In 1992 Francis Fukuyama’s book The End of History and The Last Man was published. A book of political philosophy that made the case that the relative peace and prosperity in the majority white, English-speaking world indicated an end of mankind’s social and ideological evolution. We had attained a level of social and ideological perfection that would, thereafter, only require trimming at the edges, a sort of democratic maintenance that would allow this prosperity to continue and only improve. Within a decade this belief was proved so hilariously, tragically, clangorously wrong that to look back on it now is frankly…


The trailer for Edgar Wright’s next flick, Last Night in Soho, dropped on Tuesday and it, yet again, shows another shift in tone in the director’s filmography. While it’s tempting to say “It’s another Edgar Wright horror movie” that ignores the trailer’s clear shift in pace to his previous work and, most notably, a shift in visual style.

Much has been said about Wright’s facility with the medium of film. He’s clearly a film fan and is interested in how it can be used to tell his stories. Most fans and critics tend to focus on his signature editing style…


Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man was released in the spring of 2002 to rave reviews and massive box office returns. A lot of people see its success as a herald of the age of the blockbuster superhero movie that has so dominated mainstream culture of the last decade and while, yes that is true, it also predicted a hell of a lot more than just Disney’s biggest franchise cash cow.

What’s interesting about Spider-Man is where it sits in the cultural timeline. Produced and shot at the turn of the millennium it straddles the line between a pre-millennial optimism and post 9/11…


A few years back the painfully unfunny and irretrievably stupid ‘sitcom’ The Big Bang Theory had an episode that revolved around one of the sociopathic man-children showing Raiders of the Lost Ark to a bemused girlfriend who made the comment “Indiana Jones has no role in the outcome of the story”, pointing out the fact that the hero of the story actually has very little impact on the film’s key plot object’s (some say ‘MacGuffin’) progress through the story. Indiana doesn’t keep possession of the Ark, he doesn’t defeat the villains and he’s a step behind them all the way…


What fascinates me most about the current state of the world is how ill prepared we were for it. Given the massive loss of life (in wealthier countries particularly) the catastrophic economic response (despite what reports might say, GDP is not a metric for individual finances and is a poor reflection on how people are able to afford to live day to day) and the response being politically driven rather than treating it as a public health crisis, one could be forgiven for thinking we had no warning whatsoever about the pandemic. But we did. Whether it was reports from…


Though I am a big fan of the books, I didn’t see the recent adaptation of The Knife of Never Letting Go that was snuck out recently, but by all accounts it was an abysmal failure with little merit to it. So how does a multimillion dollar movie project, with two of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, based on a best selling book franchise get dumped onto streaming services in an almost straight-to-video dismissal? Well it isn’t one reason that’s for sure.

The first problem it had was the source material. The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book…


There are two scenes in Burn After Reading that perfectly sum up the movie and the Coen Brother’s style as Directors. Half way through the film a middle manager type at the CIA must take a report of everything that has happened in the movie thus far to his head of department. It is as he tries to explain the bizarre events to his clueless boss we are made fully aware of the stupidity of the characters and the callousness of those not directly affected by it. The same gag is used at the end where the bureaucratic stillness interrupts…


In my book Time’s Lie: The Narrativisation of Life I make clear my dislike for rules, and specifically formulas, for storytelling. The most notable of these is the much lauded Monomyth as defined in the book Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, which sets out the different moments in every story as being all exactly the same in their narrative purpose. On paper, I like things like this, something that decodes structures and the psychological roots of archetypes and trends. The Monomyth, however, since George Lucas credited Campbell’s tome with giving him the structure for Star Wars, has…


I played Assassin’s Creed II at a friends house not long after it came out and I loved it. I bought it, played it to death and subsequently played every AC game up until Origins which was when I jumped ship on the franchise. The reason for that being, since the needless ‘Reboot’ in Origins, they are no longer related to the original games in terms of purpose, gameplay or style. …


It’s easy to rag on the TV sitcom Friends these days. In fact, it’s become a hobby for a lot of columnists over the years. For instance, why did Joey and Chandler who both confess to loving the movie Die Hard but say nothing when Bruce Willis, the actor who portrayed John Mclane in the movie, started dating Rachel? And how did Monica afford that luxury apartment when she was unemployed? Even with the hastily ret-conned excuse of ‘rent control’ in the last few seconds of the show? With the benefit of hindsight it’s also easy to point out its…

Leo Cookman

Peripatetic Writer and Musician. “Time’s Lie” out now from Zero Books.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store