Now That’s What I Call Films – 2013!

December 27, 2013

Well, there goes another year. I rarely blog these days, but like to do a top ten film list at the end of the year as it’s a good way of reflecting and can be a handy reminder in the future of what I liked!

This year was a bit of a challenge if I’m honest. I keep a list going throughout the year, writing down the title when I see something I really enjoy then trimming it down at the end to make the top ten. This year, when it came to writing this post, I realised that it was a relatively sparse list.

That’s not to say I haven’t seen some crackers (see below), but a top ten would have included some filler, and that’s just not on.

So, welcome to my top seven list of 2013. In no particular order:

 

Ghost Graduation (Promocion fantasma)

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Even in death, Michael Hutchence retained a suave dress sense

I’ve been able to rely on the Abertoir festival to fill at least a couple of the slots on this list for the last four years, and once again it delivered.

This is one of those “it’s not really a horror film” horror films, in that it’s essentially a (grown up) comedy with ghosts, but rather than get into a massive debate about what constitutes horror, let’s just accept that ghosts count, and move on.

Ghost Graduation is highly entertaining from start to finish. It undoubtedly helped that I saw it with a festival crowd, as whilst I’m sure I would have liked it on my own, I expect it works better with an audience.

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Hit me baby one more time

So, if you like the lighter side of horror and don’t demand blood and guts, track this down when you get a chance and have a laugh (with Spanish ghosts).

 

The Station (Blutgletscher)

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“Did you put a red sock in the wash with that glacier?”

Everyone likes a good old fashioned monster movie, right? It is and will always be difficult to top the likes of Carpenter’s The Thing, and alarm bells rang when The Station was compared to that masterpiece in the publicity, but it’s an understandable comparison for a couple of reasons:

1)     It takes place in a snowy / icy location.

2)     It has fun mutations!

This was one of the most entertaining horror films of the year for me, with plenty of (good natured) gore and splatteryness (it’s a word!) onscreen. The cast combine well, aided by a script that delivers both emotional and humorous moments throughout. There’s even an environmental message, but don’t worry, it’s not heavy handed and dull like in the documentaries you get told to watch unless you want everyone to think you’re an evil oil baron.

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This is not a drill. Oh, wait….

I was lucky enough to see this one at a festival (Abertoir again) as I don’t think it has an official release date yet, but as with Ghost Graduation if you get the chance to see this with an audience then take it, sit back, and enjoy the mutations :)

 

The Conjuring

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Every house needs an Emergency Frank Sidebottom

There have been a few “big name” cinema horror releases in the last few years – Insidious, The Pact, Sinister et al – and the natural state for many horror fans is to be a bit sniffy and suspicious.

“What do these fly by night horror fans who only see big cinema release horror films know about it, how can we rely on them to tell us what’s good?”

Well, don’t be a dick. It’s like the “I was into them before they were famous, look at me, it’s all about me!!!” factor that some successful bands get, and it’s just as childish and cringeworthy.

Anyway, minor rant over – The Conjuring is one of those films. It got a wide cinema release, lots of people watched and liked it, and so did I. (of course, I watched it at home as I didn’t want to be in a cinema with loads of non-horror fans who don’t understand what horror really is)

*slaps self on wrists*

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“There were originally ten dwarves, but Disney had to cut three for timing”

It hits many familiar beats – a scary house, evil dolls, spooky noises – but it does them all well. It’s not 90 minutes of slow build followed by a 10 minute barrage of garish demons either, but instead is well paced, thoughtful, well acted, and bloody scary!

And if that’s not enough for you, then are you really a horror fan? ;)

 

Frankenstein’s Army

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“You may have been in Def Leppard, but we demand more from our drummers in Slipknot”

More monsters! Hooray! And what monsters!

Ok, so technically maybe they’re not monsters but instead “improved” humans, but damn do they look good. The thought and craft that has gone into creating the denizens of Frankenstein’s Army made this film a stand out for me. Yes it’s “found footage / shakycam”, which can be offputting to many, but I think the main reason people are pissed off with this as a medium is the raft of crappy found footage films that followed Paranormal Activity.

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“Now, if I just jam a fork in here you’ll be able to enjoy Downton Abbey”

Anyway, when done well it’s a factor but not the be all and end all of a film. I found myself wondering if it was necessary during FA i.e. I’d have equally liked to see it as a straight narrative, but don’t be put off by it. This is a highly entertaining and bloody picture, with fantastic onscreen creations. It’s clear that the (small) budget was spent well – no gimmicky cast, no flashy locations – and it pays off.

 

Spring Breakers

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Remember kids: Crime doesn’t pa….hmmmm

This took me by surprise in that I’ve never really been drawn to Harmony Korine’s films, but the concept intrigued me so I stuck it on my rental list and forgot about it until it arrived.

I can’t really pin down why it’s on this list i.e. exactly what it was that I liked so much about it, but it was undoubtedly one of my favourites of the year. I’ve given it some thought to try to enlighten myself (and you) but always end up coming back to the same thing:

“Everytime” by Britney Spears.

Even now while writing this I’ve got it in my head, which is something of a clash as I’ve got Slayer playing on my iPod, but music is a broad church. Anyway, if you’ve seen the film you’ll know where I’m coming from with the song, and if you haven’t then I recommend you give it a try. Some of you will probably hate it, hopefully some of you will really enjoy it like I did and come away pleasantly surprised.

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This image is central to the plot and essential for this post *cough*

P.S. There is violence and nudity.

 

The World’s End

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I knew Google Glass would end up going all SkyNet…

This was one of the most satisfying films of the year, in that it had a lot to “live up to” with the previous two in the Cornetto trilogy having been so good, and did just that.

I think the grammar in the above sentence may be awful, but it’s the morning after Boxing Day so excuse me for not being in “professional” mode.

Anyway, TWE confirmed to me just how good a director Edgar Wright is. Yes the cast are all excellent throughout (no surprise there) but more impressive is the way everything is brought together, with room for the visual quirks that form part of Wright’s style. The fight scenes are superbly choreographed and edited, and would put some “straight” action films to shame.

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One for Viz’s “Up The Arse Corner”

Equally importantly, it’s funny as hell, moving at times, and has some great drunken swearing.

 

Grabbers

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“Stay still, I think it just wants to play!”

This just about sneaks onto the list, in that I think it was technically a 2012 film, but only released late in the year and I saw it in 2013.

I guess it’s a horror/comedy, in that it contains slimy alien monsters and is bloody funny! If you prefer your horror straight up and hard edged then this may not be the film for you. Similarly if you like your comedy to revolve around fart gags or Hollywood scripted romance, then this probably won’t make your list.

However, if you want to laugh and occasionally go “Ewww!” then this should be right up your alley. It’s a great concept – alien beasties invade a small Irish village but are intolerant of alcohol and so best repelled by the human inhabitants getting and staying drunk – and is delivered with a lot of heart.

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Feck off, aliens!

I guess it’s in essence a feelgood movie, but one with swearing and monsters. Seek it out and watch it, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Honourable mentions go to Hitchcock, Killer Joe, Man of Steel, Dark Skies, and Stoker, all of which I liked but not enough to come up with a few paragraphs about without going back to IMDB.

…and I probably forgot to write some down, so please remember that other lists are available.

Music for lovers. Dark, twisted lovers.

January 16, 2013

So, as you may know, I’m getting married this Friday. Me and my fiancee (@mwj1971 for Twitter people) have come up with a playlist to delight us and our friends for around five and a half hours during our post wedding meal.

