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Five Terrifying Monsters From My Childhood by Jamie

Childhood is generally a magical time filled with wonder and amazement but it is also a horrific nightmare filled with monsters. Many of these evil creatures come from watching film and they leave a lasting impression that lingers with us for the rest of our lives, lurking at all times in the back of our mind. This then is a list of some of those things which still haunt my brain to this very day. Warning: Here Be Spoilers

5. Greys (Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The X-Files, countless other things)

Whether you believe that they actually exist or not, and personally I don’t, there is something undeniably creepy about the alien species generally referred to as the Greys. There’s something about their huge black eyes and largely feature-less face that causes some kind of primal fear. I think it’s something to do with the fact that they seem completely emotionless and you can’t tell what they are thinking. There’s also the way that they are often depicted as moving in films.

Take the way that the ‘leader’ from Close Encounters moves. It‘s got a disturbing weirdness to it‘s movement, probably something to do with the limitations of the special effects but still. In other media they aren’t portrayed as anything less than terrifying, generally performing some kind of medical procedure, never saying a word just carrying out their tasks in an almost deliberate, robotic fashion.

Then there’s a film called Alien Abduction: The McPherson Tape. It’s a hand-held, Blair Witch style film that tells the tale of a family practically held hostage within their own home by some Greys that they‘ve managed to piss off. It’s cheesy as fuck but when I was younger it used to terrify me, particularly the last scene which was just creepy as fuck. Oh, and there’s also an interview with a British musician who is an alleged abductee (Actually just an actor portraying the role to try and keep up the premise that the video is real found footage) who uses the phrase ‘Big Headed Wankers’ which used to amuse me and my brothers to no end. It’s actually on YouTube, part one can be found here.

4. The Wheelers (Return To Oz)

The Wheelers are like a monstrous amalgamation of people, bicycles and hyenas. They hunt their prey on the wheels that they have in place of hands and feet, laughing like maniacs as they do so. Of course the question which is immediately raised in your mind is ‘But Jamie, if they don’t have hands, how can they possibly catch that which they are chasing?’ And whilst it’s not actually raised in the film, I have my theory.

Surely, since their hands are fucking wheels, they only have one possible method for catching their quarry and that must be their mouths. Yes, I put it to you that the Wheeler’s capture and then eat their prey. That is fucking horrible. And guess what else they do. They wear helmets which, when their head is turned down towards the ground, has a second, creepier face on it!

I will say this though, they be some stylin’ motherfuckers. They got these long sleeved, clown-esque jackets which they often accessorise with multi-coloured pipes. Above that they wear those things which I can’t remember the name of. Not sure If I ever knew the name of them actually. They often appear in cartoons involving conductors or opera singers and a character will generally grab it and roll it up like a window blind. You know the thing I’m talking about. They also wear colourful bowties. Nice.

3. The Skeksis (The Dark Crystal)

Who doesn’t love The Dark Crystal? It’s a classic in the puppet/fantasy genre and it features the innocent Gelflings, the wise urRu and the… Holy Fucking Shit! What is that hideous vulture dinosaur thing?!?! Oh dear God, keep it away! Keep it away!

Yes, the Skeksis, the evil side of the once benevolent UrSkeks race which, as we all know, was splintered into two separate races, along with the urRu, when the Dark Crystal was fractured. The Skeksis have ruled their world for over a thousand years going so far as to commit genocide against the Gelfling due to a prophecy that a Gelfling would bring an end to their rule. Not only are they evil monsters but they are evil monsters who take superstition and myth seriously. Sure the prophecy turned out to be true but it was probably quite self-fulfilling.

So terrified was I by the Skeksis when I was younger that even to this day, whenever The Dark Crystal is brought up in conversation my mother helpfully informs everyone of just how much they used to frighten me. Seriously though who could blame me? I mean just look at them, they are the very embodiment of a child’s third worst nightmare. Thankyou Jim Henson for improving my life by inventing The Muppets, Sesame Street, The Fraggles and Dinosaurs and for scarring me for life by creating The Dark Crystal and making me want to stab/shit myself in terror whenever I see a vulture. I’ve had some pretty awkward moments being ejected from zoos, I can tell you.

2. The Child Catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)

The country of Vulgaria seems like quite a nice place to visit despite the awful name it suffers from. With it’s Bavarian architecture and cobbled streets it seems like the kind of place that would make really good chocolate and beer. But after staying there for a while you’d notice a disturbing lack of children and disturbing number of depressed toy-makers played by Benny Hill. You see the problem is that the Baron of Vulgaria is a child-hating, toy-loving lunatic (which I admit makes it sound like he and I would get on quite well) who has hired one of the most terrifying characters ever capture on celluloid to hunt down and capture children.

This horrible, mincing freak with his top hat and elongated nose has haunted the dreams of many a child. There’s just something so… paedophiley about him. He’d stalk the streaks of Vulgaria with his cage disguised as a free treats cart offering sweets and ice-cream to any child who happened to cross his path making us all afraid to trust those perfectly nice strangers who would offer us sweets in the park. Bastard.

To top it all off he could actually smell children! How the fuck do you escape a villain with that kind of power? You can’t hide from him because his powerful nostrils would flare and he’d soon find you. One offer of a free sweet later and BAM! You’re locked up in some dungeon type place, never to see your parents again. There is one question I do have though: When the children grow up, were they freed from their subterranean prison? I can’t imagine that the population of Vulgaria would grow if they didn’t and I’m sure it would affect morale within the country if you citizens had spent the formative years of their lives locked in a fucking dungeon by their leader.

1. The Father (Mac and Me)

This is it. The big one and I’m sure I’ll be mostly alone on it. Mac and Me was a film which tried to capitalise on the success of E.T. by being released six years later and having a shittier but similar story. I’ve kind of reviewed it before and so I shan’t go into all the plot details again. I’ll just say that there are a few things that this film is famous for a number of things. One is the scene involving the main kid in the wheelchair flying over a cliff which used to played on Conan O’Brien when Paul Rudd would come on to promote a film. The second is that the film was really nothing more than a shameless plug for McDonalds, Skittles and Coca-Cola. There is an impromptu dance number in the middle of a McDonalds, Ronald and everything. It’s pretty fucked up.

Anyway the reason that this film sticks in my mind is because of Mac’s father, an unnamed alien who used to scare the shit out of me as a kid. There was something about his gaunt expressionless face that terrified me. It never changed no matter whether he was lying dying in a cave or whether he was wielding a gun in a supermarket. Yes. That actually happened and I’m sure it did nothing to reassure me that the creature wasn’t the most horrific thing a human had ever thought up.

This was literally the best picture I could find of Mac’s dad. When the internet refuses to have a picture of something, you know it’s horrific.

