Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 Over

There were a lot of good films this year. Fucking tons. The rural multiplex got bolder and bolder with their options, the usual festival visits yielded plenty of gems and what I didn't catch on the big screen I was able to make up with some discerning choices on the little screen.

In fact the cinematic wealth is such that although I've gone for a top twenty this year, there's no space to celebrate festival finds like Bad Genius, Downsizing or The Endless. There's no space to shine light on curios like Prevenge or The Love Witch, a pair that would usually shoo into a list like this and there's no space for Your Name, easily the most out there movie I'll ever watch on an IMAX screen in Telford. Ever.

On the small screen there's five standouts worth mentioning, they all easily challenge the top 5 cinema choices and had the ones with cinema release been shown closer, they'd almost certainly be in there. As well as all this wonderful good stuff there was also plenty of offal shovelled through the multiplex though. A lot of it I avoided but some of it I willingly went to, so i've done the usual ten worst films too where I try and find something to say about each one other than 'it's fucking shit'.

20 Favourite New Films That I Saw On A Cinema Screen

20: Bladerunner 2049

Some found Villeneuve's brave attempt to reconnect with the themes of Dick's novella whilst maintaining Scott's garish stylistic tics too slow and unwieldy, but the whole thing succeeds through being slow and unwieldy so tough shit.

19: Lowlife

A trio of character driven tales swamped in sleaze, crime and violence. Features both a mexican wrestler and a man with a full face swastika tattoo. Strongly recommended. The film, not the tattoo.

18: Logan Lucky

Soderbergh skewers his own fraught heist movies with this flawless, laidback piece about a robbery where everything goes right in a most satisfying fashion.

17: The Villainess [Ak-Nyeo]

Some of the most phenomenal action sequences of the year, or indeed in cinema full stop. These are the kind of action sequences that you desperately want to tell people about but then find you just cannot possibly convey them with mere words.

16: Thor: Ragnarok

Though most of the formula still sits tight; teams of indestructible heroes, an unstoppable all conquering evil that has only just appeared, huge populations threatened and slaughtered etc., the humour brought by director Waititi considerably freshens this stale form making for a Marvel entry that's impressive for the third in a trilogy, even more so fourteen films into a long form saga.

15: Mayhem

The best of Frightfest, a cathartic blast of workplace destruction that succeeds on its whip smart humour.

14: Logan

Whilst Warners are hopelessly failing to use grimness to legitimise the DC universe, Fox unexpectedly spat out the best X-Men movie so far by setting an unrelentingly grim tone and then capitalising on it. Often in slow motion.

13: Moonlight

Powerful performances and a story that deftly sidesteps expectations, it deserved its Oscar.

12: Raw [Grave]

Cannibalism as a dark teenage secret proves to be a most satisfying fit, all topped off with a beautifully nasty sting in its final minutes.

11:  Quality Time

The downright quirkiest film I saw this year which then out of nowhere blindsides you with a bit of forced introspection. Fantastic.

10: It Comes At Night

A horror movie that boldly squats in the abstract of dread instead of embracing full on screaming, gore fuelled terror making it far more of an uncomfortable experience than most modern horror.

9: Manchester By The Sea

One of the bravest endings I've seen on a film in a long time and coming after what precedes it, a solid punch to the gut.

8: T2: Trainspotting

Could have drowned in constant callbacks and nods to the past but instead harnessed the power of memory to forge an entirely new beast as thrilling as the first. Also better than all of the Terminator sequels.

7: The Disaster Artist

I have not seen The Room but from what's on show here it's clearly very bad with the director a monomaniacal madman and therefore the most unlikely source to drag pathos, nuance and humanity from. Which makes this superb character study all the more brilliant.

6: Creep 2

Contains everything that made the first film great (Mark Duplass being weird) and then seamlessly builds a new tale onto this with a direct continuation of tone and excellence.

