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John McDonald


Liverpool-based writer and activist for going to the cinema on your own.

Failing from the seaside town of Southport but now living in Liverpool, John McDonald has had a passion for cinema since he was a small child. The westerns of John Wayne were his gateway into the cinematic world, which has since seen him open his palate for all genres and films from around the globe. His cinema tastes range from gritty urban tales of the Ken Loach or Shane Meadows ilk, Japanese martial arts films from the Shaw Brothers studio, a Scorsese crime thriller, to the classic films of the 1970s (his favourite era of all time) – you name it, he will watch it.

John has only been writing about films since 2020 but has since gone on to write for several websites all around the world. Humour is the key to John’s writing, and that is what he tries to incorporate into the bulk of his articles when possible. John has always been in his own circle when it comes to his taste in film and doesn’t know too many people who would choose to watch a Pedro Almodóvar or a Thomas Vinterberg film on a quiet Sunday afternoon – which is very much their loss.

An amateur filmmaker himself, focusing on short documentaries, John’s love for great storytelling is what draws him to want to watch anything and everything, with a specific love for cinematography – one of cinemas greatest treats that one can truly get lost in. Everyone should be able to experience the magic, and the intricate details of great cinema, and John wants to allow people to do this, in a truly engaging and enjoyable way.

You can find him waffling about films or sport on Twitter @JohnPMcDonald17.

Other posts by John McDonald
Arthur & Diana
French movie about two siblings on a road trip deftly bridges the barrier between documentary and fiction - from the 48th Toronto International Film Festival [Read More...]

The Eight Mountains (Le Otto Montagne)
Dubbed the "straight Brokeback Mountain", Italian film explores two two isolated souls in dire need of friendship - on various VoD platforms on Monday, August 14th [Read More...]

In the Middle
Quirky football referee documentary might just give you a new outlook the next time you step out onto the pitch - in cinemas Friday, March 31st [Read More...]

Award-winning Austrian drama investigates the pain of being deeply closeted, while also highlighting the joy of being openly gay in the military - powerful, uplifting, and incredibly heart-warming film shows at WatchAUT: Austrian Film Festival [Read More...]

I am the Tigress
The life and career of Tischa ‘The Tigress’ Thomas during the last year of her chosen occupation as an African American female bodybuilder is the subject of doc challenging normative femininity - from WatchAUT: the Austrian Film Festival [Read More...]

I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)
Recently-widowed, homeless mother convinces her daughter that the tent into which they are forced to move is in reality a "fun camping trip" - dirty gem of American indie is in cinemas on Friday, March 3rd [Read More...]

An estranged daughter returns home in order to assist her ailing mother, in this Intimate exploration of trauma - from the From Venice to London Film Festival (taking place between February 3rd to 6th) [Read More...]

Fantastic Machine
Dirty gem of a documentary takes us on a voyage through the life of the video camera, one that offers a breadth of intrigue and unparalleled insight - from Sundance [Read More...]

More Than Ever (Plus Que Jamais)
Vicky Krieps shines as a vivacious young woman stricken with a very aggressive and fatal disease, in French drama also starring the late Gaspard Ulliel (himself the victim of a shocking, real-life death) - on BFI Player on Monday, January 30th [Read More...]

Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel
Embark on a tour of the iconic Manhattan building decades after it first became a breeding ground for avant-garde artists - in cinemas and on VoD on Friday, January 20th [Read More...]

Our dirty questions to Marc Fouchard
John McDonald talks to the director of French drama OUT OF THIS WORLD, a dirty movie about music, deafness, misogyny and murder; producer Julien Russo also joins the conversation [Read More...]

Out of this World (Hors du Monde)
Misogyny and murder engulf a young musician’s life, in this greasy thriller from France - on Digital HD on Friday, December 5th [Read More...]

Young Latvian filmmaker uses his camera as a weapon of resistance against Soviet occupiers, in this sombre lover letter to the art of cinema - from the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival [Read More...]

