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James Balmont

James Balmont

Freelance arts and culture journalist

Since cutting his teeth as a journalist for magazines like the NME in the early 2010s, James has mostly spent his days nattering on about obscure foreign films and idiosyncratic pop music to anyone polite enough to smile and nod along — and to his continued surprise, the editors at Time Out still return his emails. He loves it when his work takes him to unexpected places — but still doesn’t quite understand why he was invited to talk about karaoke music on Korean national television news in 2022. 

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Articles (10)

The best TV shows of 2024 (so far) you need to stream

The best TV shows of 2024 (so far) you need to stream

Last year we bid farewell to Succession, Barry and Top Boy, fell hard for Beef, Colin From Accounts and Blue Lights. The next 12 months should help us move on – the potential impact of 2023’s writers’ strike notwithstanding – as early hits like World War II epic Masters of the Air and Mr and Mrs Smith, Prime Video’s intoxicating mix of witty marital drama and zippy espionage caper, are already proving. Ahead are hotly-anticipated new runs of Bridgerton and Squid Game on Netflix, a third season of Industry, a sci-fi prequel in Dune: Prophecy, HBO’s barbed political satire The Regime, Park Chan-wook spy thriller The Sympathizer, and The Franchise, the latest from telly genius Armando Iannucci – among many other potentially binge-worthy offerings. But there’s only so many hours in the day and you can’t spend all of them on the sofa. Here’s our guide to the shows most worthy of your time.RECOMMENDED: 🔥 The best TV and streaming shows of 2023🎥 The best movies of 2024 (so far)📺 The 100 greatest ever TV shows you need to binge

The 55 best Japanese movies of all time

The 55 best Japanese movies of all time

There’s more to Japanese movies than Kurosawa, Ozu and Miyazaki. That’s not to downplay their contributions to the country’s cinematic history – or cinema in general. All three are potential GOATs. It’s just that there’s much, much more where that exalted triumvirate came from.  Like the trailblazing silent works of Kenji Mizoguchi. Or the off-kilter pop-art crime thrillers of Seijun Suzuki. Or the bizarrely horrifying visions of Takashi Miike. On this list of the greatest Japanese movies of all time, you’ll find them all, alongside, of course, Kurosawa’s feudal epics, Miyazaki’s deeply soulful animations and Ozu’s quietly powerful domestic dramas – oh, and Godzilla too. Reading through, you can trace Japan’s unique filmmaking history, moving from the silent era to its post-war golden age to the 1960s New Wave to the anime explosion of the ’80s, all the way up to the current renaissance spearheaded by Hirokazu Kore-eda, Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Mamoru Hosoda. It’s a lot to take in, so consider this list your travel guide to one of the world’s most creative movie cultures.  RECOMMENDED: 🇰🇷 The greatest Korean films of all time🇫🇷 The 100 best French movies ever made🇮🇹 The best Italian movies of all time🌏 The 50 best foreign films of all-time

An Oral History of the Old Blue Last

An Oral History of the Old Blue Last

There was a point in time, in the early ‘00s, when the Old Blue Last was quite literally the centre of London for kids like me. The rowdy Shoreditch boozer — on the crossroads connecting Great Eastern Street with Curtain Road — was then a bastion of unhindered fun, lying almost exactly at the midpoint between the vintage clothes stores of Brick Lane and the club nights at 333 Mother Bar and The Macbeth. Its gravitational pull was so strong, in fact, that I would literally work out the location of other London landmarks by measuring their distance from its beer-soaked foyer. And no matter how far I crawled, I would repeatedly find myself back there over the next 20 years – lost in the vortex of never-ending parties. Historically populated by dodgy geezers and ladies of the night, the ’00s had seen it assimilated by skinny-jeaned, Lego-haircut hipsters before the ‘indie sleaze’ generation was pushed up into Dalston and Stoke Newington. The constant stream of live music from upstairs — often accessed by sneaking in via the external stairwell fire escape — meanwhile, would ensure that the reputation cemented by legendary shows from the Arctic Monkeys and Amy Winehouse remained intact in the face of gentrification in the surrounding area. And in the years to come, everyone from Mercury Prize winners Wolf Alice to superstar Kylie Minogue would add their pages to its history. With a succession of hedonistic heydays still stained into its walls, the Old Blue Last remains an infallibl