5: Dunkirk

Every frame could be displayed in a gallery demonstrating an undeniably powerful visual storyteller at work as he creates vivid World War 2 reconstructions whlst having a bit of a fiddle with time.

4: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

An amazing Star Wars movie and with that lightsaber fight and everything you'd have thought this would be higher but y'know, sad horses and Benicio del Toro and stuff.

3: Get Out

Elevated from being the entertaining but fairly generic horror movie at its heart by an acerbic laceration of modern day race relations.

2: Death Of Stalin

To be able to wring comedy from such bleak events reqires the work of a master satirist, and Armando Iannucci is clearly just that. For fans of hooting out chortles of laughter whilst your brain is yelling 'What the fuck are you laughing at?'

1: Killing A Sacred Deer

I've always been a sucker for stuff that's weird and creepy and you don't get much weirder or creepier than this one. At times deeply uncomfortable, at times startlingly shocking, always with a surreality that becomes deeply unsettling, this has lingered on my mind like no other movie this year. Probably because there really was nothing else like it this year.

5 Favourite Films That I Saw On A Little Screen

5: Blade Of The Immortal [Mugen no jûnin]

Another Miike samurai movie is always welcome, especially one as excessive as this. I'm still waiting for another Gozu style movie but these'll keep me going until he does.

4: The Incident

The first film from Similars director Isaac Ezban is a fantastic time loop movie that takes its concept to mind expanding extremes.

3: The Handmaiden [Ah-ga-ssi]

Chan Wook Park back at the height of his game again showing off his usual triumvirate of sumptuous photography, labyrinthine plotting and a freaky octopus.

2: The Wailing

A most insidious manifestation of an ancient evil that toys with you as much as it does the poor hapless protagonists. Awesome.

1: Twin Peaks

Lynch stated that The Return should be viewed as an eighteen hour movie, in which case this definitive masterwork is easily the best movie I saw this year. If you're on the side that doesn't agree that it's a movie (which it isn't really, but it isn't really a TV show either) then the 3.5 hour edit of Fire Walk With Me can have its place instead. Whichever way you look at it Twin Peaks wins 2017.

10 Shittest Films That I Sat Through

10: Baby Driver

Ok, so in actuality there's plenty of worse films been shat out this year but this so woefully missed its mark it needs to be singled out. After a lot of stylish flourish the whole farrago descends into Tarantino on training wheels for a bit before spectacularly falling apart in a most unforgiving fashion whilst desperately pretending it hasn't by parading more style that grows hollow fast. A terrible let down.

9: A Cure for wellness

Insipidly dull. For two and a half fucking hours. Not best pleased with that result. Not even worth milking a shitty 'cure for insomnia' joke from that title.

8: Kong: Skull Island

Big budget atrocity that shows absolute disregard for basic ideas like scale, geography, plot, sense and fun but fully embraced being shit.

7: Psychopaths

The worst of Frightfest, an empty shell lacking in any ideas and draped in pretentious bloat. The thing then has the gall to try and excuse itself with a final mumbled monologue that only really succeeds in making you want to tell it to fuck right off.

6: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Another in a series of films where The Rock does a running face as he runs away from a lot of crap CGI. Or a thinking face as he's surrounded by a lot of bollocks CGI. Or sometimes an angry fighting face as he launches toward a lot of pissy hyperactive CGI. Or very occasionally an 'oh well' face as he's engulfed in a fuckload of shitty half arsed CGI.

5: The Dark tower

When faced with adapting a seven novel saga into a ninety minute movie it would appear that everybody involved decided to just toss off this bunch of limp bollocks instead whilst using some of the character names and a few references to give the impression that they did actually give a fuck about the books. Which they clearly didn't.

4: The Mummy [2017 Effort]

Gets the shared universe thing hopelessly wrong and tries to start the story roughly 3 films too late the consequence being that everybody looks like they're acting in a completely different movie to each other and they're all fucking shit.

