Happy 6th Blogiversary To Me

I seriously thought I’d quit this blogging thing once I hit my five year anniversary. Well, shit – I’m still lingering a year later. Sorry – I think you’re stuck with me! I enjoy this online movie diary. I may not post as many full-length reviews anymore but I’m obsessed with keeping lists so I’ll continue my monthly roundup posts.

As it’s so close to the end of the year, I’ll do what I always do for my anniversary posts & just do a short roundup of my favorite things I’ve watched & read so far this year. That means lists! So here are My Top Tens for 2018 so far (and likely to change order by the end of the year as I’m totally indecisive).

My Top Ten Books (& Short Stories) Read This Year:

10. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon – 3/5
9. The Outsider by Stephen King – 3/5
8. Brother Odd by Dean Koontz – 3.5/10
7. Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – 4/5
6. Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve – 4/5
5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – 4/5
4. Bird Box by Josh Malerman – 4/5
3. Strange Weather by Joe Hill: Stories 1 & 2, Stories 3 & 4 – 4/5
2. Ghastle And Yule by Josh Malerman – 4.5/5
1. The Masque Of The Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe – 4.5/5

A quick comment on the ones I’ve just finished & not yet reviewed: I really enjoyed Bird Box by Josh Malerman. It has been made into a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock but the trailer looks rubbish (it looks like too much has been changed). I recommend the book to horror fans, especially if you liked A Quiet Place. And I got a nice surprise as the UK version of the book has a bonus story called Ghastle And Yule. I loved this!! If you’re a lover of films, and especially if you’re a lover of classic horror films & filmmaking, I highly recommend finding a copy of this story about two rival horror filmmakers. I loved it so much that I tweeted the author & got a nice reply. It’s great having these kind of exchanges with authors, filmmakers & actors whose work you appreciate.

My Top Ten Movies Seen At Home This Year:

10. TIE: Fist Of Fury – 7.5/10 & The Handmaiden – 7.5/10
9. 5 Centimetres Per Second – 7.5/10
8. The Garden Of Words – 7.5/10
7. War For The Planet Of The Apes – 8/10
6. Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem – 7.5/10
5. Mary And The Witch’s Flower – 7.5/10
4. Colossal – 8/10
3. Metropolis – 8/10
2. Splendor In The Grass – 8/10
1. Enter The Dragon – 8.5/10

A quick comment on these: I’m clearly enjoying exploring more anime as so many are in my top ten (I’ve watched loads of movies this year – the full list is HERE). And I certainly didn’t expect a martial arts film to easily be my number one so far (Bruce Lee kicks ass!). I’ll say that the Blind Spot project is worth doing each year as most of them end up being in my top ten. So far, my top three are all Blind Spot choices of mine.

My Top Ten 2018 UK Movie Releases Seen This Year:

10. Darkest Hour – 7.5/10
9. Ready Player One – 7.5/10
8. Mandy – 7.5/10
7. Avengers: Infinity War – 8/10
6. The Shape Of Water – 8/10
5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – 8/10
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story – 8/10
3. A Quiet Place – 8/10
2. A Star Is Born – 8/10
1. I, Tonya – 8/10

A quick comment on these: I always go by UK release date so I, Tonya makes this list. It’s still my favorite, although I wouldn’t say it’s the “best” film on the list. I’ve just always been fascinated by the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan story and the movie was entertaining as hell. Plus I love dark comedy/drama. “Best” film is probably A Star Is Born. Cooper & Gaga are brilliant. Not sure if it’ll stay in second place, though. Straight drama isn’t really my thing and I probably enjoyed some others on this list a bit more. I do have the urge to move Mandy way up the list but I’m not sure why. I’m not sure if I even liked it all that much! But it’s weird and trippy and crazy as shit and looks good and sounds good and is maybe a little bit pretentious. It’s so my type of thing.

Thanks to everyone who still reads my occasional posts and my annoying lists. I do appreciate it!

I usually end these posts with a music clip so I’ll go with Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger from the thoroughly entertaining anime Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem:

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Watched, Read, Reviewed: October 2018

Happy November, everyone! It’s cold. It’s dark way too fucking early. I hate this time of year. It makes me feel like this:

Well, here’s what I watched & reviewed in October…

MOVIES THIS MONTH

MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):

Since everyone does the horror thing in October, I mostly just re-posted & reblogged some short reviews I did of horror movies I watched this year. So these are just the brand new reviews that I posted in October.

Mandy – 7.5/10
Halloween (2018) – 6.5/10
The House With A Clock In Its Walls – 6.5/10
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween – 6/10
Jug Face (aka The Pit) – 1.5/10

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Mandy – This is one that will probably grow on me. I’ve seen nothing else like it. I’ve already reviewed it in full HERE. – 7.5/10

Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem – The above image is from this movie, which I doubt anyone reading this has actually seen. Here’s some info from Wikipedia: “Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem is a Japanese-French anime adventure fantasy science fiction musical film. The film is the visual realization of Discovery, the second studio album by Daft Punk. Interstella 5555 tells the story of the abduction and rescue of an interstellar pop band. The film was produced by Daft Punk, Cédric Hervet and Emmanuel de Buretel with Toei Animation under the supervision of Leiji Matsumoto. The film has no dialogue and uses minimal sound effects.” Yep – this movie is definitely not for everyone. If you absolutely love Daft Punk (I do) and like anime, you may enjoy it but it’s obviously for a very specific target audience. There’s no talking – it’s just Daft Punk songs through the whole movie so it’s like a long music video with a fun story. Is it a good film? Maybe. It’s certainly not perfect but I loved the style and the music. I admit that I love Daft Punk, though, so am likely to enjoy any type of art that they put out. I still prefer their film Electroma, however, which has similar themes regarding humanity & becoming human. I recommend both films but only to massive Daft Punk fans. – 7.5/10

The Garden Of Words – This (as well as the below film 5 Centimetres Per Second) is a very short anime film from the same director as Your Name (Makoto Shinkai). I liked both of these films a lot. I also went to an anime film in the cinema last weekend (Mirai) from the director of Wolf Children & Summer Wars (Mamoru Hosoda) so I think I’m getting a better idea of whose films I like beyond just Studio Ghibli (but nothing will ever top those). So far, I’m preferring the gorgeous style of Shinkai’s films and the simple human stories, which are often bittersweet. This story revolves around the friendship between a 15-year-old boy & 27-year-old woman who both feel a little lost. I probably liked 5 Centimetres Per Second just as much but felt the characters were a bit stronger in this one, especially the woman. – 7.5/10

5 Centimetres Per Second – Also from Makoto Shinkai, this short film reminded me a lot of Your Name when it came to the visuals and the story involving love with too many obstacles. If I was a teenage girl, I’d probably absolutely adore these films as they’re so often about young love and its difficulties (but I’m old & bitter!). I do like the bittersweet mood in Shinkai’s films but, more than anything, it’s the overall look that I love. This film is beautiful and I love movies where the stills (such as below) are works of art that you want to stick on your walls. I’m definitely looking forward to more films from this director, even though they’re often quite “teenage”. – 7.5/10

Fist Of Fury – I watched Enter The Dragon as one of my Blind Spot movies this year and absolutely loved it so said I’d like to watch Bruce Lee’s other films. I enjoyed this one as well but definitely far prefer Enter The Dragon, which has that completely funky Seventies thing going on (and John Saxon & Jim Kelly, who were groovy as shit). Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “Lee plays Chen Zhen, a student of Huo Yuanjia, who fights to defend the honor of the Chinese in the face of foreign aggression, and to bring to justice those responsible for his master’s death.” This one isn’t as “fun” as Enter The Dragon (if you’re looking for that sort of thing in a martial arts film) but it’s a revenge story and I always like a good revenge story. Lee kicks ass (obviously), which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I found that I didn’t care enough about the characters. You need to feel the same desire for vengeance as the characters feel. In Mandy & in Kill Bill, I really wanted to see all those evil bastards get their comeuppance. I just found the story & characters a little weak in Fist Of Fury, especially compared to the main characters in Enter The Dragon having strong personalities and some good backstories. Oh well – I still enjoyed this and plan to watch more like it. Any recommendations, MIB? – 7.5/10