The way he moved scared me as well. His awkward, drunken gait as he stumbled around, his lanky arms occasionally flailing around to randomly smack at something. Oh god, just the thought of him now terrifies me. Seriously, the image of that bastard has been so seared into my mind as the worst thing imaginable that I literally have trouble seeing that film today. Every time he appears on screen a small shiver of fear judders up my mind and hits something deep and primal within my brain.

Well, that’s that. I’m sure I’ve forgotten more than one thing that also scared me when I was a kid or perhaps I’ve just blocked it from my mind as some kind of safety mechanism to keep myself sane. Until I can regress myself and remember what those things were, we’ll just leave it here. Laterz.



My Favourite 10 Sci-Fi Villains and Monsters: Part 2 by Jamie

Jesus Fucking Christ! What a week! I‘ve spent three days of it drunk, went back to work, foiled a few criminals and then suffered from a massively annoying bout of writers block. I had to start a new blog, People Are Fucking Idiots, just to get my creative juices flowing again. Still I‘ve finally managed to finish this list, the unfinished status of which has been hanging around my next and bugging me like… some kind of bug. Anyway, let‘s get the fuck on with it, won‘t we? Oh yeah, Spoilers Ahead

5: Terminators (The Terminator Series)

An unstoppable machine sent backwards in time with one purpose, to kill! That‘s the basic premise behind the Terminator. In the first film it‘s mission was to hunt down and kill Sarah Connor in order to prevent the birth of John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance. In the second another Terminator of the same model type is sent back to protect the young boy who would grow up to be that legendary leader but that doesn‘t mean we don‘t have another Terminator as the villain. This time it‘s the T-1000, a machine with a liquid metal form that allows it to shape shift into the form of anyone it wishes and also turn it‘s body parts into various stabbing weapons. That is fucking awesome.

Then there are the next two films in the series. Yeah, they‘re not good films but the concept behind the Terminators themselves is still fairly solid although why the technology seems to take a step backwards slightly in the 3rd film from a liquid metal adversary to a more solid form is anyone’s guess. I suppose they didn‘t want to do the same thing twice. As for the fourth film, well, I really did like the design of the Terminator model that comes before the Arnold Schwarzenegger design was pretty good. It‘s just a shame that McG couldn‘t direct his way out of a wet paper bag.

The thing that makes the Terminators great screen villains is there relentlessness. They come from a distant future and are far beyond any technology of our time. They seem like they‘d be impossible to beat, though they are beaten in each film because otherwise it‘d be a pretty depressing way to end the film. Speaking of which, the one good thing about Terminator 3 is it‘s ending. Anyway, another aspect that makes the Terminators great as villains is there coldness, particularly the one in the first film. He may look like a human with his genetically-engineered skin but he‘s cold and calculating like a robot should be.

4: HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey)

From one killer machine to another. When you think of computers who have gone a bit wrong in the circuits, you think of HAL. Represented as nothing more than a glowing red camera eye (which I have a fridge magnet of. I feel the key to a healthy diet is believing your fridge will kill you if you make a mistake), HAL watches over the crew of the Discovery, controlling the ships higher functions including life support. So if something were to go wrong with HAL‘s electronic brain, things could go pretty shitty pretty quickly.

Of course things do go wrong, HAL wouldn’t be on the list if he wasn’t, when the ships crew, David and Frank feel as though the computer has made a mistake whilst reporting a malfunction in the Discovery’s communication antenna. They decide that in order to ensure the continued success of the mission they have to disconnect HAL’s cognitive circuits, essentially removing the computers sentience. They say this in a soundproof chamber, believing that HAL can‘t hear them. They‘re right but what they don‘t realise that HAL can read lips. In order to save himself and continue carrying out his programmed directives, HAL decides that the only logical course of action is to kill the crew.

HAL proceeds to kill Frank whilst he’s carrying out repairs and switches off the life support for the crew members who are in suspended animation. Dave decides enough is enough and, after overcoming HAL’s resistance to allowing him back inside the ship, he manages to shut down HAL’s brain in a scene that makes you feel genuinely sorry for the calm-toned, glowing red eyed computer. Now, HAL does reappear in the sequel, 2010 but I haven‘t seen that in some time so I‘ll leave it here. Besides, this is the film where HAL is the true, if somewhat sympathetic, villain

3: Predator (The Predator Series)

A race of creatures scours the universe, their lives devoted to one purpose, the Hunt. These are the Predators or, as they have been referred to in expanded media, the Yautja. They search for worthy prey throughout the universe in order to prove their worth as a hunter. They adorn themselves with high-tech armour and weaponry in order to aid them in their quest. The armour allows them to bend light in such a way that allows them to almost disappear completely into their surroundings and their arsenal includes a variety of different weapons such as plasma blasters and some kind of electric spear things. If things go really tits up and for some reason they become mortally wounded during their hunt they have one more trick up their sleeve to try and ensure that there existence remains a secret. They set off a nuclear device which blows the shit out of them and their surroundings. That is pretty damn sweet.

Perhaps one of the strongest aspects of the Predators is that they seem to run their hunts with a strict code of honour. They won‘t kill an unarmed enemy, unless that enemy has proven themselves proficient enough in unarmed combat for them to take them on, they won‘t kill pregnant women and they won‘t kill children. These aren‘t your single minded killers or outright evil bastards. It‘s just that they only know one way, the way of The Hunt.

To top it all off they both look and sound cool. They would probably top my list of aliens with dreadlocks, hell they‘d probably top a list of dreadlocked characters that included humans as well. Though Sanka from ‘Cool Runnings‘ might give them a run for their money… No, no he wouldn‘t. Anyway, you also can‘t help but love what the unmasked Predators look like. They‘ve got that weird mouthgina thing with bizarre crab-leg-like protusions. They are ugly sons of bitches. As for the sound, well I love that weird clicking noise they make and the fact that they can record and playback sounds their prey make in order to confuse and entrap them is also awesome. The Predator laughing in the first film whilst the nuke counts down will stick in my mind until the day that I day.

Now, I know earlier that Darth Vader lost a few places because of the dubious way his character was portrayed in the Star Wars prequels and the same could be said for the Predator in the ‘Alien Versus Predator’ films. It’s certainly true that the character of the Predators is somewhat diminished in those films, well the first one at least. I haven’t seen the second one and life is pretty good having not watched it so it’ll probably stay that way. Still in the first one they did basically become sidekicks to the human characters which sucked massive predsticles. However, I feel that these films can be ignored a little easier than the Star Wars prequels. There was no involvement from the characters originators so it’s a little less egregious. Oh, and to you people thinking “But what about Predator 2? That also sucked. Why doesn’t he complain about Predator 2?” Well, yeah, Predator 2 was weaker than the first but I still enjoyed the hell out of. C’mon, it’s got Danny Glover in it!

