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Old 1st Jan 2008, 11:16   #1
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Default 2008 Filmlists

Col's Film List 2008

Cinema; TV; DVD/Video (bought or recorded); BB = Blockbusters video-hire; not including repeat viewings in a single year.

165. Click - DVD A 13 yr old boy's film, this one; crummy mostly but moving in bits
164. The Dark Knight - DVD ½ Not as good as Batman Begins but stonking work from Commissioner Gordon. I hated the suited Batman's growly voice: what was that all about?
163. It's A Wonderful Life - DVD
162. Miracle on 34th Street - DVD (1947) The main characters are less schmaltzy than the remake, and Kris Kringle a real star.
161. Face/Off - video ½
160. Twilight - cinema ½
159. South Pacific - DVD ...and wrap more presents to. Very powerful in the second half, esp. Joe Cable's "Carefully Taught" and Emile's "This Nearly Was Mine".
158. Meet Me in St Louis - DVD Perfect to wrap Xmas presents to.
157. Merlin - DVD It sucks you in over nearly 3 hours (spread over three nights): appallingly bad yet grimly satisfying outworking of Arthurian tales; and Sam Neill looking *gorgeous*.
156. Muppet Christmas Carol - And the Christmassy feeling begins...
155. Presumed Innocent - It still tricked my daughter up to the very last minute of the film.
154. El Orfanato - DVD
153. 30 Days of Night - DVD Watched this yonks ago and forgot.
152. The Wizard of Oz - DVD
151. Waterworld - DVD Love it to bits.
150. The Rocky Horror Picture Show - DVD
149. Goldeneye - video ½
148. Brief Encounter - DVD
147. Equus - DVD
146. The Nightmare Before Christmas - DVD ½
145. Ice Age 2 - DVD ½
144. Stormbreaker - DVD
143. Spiderman 3 - DVD
142. High School Musical 3: Senior Year - cinema
141. The Eagle Has Landed - DVD
140. Freddie Got Fingered - DVD
139. Gosford Park - video ½
138. In Bruges - BB
137. My Neighbour Totoro - DVD
136. Bugsy Malone - DVD
135. The Merchant of Venice - DVD ½ Ahead of our seeing the RSC play this in Newcastle this coming Tuesday...
134. The Postman - DVD
133. Happy-Go-Lucky - BB
132. Pan's Labyrinth - TV ½
131. LotR: The Return of the King - TV ½
130. Spirited Away - DVD
129. The Man in the Iron Mask - video Cornier than Kansas in August but endearing hammy turns from everyone, and swoony Aramis, Jeremy Irons.
128. LotR: The Two Towers - TV
127. LotR: Fellowship of the Ring - TV ½
126. The Duchess - cinema ½ Review here
125. Moulin Rouge - DVD
124. Ride With the Devil - TV Scary J Rhys-Meyer and Tobey with a weird wig, but pretty good civil war drama. The ending falls flat a little.
123. William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet - DVD Leo is exquisite in this, and the adaptation superb, but it hasn't everything. Gonna have to watch the Zeffirelli again for a comparison.
122. The Untouchables - DVD
121. Speed - video
120. Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium - BB
119. August Rush - BB ½
118. My Fair Lady - DVD
117. The Saint - DVD
116. The Princess Bride - DVD
115. West Side Story - DVD
114. A Room With A View - DVD
113. A.I. - TV
112. Mamma Mia - cinema
111. The Never-Ending Story - DVD
110. 28 Weeks Later - BB Terribly bad sequel.
109. Ladyhawke - video ½ Corny Alan Parson music but good old Philippe.
108. Hellboy - TV
107. Willow - video Old-time family favourite: good value Kilmer too.
106. 1408 - BB Not particularly scary film with John Cusack.
105. X-Men - video
104. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - DVD Tedious drug-fuelled chaos and horrible behaviour with precious little journalistic insight. Oldest son's fevered film of choice.
103. As You Like It - BB Not Branagh's best adaptation but Adrian Lester and Brian Blessed were both wonderful.
102. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix - DVD ½
101. Five Children and It - BB Not a patch on the old 1991 BBC series.
100. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - BB At least Will got to be dead and away from Knightley for 10 years.
99. The Brothers Grimm - BB Weird and creepier than its 12 rating suggests. An unrecognisable Matt Damon as Jacob Grimm.
98. The Spiderwick Chronicles - BB ½ Lovely David Strathairn as Arthur Spiderwick, looking vaguely Ian McEwany.
97. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - BB ½ Awful Knightley. Impressed by Norrington's double-crossing. Too long and convoluted by far.
96. Beauty & the Beast- video (Disney)
95. Evan Almighty - BB
94. Iron Man - DVD
93. The Camden 28 - DVD Documentary on the anti-Vietnam raid on the Camden draft offices in 1971. We worshipped at Fr. Michael Doyle's church last Sunday; he's a good 'un.
92. Jaws - TV ...Shark week on The Discovery Channel
91. Help! - video
90. Batman Begins - DVD
89. eXistenZ - video Jude Law excels in this: he does "nerdy" far better than romantic lead.
88. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas - video *Not* my choice.
87. Serenity - DVD ½
86. Robin Hood - video (Disney) Ooh-da-lolly, golly what a day!
85. The Bourne Ultimatum - DVD
84. Prince Caspian - cinema Review here
83. Kingdom of Heaven - DVD being kind here, since I wasn't quite in the mood for this one; but not as bad as it could be either.
82. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - DVD
81. Rescue Dawn - BB
80. Sweeney Todd - BB
79. Cloverfield - BB
78. No Country For Old Men - BB
77. The Golden Compass - BB
76. Mr Bean's Holiday - BB ½ Surprisingly funny to be honest.
75. Hot Fuzz - DVD
74. Wuthering Heights - DVD (1970) ½
73. The Avengers - video ½
72. Company of Wolves - DVD Creepy and impenetrable in parts.
71. Cheaper By The Dozen 2 - DVD
70. The Darjeeling Limited - BB ½ Weird film, totally Wes Anderson
69. Enchanted - BB
68. Young Sherlock Holmes - video Excellent film for all the family, and old fave.
67. Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom - TV ½ The least of the three - too theme-parky and annoying female and child.
66. Van Helsing - DVD Oh dear, wasn't my choice, honest; I machine-made a linen tote bag whilst I watched - does that help negate this film?
65. Raiders of the Lost Ark - TV
64. The Shadow - video "The sun is shining" "But the ice is slippery". Fabulousness *and* Alec Baldwin! (second time viewing in 2008 )
63. Onegin - video
62. The Lost World: Jurassic Park - TV
61. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - DVD
60. Tin Cup - video ½
59. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - BB
58. Pocahontas - DVD
57. The Aviator - TV ½
56. A Good Year - BB Mini-review here
55. Amazing Grace - BB ½ A filmic event rather than a film, but still moving.
54. Wallace & Gromit & the Curse of the Were Rabbit - DVD ½
53. The Name of the Rose - TV
52. Persuasion - DVD ½
51. Ever After - video ½
50. Wimbledon - DVD Fluffiest fluff was required, and this fitted the bill.
49. The Parent Trap - DVD What parents endure for their youngest's sake...
48. Sunshine - BB
47. Becoming Jane - BB
46. Zodiac - BB
45. A Little Princess - video Now we love Cuaron, but a) set in the States? b) Making Becky black? But the WW1/Rama & Sita parallel is a good 'un.
44. High School Musical 2 - DVD Painful in the extreme
43. Bridget Jones' Diary - video ½
42. Chicken Run - TV ½
41. 3:10 to Yuma - TV (1957)
40. The Sound of Music - DVD
39. Jesus Christ Superstar - DVD (2003) ½ A bit of a moaning minnie of a Jesus, but he improves towards the end. Superb Pilate though; Rik Mayall is a dud as Herod.
38. Hercules - video
37. Peter Pan - DVD (2003)
36. Newsies - video ½ "Pulitzer can crack the whip but he won't whip us!"
35. Howl's Moving Castle - DVD ½
34. Michael Clayton - BB
33. Chicago - DVD
32. Jesus Christ Superstar - video (1973) ½ Ted Neeley's voice was too thin and uninspiring for Jesus: give me Ian Gillan anytime.
31. Whisper of the Heart - DVD What a cheerer-upper: a delightful film (x 3)
30. Run, Fatboy, Run - BB
29. Stardust - BB
28. Children of Men - DVD ½
27. if... - DVD
26. There Will Be Blood - cinema Review here
25. Atonement - BB
24. King Kong - DVD (2005)
23. If The Shoe Fits - DVD ½ My littlest girl enjoys this fluff-fest as Jennifer Grey does the Cinderella thing designing shoes for an egotistical (and frankly ugly) Rob Lowe as the head of a Paris fashion house. Of course she gets her prince and *without* compromising her looks/abilities/good sense.
22. Calendar Girls - TV
21. Far & Away - video
20. Pom Poko - DVD Review here
19. Little Women - DVD
18. 3:10 to Yuma - BB (2007)
17. Troy - DVD
16. Sense & Sensibility - DVD (x 2 viewings)
15. Edward II - video ½ Old fave, with Steven Waddington as stunningly beautiful as he could ever get. Weird Jarmanesque take on Marlowe and Clause 28 but utterly captivating even 17 years later. Review here
14. Frequency - TV
13. 300 - DVD ½ Mini-review here
12. Bridge to Terabithia - DVD Made my dad cry on his 70th birthday
11. Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World - DVD
10. The Others - TV
9. Timeslip - Video Not half so bad as I thought. Obviously David Thewlis and Anna Friel met on this film.
8. Mission Impossible - video
7. Strings - video Review here
6. The Curse of the Golden Flower - DVD Birthday DVD; and superb on first viewing.
5. Transformers - DVD Some funny bits but very quickly tedious.
4. The Night of the Hunter - DVD ½ A film of two halves and rather peculiar, but Shelley Winters - fab!
3. The Innocents - DVD The delicate handling of the tension, the screaming, superb Deborah Kerr - totally chilling! Thanks, Amner
2. Music & Lyrics - DVD Consistently enjoyable (x 4)
1. The Little Vampire - TV For the Richard E Grant-ness of it.
Currently reading: The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins | My reading list | My film list

Last edited by Colyngbourne; 28th Dec 2008 at 23:58.
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 11:25   #2
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Join Date: 13 Jul 2006
Location: Madrid, Spain
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Default Re: 2008 Filmlists

73. Gran Torino
72. Perfume
71. Appaloosa
70. The Adventures of Mark Twain
69. Casablanca
68. Bug
67. El Orfanato ½
66. In Bruges
65. Quantum of Solace
64. Nobody
62. Team America - World Police
61. Edward Scissorhands
Burn After Reading
59. Mirrors
58. Hannah and her Sisters
57. The Mummy III: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
56. The Dark Knight
55. Batman Begins

54. The Hours ½
53. Daratt
52. House on Haunted Hill
51. Thank You For Smoking
50. Outpost
49. The Great Dictator
48. Chop Shop
47. Iron Man ½
46. WALL-E
45. Batman: Gotham Knight
The Mist
43. Possession
42. Fight Club
Manufacturing Dissent
40. Sex and the City
The Last Woman on Earth
Rescue Dawn
The Alpha Incident although I had low expectations anyway
The Brood
35. Indiana Jones and the Theme Park of the Fibreglass Cycle Helmet
34. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

33. Reservoir Dogs
32. Jindabyne ½
31. Persepolis
29. My Left Foot
28. Red Eye
27. Dementia 13

26. The Prestige ½
25. We Own the Night
24. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
23. The Innocents
Punch Drunk Love
21. The Sting

20. John Rambo
There Will Be Blood

18. O Brother
17. The Hudsucker Proxy
16. Dark Storm unratable (TV movie)
15. The Lathe of Heaven (1980)

14. No Country For Old Men ½
13. Fargo
12. Strings
11. Becket
10. Dnevnoy Dozor - Day Watch
09. Revolver (Currently unfinished)
08. Escape From Sobibor

07. The Key to Reserva Well, kind of. This is the incomparable Martin Scorsese's ten minute homage the incomparable Alfred Hitchcock, preserving for future generations the four remaining pages of his last, unfilmed masterpiece. As you'd expect from two such luminaries, it is a true work of genius. Well, kind of.
06. 30 Days of Night
05. Casino Royale
04. Shoot 'Em Up ½ on average
03. John Carpenter's The Thing but then I am very biased...
01. The Last Man On Earth

Last edited by Noumenon; 19th Mar 2009 at 11:22. Reason: Re-tread numbers not in bold, because they are worn down so much
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 12:03   #3
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Default Re: 2008 Filmlists

11. The Lady Eve (DVD) Enjoyable 1941 comedy but which showed that all the critical consensus about Sullivan's Travels being Preston Sturges' best film is probably correct. Fun and witty but predicated on mistaken identity even more implausible than The Comedy of Errors, ie that Henry Fonda wouldn't recognise his former fiancée Barbara Stanwyck once she puts her hair up and adopts an English accent which must have been Dick Van Dyke's inspiration for Mary Poppins. Also the last half hour relies shamelessly on pratfalls for its laughs. Nonetheless there are some excellent performances from minor characters (and Stanwyck despite her accent) and it's all over in an hour and a half, so who's complaining?

10. Persepolis See thread

9. Sicko (DVD) Enjoyed this despite Noumenon's worthwhile points on the editing of Bowling for Columbine. Sicko seemed more honest and straightforward than most Michael Moore stuff mainly because he didn't interview any insurance companies or US Dept of Health representatives, so couldn't be accused of twisting their words.

8. Lust, Caution Long but involving bilingual adaptation of Eileen Chang's story of espionage and resistance in wartime China. Much feted and solidly accomplished but has a distinct whiff of Hollywood-gentlemen's-film about it, almost excessively tasteful and careful in the fully rounded presentation of its themes. Tony Leung is excellent as Mr Yee, as is the newcomer whose name escapes me who played Wong. Contains lots of vigorous sex in the second half, and a repeated motif of Wong leaving her lipstick print on a glass or cup, presumably indicating the marks we leave as we pass through life, on people as well as places.