Remember to Blink
French couple adopts two Lithuanian children, in a multilayered and clever psychodrama packed with an explosion of emotions - from the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival [Read More...]

Aurora’s Sunrise
Filthy genius documentary offers very some harrowing and compelling insight into the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and it's on animation - from the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival [Read More...]

Estonian film tells the the true story of KK Kalev, the basketball team that won the 1990-91 USSR league, in a resounding victory against communism - sports drama premieres at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival [Read More...]

Father’s Day
Grim Rwandan drama explores harsh realities of three very different characters living in the nation's capital - from the 30th edition of the Raindance Film Festival [Read More...]

Bawa’s Garden
Experimental art piece explores the life of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa - from the 30th edition of the Raindance Film Festival [Read More...]

Getting it Back: the Story of Cymande
"The greatest funk band you’ve never heard of" comes from the heart of Britain; and it turns out their songs aren't as obscure as you may have thought - from the Doc'n Roll Film Festival [Read More...]

The Cordillera of Dreams (La Cordillera de los Suenos)
Masterfully shot documentary blends the political with the poetical, revealing the two very different faces of Chile - on BFI Player and also in selected cinemas on Friday, October 7th [Read More...]

Moonage Daydream
Filthy genius documentary offers perfect representation of the life of David Bowie - on Netflix on Wednesday, April 5th; also available on other platforms [Read More...]

Gameboys: The Movie
A young couple’s relationship is put to the test by Covid-19, the threat of change, and unsupportive family members - LGBT Filipino movie is now on VoD [Read More...]

Dirty gem of a documentary provides some vibrant insight into the life of Britain’s oldest drag queen - in cinemas and also on BFI Player on Friday, August 5th [Read More...]

A bitter marriage threatens to ruin everything, as two people become joyless cheaters and hypocrites - American indie shows in film festivals across the globe. [Read More...]

Laurent Garnier: Off the Record
Rockumentary about iconic French music producer and DJ blends informative history with unconventional framing techniques, to excellent results - now available on various VoD platforms. [Read More...]

The Long Rider
Authentic, intimate and raw documentary about an aspiring journalist’s 25,000km, eight-year incredible epic journey on horseback will move and grip you - from the Dances with Films Film Festival [Read More...]

The Drover’s Wife
Meandering western led by a stellar performance covers some important themes, but it struggles to grip hold of its audience - now on BFI Player and Amazon Prime [Read More...]

The Northman
Epic drama takes the all-familiar medieval setting and reinvents it with intimidating beauty - now available on VoD [Read More...]

The Velvet Queen
Embark on a cinematic journey across a harsh wilderness; the mission is to find the elusive snow leopard in the Tibetan Highlands; the outcome, however, couldn't be more different - now on various VoD platforms [Read More...]

Intriguing and unconventional horror film delivers an incredibly intense atmosphere without killing any characters - on VoD on Monday, March 14th [Read More...]

Ukrainian teenage gymnast Olga uses gymnastics as an escape from the troubles that danger her family and the place she calls home, as she watches her city burn from the distance - in cinemas Friday, March 18th [Read More...]

Extinction Rebellion take matters into their own hands when it comes to climate change, charging at the agonisingly difficult problem head-on - on Netflix on Wednesday, June 29th. [Read More...]

Brutally honest documentary explores the lives of four activists during the 2019 Hong Kong protests - watch it now with Dogwoof on Demand [Read More...]

Drama about a deaf family in New England is authentically beautiful and funny, topped an eye-opening message of hope - Best Picture Oscar winner is now on Apple TV [Read More...]

The City and the City
A brutal reimagining of true events that befell the Jews of Thessaloniki will shock you with cruelty, while also hypnotising you with beauty - from the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival [Read More...]

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One thought on “John McDonald

  1. Dear Mr McDonald,
    I am so grateful to you for the wonderful article about Aurora’s Sunrise docuanimation. One of the most impressive and accurate articles I have ever read.
    You truly are writing my thoughts and even my words.
    I could not imagine that I will read something like this from non Armenian. It means that movie’s mission completed.

    Thank you

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