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Status Report

Nothing inspires brevity like a 420 character limit. Here is a comprehensive archive of my Facebook status update reviews of film and TV. Enjoy!

A Christmas Carol (1984) – George C Scott, Edward Woodward and Joanne Whalley…. what a version of A Christmas Carol! (19/12/09)

A Prophet – absolutely brilliant. A nice angle on the gangster formula that I would say is closer to “Oz” meets “Mesrine” than “Goodfellas” meets “Scarface” as the sleeve suggets. Very well made indeed, especially the time spent with his “cellmate”. Tres Bien! (13/06/10)

A Touch Of Zen – a 3 hour epic meditation of a kung fu movie. Lots in common with Sergio Leone and a clear influence on the likes of Crouching Tiger (complete with flashback narrative and bamboo forest showdown). Shoddy transfer of a crappy print and in dire need of a full restoration but none of that can detract from the quality of the story. Lush. (02/05/10)

A Town Called Panic – madcap, stop motion animation from the people who brought you (and in the style of) those loopy milk ads. Surreal, hilarious and a bundle of fun but a little bit exhausting, there’s no point in attempting to explain what it’s about, best just go watch it. (19/02/11)

Accion Mutante – Mad Spanish sci-fi/comedy about a band of crippled revolutionaries in a future world that’s very reminiscent of Gilliam’s Brazil. Low budget, completely barmy, amusing and clearly was a lot of fun to make. Directed by the same guy that did (the vastly superior) 800 Bullets. It’s not brilliant but it is certainly a lot of fun and takes a really seriously dark turn for a minute or two in the middle. (10/08/10)

Anvil The heartrending tale of Canadian metallers Anvil. Proof that believing in yourself and trying your hardest isn’t enough for success. Too close to Spinal Tap for comfort, witness a man who seems a nice & decent human being chewed up by an industry that at its worst doesn’t care & at its best couldn’t find its ass with both hands. There’s a certain tragic poetry the DVD cost me £2 in the clearout…… (11/09/10)

Anzio – Robert Mitchum and Peter Falk lark about in Italy. Bizarre tone to this film that falls somewhere between a dark indictiment on the spirit of man and his love of warfare and full on American schmaltz. Overall not bad if you get past the awful score. Falk is amazing in it bar one moment of serious over-acting. Worth a watch but not exactly a classic. (16/07/10)

Army Of Crime – subdued French World War 2 thriller following a cell of immigrant members of the French Resistance causing trouble for the Nazis in occupied Paris. Shies away from glorifying the deeds of the resistance, portraying them instead as normal people pushed too far. Takes a very dim view of Nazi collaborators, portraying them in a worse light than the Nazis. A decent film and a different take on the genre. (08/07/10)

Bad Boys 2yeah well. less said the better. Let’s leave it at “a big pile of shit” and be done shall we? (16/10/10)

Bad Lieutenant (2009) – Nic Cage plays the titular police officer in Herzog’s take on Abel Ferrera’s 1992 drama. It’s a much more light hearted affair despite dealing with similar themes (addiction, corruption, desperation) and although my memory of the Ferrara film is considerably faded is much more watchable than the original. Some of the antics distract a bit from the message but its pretty decent nonetheless.

Black Christmas – Enjoyable prototype slasher shennanigans. John Saxon however will be busted back to patrol when they realise he’s left a sedated victim on her own in an unsecured crime scene!!!! What the…!(06/06/10)

Blood On Satan’s Claw1971 Brit period horror that has as much in common with Eden Lake as it does Witchfinder General or the Wicker Man. Not simply sinister and grotesque it pits rationality against superstition, progress against tradition and generation against generation. Although it relies on a central supernatural concept it successfully probes the darker side of human nature. Classic. (04/11/10)

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas – It’s clumsy, patronising, poorly acted and it’s sheer Englishness is hugely distracting. I say if you want to watch a film about the holocaust go with Life Is Beautiful, if you want to see a film with Germans being resistant to Nazi ideology watch Das Boot. If you want to see 2 little English boys act badly through a fence then Striped Pyjamas is the film for you! (09/01/10)

Breaking Bad – Crammed the whole of season 2 of Breaking Bad in 3 days. Even better than season 1 and much much darker. Bryan Cranston is extraordinary in it, and a million miles away from his more familiar role as Malcolm In The Middle’s dad. If you have never seen it, make an effort to. It’s really good. (10/08/10)

