Carnival Of Souls – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1962, 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 Herk Hervey’s hypnotic and haunting Carnival Of Souls, the story of a woman struggling to fit in with her new town after she survives a car crash.

Sales: 3. A tricky one for older movies, but especially tricky for a movie like this. First off, it failed to make any real business upon release, but has since seen many versions released and re-releases in certain regions for Halloween. Second, it was super low budget and therefor didn’t require much business to make a profit. Depending on how you define sales and performance, you could go with anything here. I’ll go down the middle, erring on positive due to the fact that it still makes some money today and it’s miniscule budget.

Critical Consensus: 4. As above, the film went largely unnoticed upon release. It wasn’t until the film made more of an impact in Europe, until it repeated on Television, and until new filmmakers who saw it as kids were old enough to cite it as an influence that critics began to revaluate it. Since then it has been praised as a classic. I’m not sure we can go with a 5 here due to its dismissal early on, and due to it still not being universally praised due to its amateur, low budget qualities.

Director: 4. It’s a 3 or 4 – you can tell there are a few decisions which were due to this being a first time director and possibly the film would have been stronger had he already made a few features. However, as a first time attempt and with the monetary constraints, Harvey still managed to make an incredibly effective and influential horror movie.

Performances: 3. This is where I can expect people to go lower. Hilligoss is good and everyone else is by the by.

Characters: 3. Again, it’s all about Mary, the main character. The side characters exist to serve her story, literally, and even ‘The Man’ and others are just spooks. 2 is fine here.

Cinematography: 4. Restricted by a lack of funds, necessity became the prime directive, and the results are impressive and memorable.

Writing: 3. A few memorable quotes but nothing outside of the ordinary.

Plot: 3. I’d like to go with a 4, but around this time so many stories were being filmed with similar premises and endings – The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents for starters. The result has more of an artistic lilt and there’s more time to build up character and suspense, but it’s not too different from the aforementioned shows.

Wardrobe: 3. Sure.

Editing: 3. Yes.

Make up and Hair: 4. I’ll go 4 here because of the high impact of the less is more approach.

Effects: 3. Nothing we would consider today as effects, more tricks of the cinematographer.

Art and Set: 3. Mostly location, and mostly filming without permits, which is always nice.

Sound And Music: 4. Music is a major part of the movie, more of a character than many of the characters, and the sound design is pretty great too all things considered, with screams, splashes, and hums to chilling effect. The organ music may lack fully defined and memorable melodies, but instead creates a barrage of mood.

Cultural Significance: 4. It went on to become influential with many directors citing it as a personal favourite and it garnered a remake. I’m sure another remake will be on the cards. While it’s not a Rocky Horror style constant revival, it does frequently play each October either on small or big screen.

Accomplishment: 4. For the money, for lacking a star, for it disappearing and returning in such a way, I think 3 is the baseline and 4 seems correct. I could respect a 5.

Stunts: 3. One of the key moments of the film involves a car race and crash – by today’s standards it’s not the most exciting and even in the time it was released there were much bigger and elaborate stunts. Still, it’s brief and more importantly integral to everything which follows.

Originality: 3. I’ll go down the middle because while there are twists a modern viewer can see where the story is going, yet it deals with a number of philosophical concepts in an interesting, artistic way.

Miscellaneous: 4. I still love the fact that such a low budget, clever film was made, ignored, and eventually found fame – going on to influence some of the biggest names inside and outside of horror for the rest of the century.

Personal: 4. It’s not perfect, but it is seminal. Most importantly, it’s still creepy and haunting.

Total Score: 69/100.

It doesn’t quite reach the coveted 70 score, but that’s still a respectable score for a movie so few outside of the dedicated horror family will have seen. Let us know what you think of Carnival of Souls in the comments!

Flesh And Fury – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2001, 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 Flesh And Fury Joseph Pevney’s Boxing drama featuring Tony Curtis as a deaf boxer caught in a web of exploitation.

Sales: 3. I couldn’t find much online with regards to Box Office performance – not especially strange when we go back this far. It wasn’t in the Top 10 grossers for the year, and it doesn’t seem to have been a bomb. Given Tony Curtis was involved, you can assume it did fair business. So it’s either a 2 or a 3.

Critical Consensus: 3. Same as above. It’s barely spoken above any more, and there are few contemporary or modern critical reviews. So again, doing a 2 or a 3.

Director: 3. Pevney was incredibly proficient as a director, making over 30 movies in 16 years as well as many popular TV show episodes. On one hand Flesh & Fury is just another Noir movie, hitting all of the tropes we expect of the genre today, but on the other it’s one of the best least known examples.