2: Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn)

Khan was a genetically engineered superman who considered himself and his people to be superior to all other men. In an episode of the original series of Star Trek, Space Seed, Khan had run afoul of Captain James T. Kirk and found himself and his people stranded on a planet where Kirk hoped they would be able to make a life for themselves.

Unfortunately shit doesn‘t always go according to plan and an interplanetary disaster left Khan‘s new home world as nothing more than a desert wasteland. Unfortunately this shift in the planets ecosystem also killed Khan’s wife. Needless to say Khan is pissed. Whilst searching for a lifeless world to test the newly developed Genesis Device, the crew of the USS Reliant accidentally come across Khan and his tribe and the genetically engineered exiles manage to take control of the Reliant.

Now Khan is seeking revenge against Kirk, planning to use the Genesis device to enact it. Khan has become very enamoured with a certain book, Moby Dick, and very much sees Kirk as his white whale and pursues him relentlessly blinded anger as to the danger he is putting himself and his crew in until it‘s too late. His last speech is even taken pretty much from the book itself.

Overall, Khan is just a fantastic villain. He’s relentless, willing to do anything to put an end to Kirk and, most importantly, he believes he is entirely in the right. Also the fact that a man of Ricardo Montalban’s age didn’t require prosthetics to look as muscular as he did is incredible. And lest we forget Kahn’s name is just damn fun to yell.

1: The Xenomorph (The Alien Series)

In space no one can hear you scream. It‘s a tagline that resonates with each and every fan of sci-fi and horror. It originated in 1979 with a little film that shocked audiences to their very core. That film was Ridley Scott‘s ‘Alien’ and it introduced the world to the ultimate killing machine. It was sleek, stealthy and with a shiny black carapace. It had elements of the organic and the mechanical, it could survive the total vacuum of space and it‘s blood was an intensely strong acid. Perhaps most disturbing of all was that in order to propagate it‘s species it would commit acts of inter-species rape, implant it‘s seed inside you and was then born violently by bursting through your chest. It was the Xenomorph

The Xenomorph has been a mainstay of the cinema world since that first film. The nature of the beast has been expanded on and added too with each additional film. The second film introduced the notion that they lived a bit like ants in nests with a queen constantly laying eggs. I love ants and the Xenomorphs are like ants times awesome so naturally I love Xenomorphs. The third film introduced the idea that the Xenomorph would take on some of the genetic traits of the host that they matured inside and the fourth film… Well, the fourth film kinda sucked. Although it did show them swimming. That was pretty nice. As for AvP and it‘s sequel, well, the same rules apply here that applied for the Predator really.

It is true that the Xenomorphs have softened slightly over the years. Their acidic blood, once so potent on the Nostromo certainly seems to have diluted somewhat and one creature certainly seemed more effective than the hordes that would follow but it doesn‘t matter to me. They are almost as perfect a monster as you could find. These aren‘t the kinds of aliens that come with ships and lasers, there‘s no chance that you can turn their own technology against them nor any chance that they can be reasoned with. They are no more than primal beasts and that makes them all the more terrifying. What? Were you expecting the top of the universal food chain to be dominated by an intelligent being? Why? Because we are intelligent? You arrogant fuck. No, it makes far more sense to me that the ultimate being would be no more than instinct, tooth and claw. None of those messy emotions getting in the way of their simple goal. To kill and survive.

There you go then. That’ll do you for now. I have no idea what’ll be coming up next. I’ve got a few more movies in the Depress-A-Thon to look at so that’ll be a barrel of laughs I’m sure. For now though, I’m out of here. Laterz.



My Favourite 10 Sci-Fi Villains and Monsters: Part 1 by Jamie

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve done a good list. The reason I’m doing one now is because I’m tired. I mean really tired. Right now I’m running on about 1-2 hours sleep over a 48 hour period. Also my throat hurts. So to cut a long story short, I’m not in the mood to sit and watch something and review it properly. I’d probably fall asleep to be honest. So I’ve fallen back on a list. The problem is that lists seem like they should be easy but they are actually deceptively hard if you want to write something about each item on your list. You end up writing what basically amounts to ten mini-reviews which sometimes have to encompass entire franchises in a couple of paragraphs. So keep in mind my sleep deprived brain whilst you read this list. It’s possibly going to be a bit rambling and possibly completely incoherent at times. Anyway, spoilers ahead and let’s get the fuck on with it.

Well as the title has probably given away, this list is going to be about my favourite Sci-Fi Villains and Monsters. I think it’s pretty self explanatory so let’s just get on with it, shall we?

Am I coming of as angry? My apologies, it’s this stupid lack of sleep.

10: Lord Humongous (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior)

I realise I might already be pushing the definition of Sci-Fi right out of the gate here, but I feel the Mad Max films count as sci-fi. The third is definitely the one which fits most comfortably into this genre but the series as a whole is set in a post-apocalyptic future and I’ve always considered post-apocalyptic to be a sub-genre of sci-fi so on we march.

Lord Humungus is my absolute favourite villain from the entire Mad Max series. He’s a big fucker who wears a hockey mask. I’m sure the fact that Jason is my favourite slasher villain has some impact on my enjoyment of this character. Besides that, Humungus is a fascinating character. He actually seems quite fair for a leader of a post-apocalyptic gang of roving marauders. All he wants is some gasoline and, in this cutthroat world, the only way to get it is to steal it. There’s a chance that he could have quite easily gone in there with his gang and taken it but instead he decides to offer them an honourable compromise. Sure, he kills a few people along the way but sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles in post-apocalyptic Australia.

Humungus also seems to genuinely care about his gang members. He’s not your stereotypical ruthless leader who views his followers as cannon fodder and nothing more. There’s also a hint throughout the movie that it’s the loss of someone he loves that has brought him to this point in his life though it’s never adequately explored. Finally his ‘Just walk away’ speech is one of my favourite speeches in all of cinema history and one I still quote to this day, especially if someone is doing poorly on a fruit machine.

9: The Velociraptors (The Jurassic Park Series)

Sci-fi isn’t always about the future. Sometimes it deals with ravenous beasts from the past and Jurassic Park certainly delivers with one of the most terrifying, the Velociraptors. Now, I should say right up front that the Velociraptors aren’t actually Velociraptors at all. In real life, Velociraptors were about the size of chickens. The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are actually far more like a larger animal in the same family, Deinonychus. There are a few other issues as well such as the tails being a bit more flexible than they were in real life and a distinct lack of feathers but whatever. The point is that the fictionalised version of Velociraptors in Jurassic Park are truly terrifying.

The Raptors are fast, intelligent and deadly. They stalk their prey in such a way that if you can see one of them, there’s a good chance that there are a couple more hanging around somewhere that you can’t. Then before you know it they’re on top of you, slashing you apart with their sickle-shaped claw. And possibly the best part of the Raptors in Jurassic Park is that, in true Spielberg style, you get an idea of how dangerous they are long before you actually see them. You do, however, hear them and the sound design on the Raptors is truly brilliant. I love that screeching sound mixed in with all the bird noises that they make. It hits you in the balls of your soul. And lest we forget, they managed to kill the baddest motherfucker in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson. After that, only one thing could stop them, the film’s true heroine, T-Rex.