Bronson – biopic of “Britain’s Most Dangerous Prisoner”. Nikolas Winding Refn is rapidly becoming one of my favourite directors. Beautifully shot, it’s further proof that Winding Refn understands the notion of hell on earth. Artful use of classical music to score it and Thom Hardy’s performance is extraordinary. (19/02/11)

 ‎The Butcher – a thoroughly nasty example of Korean torture porn that is difficult to recommend to anyone although it does sort of work as a piece of endurance cinema. Thankfully a meagre 76 mins long I think somewhere in there is a statement against the genre with the snuff film shot from the victims POV plot but its been disguised really well. Sadistic and largely humourless it is not for the faint of heart. (06/08/10)

Cape Fear (1961)  – Just finished watching the Mitchum/Peck version of Cape Fear (for the first time!). Oozes quality, between this and Night Of The Hunter Mitchum has to be in the top 5 movie bad guys of all time? Smooth transitions between laid back and lunacy. Good work. Think there’s just enough time for Scorsese’s remake before bed….. (02/04/10)

Carnival Of Souls – Spooky and paranoid, it’s a great example of how you can create atmospheric horror without resorting to blowtorching eyeballs. It suffers from non-existent technical standards but if you can get past this the ideas are good. (19/02/11)

Che Part 1 – seen it already but had to be watched in advance of part 2. Wonderfully shot, the last act reminds me of A Bridge Too Far and I’m pretty sure it’s educational. Score! Part 2 is next on the agenda…. (09/04/10)

Che Part 2 – Great and so different tonally to part 1. The optimism of youthful idealism giving away to the descent into despair and hopelessness that comes with a slavish devotion to ideals without them being tempered with logic and rationality. Che’s unravelling in the Bolivian jungle reminded me a bit of Antichrist, …without the genital mutilation. Plus it’s another one off the stack. 11 films & 5 tv series to go! (12/04/10)

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs – Expectation confounding work of total genius. Beautiful animation, insane story and very, very funny. Better than Pixar? No, but on a par. Highly recommended. (22/01/11)

The Crazies (1973) – nae bad for a fiver. One of those films brimming with ideas that suffer slightly for the lack of budget. I suspect it contains the genesis for many contemporary films, Planet Terror springing to mind. An enjoyable diversion but one for the Romero completist methinks. (24/02/10)

Cross Of IronPeckinpah in bloody form. James Coburn commands a Wermacht unit on the Eastern front. Asks a lot for you to sympathise with the Germans but they pull it off. It’s about differences – ideologue v rationalist, young v old, ruling class v working class, selfish ambition v self sacrifice. A reminder not all in the German army were Nazis. Brilliantly written and performed & the set pieces are magnificent. (21/02/11)

Das Boot – Wolfgang Petersen’s U-Boat epic. Taught. Claustrohpobic. Amazing attention to detail. Stellar performances. I don’t think I can praise it highly enough. 3 hours and 20 minutes of sheer genius. (16/07/10)

Day Of The Triffids (1981) – Just finished watching the 1981 BBC version of Day Of the Triffids and it was awesome. Can someone explain what happened to the BBC that made them utterly inept at making a good sci-fi series? Hasn’t happened in a very long time. Anyone who knows any different should feel free to put me right. I blame CGI.

Day of the Triffids (2010) – Just like almost all other british sci fi it has fallen drastically short of what it COULD and SHOULD be. Crap script, crap acting. Why, if suddenly and unexepectedly struck blind would everyone run around with their arms outstretched screaming? (01/01/10)

Days Of Glory – in keeping with the recent trend for world war 2 films about lesser known armies and battles it follows a unit of Algerian soldiers in their fight to liberate France. well made and rather touching it highlights the disgraceful treatment of these troops by the French government. watch it! (19/04/10)

Dead Of Night –  A beautifully structured anthology piece that manages to be creepy and witty at the same time and has clearly been an inspiration to other films since, most noticeably the early Anthony Hopkins film “Magic”. Proof that you don’t need CGI to make a horror film.I don’t know why I prefer horror films to be creepy and atmospheric rather than outright scary but I do! (17/06/10)

The Dead Outside – another example of tuppence ha’penny film making punching above it’s weight. Bleak yes, but only because it feels quite realistic. Well done. (17/03/10)

Demons Of The Mind – Fragmented period thriller from a Hammer studios reaching its nadir. An arrangement of elements all of which are half decent in themselves including some excellent performances but it fails to gel as a cohesive whole. It does succeed in giving an indication as to why Hammer fell on such hard times. (28/10/10)

Devil’s Rejects – less amusing than House of 1000 Corpses but has a much better soundtrack (18/10/09)

