Movies – best and worst of 2014

It’s the end of another year and, as tradition dictates, these are the movies I saw for the first time in 2014.  I’ve had a bit of a rethink about how I order them.  I’m not making even the slightest attempt to rank them in any order of quality, nor am I trying to predict how you might enjoy them.  Both those approaches are doomed to failure and would quite reasonably lead many of you to question my sanity (again).

So this time I have no rhyme, no reason.  I’m just putting each movie where I want it to go.  I make no explanation.  The film right at the bottom is by no means the worst film of the year (in fact if I were to judge it on quality it would be in the top quarter) but sometimes you just fall out with a film and so you want to see it in the gutter.

Right, let’s get cracking – best ones at the top, down to the gobbler at the end.

 

The top 10

Calvary – Same star (Brendan Gleeson) and director (John McDonagh) as the excellent “The Guard” – and he’s the brother of the guy who made In Bruges.  Same style as those, with dark comic moments and absolutely dripping with characterisation.  Wonderful.  I had this ranked round about number 10 but then I watched it again and on second viewing it’s even better.  Not a frame wasted, not a moment that isn’t glorious.  Show it in film school, this is what a movie should be.

Blue Ruin – Low budget and with no recognisable faces (though I’m reliably informed one of them used to be in The Brady Bunch!) this is the sleeper hit of the year.  A homeless chap learns that the criminal who destroyed his life is being released … and then other things happen.  So, so suspenseful and utterly unpredictable.  Lovely.

Starred Up – Pretty difficult to watch, this one, which would normally put it lower down my list, but the sheer quality of it is enough.  A young offender goes to prison and has to make a name for himself to survive.  Sounds *awful* but give it a chance.  It’s very London-gritty, massively violent and absolutely not for an uplifting night out, but oh my god it’s good.

What We Did on Our Holiday – It’s pretty certain that very few of you will put this quite so high on your own lists, however I was blown away.  I saw this very shortly after Pride, and I felt this is the film that Pride should’ve been.  Written and directed by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin (of Outnumbered and Drop the Dead Donkey fame), this takes the main issue (grandad being terminally ill) and sticks it right up there front and centre, and deals with it.  Funny and moving in equal measure, these directors have a history of teasing wonderful performances from kids and, with the support of Billy Connolly, David Tennant and Rosamund Pike, everything’s really rather brilliant.  Only Ben Miller misjudges his role and lapses slightly farcewards but it’s not enough to stop this being one of my favourites of the year.

The Imitation Game – The story of What Alan Turing Did In the War suffers greatly from some clunky Hollywood moments so it’s high praise to find it all the way up here regardless.  Benedict Cumberbatch (is it just me or does he look like Spock’s grandson?) excels as the nerdy genius and captures perfectly the struggle of dealing with Other People so often suffered by the mega-brained.  Touching and often funny, whilst still maintaining sufficient reverence, it’s one of the best of the year.  Bet your house on Benedict getting nominated, I think it’s going to be between him and Timothy Spall.

Nightcrawler – Jake Gyllenhaal’s creepy news camera-man routine clearly channels Taxi Driver and is incredibly watchable.  There was very little hoo-hah before it arrived, but since its release pretty much everyone has lauded it as one of the movies of the year.  Dark and very compelling.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – This came from out of the blue!  Rise of the Planet of the Apes was pretty good, but this is on another level entirely.  Such an intelligent screenplay that so poignantly portrays conflict on any scale, and those great effects that really make you believe there are chimps tottering about on the screen.  Only when the adrenaline level rises does it get a bit dumb, but fortunately those bits don’t last long.  Really, really enjoyed it – and didn’t expect to, which is why it’s so high.

Bad Grandpa – Johnny Knoxville dressed as an old geezer causing trouble Borat-style with unsuspecting members of the public.  Much, much funnier than it sounds.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Perhaps a bit wet for some tastes but I absolutely loved it.  You won’t rank it anywhere nearly as highly as I did, so don’t blame me when you watch it and think, “meh”.  Because you will.

Dallas Buyers Club – Matthew McConaughey is very much a Proper Actor now, and this is a really good film.  Matty Mac is a dick Texas cowboy who gets AIDS and becomes progressively less of a dick until he ends up quite a decent chap.  Excellent.

 

Movies 11 to 20

The Selfish Giant – Apparently “inspired by” an Oscar Wilde story of the same name, but that means nothing.  This is a gritty and very realistic Brit-flick – almost too realistic, as it seems almost weird that there is professional filming of what seems to be regular goings-on, despite having several faces recognisable from British TV (Paddy from Shameless, several characters from Playing The Field back in the day).  I must have been having a “moment” to be distracted by that thought, as I’m not usually bothered by such things.  Anyway, the realism sucked me in, and the final reel bowled me over.  I loved the way it teased with the upcoming story and then blew it out the park.  Loved it, but you need to *watch* it.  Don’t put it on while you’re doing your emails.  Would’ve been even higher ranked if the bulk had been a bit more fun to go along with.

Godzilla – now THAT is how you do a monster movie.  Director Gareth Edwards made the low-budget Monsters, which was Jaws-like in its demonstration of not showing much of the big scary monsters, which was probably a budgetary constraint but worked brilliantly.  Here he’s given a gazillion dollars, which all goes on special effects, but he’s still cleverly hidden a lot of the action with mist and darkness, which works soooooo well in building the atmosphere.  Ignore the trailer that makes it look like your usual Hollywood enema … yes, there’s city-scale destruction.  Yes, the broad plot is the same as a million other movies.  Yes, I can’t help thinking it would’ve been a better film with only 1% of the budget, but man, it’s really, really well executed. I can’t remember the last time a movie gave me goosebumps just for being so damn cool.

Filth – Pretty depraved but very good, this is an adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s book (he wot wrote Trainspotting) with James McAvoy as a scumbag Scots copper.  Weird and highly watchable but certainly Filthy.

Inside Llewyn Davis – The Coen brothers’ latest is a bit weird, especially the ending that I really didn’t understand.  Good fun though, as the Coens always are.

Nebraska – Bruce Dern as the old codger who thinks he’s won a million dollars.  Shot in black and white, which I found very distracting for some reason, and with the odd bizarrely stilted supporting performance, this was nevertheless a good watch and ended well.  It’s a quiet movie, as Alexander Payne’s usually are (The Descendants, Sideways, About Schmidt).  Recommended.

