All posts by Tom Jay

The Boys Presents: Diabolical Season One – Review

Ahead of its third season releasing this year, what better time than now to look back on The Boys? It premiered and soon became a flagship show for the Prime Video brand. Its uber-gritty, so-called mature tone set The Boys apart from the mostly homogenous pack that is the mainstream of the comic book and superhero format. It was a certainty that expansions would be made to the world overseen by showrunner Eric Kripke, and Diabolical, the first addition to the universe, is a hit. This eight-episode collection is a hybrid of canon-recognised narratives mangled in with the usual outlandishness that we’ve come to expect from Billy Butcher and company, resulting in an easily watchable and equally entertaining offshoot.

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This Time With Alan Partridge: Series Two Review

“Have I got a second series?” he dared to ask. Well, yes! A massive improvement on the first season, the second season of This Time with Alan Partridge is the best that the Partridge character has been since the heyday of the late 1990s and the early 2000s. Channelling the absurdities of conventional news programming, perfectly realising the conservative caricature that forms the character and providing an incredible variety of laugh-a-minute comedy, it’s Steve Coogan at his awkwardly calamitous finest.

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Another Round Review

The Oscar-winning feature from Thomas Vinterberg creates yet another character-driven black comedy, and Another Round has serious claims at being his best yet. Reuniting once again with stars Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Bo Larsen, the two-hour experience boasts endless style, charm and flair with the highs of a heavy night out and the lows of an inescapable and gruelling fallout. But who would have it any other way?

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Rare Beasts Review

Starring, written and directed by Billie Piper, Rare Beasts sells itself as an anti-rom-com’ following Mandy (Piper) as she falls in some form of love with stuffy, religious traditionalist Pete (Leo Bill). Thematically, Rare Beasts doesn’t stick its landing. Because of its relatively short runtime, the anti-rom-com substance and the characters don’t quite feel fleshed out. Thrown immediately into the life of Mandy, the feature is shackled somewhat. Perhaps it’s a sense of amateurish rust given that it was Piper’s first foray into writing for the big screen. 

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The Wind That Shakes The Barley Review

Sharing the name of Robert Dwyer Joyce’s ballad and taking inspiration from Walter Macken’s novel, The Scorching Wind, Ken Loach’s film, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, is a typically charged and politically steadfast outing telling the fictional account of the O’Donovan brothers, torn apart in an early Irish Revolutionary epoch.

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Valhalla Rising Review

Winding Refn’s Heart of Darkness inspired epic.

The Nordic mythos and aesthetic is a ripe fruit for modern media. From the recent slew of video games manipulating some aspects of the lore to Robert Eggers’ upcoming The Northman. Nicolas Winding Refn’s take is rather unique. Valhalla Rising is a 93-minute epic. A violent crusade fronted by Mads Mikkelsen in his fifth collaboration with his compatriot director. One of particular significance ‘historically’ – if you will – given that nigh-on-mute protagonists and other stylistic elements would later translate into Winding Refn’s mainstream output, most of note being Drive and Only God Forgives.

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Rob Zombie, House of 1000 Corpses, and the exploitation boom

Existing in various fields of art for decades now, Rob Zombie remains a consistent, well established and highly regarded individual among his peers and contemporaries. From successful metal frontman to brushing shoulders with Quentin Tarantino, and being handed the keys to the Halloween franchise (albeit temporarily). House of 1000 Corpses marked his debut into the world of feature filmmaking.

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Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa Review

British A-lister Steve Coogan returns to his career-defining role after what was – at the time – an eleven-year hiatus from Norwich’s finest outside of throwaway short appearances. Declan Lowney’s film sets East Anglia’s finest son in a low point of his long, incident-filled career. With his radio station in the midst of a conglomerate takeover, our oblivious leads decisions trigger a chain of dominos resulting in a hostage situation that he must navigate whilst also juggling his public image.

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