All Reviews A-Z

Here is a thing which I will plan to update each time I add a new review. This should make it easy for anyone who is sufficiently depraved enough to enjoy what I write and craves more. There isn’t a huge amount yet, but I do have a tonne of reviews written years ago for IMDB which I haven’t posted here yet, along with all my other Album reviews for Amazon. This list will grow. For now, click on anything you like!

Movie Reviews

#Alive – Il Cho

11/22/63 – Bridget Carpenter

2001 Maniacs – Tim Sullivan

300: Rise Of An Empire – Noam Murro

A Dark Song – Liam Gavin

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – Ana Lily Amirpour

A Quiet Place – John Krasinski

A Hard Day – Kim Seong Hun

A Mighty Wind – Christopher Guest

A Nightmare On Elm Street – Wes Craven

A Tale Of Two Sisters – Kim Ji Woon

A Wish For Christmas – Christie Will Wolf

Aftermath – Elliott Lester

After Midnight – Jeremy Gardner/Christian Stella

After The Silence – Fred Gerber

Airwolf – Donald Bellisario

Akira – Katsuhiro Otomo

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa – Declan Lowney

Alien – Ridley Scott

Aliens – James Cameron

Alien 3 – David Fincher

Annihilation – Alex Garland

Arachnophobia – Frank Marshall

Assault On Precinct 13 – John Carpenter

Attack Of The Adult Babies – Dominic Brunt

August Rush – Kirsten Sheridan

AWOL – Sheldon Lettich

Bad Lieutenant – Abel Ferrara

Bait – Kimble Rendall

Bangkok Dangerous – The Pang Brothers

Baskin – Can Evrenol

Battle Royale – Kinji Fukasaku

Beavis And Butthead – Mike Judge

Beetlejuice – Tim Burton

Bedevilled – Jang Cheol-soo

Benny And Joon – Jeremiah S Chechik

Big Driver – Mikael Salomon

Big Trouble In Little China – John Carpenter

Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey – Peter Hewitt

Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure – Stephen Herek

Bill And Ted Face The Music – Dean Parisot

Birdy – Alan Parker

Black Coal, Thin Ice – Diao Yinan

Blair Witch – Adam Wingard

Blood Father – Jean Francois Richet

Blood Fest – Owen Egerton

Bloodsport – Newt Arnold

Bodyguards And Assassins – Teddy Chan

Body Shots – Michael Christofer

Body Snatchers – Abel Ferrara

Bordello Of Blood – Gilbert Adler

Braindead – Peter Jackson

Brooklyn Rules – Michael Corrente

Brother – Takeshi Kitano

Bruiser – George A Romero

Cam – Daneil Goldhaber

Cannibal – Manuel Martin Cuenca

Captain America: The First Avenger – Joe Johnston

Carne – Gaspar Noe

Cell – Tod Williams

Chasing Amy – Kevin Smith

Chasing Sleep – Michael Walker

Children Of The Corn – Fritz Kiersch

Christmas At Castle Hart – Stefan Scaini

Christmas In Rome – Ernie Barbarash

Cockneys Vs Zombies – Matthias Hoene

Come And See – Elem Kilmov

Commando – Mark L Lester

Conan The Barbarian – John Milius

Creepshow 2 – Michael Gornick

Cronos – Guillermo Del Toro

Cursed – Wes Craven

Cyborg – Albert Pyun

Dark City – Alex Proyas

Dark Tide – John Stockwell

Darlin – Pollyanna Macintosh

Dawn Of The Dead – Zack Snyder

Day of The Dead – George A Romero

Daylight – Rob Cohen

Dead Of Night (1977) – Dan Curtis

Dead Snow – Tommy Wirkola

Death Sentence – James Wan

Death Wish 2 – Michael Winner

Demons – Lamberto Bava

Desperado – Robert Rodriguez

Dial M For Murder – Alfred Hitchcock

Die Another Day – Lee Tamahori

Dirty Pretty Things – Stephen Frears

Disturbia – D.J. Caruso

Dobermann – Jan Kounen

Dogma – Kevin Smith

Donnie Brasco – Mike Newell

Don’t Blink – Travis Oates

Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead – Stephen Herek

Double Impact – Sheldon Lettich

Dr No – Terence Young

Dream Warriors – Chuck Russell

Drug War – Johnie To

Dumb And Dumber – The Farrelly Bros

Dumplin‘ – Anne Fletcher

Eaten Alive – Tobe Hooper

El Mariachi – Robert Rodriguez

Escape From Sobibor – Jack Gold

Escape Plan – Mikael Hafstrom

Embodiment Of Evil – Jose Marins

Everyone’s Hero – Christopher Reeve, Colin Brady, Daniel St. Pierre

Evil Dead – Fede Alvarez

Excision – Richard Bates Jr

Extinction – Miguel Angel Vivas

Family For Christmas – Amanda Tapping

Fanboys – Kyle Newman

February – Oz Perkins

Final Destination – James Wong

Final Destination 2 – David R Ellis

First Blood – Ted Kotcheff

Fist Of Fury – Bruce Lee

For Your Eyes Only – John Glen

Freddy’s Dead – Rachel Talalay

Freddy’s Revenge – Jack Sholder

Freddy Vs Jason – Ronny Yu

Frenzy – Alfred Hitchcock

Frenzy – Jose Montesinos

Friend Request – Simon Verhoeven

From Russia With Love – Terence Young

Game of Death – Bruce Lee/Robert Clouse

Game Night – John Francis Daley/Jonathan Goldstein

Girls Against Boys – Austin Chick

God Bless America – Bobcat Goldthwaite

Goldeneye – Martin Campbell

Goldfinger – Guy Hamilton

Goodnight Mommy – Veronika Franz/Severin Fiala

Grave Encounters – The Vicious Brothers

Grave Encounters 2 – John Poliquin

Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron

Halloween – John Carpenter

Halloween 2 and 3 – Rick Rosenthal/Tommy Lee Wallace

Halloween 4 – Dwight H Little

Halloween 5 – Dominique Othenin Gerard

Hard-Boiled – John Woo

Hard Target – John Woo

Hansel And Gretal – Yim Phil-Sung

Heartbreakers – David Mirkin

Heli – Amat Escalante

Hellboy – Guillermo Del Toro

Hellions – Bruce Macdonald

Home Alone – Chris Columbus

Honor And Glory – Godfrey Ho

Horrible Bosses – Seth Gordon

Ichi – Fumihiko Sori

Ichi The Killer – Takashi Miike

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House – Oz Perkins

I’m Not A Serial Killer – Billy O’Brien

Inoperable – Christopher Laurence Chapman

Into The Mirror – Kim Sung Ho

I Really Hate My Job – Oliver Parker

It Comes At Night – Trey Edward Shults

It’s All About Love – Thomas Vinterberg

Jaws – Steven Spielberg

Jaws 2 – Jeannot Szwarc

Jaws 3 – Joe Alvez

Jaws 4 – Joseph Sargent

John Wick – Chad Stahelski/David Leitch

Jurassic Park – Steven Spielberg

Ju-On Black Ghost – Mari Asato

Ju-On White Ghost – Ryuta Miyake

Kickboxer – Mark DiSalle/David Worth

Kids – Larry Clark

Kill Bill Vol 1 – Quentin Tarantino

King Kong – Merian C Cooper/Ernest B Schoedsack

Kingdom Of Heaven – Ridley Scott

Knock Knock – Eli Roth

Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig

Leatherface – Maury & Bustillo

Leon – Luc Besson

Lifeboat – Alfred Hitchcock

Last Action Hero – John McTiernan

Life – Daniel Espinosa

Live And Let Die – Guy Hamilton

Loaded – Alan Pao

Lost Highway – David Lynch

Love On Safari – Leif Bristow

Macbeth – Orson Welles

Manuscripts Don’t Burn – Mohammed Rousalof

Megan Is Missing – Michael Goi

Milius – Joey Figuero

Mother’s Day – Darren Lynn Bousman