8: Biff and his ancestors and descendants (The Back To The Future Series)

There aren’t many villains who have managed to alter the time stream in order to make life better for themselves. Then again, there aren’t many villains who have had their lives made drastically worse by a heroes own meddling with time. Biff is that villain. In the original time stream he was a somewhat successful man who delighted in tormenting George McFly. By the end of the first film, thanks to the interference of George’s son Marty, he was reduced to taking care of George’s car.

In the second film Biff goes one step further when a future version of himself provides a past version of himself with a sports almanac which gives him access to the results of sporting results for many, many years. This makes Biff an incredibly wealthy man, changing Sunnydale from a nice normal town to a hell on Earth, shaped by Biff himself. The film also features Griff Tannen, Biff’s grandson, who enjoys nothing more than tormenting Marty’s son. The villainous apple never falls far from the villain tree!… Or something.

The third film takes place in the Wild, Wild West and features Biff’s ancestor, Mad Dog Tannen probably the most legitimate villain in the Tannen clan. This time he’s not just a villain but he’s a proper criminal, the leader of his own posse of outlaws. He shot Doc Brown until Marty McFly once more changed history and found himself having to face of against Mad Dog instead. All in all Biff, his alternative versions, his ancestors and his descendants are just a bunch of nasty, nasty douche bags.

7: Darth Vader (The Star Wars Saga)

Ah, there was a time when Vader would have been in the top half of this list, possibly even topping it but that’s no longer justifiable taking into account his entire character arc throughout all six films. Sadly young Anakin was a massive, massive twat. Whether whining about how he was better than people gave him credit for or whining about how he loved Amidala, Anakin certainly enjoyed a good whine. He was one whiny motherfucker.

But for the sake of this list, let’s try and focus on the good times. Before the prequels all Vader was was a force-choking, light-sabre wielding, heavy breathing, father being badass with James Earl Jones’ awesome voice and David Prowse’s awesome stature. He wore black, slept in a pod and had no problem with killing off members of his crew who failed him.

And to top it all off, Vader found redemption with the help of his son. He turned on his Master, absorbed some force lighting, which allowed flashes of his skull to be seen through his helmet, and threw him to his death. Then in after a touching moment with Luke, during which we finally get to see his face and the strange harmonica he enjoyed having ready to play at any moment, he stayed aboard the Death Star ready to become one with the force. Oh and he also shares something in common with the Velociraptors because, in one of the prequels, he managed to kill the baddest motherfucker in Hollywood, Samuel L. Jackson. Hardcore.

6: The Thing (The Thing)

There are few things more terrifying than not being able to trust the people around you. One thing that is slightly more terrifying is not being able to trust the people around you whilst being completely cut off from civilisation. This is the basic premise of John Carpenter’s remake of ‘The Thing’. A group of scientists working in the Arctic Circle are suddenly attacked by a mysterious alien creature which can change it’s form to imitate any one of them.

The special effects in ‘The Thing’ still hold up to this day. The creature is disgustingly visceral and it’s transformations look incredibly painful. Some CGI effects these days wish they could look this good. The film also features on of the most unbearably tense scenes the world of cinema has ever known. The blood test sequence will literally have you sitting on the edge of your seat and have you biting your nails right down to the elbow. It should also be noted that The Thing is such a monumentally powerful creature that only one of the Earth’s greatest heroes could defeat it, Kurt Russel with a goddamn beard. Not just any beard, a goddamn beard. Fuck yeah.

Right, that’ll do for now. The sun is rising which means it’ll soon be time for me to get home to bed. Sweet, sweet bed. This list has been incredibly hard going but it’s also been fun looking back at some of my favourite bad guys from science fiction. Assuming I wake up sometime within the next 24 hours, the second part of this list should be up some time tomorrow. Laterz.



The Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Movies: Part 2 by Jamie

Well, I keep falling in and out of a bad mood so what better way to work through that then to indulge in fantasies of the annihilation of the human race! Let‘s continue. Oh, and number three has some major spoilers. Kind of hard to avoid them really. Sorry but, to be honest it was made in the 60s. I think the spoiler statute of limitations has expired. Also, part 1 can be found here.


5. The Terminator Series

Cause of apocalypse: Nuclear destruction at the hands of technology dubbed Judgement Day.

Now this could be quite a controversial choice because most of these films don’t really take part in the post-apocalyptic future. It’s mostly about people and robots being sent back from after the apocalypse to the present in order to try and prevent or ensure the apocalyptic event occurs. Coupled with the fact that the one film which is pretty much entirely set in the future made my list of least favourite films of 2009 should probably disqualify it from my list entirely.

But fuck it, this is my goddamn list and I can do whatever I like. I could Paul Blart Mall Cop on this list without having to justify myself if I so wished. I won’t but I could… Anyway, so yeah, the first three Terminator films take place before Judgement Day and that’s what makes them interesting. Well, the first two anyway. It‘s all about trying to prevent this terrible event and the cost of failure. The fact that it becomes increasingly clear by the third one that Judgement Day is inevitable just makes the whole affair even better. (Yep, that was actually a small piece of praise for Terminator 3)

And of course it’s inevitable. After all, if Judgement Day never occurs then Kyle Reese can’t be sent back in time to become John Connor’s father, the Terminator wouldn’t have been sent back and it’s parts wouldn’t have been used to help create Skynet, Skynet wouldn’t have been able to bring about Judgement Day meaning that Kyle Reese can’t be sent back in time to become John Connor’s father… Wait a minute. I think what I’m getting at is that in order for anything to happen, Judgement Day has to have happened so in a way the films are all set in a post-apocalyptic world because none of the events would of occurred unless the apocalypse had occurred… which it did. Fuck, I’m confused.


4. The Mad Max Series

Cause of apocalypse: Nuclear War over oil.

I love the Mad Max films. Sure the first one is a little dodgy and the third is more than a little cheesy but I can overlook these trifling problems and so all three are personal classics to me. They also had a major impact on post-apocalyptic genre as a whole. How many post-apocalyptic films and games feature roving gangs of people wearing bizarre, spiked body armour? You have the Mad Max series to thank for that.

The series is set in a dystopian future Australia in which bands of people struggle for survival. In the first film Max is a man who tries to police this society which seems to be breaking down around him. When his wife and child are killed by a gang of ne‘er-do-wells he goes on a revenge mission, hunting them down and taking them out, ending in a scene which served as an inspiration for the first ‘Saw’.

