On a Saturday night in the beforetimes, I was in a London pub with Derek — a friend and fellow cinephile — after watching a movie of niche interest. Then something caught my eye. Scrawled on a chalkboard above the bar, an Eleanor Rosevelt quote in perfect cursive. It read, ‘Small minds discuss people; average minds discuss events; great minds discuss ideas.’
Having spent the evening raving about actors and mocking cliches, Derek and I realised that not once had we mentioned ideas. Not the types to be insulted by the decor, we rose to the challenge.
If only it…
This piece is about the films Dungeons & Dragons and Clue. There will be spoilers ahead.
Board games occupy a weird space in the modern media landscape. A casual Google estimates that board games sales topped $13 billion globally in 2020, with $223 million of that on Kickstarter alone.
Despite the large selection of games implied by these record sales, the same old family favourites are trotted out when we’re tipsy on nostalgia and Christmas spirits. They’re as instantly recognisable as they are eventually forgettable once the novelty wears off.
Board games are tempting prospects for marketing departments. It helps…
This piece is about the films The Fast and the Furious & Crash. There will be spoilers ahead.
Cars are a contradiction on wheels. They’re heavy yet fast. This makes them potentially exciting but mostly just mundane. You can’t watch a movie while you drive, at least not if you want to keep your licence. It’s tough watching a film on a phone screen while your passengers scream in the back — although noise cancelling earphones help.
But if I had to dig deep I’d say my fundamental problems with cars is that they’re both noisy and isolating. Unless it’s…
This piece is about the films Train To Busan & Snowpiercer. There will be spoilers ahead.
The golden age of trains has been and gone. Perhaps the romance of Murder on the Orient Express was true for some, but for most people my money’s on it always embodying peak mundanity.
I didn’t know that I’d been waiting for a great train film. So imagine my surprise to find two that take the humdrum shuttling of workers, and turn it into a vehicle for drama and big ideas.
Train To Busan (2016): directed by Sang-ho Yeon; written by Joo-Sak Park &…
Life is pretty boring. On the whole, this suits me just fine because I don’t to be surprised when I order a meal, or step out of my house. I mostly want things to go as precisely to plan as possible. Covid has been one hell of a surprise, and look how that turned out.
This presents screenwriters with a problem. Life is allowed to be boring, but movies aren’t. There’s a lot riding on movies. They’ve got hundreds of names in the credits, and millions of [insert denomination of choice] behind them. They can be big, brash and bold…
Alien vs Predator. King Kong vs Godzilla. Freddy vs Jason. Cinema is built on the backs of titans clashing. Today pig and shark go head to head in Babe vs Jaws. Not literally, but in a figurative cage match of Hollywood’s most memorable animal stars.
Babe (1995); directed by Chris Noonan, written by George Miller — based on the novel by Dick King-Smith.
Having been spared the abattoir in order to serve as a prize in a village fair, Babe (our titular pig-tagonist) must prove his value by herding sheep in order to dodge the chopping block.
Babe is not…
A Festive Parody
Every person in England
Liked Christmas a lot.
But ol’ Boris who lived in
Downing Street did not!
Boris hated Christmas!
The whole festive season!
Now, please don’t ask why.
No one quite knows the reason.
It could be, perhaps,
That his suit was too tight.
It could be his hair
Wasn’t styled just right.
But I think the most
Likely reason of all
May just be that Boris
Had no friends at all.
But, despite the true reason,
His friends or his suit,
This Christmas’s his gloom
Was rather acute,
I spend a lot of time on Instagram. Helpfully, the ‘Your Activity’ feature tells me precisely how much. However… when I went to check I ended up losing twenty minutes to the infinite scroll. So just trust me when I say I spend a lot of time of this particular app.
I know it’s not good for me, but I have my reasons for keeping it installed. I joined Instagram when I was looking for photo inspiration, and for a while it helped, but the more I use the app the less I like the images recommended to me. Which…
The following is a short story in the form of emails between two people in a fictional UK government department that deals with ethical accounting.
Subject: RE: Welcome to the team
Dear Mr. Lau,
Greetings from the Department of Her Majesty’s Exchequer of Ethics and Morals. On behalf of the entirety of the DEEM, welcome to the team.
The recent election has doubled the workload and upended the office. So there ought to be plenty to do, and no shortage of staff who would appreciate a helping hand.
The Brexit account is our most…
What will be your lockdown legacy? Apparently you need one. Why? Don’t ask, you just do. Maybe it’s your low-key motivation to cook, garden, or post every day on the ‘gram. Maybe you’ve got the self-control to work on a novel instead of bingeing Netflix again. Maybe you’re the type who won’t need to bleach their internet history.
For me, I’m surprised at how much time I’ve spent talking to friends.
In the first week of lockdown, we found Tabletop Simulator. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a video game for simulating a tabletop. I never imagined playing board games…