Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

2007 roundup...

Goodbye 2007 - how we loved you. This was the year… I developed, suffered and survived (just) three irrational obsessions pretty much unscathed. I saw at least 169 movies for the first time - that's 44 more than last year - 32 of the imdb top list and 5 of the Total Film top 100 list. I went to the cinema approx 14 times (Hot Fuzz twice, Blades of Glory, Blood Diamond, 300, Pirates of the Carib 3, Hairspray, Harry Potter, Shrek 3, Die Hard 4, Ocean’s 13, Stardust, St Trinians and Run Fatboy Run)

Legend of 1900, Velvet Goldmine and Freebie and the Bean waltzed into L.A. Confidential’s former spot of films I adored, but can’t quite bring myself to promote to a favourite just yet. Tideland, Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, Jaws, Solaris, The Third Man, Unbreakeable and Brazil all took turns at being the best film ever made, and Guns of Navarone skipped the waiting list entirely to join Brazil and Hot Fuzz on my favourite films list. Rob Roy wins the prize for the guiltiest pleasure.

The Andolini-Corleone foundation award for conspicuous merit and waltzing off with absolutely bloody everything, last year awarded to its founder The Godfather, is easily passed on to Blade Runner.

Meanwhile, the Newandyke memorial trophy for distracting film of the year (award is for the film that sent me into unnecessary terrible, crazy, fan melt down) went to an unusual source...
Previous recipients have been the Godfather, and Reservoir Dogs (for which it was named). So what this year? Hot Fuzz, perhaps? No, I’m sorry, there can only be one winner, both in the obsessive and unnecessary stakes. Or rather, three: Utopia, The Sound of Drums and The Last of the Time Lords. The last three episodes of Doctor Who season 3. Friend 4 is editing them into one, film-length triplepisode so it almost counts. Within two days, I’d rewatched the first of the three three times, not to mention talking about it constantly for at least 6 hours in one go. Even the fact I could get that worked up about a TV show has to tell you something. Incidentally, this worked-up-about-Doctor-Who seems to have survived into the new year with an alarming strength...

Hot Fuzz probably wins the prize for most watched, on at least 7 viewings. Virgin Suicides wins the JFK award for the best film I only saw half of.

I discovered comparatively few "cinematic greats" - Buster Keaton was the only one worth mentioning, but I did mop up a fair few classics. I joined Cine-Guernsey’s reviewing team and succeeded in scaring a room of people with my film studies coursework (it had to be a short sequence from a horror film). I pretty much dusted Sergio Leone (the guy’s a legend!), and got through most of Studio Ghibli’s works. I finally managed to see the Fisher King and Tideland. Terry Gilliam scored three films; M. Night scored zero, as did Robert Redford. Michael Caine scored one, and Tim Roth got three. Steven Sodebergh almost go onto my favourite directors list - better luck next time - Warner Herzog retired as "favourite director whose films I haven't seen" and I officially joined the ranks of QT fans waiting for the next film.

And got crushed by the System when the Man refused to answer my letter, halted film studies A-level, told me I wasn't allowed to do it at University, kidnapped Shamu and put her in a chlorine tank.

Most amusing movie quotes...are all from my sister, whom I have been force-feeding classics. On Reservoir Dogs "nice music, a bit violent though..." On Apocalypse Now: "I enjoyed it, I thought it was very pretty. I wanted to spend the whole time taking pictures of it. I didn’t like it when they hacked up the cow, that was yucky...I liked the puppy, and I liked Lance, and I liked it when they went surfing And I loved the smell of napalm in the morning…”

So nothing to add about man’s mental decline or the theme of dehumanisation in war. But she did like the puppy.

2 films I enjoyed, which I thought I’d hate

Saw and Welcome to Sarejevo

2 films I hated which I thought I’d enjoy

Delicatessen and The Usual Suspects

One “great film” I hated

French Connection. It might have been novel in its time, but the whole "cops are as bad as criminals" has been overdone - and overdone better - in its wake. And I've never liked Gene Hackman.

One “awful film” I enjoyed

From Dusk til Dawn. Seriously, THIS is QT's best script ever, and the best defence against the accusation he can't act.

Prize for the coolest damn things that don’t fit into any other category
The 2001: A Space Odyssey magnetic spaceships!
Pan's Labyrinth chalk!
The Warriors' advesaries The Baseball Furies!
Dangling enemies by their feet from meat hooks in The Long Good Friday!

The inexplicable boulder in Sexy Beast!
Legend of 1900's brilliant piano waltz!
The moment Jeliza’s doll falls over and blinks with real eyes in Tideland!
Playing the saw in Delicatessen!

