Amazon Vine Freebies – January 2017

It’s a brand new year! Or at least it was when it started, all those months ago. Here’s what I grabbed:

John Frieda Sheer Blonder Hi Impact Vibrancy Restoring Shampoo 250ml

Head Restorin’

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Tone Correcting Shampoo 250 ml

‘Ed Sheeran

John Fridea Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Shampoo, 250ml

Frizzin’

John Frieda Frizz Ease Forever Smooth Shampoo 250 ml

Smoothin’

The LEGO® BATMAN MOVIE: Choose Your Super Hero Doodle Activity Book (Lego® DC Comics)

Doodlin’

Baylis & Harding La Maison Linen Rose & Cotton Luxury Wash Bag

Hardin’

Waterpik WP-950 Complete Care 7.0 Sonic Toothbrush and Water Flosser (UK 2-Pin Bathroom Plug) – White

Flossin’

Mr Men: My Mummy (Mr. Men and Little Miss Picture Books)

Mummin’

Dr KittyCat is Ready to Rescue: Pumpkin the Hamster

Pumpkin’

The Time Machine (Oxford World’s Classics)

Delorean’

RED WAGON Girl’s Suede Skirt, Black, 6 Years

Wagons Rollin’

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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

2001 Maniacs – Tim Sullivan

300: Rise Of An Empire – Noam Murro

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night – Ana Lily Amirpour

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

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

Arachnophobia – Frank Marshall

Assault On Precinct 13 – John Carpenter

August Rush – Kirsten Sheridan

AWOL – Sheldon Lettich

Bad Lieutenant – Abel Ferrara

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 Trouble In Little China – John Carpenter

Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey – Peter Hewitt

Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure – Stephen Herek

Black Coal, Thin Ice – Diao Yinan

Blair Witch – Adam Wingard

Bloodsport – Newt Arnold

Bodyguards And Assassins – Teddy Chan

Body Shots – Michael Christofer

Body Snatchers – Abel Ferrara

Braindead – Peter Jackson

Brooklyn Rules – Michael Corrente

Brother – Takeshi Kitano

Bruiser – George A Romero

Cannibal – Manuel Martin Cuenca

Carne – Gaspar Noe

Chasing Amy – Kevin Smith

Chasing Sleep – Michael Walker

Cockneys Vs Zombies – Matthias Hoene

Commando – Mark L Lester

Conan The Barbarian – John Milius

Cronos – Guillermo Del Toro

Cursed – Wes Craven

Cyborg – Albert Pyun

Dark City – Alex Proyas

Dawn Of The Dead – Zack Snyder

Day of The Dead – George A Romero

Daylight – Rob Cohen

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 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