7. Fargo (DVD) Wanted to introduce Mrs Self to the Coen brothers on a good day, after the disappointment of No Country. She didn't know that was my aim though - had never heard of the bros - and rightly noted the similarities between the films. This made me rethink my reaction to No Country. Why did I dislike it so much for its relentless brutality when Fargo has a similar Anton Chigurh-style charmless psychopath in Peter Stormare's character? Probably because the balance is beautifully struck here in moments where you don't know whether to laugh or be appalled. And William H Macy's face, and Frances McDormand objecting to snippiness, and that guy who's kinda funny lookin, just in a general kind of a way. And of course Mr Mohra's brilliant monologue: "So, I'm tendin' bar there at Ecklund and Swedlin's last Tuesday and this little guy's drinkin' and he says, "So where can a guy find some action? I'm goin' crazy out there at the lake." And I says, "What kinda action?" and he says, "Woman action, what do I look like?" And I says, "Well, what do I look like, I don't arrange that kinda thing," and he says, "I'm goin' crazy out there at the lake," and I says, "Well, this ain't that kinda place."

6. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly Adaptation of Jean-Dominique Bauby's celebrated memoir, written by a South African Brit, directed by an American, and filmed in French. Go figure. Beautifully made, all bleached colours and shimmering focus, and absolutely riddled with female beauties, the only disadvantage of which was that I found it quite impossible to distinguish the wife from the lover from the publisher's secretary from the physiotherapist... but all faded into insignificance next to the stellar beauty of speech therapist Henriette (Marie-Josée Croze). Man, I'd happily pretend to have locked-in syndrome to hear her run through the French alphabet over and over. The film is frequently moving too, but didn't strike me overall as a best-of-year contender as most critics seem to have found it.

5. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Decent heist/family drama about two brothers who decide to rob their parents' jewellery store... with hilari-less consequences. Feels overlong, probably because of the way the scenes keep switching between characters, but the appropriately implausible ending shows director Sidney Lumet can still hold an audience's attention after more than half a century in the game. Amazingly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, while predictably excellent, doesn't act everyone else off screen, and Ethan Hawke does a particularly good turn as the nervy younger brother. He's a much better actor now he isn't handsome any more.

4. When Harry Met Sally (DVD) Rare example of non-vom rom-com from Nora Ephron, probably because she didn't have complete control of it and Rob Reiner was at the helm. Stands up pretty well after 20 years; not as smart and funny as I thought at the time, but entertaining enough.

3. No Country for Old Men Utterly miserable, soul-sapping adaptation of Cormac Laughing Boy McCarthy's novel which marks the third off-day in a row for the formerly flawless Coen brothers. Whether it's suggesting that the world's going to hell in a handbasket ("It's the tide. It's the dismal tide. It's not one thing") or always has been ("What you got ain't nothing new. This country's hard on people") isn't clear, but it does achieve the distinction of being the most well-made film ever that I didn't enjoy watching at all. It's redeemed in places by performances by Woody Harrelson and Tommy Lee Jones, but every time Javier Bardem appeared on screen, the entire auditorium emitted a depressed sigh. For some reason the print I saw was missing its incidental music. "Did I say you could sit down?" "No, but you look to me like the sort of man who wouldn't want to waste a chair."

2. The Fountain (DVD) Ridiculously self-indulgent, adolescent multi-dimensional fantasy starring Hugh Jackman (looking oddly like Robert Carlyle) and director's wife Rachel Weisz, who presumably couldn't get out of it. Then again, Brad Pitt did get out of it, but went on to make Ocean's Thirteen, so who's the dummy here? At the same time the whole thing is so relentlessly committed to itself, and beautiful to look at, that it's impossible not to admire it a little; I loved how everything throughout, from an operating theatre to the Tree of Life floating through a nebula, was lit in the same shades of graphite and gold. A failure, probably, but such an interesting one that I am glad Aronofsky is still getting money to make films in a world dominated by Judd Apatow. The closing scenes are up there with 2001: A Space Odyssey for barking mad codas. "Death is an illness, like any other. And there's a cure. And I will find it." Contains some vivisection.

1. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp Good to see the old fellow on the big screen, even if the print was so weathered that it stuck and melted in the projector at one point - for a moment I thought it was a P&P postmodern special effect... Marvellous in every way, with so much care taken over every element, from the clever time changes (the pool at the start, the animal heads in the middle sections), to Deborah Kerr in three roles, to Roger Livesey's extraordinary makeup which transforms him from young buck to old codger over the (substantial but necessary) length of the film. "Clive: my English is - not very much. But my friendship for you is - very much."
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 12:28   #4
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Default Re: 2008 Filmlists

1: Sister Act 2 (tv)
2: Finding Neverland (tv)
3: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (tv)
4: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (tv)
5: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban (tv)
6: Sweeny Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (cinema)
7: Cry Baby (video)
8: My Big Fat Greek Wedding (tv)
9: Jesus Christ Superstar - 1973 version (tv)
10: Stardust (dvd)
11: Gosford Park (dvd)
12: Nicholas and Alexandra (tv)
13: The Green Mile (dvd)
14: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (cinema)
15: Serenity (dvd)
16: The Incredible Hulk (cinema)
17: Hulk (tv)
18: Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (cinema)
19: Batman: The Dark Knight (cinema)
20: The Mummy (tv)
21: Miss Potter (video)
22: Miss Pettigrew lives for a day (cinema)
23: In the Name of the King (film flex)
24: Hellboy II: The Golden Army (cinema)
25: Shrek (tv)
26: A Room with a View (dvd)
27: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (dvd)
28: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (dvd)
29: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (dvd)
30: Mary Poppins (tv)
31: The Mummy Returns (film flex)
32: Footloose (video)
33: Quantum of Solace (cinema)
34: Johnny Mnemonic (video)
35: Dirty Dancing (dvd)
36: The Brothers Grimm
37: Calendar Girls (tv)
38: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban (tv)
39: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (tv)
40: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (tv)
41: Howl's Moving Castle (tv)
42: Inkheart (cinema)
43: Fiddler on the Roof (dvd)
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 13:23   #5
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Default Re: 2008 Filmlists

  1. Cat People - Jacques Tourneur's lovely little 1942 chiller.
  2. Dlug - Horrible realistic and compulsive Polish 'based on real events' crime film, with some slightly odd subtitling. Thanks M, I finally got round to watching it.
  3. Zeta One - Abysmal late 1960s British Ultra Soft-core Porno SF exploitation shite. Total pants with no plot but lots of nekkid tits (like THESE!) bouncing about (a bit).
  4. Missile to the Moon - second Matriarchal Space Bimbo movie of the night, with no nekkid tits this time (dammit!) but one of the most genius bits of American Desk Drawer acting ever. It's a well know fact of life that the only reason you ever open a desk drawer in an American film is to pull out a powerful (loaded) handgun. Only reason. The only thing Americans keep in the top drawers of any desk is firearms. Early on in this movie one of our aged scientists does just this. He opens a desk drawer and pulls out a luger which he slips into his pocket. A few minutes later his partner becomes aware of unexplained things happening out on the missile launch pad and decides to investigate - but first!... he goes to the desk and pulls open the top drawer. But what's this? The gun has gone! He stares into the desk drawer for a moment. No Gun? Drawer. Open. No gun? How can this be? A look of blank incomprehension registers on his face (not unlike that on William Macey repeatedly saying "Hi Honey, I'm home!" in Pleasantville and receiving no reply). He shuts the drawer - and after a moment - it's crazy but it might just work - pulls open the top drawer ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK - and Whew! pulls out a powerful (loaded) hand gun and rushes off to investigate...
  5. Empire of the Ants - and then there are those moments, usually at about 3:30 am like this one was, when you find yourself watching Joan Collins running round a mangrove swamp screaming at variably sized, giant, radioactive ants when you think to yourself, "Why AM I watching this shit? I really must get a grip". Bergman and Kurosawa for a bit I think...
  6. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea - okay, not AS trashy as giant Radioactive ants - though equally scientifically dubious (apparently the world is DOOMED to a horrible death by hotness after a spark from a passing meteorite caused the Van Allen Radiation belts to catch fire and only firing a nuclear missile into it from a particular angle will cause the belts to pop like a balloon and save the human race from a severe crisping) but at least Irwin Allen won an Oscar! (though, admittedly, not for this film). I'll get to the good stuff next week.
  7. TXH 1138 The Directors Cut - This ain't the film I saw all those years ago. It's visually stunning but I wish it hadn't been fucked about with. I now need to see the original again.
  8. Ed Wood - Lovely film.
  9. Bride of the Monster - and after a movie about Edward D Wood Jr what could be more appropriate than a movie by Edward D Wood Jr.? Starring Bela Lugosi in his next to last completed movie Bride of the Monster contains one of the greatest bits of weird acting of his career (and that's saying something). There's a moment towards the start of the film where a hapless victim wakes to find himself strapped to the Doctor's diabolical surgical table and about to be experimented upon. Hey, what gives! "Soon," gloats Dr Varnoff (Bela in white coat and stethoscope), "you will be asa bik as a chiant, wid the strength ov twenty men, or -- like all the others, DEAD!" He throws the lever. Lights flash. The victim convulses against the straps binding him to the table then falls limp. Bela registers horror (or something) and steps forward. Dons the stethoscope, listens to the man's heart. Nothing. His shoulders slump another failure.... Then. In a truly inspired moment of acting genius (Bela is so in the moment here) he discerns a possible glimmer of hope and... stethoscope still in place - listens to the man's head! .. and then his wrist! ...only then does he finally give up hope.
  10. Plan 9 From Outer Space - or another. RIP Vampira, the actress who played her, Maili Nurmi, died two days ago.
  11. Frankenstein's Daughter - better than expected drive-in monster-movie drek from the director of the dire Missile to the Moon. Best line: "From here on in, I decide what is evil."
  12. The Importance of Being Earnest - The dreadful 2002 remake.
  13. Carry on up the Khyber - Sod all those Merchant-Ivory, Helena Bonham Carter swanning about in muslin and soft focus, picture-postcard "terribly terribly" crud. This is the way to make movies about The Raj.
  14. The Doomsday Machine - again. Deliriously weirder on a rewatching.
  15. Timechaser - (MST3K) a whole movie full of people who never worked again.
  16. Living in Oblivion - Brilliant . I love this film.
  17. Gog - Funniest ending to a crap movie I have seen for ages. Aged, venerable Herbert Marshall bursting into the control room of the atomic reactor waving a flame thrower to destroy the OTHER killer robot on the loose. I nearly wet myself I was laughing so much.
  18. Lady in Cement - Gave my brain a rest from killer robots, V2s on Venus and the other absurdities of cheap 50s SF movies and watched Frank Sinatra sleepwalking as a private eye movie with some of the worst sound I've ever heard on an American movie. The film was on the Free to Air Movies4men channel and I spent most of the running time wondering why a channel with such a butch sounding name was showing endless commercials for Dove beauty products, fabric conditioners, and 'Lite' mayonnaise. Movies4Men who shave their pits and look after themselves while watching fat old crooners running around waving guns?
  19. The Abominable Dr. Phibes - cheesy, bizarre, camp and very funny.
  20. Dr. Phibes Rises Again - more of the same.
  21. Scream and Scream Again - 1970 British horror/SF movie with some really great hand held camera-work and a plot that almost worked.
  22. The People Vs Larry Flint - Mr Smith Goes to Washington - with porn.