Some are from Megan, some are from me, some are from both of us.

And here it is, in alphabetical order by band / artist:

Abba – Lay All Your Love on Me

Adam & The Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier

Afrika Bambaataa – Planet Rock

Anti-Nowhere League – Woman

Ash – Girl From Mars

Big Gay Al – I’m Super

Black Flag – Loose Nut

Bloc Party – Song For Clay (Disappear Here)

John Carpenter – Halloween Theme

The Chameleons – In Shreds

Chaos UK – Farmyard Boogie

Combichrist – Brain Bypass

Conflict – Mighty and Superior

Crass – Banned From The Roxy

Dead Kennedys – California Uber Alles

Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus

Die Form – Rain of Blood

Discharge – State Violence State Control

Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – California Uber Alles

Dizzee Rascal – Bonkers

Dr Dre – Forgot About Dre

Elastica – Stutter

Eminem – Guilty Conscience

The Exploited – Rival Leaders

Fields of the Nephilim – Blue Water

Flats – Country

Fabio Frizzi – Acid Burn

GBH – Race Against Time

Gallows – The Vulture (Acts I & II)

The Gap Band – You Dropped A Bomb on Me

Gary Numan – Cars

Gene Loves Jezebel – Always A Flame

Glasvegas – It’s My own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry

Guns N’ Roses – You Could Be Mine

The Horrors – Draw Japan

Isaac Hayes – Theme From Shaft

Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing

John Williams – Star Wars Main Title Theme

Journey – Any Way You Want It

The Killers – Mr Brightside

Killing Joke – Love Like Blood

Kunt and the Gang – I Sucked off A Bloke

The La’s – There She Goes

Lady Gaga (ft. Eric Cartman) – Poker Face

Lard – The Power of Lard

Leatherface – Not Superstitious

Leftfield ft. Lydon – Open Up

McLusky – Lightsaber Cocksucking Blues

Metallica – Creeping Death

Ministry – Just One Fix

The Mission – Wasteland

Muse – New Born

NERD – Lap Dance

NWA – Fuck Tha Police

Nirvana – About A Girl

Ofra Haza – Im Nin’alu

Orbital ft. Kirk Hammett – Satan Spawn

Peaches – Fuck The Pain Away

The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up

Public Image Ltd – Home

Queens of the Stone Age – Feel Good Hit of the Summer

Rick James – Super Freak

Roxy Music – Both Ends Burning

Samhain – Halloween II

Sex Pistols – Holidays In The Sun

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Dazzle

Sisters of Mercy – Marian

Skinny Puppy – Tin Omen

Slayer – Raining Blood

Sneaker Pimps – How Do

Soundtrack – Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Soundtrack – Salem’s Lot

Specimen – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Spiritualized – I Think I’m In Love

The Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection

The Strokes – New York City Cops

Subhumans – This Year’s War

The Subways – Rock & Roll Queen

Suede – Animal Nitrate

TSOL – Wash Away

Terrance & Phillip – Uncle Fucka

Tomoyasu Hotei – Battle Without Honour or Humanity

Wumpscut – Mother (Maternal Instinct)

2 Live Crew – Me So Horny

…and there you have it.  Feel free to find and play all these tracks on shuffle this Friday, 18th Jan 2013, from around 5:30pm. It’ll be like you’re there with us.

Now That’s What I Call Films – 2012!

December 28, 2012

Before I started writing this, I read back over my 2011 list – incidentally, the last blog post on here due to extreme laziness and no longer living alone with a lot of time to kill and wine to drink – to remind myself how much I wrote, in what “style” etc. in case this would inspire me.

It didn’t. It frightened me a little. Damn, I wrote quite a lot, and tried to make it funny! …but hey, you don’t come here for consistency. You come here because either a) You’re bored b) I harass you into it on Twitter c) You love me a little bit.

Hopefully there will be something here to cater for you, however many of the above categories you belong in, but if not then don’t worry, it won’t take long and will be generally painless. 

As the actress said to the bishop. 

So, here goes – my films of 2012, in no particular order, and probably with numerous revisions between now (Dec 24th) and whenever the hell I get around to publishing it. If I can remember the password to my blog. 

 

A Horrible Way To Die 

Darling, I'm home! ...oh, you've killed everyone.

Darling, I’m home! …oh, you’ve killed everyone.

 

Probably the “smallest” film on the list, this one really worked for me. There’s a great atmosphere throughout, one of those films where you just feel that something nasty is coming, but are not 100% sure what or to who. There are great performances across the board, but AJ Bowen is a stand out for me. The direction is also notable, Adam Wingard clearly has (or at least employs here) a style with which he is comfortable, giving it a less polished sheen than many would have done with such a film, which adds to the feeling of authenticity.

This is probably one of those “is it a horror?” films, akin to Red, White and Blue on last year’s list, but that’s a debate for which I don’t have time here, suffice to say that The Daily Mail probably wouldn’t like it and that’s generally a good yard stick… 

If you haven’t seen this I highly recommend it. It’s not really a feel good have a few beers with friends film, but it’s one to which I have returned and will no doubt do so again. 

 

The Aggression Scale 

Leland and Jason discuss their plans

Leland and Jason discuss their plans

Another film that I have seen twice this year, and one to which I’m glad I returned recently. I saw this in the early part of the year and noted it as “list worthy” at the time, but as the list grew some of those I had seen many months ago started to fade – from memory as much as anything else. Thankfully I re-watched this in November, and remembered why it’s on here. 

Fairly low budget, cast sprinkled with Twin Peaks alumni, simple home invasion / revenge setup. Sounds a bit “meh?” Well yes. Yes it does. But it isn’t. Hooray! It’s actually a fun, violent, fast moving watch, and one that really gets the blood pumping. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s definitely worth checking out. 

As part of my research into this article i.e. going on imdb while writing it, I discovered that this is directed by the guy who did Automaton Transfusion all those (5 or 6) years ago. Whilst from memory that was quite a fun film, this is an altogether different beast i.e. there are no zombies or scenes of limb lopping. That said, there are squirmy violent moments which will make you go “Ow” or “Ooh”, depending on your proclivity. …and it did make me want to watch Twin Peaks again. 

 

Avengers Assemble

I'm in the woods, where's the cabin?

I’m in the woods, where’s the cabin?

On to a slightly larger, more aggressively marketed film that I imagine you are aware of. I tend to see most of the “tentpole” Summer releases (Oo-er, sounds a bit rude) at what passes for a cinema here, and I think this was the first biggie of 2012. 

And it was fucking great.

I’m not a superhero fanboy or ubernerd with these things, but I’d watched and enjoyed all of the Marvel films building up to this one and was, like most people, curious as to whether or not it would work. The happy news is that it most certainly does, and was one of the funniest films I saw in the cinema this year. I think this is what raised it up into this list for me, as we’ve all seen enormous “smashy smashy look at the shiny things and money on the screen” hundreds of times, but funny, well-written, and well acted? Luxuries! 

I’m sure some people were (and still are) all “it’s for kids, super heroes fighting each other is hardly worthy of such an esteemed and highly regarded list as this”. But frankly, they can piss off.

 

The Dark Knight Rises

I want to SIIIIING!!!

I want to SIIIIING!!!

Sticking with massive budget superhero films, here’s Batman! And this time, he’s cranky. 

To be fair, he’s pretty cranky in the two preceding films, but now he’s taken it to a new level – walking with a cane, hiding away like Howard Hughes (though we don’t see any actual bottles of piss) and not saving the world. Until Bane comes along! Bane, who, like many others, I’d never heard of before this film. Apparently he has a role in one of the Schumacher films, but they’re very much “watch once then forget”, and I’ve done that. 