DOA: Dead Or Alive – not even the presence of the delightful Joy Hickey can redeem this shocker. it’s attempts at humour are almost as awful as the ‘martial arts’ action. pretty much met my expectations. (16/07/10)

Dracula A.D. 1972 – Cushing, Lee and Stephanie Beacham star in this surprisingly quite good take on the Dracula legend. All the fun and frolicks you’d expect when a group of hedonistic hipsters fall foul of a plot to resurrect everybody’s favourite vampire Count. Definitely worth checking out and vastly superior to a lot of vampire films I have seen. (05/11/10)

Dream HomeHong Kong slasher flick about a woman who will stop at nothing to get her hands on a prime piece of HK real estate. Gory, violent, disturbing and maybe not quite funny enough. Slight mismatch between the killing spree and the actually quite touching flashback sequences and a sense it isn’t sure what it’s trying to be. Technical aspects of the carnage are superb. Worth a look. (28/01/11)

The Driver – Walter Hill’s 1978 thriller with Ryan O’Neal as the titular Driver being relentlessly pursued by the Detective Bruce Dern. Exciting and realistic chases and a cop/criminal dynamic that was clearly the inspiration for Michael Mann’s Heat. Runs the risk of seeming over familiar due to its obvious influence on other films and video games (see the GTA series and the original “Driver” game). Very satisfying. (21/11/10)

Edge Of Darkness (1985) – Finally found the time to squeeze in all 6 episodes of the 1985 BBC drama “Edge Of Darkness”. Bloomin’ good it is too. Further evidence that at one stage we could make outstanding tv drama in this country but somewhere along the line we lost our way. A great showcase for British acting talent ‘n’all. (29/03/10)

Everyman’s War – I suppose it had to happen. After a run of excellent cheapy war films here’s the turkey. Chronic story. Chronic acting (I mean properly poor, student film class poor). Overdone “aged veteran reminiscing as he discovers he is the last survivor of the old unit” structure. Amateurish and dull and a stunning example of how low budget combined with dull ideas equals a terrible viewing experience. (08/06/10)

Fear In The Night – Late era Hammer psychological thriller that despite a decent concept is poorly executed and struggles to rise above hopelessly average. The late great Peter Cushing is criminally under used, Judy Geeson looks stunning as the is she/isnt she going mad female lead and Joan Collins is suitably sinister as the headmasters wife but the whole affair still somehow manages to be pedestrian. Shame. (28/10/10)

Flags Of Our Fathers – turned out to be better than I expected but sadly the schmaltzy American-ness of it all took the edge off what could have been an excellent film. I am now even more excited by the prospect of watching companion piece Letters From Iwo Jima. (02/06/10)

Frontiers – French equivalent of something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre or maybe Devils Rejects only without the jokes. Pretty stern stuff with an impressive moment that manages to be heart-in-mouth intense without the slightest whiff of a bad guy on screen. ‘Torture Porn’ theatrics are used sparingly and therefore very effective. Think Fritzl on PCP and you are on the right track. (30/06/10)

Gangs Of New York – Almost as good as Football Factory. But twenty times longer. And not as funny. (30/07/10)

G.B.H. – Just finished watching Alan Bleasdale’s 1991 TV Series “G.B.H.”. Phenomenal, why can’t people make TV like this anymore? Witty, insightful and genuinely gripping. Wonderful performances from the cast and good writing. The closest thing I’ve seen to being this good recently was “Red Riding” but GBH is better. (13/03/10)

Ghostrider – Exactly the sort of behaviour that has left Nic Cage saddled with a reputation for being in awful films. Poor special effects, crap execution, dire script, awful acting, I’m not sure they got anything right at all. I’m not up to speed with the comics but it seems like a pretty cool licence that got completely botched. Boo. (20/02/11)

Gorky Park – rather intriguing behind-the-iron-curtain gumshoe thriller populated with a wealth of Brit acting talent (including bizarrely Rikki Fulton as a rather convincing KGB agent) and Brian Dennehy. Saving themselves the bother of attempting Russian accents actually helps rather than hinders and the plot, whilst a bit conventional, trots along at a decent pace. Rather enjoyable. (06/07/10)

Grey Zone – rather grim tale of an uprising in Auschwitz played out by an interesting cast and based on actual events. Suffers from a conscious need to be worthy & struggled to hold my attention. Some scenes betweeen the Oberscharfuhrer and the Jewish doctor who assisted Mengele in his experiments are quite potent. Focusing on the Sonderkommando made for difficult subject matter – I think they overreached themselves. (06/07/10)

