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In the Mouth of Madness

In the Mouth of Madness
Unexpectedly decent John Carpenter film. I really liked Sam Neill's performance.

Very creepy moment with the boy on the bike in the middle of the night.

It's not that original in concept and the ending could have been better I felt but it was enjoyable, with a few creepy moments. I suppose it's a forgettable film but Neill's was very watchable and it was an easy watch.

Turbo Kid

You need a bit more than a rousing synthwave soundtrack to make a good film
This film is 'alright' but is overly reliant on the synthwave soundtrack to give a sense of punch-the-air excitement and adventure, the kind you remember from watching 80's films as a kid, which it is otherwise lacking in.

Quite often in fact, the rather upbeat and uptempo soundtrack doesn't really fit what is happening on screen, either because the events are rather dull or the editing is too slow. Or worse, both, like the scene where the punchy music blasts out while we watch a rather lethargically-edited game of tag.

Given the rich soil of 80's films and the things we all think about when reminiscing of movies from this period (BMX bikes, adventure, exciting music, friends and the general feeling of magic and wonder), you would think it relatively easy to produce a fun and engaging film that is not only influenced by but is an ode and homage to that period of cinema.

Yeah they've got the rinky dinks - the BMX bikes, the kids as lead characters, the sci fi element, the retro clothing and paraphernalia, the sense of adventure, the music. But it falls a little flat and is a little dull.

I can't fully put my finger on it but maybe it's the story that is rather bland and uninteresting which makes this seem underwhelming overall.

Ready Player One is a much more satisfying throwback to 80's films despite its flaws. Super 8 is a decent throwback too. Yep, they are bigger budget films but it's the substance as well as they style.


Dead basic
Dead basic comedy. Basic, well-trodden ideas and characters. It's a bit clunky and you can see where it's going a mile away. It's not awful and it's an easy watch but it's only really background TV. You wouldn't spend an evening binge-watching it like you would with the superior This Way Up or the even better Catastrophe or the even better and absolutely sublime Fleabag.

White Zombie

Horrendous acting, uneventful and very, very slow
The first 5 minutes are atmospheric but after that this paper-thin storyline quickly becomes tiresome as nothing really happens. The lethargic pace is excruciating and the melodramatic acting borders on the absurd and not in a good way. Lugosi spends most of the film staring into the distance and the rest of the time he is so stiff, rigid and monotone that it's a stretch to call this "acting".

The Nanny

Worth a watch
Worth a watch but it's got some terrible acting, particularly Bette Davies who is well over the top.

It's a decent set up with some effective red herrings but the essence of the film rests entirely on the shock value of figuring out what's really going on, which isn't really that shocking or surprising. It's very clunky and I think if it were done today it would get panned.

It looks nice though.

It reminds me of Séance on a Wet Afternoon. Both are low-key, fairly uneventful British thrillers. Séance is a better, with a higher calibre of acting and script writing but falls foul of similar foibles and ends on a flat note.

Living with Yourself

Diminishing returns
Loved the first episode of this and the fact that episodes are only 30 min each meant they flew by.

I liked the idea, despite being totally unbelievable. Paul Rudd is an enjoyable watch.

However, it went a bit bland in the last 2 episodes and I see no reason to watch a second series I can imagine it turns into the usual tripe of 'escapades' between the main characters and their quirky dilemma. Would have been better as a one-off.


A few people are calling this movie 'dark' but I don't think it's dark. Happiness by Todd Solondz is dark. Joker is draining.

It's just one miserable scene after another. Upon leaving the cinema I felt drained of all emotion and couldn't snap out of it for the rest of the day. It put me on a proper downer.

That's not to say it's a bad film. I give it a 6 because of the overall quality, i.e. the acting was good, the story was decent and I didn't spot plot holes or have to suspend disbelief beyond acceptable limits. The directing was 'professional' (I hesitate to say 'good' as it was rather bland).

But the film overall just felt 'meh'. Coupled with how drained I felt after watching, I think 6 is quite generous!!

One Hour to Zero

One Hour to Zero (CFF film)
Came across this on Youtube, thought it sounded interesting so gave it a watch.

Terrible acting and laughable dialogue but I didn't let that put me off. Given it's a CFF film I wasn't expecting much...and I didn't get it.

It was interesting when the kids came back to the village to find it deserted. I thought it was going to be an interesting little mystery. But it quickly turned out the village had been evacuated while the kids were 'AWOL'. I completely lost interest after that.

The Midnight Hour

Horror movie for kids really, but does have some redeeming elements
The reviews on here are rather gushing of this film and I can only assume nostalgia plays a part because it really isn't THAT good!