The best Korean movies of all time

The best Korean movies of all time

If you were lucky enough to grow up pre-Y2K, you would have likely known little about Korea beyond the conflict in the back pages of your school history book. But that all changed when, in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the country doubled down on funding exportable pop culture in an attempt to rebrand the country on the world stage. The gambit, part designed to attract big business and tourism, was a wild success – and now we have K-Pop, K-dramas and kimchi pouring out of our ears. One of the biggest proponents of the ‘hallyu’ wave, though, has always been filmmaking – with Hollywood-style action blockbuster Shiri; brutal revenge thriller Oldboy; and Academy Awards triumph Parasite among the most resounding victories of a national cinema revitalised from the brink of anonymity. We simply can’t get enough of it today. And for good reason: South Korea is a goldmine of original ideas and storytelling talents who show no signs of taking their feet off the gas as the industry thrives. So why not huff on the metaphorical fumes? Our list of the best Korean movies of all time billows below.Recommended:🇫🇷 The 100 best French movies of all-time🇯🇵 The 50 best Japanese movies of all-time🇭🇰 The 100 best Hong Kong movies of all-time🇮🇹 The best Italian movies of all time: from Bicycle Thieves to The Great Beauty

The best Italian movies of all time: from ‘Bicycle Thieves’ to ‘The Great Beauty’

The best Italian movies of all time: from ‘Bicycle Thieves’ to ‘The Great Beauty’

There’s a reason Martin Scorsese has dedicated part of his life to championing Italian movies – and it’s not just to keep his nonna happy. It’s the national cinema that gave us Fellini, Visconti, Rossellini, Pasolini, and De Sica – where one minute you can corpse to the slapstick silliness of Commedia all'Italiana capers and the next, have your heart smashed into tiny pieces by a human drama about an old man and his dog. Where dodgy politics spawns angry thrillers and seismic historical events are tackled in sweeping epics. And where Clint Eastwood chewed on a cheroot while dispatching bad guys, and Argento and Bava gave us the lurid shocks of giallo. It’s flamboyant, glamorous, jaded, shocking and sexy – sometimes all at once.  And it’s not just sexy people standing in fountains, either. Rome’s famous old Cinecittà Studios powers on, the Venice Biennale is the world’s coolest film festival (sorry, Cannes), and modern-day moviemakers like Alice Rohrwacher, Matteo Garrone, Paolo Sorrentino and Gianfranco Rosi keep offering up fresh slices of la dolce vita (or its darker sides). With the BFI celebrating the work of the Taviani brothers in February and neorealism in May-June, a ‘Cinema Made in Italy’ season running at London’s Ciné Lumière in March, Rohrwacher’s La Chimera and Garrone’s Oscar-nominated Io Capitano coming to cinemas soon, not to mention a cinema re-release of Rome, Open City in May. There’s plenty of Italian films to sample out there. Allow us to add 50 more to t

クエンティン・タランティーノ映画、全作品ランキング

クエンティン・タランティーノ映画、全作品ランキング

タイムアウト東京 > 映画 >クエンティン・タランティーノ映画、全作品ランキング クエンティン・タランティーノは、映画の真の信仰者である。もちろん、ほとんどの監督は映画に対して深い情熱を抱いているが、スクリーンに映し出すもの全てに、その情熱を彼ほど直接的に詰め込んでいる人はいないだろう。 彼は30年以上の間に10本の映画を製作している。犯罪や戦争ものをはじめ、カンフー、昔懐かしいグラインドハウス、西部劇などさまざまなジャンルを手掛けてきた。「タランティーノ作品」は、もはやそれ自体が1つのジャンルであるかのようだ。彼の映画には引用される台詞が多く、流血シーンが随所にあり、ありえないほどクールなキャラクターに加えクールな音楽、そして何よりも、そもそも映画を作れるということに対する偽りのない愛に満ちている。 ただ、彼の映画オタクっぷりに引き込まれる人が多い反面、耳障りだと感じる人も同じくらいいるだろう。そこで、彼の10作目(「キル・ビル」の数え方によっては11作目)であり、最後の作品と報じられている「The Movie Critic」の製作が発表されたのを機に、全作品を批評しつつランク付けしようと思う。 この新作を最後に映画監督を引退すると宣言しているが、「本当に引退」するまで、このリストを何度か更新しなければならないかもしれない。 関連記事『インタビュー:クエンティン・タランティーノ』『日本で最もセクシーな映画俳優』