Transcendence – Can’t quite understand why this didn’t do well, it’s really rather good.  Johnny Depp dies and becomes a computer simulation of himself, in the directorial debut of the hilariously named Wally Pfister, who was cinematographer for much of Christopher Nolan’s stuff (Memento, Inception and the Batmans, for instance).  It’s really clever, and kind of hides the fact – which is cleverer still.  So when it looks like it’s going to give us a stupid Independence Day ending that will please the crowds, it gives us a little wink at the end that changes *EVERYTHING*, without actually explaining what was going on.  So that also pleases the picky dicks like me.

The Lego Movie – So, “everything is ossum”, apparently.  Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through an apparently stop-animated brick-world.  It’s *very* fast – too fast for this slow brain at times – but that means I can watch it again and pick up the bits I missed last time.  I laughed many times, sometimes heartily, and that really doesn’t happen very often nowadays.  The plot is the same as every other kids’ movie, but they’ve hung a load of funny shit off it, which lifts it to such heady heights that it’s my favourite movie of the year that can genuinely be enjoyed equally by any audience.  I can’t quite believe the lead voice isn’t Ben Stiller, because it clearly *is* him, but apparently it’s some dude I’ve never heard of.  Weird.

Cuban Fury – Nick Frost (the one in all the Simon Pegg movies who isn’t Simon Pegg) in a very British salsa-dancing comedy.  Chris O’Dowd from The IT Crowd makes a superb love-to-hate dick-of-the-piece and a load of other familiar British faces pop up and make us feel warm and fuzzy.  Highly predictable, highly enjoyable, very funny.

The Grand Budapest Hotel – A Wes Anderson movie can often be risky prospect (anybody see The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou?) and I can see how this one could also fall flat if you were in a tetchy mood.  Ralph Fiennes plays a prissy concierge in the 1930s and he does it brilliantly.  There’s so much going on, so much quirkiness to see, that in the end you forget things like F Murray Abraham playing the grown-up version of a kid who is clearly from a completely different ethnic background as Mr Abraham.  Bit weird, that, but somehow you let the film get away with it.  Rather jolly good fun.

Paddington – Colin Firth famously ducked out of this project after realising his was the wrong voice for the fluffy Peruvian pal, and he was right.  Ben Whishaw is a much better match.  Despite following all the usual kiddie-film rules, the charm of the bear lifts the film above the rest and makes it a real treat.  Loved it.

 

Movies 21 to 30

Despicable Me 2 – Excellent animated fun.  With minions!

Locke – I assumed they were exaggerating when they said this movie was Tom Hardy in a car for 85 minutes.  But no, it really is.  Every shot is just Tom Hardy in his car either talking on the phone or to himself.  And thanks to his performance and the dialogue, somehow it really works.  I’d never have predicted that.

Men, Women and Children – An oddly forgettable title but it’s certainly appropriate!  You know those badly thought-through Facebook posts that bleat on about social media replacing real interactions with people – this is kind of a feature-length version of that.  Despite the rather skewed ideas, it ends up being rather good, as Jennifer Garner’s over-protective mom routine blends with an oddly-cast (but very good) Adam Sandler as he struggles to rekindle the fire in his marriage.  There’s something of a Love Actually feel, given the parallel story strands, but the humour is much more sparse.  I rather enjoyed it but I think it has limited broader appeal, borne out by the fact that there were only 2 others in the cinema for the day’s only showing of the film in its opening week.

Blue Jasmine – Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins act their arses off in this high quality sisterly drama.  Cate is a bit fruit-loopy, which is supposed to be traumatic to watch, but when you have ancestors like I do that could out-fruitbat Cate before their morning coffee, it doesn’t have quite the same effect… jolly good though.

Stand By Me (1986) – OK so this one is nearly 30 years old but I hadn’t seen it before.  I really only wanted to see it because of the Family Guy episode where they parody it, and boy, the parody is very close to the film.  Kinda weird to see the four young boy stars and slowly realise that they’re Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher from Star Trek TNG), Corey Feldman, River Phoenix and Jerry O’Connell.  And it’s really good.

American Hustle – Glossy and fun, with weird haircuts and booooooobs threatening to fall out all over the place.  Clearly this was a time before bras, when the world was a much better and wobblier place.  This has gradually dribbled down the rankings since I saw it early in the year.  Make what you will of that…

Interstellar – I was really looking forward to this one, it being Christopher Nolan’s latest (he of The Dark Knight, Memento, Inception etc.) and there’s a huge amount to like, but there’s quite a lot not to like too.  Like Gravity, it carefully shows you it knows its science, before playing fast and loose with it and drivelling into batshittery at the end.  There aren’t many films that can stand up for 2 hours 50 minutes, and this isn’t one of them.  There are so many dumbass holes in the plot that you really do have your head in your hands at some points, and the more you think about it afterwards, the less it makes sense.  So it’s quite surprising that I quite liked it regardless.  I don’t understand that.  Must be something to do with relativity.

The Zero Theorem – Unmistakably a Terry Gilliam film through and through, Christoph Waltz from Inglourious Basterds tackles a plot that doesn’t really matter much – it’s the fun of the Gilliam world that makes the movie.  Lots of fun and very cool.

Her – I’m not quite sure how this isn’t awful.  Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his new computer operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.  Really sounds appalling doesn’t it?!  I guess it’s the Oscar-winning screenplay that picks it up, and it ends up being highly enjoyable and not nearly as stupid as it seems.

Silent Running (1972) – Another one from yonks ago that I only just got around to seeing.  Bruce Dern finds himself alone on a spaceship.  This is Mark Kermode’s favourite film of all time.  It’s very good … but it’s no Lego Movie  :o

 

Movies 31 to 40

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Director Bryan Singer (who did the first two) returns to make this latest X-Men outing, which has a great cast including James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as the young Xavier and Magneto respectively, and Hunger Games’s Jennifer Lawrence as the rubbery blue chick.  Just when I think I’ve had enough of silly loud nonsense with daft plots, another one comes along that I like.  Largely because it doesn’t take itself very seriously, which is absolutely essential when you’re dealing with such a daft plot.

The Machine – Similar in concept to Transcendence but a whole lot lower budget.  Against all the odds it engaged me properly, and I can even forgive it the usually cardinal sin of showing us a naked woman but strategically hiding all the good bits.  And that is high praise indeed.

