Friday, 8 August 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

At this point in time in the MARVEL cinematic universe, anyone who considers new cosmic release Guardians of the Galaxy 'a risk' is frankly deluded. Seriously, stick the Marvel logo on any property and both bags of cash and budding fans clutching figurines will be charging their way, the superhero renaissance is truly in the palm of their hands. The Guardians of the galaxy is simply another step (granted a more significant one) in their ever growing franchise, heading presumably for a climactic Avengers 3 and most definitely more. Although Guardians of the Galaxy is an inexcusable stepping stone, it is one however which can be hugely enjoyed on its own, something the other solo movies lack, with its brash humour and general entertainment value making it unique.

Abducted from earth as a child Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) grows to become 'Starlord' a cosmic smuggler of all things shiny and expensive, one of which, a mysterious silver orb, is much wanted as he finds many will kill for it. Eventually he crafts a team of outlaws, including a walking/talking tree, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a raccoon, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) an assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and a warrior, Drax (Dave Bautista), to defend the orb and take it to safety whilst being pursued by the sinister Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). Having met none of these characters before in any form of popular media, the film does a very good job in introducing each of them, doing so progressively, almost like a set of solo movies, gradually introducing them into the story once the last character has received sufficient development. Some characters did work better than others however, actually more specifically the only one which really didn't work was Gamora who is supposedly a master assassin but who often found herself in inescapable situations; her personality wasn't really fleshed out and didn't go further than 'brooding'. Each of the other characters work very well with Chris Pratt as Starlord leading the pack well with sufficient charisma giving evident heart to his character, whilst the remaining three are provide the majority of the simple entertainment and comedic moments. The film however doesn't have to  try very hard to make us revel in its fun as this is simply an effortless task, as within a franchise of such saturation, forced to love the same characters over and over again, any change from the typical order is lovingly embraced, especially when that change is seen drastically in the form of a talking tree and raccoon. This mini team-up of tree and animal does quite the opposite of what one would expect, being seemingly there for childish merchandise purposes when in reality they actually provide much of the films grit and dark nature. As cute and fun as Groot is, many of his attacks are harsh and sinister, and when entwined with Rockets rather stern Chicago based persona the couple become less cute and cuddly and more disturbing yet entertaining.

Branching out from the typical story of the MARVEL universe which we know (and are beginning to rapidly get tired of), Guardians of the galaxy is certainly a breath of fresh air into the franchise being a change to the often light, cotton woolled story inserting a dose of gritty sci-fi action. This release dares to be different and feels far more like an expansion of the growing story, branching out into the cosmos onto planets which we will surely begin to know more about as the franchise continues. It is impossible to ignorable however the continued narrative formula seen in nearly all MARVEL films whereby each film follows an easily recognisable and safe route, to the point where we begin to not care about the characters as we know they will survive. The same happens at the end of this film, wasting time with meaningless sympathy for characters which we know will be fine, in this sense the Guardians of the galaxy does just feel like 'another stepping stone' as whilst it may be a new property, the story and familiar clichés remain. One of the only linking factors to the other films in the series is that of the main series villain, Thanos, barely played by Josh Brolin in his lacklustre appearance in the film. Thanos' appearance in the film is rather lacklustre, looking more like a ball of purple playdough pathetically created by a toddler than 'the universes greatest threat'. Quite the opposite was Ronan the Accuser who instead could be taken seriously with a strikingly sinister appearance, black liquid seeping from his eyes and mouth, his huge cloak and staff commanding the shot. Shame then that his character was largely boring and directionless, his actions usually unexplained or simply uninteresting.

Helped by its unique properties of characters and soundtrack, Guardians of the galaxy is MARVELS most refreshing release to date and perhaps even its best. Seeing the team interact with the Avengers is something nearly every fan is eager to see as it is clear that MARVEL has aided in reinvigorating the franchise with memorable protagonists, a unique style and established humour.

8/10- The best film of phase 2, and perhaps phase 1 too, Guardians of the Galaxy is a huge amount of fun and just what the franchise needed.