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

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

From Russia With Love – Terence Young

Game of Death – Bruce Lee/Robert Clouse

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

Horrible Bosses – Seth Gordon

Ichi – Fumihiko Sori

Ichi The Killer – Takashi Miike

Into The Mirror – Kim Sung Ho

I Really Hate My Job – Oliver Parker

Jaws – Steven Spielberg

Jaws 2 – Jeannot Szwarc

Jaws 3 – Joe Alvez

Jaws 4 – Joseph Sargent

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

Last Action Hero – John McTiernan

Live And Let Die – Guy Hamilton

Loaded – Alan Pao

Macbeth – Orson Welles

Manuscripts Don’t Burn – Mohammed Rousalof

Milius – Joey Figuero

Mother’s Day – Darren Lynn Bousman

Mouth To Mouth – Alison Murray

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

Peacock – Michael Lander

Perdita Durango – Alex de la Iglesia

Perlasca – Alberto Negrin

Pieta – Kim Ki Duk

Pontypool – Bruce McDonald

Priceless – Pierre Salvadori

Project X – Nima Nourizadeh

Rhapsody In August – Akira Kurosawa

Rings – F.Javier Gutierrez

Rogue – Greg McLean

Room – Lenny Abrahamson

Room 237 – Rodney Ascher

Rosewood Lane – Victor Salva

Rubber – Quentin Dupeiux

Rust And Bone – Jacques Audiard

Sabotage – David Ayer

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

Shanghai Kiss – David Ren/Ken Kernwiser

Society – Brian Yuzna

Sophie Scholl – The Final Days – Marc Rothemond

Staunton Hill – Cameron Romero

Still Walking – Hirokazu Koreeda

Street Trash – Jim Munro

Stripes – Ivan Reitman

Sukiyaki Western Django – Takeshi Miike

Survive Style 5 + – Gen Sekiguchi

Ted – Seth MacFarlane

The 39 Steps – Alfred Hitchcock

The Art Of War – Christian Deguay

Thelma And Louise – Ridley Scott

The Birds – Alfred Hitchcock

The Boss Of It All – Lars Von Trier

The Craft – Andrew Fleming

The Crow – Alex Proyas

The Detective – Oxide Pang

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 Gate – Tibor Takacs

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 Hitcher – Robert Harmon

The House Of The Devil – Ti West

The Idiots – Lars Von Trier

The Isle – Kim Ki Duk

The Kings Of Summer – Jordan Vogt Roberts

The Last Exorcism – Daniel Stamm

The Last Exorcism 2 – Ed Gass-Donnelly

The Last House On The Left – Wes Craven

The Man From Earth – Richard Schenkman

The Mannsfield 12 – Craig Ross Jr

The Pact – Nicholas McCarthy

The Red Squirrel – Julio Medem

The Secret Life Of Pets – Chris Renaud

The Storm Warriors – The Pang Brothers

The Stranger – Robert Lieberman

The Tortured – Robert Lieberman

The Windmill Massacre – Nick Jongerius

Triangle – Hark Tsui/Ringo Lam

Twins – Ivan Reitman

Unbreakable – M Night Shyamalan

Universal Soldier – Roland Emmerich

USS Indianapolis – Mario Van Peebles

Visitor Q – Takashi Miike

We Are What We Are – Jim Mickle

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – Wes Craven

Wolfcop – Lowell Dean

Yellowbrickroad – Jessie Holland/Andy Mitton

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

Music Reviews

11 – Bryan Adams

18 Till I Die – Bryan Adams

3 Feet High And Rising – De La Soul

7800 Farenheit – Bon Jovi

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

Afterwords – The Gathering

Air – Agua De Annique

Aladdin Sane – David Bowie

Bedtime Stories – Madonna

Blaze Of Glory – Bon Jovi

Blue – Joni Mitchell

Blur – Blur

Bookends – Simon & Garfunkel

Bryan Adams – Bryan Adams

Closer – Joy Division

Conan The Barbarian Soundtrack – Basil Poledouris

Conan The Destroyer Soundtrack – Basil Poledouris

Crush – Bon Jovi

Destination Anywhere – Bon Jovi

Diamond Dogs – David Bowie

Disclosure – The Gathering

Dumb And Dumber Soundtrack – Various

Entroducing – DJ Shadow

Erotica – Madonna

For Sale – The Beatles

Heaven Or Las Vegas – Cocteau Twins

Help! – The Beatles

Heroes” – David Bowie

Hey Stoopid – Alice Cooper

Home – The Gathering

How To Measure A Planet? – The Gathering

Hunky Dory – David Bowie

I’m Breathless – Madonna

Into The Fair – Bryan Adams

Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette

Keep The Faith – Bon jovi

Ladies Of The Canyon – Joni Mitchell

Lazer Guided Melodies – Spiritualized

Let It Be – The Beatles

Life’s Rich Pageant – REM

Like A Prayer – Madonna

Like A Virgin – Madonna

Lodger – David Bowie

Look Sharp – Roxette

Low – David Bowie

Madonna – Madonna

Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles

Mandylion – The Gathering

Manic Street Preachers Live In Belfast – Manic Street Preachers

Miles Of Aisles – Joni Mitchell

New Jersey – Bon Jovi

Nighttime Birds – The Gathering

Night On My Side – Gemma Hayes

On A Day Like Today – Bryan Adams

Pearls Of Passion – Roxette

Please Please Me – The Beatles

Pin Ups – David Bowie

Pure Air – Agua De Annique

Ray Of Light – Madonna

Revolver – The Beatles

Rubber Soul – The Beatles

Savage – Eurythmics

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles

Sleepy Buildings – The Gathering

Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi

Song To A Seagull – Joni Mitchell

Souvenirs – The Gathering

Space Oddity – David Bowie

Spirit – Bryan Adams

Station To Station – David Bowie

These Days – Bon Jovi

The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie

The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie

The Roads Don’t Love You – Gemma Hayes

The West Pole – The Gathering

The White Album – The Beatles

Tori Amos Live In Belfast – Tori Amos

Transformer – Lou Reed

Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman

True Blue – Madonna

Urban Hymns – The Verve

Waking Up The Neighbours – Bryan Adams

With The Beatles – The Beatles

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

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

The Dark Tower Multiverse Part 2

tower

We’re back it again. Last time I rambled on through various Stephen King works only to realize that a single post was naive. Here we are with part 2!

Salem’s Lot

We’ve already seen two versions of this – David Soul and Rob Lowe – but given how deeply it ties in to The Dark Tower as well as some other works it’s only right that we return to it.

Best Suited As A: Mini Series

It’s another book that you could cover in a single movie, but again you’d lose much of the richness, texture, and character – it’s not easy to get to know an entire town of people and then wipe them out in the space of a hundred minutes. If we wish to expand upon the character of Father Callahan, and we do, then this needs to go further.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: DT Series. Night Shift. 

Following Father Callahan’s rise and fall and years int he wilderness can be divided between a Salem’s Lot series and the later DT movies. I never found those parts overly interesting in the books as they took me out of the action and Roland’s journey, but they make for stronger ties to important characters. It’s not an easy one to work out though – in the books Callahan’s adventures continue long after the events of Salem’s Lot – who would want to watch that when Ben and Mark have already slaughtered the vampires and left? Do you create some sort of after story where Ben and Mark are slaying in another part of the country and stumble upon Callahan? Or, do you take some liberties with the overall story and have the events which occur afterwards in the book actually occur before in the series? Like this: Father Callahan is a recently disgraced priest who lost his faith and path… bla bla… seeking both solitude and a reason to keep going he relocates to the sleep town of Jerusalem’s Lot. After a few slow months/years of integrating into the community, a writer called Ben Mears arrives just as a number of mysterious deaths swoop through the town.

I think that honestly works better than some tacked on coda. You can have Callahan bare his soul to Mears and co and show that he still has some way to go on his journey of redemption, which then leads him to In World and Roland. Then in Wolves Of The Calla you can fill in the blanks without spending too much time on them – we would know already that Callahan has done wrong and has been actively pursuing the good fight. This would doubly make his character in Salem’s Lot more interesting – whether or not his faith holds or not in the face of Barlow and Straker remains to be seen. Or of course, just stick to the books – the book does end with Ben and Mark returning to the town, so I guess at that point they could find Callahan and see what he has been up to but again you would need something more exciting to end the series on – more vampire slaughter perhaps, everyone loves that.

That leaves us with the two wrap around stories from Night Shift – one which takes place around 100 years prior to the events of Salem’s Lot and one which takes place a couple of years afterwards. For the first one you could film it as a short few minutes prologue and then reference its events later in the main series as Ben investigates the history of the town. For the second, it could form part of the final stages – a family travelling through, towards Derry or Castle Rock naturally, being besieged by bloodthirsty creatures only for Ben and Mark to show up and kick ass.

The Talisman

Another opportunity to bring in the non-horror audience, this tale has the hallmarks of being another cult hit like Stand By Me. 

Best Suited As A: Movie

It’s another big book and should probably be a mini series of split into two movies, but I don’t see it getting a lot of interest outside the King hardcore, so condense into a single rip-roaring adventure and you’re all set.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: Black House/DT Series

The book has a sequel – Black House – where Jack is now all grown up. No chance of using the same actor though for that role, but there’s still potential for some characters appearing in both… The DT references only come into their own for the sequel in the books, but you can easily throw in some connections in the Talisman movie, foreshadowing and otherwise.

