Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 Over

As the door closes on 2012 with a hollow clang, it's time to reflect on what I've been doing with my life for the last 12 months. The clear answer being I watched a bunch of movies. This year saw 221 visual missives flow through my irises and dance about in the cerebral cortex, many of which were excellent and many more of which weren't.
It's around this time, then, that I choose to celebrate the great and the ass with carefully thought out lists for others to vocally disagree with, and so:
 
10 Favourite New Films That I Saw On A Cinema Screen
 
I saw 89 films on the big screen this year, a number artificially swollen by film festival attendance. It's a good thing I did though, otherwise I would have struggled to get 10 decent favourites together. I also made regular pilgrimages to neighbouring cities to catch some decent Arthouse fare. When you discount these, and the festival titles, I watched 35 films in the local multiplex the majority of which weren't particularly great, usually planting themselves firmly in mediocrity, the end result being only 3 films watched locally making it into the final 10. Of course there was plenty I didn't go see such as Twilight 4, Hunger Games, Prometheus, John Carter, Battleships, Keith Lemon etc. although it's unlikely any of them would make an impact on the above statements. And that, my friends, is the ongoing slow death of cinema.
However, ignoring the agonising monetised strangulation of the rural multiplex, film is in an excellent state overall. I could easily have made a 20 favourites this year, something I wouldn't have been able to boast in the last few years, here's the final 10;
 
1: Maniac [2012 Remake]
An orgy of migraines, mannequins and mutilation all given the visceral jolt of being shot entirely in the first person. Never have the words "You're so beautiful" been scarier.
(Trailer/First 6 minutes)
 
2: The Raid [ Serbuan maut ]
A breathless flurry of flawless action sequences set to a relentless, pounding soundtrack. Bliss.
(Trailer/Claycat version)
 
3: The Master
An expert dissection of the human condition employing nuance, subtlety and a pair of phenomenal performances.
(Trailer/Rorschach teaser)
 
4: Sightseers
In which Ben Wheatley displays an incredible flair for gliding effortlessly between naturalistic comedy and psychedelic brutality.
(Trailer)
 
5: John Dies At The End
A constant joyous barrage of laugh out loud invention. The best type of insanity.
(Trailer)
 
6: Moonrise Kingdom
Idiosyncrasy buffed to perfection.
(Trailer)
 
7: Juan Of The Dead [Juan de los Muertos]
A remarkably assured zombie love letter to Cuba, from Cuba.
(Trailer)
 
8: Beasts Of The Southern Wild
A tale of pride that somehow managed to shatter the cynic within and completely devastate me.
(Trailer)
 
9: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [3D]
At this point I would probably enjoy watching Peter Jackson taking a shit as long as he did it in his immaculately rendered version of Middle Earth, more so if it involved an unnecessarily complex underground bridge network.
(Trailer)
 
10. Dredd 3D
In which the combination of extreme slow motion and 3D is proven to be a winning one.
(Trailer)
 
 
5 Favourite Films I Watched On A Little Screen
 
A touch of arithmetic tells me that I watched 133 films on various small screens. A lot of it was hopeless trash, an addiction I'm happily struggling to kick, but some of it was brilliant. Here's 5 that deserve to be highlighted as such;
 
1: God Bless America
Though the targets are easy, the attack is savage perfection.
I should also give a mention to World's Greatest Dad which should probably be number 2, but an extra Goldthwaite seemed indulgent.
(Trailer)
 
2: Confessions [Kokuhaku]
Remarkable vengeance study that essentially becomes a visual post-rock song.
(Trailer)
 
3: Amer
A gorgeous, hallucinatory exploration of one woman's sexuality via replicated imagery culled from the finest of Italian trash cinema. Mostly dialogue free too.
(Trailer)
 
4: Timecrimes [Los cronocrimenes]
The best time travel film I watched this year.
(No trailer because every one I've seen gives the entire film away, bunch of idiots)
 
5: Paprika [Papurika]
A bit like the crazed dream sequence in Akira, only for an entire film.
(Trailer)
 
 
10 Shittest Films
 
Finally here's a bunch of bollocks to avoid;
 
1: After
Should the director of After happen upon the opportunity to make another film I offer these tips; a) If you must use actors get them to act. b) Don't make another totally shit film.
 
2: The Cat In The Hat
AKA Vigorously Pissing In The Face Of Dr Seuss.
 
3: Zombie 108 [Z108 qi cheng]
Vile, immature and seriously incompetent.
 
4: The Dictator
Sacha Baron Cohen's latest creation has all potential extinguished by locking him in a plodding, formulaic script which appears to be stolen from the eighties.
 
5: Top Cat [Don Gato y su pandilla]
Apparently Top Cat was very big in Mexico. I'm unsure as to why they would choose to celebrate it by farting out this cheap vulgarity. Charlotte's film of the year which, to be quite frank, is fucking ridiculous.
 
6: Hellraiser: Deader
By far the worst of the array of abominations casually wanked out under the Hellraiser banner.
 