The 18 most mind-blowing stunts in movie history

The 18 most mind-blowing stunts in movie history

Stunt professionals put their bodies, and sometimes even their lives, on the line daily to pull off the coolest action beats in massive blockbusters. There’s no Oscar for it and they rarely get to walk the red carpet taking the plaudits, but make no mistake, they’re the lifeblood of many of our favourite movies. And if you sell ice packs, they’re probably your number one customers. Thanks to VFX, the way action movies are made has changed radically since the madcap silent era days of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd clinging precariously to buildings. But one thing has stayed the same: it’s still a job for tough, daring and visually inventive people seeking new ways to keep audiences slack-jawed and on the edge of their seats. There is one more thing that unites them: they’re passionate movielovers, to a man and woman, who regularly look to cinema’s past for inspiration. To celebrate their work – and kick off Time Out’s Action Month – we asked some of the most respected, experienced stunt people in cinema, including bona fide legends like Vic Armstrong and Simon Crane, to pick a stunt or sequence that they love above all others, and give an expert’s view of how it was pulled off. And guess what? They love Jackie Chan even more than the rest of us. RECOMMENDED: 💥 The 101 greatest action movies ever made👊 The 30 best fight scenes ever filmed

The best Quentin Tarantino movies, ranked

The best Quentin Tarantino movies, ranked

Quentin Tarantino is cinema’s truest believer. Most directors are deeply passionate about film, of course, but few pack that passion so directly into everything they put on screen. Over 30 years and ten films, he’s made crime movies, war movies, kung fu movies, retro-grindhouse movies, western movies and movies about the movies. A Quentin Tarantino movie, though, is a genre unto itself, thick with quotable dialogue, often splattered with blood, with impossibly cool characters and even cooler music – and, above all, an undisguised love for even being able to make a movie in the first place. But while his geekiness can be infectious, it can also be grating in equal measure. So with the announcement of his 10th (or 11th), and reportedly final film, titled The Movie Critic, we thought it was time to put our own critical skills to use by ranking the full Tarantino filmography. He swears he’ll be retiring as a filmmaker after this, but something tells us we’ll have to update this list a few times before he’s really, truly done. Recommended: 🔥 The 100 best movies of all-time💰 The 60 best heist movies of all-time🤵 The 50 best gangster movies of all-time🎬 The 50 coolest filmmakers in the world right now

人生で観ておくべき、日本映画ベスト50

人生で観ておくべき、日本映画ベスト50

タイムアウト東京 > 映画 > 人生で観ておくべき、日本映画50選日本映画には大きな魅力と素晴らしい監督の存在がある。特に黒澤明は、この地球上で最も偉大な映画監督といえるが、日本が生んだ名監督は彼だけではない。小津安二郎や宮崎駿、溝口健二、市川崑ら、映画「東京物語」「七人の侍」「となりのトトロ」など、圧倒的な名作を生み出し映画界に貢献してきた。 サイレント時代から戦後の映画黄金期をへて、パンキッシュで挑発的な1960年代のニューウェーブ、アニメーション作品の爆発的なヒットを生み出した。そして、多くの作品はアメリカやヨーロッパで大きな影響力を持つようになった。タランティーノやスコセッシは、大の日本映画好きで伝達者であり、ゴジラはハリウッドの大作映画としてとどろき続けている。 しかし、あまりに多くの作品があるため、何から観ればいいのか頭を抱えてしまうかもしれない。ここでは、タイムアウトワールドワイドが選んだ「日本映画ベスト50」を紹介しよう。 関連情報『日本で最もセクシーな映画俳優』『日本人アーティストのドキュメンタリー6選』

All the South London filming locations you can visit from ‘Rye Lane’

All the South London filming locations you can visit from ‘Rye Lane’

Quit your chirpsing and grab some p’s, because the London romantic-comedy of the year is about to hit UK cinemas – and ‘Rye Lane’ has got us gassed.  Two twentysomething navigate their break-ups after a chance meeting at an art exhibition. Accountant Dom (‘Industry’s David Jonsson) has been binned for his best mate; aspiring costume designer Yas (Vivian Oparah) has just ended things with hers. Seemingly opposites, they develop a rapport while roaming the streets of South London – in a story that bursts with bright colours, bold fashions, and an energy as vibrant as producer Kwes’s score. And while that will-they-won’t-they mystique is amplified by two radiant lead performances, the bigger love affair here of a very different nature: ‘Rye Lane’ is positively smitten with Peckham and Brixton, where the production was shot in the spring of 2021. Director Raine Allen-Miller sits down with Time Out to chat key locations seen on film – bogs, fried chicken shops and all.