Monday, 14 October 2013

BJ's SOLSL: Author Jaq D. Hawkins on Writing and Film Making!!

Jaq D. Hawkins is a pseudonym – and a brilliant one, so I am not going to tell you her real name, though you can in fact find it on her website:

I have been reading her pagan books (chaos magic primers, nature spirit primers, and some feminist work) for years, and always loved her to the point style and no nonsense delivery.  There was also something quietly glamorous about her writing, and I was never quite sure what it was.  She also had really well illustrated books, a  bit of a rarity in this niche.  When I found her on Facebook (another hooray for social networking sites) and she replied to my ardent and probably annoying fan mail with calmness, kindness and not a tincy bit of self importance, I thought – blimey, she’s a really nice person too.  She’s still chatting to me now, on and off, years later. Even though she’s really busy now, having branched out from her original books to move on to fantasy fiction (also cracking good reads), and then to guerrilla filmmaking (filled with fascinated envy!).  I’ve never found her to be anything less than immensely kind, tolerant yet plain spoken at the same time, and really helpful.  It’s brilliant when an author turns out to be as nice a person as you hoped they’d be (makes you feel like you could go further than you thought to – the gap is not so great!).

So I asked her to contribute to this Guest Series; and this is the Penultimate Entry, we’re nearly done now!  And she said yes even though she was flitting about the country at the time, doing reshoots and editing (which she is addicted to and does most of herself for her films) – and making constant cake for her crew and cast (yep, also kitchen goddess).  *And* she got this piece to me in a couple of days flat…whereas I then got caught up with personal life crises and am now posting it up 2 weeks later than promised….arggghhh…

Without any further ado – one of my favourite magickal authors, fiction authors and now a film maker too…be inspired!

Doing the Impossible

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
~ Lewis Carroll

"It’s quite fun to do the impossible."
~ Walt Disney

"Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small."
~ Tim Ferriss

I've always been a writer. Someday, when I've accomplished all I need to in filmmaking and retired from that, I'll still be a writer. Until then, I'm doomed to live a double life, dividing my time between writing, which is life and breath to me, and accomplishing the impossible within filmmaking, which is addictive once you get far enough along the path.

I first became a published writer in the 1990's, back when an author still needed a publisher before the digital age took over. I even developed a reputation within my field, which was writing books for what used to be called the Astrology and occult section of the book store but is more recently known as Mind, Body, Spirit. I wrote about magic and nature spirits, subjects that have always played a part in my life and continue to be sufficiently of interest that I'm planning to write several new books in this category in the near future.

In 2005 my first fiction novel was published. I had written fiction in my younger life, but this was the first time I had completed a novel. More would follow, but not before the demon of filmmaking arose to take over my life.

It's no doubt very common for fiction writers to see a possible movie in their novels. In the case of Dance of the Goblins, the story itself came to me in scenes that I found very visual and the idea of a film had taken hold by chapter four. I finished the novel with the idea in mind that my next task, even before the first of the two sequels was begun, would be to try my hand at writing a screenplay for the story.

The irony is that I spent my teenage years in Los Angeles, going to school with aspiring artists of all sorts and especially filmmakers, but never had any interest in stepping into that world myself. I saw the movie industry as cold and cutthroat, difficult to breach, and pretty much the preserve of a closed society of people who knew each other by reputation if not from working together sometime in history. Some of these people were parents of my school friends. The contacts were there, but the business side of filmmaking still looked unattractive to me.

When I wrote the screenplay for Dance of the Goblins, my plan was to sell it to someone in the filmmaking industry. That was to be the end of my involvement. I could carry on with writing the sequels and any other books that I was inspired to write forever more. However, in the course of researching who I should approach to sell the screenplay, various friends with filmmaking connections suggested I read The Guerrilla Filmmaker's Handbook. That was my doom. I got hold of a copy at my local library and read with fascination as the germ of an impossible idea began to take hold.