Pet Sematary

There’s really only one way to follow up a heroic tale of childhood adventure, and that’s with the death of a child and the destruction of a family. King’s most horrific story had a pretty good movie outing already, followed by a less pretty good sequel. If you’ve been reading these posts you’ve probably already shouted, like a loon, ‘we don’t need any more remakes’! No-one can hear you, jackass. But you’re right, we don’t really need any more remakes, especially for things like this and The Shining and many others which were done perfectly well first time around. However, this is all just fantasy so you can decide for yourself which books to adapt and slot together. Can I proceed? Good.

Best Suited As: A Movie

While the origin has its fair share of shlock, as you might imagine, theoretically you could remove much of that and have even greater impact. Don’t bill this as some gore-fest about zombie kids and cats, bill it as a horror film about grief and guilt and loss, and show the true human outcomes which such events and torments inspire.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: Misc.

There aren’t too many overt crossovers here, aside from being set near Derry. It should be simple to add in some lines about missing kids in the big city, but it being much safer out in the stick, hardy har. Alternatively, set it near Castle Rock and tie things in, or keep it further separate and tie it to the places and events of The Talisman or The Shining or The Tommyknockers or whatever. One other crossover which only comes later is with Insomnia – one of the bald doctors who works for The Crimson King is said to keep Gage’s shoe. Probably better to reference that once we get to Insomnia. 

The Waste Lands

As you will know, I already said we should release Wizard And Glass first. In that series we learned all about Roland’s past and much more about his world and mission. We can reference that here through some quick snippets cut from the Wizard And Glass series, and an impassioned yet stoic speech from Roland. But the majority of The Waste Lands movie should involve bringing Jake over from his New York and restoring his and Roland’s sanity, Susannah and The Speaking Demon, finding Oy, passing through River Crossing, on to Lud, and finally to Blaine (the pain). The frantic riddle contest seems like a thrilling enough way to end things.

Best Suited As: A Movie

There’s plenty to pack in here, but it can be fairly action packed with the Lud and Shardik set pieces prime for big screen thrills.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: DT series.

No need for a lot of crossover here – potentially the New York scenes could contain something – when Jake buys Charlie The Choo Choo from Calvin Tower’s shop there could be a store on the opposite side of the street called Needful Things which makes him uneasy. Too on the nose?

Firestarter

The Drew Barrymore Firestarter isn’t great – it’s just Carrie with a younger girl and less interesting all around. That’s a shame though because at its core we have a decent story about exploitation and shady government types, and parenthood. It’s also a good time to introduce ‘The Shop’, a group underused in King’s works but who apparently have their fingers in a lot of pies.

Best Suited As: A Movie

There’s no reason why this couldn’t be a successful enough standalone movie – it doesn’t need a huge budget and you could always make the star a teen to give it that sort of audience/direction. A short, sharp tale of rebellion and evil dealings and the power of one girl could be just what the doctor ordered.

Major Crossovers: Tommyknockers. The Mist. The Stand. Potential Dark Tower.

As suggested in Stranger Things – messing with portals to other places rarely leads to pleasant results. It’s one of the aforementioned pies that ‘The Shop’ has been fingering. They are really only mentioned in passing in other stories, but why not make them an altogether more widespread and villainous corporation? Why not make them a wing of the Sombra Corporation? In the movie we could get a quick Passover of the experiments they have planned, conducted, and are planning – from work with deadly viruses, to attempting to make contact with alien civilizations, to their work with opening doors to other worlds than these. Their headquarters should be glossy and 21st Century bland, but offer the odd unsettling Crimson sigul or well placed 19. And should it be suggested that Charlie is a breaker, or the shining, or is somehow tied to Jake Chambers, Jack Sawyer, or Danny Torrence? Maybe we should see files or a quick flash on a screen of some of these kids as proof The Shop is looking for them? Maybe it should end with Charlie actively looking for them? There’s potential for tie in here more than what is actually there in the novel, and I think that should be exploited.

The Dark Half

A bit of a meta novel which received and okay treatment thanks to George Romero. A complex one to make successfully, why not treat it as straight as possible as a noir detective novel with supernatural elements. You have sympathetic characters, familiar faces from Castle Rock, and a terrific bad guy who just wants to live – it could be a slasher movie with that thing most slasher movies lack – an interesting, fully realized villain.

Best Suited As: A Movie

Most people will have forgotten the original by this point, and why not even many hardened fans would ask for a new version, if you make it good they will come. Who wouldn’t want to see a young family being terrorized by a cunning supernatural monster who is seemingly framing them for his unspeakable crimes?

Major Crossovers/Tie Ins: The Dead Zone. Cujo. Needful Things.

No major crossovers with The Dark Tower here, but plenty with the Castle Rock world as we catch up with Alan Pangborn and a few of the other cops and citizens of that part of the world. Depending how far you wish to take the Castle Rock side of things, there can be a lot of set up here for Needful Things – why not see Pangborn’s family as they currently are, making the events of that other work all the more potent.

Tommyknockers

It’s that rarity – a Stephen King book about aliens. I mean, it’s Salem’s Lot all over again with a small town being taken over by an evil exterior force, but you can make it about obsession, about bad men in suits, about anything you want really.

Best Suited As: A Movie

You could have another mini-series sure, but I don’t think there is enough here that we won’t have seen already, not without adding in a lot of unnecessary soap opera elements. Instead, make it an action packed siege/paranoia movie and give The Shop more overt involvement – agency staff arriving in the town and apparently ‘allowing’ things to take a certain course naturally. If they can make fifteen of those Furious movies about stealing cars, they can make a decent 100 minute movie out of this.

Major Crossovers/Tie Ins: The Mist. Firestarter. Potential Dark Tower. From A Buick 8.

