Category Reviews

Joker – The Electric Shadows Podcast

In episode 70 of The Electric Shadows Podcast, Robs Daniel and Wallis set their laughing gear to discussing Todd Phillips’ Joker. A controversial film being hailed as a masterpiece, the two Robs are baffled as to why.

They both talk about why the film left them unimpressed and non-plussed, from the slavish homage to Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy to Joaquin Phoenix’s mannered performance.

Rob D recounts the negative reactions his review has met on Facebook and R&R attempt to figure out where the love is coming from.

To help them, friend of the podcast Adrian Zak joins Rob D for a brief chat, describing what he found to like in the movie. Never say we’re not balanced.

We recorded this one outside between screenings at the London Film Festival, hence the background being...

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The Irishman

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Steve Zaillian (screenplay), Charles Brandt (book)

Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Bobby Cannavale, Stephen Graham, Ray Romano, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin, Welker White, Sebastian Maniscalco

Producers: Troy Allen, Gerald Chamales, Robert De Niro, Randall Emmett, Gastón Pavlovich, Jane Rosenthal, Martin Scorsese, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Irwin Winkler

Music: Robbie Robertson

Cinematography: Rodrigo Prieto

Editor: Thelma Schoonmaker

Cert: 15

Running time: 209mins

Year: 2019


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What’s the story: Mob enforcer Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (De Niro) recounts his life in the mafia, particularly his friendship with Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino).

What’s the verdict: With its fiv...

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Knives Out (2019)

Director: Rian Johnon

Writer: Rian Johnson

Cast: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Noah Segan

Producers: Ram Bergman, Rian Johnson,

Music: Nathan Johnson

Cinematography: Steve Yedlin

Editor: Bob Ducsay

Cert: 15

Running time: 130mins

Year: 2019


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What’s the story: When acclaimed mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Plummer) suddenly commits suicide, famous detective Benoit Blanc (Craig) investigates.

What’s the verdict: You’ve just made one of the best instalments of a legendary movie franchise. Yet, toxic fanboys have their (to use an apt phrase) knives out and suddenly you’re Public Enemy Number 1...

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Jojo Rabbit

Director: Taika Waititi

Writer: Taika Waititi (script), Christine Leunens (novel)

Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Taika Waititi, Archie Yates

Producers: Carthew Neal, Taika Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley

Music: Michael Giacchino

Cinematography: Mihai Malaimare Jr.

Editor: Tom Eagles

Cert: 12

Running time: 108mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: Hitler Youth Jojo (Davis) is committed to the Nazi cause, but the discovery of a Jewish girl (McKenzie) being hidden in his house forces him to reconsider his beliefs.

What’s the verdict: Easy to understand why some have approached Taika Waititi’s latest with trepidation...

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Director: Todd Phillips

Writers: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy

Producers: Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Emma Tillinger Koskoff

Music: Hildur Guðnadóttir

Cinematography: Lawrence Sher

Editor: Jeff Groth

Cert: 15

Running time: 122mins

Year: 2019


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What’s the story: Gotham, 1981. As the world goes to ruin, mentally ill clown impersonator Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) begins to lose his sanity.

What’s the verdict: After all the critical adulation, it’s a punchline worthy of the Clown Prince of Crime himself that Joker isn’t very good.

We’re in early 80s Gotham for DC’s latest movie...

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Saint Maud

Director: Rose Glass

Writer: Rose Glass

Cast: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Frazer, Lily Knight

Producers: Andrea Cornwell, Oliver Kassman

Music: Adam Janota Bzowski

Cinematography: Ben Fordesman

Editor: Mark Towns

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 83mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: The unsmiling Maud (Clark) is private nurse to capricious terminally ill dancer Amanda (Ehle). Gripped by religious fervour, Maud believes she can save Amanda’s soul.

What’s the verdict: After Abner Pastoll’s A Good Woman is Hard to Find, Rose Glass’ outstanding feature debut is the second film this year to open with a young woman coated in blood...

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Sam Mendes’ 1917 Will Resemble One Shot in Real Time

Sam Mendes dives into the trenches for his next film, 1917, promising to do for First World War movies what Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk did for WW2.

Mendes has set himself an extra challenge by filming 1917 to resemble one continuous shot, taking place across real time on the Western Front.

Striving for authenticity, the Skyfall director wants to put the audience alongside his characters “…every step of the journey, breathing every breath with these men”.

Telling a Gallipoli style story of two soldiers who must race across enemy territory to stop a deadly attack, 1917 stars Captain Fantastic’s George Mackay and Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman as the men charged with the mission.  

Of course, digital stitching will tie different shots into one seamless ...

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Color Out of Space

Director: Richard Stanley

Writers: Richard Stanley, Scarlett Amaris (script), H.P Lovecraft (short story)

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Brendan Meyer, Tommy Chong

Producers: Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller, Lisa Whalen

Music: Colin Stetson

Cinematography: Steve Annis

Editor: Brett W. Bachman

Cert: 18 (TBC)

Running time: 111mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: When a meteorite crashes onto the land of alpaca farmer Nathan Gardner (Cage), it causes strange, horrific changes in him and his family.

What’s the verdict: Last year it was Mandy...

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London Film Festival 2019 – Honey Boy, Clemency, Guest of Honour, Instinct, Burning Cane

HONEY BOY


Director: Alma Ha’rel

Writer: Shia LaBeouf

Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Noah Jupe, Lucas Hedges, FKA Twigs, Laura San Giacomo, Martin Starr

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 93mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: An actor (Hedges) is sent to rehab and relives past trauma, when as an upcoming child actor he lived with his abusive father (LaBeouf).

What’s the verdict: Shia LaBeouf writes and plays a version of his own dad in this heartfelt semi-autobiographical movie. Troubled actor Otis (Hedges) finds himself in forced rehab to avoid a jail sentence after repeated DUIs. The source of his pain is the time he spent as a child with abusive, self-destructive dad James.

Slowly working his way to child stardom, the 12-year-old Otis (Jupe) lives in a rented motel ro...

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Bad Education

Director: Cory Finley

Writer: Mike Makowsky

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Geraldine Viswanathan, Ray Ramano, Annaleigh Ashford, Jimmy Tatro

Producers: Fred Berger, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Julia Lebedev, Mike Makowsky, Oren Moverman, Eddie Vaisman

Music: Michael Abels

Cinematography: Lyle Vincent

Editor: Louise Ford

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 103mins

Year: 2019



What’s the story: A talented student reporter (Viswanathan) discovers serious financial misdeeds in a New York school district run by superintendent Frank Tassone (Jackman) and Pam Gluckin (Janney).

What’s the verdict: It may share its name with a Jack Whitehall classroom sitcom and its 2015 big screen spin-off, but Bad Education (sans the “The Movie” subtitle) is...

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