23rd May2018

Culture Dump #35: Do We Still Need Trailers?

by Simon Bland

In just a few weeks time we’ll be returning to Jurassic World where in all likelihood, all hell will break loose. We know this because we’ve seen the chaos teased in trailers – alongside the reveal that at least half of this planned calamity will take place off Isla Nublar in a new, previously-unseen mainland […]

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14th May2018

Culture Dump #34: Whatever You Say Artic Monkeys Are, That’s What They’re Not

by Simon Bland

Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, the sixth studio album from Sheffield quartet Arctic Monkeys hit listeners’ ears and immediately split them down the middle. Some were left grinning and chin stroking, admiring yet another deft surprise from the band’s smirking frontman Alex Turner. Others meanwhile were left wondering when the stadium-sized indie anthems the band […]

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08th May2018

Culture Dump #33: Are Movie Franchises Suffering from TMI?

by Simon Bland

Watch Out: This post contains *SPOILERS* regarding Avengers: Infinity War – If you haven’t seen it, stop reading now… or don’t. I’m not the eye-police. Having looked at the superhero movies that slipped through the cracks en-route to Avengers: Infinity War last week, perhaps it’s time to focus our attention on the main event and […]

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01st May2018

Culture Dump #32: The Superhero Movies That Failed

by Simon Bland

Infinity War has finally arrived, marking the culmination of ten years of planning (and 18 cinematic releases) from Marvel Studios. It’s an undeniably impressive feat and one that’s not been achieved by any other studio to date, no matter how many Dark Knights or Kryptonians they have helping them. While the superhero genre currently reigns […]

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23rd Apr2018

Culture Dump #31: Is It Time For ‘The Simpsons’ to End?

by Simon Bland

Remember when Bruce Wayne was debating packing in the whole Batman thing in The Dark Knight and Harvey Dent suggested he might actually be on to something? “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain,” he said, shortly before becoming a villain himself. While it’s usually not advised […]

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09th Apr2018

Culture Dump #30: Are we Experiencing a New Wave of Mainstream Horror?

by Simon Bland

Modern horror has been killing it recently. From 2016 frighteners Raw, The Ghoul and knocked-up knock out Prevenge to last year’s tension builder It Comes At Night and throwback mega-hit It, the horror genre has been riding a wave of smart, challenging and most importantly – really good – films that cater to both mainstream […]

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27th Mar2018

Culture Dump #29: ‘Ready Player One’ & the Art of Meta Filmmaking

by Simon Bland

Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is like a pick and mix bag full of sweets aimed squarely at hungry pop-culture fans. Adapting Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, the film takes us to a not-too-distant future where humanity has dropped out and plugged into the Oasis, an online VR simulation where anything is possible. […]

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14th Mar2018

Culture Dump #28: Foiled By Fame

by Simon Bland

What does it take to ensure a film’s success? These days, you’d be forgiven for thinking that having a big name star to focus all your movie-marketing around is a no-brainer when it comes to box office gold. After all, the majority of today’s film media spends so much time talking to (and about) famous […]

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08th Mar2018

Culture Dump #27: The Rise of Regional Cinemas

by Simon Bland

Being a film fan in the English regions can often feel frustrating. Unlike the music industry or even the literary world the talent you so admire rarely visits. That’s not to say national and international faces aren’t up for discussing their work with keen audiences – they are – however the industry itself can sometimes […]

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27th Feb2018

Culture Dump #26: 4 Reasons We Should Be Thankful For Kevin Smith

by Simon Bland

The geek world felt a disturbance in the force earlier this week as filmmaker and pop-culture icon Kevin Smith suffered a heart attack following the recording of his debut stand-up special. Luckily, the Director and Comic Book Man came through the experience relatively unscathed, allowing fans to breathe a sigh of relief that Jay wasn’t […]

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16th Feb2018

Culture Dump #25: 4 Awkward Things That Happen at Awards Ceremonies

by Simon Bland

Awards season. That unapologetically back-slappy period where society’s richest and most privileged come together to reward each other with golden statues. While us ‘normies’ (that’s probably what they call us, right?) don’t get to partake in the fun, that doesn’t mean we come away empty handed. Our gift is getting to see first hand the […]

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08th Feb2018

Culture Dump #24: Are we exiting TVs golden age?