Performances: 4. The central quartet of Tony Curtis, Jan Sterling, Mona Freeman, Wallace Ford are great as the boxer, the blonde femme fatale, the honest love interest reporter, and the reluctant trainer.

Characters: 3. By the time we get to 1952, the Noir genre was old hat. It was still popular, but there wasn’t a lot of innovation. We have trope characters even at this point, as seen in the category above, but setting these characters in the world of sports gives a twist.

Cinematography: 3. Fine. It’s not as stylized as many of the most famous entries in the genre, but it’s fine.

Writing: 3. Again, fine, few obvious quotes or epic speeches like we sometimes found in the era, but it’s perfectly serviceable.

Plot: 3. I love the story, but I admit it’s not the most original or ground-breaking tale. It’s the little things – the deaf angle, the sporting angle, the dual love interest, the sort of progressive nature of acceptance.

Wardrobe: 3. Some of Jan Sterling’s outfits are pretty racy, but outside of that it seems to be your standard fare.

Editing: 3. Does the job. I realise for many of these standard scores you could drop to 2 – I don’t think you can give anything other than 2 or 3. The climatic boxing match is the highlight, with plenty of shots outside the ring, inside the ring, and jumping to crowd reactions, including those of our side characters.

Make up and Hair: 3. Good for the time, nothing severe with respect to cuts and bruises.

Effects: 2. Not applicable – given the other threes, I’ll go 2 here.

Art and Set: 3. All good.

Sound And Music: 4. It’s a low 4 – the music is standard forgettable 50s fare, but the sound landscape is interesting, cutting in and out to express what Curtis’ character is feeling and hearing, and at other times hissing and increasing in intensity.

Cultural Significance: 2. I’d love to say it was a major influence on Rocky, but it doesn’t seem to have been; it’s not the only boxing movie out there, but it does paint a more sympathetic picture for fighters than you see elsewhere. It was one of the first films to push Tony Curtis into more serious roles, but beyond his involvement it seems to be an all but forgotten movie.

Accomplishment: 3. It’s an accomplishment to bring some awareness to the hard of hearing community in the 1950s, in a respectful way, and making it an integral part of the story.

Stunts: 3. Solid boxing bouts.

Originality: 3. I don’t think you can go 2 here, but it may depend on your experience with the genre. It’s a noir, but it’s low on your typical crime elements and instead spends its time in the world of boxing. But, femme fatale, shady deals, scheming – everything else is by the numbers.

Miscellaneous: 3. Not much to say – 2 or 3.

Personal: 3. I was going to go with a 4 here, but given the 3s I’d already handed out when there equally could have been a 2, it only seems fair to stick with a 3 here. It’s not a film I love as much as those in later top 10s, but I’d still prefer it the majority of what hits the big screen and streaming sites these days.

Total Score: 60/100. That’s a fair representation about the film, and my feelings as a whole. It’s worth seeing for any fans of Classic Cinema, Noir, or Tony Curtis, but it isn’t going to change your life or make you fan of any of those things if you’re not already.

The Majestic – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2001, 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 Frank Darabont’s much maligned The Majestic, a film about a Hollywood Script Writer in the 1950s who loses his memory and is taken in by a small town community who mistake him for a War Hero presumed dead.

Sales: 1. Yeesh. 1s and 2s are reserved for films which don’t make back their budget. While The Majestic made around 40 million, it cost around 70 million. Go 2 if you want, but that’s a big loss for me.

Critical Consensus: 2. I’m still waiting for the day when this is re-evaluated. It was poorly received almost universally – with critics giving it less than average scores without saying it was terrible. I think 1 is reserved for films which are actively disliked, while this was more ‘meh, too sentimental’.

Director: 3. It’s overlong, but short by Frank Darabont standards. Darabont makes good period pieces – eras not quite lost to time, but on the brink, and he evokes that US ideal which I can only assume was a dream rather than an actuality, and he handles both the material and the cast (of Darabont regulars) well.

Performances: 4. Carrey was breaking out from his manic comfort zone in this period, and this is one of the finest examples of him playing it straight. We get an always excellent Martin Landau, and a host of Darabont favourites and classic Hollywood faces – Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, James Whitmore, Bob Balaban, and Hal Holbrook. You also have cameos by Matt Damon, Cliff Curtis, Bruce Campbell, Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner, Earl Boen, Sydney Pollack etc.

Characters: 3. It’s mainly about Carrey’s Peter as he loses his livelihood, his memory, his friends, and gradually comes back to normality thanks to his love of film and the respect of his new found community. That community is peppered with homely patrons you instantly latch on to as friends, even if they’re not going to rock your world.

