Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Lazily stumble across a Guardian article about a scientific, ahem, test that BBC Radio 3 are conducting online into people's musicality, and of course you can't then not do the damned test afterwards. However, now I'm floating on air after snagging 18 out of 18 for pounding the beat out on my Vaio spacebar compared to the painfully and unjustifiably smug John 'Jesus And Mary Chain' Moore's 15. I defy anyone not to beat his paltry scores. In everything. By contrast, I was pretty hopeless at arranging the half-second snippets into their various genre categories. Based on the results, the BBC then suggested I might like to spend Sunday evenings in the company of Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone radio show. No thanks.

Enthusiasm For Music 99% : Musical Perception 100% : Emotional Connection 100% : Social Creativity 70% : Musical Curiosity 94%

Saturday, January 01, 2011


So much seasonal catching up to do, a real bonanza.

Black Christmas, 1974 (*****)
the original and still the best slasher film bar none; more disturbing, more enigmatic, and thus more memorable than the derivative Halloween - it also seems to have a weird understated eroticism behind the narrative, but maybe that's just me

Black Swan (*****)
as impressive as The Wrestler wasn't; a sumptuous feast of uncompromisingly dark psychosexual intrigue and rivalry at a ballet company - Mila Kunis, in particular, is out of this world; this, along with Exit Through The Gift Shop and Saw: The Final Chapter, would be my main nomination for 2010's best

Catfish (****)
ideally seen without any knowledge or expectations whatsoever - in that spirit I shall say no more other than that I thought Catfish was totally porno

Trash Humpers (*****)
the brilliant Harmony Korine outdoes himself once again with this collection of crudely edited vignettes of the activities of a group of elderly sociopaths; it's fascinating to see how the applied masks so dramatically affect the behaviour of the participants; as with say The Blair Witch Project, the use of crummy VHS tape is more than stylistic, it's part of what makes the actions so much more believable and threatening

The Night Listener (**)
The Night Listener, about a gay radio host becoming obsessed with the case of an ill 14 year old boy, is frustrating for being so near to being very special indeed; Toni Collette, as the boy's mother, is as amazing and as memorable as Robin Williams is miscast in the lead role

Talhotblond (***)
you might be noticing a theme appearing by now... enthralling, at times shocking, documentary of an online love triangle which ultimately led to murder

Xtro, 1983 (***)
crude but charming offbeat science fiction horror with neat synth soundtrack

Pray The Devil Back To Hell (*****)
don't be fooled, this film documenting the rise of a group of Liberian women of various faiths and backgrounds against their male peers responsible for a climate of dismemberments, rapes, and other catastrophic mayhem, is incredibly moving

Life As We Know It (**)
as much as I enjoy Katherine Heigl's undoubted charms, the whole baby thing is way scarier than any horror film that is conceivable

Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup (****)
probably the most effective and certainly the most polished of all Dylan Avery's Loose Change documentaries, even though I still prefer the written word for these types of analyses

Mr. Death: The Rise And Fall Of Fred A. Leuchter Jr. (***)
great character study

Capturing The Friedmans (****) 
compelling docu that reveals far more about the Long Island vice cops' insane and preposterous sexual fantasies, and quite possibly inherent antisemitism, than it does the Friedmans, an admittedly weird family (though aren't they all?)

I Saw The Devil (***)
this typically stylish Korean revenge drama with lots of explicit gore starts out in fine style before sinking into a miasma of gratuitous implausibility and unnecessarily overscripted dialogues between a ludicrous all-purpose serial killer and the enraged fiancé of one of the murder victims