Saturday, 31 December 2016

We Won't Miss You 2016

I think it's safe to say that 2016 has just been the worst.

With so many awful things happening this year, even this close to the end of the year, its hard to stay positive. With David Bowie and Alan Rickman going at the start of the year, it was a sign from the start and now with Carrie Fisher too, 2016 stop taking people from us!

I think it goes without saying that the biggest mistake of the year, Brexit was trumped by the biggest mistake of the year, Trump, the rapist elected as the American President, that 2016 just needs to stop, now!

Personally this year has been terrible too, with health and work issues and loosing my Grandad, I really want to see the back of this year and look forward with a positive attitude, which I don't usually do.

Usually I make resolutions and this year I stuck to two. Get out of that terrible job I was in, which I did. Only to find myself in a terrible position that was just not for me. Thankfully, I am not in a job, office and people I like and enjoy. But this year, I've had 3 jobs. Feels odd. I did visit Helsinki with my sister and I did start pre production with my friend (Foxo) on our short film, which is progress. But I'm keeping thing simple this time.

1. Make a dentist appointment - its been too long.
2. Visit my friend who is moving to Florence for a year
3. I say it every year but needs to be said - health - do something.
4. Finish a piece of writing
5. Learn how to hula hoop - I've started and I'm terrible
6. Big drastic clear out
7. Source funding for the film
8. I say this each year too - move out!

These are all do-able apart from number 8, but I put that there to motivate myself more.

So, this will be my last post of the worst year ever. I'm off to hopefully bring in the New Year in a heated tiki hut near Brixton in Winter and enjoy all the whiskey I can afford.

Happy New Year to ye all!

Blind Spot Series: Peeping Tom

This is one of those films where I can't believe I waited this long to see it.

Mark Lewis is a loner. He lives in the house he grew up in, where his famous father performed psychological experiments on him, mostly documenting his fear. This could be contributed to his onbession with fear. He murders women, filmming their deaths and watches them in his rooms. While trying to complete his 'documentary' he befriends one of his tenents, Helen and tries not to film her, afraid of what he may do. Meanwhile, the police are closing in on him.

Directed by Michael Powell (without the Pressburger) this was released in 1960 and it is no surprise to hear that the film was met with outrage and controversy. In fact, it almost ruined Powell's career. This is a sign of a future classic or in this case, a cult hit. Years later, the film is now considered a masterpiece and I think I can agree that in some ways it is. However, if the film had been released now, the reception would have been cold and stayed cold. The film is 'of its time' as well as something that can be related to now.

Austrian actor, Carl Boehm is Mark Lewis, an outsider. By casting an Austrian actor to play the part of the filmmaker serial killer, an outsider from the start, makes it clear that he is isolated, not only by his actions or by the way he lives but by who he is too. This makes its difficult for an audience to identify with him in anyway, even though Powell treads a thin line where he wants us to pity Mark but not forgive him. Unlike most murder mystery or crime films, the serial killer is revealed in the credits. But also unlike other films of this genre, we don't sit and wait for him to be caught either, this is about his 'documentary' he is making and whether he will get the the shots he wanted and if he will get to finish. Any filmmaker or in fact creative knows how it feels to want to finish something, whether there is a deadline or not. Mark just wants to finish, he has it all planned out, even right to the end.

The film captures the obsessions people have with watching. Afterall, the film is about a yoyeur. It also mirrors what the audience does, watch. I can see why the film caused a stir, no one likes to think they are a voyeur but in some ways a film audience is. As a horror thriller is scartches the surface of why people are obsessed by horror films and seeing people in peril. The film has layers to it that are aren't explored enough but I can appreciate the story and the obsession with cinema, as well as the need to watch so much TV and film. It is a form of art as well as an unhealthy way to live, glued to a screen, but I won't be changing my ways any time soon, this has just fueled my love of cinema more. Film can't always be pretty.

To see where it all started and for an excellent insight to film, have a look at The Matinee and have a look HERE for more Blind Spot posts from other bloggers.

I will also be taking part next year too. HERE is the list of fims for 2017.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Watch List 2016

We all know how terrible 2016 has been. Deaths, bad desciions, the trolls who all admitted to be =ing misyongints throughout the Ghostbusters release, the idiots that voteed to Leave in Brexit (I will never forgive you for this), the idiots who voted a woman hating homophobic rasict rapist as head of one of the most powerful countries, and I think hell did in fact freeze over. You get the point, its been terrible.

But despite all that, there has been some great movies released this year which a small comfort to a shitty year.  I managed to narrow down my favourites to 10 films! There is no order apart from the film of year.

