13th Nov2014

Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2014 – Sunday Roundup

by Mark Allen

Here’s the second and final installment of my Aesthetica Short Film Festival coverage, a little later than expected but no less enthusiastic for it! Let’s dive right into the last day of the fest: One of the more enlightening screenings from the festival was Sunday’s showing of films from Iraq with an introduction from Human […]

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09th Nov2014

Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2014 – Friday Roundup

by Mark Allen

The last time I attended Aesthetica, I was a volunteer and didn’t get to see all that many films. The only complete screening I managed to view was at the venue I was manning; unfortunately, that screening was full of pretentious and acutely inaccessible experimental films, so I didn’t have all that great a time […]

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05th Nov2014

‘The Shoot’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: John Adams, Toby Poser, Sam Rodd, John DiMaggio, Claire Denis, Doug Spearman | Written and Directed by John Adams, Toby Poser Put simply, this is a mess. And not the good kind of cinematic mess that’s so overflowing with ideas the filmmakers can’t fit them all onto the screen without throwing coherent storytelling out the window. No, this […]

05th Nov2014

Preview: Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2014

by Mark Allen

This weekend the city of York is set to host Aesthetica Magazine’s fourth annual Short Film Festival, and 2014 looks to be their biggest year yet. Showcasing over 300 films from 39 countries in various pop-up venues, the BAFTA-recognised event has a reputation for delivering diverse content in a warm and unique atmosphere. From Aesthetica’s […]

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31st Oct2014

‘Billy Club’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Marshall Caswell, Erin Hammond, Nick Sommer, Max Williamson, Mark Metcalf, Mathew Dunlop | Written and Directed by Drew Rosas, Nick Sommer I’ve always had a soft spot for slashers with a decent gimmick, so I was delighted when Billy Club‘s penchant for baseball-related violence was revealed. Too many horror movies are content to stick to the humdrum formula of having […]

16th Oct2014

‘Caesar And Otto’s Deadly Xmas’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Dave Campfield, Paul Chomicki, Linnea Quigley, Deron Miller, Summer Ferguson | Written by Dave Campfield, Joe Randazzo | Directed by Dave Campfield It would be pointless – not to mention foolish – to judge Caesar And Otto’s Deadly Xmas by the same standards as other films. This is chiefly because if we did we’d have to face up […]

13th Oct2014

‘Blood Soaked’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Rachel Corona, Laina Grendle, Lauren Myers, Heather Wilder | Written and Directed by Peter Grendle I’m not sure where exactly to start when talking about Blood Soaked. I considered including a brief plot synopsis so that I could more freely associate with whatever other elements of the film I felt required more discussion. I thought about […]

31st Jul2014

‘The Last Horror Movie’ Review

by Mark Allen

Starring: Kevin Howarth, Mark Stevenson, Antonia Beamish | Written by James Handel | Directed by Julian Richards Found footage horror films are usually a tough trick to pull off well. Not only do they require realistic performances and events so that audiences are (at least partly) convinced that what they’re seeing is real enough for the length of the […]

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28th Feb2014

‘Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia Labeouf, Christian Slater, Willem Dafoe, Uma Thurman, Mia Goth | Written and directed by Lars von Trier How long was the last film you went to see? How long do you think you were in the cinema, ticket-buying, ad-consuming and actual movie-watching all accounted for? Probably somewhere between 2 […]

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28th Nov2013

Thought Bubble 2013 Field Report

by Mark Allen

Over for another year, this weekend’s Thought Bubble was the biggest in its short history, and it definitely felt it. While I didn’t attend every panel or get every signature that I wanted to, my days were still jam-packed with awkward fan-worship of idolised writers, wonderful small press discoveries and comfortable reprieves in the plush […]

22nd Nov2013

Mark’s guide to Thought Bubble 2013

by Mark Allen

Well, it’s upon us once again, and not a moment too soon: the superlative annual comic convention Thought Bubble is back as part of both the Leeds International Film Festival and Comic Art Festival, with a signing tour currently wending its way across Britain and the main events happening this weekend at the Royal Armouries. And, […]