Cinematography: 4. Expectedly warm and beautiful from David Tattersall.

Writing: 3. I love the central idea and it never becomes too political even as it does become sentimental.

Wardrobe: 3. My usual score.

Editing: 3. My usual score.

Make up and Hair: 3. My usual score.

Effects: 2. Not really applicable here so a 2 or a 3.

Art and Set: 4. It’s named after an old school Film Theatre, and the Theatre itself becomes gorgeous. The town is white picket fence perfection.

Sound And Music: 3. Mark Isham is a little known composer outside of the big hitters – yet he’s Oscar nominated and has contributed to The Hitcher, The Black Dahlia, Crash, Blade, Timecop, Point Break, and Once Upon A Time. Like most of those movies, the score is respectable but lacks a truly memorable motif.

Cultural Significance: 2. Sometimes a film will perform so poorly that it becomes culturally significant. This was just a miss and quickly faded from memory. You could argue that Carrey’s performance was significant in his own career, and I’m sure you could argue that the film is a worthwhile part of the whole Red Scare sub-genre. I don’t think any of that is enough to get it to a 3, considering so few people saw it or talk about it these days, but you can’t go higher than 3.

Accomplishment: 3. Its evoking of a time which may or may not have genuinely existed as shown is enough to get a 3 for me.

Stunts: 3. There’s a car crash near the start and some movie within a movie stuff, but nothing to shout about.

Originality: 3. I’d like to go 4 here, but I don’t think it’s that original – memory loss stories have been a staple in Hollywood since day 1. Placing it in the time period and cultural context certainly makes a difference – this is a 2 or a 3 in all honesty.

Miscellaneous: 3. It’s the third of only four films which Darabont has made, and it’s the sweetest and least offensive of them all – which somehow made it his most offensive film. I think all four of Darabont’s films are in my Top 10/20 lists of the year. I don’t know – I’m giving it a 3.

Personal: 5. I love it. Based on all of the above, there’s probably no solid reason for me to give a 5, but I enjoy the sentimentality and Carrey is always good – there’s something cosy about it which helps me forget how horrible the world can be for a couple of hours.

Total Score: 57/100. Anything below 60 isn’t great, but if it weren’t for the crap box office returns and critical consensus, this would have landed in the standard mid-60s. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Drop Dead Fred – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1991, 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 Ate De Jong’s anarchic cult classic, Drop Dead Fred, the movie about a lonely young girl who grows up to be a bored pushover until her mischievous imaginary childhood friend comes back.

Sales: 3. I can’t go 2 here because it made double its budget, but it was hardly a hit. It grew into that cult hit later, especially on TV here.

Critical Consensus: 2. I would almost go with a 1 here because it was critically despised upon release, while not enough fans saw it to care. But eventually the fans would flock to it and move it, and decades later critics have come to re-evaluate it as, if not a classic, at least an entertaining and thought-provoking favourite which was ahead of its time. Critics, man, sometimes they just don’t get it.

Director: 3. De Jong is a director who made a load of films in The Netherlands which no-one has seen – then he made this. It’s clearly a personal story – something which critics completely missed – but it is possible to enjoy this purely as a silly slapstick comedy, certainly children take it like that. Anyone who can control a manic Rik Mayall deserves at least a 3.

Performances: 4. It’s Mayall let loose. It’s a sweeter character than he’s known for, perhaps surprising for some to read, but what a perfect actor to portray both childhood trauma, acting out, and pre-adolescent anarchy. Phoebe Cates is excellent, sweetly bemused, while the rest of the cast and cameos are fun.

Characters: 3. It’s all about Fred and Elizabeth – two lifelong friends with an often strained but unending relationship. It’s great to spend a hundred minutes with them, to learn from them.

Cinematography: 3. It never goes full cartoonish or fantasy like if Tim Burton had been the director, and as such it looks like a glossy big city sitcom.

Writing: 4. Lots of funny one-liners, lots of cynicism, lots of jokes coming from kids and parents mouths that you don’t expect and cut so close to the bone that you probably wouldn’t get away with it these days. While not as quotable as many of my favourite comedies, there’s still plenty to quote and others will get the reference.

Plot: 3. A woman who has spent her life being a doormat for abuse finds herself at breaking point and resurrects her one rebellious outlet, her imaginary childhood friend Drop Dead Fred. He’s a bit naughty, but he helps her to stand up for herself.

Wardrobe: 3. Similar to the Cinematography, you feel this could have gone in a more adventurous direction, but that may have changed the tone of the movie. Outside of Fred’s suit and Snotface’s dowdy attire, it’s all by the by.