  23. Hercules Unchained - I attempt to watch a Steve Reeves movie without thinking of the Rocky Horror Picture Show once and fail as I knew I must. Shot in the same quarry as every other Italian Movie of the period and stuffed full with gems of mangilated movie Inglish, hilariously camp performances, and the only stretch war chariots ever put on screen.
  24. Phantom From Space - A masterful use of stock footage and very little plot. The highlight of which was a bunch of scientist and police hero types happily standing around a shortish table, the top of which was about level with their nads, telling each other the abandoned Alien's space suit sat on it was so radioactive that they shouldn't touch it. Clever that.
  1. Star Wars - it's 10 years since I last saw Star Wars. 1998 the New Improved with Added Jabba The Hutt Special Edition came out. I was working in Leicester on an aborted feature film called Dirty British Boys with Shashi Kapoor and some bloke from Brookside, one night most of the crew piled into town to see the New Improved! Star Wars (with added Jabba!) in the cinema. I fell asleep. I fell asleep again last night. I think I may have finally grown up. Star Wars, I have finally realised, isn't a particularly good film.
  2. Knight's Tale - The late Heath Ledger having fun. Enjoyable nonsense.
  3. Beyond The Valley of the Dolls - right off my Whatthefuck?ometer this one. Don't know what to make of it but I laughed a lot - I think I was supposed to.
  4. The Invisible Man - the 1933 James Whale original, not the best of Whale's films but fun.
  5. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - That was fun!
  6. The Phantom of the Opera - The 1943 Claude Rains Nelson Eddy affair. The DVD transfer was lovely I loved the Technicolor. Pity the movie wasn't much cop.
  7. Shrek the Third - bought as a Christmas pressy for the kids. I was rather disappointed. Beautiful to look at but the story was so thin.
  8. Vynález zkázy - a rather wonderful 1958 Czech weirdness of live action and animation based on a Jules Verne novel. Any movie which contains shots of roller-skating camels is okay by me.
  9. War of the Robots - early Al Bradly movies. A mysteriously awful compulsion. This one is famous for containing the longest and dullest space battle ever committed to film and certainly wins some sort of special award for reused footage. The same three shots get used over and over again - and then used again as back projection behind the "set" of the space fighter. It's one of those movies in which if you see someone going up a flight of steps, you will sure as hell see them coming down them later. Maximum use of minimal sets. There's one 'battle' late on in the movie between our heroic PVC clad crew and an neverendless supply of of killer robots in wigs, that takes place in a doorway. Zap! Next Zap! Next Zap! Next, (change the angle) Zap! Next Zap! Next...
  10. Return of the Killer Tomatoes - The best 10p I've spent in a charity shop for a while. Crude, stupid, and funny.
  11. Mighty Jack - Oh my dear god! Two episodes of a late 60s live-action, Thunderbirds type, Japanese Spy thriller TV series about the crew of a giant flying submarine combating international terrorists threatening the world with unmeltable ice, edited down to a totally incomprehensible movie length mess. Off the scale on the old bewilderometer - at least 92.7 Centi-WTF?s per minute. I had absolutely NO idea what the hell was supposed to be going on. None. One IMDb reviewer hit the nail on the head when he described this film as having "all the logic of a fever dream".
  12. Humanoid Woman - an American slashed to ribbons version of what must have been an extraordinary Russian movie called Cherez Ternii K Zvyozdam. Despite being cut from 148 minutes to 90, cropped from it's full 2.35:1 aspect ratio to a square 4:3, dubbed by second rate actors making the script up as they went along, and crappily transferred to DVD from a very dodgy tape copy (it even had drop-out at one point) enough of the poetic, lyrical qualities of the original shone through to make it one of the most interesting looking films I have seen all year. There is, apparently, a restored version out there but not yet available on DVD with English subtitles. I have a new mission: see the original and see Sandy Frank the producer who butchered it for the American market, and a quick buck, rot in hell.
  13. Casshern - Japanese UberGrand Guignol SF real life Manga/Animé which had me enthralled for 141 bewildering minutes of incomprehensible fighting, philosophising, flashbacks, flash forwards, (and flash sidewayses for all I know) in which several characters died more than once, even more got to deliver portentous speeches while slowly descending stupidly wide staircases, and just about everybody had mystic revelations, including our hero who seemed to have his while in the very heart of a nuclear explosion - which he survives. All the way through I kept thinking I hope this design team gets to work on any movie they make from Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines books. The look is perfect.
  1. Back to the Future - Amazingly the first time I have watched this. I've seen most (if not all of it) in bits over the years but never sat and watched start to finish before. Great fun.
  2. Back to the Future ll - ditto!
  3. The 39 Steps - the pointless colour remake with Kenneth More proving (nice chap though he probably was) that he was no Robert Donat and vacant space that was Taina Elg (who?) was certainly no Madeleine Carroll.
  4. Weird Science - my catchup with all those films I never actually watched during the 1980s but are now dirt cheap on video in charity shops binge continues... This one cost me 20p. Which is about what it was worth.
  5. The Riddle of the Sands - my fascination with the not very good acting of Michael York continues; what DID people see in him?
  6. Back to the Future lll - Ditto previous BTTF comments up there. Glad that's out of my system at last.
  7. Singing in the Rain - never seen it all the way through before. Great fun.
  8. The Mutant on the Bounty - again! I managed to watch this piece of drek again! I was half way through watching it before I realised I HAD seen it before - and it was shit then too. But, being too knackered to pick up the remote, I kept my eyes pointed in the general direction of the screen and hoped I would fall asleep. I didn't. It was too awful to fall asleep to.
  9. She Gods of Shark Reef - Dear gods! that was dull.
  10. The Crater Lake Monster - creaking, zero-budget, There's Something in the Lake Eating Tourists, rubber dinosaur movie that wasn't anything like as funny or scary as it tried to be - well it was, but not in the ways the film makers intended.
  1. Starship Invasions - every now and then, people in various governments of the world get it into their heads that they should support their local movie industry by throwing minor shitloads of money at it. I guess they do it in order to assert some kind of cultural identity in the face of the perceived evil and pernicious overwhelming of everything by the Hollywood machine. In France they end up with long, beautifully shot swashbuckling adventures, in Britain we end up with long, beautifully shot movies about the upper-classes being terribly vague in excruciating detail. In Canada they get shit like Starship Invasions, a film so bewilderingly bad that greatness ensues. Christopher Lee has done some crap in his time but this must count as the bottom of the barrel as far as he's concerned. It's even worse than End of The World which he made in the same year - in which he played the leader of a bunch of aliens set to destroy the world by disguising themselves as nuns - at least he was allowed to try and act in that one. The director of this pile of poo hit upon the genius idea of having all his aliens (and there are at least three types) communicate by telepathy, which means that all the actors get to do is look meaningfully at one another, or occasionally flare their nostrils menacingly, while voice-overs, recorded in a dustbin behind a steelworks somewhere, tell us what they are thinking. It's brilliant! The whole movie was probably shot in a week and they just whacked the sound in afterwards. It's one of those bewilderingly incoherent movies that looks like it was edited together from a bad TV series, but wasn't. I loved it.
  2. Project Moon Base - A very long 63 minutes; which it turns out (thanks IMDb) WAS edited together from a bad TV series. Most of my time watching it was spent admiring the cunning way 2000' 35mm film reels from the editing department had been used as computer spools (a trick also later used in Zontar:The Thing From Venus - oh god, I am watching too much of this shit!) and waiting for the heroine's rather peachy, hot-pant clad bum to appear again. It's the sort of movie where our crew on the first trip to photograph the far side of the moon wear t-shirts and shorts, dinky little caps (to solve the "If she's weightless why is her hair hanging straight down?" quibbles from nitpickers like me), and had bloody great hand guns strapped to their hips. The film would have been a lot more interesting if anyone had actually fired one of those guns while weightless.
  3. Voyage To The End of The Universe - another American International (bastards!), re-editing of an Eastern European movie I now need to see in the original cut. It looked beautiful - what I could see of it between the atrocious Pan and Scan and the moronically written translation.
  4. Serenity - A film which would have been an okay bit of SF nonsense if I hadn't recently watched the entire series of Firefly (to which is this sequel / conclusion) but, because I had, it became a thoroughly entertaining bit of SF nonsense.
  5. Ladyhawke - an almost great film rendered nearly unwatchable by a dreadful, dreadful score which lurches from one bit of mid-eighties synthesised, pseudo rock-operatic, guitar-wank to another. It must have sounded so cool and hip at the time - and for about 25 minutes afterwards - but it doesn't really sit very easily in the timeless late-medieval tragic fantasy world the film was trying to create. (I know, "timeless late-medieval" is oxymoronic. How about 'mythic'? It's hard to get a mythic quality from a film when there's a bunch of session musicians with mullets doing their best to nail it wall screaming in your ear:"This isn't timeless - it's 1985! - and always will be!" The only film I can think of that got away with this sort of thing was A Knight's Tale but that used rock music that had already sunk deep into the audience's collective unconsciousness. It was already dated - and let's face it, for the MTV generation Queen's We Will Rock You and Bowie's Golden Years ARE mediaeval). Matthew Brodrick's accent lurched backwards and forwards across the Atlantic a few times during the show too.
  6. Conan the Barbarian - what a beautiful film! Testosterone driven bollocks - but lovely to look at. Funny too.
  7. Beyond The Time Barrier - reputedly shot back-to-back with The Amazing Transparent Man with a shooting schedule of only two weeks. That's not two weeks per movie - that's for the both of them! two feature films knocked off in 14 days - and they look like it. Beyond the Time Barrier does have one redeeming feature however; a terrific set. For a cheapo sf film made in Texas it has the look of a much more expensive film (that is until anyone actually starts talking - or, for the second time on my TV this month, wiggling their nostrils at each other while they communicate telepathically). After some interminable setting up, our hero lands in the usual doomed underground civilisation of the future with its giant pyramidal modular set which, with very little redressing, serves for offices, bedroom, corridors, laboratories - everything. It's a nifty bit of design. All walls, doors and windows are equilateral triangles. I spent most of the running time looking at the walls. It's all pretty groovy until the director or editor had the spiffy idea of using an equilateral triangle as a wipe between scenes - and suddenly the whole thing looked like a crappy Buster Crabbe serial from the 30s. The leading lady was dead good at pointing as well, and she pointed a lot. Usually with her whole arm, and usually at the doorway she wanted the hero to leave by - which was pretty often, what with him being an all-American red-blooded male, and her being a telepathic deaf mute with pointy tits.
  8. I Diafanoidi Vengono da Marte - (AKA Diaphanoids, Bringers of Death; Gamma I Quadrilogy Vol. 2 ; The Deadly Diaphonoids; The War of the Planets etc. etc.) Laugh out loud 1966 Italian Space opera which made no sense whatsoever. Something to do with some sort of hive mind from Andromeda (represented on screen by a vague green light and an off-screen grip with a smoke machine) invading people's minds and making them outrageously over-act. There are four movies in the Gamma One series. I have the other three sitting downstairs and if they are all as mind-bendingly dreadful as this I will have to ration myself before I do myself an injury. As always with make up the story as you go along, cruddy Italian SF translated into English Lite by bilingual illiterates, the thing was chock full of unforgettably awful dialogue like this: (A whole space station has just vanished in front of everyone's eyes.).