Now that we established The Shop as having some dodgy dealings with super-powered kids, we can explicitly show how interested they are in ships from other worlds. We could even hint that it is in fact, their own ship, designed from parts scavenged and discovered by folks who have been travelling to other worlds than these. Another nifty one could be referring Low Men somehow, or at least their modes of transport – cars mentioned in a variety of King books and shorts which somehow have the power to suck you away completely. Lets say they harnessed such a power and created an aircraft – an aircraft which could appear and disappear at any point in space and time, and which could transport any manner of weapon or disease. If they didn’t create it, it’s something they would be very interested in getting for themselves. We wouldn’t need a whole From A Buick 8 movie then, and it would set up the outlandish cars for when we get to Hearts In Atlantis.

Needful Things

Lets head back to Castle Rock again. There’s a new shop in town, perhaps one which recently moved from New York, and one which claims to have exactly what you need. Whatever could anyone need in Small Town America? You’d be surprised.

Best Suited As: A Movie

Another case of the original movie being a mild diversion rather than something truly good, this has potential to work as a minor hit. It’s not going to break box office records, but it doesn’t need a huge budget either. Remember, many of these movies could work just as well as Netflix original type things rather than getting a theatrical release. It’s a big book, but again you can break it down to its most essential parts – grieving cop, mischievous bad guy who manipulates locals, carnage ensues.

Major Crossovers/Tie Ins: The Dead Zone. Cujo. The Dark Half.

Aside from the obvious Castle Rock stuff, which should have sucked the fans in by this point, is there any way we can squeeze The Dark Tower in? Should Gaunt have some connection to Sombra? Could it be made to look as if Gaunt is actually Flagg? We could have him played by a different actor, but in a short scene he could show his true face. That’s probably unnecessary and overkill, and moving too far away from the stories. Gaunt is a Flagg type character though – we know he moves from town to town doing te same thing over and over again – maybe it could end on him moving to a town yet to be featured in our movies? I’m sure more enterprising folks than me can come up with something.

I think that’s more than enough for now. If your eyes and brains can withstand further pain, follow my blog and I’ll eventually get round to a Part Three and as always, leave your comments below!

The Dark Tower Multiverse

*As most of you know, the trailer dropped for The Dark Tower yesterday and it’s… good? I think? Anyway, this seems like the perfect time to publish this post and get dem clicks, boy!

tower.jpg

Greetings, Glancers! As most of the people who visit and comments on my humble page are movie fans and avid readers, I’m willing to bet a fair few of you are Constant Readers – Stephen King fans. Therefore I’m sure many of you will be aware of the many King works heading to screens big and small in the coming months and years. In my ‘last Dark Tower’ post a couple of years ago we knew that the series was finally being made but had no clue who was going to be involved. At the time of writing (started on 30th March 2017) we know that Idris Elba and Matthew McConnaghy will be fighting for Mid-World and more before the year is out. Viral sites have already been set up, the first official poster has been revealed, a pre-effects trailer has been leaked, and a lucky few have seen some final footage (including Uncle Stevie himself). Beyond that, the trailer for the new It movie has just dropped and a couple of months back King and JJ Abrams also gave us a teaser for a new TV show called Castle Rock which seems to focus on the many famous characters and stories which King has created over his life (something I predicted in my previous post). Neither of these works seem to tie in to The Dark Tower movie, but we might get lucky and get a few connections.

All this got me thinking about something I touched on in my last post – the wish for King’s major works (not just DT related) to be released in a similar way to how Marvel was doing things – with at least one major movie and TV show coming out each year until we were all sick of it. These are the things I dwell on when I can’t sleep and if I don’t write them I won’t sleep again, so I’m expanding on that premise for this post. Here is a suggested timeline for most of King’s books and how they should have tied together Marvel style – as always, there will be SPOILERS so tread carefully, especially for those who have not yet completed The Dark Tower series. Please note that I’m not going to cover everything here – that would take an age and this is already destined to be a long, rambling post. Almost every story King has written connects to others in some way so a few standalone TV series a la Castle Rock, Haven, Nightmares & Dreamscapes could fill in those blanks – hitting a variety of short stories while also connecting to the wider world of Derry, Castle Rock, Jerusalem’s Lot, and along the beam. Use your imagination.

The Gunslinger

We may as well start at the beginning (end?) of the Tower journey. The movie would obviously serve as an introduction to Roland’s quest as well as touching upon the critical ideas of the multiverse. The only problem I see here is that maybe you would want to start the whole franchise with a more well known story – The Stand, The Shining, or Salem’s Lot. Meh, put enough effort into the advertising and you’d be fine.

Best Suited As A: Movie

It isn’t a huge book and most of the major themes and plot elements could easily be covered in a two hour movie.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: The Dark Tower series, everything.

The Gunslinger obviously ties in with the rest of the Tower series but I don’t think this book specifically has characters or scenarios which link to books outside The Dark Tower. The most problematic piece of the puzzle is the aging of Jake Chambers – these movies are going to be years apart, yet Jake should only age a few months/couple of years over the course of the whole saga.

The Shining

Sure we’ve already had two version of it already but at least now we can make it part of the expanded universe and set up for the Doctor Sleep sequel. The story is strong enough and has enough history to pull in the crowds. The only problem is that Kubrick’s movie is so damn iconic that any updated version would be compared, probably in an ill light.

Best Suited As A: Movie

Take the Kubrick style and visuals, yet follow the book’s plot more closely like the mini-series, but make it scary! And make it about a boy, a father, and a mother – not just about jack going crazy.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: Doctor Sleep, IT

The Shining has a sequel, Doctor Sleep, which is set around 30 years after. Naturally this causes a problem with casting for any ‘surviving’ characters who appear in both works. For Danny you would clearly need a new actor, but Dick Hallorann, Wendy, and Jack could all appear in the sequel with the same actor in each role. Hallorann is referenced in IT so why not have him cameo there. In the same vein, Hallorann could easily reference the events of IT in The Shining depends on how the time setting works. According to the books, Hallorann saved the life of Mike Hanlon’s dad meaning Mike would be born later and help bring down Pennywise. The childhood section of It could be set either before or after the events of The Shining with Dick referencing one while appearing in the other – a throwaway line about adults not being able to see monsters or little kids being able to see things which grownups cannot would go a long way for all us geeks.