Hana Bi – The wonderfully humourous/touching/tragic/violent Hana Bi officially watched. As it turns out I have watched it before! Why it was in my “to watch” pile I’m not sure but I’m glad it was. All hail Beat Takeshi. (17/04/10)

Harry Brown – Michael Caine is an ex-marine who gets pushed past his limit by the lawless yobs who have overrun his housting estate and turns the tables on the gun an knife toting hoodies. It’s basically Deathwish, the action transposed from New York to an unnamed London estate. It’s all a bit fifty-fifty to be honest, and the ending is disappointing. (13/12/10)

The Hidden Blade – Suffers slightly from being a little too similar to Twilight Samurai but is enjoyable nonetheless. Particularly good conclusion and some excellent performances. Can anyone explain why Samurai are so freaking cool? (17/04/10)

The Hourglass Sanatorium – I wont pretend to have understood the plot (if indeed there was one) but its beautifully made and i think (can’t be sure) is supposed to be an exercise in imagination rather than storytelling. At times genuinely disturbing and very very surreal. Enjoyed the images immensely. (23/04/10)

House of 1000 Corpses – amusing if a bit shit, Walton Goggins is class in it though, think i’ll save Devil’s Rejects for another night… (17/10/09)

The House Of The Devil – Subdued horror that pays clear homage to likes of Argento and Fulci. 80s setting adds to its effectiveness. Pretty good. (08/01/10)

The Hurt Locker – I think my expectations may have been a little bit high. It was pretty good but nowhere near as good as people are suggesting. Some genuinely tense/exciting moments, beautifully shot but lacks something. I wasn’t sold on the whole sniper bit in the middle either. (05/02/10)

Ice Cold In Alex – classic British stiff upper lipism and an interesting look at the human spirit in the face of adversity. Also home to one of the worst South African accents I have ever heard! (25/04/10)

The Illusionist – eccentric French animation from Sylvain Chomet (Belleville Rendezvous). A beautifully rendered adaptation of a Jacques Tati script, its a bittersweet tale charting the struggle of people facing the end of an era and their own human frailties. Intimate, well observed and so warm its glowing. Essential viewing. (30/08/10)

I’m A Cyborg – right that’s it – I am officially declaring Park Chan Wook a genius! Just watched I’m A Cyborg for the second time and it is as beautiful, touching, outlandish, witty and altogether human as it was the first time. Glorious. (28/04/10)

In Bruges – No matter how many times I see it I’m staggered by the balance of tar black humour and genuine tragedy. Martin McDonagh’s script is awesome, as is the cast. Possibly the greatest performance Colin Farrel will ever achieve. You MUST see this film. (30/08/10)

Inception – Not as good as the hype suggests but definitely worth a watch, especially if you like heist movies. Imagine if you will Oceans 11 rewritten by William Gibson. Awesome special effects, made all the more special by the refusal to resort to CGI unless absolutely necessary. Lovely transfer on the Blu Ray too. (26/12/10)

Inglorious Bastards – Watched the Enzo Castellari “Inglorious Bastards” today. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Would highly recommend it! (13/12/09)

Innocent Blood – Over ten years after he made American Werewolf.. John Landis taps the vein of comedy horror again with this flimsy vampire flick. A couple of interesting moments (mafia boss surviving due to his love of Italian cooking) but overall falls flat. Landis does show his skill with old school sfx with a brilliant spontaneous combustion of a vampire in a hospital when he is exposed to the sun. Screw you CGI! (03/12/10)

Iron Man 2 – High energy rough and tumble sequel seeing the return of Mr Downey Jr in the red and gold suit. Lots of fun, lots of action, a couple of lulls but on balance a decent comic book movie. A textbook example of how a high budget blockbuster should work (take note James Cameron). Definitely looking forward to the Avengers movie now…. (27/10/10)

It Might Get Loud – Jimmy Page is cool. Jack White is cool. The so-called “Edge” is a twat. No great revelations there then. Worth a watch although probably only if you are a fan of one or more of these three guitarists. Their jam of “In My Time Of Dying” is a highlight. (03/02/10)

Kick Ass – Finally got around to seeing this and have to admit it more or less met my high expectations. A witty take on the superhero genre that is frankly vastly superior to Watchmen. Funny, action packed and with a clear affection for the world of superheroes. Decent cast too. Makes me want to put on a mask and fight crime…. (10/09/10)