    Military Commander: "What do you make of it?"

    Scientific Adviser: "It's Zero, to the tenth power. - All I can offer you is a sum of questions: Did something happen? - if so what? Then we can ask Why? - - - and How?"

    Everyone turns and solemnly stares at the general's desk until the editor eventually notices the scene has ended and cuts away to some model spaceships.
  9. Кин-дза-дза (Kin-Dza-Dza) - Two hour long Russian absurdist SF movie which made me laugh more than anything I have seen for ages. (It was supposed to be funny.)
  10. The Wild, Wild Planet (I Criminali Della Galassia) - Not Fair! Episode one of the 'Gamma Quadrilogy' turns out to be not terrible! An Italian SF movie with a budget and some groovy groovy design - how can this be? This is what the future looked like when I was a kid. Cars with fins all over the place and perspex domes on the top! Oval skyscrapers! Girls with capes and kinky boots! It was nostalgic watching. Some weird special effects, dodgy model work and a plot that came out of the SF ark, but better than it had any right to be dammit. I hope the other two sequels I have, and yet to watch, are far far worse.
  11. War Between the Planets (Il Missione Pianeta Errante AKA Mission Wandering Planet, Also AKA Planet on the Prowl, War Between the Planets, & That Piece of Shit with the Stupid Helmets.) - After last night's momentary lapse - in which I wondered, while watching the almost passable Volume 1 of this series, if my overexposure to this stuff had rendered me incapable of recognising crud when I saw it - tonight's Gamma I Quadrilogy Vol. 3 has restored my faith in the sublime crappyness of the 1960s Italian movie industry. I'm used to bad science fiction making no sense but it usually takes some thought to work out why it makes no sense - the longer you have to think about it before its internal logic starts to unravel is some sort of measure its worth (as SF). Really bad science fiction makes no sense without you having to think about it at all.
    Really really bad SF movies like this one just leave you incapable of thinking.
  12. Gojira - A 1954 Japanese black and white classic which deals with the trauma of the destruction of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the responsibilities of the scientist to the greater good - which sounds a lot better than 'I just watched the original Godzilla thanks to The Guardian newspaper who gave it away free the other week'. It's a pity about all the sequels and remakes which turned Godzilla into a sparring partner for a wildly weird and wonderful range of Monsters of the Week because the original Godzilla turns out to be a great little movie which, rubber-suited sumo guy representing a 350 foot tall reptilian metaphor for nuclear war stomping on models apart, had some terrifically understated and touching moments. Brilliant soundtrack too, the music is wonderful.
  1. A Cock and Bull Story - Not the 'greatest film ever' as one review on the front of the box would have me believe but still pretty funny. I've tried to read Tristram Shandy a couple of times and failed pretty early on, I was in a way hoping this film would give me an 'in' so the next time I tried I would get on with it a lot better. Not sure that that's going to happen.
  2. The Snow Devils - Last of the Gamma 1 Italian SF drek and probably the worst / best of the bunch.
  3. Attack of the Giant Leeches - again!
  4. It's Alive! - A deliriously bad fever dream of a movie which, if I've got this right, was a made-for-TV remake of a movie that never actually got made. Notable for containing the most pathetically unconvincing rubber monster suit ever shot by a professional crew. (This film should not be confused with any of the other five movies called It's Alive!, this one has the honour of being the first - and worst.)
  5. Fright Night - above average and, dare I admit it, mildly erotic mid 80s vampire flick.
  6. Cigarettes and Alcohol - not sure to make of this one at all.I have no idea why I find Jarmusch's films so funny but I do and this one was no exception. As an added bonus (if you can call it that) I got to see Steve Coogan playing a character loosely based on himself called Steve Coogan for the second time this month.
  7. Secretary - Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Spader. The best rom-com I've seen for a long while but not as brilliantly wonderful as people had lead me to believe - I was slightly pissed off by the title sequence which seemed to imply that a typewriter fitted with a seriffed font was producing sans seriffed lettering and a whacking great boom shadow in an early scene meant it took some time for me to settle into it.
  8. Take the Money and Run - my loathing of Woody Allen's later films hasn't soured my view of his earlier funnier films. I found this genuinely, laugh out loud funny.
  9. Titan AE - Full of sound and fury kids American Manga SF which signified nothing but (occasionally) looked great.
  10. The Swarm - There are good films, there are bad films, then there is Irwin Allen. The Swarm was supposed to be the disaster move to end all disaster movies (in one sequence a nuclear plant blows up killing Jose Ferrer, Richard Chamberlain, and 32 thousand off-screen extras - this comes immediately after one of my favourite lines from the movie: "In all your fail safe techniques, is there any provision for an attack by killer bees?" ). Except it wasn't a Disaster movie; it was just a career destroyingly bad disaster. Warner Brothers thew millions into advertising, and making a vast number of prints, of what turned out to be one of the most unintentionally hilarious movies ever made. The Swarm is masterpiece of wrongness. Made on a huge budget, with more star names than the average, and a polished crew - all standing on a script full of the most unspeakable, howling bad dialogue ever written...
    [Crane Played by Michael Caine finds something at the ravaged picnic site where two picnickers have been stung to death by a brazillion Bees.]
    Brad Crane: [holding it up] Plastic. It's a piece of a plastic cup. There are pieces all around here. [He starts pointing out the other fragments]
    Brad Crane: Look. Look, there. There. There.
    General Slater [Richard Wydmark who is not even bothering to disguise his usual: "What the fuck am I doing in this piece of shit?" facial expression]: What's so significant about that?
    Brad Crane: I'm afraid to speculate. But, I think, the bees, did this. Major Baker: Are you saying these bees eat plastic?
    Brad Crane: No, no. But I'm wondering. Your American honeybee has a weak mouth, that couldn't even break the skin, of a grape. But it looks like this species, is tearing up, plastic cups, possibly to line their hives. Now, if this is true, they didn't, just get here. I mean, the invasion, didn't, just now begin. They have been here some time. Breeding. Increasing.
    General Slater: So?
    Brad Crane: Well, suppose these bees, are using plastic, to insulate their hives.
    General Slater: No bee is that smart.
    Brad Crane: Suppose these African bees are.
    Allen's other movies aren't good, but this one is brilliant. It's not often you get to watch a movie in which everything went wrong.
  11. La Dolce Vita - I love Fellini's movies. I haven't a scooby what they're about but I just love wallowing in the dreamlike decadence of them.
  12. Throne of Blood - Kurosawa and Fellini in one week? Have I finally run out of crap movies to watch? Probably not, but there were none I fancied watching within easy reach and I needed to reset my quality control standards. I was, sorry to say, a bit underwhelmed by Throne of Blood. For years I have avoided watching any of Mr K's movies because, many years ago, I was rendered catatonic in a cinema by my first encounter with his work - the three hour cut of Dersu Uzala - and until last year sometime I managed to avoid watching anything else he had done. When I finally got over my reluctance and watched Ran, his samurai reworking of King Lear, I was blown away - sheer, unmitigated, fucking genius. Maybe I was unfortunate in watching Ran first, but ToB came over as dry run for the good stuff that came later.
  13. Confidential Report - Just to complete some sort of black and white Arty Auteur Filmy hat trick, an Orson Welles. Back to the trash.
  14. This is Spinal Tap - I laughed.
  15. Robinson Crusoe on Mars - sliding myself back into the bad movie habit. Despite it's dreadful title this is pretty damn good for an SF movie of the period. The director, Byron Haskins actually understood Science Fiction and didn't treat everything as a dressed up cowboy movie. It doesn't, for a refreshing change, insult the intelligence of the audience by explaining the most basic of facts in mind-numbing, simplistic detail: "Yes Johnny, Mars - sometimes known as 'The Red Planet' - is a very long way away...". And it wasn't just plain wrong about everything. How space ships in movies make that whooshing noise on the soundtrack as they fly through airless space is a mystery, but at least this show built in a delay between light from a distant explosion in space and the mysteriously transmitted noise of the bang reaching the planet-bound observer. Whatever medium sound travels through (even mysterious movie space medium) it's always going to travel slower than light.
  16. Moon Zero Two - an unashamed dressed up cowboy movie. A Space Western complete with low gravity bar-room brawls, claim jumpers and loads of other Cowboy cliches in space suits. No cattle stampede though. It needed a cattle stampede. Three thousand cows in space suits running amok in slow motion? That I would have paid money to see. Not great but bits of it were interesting and all of it was a hell of a lot better than most other Space Westerns - especially Outland ('High Noon in space' my arse!).
  17. Equinox - Dreadful. An object lesson in how not to make movies in so many departments, lessons the makers obviously learned because, having spent six and a half thousand (1960's) dollars, and two years making this near unwatchable zero budget mess, they have gone on to become multi-Oscar winners. Everyone has got to start somewhere. (Thanks for the steer, Bill).
  18. Devil Girl From Mars - A set-bound adapted play, pitting the assembled residents of a lonely Scottish Inn against the evil Machinations of one - count them - one! Matriarchal Martian who needs Men! to replace the dwindling feeblenesses of the 'inferior sex' of her own planet. Apart from the dubious delights of the leather fetishist's wet-dream of the alien's costume, it had nothing going for it at all - she spoke terribly properly too. Very BBC, it was like watching Invasion of the Light Program Continuity Announcers.
    And now, The Archers. Phil tells Jill: "All your bases are belonging to one..."
  19. Cat Women of the Moon - from man starved Martians to man starved Selenites. And a double dose of Deja-Vu: the 'plot', and some of the props of this piece of crap were recycled in the atrocious Missile to the Moon (qv), of which I am quite fond, and the spaceship sets were reused from the junky Project Moon Base (also qv) watched a few weeks ago. The opening sequence is a hoot as our heroes grimace their way through the heavy acceleration of take-off looking like the 'before' characters in crude indigestion commercials. Incidentally the crushing forces of take-off have absolutely no effect on our heroine's twin conically pointed chests. Lying flat on her back on her couch with the weigh of an elephant pressing down on her they point skyward like the twin nose-cones of her spaceship - they built bras well in the 50s!
  20. Target Earth - Better than average 1954 low budget B movie SF which started with a would be suicide waking up to find the city deserted (which also happens to be the way one of my favourite SF movies The Quite Earth starts) and intelligently built up a nice edgy paranoia feel which lasted up to the very second the clunky ("For Mash Get Smash!"like) robots that have invaded the city appear on the screen and suddenly it's all evaporated. All that hard work gone - Pouf! - with a single shot of a crappy bow-legged, cardboard monster. Then we're in the land of The Military sitting in small rooms pointing at maps and telling each other how dreadful the situation is before launching the usual air strike by stock footage as Scientists feverishly peer at oscilloscopes trying to find the alien invaders' Achilles' Heel. The bits with the lost and confused survivors are great, the rest of it is period, by the numbers, low budget B movie.
  21. Batman - The Adam West Burt Ward 1966 version, which just gets funnier every time I watch it..
  22. The Werewolf of Washington - this is why I watch movies with crap titles. Every now and then under the piles of Robot Monsters and Teenagers From outer Space, I stumble on a long forgotten gem. The Werewolf of Washington is such a gem; a bizarre, surreal satire of the downfall of Nixon - done as a werewolf movie. It's great. A badly cropped version of it is legally available here. Dean Stockwell camps it up outrageously as the Lycanthropic press secretary. Very 1973. Very funny.
  1. A Little Princess - I'm not ashamed to say I cried, more than once. A beautiful movie.
  2. Billy Liar - not as good as I remember it but still worth watching. Fell in love with Julie Christie again. Must stop doing that.
  3. Churchill: The Hollywood Years - A major disappointment this one.
  4. Gamera Vs Guiron - again. (MST3K) This time with the dreadfully inept Sandy Frank redubbed soundtrack which managed to ditch the original version's most brilliant line (an all time crappy movie classic) when one evil, silver clad, Space Bimbo says to another: "You're right; We'll eat their brains after we've fixed the ship." This would have would have all been funny enough without the MST3K layer on top. Judge for yourself - you can watch the full Sandy Frank version here.
  5. It came From Beneath The Sea - a giant six armed octopus (there wasn't enough money for eight) eventually attacks San Francisco before being exploded to bits by the navy. That's about it really.
  6. Kronos - a bigger budget, longer than normal, crappy SF movie. The bigger budget went on even MORE stock footage of navy jets, radar dishes whirling around, atomic explosions, and V2 rockets being prepared, and then taking off, than any three or four other crappy SF films of the period, and the length was increased by editing for ponderous dullness and having the V2 rocket footage countdowns start at "X minus twenty" rather than the usual "X minus ten", thus adding another pointless ten seconds to the running time each time they do it. (Aka: Kronos, Destroyer of the Universe, not to be confused with Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter which can't help being a much better film). Forget the length thing; a quick IMDbing shows that this only ran for 78 minutes, it just felt like two hours.
  7. The Mole People - A bunch of heroic archaeologists climb a very high mountain then fall down a very deep hole in it and discover a lost tribe of albino Sumarians who live on a diet of mushrooms and spend a lot of time whipping Mole Creatures.
  8. The Singing Ringing Tree - A ghost from my childhood laid to rest. It terrified Holly who bravely stayed and watched from her mum's knee.
  9. Day the World Ended - A 1957 Roger Corman non epic in which a sundry bunch of characters end up in a lead lined valley (sic) just as stock footage thermo nuclear heck is unleashed. It's the end of the world. Four men with guns, two women, (one an unmarried virgin the other a Las Vegas showgirl who drinks and smokes - guess which one makes it to the end of the movie?) Time passes, tensions develop (or are supposed to). Something is in the woods eating radioactive rabbits. A mutant monster! Seven weeks of radioactive dust has performed "a million years of evolution" (on an already living human) the result is a laughably bad, zip up the back, rubber monster who is strangely scared of their only source of fresh water. It rains. The monster dissolves. The remaining two characters, the Hunk and the Virgin. set out to repopulate the world as the caption 'The Beginning' fills the screen after it transpires that the brief shower of rain had washed all the radioactivity away and dissolved all the monsters running around 'out there'. The only thing of real note about this is the incredible amount of 'curtain acting' that goes on in it. One of the staple elements of bad and lo budget movie making of the period was the superabundant use of curtains in the set design. It was cheap. Finished with one set-up? Pull a curtain across, drop a different piece of furniture in front of it and you have a different location in minutes without having to move the camera or change the lighting. 'Curtain acting' is a skill in which the actor will get to comment on what's going on outside any building he happens to be in ("It looks like Rain", or "Here they come now, and it looks like they've got the sheriff with them!", that sort of stuff). He'll do this by standing to one side of the window - reaching across his body and lifting the curtain away from the window but along the axis of the shot - thus enabling him to pretend to look out and tell us what's happening off screen, without letting the audience see he's staring at the studio wall three inches away from his nose behind some cheap velvet curtains. There was a lot of that in this movie.
  10. In the Year 2889 - the 1966 Larry (It's Alive!) Buchanan's remake of Day the World Ended which manages to make the original look like a cinematic milestone up there with Gone With the Wind and Citizen Kane. Less curtain acting though - actually I'll qualify that; there was just less acting, full stop.
  11. The Giant Claw - sometimes you just feel so sorry for actors. Jeff Morrow was a stern-faced B lead with a great voice who could deliver the most awful garbage with a sincerity that beggars belief. In this movie (ably supported by his love interest Mara Corday) he earnestly acts his little cotton socks off combating the menace of a rapacious, giant pan-dimensional hell-beast bird thing which is surrounded by an impenetrable force field of Anti-Matter. This field makes it invulnerable to anything the combined military might of the entire world can throw at it - H bombs downward. Though why they didn't put a hand grenade inside one of the planes it keeps eating and blow it up with a timer is a mystery, because, when the impenetrable force field of Anti-Matter is finally pierced, the thing is shot down with a couple of bottle rockets... anyway... Mr. Morrow et all did their damnedest, talking scientific babble-bollocks, and looking terrified, or struggling manfully as the script requires - and making a pretty good fist of it too. They were acting to the empty air a lot of the time. The effects and reverse angles would be added later. This was pretty normal for this sort of movie. Still is. Unfortunately the money started to run short before completion, and instead of the terrifying, gigantic, hell-creature the actors were projecting their fear and terror towards, what ended up on the screen looked more like like a slightly cross-eyed Muppet turkey with a hangover - imagine the Spitting Image version of Big Bird - imagine the horror Jeff Morrow and anyone else who appeared in this felt when they saw this for the first time in their local cinema - imagine the pain as I ejected hot tea from my nose when I heard the line: "There it is now, attacking the United Nations Building!". A gem. I will be watching this one again and again.
  12. Attack of the Crab Monsters - Dear gods. Another fast and furious Roger Corman drive-in monster movie. Giant radioactive land crabs this time.
  13. Mouse Hunt - Taking time out from the Crappymoviethon to watch a film with the kids. This is the one they chose. Ah well. Christopher Walken was good...
  14. World Without End - but as soon as they were in bed it was back to yesterday's future with this ripping yarn of space flight, giant spiders, skimpily dressed bimbos, mutant cavemen, all topped off with Rod Taylor doing an 'English accent' - and all in terrifically lurid Technicolor too!
  15. IT! The terror From Beyond Space - back to black and white for a not bad "Omigod! We're a mixed sex crew locked in a space ship with an indestructible killer beastie crawling around the air ducts!" movie. Made twenty years before ALIEN it is an obvious influence. The alien in this one though is not very terrifying, and we see way too much of it, way too soon but there were some genuinely creepy moments and a great use of limited sets. Why the second manned expedition to Mars thought fit to pack a loaded Bazooka, and then keep it in the ship's control room is a question I will leave for others.
  16. Kung Phooey! - not totally unawful zero-budget Kung Fu movie spoof. Some of the jokes were almost funny.
  17. The Monolith Monsters - Giant self-replicating rocks from outer-space threaten the small town of Universal Backlot. Only the cunning use of dynamite and some unconvincingly convenient geology allows our heroes to save the the world. Some okay moments.
  18. Whoops Apocalypse - not as funny as I remember. Partially, I suspect, because twenty years later the references have become too distant.
  19. Ghost World - I usually like 'Independent' movies where I don't know any of the cast (except Steve Buscemi) and have to accept them for who they are portraying. This one I didn't enjoy as much as I was expecting; the pace was so slow.
  20. The Big Chill - I got over my William Hurt phobia and watched it. And mightily entertained I was too. About half way through some of the characters are sat around the TV watching a movie about a Giant Octopus. I'm sure it was supposed to be symbolic of something but I was too busy thinking: "Cool! They're watching It came From Beneath The Sea!", to work out what it was.
  21. Happy Feet -
  22. The Astounding She-Monster - Just when I though I had got to the bottom and scraped it clean I always find another little gobbet of crap in the corner. This one was a cracker. It's always a good sign when the opening of the movie is a long series of static shots of star fields with a voice over delivering total gibberish as if it was of Shakespearean importance ('Good' as in fasten your seat belts it's going to be crap). When the VO continues over the first seven or eight minutes of the movie telling you what is happening on screen because they couldn't afford to record any dialogue - you know you're onto a winner.
  23. Psychomania - a demented bit of early 70s British Trashsplotation which featured Nicky Henson as the leader of a Zombie Biker gang. Not as weirdly demented as it could have been. I spent a lot of my time spotting faces of people who would later become not very famous on the telly, and counting the number of times cars went round the same bend in the road in the car chases - and trying to work out if it was the same piece of road they used for the much better car chases in Scream and Scream Again.
  24. Madhouse - Vincent price chewing up the scenery in one of his later, England made, Grand Guignols. I love watching Price act. He knows it's tosh and he knows that you know it's tosh too. So he has a whale of a time seeing how far he can go balancing that fine line between suspension of disbelief and self-parody - and like any hire-wire act we love watching it, willing him not to fall off either side.
  25. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - Pure 30s/40s pulp - with Gwynneth Paltrow as feisty girl reporter! Tosh Heaven.
  26. "Manos" Hands of Fate - (MST3K) a film that defies watching.
  1. Aladin - Awful Disney tripe. My tolerance for even the smallest amounts of Robin Williams has almost vanished.
  2. Mr Wong The Detective -
  3. Mysteries of Mr Wong - Boris Karloff: Chinese Sleuth! Soporific poverty row pot boilers.
  4. Zombie Nightmare - (MST3K)
  5. Last of the Wild Horses - (MST3K)
  6. Jack Frost - (MST3K) This years obligatory Finnish movie.
  7. The Hellcats - (MST3K) I sneaked a couple of Mystery Science Theater 3000 disks into the luggage when we went on holiday.
  8. The Queen of Outer Space - This has long been on my Must Watch List (it's Zsa Zsa Gabor's only starring role!) and I wasn't disappointed. Total full Technicolor, cardboard pants from end to end - though weirdly deja-vu inducing. I have never seen this film before but knew what was going to happen every single frame. This is possibly because this movie, even more than the usual for cheap SF movies of the period, was assembled from bits left over from other, better films. The costumes were left over from Forbidden Planet, the script was Cat-Women of the Moon (again) and a lot of the sets, special effects shots and the obligatory giant spider (a staple part of any late 50s space adventure) were from World Without End - which I only watched last month.
  9. War of the Satellites - another quality product from Roger Corman. At least it was short: 66 minutes of low grade tosh.
  10. Flatliners - for years, in my head, I have managed to confuse this with Lifeforce (AKA Space Vampires) and was disappointed last night to find I bought the wrong movie. Not terrible and it was fun watching a young Oliver Platt working out his moves.
  11. Flushed Away - Very funny - and the kids liked it too.
  12. Angry Red Planet - The first expedition to Mars encounters a very weird post-production effect called 'Cinemagic'. A process invented by a man who went on to become a story editor on the Scooby-Do show and, as far as I can tell (after an intensive three minutes on Google), was never used again. The process, which was expensive and complicated, gave the entire screen a deep red tint with cartoony dark lines around our actors, sets, and props, and strange, luminous glows in areas of shadow. It was all very odd and if the script had been at all competent would have made for a good, eerie little movie. As it was what we got was a bad, almost eerie movie with the usual copious amounts of stock footage* of military stuff, ranks of scientists doing nothing but tell each other things they want the audience to hear, and the oddest 1950s giant movie spider ever filmed: '40 foot tall', with the face of a bat, the tail of a rat, and huge lobster claws. But even that was not as weird as the main monster of the movie - a giant amphibious amoeba with eyes that rotated like radar antennae. Odd. Very odd.

