Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Out On Blue Six : Captain SKA

The only position I want Theresa May to reach is number one in the charts. Download this track, it's brilliant! Let's get it to number one and raise some money for foodbanks and the peoples assembly against austerity, as all proceeds from the download will go to them.


Vote Labour, not Tory!




End Transmission


Monday, 29 May 2017

RIP John Noakes

Sad to hear that that legend of BBC children's television, John Noakes has died at the age of 83.


Noakes will forever be known as the affable daredevil presenter of the long-running Blue Peter. He joined the show in 1965 and stayed until 1978, making him the longest serving presenter in the show's illustrious history. His action man persona, undertaking challenges such as scaling Nelson's Column and becoming the first civilian to freefall from a height of five miles in a spectacular jump from an RAF plane, was matched by his gentle side, with his faithful companion Shep the dog by his side. Like Peter Pan, he seemed to be the eternal child, and the children at home loved him for it.


Noakes had been suffering from Alzheimer's for some time and had sparked concern and fears just a couple of years ago when he went missing from his home in Majorca. He was subsequently found in a bad way some ten hours later at the bottom of a storm drain in a nearby strawberry field. The only comfort to be taken from today's sad news is that he is suffering no more.


RIP

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Every Picture Tells a Story...

...Although that story is not always the one the storytellers who have a vested interest in the Tories winning the election want to tell properly.

Take this picture for example. It's a photograph that is certainly doing the rounds now that The S*n and various other Tory papers want to push the idea that Jeremy Corbyn sympathised with and supported the IRA. 



Now, seeing that photo alongside the words 'Corbyn' and 'IRA' does seem pretty damning doesn't it?

But let's look at the facts here. Because, if you are to damn Corbyn for this, then you must damn the people in the following pictures too




Because that Corbyn and Adams photograph was taken, just like the photos of Adams with Blair and with Prince Charles, AFTER the ceasefire.

You see, what The S*n etc do is very clever; they source a photo of both men looking quite young and implicitly use that to suggest to their readers the picture is damning evidence that it must have been taken during The Troubles. It wasn't; it was taken in 1995, after the ceasefire and the Downing Street declaration. Hell, it was taken in the House of Commons!

Are these facts reported? No.

I'm not disputing that Corbyn met with Adams whilst The Troubles were ongoing either. Corbyn has always said that to achieve peace you must negotiate and enter into a dialogue with the other side, and it is through that relationship that Corbyn played a special part in achieving peace, having worked alongside Mo Mowlam in the run up to the Good Friday agreement.

But The S*n are now claiming that Jeremy Corbyn did no such thing. Indeed, they've even spoken with terrorists who claim never to have seen him involved in any such talk or perform any such work. One of these is Sean O'Callaghan. But what The S*n refuse to report is that O'Callaghan was a double agent for the British security services who was paid handsomely to report on the activities of the IRA. It's clear he's being paid handsomely now too, to discredit Jeremy Corbyn for the establishment with his lies.

Let's use the old prosecution lawyer argument here, are we really supposed to take the word of a self confessed liar and criminal over the word of a respectable man who has held the honourable position of a Member of Parliament for over thirty years?

It's also worth remembering that Gerry Adams has always maintained he was never a member of the IRA, and has never conclusively been proven otherwise. He is a member of Sinn Fein, and there is a difference - so that's another lie in the message of Corbyn and the IRA.

Lastly, this photo doesn't do the rounds much these days does it?


Strange that.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Tories Can't Keep Us Safe From Terrorism: The Warning from Manchester Police to Theresa May


Damien O'Rielly, an award winning Community Police Support Officer, has appealed to Theresa May to reverse cuts to local policing that has left our streets vulnerable to attack, saying "there's no proactive policing" in Manchester, only "reactive"

We currently have soldiers on our streets because there simply aren't enough police officers available in the wake of the Manchester attack this week. Intelligence to the force has dried up as a result of cuts to local policing. This is the stark and painful truth of the Tory party's austerity measures. And yet, during her time as Home Secretary, Theresa May accused senior police chiefs of 'scaremongering' when they warned her that cuts would see a rise in crime and terrorism.