The Killer Inside Me – Ultra dark modern noir that’s both brutal & sinister whilst looking beautiful and serene. Reminds me of Blue Velvet & No Country For Old Men. Outstanding performances: Elias Koteas, Ned Beatty and Bill Pullman shine in relatively minor roles and Affleck is outstanding as the malevolent Deputy Ford. Contains graphic scenes of violence against women that are stomach turning. You have been warned. (01/01/11)

Kind Hearts And Coronets – Astute, amusing and a subtle yet damning indictiment on the nature of the landed gentry. Why is it that people seemed so much cleverer in the late 40s/early 50s? (23/01/10)

Kingdom Of Heaven – it’s a bit dull eh? Why watch Orlando Bloom make one of the most exciting and interesting events in history boring when Terry Jones did a fantastic tv series about it? (04/04/10)

Le Donk and Scorzayzee – a rambunctious Spinal Tap-alike that is both big hearted and highly amusing. (22/01/10)

The Legend Begins: Ip-Man – Prequel to the Donnie Yen Ip Man movies focusing on the early life of the Wing Chun legend. Decent fight sequences (Ip Chuns cameo is cool) but daft plot. Not up to speed with the details of Ip Mans life but I’d be amazed if his adopted brother was really a Japanese spy who infiltrated his Chinese family at the age of 12 in real life. And he probably never had to fight a squad of ninjas. (01/10/10)

Letters From Iwo Jima – another good show thanks Clint, but still feels hampered by a sense of over-sentimentality although it’s much more difficult to put my finger on it with this one. Still, a decent effort and well worth a watch. (02/06/10)

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou Expectation defying comedy that succeeds in being both amusing and touching. Confirmation that Bill Murray still has some comedy chops and that Owen Wilson is a genuinely funny human being. Not exactly rib crackingly funny but warmly amusing. (10/09/10)

The Longest Day – epic, amazing ensemble cast, technically very well made but for some reason it doesn’t quite (in my opinion) live up to its formidable reputation. Definitely has some awesome moments (Richard Burton and his safety pins spring to mind) (04/07/10)

Looking For Eric – Ken Loach’s grim yet heartwarming tale of the dark power of regret and the glorious strength of friendship and family. Excellent performances, Cantona is a great sport and it’s wonderfully put together. Very satisfying conclusion and a beautiful spirit throughout. Ace. (24/10/10)

Lord Of War – A bit rubbish, has lofty ideas but is glib and ham fisted in its attempts to portray the darkly unethical realm of gun running. Avoid. (23/04/10)

The Man In The White Suit – This slice of Ealing genius sees Alec Guinness threaten to bring the textile industry to its knees by inventing an indestructible, dirt proof fibre. Dangerously relevant despite being 60 years old, this satire of coroporate self preservation & economic dependence on decay is as scary as it is witty. The pseudo-science in it seems convincing too. Proof they don’t make ’em like they used to! (05/12/10)

The Man Who Would Be King – Connery and Caine star in Kipling’s tale of the perils of arrogance and ambition. Great story, wonderful performances (Connery doesn’t have to stretch to play a man deluded by his own arrogance into believing he is a god) and beautifully shot. Caine is in fine form as his more earthly partner in crime and it is steeped in the atrocity of colonialism. Top notch. (07/01/10)

Martyrs – Not at all what I expected. Excellent. Considered. Beautifully put together and oddly spiritual given the content. Found it strangely uplifting. I don’t really want to say any more about it as you will enjoy it more with no expectations. (05/07/10)

Max Manus – Man Of War, an excellent account of the Norwegian Resistance fighter’s activities during the Nazi occupation of Norway. Beautifully made and wonderfully paced. Check it oot. (19/03/10)

Mesrine – tres bien! (28/01/10)

Misfits – Have now officially caught up (despite having to contend with the distressingly user unfriendly 4OD) with the highly entertaining Misfits. A sort of Round The Twist for grownups its full of sex, violence and bad language and is highly amusing! Well done E4 for creating a good, original piece of television and breaking the curse of contemporary British sci-fi telly. (17/11/10)

Monsters Inc. – Possibly my favourite Pixar movie other than Up. It’s the perfect balance of comedy antics and seriously dark undercurrent. Its cute and cuddly and exciting and action packed and dark and sinister all at once. Great ending and a beautiful message about how we should all strive to find better ways to do things. The blu ray transfer is superb, the colours look amazing. (31/12/10)

