2009 – What I’ve seen this year

OK, so I’m going to see Avatar 3D tonight, so I’ll be editing this post to add that onto the end. Largely because the idea of finishing my list of movies seen this year with ‘The Christmas Clause’ really doesn’t bear thinking about.

Here it is: The complete and unedited list of stuff I’ve seen this year, together with a reductive and pointless mark out of five. I’ve avoiding listing my own stuff, since that’s a pretty pointless exercise and I’ve probably seen each ‘going concern’ movie countless times in various states of editing. I’ve also refrained from marking movies where I know people concerned reasonably well, because conflict of interest and yada yada yada.

But basically, here it is. It’s going to be long.

Have a brilliant New Year.

January 10th
Friday the 13th Part III – **/5
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane – ***/5
Bring It On: In It to Win It – **/5

January 11th
Alien Abduction: The McPherson Tape – ***/5
Lake Placid 2 – **/5

January 17th
Slumdog Millionaire – ****/5
Shrooms – */5

January 18th
Pumpkinhead 4: Blood Feud – ***/5

January 19th
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – ****/5

January 21st
My Bloody Valentine (3D version, 2009) – ***/5

January 23rd
Twelve Monkeys (3rd viewing) – *****/5

January 24th
Milk – ****/5
Frost/Nixon – ****/5

January 27th
The Reader – ***/5

January 29th
Blade Runner (The Final Cut) – *****/5

February 1st
The Wrestler – *****/5
Wanted – ***/5

February 3rd
Creatures from the Abyss – **/5

February 6th
The Girls Rebel Force of Competitive Swimmers – **/5

February 11th
Revolutionary Road – **/5

February 13th
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (3rd-ish viewing) – *****/5
Tokyo Gore Police – ****/5

February 14th
Tropic Thunder – ***/5

February 15th
Happy-Go-Lucky – ****/5

February 16th
Rachel Getting Married – ***/5

February 18th
Doubt – ***/5
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – ****/5

February 19th
Zombie Strippers! – **/5
Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (4th-ish viewing) – ***/5

February 20th
Revenge of the Nerds 2: Nerds in Paradise (2nd viewing) – ***/5

February 21st
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (2nd viewing) – ***/5
Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning – **/5

February 22nd
Iron Man – ****/5

March 2nd
Eyes Wide Shut – ****/5

March 7th
Watchmen (Imax) – *****/5

March 14th
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster – ***/5
Diary of the Dead – **/5

March 15th
My Date with Drew – ***/5

March 18th
The Magnificent Seven (4th? viewing) – *****/5

March 19th
The Onion Movie – ***/5

March 22nd
Be Kind Rewind – ***/5

March 23rd
Grease 2 – **/5

March 25th
Little Shop of Horrors (1986, 8th-ish viewing) – *****/5

March 28th
Fast Food Nation – ***/5
Elvira’s Haunted Hills – **/5
St Trinians – **/5

April 1st
Stand By Me (5th-ish viewing) – *****/5

April 14th
My Name is Bruce – ***/5

April 18th
Let The Right One In – ****/5

April 20th
Pineapple Express – **/5

April 25th
9 to 5 – ***/5
Sydney White – **/5

May 2nd
Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain – ***/5

May 6th
The Orphanage (2nd viewing) – *****/5

May 10th
Zombies Zombies Zombies – **/5
Superhero Movie – **/5

May 11th
Star Trek (2009) – ****/5

May 12th
Midnight Cowboy – ***/5

May 15th
The Gingerdead Man – **/5

May 23rd
The Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust – ***/5
Son of Rambow – ****/5

May 24th
Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation – ***/5

May 27th
Drag Me to Hell – ****/5

May 30th
Five Across the Eyes – **/5
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay – ***/5

May 31st
Small Town Folk – ***/5

June 4th
Twilight – ***/5 (Mini review at http://tinyurl.com/p5wqs8 )

June 6th
Candy Stripers – **/5 (Mini review at http://tinyurl.com/nbdp7d )

June 7th
Onechanbara: The Movie – ***/5 (Mini review at http://tinyurl.com/o2refa )
The Doll Master – ***/5 (Mini review at http://tinyurl.com/mupct6 )

