Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 Over

In the year 2015 life and responsibility truly rose up with force, which meant that film had to take a back seat. If you discount the two film festival weekends, I saw fewer movies this year than any other since this blog began. So although I still watched a bunch of stuff and, as befits the completion of another yearly cycle, have created a series of arbitrary lists I'm aware they could have looked very different if I'd managed to catch things like Sicario, Carol, White God, Hard To Be A God or Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.

I also managed to dodge plenty of bullets as I streamlined my cinema choices appropriately, though one area where I still saw most releases was children's movies. The teenager is on the cusp of leaving this kind of thing behind but although her personal film of the year was Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials she still has a hankering for all those talking animals. One thing our journey through the world of the U and PG showed this year is that there's far more opportunity for experimentation in the multiplex if you make a kids movie.

Tbe Good Dinosaur was a psychedelic Western including a full blown hallucinatory drugs sequence, Shaun The Sheep was completely dialogue free leading to ninety minutes of surreal, abstract cinema and Minions was the most experimental of all, offering a kids movie with no hint of following dreams, resisting peril or being true to yourself just good clean comedy throughout.

Of the films I did see this year, the ones on this list clearly stood out. As usual to accompany the cinema list there's also a list of the best I saw on the little screen, an area where I have not been particularly selective with my viewing. With less time available to watch films I really need to cut back on the shit, this didn't happen in 2015 though so there's a list of that too which is where most of the swear words are.

10 Favourite New Films That I Saw On A Cinema Screen

1: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Is my favourite film of the year, and not because it's a Star Wars movie. It's here because the old fashioned trope of goodies v baddies is repurposed for a pulce racing catalogue of thrills packed with funny moments that never come of as crass, loaded with characters you get behind, care about and root for (good and bad, a feat in itself) and that slaps Hollywood gender conventions across the face. The fact that it also effortlessly taps the nostalgia bone without resorting to needless nods and winks simply cements its position at the top of this list.

2: Whiplash
Positively crackles with energy as a pair of riveting performances portray shithead vs. shithead in a viscious battle of wills that also generates the best soundtrack of the year.

3: Mad Max: Fury Road
A relentless catalogue of insanity and explosions given much needed visceral heft by exhilarating stunt work

4: It Follows
Teenagers facing the unwelcome onset of adulthood get reminded of the disappointing finitude of their existence by the simple brute mechanic behind the most base of stalk and slash movies.

5: Inside Out
The finest kid's cinema of 2015. All of Pixar's usual trademarks - laughs, wonder and anthropomorphism, tethered to a remarkable emotional roadmap of the developing human mind. Should be compulsory viewing for anybody who has to have any form of contact with a child. So everybody.

6: Ex Machina
Playfully plays with audience expectation whilst offering up a searing indictment on all humanity.

7: High-Rise
Ben Wheatley continues to excel as he offers up a woozy, slow motion collapse of society in a retro-modern skyscraper. Like Cronenberg on presposterously high doses of cough medecine.

8: Night Fare
This year's Frightfest finest offered breathless pursuit, an iconic antagonist and a final curveball that elevated all that came before it.

9: The Visit
I've said some nasty things anout Shyamalan on this blog. And i stand by them because he's made some serious shit, so quite where this came from is mind boggling. Not only has as he managed to make a good found footage movie at a time when the sub genre is slowly dying, but he uses the form to plumb scatalogical depths that I've never seen before in the multiplex.

10: Ant-Man
Marvel's formulas are now transparent in their application but their secret weapon is their knack for humour, good characters and the untapped mass of cosmic weirdness that permeates their publications. Ant-Man has all of that in spades and stands with Guardians as one of the comic gargantuan's finest.

5 Favourite Films I Watched On A Little Screen

1: The Pianist
Polanski's frank tale of WW2 atrocity is untouchable. A stunning movie.

2: Enemy
A beautifully ambiguous doppelganger tale with my favourite ending of the year.

3: Duke Of Burgundy
Acts as a counterpoint to all that 50 shades nonsense as the more wearisome side of bondage and submission is examined against a gorgeous recreation of sumptuous eighties european cinema.

4: Trick 'r Treat
An overlooked gem that evokes the best of Creepshow and Tales From The Crypt whilst bringing a new tiny icon of its very own into the pantheon of horror villains.

5: Spring
The most Lovecraft film of the year.