Anyway, unfamiliar non-classic villains aside (Scarecrow, non Batman nerds…?) I had high hopes for this film, and wasn’t disappointed. We actually took a boat to another island which has a proper cinema in order to see this on a decent sized screen with the sound as it should be, and it was worth it. Having said that, I expect to enjoy the inevitable re-watch at home on a 40” TV as well, as I have done the other two in the series.

 There are some films where a running time of over 90 minutes makes me groan before, during and after, and others where 155 minutes actually seems about right. This is one of those rare films, where I didn’t find it dragging at all and wasn’t constantly checking my watch. Admittedly this is at least in part because I don’t own a watch, but you get my point. 

A fitting end to a fine trilogy, but you probably already either know this, or are not interested. So onto a slightly smaller film! 

 

John Dies At The End

Nice to MEAT you (© Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Nice to MEAT you (© Arnold Schwarzenegger)

I was lucky enough to see this at the Abertoir festival in November, and went in with minimal knowledge of the source material. I knew it was based on a book, one that (well read and intelligent) people I know had read and liked, and that the follow up to this book was called “This Book is Full of Spiders”. 

That was enough to pique my interest, but add “Directed by Don Coscarelli of Bubba Ho-Tep and Phantasm fame” and I’m in. I did however have fears that it would be achingly cool (spit) or difficult to get for the uninitiated. Happily, this was in no way the case. It was in fact a massively entertaining, funny, well written and pleasantly splattery film. Yes it’s non-linear, and yes not everything necessarily makes 100% sense, but name me a film where it does? 

It’s a tale of aliens, weird drugs, time travel, and all sorts of other fun stuff. That’s more than I knew going into it, and so is all you need to know about the actual film at this stage. 

Everyone on screen looked as if they wanted to be there, and fair play to Paul Giamatti (of whom I’m not generally a great fan after the frankly awful Sideways that everyone else seemed to fawn over even though it was incredibly dull and up its own arse) for appearing in and adding his name to this, as it could help bring in a wider audience. Having said that, I think this film has “cult” written all over it i.e. a relatively small number of people will see it out of choice and love it, but the majority will remain blissfully unaware. For some people this is a good thing, as they are dicks and like to keep “their” little films to a small band of people and don’t like it when they become popular. Dicks. 

But I digress. As and when you get the chance to see this (according to the ever reliable Wikipedia, it just came out on VOD in the US and opens in some cinemas in January) I highly recommend that you do just that. Then tell loads of people about it so that they go and see it as well and annoy all the dicks.

 

 The Hunger Games

Gary Oldman's Dracula had let himself go a little

Gary Oldman’s Dracula had let himself go a little

“…but it’s based on a book written for children, and you’re a grown adult!” …say numerous arseholes who then go on about how good the Lord of the Rings film trilogy is without a hint of irony. 

I was sceptical about this one before seeing it, but there were hints in what I read that it could actually be quite fun / violent. I waited, read reviews, spoke to people who had seen it and whose opinion I respect, and got the impression that it was actually really good. So, logically, like a grown adult, I watched it. 

And lo, it was indeed really good. I saw the “uncut” version i.e. the UK blu-ray which has a (little) bit more blood in it apparently (the film version, not the actual disc. That would be unpleasant) and was pleasantly surprised at how harsh and violent it was, particularly in the opening scenes of the actual games themselves. There was quite a long build up to this, but it was handled well – developing the main characters enough to make you care, without over indulging them. 

Anyone who has seen Winter’s Bone knows that Jennifer Lawrence is a fine actress, and so it comes as no surprise that she carries this off with no problems, and is more than ably supported by both the young and old(er) characters. Visually the film is top class as well, full of colour and splendour, as well as menace.

If you haven’t already done so, remove the spectacles of cynicism and sit back for a couple of hours of entertaining, fairly violent, and even occasionally moving cinema. I’ll be surprised if you walk away disappointed. 

 

The Awakening

Is she small...or far away?

Is she small…or far away?

And so onto the spooky ghosts section of the list. …or are they? And what is a ghost, anyway? The answers to these, and many other questions, can be found in The Bible.

Just kidding. 

It seems that after a flood of violent and mean horror / torture films over the last 10 years or so, ghosts have made a bit of a comeback. So much so in fact, that we now have a flood of spooky haunted house / school / child / penguin films. Many of these are crap. Some of them are very good. In 2012 we have been blessed with a few that veer much closer to the “very good” section, and for me The Awakening was one such film. 

It’s not particularly original (name me one film that is…) but it’s very well done. It’s the old “sceptic gets invited to investigate / debunk a ghost in a large old building, finds there is more to it, has a (fairly random) shag with someone who works there, then… etc. etc.” story, but it doesn’t pack itself with jump scares and blood as so many do. This isn’t to say that there aren’t jumpy moments – of course there are – but this film stands on the performances and, probably even more than those, the look of it all. It does a great job of transporting the audience back to the post-wartime (or, with hindsight, between-wars time) setting and is one of those films which, particularly if watched alone with the lights out, can make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. 

The ending / twist seems to have divided the critics / audience, and I can understand this, and it’s definitely not a film for hardened one dimensional gorehounds, but if you want something well made, beautiful looking, and creepy – in a good way, not in a strange uncle way – then The Awakening deserves 90 minutes of your time. 

 

Sinister

Pornography as it was before the internet

Pornography as it was before the internet

Another of this year’s ghost / demon / entity themed horrors, but you’re more likely to be aware of and / or have seen this one, as it was fairly aggressively marketed and with the usual “This is the scariest film in the world ever and you will undoubtedly shit yourself and scream like a big softy” blurb. In reality, your pants and trousers are likely to remain unsoiled, but it is a very creepy and affecting film.

Again I expected the usual “cats in the fridge / faces in the mirror” jumps and shocks, and again whilst these aren’t entirely absent, they aren’t what give this film the edge for me over the rest of the pack. It’s not a “found footage” film, but it deals with some footage which our “hero” finds in the attic of his new house. Which just happens to be a murder house. 

So far, so bog standard sounding right? But no, there is some seriously creepy (and realistic) stuff on the film reels that he, and we as the audience, watch one by one as the film progresses. Add to this one of the freakiest scores / soundtracks I’ve heard for a while, some above average acting performances, and a weird presence that looks distinctly like a member of Slipknot, and you have what is for me one of the most unsettling films of the year. 

It’s not necessarily scary in a traditional sense, but it is unnerving and will get under your skin, and that for me is a rare win from Hollywood these days. 

 

The Raid

Shoot the floor! SHOOT THE FUCKING FLOOR!!!

Shoot the floor! SHOOT THE FUCKING FLOOR!!!

This is one of those films that everyone says is amazing and will blow you away, so you think “yeah yeah, whatever”, then loads more people say the same, including the ones to who you actually pay attention, so you decide to watch it.

 And it blows you away. 

I’m sure there are plenty of martial arts films from the various far flung corners of the globe in which they do a lot of the same things; but, like most people, I haven’t seen them. I have however seen this, and it is excellent and came out in 2012, so it’s the one that gets on the list. Extremely violent, fast paced, funny (ok, maybe not everyone will find it funny, but it is) and with numerous “What the fuck?” set pieces, this is a film that is meant to be enjoyed as opposed to studied.

It’s also a film to which there is no need to make a sequel or continuation. It stands alone as a top quality piece of bone crunching entertainment, and all concerned can hold their heads high and move onto whatever takes their fancy next. 