The Handmaiden – Well, this was a little saucy. This is from director Park Chan-wook, whose work I haven’t seen much of yet (Oldboy, Thirst, etc – I’ve only seen Stoker). As with Stoker, this was a really lovely film to look at but I far preferred the story in The Handmaiden and thought it was a much better film overall (although it felt a little too long). It also starts out very slow and almost Merchant-Ivory-boring-drama-like so have patience if you do watch it. It felt like nothing was really happening for ages and then WHAM!, you suddenly get all kinds of great double crossing and triple crossing and saucy sex and, shit, even some illustrated tentacle porn (!). You never know who you can trust and I liked that the movie kept you guessing after its first twist. And I hated those pervy men! I really enjoyed the story once it finally got going & loved the ending. (To clarify, I just mean the overall ending and not the specific final scene – I’m not that kinky). – 7.5/10

Bohemian Rhapsody – As this is a current film, I’ll try to review it in full soon. Really enjoyed it but it’s not going to be an all-time classic. – 7/10

What If (aka The F Word) – I liked this waaaay more than I expected to, considering I don’t go for romantic comedies often and Daniel Radcliffe does nothing whatsoever for me (obviously. gross – he’s a little kid). I’ll never ever see Harry Potter as a romantic lead but I do seem to like the movies that Zoe Kazan has made in this genre: Ruby Sparks was good and I absolutely loved In Your Eyes, which is my favorite romantic movie in a very long time (not counting cartoon romances – those are more believable. Carl & Ellie in Up! WALL-E & EVE!). My point is: I don’t like live action romance often because I don’t find it very realistic. The characters and the things they do feel so phoney. That’s why I enjoyed What If as the two characters felt more real than in a lot of rom-coms. Some things were a little too damn perfect, such as her amazing career as an artist and her lovely home and her cute outfits. Plus the ending we see over the end credits was a bit barfy. But the two main characters themselves had great chemistry, great conversations, and felt like the best friends that they immediately became. I thought it explored the issue of of “can a girl & a guy just be friends” quite well and you could really feel how difficult it was for Radcliffe to maintain the friendship (he’s clearly in love with her but she’s already in a serious relationship). Too bad everyone else in this was annoying, though. Their friends kind of sucked and I especially hated her sister. The two leads were good but the rest were a bunch of twentysomething twats. – 7/10

Timecrimes – I was really hoping to like this much more than I did (sorry, Brian!). I was intrigued by the following Wikipedia plot synopsis as I freaking love stories involving time-travel-fuckery: “This Spanish science-fiction thriller film stars Karra Elejalde as Héctor, a man who becomes part of a time loop and must stop his other selves from continuing to exist.” The time loop was interesting and hurt my brain just enough to keep me satisfied without leaving me totally lost (like with Primer). I think my only issue was that the main guy was a bit of a selfish prick, especially when it came to his treatment of that poor girl. Oh well – I did still enjoy the story as I do always love this sub-genre. I just got more enjoyment out of the fantastic Predestination & even that complicated Primer in a weird sort of way. Actually, these three films would make for an interesting trilogy of movies if you wanted to nerd-out on complex time travel films one night. – 7/10

Halloween (2018) – Disappointing. – 6.5/10

Labor Day – This movie was okay and probably the first time I found Josh Brolin somewhat hot. He didn’t even do it for me in The Goonies, although I was the perfect age to have a crush on him at the time. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.” Kate Winslet, as the depressed mother, once again gives a great performance. I’m not necessarily a fan but do think she’s one of the most talented actresses around and I really felt for her character. I seem to like films involving depressed old women. What does that say about me?! Anyway – Winslet & Brolin had good chemistry & I wanted them to live happily ever after but I can’t recommend this film to many as most would find it a little boring. I suppose it was. – 6.5/10

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween – The first one was much better & Jack Black is barely even in this one. – 6/10

The Dinner – Wow. This sucked. I read the book last year (review HERE). It wasn’t the most enjoyable read as the characters were all a bunch of total wankers but they’re actually much worse in the film. The story was intriguing in the book, though, and the film adaptation completely ruins it. At least the book felt somewhat original as each “act” was a different part of a fancy meal (appetiser, dessert, etc etc). That’s not used in the film at all. To be fair, I was so bored by the movie that I ended up playing on my phone (at home) & paying no attention whatsoever so I probably shouldn’t review it. Oh well – I just did. Sort of. Skip this movie. If you’re interested in the story, only read the book. If you want to save your time, I’ll tell you what their asshole kids did so you can skip this. Here you go! SPOILER:

The kids (3 teenage boys who are brothers & a cousin) kill a homeless woman by setting her on fire & filming it. Nice. This is revealed early in the film but is a big secret in the book. Their parents meet for dinner to discuss what to do about it (most want to cover it up). Rich, hateful, disgusting characters and the film does nothing to say that their behavior was wrong. Feels a little irresponsible. – 4/10

Jug Face (aka The Pit) – What a load of shit. The worst movie I’ve seen in the six-year history of my blog- 1.5/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

• The Outsider by Stephen King – This was okay but a little disappointing. Regulars know by now that I’m a huge King fan and always read every new book of his that comes out. He’s had some really good ones in recent years (I enjoyed the Mr. Mercedes series). This one started out well but it took way too long to get to the weird supernatural shit, which is what I like. The crime was also way too graphic and violent for my liking. Yeah, I love horror stories but don’t love gore or realistic violence and the start of this book was more of a crime novel, which I rarely go for. I don’t want to spoil things but the addition of a character from previous King novels really helped the second half of this book as I like that character a lot. But I felt that all the new characters in this one were a little weak and the finale was too similar to the endings of other King stories. Damn – I’ve just realized I’ll have to update my post where I ranked ALL the King books I’ve read (post HERE). Where will The Outsider go? Probably in the bottom ten. – 3/5

Currently Reading: Bird Box by Josh Malerman & Stories Of Your Life And Others (a collection of short sci-fi stories, including the one made into the film Arrival) by Ted Chiang.

TV SHOWS WATCHED

The Haunting Of Hill HouseI started watching this on Netflix as I’ve really liked some of Mike Flanagan’s films (especially Gerald’s Game & Absentia). I don’t think the TV format works for me anymore. Two episodes in and nothing has happened. I could’ve watched a movie instead in that time! I don’t have the patience or the time.

Doctor Who – Figured I should give this another try now that there’s a female Doctor. I started watching this just after moving to the UK when the Christopher Eccleston ones started. They were very good and then the David Tennant ones were even better (he’ll always be my favorite). I loved this show for a while but it all turned to shit when Tennant left and I believe different writers took over. I’ve watched the first two Jodie Whittaker episodes. While I think she may be okay (hard to tell yet), the stories were weak as shit. Is that really the best they could do for the first two episodes?! Should I bother continuing?

• Oh, and Grey’s Anatomy has started again. I never like to admit to watching that girly bullshit. My excuse is that the hubby never lets me watch anything good without him so I need something I’m allowed to watch when I’m alone…

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

Once again, nothing planned due to lack of time. May try to catch up on reviewing all the current films I’ve seen in the cinema. The end of November is also my six-year blogiversary so I’ll try to do my usual blogiversary post (it’ll be far shorter than my five-year post!).

Holy shit – Looks like there are a lot of cinema releases I kind of want to see in November, though. Damn.

November Movie Releases:

The Nutcracker And The Four Realms – Ha! Maybe not. Dreadful reviews so far, I see.