    *Even The Trailer is stuffed with it!
  13. Zoolander - A rare thing: a film actually improved by having commercial breaks in it.
  14. The Independent - Bit of a a Stiller family double bill tonight. Gerry Stiller and Anne Meara and their son Ben Stiller appearing in both. And both movies also having impressive rosters of people appearing as 'Themselves'.
  15. The Wizard of Oz - Watched with the kids. Friday night is Pizza and Movie night. It's been many many years since I watched this but what a great film. The story maybe simple and childish but I sat there for the whole thing just blown away by the set design and costumes.
  16. Star Crash - What to say about this? Star Crash is a stunning movie (as in the thing they do to cows just before they shoot them). It's a 1978 Italian Star Wars band-wagon entry which has Caroline Munro in a leather bikini - and so much more: David Hasselhoff as 'Prince Simon', Christopher Plummer as the Emperor of the Universe, delivering his lines - two words - at a - time. Because - that's the - way everyone - talks in - Italian movies - even if - they are - talking in - their own - language, that or he was doing his William Shatner impression: "Science Fiction is it? Right, I'll play it like that Captain Kirk fellow. That's what Science Fiction Acting is all about." .

    What the movie was really all about...*

    I think I am glad to say I had no idea what the hell was going on in the movie at all. I suspect I missed some of the finer plot points because I was laughing so much, usually at the direction and the dialogue - though some of the special effects are outrageously funny at times. I don't know why I had no idea what was going on in the film; I had no excuse, all the characters seemed to do was tell each other what they were doing. "We must go to the Planet of Certain Doom! Calculate a course allowing for solar drift!" "I am calculating a course for the Planet of Certain Doom and have entered it into the ships computer. We we'll be at the planet in twenty seven point thirty seconds of standard Earth time." "Look! (points at viewscreen - I gave up counting the number of times in this movie people pointed at viewscreens and said "LOOK!") We have arrived at the Planet of Certain Doom.". "Good. We'll park in that canyon over there.". The trouble was no one ever explained WHY they were going to the fucking Planet of Certain Doom in the first place. The whole script boiled down to a seemingly endless repetition of: "Let's go over there and get attacked!" Biff! Bash! Whallop! Help! Whallop! "Aha! You arrived from nowhere just in the nick of time to rescue us! Okay, let's go over there and get attacked." Biff! Bash! Whallop! etc. (But in Italian).

    *Though I mainly watch this kind of movie for the explosions - honest!.

  17. Moontrap - years ago, before they deemed them obsolete, Blockbusters Video had this big bin of 'Pre-Viewed' Videotapes at one pound fifty each or three for three pounds. I used to buy a lot of never to be released on DVD movies from this bin; stuff that went straight to video and was destined to stay there. The best bit of the deal was that Blockbuster would buy videos to shove in this bin for 50p each. So I got into the habit of buying, watching and returning them. It worked out a cheap way of renting movies I would never otherwise get to see. Sometimes I would buy tapes from charity shops, flog them to blockbuster and make a profit. I didn't keep a tally but I probably came out financially carbon neutral. One of the films I remember getting and flogging back to them was Moontrap starring Walter 'I'm not Chekov from Star Trek' Koenig. Today I found it (quite possibly the same tape) in a charity shop for 50p. I bought it. It's still shit.
  18. Silent Running - I was slightly disappointed (though not surprised) to find the DVD didn't have an option to watch this film without the hideous Joan Baez songs that batter you round the earballs in what otherwise is a small, but wonderfully made bit of SF moviedom.
  19. Xanadu - Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly and some bloke who never made it big enough to get his name on the DVD cover in a WTFkly awful movie that, after an hour something (boredom?) made me click the 'Display' button on the DVD remote - only to find that I had only been watching it for a mere twenty minutes. Towards the end of the movie I had the 'Time Remaining' up in the left hand corner of the screen. Occasionally I would look up at it and think: 'There's no way this can go on for another twenty, eleven, eight (or whatever) minutes!' But it did. Time was going very slowly in my living room this evening. Not bad enough to be good. Just boring.
  20. Fucking Åmål - aka Show Me Love - low budget teen lesbian movie. A sort of Gay, Swedish Gregory's Girl but with fewer laughs. Not great, but inspiring.
  21. Spy Kids - I like Spy Kids, I think it's fun, and so did the girls as we pigged out on pizza and flopped on the sofa.
  1. Escape To Victory - I was tired; it was on the box. I have no excuse.
  2. Born Romantic - semi-decent Chick Flick.
  3. TRON - a watching (as if I needed an excuse) prompted by the news that some fuckwits are making a sequel, and the presence of a house-guest who wasn't allowed to see it when he was six and has never had the opportunity since. Act One gets crappier every time I watch it. Acts Two and Three just get better and better.
  4. The Incredibles - Because I haven't seen Wall-E yet I can still say this is the best thing Pixar have done. This week's Kid's Pizza Night movie.
  5. Silver Bears - Dull predictable Michael Caine movie that had 'International Co-Production' stamped alll over it. Apparently it was a comedy.
  6. Attack of the Puppet People - brilliant title; dull film in which a psychotic doll maker shrinkifies people and puts them into glass jars to take out and play with when he's lonely. Very set-bound and not a lot happens. Most of the 'enjoyment' to be got from this was admiring some OK (for the budget) model work and some really lousy back projection and spotting the joins. Not a lot of attacking goes on either.
  7. The Giant Claw - again. I told you I would watch this one again and again. Tonight we have a couple of French Couchsurfers staying with us. They are both, totally unbeknownst to Mrs JM who invited them, afflicted with the same Real Bad Movie bug as I am. I introduced them to The Giant Claw. We laughed like drains in two different languages.
  8. The Incredible Melting Man - (MST3K) I also introduced them to Mystery Science Theatre 3000. See, travel does broaden the mind; come to Scotland and discover crappy American movies!
  9. Robot Monster - aka 'Is that the one with the Gorilla Suit wearing a diving helmet?' - apparently the director knew a guy with a Gorilla Suit who wasn't working that week and just bunged a helmet on him. Mercifully short at 62 minutes, this is one of the most incomprehensibly awful SF movies of the period. Really. It makes no sense whatsoever - and then turns out to have been a dream all along, which might explain some of it but not why our Gorilla-suited Robot Monster falls in weird, bondage-crazed lust for the last nubile human girl on earth, or where the dinosaurs suddenly come from (answer: from One Million Years BC starring Victor Mature), or why the Destroyer of Mankind (the human population of the earth is down to eight at the startof the action) is hanging around Bronson Canyon with his Intergalactic Communicator Thingy sat on a rickety wooden table alongside the world's first automatic bubble machine (it even gets a pre-title credit). It makes Plan 9 From outer Space look classy. Shot in 4 days for $16,000, it somehow managed to take something like a million dollars at the box office its first year - making it a most, commercially, successful bit of ulra-crap. It must have been great being a cheapo movie maker in the 50s.
  10. The 4D Man - once more scientists meddle with things 'Man was not meant to know' and once again one of them turns into a rampaging monster who needs to kill to live. But this time it actually nearly worked because of some cracking acting and some halfway decent scripting. (And Lee Merriweather - hubba hubba!) Terrible score though. Randomly placed chunks of loud attacking Crash Jazz does not make for tension, mystery or romance.
  11. Spy Kids 2 - disappointing sequel to an adequate piece of nonsense.
  12. Young Einstein - again, it always makes me laugh.
  13. King Dinosaur - (MST3K) A masterful combination of hundreds of feet of stock footage of everything from wildlife footage from several continents, the obligatory V2 taking off, the obligatory Atom Bomb explosions, and about seven thousand four hundred and thirty two individual shots of people flipping switches, inter-cut with four actors walking past the camera a lot, pretending to hide from Very Small Lizards shot in Very Close Up. And one of the best bad lines from a movie in ages: "I brought the Atomic Bomb, I think this would be a good time to use it." A delight. Another moment of genius was having one of our scientist explorers peering into a microscope while wearing a giant space helmet. The second Bert I Gordon movie of the month (he was also 'responsible' for Attack of the Puppet People) - and the second to use footage reused from 'One Million BC' (it cropped up in Robot Monster as well) - two of either would be enough, but two of both is starting to hurt.
  14. Labyrinth - better than I remember but I could have done without the bloody songs. Still the kids liked it.
  15. Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate) - Vastly disappointed. This was the first time I have seen the film and I was bewildered by the crappy, hurried and clumsy editing. It robbed the movie of the magic I remember loving in the book. Turns out the version I have is 30+ minutes short of the original Mexican release (but longer than the US version). I'd love to see the full thing but I doubt if it would live up to the book. Even allowing for the crappy hatchet job there were real problems with the direction.

    Mind you, for some strange reason, I really liked this scene.

  16. The Lost Continent - (MST3K) Dreadful 1951 SF yarn in which a revolutionary prototype atomic rocket (ie the same old stock footage of a V2) crashes on a radio-active island populated by dinosaurs and has to be rescued by Cesar Romero and various other military scientist chappies one of whom, the obligatory Brooklynesque comic relief, has a very weirdly disturbing sexual thing for aeroplanes. Very odd. Unfortunately also very dull.
  17. Howard The Duck - I finally got round to seeing Howard the Duck. It took me thirty years and was not as hideously dreadful an experience as I had feared. Despite some really dreadful music, John Barry at his most syrupy livened up with a couple of Thomas Dolby songs, an opening act which should have killed any movie stone dead (this film cost a fortune and bombed at the cinemas) and some dreadful, dreadful writing - I ended up almost liking bits of it.

    Bits like this.