This speech in The Fisher King:

"No, please stop...I'm in love with you. And not just from tonight. I've known you for a long time. I know you come out from work at noon every day and you fight your way out that door and then you get pushed back in and three seconds later you come back out again. I walk with you to lunch and I know if it's a good day, if you stop and get that romance novel at that bookstore. I know what you order, and I know that on Wednesdays you go to that Dim Sum parlor and I know that you get a jawbreaker before you go back in to work. And I know you hate your job and you don't have many friends and I know sometimes you feel a little uncoordinated and you don't feel as wonderful as everybody else and feeling as alone and as separate as you feel you are...I love you... ...I love you...and I think you're the greatest thing since spice racks and I would be knocked out several times if I could just have that first kiss. And I won't, I won't be distant. I'll come back in the morning and I'll call ya if you let me... But I still don't drink coffee."

Things I’ve learnt

  • If you represent the powers of Civilisation, don't sail down river into the unknown - you'll lose (The Emerald Forest, Aguirre Wrath of God, Heart of Darkness)

  • No matter how brilliant a film has been, it can still screw it up beyond repair in the last five minutes (A Man Called Hero)

  • It really sucked being alive in 80s Britain (Ratcatcher, Beautiful Thing, Meantime)

  • David Niven is adorable (Carrington VC, Guns of Navarone)

  • Just because it has a rubbish title, doesn't mean it isn't an excellent film (Sexy Beast and The Quiet American)
  • The world is completely fracked beyond repair (Inconvenient Truth)

  • There are some really, really well made films out there which are also really boring for no obvious reason (Napoleon Dynamite, Adaptation, A Cock and Bull Story, Broken Flowers)

  • There are also some really, really, really well made films out there which are, suprisingly, NOT boring - 2001:A Space Odyssey, who thought it would be so gripping and great?

Worst Films of the Year

The Odyssey - bad effects, lazy plotting, characters you don't care about. I had the joy of watching this as part of my Civilisation Class - only one person managed to get to the end of it. Everyone else gave up half way through. Not nearly as popular as my "odyssey" recommedation: O Brother Where Art Thou

Napoleon Dynamite - I can see why people like it, but I found it interminable.

Broken Flowers - so many things wrong with this film - it was basically just boring...

32 Brilliant Films - only half of which I can be bothered to make comments on.
2001:A Space Odyssey

A Matter of Life and Death

American Beauty - a wry comedy about how much life sucks. Incidentally, this is also Friend 1's favourite film.

Assault on Precinct 13

Babel - best moment: Brad Pitt breaking down over the telephone. Despite the unlikliness of so much tragedy befalling the same family, the atmosphere is incredible.

Blade Runner: Final Cut

Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy - how do I pick just one?

Dog Soldiers - buddy movie which references Zulu? How could it fail?

From Dusk Till Dawn - give it a few years, and this'll become my favourite QT film...

Guns of Navarone

Hairspray - Favourite line - "I'm very honoured and scared to be here."

Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh)

Meshes of the Afternoon - a dead creepy short surrealist film, which can be found on Google.

Michael Collins

Manhattan and Annie Hall. How do I choose between them?

Yes - This is the film you haven't heard of. Admit it! Then go find it, it's brilliant.

If... - Malcom McDowell is love, especially when playing youth tearaways. Interesting personal note: my school looks a lot like that. The boys wing does have an arms deposit, and the first song sung (He who would Valiant Be) is our school hymn.

Hot Fuzz

In the Mood for Love

Inconvenient Truth


Jesus of Montreal - I highly recommend this. It's hilarious, and thought provoking, and the end is genius. Doesn't quite deserve its 18 rating, watch it anyway.

Legend of 1900

the Lives of Others

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Night Watch

Sexy Beast

Singing in the Rain


The Quiet American

The Warriors


Tideland - How do you describe Terry Gilliam films satisfactorily on paper? Tideland is all about atmosphere – from the start, you’re falling straight down the rabbit hole, through layers of haze and reality. A lot of TG’s films are about the bridge between what is real or not. But often, it’s fairly simple once you get the hang of it. Tideland is entirely off the map – you’re always off balance. You have no idea where the plot’s going, the character’s are going, the camera even. You don’t know if he’s going to jump that big boundary. You can’t even be sure if what you’re seeing is really happening. Atmosphere…

Vevet Goldmine - “Although what you are about to see is a work of fiction…it should nevertheless be played at maximum volume”…OK, have you ever heard 20th Century Boy by Placebo? Well, Velvet Goldmine is that feeling you get when you hear the opening riff. Sometimes you just see a film and just think “I wish I’d made that”. You get this immediate sense of “wow”. Wow, wow, wow. It just throws everything at you – newspaper articles, TV spots, music videos, interviews, totally wacky fantasy-historical sections, book quotes, a series of impressions and memories gleaned by an investigative journalist researching a particular glam rock star who Certainly Wasn’t Based On David Bowie. And it doesn’t let up. I defy you to get bored. By the end, you too will love Brian Slade, and be feeling the urge to paint a sunflower on your face and go outside and sparkle. As if to back me up, director Todd Haynes has just go on to create award frontrunner I'm Not There, and it's all sounding very familiar to anyone who has seen this earlier geniuswork...