The second sees Max, now a burned out, shell of a man, wandering the desert and coming across a small outpost of people who are still excavating oil. The outpost has a problem with a band of marauders who want to take their oil from them as it is now a very rare and precious commodity. Max begins to regain his humanity by working with and helping to defend the people in the outpost. It‘s probably the strongest of the trilogy and the show, in my mind, is completely stolen by the leader of the marauders, Lord Humungus. His ‘Just walk away‘ speech is still one of the things I probably quote more often than any other.

The third is where the series seems to pick up in terms of budget. For the first time you get a view of different aspects of this post-apocalyptic wasteland on a grand scale. From Bartertown to the valley of the lost children, a lot of work went into the creation of this world. It also has Tina Turner in it. Once more Max starts of as a lone wanderer, coming across Bartertown, having to fight the brilliant Master-Blaster in the Thunderdome, getting banished from Bartertown and having to take a group of lost children under his wing. It‘s all brilliant stuff and it‘s guaranteed to keep me entertained anytime I watch it. The series as a whole is one of the true stand outs in Post-Apocalyptism and if you haven‘t seen them then, well, I strongly suggest you do so.


3. Planet Of The Apes

Cause of Apocalypse: Nuclear War.

On it’s most basic level, ‘Planet Of The Apes’ is a fun film about a man who finds himself on a weird world where apes are people and people are animals. Beyond that it is so, so much more. The best sci-fi is generally an allegory for something else and that perfectly describes this film. It touches on themes like religion vs. science, race and class systems, nuclear war and the possible implications of scientific discovery for society as a whole.

I was about to write that the main theme seems to be science vs. religion but I had to stop myself when I realised that the thing that makes this film so great is that it manages to take all of these themes and hit upon them equally and practically at the same time, except for perhaps nuclear war which really kinda comes in towards the end and with Charlton Heston’s mumblings about his general displeasure with humanity throughout the film. The court scene alone manages to make observations about the controversy surrounding evolution butting up against religious dogma whilst also dealing with the topic of what it is that grants someone or something the same rights as someone else.

I think this is definitely one that I want to come back to and review later and in greater detail. Suffice it to say that I don’t include the series as a whole here because I haven’t seen the series as a whole. I’m not even sure what I have seen. I remember seeing one when I was a kid though I couldn’t tell you what it was called or what really happened. I just remember a group of apes being herded along by humans. I think it may have been a prequel or something.

I suppose I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the remake. It’s a poor, poor shade of this film. The only thing I can say I really liked about it is the ape costumes. They were pretty awesome, especially the big orang-utan with the pads on his face but the rest of the film… well, all I’ll really say is Ape-raham Lincoln? What the fuck?


2. The … Of The Dead Series

Cause of Apocalypse: The Zombie Apocalypse

Ah, zombies. Zombies, zombies, zombies. I fucking love a good zombie film and George A. Romero is the Godfather of the entire genre. Sure, Diary of the Dead is a pretty terrible film and I’ve heard bad things about his newest outing but for the most part, Romero has defined what a zombie movie is.

There is something special about the idea of The Zombie Apocalypse. It’s the one of the ultimate end-games. As soon as it’s begun to spread, the zombies have pretty much already won. After that it’s just a matter of just trying to survive knowing one of two things will happen, either you’ll end up dead or you’ll end up undead and every day you survive just brings you one day closer to one of this inescapable conclusions.

The true mastery of what Romero does is that he doesn’t make the zombie the biggest threat in his films. For the most part, the zombies are just a barrier, keeping a small group of survivors trapped somewhere. It’s the people you’re surviving with in a Romero film that you truly want to be worried about.

Who knows what’ll happen? Maybe one of them will decide that they want more supplies for themselves and try to kill off some of the other survivors. Maybe one of them will try and escape, try and make it on their own, accidentally letting the shuffling horde inside. Maybe one of them will just go batshit crazy and have to be dealt with. Or maybe it won’t even be someone from your group. Maybe another group of survivors will happen across your hiding place and decide that they want what you have for themselves, inevitably letting the zombies inside as they try and get it.

There’s also the terrible ramifications of being bitten by a zombie. The transformation of living person into zombie is not instantaneous and so you’re left with the horrible knowledge that sooner or later you’re going to become a flesh hungry corpse and once again you’re faced with question. Do you just out and out shoot yourself in the head? Do you get another survivor to kill you? Or do you hide the bite, hope no one notices and carry on with the misguided hope that maybe it just won’t affect you? There’s just so much to consider and that’s with all the social commentary that Romero layers into his zombie films notwithstanding. That’s why I love these films and why you owe it to yourself to watch them.


1. Threads

Cause Of Apocalypse: Nuclear War.

Yes, for number one I’m going a little obscure. It’s a made for TV British film that I’ve reviewed before (Threads: The Single Most Depressing Thing Mankind Has Ever Put To Film) and it’s truly fucking chilling. The acting is corny, it’s incredibly 80s, scratch that, it’s incredibly Northern England 80s and it’s a little slow to start but fuck, after the bombs drop, it’s just… Wow.

This film portrays what life would have been like if the US and Russia had decided to launch nukes at each other and what would have happened had England been completely ravaged by nuclear bombs. I’m sure that a few of the things that are described aren’t considered exactly scientifically accurate these days but I’m also sure that it’s still as close as I’ll ever see a film get to the truth.

This film essentially put me into a sort of mini-depression after watching it. It made me feel doomed, as though at any moment the world could come crashing to a halt if a small group of people wished it so. Keep in mind that the Cold War had been over for some time at this point. Seriously though, there doesn’t need to be a cold war for it to happen anyway. All it takes is a few buttons being pushed and then Boom. Life as we know it will be over. The lucky ones will die in the initial attacks. Oh, god. It’s happening again. Just thinking about this fucking film is bringing it all back. What the fuck is the point?

Still, if you feel that happiness is a commodity that you just don’t need in your life anymore, I heartily recommend ‘Threads‘. It’s incredible and horrifying. Oh god, why? Why?

Well, that’s it then. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little walk down the lane of unimaginable despair and if you’re interested in finding out more about the ways in which the world is likely to end I highly recommend the book ‘Death From The Skies’ by the brilliant Phil Plait. Laterz.



The Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Movies: Part 1 by Jamie

Just over ten years ago we were convinced that the world was fucked. The Y2K bug would strike our computers and our technology would turn on us. Planes would fall out of the sky, nuclear missiles would launch themselves and toasters would refuse to carry out their toasting duties.

In essence the world was gripped with a weird mass technophobia. To be fair, mass hysteria is a condition which seems to plague the human race on a fairly regular basis. We seem to be determined to panic about the next big thing that will render our existence nothing more than a blip on the universal timeline. Be it the next big virus, terrorism or an asteroid strike from the cold unfeeling expanse that is outer space, there’s always something out there just waiting to kill us. Sure, these fears are justified to some extent but it is the passion with which we fear these things that makes humans something very special.

