Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Movie Haiku Index

Here's my handy index to all the films (173 - count 'em!) that I saw on the big screen in 2007 - apart from Hatchet, Saw III and Them which I first reviewed last year - alongside my star rating for each film. Click on the individual film title to read my movie haiku.
I actually saw a total of 181 films at the cinema this year, easily beating 2006's total of 140; the eight films that I saw more than once were Day Watch, Diary Of The Dead, Frontiere(s), Hot Fuzz, Paradise Lost (Turistas) and Sunshine (all twice) and Inside (A l'interieur) (three times).

Of the films listed, thirty-four of them were foreign language films, nineteen of them were sequels and five of them were remakes. Only seven films attained the coveted five star rating, although in hindsight Frontiere(s) should probably have been awarded one less star, and of course Hard Boiled is a nineties classic. Looking back over the list I don't think I've been too harsh on any one film, but there are certainly others which have benefited from some overly generous ratings - notably Botched and The Messengers which should have received two stars each, and Captivity, Evan Almighty, The Fountain (sorry!), Hannibal Rising and Rush Hour 3 which in hindsight were stone-cold one star stinkers. I walked out of four films this year; Km 31 and Skinwalkers at FrightFest and Exodus and Reclaim Your Brain at TIFF, but I came very close to giving up with Blood Trails, Joshua and Sukiyaki Western Django. I thankfully managed to avoid seeing anything completely pissed out of my head this year, but I'm sure I dozed off during more than a couple of films...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 Review - Films of the Year

My final list is going to cover my favourite - and least favourite - films from the past twelve months... And I've had a lot of films to choose from this year, even more than in 2006!

(2006 Winner - Children Of Men)

Best films of 2007:
  1. Inside (À l'intérieur)
  2. Grindhouse
  3. Sunshine
  4. [Rec]
  5. The Orphanage
  6. Eagle vs. Shark
  7. Lars And The Real Girl
  8. 30 Days Of Night
  9. Frontiere(s)
  10. Day Watch

Worst films of 2007:

  1. Outlaw
  2. Blood Trails
  3. Evan Almighty
  4. Murder Party
  5. The Invasion
Tomorrow: I'm going to publish a handy index of all the movie haikus for the films that I've seen at the cinema this year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 Review - Albums of the Year

Okay, following on from yesterday's Songs of the Year, here's my list of favourite albums from the past twelve months.

(2006 Winner - Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther)

Best albums of 2007:
  1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver
  2. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
  3. Feist - The Reminder
  4. New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom
  5. Kate Nash - Made Of Bricks
  6. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
  7. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
  8. Soulwax - Most Of The Remixes
  9. The Sounds - Dying To Say This To You
  10. Chungking - Stay Up Forever

Tomorrow: Films of the Year

Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 Review - Songs of the Year

Moving on from yesterday's Gigs of the Year, here's my list of favourite songs from the past twelve months. This year three of the artists in this list have also made it onto my Albums of the Year shortlist, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out who they are!

(2006 Winner - The Automatic - Monster)

Best songs of 2007:
  1. Kate Nash - Foundations
  2. Asobi Seksu - Thursday
  3. The Duke Spirit - Lassoo
  4. New Young Pony Club - The Bomb
  5. The Shins - Phantom Limb
  6. Mason vs. Princess Superstar - Perfect (Exceeder)
  7. Duffy - Rockferry
  8. Adele - Hometown Glory
  9. The Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover
  10. Mark Ronson - Stop Me

Tomorrow: Albums of the Year

Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 Review - Gigs of the Year

It's that time of the year when everyone looks back over the past year and publishes lots of lists, so in keeping with previous years I'm going to start today with my favourite gigs that I've been to this year.

(2006 Winner - The Dandy Warhols at Islington Academy)

Best gigs of 2007:
  1. Foo Fighters at Brighton Concorde 2
  2. The Shins at The Forum
  3. The Sounds at Brighton Pressure Point
  4. New Young Pony Club at Brighton Concorde 2
  5. The Hold Steady at Resident Records

Tomorrow: Songs of the Year

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Movie Haiku - I Am Legend

Dir: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Dash Mihok, Charlie Tahan

The last man on earth
seeks cure for human rabies
who lurks in the dark?

soulmining rating: ***

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Reflections on 2007

It's fast approaching the end of another year so as is customary I thought I'd take a few moments to look back and reflect on the past twelve months.

1) Was 2007 a good year for you?