Editing: 3. Sharp, not as manic as you might expect a film like this to be.

Make up and Hair: 3. See wardrobe.

Effects: 3. Not much to go on, but fine.

Art and Set: 3. See Wardrobe.

Sound And Music: 3. I’m being very generous with my 3 here – the main theme and the associated tracks are fine – nothing remarkable, nothing original, nothing even too memorable. But they do evoke a childlike vibe, they are fun, and they work in the context of the movie. However, the production is horrible, the whole thing sounds like it was recorded on a V-tech Keyboard and feels about 5 years out of date. It’s not a 1, but I can see people going 2.

Cultural Significance: 3. Again, fairly generous here because I don’t think the film went on to inspire or influence anything but a generation of kids found solace in it. However, it did unleash Rik Mayall on wider US audiences, as well as introducing him to kids. I sort of knew him from Blackadder when I was young, but was already a huge fan thanks to Bottom. He would go on to more acclaim off the back of this performance, but I can see you going 2 here.

Accomplishment: 3. It’s a bizarre story to bring to the screen, but to make it both funny, personal, silly, complex, and to have it be both accessible to young and old, is the main accomplishment. You can look at this from a hundred perspectives – 3 is the ceiling, 2 is the basement.

Stunts: 3. See Special effects.

Originality: 3. I don’t think there’s enough to reach a 4 here, but 3 sounds reasonable. It’s not the sort of story you see everyday.

Miscellaneous: 3. Average 3.

Personal: 4. I loved it as a kid and kept loving it as a teen. I don’t enjoy it as much now, but probably because I’m comparing it with Bottom, which is flawless.

Total Score: 62/100.

Lower than I thought, but I don’t think I could really go higher in any of the categories. If I’m being honest, the score could conceivably go down by around 5 points if you felt the 3s were more accurately 2s. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Escape To Victory – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1981, 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 John Huston’s Escape To Victorythe story of a football match between Nazi soldiers and Allied Prisoners Of War.

Sales: 4. It made back almost three times its budget – but I don’t know how much in addition was spent on advertising etc. Of course, I don’t know how much it has made on home release and streaming since – streaming probably not so much. You can’t go less than 3 – I might be pushing it giving it the 4.

Critical Consensus: 3. A cult movie in that it’s really only a movie English football fans ever remember, and as such critical consensus was never great, most giving it average to positive reviews. It’s a strange subject matter and a strange cast, with an even stranger director and over time outside of its cult fandom the reviews which drop are equally average.

Director: 3. When most people think of John Huston, they think of his early Thrillers or his late dramas and most probably overlook this strange football movie. Huston was never afraid of tackling unusual subject matter and this was an attempt to make a rousing The Great Escape type movie. It’s not on that level, but the scenes of intrigue, the handling of character, and the shooting of the football are all entertaining.

Performances: 3. You have a bunch of footballers known for performing in a different way in front of cameras, and you have a post Rocky, pre Rambo Sylvester Stallone as the fish out of water. Then you have Max Von Sydow and Michael Caine hamming it up. It’s fun – not a movie about performances as much as spotting faces, but everyone is fun.

Characters: 3. Few of the characters are more than WWII movie stereotypes, with the added bonus of them being footballers. Stallone’s character is the plucky yank who hasn’t a clue how to play football, Caine is the Stalwart pragmatic Brit – you get it. You get behind them.

Cinematography: 3. It doesn’t have the benefit of looking as pretty or as grim as as other movies of this type, but those other movies don’t have football.

Writing: 3. It’s funny, it’s rousing. It lacks in the one-liners department and in terms of cynicism and getting to grips with the historical situation.

Plot: 3. A bunch of Allied POWs are plotting escape, as you do. The Nazis are bored, like a spot of footy, and decide to put on an exhibition match pitting the best of Germany against a load of starving amateurs. The POWs put together a team to play the match, then want to win the match, but also want to escape.

Wardrobe: 3. Sure.

Editing: 3. Yep. Good tension building between the match and the escape.

Make up and Hair: 3. Why not.

Effects: 3. Not applicable.

Art and Set: 3. Getting a lot of threes.

Sound And Music: 4. It’s Bill Conti so you know it’s going to be inspirational. Lots of military beats and plenty of nods to other pieces of music, including The Great Escape. It’s not as good as that – neither is the movie – but it’s still a good score and main theme, plus the noise of players and supporters during the match is well handled.

Cultural Significance: 3. I wish I could higher with this one – I mean, I wish the movie had a greater cultural significance beyond a select group of British football fans who remember it fondly telling their mates about it. But the film didn’t really change the War genre, it didn’t make football popular in the US, it never became a yearly festive favourite in the UK etc. I suppose it has inspired other football based movies. I should probably go with a 2 here, but it does have a devoted following and there’s always talk of a remake.