Juliet, Naked – Shit, I didn’t realize a Nick Hornby adaptation was coming out. I like his books so I’ll try to read it then catch this on Netflix.

Widows – Crime drama isn’t a genre I love but the trailer looks good. It’s also a book I may read first and then check the movie out at home.

Overlord – Not sure on this. Looks like my type of weird shit but, again, think I’ll wait for it on Netflix.

The Grinch – Ugh. My daughter wants to go so I’m sure we’ll check it out but they better not fuck-up a beloved Christmas TV special from my childhood. At least nothing can be worse than that nightmare Jim Carrey version of this.

Wildlife – Good reviews but I’ll probably wait for Netflix unless it gets Oscar buzz.

They Shall Not Grow Old – Does look very interesting – will try to catch this as it’s going to air on TV.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – Again, I’ll probably wait to watch this at home but am interested in seeing this documentary before the Tom Hanks film.

Suspiria – I’ll go to this but am sure it’ll piss me off. Make something original, Hollywood!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald – I have zero interest whatsoever in this. The first one was shockingly boring.

Robin Hood – Meh.

SerenityDiane Lane! I love her. Oh, Anne Hathaway… I hate her.

Shoplifters – What’s this?! It’s a Japanese film with amazing reviews. I’ve just watched the trailer & really want to see it but know it’s very unlikely to be showing anywhere near me.

Ralph Breaks The Internet – This is honestly the only mainstream movie I really want to go & see in November…

Creed II – I’ve been bugging the hubby to watch all the Rocky movies with me since I really liked the first one. He hasn’t. So I can’t watch this. I mean, WTF? I’m like a fucking DREAM wife. What wife wants to watch the Rocky movies?? Oh, and if he’s reading this: will you please let me watch more Akira Kurosawa films, dammit??? I’ve had that boxset for years.

The Possession Of Hannah Grace – A horror movie with decent ratings so far? If it’s a horror that’s actually good, I’ll watch it!

Three Identical Strangers – Intriguing story. I’ll watch this documentary someday.

Anna And The Apocalypse – Okay, a movie crossover that actually hadn’t occurred to me. Zombie apocalypse musical? Again, it’s a Netflix flick but I’ll watch it eventually.

I have to end with this clip from Interstella 5555, which was Daft Punk’s video for Digital Love:

My Top Ten DJs/Disc Jockeys In Movies

I’ve always loved disc jockeys in movies. There should be more movies featuring DJs! Well, there probably are – I’m sure I’ve missed some on this list.

I first thought about doing this list after watching the “meh” movie We Are Your Friends starring Zac Efron as an EDM DJ. But I never got around to doing it. Then I thought about it again after watching Clint Eastwood as a DJ with a stalker in Play Misty For Me. But I still didn’t do the list. Well, I noticed that today would’ve been Robin Williams’ birthday so I figured I’d finally post this list as he was so great as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam. (R.I.P. Robin Williams) 😦

This list is a mix of real & fictional DJs. The order is, hmm… Roughly based on how “cool” I think the DJ character is (but don’t take the order too seriously). There are also a lot of movies I haven’t seen so I’ve listed a few at the end.

Here are My Top Ten DJs In Movies:

10. Adrienne Barbeau as Stevie Wayne in The Fog

9. Wolfman Jack as the DJ in American
Graffiti
& The Midnight Hour


8. George Clinton & Martin Lawrence as DJs in House Party

7. Steven Wright as DJ K-Billy, host of Super Sounds Of The ’70s in Reservoir Dogs

6. Clint Eastwood as Dave Garver in Play Misty For Me

5. Cleavon Little as Super Soul in Vanishing Point

4. Robin Williams as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning, Vietnam

3. Daft Punk as “Masked DJs” in TRON: Legacy

2. Lynne Thigpen as the DJ in The Warriors

1. Christian Slater as Hard Harry in Pump Up The Volume

Honorable Mentions:

– Howard Stern as himself in Private Parts
– Samuel L. Jackson as Mister Señor Love Daddy in Do The Right Thing
– Zac Efron as Cole in We Are Your Friends
– Skrillex as the DJ in Wreck-It Ralph (I had no idea he was in this until I started looking up movies I may have missed for this list. Cute! Here he is):

Movies Not On The List Because I Need To Re-Watch Them:

– The Truth About Cats & Dogs
– Trick Or Treat
– Airheads

Movies Not On The List Because I Haven’t Seen Them:

– Pontypool (really want to see this)
– Pirate Radio (aka The Boat That Rocked)
– Talk To Me
– Talk Radio
– FM

I’ll leave you with a clip from The Warriors. If you haven’t seen either this or Pump Up The Volume, I highly recommend them as they’re both absolute favorites of mine.

Graphic Posters of Classic Album Covers

I love these!! Aladdin Sane is my favorite. Also love Random Access Memories & The Dark Side Of The Moon. 🙂

These are by graphic designer Nick Barclay using only one or two shapes to represent each album. You can see the rest of the album covers at Fubiz plus more of the artist’s other cool work at Nick Barclay Designs.

Music Video Friday: Daft Punk – Instant Crush

I’m hoping to see lots of reviews for The Force Awakens on the blogs today! I reviewed it yesterday (review HERE) and am looking forward to seeing what those of you in America thought of it. 🙂

In the meantime, here’s a quickie post for Music Video Friday: Instant Crush by Daft Punk featuring Julian Casablancas.

I’ve talked quite often on this blog of my love for Daft Punk (especially in my review for their movie Electroma) so it’s about time I feature them for Music Video Friday. I know they have a lot of famous videos in which my two favorite musical robots are heavily featured but I decided to go with Instant Crush, featuring Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. The only sign of Daft Punk is when we glance their dusty helmets on a shelf (photo above). I’ve chosen this as I really really really (really!) love this song. Instant Crush was an instant classic for me and I know I’ll still be listening to it years from now.

I didn’t see the video until after falling in love with the song and, at first, I wasn’t happy that I’d watched it. When you love a song, you sometimes don’t want images added into your head and I now often picture a wax Julian Casablancas when I hear it. I already liked the song as the simple story of a crush. According to Wikipedia, Casablancas wrote the lyrics after Daft Punk told him their concept for the song, which “involved reflecting on the childhood memory of meeting a girl, but missing the opportunity to be with her.

The video has grown on me, though, and I found out from the above Wikipedia link that the video is “inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Steadfast Tin Soldier as well as The Twilight Zone television series.” Well, I’ve always loved The Twilight Zone and I looked into the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale & the video very much follows that story at the end. It’s a great fairy tale – I wonder why it’s not as well known as his other stories. Maybe because it’s MORBID! Well, what can I say? I’ve always loved a tragic romance! I actually appreciate the video much more now that I know the story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. It’s incredibly romantic! In a depressing sort of way….

A Daft Punk Documentary & The Warriors: Last Subway Ride Home 

Hi all! A couple of little things to share with you today involving two things that I love: The Warriors & Daft Punk. 🙂

There was apparently a Warriors festival a couple of weeks ago that I’d heard nothing about. I loved the movie, which is my favorite movie I’ve watched since starting my blog a few years ago (you can read my review HERE). Thanks to Laura of Filmnerdblog for tweeting me about this! 🙂 The original cast members recreated their subway journey to Coney Island & you can watch the YouTube video of that journey here: Neatorama.

In other news, there’s apparently a Daft Punk documentary. YES! I want to see this NOW!!! I’m a big fan of Daft Punk (you can read my review of their artsy fartsy but thoroughly awesome film Electroma HERE).