First off, these are the films I think are worth mentioning, as they were all fantastic: 

And I can launch into my favourite films of the year:

If I could name one superhero film that really made me love the genre all over again it would of course be Deadpool. It made fun of the franchise films as well as joining in with them. New characters were given time as well as some familiar ones. I really hope that there are more Deadpool adventures coming our way and hopefully Copycat will surface... but until then I'll have that song from the credits in my head.

A crime thriller in the form of a Disney film with a fox and a rabbit joining forces to solve it? What's not to like? A fantastic film that had humour, fantastic characters and wonderful animation. Making the story about a missing mammal case rather than murder mystery was clever (safe for kids) and i loved it. I'm hoping this Frozen bs calms down so we can get another story with Judy and Nick.

Hail Caesar!
The Coens are on top form with a massive dig at Hollywood while also celebrating it. All about misdirection and wonderful scenes full to the brim with nostalgia and left room for me and my theories which I go into depth HERE. Can't wait to see what the Coens give us next.

A brilliant, unbeliabley sad but strong film about five sisters who have their lives ruined but still believe there is hope. The stand alone film at last years Oscars as the only film nominated to be directed by a woman, this story stands the test against all the 'big guns'. Hopefully more films like this will follow.
The Neon Demon
Director Nicolas Winding Refn has said that he made this film for the 16 year old girl inside him which I thought at first was a little over the top but after watching it, I can see that she was screaming to get out. A hybrid of coming of age, would be thriller, portrait, horror exploit, it delivered a strange, familiar and hideous view, it was brilliant.

Nocturnal Animals
A slow burner revenge story that isn't violent on the surface, it attacks beneath. But the story within the story is brutal and devastating, which is how it is described in the story. It is a brilliantly made film but I could never see it again. The memory of it will stay with me for a while.

Adult Life Skills
When do you aquire adult life skills? Do they even exist? This film brought a bit of sunshine and realistic feeling into the mix. It was fantastically accurate and relatable and added the dramatic element of moving on from a terrible time, but it also shows that it is possible to continue from grief and live outside a shed in the back garden.


I'm glad to say that I'm not the only one who found this film difficult o describe. It is simply beautiful. Points about the world now and what we should do for the future are made but they are not imposing and make your eyes roll. If anything, they will make you tear up and wish to stay watching that moment in the film over again. As I said, simply beautiful in every way.

Rogue One
I am the force, the force is with me, Say it enough times and you will believe it. This was more than I could have hoped for. Darker than those in the saga, but it needed to be. Amazing characters that I will miss. It was a film for the true fans and the those just discovering the galaxy and tied in perfectly with the greater story. Rogue One, you were amazing.

The Film of the Year

Hunt for the Wilderpeople
I have been saying this since June. I picked the film on a whim as I knew the director and it fit in with my time frame at Edinburgh Film Festival and I am so glad it did. I have never laughed so hard or been in a room filled with everyone laughing so much in a cinema. Ricky Baker and Heck's adventure through the New Zealand bush that turns into ann epic manhunt is so bizarre and yet so homely and simple, it is the best film of the year, the anti-2016.  I loved the it. For more about how much I loved it, go HERE.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Blind Spot Series 2017 List

I'm a little late on annoucing my list for 2017 but at least it wasn't never.

Anyone joining this year round (first time under She Likes Movies) is the Blind Spot Series which was started and hosted by Ryan from The Matinee. The list is comprised of films that are considered classics and films that should have been watched by now. There are twelve in total for each month of the year. Ryan's list can be read HERE.

My list this year is not quite as diverse as I had hoped with 5 American, 1 Australian, 1 Swedish, 1 French, 1 German, 1 Czechoslovak, 1 Irish, and only 1 British. I was quite disappointed at first as I had wanted to use this list to watch films I would be less likely to see but the American films are those I really should have seen by now. It's also quite amusing that 3 of the films have been turned into stage musicals too.

Bring on 2017!

The list in full, in no particular order:

The Network
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
Belle De Jour
Wings of Desire
Closely Watched Trains
The Seventh Seal
Top Hat
In the Heat of the Night
The Commitments
The Purple Rose of Cairo
The Man in the White Suit

Thursday Movie Picks: Coming Home

Coming home was always a great thing once away for a long period of time. I escaped for 3 years and came home for holidays and film shoots. It was always so wonderfully stress free (not the film shoots) for some reason and my room felt empty (which in some ways I liked). It was odd looking down the high street from the train station after returning, I felt like a tourist not knowing where to go. Then, 6 years ago, I came back and stayed. Didn't have a choice, no money, no job yet but I really had hoped I would be out of there/here by now. Maybe in the new year I'll have the money to leave so I can 'come home' again and have the feeling.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

Tiny Furniture
Anyone who has experienced the independence of University and the hideous feeling of returning home knows how Aura feels. This was Lena Dunham's breakout feature film which starred her real mother and sister, playing those characters too. Aura returns home from Uni with a filmmaking degree and not much of a plan. Having returned home from Uni 6 years ago with the exact same degree to my artist parents, I kinda know how this feels.