I'd have to say yes, it was. Few changes at home and at work, but things continued to snowball with regards to my film writing and I had more opportunities than ever before - four FrightFest events, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), a set visit to Beyond The Rave, plus numerous industry screenings. I also made a heap of new friends while I was at it.

2) What was your favourite moment of the year?

That's a tough one! There were so many great moments, but I think the stand out for me was taking part in Mike's Zombie Walk in Leicester Square on August Bank Holiday Monday to help promote The Zombie Diaries. I usually hate any kind of fancy dress but this just came together so well (thanks again to Chrissy for getting our paramedic costumes) and it was such a thrill to see such a huge crowd of like-minded zombies take over the capital for a couple of hours. I don't think I've ever had to pose for so many photographs and Steve and I even made it onto CNN!

3) What was your least favourite moment of the year?

Getting stuck in the lift at my apartment in Toronto, although I did see the funny side of it. I'm just thankful I'm not that claustrophobic!

4) Where will you be when 2007 ends?

I will be staying with my parents in Stocksfield, Northumberland.

5) Who will you be with when 2007 ends?

My parents and - most probably - some of their close friends from the village.

6) Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions from 2007?

Yes, pretty much. My first resolution was to contribute more reviews to Eat My Brains; I certainly kept my hand in better this year, although things did tail off a little after TIFF as work got more intense. My second resolution was to stop mixing beer and wine on nights out which I successfully managed to do.

7) Do you have any New Year's resolutions for 2008?

I would like to get a new job (or at least move up the ranks where I am) to keep me motivated, and to keep taking any film-related opportunities that come my way.

8) Did you fall in love in 2007?


9) Do you regret it?

Not at all. I'd make a rubbish boyfriend; I barely have enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do!

10) Did you break up with anyone in 2007?


11) Did you make any new friends in 2007?

Yes, I continued to make friends through the various FrightFest events and social get-togethers, most notably Johanna, Sheena, Joe Lynch and Scott Weinberg. At TIFF I'd have to include the wonderful Colin Geddes, Ant Timpson, Bruce Fletcher, Mitch Davis, Todd Brown and Darryl Shaw amongst the many cool faces that I met over there. In March I finally got to meet Gia who was instrumental in fuelling my appetite for all things Sunshine, and then closer to home there has been Raissa and Louise who I met via The Mummers gigs and last but not least, James, Lee and Jamie who've become valued friends and colleagues at work.

12) What was your favourite month of 2007?

I'd have to say August as it included the best ever FrightFest event, a huge birthday bash at the Phoenix for Rob and myself, and the Foo Fighters tiny club gig in Brighton.

13) Did you travel outside of the UK in 2007?

Yes, I spent two wonderful weeks in Canada for TIFF where I got to watch loads of new films and meet lots of exciting people. Toronto had such a relaxed, welcoming vibe and it gave me the chance to finally meet up with Courtney, one of my earliest blogging friends.

14) Did you lose anybody close to you in 2007?


15) Did you miss anybody in the past year?

Yeah... this was the first year in a while that I didn't go out to Thailand so I missed seeing the friends that I'd usually hook up with in Chiang Mai, especially Gary who is now teaching out there and my close American buddy Sean. Back here I'd have to say Jim and Lucy who have both moved on to other things and I rarely see nowadays, and more recently Darren who has relocated to Leicester - I miss having them around.

16) What was your favourite movie that you saw in 2007?

I'd have to say the French shocker Inside (À l'intérieur) which I saw three times on the big screen - a stunning piece of work.

17) What was your favourite song from 2007?

There was a whole host of catchy tunes this year, but top of the heap was undoubtedly Foundations by Kate Nash, the song of the Summer. I'll always remember the scrum at Pure Groove when the single was launched and Kate ended up busking outside!

18) What was your favourite record from 2007?

It's a close one, I was originally going to say Sound Of Silver by LCD Soundsystem but on balance I think Wincing The Night Away by The Shins just shades it.

19) How many concerts did you see in 2007?

My blagging continues unabated... Forty-five, plus a scattering of comedy and literary events.

20) Did you have a favourite concert in 2007?

No contest, Foo Fighters at the Concorde 2 in Brighton with my flatmate Steve. A special gig for Radio One with an audience of around 400 punters - simply awesome! And, we didn't pull any favours to get tickets, I had to queue up for about three hours outside the venue like everyone else... worth every moment. Unmissable!

21) Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2007?

An average year I suppose. However, I've definitely become more sensitive to my previous drunken exploits and have taken to drinking shorts more often and not mixing my drinks quite so much. I can only recall one really severe hangover this year which resulted from 'The McEvoy Effect' when we got together to see Matt Berry at the Komedia back in February.

