Tuesday, 31 January 2012


France/UK/Germany: Tomas Alfredson, 2011

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Tomas Alfredson's TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY is meticulous in direction, acting, photography but equally brilliant, baffling & bland in plot.

I certainly feel I would benefit from reading the original novel and perhaps even watching the BBC Drama series before revisiting TINKER for a rewatch. Surely, I'm missing something as it makes for largely ambivalent viewing or is it just not as good as everyone makes out?

The Count's Verdict: There's plenty of talent on display both in front and behind the camera but be warned the film doesn't serve up its treasures easily and you may find it leaves you empty handed.

Monday, 30 January 2012


Original Title: Mil gritos tiene la noche
Spain/USA/Puerto Rico: Juan Piquer Simón, 1982

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My understanding of this film was that it was an infamously 'so bad it's good' low-budget 80s slasher'. To my delight, having seen it, I would largely agree. PIECES is all of that and more... Its a fun and enjoyable giallo.

BUT is it supposed to be so awfully dubbed?! I realise part of the pleasure to be derived from watching 'a fun dumb movie' are the elements that simply don't work but PIECES does have a degree of intention behind it which is often over looked. It has an effective instrumental score, passably hokey plot and a sexually deranged black gloved killer going about their business. It is far from the worst slasher/giallo I've seen and is actually far more entertaining than most. BUT it is mired but a truly awful dubbing job which gives the film a sense of amateurishness that actually does it a disservice.

The Count's Verdict: An unexpected triumph in terms of meshing cheese of 80s slashers with the most entertainingly silly gialli of 70s. Well worth a watch for laughs and entertainment that surpasses plenty of the mediocrity which bloats the giallo/slasher belly.


UK: Geraldine Dowd, 2011

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Sunday, 29 January 2012


USA: Alexander Payne, 2011

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THE DESCENDANTS has become one of those films that are never going to live up to the hype that surrounds them due to the frenzied acclaim that the annual awards season brings. It does however continue the recent trend of popular studio endorsed 'American Indie' genre fims. I'd slide it in at the bottom of these 'Hollywood indies' below the likes of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, SUNSHINE CLEANING, JUNO et al.

George Clooney is George Clooney in performance and voice-over, a slightly alienating technique used heavily throughout the film. Alexander Payne's direction is always evident if not obvious in keeping with his past quirky and low-key dramatic works. Without question the real find of the film is young actress Shailene Woodley, who gives a superb performance as Clooney's eldest daughter and confidant. Ultimately though, THE DESCENDANTS isn't as humorous and breezy as the trailers suggest nor as dramatically moving as the subject material deserves.

The Count's Verdict: THE DESCENDANTS is an unremarkable 3-Star film you'd be happy to stumble upon by chance but will disappoint now due to the awards season hype.

Saturday, 28 January 2012


aka Night Crew
USA: Scott Spiegel, 1989

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A joy! Scott Spiegel's INTRUDER captures cheesy 80s vibe of fun slashers like CHOPPING MALL, mixing it with some of slasherdom's most inventive & gory kills.

The Count's Verdict: A largely forgotten gem from the heyday of slasherdom. Seek it out!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Thursday, 26 January 2012


In this bumper length special edition of the Movie Matters podcast, co-hosts Lee Howard and Michael Mackenzie cast their eyes back over the previous twelve months, celebrating the best (and worst) of 2011. In addition to their own personal Top 10 lists, the duo also reveal lists submitted by listeners and pick out some anticipated titles for the coming year.

The music sampled in this episode is from HANNA, DRIVE, TRUE GRIT, ARRIETTY, 13 ASSASSINS, ANGELS OF EVIL and BLACK SWAN.

Please note that we have NOT been able to play every single MP3 list we received. The response was far greater than we were expecting and some of the submitted MP3s were a little on the long side, which would have resulted in what was already a four-hour epic being extended to somewhere approaching the five-hour mark. As a result, we have played the first three MP3s we received and are holding the rest back for a standalone mini-episode to be made available in the near future. We hope you understand and are not too disappointed not to have had your clips featured in the episode itself.