We need to send a clear message to Theresa May and the government that we will not stand by and let people die as a result of their foolish policies. Jeremy Corbyn has always pledged to reinstate an effective police budget and recruit more police officers to the force as well as end the trade links to Saudi and Qatar which ISIS benefit from and turn against us. Labour's fully costed Manifesto shows that an anti-austerity budget is possible. Things needn't be like this.

Please, spread the word. Vote Labour on June 8th for a safer UK.


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Why I Only Partly Agree With The 'Our Way Of Life Must Continue' Sentiment

Since the horrific attack in Manchester we've heard a lot of sentiment along the lines of how 'our way of life must continue'

It's a sentiment I only partly agree with.

Our way of life - going to work, going shopping, going to live gigs, taking the kids to school, socialising with friends, going to the very city this attack took place - must continue. 

But I hope for one change to our way of life. Because I fervently hope that whatever government gets in next month will realise in the wake of this atrocity that they cannot keep cutting our police and armed forces to the bone, whilst still expecting them to protect us when the unthinkable happens.

Over 20,000 army personnel, along with 8,500 RAF and 5,500 Navy have been cut since 2010. 

We now have fewer police per head of population since 1974.

And don't even start me on the cuts to the NHS and the fact that already beleaguered hospitals have had to step up to the plate and work miracles this week.



And the government needs to realise that it must sever ties with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have proven to be significant funders of ISIS. The Conservative government still sell billions worth of arms to these countries. The Saudi war on Yemen is something we materially support and yet it is a gift to ISIS - it's like turkeys voting for Christmas.

This way of life must end now. It is the only way to protect our lives.

In the meantime, if you can afford to, please consider donating to this crowdfunder from the Manchester Evening News which aims to raise £2,000,000 to support the families of those killed and injured in Monday night's attack. Currently they're at £1,176,135.

Destiny - Der Mude Tod (1921)

This Fritz Lang classic will be released as part of the Masters of Cinema series in July.


You can read my full review of it at The Geek Show

Wordless Wednesday: Barnsley Graveyard


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

RIP Roger Moore

And if today wasn't sombre and saddening enough, Roger Moore has passed away at the age of 89. He was an absolute hero of mine and will be much missed.


RIP

Manchester

I haven't the words really to describe my feelings on what happened to such a beautiful city last night, nor have I the words to convey the grief, anger and fear that exists today. But I do know that the bravery, solidarity, comfort and respect displayed is to be commended, and that those who seek to score political points from such a tragedy (such as our old 'friend', the failed sitcom writer Tim Dawson, and The S*n who callously posted an editorial that continued to spread the lie about Corbyn and the IRA just hours after the attack) are just as despicable as the perpetrators of the act (and ISIS have now taken responsibility)


Manchester is a beautiful city, and it's also a strong one. My thoughts are with the families and those personally affected by this attack, but we will get through this and we must not play into the hands of those who deal in fear or prosper from it.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Corbyn and The IRA: The Tories Mud Slinging Avoids The Truth



"I condemn all the bombing by both loyalists and the IRA"

That's what Jeremy Corbyn said to Sophy Ridge on Sky News yesterday. He also said;

"You condemn the violence of those who laid bombs that killed large numbers of people as I do"

So how come Sky News headline was Corbyn Refuses to Condemn IRA - even though the article quotes those comments?

How come Andrew 'Brillo Pad' Neill at the Bias Broadcasting Corporation and those jokes at The Daily Fail are all reporting this outright lie?

Because the Tories are running scared.

They know now that Labour is performing well in the polls and reaching out to people with their manifesto and positive message about ending austerity and governing for the many, not the few.

How much more does Jeremy Corbyn need to say to lay this IRA ghost to rest?