The documentary about my favorite robot duo (oh wait – that’s probably R2-D2 & C-3PO)… Okay, the documentary about my second favorite robot duo, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, was directed by Hervé Martin Delpierre & is called Daft Punk Unchained. It features people such as Giorgio Moroder, Kanye West, Michel Gondry, Paul Williams, Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers. Oh thrill, Kanye. Well, it sounds pretty damn cool. You can read a bit more about it here: Firstshowing.net.

Here’s the trailer!

My Top Ten Songs Where The Title Isn’t In The Lyrics

I get really annoyed when a song isn’t named what it should be. Such as: Why the hell isn’t Baba O’Riley by The Who called Teenage Wasteland?! They don’t mention the words Baba O’Riley at all in the song but they sing “Teenage Wasteland” over & over again!

Okay, it doesn’t REALLY annoy me all that much – there are bigger things in life to worry about. 😉 But I did think it would make a fun top ten list! Like last week, though, I’m going to be annoying & make this a Top 20 (there were too many!). Feel free to add any you think of – I admit that with this list I’ve only looked through what’s on my iPod so there will be loads of songs I’ve not thought of or not mentioned.

So here are My Top Twenty Songs Where The Title Isn’t In The Lyrics (ranked roughly according to how much I like the song – I don’t think the order is important with this one):

20. MGMT – Kids (Should Be: Take Only What You Need)
19. Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy (Should Be: Really Hurt Me Baby)
18. Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song (Should Be: Ah Ah Ahhhhhhh AH!)
17. Death From Above 1979 – Black History Month (Should Be: Dunno. Maybe “Hold On”. But that’s a Wilson Phillips song…)
16. Blink 182 – Dammit (Should Be: This Is Growing Up)
15. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Brendan’s Death Song (Should Be: I’m Almost Gone)14. Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues (Should Be: I have no idea… How about “Mixin’ Up The Medicine”!)
13. Interpol – Evil (Should Be: Rosemary)
12. New Order – Blue Monday (Should Be: How Does It Feel?)
11. Daft Punk – Instant Crush (Should Be: We Will Never Be Alone Again)

Top Ten:

10. Public Image Ltd – The Order Of Death
Should Be: This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get

I adore John Lydon & this Public Image Ltd song, which is used prominently in the shower scene in Hardware. Yes! I’ve managed to once again mention the movie Hardware on my blog! Anyway, it’s an awesome song title even if it’s not said – most of the titles in this list are better than my “Should Be” titles.

9. Blur – Song 2
Should Be: Woohoo!

Such a fun song! It’s apparently named Song 2 because it’s two minutes long plus I think it was also the second song on the album? I sometimes play it when timing my kid’s toothbrushing (because kids are meant to brush for two full minutes, right?). Well, it’s a fun way to brush teeth!

8. The Police – Synchronicity II
Should Be: Not sure – maybe “Many Miles Away”

I used to really be into song lyrics as a teen/early twentysomething – you know, the age when you have time to waste on that kind of shit. But I never looked into the lyrics to this one at all until now. Pretty deep stuff with this one! And pretty bleak. This is quite possibly my very favorite song by The Police, who I don’t think really got the credit they deserved. An excellent band & I think I now like this song even more after reading the lyrics but I have to say I still don’t understand the title. I’m too old to think about these things.

7. TIE: Gorillaz – Dirty Harry & Clint Eastwood
Should Be: I Need A Gun & Sunshine In A Bag

I love Gorillaz!!! Do any Americans here know their songs? I think they were far bigger in the UK. I’m actually reading Tank Girl at the moment because it was created by the same guy (Jamie Hewlett) who created this “cartoon band” (one member of the band being adorable Damon Albarn from that picture of Blur I posted for Song 2). These are my two favorite songs of theirs & it made sense to put “Clint Eastwood” & “Dirty Harry” together for this post. The titles are cool. The look of the band is cool. The songs are cool. They should be even bigger than they are!

6. Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five – The Message
Should Be: Don’t Push Me

Seriously. Don’t push me. I’m close to the EDGE! 

5. The Who – Baba O’Riley
Should Be: Teenage Wasteland

I’ve not researched all of these songs but did of course look into this one. Here’s a bit about it from Genius.com:

Initially part of an idea (later thrown aside) of a follow up rock opera — Lifehouse — to Tommy, Pete Townshend wrote it after his experience at Woodstock. The name of the song is a combination of Meher Baba – an Indian guru that kept silent from 1935 until his death in 1969 who inspired Townshend spiritually, and Terry Riley — a musician and classical composer that also inspired him.

There’s actually a lot more to it if you want to read about it at Wikipedia – it’s an interesting read. But whatever the reason for the title, it’s a damn good song.

4. The Cure – Lullaby
Should Be: The Spiderman

I just really really like this song. 😉 Love The Cure.

3. David Bowie – Space Oddity
Should Be: Ground Control To Major Tom

Well, okay – I assume this title is a play on words after 2001: A Space Odyssey. I looked this one up too. Turns out this song is actually about alienation. I thought it was about a guy going into space! I’m so damn literal. This song has now gone up even more in my estimation. And I already loved it like crazy before. Because: Bowie. 🙂

2. Black Sabbath – Paranoid
Should Be: Not sure but any excuse to get Black Sabbath into a list… How about “I Am Frowning All The Time”

Black Sabbath have quite a few songs where the title isn’t in the lyrics (except Iron Man, of course). I almost used Black Sabbath but the word “black” is said, so – close enough! I do love the lyrics to Paranoid – you can tell that Sabbath come from dark, grey, dreary England… 😉

1. The Clash – Train In Vain
Should Be: Stand By Me

Okay – clearly The Clash couldn’t use Stand By Me as the Ben E. King song was such a huge hit. I’m thinking I like The Clash even more than I realized – this song also topped my list of My Top Ten Happy Songs. I love it! And Train In Vain is an excellent title even though I’m sure most people can’t name it.

Almost Mentions:
(I considered these but in looking up the lyrics, I ruled them out as at least one of the words was mentioned)
Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now
Radiohead – Paranoid Android (how can I have not noticed that in this song, one of my absolute all-time favorite desert island tracks, there’s a voice saying the words paranoid & android in the background the whole time?!)

Exam, Paul Williams Still Alive & The To Do List Movie Reviews

Happy Bank Holiday Monday to those in the UK who won’t be reading this since you’re not at work pretending to work while actually reading blogs! Then I think you Americans have next Monday off? So, since no one will be around the next couple of weeks, I figured it was time to do a few more mini-reviews of movies that I didn’t give enough of a shit about to review when I watched them a year ago. Sounds like fun, right?! 😉 Here we go…

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Exam (2009)

Directed by Stuart Hazeldine

Starring: Adar Beck, Chris Carey, Gemma Chan, Nathalie Cox, John Lloyd Fillingham, Chuk Iwuji, Luke Mably, Pollyanna McIntosh, Jimi Mistry, Colin Salmon

My Opinion:

Exam is the best of these three movies, which doesn’t say much for the other two. I’ll say that Exam had a brilliant concept and I did appreciate that. It started out pretty great but got too far-fetched & silly by the end, which was disappointing since it had a lot of potential. I’m feeling lazy today so I’ll let Wikipedia give you the set-up:

The film is set in present-time United Kingdom in an alternate history. Eight candidates dress for what appears to be an employment assessment exam; they enter a room and sit down at individual desks. Each desk contains a question paper with the word “candidate”, followed by a number, from one to eight. The Invigilator, a representative of the company named DATAPREV, explains that the exam is 80 minutes and consists of only one question, but there are three rules: they must not talk to the Invigilator or the armed guard at the door, spoil their paper, or leave the room. If they do, they will be disqualified.

That sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? And it is – it’s why I watched this movie. And it gets even more interesting when the exam starts and the candidates discover the one question. The state of the world in this alternate history, which we learn a little about as the movie progresses, does help to explain the lengths that these eight candidates are willing to go to in order to get this job. But not quite… As to be expected, there are a couple of pricks who you’re meant to immediately dislike but none of the characters are very well developed and you don’t care enough about any of them to really care who will get the job at the end.

