Novelist. Short Story-ist. Film enthusiast. Book enthusiast. Purveyor of sarcasm and dark humour. And somehow, he escaped…

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If you’re reading this, it’s already too late. To click on this page is to open Pandora’s Box. So why not satisfy your curiosity, and chew on a mouthful of my Medium articles? I submit these to a variety of publications, including Fictions, Fan Fare, Frame Rated, and The Writing Cooperative. I also have my own publication, Simon Dillon Cinema, where I publish my film reviews (the only articles not listed here, but follow the link for more). For an interview with yours truly conducted by Justin Cox of The Writing Cooperative, click here.

Cinema Articles

Ten Sequels That Disgraced Their Parents

Jonathan Demme’s landmark Talking Heads film delivers live music and performance art par excellence.

Credit: Cinecom Pictures/Palm Pictures

What I love most about Stop Making Sense, a concert film by Talking Heads, is the way it eschews almost every trope of the concert film.

There’s no backstage footage, no band interviews, no comment from music critics, no self-important discussion of influences or the band’s history… Heck, there are barely any audience reaction shots, except in the final moments.

Instead, we get a lean, stripped-down, immersive concert experience, helmed by Jonathan Demme (best known for The Silence of the Lambs). Shot over four nights at the Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles, the film was intended as a promotional vehicle for…

The great composer has more to his repertoire than his most well-known themes.

Credit: Chris Devers, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As far as I’m concerned, John Williams is the greatest film composer in cinema history. Sadly, he is also the last of his kind; a tower of genius and one of the few remaining that work with real orchestras.

Williams is steeped in the musical traditions and lore of classic Hollywood, building on the legacies of greats like Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alex North, and Bernard Herrmann. His contemporaries — from Jerry Goldsmith to James Horner, Ennio Morricone, and John Barry — are sadly no longer with us. …

PART 5 of 6

In a near-future where humans are menaced by giant spiders, mercenaries enter an arachnid nest on a mission of vengeance.

Image by 631372 from Pixabay (Image filter by author)

Continued from Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four

‘Ivan, what the hell?’ Jonah exclaimed.

‘You don’t need to die,’ said Ivan. ‘Not if you’re smart.’

‘Smart? What are you talking about? We’ll almost certainly have to fight those things on the way out of here, and you’ve just killed our best chance of survival! Why?’

‘I’m going through with my experiment Jonah. I’m going to test the quantum device, whether you like it or not. I had to kill them, because they would have done what you said, and forced me to abandon my orders. But you see, my orders were to test the device at all costs…

Gerard Butler’s assassin plays an entertaining second fiddle to Alexis Louder’s rookie cop in Joe Carnahan’s stripped-down thriller.

Credit: STX Entertainment

Copshop is a no-nonsense, stripped-down, pulpy thriller set mostly set in a Nevada police station. It echoes everything from Tarantino films like Reservoir Dogs and 70s cop pictures such as Magnum Force. Director Joe Carnahan delivers a fairly solid slab of genre thrills, though there’s nothing here you haven’t seen a dozen times before. It’s also far from Carnahan’s best (that would be The Grey, as far as I’m concerned). Nonetheless, it is worth a look.

When rookie cop Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) is deliberately assaulted by crooked Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo), she quickly realises he’s done this on purpose…

I’m not angry. Just very disappointed.

Credit: Paramount

NOTE: The following article contains spoilers, but on this occasion only, I’d advise disregarding my warning.

Not all sequels are bad. A select few surpass the originals (The Godfather Part II, The Empire Strikes Back, For a Few Dollars More). Some are as good as the originals (Aliens, Paddington 2, Toy Story 2, Manon des Sources). Others are perfectly good in their own right, even if they don’t quite top the original (French Connection II, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). However, many are pale shadows of their predecessors, and some are unutterably awful.

Here’s a list of ten…

Jennifer Hudson gives a remarkable performance in an otherwise unremarkable biopic of soul legend Aretha Franklin.

Credit: Universal

A terrific central performance from Jennifer Hudson forms the heart of Aretha Franklin biopic Respect. As Franklin, Hudson nails the poise, mannerisms, and musical prowess of the soul legend, singing a number of her greatest hits, and recreating a number of key performances. Hudson is no stranger to these kinds of roles, having previously starred in Supremes-inspired Dreamgirls. Sadly, her performance isn’t matched by the rest of the film, which plays it decidedly safe by ticking all the expected musical biopic boxes.

The plot romps through key moments in Franklin’s life, beginning in childhood with her close relationship with her…

I went into the cinema determined to hate it. I came out speechless with awe.

Credit: Buena Vista International

If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to fear. Or so the argument goes when politicians or authoritarian types make the case for more surveillance. But I doubt any intelligent person will be able to say that with a straight face after viewing The Lives of Others; a riveting tale of redemption set in a communist state that treated every citizen as a potential enemy: Former East Germany.

When The Lives of Others won Best International Film at the 2007 Oscars, I was initially dismayed. I had not yet seen the film, but surely nothing deserved to beat Pan’s…

James Wan mashes up Argento, De Palma, and Cronenberg in this shamelessly gory, outrageously entertaining horror throwback.

Credit: Warner Brothers

James Wan’s latest Malignant is a hugely enjoyable, lurid slab of gruesome pulpy horror hokum. Having previously helmed Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring, here Wan tries his hand at a curious mash-up between retro-giallo Argento homage, with a side order of Cronenberg and De Palma. The result is deliriously nasty fun for genre fans, though I should emphasise this is a truly deranged piece of work, with the wince-inducing blood and violence levels set to eleventy-stupid (strong enough for an 18 certificate in the UK). Still interested? Read on.

When heavily pregnant Madison (Annabelle Wallace) and her abusive husband are…

PART 4 of 6

In a near-future where humans are menaced by giant spiders, mercenaries enter an arachnid nest on a mission of vengeance.

Image by redcctshirt from Pixabay

Continued from Part One, Part Two, and Part Three

Jonah eventually released Ivan from his grip and turned to the others. ‘Let’s get this over with. Ivan, which way?’

Ivan pointed to the left tunnel, and Jonah led the squad. As they descended, the darkness seemed thicker, the air closer. Their footsteps sounded muffled; the nest acoustics deadening every step they took. The walk of dead men flashed like a grim pronouncement through Jonah’s mind. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead. The temperature had definitely risen, and the further down they went, the hotter it got.

‘Are you sure this doesn’t lead to hell?’ said Jones. …

Simon Dillon

Novelist and Short Story-ist. Film and Book Lover. If you cut me, I bleed celluloid and paper pulp. Blog:

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