Monsters Vs Aliens – Dreamworks’ homage to B-Movies might be a little bit lost on its intended audience as most of its references hark back to films from fifty years ago. Probably not enough madcap action to compensate but its enoyable enough, a million miles away from the Pixar films it mimics. Retina burning beauty when it comes to picture quality and colour on the blu ray version. (30/12/10)

Near Dark – Just watched Near Dark for the first time in a long time. As it turns out I remember it being much better than it actually is. It does have it’s moments though. (06/02/10)

Omen 4 – Why does my completist nature mock me so? Vaguely appalling final installment of the Omen with a new twist – the antichrist is a girl! Clever stuff. A music score that wouldn’t be out of place in a Home Alone film and acting that wouldn’t look out of place in a high school drama class there’s not much going for it apart from an entertaining tailgate decapitation and wrecking ball crushing. Give it a miss. (22/12/10)

On A Clear Day – The ever watchable Peter Mullan stars as a man who, when he gets laid off from his job in a Glasgow shipyard, attempts to salvage his dignity by swimming the English Channel. A wonderful treatise on how we define ourselves and how this has changed from one generation to the next. Not especially challenging or original but very satisfying and enjoyable. (21/11/10)

One Eyed Monster – No budget horror-comedy where an adult movie crew in an isolated mountain cabin get hunted down one at a time by Ron Jeremy’s animated severed penis. Surprisingly watchable in a rather infantile way. Referencing sci-fi horror classics like The Thing and Aliens, they somehow get away with it. Amber Benson succeeds in proving there isn’t life after Buffy. (05/11/10)

Ong Bak – The Beginning – is somewhat mis-sold as it has nothing to do with the original Ong Bak. If you are fully aware of this going in you should be fine, for me it’s reminiscent of old school Jet Li pseudo-historical kung fu epics like Once Upon a Time In China. Some of the choreography is lacking in variety but there are plenty of brutal, wince-at-the-thought-of-it moments that more than make up for it. (22/02/10)

Outlaw Josey Wales – when peaceful farmer Wales’ wife and son are murdered by Union soldiers, he joins a unit of Confederate soldiers to seek his revenge. Definitely among Eastwood’s greatest work and a stunning exploration of the spirit of vengeance. (26/11/10)

The Pacific – From the makers of Band Of Brothers, this time focusing on the Marines’ actions fighting the Japanese. From Gaudalcanal to Okinawa it follows the USMC as they face the savage warfare of the Pacific theatre. An unflinching portrayal of battle in the jungles, rocks and mud but unfortunately attempts to show the home front and the after effects of warfare on the troops come across a bit glib and mawkish. (22/02/11)

Paranormal Activity – Total bollocks. Can’t make it’s mind up about whether it wants to scare you with a building of atmosphere or cheap ghost train theatrics. The theatrical ending is total shit (the alternative – original – ending is about a thousand times better). There is little threat because frankly the couple are irritating and deserve everything they get. Good points? Katies brilliant boobs. That’s really it. (25/10/10)

Patton – George C Scott’s iconic representation of General George S Patton. Utterly superb. Can’t testify to the historical accuracy of the film but it is definitely totally tremendous. Scott captures Patton’s fanatical zeal for the glory of battle beautifully. (07/07/10)

Pontypool – above average low budget “zombie” flick. It’s unusual premise requires a certain willingness to not think too hard about it and take it on face value. Genuinely tense for a film that never really leaves the confines of a radio station booth. (28/01/10)

Red Cliff (part 1) – John Woo at his best with battles that make Return Of The King look like a teddybear’s picnic. Epic and heroic. Quick break for food then roll on part 2! (30/04/10)

Red Cliff (part 2)) – Second part of Red Cliff officially in the bag. Absolutely tremendous! Considering the climactic battle scene is 35 minutes of screen time alone, I have no idea how they cut this down for the Brit theatrical release. Welcome back Mr Woo, I’ve missed you!

Return Of The Living Dead – Lighthearted tribute and pseudo sequel to Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead. Good fun and an interesting take on the zombie genre with sentient, intelligent zombies driven to eat brains to ease the pain of being dead. Undead hi jinks to a psychobilly soundtrack and worth 85 minutes of anyones time. Hooray! (26/10/10)

Rocknrolla – typical Ritchie fare, all style over substance but had it’s moments. Managed to exceed my sub-basement level expectations although was utterly unable to break free from Ritchie’s formulaic cross/double cross unlucky coincidence structure. Probably worth the £3 it currently costs in the hmv sale. (27/06/10)

Rocky 4 – Jeezo. Words escape me. I’d always suspected it would be awful, I just don’t think I had the capacity to imagine just how awful it actually is. Now I don’t have to. (12/06/10)