Fortunately someone has uploaded it to youtube so I was able to check it out.

On the upside:

As far a TV movies go it's pretty good and seems more like a standard film than something made for TV. It's got pretty decent Halloween atmosphere throughout (it all takes place over one Halloween night), aided by heavy use of smoke. Cinematography is good, lots of nice lighting and the acting was generally good too, especially from LeVar Burton.

Also, there was one excellent scare moment near the end when the horde of zombies/vampires etc are all silently waiting on the stairs for the main characters. It was a very good moment.

Influences from Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' are obvious, as we are given a full-length song & dance routine during the Halloween party, with the characters even singing to camera as if it is actually a music video. A bit odd but fun never the less.

There's also a great use of copious red wine spillage in lieu of bloodshed during a vampire attack early on in the film that was pretty effective.

The storyline is basic but holds together and overall it is a fairly fun and enjoyable watch despite being tame for an adult audience.

A major highlight for me though was the relationship between the Phil and Sandy characters. Sandy (unbeknownst to Phil) is one of the zombies that has risen from the dead though for reasons unexplained she looks like a normal human being whereas all the other zombies are rotting corpses. Anyway, regardless of the fact the film makers avoided any explanation for that one, the relationship that develops and its result is rather sweet, touching and quite sad. Definitely the best aspect of the film in terms of the storyline.

Pacing is good, atmosphere is good, looks good...I've talked myself into giving this a 7 instead of the 6 I originally clicked!

On the downside: I gathered this film was targeted at a younger audience pretty early on when a (rather prolonged) werewolf attack resulted in no gore and little more than a bit of shuffling around.

It's a bit silly at points, not least the 'comedy zombie' that goes around doing daft yet totally un-amusing things.

Lack of blood/gore made the film feel a bit tame and the 'suspense' scenes were totally lacking in suspense.

Most disappointing of all though was that it feels this film had HUGE potential that was no where near fully realised, which is a great shame.

The Challengers

Tried watching this on the back of reviews which made it sound like a sweet and fun family film. In a way I guess it is but I can't fathom how anyone over 10 can gain enjoyment from this bore-fest. I had to give up. And the song at the end isn't as good as reviews are saying.

Round the Twist: Without My Pants
Episode 12, Season 1

Without my pants
Although I haven't seen this since 1989 (or the early 90's, depending on when it was aired in the UK), the phrase "without my pants" has stuck with me and memories of this episode still come back to me now & again to make me giggle. Possibly one of the funniest ideas ever. I wonder where they got it from? It sounds like something that would be a children's game invented to embarrass kids and annoy teachers so maybe that was the inspiration.

I have no idea if the episode would stand up to scrutiny 30 years later, I should try to find it one day. But who cares anyway, the memory of it still makes me laugh and I've had it my head again all this week, which is why I felt inclined to visit the imdb page and was surprised to see no other comments.

Ah, nostalgia, now bringing back those memories of the 'Round the Twist' repeats shown on Sundays (originally shown in the afternoon's if I recall correctly, on Children's BBC) and all the related school holiday TV that I am forever fond of. Ox Tails. Wackaday. What wistful memories I have of those blissful days!

On a side note, I wonder if anyone else experiences the perpetual problem when discussing late 80's/early 90's children's TV of mentioning the oft-forgotten Round the Bend, only to be corrected and told "you mean Round the Twist". "No, I mean Round the Bend", with Doc Croc, Wee-Man, Thunderpants, Woolly the Wonder Sheep et al!!

City Lights

City Lights
I give this 4 for cultural significance and because there were moments here and there that impressed me (usually to do with the timings of everything that is happening on screen, which I imagine must have been rehearsed a hundred times).

The first 15 minutes were the most enjoyable and it was quite entertaining for the first 40 minutes. After that though, I found this a bit boring and repetitive. I appreciate Chaplin's ability and skills and cultural impact but it doesn't stop the film being a bit dull and scenes going on too long.

The Kid

The Kid
I give this 4 for cultural significance and because there were moments here and there that impressed me (usually to do with the timings of everything that is happening on screen, which I imagine must have been rehearsed a hundred times).

Aside from that though, I found this a bit boring, even at only an hour in length. I appreciate Chaplin's ability and skills and cultural impact but it doesn't stop the film being a bit dull.

The OA

I had to give up after 5 episodes as was just finding it too annoyingly stupid and far fetched.