Sit back, don’t take PCP (you can’t do the things they can in the film, no matter what it makes you think. You’ll get hurt), and enjoy 100 minutes of spectacular fighting and killing. Can’t say fairer than that.

 

God Bless America

Change the jumper or I shoot you in the face

Change the jumper or I shoot you in the face

This one really came out of nowhere for me, and I absolutely loved it. If you only know Bobcat Goldthwait as the guy with the freaky annoying voice in the Police Academy films, then prepare to be pleasantly surprised by his film making skills. 

It’s a simple story: terminally ill man decides to  have a go at ridding the world of its most repellent specimens before he dies. Not sea cucumbers, not camel spiders, not even those little fish that swim up your jap’s eye – he has more worthy targets: humans. Not all humans though – if you’re even a half decent person, you’re safe – but instead those who don’t really deserve any more time on the planet. 

I should point out that these are his opinions, and he is a fictional character. I would never dream of going on a killing spree, wiping out pointless wastes of skin and breath to benefit the greater good. Ok, I might dream of it, but that’s my brain’s fault. 

Anyway, enough psychology. This is without doubt a very dark comedy, which will appeal to anyone with a good i.e. slightly twisted sense of humour. You may even find yourself siding (heavily) with our hero Frank, expertly played by Joel Murray who you will undoubtedly know from something but probably won’t quite be able to place what. Did I mention he has an equally likeable teenage sidekick called Roxy, who is smart mouthed but not in the way most teenagers are i.e. you don’t want to punch her repeatedly in the face? Another fine reason to watch this. 

More people should see this film. Anyone reading this should see this film. It’s not perfect, it’s not shiny and flawless, but it is quite inspirational and very funny.

  

…and that’s it. Extremely notable mentions go to The Woman In Black, Chronicle, Prometheus (shut up, haters!), Father’s Day, Cabin In The Woods, Cell 211 (technically from 2009, but I saw it this year and it’s utterly brill) and Sightseers.

Any and all of these could have got into this list had I written it on a different day in a different mood, and all deserve to be seen. 

Please feel free to let me know via the comments section if you agree, disagree, or just want someone to talk to.

Bring on 2013. 

 

Now That’s What I Call Films – 2011!

December 30, 2011

Some of you will know that whilst I’m a keen film watcher, I’m also a quite lazy film reviewer i.e. I don’t often actually do it.

This is down to a number of reasons – time, inclination, and the aforementioned laziness, as I enjoy doing it when I can be bothered, but given the choice of watching another one or writing about the one I’ve just watched, the watching will always win. 

Anyway, with that in mind, I’ve been making a note of the films I’ve seen in 2011 that have, at the time of watching, seemed notable i.e. better than most of the crap that is spewed out for the worn down entertainment sensors of the average human being. 

Based on the “hilarious” YouTube clips people post of their dog barking at a television screen, even our canine friends know when they’re being force fed visual faeces. When little Billy the terrier yaps his furry face off at the latest High School Musical film, he’s not “getting into it”, he’s wishing you’d turn off the video camera so that he can rip your slack-jawed gawking face off without fear of getting the needle. 

But I digress. 

So, in no particular order, here is a list of some of the films that I’ve seen in 2011 that I consider worthy of writing something positive (not always universally, mind) about. I’m not going to go into plot details, and am bound to have missed some that I really liked, but I can live with that. 

 

Tucker and Dale vs Evil 

I have no idea what country this is from, but it is a fine poster

This was a real breath of fresh air, and one of the most fun times I’ve had with a horror film in years. Having received its premiere at CowFest 2011 (the spoiler-heavy drunken video review can be seen here: http://bit.ly/s9ziVz), this is a film that I have highly recommended to friends and been delighted to see that they agree – even those not really into horror. 

If you have the right kind of sense of humour, the comedy in the film is probably more prevalent than any real “horror” anyway – yes there’s humourous over the top gore and deaths, but at no point will you feel horrified in the true sense of the word. I mean this entirely positively by the way.

Anyway, this isn’t the time for a horror / comedy debate, just watch the damn film! The performances, particularly from the titular lead characters, are spot on, and help raise this above the standard (relatively) low-budget fare of which we all see too much. I’m a bit of a sucker for half-decent production values (unless the film turns out to be a massive turd within the first 20 minutes) but no amount of gloss and sheen can make up for vapid, empty-headed characters played by someone who really should have saved their first time being rogered on the casting couch for something a little more special. 

 

Red, White and Blue 

Insert inappropriately comical caption here

You want contrast? Hell, I’ve got contrast. Simon Rumley’s “Red, White and Blue” is not an easy watch at all. It’s a bit of a genre buster, and not in the fun way of the previous entry on this list! Essentially a (fairly harrowing) drama, it has scenes that would make some refer to it as a horror film, but personally I feel that is incorrect. Would you call Goodfellas a horror because it has (at times strong) violence?

It’s a fairly bleak film, but not without feeling – in fact, quite the opposite for some of the characters, who are driven to their actions based on the strength of their emotions. It’s quite rare for a film to really get to me and make me feel something beyond easy shock or enjoyment, but this one stayed with me for a while. 

Probably not one to watch if you’re feeling a little empty and fragile, but if you want to be challenged and made to feel uncomfortable, then this is definitely worth a watch. More powerful than anything made this year that cost over $100 million, no question about it. 

 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes 

Give me a banana or I’ll throw my shit at you!

I don’t get to the cinema much these days, mostly because we don’t really have a “proper” one where I live, or anything that can show much beyond the bog-standard seat fillers. However, I am a bit of a sucker for going to see the big summer blockbusters. Sometimes, this is a painful, life-questioning experience (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) but other times, it is completely and utterly worth it. 

The new Apes movie was, without a doubt, one of these times. Rarely does a film make me want to cheer in parts, especially in a room filled with people who I don’t know, but hell I was close with this one! It’s one of those films that, rightly or wrongly, could stand or fall on the quality of its special effects, as they are so key to the audience’s empathy and enjoyment. Now we all know that expensive shiny effects do not a good movie make (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) but the motion capture from Andy Serkis as Caesar on display here is the best I’ve seen to date. At no point do any of the apes look like last minute CGI additions to fill the screen, so in this case the effects budget was money well spent.

Not all the performances are that great to be honest – I still feel Tom Felton has a way to go before he could even consider being able to carry a film – but this is a minor quibble and didn’t really impact on my enjoyment. I mean, it’s not as if he’s a total charisma vacuum like Rosie Huntington-Whitely in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. 

One of my most enjoyable movie watching experiences of the year, without a doubt.

 

Masks 

Not to be confused with the Jim Carrey movie

From a film seen by millions, to one seen by probably hundreds. Chances are you will be unfamiliar with Masks, as was I before it appeared on the schedule at the Abertoir horror festival in November. This could easily have been 2011’s “Amer”, as it was billed as an Argento / giallo homage in many ways, so I was ready for my eyes to be happy but not necessarily my brain. 

Instead, what we got was a well made, intelligent and not overly “flashy for the sake of being flashy” horror film, that wasn’t simply the makers saying “Look! We’ve watched Suspiria! Love us!” 

I should point out that isn’t a dig at Amer, which I generally liked, but more my idea of what I think a lot of people expected from this film, Masks.

Of course, there are unquestionable parallels to Suspiria – the setting, the colour palette – but it would be a lazy reviewer who would call it a rip-off in today’s world. That is, unless you expect every film you see to be 100% original in all its ways, and for a director to be not in any way influenced by the films and artists who he or she admires. 