Created by Lee Howard & Michael Mackenzie
Edited by Michael Mackenzie


Tuesday, 24 January 2012


Original Title: Jisatsu sâkuruaka Suicide CircleJapan: Shion Sono, 2001

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Having only seen Sion Sono's COLD FISH previously I was keen to join the party late on his earlier effort SUICIDE CLUB. The film begins with bloody (literally) and brilliant opening set-piece which the film never fully manages to match. However, the presence of actor Ryo Ishibashi (from Takashi Miike's AUDITION) ensures the film is nothing less than watchable even in its more plodding moments.

The Count's Verdict: Ideal if you wanna try something a bit out of the ordinary with a decent central performance and violent eruptions of blood splattered across its somewhat meandering running time.


USA: Director Unknown, 2012

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Sunday, 22 January 2012


UK: Paul McGuigan and Toby Haynes, 2012 (Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

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Saturday, 21 January 2012

(*) 13 ASSASSINS ****½

Original Title: Jûsan-nin no shikaku
Japan/UK: Takashi Miike, 2010

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Friday, 20 January 2012


Original Title: Trolljegeren
aka TrollHunter
Norway: André Øvredal, 2010

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(*) BLACK SWAN ****½

USA: Darren Aronofsky, 2010

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Saturday, 14 January 2012

(*) DRIVE ****½

USA: Nicholas Winding Refn, 2011


Japan: Satoshi Kon, 1997

(Watched in Japanese with English subtitles)

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Satoshi Kon's PERFECT BLUE was a remarkable film which I'm not sure I fully comprehend on a single viewing. Up with the best Anime I've seen without question. Beautiful art work, mesmerising score and strong thematically: expertly playing around with reality and fantasy.

The Count's Verdict: A great film whether you watch Anime or otherwise with a complex but compelling plot full of emotional intensity. Can see the comparisons to BLACK SWAN and if you liked Aronofsky's film you owe it to yourself to give this film the time of day.


UK: Steve McQueen, 2011

A film praised by many for its unflinching look at difficult and adult themes. A dominating central performance by Michael Fassbender and assured direction from Steve McQueen. A subtle and effective score. However, despite all this SHAME left me cold and underwhelmed. It felt overlong, under-written, forced in its foregrounding of long takes, ditto male nudity and ultimately devoid of any engaging characterisations. Shame.

The Count's Verdict: Moments to admire on a technical level include long single take scenes and lingering close-ups but if your someone who prefers some investment in characters in said scenes look elsewhere.

Friday, 13 January 2012


USA: Danny Steinmann, 1985

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Alas, FRIDAY THE 13TH - PART V: A NEW BEGINNING was a rather lacklustre affair. Plot dull, kills weak but thankfully amble boobage.

The Count's Verdict: Worth seeing if only to confirm whether you have seen it before or not (I honestly couldn't remember until the boobs came out and I thought 'no, I've not been genuinely surprised at the size of that brunette's bosom before'.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


UK: Ben Wheatley, 2011

(Commentary by Director Ben Wheatley and Writer Amy Jump - Listened to on my MP3 Player)

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Commentary Rating: 7/10


It's nearly that time of year once again: we're gearing up to record the first Movie Matters episode of 2012, which, in the tradition of 2011's first episode, will be a countdown of our favourite films of the previous year. We'll each by revealing and discussing our personal Top 10 Films of 2011, and as with last year's episode would like to read out as many of our listeners' Top 10 lists as possible.

So, get in touch with us with your favourite films of 2011. Either list the films in order of preference or not, and use whichever criteria you like (e.g. theatrical release dates in your country, home video release dates, etc.), just as long as you let us know what they are. Also, feel free to let us know about your most hated and/or most disappointing film(s) of the year, and anything else that takes your fancy. Either post your comments here, or email them to moviematterspodcast[at]gmail[dot]com. Alternatively, feel free to get creative and submit your nominations in MP3 form. We've had a couple of these already and would love to feature more, time permitting.