I rang one of my friends who had gone to film school and told him what I had been thinking; that I could potentially make the film myself. To my surprise, he didn't tell me I was crazy. He even encouraged the idea. From that point I began reading filmmaking books. My library was well stocked with some of the best research material that can be found on the subject. As I learned more and more about what was involved in the process, the impossible began to look doable.

The sticking point of course was that filmmaking costs money. Usually lots of money. I've been a non-materialist all my life and there was never any doubt that this would be the most difficult aspect of the process for me. How was I supposed to approach potential investors and ask for large amounts of money to do something that I had no experience doing? I had by then surrounded myself with more experienced people. Other producers, directors, crew people; everyone I would need to make a movie with experience behind it. Not big names, but people who made their living in the industry.

I had discovered independent filmmaking, which by definition is any filmmaking that occurs outside of the Hollywood studios (or the BBC). Someone suggested that I should try going on the television reality programme called Dragon's Den to ask for investment. It was yet another crazy idea and unlikely to result in an offer, but it would bring attention to the project which for many businesses had resulted in private offers. While I didn't get a financial offer, I did get an amazing amount of free publicity and a substantially larger circle of support from within the industry.

There were a few detractors who missed the point of the exercise and expressed that they thought they would have had a better chance of getting the investment if they had thought of the idea first, but there were far more who wanted a piece of the project. All I can say to the former is guys, who would invest in a film without at least having a look at the script? The real benefit of allowing a couple of ill-mannered nouveau riche cretins to tear into me on national television is yet to come.

The following summer, I began production on the first of two no-budget B-movies that would define my future in filmmaking. I can't honestly say that it was all planned, but it did seem to fall into place as if it all came out of a grande design. While most people make a short for their first film using friends or classmates as actors, usually without a decent script, I went almost straight into doing a feature film There was one 'trailer shoot' that taught me much about dealing with volunteers and amateurs, myself included. I had never aspired to be a director, but one of the most important lessons of that shoot was that I would have to take control of the set and the crew. It was time to rise to the occasion.

By the end of the summer, I had a film 'in the can'. More importantly, Graveyard Shift was a good film. Despite amateur mistakes and inexperienced production crew, I had something in my hands with a good story and some really exceptional acting by the main roles at least, as I had recruited from local actors who were constantly honing their craft in local productions. Unfortunately I wasn't so lucky with recruiting editors and a series of let downs would delay the release of the finished film. In the meantime, the filmmaking bug had smitten me beyond hope and I produced a second film, Old Blood. This one took two summers to complete, during which I continued to try to find a reliable editor. Not being one to wait for fortune to come to me, I also studied the art of film editing. That actually dated back to the trailer shoot, when the editor of that project left a copy of an old version of an editing programme on my computer when he had something to demonstrate to me.

I found effects fascinating and as an old Photoshop addict, I naturally began to work out some of the problems myself. Eventually, I accepted that I was going to end up editing these projects myself and bought a new version of the editing programme, getting a good price because my work with student crew had qualified me for a student/teacher price.

Despite having to constantly re-write parts of Old Blood as actors moved in and out of the area over two years of shooting, I now have two good B-movies in my hands and work continues on them constantly, although my writing also continues and I balance between the two. The summer of 2013 has been spent getting ADR (Voice recording) of the actors for Old Blood while working on the visual effects continues in between. Both films will be ready to release within a year or so.

And they will be seen and scrutinised closely, because everyone has heard of the crazy goblin lady on Dragon's Den. They still show my episode on rerun. For most independent filmmakers, getting anyone in the industry to look at their film is a real challenge, if not impossible.