If you are strongly averse to the likes of (older) Argento movies, you will probably watch this and think I’m talking out of my arse. Which is fine. But I’m not. 

For me, this was the most pleasant surprise of the excellent Abertoir festival this year. Even more so than realising that the chip shop was only 10 minutes walk from our cottage. 

 

The Troll Hunter  

Did you spill my pint?

Another film that received its premiere at CowFest 2011, The Troll Hunter is an absolute joy to experience. However, if you have a strong, poorly judged adversity to “found footage” films, your prejudices will probably lessen your enjoyment (see slightly but not really drunken enough video review here: http://bit.ly/pjQKkO). 

This one had been on my radar for a while, so I was delighted when it lived up to the hopes that I had. I like films and stories about the less common mythical beasts i.e. not just vampires and werewolves (yes vampires are mythical, no you’re not one just because you dress like a nob-end and go to goth clubs) so this was a treat for me. 

Pivotal to my enjoyment was not only the excellent troll effects, but also the main Troll Hunter character and his world weariness at something that to most would be truly fantastical. His sardonic humour was well pitched in contrast to the eager young film-makers trailing in his wake. 

For me, this is a film for both adults and clued-up children over the age of around 9 or 10 i.e. ones that don’t cry at the occasional use of swearing, don’t mind subtitles, and haven’t been / won’t be wrapped in cotton wool until their 16th birthday. Y’know, ones with sensible parents. 

As the man in the video review says – watch it now, before Hollywood remakes and ruins it as the Arkansas Goat Hunter. 

 

Kill List 

Key words above are "One Of" and "British"...

I only saw this the other day, after weeks of teasing reviews and critical praise, only tempered recently by some real people I know having seen it and not being quite so gushing. 

I very nearly didn’t include it in this list. 

But, it deserves a mention as much because it was, for me, one of the most anticipated films of the last few months, and also, ultimately…..well, a little disappointing. Emphasis on the “little” though. I think. Damn, this is hard! 

I knew pretty much where it was heading genre-wise, so that wasn’t a big surprise (and shouldn’t really have been for anyone watching from the beginning) but by the end, I genuinely wondered if I was missing something obvious. 

I have no problem with a certain amount of ambiguity in a film, and neither want nor need to be spoon-fed the plot or have it thrown at me, but I found this to be ultimately unsatisfying and resolution-free. 

Don’t get me wrong – it’s in no way a bad film at all and I do recommend you see it to make up your own mind. I will watch it again, and a light bulb may go off in my brain on a second viewing, but for now I’m left a little puzzled.

But hey, at least I’m willing to admit it, and don’t pretend to have completely got it as I’m sure some reviewers have done.

And the “shocking” ending? Only really shocking if you didn’t see it done much more unpleasantly in a certain film last year… 

 

The Guard 

Feck! Drink! Arse! Girls!

 

Say what you like about political correctness, political incorrectness will always be much, much funnier. Brendan Gleeson is on excellent form in this small, but not so small as to be insignificant comedy, which was one of my favourite films of the year without a doubt.

If you liked Bad Lieutenant but wished someone would make a film like that but without the hand-wringing earnestness and Harvey Keitel’s penis, then you should enjoy this. What could have been a bog-standard fish out of water cop buddy comedy is so much more than that, driven by a cracking script and fine performances all round. 

It’s difficult to find a reason to not recommend watching this, unless you’re very easily offended and only like nice, safe films. In which case this is probably the wrong blog for you anyway. A film that proves you don’t need to try upping the ante to be funny (hello, The Hangover II) but instead all you need is a sweary, racist Irishman with a (sort of) heart of gold, and an ending that will put a big grin on your face. In fact, you probably will have been wearing that grin for the best part of 90 minutes already.

 

Hobo With a Shotgun

 

Look out for the sequel - Tramp with a Trumpet

 

Look at the title, and tell me you didn’t fear just a little for this film. Yes it has pedigree (Rutger Hauer, for one) but how many times have we got excited by an eye-catching title, only to be left bitterly disappointed by an end-product that feels like such a waste? 

Well, not this time. Hobo With a Shotgun is pretty much everything you could want it to be. Very funny, very dark at times (still funny), and gory as hell. Again, still funny. There’s something to potentially offend everyone here, be it a throwaway background moment or something much more front and centre, and I for one applaud this. 

It looks and sounds fantastic as well, with eye-searing colours washing the screen and a soundtrack that could have come from the heady days of 1970s exploitation. There is a lot of craft in this film, which I think is what makes it stand above many others from this year. Admittedly it has a target audience who tend to shout loudly when they approve of something, but they shout just as loudly when they hate something too, so had this misfired it would have done so at full volume through the fanboy and fangirl loudspeaker that is the internet. 

Rutger Hauer didn’t need to make this film, but he chose to. Director Jason Eisner has done himself no harm at all, and I hope his career can flourish from here. Top stuff.

 …and that’s that. Honourable mentions go to Thor, Submarine, Red Hill, Source Code, X-Men: First Class, The Dead, and Captain America, which all nearly made the cut. But as I mentioned at the start – lazy blogger. 

Feel free to comment and let me know what you think – whether you agree, think I’m a dick, or a bit of both. 

Here’s to 2012.

The Ten Commandments – Rules are made to be broken

July 26, 2011

Most of us will be familiar with The Ten Commandments, either from having them rammed down our throats at school / church, or from having watched the “epic” 50s film with that bloke from Planet of the Apes. …but have you ever thought about how easy they are to break, and how many you’ve broken? I have, and here’s the rundown – though I’ve had to shorten the titles of a few of them as they get a bit long-winded…

 

1) I am the Lord Your God…You shall have no other gods before Me.

Well, this one didn’t take long to be honest. Mainly because I don’t really believe in “God”, but even taking that aside when I used to go to church in my (misspent) youth, I still preferred booze, soft drugs, and horror films to actually praying or anything like that.

I think most people have broken this one without even thinking about it.

2) You shall not make yourself a carved image, or any likeness that is of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earh beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.

Are you fucking kidding me? If this is a sin, then carpentry teachers around the world are the emissaries of Satan and must be punished! Sorry “lord”, but I made a wooden fish when I was 8 years old, and whilst I may not have “bowed down” to it, it meant a fuck of a lot more to me than dragging my arse to a cold building once a week  did.

Again, I doubt (m)any of us can’t tick this one off the list.

3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Again, seriously? Jesus Christ, let me think about this one for a minute…

Everyone three for three so far?

4) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

Welcome to the modern age Jehovah! We have proper jobs now, not just fishing and making gourds. …and besides – Jesus, who was technically you, loved and hung out with the hookers of the time. Do you think they took a day off from rimming the local soldiers? Did they bollocks. Even if you never “work” on 7 days of the week, I bet you do something that old God would count as work, or labor: blogging, reviewing, driving someone somewhere, murderi…erm, maybe not the last one.

I remain quietly confident that most of you are still with me.

5) Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

Ok, this is one that I struggled with a little, as, as a rule, I was good to my folks and never caused them any “major” grief, but still – if any of you can honestly say you’ve never disobeyed your parents, you’re a damn liar. An example:

When I was a child, my mum told me not to flick cornflakes at the cat. Well, God, guess what? I fucking did it. I should also point out that my mum was pretty good to her mum, and yet you still killed her at 53 didn’t you you bastard? “that your days may be long upon the land” my arse!

So, five easy ones out of the way. Here’s where it gets a little tricky…

6) You shall not murder.

