And the Oscar Goes To… 2009


rsz_vlcsnap-2012-12-20-17h35m12s96.png2009 was a crazy year for the Oscars because it was the year that the list of Best Picture nominees was raised from 5 to…anything up to ten. In the years since it has seemed as if the Academy has started to horribly regret this decision and made steps to gradually start rolling this decision backwards but, for a couple of years at least, the list of nominees was outright crammed.

Which really just means that I had more work cut out for me writing these pieces.

And the Oscar goes to…  Continue reading “And the Oscar Goes To… 2009”


And the Oscar goes to… 2008


rsz_1inbruges3I’ve believed for years that 2008 was a weak year for Oscar contenders and to be fair, when compared to 2007, it’s still easy to accept that as a fact and shrug.

In reality, it was a more than competent year that I spent a long time denying myself by only seeing three of the five nominees. And typically those three were the weakest of the nominations by quite some stretch.

But now I’m caught up so let’s take a look at who won, who should have and who I’d nominate given a vote.

And the Oscar goes to…  Continue reading “And the Oscar goes to… 2008”

And the Oscar goes to… 2007

rsz_mehro49202007 was the year I first paid any attention to the lead up of the Academy Awards. As a result, I knew which movies were in the running, where most bookies were stacking the odds and what was worth caring about.

It was also the only year I ever got truly wound up about which movie won the Best Picture nomination before learning to not let myself get caught up in the politics of what essentially amounts to the world’s most prestigious circle-jerk.

And the secreted, sticky residue of that frustration is probably entirely why this whole series of retrospectives exists at all.

And the Oscar goes to…  Continue reading “And the Oscar goes to… 2007”

And the Oscar goes to… 2006

-As can always be expected in February the motion picture awards season is well and truly coming to a close and the big show is only a few weeks away. On 26th February the 89th Academy Awards will take place and we’ll all get to piss, moan and argue about why La-La Land probably shouldn’t have won…but let’s put that out of our minds for a little bit. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Being based in the UK, it can be a little difficult to fulfil my self-imposed obligation to see as many of the nominated pictures due to some frustratingly late releases. As a result I’ve been filling in my spare time by closing out some of the gaps in my knowledge of Best Picture nominees over the past ten years. I’d certainly seen all the movies that had won the award but I hadn’t necessarily seen each of the 68 movies that didn’t win get the honour.

But now I have.

So, without further ado, let’s re-examine how I think each race went over the past ten years and who I would have chosen. I’ll throw up a new evaluation from 2006 right up to 2015 before culminating in a prediction piece as to who will win big this year sometime during the week of the Awards.

And the Oscar goes to…  Continue reading “And the Oscar goes to… 2006”

How to listen to Silence

SILENCELet’s not screw around here and start by  laying some groundwork with a few declarative statements:

  • Martin Scorcese is one of the most consistently excellent film-makers working today or, frankly, ever.
  • His latest picture, Silence, is unabashedly masterful whether any given individual appreciates it or not.
  • Silence has the most raging hard-on for Catholicism since The Passion of the Christ.

Well, to be fair, I’ve not seen Hacksaw Ridge yet (oh, hey Andrew Garfield, trending much?) but how about we split the difference and say ‘since Mel Gibson’s last feature’? Does that work? Great! Continue reading “How to listen to Silence”

The Best 10 Movies of the Worst Year in Recent Memory


I know it’s a bit of a flogged horse at this point but: Man, fuck this year.

I am so ready to put 2016 in the rear view that I’m getting my Top 10 Movies of the Year list out of the way more than half a month early. Obviously there are more movies coming out in the next few weeks but nothing that I anticipate making a dent on my list. All of the awards-contenders ruffling feathers in the States aren’t due out here in the UK until at least January, which isn’t even to say I think they would make the list if they came out earlier. Like most years, my choices don’t really line up with what any sort of awards body would go for.

Speaking of other years, I didn’t write up a Top 10 for 2015 because my headspace was so utterly dominated by Mad Max that it immediately topped any list I would write, leaving the other nine entries for Fury Road puns. If you’re interested in my choices for 2014, they can be found at this piece I wrote for The Evans Review back then.

So, here’s the countdown. These movies were all leagues ahead of most cinema fare this year and worth your attention…

Continue reading “The Best 10 Movies of the Worst Year in Recent Memory”

Where to find those Fantastic Beasts


First they burned Witches.

Let’s get all of the ‘review bullshit’ out of the way first. I didn’t love Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. If I’m being entirely honest, I’m not sure I especially liked it all too much, either. But I did appreciate it and I absolutely admire the hell out of it.

Some history: I was a hardcore Potter fan growing up. (As an aside, what’s the preferred nomenclature for Harry Potter geek these days? HarryHead? PotterLover? NoMug?) I started reading those books when I was eight years old and kept reading voraciously right through to the horribly rushed ending that most fans still ignore to this day. I saw all of those movies in cinemas and loved them all to some degree or another, except for Goblet of Fire which I always thought was the best book and the weakest film. But when the last Potter movie came out I wasn’t eight years old anymore. I was twenty years old.

After 12 years voraciously devouring 7 books, 8 movies, at least 3 of those awful licensed video-games and countless pieces of assorted cheap plastic merchandise Harry’s story was wrapped up in every conceivable medium and I was done too. Continue reading “Where to find those Fantastic Beasts”