Pretty Good Films

300 - beats the original, whatever my classics teachers think.

A Cock and Bull Story - would have been better had it been more exciting, but deserves marks for being so damn innovative

Adaptation - ditto

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

The island


Butterfly Effect

Das boot

Donnie Brasco

Election - noteable for the best scene about government ever:

"Fine. Let's say all you ever knew was apples. Apples, apples and more apples," the teacher says, illustrating by drawing several misshapen circles on the board, "You might think apples were pretty good, even if you occasionally got a rotten one. Then one day there's an orange," he draws an identical misshapen circle, "And now you can make a decision. Do you want an apple, or do you want an orange? That's democracy."

Brilliant! Voiceover from several different characters allows a variety of viewpoint - but most entertainingly, the characters only ever seem to lie when talking about themselves.

Following - Christopher Nolan's student film, and a warm up for Memento if ever I saw one - yet also a good film in its own right. Noiry as hell,

Freebie and the Bean - the best "buddy car crash movie" ever made,


Grosse Pointe Blank

True Romance

Monsters Inc

Welcome to Sarejevo

Who framed Rodger Rabbit

Young Guns II

Hard day’s night

Ice Station Zebra

Infernal affairs

Jackie Brown

Kiki's Delivery Service

Kill Bill 2

Layer Cake

Mean Girls




Night of the Demon

Odd Man Out

Paprika - this is among the best animated films I have ever seen, if for nothing else the quality of the animation. Oh, but be warned - like all the best anime, it's disturbing and the end makes sod all sense.

Paris Je t’aime

Pitch Black

Porco Rosso

Road to Perdition - though fundamentally flawed, the brilliant supporting characters Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Stanley Tucci and Paul Newman suggest what a good film this could have been.

Rob Roy - scraped onto this list by the skin of its teeth. As I'm not bothering with handing out individual awards this year, I've got to commemorate the evil joy that is Archie Cunningham somewhere. Aside from one decent performance, it's fairly ordinary.

Royal Tenenbaums

Saw - So I've joined the masses. Even though there were masses of complaints I can make, on how to improve it, I loved the last ten minutes far too much to notice them.

Sherlock Jr.

St Trinians


Stepford Wives

Streetcar named Desire - worth mentioning merely for its brilliant central performances. As a film, it was flawed - felt too much like a play in three acts, which is what it originally was, and was subtle to the point of being hard to understand. Vivien Leigh was ace.

The Departed -

The Faculty

The Fisher King

The Fountain - initially hard to get a handle on, I was won over by the music, lighting and sense of crazy fufillment when it all suddenly made sense. Not to mention the genius surreal scene when A Character is turned into a bush...

The Heathers

The Killer - A buddy movie - what else? - a masterpiece of violent choreography and excess

Finally, looking forward to next year, I need to get something straight and off my mind.

A Plea in her own Defence: Cinecism protests that the approximate "distastefulness" of a film can not be judged purely on its content, but also taking into account whether or not it is in a good moral context (which it is, virtually), whether it is likely to turn the viewer into a breast-obsessed maniac (which, in this case, it isn't) and for what reason it is being watched (which, in this case, is to admire and enjoy the vision of a fantastic director who just happens to make beautiful movies about horrible things, while also admiring a fantastically deranged yet charasmatic central performance, instead of getting a cheap turn on from the ultraviolence). Furthermore, Cinecism rejects the belief that film should not portray "distasteful" things (even Bambi starts with bloodshed) and in addition to that, believes it is far better for "distasteful" elements to be encased in a work of art than being watched and enjoyed for the distastefulness alone. In terms of being disturbed personally, Cinecism points out that she always avoids films which are genuinely likely to cause her distress, such a film, however powerful, on account of her natural qualities of low self esteem and wanting to please everyone. And say said film should be banned, not because the BBFC choose to, but because the director chooses to withdraw it after recieving death threats, it is not necessarily any worse than any other film the BBFC choose to let into the country. Cinecism adds she finds this whole debate fascinating so long as it remains a theoretical rant.


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