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – Andy Serkis shines in Ian Dury’s biopic. Wonderfully put together, chaotic and creative capturing the essence of the music in film form. Feels well balanced and manages to be touching and tough all at the same time. Superb. (29/06/10)

Slumdog Millionaire – was pleasantly surprised. It’s a bizarre schizophrenic film 1 half (flashback bits) being awesome and reminiscent of the fine City Of God, the other (stupid who wants to be a millionaire bits) feeling tacked on to make it more saleable to mainstream audiences. Technically, it’s extremely well put together and a potent reminder that Danny Boyle knows how to shoot a film. (17/01/10)

Solomon Kane – second string fantasy adventure where a man fights evil forces to reclaim his soul from the Devil. Too much digital pudding. (09/09/10)

Return Of The Street Fighter – More Sonny Chiba does Bruce Lee, less plot, more fighting, about as many OTT special effects for the victims of Tsurugi’s deadly martial arts. Feel sorry for the poor, innocent, petrol tanker driver though…. (08/10/10)

Richplanet Starshipon Showcase Tv (sky channel 216). Possibly the greatest show on earth. The painfully uncharismatic presenter, Richard D Hall, “exposes” the various government conspiracies and cover ups on a range of topics. This morning? DEFRA as a front for special alien animal mutilation concealment….. (08/10/10)

Scrooge – Alastair Sim is the eponymous humbugger in this 1951 adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Sim’s performance does the role justice, although he rattles through dialogue almost too quickly to enjoy it. The adaptation seems a little clumsy and I can’t help feel there are too many minor yet unnecessary additions to the original story. Enjoyable, but there are much better versions of the story out there. (17/12/10)

See How They Fall – a surprisingly bittersweet revenge thriller from the director of “A Prophet”. Far from straightforward and it has a lot to say about people, their relationships and the ravages of getting old. Not at all what I expected and all the better for it. Watch it! (22/08/10)

Seven Year Itch – Typically snappy comedy from Billy Wilder with Tom Ewell trying to avoid misbehaving while his wife and kid are out of town. Marilyn positively glows and despite a slightly silly ending the net result is very satisfying. (26/11/10)

Sexy Killer – pretty crap title for a surprisingly entertaining film. Think Serial Mom meets So I Married An Axe Murderer meets Dead Snow meets An American Werewolf In London, etc, etc. Doesn’t take itself seriously, is essentially a melange of nods to the serial killer/zombie genre and has it’s tongue more or less p…rotruding through its bloody cheek. Worth checking out. Seriously. (06/06/10)

Sherlock Holmes – Finally saw the whole of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. I must admit it exceeded my expectations (which were pretty low considering it’s pedigree, even despite the good reports I’d heard) & was thoroughly enjoyable if a little bit silly & lightweight. Downey Jr is excellent, all of his fight scenes are superb (spot the Wing Tsjun moves) and even Jude Law somehow manages to avoid being annoying. Well worth a watch. (10/08/10)

Shutter Island – A dark, feverish thriller steeped in paranoid atmosphere. A solid cast (although Ben Kingsley appears to be channelling Derren Brown?) and beautifully shot. Slightly disturbing and subtly surreal. Excellent. (02/08/10)

‎Straight On Till Morning – not the usual Hammer fare, more “Tony-London Serial Killer” than “Frankenstein Created Woman”. Quite intense, a touch surreal and more than a little disturbing. Lovely. (23/10/10)

The Street FighterSonny Chiba’s Bruce Lee inspired martial arts romp with more than its fair share of organs being torn out using bare hands. Chiba’s facial expressions land somewhere between Bruce Lee and Monkey. Truly excellent. (04/10/10)

The Street Fighter’s Last Revenge – pretty much obeys the law of diminishing returns but has some highlights, particularly Reiko Ike and an Australian mariachi who shoots lasers! Plot is far too convoluted to be interesting, should have stuck to the “less jaw jaw more war war” attitude of Return Of The Street Fighter. Over reliance on mystical nerve point techniques that put a stopwatch on the victims time of death. (08/10/10)

Sunset Boulevard – Sinister tale of an ageing starlet who has lost her shine, made redundant by the advent of talking pictures and her own advancing years. A sort of reverse Misery, she traps a hack writer in a gilded cage of the trappings of wealth as she spirals into lunacy, refusing to accept her glory days are over. Gloria Swanson’s silent movie gurning adds to the horror of Billy Wilder’s masterpiece. Excellent. (26/12/10)

