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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Harry Potter Week

Celebrating 20 years of Harry Potter.

Do you know what day it is? Today is Monday 26 June 2017 – which means it’s 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published in the UK. That’s two decades of knowing and loving Harry Potter.

Here at the New Statesman, a solid 90 per cent of the online staff live and breathe Harry Potter. So we thought now would be the perfect time to run a week of Potter-themed articles. We’ve got a mix of personal reflections, very (very) geeky analysis, cultural criticism, nostalgia, and some truly bizarre fan fiction. You have been warned. 

See below for the full list, which will be updated throughout the week:

Jonn Elledge and the Young Hagrid Audition

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

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