Mouth To Mouth – Alison Murray

Mr And Mrs Smith – Alfred Hitchcock

My Soul To Take – Wes Craven

Never Sleep Again – Daniel Farrands/Andrew Kach

Night Of The Demons – Kevin S Tenney

Night Of The Living Dead – George A Romero

Nowhere To Run – Robert Harmon

On The Road – Walter Salles

Origin: Spirits Of The Past – Keichi Sugiyama

Outrage – Takeshi Kitano

Out Of The Furnace – Scott Cooper

P2 – Frank Khalfoun

Pandorum – Christian Alvart

Peacock – Michael Lander

Perdita Durango – Alex de la Iglesia

Perlasca – Alberto Negrin

Pieta – Kim Ki Duk

Police Academy 1-7 – Various

Pontypool – Bruce McDonald

Predator 2 – Stephen Hopkins

Priceless – Pierre Salvadori

Pride, Prejudice, And Mistletoe – Don McBrearty

Problem Child – Dennis Dugan

Project X – Nima Nourizadeh

Pyewacket – Adam Macdonald

Q: The Winged Serpent – Larry Cohen

Radius – Caroline Labreche/Steeve Leonard

Raw Deal – John Irvin

Rear Window – Alfred Hitchcock

Re:born – Yuji Shimomura

Red Heat – Walter Hill

Red Sonja – Richard Fleischer

Resident Evil – Paul WS Anderson

Resident Evil 2 – Alexander Witt

Return To Oz – Walter Murch

Rhapsody In August – Akira Kurosawa

Ring – Hideo Nakata

Ring 2 – Hideo Nakata

Ring 0 – Norio Tsuruta

Rings – F.Javier Gutierrez

Rogue – Greg McLean

Room – Lenny Abrahamson

Room 237 – Rodney Ascher

Rope – Alfred Hitchcock

Rosewood Lane – Victor Salva

Rubber – Quentin Dupeiux

Rust And Bone – Jacques Audiard

Sabotage – David Ayer

Sanctum – Alister Grierson

Scream – Wes Craven

Scream 2+ 3 – Wes Craven

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World – Lorene Scafaria

Seul Contre Tous – Gaspar Noe

Seven Samurai – Akira Kurosawa

Shanghai Kiss – David Ren/Ken Kernwiser

She Dies Tomorrow – Amy Seimetz

Signs – M Night Shyamalan

Society – Brian Yuzna

Someone’s Watching Me – John Carpenter

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days – Marc Rothemond

Spiderman 2 – Sam Raimi

Staunton Hill – Cameron Romero

Still Walking – Hirokazu Koreeda

Street Trash – Jim Munro

Stripes – Ivan Reitman

Street Hawk – Virgil W Vogel

Suicide Club – Sion Sono

Sukiyaki Western Django – Takeshi Miike

Survive Style 5 + – Gen Sekiguchi

Tag – Sion Sono

Tears Of The Sun – Antoine Fuqua

Ted – Seth MacFarlane

The 39 Steps – Alfred Hitchcock

The Art Of War – Christian Deguay

Thelma And Louise – Ridley Scott

The Birds – Alfred Hitchcock

The Blair Witch Project – Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez

The Boss Of It All – Lars Von Trier

The Clovehitch Killer – Duncan Skilies

The Craft – Andrew Fleming

The Crow – Alex Proyas

The Detective – Oxide Pang

The Devil’s Rain – Robert Fuest

The Divide – Xavier Gens

The Driver – Walter Hill

The Empress And The Warriors – Ching Siu Tung

The Evil Dead – Sam Raimi

The Evil Dead 2 – Sam Raimi

The Fifth Element – Luc Besson

The First Men In The Moon – Nathan Juran

The Forest Of Love – Sion Sono

The Ghost And The Darkness – Stephen Hopkins

The Gate – Tibor Takacs

The Gift – Joel Edgerton

The Girl With All The Gifts – Colm McCarthy

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time – Mamoru Hosoda

The Green Inferno – Eli Roth

The Grudge – Takashi Shimazu

The Guest – Adam Wingard

The Happiness Of The Katakuris – Takashi Miike

The Haunting Of Goodnight Lane – Alin Bijan

The Hitcher – Robert Harmon

The House Of The Devil – Ti West

The Idiots – Lars Von Trier

The Innkeepers – Ti West

The Isle – Kim Ki Duk

The Kings Of Summer – Jordan Vogt Roberts

The Last Boy Scout – Tony Scott

The Last Exorcism – Daniel Stamm

The Last Exorcism 2 – Ed Gass-Donnelly

The Last House On The Left – Wes Craven

The Lifeguard – Liz W Garcia

The Man From Earth – Richard Schenkman

The Man Who Knew Too Much – Alfred Hitchcock

The Mannsfield 12 – Craig Ross Jr

The Night Eats The World – Dominique Rocher

The Pact – Nicholas McCarthy

The Password Is Courage – Andrew L Stone

The Perfection – Richard Shepard

The Predator – Shane Black

The Red Squirrel – Julio Medem

The Sand – Isaac Gabaeff

The Secret Life Of Pets – Chris Renaud

The Slumber Party Massacre – Amy Holden Jones

The Storm Warriors – The Pang Brothers

The Stranger – Robert Lieberman

The Stuff – Larry Cohen

The Tortured – Robert Lieberman

The Visit – M Night Shyamalan

The Wailing – Na Hong-jin

The Wisdom Of Crocodiles – Po Chih Leong

The Wisher (Spliced) – Gavin Wilding

The Witch – Robert Eggers

The Windmill Massacre – Nick Jongerius

Train To Busan – Yeon Sang-ho

Triangle – Hark Tsui/Ringo Lam

Trilogy Of Terror – Dan Curtis

Troy: The Odyssey – Tekin Girgin

Tusk – Kevin Smith

Twins – Ivan Reitman

Unbreakable – M Night Shyamalan

Universal Soldier – Roland Emmerich

USS Indianapolis – Mario Van Peebles

V/H/S – Various

V/H/S 2 – Various

Visitor Q – Takashi Miike

Wake In Fright – Ted Kotcheff

Wake Wood – David Keating

Way Of The Dragon – Bruce Lee

We Are What We Are – Jim Mickle

We Are Still Here – Ted Geoghagen

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – Wes Craven

Winter Soldier – Winterfilm Collective

Wolfcop – Lowell Dean

Yellowbrickroad – Jessie Holland/Andy Mitton

You Were Never Really Here – Lynne Ramsey

Zombie Creeping Flesh – Bruno Mattei

Zombieland – Ruben Fleischer

TV Reviews

Are You Afraid Of The Dark

Back To School At 35

Breaking Bad

Friends

Game Of Thrones

Gladiators

Neighbours

Saved By The Bell

Strike It Lucky

The League Of Gentlemen

The Walking Dead

Wolf Creek

Wreslemania 34

Music Reviews

11 – Bryan Adams

101 Dalmations – Disney

2020 – Bon Jovi

18 Till I Die – Bryan Adams

3 Feet High And Rising – De La Soul

7800 Farenheit – Bon Jovi

A Celebration Of Endings – Biffy Clyro

A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles

A Love Supreme – John Coltrane

A Night At The Opera – Queen

Abbey Road – The Beatles

Accessories – The Gathering

Aftermath – The Rolling Stones

Afterwords – The Gathering

Air – Agua De Annique

Aladdin Sane – David Bowie

Alice In Wonderland – Disney

All Things Must Pass – George Harrison

American Life – Madonna

Anti-Icon – Ghostmane

Ascension – John Coltrane

Atomic Jones – Tom Jones

Balls To Picasso – Bruce Dickinson

Beaucoup Of Blues – Ringo Starr

Bedtime Stories – Madonna

Between The Buttons – Rolling Stones

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Black Saint & The Sinner Lady – Charles Mingus

Black Tie White Noise – David Bowie

Blaze Of Glory – Bon Jovi

Blizzard Of Ozz – Ozzy Osbourne

Blood On The Tracks – Bob Dylan

Blood, Sweat, And Tears – Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Blue – Joni Mitchell