Winter Passing
A film where Will Ferrel is neither a comedian nor the centre of attention? Yes it does exist, but its not that great. A sort of good cast but the story about a woman who is offered a lot of money to publish her famous author parents' letters, returns home to confront her father about childhood neglect turns into a 'who is more depressing' contest. 

The Dressmaker
Kate Winslett is brilliant as the wrongly accused child murderer, Mrytle Dunnage who returns home after decades to look after her mother is ignored by most of the town in back water Australia. She is now an amazing seamstress, making beautiful dresses for the town even though they are awful to her and her mother. It is unbelievably and unexpectedly sad but the ending is worth the pain.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

The Vulturehound Twelve Days of Christmas

Over the past 12 days this month, Vulturehound has posted up twelve Christmas films and quite delightfully they aren't all the obvious ones.

For me, Die Hard is the ultimate non obvious, but clearly it's Christmas,  Christmas film. I watch it every year along with all the favourite ones BUT I chose I different film to focus on, a childhood favourite; Santa Claus the movie.

This is on the VH website but they didn't post my whole article for some reason SO HERE it is in full.

Now for a little PR. All the films can be read about HERE. The latest Vulturehound issue is also out and can be read HERE 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Small Screen Wonders for 2017

Little White Lies has kindly taken care of this one for me but I want to share it and point out some highlights for the coming year...

Netflix has some awesome shows coming our way with including Stranger Things with a second series. BBC has Sherlock, Taboo, Witness for the Prosecution and the return of Top of the Lake. A Handmaid's Tale and American Gods.


After devouring the Christmas special, I simply cannot wait until May for Sense8 season 2. The wait to see Lito, Nomi, Will, Riley, Sun, Kala, Wolfgang and Capheus was too long.

Another gem from Netflix is of course, A Series of Unfortunate Events which I have talked about already... mainly beacuse I'm so excited!

And one last thing...

That's right. Twin Peaks is back! Just as it was predicted 25 years ago. Cast details have spoon fed to us but very little on storyline and what will happen, which is exciting but also excruciating.

For the full list from Little White Lies its HERE.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Parties

Parties. Parties. Parties. There hasn't been many. There were mini parties, Halloween and Christmas ones at the office. But this year has seen a lack of parties and only a few big nights out. I'm hoping the new year will bring lots more parties to enjoy.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play sisters who find out their parents are selling their childhood home so decide to have one last party. But of course they aren't teenagers anymore, they are in nearer 40, as are all their friends. It's hilarious and fun, hitting in on nostalgia and realising that you can't do some of the crazy stuff you did when you were younger. I'm not 40 but as I get older I understand this film beyond my love for Tina and Amy. It went head to head with Star Wars last year (good for them) and they didn't come out on top of the box office but the Ellis Sisters throw one hell of a party.

Can't Hardly Wait
Highschool seniors throw a big party at the end of the year and it is crammed full of stereotypes. Set almost entirely at a party where several stories and characters intertwine. Its over the top and very typpical of its time, late 90s but it does have quite few now famous people in it.

200 Cigarettes 
Before cross section ensemble comedy dramas were over done and rubbish, there was 200 Cigarettes. The titke refers to the total amount smoked in the film. With a cast including the Affleck brothers to Courtney Cox to Dave Chappelle to a cameo from Elvis Costello, this is the best of the late 90s casting right here. The party is hosted by Martha Plimpton who spends the whole film wondering why no one has showed yet. It is pointed out to her that people won't turn up until late, which they do and she misses it. Her guests enjoy some crazy times before arriving that all befitting the NYE anticlimax. Last year to signify New Years Eve, I wrote a little longer post HERE.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

December Watch List

Midnight Special
Meaningful and heartrenching science fiction is a trend this year (wait for Arrival) with Michael Shannon (a towering figure of brilliance) as a father who just wants to protect, save and help his son at any costs. Essentially a road film that begins in the middle, going from a crazy cult who thinks the end of the world will be prevented by forcing a boy to stay with them. A NSA agent who believes something is more sinister afoot to the boy and his family who do not entirely understand what is happening but stay together to try and help the boy to safety. It does leave quite a bit up to the imagination until the end but doesn't answer all questions, which worked much better for me, although the ending was traumatic as well a heart warming. People's lives are changed forever and it is sometimes a great thing. 3/5

