Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Best Films of 2011 That Did Not Come Out in 2011

I must have lived in Britain for too long because I am now obsessed with lists. And while more lists of best/worst films of 2011 are being published, a debate is raging. Should such lists only include films that were actually released in the country the journalist/blogger is based in, or should it also include films seen at film festivals? I would go for the former to keep a connection with readers who might not have the chance to see so many films at festivals. Yet, frustratingly, my two favourite films seen in 2009 then 2010 were at film festivals and never made it to the UK screen. They were the Japanese Air Doll and then the Estonian The Temptations Of St Tony (think Bela Tarr meets David Lynch meets Aki Kaurismaki). No such dilemna this year, however I still saw a whole bunch of films that are worth mentioning, even though they have yet to be released in here.

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Hall Of Shame: 2011 Worst Films

We are going from the dizzying heights of the best films of 2011 yesterday to the fetid pit of the bad cinema of the year today. But before I unleash my list of worst films of the year, what makes a bad film? Surely there must be some Z list rubbish films that are more deserving of a spot in there than my choices, such as Crocatarus vs Mega Platypus? But that last example would never have any ambitions to be anything that it is not. To me, what makes a bad film above all is dullness. Films are like relationships, I want to love, I want to hate, but I do not want to be bored. Other than that, promising films that do not fulfil their expectations also deserve to be on this list. And finally, "quality" period dramas that hide a complete void of new ideas and originality.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Top 10 2011. Actually It is 2011 So Make It The Top 11

Yes it is that time of the year again! No, not Christmas, 'tis the time where everybody is busy drawing their top 10 list. The best thing about my list is how full of surprises it is, indeed I would have struggled to predict the majority of films that feature in it, and this is what I love about cinema, its endless ability to surprise. This post only actually include number 11 to 6 as the top 5 has been published in Cinemart so I include the link at the end. Feel free to comment if you agree/disagree/are rolling your eyes in disbelief.

Monday, 12 December 2011

House: Japanese Evil Dead On Acid

Plot: A Japanese school girl takes some friends along to spend the summer at her aunt's house. Little do they know that the house is haunted, and its owner has a nefarious plan in mind.

The plot might make it sound like the least original one you can think of for a horror film, yet, despite the simple premise, this has got to be one of the weirdest films I have ever seen, and I have seen my fair share of them. This feels like a tornado of genres, borrowing elements from all sorts of films and stitching them out together without ever repeating itself and with little concern for tonal consistency, with an insane creativity and wonderfully twisted invention.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Thor Has Cabin Fever

The much, much delayed Cabin in the Woods, the horror film with a twist from the writing/directing team of Drew Goddard/Josh Whedon is finally getting a release date, in April next year, and to prove that it is finally happening, a poster and now a trailer have been released. The film was actually shot in 2009, at a time when cast member Chris Hemsworth (Thor) was a virtual unknown for worldwide audiences apart from a Star Trek cameo, long before he took on the part of the iconic Nordic God Thor that brought him worldwide fame. MGM, the studio behind it went bankrupt after spending a further year post-converting it to 3D, and the film was bought by horror specialist Lionsgate. The trailer seems extremely spoilerific and raises an important question about how much or how little a studio should reveal of a film that is supposed to contain so many twists.

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Thing Review

For fans of 80's horror classics, the idea of a The Thing remake was the final nail in the coffin, in a decade that saw every single major then minor horror classic of this golden era get redone. While not as well known to the mainstream audience as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, the John Carpenter's film, (itself a loose remake of the 50's sci-fi The Thing From Another World), holds a special place in the heart of many a fan of the genre. I quite simply hold it as the best horror film ever made.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Exclusive Interview with Ghett'a Life's Director Chris Browne

FilmLand Empire: The film is a real eye opener and I had no idea that Kingston is such a divided community. How motivated are you to show the political elements of life in Jamaica and specifically Kingston?

Chris Browne: Jamaicans live, eat and breath politics. On the radio talk shows, newspapers, in the street, that is all there seems to be. This is what we kill one another about, not religion like the Middle East. i have been working in film in Kingston from the 80's and been in every garrison community and seen their life, and I have been fascinated by how it is run, and there is a lot more to be said. But the communities really only draw the lines during election time, that is why I place the film in the throes of elections. If they every make the film on Dudus the Don from Tivoli Gardens who is now in court in New York, that would be amazing.

Ghett'a life Review

Now this is a what the power of cinema is all about. You walk into to a dark room,take a seat and settle down for a film, and instantly you are transported to world that you can almost smell and taste. This place is Kingston, Jamaica. And not the Jamaica of holiday brochures and reggae music videos – this is raw inner city Kingston – a place divided into 'Garrison' community's and so violent and brutal that army tanks patrol the streets. I love it when a film comes along and has you gripped from start to finish, and I must admit it didn't sound like my cup of tea, so an even better surprise.