As such these fears have bled over into the world of film. There’s something exhilarating about a good post-apocalyptic movie. We just love to see a world where something’s gone terribly wrong and the way in which the survivors deal with it, wondering if we‘d be able to cope. With that, I’d like to share with you my personal top 10 post-apocalyptic films of all time.

A couple of disclaimers. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers as much as possible but sometimes I may have let the odd thing slip. You have been warned. In general series of films will occupy one spot on this list. Also, I’ve never seen Children of Men. I know that I really should and I always manage to try and catch it on TV and it’s always at the bit where they’re leaving hippy Michael Caine behind. I’m sure if I had seen it properly it’d be on here somewhere, probably somewhere quite high from what I’ve heard. Now to the list!


10. Repo: The Genetic Opera

Cause of apocalypse: Plague which caused the failure of internal organs.

Repo is a musical set in a dystopian future in which designer organ transplants have become big business. The reason being that in the past a disease ravaged the population, killing many. The disease caused the internal organs to stop working. A corporation, GeneCo, developed genetically engineered organs which helped put an end to the disease. With the end of the plague, GeneCo began to create organs for purely cosmetic reasons. GeneCo basically runs the show now and offers organs on finance which is fine if you can keep up with the payments.

If you can’t then the company will send the Repo Man after you in order to reclaim their property. Dressed in a surgical smock, he stalks his victims in the night, slicing up his victims and repossessing the organs. It’s a fairly interesting concept regarding the increasing influence corporations have on our every day lives.

The film does have one major flaw and that’s that Paris Hilton is one of it’s stars. If you’ve ever seen ‘House of Wax’ or ‘The Hottie and The Nottie’ then that’s probably enough to put you off to some degree but honestly she’s fairly inoffensive in this film and doesn’t really play a major enough part in the story to massively impact my enjoyment of it. Besides, her appearance is easily counter-balanced with the inclusion of Anthony Head as the Repo Man. He’s a great actor and a terrific singer to boot.

Overall it’s a film that I enjoy but I can certainly understand why others wouldn’t. It is, as the title suggests, an opera with very little dialogue that isn’t sung. It’s also very, very gothic in style and I understand that isn’t to every ones liking but it doesn’t really bother me. All ‘ll say is give it a chance but it certainly isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.


9. Reign of Fire

Cause of apocalypse: Dragons.

In my opinion, Reign of Fire is a fairly overlooked film and the reason it makes it onto the list is the way that the human race is brought to the brink of extinction. Dragons. That is fucking awesome. It’s so simple a concept. Dragons are accidentally awoken by digging beneath London and arise from their slumber to scorch the Earth and become top of the food chain. I’ll be honest, I’ve always had a soft spot for dragons.

There are some interesting attempts to explain why the dragons are the way they are. They breath fire because they can only consume ash, setting anything organic ablaze in order to consume it meaning that not only are the humans at risk from the beasts but so are their crops. Does it make any scientific sense whatsoever? No, but who cares? It’s fucking dragons! The method by which they create this fire is even more interesting. They expel highly-flammable liquids from their mouth which burst into flames when they hit the air as far as I can tell. It looks sweet.

There are some pretty outstanding scenes within the film that just kick it up a notch. The Americans hunting the dragon by sky diving with a giant net is pretty goddamn awesome. And any film that includes a medieval style play of the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ deserves a special place in my heart.


8. 28 Days/Weeks Later

Cause of Apocalypse: Outbreak of the Rage virus.

Now, this is going to take some explaining. I’m sure many people would expect this film to come higher in a list like this whilst I’m sure others who know me are surprised that I’ve included it on the list at all. I’ve spent many a drunken night bitching about 28 Days Later and how it’s pretty much responsible for the current trend of running zombies. Now before you begin with the “But they’re not zombies in 28 Days Later…” save it. I’ve heard it all before. Regardless of whether or not they are zombies in the strictest sense of the word, they are certainly zombie enough to influence actual zombie films and create the running zombie as we know it today… zombie.

Anyway, recently I decided to break down and just watch 28 Weeks Later. Honestly, I thought it was a slightly superior film, particularly the latter part. In fact if you could find a way to combine the beginning of Days and the ending of Weeks then you’d probably have a practically perfect film.

Even with their flaws, both films have incredibly engaging stories and images that just stick with you. Who the hell can forget the image of Cillian Murphy walking through a completely abandoned London? Speaking of which, the fact that the films are set in Britain certainly help to soften me to them slightly more than perhaps a foreign viewer might. Also there are crazy chimps. Who doesn’t love crazy chimps? Crazy chimps are awesome. Not quite as awesome as dragons but still pretty awesome.


7. The Omega Man

Cause of Apocalypse: Biological Warfare

‘The Omega Man’ is the second film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s story ‘I Am Legend’, the first being ‘The Last Man On Earth’ which I haven’t seen and the third being ‘I Am Legend’ starring Will Smith, whose portrayal of the apparent last surviving human I enjoy more than Charlton Heston’s performance in this but which I dislike because the bizarre CGI zombie vampire things just take me completely out of the movie.

In ‘The Omega Man’ there are no CGI monsters because, well, it’s the 70s. Instead we get The Family, a group of cloaked, albino and nocturnal mutants who wish to kill the last remaining human and destroy the civilisation he represents along with all it‘s heretical technological notions.

I love The Family. They are a far, far more compelling group of villains than the rather uninspired creatures that show up in ‘I Am Legend’. They have motivation behind there actions rather than the seemingly mindless killers in the later film. And although, as previously stated, I preferred Will Smith’s slightly more unhinged take on the last human that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Charlton Heston at all. In fact, I enjoyed his performance quite a lot. In all, I’d say that if you’ve only ever seen ‘I Am Legend’ give this a watch. Also find ‘The Last Man On Earth’ as well because I will be. It’s got Vincent Price in it so how could it be bad?


6. Wall-E

Cause Of Apocalypse: Pollution, Destruction of Environment.

I remember watching ‘Wall-E’ for the first time and being completely blown away by what I saw. The first half of the movie is completely incredible. The look of the world, completely devastated by mankind’s destruction of the environment, is an awesome sight to behold. Rivers are dried up, the land is practically devoid of vegetation and an odd fog hangs over the land.

This world was clearly abandoned by humans a long, long time ago, so long ago in fact that all the robots that have been left behind to clean the mess up have stopped working. All that is except for one, the titular Wall-E. Never before has a character managed to say so much whilst actually saying so little. Except for maybe Harry from ‘Harry and the Hendersons‘. He was awesome.

Now the second half of the film does tend towards a more traditional narrative and plays out as expected. Still, even then there are so many references to other classic sci-fi films, such as ‘2001’ and ‘Alien’ that would simply fly over the heads of children, to keep someone like me entertained. And I can’t help but laugh at the creatures that humans have become when they have robots taking care of their every whim.