3: Alien: Covenant

A witless attempt at prolonging some shit ideas from Prometheus, shit ideas that were themselves a witless attempt at prolonging Ridley Scott's output.

2: Split

Like all bad Shyamalan movies, both logic and sensible coherent characters are abandoned in order to allow for the reverse engineering of a twist. Only this time the twist is that the big bad guy goes a bit veiny and can climb about three feet up a wall. Throw in a poorly thought out child abuse sub plot that has no place in a film like this and you have by far the worst film I saw at the Cinema, and no even Bruce Willis can't fix this fucking disaster. No.

1: The Marsupials: The Howling III

In the pursuit of the true gems that are still plentifully unwatched amongst cinemas trashy underbelly you're inevitably going to sit through a few poor efforts. And then, putting them all in a vaguely favourable light, along comes this endless nonsensical soap opera about werewolves with pouches that completely and utterly dies on its arse about an hour in, but like any fresh corpse just keeps on dribbling out shit until you stop watching it. An absolute abomination.

Thanks for entertaining all the swears. And on we go.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Blade Of The Immortal [Mugen no jûnin]

Yet another Miike highlight, this time featuring non stop swathes of death and dismemberment as a master swordsman becomes immortal and forgets how to fight then stops being quite so immortal but becomes ace at fighting again.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Pigs [Daddy's Deadly Darling/ The 13th Pig]

Don't get me wrong, this is cheaply made with low production values, but there's a lot more going on here than you would have any right to expect when going in.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Silent Night, Bloody Night [Night of the Dark Full Moon/Deathouse]

If you were trim all the excess, unnecessary shots of people standing about doing very little you'd be left with a roughly six minute long movie that would still be fucking shit.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Tales From The Crypt

Another of Amicus' extremely British portmanteau selections this time adapted from the extremely American EC horror comics of the fifties. The most well known story features Joan Collins and a homicidal Santa, the best story features Peter Cushing being very sad and the worst of the five, a rare dip below the usual Amicus standard, is an overlong excuse to make somebody walk down an uncomfortable corridor.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi [IMAX 3D]

Ultimately brilliant despite distinctly being a film of two halves running in parallel, one of which is a stunning character driven continuation of the saga and the other a place to put everything else so it can be kept busy with fruitless, pointless tasks until required for the ending.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Disaster Artist

An excellent film that transcends mere lampoonery, moving instead toward admiration and pathos, all about the making of a film so shit it apparently transcends into genius.

Monday, 11 December 2017

All Through The House

Shit acting navigates a shitter script joining the dots between a series of deaths that are nothing more than a lot of jam being thrown at a lot of fairy lights whilst somebody stands close by and pretends to have acute abdominal cramping, with a fake knife sticking out of them, usually right after being scared by a cat.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Better Watch Out

Superb inversion of the usual babysitter in peril tale that strongly invokes Home Alone, but does so for a fantastic payoff. It's also one of those films that you should know as little about as possible when viewing, so if you are going to watch it then don't watch the trailer, don't look at that poster and don't read anything about it, in fact you should stop reading this now.
If you are not going to watch it, wrong - go back to the start and try again.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Molly's Game

In which Jessica Chastain makes yet another cautionary tale of excess, likeable.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Justice League [IMAX 3D]

Left me extremely confused. I came expecting a Snyder movie and was disappointed I didn't get one. But the Whedon movie filling the gaps was actually ok. Except occasionally it was a bit shit but that didn't seem to matter because it was laughably so. And anyway the whole thing belts along at such a hectic pace in order to fit in the vast amount of information required to necessitate everything happening that it all just mashes into a massive awkward smear of stupidity, wisecracks, CGI, frantic action, slow motion, serious exposition, light bonding and a baddie with a face made of plasticine. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Death Of Stalin

A phenomenal cast trading superb insults as they farcically recreate hideously bleak bulletpoints from a part of history i'm ashamed to admit i'm unfamiliar with.