Its’s difficult to describe this film. That was my first thought when it ended. The book it is based on the novella by Ted Chiang, ‘Story of Your Life’ where at the first I wondered about the title, now, makes a whole lot more sense. On the surface it appears to be an alien species arriving on Earth and two scientists are sent to find out what they want. And that is how it is meant to feel except that instead of the big noise all those other alien invasion film start and end, Arrival takes its time, one step at a time hyping the tension and the initial fear. But emotion soon takes over as you start to wonder and guess what is really happening. You’re with Louise throughout and in a way it is her journey and discovery but it turns into something bigger. There is the message that the world needs to unite rather than attack first ask questions later. Instead of the over dramatic desparate run it is an understanding that is shared. The one thing I noticed/felt was that the aliens are intimidating at first, the fear of them isn't that they will attack but its they are tryin to warn us in some way. This film could slip into the dramatic or into science fiction but it escapes the traditional action disaster thriller despite including a few recognisable tropes such as the secret secret base with fully fuctioning idiot CIA agent and gun happy soldiers but thanks to the presence and focus being the two scientists the film is one of the most beautifully crafted films. Its a surprise to see how though with Denis Villeneuve at the helm. 5/5

Moana was better than I hoped it could be. A fantastic character following her journey to discovering who she is and her actual journey across the ocean. Every song was magical and catchy, despite the odd lyric that seemed strange, there is nothing to fault the story, animation or music. Shut up Frozen – you’ve finally been dethroned. Except….no one is talking about this amazing film. The frenzy that surrounded that snow crud is not for Moana and I really can’t see why. Moana, as she says is not a Princess, she is the daughter of the chief and will one day take up that title and lead her people. She has internal issues, like any other teenager. She wants to help but she cannot resist the call of the ocean. Unlike Frozen, we are treated to a back story for how the world came to be and reason for why the island is dying and why the ocean chooses Moana for this special mission to save her island by returning the heart of (goddess name) Mother Nature type goddess. She is accompanied, reluctantly at first by the Demi-God Maui who caused all these problems in the first place. The two form a brilliantly unlikely duo, sharing some triumphant moments, saving each other and some more emotional ones, where Maui shares his sad past that haunts him, but with Moana’s help he can overcome them. There is even time for a slow motion walk just at the right moment and beautiful, with the parting of the sea and Moana embracing who she is. All this and there’s even a great scene with a gigantic crab who sings in a Bowie-esque number about being shiny, voiced by the recognisable Jermaine Clement.  There are a few snide quips about the generic ‘princess movie’ such as Maui trying to correct Moana telling her ‘you’re wear a dress and you have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess’. But Moana is much more than that. Not only is this film about her finding her way, but there is no distraction of a ‘love interest’ for the first time and while watching the film, you do not miss it. The film proves that stories can be bigger than that. The ocean chose Moana, but she’s only human. She doesn’t have magical powers, she doubts herself and takes risks, and she is a far better role model than the previous characters before her. This film is ground breaking for the right reasons but I’m worried this won’t be reflected in the box office success. 5/5

Rogue One
I don't think I have the words to describe how excited I was just sitting down to see this film. If I could just sit here make noises to show excited I was before during and after the film, that would sum up my enjoyment. Some say its better than TFA. Some have been disappointed. Some have said its an amazing film just on its own regardless of the Star Wars tag. For me, this was everything I expected with some surprises my friend and I literally squealed in delight at. The rules apply here, no spoilers even though the plot to the film is well known as well as the obvious outcome, but its how the rebels do it that I don't want to spoil. There are some truely great characters in this film, not to mention Jyn Erso who is an excellent addition to the galaxy, but as we all know, the film is a stand alone so it is highly unlikely that we will ever see such great characters again. With a stand alone story in the middle of the saga, it seems out numbered but the film holds ground. Bringing together the heart of the original and hints and nods to the future. This was a perfect fit fir Gareth Edwards who knows how to cut through a battle scene, showing everything and making you feel like you're there. I hope to delve deeper into why I loved this film so much at a later date when its been out longer and spoilers won't be an issue but for I give it my all 5/5.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Whimsical Misery Is On It's Way

 I debated writing posts for new trailers, I know some of my favourite blogs do so I felt I was stepping on their blog shoes and also, I'd rather read than write them myself. BUT a few trailers of late have caught my attention. In fact this new series set to stream on Netflix in the new year has had two trailers come out. It of course warned us not to watch and find something else to do as this is what the books said all that time ago. I am ecstatic that the excellent saga of misery and brilliance set in an ambiguos time and place has finally made it back to the screen. Of course its A Series of Unfortunate Events.