Blur – Blur

Bookends – Simon & Garfunkel

Bounce – Bon Jovi

Brave (Part One) – Marillion

Brave (Part Two) – Marillion

British Steel – Judas Priest

Bryan Adams – Bryan Adams

Burning Bridges – Bon Jovi

Cinderella – Disney

Charm School – Roxette

Chromatica – Lady Gaga

Closer – Joy Division

Clutching At Straws (2) – Marillion

Clutching At Straws (1) – Marillion

Conan The Barbarian Soundtrack – Basil Poledouris

Conan The Destroyer Soundtrack – Basil Poledouris

Confessions On The Dancefloor – Madonna

Crash! Boom! Bang! – Roxette

Crush – Bon Jovi

Destination Anywhere – Bon Jovi

Diamond Dogs – David Bowie

Disclosure – The Gathering

Dumb And Dumber Soundtrack – Various

Electronic Sounds – George Harrison

Entroducing – DJ Shadow

Erotica – Madonna

Eternal Atake – Lil Uzi Vert

Everything Is Changing – Anneke Van Giersbergen

Evita – Madonna

Fetch The Bolt Cutters – Fiona Apple

Five O’Clock World – The Vogues

For Sale – The Beatles

Fugazi (1) – Marillion

Fugazi (2) – Marillion

Fulfillingness’ First Finale – Stevie Wonder

Fun And Fancy Free – Disney

Future Nostalgia – Dua Lipa

Genius + Soul = Jazz – Ray Charles

Get Up – Bryan Adams

Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – Incredible String Band

Hard Candy – Madonna

Harvest Moon – Neil Young

Have A Nice Day – Bon Jovi

Have A Nice Day – Roxette

Heaven And Hell – Black Sabbath

Heaven Or Las Vegas – Cocteau Twins

Head On – Samson

Help! – The Beatles

Heroes” – David Bowie

Hey Stoopid – Alice Cooper

High Roller – Urchin

Highway To Hell – ACDC

Holy Diver – Dio

Home – The Gathering

Holidays In Eden (1) – Marillion

Holidays In Eden (2) – Marillion

How To Measure A Planet? – The Gathering

Hunky Dory – David Bowie

I’m Breathless – Madonna

I Hear A Symphony – The Supremes

Imagine – John Lennon

Into The Fair – Bryan Adams

In Your Room – Anneke Van Giersbergen

Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette

Jazz Samba – Stan Getz

Jealous Heart – Connie Francis

Joyride – Roxette

Just Like Us – Paul Revere And The Raiders

Keep The Faith – Bon jovi

Ladies Of The Canyon – Joni Mitchell

Lady And The Tramp – Disney

Lazer Guided Melodies – Spiritualized

Leftism – Leftfield

Let It Be – The Beatles

Lets Dance – David Bowie

Life’s Rich Pageant – REM

Lightfoot – Gordon Lightfoot

Like A Prayer – Madonna

Like A Virgin – Madonna

Little Deuce Coupe – The Beach Boys

Live In Europe – Anneke Van Giersbergen

Lodger – David Bowie

Look Sharp – Roxette

Lost Highway – Bon Jovi

Low – David Bowie

Machine Head – Deep Purple

Madame X – Madonna

Madonna – Madonna

Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles

Mandylion – The Gathering

Manic Street Preachers Live In Belfast – Manic Street Preachers

McCartney – Paul McCartney

MDNA – Madonna

Melody Time – Disney

Miles Of Aisles – Joni Mitchell

Misplaced Childhood (1) – Marillion

Misplaced Childhood (2) – Marillion

Music! – Madonna

My Fair Lady Soundtrack – Various

My Turn – Lil Baby

Never Let Me Down – David Bowie

New Jersey – Bon Jovi

Nighttime Birds – The Gathering

Night On My Side – Gemma Hayes

Nothing Is True And Everything Is Possible – Enter Shikari

Ohms – Deftones

On A Day Like Today – Bryan Adams

Operation Mindcrime – Queensryche

Out Of Our Heads – The Rolling Stones

Our Favourite Shop – The Style Council

Painkiller – Judas Priest

Pearls Of Passion – Roxette

Peter Pan – Disney

Please Please Me – The Beatles

Pin Ups – David Bowie

Pretender – Jackson Browne

Pure Air – Agua De Annique

Ram – Paul McCartney

Ray Of Light – Madonna

Rebel Heart – Madonna

Restless And Wild – Accept

Revolver – The Beatles

Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones 2 – The Rolling Stones

Roll Out The Red Carpet – Buck Owens

Room Service – Roxette

Room Service – Bryan Adams

Rough & Rowdy Ways – Bob Dylan

Rubber Soul – The Beatles

Saludos Amigos – Disney

Satin Pillows & Careless – Bobby Vinton

Savage – Eurythmics

Scary Monsters – David Bowie

Screaming For Vengeance – Judas Priest

Script For A Jester’s Tear (1) – Marillion

Script For A Jester’s Tear (2) – Marillion

Seasons End (2) – Marillion

Seasons End (1) – Marillion

Second Coming – The Stone Roses

Sentimental Journey – Ringo Starr

Set My Heart On Fire Immediately – Perfume Genius

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles

Shine A Light – Bryan Adams

Shout At The Devil – Motley Crue

Shut Down Vol 2: The Beach Boys

Silver & Gold – ASAP

Sleeping Beauty – Disney

Sleepy Buildings – The Gathering

Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi

Song To A Seagull – Joni Mitchell

Sounds Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel

Souvenirs – The Gathering

Space Oddity – David Bowie

Speaking In Tongues – Talking Heads

Spirit – Bryan Adams

Station To Station – David Bowie

Surfer Girl – The Beach Boys

Surfin Safari – The Beach Boys

Surfin USA – The Beach Boys

Tattooed Millionaire – Bruce Dickinson

The Adventures Of Ichabod & Mr Toad – Disney

The Buddha Of Suburbia – David Bowie

The Circle – Bon Jovi

The Orbison Way – Roy Orbison

The Sky Is Crying – Stevie Ray Vaughn

Them Again – Them

These Days – Bon Jovi

This House Is Not For Sale – Bon Jovi

The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie

The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem

The Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

The Roads Don’t Love You – Gemma Hayes

The Royal Scam – Steely Dan

The Second Album – The Spencer Davis Group

The West Pole – The Gathering

The White Album – The Beatles

Tin Machine – David Bowie/Tin Machine

Tin Machine II – Bowie

Tonight – David Bowie

Tori Amos Live In Belfast – Tori Amos

Transformer – Lou Reed

Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman

Travelling – Roxette

True Blue – Madonna

Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield

Underneath – Code Orange

Ungodly Hour – Chloe X Halle

Urban Hymns – The Verve

Van Halen – Van Halen

Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes

Vulgar Display Of Power – Pantera

Waking Up The Neighbours – Bryan Adams

With The Beatles – The Beatles

What About Now – Bon Jovi

What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye

What’s Your Pleasure – Jessie Ware

Wonderwall Music – George Harrison

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

YHLQMDLG – Bad Bunny

You Want It You Got It – Bryan Adams

Young Americans – David Bowie

Youth Novels – Lykke Li

Book Reviews

1000 Zombies – Alex Cox

Atmospheric Disturbances – Rivka Galchen

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

Dinosaurs – Navigators

Fang Of The Vampire – Scream Street

Japan Day By Day – Frommers

London 2008 – Time Out

London Free And Dirt Cheap – Frommers

Paris 2009 – Time Out

Play With Colours – The Happets

The Art Of Racing In The Rain – Garth Stein

The Devouring – Simon Holt

The Gargoyle – Andrew Davidson

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

The Invention Of Everything Else – Samantha Hunt

The Mayan Prophecies – Gerald Benedict

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

Undead – Kirsty Mckay

Best Actor – 1983

Official Nominations: Robert Duvall. Michael Caine. Tom Conti. Tom Courtenay. Albert Finney.

In an unimpressive year, the Academy falls back on one of its favourite ‘bits’ – chucking the Best Actor award over to someone who should have won one already. Robert Duvall wins at the fourth attempt, for Tender Mercies. It’s a good performance – it’s Robert Duvall for fudge’s sake – and it feels a little cynical to say that it’s a heritage award. That’s what it is, but I’m not sure anyone else deserves the win over him, in this particular category in this particular year. He’s certainly not losing to Michael Caine in Educating Rita, a film I’ve never had much affection for.

In fact, the whole category is a little bit ironic; it’s like the non-movie version of the Hollywood villain trope – all British people are evil. You see, Robert Duvall, the sole American is the winner against Caine and three other Brits. Tom Conti, like Duvall in Tender Mercies, plays something of a soulful drunk and scumbag. Guess what – he’s good, but not winning against Duvall. Finally, Tom Courtenay and Albert Finney team up in The Dresser as <insert title here> and the actor he… dresses. Guess what – both good.

It’s a very ‘these actors are good and give good performances, but the movies are a little dull’ category.

My Winner: Robert Duvall

Tender Mercies (1983) starring Robert Duvall, Tess Harper, Betty Buckley, Wilford Brimley, Ellen Barkin directed by Bruce Beresford Movie Review

My Nominations: Robert Duvall. Jeroen Krabbe. Robert De Niro. Tom Conti. Al Pacino. James Woods.

Look, I’m all for nominated people who deserved to have won or should have been nominated in a previous year, but not to the detriment of others in the current year. Especially when those people are Robert De Niro for The King Of Comedy and Al Pacino for fucking Scarface. 

So Duvall gets a nomination from me, and Conti does too, but for Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, a film which doesn’t and didn’t get the credit it deserves. James Woods is manic, but not sheer insanity, in Videodrome while Jeroen Krabbe gives one of those full blooded, all-in performances in The Fourth Man. 

