(UN)POPULAR CULTURE

The home of writer & author A. J. BLACK

From 2012 onwards, before developing this blog, I wrote a multitude of reviews on the website Letterboxd. In this irregular series called From the Vault, I’m going to haul these earlier reviews out of mothballs and re-purpose them here. This one is from Dec 19th, 2016, as we close in on Star Wars Episode IX: …

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With X-Men: Dark Phoenix on the horizon, a film predicted to signal the end of the original iteration of the X-Men franchise, I’ve decided to go back and revisit this highly influential collection of comic-book movies. We continue with Bryan Singer’s 2016 sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse… Perhaps the best way to describe X-Men: Apocalypse is as …

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The Neon Demon is about the deadliness of artifice, the predatory nature of corporate industry built on facades, on what lies without rather than within, and in a literal, horrific sense, what such artifice can do to you. Yet the message, ultimately, is defiantly obtuse. Nicolas Winding Refn remains a director distant to me, having …

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Adaptations of novels to film are notorious in having two schools of thought once the picture is released – those who read the novel, and those who didn’t. Mine is the second camp, though my fiancee did, and she assures me The Girl on the Train hasn’t survived the transition from page to celluloid well. …

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Intentionally moving away from many of the familiar tropes of the modern zombie movie, The Girl With All the Gifts makes its own statement as a horror picture all about children, nature and the dehumanisation of humanity. Unusually for the production of a film based on source material, the book director Colm McCarthy adapts his …

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Headshot is a direct consequence of two distinct elements: the growing, exciting Indonesian film industry and the existence of The Raid and its even better sequel. Exploding onto Western screens in 2011, The Raid: Redemption was both a career launching picture for star Iko Uwais and director Gareth Evans, but felt like an adrenaline-fuelled shot …

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A response to austerity, poverty and class, Don’t Breathe bludgeons the senses with a taut, brooding eighty five minutes of home invasion horror. Not horror in the traditional sense of schlock and gore. Fede Alvarez, hot off the commercially successful Evil Dead remake, wanted to very specifically avoid blood, guts and copious claret spilling with …

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