IT

We may as will move to this one now. The teaser trailer looks promising, so I’ll be in the Cinema checking that out in a few months.

Best Suited As A: Mini-Series

IT is huge. Sure they could strip away a lot of the frills and get down to the central story of ‘bad creature kills kids every thirty years in small town – only kids can see It and decide to fight back’ but that would be missing out on a lot of the lore, and the world King created. This would be an opportunity to begin tying together the various other worlds and stories. An eight hour mini series would be best, hell, even run that out to ten. Ten single hour episodes or four two hour shots would do nicely.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: The Dark Tower. 11/22/63. The Shining. Dreamcatcher. The Tommyknockers. Insomnia.

IT. Pennywise. A creature millions of years old which can seemingly travel between universes, IT is referenced in many other King books – more confusingly, creatures which share a lot of IT’s powers and trademarks show up elsewhere. The Dark Tower references could be confusing at this point so it would be better splitting the mini-series into two distinct parts – wait for the DT series to catch up a little before the second part of IT is released. Then all the allusions to Maturin and Turtles can be shown, subtly, and would make sense. For crossovers and cameos, the timing could be problematic given that King sets certain stories in a specific time – It features Derry in the 50s and 80s. That’s not a problem in itself as it would be easy to move each period forward a few decades to bring the story up to date for modern audiences. If you move it up to date though, you lose potential crossovers – in 11/22/63 for example Jake goes back to 1958 and meets Bev and Ritchie who discuss ‘The Clown’. We can’t really have Jake going to a different point in time. Having said that, we don’t always have to follow King so closely and the filmmakers can through in their own cameos and crossovers which don’t occur in the books. Between the release of the Childhood part of IT and the Adult part, drop some references in the other movies and shows which suggest Pennywise returning – news reports of missing kids in Derry, good old graffiti etc.

The Dead Zone

A good time to introduce Castle Rock to viewers, and a story which is ripe for retelling given the current political and social climate we find ourselves in. I haven’t watched a single episode of the TV series, but I do like the Cronenberg movie.

Best Suited As A: Movie

I’ve never felt that The Dead Zone was a good fit for the big screen, but with the right director this could be a potent and intelligent thriller, if not a commercial hit.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: Cujo. Needful Things. The Body. The Dark Half.

This is where things get difficult. People have always stated that King’s novels, especially the more horrific ones, don’t translate well to screen. That’s why I think the idea of the Castle Rock TV show(or something similar) is excellent – you can dip in and dip out of each story as the characters and events crossover. It’s difficult to see any of the above tie-ins to The Dead Zone working as standalone movies in today’s market, but even more so in imagining them as individual series. So I’ll leave it up to you – create a new show which links many of the novels and shorts related to Castle Rock together, or go for the movie option. Either way, if The Dead Zone is a movie, then we still have obvious crossovers – Sheriff Bannerman is a key player in TDZ and would still be Sheriff by the time Cujo emerged from the rabbit hole. Depending on when you set The Body (Stand By Me) Bannerman could be there as a younger actor, with the same actor in current time, or even replaced by Alan Pangborn. By the time later Castle Rock stories roll around, the references to TDZ would be minor, though certain foreshadowing of the later works could be added in TDZ – Pangborn as a younger cop, the town in need of a trinket’s shop, reports of rabid dogs, a local writer by the name of Thad Beaumont becoming successful etc.

The Drawing Of The Three

We never want to stray too far from the DT series so you want to make sure the release of each entry is not more than two years apart. Here the journey truly gets underway as we meet Detta and Eddie and learn about travelling between worlds.

Best Suited As A: Movie

Another epic, this one almost needs to be divided into two parts – how much can you really cover in a two hour movie while also getting to know the new characters? You could push it to three like LOTR but you’d need to confident in getting bums into cinema seats. Lets assume it’s going to be a major success and push for a longer run time – sorted.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: DT series, The Eyes Of The Dragon

Now that we have a few other films and shows under our belt, it’s time to really play with the multiverse. New York is important in the DT canon and in The Drawing of The Three we find out how doors between worlds work. In addition to New York, why not have a door to Derry – even one which takes us to the past so that Roland can briefly encounter some of our other characters/places? This might be too convoluted though – it might be easier for Eddie or Susannah/Odetta/Detta allude to events in movies we have already seen or some yet to be released. The main crossover is with The Eyes of The Dragon as Roland refers to Dennis, Thomas, and Flagg. There should probably be a scene – possibly post credits – which shows our good friend Flagg going through a door leading to a world investigating the first outbreaks of a superflu.

The Eyes Of The Dragon

A story which occurs in roughly the same place and time as the main DT series, this one was aimed at a younger audience but with the movie it could bridge the gap between adults and younger viewers being introduced to the whole King multiverse.

Best Suited As A: Movie

I don’t see enough interest in this to work as a TV series or even mini-series. If you go mini-series it would have to be only 2-3 parts and kept cheap. Go for the movie and you can expand upon the character of Flagg, the setting of In-World, and even give a more concrete ending.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: DT series

That concrete ending could of course link up to the events of Roland’s youth, with Flagg being defeated and angry and fleeing to Gilead for his next adventure – how about a scene with him seeing a baby Roland, or taking on the name Marten Broadcloak, or meeting with The Crimson King and discussing future plans?

The Stand

This is as good a time as any to unleash the biggie. King’s biggest novel, we get to watch the destruction of the world in the ultimate battle between Good and Evil.

Best Suited As A: Mini Series

Like the Mick Garris version – one of my favourite movies/shows ever, this needs to be told over a period of several hours. There are so many characters and the scope is so huge that a single movie just doesn’t work.

Major Crossovers/Cameos: DT Series, Night Surf.