The Hundred-Foot Journey – Everybody loves this one.  Although I did enjoy it, I think I wasn’t quite in the right frame of mind for a light tale of Indians settling in a little French village and starting up an Indian restaurant opposite the local Michelin-starred place, sparking a bitter rivalry.  It’s warm and lovely, but it suffers gravely in comparison with The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  I always enjoy Helen Mirren, but with the best will in the world, she’s nowhere near as good as Judi Dench or Maggie Smith.  She’s never been the best at accents (I’m thinking National Treasure 2) and in this film her French accent has an English accent all of its own.  Had I seen it on another day it could have comfortably made the top 20.

The Wolf of Wall Street – A full 3 hours long so a bit of a bum-number, but doesn’t feel ridiculously lengthy.  Hampered somewhat by Leonardo DiCaprio’s character being an utter bell-end, but rather funny and entertaining.  And there were at least six full frontals from the girls, which always helps.

Blue is the Warmest Colour (aka La Vie d’Adèle) – Much talked about because of the graphic lesbionics, but it’s better than that.  French with subtitles and filmed in a very real way – there’s no narrator, no help with what’s going on, you just watch it and get it.  Some of the realism comes from improvised dialogue; there’s even the odd moment when somebody reacts to a line with, “what?” and they say it again, just because they didn’t catch it.  That *never* happens in the movies.

Mr Turner – Nothing much happens in two and a half hours, but the painting-like visuals and the rich performances led by Timothy Spall give Mr Turner its watchability.

Sex Ed – Weird and slightly confusing that all 3 movies “Sex Ed”, “Sex Tape” and “SxTape” were released in the same year.  The lead actor in this one looks eerily familiar, but it’ll probably be a while before you place him as Haley Joel Osment, the spooky kid who could see dead people in The Sixth Sense.  There’s a lot more … erm … margin … around his face than there was back then.  But he’s still a really good actor and he pretty much carries this lightweight tale about a virgin teaching sex education to a detention class.  There’s some pretty funny dialogue too.  Way better than I would have imagined.

Hello Ladies The Movie – So apparently there’s a Hello Ladies TV series.  Who knew?  Stephen Merchant stars as a gangly awkward Bristolian – there’s a stretch – in a fairly formulaic nice-guy comedy, but it’s put together nicely, there are some pleasing roving camera long shots and it’s even quite insightful at times.  Doubt it’ll get a release over here but it deserves one because it’s very likeable.

Pride – This one suffered from a lofty expectation.  Everybody was saying it was brilliant, so I was expecting a Blue Ruin or a Calvary.  What I actually got was a Made in Dagenham, which is a good thing, but it’s far too … fluffy … to meet its reputation.  The story covers the (apparently true) tale of the gay & lesbian support of the miners through the 1980s strikes.  Clearly these two groups of people aren’t a natural match, so I was rather disappointed to find that a social club and a little homosexual hip-shaking was enough to break the back of the mountain of miners’ prejudices towards them.  Hmmm.  Prejudice doesn’t work like that I’m afraid.  Consequently, you have to forget any ideas of substance, because there isn’t any, and instead enjoy what is a very pleasant story told in the lightweight style of a musical.  Without the songs.

Under the Skin – This one’s VERY weird.  It opens with two women in some kind of white oblivion and, yes, that one is indeed Scarlett Johansson and yes, she is bollock naked.  She gets naked several times, in fact.  Do I need to say any more?  Well I’m not going to – if I tell you the plot (like all the other reviews do) then it’ll ruin it.  I’ll just tell you it’s set in Scotland and it looks like they use a lot of real Scottish people rather than actors,  The director never *tells* you what’s going on, you just have to kind of guess, and that’s the fun of the film.  But it is very, very weird.

 

Movies 41 to 50

Road – Very similar to the recent “TT3D – Closer to the Edge”, here Liam Neeson narrates the story of the Dunlop family and their ups and downs in motorbike racing, including Joey’s record breaking TT career.  It worked particularly well for me because I didn’t know the history and it really highlights the rather odd need to go racing when there’s a very high chance of dying in the process.  Poignant and informative.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 – There are so many of these quality animations now, and they don’t really have a great deal to distinguish them any more.  This one’s great fun, like most of them are.

Jimmy’s Hall – My kind of movie, this one – it’s a Ken Loach, which means unknown faces, heavy characterisation and not much in the way of budget or action.  I’m not sure if I was just in a grumpy mood, but I couldn’t connect with this one like I normally would, but it was still highly watchable and I liked it.  I just expected to like it more.

Edge of Tomorrow – Bit of a quandary with this one.  If I tell you the key part of the plot then you’ll lose some of the fun of finding out what happens, but if I don’t then you probably won’t bother with it, as it is after all just another effects-laden Tom Cruise vehicle.  I will have to keep schtum I think, but if you’ve read *any* other review then you’ll know it already, and will already know the 90s movie that the idea is shamelessly stolen from.  When you choose an axiom for your plot that’s a bit daft like this, you can’t write an entirely serious screenplay.  There are some chuckles in there, though it needed more.  The trouble is that the plot really doesn’t stand up to even the slightest scrutiny, even if you take the provided scenario at face value.  Somehow, though, it’s far more fun than I ever expected, and I ended up really enjoying it, until the final reel when all the plus points of the film were thrown in the bin in favour of a traditional and very stupid ending.

The Double – Directorial debut from Richard Ayoade, the geeky one in The IT Crowd, this is *seriously* weird.  Adapted from a short story by Dostoyevsky, Jesse Eisenberg meets a chap who looks exactly like him, but is outgoing and ballsy where he’s introverted and weak.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, but with the weirdness cranked up for the hell of it.  I did rather enjoy it, but it’s not for everyone.  And I confess I was a bit dim and had to read the plot on Wikipedia afterwards before I fully understood the ending…

The Nut Job – Fairly standard cartoon featuring animals planning a heist of nuts, but jolly good fun nonetheless.

1 – This gets the award for worst and stupidest title of the year.  I mean, “1″ … how the hell are you going to google that?  OK, so I’ve just googled “1″ and the film was on the first page, so that shows what I know.  But it’s still a crap title.  As a documentary, it’s very watchable but I didn’t notice one single new fact in there whatsoever.  It just follows the safety improvements in Formula One since the days of Jim Clark, Graham Hill et al, with lots of historic footage and talking heads.  Michael Fassbender narrates, in a voice that sounds kind of American.  Weird for an Irishman with a German background.

Horns – Daniel Radcliffe is still trying to break the Harry Potter stereotype.  Here he bizarrely grows horns that make people admit their dark sides to him.  An entertaining curio.