Calum Russell

The Inbetweeners 2


With only a few exceptions the transition from TV series to feature film hasn’t fared to well for the British in recent years. The most notable cases in point being the god awful ‘Keith Lemon film’, ‘Ms Browns Boys D’Movie’ as well as the ‘Pudsey the dog movie’ which one only has to see the trailer for to see that it looks absolutely pathetic. Perhaps one of the best TV- movie transitions of the past few years was the Inbetweeners Movie back in 2011 which ended the much loved series with sufficient humour and a hopeful romantic conclusion. However despite the very fitting end, money talks, and the Inbetweeners got a quite unnecessary sequel which invites us back to experience plenty more laughs unfortunately entwined within a hugely inconsistent narrative.

Sticking on the past storyline of a lads holiday the group of four head to Australia where Jay (James Buckly), working there in a hotel, promises them the time of their lives with girls and booze galore. With Will (Simon Bird) hardly enjoying university and Simon (Joe Thomas) and Neil (Blake Harrison) seemingly doing very little at all they decide to join Jay in Australia whereby comedy ensues. The story may as well be identical to its predecessor and in some ways it plays out much like it, however with nearly all plot lines tied up by the end of the last film, the film struggles to get off the ground for a good 15 minutes procrastinating with what the characters are doing and making excuses to why they are available to go on a gap year. This quickly gets tiresome as nervous laughs waft around the cinema in hopeful expectation of things to come, and thankfully the laughs come in their handfuls once the holiday begins.
It’s not until the side characters are introduced that the film finally gets into gear, pitch perfectly mocking the, now infamous, image of the arrogant, preppy gap year student. This, in contrast with the crass and puerile humour of the four boys makes for some truly hysterical scenes, with the ‘spiritual, true traveller’ character of Ben, played excellently by Freddie Stroma, clashing perfectly with the group. Moments of hilarity often spark from this character as he brings the relatable tropes of camping and budget travelling to the table where they are questioned and ridiculed. This subsequently builds into big comedy set pieces whereby their tension finally peaks to largely hysterical results.

You can’t help but reminisce however at the modest, low budget TV series where jokes formulated from ingeniously crafted comedic moments entwined with the sheer wit of the four hugely likeable characters. Here it simply feels as if they’re trying too hard, the set pieces (as funny as most of them are) are simply too grandiose and as a result the film loses some of its simplistic charm. At times the film often forgets what made the show so funny in the first place, where the characters and situations are so relatable that it’s a joy to follow them round and join in their relatable moments of hilarity, and when the film remembers this it is truly at its funniest. However it often forgets, dabbling in plot lines which neither fit in with the story at all nor the audience can relate to or be interested in. This results in a frustratingly inconsistent final film which has strong essence of Inbetweeners comedic flair but also a pungent whiff of huge narrative flaws which can be perfectly encapsulated in the films final beat, wrapping up so quickly it felt almost disloyal to audience members who felt so attached to the characters.

The Inbetweeners 2 lacks the narrative fluidity of the first film but matches if not exceeds it in comedic moments, with one or two especially surely going down as some of their very best moments. This in some ways simply isn’t enough however and you can’t help but feel a little disappointed as the film jolts by, laughter dotted over infrequent pages and the story being almost ignored.

6.5/10- A largely funny Inbetweeners outing with a disappointing focus on story.


Calum Russell  

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Boyhood

It's recent previous releases such as 'Bernie' and the 'Before' trilogy which have made director Richard Linklater one of the most unique and interesting auteurs of the modern era. Such innovation is continued in 'Boyhood' Linklaters 12 year project chronicling the fictional story of a boy growing up from the age of 5 to 18. Filmed over the course of 12 years Boyhood's ambition is evident with no prior knowledge of how the actors would develop and change, however this gamble ultimately doesn't pay off.

 The story is as simple as it sounds and unfortunately refuses to impress cinematically by choosing a more realistic route of storytelling whereby very little happens at all. As the story begins we are introduced to Mason (Ellar Coltrane), sister (Lorelei Linklater) and mother (Patricia Arquette) a fictional family which for the most part of the opening hour are fun and exciting to be around, as the story seemingly builds its foundations. Entwined within scenes of realistic childhood memories such as simple sibling rivalries as well as first days at school, a more complex and interesting plot brews in the background, one surrounding the consequences of divorce on a family's children. This sufficiently developed and otherwise interesting plot point should've provided a backbone for the rest of the film but is however abandoned without explanation, being replaced by a more disinteresting and far more overdone story of simple adolescence whereby none of the past trials and tribulations seem to have any affect on our bland protagonist.