The first episode was a bit pretentious, overly vague to the point of annoyance and wishy washy but I was coaxed into watching a few more. I quite enjoyed episodes 2 & 3 but by 4 it was getting ridiculous and after ep 5 I just felt it was far too silly and unbelievable to carry on.

Major points of annoyance: 1. The fact that the doctor has this set up where he keeps 5 people locked up in pods in an underground laboratory that must have cost millions to build (and who built it?) and has very intricate and expensive technology including CCTV, which he uses to monitor the captives 24/7, even when he is out of the country AND YET....he has never installed microphones! Meaning the captives are free to talk and make plans of escape etc without him having any idea. Ludicrous! 2. Main character pretends to be blind for years and said doctor never notices. 3. In a sequence where one of the captives pretends to be asleep from inhaling gas & is taken to the experimentation room, while doctor is out of room he starts playing videos on the computer screens but leaves one of them playing. Doctor never notices??? 4. When doctor takes one of the captives to Mexico (was it Mexico?) to aid in capturing another victim, said captive does very little to escape, apparently swayed by the threat of leaving the others to starve. Hello? They all would have had a MUCH better chance of escape if he had alerted the authorities than by playing along with the Doc and continuing to work with the others to hatch escape plans (which, BTW, had not been successful for the past couple of years).

There were other annoyances but I can't be bothered.

A really bad show with poor concept and execution.

Generation Iron 2

It was OK
I love bodybuilding documentaries though I have no interest in the watching the competitions or reading the magazines so I didn't know who most of these people were but I don't think that matters. It entertained me while I was feeding my baby in the middle of the night and that's pretty much all I can ask for!

Looking back though, it was a bit dull and has no repeat viewing value. The only interesting 'character' was Rich Piana, for his frankness, honesty and controversy. And also because he died from his lifestyle. And also because he looks psychotic. Kai Greene and that Australian guy both had zero charisma and were less interesting to watch. They also came across as a bit desperate & sad with their attempts to break into the acting world and, in the case of Kai, make a graphic novel.

It's definitely a rather bland documentary and nowhere near as good as the excellent Pumping Iron.


6/10 pretty much purely for the aesthetics
From an aesthetics point of view, Mandy was an exceptional film. The visuals were great throughout and it's one to be viewed on as big a screen as possible, like other visually stunning films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. Mandy has lots of visually interesting references to other films, from the sublime (such as the two noted above) and all the way down to ultra low budget b-movies like Nightbeast.

The scene where Cage's wife is drugged is equally mesmerising and horrendous to watch, as it induces such a nauseating yet compelling surreal experience.

The music is also fantastic and reminded me somewhat of Blade Runner, as well as other soundtracks I couldn't quite put my finger on.

So the visuals, music and atmosphere of the film are great but the storyline was lacking so I think a second viewing would be a struggle. I can imagine if I tried watching it again it would be for the visuals only, which would mean I could skip the first 30 mins or so before the good stuff kicks in and even then I would fast forward through bits.

The reason I felt the story fell short is because it was just too basic and lacking in any kind of suspense or believability. The story plods along rather uneventfully and more importantly and most shamefully, Nic Cage is able to go on a revenge mission with little obstacle. He seems to know the right people, have access to the right weapons and/or tools to make new weapons, is an accomplished fighter (which we had no idea of beforehand so it's kind of like one of those daft things you see in films where someone suddenly becomes a ninja out of nowhere) and is able to pick off the bad guys one by one with no real challenge or threat to his mission. This means the conflict scenes are lacking in excitement and feel a bit pointless. Whether or not this was the intention (given the film is an obvious nod to revenge grindhouse films, which often don't concern themselves much with story) doesn't really matter to me, it still let the film down overall and, as mentioned, reduces the likelihood of a second viewing.

Bird Box

It was alright
I gave this a 6 cos it was on par with similar film A Quiet Place. Apparently this is also like The Happening. Anyway, both Bird Box and A Quiet Place were engaging enough and kept me entertained for the duration but overall, plot holes and far fetched circumstances and achievements reduced the overall quality. It was impossible to believe Bullock & kids could have survived at all, never mind that boat trip they went on. It was all a bit too convenient in the end. Also the ending was very cheesy.

Poor Cow

Disappointing Loach
This was a disappointing Ken Loach film and the worst of his that I have seen. The story, I felt, was dull. A woman with no prospects takes up with various criminals in order live a bit of a 'fancy' lifestyle. She still lives in squalor but now and again she gets a nice necklace.

