Author: James Ruzicka

Bonus Features

This week on the pod we’re talking about the Werner Herzog picture Grizzly Man. It’s an amazing collage of interviews, archive material and found footage, but interestingly there is a bonus feature on the DVD about the making of the film’s soundtrack which probably sheds as much light on one of the primary themes of […]

Mission: Impossible 2 (2000): Beachball Bingo

The Cruise-a-thon continues, with Mission Impossible 2, the John Woo-directed CinemaScope-explosion of action-idiocy. I remember liking this film quite a lot when it first came out, but I spent the first half of this rewatch inwardly sneering at the ludicrousness of the story and the ridiculous, over the top melodrama of every scene. And then […]

The One Scene Movie: Mission: Impossible (1996)

Welcome back to the Tom Cruise Cinema Club. I recently returned with the whole family to watch the Brian de Palma-helmed, curiously punctuated Mission: Impossible for the first time since seeing it on its theatrical release, and found a few surprises. One: the internet. Wow, it’s easy to forget how recently the internet became omnipresent. […]

Oh Dear: Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

Okay. That’s it. I might just have to give up watching films from the 1980s. It’s a shame, but they’re just too damn weird. I’d never seen 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting before this week. It’s the directing debut of Chris Columbus, and it’s true that the basic shape of the film is good. Elizabeth Shue […]

ChatGPT: what now for writers?

Imagine asking Isaac Asimov or Arthur C Clarke sixty years ago what their most optimistic vision of humankind’s future might look like. Perhaps they would have suggested a utopia where robots and computers do all the menial jobs leaving humans to concentrate on pursuits like art and writing. Cleverly we seem to be working on […]

American Idiot: American Made (2017)

It’s no secret we have a soft spot for Tom Cruise at the Two Reel Cinema Club. But somehow I’d never seen American Made (2017), Doug Liman’s drug-running-small-plane picture, until this week. Imagine you really loved the final 45 minutes of Goodfellas, loved it so much you wanted to turn it into a whole feature […]

The Peripheral (2022): Objectification

For my money William Gibson is the greatest living science fiction author, and I’m sure eventually someone, somewhere will finally feel brave enough to attempt to put Neuromancer on screen. In the meantime, we have The Peripheral, the Amazon produced television adaptation of Gibson’s 2014 novel of the same name. I found the novel a […]

Coraline (2009) and the Dream World

My children were too young to see Coraline when it first came out, and it has somehow passed us by since then – until this week. Thank goodness we’ve caught up with it at last: it’s a masterpiece. Coraline is the mardy only child of inattentive parents, who discovers a magical hidden door in their […]

Oblivion (2013) and ‘The Secret Plot’

I rewatched 2013’s Oblivion this week with the family. There’s a great deal to enjoy here: the production design is immaculate, the sound design may be even better, and Tom Cruise is as watchable as ever in his usual highly-competent-but-still-slightly-vulnerable-protagonist role. But the film suffers from one of my least favourite tropes: what I might […]