 Granted, finding a quality child actor is very hard to come by, especially when choosing one 12 years in advance in order to play a complex 18 year old at the projects end. Unfortunately this doesn't excuse the level of acting seen by young Ellar Coltrane, which considering the films context is by no means awful, but is certainly not good either. This is where the main issue with the film sparks. In a film called Boyhood, being specifically centred around the development of a single character, the fictional boy, as well as the actor, are both so lifeless and devoid of personality that it is impossible to relate to the character. This therefore prevents the film from conveying its messages of the trials of growing up as they are all poorly conveyed through the films protagonist. In retrospect the character of Mason really does very little at all, being carried through the film by the more interesting plot points of those around him such as that of his birth father and struggling mother. Ethan Hawke who plays the loyal birth father does so very well and is by far the saving grace of the film, projecting a realistic character damaged by the consequences of divorce, nostalgic of the lost time with his children. A film focused on him, his ex-wife and their two kids would've made for a highly interesting view on how a bad childhood damages the person as a whole. Instead the film is bogged down with a plethora of unnecessary characters and scenes which go literally nowhere. Most notably, an early scene where the protagonist is moderately bullied  is neither seen nor ever mentioned of again in the film, an example of the narrative almost teasing the audience with the opportunity to branch out, instead opportunities to do so are constantly squandered . Thus the film goes nowhere, giving it a total lack of direction and no climactic target to strive towards, leaving the audience with no sense of progression resulting in boredom; especially when considering the films 3 hour running time.

Aside from the many unnecessary scenes, the writing on the whole is pretty solid, especially at the films opening which treats us to a whole load of compelling and emotionally involving scenes. These scenes went from the simple and elegant sight of seeing the protagonist paint over the height marks of the door at his old home to the grand and nostalgic scene of Mason and his Father sharing a camping trip, something that most if not all male audience members can relate to. It seems as though however that whilst Linklater has an excellent grasp on young life, his view on modern day teenagers is warped and at times embarrassing. Mason and his peers seem to speak in philosophical metaphors through the mouth of Linklater, their every line visibly crafted to forcibly induce feeling into the audience, but instead these moments simply came of as arrogant and almost unbearable. The paths of both the mother and father are far more developed, towards the end at least ,as we see the effect of growing up directly impacting them both, perhaps something Linklater has more relation to than the growing up of a modern day boy.

Linklater has a nostalgic and warm view on early childhood, as most of us do, however as the protagonist reaches adolescence he no longer writes the characters through the eyes of a growing boy but instead though that of an adult. Masons change seems unnatural and sudden, going from a loveable, naive yet developing boy into an irritating and arrogant teenager whose bland personality and monotonous tones were no fun to be around. Boyhood is perhaps one of those films which differs between cultures, the view on relationships for example here seems unrealistic and foreign here in the UK but may well be the norm in the US. Starting very well, using its 12 year production context intelligently to chart the subtle changes of a boy, Boyhood deteriorates into directionless drivel disguised as philosophy.


6/10- It's ambition is admirable but the final result frustratingly disappointing.

Calum Russell

Monday, 9 June 2014

Edge of Tomorrow


After aliens named ‘mimics’ invade central Europe, it is up to a conglomeration of the world’s armies to stop them fighting onwards, creating a front on the French coast. William Cage (Tom Cruise) is one of these soldiers sent to fight in portable ‘mecha’ suits, however after being killed by the mimics he awakens a day before the attack, caught in an endless loop whereby him and superior solider Rita (Emily Blunt), must find a way to stop them in their tracks.  

Despite a pretty generic ad campaign, making the film look like ‘another product’ of the blockbuster machine, Edge of Tomorrow proves to be a surprisingly fun time. The fight on the French coast which takes up a large proportion of the film, repeated many times as the protagonist begins the loop over and over, is as brutally violent as it is terrific fun. The sight of seeing the soldiers launched across the beach from the claws of the ‘mimics’ isn’t exactly a friendly sight, being quite sinister in fact, but this is perfectly counterbalanced by the films ‘comic-book’ approach to violence as for every dark act there is another action slide and quirky comment ready to balance the tone. This leads the film to depend on some clichés however, infrequently throughout, as the script reminds the audience of its blockbuster background with such generic lines such as ‘you’re a good solider Cage’ etc. etc. etc.