Let’s Be Cops – Low expectations really helped with this one.  How can 2 guys impersonating police offers be any good?  But what do you know, it’s pretty funny.  And Damon Wayans Jr is much better than his Dad.

22 Jump Street – Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill go back to school again and yes, they’re far too old now and yes, the script takes every opportunity to point that out and have a good laugh at itself.  That works for me, and the surrounding shenanigans are all pretty good fun too.  But really, how is “Ice Cube” still getting work?  That guy has to be the uncoolest actor in history.  When I look at that dumbass scowl he does in every single scene, I just see a ten year old boy trying to look hard in front of his knee-high bedwetting chums.  Go home, little boy, you’re not convincing anyone.

 

Movies 51 to 60

Frozen – The highest grossing animated feature of all time, it says here.  Not quite sure how, it’s good fun but it’s just your average Disney flick, and The Lego Movie is way, way better.  I don’t understand why people are saying the songs will stick in your head forever, I can’t remember any of them.  The only line I can recall is when the heroine bursts into the hunky bloke’s cabin and announces, “I WANT YOU TO TAKE ME UP THE NORTH MOUNTAIN!”  I nearly spat out my beer… Disney *has* changed…

The Inbetweeners 2 – You know what to expect from this one and it delivers.  The engine is running out of steam so this feels like the last in the franchise, but it’s an adequate swansong.  Plenty of laughs, but they’re the same laughs we’ve already had from these boys.

Last Vegas – Much better than expected, a reasonable script lifted by the stars (Robert de Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline).  Old guys go to Vegas, get into trouble, dig up old feuds, fall out, make up, bond with each other afresh.  You know the score.

Gone Girl – The eagerly awaited David Fincher adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s popular novel, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.  I can’t tell you much about the story without spoiling it, but I can tell you that Rosamund Pike goes missing and Ben Affleck is the prime suspect.  The plethora of twists and turns are more believable than usual and as such the mammoth 3-hour running time is endurable, if not without struggle.  It’s good, but it isn’t a classic.

Third Person – Paul Haggis directed the wonderful Crash back in 2004.  Third Person is nowhere near the film that Crash is, but it follows a similar tack – several story threads with an ensemble cast.  This time we get Liam Neeson, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, Kim Basinger, Mila Kunis, James Franco and Maria Bello.  The various occasionally-linking threads don’t really coalesce satisfactorily, it takes a while afterwards to figure out what was actually going on (at least it did for me).  But I still liked it.

Planes – Pixar can’t put a foot wrong, but this is probably my least favourite of their movies so far, purely because it’s so similar to Cars.  It’s still lots of fun but it’s just the same old stuff.  This time famous voicing names include Dane Cook, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Teri Hatcher, Stacy Keach, Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer  (who were of course both in Top Gun), but the only one I recognised was John Cleese.

Boyhood – I really wanted to like this one as it’s been filmed over a span of 12 years, so we get to watch the actors grow up with the story.  It must have been a big risk, because the director Richard Linklater can’t have known the kid actors would even want to carry on with the project, let alone be any good.  As a project, it works, and its novelty is sufficient to recommend it, but as a film I was rather underwhelmed.  And when the kid grows up and turns into a whiny pseudo-intellectual knobhead who sounds like Peter Sarsgaard doing an impression of Snake from The Simpsons, it lost my interest completely.  Shame.

Bad Neighbours – New parents Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne find a frat-house moving in next-door, with Zac Efron and Dave Franco (James’s younger brother).  The best jokes are on the trailer but it’s still reasonably funny.

A Million Ways to Die in the West – Seth MacFarlane perhaps unwisely decides to take the starring role as well as the director’s chair in this intermittently funny western that also stars Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris and Liam Neeson.  The romantic sub-plot is probably the weakest ingredient – even the flatulent middle-aged woman sat next to me in the cinema audibly groaned when it got soppy.

Belle – If you’re into your costume dramas then you can instantly place this in your top 5 of the year, because everyone’s saying it’s as good as they get.  However I’ve always had a bit  of a problem with the corsets and tights brigade.  Everything seems so … melodramatic.  Any line that is remotely significant is delivered with such wide-eyed quivering intensity that it just doesn’t seem real and I can’t lose myself in the story.  Not that I would anyway, because as soon as you learn that little black Belle is adopted into a wealthy strict-but-loving family and has trouble fitting into society because some posh dicks can’t see past her colour, you can write the rest yourself.  I mean, I enjoyed it, but it’s going nowhere near the top of the list.

 

Movies 61 to 70

Sex Tape – Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel try and spice up their love life by filming themselves bonking and, surprise surprise, the tape gets out.  Reasonably funny and with Cameron’s bare arse to enjoy, it’s fine for an evening’s rental but nothing more.

Fading Gigolo – John Turturro stars and directs (bizarrely) co-star Woody Allen pimping out his reluctant quarry to unlikely clients Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara and Vanessa Paradis.  It’s a highly likeable film, which is why it’s fairly high up the list without really doing anything to speak of.

Bad Words – Jason Bateman exploits a loophole in the rules and enters a spelling bee for kids.  Better than it sounds, but not as good as it could’ve been.

Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie – I saw one episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys on the telly and thought, “what a load of tripe.”  Then for some reason I saw a couple more and it clicked, now I really like it.  This film version feels a bit rushed, with less than wonderful support from Robert Bathurst (the posh wet one from Cold Feet) who makes quite the worst stab at Tourette’s that I’ve ever seen.  Most importantly, though, it makes the same mistake as many feature-length versions of comedy series and lets the plot get in the way of the serious business of making us laugh.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still funny – as with the TV series, when the cast crack up during a serious scene they leave it in rather than editing it out – but the laughs are more spread out and … well … less good.  Stay for the out-take-encrusted credits – the best line of the whole film is the very last one.

