Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 Over

And 192 films later another year has passed. A year in which I've grown increasingly jaded with the decisions being made in cinemas, been forced to travel longer distances in order to see something decent and sat glassy eyed through a lot of awful kids movies.
Nonetheless the gems are out there and so as usual here's 10 favourites, in order, along with 5 notables from the torrent of film that constantly surges through my TV.
Obviously the end of the year wouldn't be right if I didn't do an awful lot of swearing about some bad films, so there's 10 of those too, also in order. Like order matters when stuff is that bad.

10 Favourite New Films At The Cinema:

1: Drive
Hard boiled, intelligent and cool as fuck.

2: Kill List
Begins as keenly observed British melodrama and ends like somebody screaming point blank in your face.

3: The Skin I Live In [La piel que habito]
A study of perception with a stunning revelation at its core which is never concealed but slowly unravelled to its fullest extent, often with exruciating levels of tension.

4: Tyrannosaur
I was surprised to discover that Paddy Considine has gone on to make Shane Meadows' best film. I wonder if Shane Meadows is aware of this?

5: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Normally political power play is the kind of thing I struggle with but every minute of this was a joy, it's a rarity these days to walk into the local pit and bear witness to such elegant film making.

6: Black Swan
A perfect Polanski homage and a phenomenal display of Aronofsky's talent.

7: 13 Assassins [Jûsan-nin no shikaku]
Miike harnesses his incredible powers of invention to portray epic honour and glory without ever losing his multitude of idiosyncratic touches.

8: Attack The Block
The best aliens I've seen in a while. The most I've laughed at teenagers swearing in a while too.

9: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
Everything rides on Serkis' skilful portrayl of Caesar's development. Which is fucking brilliant, so that worked out well.

10: Sucker Punch
A portmanteau compendium of short action cinema masterpieces. The wrap around story is a bit shit, but who cares when give it a few minutes and giant stone samurai are getting shot in the face. In slow motion.


5 Favourite Films I Watched Through A TV:

1: Martyrs
The last two years have seen 'extreme' titles in this spot and this year is no exception. As gruelling as it is excellent, which on both counts is 'very'.

2: House Of The Devil
Both this and "The Innkeepers" demonstrate West's extreme prowess with glacial pacing.

3: A Prophet [Un prophète]
Survival portrayed as magnificence.

4: Machete
In which an enjoyment of genre nonsense flows so freely it's impossible not to succumb.

5: Freaks
If only for the sight of a man with no arms or legs lighting a cigarette with a match.


10 Shittest Films:

1: Rubber
Who makes a film that sets out to actually insult its audience, then get all smug about it? Prick.

2: Loaded
Written by one of the lead actors transparently under the notion that he'll make himself look extremely cool. Unfortunately he ends up looking like a twat in a crap film.

3: Horrid Henry: The Movie
Nothing to do with me being all grown up. I've read the books, they're good. I've watched the cartoon, it's good. I've sat through this hideous fuck up, it's bollocks.

4: Your Highness
Not Funny. Very shit.

5: A Night In The Woods
An apalling lift of Blair Witch. When the director was talking about it afterward he appeared to actually be proud of the fact that they had no script. What a nob.

6: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
A garish, technicolour abortion useful only for giving Michael Bay an erection.

7: Cowboys & Aliens
Badly plotted, risible nonsense.

8: Bad Day
If the high point of your film is a member of Girls Aloud being punched in the face you probably shouldn't be making it. Awfulness further compounded by the fact that everyone in this film with actor or actress on their job description is a fucking liar.

9: Air Buddies/ Snow Buddies/ Santa Buddies
Bored animals with crudely CG'd mouths telling everybody to work as a team and love each other. Not my thing admittedly.

10: Season Of The Witch
Ah, but is she a witch? Is she really? Oh, hang on, yes she is and a shit one at that. Fuck

Postscript:
Whilst I was writing this, Charlotte wanted to know what I was doing. I discovered it's not easy to explain the point of picking films you've seen and putting them in a strict heirarchical order, but she got enough of the gist to want to have a go herself. So I went through what we had watched (endured) across 2011 and she picked her 5 favourites:

1: Puss In Boots
2: Kung Fu Panda 2
3: Tron: Legacy
4: Horrid Henry: The Movie
5: Yogi Bear

To put this in perspective when I was nine I was enthusing over Transformers: The Movie, Labyrinth, Basil: The Great Mouse Detective, An American Tale and Flight Of The Navigator.
Charlotte's worst movie she saw in 2011? Megamind. A bit harsh I thought.