Which leaves an equal choice between De Niro and Pacino. Both actors are hamming it up to the extreme, in places, but between those extremes is some of the finest characterisation of their careers. Who do you go with? Who did I go with?

My Winner: Al Pacino

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Nightman Listens To – Deep Purple – Machine Head (Top 500 Metal Albums Series)!

Greetings, Glancers! It’s finally time to listen to another one of the bands known for laying the ground work for Heavy Metal. Out of all the late 60s, early 70s bands who contributed to the genre’s foundations – Deep Purple are likely the most important alongside Led Zep. I know a few Deep Purple songs fairly well – they are a band you come to early on when branching out in rock and metal’s roots, and they’re a band whose songs you become familiar with when you first decide to play guitar.  Machine Head is their most famous album, and while I’m not sure if I’ve heard all of it, I know I’ve heard most of it at various points. There was a kid who lived on the street I grew up on – his dad (who bore a striking resemblance to Gerry Adams and was therefore the brunt of much pranking around Halloween) was a big Deep Purple fan. He would blast tunes while washing his car. Just a random memory for you – you won’t get this content anywhere else folks!

But before we take a closer look at the tracklist, lets check out that album cover.

The combination of me not being as familiar with the facial features of the band members as I am with other artists, and the warped and blurred puddle marked cover mean I don’t know who’s who. The fella on the right gets the worst of it, his forehead being hoovered up into the psychedelic mire of the upper half, leaving his chin and ‘tache dangling like a swollen scrotum. Elsewhere, fake Syd Barrett is popping up looking all serious like, while on the far left a random college professor seems to have accidentally stumbled into the shoot – his faintly nervous gaze betraying his awareness of an imminent kicking by the rest of the band.

I don’t recall the album being so short – only seven songs and only one of those is over seven minutes long. The big one here is of course Smoke On The Water, but Highway Star and Space Truckin’ I know. I’m sure some of the others will come back to me when I listen. Lets see what Blackmore and co. have to say for themselves.

Highway Star‘ gets down to business off the bat with a series of charging beats and chords and a classic rock yell. The overall force and production is a little thin, weak which means the vocals and percussion lack bite. The drums are top notch, with lots of rattling fills at speed and the instrumental middle is zany fun. The extended solo in the second half is nifty too – more like a repeated series of different riffs up and down the neck. With more oomph in the production this would be an ideal driving song – that’s really the only thing letting it down for me.

Maybe I’m A Leo‘ has a fatter sound, the cymbals do still feel too tinny for my liking, but the lead riff is chunky, accompanied by a funky beat. In terms of metal – this does feel much more in the vein of ‘classic rock’ than metal, like most of the heavy rock bands of the time do. The organ shenanigans and the changes in beat also give it that 70s blues and jazz infusion which a lot of bands of the era had.

Pictures Of Home‘ opens with a splattering of drums before the guitar assault. The vocals still sound distant – they’re just not prominent enough in the mix, but it feels like everything is at an arm’s length rather than being in your face like this sort of music should be. I see Martin Birch was in the studio – usually his work is beefed up more than this, so maybe it’s just the copy I’m listening too. Again I can’t fault the playing – the song has a set structure but is loose enough to allow each member to off-shoot when they desire. Melodically, the song relies on those off-shoots to be interesting as the main vocal and core are plain, but I’m not getting much from it on an emotional level.

Never Before‘ is another slower, funk filled song. The verse raises the tempo and adds a big blues riff while the chorus brings a more notable hook. There are quite a lot of time shifts in the four minutes, including a brief pre-solo mellow phrase. It’s a simple rocker, spiced up with sprinkles of creativity lacking in chart music today.

Smoke On The Water‘ is the one we all know. Big, famous riff, strong chorus. Not a lot to add.

Lazy‘ surges into view with an electronic throng which reminds me of Money For Nothing. It then takes off into a jaunty organ jazz-fest before the rest of the band make up their minds to join in. Is it a 7 minute instrumental? It’s working well at the moment – a collection of riffs and zooming beats, but instruments rarely sustain their value for me for more than a few minutes. Like a lot of these instrumentals, this feels like a jam, except I get the impression this one was more well-practiced and performed than most – it’s tight. Ah, four minutes in we get our first vocal, interesting. Harmonicas now, followed by more vocals and screams. It’s pretty good fun.

Space Truckin‘ has that highly distorted electronic throng sound again – like a lightsaber swung through a brass tube. It’s a riff led song with a fair amount of groove thrown into the mix, and the chorus is one of the snappier sequences on the album. It builds to freak-out levels before the final chorus and the drums are once again the most noticeable instrument. Gillan then goes all Halford for some reason.

That was a little underwhelming, probably because the album is so short. There are no bad songs but even the best songs don’t hit any heights for me. The band sure knows how to play – drums, keyboards, and drums being the highlights while the bass and vocals didn’t have a huge impact on me. The production on the version I’m listening to gave the whole album an unfortunately thin sound – that’s not what you want to feel when you’re a hard playing rock band. While I eventually got used to this, it does still leave me at an emotional distance from much of the music. It is a consistent album – I’d say every song is around the high C, low B grade for me – but really Smoke On The Water is the only song anyone beyond the band’s fans are going to care about. I’ve added a few others to my playlist, but I can’t see me listening to them more than once or twice. While this may be seen as Deep Purple’s most famous record, I’m hoping it’s not known as their best.

Nightman’s Playlist Picks: Highway Star. Smoke On The Water. Lazy. Space Truckin.

Nightman Listens To – Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately (2020 Series)!

PERFUME GENIUS – ” Set My Heart On Fire Immediately “ | The Fat Angel Sings

Greetings, Glancers, and welcome to my first newly written 2020 Series post of 2023. I know I’m dragging this shit out like a child being torn from its parents, but I hope to finish off the 2020 series in the next couple of months. This will be album 16 of 24 (it was 25 but I removed Harry Styles for some reason). So there’s not many to go, and I’ll prioritize getting this finished before starting something else. Stop starting and start stopping, as they say. I’ll likely do some sort of Round Up ranking post at the end too, ranking the 24 albums by score and maybe some general comments.

Perfume Genius then. Is this a band? A singer? Male, female, or miscellaneous? Was it in the Metal category? Generic Pop? I can’t be arsed pulling up my original post at this juncture, which would surely give me the answer I so dearly do not crave. The artwork points me in no particular direction – a topless gent who looks like he’s spent the time down a mineshaft. Is that the singer? An object of the singer’s affection? A rando? The album title suggests pain, heartache, emotion. Which is just what I need after two Hip Hop albums devoid of those. I’m going in to this completely cold – I don’t know a thing about it and I’ve never heard the name of the artist or the album at the time of writing. By the time I begin the next paragraph, I will have intimate knowledge of both having listened to the album a number of times. Lets do this.

Most of those above questions were answered in the album’s rather lovely opener. Not only is it smooth, melodic, atmospheric, and the sort of subtle opener I generally enjoy in an album, it has a potent lyric, vibe, and voice which had me hooked and hopeful. It’s a powerful opening song, but the album only matches or succeeds this potential two or three more times throughout the album’s run time. There’s a searing frustration permeating my overall thoughts, because so many songs just miss the mark. It’s like watching your favourite football team or played having a solid game, but consistently missing the final product – a misplaced pass, hitting the post, crossing the ball and sticking out your neck only for the ball to graze your scalp and go sailing out of play with no consequence. There are so many positives and potential, but whether it’s personal taste on my part or something unspoken lacking, none of the songs perfectly hit the mark for me.

It’s frustrating because it’s clear there’s talent here, and it’s clear this could have been more impactful for me. Not that my personal feelings matter to the artist, but they matter to me for the purpose of my review. Even with my frustrations, it has been a more positive than negative experience and a few songs have been added to my near-mythical car-driving playlist. The vocals are good throughout, even if they do touch on the nasal at various points, but it’s refreshing to hear something unfiltered these days and great to hear some heart, melody, and emotion in a pop album, especially after my adventures in Hip Hop recently.

In terms of highlights, outside of the opener, Jason, Borrowed Light, Your Body Changes Everything, and On The Floor are the ones to return to. Elsewhere, you can feel the Cocteau Twins influence in the messy Describe and the dull Just A Touch, and Moonbend is a clear riff on Sia’s In Between. I can’t stand Cocteau Twins and In Between is a much more interesting and powerful song, with Moonbend at best a whimpering copycat. Even with that song, and others, which didn’t grab me, there’s usually some minor point of interest – Moonbend going all Rosemary’s Baby in the middle for example. Like quite a few songs on the album, there are potent component parts, but the whole is often much duller than those fleeting moments.