Need for Speed – I was pretty heavily biased against this one from the start.  Aaron Paul ruined Breaking Bad for me, because his part demanded him to be a colossal bell-end and he excelled at that so much that I found the programme unwatchable.  Then he went on Top Gear and was one of those irksome shouty people who SAYS EVERYTHING IN CAPITALS EVEN THOUGH THE PERSON HE’S TALKING TO IS SIX FEET AWAY and, when publicising this film on the aforementioned show, claimed “YEAH IT’S LIKE SO COOL MAN COS WE DIDN’T USE ANY CG OR NUTHIN” (meaning no computer graphics), and then immediately showed a clip that was quite obviously full of computer graphics.  Lying gobshite.  And, of course, the story is nonsense, the dialogue is painful, the stunts are stupid, the cars all have a thousand gears and the details make no sense (a Mustang with 900bhp that can do over 230mph *on a twisty circuit*) and the baby-faced twat who participates in the first race has clearly never even driven a car let alone knows what a fecking clutch pedal is.  And they have the brass face to project a scene from Bullitt across the start.  How very dare you.  But then something weird happened.  It became apparent that they genuinely *weren’t* using computer graphics (at least only lightly for the first half and then for some daftness in the climactic race where they couldn’t resist it).  Aaron Paul wasn’t being a massive dick.  Sure, he was chewing the scenery, but I kinda got the impression that only happened in Take 4 after the director insisted on “less nuance you little twerp, this isn’t fucking Sherlock”.  Ultimately, I’m rather surprised that I didn’t find it *entirely* a waste of my life.  The driving scenes were unarguably daft, but they were actually quite fun (a la Fast & Furious) and I found myself longing for an entire film like this, just made of dicking about in cool cars maybe with a few silly laughs to link the driving bits together.  But of course they can’t make that, because they already tried it and called it The Dukes of Hazzard, and I’m the only person on the planet who really loves that film, so nobody went to see it and it made ten pounds fifty.  So as a result, to get the bums on seats they have to surround the fun bit with all this useless toss that weighs it down and gets in the way of the tyre-smoking shenanigans.  Obviously, non-car people should keep WELL away because it’s a terrible movie, but if you like watching people dicking about in cool cars (*three* Koenigsegg Ageras!) then pick up your popcorn and get munching.  And I want to be the stunt driver in the sequel please.

Out of the Furnace – Pretty average story, made much better with intelligent direction and strong big names in the cast – Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana.  UPDATE: It’s now September and I barely remember even watching this one now.  No idea what happened in it.  Funny how that happens with some movies and not others.

The Other Woman – Very much a chick flick but nevertheless not bad.  Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz bond after finding they’re both partners of the same douchebag … yeah, it’s just like it sounds.  Support is provided, rather bizarrely and inadequately, by singer Nicki Minaj – a ludicrous caricature of a woman – and Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton, who appears to be a latex model of Gemma Atkinson.  It’s trite and shallow but it has enough laughs to rescue it.

Chef – Jon Favreau is a chef and starts out on his own.  Notable for its incredible supporting cast – Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr, Sofia Vergara – nevertheless it still feels like a run-of-the-mill comedy-by-the-numbers.  Actually, I *say* comedy, because it felt light like a comedy, but there wasn’t really any humour in it to speak of.  It was pleasant enough to watch and I don’t resent the price of the ticket, but meh.  Yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for.  Meh.

The Face of Love – Annette Bening loses her husband Ed Harris and then meets a dead ringer for him.  Funny how these doubles played by the same actor always have the exact same voice, isn’t it?  Manages to avoid being as bad as it sounds but is still only really an aeroplane movie.  Which is coincidentally where I saw it!  Bit spooky to see Robin Williams unexpectedly pop up in support, given that he’d died a couple of weeks earlier.

August: Osage County – Another really rather good film that still left me not wanting to rank it very highly because it’s full of shit-houses being nasty to each other.  I don’t want to watch that, even when Meryl Streep’s doing it.

 

Movies 71 to 80

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – Not sure Idris Elba was the right guy for this role but it was pretty good.  I would’ve liked to see more about Mandela’s earlier years, which I didn’t know about – instead they mostly covered the stuff everybody already knows.  But, refreshingly, it wasn’t a completely rosy picture, it painted a partly grim picture of the young Nelson.  Bonus points for courage.

Carrie – I expected nothing from this unnecessary remake but it isn’t half bad.  Chloe Grace Moretz (Hit Girl from Kick Ass) is stunning in the lead and “carries” (ho ho) the film – my only criticism being that she looks far too screen-conventional (i.e. too good-looking) in a way that Sissy Spacek never did.  Carrie needs to look like an outsider, not like a starlet.

Robocop – Redundant remake of the Paul Verhoeven tongue-in-cheek sci-fi classic.  Joel Kinnaman is the coppery copper – a name completely unfamiliar to me, but you might know him if you watched The Killing.  Some almost interesting story bits are punctuated by really tedious shooty bits – Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton do their best, but when the plot totally fails to capitalise on the promise touched on by the script, they never stood a chance of saving the film.

12 Years a Slave – This is actually an excellent film, but it’s down here because it’s so tough to watch.  One of the scenes went a bit Passion-of-the-Christ for a while with the brutality – that kind of thing really puts me off.  Chiwetel Ejiofor is superb in the lead, though the role doesn’t give him much versatility – it’s all strained harrowed expressions for him, which is IMHO why he didn’t get the Oscar.  Support is first-rate, with Michael Fassbender particularly standing out, and there’s a deserved Supporting Actress win for Lupita Nyongo.  Brad Pitt’s role is very odd – it feels like he turned up a week from the end of shooting and said, “hey dude, can I be in this movie?” so they quickly wrote a part for him.  I’m sure that isn’t what happened, but it sure feels that way.  Would I watch it again?  No.  Would I recommend it?  No, because it’s heavy-going.  Is it an excellent film?  Yes, undoubtedly.

Noah – This one’s divided opinion.  It’s even divided *my* opinion.  I quite liked the fact that Darren Aronofsky’s gone a bit mad with the plot and included rock monsters and Ray Winstone.  I quite liked the fact that Noah himself is depicted as being a bit loopy.  I really liked the way he managed to get around the perennial issue of the animals eating each other and filling up the ark with poo.  But then … well … it’s far too long and not a little up its own arse… would I watch it again?  Not a chance.  So there you have it.  Or not.

Nymphomaniac – Lars von Trier always makes weird and controversial movies.  This one is in two parts (i.e. two actual 2-hour movies that together make one long 4-hour one) and the clue to the plot is in the title.  Given the large amount of graphic nudity, it’s surprisingly untitillating, and it’s downright nasty in places.  Still, a strong cast that features Charlotte Gainsbourg (*all* of her), Stellan Starsgaard, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Willem Dafoe and Uma Thurman definitely lifts the quality.  And then there’s Shia LeBeouf.  Now, I can’t be entirely certain of this, but I have a sneaking suspicion young Shia has trashed his career with this one.  I was listening to his tortured vowels for a good few minutes before it suddenly dawned on me: “HE’S TRYING TO DO *ENGLISH*!”  Yes folks, this is worse than Keanu Reeves in Dracula, far worse even than Dick van Dyke – we are witnessing history, this is THE worst English accent ever committed to celluloid.  He darts through all the Home Counties, jumps off to Australia, South Africa and draws even a little Irish in there as he struggles vainly to arrive at an accent that could convincingly order a pint in a pub.  But never does he use the same lilt in two scenes.  Hard to believe that a film full of five-foot fannies can be overshadowed by a bad accent, but yes, it is *that* bad.  Shame.  The boy showed promise.