Well, let's wonder what Tory councillor Maria Gatland said to lay her own links to the IRA to rest, shall we? Because in the 1970s Gatland went on an arms buying mission to Zurich, Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris in an attempt to smuggle guns for the IRA to use on military and civilian targets. She has even said; "I agreed with the shooting of British soldiers and believed the more who were killed the better" 

Let's wonder what unelected Tory peer David James said to receive forgiveness from the party over his laundering of IRA money?

The truth is that Jeremy Corbyn openly negotiated with Sinn Fein (not the IRA) for a peaceful settlement, and he did so when Margaret ''we do not negotiate with terrorists'' Thatcher was doing it in secret, just as her predecessor Edward Heath had, and long before Corbyn's leader Tony Blair did in the spotlight.

If Corbyn's actions are unforgiveable and worthy of our contempt - despite his repeated public condemnations of terrorism - then why are actual Tory party councillors and peers given a free pass for their genuine terrorist sympathising actions?

This is nothing more than the press indulging in a spot of Tory authorised mud slinging.  

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Out On Blue Six: Chris Cornell, RIP

Shocked to hear of Chris Cornell's suicide. The singer songwriter performed in the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave and, in 2006, kickstarted the Daniel Craig era of the James Bond franchise with his hit theme to Casino Royale, You Know My Name which was as fast, bombastic and aggressive as the new incarnation of the secret agent proved to be



RIP

End Transmission




Girl on a Bike


Nice headlamps!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Fighting Back: Petition on BBC Bias

I've shared this petition before, but it needs a push. Now, more than ever, the BBC's bias has become even clearer during this election campaign. I needn't point out to any discerning reader I'm sure of the recent furore over at Question Time when the show planted a sitting Tory councillor in the audience and gave him unprecedented opportunity to air his (or rather his party's) views. Today, that Fox News reporter in the making, Laura Kuenssberg (pictured below with a brilliant piece of photobombing going on behind her as the Labour manifesto launch), has not only shown that she's literally cribbing her 'impartial' political comment about said manifesto from the Tory website , she also deliberately ignores key points in her summing up and tonight, she concluded a report on the Tory manifesto citing it as a 'hardheaded' statement on 'getting the job done', as opposed to 'a hearts and flowers manifesto'....yeah because wanting to end elderly loneliness, child poverty, homelessness and unfair work capability assessments and reassassments for disabled people is just 'hearts and flowers' to be sneered at isn't it? 


Sign the petition, complain to the BBC about this Fake News and clear bias, and above all vote Labour on June 8th.

Wordless Wednesday: Statement of Fact


Monday, 15 May 2017

RIP Powers Boothe

The actor Powers Boothe has died aged 68.


Texas born Boothe first came to fame in 1980 with his acclaimed performance as infamous cult leader Jim Jones in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, and he went on to star as Raymond Chandler's detective hero in the HBO series Philip Marlowe, as President Noah Daniels in 24, and as the scheming Cy Tolliver in Deadwood (pictured above).

His films included Walter Hill's Southern Comfort, John Milius' Red Dawn, Oliver Stone's Nixon, Tomsbstone, the Sin City films, MacGruber, and most recently The Avengers, which led to a role in the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

RIP

The Truth Behind The NHS Ransomware Attack

If you get your news from the mainstream media, such as the BBC, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the cyber attack that has devastated the NHS is 'just one of those things'.



The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt - who has seemingly been hiding from the press and public since the attack came to light on Friday - finally popped up today to pretty much repeat the idea that this kind of hack is commonplace and that there are things you can do to prevent it from happening.

Yes there are Jeremy. For a start you can invest in the NHS. You can stop giving the IT systems over to private contractors who care more about profit than they do protection and security.

Did you know that the NHS still operate on an extremely outdated Windows XP system that no longer has effective security measures in place?

Did you know that the Conservative government were offered to purchase a one-year renewal on the XP system in 2014, but that they rejected it as part of their austerity measures?

Did you know that the average annual spend on the NHS's IT systems is just £22,000? 