by Simon Bland

It’s been awhile since we left Tony Soprano eating with his family in that diner. Two whole years have passed since Don Draper dreamed up his last big ad campaign at that mountain retreat. In just over a year’s time, Westeros will be through with fighting and the battle for the Iron Throne will be […]

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26th Jan2018

Culture Dump #23: 4 Actors who won Oscars for Roles that Weren’t their Best

by Simon Bland

2018’s Oscar nominations arrived earlier this week, offering a hopeful change of pace to shake up what most of us have come to expect from Academy voters. While an Oscar statuette is considered the highest praise an actor can receive, they’re not always awarded for the best performance on a star’s resume. Let’s take a […]

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18th Jan2018

Culture Dump #22: The Franchises That Audiences Forgot

by Simon Bland

It may seem like all cinemas have to offer at the moment are glossy CGI superheroes and audience-dividing Star Wars adventures but look between the frames and you’ll see something that’s currently going unnoticed – and for good reason. It’s the waning dregs of the franchises that audiences forgot. More specifically, the would-be young adult […]

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12th Jan2018

Culture Dump #21: What Actually Makes a Film Good?

by Simon Bland

Cinema-wise, 2017 ended with a rift more divisive than a light-sabre swipe. Rian Johnson’s eagerly anticipated trilogy sandwich filler The Last Jedi hit screens and immediately split the opinions of seasoned Jedis and fledgling Padawans alike. Some (including Disney) thought it was exactly the breath of fresh air that the series needed, a gasp-inducing continuation […]

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14th Dec2017

Culture Dump #20: 5 Actors who REALLY want to win an Oscar!

by Simon Bland

The 90th Academy Awards is just a few months away – and you can tell. The industry has stepped up its game by firing out its best and brightest titles in the hopes of bagging gold – but who’ll come out on top? While Oscar predictions can often be hit and miss, some stars wear […]

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04th Dec2017

Culture Dump #19: What stops a “So-Bad-It’s-Good” movie from being Bad?

by Simon Bland

“We made a movie about the worst movie and it might be our best movie,” Tweeted Seth Rogan earlier this week. He was referring to The Disaster Artist, a James Franco-Directed retelling of how one of the best-worst-movies ever came to be and the pair’s latest project. Franco’s film chronicles the creation of Tommy Wiseau’s […]

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22nd Nov2017

Culture Dump #18: Can being TOO successful hurt a film series?

by Simon Bland

We hear about the shortcomings of films all too often these days. It feels like sometimes a movie’s fate can be sealed even before the lights have started to dim in the cinema. Like it or loath it, the Internet has given everyone a voice and it seems that everyone has chosen to use that […]

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08th Nov2017

Culture Dump #16: Why did the ‘Predator’ franchise miss the mark?

by Simon Bland

Xenomorphs weren’t the only extraterrestrial terror hunting humans throughout the eighties. Not long after James Cameron pulled the trigger on his testosterone-charged sequel Aliens, Director John McTiernan introduced us to a new intergalactic hunter with Predator in 1987. Two war movies, two alien franchises, two very different legacies. However as Predator closes in on its […]

31st Oct2017

Culture Dump #15: Has Streaming Killed the Cult Classic?

by Simon Bland

Halloween – That time of year where we celebrate our love of cult horror movies in place of whatever actual significance this spooky holiday originally held. Odds are most fancy dress parties this year will be populated by cobbled together outfits of genre icons. While it’s reassuring to see the films that terrified us all […]

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23rd Oct2017

Culture Dump #14: Has social media turned us all into Larry David?

by Simon Bland

2017 is a weird place to live. Pretty, pretty weird. Just look at what it’s done to ace telly show Curb Your Enthusiasm. Back when it debuted in October 2000, us fresh-faced nice folk were completely different people. Larry David’s fictionalised version of Larry David was a breath of fresh air. Here was a guy […]

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17th Oct2017

Culture Dump #13: Is humour the Superhero genres saving grace?

by Simon Bland

With Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel has once again flipped the tempo of their long-running superhero saga by recruiting someone not known for world-saving action epics. It’s yet-another smart move from the studio giant, especially if all those glowing early reactions are anything to go by. Asgard’s family drama may have reached Jeremy Kyle-like proportions but through […]

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