Accomplishment: 3. Getting this cast together, in fact even getting a film like this made at all, never mind in 1981 when no-one cared about WWII movies, is an accomplishment in itself.

Stunts: 3. Not strictly applicable, but there are a few scenes of action outside of the football, and I guess you could class some of the football as stunts too.

Originality: 3. There aren’t many POW films where the climax is a football match.

Miscellaneous: 3. Three seems to be the order of the day.

Personal: 4. It’s just a fun movie. It’s in the same vein as The Great Escape, that fist-pumping sticking your middle finger up to Adolf kind of movie without showing the true horrors of War or being a POW. Plus if you’re a football fan it’s probably the only legitimately good movie featuring football as a plot device – not to mention the fun of spotting the different players. A distinct lack of Liverpool players though.

Total Score: 63/100.

I guess that’s a fair score. It doesn’t leap out in any department, but overall it’s a fun oddity for everyone involved, all while being an entertaining watch with a rousing finale.

Vanishing Point – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1971, 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 Richard C Sarafian’s Vanishing Point, the story of a car delivery driver taking a Dodge Charger cross country to San Francisco, tailed by cops and an enthusiastic Radio DJ.

Sales: 3. I’m not sure if I can go 3 with this – it didn’t have the biggest budget and it made returns multiple times over, but most of those were in the UK and in follow up Drive Through releases. It’s a 3 or 4.

Critical Consensus: 3. It took a while to gain cult status – initial reviews were mostly negative, but those are tempered by recent criticism and discovery over the years which have been mostly positive. Sounds like a 3 to me.

Director: 4. The lightning in a jar moment for Sarafian, his best movie although I am partial to The Eye Of The Tiger. It came right at the more cynical point of the counter-culture movement where the idealism of the 60s was fading. The handling of the pacing, the car scenes, and the philosophy all works.

Performances: 3. Plenty of familiar faces but it’s all about Kowalski and Super Soul. They’re good enough to be memorable, but I’m not sure there’s enough depth to get to a 4.

Characters: 3. Same as the performances, the characters represent counter culture iconography but we don’t learn enough about any of them to go higher.

Cinematography: 4. Looks lovely, from night shots of deserts to the car tearing through the American wastelands.

Writing: 4. I’ll be lenient here due to the fact that a number of one-liners and moments have become part of wider culture, but again the plot and characters are fairly thin if you’re looking for a deeper read.

Plot: 2. Not much, is there? Guy is asked to drive a car from here to there. He drives too fast, gets the attention of cops, the media, and meets peeps along the way.

Wardrobe: 3. My standard score for this category.

Editing: 3. Closer to a 4, but possibly lacks the flair of something like Bullitt.

Make up and Hair: 2. Lets go with a 2 on this one.

Effects: 3. It’s not an effects heavy movie, so we’ll have the average 3.

Art and Set: 3. Much of the movie was shot on location, what we have is fit for purpose.

Sound And Music: 4. Being a 70s Counter Culture movie, music is a big part of the film and its spirit. Plenty of acts on the soundtrack and the odd familiar face popping up in the film. The film is pseudo-narrated by a DJ. The Sound is thick with tyre screeches, the grunting of engines, and the chaos of chassis shatters.

Cultural Significance: 4. Most movies are not culturally significant. This one is, and has a legacy, but it’s not as impactful as others of its type – Easy Rider for example. It’s enough to warrant a 4 – while not the first or last of its type, it has influenced other filmmakers and artists, with many references in later media.

Accomplishment: 4. It was a relatively low budget movie with no big star attached, existential in nature, and with a difficult script to bring to life – shooting was cut significantly, but the crew found a way to make the film a success.

Stunts: 4. The whole film is one long chase, with the odd break. A lot of driving at high speeds, a lot of chases and collisions,

Originality: 3. I’ve gone down the middle for this category as a higher or lower score likely depends on your interpretation of both the movie and the category. It’s a chase movie, an action movie, so not the most original story to ever exist but it gives allegorical and metaphorical twists. Is it a movie about freedom, death, or just general anti-establishment stuff? It’s not the usual way for a movie like this to be told.

Miscellaneous: 3. I don’t have any existing personal or contextual nuggets for this. It was a movie I was aware of from a young age but didn’t see till I was older – being a G’n’R fan I knew of the film as it is referenced in one of their songs.

Personal: 4. It’s just a cool movie, a little underseen in general, but certainly by today’s standards. Even though it’s dated, it has that generational cult vibe which means teens and rebels and car fans should always see it with each passing generation.