Just £22,000 a year spent on the IT systems of the NHS. That's effectively the annual wage of just one junior doctor. Think about that.

Did you know that some NHS Trusts have admitted that in some years nothing is spent on IT security and that several years have gone by without any new desktops even being purchased?

Did you know that the day before the cyber attack occurred, the BMJ published an article by Dr Krishna Chinthapalli warning that lax security measures makes them ideal targets for hackers?

Did you know that Edward Snowden has confirmed that Ransomware is a US government security service technology that was originally produced by the NSA?

The malware was made by the US government - why is no one mentioning this on the news?

Jeremy Hunt can promise 'wifi in every hospital' all he likes - but what's really more important here; that a patient can watch the iPlayer whilst waiting for surgery or that NHS staff can do their job without the computer freezing or logging them out every five minutes?

What this story shows, if you delve beyond what the mainstream media is telling you, is that it is the chronic underfunding of the NHS by this Tory government that has led to this attack. Theresa May, in her role as Home Secretary, was responsible for cyber defences and she's clearly sat on her hands and done nothing for seven years.

Please don't give her the opportunity to run the country in the same careless manner.

If you believe the NHS deserves the very best, then please vote Labour on June 8th.

Help Save a Man's Life Today: Sign this Petition to Stop Deportation



Amitt Bhatt is a UK based investigative journalist who has written extensively about the corruption and human rights abuse in his native Kashmir. Now, Bhatt faces deportation from the UK. If he is sent back to the Kashmir he will face imprisonment and even death. Please sign the petition to help keep him safe.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Out On Blue Six : Robyn feat Kleerup

Remember Robyn?

For my money, this track from 2008, was the Swedish singer's attempt at channeling '80s era Kate Bush



End Transmission


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Current Mood: Optimistic, thanks to Labour's Manifesto

I don't want to say too much because I don't want to tempt fate, but the response to Labour's Manifesto today has been really encouraging. It genuinely feels like we've turned a corner that I hope will translate into votes next month.


It's simply a Manifesto full of great stuff. Here's just a few of them;

An extra £8bn on Social Care 
The banning of zero hour contracts
Strengthening unions and workers rights
Scrap the public sector pay cap
Increase income tax for highest earning 5% to fund the NHS
Build at least 100,000 council houses per year
Reserve 4,000 homes for rough sleepers
Cap extortionate rents
Ban fracking
Cut the voting age to 16
Abolish tuition fees
Universal free school meals
Renationalise the 6 big energy firms, the railways and the Royal Mail

Of course it hasn't all been met with enthusiasm. The bitter right wing press whose interests thrive on the capitalist economy and a Tory government are already answering Jeremy Corbyn's statement that Britain can be better with 'no it can't' trotting out the tired old argument that this is a party determined to take the country back to the 1970s. 

It's an argument that simply doesn't hold water. For a start, the 2.4% economic growth these critics hold up as an improvement in Thatcher's Britain of the 1980s is EXACTLY THE SAME level as it was in Callaghan's 1970s, an era they castigate as the very doldrums of this countries history.

The only thing different about Thatcher's Britain was the savage deflation methods that effectively destroyed our industries as they ploughed their interests into private energy companies simply to destroy the coal industry as revenge for the miners' victory against Heath. 

What exactly is wrong about going back to a time when workers rights were strong in this country? When ordinary working people had a share of the power and a say about things, instead of just the privileged few?

The Labour Manifesto is a glorious promise that pledges to end elderly loneliness, and still there are some critics baulking at it. What is wrong with these people?

Whilst the Tories pledge to bring back fox hunting, Labour are promising to ensure every child in this country can have a school meal.

Please use your common sense next month. Turn the corner with us and make Britain better again.

Vote Labour. Because when Labour win, we - the ordinary people - win too.


RIP Geoffrey Bayldon

The great Geoffrey Bayldon has sadly died at the age of 93.