Had the characters been better instead of so one-dimensional and had the story been less far-fetched by the end, I’d have liked this one a lot more. I did really enjoy the mystery involved with the whole thing. It was fun seeing the candidates trying various ways to figure out what the hell was going on with the bizarre exam. In a world (shit, did I just use the “in a world” phrase?) where times are desperate, as in the story’s alternate history, you can almost believe that these candidates will do anything to get this very important job. However, the movie doesn’t manage to make us believe that “this could really happen”, which sucks as I think it could. Exam reminded me a lot of The Purge, which is another movie that I thought had a brilliant concept & so many ideas to be explored but never were. Like The Purge, Exam feels like a wasted opportunity (although I really liked The Purge and find myself always sticking up for it).

Don’t let my negativity discourage you if you like the sound of this movie. I think I may just be too picky in always expecting movies to have some deeper sort of meaning. If you don’t think about it too hard & are able to suspend disbelief, you may get some enjoyment out of Exam.

My Rating: 6/10

Paul Williams Still Alive (2011)

Directed by Stephen Kessler

Starring: Well, mainly just Paul Williams, his wife, and the director but there’s plenty of old footage with famous celebrities to watch. 

My Opinion:

What a shitty documentary. Hell, I think I could make a better documentary. The trouble isn’t the subject as I think Paul Williams is fascinating enough to make for an interesting documentary. But god the director, Stephen Kessler, is annoying! This reminded me a bit of the John Hughes documentary, Don’t You Forget About Me (which I reviewed HERE). In both films, the makers almost feel more like stalkers than like proper filmmakers.

I’ll say that Paul Williams comes across a bit grumpy in the documentary but that’s probably understandable as the director pretty much spends the whole film talking about how Paul Williams used to be a pretty big star but now he’s nothing (which isn’t true at all, especially since Daft Punk soon after declared their love for him & worked with him on their amazing Random Access Memories album). It’s ridiculous as Paul Williams has had a longer and FAR more successful career than Kessler (his only other movie you’ll have heard of is the crappy National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation).

As for Paul Williams, I know some people here probably know nothing about him although you may recognize his face. He was (well, still is) mainly a singer-songwriter but also an actor whose most famous work was in the Seventies. He wrote songs for people such as Barbara Streisand (Evergreen) and The Carpenters (We’ve Only Just Begun & Rainy Days And Mondays). Perhaps his most famous song, though, is The Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie (it’s certainly my favorite & in my list of My Top Ten Happy Songs). He was also in Smokey And The Bandit and the spectacularly mad Brian De Palma film Phantom Of The Paradise, which I reviewed HERE. Williams plays an evil record executive in Phantom, which is a mental “horror musical” that I enjoyed so much that I decided to watch this documentary soon after. Bah! Rubbish. Watch Phantom instead.

It’s hard to know what to rate this as it IS worth checking out if you’re interested in Paul Williams and don’t know much about him. There are plenty of old clips with lots of famous celebrities & the film is almost worth watching for that alone. Don’t expect the most in-depth documentary ever, though, and be prepared to feel as annoyed by the director as Williams sometimes clearly is. I’m glad I watched it but would like to see a better documentary about Paul Williams.

My Rating: 6/10

(okay rating more for the fact that Williams is an interesting character than for the quality of the documentary)

The To Do List (2013)

Directed by Maggie Carey

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Rachel Bilson, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Andy Samberg, Scott Porter, Connie Britton

My Opinion:

How can a totally filthy sex comedy be so BORING and completely unfunny in any way? What a load of shit.

I’m thinking that maybe I truly don’t like Aubrey Plaza. I don’t have much experience with her (she’s in that Parks & Recreation thing, right? Never seen it). I didn’t mind her in the slightly pretentious Safety Not Guaranteed but then she mostly just got on my nerves in the disappointing Life After Beth. Well, I’d have to say I pretty much hated her in this. I don’t know if that’s entirely her fault, though, as I can’t say I liked anyone in this plus the movie is just plain bad. I honestly can’t think of a less funny “comedy” that I’ve seen in recent years. It’s almost as bad as a Jason Friedberg/Aaron Seltzer “parody” movie.

(Just go play with yourself instead of watching this movie – you’ll have way more fun)

So, in this movie, perfect student Plaza decides she wants to lose her virginity & do every sexual thing that she can before heading off to college. Or something like that – I don’t remember much of this movie now. Anyway, here’s her sexual “to do” list:

I wouldn’t call myself a prude so my issues with the movie have nothing at all to do with the subject matter. I do enjoy the occasional sex comedy. But what I require is for them to actually be funny. I mean, WTF is this shit?:

Aubrey Plaza’s character is beyond annoying in this movie & I can’t imagine anyone wanting to do any of the things on that above “to do list” with her. The only funny thing, looking at that list, is how it says “British?” next to “teabagging“. lol. Okay – that’s kind of funny. But the rest of this movie is NOT. This movie can go do all of the above things to itself. Yeah… Go fuck yourself, movie!

My Rating: 3/10

Now here’s the rather epic, totally 70’s prog rock-y Touch, Paul Williams’ song with Daft Punk on Random Access Memories:

Music Video Friday: Justice – D.A.N.C.E.

Continuing what is my least popular series so far, today’s music video is D.A.N.C.E. by Justice. Lol 😉

I don’t like a lot of current music but there are four albums I’ve loved above all others in the 21st Century. Okay – I’m totally cheating as one was released in 1998 but that’s still my definition of current. That one is Psyence Fiction by UNKLE and I really wanted to share the video for Rabbit In Your Headlights but I can’t find a full version to share (it’s probably banned). I’ll bore you all with my thoughts on the brilliant Psyence Fiction another day – I promise! Another one of the four is the much more current Random Access Memories by Daft Punk. I doubt I need to go into that one – some of you will already be fans (check out my review of their movie Electroma HERE. Woohoo!).

Finally, the other two albums of the new millennium that I can’t live without are two albums from French duo Justice. One is the pretentiously named (well, “symboled”? it’s a cross symbol…) album sometimes just called Cross & the other is Audio, Video, Disco. Here are the album covers:



(No, it’s not Christian rock)

Justice were at one point rumored to actually be Daft Punk & I can see why as it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Daft Punk making the music on their albums. Wikipedia lists “Electro house, electronica, nu-disco, electroclash, electronic rock, alternative dance” as the band’s genres. There’s a mouthful! I love their music as it really is a mish-mash of styles. The video I’ve chosen is for a song that was actually a hit (although less so than I thought – it looks like the D.A.N.C.E. single only got to number 48 in the UK charts in 2007 but did reach number 1 in the dance chart). However, it’s very unlike their far less radio-friendly songs. Their other hit single, We Are Your Friends, was a remix of Simian song Never Be Alone (and far better than the original). My personal favorite song is definitely On’N’On but I can’t post that because of the nudity in the video. I also highly recommend checking out their video for New Lands, which was clearly inspired by the 1975 film Rollerball. (Someone please click on that! It’s more me than D.A.N.C.E. but I’m going with the more commercial one for this post). 😉

I’ve rambled on about Justice for long enough so I’m going to just let Wikipedia tell you about the below video:

The music video for “D.A.N.C.E.” was shot by French directorial duo Jonas & François with animation by So Me. The video was nominated for the 2007 MTV Video Music Award “Video of the Year”; while winning the award at the MTV Europe Music Awards. The music video is shot in the style of pop art. In the video, Augé and de Rosnay walk and the images of their T-shirts constantly change and morph (cars, mouths, thunderbolts, lollipops, numbers, letters and the lyrics). The video includes a reference to the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.