    Mostly it was the performances of a (very young) Tim Robbins, and a (very sexy) Lea Thompson (Who? I hear you saying. Trust me - she was hot!) and a virtuoso display of scene stealing from Jeffrey Jones as an Evil Overlord of the Universe. When those three were on screen there was some real fun being had. For some reason the script got better during the second act. The plodding punning of the first act gave way to some genuinely funny gags in the second. I actually laughed. Still, it's not an experience I will ever want to repeat. The strange sexual relationship between Howard (a three foot two Alien Duck and Beverley, tall sexy white girl) was present in the comics but had been toned down for the movie. By toning it down (instead of eliminating it) they made it even more disturbing than I remember it being on the page. In the comics Howard and Beverley were just boyfriend and girlfriend who happened to be different species. In the movie it verged into the pervily bestial.
  18. Journey to the Seventh Planet - written and directed by the wonderfully named Sid Pink (who also produced the deliriously weird Angry Red Planet which I watched last month) is a strange Danish American co-production vaguely reminiscent of Lem's Solyaris and Ray Bradbury story The Third Expedition from The Martian Chronicles. Pink may not have been the best director in the world but the man was trying to do - I'm not sure what, but something above and beyond the run-of-the-mill Hollywood dross of the day.There were ideas in both these movies that deserved better. More time would have helped for one thing; this film was shot in a week. I'm off now to track down some of his other SF movies: Reptilicus (1961) sounds good. Looking through the reviews of his movies the word that seems to crop up more often than any other is 'odd'. I like odd. Odd is good.
  19. Spy Kids 3 - A rarity; a threquel that was better than its predecessor. The kids liked it too but I suspect they missed the Tron gags.
  20. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension - Wow! Doc Savage on acid. One of those films that three minutes into it you realise you haven't got a clue what's going on and four minutes later you realise you probably still won't have a clue at the end - so you might as well just lay back and enjoy it. A film so stuffed full of oddities (like Rastafarian aliens, The strange presence of watermelons in engineering labs, a whole planet whose entire population is called John) and so many throwaway jokes that I suspect it will stand several repeat viewings - if only for the scene where John Lithgow attaches electrodes to his tongue for no other reason than to cue a flashback.
  1. Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold (1984) - I bought this movie thinking it was something else. I can't remember what the something else might have been now but it wasn't this unholy mixture of slapstick and Spaghetti Western sadism. It's long, it's boring, and hasn't a spark of originality about it. I have no idea who the producers thought the target audience for this movie might be but the pitch must have been a doozy: "It's a Spaghetti Western Comedy - only, and here's the twist, we have a woman hero and make it look like an old time Saturday morning children's serial to cash in on the Indiana Jones market! How can we loose?" Three big targets to hit - and they missed all three. The comedy is feeble - are we really supposed to find the fact that the generalissimo is a teensy bit camp funny? The serial framing device is so clumsily and laboriously done that any humour in it evaporates before it gets going. The whole point about the Saturday serials was that there was a cliffhanger at the end of each episode*, a point that seems to have been totally missed by the writers. The only one of their targets they came close to hitting was the parody/homage of the Spaghetti Western genre - but as that was a genre that was always shamelessly happy about sending itself up it's a very easy target to hit. Give anyone a week in Almeria with a few unshaven actors and they could have come up with this stuff. *Apart from the last one naturally.
  2. Fiend Without A Face - In a rural part of Canada populated by people with weirdly variable accents, something is sucking the brains out of the locals who live round an experimental Atomic-Powered US Air Force Radar base - the variable accents came about because this film is a British pot boiler made in Walton on Thames by a poverty row studio who couldn't afford many real actors - though they did manage to scrape together enough money to hire one Jeep and one American car as props thus creating about as convincing an evocation of Canada as sticking a red telephone box in the middle of Times Square and captioning it 'Piccadilly Circus' would convince anyone that New York could double for London. It turns out that what has been sucking the locals brains was a species of 'Mental Vampire' unwittingly bought into being by a crazed old coot professor and the only way to stop them is to blow up the control room (sic) of the military's, already out of control, nuclear power plant. Just goes to show Britain could make grade-A Z movies too.
  3. Cars - The kids loved it but it bored the pants off me. What was the point? Toy Story, Monsters Inc, The Incredibles - just about all the Pixar movies I have seen - have a sustained internal logic that springs from the world they are set in. The Monsters need to gather scream energy in Monsters Inc. and the reversal of that - in the child who escapes into their world is toxic to them - and all that follows from that is delightfully worked out, Buzz Lightyear's realisation that he is indeed a toy, and can't fly is one of the great tragic moments of modern cinema. In Cars we get the tired old story about finding out that what Really Matters In Life is not necessarily what you think it is, dolloped out with animated cars as protagonists. Apart from a few puns and substitutions - tractor tipping instead of cow tipping was the best - nothing much happens that couldn't have happened in a straight movie. The Toy Story movies could only happen in the Toy Story Universe - it made sense to spend all that time and effort to animate it and make it believable. Cars could have happened anywhere - so why bother?
  4. The World The Flesh and The Devil - loosely based on the The Purple Cloud by P M Shiel, this is one of those films that may well have lost some of its shock value over the years but is still interesting (the ending implies that the last woman in the world isn't going to choose between the two men who have been fighting over her but will in fact sleep with both of them. What would have been even more shocking to audiences in 1959 is the fact that one of the men is black. I doubt if this was shown in many cinemas in Alabama when it was released.) It's a great film on all sorts of levels. The shock value may have dissipated with the years but the issues it deals with, racism and women's rights haven't.
  5. The Missionary - slight but amusing.
  6. I Married a Monster From Outer Space - I have long considered this to be one of the greatest movie titles ever. I've never seen it before and it turns out to be a stupendously dull movie which sent me to sleep three times in one viewing (two of them simultaneously).
  7. Ikarie XB1 - a 1963 Czech SF movie, previously watched in a chopped down American version known as Voyage To The End of The Universe. Another of the many movies which has resonances with, and reckoned by many to have been an influence on, Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey - though, if you play this futile game long enough it soon becomes possible that Kubrick didn't have a single creative thought during whole of the making of 2001, an absurd notion - which doesn't stop everyone playing it. Ikarie XB1 has more resonances than most contenders ending as it does with the crew of Earth's first interstellar craft looking hopefully toward the future as abstract patterns flow before their eyes and the image of newborn baby fills the screen. (The American version, for some baffling reason, cut the baby and added aerial shots of New York, thus implying the crew were aliens come to Earth.) Curiously compelling with some odd choreography in a shipboard party sequence - this is a big spaceship, one of the crew has a baby grand piano in his cabin. And I want the soundtrack.
  8. Jason and the Argonauts - I loved this as a kid and took every opportunity to watch it that I could get - which were few and far between in the pre VHS DVD days of my youth. I remember the sequence with the 'Clashing Rocks' holding a special fascination for me. I'm glad I shared it with my kids tonight, they said they enjoyed it but it doesn't half look like ropey old tosh to my jaded adult eyes. Ah well, another memory that should have been left undisturbed.
  9. The Notorious Bettie Page - fun little bio-pic of the fifties Pin-up girl. I wasn't entirely convinced by the need for the colour sections.
  10. Six Degrees of Separation - for a movie that hardly stops talking for a minute and rarely leaves the homes of rich urbanites holding glasses of dry white wine, this is hell of an exciting film. Far more so than any number of explosion and stunt ridden bits trash because unlike most explosion and stunt ridden trash I had no idea who the good guys were (if there were any) and what was going to happen next - this despite me having seen it at least twice before.
  11. The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl - I think I've finally ODd on Robert Rodriguez's kid's - sorry, 'family' films recently. My kids with their normal hyper-uncriticality loved it.
  12. Cry Baby - The Pope of Trash, John Water's rockabilly musical. I love it to bits; how can you not love a movie that has lines like:"You're rehabilitated. Here's three and a half dollars and a clean pair of underpants."?
  13. Cosmic Princess - Do I count this as a film? It's a TV movie made from splicing together two episodes of that great unintentional comedy hit Space:1999. Why not? It's not as if I'm going to be watching anything more like real film tonight. Favourite lines: Hero (Puzzling out why the Moon has just vanished in a overly sustained crappy visual effect): "There's only one answer: they've gone through a Space Warp. They could be billions of miles away." Sidekick: "...and we have fuel for less than a million." I can't even start to list all the reasons that those lines are so stupid but the implication that spaceships just stop when they run out of fuel had me hooting with laughter - but then I am the sort of twerp that finds that sort of thing endlessly amusing.
  14. The Fairy King of Ar - Presumably short for The Fairy King of Argh! I would guess one of the dreadful things about being an actor is that you can't ever take your name off your work. Directors can hide behind pseudonyms, producers can blame the director, and everyone else can throw up their hands and blame everyone else for letting them down. The actors however are stuck there up there, on screen for all the world to see, unable to hide from the awfulness that surrounds them. And this movie is awful. Most of the blame lies with the direction - not that there appears to have been any, and a script that may well have been, judging from what arrives on the screen, little more than a rough outline, semi-improvised by the actors as they were shooting. The whole thing looks like it was shot in single, unrehearsed takes with no one having bothered to tell the cast and the few background artists what was going on or what they were supposed to be doing. In short it looks like an amateur production and I can't begin to guess at the behind the scenes events that left reliably professional jobbing actors like Corbin Bernsen*, Glynis Barber, and Malcolm McDowell so helplessly adrift; I occasionally work with youth drama groups and have seen more conviction from bored High School kids than is on display here. Still, I guess the principals all got a nice holiday in South Africa out of it (a bizarre location choice for a film set on the Isle of Man). I don't suppose anyone involved in this turd will be including any part of it in their show reels. Having said all that my hyper-imaginative, six year old, fairy loving daughter was hooked throughout and genuinely terrified during the 'climactic' trapped-in-the-mine sequence, and even my four year old got 'the message'. *Bernsen also has to suffer the indignity of most incredibly underwritten, non-specific terminal disease in the history of movies since the Production Code of the thirties prevented anyone from mentioning the clap.
  15. The Fatal Flying Guillotines - 1977 Kung-Fu nonsense in which everyone kicks the bejeesus out of each other upon sight for no apparent reason to the sound of hyperactive Foley artists having fits in a junk yard. I'm used to movies trying to unsettle or dislocate the audience in the opening moments but this movie had a new (to me) trick: an on-screen written prologue simultaneously read aloud on the soundtrack - almost. The back story they were trying to get over was the same but the words coming out the voice-actor's mouth weren't the same as what was up there for us to read. Very disturbing. Like trying to pat your head while rubbing your tummy anticlockwise. Mind you the sequence where an ancient Shoalin Monk disables our fit young hero by giving him a double nipple twist was almost worth the pain of the rest of it.
  16. Fugitive Alien - (MST3K) My first 'episodes of a Japanese TV show edited together to make a movie' movie for a while. Absence has not made my heart grow fonder. Though I will say one thing for the genre: they're very easy to fall asleep to. Visual sleeping pills. I suspect it's because they are so incoherent and disjointed; they jump from scene to scene in a way that defies any other sort of logic other than that which happens in dreams, that they somehow trick my body into thinking it's already asleep.
Running total 164 October
  1. Dr Doolittle - another 90 minutes of my life I want back - thanks kids! Best bit of this film was discovering, after the event, that it was directed by the woman who played officer Lucy Bates in Hill Street Blues. Yep, that good.
  2. X Men - what jolly nonsense! Not seen any of the X Men series before and this was unexpectedly better than I was... er... expecting... One of the better comic book movies.
  3. Killers From Space - A masterfully demented, fever dream of a movie directed by Billy Wilder's idiot brother.
  4. Alien Nation: Body and Soul - Meh Buddy-Cop SF TV movie.
  5. The Beast of Yucca Flats - I'm through the bottom! Finally after years of scraping around the bottom of the barrel of movie dross I've broken through and found out what's lurking underneath. This is a masterpiece, a real genuine masterpiece! Shot without sound (and presumably without a script) and then voiced over by the director reading a elliptical bursts of insane, portentous lines - very few of which seem to bear any relationship to the badly framed inaction on the screen (and even when they do they're just bewilderingly weird: "Boys from the city, not yet caught in the whirlwind of progress feed soda-pop to the thirsty pigs.") What does appear on screen is brilliantly encapsulated, far better than I ever could, by this on-line review: "We get a five-minute scenes in which a couple of people walk aimlessly and slowly through an ugly, featureless desert for mile after mile, just walking and walking, and we're lulled into a false sense of security...and then BAM! Just when you least expect it, all of the sudden they STOP WALKING AND KIND OF STAND THERE FOR A WHILE." That's it. That's the entire movie right there.

    How long y'all want me to stand here, mister Coleman?

    How do you pack, defecting Soviet scientists, Russian assassins, an atomic explosion, at least five on screen murders (one of which develops into an implied necrophiliac rape and may well have come from an entirely different movie it made so little sense), cops shooting at innocent fugitives from a light aeroplane, a car chase ending in a shoot out, daring feats of mountain climbing... etcetera into a 54 minute running time - and make it so boring!? It takes a tremendous talent to do that. Francis Coleman was that talent. He directed two other movies. They're now on the list. Oh God, I laughed and laughed. "Push a button; something happens".
  6. Thor and the Amazon Women - Italian musclemen movies - you gotta love them. This one was shot in winter - you can see the breath misting as they speak for many of the scenes - which must have been very uncomfortable for the actors poncing about in skimpy loincloths but at least the goose-pimples would have stopped them slipping off. Also contains lots of gladiatorixes necroerotically stabbing each other (and themselves) with sharp pointy things in "The Triangle of Death".
  7. Unearthly Stranger - rather effectively creepy little British SF movie with few characters, no special effects, lots of talk, some passable ideas, and some interesting camera work. All that and Warren Mitchell with a Scottish Accent.
  8. Red Zone Cuba - (MST3K) I have now watched 2/3rds of Francis Coleman's oeuvre in one week! (Medals! I want medals!) The Beast of Yucca Flats and this. He didn't get any better and he decided to act in this one as well. 'Act' here meaning to stand in front of the camera and light cigarettes. His co-star was the producer. Dreadful.
  9. Space-Thing - Brilliant title for what turned out to be a 1968 soft-core porno flick. Though maybe it was a hard-core porno flick in 1968 - we saw pubes - twice! Amazingly enough it had a more coherent plot and better (looking) actors than either of the Coleman movies.

    I don't watch this stuff just for the tits, honest.

  10. Thunderpants - Funniest thing I've seen for ages that was meant to be. - Meant to be funny I mean.
  11. Oasis of the Zombies - dreadfully dull French movie which has 'English' students played by French actors dubbed by Americans getting eaten by Nazi Zombies somewhere in North Africa. Worse than it sounds.
  12. The Time Travelers - delightful little cheapo early sixties American SF quickie that almost worked. (If they had managed to loose the 'comic' it would have been a lot better.) Directed by Ib Melchior who also wrote the odd Journey to the Seventh Planet and the even odder Angry Red Planet.

    Today's gratuitous peachy bum shot.