Total Score: 66/100.

A score I would have predicted before counting up, and it seems fair. It’s a movie which deserves more views and discussion and seems to have slipped out of the public consciousness recently, even though movies like Drive and Baby Driver were clearly influenced by it. But in that era there were any number of ‘guy in a car’ movies, and this one perhaps suffers due to a lack of famous names and moments. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

The Young Ones – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1961, 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 Sidney J Furie’s The Young Ones, a British musical starring a fresh faced Cliff Richards as the member of a youth club trying to save his club from being replaced by office blocks.

Sales: 4. Did great business in the UK and was a large success, but didn’t make much of a splash anywhere else. 3 is appropriate here too.

Critical Consensus:3. Struck a chord with audiences, less so with critics due it likely being somewhat stale and lacking the flair and songs of the US Musicals.

Director: 3. Handles the song and dance routines well.

Performances: 3. It’s all sweet and smiles and energy, but only Cliff and Morley stand out.

Characters: 2. No-one particularly memorable here.

Cinematography: 3. Again, fine, nothing special.

Writing: 3. It’s a by the numbers story and screenplay, and a couple of the songs are memorable.

Plot: 2. A bunch of boys and girls like their little club. A rich suit wants to knock it down for more money. They revolt in song. Fin.

Wardrobe: 3. Bright and stylish as a musical should be.

Editing: 3. Sure.

Make up and Hair: 3. More 50s US influenced that Swinging Sixties, but this was beginning to bridge that gap.

Effects: 2. Nothing really applicable here.

Art and Set: 3. Could have been bigger and bolder for a musical, but fine.

Sound And Music: 3. A couple of good songs, crucially doesn’t go far down the musical theatre route and piss me off.

Cultural Significance: 4. 4 is your limit here – it of course would influence, even if only in name, the 80s TV series, it gave Richards a larger platform, and it would go on to see a Stage adaptation.

Accomplishment: 3. It was cashing in on Richards but like many of the Elvis vehicles in the US, it could have easily been nothing more than Cliff prancing about to a few new songs and that would have sold. It’s better than that.

Stunts: 3. Sure.

Originality: 2. By the numbers, but with some youthful British energy.

Miscellaneous: 3. The Soundtrack sold well.

Personal: 3. One of the few musicals of the era I can stand.

Total Score: 58/100.

A low score, but I think that’s okay. In the future I can see some of my Personal 5 scored films not reaching 60. Let us know in the comments what you would score The Young Ones!

Scrooge – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critical eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 1951, 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 Brian Desmond Hurst’s take on Scrooge. Every generation has their own version, and for many people this is the definitive. I enjoy the Muppet’s Christmas Carol more, but there was slim pickings in 1951.

Sales: 3. A hit in the post WW2 UK, but didn’t make any impact on the other side of the pond in its cinematic run.

Critical Consensus: 3. Middling, mostly positive then, middling and mostly positive now.

Director: 3. The Belfast man’s most notable work, he handles the source material well, even with various novel inclusions, he gets some great performances from the cast, and gives a grim but ultimately uplifting adaptation.

Performances: 4. Sim knocks it out of the park as Scrooge, and the other cast members admirably play catch up.

Characters: 4. They’re characters you already know, assuming you’ve been alive more than 10 years and they’re all faithfully portrayed.

Cinematography: 3. Hits the bleak Victorian look well – a little too well perhaps.

Writing: 3. Any adaptation of Dickens writes itself, and while there are additions in terms of characters and back story, this doesn’t bring any flaws.

Plot: 3. You know it. Rich miser, hates everyone, visited by ghosts, scared, turns his life around. Fin.

Wardrobe: 3. Grim, authentic – not my sort of thing but looks authentic.

Editing: 3. Yep.

Make up and Hair: 3. Sure

Effects: 3. Why not.

Art and Set: 4. If I was low on Wardrobe, I’ll go high here.

Sound And Music: 3. A variety of traditional Christmas music and new pieces, none of which are too memorable but all serve the mood.

Cultural Significance: 4. Undoubtedly the seminal version until surpassed (in some eyes) by the 70s Musical and The Muppets Christmas Carol. It’s closing scenes have been aped many times.

Accomplishment: 3. Good adaptation, can’t say much more besides.

Stunts: 3. Okay.

Originality: 3.  A mostly straight adaptation, with some notable additions which don’t add or detract significantly.

Miscellaneous: 3. I don’t know if I’ll ever go below 3 in this category, especially for any of my favourite movies.