So there you go. That’s the first five on my list of post-apocalyptic movies. The countdown to the end will continue tomorrow. Laterz.



The Best And The Worst Of 2009: Part 2 by Jamie
31/12/2009, 9:00 am
Filed under: Lists, Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, as I write this I’m sitting at work in a hotel. It has probably been the worst night I’ve had all year. There was an altercation between some customers, blood was spilt. Fun times. So it’s appropriate that I write this, my top 5 worst films of the year on this very night. I apologise that it wasn’t up sooner but I had a banging headache yesterday and the thought of writing anything made my mind capsule angry. With that said, I’d like to add a little disclaimer. I haven’t seen every film that was released this year, obviously. Hell, I didn’t even get to see many of the films I did want to see so all I can do is list my opinion of films I did see, hence no New Moon or X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Let’s begin.

5. Terminator Salvation

The biggest crime a Terminator film can commit is to be boring. Now Salvation was certainly a better film than Terminator 3 but it was no where near as entertaining. That may seem odd but keep in mind I’m one of these people who gains a certain kind of pleasure from watching films that are bad, just as long as there’s something there that can be enjoyed.
Salvation provided me very little entertainment overall. There was the odd special effects sequence which was nice to see and it was nice to see a Terminator film that took place after Judgement Day but there was nothing really new here. For me, the film just plodded along from predictable scene to predictable scene. Some of it didn’t make even make sense. Now I know that can be said for many of the Terminator films. The timeline alone has confused the fuck out of me for years with it’s paradoxes and such but it was really obvious things. Why would the machines build robot motorbikes designed so that people could sit on them? Why did they have USB ports? Overall, this was just a massively disappointment.

4. G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra

I’ll give G.I. Joe one thing, it knew exactly what the hell it was and it didn’t try to be anything else and I have to respect it or that on some level. It didn’t try and take itself seriously like certain other films based on 80s toy-lines I could, and probably will, be mentioning. Also, G.I. Joe was never really that popular here in the UK as I remember so I wasn’t as offended by the whole experience as I’m sure some of my North American counter-parts probably were.
Still, this movie was all kinds of ridiculous, pretty much to the point where it stopped being enjoyable, and trust me, there were points when I did enjoy this film due to it’s balls out ridiculousness but there’s only so much that even I can take before I say ‘I’m sorry, that’s quite enough. I’m afraid you’ve lost me.’ And it’s hard to say exactly where that point in the movie came. Was it when The Eiffel Tower got eaten up by some kind of super weapon? Was it Dr. Who’s terrible Scottish accent? Or was it having to accept that a Wayans would somehow be considered the best of the best of the best? I just couldn’t tell you.

3. Dragonball Evolution

Another film that I have very little connection with the source material. I think I tried to watch an episode of Dragonball once and was pretty bored by the whole thing. There just seem to be a lot of fighting and shouting. I can’t exactly see what all the fuss is about.
So I went into this blind and was pretty much treated to the same experience I got with G.I. Joe, ridiculousness beyond my comfort zone but even worse than G.I. Joe because it was incomprehensible ridiculousness. I reached a point where I couldn’t fully figure out what the hell was going on, nor did I care. Something to do with the guy in the orange becoming a WereMonkey and destroying the world for the grey guy if they didn’t get all the glowy balls or something. I don’t know. It was just odd and thankfully a pretty forgettable experience.

2. Friday The 13th

Now this is where this list gets a bit more personal. Yes, Terminator Salvation was a major disappointment but I can’t say I’m a die hard Terminator fan. I love the first two films but I’m not really invested in the series. Friday the 13th is a different barrel of bananas. I love these fucking films. Sure, there are some in the series that really piss me off like part five where it wasn’t even Jason and Jason Goes to Hell which just confused the hell out of me, but there’s enough there to keep me entertained.
I’m also quite comfortable in the knowledge that the Friday the 13th films aren’t great or in some cases even good films but that doesn’t matter. They hold a special place in my heart as does that loveable be-hockey masked serial killer, Jason Voorhes. So I went into this quite looking forward to it. After all, what could they do to the series that could make it any worse than it was? How can you be the straw that breaks the camels back if the camel has a long standing series of breaking it’s back? Well, I’m not sure how but they found a way.
The worst part is, I can’t even tell you how. I don’t know why I hate this movie. I actually quite enjoyed the first half hour which were essentially quick remakes of parts one and two. The film had all the right ingredients. It had Jason in his hockey mask. It had a bunch of stereotypical teenagers and it had some pretty sweet kills but somehow it just managed to be awful and it was definitely the second angriest I’ve walked out of a cinema this year.

1. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

GAH! For fucks sake, don’t make me relive this again. Please, I’m begging you… Fine. This “film” was just fucking awful. I spent every fucking frame of it hating the fact that I was even there. I have never walked out of a film but I came damn fucking close during this piece of shit. I apologise for the langue but… FUCK! Seriously, this thing was actually filmed? It was actually written? Someone watched this and said “This is gold. Release it.”
It’s an incomprehensible mess. No character in this film is in anyway likeable, even Optimus Prime was a massive douche. This movie made me dislike Optimus fucking Prime. When the death of a character has more emotional resonance in an animated toy commercial posing as a film then you have big fucking problems. Fuck you movie. Fuck you. If you wanna know more about my feelings on this film, there is a video review and a written accompaniment elsewhere on this site. I honestly can’t continue writing about it again and keep my sanity. Gah… Fucking… Shit… See you in 2010. Laterz.



The Best and The Worst of 2009: Part 1 by Jamie
28/12/2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Lists, Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Originally I was going to finish this year with my top 50 of the past decade with maybe my top 10 worst, but I seem to have accidentally not saved my shortlist and so I’ve decided to just do this instead. Maybe I’ll try and sort out that decade list in January. Who knows? Not I… Anyway, In my opinion, 2009 was a pretty mediocre year for film. Of course this is skewed slightly by the fact that I didn’t get to see quite a lot of the films that I wanted to see and was left less than impressed by others.