  13. SST -Death Flight - (MST3K) 1970s made for TV disaster on a plane movie. Sometimes you have to wonder who wrote this shit. I mean really: disgruntled employee fills America's First Supersonic Jet Airliner's hydraulic system with 'corrosive' detergent (sic) which not only rots all the seals but then, when repairs are attempted, has managed to produce vast quantities of explosive fumes - which explode. Argh! No steering bits! Big hole in side of airyplane! Everyone does panic acting! Luckily the gallant crew (and Doug McClure) work out how to fly the plane without the steery bits - pitch is adjusted by getting the passengers to run up to the back of the plane when they want the nose to go up - and roll is produced by pumping the contents of one wing fuel tank to another. Hurray! Everyone is saved - all they have to do now is patch the drinking and toilet flushing water into the leaking hydraulic system... stop laughing at the back there - this is serious stuff! But what's that hospital like smell? Could it be the dangerous 'biological material' stored in formaldehyde (sic) loaded at the last minute and urgently on it's way to the Pasteur Institute in Paris has sprung a leak? Bugger me it has! Oh no! Everyone is being exposed to the deadly Senegal Flu! A dangerous new mutation of the virus with a death rate of 30% and an incubation period of less than just before the next commercial break! Oh, and there is no known cure. "'ello aeroplane of death, this is Paris air traffic control. Go away! We do not want you here - and we are turning off all the runway lights in case you try one of your sneaky American landings without asking things. By the way, everyone else don't want you neither... Go and crash in the Atlantic or somewhere. Nothing personal." Somehow 'London' is convinced to let the plane land. Just as the testosterone levels in the cockpit (fnaaaar!) couldn't get any higher, Doug suggests they fly to Senegal where the flu came from in the first place on the grounds that they might have the facilities to look after some rich Westerners. ("Look fellahs! Rich Westerners. Let's stop burying the thirty percent of our population that just died and look after them instead.) and not land in London where they might start a pandemic and kill lots of other Westerners. The passengers vote. To Senegal! They almost have just enough fuel... If only they can make it over this last... The plane crashes into a mountain just as Burgess Meredith is diverting bog flushing water into the flappy bits flapping system that meant they might have made it over the mountain. Crash! Everyone who hasn't died of Flu survives. Which is more than I did.
  14. Terror in the Midnight Sun - More 1950s, out of copyright, SF bilge. This time from Sweden. A 'meteorite' lands in Lapland. Scientist go to investigate. They ski around a lot (mostly in silhouette because it's hard to film people on vast snowfields with a very low sun. If you stand them facing the sun you see the camera's shadow on the ground. If you have them with their backs to the sun you end up with black blobs acting away on a white background - unless you have a shitload of really big lights - which these guys obviously didn't.) Reindeer are killed. An American girl is captured by a big shaggy something. She screams a lot. She meets three black garbed Aliens who say nothing. She screams a lot. A flaming torch wielding mob (on skis) corner The Thing and set it on fire. She stops screaming and falls sobbing into arms of ineffectual hero. The aliens leave in their spaceship - still without having said anything. The End (in Swedish).
  15. Hail the Conquering Hero - Preston Sturges.
  16. The Muppet Movie - Never seen it before and not as good as I was expecting - but then The Muppets never are. They're always better in the memory. I remember the TV show as being hilarious, required watching at the time, but when I actually watch an episode now (I have them all on tape) I'm always let down.
  17. At The Earth's Core - second Doug McClure movie of the week. In this one he's an intrepid Victorian explorer who, with professor Peter Cushing, accidentally discovers a Savage Land in the centre of the earth where hypnotic Pterodactyls enslave photogenic noble savages who just happen to speak English. Not a lot of plot but lots of fighting. See Doug fight. Fight Doug fight. Doug fights a dinosaur. Doug fights another dinosaur. Doug fights a fire breathing dinosaur. Doug fights humans. Doug fights 'Hoojah the Sly One'. Doug fights 'Jubal the Ugly One'. Doug gets 'Dia the Big Knockers' all to himself. Doug unite tribes. Tribes kill hypnodactyls. Tribes happy. Doug goes home. The end. The film does contain one line of sheer unadulterated moment of genius when the dottery Peter Cushing - having the time of his life hamming it up - stares a six foot rubber hypnodactyl in the face and defiantly says: "You can't Mesmerise me - I'm British!"
  18. Doppelgänger (aka Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun) - I really enjoyed this. Probably the best thing Jerry Anderson ever did - I know we're starting from a low place here but trust me on this one. Not great, but not bad, not bad at all.
  19. Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight
  20. Babylon 5: The Lost Tales - Voices in the Dark - two made for TV (or in the latter case straight to DVD) pointless, overly-punctuated titled (TWO colons?), and crappily disappointing additions to the glory that was Babylon 5 (may it finally rest in pieces. You blew it up, JMS! Get over it!).
  21. The BFG - the kids liked it.
  22. Strictly Ballroom - I have a theory that really good movies should make you come out from them moving differently. You should come away from a film responding physically to the world in a way you weren't when you went in. You should come out of an Indiana Jones Errol Flynn type adventure movie with a kind of daring-do swagger, Jackie Chan movie convinced you can jump up the side of a building and then leap onto a passing bus - I come out of Strictly Ballroom dancing.
  23. The War in Space - After a week off from the crap SF I returned with a bang. You might not remember this, but in 1988 Earth was attacked by green-skinned aliens from their base on Venus. They would have destroyed the world if not for a valiant crew of Japanese Hero types (and a token Westerner) who saved the day by zooming around the Solar System in their super flying submarine underground drilling spaceship thingie, throwing a lot of switches in lovingly detailed close up, and blowing up just about everything in sight - including the planet Venus. Wham! Gone. Oh, and the only female member of the crew managed to get herself captured by a horny Wookiee with a big axe and a leather fetish. God I love this stuff.

Running total 187 November
  1. The Man From Planet X - No psycho Wookiees, and the obligatory alien abduction of the heroine happened off-screen - this movie was that cheap. In fact not a lot happened really, apart from some of the most atrocious 'Scottish' accents ever committed in Hollywood; they were fun.
  2. Freejack - oh dear god.
  3. The Addams Family - Slightly postponed from Hallowe'en Friday night with the kids movie. I love it.
  4. Lady From Shanghai - which, once you get past Welles' 'Oirish' accent, is a stunning little film. As with all of Welles' movies I would have loved to have seen the original cut.
  5. Flight of the Navigator -
  6. The Man With Two Brains - I laughed. A lot. Steve Martin used to be funny and still is. By which I mean the films he made then are still funny now - unlike people like Gerry Lewis, or Arthur Askey who were funny then but aren't now and haven't been for a long time. Though there were people who went on laughing at Arthur Askey years past his (and their) sell-by dates so maybe I'm just laughing at stuff that I used to find funny but that isn't widely considered really funny any more. Maybe I just haven't noticed. I guess the acid test will be whether my children find The Man With Two Brains and The Jerk funny in a few years time. Fast forward six years and I can almost hear one of my girls saying to the other (or possibly one of the others depending on the sex of child number three, due in less than four months): "Oh crap! Dad's going to do one of his 'Is This Funny?' experiments on us again, just pretend to like it so he doesn't feel old, will you?" I love my kids; they're so considerate...
  7. The Earth Dies Screaming - Great title, lousy movie (a Universal Law I suspect) in which a small bunch of set-bound survivors of some unexplained catastrophe (possibly the score) which has left everyone but them dead, slowly discover that world's population (or at least the population of that village where they seemed to shoot every other episode of The Avengers) was destroyed by an alien force using killer robots (only two are ever seen on screen at the same time). The robots are controlled from a teeny weeny radio tower in the middle of a field which our survivors blow up using some convenient dynamite. Huzzah!
  8. The Starfighters (MST3K) - a monumentally dull film which consisted for most of its running time of every single inch of US Air Force stock footage of the Lockheed 401 Starfighter intercut with a total non story of three new recruits making a lot of telephone calls. Starring a man whose later credits include several single episode appearances in TV shows culminating in: "Ironside" .... Paul (The Body) (1 episode, 1971). The Starfighters was probably the highpoint of his career. As highpoints go it's probably one of the lowest ever.
  1. The Horror of Party Beach - (MST3K) a legendary bad movie (mostly because it was featured in the Medveds' Golden Turkey Awards) which deserves the ridicule heaped upon it by them, the MST3K crew, me, and everyone else who wants to have a shot. One of those films in which you end up asking yourself, "What were they thinking?" far to often. Grade-A poop.
  2. Alien From L.A. - (MST3K) Ho booyyyy! I really don't what to say about this one. Nerdy American teenage girl falls down a hole in Africa in search of her missing scientist dad and finds herself in a post-punk newromantic totalitarian Atlantis populated by Australian acting students. Made with a (for the time) flashy rock video style which did a lot to disguise the cheapness of the sets but little to disguise the lack of a coherent script. Very very poor. I'm now looking forward, with eager anticipation, to the sequel, which is, by all accounts, even worse.
  3. Mystery Train - Sometimes Mrs JM and I manage to agree on a film we want to watch together. She shoves aside her pile of Doris Day and Chicky-Flick Rom-Coms and I eschew the delights of scantily clad space bimbos and cardboard spaceships long enough to enjoy a real movie. The only director we both agree is a genius is Jim Jarmush.
  4. 12:08 East of Bucharest - on a roll, escaping the treadmill of Z-Grade B-features with rubber monsters and scripts assembled from a kit of parts, I launched myself with glee into my second 'Art House' movie of the week, a Cannes Award Winner no less! 'A droll delight' - The Times ' Funny, eccentric... wonderful' - Evening Standard, 'Bored the fucking tits off me' - JunkMonkey.
  5. Night of the Ghouls - It is a truth universally acknowledged that sequels are never as good as the movies they are sequelling. But what happens when the original movie is a grade A turd like Ed Wood's delirious Bride Of The Monster? Can anything be worse than the movie most famous for Bela Lugosi fighting a giant rubber octopus in three inches of water? (See January's list). Night of the Ghouls is the sequel - and it is even worse. And it's worse right from the very beginning. From the opening moments where Criswell, real life fake medium and deranged narrator of several of Woods films rises from an open coffin and, reading off idiot boards held too far off to one side of the camera, delivers the lines:
    "I am Criswell - for many years I have told you the unbelievable related the unreal and showed it to be more than fact. Now I tell you a tale of the threshold people - so astounding that some of you may faint - This is a story of those in the twilight time - once human... now monsters... in a world between the living - and the dead. Monsters to be pitied! Monsters to be despised!"
    It goes downhill from there very fast. There is a bewildering dreamlike quality to Wood's films in which logic and all known storytelling techniques evaporate before your very eyes in an orgy of wrongness... Love it.

    The only decent shot in the whole thing.

    I suppose the most notable thing about this movie is the fact that it remained unreleased for some 25 years; it was locked in a vault because Wood couldn't afford to pay the lab bills.
  6. Elf - It's Christmas (nearly) My heart fell when Number 2 daughter picked this as The Film We Were All Going To Watch tonight. By the end of it I had that It's A Wonderful Life / Miracle on 34th Street* feeling. I was actually snivelling. I'm such a girl sometimes.

    *The 1947 original with Edmund Gwen - not the crappy remake.
  7. Millenium - almost interesting SF movie (by a real SF writer!) which starts with an interesting premise - for not quite clearly explained reasons, time travellers from the future are rescuing the victims of plane crashes just before they die - which just falls to pieces under the weight of the crappy design, rubbish casting, and gigantic plot holes.
  8. Manhunt in Space - (MST3K) More Rocky Jones TV episodes nailed together into the rough simulacrum of a movie. The prestigious JunkMonkey SuperScience Gizmo of the Month Award goes to Professor Newton's Cold Light Device, explained, almost thusly, by heroic Rocky Jones to his comedy side-kick 'Winky'
    "The filament in the vacuum tube is quickly bought to a temperature of about minus 342 degrees centigrade. Heat can affect us so that images that can't normally be seen, can be seen by the human eye - like the mirages that appear in a hot desert. Intense cold can have the opposite effect and blot out images that are actually there. When this is switched on, the rays sent out by the terribly cold light will surround the spaceship and make it invisible."
    Why this incredibly cold ray doesn't freeze the tits off anyone within a couple of miles, or coat the ship in a frosting of ice when it lands on a planet with atmosphere is never explained - though it may be the reason I can never find anything in my freezer when I'm looking for it.
  9. Being From Another Planet - (MST3K) But being from this one I... I have no idea how to end that joke.
  10. Invasion of the Neptune Men - (MST3K) Japanese superhero SF movie that looks like episodes of a crappy kids TV series nailed together into the rough simulacrum of a movie - but wasn't. Most plot points were delivered via an endless number of press conference and public announcements, with hordes of people gathered round a single transistor radio, or by six small boys in short trousers who ran everywhere in a group and pointed at everything. "Hurray for the Electro Barrier!"
  11. Intervista - I think I just fell in love with Fellini.
  12. Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me - Not Lynch's best movie - a pretty needless addition to the TV series. I guess the money was too good to turn down.
Abandoned, for a variety of reasons (mostly 'cos they're the wrong kind of bad):
Elektra - Comic book based flick about 'Back from the dead' female assassin with issues. I gived up after 15 minutes when I realised it wasn't going to stop looking like a car commercial. Terrence Stamp appeared in flashback as the aged martial arts master and looked bored out of his skull, if he couldn't be bothered why should I? Presumably he was getting paid to be there; I wasn't.
- I can do no better than quote one of the IMDb reviews of this piece of shit: "a woefully unfunny film, with none of the 'so-bad-it's-entertaining' elements which similar films sometimes provide." Yep, that just about sums it up.
Hamlet - Ethan Hawke in the title role and a cast worthies totally at sea in a total fuck-up of a movie in which the director spends most of his time trying to point the camera at the BACK of whoever is speaking's head in order to make the lousily-recorded, mumbling and whispering that they are doing totally incomprehensible. Only Liev Schrieber (as Laertes) looked like he had a clue what his character was meant to be saying and then said it with a clarity and conviction that just made everyone else look even more lost. I lasted 30 minutes before hitting the off button.
- I love the original. This watered-down, fat, slick incredibly bland, mush made me want to puke. Dreadful. Which is a pity cos Mrs. JM bought it for me as a pressy and I wanted to like it so much. (In retaliation I bought her Love Actually which see had long wanted to see but had never got round to watching. She hated it; so we're even.)
The Last Days of Frankie the Fly
- another £1 wasted in Tesco. When will I learn? Nu-Image's movies are crap. No matter how many good names they get to act in the damn things (or how wonderful their assistant editors are).
Menace from Outer Space.
I think if you fall asleep three times while trying to watch a movie it's time to give in. Especially as this piece of dross was cobbled together from episodes of a 1956 kids' TV show Called Rocky Jones, Space Ranger.
Women in the Night -
Hooo Boy! this piece of cheapo, postwar Nazi & 'Nip' bashing shite must hold some sort of record for the most on screen verbiage before the first spoken line of dialogue in motion picture history. First we have a scrolling prologue (four screens full) - Followed by an establishing shot of the 'Bureau of Records', followed by a stock footage interior, and a zoom in on a drawer labelled "Case Histories Crimes Against Women", a tilt down to another drawer: "Confdential". A hand pulls open the drawer and starts to flip through the files giving us a chance to read their titles and some of the contents: (three shots showing eleven separate bits of paper to read). The last piece of paper is turned over to reveal a still photo of some women and a German soldier. Lap dissolve to stock footage of somewhere labelled: "Shanghai". Dissolve to yet another on-screen, full screen message: "In the Final Days of the war...blah blah blah". Cut to another filing drawer, a hand pulls out yet another typewritten card to read: "Crimes against Hospital Nurses Location: Shanghai". Lap dissolve to a sign "University Hospital" Dear god! I'm loosing the will to live here... Another dissolve to a sign saying "Nurses Quarters", another dissolve to a crucifix. The entire audience spells out 'I N R I' to themselves they are, by now, so used to reading anything that's on the screen. In all it's four and a half minutes! before anyone says anything meaningful - and then it's to read out a list of the character's names as they step forward one by one. Heaven help us! Not more establishing! There are seven writers credited with the script on this; I guess none of them had an eraser. Luckily my copy died about ten minutes later. I will not be looking for a replacement.
Cyber Tracker - Starring Don "The Dragon" Wilson (that should have been enough) I gave up after our bodyguard hero's wife delivered, with all the emotional depth and earnestness of a high school performance of Strindberg, the immortal line:
"I can't live my life waiting for you to walk through that door dead or alive."
A line I am determined to work into a play or story some time..

Last Year's List just to save me hunting for it all over Palimpsest the next time I need it.