Production wise, it’s top notch, which has generally been the case all the way through the 2020 albums I’ve heard so far. There’s a bit of a seaside vibe throughout and there are many good choices promoting variance in instrumentation, whether it be the harpischord in Jason or the electric pianos and organs in Borrowed Light. It’s and approach which reminds me of The Beatles where they would write the structure of their song on piano or guitar, then head into the studio and say ‘what about if we replace this part with that instrument‘ or ‘what’s that thing over there, how can we stick it into this song to give it something different’?

A few of the slower, lower register songs and more mumbled and artistic efforts don’t do much for me, and bring the overall vibe and quality down for me, making the album plod in places. Leave is a prime example – as a piece of work it’s interesting and has a lot going on in its instrumentation and lyrics, but it’s a slog to listen to. Its pace and sloth is all the more striking given it comes just before the bouncing On The Floor, with its gorgeous melodies and fun synth guitars. Your Body Changes Everything is a dramatic highlight. I would have played the vocals plain, acting as a counterpoint to the synthetic potency of the instrumentation. I’d have tried to push a little more of the drama into the vocals, really bite into those lyrics and put some theatricality into it, accentuating the emotion.

After this mid-point, the album falls into a mire of stunted melancholy. Again, it’s interesting, but a drag to sit through so many songs which never get out of first gear or whose moments of brilliance are all too brief. These are not bad songs, but in the context of a full album play through they bleed into each other and the latter half feels like one mumbled, pained ballad after another. Which, by the end of the album, leaves me feeling somewhat worn out, frustrated, and bored. Going back to the opening paragraph, the overriding feeling I get from the album is frustration – the songs I enjoyed are significantly better than the ones I didn’t, and those songs I fully enjoyed didn’t have enough to get up to an A Grade score. As a whole, it’s a strong enough album that I won’t mind hearing again in its entirety, and those standout songs are solid enough that I’d be curious to see what else the dude has done.

SCORE

Sales: 3. Didn’t set the world on fire (immediately), but seems to have done okay.

Chart: 3. Very middling, potentially a 2 depending on how you gauge these things, but it still charted Top 30 in US and UK.

Critical: 4. I struggle to give a 5 for such recent albums as critical thought can change even after a few years, but go on and give this a 5 if you want to. That’s because the album was very highly acclaimed, making many end of year charts and generally in the 90s%s in those aggregator sites.

Originality: 3. Personally, a low 3 for me. I didn’t find anything startlingly new here – it’s very much ‘just a pop album’ – but it doesn’t do much of what other pop albums these days do. It’s rich, it’s not over-produced, and it’s pure. In the grand scheme of things, maybe it’s a 2, but based on what I’ve heard recently, it gets a 3.

Influence: 2. I don’t see it influencing many people or musicians.

Musical Ability: 3. Fine, does the job.

Lyrics: 3. There’s a certain poetry there, and there’s a function to the lyrics in serving the vibe of each song. Nothing particularly fresh, no startling one-liners of new perspectives.

Melody: 3. A highish 3, but the best songs aren’t memorable enough for me and the monotonous songs don’t have enough.

Emotion: 4. Inward looking and exposing the artists fears and hopes, the album’s focus on and expression of emotion, is one of its plus points.

Lastibility: 3. We’ll see. The dude seems to pump out a lot of albums in a short space of time, and I don’t know enough about how this compares to those to say that this one, or any of them, will still be played ten years from now. Low 3 for me at the moment.

Vocals: 4. Smooth, expressive, good.

Coherence: 4. The ideas and the music hold together well.

Mood: 3. Drags in places, particularly in the second half, and not in a good way.

Production: 4. Solid.

Effort: 3. Fine.

Relationship: 2. In younger days this may have spoken to me more, but where I am currently I don’t think it gets to a 3.

Genre Relation: 3. This is a strange category – a crap album can get a high score because it sounds like everything else, but a great album can get a lower score because it stands apart. This is a decent, average album which sounds like many other pop albums.

Authenticity: 4. Dude seems to feel the words and the music, and put his whole being into the songs.

Personal: 3. Starting out I felt like the album was going to be a 4, but that second half drags things down. Repeated listens show that there are only a few highlights, but no stinkers.

Miscellaneous: 3. I’m happy for there to be a heartfelt male pop guy who doesn’t seem to be following the crowd and is happy to do his own thing.

Total: 64/100

I would have guessed this would get closer to the 70 mark, but this seems fair enough. Let us know your thoughts and scores in the comments!

Essential Movies – 1964 – An Alternative View

For my original post explaining my criteria – click here!

Rules: Ten films which, in some way, show our history and culture reflected in film and, film’s growth and change as a medium. It can’t simply be your ten personal favourites of the year. One of your ten choices must be in the top 10 grossing films of the given year. One of the films must have been nominated for a Best Film Oscar (Best Picture, Best Foreign Feature, or Best Animated Feature). One of the films needs to appear in a renowned critic or magazine or book’s best 10 films of the year. These choices can’t overlap. 

  1. Dr Strangelove (Academy Award Choice)
  2. Goldfinger (Top Grossing Choice)
  3. Woman In The Dunes (Critical Choice)
  4. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg
  5. A Hard Day’s Night
  6. A Fistful Of Dollars
  7. Band Of Outsiders
  8. Marriage Italian Style
  9. My Fair Lady
  10. Mary Poppins

Let us know your picks for the Top Ten Essential Movies of 1964!

Essential Movies – 1964

Greetings, Glancers! We’re back again to check which classic movies should be considered essential within each category of viewer. Check out my 1964 Oscars posts for more on some of these movies, otherwise lets go.

Becket

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Richard Burton. Peter O’Toole. John Gielgud. Nominated for 11 Oscars, winning one.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s an old, very theatrical film about a period of time few people will be interested in.

What I Think: As far as costume dramas go, there were plenty to chose from during the Sixties – I’m ambivalent towards all of them and would suggest that anyone not interested in the style needs to only see one of them. This is as good as any, but it’s not to my personal tastes. Essential only for critics and wannabees.

Dr Strangelove

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Kubrick. Peter Sellers. Dropping the bomb. Top 15 grossing film. Nominated for four Oscars.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: We’re distant from the time of release that was being satirized now, so much of the comedy may not hit the mark. Sellers can be an acquired taste. Many people don’t like political humour. Black and white, which will put off many modern viewers.

What I Think: It’s going to be eternally ranked among the best, most important comedies of all time. Even if the specifics are dated, a look at the world today shows that the satire still works. All Kubrick movies from Spartacus onwards (if not all, period) should be considered essential by critics, wannabees, nerds, and fans. Casuals with an interest in the director, the stars, comedy, or politics will enjoy it.

Goldfinger

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Bond, one of the most successful and highly regarded of the series. Shirley Bassey. Most people would include this in the top five must-see Bond movies. 2nd highest grossing movie of the year.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: If you’ve seen any other Bond and you’re not a fan, then you likely won’t care to see this.

What I Think: It’s Bond, so I automatically consider it essential. It’s arguably the most iconic entry in the series, what with the song, the quotes, the bad guy, the henchmen, Pussy Galore, the car etc. Still, growing up more with Moore I find myself watching the Connery movies less than others. Should be essential for everyone down to Casuals, and essential for them if they like Bond.

A Hard Day’s Night

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: It’s The Beatles. It’s one of the first movies of its type. It showcases a specific time and place and energy like few films or documents do.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It will be too wacky and displaced for some. If you’re not interested in The Beatles, or music, it won’t be of interest.

What I Think: It’s weird and energetic and doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you place it in the context of the time and the surrounding hysteria. It gives insight into the minds of the Fab Four, their creativity, and is a valuable artifact as well as being a lot of fun. Great music too. Essential down to Casuals, essential for Casuals who like the band.

Mary Poppins

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: It’s Mary Poppins. You’ve seen it. Disney. Supercali, chim chimeree, lets fly a kite etc. Third highest grossing film of the year. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nominated for thirteen Oscars, won five.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s a musical. It’s essentially plot-less. It’s too long and drags on endlessly.