Crap. Missed one. I’m not going to get technical on this one and claim a result because I shot a rat with an air rifle when I was 14, I think we all know this means another human being. I could have done, and got away with it (there are a lot of homeless people in downtown LA, I was on holiday and leaving the next day) but I really don’t have murderous urges. This is, I feel, a good thing.

Don’t fuck with my family or my loved ones though, or I may have to revise this post.

So, first “failure”. I’m hoping you’ve also all had to circle this one as a “No”.

7) You shall not commit adultery

Hmmm….may have to call the lawyers in on this one for clarification. Does it count if she’s married but I wasn’t, and also wasn’t in a relationship, and she was sort of separated from her husband, but they still lived together and he didn’t know about it?

Technically it seems to be “sexual infidelity to one’s spouse”, so I guess not. But I’m giving myself a half mark for facilitating it. I’m guessing this one had probably split the readership down the middle…

8 ) You shall not steal

Please. I work in an office, of course I’ve nicked stuff. Nothing major (ok, a computer monitor from my last job, but it was surplus to requirements honest!)  but even that pen or those Post-Its count you know.

I’d put money on every single one of you (which admittedly will probably be around 15-20 if my blog stats are anything to go by) having nicked something, sometime, from somewhere. Unless it’s a pensioner’s life savings or something like that though, I reckon you’re still ok in my book.

Unless you steal my book.

9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour

It would be foolish to use “neighbour” in the sense of the person next to you, so we’ll take this as “people you know / friends”.

Example:

Teacher: “Who threw that?”

Me: “It wasn’t me, it was Pete!”

I think that covers that one.

10) You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neghbour’s

Well I can safely say that houses, male servants, female servants, oxen and donkey’s have escaped my green eyed glances, but please refer to commandment number 7 for evidence that this one is definitely in the bag.

Conclusion

So, 8 and a half points for me. Not bad, and surely puts me on one of the lower circles of hell when my time comes. How did you do? Please comment and let me know, and maybe I’ll see you there :)

The Children – Best Condom Advert Ever

May 18, 2011

I’m a lazy bastard. Haven’t written anything for 3 months, and my 2010 diary project fell at the fourth hurdle. But, having come back from holiday refreshed and a little drunk, here are my (brief) thoughts on “The Children” (2009).

I watched this a while back and thought it was ok, then a few people whose opinions I respect gushed about it (not physically, that would be grim) so I thought I’d give it a re-watch.

…and I stand by my original thoughts. It’s ok. Actually, maybe a little better than ok. It’s actually been raised from “ok” to “quite good”. That’s kind of like going up in the pop charts from 20 to 10 in my book.

Children are evil. We don’t need a film to tell us this, though many have done so to differing effect, but this pretty much puts the nail in their cute little coffins.

Eat you? He'll probably fuck you first, the little bastard.

 
Basically, some adults – ranging from annoying “hope you die slowly” to “ok, you can live, as long as you take a couple of the little fuckers out first” and their kids get together for a memorable holiday weekend. And one cool teenage girl who gets it waaaay before everyone else, and has hot purple streaks in her hair.
 
Before you can say “Hey, little Johnny’s acting slightly more brattishly than usual”, the kids are starting to get stabby and bitey. There’s no real clear explanation for this, and whilst for some people that’s absolutely fine I would have liked a little bit of “why” with my film in this case. Anyway, minor gripe aside, it becomes kill or be killed. …or at least maim or be maimed.
 
Now, there was one moment in this where I loudly exclaimed “Fuck!” at the screen, and a couple of other “hand in mouth” flinch worthy moments. The violent scenes are very well orchestrated and directed, and there’s some strong editing which makes it a punchy film which certainly keeps you watching. It’s also a very easily digestable 80 minutes long, and whizzes along nicely as a result.
 
As “Dead Snow” and others have shown us, blood on snow looks pretty damn cool – and there’s plenty of opportunity to prove this here. It’s not spectacularly gory, but when it goes in for the kill / maim then it does so impressively. Visually it’s a treat at times, and the scenery is used well throughout.

Who are you calling evil? I'll rip your fucking throat out in a heartbeat.

 
I thought the ending, while kind of intriguing, only added to the “why? Why? WHY?” feeling I had, though that may be a little exaggerated for comic effect. The lack of explanation wasn’t a major issue (hence the use of the term “minor gripe” earlier) but the last minute or so piled it on a little for me.
 
Basically, this is worth a watch but won’t make your top 10 list. If you like infanticide, good editing & direction, and can enter with a willing suspension of disbelief then you’ll probably like this. 
 

Land Of The Dead – A Re-appraisal

February 26, 2011

So, I just watched Land Of The Dead after a gap of around 3 years. ..and you know what? I still like it. Let me break it down into timescales.

The Anticipation and Expectation

As a child of the 80s living in Britian, Dawn was the first Romero film I saw. This was due to being a kid, and videos becoming available in the early 80s. My parents were horror fans, and when video came to our shores we used to love going to the video shop, as a family, and picking up a couple of new films to watch of a weekend. Having only really seen UK and US studio films to date, needless to say our eyes were opened fucking wide by the surge of (mostly) Italian splatter zombie films that suddenly filled our screens. …and damn, did we love them :)

Not knowing the history and genesis of the series, we watched Day as a stand alone film. Oh my word. For me, this was a formative experience. Anyway, moving on – after many years, and having seen Night, Dawn, and many many others since, when I heard that Land was coming, I very nearly came in my pants. Never, ever, have I been as excited about a forthcoming film.  I was old enough to know it might disappoint, but damn I waited for this like I waited for my first shag – for a long time, and hopeful that it wouldn’t be crap.

The Experience

From memory, I’d met a couple of workmates in the pub and turned down the offer to go out for more drinks as my DVD had just arrived, and nothing could shake my plans. Admittedly they were both male so the offer wasn’t a great challenge – it’s not like I turned down a night of lascivious sexual hedonism – but still, my course was set.

So, when I finally got to see Land, I really liked it. I mean, REALLY liked it. This was before Twitter, and before we got millions of spoilers and (p)reviews before we saw a film, so I can safely say I was impressed.

I gather this wasn’t a universal feeling. So, in the next section, I will try to quell the doubters. I may fail, but fuck it – it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want on it :)

The Film itself

This is based on having watched it in the last few hours, for the first time in around 3 years. I’m not going to be universally unapologetic about it, but will concentrate on the positives :)

As in the earlier films, Day particularly, the main characters are a little OTT – but probably not more than any other studio horror film. It allows you to make opinions about them, and whilst you may never fully invest, you know you choose your “I hope he/she dies/doesn’t die” ones pretty quickly. There was a risk casting a “name” like Dennis Hopper, but he doesn’t go mad or seem unrealistic (considering the position / scenario) and so at no point takes over the film or makes it seem hokey – like in Speed. You know he’ll die, it’s a given. It’s the “good” characters in which the interest lies…

…like Cholo. Is he the hero / anti-hero? He’s basically a greedy bastard, but feels hard done by and is still the underclass. Compared to Hopper’s  character he’s good, but the lines are always grey in these films. Be honest – if you had the chance, wouldn’t you want to be in the nice, shiny, protected tower block with the “luxuries” you are used to? It’s all well and good feeling sorry for the people outside, but if you’re honest and were given the choice, you all know where you’d choose to be…

Like with the earlier films in the series, no-one is guaranteed survival. Ok, to a certain degree if you’re a woman who is not a complete arse then your chances are higher than most, but everyone is flawed, and everyone can be bitten. The “a main character gets bitten and ends up facilitating the ending”  theme is firmly in place, but there are more characters in this than in the earlier entries, and they all have a role to play. Some, admittedly, as filler / fodder, but we all know that is a legitimate place in a zombie flick :)

Moving on from the characters – the film looks fucking excellent. I watched the Blu-Ray tonight, and it shines in a good way. Yes there is CGI for the first time, and we all love practical makeup effects more than CGI, but it’s not ridiculous. The advances in makeup mean that the zombies look better (as they looked better in Day than in Dawn – come on, admit it) and I don’t doubt that the studio providing the budget leant on the use of CGI over practical – because hey, it’s cheaper. This sounds a little apologetic, and may be a weakness in this review, but I’m realistic about what Romero had to work with and can accept this.