Next Year's List Ditto
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 14:29   #6
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Default Re: 2008 Filmlists

1. The Holiday
2. The Kite Runner
3. Alvin and the Chipmunks
4. Sex in the City
5. Rabbit Proof Fence
6. Sideways
7. No Country for Old Men
8. The Duchess
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Old 1st Jan 2008, 14:37   #7
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Default Re: 2008 Filmlists

35. Princess Mononoke (dir. Hayao Miyazaki) -
34. La Môme, (dir. Oliver Dahan) - 1/2
33. L'un reste, l'un part (dir. Claude Berrie) -
--. Boondock Saints, (dir. Troy Duffy) - abandoned
32. The Lives of Others (dir. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck) - 1/2
31. Lulu on the Bridge (dir. Paul Auster) -
30. Frida (dir. Julie Taymor) -
29. The Crow (dir. Alex Proyas) - 1/2
28. Goya's Ghosts (dir. Milos Forman) - 1/2
27. A los que aman (dir. Isabel Coixet) - 1/2
26. Little Miss Sunshine (dir. Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris) -
25. Pan's Labyrinth (dir. Guillermo del Toro) -
24. The Aviator (r) (dir. Martin Scorsese) -
23. Lolita (dir. Stanley Kubrick) - 1/2
22. Sunshine (dir. Danny Boyle) - 1/2 I may lower the rating on the second viewing, but enjoyed it very much. Maybe I'm starved for sf.
21. Hydrozagadka ( The Hydro-riddle; dir. Andrzej Kondratiuk) -
20. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (dir. Peter Greenaway) - 1/2
19. In the Bedroom (dir. Todd Field) - 1/2
18. Broken Flowers (dir. Jim Jarmusch) -
17. All About Eve (dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz) - 1/2
16. La Dolce Vita (dir. Federico Fellini) - hard to rate
15. Must Love Dogs (dir. Gary David Goldberg) - - typical rom-com with some heights but also with so typical lows
14. Don't Touch the Axe (dir. Jacqes Rivette, based on H. Balzac) - 1/2
13. The Letter (dir. William Wyler, based on W. Somerset Maugham, starring Bette Davis) -
12. XXY (dir. Luc*a Puenzo) -
11. The Hairdresser's Husband (dir. Patrice Leconte) -
10. River of No Return (dir. Otto Preminger) -
9. Damage (dir. Louis Malle) - - good performances, but the story doesn't convince me at all
8. Dragonfly (dir. Tom Shadyac) -
7. Sabrina (dir. Billy Wilder) - - not as good as some other Wilder's films.
6. Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown (dir. Pedro Almodovar) - 1/2
5. Family album (dir. Jack Bender, based on the Danielle's Steel novel) - funny when watched with my family
4. Blues Brothers (dir. John Landis) (r)-
3. Volver (dir. Pedro Almodovar) (r) -
2. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (dir. Julian Schnabel) -
1. The Godfather I (dir. Francis Coppola) - - why it took me so long to get around to watching this? I've never done Top Ten Films, and would have big problems deciding, but I think this one gets there.

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Old 1st Jan 2008, 16:24   #8
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Default Re: 2008 Filmlists

16. Quantum Of Solace (2008, Dir: FORSTER, Marc)
15. Saw V (2008, Dir: HACKL, David)
14. The Dark Knight (2008, Dir: NOLAN, Christopher)
13. Batman Begins (2005, Dir: NOLAN, Christopher)
12. The Mist (2007, Dir: DARABONT, Frank)
11. The Strongest Man In The World (1975, Dir: MCEVEETY, Vincent)
10. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008, Dir: SPIELBERG, Steven)
09. Lady In The Water (2006, Dir: SHYAMALAN, M. Night)
08. Vile Pervert: The Musical (2008, Dir: KING, Jonathan)
07. Night Of The Living Dead (1968, Dir: ROMERO, George A.)
06. SiCKO (2007, Dir: MOORE, Michael)
05. Saw IV (2007, Dir: BOUSMAN, Darren Lynn)
04. 4 Luni, 3 Săptămâni Şi 2 Zile (2006, Dir: MUNGIU, Cristian)
03. Das Leben Der Anderen (2005, Dir: VON DONNERSMARK, Florian Henckel)
02. I Am Legend (2007, Dir: LAWRENCE, Francis)
01. Lust, Caution (2007, Dir: LEE, Ang)
Reading: Concrete Island, J.G. Ballard| flickr | blog | world lit | beer

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Old 1st Jan 2008, 16:53   #9
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Default Re: 2008 Filmlists

Shopgirl (2005)
It's a Wonderful Life
Hancock (2008 )
We Don't Live Here Anymore (2004)
Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Apartment (1959)
Brief Encounter (1945) +
especially for Celia Johnson and her sparkling eyes
The Railway Children (2000)
will keep an eye out for the original
Get Smart (2008 ) for Alan Arkin. Fell asleep, this was so bad. Plus, what's-his-name, the Rock, looks like a CGI humanoid.
I Am Legend (2007) +
Something's Got to Give (2003) ++
ever so slight deduction for unbelievability
Ratatouille (2007) Again, this time for Paris
L'Emploi du temps (2001)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(1977) because my son loved it, it's a beautiful film film, and, not lastly, because I've always dreamed of being ravished by François Truffaut.
Balls of Fury (2008 ) whyohwhyohwhy
The Misfits (1961)
Michael Clayton (2007) +
Notes on a Scandal (2007)
But the annoying Philip Glass score almost made me turn it off at times
Second Hand Lions
Terminator 2: Judgement Day godawful and I let my child watch this. Shameful!
Persepolis (2008 )
Bernard and Doris (2007)
Hot Fuzz (2006?) flatlined
Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
Love in the Time of Cholera (2007) -
Pride and Prejudice (R)
(2005) Some good dialogue and humor that I missed the first time
Flight Plan (2005) just bad and sad for Foster
Reds (1981)
Emma (1997) subtle as a pile of . It was a pile of ....
Wild Strawberries (1957)
Witless Protection (2008 )
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
The Innocents (1961) oh yeah
The Godfather (1972) always
Red Road (2006) Loved it!
Spirited Away (2002) 1/2

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Old 1st Jan 2008, 20:40   #10
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Posts: 10,918
Default Re: 2008 Filmlists

99 Saw V
See thread.
98 The Banishment (Izgnanie) /
See thread.
97 Quantum of Solace
See thread.
96 Ghost Town
Pleasantly surprised; the much-hyped Hollywood debut of Ricky Gervais as a leading man is funny and touching. A treat.
95 Eastern Promises
God, what guff. Cronenberg should go back to rabid porn stars and mutant babies, this was awful. Even the ever-luminous Naomi Watts can't save it.
94 Les Diaboliques (The Fiends)
A classic.
93 Igor
Trying to steal Tim Burton's thunder (and why would you want to do that, particularly?) horror comedy animation. Some nice sick jokes.
92 Gomorrah
See thread.
91 Brideshead Revisited ½
See thread.
90 El Rey de la Montaña (King of the Hill)
See thread.
89 La Habitación de Fermat (Fermat's Room)
See thread.
88 Los Cronocr*menes (Time Crimes)
See thread.
87 Righteous Kill
86 The Broken /
See thread.
85 The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
See thread.
84 Tropic Thunder
See thread.
83 The Understudy ½
See thread.
82 Eden Lake
The Hills Chav Eyes? To Chav & Chav Not? She's Gotta Chav It?
81 Man On Wire
See thread.
80 The Duchess
See thread.
79 RocknRolla
See thread.
78 Step Brothers
See thread (if you must).
77 The Strangers
See thread.
76 Hors de Prix (Priceless)
Silly piece of fluff with Audrey Tautou (making up for the The Da Vinci Code). Slight and stupid, but very charming.
75 Fargo
Oh boy oh boy oh boy. A top ten movie.
74 Angel Heart
Brilliant old favourite.
73 Shallow Grave
Great movie, and the best use of an Andy Williams song in the entire history of cinema (including The Deerhunter).
72 Elegy
See thread.
71 In Search of a Midnight Kiss
See thread.
70 The Mummy : Tomb of the Dragon Emperor ½
See thread.
69 Hellboy II : The Golden Army with edging
See thread.
68 The X Files - I Want To Believe
67 Inside Man
Not the usual Spike Lee joint at all, but a terrific change of pace and mindset, creating a really satidfying heist thriller with a smile-inducingly clever punchline. Lovely.
66 Zodiac
So so impressed. Fincher's hymn to paperwork and dedication translates to DVD brilliantly, and everyone (Ruffalo, Gyllenhall and especially John Caroll Lynch, as the suspect Arthur Leigh Allen, are exemplary).
65 Flight of the Living Dead
Daft, but a blast. Joffe should watch and learn.
64 Captivity
Roland Joffe should be so ashamed. Seriously. The man who made The Killing Fields now peddling a piece of torture porn shit that out-Hostels Hostel. Utter utter kack.
63 United 93
Peerless 9/11 journey, told with admirable respect by Greengrass.
See thread.
61 The Bourne Ultimatum
60 War of the Worlds
Perfect chaos, a movie heading for a terrific , and then the dampest squib of an ending ever.
59 Donkey Punch
See thread.
58 Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
See thread.
57 The Dark Knight
See thread.
56 Mamma Mia!
See thread.
55 Journey to the Center of the Earth
Passable blockbuster-y summer fayre, and Brendan Fraser is always worth a try. The kids will love it, although it's just a fleshed-out TVM at best.
54 American Psycho
Hilarious. Bale's comic timing is spectacular.
53 The Browning Version
Dated, but still very affecting portrayal of a man confronting his failures. Redgrave is a colossus.
52 The Mist
See thread.
51 Kung Fu Panda
Just what it says in the title.
50 Hancock , and
See thread.
49 The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
See thread.
48 Wanted
See thread.
47 The Chronicles of Narnia : Prince Caspian
Lacklustre follow-up to the first movie, enlivened only by the efforts to hide Anna Popplewell's burgeoning décolletage. 13 in the books, huh?
46 Kingdom of Heaven
Bloom is so not a movie star.
45 The Ruins
silly (killer weeds) slasher flick, lifted by some good performances and better than average sense of dread
44 Teeth
See thread.
43 Prom Night
See thread.
42 The Happening
See thread.
41 The Incredible Hulk
See thread.
40 Amadeus
Wonderful. If you ever feel you want to 'get into' classical music, watch this film.
39 Blood on Satan's Claw
Nowhere near as good as I remember, although Linda Hayden still looks fantastic.
38 Quella villa accanto al cimitero (The House by the Cemetary)
Fulci invests this with a creepy ambience, but it's too stilted and stagey to beanything other than a curio.
37 The Deadly Spawn
Dull Vipco gore 'classic'.
36Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
See thread.
35 Doomsday
See thread.
34 From Hell
Hmmm. Time for a re-appraisal of The Hughes Brothers' Ripper take, and it's still not really any good. Depp's mockney accent is the worst of his all-very-similar collection, and it's a shame to see Ian Holm reduced to a Pantomime role. It's just saved by an unflinching approach to gore and Robbie Coltrane's exasperated and highly cultured sidekick.
33 Se7en
Another showing for Fincher's superior serial killer flick.
32 A v. P
Mostly rubbish franchise cack, but like in Resident Evil, Paul Anderson shows he can do action pretty well, and the radiant Sanaa Latham gets a star all on her own.
31 Michael Clayton
Whoa, what a terrific legal/corporate thriller, gradually spiralling down to looking in detail at what it ultimatelt means to be able to live with yourself. Everyone is exceptional, and the ending is so fitting and satisfying. May grade it up as I think on...
30 Stardust
Entertaining fantasy fluff, with the ever-reliable Mark Strong thrown into the mix.
29 Happy-Go-Lucky
And a unreserved for Sally Hawkins.
28 You, The Living
A work of genius, apparently.
27 [●REC] ½
Suffering maybe from the slew of POV and Spanish horror movies, but still a corking little thriller.
26 Confetti
Hmm. Take all the people who are the second-string supports from decent Brit comedies (Daisy from Spaced, Tim from The Office, Jeremy from Peep Show, that rubbish bloke from Green Wing), put them in a mockumentary thing about the absurdities of wedding ephemera and then realise why they weren't the stars of the decent things they did. The very definition of not-quite so-so, if one were needed.
25 The Long Good Friday
God, but I love this film.
24 Get Carter
Caine in best-ever form. My first viewing of this on digital and it's remarkable how striking and beautiful some of it is. Nothing beats those bleak deaths on the slag-black beach, though. Awesome.
23 Villain
Burton doing a rubbish Sarf Lahndan accent, but filled with menace and there's some cracking lines of pre-Minder dialogue ("He's losing a lot of claret, Vic!").
22 Diary of the Dead
See thread.
21 A Canterbury Tale
Truly fabulous P&P pic.
20 El Orfanato (The Orphanage)
Great, creepy Spanish thriller.See thread.
19 The Other Boleyn Girl
Two stars for Mark Rylance as the girls' father, Sir Thomas, the rest is a dud.
18 The Cottage
Silly and pointless, but still fun to get through, sort of like a Charlie Higson thriller.
17 The Sound of Music
A pick-me-up choice, despite the Nazis.
16 The Jungle Book
Twice, on a rainy day with my girls. Both times a
15 Hostel, part 2
Like the icon says.
14 There Will Be Blood
There will be grimacing.
13 Juno
Loved it. See thread.
12 All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Discussed here. Lost its 'red star' belle grade in the 9 months since I saw it, but it's still a top, top movie.
11 Cloverfield
Stupid plot, stupid monster, stupid people, stupid film.
10 Severance
Not what I asked for from LoveFilm! Utter shite, but then it had Danny Dyer in it, so what do you expect? A creepy moment at around the half-way point (not involving Dyer) gleaned it a couple of stars.
09 No Country for Old Men
See thread.
08 Wrong Arm of the Law
Chaotic but fun B+W crime caper with Sellars, Cribbins, the lot.
07 Constantine
Holy crap.
06 Requiem for a Vampire
Almost totally wordless French lesbo vampire flick, with a tiny bit of atmosphere and lots of, well, thigh.
05 Horror Farm
Nice slant on the stalk and slash genre (you have sympathy with the culprit) but it descends into chaos too often to be competent.
04 The Mutations
Jack Cardiff made this?! Dreary horror hokum reminiscent of Browning's Freaks, but with only a pointing-at-the-oddities sentimentality and no depth whatsoever.
03 The Fantastic Four
And they made a sequel?
02 Elf
Will Ferrell, what's all that about? Another in the Jack Black, Adam Sandler group that just leaves me cold. The two stars are for Zooey Deschanel.
01 Mary Poppins
Drivel. I always hated this, even as a kid.
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