The thing with Loach is, his films are usually so wonderfully shot and acted in a way that makes them incredibly realistic and almost a documentary that they are compulsive viewing, even when the story is less interesting. But with Poor Cow the acting felt more theatrical and less realistic (particularly Terence Stamp) and as a document of our history I didn't feel it anywhere near as interesting, important or intriguing as Kes, Riff Raff, Raining Stones, Cathy Come Home or even Looks and Smiles.

The Lodger

Excellent atmospheric film with creepy bad guy
Really enjoyed this and was taken about by how good it was given its age. Lots of atmosphere in this dark, smoky, back-street film. Laird Cregar's performance was great to watch and he conveyed creepiness very well. One of the creepiest performances I've seen. Enjoyable and interesting film overall.

The House of Fear

It was alright. There wasn't much to it and it felt like an episode of a tv show rather than a film. Quite low key. It passed the time but it hasn't inspired me to watch any more of these old Sherlock films.

The Cassandra Crossing

The Cassandra Crossing
Run of the mill 70's thriller. It's very slow and after watching this for an hour I just couldn't take it for another hour so gave up. Either everyone was going to die or everyone would be saved (more likely) and I didn't really care. Other than Burt Lancaster I thought the acting was poor and I didn't like any of the characters.

The Whisperers

The Whisperers
Fond as I am of old British films that show how life was like "back then", I couldn't help but enjoy watching this realistic slice of poverty life. Some of it was quite surprising; I had no idea something called 'The National Assistance Board' ever existed to support those in poverty. I'm still perplexed as to how this operated, as in the film they seemed to hand out pound notes willy nilly! Still, it was a fascinating watch and I couldn't help but shake my head in disbelief at how chuffed everyone was to receive a pound, given that these days it won't buy you much more than half a sandwich.

I enjoy watching the squalor of 60's Britain and there's plenty of it here. It's mesmerising to think how different the world is now.

As for the story etc. I thought Edith Evans was fantastic in the lead role and loved the opening shot of her cat-esque peering around the room. It's a bit depressing overall but a good document of the time.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

Felt like it wanted to be Zodiac meets Monster but was not as good as either
I give this a 5 because it was entertaining enough to keep me occupied without getting bored.

However, as serial killer biopics go, it's pretty poor. And no, that's not because it didn't show any killings. I was glad it didn't because I didn't want to see them.

The reason why I thought this film was poor was because it didn't actually give you any insight into anything really. If you know nothing of Bundy then you will learn little from this film and may even leave feeling confused.

Why/how did he choose his victims? Why was he killing? What was his childhood like? Why did he seemingly want to have an actual family? Was it a ruse or was there a part of him that genuinely wanted it? How did he charm everyone? Efron's portrayal of him wasn't that charming, I can't see how people got so easily taken in.

The lack of insight into his character really let this film down. At times I felt like this film was trying to be like Monster (and the use of 'Crimson & Clover' on the soundtrack seemed odd, as it was so significantly used in Monster). Monster is a superior film though because Theron is so convincing in the role and it really delves into her character. I almost felt like I was watching a documentary. As noted in the tile, it also felt like this film was trying to be like Zodiac, mainly because it had a very similar look and feel. It failed there too, not least because it lacks the investigation and the enigma.

So not only does this film fail to give us an insight into Bundy but it also fails to give us an insight into other important characters too, like his girlfriend. When did she decide to give his name to the police? What made her do it? How did she feel? How did she feel after he was arrested? Was she still in love with him? Was she ashamed? Disgusted? We don't know. It keeps cutting back to her and she's a major part of the story but again we don't get told much.

This film also has no POV. Whose POV is it supposed to be from?

I left this film with no more insight into Bundy than I had before (and I didn't have much then, I just had an awareness of him from a cultural point of view and from a documentary I watched maybe 20 years ago, from which all I can remember is one of the horrific killings).

Play for Today: Our Day Out
Episode 16, Season 8

Interesting and very watchable but a little too long
Lovely looking film due to it's very naturalistic cinematography, the style of which I am very fond of. Some of the acting from the kids is a bit dodgy but its documentary-esque feel makes it very watchable, engaging and enlightening.

I'm not usually keen on 'messages' in films as I tend to find them heavy handed and unnecessary but I felt the messages here were delivered quite well.

Only downside is it feels a little too long.


So bad I couldn't make it to half way
It's not funny, it's not well made and the scenes are very repetitive and over long, so much so that after about 20 mins you don't really need to watch any more. It got really boring and I had to switch it off.

It comes across as a student production because of its bland direction, so-so acting quality, lame heavy-handed 'jokes' and this really, really stupid (cringe-worthy in fact) voice-over of the unborn baby talking to the mother.

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