Wednesday, 30 September 2015


90 minutes of treading water sandwiched between the finding and opening of a box that makes everything dissolve into flashy video-game hardware demonstration.
At one point the teenager said 'I'd forgotten how much cool stuff happens in this film', which gave me an opportunity to do the Bruce Willis Slow Head Turn, so not a total loss.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Canyons

Effortlessly veers between tedium, banality and monotony. Quite an achievement given it's written by the author of American Psycho, directed by the writer of Taxi Driver and features a failed child star and America's most popular male porn actor engaging in a distinctly uncomfortable foursome with two naked randoms. Everybody must have tried really fucking hard to make everything this boring.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Visit

Shyamalan's finest twist yet is that he's actually remembered how to make a good movie.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope [1997 Special Edition]

There's enough child left in the teenager for me to realise a parental dream by taking my offspring to the new Star Wars in a few months but first she has to watch the originals.
We set out to watch the theatrical originals and, as she huffed and tutted through the interminably slow droid dialogue, I warned her of the age and clunkiness of the 40 year old special effects. Unfortunately the DVD sputtered to a halt on Tatooine and I had to swap it out for the Special Edition instead. At the first Dewback Charlotte pipes up with 'I see what you mean about these old effects they're shocking', so I explained about Lucas' additions and from that point on she pointed out every bit of shit tacked on CGI with 'Bet he added that too'. Then, during the final Death Star battle, she pointed at every X-Wing pilot who wasn't Luke and said 'He's going to die'.
I'm still making her watch the new one.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Demons [Dèmoni 2... l'incubo ritorna]

A surprisingly cohesive, Italian attempt to stuff Evil Dead into an apartment block that ends in the usual spectacular, Italian carnage.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Chanbara Beauty [Oneechanbara: The Movie]

Not sure who's made the biggest mistake here, the people who thought it was a good idea to make a video game about a japanese cowgirl who kills zombies in her underwear, the people who thought they should adapt it into a shitty, badly made film or me for sitting through such utter fucking bollocks.

Friday, 18 September 2015


Likeable historic irreverence made all the more enjoyable by strong reverberations of Python.
Bonus points too for exposing the teenager to a generous helping of Shakespeare's finest lines.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Maze Runner

Not the Hunger Games clone I'd envisioned, more a teen version of Lost that would have passed me by if Charlotte hadn't physically sat me down and insisted I watch it.
Thanks marketing people, you bellends.

Saturday, 12 September 2015


De Palma's career began with clumsy misappropriation of European cinema and forty years later absolutely fuck all has changed.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Kiki's Delivery Service [Majo no takkyûbin]

A handbook for children who are about to begin the journey into adulthood on how best to go about it.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Frightfest 2015 Reflection

Frightfest comes of age in its sixteenth year and I mean this quite literally. Year on year the festival becomes slicker and slicker allowing it to stand shoulder to shoulder with any other major film festival. The pay off for this maturity, though, is the party atmosphere that always suffused the screenings of old has moved elsewhere, and if you're a curmudgeonly, antisocial misanthrope who really doesn't want to 'banter' in the 'bar area' then it's now pretty much altogether absent.
The cinema screens are now solely the domain of the films themselves, there was no surprise announcements,no surpise giveaways, no sneak previews (A Soska sisters video intro appeared at one point and then they showed us a trailer. Thanks ladies) and very few short films (I saw 3, none of which were up to much). The only pre-film viewing to be had was the various skilfully edited advertising montages for Film4, The Horror Channel and Arrow, all of which preach to the converted. At least they varied them this time so I didn't get 24 of the same nailed into my brain. But then I never came to Frightfest for the bonus bits, they were just a bonus, and if I really wanted this stuff I understand that it's mostly been tucked away in the Duke Mitchell Party which takes place in one of the Discovery screens on a Saturday night, but y'know... curmudgeonly, antisocial misanthrope, so fuck that.
The main films once more cycled through the main screens in groups of three and a vast majority had QnA sessions afterward with people involved in the making of the film. These sessions tended to be more vibrant and illuminating if you got the film makers on their first screening and felt a bit 'going through the motions' if you got them on their third, which is to be expected. Of course if a film was the last of the night there was no QnA, and some directors managed to dodge a bullet because of this (I'm looking at you Some Kind Of Hate).
The Discovery screens only showed their films once this year, which meant more commitment if you really wanted to see one. It also meant that there was more choice than ever if a Main screen pick didn't tickle your fancy. And it was worth diving in, I saw eight on the Discovery screens - three of which are in my Fest top 5. Of the main screen films I missed, only A Christmas Horror Story is getting universal praise out there so I guess I'll be watching that at Christmas instead.
In years gone by themes have tended to present themselves that illustrate the modern horror landscape. This year the prevalent theme appeared to be constantly screaming and banging on doors. In some films it was the protagonists, in some it was the antagonists and sometimes it was both (Hi Summer Camp). Don't get me wrong, screaming and banging on doors is a staple of horror and I expect to see it a lot, but it's not scary or disturbing, just irritating,and it'd be nice if film makers began thinking a little bit outside the box or at least paid a bit more attention to their scripts and sound design.
Which sounds like I'm griping and I'm not. Overall the films were a blast and even the shit ones were a joy to see projected on a big screen (with only the one exception). Like last year I struggled with a top 5 and because I didn't want anything to be left out I caved and did 10 instead. So, lists:
10 Favourites;
1) Night Fare
2) They Look Like People
3) Over Your Dead Body
4) Aaaaaaaah!
6) We Are Still Here
7) Bait [The Taking]
8) Turbo Kid
9) Tales Of Halloween
10) Rabid Dogs
5 Not Favourites
1) Some Kind Of Hate
2) Cherry Tree
3) Inner Demon
4) Stung
5) The Entity [La Entitad]
My thanks to this year's Frightfest companions Ed, Ali, Jim and Greg as well as all the lovely folk I engaged in unecessary conversation to kill time before a film started. Thanks also to the organisers for maintaining such an impressive event. Twelve months to go till the next one...

Tales Of Halloween

(Frightfest Day 5)
Playful anthology of Halloween shorts with no real clangers. Standout for me was the Friday 13th/UFO one, also special shouts to the one about little Billy going on a rampage and that fucking grinning ghost that made me shit myself.


(Frightfest Day 5)
Taut thriller made all the more unsettling by the involvement of a trio of children, all of whom give incredible performances.