The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

An old school curse rendered all the more chilling by stilted dialogue, the director's obsession with the physiology of aging and the characters eventual blank acceptance of their fate.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


This Halloween I watched...
Actually I'm not sure what the fuck I just watched, though i'm pretty certain everybody ended up in some Turkish vision of Hell, it was extremely fucked up. I definitely enjoyed it.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Thor: Ragnarok [IMAX 3D]

A continued demonstration that Marvel's cosmic weirdness side is definitely where it's at as the action is wisely moved far away from earth and the absurd pomposity of indestructible protagonists is neatly skewered on lashings of rich humour and bright primary colours.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Happy Death Day

Treats its audience as less intelligent than its blunderingly stupid protagonists, refuses to explain its central conceit and ends with a reference so smug and self serving that it just made me want to piss in the mouth of everybody involved whilst screaming 'THIS IS WHAT WATCHING YOUR FILM FEELS LIKE.'

Monday, 23 October 2017

Creep 2

Couldn't possibly have the power and the impact of the first film so instead concentrates on being a truly excellent sequel that knowingly subverts the first film. Superb.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Endless

Ironically lets itself down a little bit by actually having an end, but there's so much cool shit already happened by that point that it's easy to forgive.

Bad Genius

Always grounded, yet always dynamic in its telling of students cheating on exams and the phenomenal amount of tension it wrings out of the whole affair.

I Am Not A Witch

Not really my bag but nonetheless an intriguing look into the culture of Zambia. Unfortunately my knowledge of Zambia meant that as I was watching some of the more crazy events unfold I couldn't tell if they were based on real crazy or made up for the film crazy. Maybe that was the point.

Ghost Stories

Faithful adaptation of an already very excellent stage play.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

You Were Never Really Here

I came for the Greenwood score which did not disappoint and left having watched a subtle noir inversion centred around a man cathartically doing bad things to bad people.


Uses tiny people to say fuck the bigger picture.

Quality Time

Started as a quirky exploration of male failure to grow up. Ended as a searing indictment on my life in my 30s.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Bladerunner 2049 [IMAX 3D]

Stays true to the original by being visually staggering but breaks away from the original by having depth.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave [La notte che Evelyn us cì dalla tomba/ The Night She Arose from the Tomb]

Manages to cram in an escape from a mental hospital, medieval torture chambers, a lot of topless redheads, a seance, mysterious murders, murders with no mystery at all, grave robbing, a number of complex affairs, fake licence plates, corpse eating foxes, loads of softcore fumbling about, the undead, a swimming pool filled with sulphuric acid, a spooky painting, a paraplegic who can walk, strippers, hallucinations, champagne, murder by snake, doublecrossing, double-doublecrossing, double-double-double crossing and so much nudity that it actually becomes quite distracting.
And if you're wondering how all that hangs together as a story, it doesn't.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Gerald's Game

A faithful adaptation with some excellent direction, fantastic dog acting and the giant from Twin Peaks, putting this toward the top end of Stephen King movies.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

I Am Not A Serial Killer

Deliberately slow paced mumbling that tends to quietly freak out every time it approaches tedium.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017


Four short films by female directors that cover Ketchum, corpse concealment, demonic possession and the Antichrist, arranged in order from excellent down to pretty good and all glued together by weird stop motion animation.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Don't Knock Twice

I struggled to get past the redundancy of the word 'Twice' in the title if I'm honest. It was certainly made clear why two knocks summoned the unstoppable supernatural evil, but at no point was there offered a plausible scenario whereby you'd be required to goad the unstoppable supernatural evil by just knocking once.
Missed exposition toward the end that may have made this less shit, but i was busy googling to see if there's already a film called Don't Knock. There isn't.