It’s very gory! For a film that got a reasonably wide cinema release (for a hard R / 18 rated horror) there is A LOT of blood and guts in this film! Entrail eating, many head shots, close up biting – it doesn’t hold back. This is a good thing :)

It retains the satire / commentary on modern life aspect. Come on – the human urge for consumerism and luxury is massive in this film. What is ramped up, and places the film in a more modern timeframe, is the blissful ignorance /unacceptance of the danger that is on the edges of their shuttered existence. It’s like the zombies never happened for the residents of Fiddler’s Green. More fool them.

There are some truly beautiful, and for me series iconic shots. First and foremost, the scenes of the zombies’ heads breaking the surface of the water once they have crossed the lake. Also the subsequent wide shot that shows the scale of the endeavour. Zombies breaking water will always give me a lovely shiver.

Other big moments? The “head snapping back” zombie, the soldier with the grenade having his arm severed by Big Daddy and and falling on his own grenade, and as much as any of these, every moment when it is clear that the zombies have “learnt” something new. I love that Big Daddy has an almost constant companion in the “fucked up face” woman zombie, who he teaches to use a machine gun. In an ideal world, they have would live happily ever after as a lovely zombie couple :)

Wow, this has become a long post, so I’d better wrap it up. In conclusion – I like this film, and feel it was unjustly criticised because of unrealistic expectations from people who, like me, see the earlier entries as landmark films. Realistically, it was never going to have the impact of Night, Dawn, or even Day – but I feel it did a decent job and is worth a re-appraisal.

…and hey, if nothing else – it gives us the first look at a pair of living human female breasts in the series :)

April 2010 – Randy Puppets, A New Toy, and Not Dying

January 22, 2011

At this rate, I may have this 2010 diary finished by Summer :) Anyway, on with April.

Stuff that happened (or didn’t happen)

Another quiet-ish month (don’t worry, it kicks up a notch in May, honest!) but April did bring Easter, the pagan / Christian celebration of the chocolate rabbit demon if I remember my Sunday school lessons correctly. Good Friday here in the Channel Islands means quite random opening hours of pubs etc. so I always arrange a night out at the local pizzeria with around 10 friends. This is one of the few times each year we all get together, and was typically drunken – in honour of Jesus turning water into wine or something.

It was also the premiere of the new series of Dr Who here in Britain, which a mate invited a few of us to watch on his truly massive HDTV. Seeing this electronic behemoth made synapses fire in my brain, and pushed me that final yard into upgrading my own clunky old idiot box. So, within a week (thanks to a bonus at work) I had a lovely new 40″ flat screen telly. Hubba hubba :)

"Insert amusing caption about small pussy / large box here"

In other “news”, I spent a freezing Sunday morning watching my mate’s girlfriend play in a local ladies’ football cup final (they lost), and realised that one of her team mates was a girl I went out with for a month or so when I was 17. Who is now a committed lesbian.

Later in the month, I started to get occasional twinges in the chest area. I’m not in any way a hypochondriac, but felt that justified a visit to the doc just  to be on the safe side. He booked me in for an ECG the next day, which involved having parts of my chest shaved by a nurse so they could attach electrodes.

The temptation to go into a story about how one thing led to another and before I knew it it was a filthy orgy of shaven nurses is overwhelming, but it would (sadly) be a lie.

The fantasy

The reality

Anyway, all was well in the end (always good to know, and hence the “not dying” reference in the title of this post) so I went home and did a load of coke to celebrate ;) (this may be a lie)

Films and things that I (and maybe you) watched

Black Devil Doll Well, this is one that divides people eh? Personally, I really enjoyed it. Admittedly I watched it with a couple of mates, all quite drunk, which I would suggest is the most suitable way – if not the only way. Bascially, it’s a resurrected black power activist in the body of a puppet, who subsequently has sex with and kills a number of pneumatic ladies. A cheap blend of much nudity and violence. If you know me, you will know that, as a rule, this equals a win :)

Ban This Sick Filth!

Clash of the Titans The remake, that is. I went to see this at the local “cinema” with friend, and generally enjoyed it. It’s not going to win any awards, but as a piece of background entertaining fluff it did a pretty good job. Liked the Kraken, thought Ralph Fiennes was excellent as Hades, and the Bubo cameo made me laugh :)

The Keep Michael Mann’s 1983 horror about evil Nazis (is there any other kind?) guarding a fortress in Romania, unaware that there are some nasty forces buried deep within. Chances are you’ve seen this at some stage, but possibly not – if not, I recommend it. It’s not brilliant, but has a good atmosphere and is worth checking out. Sadly, it’s a right bugger to get hold of as I don’t think it’s out on DVD (shameful!) but if it shows up on tv, give it a try.

Twittery Bits

Some people that I (think) I first encountered on the old Twitter this month:

@pirate_bitch Drawn together by a love of nasty horror films (I think “Hanger” was one of my first recommendations!) we have since shared transatlantic viewings of a number of Fulci films and others, and will eventually get around to Mad Cowgirl she assures me :)

@nathanhead Somehow, via the Mark Macready short horror film, this fine actor has become embroiled in the “gentle humour” occasionally swapped between myself and the likes of @HorrorExtreme. Check out his site at www.nathanhead.tv and buy him a cake sometime. Man, he loves the cake.

@DogAteMyWookie Author of a very readable blog / site (www.dogatemywookie.co.uk), it was a few months before I realised he is originally from “the other island” and thus technically a bit of a wrong ‘un. Ah well. …and if he ever videos and uploads a re-match between his dog and a toy wookie, I deserve 50% of any royalties / rewards / favours gained as a result.

In conclusion

So there you have it. A third of the year gone already, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? Next month will be worth sticking around for I assure you, as it involves another visit to the land of the English, including a titanic team-up with both @HorrorExtreme and @LipsTattoo666, which somehow we all survived  :)

March 2010 – Celebrating Irishness, Slaying Trolls, and Hippo Syphilis

January 5, 2011

Aah, March. Quite a fun month really :)  Although not the busiest, it was dominated by one quest…

Stuff that happened (or didn’t happen)

Basically, some “writer” got a little insecure and jealous about not actually being very good and everyone realising he was a twat, so started posting the personal details of another writer, someone I care about, on the Twitter public timeline.

Not a good idea.