An actor of far too many credits to mention, the Leeds born Bayldon held a special resonance for fans of cult, sci-fi and fantasy drama and anyone of a certain age now thanks to his most famous role, the eccentric medieval wizard Catweazle, from the 1970s series of the same name, who found himself transported to the present day.


Born in 1923, Bayldon served in the RAF during the war and trained to be an architect in peace time. However, a change of heart saw him take up study at the Old Vic with an ambition to become an actor, an ambition that was soon met; Bayldon was pretty much a regular face on British television from the 1950s onwards. He was considered for the lead role in Doctor Who not once, but twice; first in 1963 when the programme was commissioned and again in 1966 when the original lead William Hartnell stepped down. On each occasion, Bayldon said thanks but no thanks, but eventually took a guest role in the 1979 story The Creature from the Pit as the astrologer Organon opposite Tom Baker and Lalla Ward. In more recent years, he relented enough to play an alternate reality version of the Doctor in two Big Finish audio adventures; Auld Mortality and A Storm of Angels. Other famous roles include the sinister Crowman opposite Third Doctor Jon Pertwee in Worzel Gummidge, the title role in 1995's Magic Granddad and as Weston, the cynical teacher in the film To Sir, With Love.

RIP

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Out On Blue Six: Robert Miles, RIP

DJ and legendary trance producer Robert Miles has died at the age of 47. Reports say he had been suffering with cancer for several months.



Born Roberto Concina, Miles' biggest hit was the 1996 'dream house' club hit Children, a big favourite of mine.



Originally written in response to the images from Bosnia of child victims from the conflict in Yugoslavia, the hit took on a different life when Miles saw the 'Saturday night slaughter' on Italy's roads; numerous car smashes that took the lives of young clubbers returning home from parties. Determined to offer a more sedate, chilled beat to close the night and bring clubbers down enough to drive safely, Miles penned Children; with its natural thunderstorm start and melancholic piano riff, the track made the youth of clubland think and feel nostalgic and reflective, as opposed to still attempting to chase the buzz from earlier in the night.

It remains a beautiful track that hasn't dated a day in the twenty-one years since its release.

RIP

End Transmission



Wordless Wednesday: Branches


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Out On Blue Six: Billy Bragg

This photograph, taken in Belfast's York Street in 1935, offers such a strange and alien juxtaposition that is still striking to this very day, despite growing up during The Troubles. On the one hand there's the heavy militaristic presence of the armoured Rolls Royce and the RUC man, and on the other there's the ordinary everyday of the trio of young girls going to work or going about their business. The latter means the photograph could have been taken anywhere, but the former makes it unmistakeably Belfast. 


It reminded me of Billy Bragg's 1996 track Northern Industrial Town, which rightly reminded us, at a time when The Troubles were still rife, that thereis far more which ties us together than there ever is that separates.



End Transmission


Monday, 8 May 2017

Taskafa, Stories of the Street/Estate, a Reverie: Two Films by Andrea Luka Zimmerman

This DVD from Second Run features two wonderfully satisfying and symbiotic documentary features from filmmaker and creative artist Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Taskafa: Stories of the Street from 2013, and Estate, a Reverie from 2015.


Read my full review at The Geek Show

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Babs (2017)


It's central construct of playing witness to your own past might be as creaky as the boards the middle-aged Barbara Windsor is treading, and the script has a fair few clunkers, but Babs is mostly saved by some peerless performances that make this a amiable way to pass ninety minutes, but some way off the kind of satisfying success ITV biopics like Jeff Pope's Cilla enjoyed.



Samantha Spiro is effortless as the middle-aged, seemingly washed up Windsor, as you would expect from someone who jokingly admits to having played Windsor for half her life now (she had previously played her at the National in 1998's Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick, reprising the role for the TV adaptation, Cor Blimey, in 2000) but it's Jaime Winstone who really shines here with the role of the young Babs, capturing her sexy look, her defiant pluck and that infamous wiggle and giggle that made her both a national treasure and the wet dream fantasy for many of schoolboy in the 1960s. Neither actress goes for an impersonation, as that wouldn't be enough to sustain a biopic alone, but they capture an essence of the person remarkably well.



