Ben Flanagan (Critic and podcaster)
This Bristol writer has a taste for dirt in mainstream cinema, lovers-on-the-run movies and poetic realism!
Ben’s a Bristol-based critic and podcaster who’s trying to watch and read everything, possibly at the expense of human interaction, definitely at the expense of his own sanity.
Having graduated from Bath Spa University in 2014 with a BA in Drama and English, he has a particular fondness for analysis of performance and its interaction with the text. This has led him to an obsession with some of the dirtiest filmmakers to work in the Hollywood system: Douglas Sirk, Paul Verhoeven and Steven Soderbergh.
He’s currently finishing up an MA in Film & Television at The University of Bristol, writing a dissertation on lovers-on-the-run genre that’s taking him everywhere from the silent era through poetic realism, New Hollywood all the way to contemporary cinema. It’s a road trip through cinema, and he’s worried he might have lost control of the wheel.
When he’s not drowning in research, he’s usually arguing with anyone in earshot about why your favourite TV show is overrated, why post-Horror’s not a thing, why cinema is very much alive and well, digital looks great, and iPhone movies are the future.
You can find Ben on Twitter @peche_lives, or follow his not nearly prolific enough blog www.flanaganfilm.com. His new podcast, Judge Movie, drops this summer, and it promises to be a dirty treat @JudgeMoviePod.
Other posts by Ben Flanagan
So Long My Son
Wang Xiaoshuai's weepie is a highlight of Berlinale, with a vastly and rapidly changing China the political backdrop for intense family tragedy - live from Berlin [Read More...]
Varda by Agnes (Varda par Agnès)
Agnès Varda's latest documentary essay takes us on a trip through her incredible career in this skillfully delivered primer - live from Berlin [Read More...]
Joanna Hogg's semi-autobiographical new film is an incredible doomed love story, an excruciating depiction of toxic romances and drug addiction - live from Berlin [Read More...]
British film about Cornish fishermen fending off gentrification isn't just the best film made about Brexit, it's a feat of craftsmanship - live from Berlin [Read More...]
The Ground Beneath My Feet (Der Boden unter den Fuessen)
Austria's entry at Berlinale reflects the coldness and sterility of corporate life; sadly, the film itself is also airless and bleak - live from Berlin [Read More...]
Too cool for school? Jonah Hill's directorial debut about skater boys tries to be fashionable and funny about the titular years; the outcome is only partly effective - live from Berlin [Read More...]
Think that nothing is original anymore? Peter Parlow's film disagrees, using well worn tropes in order to tell you something new - Live from Berlinale [Read More...]
An orgasmic Claire Denis crafts a very unorthodox sci-fi about space voyagers who encounter an elusive "Sex Box", featuring Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson - from the Rotterdam International Film Festival [Read More...]
At Eternity’s Gate
Willem Dafoe makes for a perfect Vincent Van Gogh in a new biopic of the artist directed by painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel - live from Rotterdam [Read More...]
Ray & Liz
Richard Billingham mines his own memories of poverty-stricken Black Country life for a striking British debut filled with powerful performances - live from Rotterdam [Read More...]
Bathtubs over Broadway
Gleeful doc sheds light on the often overlooked “industrial musical”, while also celebrating one man's devotion to comedy and ironic entertainment - live from Rotterdam [Read More...]
Absurdist comedy from Portugal mocks football, celebrity culture, gender identity and more, with a very likeable Cristiano Ronaldo surrogate at the heart of the story - from the International Film Festival Rotterdam [Read More...]
Alfonso Cuarón's latest epic is one for the history books, and it deserved every single one of the 10 Oscar nominations that it received - now streaming on Netflix [Read More...]
The 12th Man
Survival epic about lone survivor of a Norwegian resistance boat during WW2 uses devices of mainstream war genre to convincing results - in cinemas and also on VoD on Friday, January 4th. [Read More...]
One Cut of the Dead (Kamera o Tomeru na!)