22) Did you do a lot of drugs in 2007?

None at all.

23) How many people did you sleep with in 2007?

(Sighs) None.

24) Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?

Telling a friend something that I'd been told in confidence and getting found out. That taught me a hard lesson and I'd like to think that I'm a lot more discreet now. Also being given a gift that belonged to someone else and not owning up because I wanted to keep it for myself, that was pretty low.

25) What was the worst lie someone told you in 2007?

I don't remember being told any big fat lies, or at least none that have affected me. I do have a close friend who I believe is being lied to repeatedly, but that's a whole other story...

26) What was the best practical joke that you played in 2007?

I don't think there were any corkers this year, although I've just given flatmate Steve a DVD of Bradley Walsh's Soccer Shockers for Christmas which was very funny! Chrissy and I tried to convince (other) Steve that we were taking him to see Scissor Sisters at the O2 for his birthday when in fact we were going to see Aimee Mann at the IndigO2 instead, but I don't think he ever fully believed us. Of course there were plenty of gags in the office, although I reckon my spacesuit was the butt of most of them - the best of which was Darren's frequent use of Babylon Zoo's Spaceman as the perfect companion to Polly's horn.

27) What was your proudest moment of 2007?

Getting my first poster quote for the UK release of Satan (Sheitan) was one, as was being asked to help introduce the UK Premiere of Frontiere(s) at the FrightFest all-nighter, but I would have to say that my proudest moment was penning the intro for this year's FrightFest brochure - so many thanks to Ian and Paul for giving me that opportunity.

28) What was your most embarrassing moment of 2007?

I think I've been better behaved this year! The one embarassing moment that springs to mind is when I was at Gatwick airport with Ian and his Dad and we were sampling the cocktails at the Southern Comfort stand. In my eagerness I managed to knock over the display and send a bottle rolling across the floor - although remarkably it didn't break, so it could have been worse!

29) If you could go back in time to one moment in time in 2007 and change something what would it be?

I would make sure that Rob had his passport safe and sound prior to the FrightFest event in Glasgow.

30) What are your plans for 2007?

I am currently applying for a new job at work so am hopeful that I will be successful and that it will lead to a more challenging and fulfilling role. In March I plan to return to Thailand after a two year absence and am looking forward to hooking up with the usual suspects out there. I am also hoping to do at least one international film festival this year and will keep pursuing all my various film-related projects including a brand new regular blog for the FrightFest website entitled TV Eye.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Movie Haiku - St. Trinian's

Dir: Oliver Parker & Barnaby Thompson

Cast: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Lena Headey, Russell Brand

School going bankrupt
naughty schoolgirls hatch a plan
steal famous painting

soulmining rating: ***

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CSS at the Dome

Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong - Brighton Dome

My final gig of the year (unless something unexpected crops up between now and New Year's Eve) saw me at the Dome for the return to Brighton of CSS, the first band that I saw play live this year. First support was the hotly tipped Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong and it's easy to see why - they play confident, spiky art-rock in the same mould as Franz Ferdinand and British Sea Power. With a few more memorable tunes under their belts they should go far in 2008. "I feel old," said a 20-year old guy as we stood watching the band, surrounded by young teens. Thanks mate, think how I must have felt!

CSS - Brighton Dome

Having missed Metronomy, we made it back into the auditorium for CSS and there was a definite party vibe around the place with a glammed up set, Christmas Tree on stage, and balloons in the crowd - they even brought a festive dancer on with them to liven things up. After a few initial problems with the sound, the band found their stride and rattled through some choice cuts from their album alongside a couple of new tunes. Then, just before the encore, some idiot threw a shoe which hit Lovefoxxx smack in the face. Off marched the band, confusion reigned, and then the house lights came on - show over. No encore, no Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above... and definitely no refunds. Well, to be fair, you couldn't blame the band, and it wasn't the venue's fault either. Still, a disappointing end to what had been an enjoyable Christmas show. As I said on the band's MySpace page (later reposted by NME on their news page) it's a shame that one idiot had to spoil the show for everyone else. Tosser!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Play It Cool in December

Not much new music this month, but here's my pick of the discs for December:
  • Playgroup - Playgroup (Vital)
  • Kosheen - Damage (Moksha)
  • Foo Fighters - Echoes Silence Patience & Grace (BMG)
  • Roisin Murphy - Overpowered (EMI) single
  • The Shins - Wincing The Night Away (Transgressive)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Movie Haiku - Southland Tales