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe

Reminiscent of eighties movies where folk would be stuck in one location as everything around them gets weirder and weirder, only centred around a refreshing father/son relationship that's high on sensible, logical reaction and low on 'dad issues'.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

February [The Blackcoat's Daughter]

Inexplicably fumbles its twist out in to plain view about half way through the movie leaving it desperately clinging to slow creepy atmospherics until the end.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Some phenomenal, carefully shot action choreography makes for light frothy enjoyment whilst you're watching but a few hours later it all simmers down to an unlikeable morass of unecessary characters, confused drug ethics and callous laddish crassness.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017


Very pleased to be able to visit the rural multiplex and watch a highly allegorical tale of religion, creation, abusive relationships, the environment and humanity being dicks. Not chuffed with Aronofsky's rampant ego or his heavy handed symbolism. On a par with The Fountain.

Monday, 11 September 2017


Too many characters, too many jump scares and not enough depth, but enough cool moments to let that kind of thing go because it's, y'know, for kids.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

American Made

Hollowed out Scorcese. Fun but ultimately empty with an ending that makes you think 'oh good, it ended.'

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Hitman's Bodyguard

Too flippant to be a decent action movie and too violent to be a decent comedy.

Logan Lucky

I know that sitting down for ninety minutes, staring at a glowing rectangle requires very little effort on my part but this is by far the most effortless movie viewing I've ever put myself through.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Tragedy Girls

(Frightfest Day 5)
The American high school slasher fully updated for our modern times, doing away with the usual played out whodunnit plot and instead presenting a pair of murderesses concerned with boosting their social media presence, the upcoming prom and dismemberment. Likeable.

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Terror Of Hallow's Eve

(Frightfest Day 5)
Yo, the eighties called. They want their movie back.

Top Knot Detective

(Frightfest Day 5)
Loving homage to crazed Japanese TV via a mockumentary that is as hilarious as it is balls out insane.


(Frightfest Day 5)
Strong echoes of Pulp Fiction as various tales of underhand activities and moral free decision making neatly entwine. What sets this apart is the level of compassion that comes from the most unexpected of characters. Very well played.


(Frightfest Day 5)
Gorgeous forest location used as a canvas for an excellent psychodrama that never lays things on too thick and delightfully flips the twist that you're expecting.

The Villainess [Ak-Nyeo]

(Frightfest Day 4)
A typically lengthy South Korean vengeance tale peppered with some breathtaking fight choreography in symbiosis with breathtaking camera work/editing.

Sunday, 27 August 2017


(Frightfest Day 4)
And in one fell swoop Office Space loses its top spot as most cathartic workplace revenge movie. Superb.


(Frightfest Day 4)
Elizabeth Bathory via Nicholas Winding Refn.

The End? [In un giorno la fine]

(Frightfest Day 4)
Just as you're asking yourself if there's anything new to be said with zombie cinema? Along comes this with a firm resounding 'no, not really.'

Killing Ground

(Frightfest Day 4)
A couple in terror movie that does everything you'd expect only told with twisted timelines and directed with an assured maturity that you maybe wouldn't expect from this kind of thing.

Death Laid An Egg [La morte ha fatto l'uovo/ A Curious Way to Love/ Plucked]

(Frightfest Day 3)
Quasi-giallo about how complex the economics of chicken farming are when you also have to juggle a wife, a mistress, a long lost amnesiac friend and a slew of tied up prostitutes. There's also a genetically modifed food subplot that gets a bit Cronenberg. And a room of truth.
Batshit crazy.

Victor Crowley

(Frightfest Day 3)
An array of extreme gunk spouting prosphetics and some beautifully crude humour, at their best when they're happening at the same time. The best Hatchet sequel. So far.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Attack Of The Adult Babies

(Frightfest Day 3)
Laughed so hard at the fucking weirdest shit.


(Frightfest Day 3)
A clever drama about de-programming a cult member that throws clever out of the window from the off by casting Stephen Dorff as the clever character. Drama goes out the same window a half hour later when eighty massive cultists rock up and everything gets a bit Assault On Precinct 13 to preoccupy you whilst you wait for everybody to die.