The Wolverine – Not the same film as “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, but it might as well be.  How Hugh Jackman makes this character so watchable is beyond me, but he does it continually and reliably, so much so that I ended up quite enjoying this one, despite its daftness and pointlessness.

Knights of Badassdom – This film was made *years* ago but never made a release due to various production difficulties … but really I suspect it’s because they knew it wasn’t very good.  Live role players inadvertently summon a real demon … well the idea could’ve worked, but the execution lacks in most significant ways.  Some very shoddy editing and a plot that doesn’t even try to make sense make the movie unsavable by Steve Zahn, Summer Glau and that bloke from True Blood (Ryan Kwanten), despite a zinging performance by Jimmi Simpson as the “games master”.  I’m not sure where they were going with the special effects … the demon looks pretty much identical to the stuff that was featuring in the live role playing scenes, that the characters were supposed to have knocked up in their own basement … I’m not sure if that was supposed to be a joke or not.  That’s where the movie falls down.  They should’ve gone for out-and-out comedy and left the gung-ho bullshit to the blockbusters.  It feels like a kids’ movie, but it can’t be because they say fuck in it and cut people’s heads off.  But it can’t be a grown-up movie because it isn’t funny enough and they spurned the chance to put tits in it.  It’s neither, and that’s why it’s languishing here in the mediocre section.

In The Blood – Anybody remember Haywire?  That was the action fighty-kicky film with a woman in the lead who was a genuine martial arts champion.  This is her again, and it’s definitely better than your average chop-socky nonsense.  It’s still nonsense though, the plot’s all over the place.  Best ignore it.

Maleficent – Angelina Jolie’s dark take on Sleeping Beauty is a weird one for two reasons: (1) it seems to have a spookily similar plot to Frozen (also Disney) and

(2) I’m not sure who it’s aimed at.  It’s shallow and dim enough to be for kids, but it’s rather dark and intense for your fragile little ankle-biters.  And what *is* going on with those cheekbones…

 

Movies 81 to 90

The Purge: Anarchy – The sequel to last year’s The Purge starts very promisingly but soon derails into meh-bleurgh-who cares.  The opening act suggests they’ve thought a bit more about the premise, but that’s as far as it goes.  Better than the original but that’s not saying much.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Pretty bored with superhero movies now.  There are far too many of them and they all follow the same formula.  This one pokes a little fun at itself, which saves it from being a total loss, but it’s still a bit dumb.  They cast Jamie Foxx, the stupidest man in Hollywood, as a science geek, and then have him turn into a weird electro-monster thingy JUST BY BEING ELECTROCUTED.  No spider venom.  No radioactive explosion.  Just an electric shock.  That’s it.  They’re not even trying any more.

Non-Stop – Liam Neeson as an air marshal with a drinking problem.  Ah yes, that old chestnut.  Watchable enough and indistinguishable from all the others.

Maps to the Stars – What on earth has happened to David Cronenberg?  This is typical of his recent output – pretentious, inaccessible and largely forgettable.  I’m writing this a month after I saw it and I can’t remember anything that happened, except that Julianne Moore was rather good as the diva actress lead.

The Purge – Last year’s film introduced the idea of an annual night in which all laws are suspended.  It’s an interesting idea that is woefully unexplored in this rather uninspired thriller with Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey.  Extra points deducted for using THREE TIMES the hideous movie cliché of the-hero’s-about-to-die-but-oh-wait-someone-shoots-them-from-behind-in-the-nick-of-time.  Please.  We’re not twelve.

The Maze Runner – Another Hunger Games rip-off, with really poor dialogue and stupid effects-laden action sequences, and it’s FAR too long.  But I guess as popcorn-popping nonsense goes, I’ve seen a lot worse.

A Walk Among the Tombstones – Liam Neeson shooting people.  Again.  Yawn.

Sin City 2 – I was so looking forward to this film after the first one back in 2005.  At least, I was for the first couple of years.  The ship has very much sailed now though so, whereas the original was a piece of cinematic history, this feels dated from the off.  And the pitch is somehow wrong as well – the violence in the original was kind of comical, but here it seems unnecessarily gruesome.  Maybe I’m just older and less tolerant of that kind of stuff.  Still, at least Eva Green spends most of her screen time in the nip, so it’s got that going for it.

Seve the Movie – Very low-rent documentary about the Spanish golfer, which did nothing to dissuade me of the opinion that dedicating your life to sport is an incredibly selfish path, and that we really should be dismissing these people as fairground attractions rather than idolising them and aspiring to their tragic misuse of the gift of life.  Explain to me again how wonderful it is when you can vanquish your foes, when you can prove once and for all that on that day in history you were better at getting a little ball in a slightly smaller hole in accordance with a set of arbitrary rules invented purely for the purpose of ranking you against your fellow competitor.  Explain to me again the best feeling in the world at managing to deprive somebody else of that very same feeling just so you can have it.  Explain how happy it makes you to watch their pain that you just caused to your opponent so that you could win instead of them.  Now tell me again why I’m supposed to idolise you, you achingly selfish twat.

Just so I’m clear about this, there’s nothing wrong with sport in itself.  Sport is a good thing, as SPORT.  It’s something you do for fun.  As soon as it becomes your job, it isn’t sport any more, and that’s when it all falls apart.  But I digress.  Seve The Movie isn’t very good.  I probably should’ve opened with that.

Mr Popper’s Penguins – This is a few years old but I’ve only just seen it so it goes in this list.  Should’ve been much better with Jim Carrey and a ton of adorable CGI pingus, but its tired plot and lack of sparkle do a good job of sinking the whole ship.  Entertaining enough but sub-par.

 

Movies 91 to 100

Essex Boys Retribution – One of the several films about the Rettendon Range Rover murders, this one is *kind of* a sequel to last year’s “The Fall of the Essex Boys”, which was itself “based on the true story behind” Rise of the Footsoldier (which was pretty good).  This one features DS Don Beech from The Bill (Billy Murray) and many anonymous faces – it’s very London, very sweary, not entirely terrible but largely forgettable too.  Nice to see some “real” boobs on display rather than the silicone monstrosities usually served up in movies.