Dir: Richard Kelly

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Timberlake

Actor and pornstar
fight for civil liberties
don't let the twins meet

soulmining rating: **

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Movie Haiku - We Own The Night

Dir: James Gray

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Robert Duvall

His club gets busted
takes side with his cop brother
all placed in danger

soulmining rating: ***

Crowded House at Brighton Centre

Crowded House - Brighton Centre

What can I tell you about the newly reformed Crowded House at Brighton Centre then? Well, very little probably as the gig was on Friday and it's now Tuesday, such is my workload at the moment... Anyway, Friday was Dave's last social engagement before f*cking off to Thailand, so it was a very pleasant night out bookended by a few drinks in the Ranelagh and the Waggon. The stage was pretty low key, just a few simple projections onto a backdrop but the band certainly gave good value for money, playing for over two hours. The set spanned the band's career from early hits like Don't Dream It's Over right through to this year's Time On Earth album. Let's be honest, you know what you're going to get with Crowded House and they do what they do very well; two encores, which included Pineapple Head and Weather With You really got the crowd going and the band also took some requests. Of course, one of their great strengths live has always been the lively banter - Neil Finn comes across like Murray from Flight Of The Conchords at times - which is always amusing and makes the show feel much more intimate than the large venue suggests.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Movie Haiku - The Golden Compass

Dir: Chris Weitz

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Sam Elliott, Daniel Craig

It shows her the truth
bring your animal daemons
go north with ice bears

soulmining rating: ***

Monday, December 03, 2007

Movie Haiku - Hitman

Dir: Xavier Gens

Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper

No name just number
trained to kill by secret sect
bored identity

soulmining rating: **

New words for 2007

Thanks to Polly for bringing these to my attention...
  • 404 - Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found" meaning that the requested document could not be located.
  • ADMINISPHERE - The rarefied organisational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the "adminisphere" are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve. This is often affiliated with the dreaded "administrivia" - needless paperwork and processes.
  • AEROPLANE BLONDE - One who has bleached/dyed her hair but still has a 'black box'.
  • ASSMOSIS - The process by which people seem to absorb success and advancement by sucking up to the boss rather than working hard.
  • AUSSIE KISS - Similar to a French Kiss, but given down under.
  • BEER COAT - The invisible but warm coat worn when walking home after a booze cruise at 3:00am.
  • BEER COMPASS - The invisible device that ensures your safe arrival home after a booze cruise, even though you're too drunk to remember where you live, how you got here, and where you've come from.
  • BLAMESTORMING - Sitting round in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.
  • BREAKING THE SEAL - Your first pee in the pub, usually after 2 hours of drinking. After breaking the seal of your bladder, repeat visits to the toilet will be required every 10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the night.
  • CUBE FARM - An office filled with cubicles.
  • GOING FOR A McSHIT - Entering a fast food restaurant with no intention of buying food, you're just going to the bog. If challenged by a pimply staff member, your declaration to them that you'll buy their food afterwards is known as a McShit with Lies.
  • GREYHOUND - A very short skirt, only an inch from the hare.
  • JOHNNY-NO-STARS - A young man of substandard intelligence, the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant. The 'no-stars' comes from the badges displaying stars that staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their level of training.
  • MILLENNIUM DOMES - The contents of a Wonderbra, i.e. extremely impressive when viewed from the outside, but there's actually naught in there worth seeing.
  • MONKEY BATH - A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go, "Oo! Oo! Oo! Aa! Aa! Aa!".
  • MYSTERY BUS - The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you're in the toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in.
  • MYSTERY TAXI - The taxi that arrives at your place on Saturday morning before you wake up, whisks away the stunner you slept with, and leaves a 10 Pinter in your bed instead.
  • OH-NO SECOND - That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake (e.g. you've hit 'reply all').
  • PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE - The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.
  • PICASSO BUM - A woman whose knickers are too small for her, so she looks like she's Got four buttocks.
  • PRAIRIE DOGGING - When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on. (This also applies to applause for a promotion because there may be cake.)
  • SALAD DODGER - An excellent phrase for an overweight person.
  • SALMON DAY - The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.
  • SEAGULL MANAGER - A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.
  • SINBAD - Single working girls. Single Income, No Boyfriend And Desperate.
  • SITCOMs - Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids or start a "home business".
  • SWAMP-DONKEY - A deeply unattractive person.
  • TART FUEL - Bottled premixed spirits, regularly consumed by young women.
  • TESTICULATING - Waving your arms around and talking bollocks.