Without trying to sound dramatic, movies like Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead might pose something of an existential threat to cinema as we know it.

There is plenty of room in cinema for mediocrity. Brainless fun, too — almost endless room, actually. Films that are poorly acted and poorly written are inevitable. Bloated, drawn-out narratives that run an hour past their rightful runtime? It happens!

Cinema can take any of these things and survive just fine. Thrive, in fact. We need bad movies, to give something for the good ones to contrast against. There should be an element of…


Photo by Swag Photography on Unsplash

A man, maybe sixty or sixty-five years old, approached me on the street as I was hurrying back home. I had stopped to tie my shoes.

‘I do not want money, I do not want money.’ He began, as if trying to reassure me. He had a blanket draped over his shoulders.

He apparently wanted me to take him somewhere and buy him food. …


Photo by Petr Stradal on Unsplash

A basic technique of riding a motorbike is “looking ahead,” past whatever is immediately in front of you. To keep your mind focused ahead of your present surroundings a few ticks.

If you look to the road immediately in front of you while steering you will likely mess up the steer, lose your balance, and crash. It’s better to look as far down the road as you can, towards a more distant target.

In this way your body leans and steers without thinking too much about things. …


An early 90s creature feature with a great cast and a fantastically wild plot. Massive predatory worms of an unknown biological nature, or monsters that move like worms underneath the surface of the ground, have started to attack the desert town of Perfection. Their origin is unknown, and there’s not much time to argue the point. The monsters are blind, but fast-moving and extremely sensitive to sound vibrations. The only sure course of action is to climb on top of rocks, or up an electricity pylon, and wait them out somewhere safely above the surface.

Unfortunately, these are patient monsters…


If you are a fan of the series, or just of action or superhero films in general, some parts of Mortal Kombat will be fun. The action sequences are competently made, with good effects, big budget camera work, and Impressive Things Happening on the screen. About half-way through the movie’s run time, though, chances are you will start to wish you were some place else. Like at home, on the couch, playing the game instead.

The movie combines special effects, combat, and costumes (all of which are quite well done) with a “gives no fucks” attitude to storytelling that makes…


Dr. Strangelove (1964) is a funny entry in Kubrick’s filmography. He had already broken free from the Holywood studio system following Spartacus (1960) and made Lolita (1962). So it wasn’t the first film he independently produced. Many would say it wasn’t his first masterpiece, either: Paths of Glory (1957) came well before it, and is commonly recognised as one.

In many ways, though, it feels like the first truly ”Kubrick” film. …


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Productivity can be an unhealthy obsession. It can leave your head spinning: trying to fit more into each day than can be accomplished, without slowing down enough to appreciate a second of it. Mind racing, thoughts frantic. A spiral of stress.

It’s enough to bring to mind the lyrics written by the Bergmans for their 1968 classic, ‘The Windmills of Your Mind’:

Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain, or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning running rings around the…


Photo by Emily KenCairn of Apiary Studio on Unsplash

Four “noble truths” underpin Buddhist philosophy. The first has always struck me with the most force. It has a cutting quality. Strikes the bell of truth cleanly.

“Life is suffering.”

The idea is straightforward. Everything that lives, suffers — it’s simply the natural state of existence for all living things. As natural as breathing. It’s part of the deal and should be expected. (Though the remaining three noble truths are all about eliminating suffering, oddly enough.)

There’s real wisdom in this. To remind ourselves as often as possible that whatever suffering we’ve been doing lately, it’s essentially the same basic…


Writer-director Emerald Fennell, in her debut feature film, delivers a modern rape-revenge movie that blends in aesthetics and narrative situations from the rom-com. The film stands out for a memorable performance by Carrey Mulligan and a sharp script that cuts into and examines aspects of sexual abuse and cultural support systems that protect abusers. In some ways bleak, it has a revenge movie plot structure and plays with rom-com conventions, making it dramatically engaging throughout.

Unexpectedly, the film could be said to walk in the footsteps of Kill Bill (2003): our heroine, Cassandra, is a wounded lone wolf with an…


The cinematic experience: a shared viewing in a darkened room, enormous screen and booming speakers that envelope the senses. Projected on that screen, commonly explosions, fast cars, gunshots, carnage, blood & guts. Action. Time-honoured and adrenalin soaked ingredients that feel baked into the fabric of cinema itself.

Nobody is an unusually pure form of this brand of cinema, and for those who have missed going to the theatre lately, the visceral immersion it offers might be what the doctor ordered. It functions as a simple, hyper-violent action film. …

James Lanternman

Cinema, short fiction, politics. Brain like a moose. Blog: https://jameslanternman.online

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