The Monuments Men – I wasn’t in the best of moods when I saw this and that really didn’t help.  The screenplay seemed flawed to the point of bizarre and the undeniably great cast didn’t seem to gel, in a way I didn’t understand.  The whole premise is bent – call me a philistine but I really couldn’t connect with anyone when they’re trying to save *art* while people around them are having their limbs shot off.  Get some fucking perspective.  I could’ve handled this if it was played for laughs, and there were a couple (weirdly these moments played MUCH better on the trailer than in the film itself) but it was serious enough for the viewer to question why on earth these bozos are risking their lives doing this during wartime when they could’ve mopped up much more easily after the conflict was over.  Actually that’s not fair, they did explain why they couldn’t wait.  But I was asleep during that bit.

Thor: The Dark World – More of the same – really slick effects-wise and with fine performances from Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston etc. but as usual the plot makes no sense and it’s all a bit naff.

The Book Thief – Actually a really good movie, but Jesus, so depressing I wanted to kill myself.  Kept getting distracted by the ‘Allo ‘Allo style linguistics as well – the dialogue is all in English but with a German accent – and when the kid reads a shop sign as “accountant” when it says “Buchhandung” on the screen, they’re telling us that they’re *actually* speaking German but it’s in English so we can understand it.  So why, then, do they say “nein” and “danke”, why does it occasionally pop into German with subtitles and why does *she* write in English when everyone else is writing in German?  It makes no sense and I found it very distracting.  Probably just as well – any distraction is welcome when the film is set in Nazi Germany and people are doing unspeakable things to each other.  It’s horrible watching films like that.  I bloody well paid for it as well.

Ender’s Game – I can never buy into these dumbass movies that put a kid in an adult’s world, and unless I wasn’t paying attention (quite likely), they never explained why they were doing it.  This kid becomes commander of an entire battle fleet, sheesh.  It isn’t terrible but it’s very much for kids because the plot is so stupid.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – Weirdly directed by Kenneth Branagh, who unwisely cast himself as the baddie.  Trouble is, to us Brits he’s more of a luvvie than a baddie.  He was a pretty dark chap in Rabbit-Proof Fence, but here he seems flimsy.  Chris Pine (Captain Kirk) was a good choice as lead hero, but for my money the novice “analyst” Jack Ryan didn’t spend enough time being shit at espionage.  He had one panic and bish-bosh he’s an expert all of a sudden.  Meh.  It had its moments but it was too bang-crashy, look at me with my scenes moving so fast you can’t see what’s going on, oh look I *must* be cool, surely.  There was a news article saying movie bosses were disappointed because much of this film’s audience was over fifty.  There’s your problem, right there.  Stop trying to be cool and just make a good fecking movie, for cock’s sake.  Make it and the bums will come.  Bourne showed that.

SxTape – Not the higher profile “Sex Tape” with Cameron Diaz, this is just a rather limp … erm, horror I guess … in the discovered-footage genre.  It doesn’t seem to make much sense, and as such the scary bits are more confusing than scary.

Nurse 3D – Weird one this.  Always going to be a B movie, a nurse turns out to be a bit psycho and does gory things to cheaty men.  All you’ll remember about this movie is the lead Paz de la Huerta (who you may have seen in Boardwalk Empire), for two reasons:  (1) She looks like a smoothed-off version of Steve Tyler from Aerosmith and (2) she’s really, *really* bad at acting.  But she does get her kit off a lot, so it’s not all bad.

The Counselor – Ridley Scott, what’s going on?  Very glam and slick, with Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem – but there’s no substance in there that I could detect, it’s far up its own arse, and it’s all a bit … dumb.  Not like Ridley Scott at all.  Well maybe a little.

Pompeii – There are two Paul Andersons directing Hollywood movies.  One of them, Paul Thomas Anderson, directs interesting and novel stuff such as Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, The Master and There Will Be Blood.  This isn’t one of his.  This one is from Paul W S Anderson, who directs … erm … less intellectual stuff … such as the Resident Evils, Death Race, Event Horizon and Alien vs Predator.  His films do tend to have an edge that drivel of this kind usually doesn’t have, but if there was an edge in Pompeii, I completely missed it.  It’s a bit like Titanic in the style of Gladiator, and it’s volcanically bad.  Nice disaster effects though.

 

Movies 101 to 108

The Railway Man – Colin Firth trying to get over the torture inflicted on him by the Japanese during the war.  Pretty good film, but it’s so harrowing watching the torture that I can’t recommend it.  I don’t understand why people pay to see films like this.  It ruined my day.

Divergent – A blatant rip-off of The Hunger Games with morsels plagiarised from Harry Potter, Ender’s Game and Moonpig or whatever those tweeny vampire wankfests are called.  Possibly the first movie ever to be written solely by computer and so, so booooring.  Not one single original thought in the whole dreadfully long mess.  Young girls will love it.

Transformers: Age of Extinction – Who on earth is still watching these films?  Well, me, obviously.  Doh.  Predictably terrible, with Mark Wahlberg talking too fast as usual and new gratuitous short-shorts wearer Nicola Peltz who, disturbingly, looks about 14.  I sometimes wonder if the visual effects guys, who must have spent tens of thousands of hours poring over every detail, watch the finished product and weep into their popcorn over the fact that they didn’t even deem it necessary to spend half an hour knocking up a decent plot.  I mean, really, it doesn’t even *try* to make sense.  Consequently I can’t help my disappointment at seeing Stanley Tucci, who I always enjoy, Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) and Sophia Myles all selling out.  Can’t really blame them but I like them all a bit less as a result.  Such a bad film.

Lucy – This has to be the worst screenplay I have EVER seen.  The story is so phenomenally stupid that an 8-year-old would be embarrassed to put his name to it.  Scarlett Johansson ingests a load of a new drug that enables her to use the 90% of the brain capacity that supposedly the rest of us don’t (there’s the first red flag right there).  When she gets up to 20% utilisation she overhears some phone conversations in Chinese and, from that, instantly learns how to READ Chinese.  For fuck’s sake you colossal morons, how did nobody not put their hand up during filming and say, “erm … guys … is this not a bit bollocks?”  Luc Besson, I enjoyed your daft Transporter movies, Unleashed (Danny the Dog) was excellent and Leon was sublime, but now it’s time to stop, because you’ve treated your audience like they’re amoebas.  Look at Limitless, look at Transcendence – they both show how to tell the story you so vapidly failed to tell.  Take the hint and JUST STOP.