The looping narrative, used in countless films of the past, is kept contemporary here, preventing boredom through the use of intelligent cinematography, with time-lapses preventing the repetition of familiar scenes. The act of repetition itself is explained very efficiently leaving no continuity issues as we’re shown the repetition of even the smallest acts, such as discussing tactics, showing  to be surprisingly entertaining again through the screenplay and cinematography, which intelligently shows us the painstaking repeated efforts of the protagonists. This is made all the more realistic through the fantastic performance of the two leads, Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise. Blunt, playing the rarely portrayed strong female character, does so tremendously, outperforming all her male counterparts to break the mould of female side-characters, with a complex persona and developed backstory. Cruise is as good as ever, perhaps better than average here however as his enjoyment in the role becomes transparent in his performance, taking on the role as a scared and desperate soldier with gusto and enthusiasm within a film well informed of its own identity.

Edge of Tomorrow should be embraced by audiences, not primarily because of its narrative quality and intelligence (though that is of course a winning factor), but because of its originality and charm. Not often does a standalone action blockbuster hit our screens with no announcement of a sequel before its release, and as a result, with few fans and conglomerate companies to answer to, Edge of Tomorrow shows to be a solidly entertaining film from start to finish.

7/10- A neat and tidy action packed blockbuster. What more could you want.


Calum Russell

Thursday, 29 May 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past

 Of the three current superhero franchises, the X-men is one which often takes a back-seat, letting the quality powerhouse of MARVELS cinematic universe and Spider-man's box office abilities take the mantle whilst it cleans up their scraps. Recently however, despite the increase of interest in superhero films, their quality has certainly lowered, leaving a gap in the market for the X-Men to seize. Unfortunately however X-Men Days of future past is simply another mark in the ever growing superhero genre, doing nothing to differentiate itself from the crowd.

In the mind-bending plot for this instalment we join Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian Mckellan) and Storm (Halle Berry) (but who really cares about her), amongst other mutants, fighting for their survival in an apocalyptic world in which their lives are threatened by deadly 'Sentinals'. To stop this world from ever existing Wolverine is sent back in time to alter the course of history, whereupon drama ensues. Discarding the immediate submersion of the audience into the plot, with near to no context whatsoever (leaving us confused more than anything), the opening quarter of this film is really quite impressive, unique and gripping. Usually we join our favourite heroes at a high point in their lives, loved by all, with the riches to match, here however they're in immediate peril,  putting the audience on the back foot, intrigued and surprised by the unfolding plot. This hits a notable change following one of the most well realised and cinematically impressive scenes in superhero film history, whereupon cock-sure, rebel Quicksilver (Evan Peters), breaks Magneto out of a high security prison. Without the prior knowledge of his character, within the performance of Evan Peters the scene is carried and his character is thrown in the faces of the audience, bursting with enthusiasm and charm. Quicksilver is by far the best thing about X-Men and before you know it he's gone... gone where...gone home...why, no one knows. This is quite simply lazy writing, taking the time and effort to build such a great character before discarding him, realising he was only needed for momentary plot conveniences before we are once again reunited with the cardboard cut-out heroes. This isn't however the only character to be frustratingly underused, no, there's a whole host of 10- odd heroes which we don't even get to hear speak or even know the names of. Introduced in a visually stunning opening scene we immediately relate to these new character who we presume will be built upon, but who are instead pushed to the background once the familiar heroes return thus making us care very little for and about them when their character arches grow.The poor writing however isn't just restricted to narrative conveniences and poor characterisation, the dialogue is also , at points, cringe-worthy as we listen to Xavier deliver a whimsical speech about 'life' and 'identity' for  what seems to be the majority of the film. This immediately takes you out the film as you take a minute out to sigh at the previous line of unrealistic nonsense.