Deadline is Saturday, January 21.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


Original Title: Kôkaku kidôtaiJapan: Mamoru Oshii, 1995

(Watched with the English dub from the Manga DVD release)

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GHOST IN THE SHELL is both impressively cinematic and philosophical. A compelling story of ideas played out in a perfectly realised Baudrillardian cyberspace.

The Count's Verdict: I agree with the Anime aficionados (unlike my response to AKIRA) GHOST IN THE SHELL is essential to any would be fan of Japanese animation or smart SF cinema.


UK: Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, 2011 (Created by Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Warwick Davis)

Sunday, 8 January 2012


aka Crazy Fat Ethel 2
USA: Nick Millard, 1987

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CRIMINALLY INSANE 2 aka CRAZY FAT ETHEL 2 is a piss poor zero-budget non-entity of a slasher film with ugly camcorder visuals. This mess of a sequel replays all significant and insignificant scenes from the first film for no other reason one would assume than it’s easier than actually coming up with a new storyline.

The Count's Verdict: I may have finally found what has to be THE worst slasher film, beating off some stiff competition. Fuckin’ awful. Ranks at the very bottom of the bottom rung of slashers.


USA: Nick Millard, 1975

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Expectations set low for this one and CRIMINALLY INSANE proved to be an ultra-low budget (short) slasher in grindhouse tradition which had it’s moments. Would rank pretty far down the slasher pantheon though, rubbing scuzzy shoulders with likes of SPLATTER UNIVERSITY and FATAL GAMES.

The Count's Verdict: Dedicated fans of slashers or US grindhouse flicks need only apply. If you can look past the zero budget production values and general amateurish nature of the whole project there are the odd moments to enjoy.


Netherlands: Tom Six, 2009

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THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (THE FIRST SEQUENCE) is basically a gimmick 'nasty' and an okay horror film. The film pleasingly takes a bit of time to build to its disturbing revelation and the villian looks creepy as fuck. However, you'll be forgiven for not making it that far as the terrible acting by the two female leads is incredibly grating from the outset. In fact the film is only able to recover when the actresses performances improve once their mouths are sewn to asses.

The Count's Verdict: Check it out for being a call back to the 'video nasties' era but despite the incredible hype and controversy surrounding THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) it is merely an average horror flick which you won't be missing out on anything insightful by skipping.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

(*) KIDNAPPED ****½

Original Title: Secuestrados
Spain/France: Miguel Angel Vivas, 2010


UK: Various Directors, 2011 (Created by Charlie Brooker)

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Friday, 6 January 2012

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Japan: Katsuhiro Ohtomo, 1988

(Watched with the 'Original English Dub' from the US Pioneer Special Edition DVD release)

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AKIRA begins with images and sound to justify its omnipotence atop of the pantheon of Japanese animation. The opening in Neo Tokyo and the first drum thud as the camera pans into a crater is immense.

However, once the film proper begins and events develop I must confess to feeling a little underwhelmed by it all. The plot seemed rather muddled and any dramatic dimension to the characters quickly dissipates into a script comprising of repetitive shouting of each other's names (this issue wasn't helped by my mistake of watching AKIRA with the 'original English dub' as I'm told it has even more of the kids shouting).

I certainly don't mean to deny the film's merits: the art design and moreover the music are sublime. And despite my ignorance of Japanese animation I'm able to appreciate its historical significane and influence on the genre. Although having finally seen the film I'm left with a sense that several potentially interesting ideas and themes are ultimately not fully realised leaving the film to be good rather than great.

The Count's Verdict: A highly influential anime undoubtedly but merely a good film despite its classic status. Definitely worth seeking out if only to be able to see where modern anime began and how it has evolved - plus that soundtrack is simply stunning.


USA: Various Directors, 2011 (Created by Gideon Raff and Developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa)

Sunday, 1 January 2012


aka Black X-Mas
USA: Glen Morgan, 2006

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Passable but utterly futile slasher remake which can only measure up as facile and forgettable compared to the groundbreaking original.

The Count's Verdict: Watch only to underline the superior quality of Bob Clark's original.