10 Shittest Films

1: Some Kind Of Hate
Takes on the very sensitive issue of self harm and deals with it in the most unforgiveably, crass and insensitive way possible. Even when you strip away everything that is apallingly offensive, what's left - dialogue, acting, story is all complete arse. An awful film.

2: Terminator: Genisys
Inconsistent, dull witted bollocks that seeks to remind you what was great about the original movies before shitting giant Jai Courtney shaped turds all over everything.

3: Chanbara Beauty [Oneechanbara: The Movie]
Cheap, tacky and fucking shit

4: Giallo
Truly incompetent film making from a past master. Laughably dire on every level.

5: Jurassic World
So because everybody is bored with looking at a T-Rex scientists go on to create a T-Rex with arms that can make itself invisible? The dumb fucks deserve to die.

6: Jupiter Ascending
Note to self; if you need a pair of talking heads to appear every ten minutes to explain your nonsensical sci fi bullshit then it's probably not worth making. I bet everybody who voted for Redmayne's oscar felt embarassed when they watched this.

7: Pitch Perfect 2
Absolutely no plot to speak of, characters randomly appearing and disappearing with no real reason and the acapella perfomances that gave the first film its hint of charm are now luducrously over choreographed, overblown and have no real excuse to be present in the film. It's not like this even had much to live up to and still it fell flat on its face.

8: Citadel
Could have been a well thought out ambiguous supernatural thriller till some bellend felt the need to shoehorn a ridiculous plot twist in that makes the entire endeavour crash and burn horribly.

9: Taken 3
Frenetic, blurry editing that disorientates and confuses meant I had no fucking clue what was going on, where anybody was or why anybody would want to make another Taken movie.

10: Fantastic Four
Poor old Josh Trank just wanted to use Fantastic Four as an excuse to make his distinctly mediocre debut again, a bad idea really. The studios realised this too late but that didn't stop them meddling as much as possible, an very bad idea really. Eventually this abortion got squeezed out into cinema screens, and the worst idea was going to see it.

Sorry it's late, I'll do better next year. Raise a glass etc.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

House [Hausu]

Psychedelic insanity that flips between OTT gore and a very Eastern version of hilarity. Will almost certainly have been watched by a young Takashi Miike and I wouldn't be surprised if it was an influence on Raimi's Evil Dead. Which isn't to say it's up to the calibre of either of these masters but still an interesting curio nonetheless.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Daddy's Home

Could have been a touching comedy except that it suffocates under the exponentially huge level of shit generated by teaming Will Ferrell up with Marky Mark and it's not funny.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Die Hard

This year the teenager learnt the festive joys to be had from watching John McClane engage in quippy swearing with ruffled German terrorists and then tug jagged chunks of glass from his lacerated feet. At the end she asked 'So in which one does he lose his hair?'

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Christmas Horror Story

Clearly made as a portmanteau movie with three directors but then weirdly edited in to one long narrative that fluctuates wildy in pace and tone. Best described as shit.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith

Lucas finally manages a decent Star Wars movie, he still drops a few clangers but overall he gets to the point and delivers.
The teenager declared it her favourite of the prequels, her best reaction was probably when the huge double lightsabre battle finale swung into action and she calmly pointed out that everybody involved was in the later movies, therefore nobody died and there wasn't really anything to worry about.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker

Another stand alone story unrelated to the rest of the series, this time about a toy maker called 'Joe Petto' and his son 'Pino'. Despite the main twist being given away by character's names it still manages to build to an admirably deranged finale with a genital-less human size doll dry humping some poor actress before having a bad time on the end of an axe.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Santa Claws ['Tis the Season]

The co-writer of Night Of The Living Dead directs this tawdry excuse to vent his old man's obsession with young ladies revealing their chest area. The killer's weapon is laughably ineffectual, no fucker can act and everything looks like it's been framed by somebody taking a series of extremely shit Christmas holiday photos.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


Eighties throwback that is most enjoyable when it's invoking the manic energy of Joe Dante at his finest. Unfortunately it's unable to invoke Dante's skill at navigating the weird grey area that exists between being a kids movie and being a grown up one, resulting in the occasional jarring flat note.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones

Two films carelessly plaited together. The first is an OK story about Obi-Wan doing a bit of spying, the other is a breathtakingly shit tale about Anakin Skywalker and the woman who falls in love with him despite his constant demonstration that he's an emotionally stunted psycopathic twat.
The teenager spent most of this one alternating between complaints about Anakin and queries as to how much was left to watch.