Peter Hoskin

Leaping dragon

Every cinema-loving person has a favourite Bruce Lee moment. My own comes towards the end of Enter the Dragon, the film which Lee made just before his death in 1973 at the age of 32, and that would in turn seal his worldwide stardom. There, on one side, stands Lee himself. There, on the other,

Life after death | 2 November 2017

According to the accountants’ ledgers, DVDs are dying. Sales of those shiny discs, along with their shinier sibling the Blu-ray, amounted to £894 million last year, which is almost a fifth lower than in 2015 and less than half of what was achieved a decade ago. And last week we finally said goodbye to the

In preserving its heritage gaming is maturing as an art form

Want to feel like a kid again? Now, if you’re of a certain age, inclination and fortune, you can. Last week, Nintendo launched its SNES Classic Mini, a modernised and miniaturised version of a console that it first released over 25 years ago. It comes loaded with 20 games from back then, including Super Mario

Remembrance of things past | 11 May 2017

If you want to appreciate why the return of Twin Peaks is so significant, then you need to know something of the background. And, no, not the background of the show itself, which rose and fell through two series before coming to a stop on 10 June 1991. Nor the background of its story, which

How Shanghai is becoming the new Hollywood

I was sweating on a treadmill in my local gym last week, when Scott Eastwood, son of Clint, appeared on the telly. He mentioned how he’d just wrapped up the sequel to Pacific Rim (2013), a film production that rocketed him most of the way around the world. ‘We shot four months in Australia, and

Hollywood goes East

It’s kind of surreal being here.’ The general sentiment, no doubt, of most people on planet Earth right now, but the specific words of Matt Damon at the world première of his latest film earlier this year. The reason for his befuddlement? The film was The Great Wall, for which he had moved to China

Comic effect | 23 February 2017

Borag Thungg, Earthlets! If those words mean something to you, then congratulations — you are leading a good life. If not, then you owe it to yourself to pay attention. They are the words of greeting that Tharg the Mighty, the extraterrestrial editor of 2000AD, has spoken to the British sci-fi comic’s readers for the

Why we need to cancel the Oscars to save the Oscars

Oscar has a problem, and I say that as a fan. If I could, I’d take one of those famous statuettes by its tiny golden hand, and show it a happy life in the bars, restaurants and movie theatres of its native Hollywood. But, clearly, others don’t feel the same way. The number of people

All I want for Christmas

Comfort and joy. That’s what the song talks about, and that’s what the classic Christmas movies deliver. Whether it’s Die Hard (1988) or It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Home Alone (1990) or White Christmas (1954), we enjoy these films, in part, because they are so comfortable. Time and tradition have made them as familiar as

The future is here

Oculus Rift. It sounds like something from a science fiction novel, and in many ways it is. Its release this week is the first stirring of a future stuffed with virtual reality headsets. The hope of its Californian engineers and their bitcoin backers is that we, the consumers, will soon use them to spend a

The ten best home video releases of 2015

‘Tis the season for end-of-year lists. Here is mine. It’s for the ten best home video releases of 2015; which is to say, the ten best DVDs or Blu-rays released in Britain this year. I’m leaving out releases from abroad, even though that means leaving out some of my favourites, so as to spare your

The history of Technicolor in ten films

Does the Queen only send telegrams to British subjects? If so, I guess the rest of us will have to celebrate Technicolor’s centenary without Her Maj’s involvement. I’ve already written about the occasion for last week’s issue of The Spectator; but I thought I’d return to it having spent most of yesterday gorging on films

How Technicolor came to dominate cinema

They’ve already found a cure for the common cold. It’s called Technicolor. My first dose of it came during the Christmas holidays when I was about 12. There I was, ailing and miserable, when The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) came on the television at the end of my bed. Nothing had prepared me for

Kultural icon

The almond eyes that rise towards their outer edges. The cheekbones that curve down to the corners of those upholstered lips. The dark strands of hair that fall wisplike on to her chest. The hourglass extremities that will exercise your ciliary muscles until they snap. Dear me! After looking at this book, you’ll be more

How gaming grew up

Sometimes a guy feels abstracted from the world. He visits Europe’s finest galleries, but the paintings seem to hang like corpses from the walls. The great symphonies fail to stir his interest, let alone his soul. So he goes home, pours a large whisky and does the only thing that’s left for him — he

How Japan became a pop culture superpower

There is an island nation, just off the main body of a continent. It gained an empire from the force of its military and the finesse of its trading contracts. The empire withered, as they all do, under the gaze of history. But that didn’t finish the island nation off. It simply took over the

Without sci-fi, there would be no cinema

Do you know what’s hateful? The snobbery that film fans have to contend with. There’s the ‘it’s only a movie’ snobbery, by which cinema is suitable only for wastrels and dogs. And there’s the ‘if it ain’t Danish and silent, then it ain’t no good’ snobbery. Proponents of both should spend less time blowing conjecture