They're both nicely supported (ooh-err!) by Nick Moran as Windsor's father, the man whose love she was constantly searching for throughout her life, an unfortunately all too underused Leanne Best as her mother (why give her so little to work with? Best is a brilliant performer who lifts anything she appears in), Luke Allen-Gale as bad boy Ronnie Knight, and the inspired casting of Zoe Wanamaker as Joan Littlewood and a wonderful spot of mimicry from Robin Sebastian as Kenneth Williams. Only Alex MacQueen as Windsor's agent jarred; I know he has his screen persona of the prissy, over-enunciating dullard of dubious sexual orientation, and I have liked him in many other things, but it's the only thing he does in each role he takes and it just doesn't sit well when he's required to act outside of comedy or as something or someone else - look at his ineffectual turn as a political villain in series three of Peaky Blinders, and it's the same here.



When the film actually settles down to focus on Barbara's big break with Littlewood's legendary Theatre Workshop, Babs comes alive, but Tony Jordan's script feels compelled to throw in too many in-jokes (the Dame reference, the Carry On style score) and flat footed references ('you've an offer for a film...the producer is Gerald Thomas' *clunk*) that consistently hold the film back and shy away from the answers it's naturally searching for as the film refuses to pinpoint why it feels Windsor's potential was ultimately as squandered as it was, leading her to throw her lot in with the Carry On team. I also really felt like the whole thing was hampered by the little meta-touch of crowbarring the real Windsor into the film; I'm not so cold-hearted to begrudge her her song at the end (performed to an audience made up of the cast and crew, which was a lovely touch)  but the other two instances in the middle of the film just feel wrong and out of place, threatening to sink the whole affair. On this occasion, less would have been more.



Silent Sunday: Stone Love


Saturday, 6 May 2017

My 12 Best Reviews


This is an idea shamelessly cribbed from Rick Burin. Like him, I write reviews for every film I watch on my Letterboxd profile. If you're fortunate, these witterings may garner 'up-votes' from other members of the Letterboxd community. Some LB'ers get their reviews up-voted into the stratosphere, with hundreds of like. Don't expect that from my reviews; I'm lucky to reach the 20 mark as you'll see. Based on the number of votes, these therefore are the 12 best reviews I have written. Allegedly - because there are some I'm proud of, and there are some I'm not. But you can't argue with the public now can you? Two things have struck me from compiling this, one is that it's clear that the reviews I write of new releases (ie films released in the last few years) in the main garner more up votes than the obscurities and/or classics that I generally watch, whilst the other is that it is the films I rate highly that tend to get the votes over the ones I give an utter drubbing too.

12. Amy (Dir Asif Kapadia, 2015)



Reviewed January 2016

"It points the finger where the blame truly lies. Yes it acknowledges the horrendous, cavalier damage the likes of the media and Blake did to her, but it finally lays the blame at the door of her manager Raye Cosbert and her father Mitch who got away with this for far too long"

Rating: 5/5
Votes: 25

Full Review: LB

11. T2 Trainspotting (Dir Danny Boyle, 2017)



Reviewed February 2017

"More than any other sequel I can currently recall, T2 has matured with its audience and reflects where they are likely to be at right now. Whereas Trainspotting will perhaps always appeal to teens/twentysomethings of any generation, I think you have to have a bit of experience under your belt, you have to be 35 and upwards to appreciate this"

Rating: 4/5
Votes: 25

Full Review: LB and Blog

10. The Lady In The Van (Dir Nicholas Hytner, 2015)



Reviewed November 2015

"I took my mother to see The Lady In The Van. On leaving the cinema, her first remark was, "I didn't know Alan Bennett was gay?" It's a naive enough remark, but she then went one better by adding "I thought the men coming round the house were doing jobs for him?" It's the kind of maternal comment that Bennett has made a career from. But if that means my mum has now become an 'Alan Bennett Mother', what does that make me?"