I love all the references to Michael Jackson songs in D.A.N.C.E. – this is a great dance tune that should’ve been a bigger hit:

*UK chart information from Wikipedia

My Top Ten Band Names

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We all probably have band names that we’ve just always really liked or found cool. I thought it would be fun to do a list of My Top Ten Favorite Band Names. This is not a list of my favorite bands (that would be a very hard list for me to make!) – it’s just a list of names I like. Okay – I do love most of these bands, which is interesting… I think a really great band name probably sometimes helps a band to become big. However, I can’t even name one song from my top choice… Hmm! My one rule when I thought of this list was that I had to have already heard of the band – there are all kinds of odd band names out there if you do a Google search but the below bands are ones I already knew of.

Here are My Top Ten (er, 11) Favorite Band Names counting down from ten to my number one favorite plus my favorite song from each band:

10. TIE: Massive Attack & Blue Öyster Cult
My Favorite Songs: Teardrop & (Don’t Fear) The Reaper

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Massive Attack apparently had to change their name to just “Massive” during the Gulf War. Well, Massive is a sucky name so I’m glad they didn’t go by that forever. Teardrop & Protection are also amazing songs that are unlikely to ever leave my iPod. As for Blue Öyster Cult, that name just rules. Of all the band names with dots over the Ö, I have to say Blue Öyster Cult is even cooler than Motörhead & WAY cooler than Mötley Crüe. I’d never before thought to look into the meaning of the Blue Öyster Cult name so this is what I just found on the almighty Wikipedia: the band’s name comes from a poem by manager Sandy Pearlman in which the “Blue Oyster Cult” was a group of aliens who had assembled to secretly guide Earth’s history. Huh. Love it!

9. The Chemical Brothers
My Favorite Song: Setting Sun

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Interestingly enough, The Chemical Brothers were originally called The Dust Brothers (another band name I quite like). Well, they had to change their name due to there being an existing Dust Brothers but I think it worked out for them as The Chemical Brothers is the better name & they went on to be more successful than The Dust Brothers anyway. (I’m a big fan of The Chemical Brothers. I highly recommend their current single, Go, featuring Q-Tip).

8. Radiohead
My Favorite Song: Paranoid Android

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Radiohead are another big favorite of mine. Maybe I AM a sucker for a good name?? Not exactly true – the music comes first but the name & image do matter too. This is a very simple but effective name that I think works very well with Radiohead’s style of music & their values (especially everything since OK Computer).

7. Black Sabbath
My Favorite Song: Black Sabbath & Spiral Architect

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Okay, yes – another very favorite band of mine. But you HAVE to admit that Black Sabbath is the best & most METAL name ever. It sounds dark, evil & Satanic. I love it.

6. The Velvet Underground
My Favorite Song: I’m Waiting For The Man

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Classic album cover as well, of course. I don’t have much to say about this name… I just like it! The Velvet Underground were just one of those bands I always wanted to be a big fan of simply because the name sounded so cool but, in reality, I don’t know very many Velvet Underground songs (although I do really love I’m Waiting For The Man). I was a little worried that “velvet underground” may be a reference to a part of the female body or something so I’ve just looked up the meaning. According to THIS, The title of a book by Michael Leigh, The Velvet Underground, was embraced as the ideal band name. And that is no wonder, because the novel was about the secret sexual subculture of the early sixties. Kinky! Still sounds like it could mean “vagina”, though, which leads me to my next favorite band name…

5. Pearl Jam *see also band name 10cc* 😉
My Favorite Song: Alive

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Honestly, I had no idea at first that Pearl Jam was a totally filthy name. I’m of the age where it was a requirement for me to like Pearl Jam when their first album came out. And that first album WAS great & I far preferred them to Nirvana. However, I can’t say I’ve listened to them ever again since my early twenties… Anyway, while I was still a fan, I remained completely naïve & innocent to the real meaning of “Pearl Jam”. I thought it actually sounded quite sweet! Well, from what I can gather, I think Eddie Vedder & Co have always denied that they named their band after sperm. 10cc, however, haven’t exactly denied the origin of their band’s name: “Producer Jonathan King is supposed to have been the inventor of the name 10CC, convinced as he was that an average ejaculation yields about 9 cc semen and therefore that 10 cc is an enviable quantity.” And in looking that up, I see that the band name Lovin’ Spoonful also means the same thing. Just how many bands are named after semen?!?!

4. Iron Maiden
My Favorite Song: Phantom Of The Opera

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Anyone who reads this blog often enough may know that Iron Maiden are my very favorite band ever. Well, I love their music first & foremost (and Eddie, of course) but naming your band after a medieval torture device is even more METAL than Black Sabbath. I don’t care if anyone accuses me of being a middle-aged man with a big fat beer belly (I’m middle-aged but a girl & beer belly-less) – Iron Maiden kicks ass as a band and as a band name!

3. Daft Punk
My Favorite Song: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger and Instant Crush

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I do know how Daft Punk came up with their name & really like the story: The members of Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, were originally members of a rock group called Darlin’. An early negative review of their work in Melody Maker dismissed the music as “a bunch of daft punk.” Two words I really like on their own, I think they work perfectly together. And I love these robots! (I reviewed Daft Punk’s Electroma film HERE). I also think Random Access Memories is one of the best albums in years.

2. Strawberry Switchblade
My Favorite Song: Since Yesterday

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I’d never heard of this one-hit-wonder until I moved to the UK & I had to remind myself of the song when putting this post together. It’s quite a good song, actually! I’ll include the YouTube link to it at the end. Anyway, if I were cool enough to be in a band, Strawberry Switchblade is THE band name I’d want! Sounds so female PUNK. Love it! It makes me think of the movie I watched recently with a very young Diane Lane in a female punk band (Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains). I wish I’d seen that movie when I was younger – I’d have wanted to BE her! (Who am I kidding? I still want to be a female punk rocker…). Anyway, I don’t know a thing about Strawberry Switchblade but I dig their look & the song – it’s too bad they didn’t get anywhere after this.

1. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
My Favorite Song: No idea – I don’t know any.

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Ned’s Atomic Dustbin! YES! What the HELL possessed them to name their band that?! Let’s look that up on Wikipedia, shall we?: “The band took their name from an episode of The Goon Show”. Huh! Well, that’s a pretty boring story but it’s a GREAT name. I’ve been curious about Ned’s Atomic Dustbin since seeing their name carved into a desk I was sitting at in college. Now, to you young people, this is back in the early nineties so it wasn’t like I could easily go YouTube their stuff or something. So, to this day, I’ve never heard a Ned’s Atomic Dustbin song. I suppose I could finally go have a listen online now? Does anyone know anything by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin? Any recommendations? You know, I think I won’t bother YouTubing them just yet – I have fond memories of that time in my life and, in case their stuff sucks, I don’t want it to ruin my love of their name. 🙂

Honorable Mentions:
A Tribe Called Quest
Rancid
Death From Above 1979
Lick The Tins
Kraftwerk
Bomb The Bass
The Prodigy
Modest Mouse
Yellow Magic Orchestra
Teenage Fanclub
Squirrel Nut Zippers

My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2014

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Hi everyone! Crap – when did it suddenly become almost-2015?! Shouldn’t we be living on Mars by now or something? This isn’t the future I imagined back in 1984. What a disappointment.

Anyway! Where was I? Well, it looks like I have two days left of 2014 so I guess I better post my Top Ten Lists! Looks like I did this well into January last year but I’ll be busy this January with my Studio Ghibli Month starting next Monday. Woohoo! (Oh man, why did I decide to do that to myself?! I’m sooo not prepared!).