Roll on 2012. As long as Roland 'Fucking' Emmerich isn't in charge of it, that is.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs


Had some funny bits to make you laugh, had some graceless action sequences to manufacture a feeling of peril and I think there was some attempt at a story in there too, but I had to squint to catch a glimpse of it.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo


Excellent director adapts hokey pot boiler, building it around Daniel Craig's bewildered stare.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Silent Night Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out


The psychotic Santa killed in part 2 (brother of the psychotic Santa killed in part 1) has his brain reconstructed, placing him in a coma, whereupon he becomes part of an experiment where a blind, psychic girl tries to communicate with him and unwittingly revives him so he can lumber about and stab people on Christmas eve.
My favourite one yet, mainly because of the amount of time I spent laughing at this guy's hair.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Santa Buddies: The Legend Of Santa Paws


I spent a good portion of the film thinking "OH MY GOD! MAKE IT STOP! MY EYES ARE BURNING, MY BRAIN IS ATROPHYING! FUCK!", or something along those lines.
Charlotte spent a good portion of the film thinking "I like puppies. I like Christmas. I like puppies. I like Christmas. I like puppies. I like Christmas. Why is dad twitching violently? I like puppies. I like Christmas", or something along those lines.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2


A film of two halves. The first half being a 40 min edit of the first film, the second a showcase for a phenomenal level of unintentionally hilarious, shit acting.
PUNISH!

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows


A good, solid wedge of purest, unadulterated enjoyment.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Another Earth


A quiet sci-fi take on guilt and atonement.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Silent Night, Deadly Night


A nutjob dressed as Father Christmas goes on a kill crazy rampage, punctuating every death he metes out by shouting "Punish!".
Cracked me up.

Puss In Boots [3D]


Superb animation and excellent characters squandered on flat, uninspired bollocks.
It did, however, contain cats doing cat things and so it came as no surprise that Charlotte loved it.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Hugo [3D]


Of all the directors to try their hand at 3D it's a (very welcome) surprise that Scorsese is the one to show its full potential. Even more breathtaking is the way he then goes on to marry 3D to the intense fascination held by early cinema. I smiled a lot.

Exit Through The Gift Shop


Banksy seeking to both validate the importance of 'street art' and demonstrate the idiocy of its intrusion on the art world.
With an added bonus of being quite brilliant.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Beast Must Die


Beyond absurd melding of Blaxploitation and Gothic Horror with a 30 second 'Werewolf Break' just before the end for you to guess the identity of the wayward lycanthrope.
Could well be one of the most amazing films I've ever seen.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Beauty And The Beast


Disney stretch their formula to the furthest extremes resulting in overanimated squidginess.
Charlotte felt the film would have been better if nobody turned back into a human at the end despite the complications this would create for the story's climax. I found it difficult to argue against "He seemed pretty happy as a candle, he was singing songs and everything".

Salvage


I unwittingly watched my first Christmas film of the season. A thoroughly British effort that starts out with a lot of promise and then spectacularly shits it all away with a duff monster.

Friday, 25 November 2011

The House Of The Devil


A gorgeously slow segue from Halloween to Argento.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Frankenhooker


NY trash at the top of its game. The stand out moment being when a room full of naked hookers, out of control on crack, spontaneously explode.
King as fuck.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Rum Diary


Hunter S. Thompson's origin story laced with Bruce Robinson's wistful melancholy proves to be a combination that delights.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Skin I Live In [La piel que habito]


The joy of watching a seeping madness slowly blossom from the screen like a bloom of blood through a freshly applied bandage.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Deadgirl


In which I discovered that the American teenage male is SO horny that they will happily resort to simultaneous necrophilia and rape at the drop of a hat. Not as funny as a pie.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Necronomicon


This Halloween I watched masses of tentacles explode from a lady's eye sockets, David Warner drag out his own melting by periodically tearing lumps off himself and a group of interdimensional beings sucking bone marrow from dismembered limbs whilst the previous owner looks on with shrieking insanity.
King.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Death Factory: Bloodletting


The kind of film where moody, industrial beats play when people are wandering around dimly lit locations, visibly confused by the absence of plot and indecipherable death metal plays when people are getting their heads sawn off.

The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn [3D]


Grown-up: "Spielberg plays with some new toys creating an unparallelled fluid kineticism whilst also indulging in his obsession with complex match cuts. Unfortunately he seems more concerned with apologising for Indy than making Tintin and despite the obvious technical skill on display the film struggles to grip or excite".