Tai Chi Boxer – great fun, good fight scenes and has put me right in the mood for my WT seminar! (02/05/10)

Tetsuo 2: Body Hammer – A slightly more logical film than it’s predecessor but lacking the intensity. Comes into its own in the last half hour but threatens to collapse under its own absurdity at times. (23/04/10)

Theatre Of Blood – Vincent Price camps it up in a tale of critics who should have listened to their mothers when they were told if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all! Shakespeare based revenge from Price lays down the blueprint for Fincher’s Seven with a great deal more levity, plus an in-her-prime Diana Rigg plays his daughter. Pretty much essential viewing. (28/10/10)

Thirst – Best. Vampire. Film. Ever. (26/01/10)

Tony London Serial Killer – a subtle, engrossing, tremendous little gem of a film. Not as bleak as you might imagine and better than the obvious Henry or Man Bites Dog inspirations. (18/03/10)

Toy Story 3 Visually spectacular adventure with Woody, Buzz and Co. Couldn’t help but be distracted from the relatively weak (by Pixar standards) story by the gorgeous animation and impressive “camera” work. A long way from their best work. (26/11/10)

Tramadol Nights – Frankie Boyle makes selling a stand up dvd redundant with this combination of stand up and sketch comedy. Not sure if it’s especially funny, but it is definitely sick and offensive. The Knight Rider sketch raised a smile. (30/11/10)

Triangle – Difficult to say much about it without spoiling the fun. Very well thought out and executed film. Atmospheric and creepy. Definitely requires your full attention if you want to get the most out of it so no half watching it while you do something else! (09/09/10)

True Grit (1969) – The John Wayne version, it’s prevented from being a great film by the abysmal acting from the leads. Excellent in every other respect (Dennis Hopper’s cameo is a treat, Duvall makes an excellent villain) it has got me fired up for the Coens’ version. (11/02/11)

True Grit (2011) – you wanna make it Wayne v Bridges, Jeff wins hands down as the curmudgeonly Cogburn. Calm and contemplative, when the peace is shattered it’s REALLY shattered. Central cast are excellent (Damon is unrecognisable, Hailee Steinfeld is formidable as Mattie and Brolin’s Chaney is suitably pathetic). Barry Pepper as “lucky Ned” seems to be channelling Duvall from the 69 version but this is no bad thing. (20/02/11)

The Twighlight Samurai – Beautiful. Resonant. (09/04/10)

Up – Pixar’s latest (and greatest?) work that is genuinely heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s frankly unmissable. (22/02/10)

Valhalla Rising – Utterly awesome. A metaphysical, freaky, bad trip of a movie, light on dialogue and heavy on atmospherics that completely surprised me in terms of story. Absolutely beautiful. I am astounded at some of the images. How did they get those shots up a Scottish moutain in such awful weather?! A triumph. (23/07/10)

The Walking Dead – first episode down and it looks pretty decent. The problem with zombie stuff is that its pretty much all been done before. The best thing about zombie stuff is there’s a definite array of things you expect. So far the boxes are being ticked quite successfully. Glad to see a bit of money being spent and nobody being squeamish about the gore. Highlight so far, decaying, legless zombie in the park. (07/11/10)

Wasting Away – a rather silly yet enjoyable zom-com told from the point of view of the zombies. Low budget and it shows but it has a lot of heart! (28/09/09)

Went The Day Well – When a team of Nazi paratroopers take over a sleepy English village under the guise of a unit of Royal Engineers it’s down to the villagers to foil their plans to pave the way for a German invasion of Britain. A tremendous Ealing comedy that is as dark as it is funny, laden with great acts of sacrifice and bravery among the banter and carry on. Essential. (27/12/10)

Wes Cravens New Nightmare – tired of deteriorating sequels Craven put together this exercise in metafiction where the cast and crew of the original Nightmare On Elm Street movies are stalked by the ancient evil they had kept trapped in the stories of Freddy Kreuger. Slightly shonky execution lets down an interesting concept but definitely worth watching and a worthy foray into self referential film making pre Scream. (27/10/10)

Wolfman (2010) – Oh dear. Its sad that in this day and age film makers are unable to even match the transformation effects from An American Werewolf In London despite being clearly “inspired” by them. Crap performances (especially considering the cast), predictable plot, unconvincing werewolf and even less convincing period sets. Avoid this and watch the aforementioned American Werewolf or The Beast Must Die instead. (25/07/10)

Zombieland – It’s a hoot ‘n’ a holler and no mistake. Woody is a dude. (17/03/10)

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