What I Think: Have you watched it recently? It’s pretty bad. It’s not just the Van Dyke accent that we all know about – for me it’s not that the accent is nothing like Cockney – it’s that you literally cannot understand 95% of what he says. His character is unnecessary too, aside from a few cloying nods in the pseudo-redemption arc. It’s takes a hell of a long time to get going, the kid actors are annoying though it’s unclear why they need a Nanny in the first place beyond the fact that their parents are terrible human beings. By the end of the film, no-one has learned anything – the kids have lost the only person who showed them some passing interest, the mother doesn’t change whatsoever, and the father clearly suffers some sort of breakdown. Some of the songs and scenes go on for far too long and the humour is worse than swallowing a fart. While obviously dated, it is still wildly inventive. Having said all of that, I’m clearly in the minority and there’s no doubting it’s essential given the cultural impact, though a modern viewer who hasn’t seen it will likely not be as impressed as the person forcing them to watch it.

My Fair Lady

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Audrey Hepburn. Loverly. Rain In Spain. Highest grossing movie of the year. Best Picture winner, along with seven other Oscar wins.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s a musical. Those accents. Rex Harrison is a dick.

What I Think: Although this defeated Mary Poppins at the box office, it has fared less well in terms of impact. It’s still talked about, it’s still iconic, but to a much lesser degree than Poppins. Again, for someone who largely despises musicals, it’s a struggle to get through it, only kept from shutting it off by Hepburn’s charm. Regardless, it’s essential for Critics, Wannabees, Nerds, Fans and Casuals can give it a go if they like Hepburn or musicals.

The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Catherine Deneuve. Nominated for five Oscars (over a number of years)

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: It’s foreign, most viewers won’t care about the director or cast. Not a top grossing movie.

What I Think: As you should know by now – musicals are not for me. This is the bets musical of the year. It’s as charming as Mary Poppins is bad, it’s as enchanting as My Fair Lady is annoying. However, given the choice, the average fan will pick a different musical to watch from this year, in that case probably only essential for Critics and Wannabees, though geeks and musical fans should give it a go.

The Woman In The Dunes

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: One of the best films from the Japanese New Wave, nominated for two Oscars, gorgeous music and cinematography. 100% Rotten Tomatoes.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Old, black and white, Japanese, weird.

What I Think: Alienating, yet beautiful. Haunting, sad, creepy, yet definitely an acquired taste. Only for connoisseurs of Japanese cinema.

Zulu

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Michael Caine’s first major role. A cast of British icons starring in a film about a pivotal moment in British history. A John Barry score. One of the most successful and enduring British films of all time, still shown regularly on TV. Influenced many later war films and battle scenes.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Outside of Britain, nobody really cares. It wasn’t one of the highest grossing films of the year outside of Britain, and critical reception was and remains divided – is it racist or not, is it good or not? It didn’t win any awards of note.

What I Think: This has become less essential with time. Even though I still think it’s a great film, and that more movie fans outside of Britain should see it, there’s maybe not enough incentive within the cast or via the director to encourage viewers. The action and tension remain fresh and modern viewers will recognise its influence. Critics and Wannabees need to see it, but I imagine my generation of film fans born in Britain will be the last to consider it essential.

A Fistful Of Dollars

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: It’s Sergio Leone. It’s Clint Eastwood. It’s Ennio Morricone. They are three of the biggest names in their respective fields, and they’re together, making possibly the first film which enabled their legend status. It introduced The Man With No Name, both as a character and a character type. One of the first Spaghetti Westerns which reinvented a dying genre and took it onto darker, more violent territory. It was a Top Ten Grossing Movie that year.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: British and US critics were not impressed upon release. The non-traditionalist, cheaper, more European feel may put some viewers off.

What I Think: While not as good as, or essential, or iconic as The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, it came first and laid the groundwork. It kick-started a number of careers who would each become superstars, and it defined a genre. Essential for Critics, Wannabees, Nerds, and Fans, and even with its age modern virgin viewers should get something out of it.

Zorba The Greek

Why It Could Be Considered Essential: Stars Anthony Quinn. Was a Top 20 Grossing film. It won three Academy Awards, and was nominated for four others, including Best Director and Best Picture.

Why It May Not Be Considered Essential: Like most romances and comedies from a particular era, it hasn’t aged well. The stars probably aren’t recognisable enough to your average modern film fan.

What I Think: It has aged, but it still has good performances and at times is more like a buddy comedy/odd people romp than a romance. It was nominated for Best Picture, but didn’t win and has since become just another near-forgotten film. Critics and Wannabees should see it eventually, but for anyone else it’s only essential if you’re a fan of the cast.

Let us know in the comments which films above you would rank as essential, and which films of 1964 you would put in that category!

Nightman Listens To – Operation Mindcrime – Queensryche (Top 500 Metal Albums Series)!

Sweet Lady of Pain”: The History of Mary in Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime - The Rockpit

Greetings, Glancers! Queensryche. They were ‘one of those foreign bands’ my 10 year old self would have said without a hint of irony. It was a shock when I later found out they weren’t even ‘foreign’. When I used to read metal magazines back in the day, they were one of the bands I felt I knew, purely because they were mentioned and discussed quite a bit, without me ever hearing any of their stuff. At some point though, I did hear them. I had a few friends who had older siblings, which is likely how I got into a lot of music and movies – seeing posters on their bedrooms of things I wasn’t allowed to watch, or was too young to full comprehend beyond thinking it looked and sounded cool. Operation Mindcrime was one of those things – it wasn’t scary and devil-worshippy like some of those foreign bands, but they told stories with their songs and their songs had cool names. Come to think of it, it may have been one of my first exposures to the concept album, though I would have heard Pink Floyd and a lot of Alice Cooper by this point.

I’ve no idea when it was I last heard any of this. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to Queensryche beyond what is on this album. Popoff ranks it in the Top Ten metal albums of all time – far above albums I know I love a lot more. It’s time for a re-evaluation. I probably won’t go into much detail with the concept or lyrical side of things – I get the feeling that will require more focus on my part, rather than me listening and typing at the same time.

I Remember Now: The thing I never liked much about Concept Albums (especially Metal ones) are the spoken tracks like this – I mean, Eminem is probably the best at this sort of thing. Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd had the wit to make the spoken part a part of a genuine song. Stuff like this has a tendency to come off as naff to anyone who’s not au fait with prog, and even then it’s touch and go. But it’s okay, this is just their way of setting up the story.

Anarchy X: The album gets a proper introduction with this brief instrumental, a militaristic march and series of chants all heightening the themes of protest and anti-whatever. We get a nice guitar piece and the music builds before blending into –

Revolution Calling: – which has that nice atmospheric guitar tone I always enjoyed. I remember clearly pieces of this, the vocals aren’t exactly my thing now but I used to think it was bad-ass back then, back when every metal singer sounded like they had no balls. The guitars are still good, melodically the verse is a little scattered, the chorus better, the solo strong. Lyrically it’s like a carpet bomb of all the stuff we should be fighting against, again without much focus – politicians are bad, rules are bad, religion is bad, greed is bad – they basically could have sung those four statements and followed it up with the chorus and had the same result.

Operation: Mindcrime: This song starts with a bit of a tease – you always think the drums are going to come in earlier than they do, and when they finally do the song is revealed to be much slower than you anticipated. I wouldn’t go so far as saying it’s funky, but there’s certainly a rhythmic quality to the structure, and the bass is going places where metal songs usually fear to tread. The guitars are the highlight here, without being amazing or being particularly inventive. It’s a song with ideas, just lacking a major hook if you’re into such things.

Speak: This picks up the pace and adds a sense of urgency. The problem is again the lyrics – when you’re doing storytelling in lyrics you don’t leave a lot of room for both the words and music to be strong. Here the music is straightforward and the lyrics are pretty silly and simplified, but we get the point – stuff is bad, we must make it better. You get the impression that this was (and still is) probably taken as a call to arms by both sides of the same coin. Because people are stupid. Another nice solo.

Spreading The Disease: We all know this one. Phat drums give way to guitars and a charging verse. I took this as a ‘lets get angry at rich people’ song or sometimes a ‘drugs are cool’ song when I was young, but most often a ‘whatever the disease is, lets spread it’ song. It’s pretty obvious what it’s all about now… glad to see America has changed since its release. Oh wait. The rich are still rich, and the US still funds wars in other countries to increase the wealth of their 1%? Well, it’s not like that has ever come back to bite them in the ass.

The Mission: A sermon and a bell delivered to the sound of a gun being loaded, before church bells and ominous riffs collide. Church bells and riffs always seem to go together. This is more my style of things – a nice and thoughtful build-up before a throbbing, sinister verse. It’s a pity so many of the melodies and chorus styles are so similar from song to song. Good thing we make up for it with great solos and, here, synth work.

