Archive for Category ‘Declan Tan’

John Warner: The Funny Man

Reviewed by Declan Tan John Warner’s debut novel, about the rise and fall of an unnamed American comedian known only as “the funny man”, is a mulchy broth of satire, cultural commentary and La-Z-Boy philosophy that simmers away on lukewarm,

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Shame (Dir: Steve McQueen)

Reviewed by Declan Tan Steve McQueen’s second feature is a visually arresting, thematically dense piece of cinema, that may, and probably will, prove to be an important film in years to come. That is, if enough people get to see it. Having been cursed

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James Sallis: Drive

Reviewed by Declan Tan If Camus had been at all interested in the crime or noir genre, then you could imagine he might produce something vaguely comparable to James Sallis’ novel Drive. Trotting in at a similar duration to Camus’ classic The Fall,

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Jonathan Walker and Dan Hallett: Five Wounds: An Illuminated Novel

Reviewed by Declan Tan Not every book looks and feels like an artefact when you pick it up. Oftentimes it is just words printed across cheap paper, the literal form of it separated from its content, cased in a merely functional cover with some gluey

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Take Shelter

Reviewed by Declan Tan From Shotgun Stories writer/director comes a second feature on small town America, another portrait of troubled family which despite its flaws, reaffirms Jeff Nichols’ potential to become an independent cinema mainstay. Michael

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Dan Fante: Fante: A Family’s Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving

Reviewed by Declan Tan Opening with the familiar visions of snow from the likes of Wait Until Spring, Bandini and Dago Red (‘Bricklayer in the Snow’), Dan Fante kicks off, like Svevo and Arturo of his father’s novels, buried in an image of purest

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We Need To Talk About Kevin

Reviewed by Declan Tan Lynne Ramsay’s deranged adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s equally deranged novel (which Shriver quite garishly lauds on the film’s poster) is a decent stretch of film that concentrates more on the director’s ambition than

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Tequila Tales: An Anthology of Short Fiction

Reviewed by Declan Tan The Tequila Tales anthology (edited by Millie Johanna Heur and Roy Anthony Shabla) is an eclectic mixture of genre, style and content that unites a well-published group of writers on the single and divisive subject of, yes, tequila.

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Steve Aylett: Lint The Movie

Reviewed by Declan Tan Until recently, the promise of Steve Aylett’s £750 foray into feature-length film productions had seemingly been wandering desultorily around the Internet for quite some time, indulging in some shallow vanishing since 2009, popping

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Infinite Jest: An Interview with Richard Herring

For comedy aficionados, Richard Herring needs no introduction. So we’re not going to give him one. Declan Tan asks the questions What is it you strive for in your shows? Mainly to make people laugh, but along with that I suppose my main goal is doing

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Funny Peculiar: An Interview with Dave Stordy

In the first of a double bill, Declan Tan interviews struggling comic Dave Stordy about Bobby Davro, Sedgways and the bleaker side of stand-up Dave Stordy is a comedian. So is Richard Herring, but we’ll get to him in a bit. Right now, Stordy is writing

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Somewhere (Sofia Coppola)

A radical new direction for the acceptable face of art house cinema? Hardly, says Declan Tan “Let’s open with one of those long, audience-testing shots, yeah, yeah, keep him driving around. Make about ten laps then we’ll cut.” I imagine this is

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Route Irish (Ken Loach)

Often something of a cinematic conscience, Ken Loach turns the camera to the Iraq war. Declan Tan reviews Ken Loach’s take on Iraq was always going to be one to look out for. After In Our Name, Green Zone, The Hurt Locker and a slurry of others

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The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper)

Is there anything left to say about The King’s Speech? Declan Tan thinks so Welcome to the throwback film of the century. You already know the story thanks to the BAFTA-soaked hype parade (and the ubiquitous trailers), and you’re vaguely familiar

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Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek)

Eight years after One Hour Photo, music video director Romanek steps back in the ring with an adaptation of Ishiguro’s much-touted novel. Declan Tan reviews In 1952, the breakthrough came. All disease and illness were cured, all disability wiped out.

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Miral (Julian Schnabel)

Julian Schnabel’s switch from painter to filmmaker was one of the more surprising reinventions in contemporary culture. For Declan Tan, however, his most recent effort is a serious anticlimax Julian Schnabel has more than impressed, actually he has

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The Fighter (David O. Russell)

Is there more to the Christian Bale Method than weight loss and accents? Declan Tan views his ‘return to acting’ As unimaginative and uninvolving as it is, The Fighter still manages to (insert boxing pun) throw a few punches before (here’s another

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Gerald Locklin: An Interview

Gerald Locklin has, in his lengthy career, alternately been called a “people’s writer”, a “stand-up poet” (co-credited for coining the term) and, by his friend and contemporary, Charles Bukowski: “one of the great undiscovered talents of our

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Exit Through The Gift Shop (Banksy)

Declan Tan revisits Banksy’s documentary on street art and the transformation of Terry Guetta into  ‘Mr. Brainwash’ Pretension is a subject seemingly dear to Banksy. It’s all over his work, from his mordant stencils which inspired

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All Experience Devolves To Gratitude: Dan Fante

Carrying the torch passed on by Bukowski and Hubert Selby Jr, for many Dan Fante is America’s most vital writer. Interview by Declan Tan Dan Fante is one of the last surviving writers of his generation that could be called a “maverick”. Having spent

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Conviction (Tony Goldwyn)

Reviewed by Declan Tan Conviction is a sickly and cynical bit of force-fed fluff, masquerading as serious drama as it squeezes all life out of its once-dignified story, dragging it through the shit heap of Hollywood to exploit its working-class subjects

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West Is West (Andy DeEmmony)

A decade after its hugely successful predecessor, Declan Tan encounters an entertaining but lightweight imitation second time around As the long-awaited sequel to the 1999 breakout hit that was East is East, comes scribe Ayub Khan-Din’s West is West,

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Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance)

Derek Cianfrance’s labour of love reviewed by Declan Tan If you’ve happened upon any of the interviews with director and co-writer Derek Cianfrance talking about his 12-year project, Blue Valentine, you’ll notice there’s a through-line to

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Charlie Hill: The Space Between Things

Reviewed by Declan Tan Charlie Hill’s debut novel seems already to have been pigeonholed as a love-story, a certainly tragic one, between its narrator, Arch (a character who has already made appearances on the independent literary scene) and Vee, the

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Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)

Declan Tan takes a second look at Aronofsky’s tightly-wound psych-out Recommending this film is not the easiest thing to do. You have those who already know and appreciate the prospect of a new Darren Aronofsky film, granted some of those fans fell

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