On the whole, the plot is handled rather well, with the central idea of time travel, often murdered in Hollywood releases, being used quite intelligently and interestingly here, with relatively few continuity bugs. Furthermore for the most part it seems as though the X-men franchise has finally abandoned its reliance on star Wolverine, whom as interesting as he is, has been done, done and double done by the franchise, consistently leaving others in the dark. Here he seems more vulnerable and more human and thus more relatable, as the heroes are faced with the 'Sentinals', unstoppable beings who promise to finally cure the MARVEL virus of their films being so risk averse...oh wait here comes the ending. Too many times in superhero films has a grand and game changing event been repaired by a films ending and of course X-Men follows suit with perhaps the most obvious backhanded slap to the audience which Hollywood has ever given. Ultimately the films ending makes the whole films narrative lifeless, leaving you with no real feelings towards the film when you leave, feeling as though it was just...well.... pointless.

X-men Days of Future Past is certainly a disappointment boasting a stellar cast, with great performances throughout, but with no substance to back it up. The script is boggy, heavy and hugely misunderstood as we build bonds with new exciting characters, only for them to be instantly sidelined, despite our remaining craving. X-men is empty of emotion, story, character and direction.

5/10- Like a quickly deflating balloon, once fun and interesting, but ultimately dead and lifeless.

Calum Russell

Monday, 28 April 2014

Under the Skin

Known usually for her Hollywood stardom and role in the MARVEL universe, actress Scarlett Johansson's new film, Under the Skin removes her from this familiar niche and places her in quite literally a completely different world of terrifying visuals and a hugely immersive narrative.

At the helm of a white van, Johansson  plays the role of an alien, dolled up with jet black hair, a glamorous fur coat and promiscuous make-up, left to prowl the streets of Scotland searching for potential prey. Despite appearing to seem as though the narrative would lack longevity, Under the Skin is mostly engaging throughout due to its hugely impressive visuals and outstanding soundtrack. Immediately throwing us into the deep end, the film refuses to give us any context of the aliens arrival and continues to leave the audience in the dark throughout, allowing us to decipher a message for ourselves. Daring to be different, this is obvious in the cinematography, opting for hugely long takes, allowing the audience to experience the world though Johanssons eyes, analysing every detail to try and conjure up an understanding of the place around her. Such is made all the more interesting by the actual content of each frame with each shot capable of being still pieces of art , crafted with such care and attention. This coincides with the unbelievably impressive score which keeps you consistently agitated  at what the next scene holds. No matter the on-screen action, the soundtrack alone holds the capabilities of making you feel uneasy even when the protagonist is simply walking down the road in the middle of the day. Both of these come to a head in a poignant early scene  whereby two of the aliens' victims interact with each other, the dark sound is categorically unplaceable and the visuals nightmarish, ultimately resulting in perhaps the most chilling single scene in any film of recent memory.

This creepy atmosphere is successfully sustained throughout, largely due to the terrifyingly realistic tone of the whole film. With a lot of the actors used on the streets of Glasgow being normal passers-by, their inclusion in the film works incredibly well, giving a documentary feel to the opening half of the film especially, as Johanssons character seduces them into her lair. This realism is what truly makes Under the Skin such a triumph, affecting the viewer long-term, altering their perception of reality, as for 90 minutes we believe that we have literally just seen the world through the eyes of an alien, and when the audience finally leaves, what they see around them is confused with the films vision of the world. It has genuine profound effects on the viewer, leaving a blanket of messages on the spectator which eventually seeps under the skin preventing the discard of the film and its values. Such is helped also by the fantastic performance of Scarlett Johansson, forced to carry the film as the only professional actor, done so with incredible power and character, allowing the audience to believe and understand her every decision.

Despite being incredibly hard to decipher, Under the Skin encourages analysis and multiple viewings and such is desired after one has watched the film, eager to once again inhabit the eerie mind of a foreign being. The film is hugely ambitious, inviting a specific demographic of viewer to revel in the unconventional style and hugely minimalist tone and plot, however this certainly pays off, delivering a film rich in hearty messages that is a hugely engrossing and interesting watch.

9/10- A visceral film experience like no other.