We learn more about Flagg here, but we need to be careful to focus on this being a standalone story. The actor playing Flagg is the same, but in each world he appears in he needs to adapt to the times, the customs, and fashions so his appearance in the ‘real world’ should be different from how he looks elsewhere – King sees him as a modern Texas cowboy, almost as if he is mocking Roland’s more antiquated look. Aside from Flagg, I would keep references to The Dark Tower to a minimum – the destruction of Earth is really just a little fun bit on the side for Flagg. There is of course evidence in the books that Flagg doesn’t always ‘remember’ the things he has done and places he has visited, suggesting that moving between worlds can be detrimental to one’s sanity. Then again, Flagg is ancient so it is same to assume he has been the architect of the downfall of many civilizations and people never mentioned in any King story. Another aspect to be careful about is cementing the understanding that the world of The Stand is not the same as the world of It or other works. How this is done could prove difficult – a simple solution of course may be Flagg enquiring about Derry or Castle Rock only to be told by a confused cohort that no such town exists in Maine. Maybe he’s friends with Leland Gault and finds out that he doesn’t exist on this level of The Tower and could remark as such with a throwaway line.

We should have some connection though – the obvious one being Night Surf. There are a lot of side stories in The Stand – characters who lived and died – no great loss. Night Surf is a standalone short set in the same world and time of The Stand and is interesting enough to include as part of the mini-series. We could change things up so that one of our characters from The Stand was present during the events of Night Surf before making it to Vegas or Hemingford Home. Actually, Hemingford Home crops (ha) up in Children of The Corn and ‘He Who Walks Behind The Rows’ is basically Flagg so we could have a potential crossover there… yeah, that’s a fantastic idea, lets go with that. So, either we have a Children of The Corn movie and brings some actors over from it to The Stand or vice versa, or we skip that movie and have some creepy kids joining Flagg in Vegas with them calling him  ‘He Who Walks Behind The Rows’ or Flagg discussing how they took over a small town after the disease landed and killed any adults who passed through.

Wizard And Glass/DT Series

The book which fills in a lot of blanks in Roland’s past. And what is this – I’m releasing it before I’m releasing The Waste Lands? Madness!

Best Suited As A: TV Series

We have another choice – either allow this to be another movie – in which case it should come after The Waste Lands – or as a dedicated mini series which goes beyond the events told in the novel. The series should focus on Roland as an infant with Flagg, Farson, more history on Gunslingers, and take us through his childhood – events mentioned in The Gunslinger, events mentioned in the comics, through his relationship with Susan and the story of Wizard And Glass, as well as killing his own mother and on to Jericho Hill (where of course he lifts the Horn Of Eld). You know what – lets go all the way and throw in The Wind Through The Keyhole too. Given the amount of material to work with, I feel like this deserves to be a dedicated series, not a mere mini series. A full season of 12, or 16, or 22 episodes. Hell break it up into two seasons if you must. The series shows us how Roland came to be the man he is, what set him on his journey, we meet Cuthbert and his original Ka-tet, and we can finish on him as an adult setting out on the beam. And yes, we should also include The Little Sisters Of Eluria. That of course sets us up nicely with the introduction of vampires… For the sake of chronology, what the series should not show is the wraparound story of the actual novel – the conclusion of the Blaine story and the meeting of Flagg in The Emerald City – let’s save those for elsewhere.

Right, any more in a single post and I would be taking the piss. I think this is going to need a Part 2. Stick around for that and leave your thoughts and imaginings for a King Multiverse in the comments!

#Thisisyourfilm 1999 – 2007

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1999:

Top Grossing Film: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

My Favourite Film: Bangkok Dangerous.

Quite a few good films and big films this year – The Matrix, The Blair Witch Project, and Fight Club are all obvious choices. My pick though is one so very few have seen – there’s no excuse, it’s fucking glorious. Plenty of cult classics this year too.

Biggest Selling Song: Baby One More Time by Britney Spears

My Favourite Song: Unintended by Muse

I almost went for the title track, but then remembered how Unintended grabbed me. I’d heard some of their earlier EP from one of those old radio sampler cds, but it was their ballad that convinced me they would be huge.

Biggest Selling Album: Millennium by Backstreet Boys

My Favourite Album: Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Not too many huge releases this year that I could have gone for, really between this, Muse, and Lene Marlin. Californication is a beast though, a massive return to form and a huge commercial and critical success.

My Favourite Book:  Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

2000:

Top Grossing Film: Mission Impossible 2

My Favourite Film: Battle Royale.

A lot of strong foreign movies this year, aside from my winner. When I first saw Battle Royale I proclaimed it as the most important film of the new millennium. I still stand by that. Pick a better film from 2000, I dare you. 

Biggest Selling Song: Music by Madonna

My Favourite Song: Bumblebee by JJ72

The studio version is quite lovely in its torment, but seeing it live is an entirely different beast – it transforms into a destructive, euphoric masterpiece.

Biggest Selling Album: No Strings Attached by NSYNC

My Favourite Album: The Marshall Mathers LP

I don’t think there was a better album this year, a year which also included Rated R, JJ72,  Lost Souls, Brave New World, Kid A, Wishmaster, and more.

My Favourite Book: A Storm Of Swords by George R R Martin.

2001:

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone

My Favourite Film: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Plenty of worthy picks this year, but come on, LOTR wins every damn time.

Biggest Selling Song: It Wasn’t Me by Shaggy

My Favourite Song: Hurricane by Natalie Imbruglia

Biggest Selling Album: Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park

My Favourite Album: Origin Of Symmetry. 

White Lillies Island, Toxicity, Amnesiac, Blackwater Park, and a whole host of euro and american metal and rock coming back into the mainstream. Muse raised their game and easily bypassed any and all expectations for their second album.

My Favourite Book: Black House by Stephen King

I feel like I should apologize for how limited by reading appears on these lists. At this point in my life I was reading 2-3 books a week, mostly for University. Those books were almost exclusively old – pre-20th Century, or pre-1983 at least. What spare time I had was going on King’s latest releases. He had two this year, and Black House (which I stupidly read before The Talisman) is the better of the two. Looking at what else was released in 2001, I think my choice stands.

