(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, timed as Sam Mendes’ 1917 arrives in cinemas, is from March 23rd, 2014… For …

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Over the course of last year, I began my first deep-dive TV review series looking at JJ Abrams’ Alias, which ran from 2001-2006. Over the next year, I’ll be looking at Season Two’s 22-episode run in detail… On some level, Trust Me is really where Season Two of Alias begins. The Enemy Walks In did …

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Last Blood, ostensibly the final chapter of the Rambo saga, serves as a fitting portrait of America’s dark, lumbering national psyche. In a film which starts predictable and just keeps getting more so, Last Blood gives us a growling, jaded old warrior in John Rambo. Having survived Vietnam (twice), Afghanistan and Burma’s killing fields, this …

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Given the direction the Mission Impossible franchise has taken over the last twenty two years, all the way through to the most recent sixth outing Fallout, it is easy to forget Brian De Palma’s original but also to underestimate quite how well it launched one of Hollywood’s most impressively consistent franchises. Mission Impossible happened just …

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Given the stature and prowess of the Mission Impossible franchise, the sixth movie is not likely to bring the curtain down on this series, but were Fallout to be the swansong for Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, it would quite honestly be a perfect way to bow out. Everything about Fallout has the sense of …

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If Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation confirms anything, it’s that the Tom Cruise-fronted franchise has spent almost two decades trying to work its way back to Brian De Palma and back to the roots of where the series began. In some of my previous pieces on the earlier films in the Mission Impossible franchise, one fact …

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Nostalgia seems to be a double edged sword right now in Hollywood. What on the surface appears to be a comforting guaranteed winner in terms of audience satisfaction and cinematic box office is becoming something of a poisoned creative chalice. The lacklustre critical (if not box-office) responses to pictures such as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom …

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