Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2023

Gwenevere on the English Riviera

Here’s a link to the interview I recently recorded with John Tomkins of the English Riviera Film Festival . We talked a bit about my books, and about the film adaptation of Mortal Engines . But mostly it’s about my own film, Gwenevere , which John will be screening in a special event at Torquay Museum on 4th November. Tickets are available here.   If you can’t make it, Gwenevere will be released online at some point later in the year, but this will be a rare chance to see it on the big screen. And Torquay Museum is well worth a visit, too.

From the Archives: Fury Road

I just discovered that some of the posts from my old blog are still, somehow, googleable. So I’m re-posting them here - apologies if you’ve read them before. First up: Mad Max: Fury Road. I wasn’t particularly interested when I first heard about   Mad Max - Fury Road . I’ve reached that age where every other movie out of Hollywood is a remake or a reboot of something that I remember from my formative years, and almost all of them seem inferior to the originals. But it turns out that   Fury Road   is the real deal: I don’t remember enjoying a sci-fi/action movie this much since   Aliens . The plot would fit comfortably on a post-it note. I’ve seen a few people on Twitter saying this as if it’s a bad thing. It’s not. Most films have far more plot than they know what to do with.  Fury Road  has exactly as much as it needs. Which isn’t very much at all, because it’s a demented punk hymn to speed and violence. Basically, post-apocalyptic warlord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) keeps a harem

Utterly Dark and the Tides of Time

Utterly Dark and the Tides of Time will be out soon. I linked in an earlier post to this review by Gordon Askew on his blog Magic Fiction Since Potter , who thinks, ‘ this concluding title of the trilogy   is the richest and most complex of the three. A thrilling triumph, it  lifts the whole story onto another level, into (literally) another dimension, and firmly into the realm of great children’s fantasies .’ If you haven’t yet dipped a toe into Utterly’s world, maybe this review from Veronica Price on her A View From The Bookshelves will help to persuade you to try Utterly Dark and Face of the Deep and the second book, Utterly Dark and the Heart of the Wild . I think the three Utterly books are among the best things I’ve done. But, whether because of the historical setting, or COVID, or the fact that the main character is younger than most of previous heroes and heroines, it’s been very hard to make people realise they exist - so if you have read and enjoyed them, please spread t


In the creaky old westerns and war movies which used to pad out the TV schedules when I was a nipper, there would sometimes come a moment when the music swelled, the chisel-jawed hero gazed into the middle distance and started to declaim a rousing speech about Democracy, or Justice, or the indomitable spirit of a little ol’ place we just happen to call the US of A, and I would zone out until the story started again. Something similar keeps happening in  Barbie , except the chisel-jawed hero has been replaced by Margot Robbie and America Ferrara, and the speech about Democracy and Justice is now a twee fridge-magnet homily about Being Yourself, or a bullet-pointed Tumblr post about how exhausting it is to be a woman living under ‘the Patriarchy’.  (And I’m sure it is -  but I don’t want to listen to somebody preaching about it, and certainly not at that sort of length, in a lightweight movie.)  Elsewhere, Barbie has plenty of nice moments, and I really wanted to like it. Margot Robbie


I enjoyed Oppenheimer , and I certainly wasn’t expecting to. Christopher Nolan’s films have mostly left me bored and/or annoyed before. ( Memento was OK I guess. I haven’t watched his Batman films, because they’re Batman films.) I know he’s  raved about by the sort of tech-fixated movie bros who claim you haven’t seen a film at all until you’ve seen in 70mm and Surroundsound, but  I don’t see how a bigger screen or louder speakers could rescue a film like Inception , one of the most tedious things I’ve ever sat through.  Anyway, by default, Oppenheimer is my favourite Nolan film. Inception and Interstellar  both had endings which you can see coming the instant they’re set up, and so does Oppenheimer : early in in the proceedings Oppenheimer is talking to Einstein in long shot, the dialogue inaudible, when Einstein’s hat blows off. Nolan’s clearly marking the moment: we’re going to return to it and find out what they were saying. And sure enough, about three hours later, we do. The i

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning

I’m very fond of the recent Mission Impossible films. From  Ghost Protocol onwards, they seem to have cracked a perfect action movie formula, with gossamer-thin narrative providing just enough drive to string the action set-pieces together. Tom Cruise plays super spy Ethan Hunt with enough earnest intensity to convince you that whatever MacGuffin he’s hunting is Vitally Important, and enough flashes of goofy comedy to keep him sympathetic. Dead Reckoning , continues the tradition, throwing Tom Cruise and his likeable crew of sidekicks into an adventure involving a sentient AI bent on world domination, which results in (among other things) a terrific car chase through the streets of Rome and an extended climax on the runaway Orient Express. Hayley Atwell joins the cast as a glamorous international thief, Simon Pegg reprises his role as the nervy but dependable Benjie, and Ving Rhames just sits around being Ving Rhames, which is fine by me. (Though if you know him only for being rumbly