Personal: 3. I like it, but it’s so cheap and dated to modern eyes that it’s not one I return to when there are so many other versions.

Total Score: 64/100. Not a great score, but that’s fair enough in my estimation.

Let us know your scores in the comments!

Inception – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critically eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2010, 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 Christopher Nolan’s Inception – a film within a film within a… you get the idea.

Sales: 5. It made almost 1 billion bucks. I think that warrants a 5.

Critical Consensus: 4. Almost Universal Acclaim, certainly from most of the ‘big critics’, but a vocal minority of people entirely bemused by the acclaim.

Director: 5. Well, yes. I don’t think you can go lower than 4 here even if you’re not a fan. Putting together something as complex as this and making it so accessible and successful, while also being influential and iconic.

Performances: 4. Good performances all round from an eclectic cast – I could go three here because there are no standouts, but everyone is consistently strong.

Characters: 3. Nothing out of the ordinary – the rich guy, the military guy, the gut haunted by the past, the sidekick etc.

Cinematography: 5. One of the most visually striking movies of recent decades.

Writing: 3. Increasingly for Nolan, we get a little lost in detail without pushing substance. There’s also the small matter of its similarity to other films, most notably Satoshi Kon’s seminal Paprika – not the first time Kon’s work has been ‘borrowed’ by Hollywood. Only 5 people outside of Japan have seen it though – me and 4 others.

Plot: 4. Right, where to begin? It’s all over the place, it just about holds together enough to make sense and be engaging, but there is a lot of waffle and asides which could be cut to deliver a more streamlined story. I can see people giving anything from 1-5 here, so who knows?

Wardrobe: 3. Lots of suits.

Editing: 4. I’ll go with a 4 here because it is all so impressive, but we’re firmly in the era of Nolan’s approach to Sound editing that I’m not a fan of.

Make up and Hair: 3. Sure.

Effects: 5. Mind-boggling, and along with Gravity one of the finest examples of Effects being pushed forwards in the 2000s.

Art and Set: 4. More striking stuff, but a little lacking in colour – deliberately so.

Sound And Music: 4. Suitably booming work from Zimmer giving the sense of epic scale, melodic when it needs to be, but on an emotional level feels a little like being trapped in a car while someone blasts their favourite ballad at full volume.

Cultural Significance: 4. It has certainly been influential in Cinema and other Media, leading to lots of memes and satires, but on a wider cultural scale its significance has not been as potent.

Accomplishment: 5. Nolan has any number of masterful accomplishment’s, and Inception might be the primary among those.

Stunts: 4. Heart-pumping action which play with our expectations and like The Matrix make sense in the context of the film’s world and objectives.

Originality: 3. I’m torn on this because it pulls ideas from so many other films and books, but it presents them in a modern, more palatable way.

Miscellaneous: 4. Cool posters, trailers, all the usual.

Personal: 4. Even though it’s in my Top 10 movies of the year, we’re entering a period where I don’t have as much love for anything outside of my top 1 or 2 picks. It’s an undoubtedly great film and piece of art, but I don’t find it as flawless as most of its supporters.

Total Score: 80/100

It may not look like a high score for any Inception fanboys who happen to have stumbled on to my blog for the first time, but if you look at my other Get Rekt posts or music reviews, you’ll see that it’s about as high as we can get. It’s still one of my favourite films of 2010, calm down, and this score will be tough to beat or equal.

Almost Famous – Get Rekt!

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Greetings, Glancers! Today I run a more critically eye over my tenth favourite movie of the year 2000, 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 Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, the semi-autobiographical tale which follows a teenage music enthusiast as he is pulled on tour with a fictional rock band and gets to explore the pitfalls of the industry along with some great music. Great 70s music, coming of age – it ticks a lot of boxes for me, but lets see how it scores.

Before we get there, I’ve decided to change the system a little bit. Some of the categories below piss me off, but the similarity between Sales and Chart cause me the most annoyance. I’ve decided to conflate Chart into Sales and add a new category – Characters. Characters is fairly similar to Writing (and Performance), with the characters and the plot all falling under a wider umbrella of Writing, but I think that there’s enough difference between each to score them separately. That leaves me with only 19 Categories – but I need 20 to get an equally weighted rating out of 100.

Lets split out Writing into Writing (dialogue, screenplay nuance, subtext, theme etc) and Plot, with Plot being strictly about how the story plays out, if I enjoy it, does it make sense etc etc. Characters relates to how unique, human, relatable, engaging, identifiable, enjoyable the characters are.