7: Dark Shadows
Every frame is clearly exactly as Burton intended, though it's baffling why anybody would want to intentionally make stodgy, soap opera nonsense.
 
8: Parasomnia
Hopeless misguided bollocks featuring a serial killer who can control minds locked in a hospital next door to a girl who sleeps a lot. Fucking stupid.
 
9: Agnosia
Boring and retarded, a little bit like listening to the shipping forecast being read out by an X Factor finalist.
 
10: Paranormal Activity 2
A convincing demonstration that it does actually take a fair amount of skill to make a decent found footage movie, something that nobody involved here has.
 
 
2013? More of the same? I'd like to think so.
 

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Parental Guidance

 
A sedate, non-showy sermon on parenting with a touch of over-sentimentality at the end and some piss n fart jokes thrown in for the kids.
 

Pitch Perfect

 
A bunch of pretty girls perform acapella versions of pop songs with a mash-up aesthetic, the guiltiest of pleasures and thoroughly enjoyed as such.
 

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Jack Reacher

 
A pedestrian take on nineties Van Damme movies.
 

A Christmas Carol [1984 version]


Barely serviceable rendition of Dickens' classic, only of interest if you live in Shrewsbury because you can point at all the exterior shots and name all the buildings.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Elves


Sample dialogue:

"I'm your fucking sister"; "Yeah and you've got fucking big tits and i'm gonna tell everyone I saw them!"
-
"Oral. Santa said oral."
-
"The elf mates with the virgin on Christmas Eve to produce the master race and it will eventually rule the world."

Laughed my ass off.
Three Kings, how festive.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Santa's Slay

 
In which Santa is a homicidal ex-wrestler.
Both ludicrously entertaining and total shit.
King.
 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Initiation: Silent Night Deadly Night 4 [Bugs]


Adopts Halloween 3's strategy and presents a totally new tale completely unrelated to the previous movies. This one, directed by an on form Yuzna, tells of a lady reporter who accidentally gets involved with a coven of witches whilst investigating a mid-air spontaneous human combustion at Christmas time. There then follows a great deal of unsubtle drugging, crazed rituals and huge bugs until finally the reporter's hands fuse together into a giant flaming penis with which she stabs the head of the coven, played by a Bond Girl.
King.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Devil

 
A whodunit in a different container.
Comfortably the best thing Shyamalan has put his name to in the last eight years, which isn't saying much.
 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The Adventures Of Sharkboy And Lavagirl 3-D [2D]

 
My face tended to crumple with disgust as I watched this hyper-animated whimsy about following your dreams rendered in rampant CGI psychedelia.
At the end Charlotte exclaimed "We will have to watch that again!" proving she'd just watched a very different film and hers was a lot better.
 

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [3D]

 
People having lots of serious conversations about going on adventures and then lots of fights on gigantic underground bridge networks. Ace.
 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Gremlins

 
And so Christmas film season begins with the granddaddy of them all.
It can only go downhill from here.
 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Life Of Pi [3D]

 
A mesmerising spectacle capped with a vaguely insulting ending for stupid people so they can understand what happened.
 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Seven Psychopaths

 
A disappointing Adaptation clone.
 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Sightseers

 
A stunning mix of horrifically brutal murder and light, unforced black comedy deftly woven around a carefully shifting power balance. Fantastic use of music too, Frankie Goes To Hollywood has never sounded better.
 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Millions

 
Boyle has an off day and shits out this cack-handed, badly acted schmaltz.
 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Amour [Love]

 
An incredibly powerful depiction of a crushing inevitability we all must face.
 

The First Men In The Moon

 
Quaint.
 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Rise Of The Guardians [3D]


A visual feast populated with likeable characters wrapped around a hackneyed story about needing to belong which collapses under conflicted internal logic before finally drowning in saccharine mush at the end.
Par for the course as modern kids animation goes.

Taxidermia


Three intergenerational stories that i'm convinced are probably drenched in political allegory, but I don't know enough about Hungary's history so I watched a story about wanking, a story about fat people and a story about auto-evisceration instead.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Silver Linings Playbook

 
First impressions suggest that this is an attempt to subvert romantic comedies with a broad sweep of the mental illness brush. Turns out it's actually an attempt to subvert drama about mental illness by turning it into a romantic comedy.
 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Parasomnia

 

The writer/director of this disaster bravely chose to step outside of the Hollywood system and self finance the film, presumably because anybody with money who was shown the hopelessly retarded script told him to fuck off.


 

The Long Good Friday

 
Bob Hoskins gets progressively angrier as his chips get progressively more pissed on.
 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Hellraiser: Hellworld

 
An attempt to post-modernise Hellraiser via clumsy use of the internet swiftly gives way to standard, cliched teens dying at a party bollocks. Pinhead occasionally crops up and looks mildly embarassed then the whole thing ends in a sudden spunk of illogical nonsense.
I'm almost at the bottom of the barrel, one more to go.
 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Zombie 108 [Z108 qi cheng]


In the middle of a film about a woman who manages to run in to two serial killers amongst an incomprehensibly edited zombie outbreak, the director uses a demented pervert who rapes a woman with an octopus as a mouthpiece to denounce art-house films as boring. Yeah well, at least they're not mind shatteringly stupid.
What a twat.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The Master

 
Consumption & carnality battle against conviction & conditioning to form a stunning portrait of the constant struggle that is being human.
 