12th Nov2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: ‘F.Z.Z.T.’

by Mark Allen

Written by Paul Zbyszewski | Directed by Vincent Misiano | Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen After five decidedly hit-and-miss episodes and a week off the air, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has come back with “F.Z.Z.T.”, possibly the strongest and definitely the most emotionally engaging entry to the series so far, though reminders of the limitations of bringing the […]

28th Oct2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: ‘The Girl in the Flower Dress’

by Mark Allen

Written by Brent Fletcher | Directed by Jesse Bochco | Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen This week’s episode sees a welcome and significant progression in the season’s main arc, a superpower plot more in keeping with the MCU and a couple of decent steps forward in some characters’ development. ‘The Girl in the Flower Dress’ may […]

23rd Oct2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: ‘Eye-Spy’

by Mark Allen

Written by Jeffrey Bell | Directed by Roxann Dawson | Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen This is the stuff I’ve been waiting for: the batshit-crazy superspy technology and straight-laced insanity that was promised at the end of the pilot with Lola, Coulson’s flying car, taking off into the camera and causing mass fanboy hysteria/incredulous guffaws (depends […]

22nd Oct2013

‘Numbercruncher #4′ Review

by Mark Allen

Written by Si Spurrier | Drawn by PJ Holden | Coloured by Jordie Bellaire | Published by Titan Comics Often when you read a comic with a skyscraper-high concept the conclusion doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the rest of the book, mainly because the creators were so excited about the ideas they’d chucked at the wall that they neglected […]

16th Oct2013

In Defence of the Reboot #2 – Surprise!

by Mark Allen

A couple of weeks ago, Marvel sent out a preview for Wolverine and the X-Men #37, which showed a variant cover and interior pages that showed a strangely dressed Quentin Quire. It didn’t take much (or any) detective work to figure out that the Phoenix Force was making its return to the Marvel U (well, it […]

12th Oct2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: ‘The Asset’

by Mark Allen

Ethically sketchy split-second decisions. A morally compromised but uncompromising, fearless leader. Young, vulnerable women turning out to be not so vulnerable. Yep, it’s starting to look like a Whedon show all right, and while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might not quite be firing on all cylinders just yet, its third episode takes a huge step in […]

09th Oct2013

Panel Discussion #23 with Jack and Mark

by Mark Allen

This post is a little outdated, and that’s entirely due to my faffing around and taking far too long to read emails, so don’t blame Jack. Er, sorry. – M Jack I’ve recently been catching up with The Wake, Scott Snyder’s fishy tale on DC’s Vertigo label, illustrated by Sean Murphy, now on its fourth […]

07th Oct2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Recap: “0-8-4″

by Mark Allen

One of the hardest things to tell with big-budget shows that categorically need to be successful is how much of each episode is what was originally intended by the authors and how much is network notes. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D‘s – sorry, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D‘s second episode, in which much of the action happens […]

03rd Oct2013

Bluewater Comics: Review Round-up Vol. 2

by Mark Allen

Bucking the trend for this glut of Bluewater books, Vincent Price: Museum of the Macabre #2 is actually a pretty solid comic and manages to make sense by virtue of being a self-contained horror story. Concerning a gravedigger who has to keep re-burying corpses due to a mischievous lost soul, the story has a welcome air of Lovecraftian doom […]

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02nd Oct2013

Bluewater Comics: Review Round-Up Vol.1

by Mark Allen

An assortment of comics from a publisher I haven’t previously been aware of can be a promising sign occasionally. The rest of the time there’s usually a pretty good reason I didn’t know they existed. Fame: Neil Gaiman is an illustrated biography of Gaiman, fantasy writer and easily-googleable man. It’s hard to picture exactly why this […]

28th Sep2013

Some thoughts on the ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ pilot

by Mark Allen

I’m going to try not to be too biased here, but I guess it’s kind of telling that my favourite moment from the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was when Shepherd Book was on screen for all of ten seconds. Yeah, this show’s definitely for the fanboy in me. I’ve always been a fan of […]

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