Rating: 4/5
Votes: 26

Full Review: LB and Blog

9. Spectre (Dir Sam Mendes, 2015)



Reviewed November 2015

"Whisper it, but Spectre is a bit of a Greatest Hits of Bond, harking back to several moments across the franchise's history"

Rating: 4/5
Votes: 28

Full Review: Here and Blog

8. Elephant (Dir Alan Clarke, 1989)



Reviewed March 2014

"A brutal uncompromising look at Sectarian assassination that dramatises genuine events and forces you to consider The Troubles in a way that acres of news coverage cannot. Just what is your gut reaction at the end of it? Does the endless cadence of footfall and gunfire go some way to desensitise you or does it make you realise this has to stop"

Rating: 4/5
Votes: 28

Full Review: LB and Blog

7. King of New York (Dir Abel Ferrara,1990)



Reviewed March 2014

"It's only in the intervening years that the once vilified movie has achieved the status and esteem it deserves and at last Christopher Walken's effortlessly cool, deeply and intensely enigmatic and insouciant performance receives both the merit and the iconic status it has long deserved"

Rating: 4/5
Votes: 32

Full Review: LB and Blog

6. Kes (Dir Ken Loach, 1969)



Reviewed January 2014

"Now forty five years old the themes, message and approach Kes has has barely dated. It remains a grubbily realistic poetic evocation of northern working class life and tells us to grab our respite and dreams where we can and how we can. I imagine it still has just as much to say to a young boy or girl as it did when I saw it at that age and when the generation of children in the early 70s saw it too"

Rating: 5/5
Votes: 33

Full Review: LB , Blog and The Geek Show

5. Supersonic (Dir Mat Whitecross, 2016)



Reviewed October 2016

"Supersonic might just be the funniest, most feelgood music documentary in recent years. And I mean, laugh out loud on several occasions funny"

Rating: 5/5
Votes: 35

Full Review: LB and Blog

4. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Dir Sydney Pollack, 1969)




Reviewed March 2013

"It's natural to be aghast by the events depicted in the film, and wonder how we allowed them to happen in a supposedly civilised society and time not too long ago in our collective conscious. But ask yourself this; is it really any different to the reality shows we witness on TV now, in a similar time of economic slump and depression? All those endless series of Big Brother and The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor and Britain's Got Talent, and anything that can be traced back to the biggest MC of them all, Simon Cowell?"

Rating: 5/5
Votes: 35

Full Review: LB and Blog

3. I, Daniel Blake (Dir Ken Loach, 2016)



Reviewed February 2017

"The point I'm trying to make, the point I think Ken Loach's film is trying to make, is that We Are All Daniel Blake. We are all just a wage packet, a bout of ill health or a stroke of misfortune away from what Dave Johns' everyman finds himself struggling with here"

Rating: 4.5/5
Votes: 46

Full Review: LB and Blog

2. High-Rise (Dir Ben Wheatley, 2015)



Reviewed March 2016

"Ending the film with Thatcher's speech on capitalism whilst the precocious young Gove look-a-like Toby, Charlotte's son and - it is said - the architect's 'bastard' - seems to take note is a superb touch too. Toby claims he can see the future through his toy kaleidoscope (a wonderful retro touch for any of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s) and, given the way Cameron's cabinet seems determined to be an 80s tribute government, I think he really can"

Rating: 5/5
Votes: 51

Full Review: LB and Blog

1. Berberian Sound Studio (Dir Peter Strickland, 2012)




Reviewed Jan 2013

"Firstly if you're a nerd for the aesthetics of film, you'll love it. The 70s setting, the Giallo references are all perfect that you don't think of it as a present day film set in the 70s, this could be a lost forgotten 70s film. Secondly, if you're a nerd for the mechanics of film, the technology, you'll REALLY love it"

Rating: 4.5/5
Votes: 115

Full review: LB and Blog