No More Sob Stories: My 2017 in Criticism

03 January 2018

Images, nevertheless, sustain us: we take meaning from what we can. Cinema as support system; criticism as self-care. Accruing another year’s worth of viewings, life became an insatiable pursuit—hopefully selfless, possibly not—of chemistries, of intimacies. Reflexive, instinctive. There is no off-switch to any of this and one day we will die.

No More Sob Stories is a PDF compiling my written output as a film critic in 2017: every article, essay, text and interview of significance—54,000 words across 160 pages. It includes two previously print-only texts and an exclusive 4,500-word end-of-year wrap. Plus: all the feature-length premieres and commercial releases that I saw this year using the four-star ratings system I'm adopting as of 1 January 2018.

If you'd like to read it, you can send a minimum payment of £2.50 to me via PayPal, and receive the PDF through email:

Many thanks! Table of contents below.

I. Close-Ups
1. Shapeshifter: ‘Mysterious Object at Noon’
2. Arthouse Rocco: ‘Romance’ and ‘Anatomy of Hell’
3. Love Actually: ‘Modern Romance’
4. Italian Psycho: ‘Investigations of a Citizen Above Suspicion’
5. Playthings Playing Things Straight: ‘Viva’
6. This House is Haunted: ‘Sarah Winchester, Phantom Opera’
7. Don’t Let Them Deceive You: ‘The Event’
8. Welcome to Hell: ‘Impression of a War’
9. Battle Royale: ‘The Graduation’
10. Tales of Two Halves: ‘The State I Am In’ and ‘The City Below’
11. A Ghost Story: ‘Almost Heaven’
12. Democracy Now, and Always: ‘A German Youth’
13. Money Games: ‘Fatal Assistance’ and ‘Murder in Pacot’
14. Diamonds Aren’t Forever: ‘The Anderson Tapes’

II. Capsules
1. All Happy Families — Or Not: ‘Ties That Bind’
2. Lo-Fi Sci-Fi: ‘Once There Was Brazilia’
3. Encounters at the End of the World: ‘Picture of Light’
4. When a Man Loves a Woman: ‘Brawl in Cell Block 99’

III. Conversations
1. Agnieszka Holland
2. Dominik Tschütscher
3. Tom Benn
4. Jason Singh

IV. Collaborations
1. Wild Blue Yonder: Futures in Film Criticism — with Neil Young
2. Love is Folly, Talk is Cheap: Black Sea Dialogues — with Tommaso Tocci and Yoana Pavlova

V. Contributions
1. Berlinale 2017, Part 1: ‘The Dinner’, ‘Spoor’, ‘California Dreams’
2. Berlinale 2017, Part 2: ‘The Party’, ‘Return to Montauk’, ‘The Other Side of Hope’
3. Ten Great Films set in Northeast England
4. Song to Song: Ghost Rhythms and Memory-Making in ‘Distant Voices, Still Lives’

VI. Commentaries
1. ‘Blade Runner 2049’: Propaganda, Obviously, for an Oppressive Cause
2. No More Sob Stories

VII. Coda