Suite Sister Mary: A near eleven minute epic starts out with some more story, go kill Mary and The Priest etc. We then get a stalking riff conjoined with Omen style chanting, all building up a nice atmosphere. I would have preferred this to continue but the verse largely abandons the good ground work for a more whispering, subtle approach. The verse gets better as it progresses and the storytelling lyrics work more fluidly. The chanting comes back, acting as an interlude before the heavier guitars take us to the next section. There’s a definite grasp at the operatic, at the epic here – melodically it still doesn’t quite get there for me. The various repetitions of the main hook do grow on me, but not quite enough. It’s a song you’ll need to listen to four or five times before any of it will stay with you. There’s some great, epic stuff in the middle which shows the heights the band were aiming for – if you’re doing an album like this you need the balls to shoot for the moon, and the talent to pull it off.

The Needle Lies: A much needed blast of pace highlights this as obvious single or metal club hit – it’s the song you could lift off the album and listen to out of any wider context, it’s the song you’d want to share to get your mates to listen to the album. This is straight to the point, lyrically and musically, and as such is probably my favourite of the album so far. There’s no grand aspiration beyond making a face-melting metal classic and that’s what they do.

Electric Requiem: Of course they follow it up with a brief track of chatter and instrumentation and yells. It’s not skippable, like many similar tracks on similar albums are – I’m looking at you Nightfall On Middle Earth – but it’s not one you’d go looking for either.

Breaking The Silence: I recall liking this one quite a bit when I was younger. It has the atmospheric chugging guitars I like so much, and most crucially it has the melody and emotion to make it all worthwhile. It feels like an 80s Power Ballad and wouldn’t be out of place on one of those Power Ballad or Car Driving 3 CD compilations you see marketed to Dads at Christmas. It’s not quite as cheesy as most of those, but you know me – anything Power Ballad or Power Ballad adjacent I probably enjoy.

I Don’t Believe In Love: This one was pretty famous back in the day too, though I don’t remember much of it. It’s very much in the vein of the last song, though with more of an edge. The lyrics are of course cynical which adds to that edge, but you can still see it as a Power Ballad, the music video likely featuring a sultry vixen dancing in shadows while the singer throws a whiskey baller against the wall and shrieks into the camera.

Waiting For 22: Nice transition into another extended atmospheric intro. The song is just an intro track for the next song, but it works well enough on its own too. It’s not one you’re likely to play much on its own though.

My Empty Room: This one also feels like an introduction, a short build up to the closer. No need for the friend yelling and sudden end though – it’s clearly ripped from The Wall but doesn’t work nearly as well.

Eyes Of A Stranger: The closer begins as another clear rip-off of a very specific song from The Wall but quickly becomes its own thing. The swell of music promises something good, but it falls away for a more mellow verse instead. The volume comes eventually, good vocals sound emotional, and the melodies are fine. Good solo in the middle, not quite the epic closer I was expecting.

Almost every song in this album has a comment on Youtube either comparing this with The Wall or saying it’s better. I know that Youtube isn’t exactly the bastion of intelligence it thinks it is, but just remember that your comments are there forever once published. Even if you delete them. I’ll take the comparisons – they’re both prog albums of a sort, but they are both very different in style, approach, and tone, and subject matter. While this was taking metal in new, more expansive directions, The Wall was basically – nine years earlier – saying every final thing that prog ever needed to say. There’s honestly no comparison between this and The Wall, because there’s not really any comparison between anything and The Wall. 

Still, it’s an album that my opinion of hasn’t really changed over the decades. Mostly it comes down to that most base of Metal opinions – I like the guitars. There are plenty of ideas and obviously a lot of work and thought went into forming the songs and the concept. There are many many better metal albums out there, concept or otherwise. In fact, take the concept out of this and the music isn’t nearly as adventurous as other albums released around the same time. We expect progressive music to be just that – challenging, doing things that others haven’t, or doing things that others have but to the next level. I wasn’t in a position to compare these things when this was released, but in retrospect you can see other acts were already years ahead by the time this came out.

I enjoy the second half more – that’s when the band remembers they’re making music, not just telling a story, and slaps some worthy melodies into the mix. Some of the songs have become metal classics for many people, but for me the biggest and/or best songs hover around the high C, mid B Grade territory – not enough emotion of melody to truly engage me. The world can use these types of albums though, and if anything they can spur others on to better things. If the first half had the melodies of the second, I’d hold this much higher in my estimation. I’ll admit that, as with most albums of this type, it probably takes multiple listens to sink in and to fully get on board, but sometimes you just know it won’t ever be your bag.

Nightman’s Playlist Pics: Breaking The Silence. The Needle Lies. I Don’t Believe In Love.

Best Cinematography – 1983

Official Nominations: Fanny & Alexander. Flashdance. The Right Stuff. WarGames. Zelig

Once again we can omit Fanny & Alexander’s official win due to it being a 1982 release, which leaves our choices wide open. WarGames is an interesting inclusion given that it is mostly seen as a kids/teen movie, yet there’s no doubting how inventive it was for the time. Flashdance was one of a handful of movies in the 80s which inexplicably made dancing look mildly interesting – much of that coming from the music video look and feel where everything is shadowed and sultry. Zelig is the only real competition to my winner, with Woody Allen and Gordon Willis combining to give the film an authentic newsreel, documentary style.

But The Right Stuff is a clear winner here, a film which could so easily have come off as a bland spectacle but perfectly blends experimentalism with realism and character to create something as colourful and entertaining as it is beautiful.

My Winner: The Right Stuff.

THE RIGHT STUFF (1983) Cinematographer: Caleb Deschanel Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1 Director: Philip Kaufman | Cinematography, Movie scenes, Cinema

My Nominations: The Right Stuff. Zelig. Liquid Sky. Blue Thunder. Le Dernier Combat. Eureka. The Hunger. The Keep. Rumble Fish. Scarface.

A bunch of potential winners added to my list. Getting the least likely offers out of the way, Blue Thunder is mostly remembered for its thrilling, and wonderfully shot helicopter action scenes through LA, while Le Dernier Combat is notable for its stark end of the world black and white visuals. The Keep is ultimately a bit of a mess, but it has moments of visual brilliance, contrasted with The Hunger whose visual brilliance is more sustained and coupled with a more interesting story.

Eureka is a lesser seen Nic Roeg film, but one which you can rely on to provide haunting and unique visuals. Liquid Sky is highly experimental in its look, feel, and how its story unravels, and Rumble Fish gave Coppola a chance to be somewhat more challenging with his presentation. Finally, Scarface nails the excess of its story by being shot with a leery, sweaty, gaudy glaze.

My Winner: The Right Stuff.

Let us know your winner in the comments!

Nightman’s Updated Favourite Films Of 1983

Greetings, Glancers! We continue my new series of posts which will detail my favourite films of every year since 1950. Why 1950? Why 10? Why anything? Check out my original post here. As with most of these lists the numbering doesn’t really matter much, though in most cases the Number 1 will be my clear favourite. As I know there are plenty of Stats Nerds out there, I’ll add in some bonus crap at the bottom but the main purpose of these posts is to keep things short. So!

10: Project A (HK)

A period Jackie Chan movie about clashing cops and bad guys, but most importantly it features some of Chan, and Cinema’s most death-defying stunts.

9: The Hunger (UK/US)

Tony Scott’s sultry, stylish vampire story starring David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, and Susan Sarandon is a feast for the eyes and the loins.

8: The Dead Zone (US)

The first of two David Cronenberg movies on my list, it’s perhaps amusing that the story of a man who can see the awful shit which is going to happen in the future just by touching a person, is not the strangest of his two entries. One of the finest, understated Stephen King adaptations, it’s a very straight film considering the director and the cast, and is sadly one of the most prescient films of today considering when it was released.

7: Le Dernier Combat (France)

Luc Besson’s thrilling, low-budget debut is chocked full of the ambition and style he would show in later movies once funds caught up with him. It’s an end of the world story about holding on to the final scraps which make life worth living and a damning statement on humanity darkest aspects.

6: Blue Thunder (US)

Helicopter action was all the rage in the 80s, what with Airwolf, Rambo III, and this. Starring Roy Scheider and featuring a young Daniel Stern, Malcolm McDowell, Warren Oates, and Candy Clark, it’s a thriller with plenty of familiar faces and even if the plot is your typical Cop versus Shady Crim Org, the helicopter action more than makes up for any nonsense.

5: Rumble Fish (US)

My four and five are interchangeable and similar in many ways. Both directed by Coppola and sharing a lot of ideas and both featuring a young cast of up and comers, Rumble Fish is the more visually striking of the two. This one follows the relationship between two brothers – one who is trying to move away from the violence of his thug life, and one who is trying to get into it.

