When film viewing is like having your head baked into a giant loaf of bread

Peter Bradshaw's review of <em>John</em> Carter must be a contender for the harshest criticism of 20

In today's Guardian, Peter Bradshaw offers his impressions of new sci-fi flick John Carter. Might just be me but I don't think he liked it that much:

John Carter is one of those films that is so stultifying, so oppressive and so mysteriously and interminably long that I felt as if someone had dragged me into the kitchen of my local Greggs, and was baking my head into the centre of a colossal cube of white bread. As the film went on, the loaf around my skull grew to the size of a basketball, and then a coffee table, and then an Audi. The boring and badly acted sci-fi mashup continued inexorably, and the bready blandness pressed into my nostrils, eardrums, eye sockets and mouth. I wanted to cry for help, but in bread no one can hear you scream. Finally, I clawed the doughy, gooey, tasteless mass desperately away from my mouth and screeched: "Jesus, I'm watching a pointless film about a 1860s American civil war action hero on Mars, which the inhabitants apparently call Barsoom. I can't breathe."

Last month, my colleague Jonathan Derbyshire attended the inaugural Hatchet Job of the Year Awards, set up to award the "author of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past twelve months". One must wonder whether this has started a race towards the harshest commentary. In keeping with the trend, this week's NS includes a comphrensive take down of A N Wilson's Hitler: a short biography by Richard J Evans, including the line: "It's hard to think why a publishing house that once had a respected history list agreed to produce this travesty of a biography".

Have you seen a worse review than Bradshaw's take on John Carter? Suggestions in the comment box below.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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SRSLY #20: Friends, Lovers, Divers

On the pop culture podcast this week, we talk albums from Joanna Newsom, Bjork and Grimes, Todd Haynes film Carol, and comedy web series Ex-Best.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

Listen to our new episode now:

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SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s web editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

If you’d like to talk to us about the podcast or make a suggestion for something we should read or cover, you can email srslypod[at]

You can also find us on Twitter @srslypod, or send us your thoughts on tumblr here. If you like the podcast, we'd love you to leave a review on iTunes - this helps other people come across it.

The Links

Joanna Newsom, Bjork and Grimes

Joanna Newsom’s Divers doesn't seem to be on Spotify, but you can get it on iTunes here. Listen to Grimes’ Art Angels here and Bjork's Vulnicura here.

This is a good piece about Joanna Newsom.

This piece makes the comparison with Elena Ferrante that we talk about on the podcast.

Here's Grimes's own post about Bjork.

Tavi Gevinson's interview with Joanna Newsom (where she talks about liking Grimes).



Ryan Gilbey's review of Carol, which he calls “as tantalising as hearing a tender ballad on a tinpot transistor”.

Anna's piece about the photographers that influenced the visual style of the film.

An interesting Q & A with director Todd Haynes.



The full series is available to watch for free here.

Meghan Murphy on friendship break-ups.


Your questions:

We love reading out your emails. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we've discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at], or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.


Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 


See you next week!

PS If you missed #19, check it out here.

Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.