The thirteen part series by Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket, was a wonderful saga about the Baudelaire orphans; Violet, Klaus and Sunny who are sent to live with their so called distant relative, Count Olaf after their parents are killed in a suspicious fire. Olaf is the true villain. He thinks hes an amazing actor but really is a theif and liar who wants to steal the Baudelaire fortune. Throughout the story, at first, the orphans are passed from 'relative' to 'relative' trying to escape Olaf as well as find out about their parents and the secrets they hid. The books were released in  wonderfully designed mini hardbacks, complete with fantastic illustrations by Brett Helquist. This saga was unlike any other childrens' book, full of misery and supposed hopelessness, but with a dash of hope. Another aspect of the books which I am pleased to see in the new TV show is tha Lemony Snicket is involved, as a narrator at first but then part of the actual story too, creating further mystery.

Back in 2003 I was impressed by the film, in fact I adored it and even didn't mind the messing around with the timeline slightly BUT seeing as the film was never given a chance to continue, hearing that the show was being made by Netflix all those months ago AND hearing on who was playing the villain of the piece, Count Olaf, I was over joyed. With each announcement the TV series looked more promising. Neil Patrick Harris looked perfect in the leaked photos not long ago and the teaser trailer of Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket walking through an empty set was delightly. That man's voice is something else, but I'm also pleased to see that comedy has a place in this sad story because as anyone who has read the books, it is indeed a tragic tale of the Baudelaire orphans; Violet, Klaus and Sunny.

From the two trailers released it looks like the first four books; The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window and The Misrable Mill will be covered. For me, this is rather a shame as the fifth book signals a big turning point in terms of story, plus a great cliffhanger. The books covered pieces of the bigger story  but didn't go into detail until the fifth and sixth book so maybe this season will be a taster.

I won't go into further detail in case there are those who hasn't read the books and no spoilers. But from the trailers it looks to be amazing - bring on January 2017!

Just to see how good the show looks, HERE is the latest trailer.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Video/Arcade/Board Game Movies

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

Tron Legacy
This has got to count as an arcade game film, as they are all in an arcade game. Having never seen the whole of Tron, I think I saw half then fell asleep as I can’t remember the ending, I wasn’t really hyped for Tron Legacy but everyone else was. This was the film that helped Olivia Wilde and was meant to boost Garret Hedlund and just made everyone love Jeff Bridges even more. The world within the arcade game was all fancy electric colours with a soundtrack by The Chemical Brothers with Michael Sheen prancing around in a tight outfit. The story is a little hazy with something about Clu becoming Flynn’s sort of son as he abandoned his real son. There was also something about a massacre and lots of computer programmes died? Actually I mostly remember the race and the ‘don’t cross the streams’ rule and then the escape plan. It was an ok film.

Real name Cluedo but for some weird and pointless reason the game is called Clue in US, why? Just keep it as Cluedo that what the inventor called it. Anyway, the film is bizarre with an amazing cast including Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd and the marvellous Madeline Kahn. The film has three possible endings and upon release each cinema was given a different which I thought was a genius idea. Six strangers are invited to a mysterious dinner party hosted by Mr Boddy. Each guest is given an alias to protect their identities. Then it is revealed that they are all being blackmailed by Mr Boddy. The guests are given an envelope with a weapon inside it and challenged to kill the butler who knows all their secrets too. You can guess what happens next, it’s a game but it’s more of a murder mystery.

Prince of Persia
As I don’t play computer games when it is announced that yet another game is being brought to the big screen, I don’t get all excited unless the story is good. Some friends have said they play the game because of the stories but then what I don’t get is why they all fail at the box office then? Unlike Prince of Persia which did pretty well despite being a total white wash. I liked this one and happily watched it a few times on Netflix. Prince Dastan adopted son of the king leads a siege against a holy city under the impression they are hording weapons. But in fact his evil uncle wants the sacred dagger that can alter time in his favour. Dastan is framed for his father’s murder is forced to flee. He teams up the guardian of the dagger, Princess of Alamut, Tamina in order to preserve the sands of time and stop his uncle. To me, it doesn’t feel like a game adaptation, it was just a Disney action film. I did happen to like the Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton team, it worked splendidly.