June 8th
Alien Apocalypse – ***/5

June 10th
Ghostbusters (??th viewing) – *****/5

June 13th
Psycho Beach Party – ***/5

June 14th
The Hangover – ****/5

June 16th
Burn After Reading – ****/5

June 17th
Sleepy Hollow (2nd viewing) – ****/5

June 19th
Hairspray (2007) – ****/5

June 20th
Ghoulies (2nd viewing) – **/5
Ghoulies II (2nd viewing) – **/5

June 21st
Ghoulies go to College – **/5
Troll – **/5

June 25th
Shaun of the Dead – (3rd viewing) *****/5

June 28th
The Incredible Hulk – ***/5

July 3rd
Made of Honor – **/5

July 4th
Mamma Mia! – */5

July 5th
Casablanca (??th viewing) – *****/5

July 10th
Star Wars (??th viewing) – *****/5

July 14th
Megaladon – */5

July 21st
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – ****/5

July 25th
Prom Night (2008) – */5

July 31st
Quadrophenia – ****/5

August 1st
Over Her Dead Body – **/5

August 3rd
Doomsday – ***/5

August 8th
Anvil: The Story of Anvil – ****/5
American Teen – ***/5

August 9th
JCVD – ***/5

August 13th
Shark Attack 3: Megaladon – ***/5 (For entertainment value)

August 15th
Inglourious Basterds – *****/5

August 16th
Skinwalkers – **/5
Creature from Black Lake – **/5
Shark Attack – **/5

August 17th
Tomorrow Never Dies (2nd viewing) – ***/5

August 18th
Teeth – ****/5

August 19th
Crocodile 2: Death Roll – **/5

August 23rd
(500) Days of Summer – ****/5
The X-Files: I Want to Believe – **/5
Friday the 13th (2009) – **/5

August 27th
Donkey Punch – ***/5

August 29th
In The Loop – ****/5
Role Models – ***/5
Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus – **/5

August 30th
Crank: High Voltage – ***/5

August 31st
Zombie Women of Satan – (Not rated as I know people involved)
The Final Destination (3D version) – **/5
The Descent: Part 2 – ***/5

September 1st
Adventureland – ***/5

September 5th
I Love You, Man – ***/5

September 7th
Demon Slayer – */5

September 8th
District 9 – ****/5

September 13th
True Romance (3rd viewing) – *****/5

September 16th
Gone Baby Gone – ****/5

September 19th
Sleepaway Camp – ***/5

September 24th
Religilous – ***/5

September 25th
Sex Drive – ****/5
Dead Snow – ****/5

September 26th
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish – */5
What Just Happened – ***/5
He’s Just Not That Into You – **/5

September 27th
Gran Torino – ***/5
The Boat That Rocked – **/5

September 28th
Ghost Town – ***/5

September 29th
The Bachelor – **/5
Rope – ****/5

September 30th
Psycho (1960, 4th-ish viewing) – *****/5

October 3rd
Colin (2nd viewing) – Not rated as I know people involved

October 5th
The Wave – ***/5

October 6th
Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom (?th viewing) – *****/5

October 10th
Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers – **/5

October 11th
Eraserhead – (3rd? viewing) – ****/5

October 12th
The Foot Fist Way – ****/5

October 13th
The Blair Witch Project – (4th viewing) – *****/5

October 15th
Coraline – ****/5

October 17th
Doghouse – (Not rated as I know people involved)

October 18th
Up – *****/5

October 20th
Cloverfield (2nd viewing) – ****/5
Zombieland – ****/5

October 25th
Eden Lake – ***/5
The House Bunny – **/5

October 26th
Trick ‘R Treat – ****/5

November 3rd
Quantum of Solace (2nd viewing) – ****/5
Road House (2nd viewing) – ***/5

November 7th
Saw V – **/5
Bad Biology – ***/5

November 10th
The Shawshank Redemption – (?th viewing) *****/5
Jennifer’s Body – ***/5

November 18th
Before Sunrise (3rd viewing) – *****/5

November 23rd
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People – **/5

November 26th
Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope – (?th viewing) *****/5

November 29th
The Notorious Bettie Page – ***/5

November 30th
Paranormal Activity – ****/5

December 1st
The Princess Bride (?th viewing) – *****/5

December 4th
American Pie (4th-ish viewing) – ****/5

December 8th
The Breakfast Club – (?th viewing) – *****/5

December 12th
American Pie presents The Book of Love – **/5

December 14th
American Pie presents Band Camp (2nd viewing) – ***/5

December 15th
Edward Scissorhands (?th viewing) – *****/5
Where the Wild Things Are – ****/5

December 21st
A Christmas Wedding – */5

December 22nd
The Christmas Clause – */5

December 30th
Avatar (3D version) – ****/5 (*****/5 for spectacle)

December 31st
Shark Attack 3 (2nd viewing) – ***/5 (for entertainment)

Back to the writing board

So, House on the Witchpit.

I’ve been messing around with the screenplay since about 2002, and it has changed a lot. The first draft was a fairly cheerful horror comedy; heavy on the sexy witches angle and up to the eyeballs in debt to Warlock in terms of structure. That first draft is pretty close to TrashHouse in terms of tone, and if I’d have shot it when I intended to (around 2005) it would probably have fit reasonably nicely into my output.