Ultra dirty, low-budget Japanese meta-comedy-horror lives up to its ambitions and delivers a bounty of surprises - on VoD, DVD and BD on Friday, January 28th [Read More...]
Young, controversial and ambitious American dancer Bobbi Jene Smith uses her body as a tool for personal liberation - watch doc now with Walk This Way [Read More...]
Sorry to bother you, BFI and Picturehouse!!!
As the BFI London Film Festival draws to a close, Ben Flanagan highlights a stark contradiction between the proletarian message of films such as SORRY TO BOTHER YOU and the corporate attitude of the Festival organisers [Read More...]
Korean director borrows filmic devices from Hitchcock, crafting breathtaking sequences with rigorous handheld camerawork; Ben Flanagan describes it as "film of the year" - in cinemas Friday, February 1st. [Read More...]
Luca Guadagnino's remake of Dario Argento's supernatural horror classic shares little DNA with the 1977 movie, excelling in originality and electric performances; yet it's not without imperfections - in cinemas Friday, November 16th. [Read More...]
School’s Out (L’Heure De La Sortie)
Just child's play? Substitute teacher suspect's there's something Machiavellian about his students, and that they may have been involved in his predecessor's suicide - from the BFI London Film Festival [Read More...]
Michael Haneke’s happy weekend in Britain
The emblematic Austrian director attends the latest Picturing Austrian Cinema Symposium organised by Dr Frederick Baker (University of Cambridge) and Dr Annie Ring (University College London), where he reveals the dirty secrets of his latest film, explains that he favours "no method" and why his camera always pans in the wrong direction! [Read More...]
A deep-dive into Austrian Cinema
Our journalist Ben Flanagan attends the Picturing Austrian Cinema symposium organised by the University of Cambridge since 2014; the event - which was also attended by no less than Michael Haneke - challenges preconceptions, unearths dirty gems and reveals the hidden facets of a cinema little known to many Brits [Read More...]
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Because some things just can't be changed! American indie about gay conversion therapy that stunned Sundance earlier this year is finally out in the UK - available on VoD on Friday, December 28th [Read More...]
Austro-British photographer who led a double life as a secret agent for the KGB is the subject of documentary directed by her own nephew - in cinemas Friday, July 27th [Read More...]
Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
The sequel to Denis Villeneuve's neo-Western from three years ago is a reactionary piece of filmic drivel, teeming with prejudices, glaring falsehoods and sheer American propaganda - now on all major VoD platforms [Read More...]
In the Shadows (Gali Guleyan)
I think I'm going paranoid! Blend of neo-noir and kitchen sink realism set in the streets of Delhi will keep you unseated for most of its duration - from the London Indian Film Festival [Read More...]
Our lowdown on Sheffield Doc/Fest
Our new dirty writer Ben has attended the latest edition of the largest documentary film festival in the UK and third in the world; he shares the highlights of a very positive experience! [Read More...]
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Twisting your filmic perceptions! Free-form and elliptical doc transforms the mundane life of impoverished Alabama county into hypnotic storytelling masterpiece - in cinemas Friday, January 18th [Read More...]
Tenderness, charm and guile! Director of Beyonce's Lemonade takes you on a dizzying spiritual and political journey through the live of the vibrant females of Jamaica - in cinemas Friday, November 2nd [Read More...]
The mystery of the stolen slasher! Would-be film star steps behind the camera 20 years later in order to find out what happened to the director and the reels of the movie that was never completed, and her journey is profoundly personal and fascinating - now available on Netflix [Read More...]
Gun No 6
Killing, British style: slick doc heavily influenced by Alan Clarke deals with the subject of gun crime in the UK, deep-diving into the psychology of the perpetrators - from Sheffield Doc/Fest [Read More...]
Mega-rich, vulgar and grotesque: meet the people with more money than sense, and who unabashedly embrace and brandish their superlative lifestyle - now available for digital streaming [Read More...]