To cut a long story short, the site he wrote for got removed from the Horror Blogger’s Alliance for employing a troll, he got censured by Twitter, had to remove the posts, and wrote me a grovelling apology e-mail :)

So, if you ever have trouble with a troll, heed my advice as written here way back all those months ago:   http://bit.ly/faltWZ

In other “news”, it was St. Patrick’s Day, which caused all the “my great grandfather’s uncle knew someone who once ate a potato, so I am Irish actually” people to crawl out and get drunk. I’m allowed to be sarcastic about this, as my dad’s from County Tyrone as are all his family, so I’m legit :)

A photo of my dad, circa 1965

Anyway, the highlight of the night was having the lovely / horrible @that_ghoul_ava rename the holiday as Little Bunny Foo Foo Drinking Day so as not to offend my sensitivities :)

Aside from that, a quiet month (sensing a trend here?). I did have a spectcularly drunken night with two of my best friends which ended up with me taking the hour long walk home at around 5am, singing along to my Ipod without a care in the world. I do so love those nights :)

Films and things that I (and maybe you) watched

Shutter Island I went to see this at my local “cinema” (not really a cinema, it’s crappy, no proper surround sound, seats around 200 people and only shows the big films – woe is me!) as I am a fan of Scorsese and was intrigued. Personally I really liked it, and need to see it again soon. I just with (p)reviewers wouldn’t go on about there being a twist in films such as this, as it makes the audience spend the whole film focusing on what it might be!

Ninja Assassin Yes I’m clutching at straws a little here, but I can’t remember / find out many things I watched in March! Look, we were drunk, maybe a little high, and I had the film – so we watched it. In a nutshell? The entire budget went on the first and last 10 minutes of the film. Which were both pretty sweet. Waaaaaaaay too much CGI blood though….

The Collector This was one of my favourite horrors of the year, a real find and it has since been released to decent critical acclaim, even from the non-horror magazines and writers. Nothing spectacularly original in the concept once the story kicks in, but very well done, (un) pleasantly squirmy in a good few places and well worth a watch.

When I typed “the collector movie” into Google images, it gave me a wide selection of results. Here are two of the first ones it suggested:

1) A sensible, atmospheric poster shot

Now in stores - the mask that doubles as open crotch panties!

2) A pneumatic woman in a bikini (possibly from a different film with the same title, but what the hell)

 
 

Respect me for my acting talent you perverts!

 

Twittery bits

This bit’s really hard, I have to go through my followers and try to work out who I “met” and when, it’s a fucking nightmare if I’m honest. Anyway…

@Hellbound_Heart This is an honourable mention as, disgracefully, I missed her out last month and may need a place to stay for a day or so on the way to Abertoir again this year ;) Seriously though, this lady is a really good writer, and I’m glad to see her work appearing on a number of sites now (including the unforgiveably sexist and degrading www.horror-extreme.com ). She also cooks a mean ghoulash, and has a lovely three legged cat (not a euphemism).

@melonfarmers www.melonfarmers.co.uk has been high in my Favourites list for a few years now. It is an excellent source for film censorship and cuts information, as well as gathering together stories and news about non-film related censorship and oppression, highlighting what they lovingly refer to as “nutters” e.g. The Daily Mail in the UK, religous leaders around the world etc.  If you’ve never visited the site, I highly recommend it.

In conclusion

That’s about it really. Not the most action packed of months, but it’s not like I’m going to make shit up to make my life seem more glamorous.

…what’s that you say? What about the hippo syphilis I promised? I’m afraid that was a big fat lie to draw you in. Honest.

*coughs*

*wallows in mud*

February 2010 – Bumwolves, Videos, and a Meeting of Great Minds

December 22, 2010

Well, January wasn’t too difficult in the end, so I guess I should stick to the formula, right? Here goes then :)

Stuff that happened (or didn’t happen)

Whilst many things (probably) happened in February, one weekend stuck out like Gary Glitter’s withered old tadger on school sports day: 19th – 21st.  Not so much for the (very entertaining and thoroughly recommended) mini-festival that was Ghouls on Film (see Films section further down) but more for the highly intellectual *cough* weekend I spent with @HorrorExtreme.

After a few (!) pints to get over the whole “how weird is this?” situation of actually meeting up after nothing but drunken Twitter banter and approximately two e-mails, we soon settled into a weekend of heavy drinking and film watching. The Friday is admittedly a little hazy, but we managed to get to Birmingham on the Saturday for the festival, where I first (albeit briefly) met @stonecypher and @Hellbound_Heart, and said hello to Emily Booth. Look, I’m easily pleased, ok?

Celebrating Women in Horror #quigleytits

Anyway, on to the Sunday. After a quiet, sober weekend watching a couple of films, it was wine time. The best time, in my opinion :)  Now, I can’t remember the full genesis of this, but somehow the night descended (ascended?) into video battle with @VagVikernes (or @kvltovhole, as I believe he was known at the time…). I believe the first video was Joel imitating Steve:

Such an innocent face for such a sick filthmonger

Sadly I can’t find Steve’s response video, but within half an hour or so I had posted my first (and only) video of me in response:

Clothes are model's own. ...except the hat

In all honesty, this was one of the most fun nights I had this year, so big thanks to both the other participants for aiding and abetting :)

Anyway, other stuff that happened in February (in summary): I became chairman of my local film society – my respectable side, which I do actually take quite seriously – plus it allows me to crowbar inappropriate horror films onto the schedule a couple of times a year.

The New Orleans Saints, who I have followed since I saw them play in The Superdome in 2004, won the Superbowl! Naturally that involved me staying up until around 5am to glory in it, and it was a fine night :)

Valentine’s Day – generally an utter bumhole of a day to be single, though technically I sort of wasn’t this year but still ended up spending the evening with a motley band of friends watching Heathers – which, by the way, is the perfect Valentine’s Day film – fact.

Films and things that I (and maybe you) watched 

Again, elements of this are mild guesswork, but I know for sure that I watched The Wolfman because I blogged about it here http://bit.ly/a8qudB  and thought it was ok overall. I also saw The House of the Devil, which I very much enjoyed and need to watch again – a good slow burner with a great 80s feel to it.

As mentioned earlier, Ghouls on Film served up some good stuff, none more so than The Soska Sisters’ Dead Hooker In a Trunk. This was a real blast, highly entertaining and I believe it was the European premier showing. This film has recently re-surfaced with a different edit (shown at Abertoir 2010, but missed by me as it was in the morning…) and hopefully will get a wider audience this coming year – seek it out!

If you don't find this sexy, you may be on the wrong blog

 Finally in the film section, I also saw Triangle. Hmmm….I think it was really good, but it was a bit of a headfuck, right? 

 Twittery Bits

This bit’s really difficult as I don’t have much to work with, but I think I first chanced across these fine people in February:

@nathanhead A top bloke and one of the actors in the Mark Macready horror short  that found massive success this year. Regularly makes me laugh, and deserving of more success in the coming year(s)

@marixalilith If I ever want someone to threaten me with spanking or other similar violence, but it to be someone I actually like talking to with good taste in films, then this is the lady :)

@Jesus_M_Christ I was told that I’d found Jesus as a child, but that one was clearly an imposter, as this guy’s the real deal.

I think that’s all on that front, though one person on Twitter started being a cunt to someone who meant a lot to me, which meant that March was WAAAAAY more fun on the site – but you’ll have to wait for that :)

…and, more importantly, I changed my username from @davidmcggsy to @dpm74. Those who were following me back then will remember the Bumwolves fiasco and how I VERY nearly changed my name to @bumwolves, but thankfully sobered up in time and had one solitary good influence who persuaded me otherwise :)

In conclusion

So, quite a fun month overall. Things were generally still going  well, I had my first (brief) holiday off the island, and watched some good films. I’m still awaiting clearance on the celebrity filth I promised last time, apparently lawyers are still checking the authenticity of the video I have of Just** Bieb** fellating a capuchin monkey. Ah well, maybe next time eh?


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