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Haunted Mansion

 
A film based on a theme park ride starring Eddie Murphy. Despite the low expectations generated by such a description I was still amazed at how astonishingly shit the film managed to be. I can only assume that Murphy cries every time he catches sight of himself in a mirror these days.
 

Friday, 16 November 2012

Hercules


James Woods' Hades is the only thing that shines as he surfs a wave of mediocre triteness stolen from a catalogue of sources none of which appear to be the original Greek myth.
Charlotte got her first taste of the cinematic disappointment that will plague the rest of her film watching life as she exclaimed "Why isn't Hercules doing the tasks? Why have they turned it into a dumb love story?", though she did provide the best moment of the film when she furiously exploded at the end with "What idiot gives up being a God for a girl?"
I am so proud.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Roost

 
Early Ti West film that strives against its low budget to show the kernel of what he is capable of, unfortunately rendered barely watchable by a fucking annoying, over-enthusiastic, screechy soundtrack.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Tokyo Story [Tôkyô monogatari]

 
A deliberately sedate study of family, mortality and crushing disappointment, with every slow-paced scene loaded with unspoken poignancy.
 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Illusionist [L'illusionniste]

 
Tommy Cooper meets Aeon Flux.
 

Friday, 2 November 2012

Hansel And Gretel [Henjel Gwa Geuretel]


A man gets ensnared in an extended Korean version of Joe Dante's Twilight Zone segment with a few additional dark fairytale trappings thrown about.

The Emperor's New Groove 2: Kronk's New Groove

 
Poorly animated follow up that attempts to replicate the beats of the original and succeeds roughly twice.
Charlotte was quick to dismiss it.
 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Harold And Maude

 
If you cut a Wes Anderson movie, this film will come spilling out. I became convinced he had used a time machine to go back in time and make it.
It's brilliant.

The Dead Zone

 
Who would've thought that there could be such a perfect intersection between the acting talents of Christopher Walken, the directing talents of David Cronenberg and the writing talents of Stephen King.
Yet here it is.
 

The Helpers


Moronic nonsense that's so misguided in thinking it's clever it feels the need to end with a 10 min rundown of events from the film with Scooby-Doo style flashbacks.
"You mean the bad guys set up the roadblock? Shit! No way!" etc.
Wank.

Zombie Flesh Eaters [Zombie/Zombi 2]


As much as it is a privilege to see a Fulci on the big screen it's unlikely to stop his films being boring as fuck.
This one features the iconic zombie vs shark wrestle amongst other highlights but was still boring as fuck.

Bait 3D

 
A laughable conflation of shark movies and disaster movies. Had a lot more going for it than I expected though the 3D was shit.

The Tall Man [The Secret]

 
Laugier once again displays astounding skill in manipulating both audience expectations and assumptions. Absolute magnificence.

Gallowwalkers

 
Baffling attempts at mysticism awkwardly combined with mystique dispelling exposition.

Excision

 
Dysfunction, high school and unnecessary surgery struggle to fully gel together.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Cannibal Holocaust

 
A cautionary tale advising against going on a spontaneous rape frenzy when investigating primitive tribes.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Holy Motors

 
An incandescent tumble of imagery that muses on the three big issues; life, death & film.
 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Psychosis

 
Atrocious acting, awful script, leaden film-making, dire bollocks.

Hotel Transylvania [3D]

 
Tartakovsky ably retains his inimitable style as he moves into 3D animation delivering a lightweight but thoroughly likeable kids movie.

Monday, 15 October 2012

For Love's Sake [Ai to makoto / The Legend Of Love & Sincerity]

 
Only Miike could get away with combining cheesy musical numbers with massive levels of street violence.
Yet get away with it he does.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Antiviral

 
A story about celebrity, close-ups of needles, secret panels and a very, very sick man.
Some would say the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree, i'd say the apple hasn't even bothered leaving the tree.

Rust & Bone [De rouille et d'os]

 
A bare sketch of a human looks to a killer whale trainer to add detail to his existence. Has a tendency to confuse things that are profound with things that are just a bit random.

John Dies At The End

 
A litany of insanities that include such gems as a killer moustache, a door-knob that turns into a human-nob and a great "who is driving the car?" moment all viewed through a prism of drug use, time travel and play-school philosophy.
My favourite of the day.

The We And The I

 
A group of youngsters act obnoxious and self absorbed in an extended hip-hop video by a more mature Gondry than we've seen in the past.

Room 237

 
A demonstration of how Kubrick's meticulous ways with mise en scene left gaps in the Shining that are exploited to their fullest by passionate crackpot theorists.