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Friday Five: 5 Fantastic Flicks at the BFI

Secret-of-kells

One perk of being a Londoner? The BFI Southbank. Anne and I were there recently for an Indiana Jones marathon (all three films!), and I was reminded - for the 857th time - what a wonderful place it is. Pros: an unbelievable selection of movies from the timeless to the trashy. Cons: they don't sell popcorn (heathens!)

Smuggle in some Haribo and check out the website, because there's an amazing line-up for the rest of the summer. A few highlights below.

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Stark Reviews: Ride in the Whirlwind (1965)

Ride in the Whirlwind

Stark says: “Obliged.”

Monte Hellman’s Westerns are a strange breed. For one thing, it’s hard to talk about one without talking about the other. The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind were shot back to back, after the film’s financier reckoned that, if you’re making one film, why the hell not make two? And while both are considered to be prime examples of revisionist, acid Westerns, they’re also very different films. As a Western, The Shooting, written by Carole Eastman, is female-led, abstract, uncompromising and hallucinogenic. Ride in the Whirlwind, on the other hand, is defiantly realistic; more conventional and plot-driven. It was also written, produced and acted in by Jack Nicholson.

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Will Eisner and Three Visions of New York

Eisner new yorkNew York, New York.

Is there any city that has featured in as many stories, songs and films? Ok, maybe Paris, but ignoring that - definitely New York. The representations of New York are as varied as its famously melting-pot population, but there are threads and themes that connect them.

Will Eisner’s New York; Life In The Big City is a classic collection of vignettes and short pieces about New York, published between 1981 and 2000. It is perhaps the most famous graphic text dealing with the city itself. It collects four of Eisner's works: 'The Building’, ‘City People’, ‘Notebook’ and ‘Invisible People’ - all drawing on Eisner’s lifetime of observing the people of New York and the changes it has undergone over the years.

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Nerd is the New Black: Civil War

Civil War (Bryan Hitch)

Full disclosure: I've already seen Civil War (twice!), and it's great.

But if you haven't and you want to head to the cinema wearing something that proclaims your Cap vs. Iron Man loyalties, or if you just want to look at some cool Civil War-inspired stuff... well, that's what we're here for. 

Let's start with the iconic Cap vs. Iron Man image from the comics, above.

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The Killing Joke: We're Not Laughing Any More

OracleYesterday’s release of a trailer for the upcoming animated version of famous Batman story The Killing Joke kicked off much discussion of the source material in various circles.

For a number reasons more or less this exact discussion surfaces whenever The Killing Joke is in the news. I was particularly aware of yesterday’s iteration because well-known comics writer Gail Simone ended up at ground zero for a lot of the Twitter-based ‘debate’.

The various strands of conversation that intersected Simone’s timeline, often followed into other people’s feeds and then back again, seemed such a perfect representation of how in multiple ways a certain segment of fandom deals with the most common critiques of The Killing Joke that it felt worth spending a little time interrogating the key points.

In fact, as is evident from Gail Simone’s mentions, people who’ve never read a comic in their lives feel entirely qualified to express a view on this. Mostly, it seems, people who don’t like women very much.

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Stark Reviews: Day of the Outlaw (1959)

Day of the Outlaw

Stark says: “You won't find much mercy anywhere in Wyoming.

Seen The Revenant, yet? No? Well, if you’re pushed for time but harbouring a hankering for a hardscrabble, snow-choked Western, then go for Day of the Outlaw instead. If nothing else, it’ll save you an hour and a half, which you can spend doing… other things. Like smoking meat or practising macramé.

I will admit, there’s less grunting than there is in The Revenant, and less bear. Directed by Hungarian-born Andre de Toth – of House of Wax fame – what’s on offer here is a psychological, powder-keg of a Western that feels less like a yee-haw-thankee-ma’am-cowboy-movie and more like a taut, 1930s noir thriller.

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25 Superhero Films Just As Bad As Batman vs Superman

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Let's be clear, Batman vs Superman is not good.

It is too long, too ponderous and takes itself way too seriously. It has mediocre acting, macho ham-philosophy, a bad score and confusing action sequences. It is packed with 'easter eggs' that are largely meaningless, espouses terrible politics, devotes itself to building its own mythology, and is rife with visual decision-making that is, at best, suspect.

Which is to say, it is no worse than many, many other superhero movies. 

For controversy's sake, here are 25 recent-ish superhero films from the last 20 years that are just as bad - if not worse - than Batman vs Superman:

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