4: The Outsiders (US)

The Outsiders is another film focused on youth, brothers, and friendship, this time featuring a more extensive cast, overlapping plots, and a more straightforward directing approach. It’s one of the great teen movies.

3: Videodrome (Canada)

A film which could have only come out in the 80s and only from the mind of David Cronenberg. A small-time TV Exec discovers what appears to be an underground TV show which presents mainly snuff footage and other assorted treats and becomes obsessed with finding out about the show, believing it to be the future of entertainment. The more he learns, the more unhinged he becomes, and both he and the viewer become unsure of what is real or fantasy or if such distinctions even matter any more. A twisted satire on entertainment, culture, and political causes, it’s a showcase for Cronenberg’s Body-Horror ethos and Rick Baker’s wizardry.

2: Scarface (US)

One of the all time great remakes, Brian De Palma’s Scarface is quintessentially 80s. While most of us were rightfully lapping up Spielberg and Amblin, and dreaming of BMX adventures, something more sinister was spreading across the US. Crime, drugs, and all manner of related excess was rampant and the acquiring of the American Dream no longer meant rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in to your particular craft, instead it meant meeting (or killing) the right person, and cheating, gambling, and shooting your way to the top until there was nobody left to stand in your way. Al Pacino’s sneering performance is one for the ages, the Miami setting is seedy in the extreme, and the supporting cast featuring Michelle Pfeifer, Robert Loggia, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Steven Bauer, and F Murray Abraham is stellar.

1: Return Of The Jedi (US)

Covered in my favourite movies of the Decade post.

How Many Of My Films Were In The Top 10 Grossing Of The Year: One (the top grosser)

How Many Of My Films Were Nominated For the Best Picture Oscar: Zero

Bill & Ted Face The Music

Bill & Ted Face the Music': Third Time's a Most Excellent Charm, Dude – Rolling Stone

Growing up, there were a handful of movies that I repeatedly came back to not only on my own, but with friends; Predator, T2, Wayne’s World, and the Bill And Ted series. Even in this age of any and all commodities, however barely remembered, being remade or franchised to further dilution, I never imagined I’d see a Bill & Ted sequel. Sure, we’d had the short lived animated series, and every few years we’d hear a rumour of a new script being proposed, but it seemed like the ship had sailed. No-one was interested in rock music any more, never mind movies about rock music, so why would anyone take a chance on releasing a movie which was barely marketable?

Yet here we are, decades later, with an older and somewhat wiser Bill and Ted tasked with saving the world, again. What’s more, the prophecies outlined in the previous movies didn’t really come to pass. Bill & Ted’s band had some success, but like most guitar bands of the era, they split up and are now seen has has-beens barely able to play in a bar to 20 people. They’re still married to their respective babes and they even have daughters, daughters who also aspire to being kick-ass musicians, but all is not rosy; there’s a chance their wives may leave and there’s a chance the world may end. Enter the daughter of Bill and Ted’s old pal Rufus, who takes the lads to the future where they learn that, if they don’t write the perfect song by that evening, all time and reality will collapse. Bad news. There is also a time-travelling Terminator robot sent to destroy them. Luckily, they have their own time machine to try to travel to potential futures to hear the song they haven’t written yet, while their daughters use another time machine to go back and recruit some of the greatest musicians of all time. It’s incredibly convoluted and seems ready to fall apart at any moment.

And yet, it works. It knows it’s silly and it leans into the ridiculousness of it all. It’s funny, it’s nostalgic, and most of the cast members from the originals return. It’s a bit of a shame that the music isn’t great and that they didn’t lean into how metal has changed in the years since the early 90s, but my overriding thought is that I was happy it even existed at all and that it isn’t crap. We still have plenty of modern bands and artists making an appearance, but the script is less interested in the name-dropping and culture surrounding the music. Reeves and Winter initially seem a little awkward in their roles, but this seems to shed over the course of the film and they eventually revel in it. The returning performers equally enjoy themselves, and most of the newcomers are fun too.

The film will likely be completely bewildering for any number of factors to anyone who has not seen the previous movies, but it was made for the fans and those fans should get plenty of enjoyment out of this belated sequel. Let us know what you think in the comments!

The Dreamers – Get Rekt!

Rekt PNG Images, Free Transparent Rekt Download - KindPNG

Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2003, seeking to ignore my bias and provide a fair score based on the 20 criteria I feel are most important in the creation of a film. Today’s movie is The DreamersBernardo Bertolucci’s steamy tale of rebellion, romance, and social awakening in 1960s Paris.

Sales: 3. Being a non-Hollywood movie, it was never going to send the world on fire. It made back its budget, just about. It’s a high 2 or low 3.

Critical Consensus: 3. I don’t think you can get to 4 on this one. A small number of critics loved it, most were middling. I was hoping for a re-evaluation after the cast became big, or after Bertolucci died, but not yet.

Director: 4. It’s something of a heady mixture between Last Tango and Bertolucci’s love for film, art, and youth. Most of the film takes place in a single setting, and he uses that setting to emphasis the warmth and discomfort of friendship.

Performances: 5. Similar to the film taking place mainly in a single setting, the majority of the film focuses on Eva Green, Michael Pitt, and Louis Garrel. It’s a young cast tackling some difficult stuff, but each performer handles themselves, each other, and the material so naturally that the film has a fly on the wall feel. Obviously there’s a lot of bravery when it comes to the nudity, but there seems to be a lot of trust between everyone and nothing feels forced.

Characters: 4. Although I’m neither French, nor American, nor lived through the Paris riots of 1968, I feel an affinity with the characters. I think that anyone who went to University or had that cultural clash of being thrown in with new people and ideas will feel a similar affinity. It’s one of those instances of feeling nostalgia for something you didn’t directly experience. Normally I’d go with a 3 here because the characters do feel somewhat like stock students – fiery, opinionated, certain in their believes and their ability to change the world – which we’ve seen time and time again on screen, but there’s something more captivating about them, coupled with the writing and the setting which gets me up to a 4. 2-4 is the range here, I feel.

Cinematography: 3. I guess you could get up to 4 here, when considering the exterior scenes and even those of the Louvre, but the majority of the film seems to cast a grimy, pseudo-bohemian wash over things which doesn’t make for a particularly eye-catching affair.

Writing: 4. This will likely depend on how you feel about the aforementioned characters – there’s a lot of talk of film, politics, art, and philosophy, then onto sexual awakening and finding your place in a society which may be actively trying to crush you. If it all sounds too ‘student’, then chances are you won’t care for any of it.

Plot: 3. There isn’t a lot in the way of plot from a traditional storytelling perspective – an American student transfers to Paris and ends up living with a pair of Hippy-esque twins. The form a tight unit, learning from and clashing with each other, all while the Paris Student uprising is bubbling.

Wardrobe: 4. <Inserts joke about the clothes coming off instead of staying on>. Authentic for the time and place, and reminiscent of every student ever.

Editing: 4. I don’t usually go higher than 3 in this category unless there’s something outstanding. This has a lot of cool moments where older movies are spliced into things – specifically around the Louvre scenes.

Make up and Hair: 3. Sure.

Effects: 3. A 3 for N/A.

Art and Set: 4. Again, go 3 or lower if you don’t care for the look, but it nails the student digs look and vibe – messy, cluttered with cultural icons, with only the barest essentials on display and taking a a lower priority than the true necessities like records, posters, and cigarettes.

Sound And Music: 4. A great soundtrack featuring Dylan, Hendrix, and other 60s squires from the US and from France, mixed with more traditional French elements. It’s cool and it works.

Cultural Significance: 3. A strange one because it’s very much a film about culture and significance. But the film sadly has not become too significant in itself. It was Eva Green’s breakthrough, and Michael Pitt’s too, and it was one of Bertolucci’s last films. So significant from a Cinephile’s perspective, but it hasn’t become widely enough seen or known to make any wider impact.

Accomplishment: 3. On the surface it doesn’t seem like the most difficult source material to convert onto the screen, but making it so watchable and youthful and authentic is an accomplishment to be lauded.

Stunts: 3. Another 3 for N/A

Originality: 3. It’s a similar kind of story you’ll have seen or read or experienced before – it’s coming of age. It just happens to have been made by a very specific director with a very specific tone.

Miscellaneous: 3. Not a lot to mention beyond it being a good gateway into foreign film because it deals with some universal subject matter and stars some familiar faces.

Personal: 5. I love it. Pitt and Green have long been two of my favourite performers, and it’s cool to see them here in their youth. Even with the nudity, it’s very accessible, and I can’t help but be reminded of my own Student days.

Total Score: 71/100.

Let us know your scores in the comments!