2002:

Top Grossing Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

My Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

See above.

Biggest Selling Song: Anything is possible/Evergreen by Will Young.

My Favourite Song: Under The Ice by Blind Guardian

Biggest Selling Album: The Eminem Show by Eminem

My Favourite Album: Century Child by Nightwish

Night On My Side, A Night At The Opera, Highly Evolved, I To Sky, Deliverance, and plenty more personal favourites.

My Favourite Book: Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King

Some of King’s finest short stories collected here, including Little Sisters Of Eluria and the award winning The Man In The Black Suit.

2003:

Top Grossing Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

My Favourite Film: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

See above. Again.

Biggest Selling Song: Where Is The Love by Black Eyed Peas

My Favourite Song: No More Lies by Iron Maiden

Biggest Selling Album: Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ by 50 Cent

My Favourite Album: Another Day by Lene Marlin

The Music, Damnation, Dance Of Death, Absolution, Souvenirs… probably others.

My Favourite Book: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

Not to be an asshole, but I was on the hype train for this before anyone else. I even started an IMDB thread about a potential movie on the book before the book was even released. Anyway, it’s great.

2004:

Top Grossing Film: Shrek 2

My Favourite Film: Dawn Of The Dead

This wasn’t a great year personally for standout films. There were some very good sequels and plenty of films I enjoyed – not many that leap out as a strong favourite. My two obvious picks involved zombies. I’ve gone for the one most would not pick.

Biggest Selling Song: Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Various

My Favourite Song: Ghost Love Score by Nightwish

Biggest Selling Album: Confessions by Usher

My Favourite Album: Welcome To The North by The Music

Faded Seaside Glamour, Once, Until The End, Leviathan, Lifeblood, and more. But my album of the year is also the album of the decade and one of the best ever.

My Favourite Book: The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Well, I had to, didn’t I?

2005:

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

My Favourite Film: Batman Begins

Plenty of worthy comedies and dramas, but Batman wins it.

Biggest Selling Song: Is This The Way To Amarillo by Peter Kay and Tony Christie

My Favourite Song: Something In The Way by Gemma Hayes

Biggest Selling Album: The Emancipation of Mimi by Mariah Carey

My Favourite Album: Ghost Reveries by Opeth

Counting down The Days, Dirty Diamonds, The Roads Don’t Love You and not a lot else. A pretty crappy year.

My Favourite Book: Kafka On The Shore, by Haruki Murakami

Cats. Cats everywhere.

2006:

Top Grossing Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

My Favourite Film: Casino Royale

A terrific year for movies and at least five I could just as easily call my favourite. I’m going to go with what might not be the best out of my favourites, but I think it just about cinches it for ‘rewatchability’.

Biggest Selling Song: Crazy by Gnarls Barkley.

My Favourite Song: Waking Hour by The Gathering

Biggest Selling Album: The High School Musical Soundtrack

My Favourite Album: A Matter Of Life And Death by Iron Maiden

Inhuman Rampage, Black Holes And Revelations, Blood Mountain, Home. Iron Maiden’s return to form culminates in their epic war-based monster.

My Favourite Book: Cell by Stephen King

I know I know, but it’s good!

2007:

Top Grossing Film: Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End

My Favourite Film: Enchanted

A bit of a crap year, actually. Even all the films which did well at The Oscars which most non-Oscars people like, I felt were a bit meh.

Biggest Selling Song: Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis

My Favourite Song: Bouncing Off Clouds by Tori Amos

Biggest Selling Album: Noel by Josh Groban

My Favourite Album: Send Away The Tigers by Manic Street Preachers

As you can tell, the number of quality releases drastically shrinks with each year this decade, so by this point there is’t much worth mentioning – naturally there’s a tonne I haven’t heard so there’s bound to be plenty of great albums and songs I’ve missed. I narrowed by albums down to three, but none of them are even great choices.

My Favourite Book: Unknown

You know, I don’t think I’ve read a single book published in 2007. I mean, I probably have but I can’t think of any which likely means any I did read I didn’t particularly enjoy.

Next time I’ll squeeze the remaining years into one post and I’ll probably remove the books section as there haven’t really been too many books in recent years that I’ve loved outside of the usual suspects. Maybe that’s what happens when you get old(er).

#Thisisyourfilm 1991 – 1998

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1991:

Top Grossing Film: T2

My Favourite Film: T2

What. A. Year. The top 3 highest grossing movies in the US among my top favourite movies, with T2 maybe being my favourite movie of all time and Beauty And The Beast being my favourite Disney movie ever. There’s a bunch of other classics this year too but Arnie, Eddie, Linda, Robert and co are never going to be topped.

Biggest Selling Song: Everything I Do By Bryan Adams

My Favourite Song: November Rain by Guns N Roses

As cheesy as it is, I do love Everything I Do – especially the long version. I should pick something else though so lets go with Axl’s epic.

Biggest Selling Album: Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey

My Favourite Album: Nevermind By Nirvana

What. A. Year. My winner could have been either of the Use Your Illusions, Metallica’s Black Album, Dangerous, Hey Stoopid, and several others come close. But my winner has to be Nevermind – the so called album of a generation ‘nevermind’ the album of the year.

My Favourite Book: Ringu by Koji Suzuki

It’s a different kind of horror from the one on screen, but clinically delivered.

1992:

Top Grossing Film: Aladdin. 

My Favourite Film: Fire Walk With Me

Unlike most years in this era there isn’t one film which leaps out as my absolute favourite – there are four or five which I could choose between, followed by a larger group of almosts. There are a lot of interesting horror movies this year, plenty of comedies and action hits, but for now I’ll go with Lynch’s masterpiece.

Biggest Selling Song: I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

My Favourite Song: Winter by Tori Amos

It’s perfect.

Biggest Selling Album: Some Gave All by Billy Ray Cyrus

My Favourite Album: Generation Terrorists by Manic Street Preachers

Well, we also had Little Earthquakes, Dirt, and a few other near shots.