Yes, this was a year for unnecessary sequels (Terminator: Salvation, Fast & Furious, The Final Destination), unnecessary remakes (Friday The 13th, Race To Witch Mountain) and terrible adaptations of popular things from other media (Dragonball Evolution, Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li) but there were a few diamonds that shone through the rough… And since I can’t think of a better way to segue into the list, here are the top five of the ones that I saw (Probable spoilers ahead. You have been warned.):

5. Avatar

If you’ve seen Ferngully, you’ve basically seen Avatar. You just have to replace fairies with 11 foot tall blue people and Tim Curry’s oily dude with a cartoonish army general. Oh, and replace that Lizard that’s voiced by Tone Lōc with a giant Pterodactyl thing. Now, this film just barely made the top five because, well, I honestly wasn’t as impressed with it as most of the world seems to have been. Yeah, the CGI was pretty impressive but the way this film was hyped up you’d think the special effects cured AIDs or something. Did they cure AIDs? Well, I don’t know, I don’t have AIDs but I’m guessing they probably don’t. All I know is that I didn’t get the same sense of awe as I did when I saw living, breathing dinosaurs for the first time in Jurassic Park or when I saw that giant mother-ship hovering over Johannesburg in District 9.
I think it’s the CGI which actually brings this film down a little. Not because it looks bad but it’s because whole scenes of this film are completely dedicated to showing it off. In fact that seems to be the main point of the entire middle of them film. It just doesn’t make for good pacing in a movie. If they’d wanted t show of the world so much then I personally think that Avatar would have worked much better as a television series where they could have layered it in throughout episodes and had a lot more time available to just show off.
Still, it has to be said that I did enjoy this film, particularly the last part which is basically one long, awesome battle. Good times. As I’ve stated before the plot is cheesy and clichéd but it’s a James Cameron movie so I was kind of expecting that and James Cameron can take the clichés and make them work.

4. Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans

What? I can’t put a Nicolas Cage film in my top five list of the year? Well, fuck you buddy. It’s my list and if I loved a Nicolas Cage film then I loved a Nicolas Cage film. You know what? I fucking loved a Nicolas Cage film. Bad Lieutenant pretty much takes all of the things that makes Nic Cage bad in all the films he’s been in recently and makes it fucking work.
Does he overact? Hell yes, he overacts! Is it to his benefit? Hell yes, it’s to his benefit! Seriously, I’ve never seen overacting work so well in a movie. It’s like the reverse of The Wicker Man or something. If I ever meet Werner Herzog I want to shake his hand for casting Nic in this film. And if you’ve been in a room with me and I’ve decided to talk about this film then you already know what my favourite scene in this film is. If you haven’t seen it and I haven’t told you about it then I’ll just say this. It involves an old lady and her carer, a breathing tube and the use of the word cunt. It’s a glorious thing to behold.

3. Inglorious Basterds

Inglorious Basterds is very obviously a Quentin Tarantino film. In fact, it could almost be considered another part of Grindhouse, although I suppose that most of his films could be, some are just more obvious than others.
I know there was a lot of criticism when this film came out because there were a lot of scenes with people just talking punctuated throughout with sudden, short bursts of violence. The problem being of course that people walked into the film expecting a World War 2 film like Saving Private Ryan and what they got was a Quentin Tarantino film. I suppose there’s nothing you can really do about this kind of thing really, except for maybe hand out pamphlets explaining what the film is and what the film isn’t before they go in and see it but that seems impractical at best and stupid at worst.
One thing I really loved about this film was that most of it was in German and French with subtitles except for when it obviously benefited the characters to speak in English. I hate it when films have characters speak in English for apparently no reason except so that the audience can understand them. For example, I was watching Scarface the other night, an otherwise brilliant film, but there’s a scene where Tony is talking to his sister and mother and they are all talking in English. Why? Wouldn’t it be more natural for them to speak in Spanish? Whatever. I suppose it’s that suspension of disbelief thing that I have problems with from time to time.
Perhaps my biggest problem with the film, and to be fair it’s fairly minor, is Mike Myers as the British General. His performance was fine but his accent just seemed to slip one to many times for me to buy it,
Ooh, before I move on, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the awesome finale in the French cinema. It’s probably one of the most awesome scenes in any film I’ve seen not just this year but in the past decade. Watching two Jewish men spray bullets from boxes into the highest echelons of Nazi society below them who are in turn trying to escape from a fire, whilst the visage of a women speaking about Jewish vengeance is being projected onto the screen and then the smoke, is a truly, truly incredible thing to watch.

2. Star Trek

I would by no means consider myself a Trekkie, though I have enjoyed many a Star Trek thing over the years, in particular the original series. It’s certainly a much better series than Next Generation, with barely any of the techno-babble that haunted the later series. It was basically about three best friends in space discovering new peoples whilst one of them tried to have sex with them. Good times.
So I was a little bit wary of this film when I heard about it. Still, it turns out I had no reason to be. This film was fucking awesome on so many levels. If you’ve never seen anything Star Trek before, then you can appreciate it as a great Sci-Fi film. If you’ve seen the original series then you can appreciate it on a whole different level. There are so many little references thrown in through out the film then you’ll be a thousand times more entertained.
I really have to commend the cast of this film, in particular Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine who I thought got Spock and Kirk down perfectly. Quinto did an excellent job portraying a character who had the problem of being both part Human and part Vulcan and Pine managed to pull off that likeable cockiness that made Kirk such an enjoyable character to watch.
Now, I’m as usual I’m not afraid to admit when I’ve cried during a film and I was surprised that I got a little teary eyed on more than one occasion watching this film. Perhaps most surprising was when I welled up a little at the end when Leonard Nimoy is quoting the famous ‘Space, The Final Frontier’ speech. It’s truly a wonderful thing that completely sums up what Star Trek, nay, the human spirit is all about, the yearning to explore and discover and I had no idea that it had it ingrained itself on my psyche and affected me so much until I heard it booming from the speakers in a cinema. Still, I will agree with my mother, who’s complaining that William Shatner wasn’t in the film drove me to near insanity. It would have been nice if JJ Abrahms had gotten Shatner in to read that speech, maybe just have Spock listening to some old Captain’s Log or something. Ah well, maybe in the sequel.

1. District 9

What can I say about this film that I haven’t already said? Well, as I said earlier, I felt more awe from the special effects in this film then I did from Avatar, except the mecha-prawn which on occasion looked a little ropey. I think, in all honesty, I’m just more impressed when you can take something completely CGI and blend it with the real world, like the mothership and the prawns in this film. I don’t get too excited by a world which is pretty much totally computer-generated. That and I really, really like insectoid aliens.
This film also inspired a last minute costume change for the Saturday of Bestival, my original plan being to go as Krang’s Robot Body from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Instead I spent an entire night building a prawn arm out of bin bags, paper and a glove and went and Wikus Van De Merwe. Good times.
There is so much in this film and it can be enjoyed on so many different levels. You can enjoy it on an action and sci-fi level or on a political level or even on a comedic level, the film manages to balance all these different elements exquisitely without ever feeling bloated or boring. Ever frame of this film had me on the edge of my seat and if it isn’t recognised at the Oscars then, well, fuck the Oscars.

So that’s it. That’s my top 5 films of 2009. But I know the internet. I know what the internet likes. The internet thrives on negativity, a raw powerful anger and hatred that the anonymity the internet provides and is generally just more entertaining for all concerned. So with that in mind come back tomorrow for my Worst 5 films of 2009 and I certainly do have a large buffet of shit to choose from. Laterz.




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