I’ll start with the list I actually enjoy the most: These are My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2014. Tomorrow I’ll post My Top Ten Movies Of 2014 (going by UK cinema release date). Then I may do My Top Books Read In 2014 on New Year’s Day – that’s a pathetic list since I didn’t read much this year. I’ll stop rambling – here’s my list counting down from ten to my number one favorite. As always, these are the ones I enjoyed the most although there are others I watched that are probably more “worthy” and I’d give those higher ratings. I’ve included the links to the ones I’ve reviewed. 🙂

10. Spring Breakers

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This probably doesn’t deserve to be on the list, but… You know when you like a movie but you have NO idea WHY?? This is one of those movies for me.

9. TRON: Legacy

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I know it has its flaws but I don’t care – I had a lot of fun with this one. Plus: Garrett Hedlund! He’s so pretty… Also: DAFT PUNK SCORE!

8. Phantom Of The Paradise

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What’s not to like about Brian De Palma’s totally 1970s Faustian rock opera horror film?? Okay… Most of you went “WTF?” in the comments of my review but I do appreciate when a good discussion gets going on an interesting film like this one (thank you, Man In Black! I’ll get to the rest of your comments soon – I’ve just been taking a blog break over Xmas). 😉

7. The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari

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I’m surprised by how little I knew of this classic before watching it this year. Not only was the style of the whole film amazing but I thought the story was also ahead of its time. Every film lover should watch this movie.

6. Kiki’s Delivery Service

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This is one of several Studio Ghibli films I watched this year but I never got around to reviewing any of them, which is partly why I’m going to review a bunch of them together in January. I like the simplicity of this one. It’s the most “child-friendly” Ghibli I’ve seen so far and it’s one that really grew on me after watching it a couple of times.

5. Bernie

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I like doing these lists at the end of the year because I find that some movies really grow on me & end up much higher on the list than I would have expected. Bernie is one of these movies. I’ve always been a fan of Richard Linklater’s style and I’m not sure why I hadn’t checked this one out until this year. I’m also not sure why it seems to have not received as much attention as some of his other films considering that the story is quite fascinating, especially the ongoing story involving Linklater & the real-life Bernie. I’m still amazed by the whole situation…

4. Full Metal Jacket

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As I always say, I’m NOT a fan of war movies. However, I’ve worked my way through most of the war movies in the IMDB Top 250 and ended up loving a lot of them (The Bridge On The River Kwai and The Great Escape being my favorites). I didn’t love Full Metal Jacket as much as those and the first half was far better than the second half but I still really liked the film. I may have to stop saying I’m not a fan of war movies…

3. Daft Punk’s Electroma

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I like Daft Punk. And sci-fi. And cool robots. And “artsy fartsy”. I loved Electroma. So sue me. (Btw – thank you to the whole five commenters on the review for this! Lol! More than I expected… 😉 I’ll catch up on replying to comments on this blog soon!)

2. The Return Of The Living Dead

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I love zombies. And I especially love the 80s. I have no idea why I never saw this one before now but it’s certainly one that’s a new favorite I’ll re-visit every now & then.

1. Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind

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Obviously, I’m a fan of Studio Ghibli films as I’m dedicating a whole month to them. But there are maybe four or five Ghibli films I LOVE (so far) while the rest I just “really like” so I still wouldn’t call myself the biggest Ghibli fan compared to other people out there. However, Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind really blew me away. (Ha! “Blew” me away… Blow away? Wind? Get it? Okay, it really wasn’t that funny). This was like some weird sort of mash up of the later, more well known Ghibli stuff and 1981’s Heavy Metal. It’s post-apocalyptic and fairly violent for a Ghibli and very much not for young kids. I LOVED IT. It’s so very “me” and I can’t wait to review it for Studio Ghibli Month.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Like I said, the above are the ones I enjoyed the most but I watched a lot of other very good films that really deserve a mention as well:

City Of God
Marnie
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Night Of The Creeps
Rashômon
Howl’s Moving Castle

You can see my full list of movies watched in 2014 HERE. Sad, I know… 🙂

Daft Punk’s Electroma (2006) Movie Review

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Daft Punk’s Electroma (2006)

Directed by Daft Punk

Written by:
Thomas Bangalter & Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (Daft Punk)
Paul Hahn
Cédric Hervet

Starring:
Peter Hurteau
Michael Reich

Music by:
Todd Rundgren
Brian Eno
Sébastien Tellier
Curtis Mayfield
Linda Perhacs
Jackson C. Frank
Mathieu Tonetti

Running time: 72 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Daft Punk’s Electroma is a 2006 film by French electronic music duo Daft Punk. The plot revolves around the quest of two robots (the band members, played by Peter Hurteau and Michael Reich) to become human.

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My Opinion:

I decided to finally watch this after reviewing the weird & wonderful Phantom Of The Paradise, Brian De Palma’s 1974 Faustian rock opera horror film (you can read my review of that HERE). Daft Punk were massively influenced by Phantom Of The Paradise so I loved seeing the masked Phantom and the resemblance to the Daft Punk “robots”.

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Just like with Phantom Of The Paradise, I’m not going to recommend Electroma to absolutely everyone who may be reading this. You’d love it or you’d hate it and, if you’re not a fan of Daft Punk and their whole robot persona thing, you may struggle to even make it through Electroma‘s 72 minute running time. I’ll say you don’t have to be a fan of their music, though, as none of their music is in the film. If you like “art”, you may appreciate this film. This is more like an extra long music video than a film and it has lots of great images I so desperately want to use in this review as I think it would sell the film to some of you. Unfortunately, some of the coolest images are also major plot spoilers so I’ll have to leave those out.

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What did I think of Electroma? I loved it. There are actually four other films I kept thinking of while watching this (two earlier than Electroma & two that were made later). I’ve reviewed three of them and really like them all so, if you like these films, you MAY like this odd combination of the four. One is 1971 road movie classic Vanishing Point, another is 1973’s Westworld, the third is the thoroughly strange French comedy horror Rubber about a car tire that kills people with its psychic powers (seriously – it’s awesome), and the final one is the recent naked Scarlett Johansson movie Under The Skin which really had a very similar look to Electroma, especially during this particular scene:

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I’d love to think I could actually talk at least one person into watching this but I better let you all know this: There’s no dialogue in this film. There are extended periods of silence. There are very long sequences of the Daft Punk robots driving… and driving… and driving… and then walking… and walking… and wwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaalllllllllkkkkkkkiiiiiiinnnnnnnggggggggggggggg……………….. Well, none of that bothers me but I know that some people would turn it off during these bits. As I said, this is more a piece of art than a movie. The plot really is as simple as the above plot synopsis makes it sound (two robots wish to be human). It’s an idea that has been explored more deeply in innumerable sci-fi movies but it’s still a great plot that I always enjoy seeing represented in different ways, especially as we’re getting closer & closer to things such as technological singularity becoming a reality. Not that that’s really the theme of this film – I’d say Electroma is possibly set in a future where the singularity has already happened? And now these two robots long to be the humans that no longer exist? Yeah, I kind of like the sound of that and it makes the movie sort of bittersweet…

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Those who know me will know that I’m also a big fan of music and I was surprised there wasn’t actually more of it in this film made by two very famous musicians (and no music of their own, although they have the movie Interstella 5555 for that, which I now plan to also watch very soon). I did enjoy the music I’m sure they will have very carefully chosen, especially the Todd Rundgren and Curtis Mayfield songs & sequences in which they were used. I’ll include the clip that uses Todd Rundgren at end of the review as it’s at the beginning of the movie and will give you a feel for the film if you’re at all interested. The clip of the Curtis Mayfield song is awesome but a massive plot spoiler that would ruin one of the best moments in the film if you watched it.

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Summary:

Daft Punk’s Electroma is weird. This is “art” that I’m sure some would brand as pretentious. But, hey – I love Daft Punk’s music & their whole image. Robots rock. The plot is simple but I think two robots wanting to be human is something that even humans can relate to as we ourselves don’t even really know what it means to be human. If nothing else, Electroma is a lovely film to look at with a collection of cool sci-fi imagery and the backdrop of a beautiful Californian landscape. Good job, Daft Punk – I really enjoyed Electroma. Domo arigato, Mr Robotos. (Sorry – I was dying to get that line in here somewhere!)

