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They're made out of meat! [Review: Tender Is The Flesh]

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The spread of a deadly virus leads to the elimination of livestock and animals in general - and to the creeping legalization of cannibalism and a future in which humans are farmed, bred and slaughtered for meat on an industrial scale.

Tender Is The Flesh (Cadaver Exquisito) is a dystopian novel by Argentinian author Agustina Bazterrica. It's told from the viewpoint of Marcos, a senior manager in the "special meat" industry with a role in every stage of the lives of the "heads." Motivated by a need to pay for his father's nursing home and recoiling from his own tragedies and the breakdown of his marriage, Marcos embodies the double-think of the time, taking pride in his expertise and business success while still  aware that he is participating in an atrocity.
There are plenty of bleak, horrific novels in the dystopia genre - not least the torture-heavy 1984 and the misogynistic violence of The Handmaid's Tale or A Walk To The End Of The World. I may have b…

Faking It [Review: Parasite]

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Ki-woo and his family, the Kims, live in a basement and barely scrape a living folding pizza boxes. They get what seems to be a lucky break when Ki-woo is offered the chance to become an English tutor for the daughter of the rich Park family, his sister Ki-jeong forging a college student identity to get him started. He then plans to bring the rest of his family into the Parks’ employment, finding ways to get their household staff dismissed and replaced. However this proves to be a risky strategy and it turns out the Kim family are not the only ones with secrets.
Bong Joon-Ho’s thriller won the Palme D’Or at Cannes last year and went on to win the Best Picture Oscar – the first non-English-language film to do so. It was also panned by Donald Trump (so far the only Home Alone 2 cast member to be impeached). It’s an extraordinary movie worthy of all these accolades, hitting many different notes – comedy, intrigue, heist, psychodrama, thriller and tragedy – while still telling a well-writt…

It only takes a minute girl [Review: Downsizing]

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A Norwegian scientist has found a way to shrink humans to approximately 12 inches in height, meaning they have a much smaller environmental impact and incidentally can live a life of luxury on the cheap – but it’s irreversible. Occupational therapist Matt Damon and his wife Kristen Wiig are the couple trying to decide whether moving to a small community is an opportunity worth taking.
There are plenty of movies about shrinking people –Fantastic Voyage, InnerSpace, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, and of course the various appearances of Ant-Man. In all of these movies the shrinking effect is reversible and the tone tends to be a mixture of action and comedy.
Downsizing takes a different approach, the key to which is the one-way procedure which gives miniaturization a whole new meaning. This is highlighted by the shrinking process – no instantaneous shrink ray or Ant-Man suit but a prolonged and demeaning medical procedure involving removal of hair and teeth and injection with a special shrinki…

2020 Vision

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Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2020, the year in which, according to Hollywood we should be racing to Mars on a desperate mission to rescue some floating M&Ms, fighting Kaiju and finding true love in our Jaegers, or hiding from dragons while teaching children about Star Wars.

I know. So disappointing when reality doesn’t match up to the movies.

I've almost finished Netflix so I’m looking forward to leaving the house and discovering some new experiences in 2020. My plans include getting to London Comic-Con and also trying some immersive science-fiction theatre – will report back if I survive. I’m also looking at all the movies coming out this year and I have no idea what to think. Ghostbusters, Top Gun and Bill and Ted are all coming back – any of which could be epic or catastrophic. On the other hand there are some originals in the line-up too, including the mysterious Chris Nolan movie Tenet, and while I don't always approve of re-makes I will probably still see the new adaptati…

The Empire Strikes Flatpack [Review: Aniara]

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The space cruise ship Aniara begins its three-month mission to bring thousands of moderately rich Earthlings to Mars, leaving behind an environmental catastrophe. Amongst the passengers is MR (Emelie Jonsson), a technician responsible for tending to MIMA, an AI that can give the colonists soothing visions of Earth before the disaster. But shortly after departure a collision leaves the Aniara drifting off course with no engine, challenging Captain Chefone (Arvin Kananian) and his crew to try to find a solution and keep the passengers happy.


Aniara is a Swedish-Danish movie – and you can tell this as it takes place on the decks of a rectangular cruise ship clearly designed and built by the Ikea-Lego Corporation (Assemble Your Own Better Worlds). There’s some clever low-budget sci-fi filmmaking – the interior of the Aniara has been filmed in airports, shopping malls and hotels, or perhaps airport shopping malls and hotels. CGI is sparsely used, basic but effective, mainly limited to exter…

Meet The Parents [Review: Get Out]

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Photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is travelling with his girlfriend Rose (Alison Williams) to meet her parents for the first time, and is anxious about how they will react to an interracial relationship. On arrival he is greeted warmly and his fears appear groundless - but the parents have their own eccentricities, and the more he gets to know the Armitage family, the more he becomes convinced that there is something strange and sinister afoot at their household.


Get Out is a well-received horror movie from 2017, directed by Jordan Peele. It has won several awards including the Oscar for best screenplay - and well deserved. This is a clever film. The theme of racial intolerance and stereotyping is explored intelligently to play all sorts of psychological games with the audience, while subtle clues are incepted to pave the way for a horror twist in the final act. The movie opens with a subversion of a stereotype - a black person becoming increasingly nervous as he walks through a whit…

U Can't Skek Sis [review: Dark Crystal episode 2]

Episode 2 of The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance has many pleasures. Deet has found her way to the surface, and despite being unused to the glare of the three suns has met her first podling and her first fizzgig who may prove to be a bit of a scene-stealer. The Skeksis are as treacherous as ever - not least to each other, and Rian and Brea are both in so much trouble for different reasons.
With some movies or shows there is a drive towards realism, whether through special or visual effects, with the ultimate goal of making the audience forget they are watching a created fantasy. Here the effect is different. It's never in doubt that you are watching puppets - Muppets, even, but the artistry is so good that you still accept them as real characters and care about their struggles.
I have taken a decision not to binge-watch The Dark Crystal. It's too good - I want to take a bit more time and enjoy each episode. Also, at this point two episodes in I feel a need to go back and watch t…