Kid: "Brilliant. Though I did keep thinking 'When is it going to end?'"

Monday, 24 October 2011

Contagion


The film's strength is a steely cold pragmatism, although this has the unfortunate side effect of making it feel like an educational film that should have intermittent pauses allowing you to answer questions on an accompanying sheet.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Your Highness


Woefully unfunny for every long minute.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Johnny English Reborn


Swerves back and forth across a line that separates unsuccessful Clouseau aping from satisfying Bond piss ripping.
Charlotte laughed at both a man painfully dragging a large rock tethered to his penis and an old lady being beaten unconscious with a tea tray. I'm such a proud father.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Akira



A catalogue of cinematic benchmarks: Best hand drawn animation ever, best motorcycle chase ever, best giant mutant apocalyptic baby ever...
The list is endless.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Tyrannosaur


Two blinding central performances deftly steered through very familiar cinematic territories of simmering tensions, violence and abuse with careful understated nudges toward climactic surprise and awe.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy


In which Tomas Alfredson wields subtlety and grace with a power far exceeding the primary coloured hyperbole being excessively splashed about in Hollywood.
Truly magnificent.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

And Soon The Darkness [2010 Remake]


Focuses on the startling stupidity of pretty girls in peril and then explores how to make this as unexciting as possible through a total lack of dynamics in story telling.
Also contains very little darkness.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Pretty Little Devils [Legacy]


Shit actresses playing detestable characters in a menstrual blood clot of a film.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

And Now The Screaming Starts


Amicus keep up their brilliant titles but drop the compendium format for a full length feature which teeters on the brink of hokey overkill until Peter Cushing appears at the hour mark and restores a modicum of sophistication to proceedings.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Johnny English


A pathetic splash in the tide of mediocrity that is British cinema.
I had hoped that upon seeing this Charlotte would give up on the idea of watching the sequel, but no, she laughed like a drain throughout thus sealing my fate.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Dying Breed


Unremarkable ozploitation cannibal piece that prioritizes nastiness over plot coherence at every opportunity.

Terrorvision


Like some kind of bizarre, adults only, live action Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Not very good but certainly unique.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Horde [La horde]


A fairly comprehensive answer to the question "What would a John Carpenter Zombie movie, made at the height of his powers in the eighties and filmed in French, be like?"

Deep Throat


A showcase for a variety of genitals that can be roughly grouped into two categories: Wookie or Sarlacc.

Red State


Kevin Smith finally stops trying to be the guy who made Clerks and instead concentrates on doing the thing that made him stand out in the first place; bringing his own unique voice to cinema.

Melancholia


Seems to be an attempt at making depression sexy, however it's as boring and pretentious as you'd expect wish fulfillment for manic depressives to be.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Disappearance Of Alice Creed


Would like to be a tense, claustrophobic thriller.
Is actually three actors trapped in a flat with a film student and his camera.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Matango [Attack Of The Mushroom People]


Begins with some heavy Lovecraft overtones that quickly give way to a version of Lost made in sixties Japan before finally melting down in a hallucinogenic shitstorm of giant rubbery mushroom people.
King.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Drive


Sleek neo-noir, loaded with style and topped with a light dusting of John Hughes' early eighties output to give it that bit more of an edge when shit inevitably goes wrong.
An excellent movie.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Resident


Lackluster thriller about a wanking psychopath.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The House That Dripped Blood


For their second compendium piece Amicus brought in Robert Bloch to create some skillful inversions of familiar tropes giving old favourites Cushing, Lee, et al another opportunity to shine.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bad Day


Laughably appalling crap. A masterclass in how to make the worst film possible.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Knife In The Water [Nóz w wodzie]


Some people arguing on a boat.

Colombiana


Contains enough echoes of Nikita to make it worthwhile. Just.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes


Finally watched a film this summer that delivered a genuine moment of slack-jawed awe and unexpectedly blew me away.
What? Summer's over?
Oh bollocks.

Super


What could have been an extremely brave and affecting tale of mental disability is hidden away under allusion and further confused by unnecessary cheap laughs.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Snow Buddies


There is absolutely no sensible reason why a film like this should exist and the fact that it does makes the world a lesser place to live in.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo


In which Herbie moons about like a randy teenager instead of doing the funny racing stuff that you want to see.
Marks the first time I've ever wanted to slap a car across its sulky face.