My Favourite Book: Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King

1993:

Top Grossing Film: Jurassic Park

My Favourite Film: Jurassic Park

Another terrific year for action movies, with a host that I hold dear, but those dinosaurs stand tall above them all. There are a few close runners so stay tuned for when I eventually reach the 90s in my Oscars posts.

Biggest Selling Song: I’d Do Anything For Love by Meat Loaf

My Favourite Song: Life Becoming A Landslide by Manic Street Preachers

My favourite Manics song is obviously my favourite song of the year.

Biggest Selling Album: The Bodyguard soundtrack

My Favourite Album: In Utero by Nirvana

Also efforts from Radiohead, Manics, and others but In Utero stands alone in it’s bleak rage.

My Favourite Book: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides.

My most easily recalled memory of this is that I read most of it on the toilet.

1994:

Top Grossing Film: The Lion King

My Favourite Film: Dumb And Dumber

One of my favourite years in the history of cinema, there is any number of personal favourites I could choose from as winner. Comedy has been a bit light in my choices so far though, so I’ll go with The Farrelly Brother’s finest film.

Biggest Selling Song: Streets Of Philadelphia by Bruce Springsteen

My Favourite Song: Lost For Words by Pink Floyd

There’s a bunch I could choose from any of the albums below, and a host of other singles, but I thought I’d mix it up a little with Floyd’s last great song.

Biggest Selling Album: The Lion King soundtrack

My Favourite Album: The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers

Classics from Portishead, Nirvana, Oasis, Jeff Buckley and others but they all hold their heads in shame as they bow to the terrible majesty of The Holy Bible

My Favourite Book: Insomnia by Stephen King

1995:

Top Grossing Film: Toy Story

My Favourite Film: Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

It was almost going to be Goldeneye but then I remembered Denver came out in 1995 and not 1996. It’s a perfect movie.

Biggest Selling Song: Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio

My Favourite Song: In Motion # 2 by The Gathering

I could have picked something from Jagged Little Pill but in the end I’ve gone for this Anneke era Gathering special.

Biggest Selling Album: Cracked Read View by Hootie And The Blowfish

My Favourite Album: The Bends by Radiohead

Brit-pop, general Indie music, and pop-punk albums were hitting their commercial and critical stride, while metal was roaring back to power in Europe. Only one winner here though. Michael Jackson and Alanis Morissette also sold a few copies of their respective albums.

My Favourite Book: Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

1996:

Top Grossing Film: Independence Day

My Favourite Film: Scream

A few standouts and personal favourites this year, but Stabby Joe and co remains a landmark in horror.

Biggest Selling Song: Macarena by Los Del Rio

My Favourite Song: Darling One by Susannah Hoffs

Lovely lovely

Biggest Selling Album: Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

My Favourite Album: Everything Must Go by Manic Street Preachers

Not a lot to choose from this year, actually.

My Favourite Book: Desperation by Stephen King

1997:

Top Grossing Film: Titanic

My Favourite Film: The Fifth Element

Not a great year for huge personal favorites but a few make the grade with Luc Besson’s genre collapsing tale taking the top spot.

Biggest Selling Song: Candle In The Wind by Elton John

My Favourite Song: Sonnet by The Verve

Lovely lovely lovely

Biggest Selling Album: Spice by The Spice Girls

My Favourite Album: OK Computer by Radiohead

My Favourite Book: In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami

1998:

Top Grossing Film: Armageddon

My Favourite Film: Ring

A pretty crappy year for personal favourites, but there are a bunch of smaller, forgotten movies that I love. Japan’s Ring is peerless though.

Biggest Selling Song: My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

My Favourite Song: Ready For Drowning by Manic Street Preachers

Another one of my absolute favourite Manics songs.

Biggest Selling Album: Titanic Soundtrack

My Favourite Album: How To Measure A Planet?

Only a few possibilities for me this year, but with one sure winner. How To Measure A Planet? is album everyone should, nay, must hear.

My Favourite Book: Loop by Koji Suzuki

Next time around I’ll let you in on my picks from the new decade/year/millennium! Down boy!

 

Frommers – Japan Day By Day

*Review originally written in 2012 based on a free copy provided by Amazon – Buy it here
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If you’ve ever owned or browsed a Frommer’s Day By Day guide before (or indeed any of the similar publications from Lonely Planet, Time Out et al) then you’ll know what to expect here- an informative, highly detailed, highly useful guide split into a myriad of sections with plenty of imaginative tips, photographs and ideas for any type of traveler from conservative to seasoned, from expensive to cheap. As to expected from a guide like this, the writing can hardly be called entertaining, but is fluid and usable for when you decide or need to dip in to any particular topic. What does stand out though is the focus on local knowledge translated over for those who need to know- the writers obviously know Japan and have a good idea about what the reader/user may want.
Wise Content
Content-wise we have the usual introduction and sections on accommodation, tourist hotspots, dining, museums, travel tips etc etc, as well as some more unusual selections, but what has always been the highlight of the Frommer’s Day by Day series are the Day By Day areas- ready-made plans for either those travelers who (critically) don’t want to think outside the box or (realistically) want to see as much as possible in one particular day. These are well thought out and are the focal point of the guide rather than something tacked on like many other guides and range from ‘Best Of Japan in 1 (or 2 weeks)’ to ‘Best of Tokyo in 1 (or 2, 3) day (s)’. There are also chapters on the major towns, sights, culture and most of these come with a single page map showcasing the area and the nearest subway station. In addition to this we get an extremely handy (though hardly comprehensive) pull-out map of Japan, with the central areas of Tokyo and Kyoto on the other side. I would advise bringing a map of any area you plan on visiting before getting there if possible because although Japan is fairly easy to get around, it can be very overwhelming.
Thanks to a friendly layout, high budget glossy finish, and the knowledge of the writers this is arguably the best guide on Japan on the market though some may find it too large to carry around all day or off-putting due to the scale of content. My advice would be to use this is a guide to create your own ideas and plans, scribble some notes, leave this at the hotel, and take off on your own!