My Rating: 8/10

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Todd Rundgren – International Feel (actual clip from the movie):

Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) Review

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Phantom Of The Paradise (1974)

Directed by Brian De Palma

Starring:
Paul Williams
William Finley
Jessica Harper
Gerrit Graham

Running time: 91 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A disfigured composer sells his soul for the woman he loves so that she will perform his music. However, an evil record tycoon betrays him and steals his music to open his rock palace, The Paradise.

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My Opinion:

This movie started getting a bunch of attention this year for its 40th anniversary and I’d never even heard of it before then. When I read reviews and saw that it was some weird sort of “rock opera horror” directed by Brian De Palma and starring the great Rainbow Connection Paul Williams and that it, basically, may be responsible for giving us DAFT PUNK… Well, I had to see it! I can’t believe I’d never even heard of this now-cult-classic before. Apparently, though, it was a major flop at the time everywhere other than Paris and for some reason Winnipeg, where they worship this film and have organized Phantompalooza. I’m not sure why the movie is suddenly getting so much attention but I suppose that it’s probably down to Thomas Bangalter and Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo (Daft Punk) declaring their love for it when collaborating with Paul Williams for their Random Access Memories album. Having watched it now, it’s obvious what a huge influence it had on them. Check out William Finley as the Phantom in the title:

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I finally saw this movie a couple of months ago and I still can’t quite decide if it’s a brilliant masterpiece or a big pile of shit. What a way to start a review, huh?! Maybe it’s just brilliantly horrible. Horribly brilliant? Either way, although I just called this a possible pile of shit, I’ll be giving it a 7.5/10 rating (so you can stop reading & just yell at me now, Brian). 😉 I sort of feel the same way about this movie as I did about David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell To Earth. I know that, in a lot of ways, that movie was “bad” but I couldn’t help but be fascinated with it and it’s certainly one of the most memorable movies I’ve watched in the last couple of years and one I seem to come back to a lot when reviewing other movies that I liked yet can’t fully explain why. Phantom Of The Paradise was the same for me and totally worth being the only full price Blu-ray I’ve purchased for myself in ages, even if I WAS thinking to myself “what the fuck?!” the entire time I was watching it.

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Phantom Of The Paradise is a combination of The Phantom Of The Opera (obviously), Faust, and The Picture Of Dorian Gray. I’m not sure why it never achieved the success of two other similar films that both came out a year later – Tommy and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It certainly feels a lot more ambitious than either of those, which I suppose may have been the problem? There’s a lot going on in Phantom and it maybe tries to be too many things at once. The other two aren’t really any less strange than Phantom, though. Unfortunately, the biggest problem may just be that the songs aren’t as good. Sorry, Paul Williams! I think you’re awesome and I love what you did with Daft Punk and Rainbow Connection is my favorite Muppets song. But, unlike in Tommy or Rocky Horror, there’s nothing really memorable in this when it comes to the music other than maybe the main ballad which is pretty but not exactly catchy like Time Warp or even Pinball Wizard.

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I suppose I was a little upset that I was left unsure of how I felt about this movie once it finished as I’d hyped it up in my mind to possibly be some kind of undiscovered gem that I’d absolutely love. Well, there ARE things I really liked about it. Images such as the one above are what helped to convince me to watch this. The band is known as The Undeads, which is their third and best incarnation in the film as they keep changing their style to suit whatever record producer Swan (Paul Williams) thinks the public wants. This is in contrast to composer Winslow Leach, played by William Finley, who cares only about the music itself instead of fame and who (obviously) ends up the “Phantom” of the film. Paul Williams’ Swan is an evil & greedy record producer and owner of “The Paradise” concert hall. Williams is great as some sort of satanic little brother to David Cassidy. Check him out:

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The best thing about this film is the main story between Williams’ Swan & Finley’s The Phantom. I loved the cause of The Phantom’s disfigurement and, of course, THE scene that is clearly the one that turned those lightbulbs on above Daft Punk’s heads. (Slight spoiler but not really if you know Phantom Of The Opera): The Phantom’s vocal chords have been destroyed along with his face so he not only needs to wear the strange silver helmet but also must use an electronic voice-box to talk (and sing). I wish I could find a clip of the scene to share here but can only find some images:

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I should also give a quick mention to Jessica Harper, of Suspiria fame, who plays The Phantom’s muse à la The Phantom Of The Opera and Gerrit Graham as a camp glam rocker. Both were really good in two fairly big roles and the below shower scene was pretty cool:

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Summary:

I know this review was far longer than my usual reviews but if I’ve talked at least ONE person into checking out this movie, I’ll be very happy. Is it good? Is it shit? I’m honestly still not sure. I’ve said it a few times recently but these are the types of films that actually make me want to run a movie blog. I’ll always watch & review loads of mainstream films but they rarely excite me in the same sort of way that the more “unusual” or artistic films do. I’d rather watch something extremely memorable like this than just another cookie cutter film made with a profit in mind. The main theme (of many) in Phantom Of The Paradise is timeless – art over profit. We need more Phantoms in this world but, unfortunately, there will always be more Swans.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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You know I have to end this with Touch, the Daft Punk/Paul Williams collaboration on Random Access Memories: 🙂

TRON: Legacy (2010) Review

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TRON: Legacy (2010)

Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Starring:
Jeff Bridges
Garrett Hedlund
Olivia Wilde
Bruce Boxleitner
Michael Sheen

Music by Daft Punk

Running time: 127 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
A sequel to the 1982 science fiction film Tron, the story follows Flynn’s (Jeff Bridges) son Sam (Garrett Hedlund), who responds to a message from his long-lost father and is transported into a virtual reality called the Grid, where Sam, his father, and the algorithm Quorra (Olivia Wilde) stop the malevolent program CLU from invading the human world.

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My Opinion:

Let’s keep this short – I’m extremely behind on reviewing things (6 books & 23 movies. Ugh). I enjoyed this movie. Quite a lot! I’m not a huge fan of the original or anything (I don’t even remember it that well). My hubby is the expert on these films. He loves the original and, oh my god, when he found out there was going to be a sequel AND that Daft Punk would be doing the soundtrack?! He was in HEAVEN. He should be writing this! Oh well – you’re stuck with me and my total lack of TRON knowledge.

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I kind of didn’t know WHAT the hell was going on in this thing. I’m sure the hubby was sick of me asking him questions as we watched this. In the end, I decided to just enjoy the ride & not worry about the story. I’m not saying this was all style over substance – I’m saying I was probably just too stupid for it. It really was fun to watch, though. I loved the look of the whole thing (and the look of Garrett Hedlund, yes…). Olivia Wilde was also absolutely gorgeous in this & I’ve never thought that about her before – this look really suits her. Look at these beautiful people!:

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So… The movie looks awesome and the people are beautiful and there’s crazy sci-fi shit going on and I love sci-fi more than anything even though I’m a complete idiot and it’s always over my head. But then, to top it all off, we get the DAFT PUNK SOUNDTRACK. Yes! Loved it. Loved it so much! The music in a movie is very important to me and, when it’s right, it makes me love the movie even more. Yeah, I’m probably going to give this movie a higher rating than it deserves thanks to Daft Punk…

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Summary: (sort of)

You know what? I don’t know what to say. Woohoo! Worst review EVER! Basically, I thoroughly enjoyed TRON: Legacy even though I know it’s not a very good movie overall. Oh well – we all have our guilty pleasures. Plus Garrett Hedlund is a hottie.

My Movie Rating: 7/10

My Soundtrack Rating: 8.5/10

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