300: Rise of an Empire – Oh god, this is just HIDEOUS.  Sequel to the stylish and watchable (but still a bit rubbish) 300 with Gerard Butler as the spitty Spartan, this is a pale imitation.  It looks good, in a washed out, slo-mo, CGI kind of way, but it’s just so stupid that it’s difficult to even sit through.  Utter tripe.

Captain America The Winter Soldier – I really like Chris Evans (the actor, not the prat), his Flameboy (or whatever he was called) in Fantastic Four was wonderful.  Here he’s just reading the script and taking the cash.  I’ve had so much of these stupid smacky special-effects laden snoozaramas that I’m not sure I can take another single one.  Not even if it’s waffer-thin.  I’ll just expire on the spot.

I, Frankenstein – Aaron Eckhart does attract some phenomally bad roles … anyone remember The Core?  Here he’s Frankenstein’s monster reinvented as a modern pointless shooty-punchy crapfest.  Massively awful in every single way, unless you’re twelve.

Guardians of the Galaxy – I’ll say straight off that you’re going to really like this one.  Most people do.  I fecking hated it.  I was going to put it smack bang at the very bottom before I remembered quite how bad Frankenstein was.  Apparently this is from a Marvel comic, but nobody I’ve talked to has ever heard of it.  This film got right on my tits in many different ways.  They’ve hired Bradley Cooper to do the voice of the raccoon, yet the raccoon sounds nothing like Bradley Cooper.  They hired Vin Diesel to play a tree who (I swear I’m not making this up) says NOTHING but “I am Groot” throughout the entire film.  ONE LINE!  Vin Diesel has one line, and he’s not even on screen!  They hired Laura Haddock (the impossibly beautiful one from the first Inbetweeners movie) and I’m not even sure which character she was!  She might’ve been the dying mum in the hospital bed.  WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!  The main cast consists of Zoe Saldana and some bloke I’ve never seen before, with really small cameos from Glenn Close and John C Reilly that don’t work at all.  You know, I think the film suffers from having TOO MUCH budget.  The money spent in makeup alone must have been bigger than the GDP of some countries and there’s more CGI than an entire season of Galactica.  The plot … well, the plot.  “Stupid” doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.  I felt genuinely insulted.  There were some moments that really *should* have been funny, but within the strangulated strait-jacket of this hateful smug coffin of a movie, I just couldn’t bring myself to smile at them.  Normally in a bad movie I’m bitching about the fact that I paid money to see it, but in this … in this it was the TIME.  A hundred wasted minutes that felt like a thousand of such biblical asinine cockbollockry that I wanted to scrape my brains out and smear them on the screen.  Actually, fuck it.  This *is* going right at the bottom, because I hated it so goddam much.  Screw you, Guardians.

 

Epilogue

And that’s it.  Yes, yes, I know, I know, you all liked Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s not fair, I was just in a bad mood, yadda yadda.  I know.  I don’t care.  It’s my list.  Make your own if you don’t like it   :P

Along the way some other “interesting” thoughts came to mind, which I mention here just because I wrote them down and they kind of fit…

 

Thank you North Korea

“Go and see Fury,” they said (you know, the tank movie with Brad Pitt).  “I know you hate war movies but this isn’t really a war movie,” they said.  So I found myself in possession of a hooky copy, supposedly leaked by the North Koreans in that recent Sony hack.  The first scene, the VERY FIRST SCENE, before anybody even says anything, is Brad Pitt walking up to a prostrate soldier and knifing him in the eye.  Right in the fucking eye.  Not a war film?  My arse.  I’m not watching that.  And thank you Kim Jong Lardo for saving me the price of a ticket.

 

Preserving the music

Made of Stone – As I started watching this Shane Meadows documentary on Channel 4, I suddenly noticed for the first time what there is in common with all the music I like.  It’s that I know practically nothing about the people who perform it.  Bit of a revelation, that.  Of all my all-time favourite music, who would I recognise if they came and sat next to me waiting for a train?  Not sure.  If that bloke from Del Amitri got on the 09:48 to Waterloo I might wonder where I’d seen him before.  You won’t know Jake Shillingford, but I’ve listened to his masterpiece Twelve Reasons Why I Love Her a thousand times and I still wouldn’t know who he was if he kicked me in the spleen.  Of course if there was a zombie apocalypse, I’d think everyone I saw was Ian Brown, but I still don’t know anything about him.  And it turns out that’s very important.  Because … and I know this is going to be contentious … but it seems that most famous music people come across as utter bell-ends when you actually hear them talk.

Remember Oasis?  Great music, *massive* take-up when they started … then, the more we found out about them, the less we liked them.  We still like their early stuff, but that’s because we didn’t know what colossal donkey-fannies they were at that point.  And I’m sure I don’t need to spell out why we don’t like U2 any more.

So I stopped watching Made of Stone, because I really like the music of The Stone Roses, and I don’t want that to change when I find out (inevitably) that Ian Brown is a dull-brained skidmark of a man.  I mean, I don’t *know* that.  He might turn out to be another Stephen Fry.  But I bet you a pound he isn’t.

 

Reduce the Ds

Is there anybody left who still wants to pay extra to see a movie in 3D?  Really?  Anybody?   PLEASE let 2015 be the year it finally dies a long-overdue death.

 

The order is all bollocks anyway

There’s a massive variation in how much I like a film, depending what else is going on at the time.  If I’m in a great mood and have no preconceptions of a film, I’ll generally end up really liking it.  If I’m tired and a bit drunk, it has to be properly special to pique my interest.  In different circumstances any one of these films could be at least 20 places up or down in the list – some of them 50.  So please don’t take too much notice of where your favourite film is in the list.  It’s all bollocks.

 

Twelve months?  Really?

I can’t believe quite how many excellent films there were this year.  At the half-way point of the year, the top 10 was looking pretty shabby, but then I started ignoring the blockbusters and the average suddenly spiralled upwards to a rather wonderful zenith.

I also can’t believe how long this year seems, looking back on it.  HOW long ago were American Hustle and The Counselor?  SURELY it was more than a year ago … wasn’t it?  How many months did this year have…?  At this rate 2015 will last so long that by the end of it, James Bond will be played by a black man.  Oh wait…