Sales: 3. I never saw this when it was released, but I assumed it did much better than it actually did. You can’t go higher than a 3 here, given the fact that the film didn’t make back its budget. In reality I should be giving this a 2, but I’m guessing a large chunk of the film’s budget went to securing the soundtrack, inflating the spend considerably. I’m sure the movie made a bunch more money on DVD afterwards, but a 2-3 seems correct here.

Critical Consensus: 5. Likewise I could go 4 here because it’s not held in the same kind of long-term regard as say, Mulholland Drive. But you can’t compare one film’s success against another single film – that would be unfair. This is consensus, and acclaim at the time was universal, with plenty of Oscars noms and wins, and the film continues to appear on Best Of lists even today.

Director: 4. Cameron Crowe was possibly known more for being a writer or an ideas man than a director, at least until Jerry Maguire. That film’s success led to the more personal story of Almost Famous. Similar to his previous works, Almost Famous has a breezy, carefree vibe – the Linklater vibe – and doesn’t rely on anything flashy. It’s almost the lack of an apparent authority which is the authority.

Performances: 4. Following Crowe’s lead, the performances are similarly care-free to the extent that you feel like you are watching a documentary. There’s a slight knowing nod to the fact that these are people in their 20s in the year 2000 pretending to be 20 somethings in the early 70s, but there’s no escaping the cultural weight of the period they are relaying. While Hoffman steals most scenes he’s in, Kate Hudson won the plaudits and Patrick Fugit is the heart of the piece – elsewhere Jason Lee, Francis McDormand, Billy Crudup, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, and Zoey Deschanel add to the party among an array of familiar faces.

Characters: 4. Mostly composites of people Crowe knew or real life band figures, the various band members and ‘groupies’ aren’t fully defined beyond obvious caricatures, but the core characters are among the most likeable and fully realized for this type of film – always on the cusp of stardom yet never quite able to fulfil their dreams. From Lester Bangs to William and his mum, to Penny, Russell, and Jeff – and the side characters – it’s a group you want to spend a music, drug, and booze fuelled weekend with before returning dazed, confused, and happy to your normal life.

Cinematography: 3. There’s a gleam to the film which accentuates the free-spirit and hope of the time, actively ignoring the more negative elements of the period and culture. It looks great, but it’s not the first thing you notice about the film

Writing: 5. While it’s not the sort of film peppered with quotable dialogue, the best moments come from Hoffman and McDormand’s dour delivery – two sides of the same coin. Where the writing success is in its heart and humour and genuine love for the material, the people, the culture, and the music it is describing.

Plot: 4. It’s a Coming Of Age plot, so already right up my street, but also set in a time I’m fascinated by and in a world of music I love. Those are asides, but it hits the beats of a Coming Of Age plot in such a satisfactory way – everyone grows, everyone learns, everyone moves on and no threads are left hanging.

Wardrobe: 4. Authentic, though a little through the lens of 2000 styles. In any case, it helps to evoke the look and feel of the era.

Editing: 3. I never have much to say about editing – not my area of expertise but if it’s not something I notice then I assume someone has done something right.

Make up and Hair: 4. Same with wardrobe – does the job and suits the vibe.

Effects: 3. Nothing much of note to mention, so you can go N/A here or for an average 2 or 3.

Art and Set: 4. From the concert front and back stages, the media rooms, homes, tour buses, and hotels, everything has been finely tuned to evoke the early 70s with an added idealised glamour.

Sound And Music: 5. One of the great modern soundtracks, if you’re into music of the period, it’s tastefully inserted into the movie and becomes as much a part of the story as the characters who surround themselves with the music.

Cultural Significance: 3. I don’t think the film had a cultural impact at the time, or any notable impact since. A shame as it’s the sort of movie which could have helped see a widespread rejuvenation and interest in 70s rock music. Rock music around 2000 was in an interesting place with both retro and new style bands succeeding, but that was outside of any influence this movie had. The cast members went on to bigger things and some became more widely known while Crowe has had lesser successes since.

Accomplishment: 4. Depending on what you define this as – how you define what the cast and crew wanted to accomplish with the movie – this could be lower. I think Crowe wanted to show his affinity for a singular point in time while also making a pseudo-biographical film. It accomplishes both.

Stunts: 3. Another N/A or average.

Originality: 3. Biographies and Coming Of Age films are a dime a dozen, but I tend to enjoy the COA films greatly, or Biographies when it’s someone or something I care about.

Miscellaneous: 4. Cool posters, good soundtrack, good memories of the time it was released and the people I watched it with.

Personal: 5. One of my go to cool hang out movies and one of the best music oriented movies ever.

Total Score: 77/100

I think that’s our highest score yet, and it’ll be a tough one to beat. Let us know in the comments what you think of Almost Famous!