Calum Russell

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Whilst the MARVEL’S the Avengers and Fox’s X-Men have both already found their feet with a grounded storyline and a fully realised cinematic future, the newly rebooted spider-man franchise is yet to fully establish itself as a series worthy of inclusion in the superhero renaissance. Deemed as quite simply ‘OK’ by critics and audiences alike the first film had no real driving force with a poorly crafted protagonist and a similarly awful villain. However, although The Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks to replicate the poor reception of Spider-man 3 (2007) with a large roster of enemies, the film is actually quite the opposite, with relatively solid villains, within a fun and flashy narrative.

Following off from the events of the first film, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is attempting to juggle his responsibilities, tied between the care and protection of girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), or the safeguard of New York City from newly emerged villain Electro (Jamie Foxx).

A lot can be said about a film from its opening sequence, and whilst the original trilogy preferred to begin each film with needless exposition whilst we see Spider-man swing through the city, in Spidey’s newest outing we begin with a genuinely exhilarating and pivotal action sequence; whereby we’re introduced to Parkers birth parents. This immediately sparked intrigue, displaying a more plot-driven film by choosing to put this instead of the web-slinging action scene which follows it. The action itself is both hugely fun, with the inclusion of some wacky humour and one-liners, as well as genuinely impactful with each kick, punch and web to the face feeling as though it would leave a hefty injury, if not an irritating mark. This aids in giving the film a significant sense of peril, an attribute which the MARVEL cinematic universe doesn’t possess, making the audience wary of each and every character as their weaknesses become transparent. Whilst in previous spider-man films his one liners felt overly cheesy and unnecessary, here in the action scenes they are embraced as part of Peter Parkers much realised character, being a cheeky, charismatic teenager. In addition when they’re used win the presence of an engrossing action scene, even the more whimsical ones are ignored. Even the 3-D here seems to work, gloating its effectiveness quite evidently in the truly spectacular swinging sequences, with some POV shots which genuinely feel exhilarating.

Although the action, the villains and Spider-man’s visually awesome web slinger are perceived to be the main selling points of the film, it is in fact the deeper, more intellectual plot of Parkers relationship with Stacey which truly stimulates the audience. Such care for these characters makes us become more involved within the general story as well as the otherwise meaningless action scenes, giving us something to root for, encouraging the protagonist onwards. Such chemistry between the two leads is partly due to the fantastic acting performances of both Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone whose off-screen relationship surely translates in front of the camera.

It is with this initial thrill of The Amazing Spider-man 2 which makes the remainder of the film a little disappointing, introducing villains with little to no development. Despite having three villains, the film delegates their screen time very well with Rhino (Paul Giamatti), the fun yet psychotic convict introduced in the thrilling opening sequence setting up the film nicely for Electro and Harry Osbourne (Dane DeHaan) to take centre stage. It is however when Electro emerges, despite his jazzy transformation sequence, that the film takes a wrong turn, favouring overly flashy action set-pieces and corny dialogue over the central, more interesting story of Parkers personal struggles. Electro is visually very impressive, with bolts of electricity being seen worming through his body as he stands, however his exterior seems to be the films single concern with his inner drive being very poorly developed, despite being nicely introduced in the film’s opening. Electros intentions are hugely unclear and we, as the audience, therefore find it very difficult to connect with him, especially as his blue physique makes him look more like an alien than a human being. His characters simply a little bland, aided certainly by the sporadically poor script, handing talented actor Jamie Foxx clichéd lines that makes his character seem more like a video-game ‘boss’, rather than a grounded villain. This must have a similar effect on other villain Harry Osbourne, who despite holding a nice backstory, with a childhood connection with Parker, is instead wasted with badly constructed motivations which make little sense. In fact his presence in general felt largely rushed, turning form good fiend into evil genius within a matter of days, making him (like Electro) feel more like a cliché.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets a whole lot right and finally puts both Sony and the superhero on the cinematic map after years of ‘ups and downs’. The key to the success of the film is the concentration on character and the pitch-perfect representation of most lead protagonists. It’s just a little bizarre that the same chemistry cannot be said for the films villains who feel like feeble ‘bad-guy templates’ in comparison. That said, this film is a poignant mark for the franchise, and perhaps the most well-rounded Spider-Man film of the whole characters cinematic representation.

7.5/10- Fun, thrilling and fittingly dark, a surprising return to form.


Calum Russell