need for onscreen diversity. Of course everyone should be able to see themselves represented in movies, whether that be by a reflection of their race, gender or sexuality; but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that artists don’t need to share your own specific cultural attributes in order to speak directly to you. As a white Irishman, I’ve seen the distinctive traits of my culture represented a lot more accurately in Japanese and Korean cinema than in the movies of my own country’s film industry. As a teen I found the music of U2 so alien that Bono and co. might as well have come from another galaxy rather than a few miles down the road from my house; rather I connected, like so many young working class kids in the British isles have over the decades, with the music of African-Americans; Miles Davis showed me what he was feeling with his heartfelt music, unlike Bono, who simply told me his troubles in his lyrics.... READ ON

“Doesn’t this seem familiar?”, one big cat asks of another in director Jon Favreau’s remake of Disney’s much loved 1994 animated musical The Lion King. Yes, yes, it sure does seem familiar. Remake, rinse, reboot, repeat. Such is the circle of life for Disney as the studio continues their campaign to wring every last dollar out of their back catalogue with a series of ‘live action’ remakes that are now arriving at a pace few parents could afford to financially keep up with. We’re only halfway through 2019 and we’ve already had remakes of Dumbo, Aladdin and now The Lion King.... READ ON

There’s a famous gag in the climax of Back to the Future in which, having traveled back to 1955, Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly finds himself fronting a band onstage at a high school dance. McFly picks up a guitar and performs a version of Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B Goode’, a song which wouldn’t be recorded until 1958. The school kids love this new sound, but McFly pushes his luck with some Van Halen-esque metal strumming. “I guess you’re not ready for that yet,” McFly observes, “but your kids are gonna love it!”... READ ON

The late George A. Romero always claimed that critics would bash his movies, but whenever they visited his sets they always wanted to play zombies. A zombie movie seems like something that would be a lot of fun to take part in, which may explain why Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die boasts such a stacked, star-studded cast, like a ‘70s disaster movie but for hipster thespians. I hope everyone had fun making The Dead Don’t Die, because I sure did not have fun watching it.... READ ON








How many times can you watch Keanu Reeves inflict head trauma on faceless Asian goons before it gets repetitive? The third installment of the hitherto rewarding John Wick franchise answers this question in its opening 20 minutes but repeats the formula over and over regardless, leaving its audience in a mentally numbed state by the time it reaches its uninspired climax, in which Keanu Reeves inflicts more head trauma on an army of faceless Asian goons.... READ ON

Between 1992 and 1998, over six seasons and 90 episodes, The Larry Sanders Show chronicled the backstage drama surrounding its titular late night talk show, delivering some of the best satire seen on screens big or small. What could be added to the talk show milieu that wasn’t covered in the late Garry Shandling’s signature show? Well, how about the struggles of a woman in the male dominated world of late night American comedy? Enter Tina Fey in 2006 with 30 Rock, which couldn’t sustain its quality across its subsequent seven seasons but was the funniest show on TV at its height.... READ ON

A decade after scoring an international breakout hit with Gomorrah (a movie that would spawn an entire mini industry of spinoff prestige TV dramas), director Matteo Garrone returns to the world of Italian crime, though in a more intimate fashion, for Dogman.... READ ON

Writer/director David Robert Mitchell made his feature debut back in 2010 with the coming of age drama The Myth of the American Sleepover, but he really announced himself with his followup, 2014’s It Follows, arguably the best horror movie of the past decade. With that film, Mitchell displayed an innate understanding of what makes a horror movie tick, and most of us thought he would stay in the genre, with many putting his name forward as a potential director for the rebooted Halloween franchise. It’s a surprise then that Mitchell has confounded expectations with Under the Silver Lake, a rambling gonzo adventure that largely defies categorization. It may be his third feature, but it plays very much like a ‘difficult second album’, in this case a four-sided prog rock concept album complete with gate-fold sleeve.... READ ON

I’ve never been much of a fan of rock music, so the whole indie rock scene of the ‘90s passed me by. While I can’t say I’ve warmed to the music that era produced, I do find myself looking back at that time with a more appreciative gaze. It was a particularly fertile time for female rockers, with the likes of PJ Harvey, Courtney Love, and  Tanya Donnelly channelling a female perspective into a musical genre that had previously been dominated by men and refusing to sexualize themselves in the way today’s female stars seem compelled to.... READ ON

There’s a moment in Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind in which a critic accuses John Huston’s veteran director Jake Hanaford of borrowing from other filmmakers. “It’s alright to borrow from one another, what we must never do is borrow from ourselves,” is his sage-like response. I’m not sure I agree with Hanaford, as filmmakers often mature by returning to themes and ideas they explored earlier in their career, developing them with newfound experience. After all, if a carpenter makes the same chair every day for a year, chances are the last chair he fashions will be be more finely crafted than the first.... READ ON


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