Times change, things move on. House on the Witchpit is no longer a frothy horror comedy; the only function of the screenplay is to scare the living shit out of the viewer, and it skews pretty goddamn dark. Then again, I like to think I’ve come a fair way since TrashHouse too. I hope my movies are getting more interesting and less easy to categorise, and the new-look HotWP fits into my later stuff pretty well.

Writing about bleak situations is a strange sensation for me. I’m a generally pretty upbeat kind of guy, and I feel somewhat detached from the jet-black sentiments that I seem to be capable of pouring onto paper (and then transferring onto the screen from there). I can’t work out if I feel better or worse to ‘let them out’ or whether they end up tainting my day; hanging around after me like an evil cloud. Either way, the words seem to want to hit the paper, so I let them. But how dark do I seriously want to let this go? People who ultimately plonk their arses down in front of House on the Witchpit will be expecting a horror movie. They’re watching it to be disturbed or creeped out, at least to some extent. But how serious are they about that?

In other words, just how dark do horror movie viewers want their horrors to get?

I’m intrigued to check out von Trier’s AntiChrist, which seems to have taken the idea of how far to push and really run with it. I’ve heard all sorts of mixed opinions, from those who consider it the most effective horror of the last decade through to those who find it utterly laughable. Now matter how far I take HotWP, I can’t see myself going to the visual extremes that von Trier has gone. But emotionally? How far is too far?

And, ultimately, am I willing to let go of the part of me that ultimately just wants my viewers to have fun? Because if you’re going to deny them fun, you’d better have a damn good reason for it.

Decisions, decisions. I’m extremely proud of the script, though, and hope I make the right choices.

TDM DVD, Christmas approaches..

First things first, my advance copy of Lono Entertainment’s US release of The Devil’s Music turned up this week. It’s out in the US on December 22nd. Chucking my copy at my Xbox 360 seems to suggest that the disc hasn’t actually been region locked, which is rather great news for those in the UK who have checked out the movie via IndieMoviesOnline..

(cue blatant plug..)

Watch The Devil’s Music online free

..and are eager for a special edition DVD. For those in the US, the DVD will be your first chance to check the movie out, and I really really hope that you dig it. Lono have done a fantastic job; the special features are great, (including two terrific Easter Eggs for those who enjoy hunting things down!) and give a whole different perspective on the flick. So here’s the link.. (Aw, come on, you KNEW another plug was coming..)


Right, that should have sorted out all of your Devil’s Music needs for the festive season. What else do I have to tell you wonderful cats about?

(This is possibly a diversionary tactic, as Pip is currently out buying a Christmas tree, and I really should be getting all the other decorations down from the loft. But I don’t fancy doing that just yet, so I thought I’d chat to you lot instead)

Bordello Death Tales inches ever closer to being actually seen by people. It really won’t be long now, I promise. And it’s well worth the wait.

Went to see New Moon during the week, and probably shouldn’t discuss my feelings about it for fear of alienating a whole bunch of Twilight fans. I also really hate pouring scorn on things that make people happy But then again I don’t really think that Twilight fans are my particular demographic anyway, so hell with it.

New Moon is a terrible film. Terrible in a way that few films manage, and certainly one that makes the first movie in the series look like a masterpiece. From the CGI pantomime bears who pass for werewolves through to the frankly jaw-dropping Council of Vampire Stereotypes, this is a rotten flick. But the thing that makes it stand out from the pack, the thing that truly raises it (or sinks it) to a new level of terrible is its total lack of any sort of humour. There is, if memory serves, a grand total of one line which is meant to be funny in some way, and even that is a sort of quasi-funny line (it’s a ‘put the dog out’ riff in reference to the werewolf). The audience at the screening I was at fell upon that line as if it were some kind of life raft; they hooted, laughed and howled, because the rest of the flick hadn’t given them any chance at all to do so. At least not deliberately. You can laugh at the movie, but you can’t laugh with it because it contains no sense of humour whatsoever.

Having said that, I emerged from the screening in a great mood. Films as entertainingly bad as New Moon don’t come along very often, and I didn’t feel shortchanged of my cash.

Elsewhere in sequelville, I checked out American Pie presents The Book of Love, which is number seven for those of us counting. It’s much what you’d expect, but it also contains a sequence which cheerfully wanders out of ‘gross out’ territory and into ‘massively disturbing’. It plays like something from a Takashi Miike movie, and the happy music over the top makes it worse. Pip had fallen asleep by this point in the movie, and I briefly wondered whether I had, too, and was actually dreaming. You’ll know it when you see it.

Oh, and for anyone who’s not yet following me on Twitter, you can do so over here

Right, better go get that stuff out of the loft.

Rock on,