First there was Dance of the Goblins, now Demoniac Dance! Power of the Dance coming soon. Keep up to date with the Goblin Series at

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

What I've Been Watching This Year: Epicly Proportioned Waffle, Part 2

So, before you ever expected it, and in an unprecedentedly quick move, here’s Part 2 of this post sequence.  All that stuff I have been watching this year (though obviously I am NOT going to bother you with any thoughts I had while watching William and Kate, The Movie, which was a bit of a taste failure on my part, despite my much vaunted love of crap TV movies)…


  1. Confetti
    (Lovely little English comedy, enjoyed a lot.  Loved the weddings at the end – sort of want a Busby Berkley wedding myself now
  2. Eyes of Laura Mars
    (AGAIN!  Watched for a blog post I’m writing.  Did not enjoy as much as I usually do.  Found it tiresome and rather silly, especially Faye Dunaway.  But there is nothing wrong with Tommy Lee Jones’ performance in this.  He is astonishingly good, something very present yet absent in his face, as befits someone moving between personalities.  And the scene at the end where he says “its me you want”, that camera angle and the semi blank look on his face – never bettered, shiver shiver.  It’s his film through and through.)
  3.  Stagedoor
    (AGAIN!  Even wittier than I remember.  Ginger Rogers steals most of the film, and it has that late Depression era wisecrack feeling all over it.  Apparently a lot of the dialogue was improvised – in which case what astonishingly sharp wit they all had; makes us all look like dullards now.  Lucille Ball looks amazing: what a complete babe she was.)
  4. Exorcismus
    (Interesting horror – Spanish crew, English base and actors. Had some interesting camera work and a nice low key feel.  But dragged appallingly toward the end and lost its atmosphere.  But an interesting idea, that the priest wanted the devil to come.  I still wonder why we believe in devils that are affected by exorcism.  The Stephen King idea of it being belief fighting belief, the reason placebos work is sound.  But…still it doesn’t quite make sense.  The fact we have consciousness that no other animal appears to share in the same way or degree would seem to make us marked out and different.  Does this mean different cosmic rules apply to us, different laws of physics?  Is it arrogance to say there is no God?  Or arrogance to assume there is one, and that that god would be supremely interested in us and using us in a battle for, what?  Anyway, this oddly slow moving film had me thinking some of these thoughts.)
  5.  The Last Exorcism
    (MOST interesting.  As in, it was the last exorcism for Cotton Marcus, who may have lived or died doing it, we don’t know.  First it seemed she  - the ubiquitous girl, in this case, rivalling Linda Blair in her lovely innocence - wasn’t possessed, then that she was; then that she was suffering from acting out in a very ignorant environment, then she was again, and the only reasonable people in the film turned out to be the nutters invoking the devil.  Rollicking good fun film that was rational the whole way through and went Rosemary’s Baby and Devil Rides Out at the end, just for the hell of it!  I would recommend this!  A good time had by all!)
  6. The Awakening
    (A strange and sad ghosty/horror film that changed tacks several times.  Made me feel very sad.  At essence, a film about grief.)
  7. Source Code
    (Had a lot of soul for an action film.  Some strange acting though; I wasn’t entirely convinced by Jake Gyllenhaal [and that would be the first time ever.  Goodwin was a good character.  Very interesting film though. Most watchable.)
  8.  Criminal Minds, Season 1
    (Wonderful stuff that went from watchable to unmissable.  Stand out episodes: The Tribe and Riding the Lightning.  Only sort of duds were The Fox and the last episode, the far fetched season finale.  But I love the characters and I love the profiling.  Bit of an obsession at the moment.)
  9.  Criminal Minds Season 2
    (Still excellent despite a slew of substandard melodramatic episodes early in the run: The Boogeyman, North Mammon, Empty Planet.  Those were weird and far fetched, as was the 2 parter involving Reid’s kidnap: The Big Game and Revelations.  It introduced the interesting sub plot that didn’t have much made of it, of Reid having a drug problem…But then there were quite a number of very good indeed episodes – early on P911 was so heartbreaking I had to go away for a few days and watch something else lighter, it was just too horrible.  The Shemar Moore episode Profiler, Profiled finally gave the man backstory, though again, it did tend to get melodramatic. Lessons Learned was very good. )
  10.  Criminal Minds, Season 3
    (Though this season felt a bit odd, it had some very good episodes.  Again, there was a slight tendency to melodrama here and there; and after Mandy Patinkin’s departure they had the team acting as if they couldn’t function well, when I didn’t think that was strictly necessary.  However, some very good episodes – a lot of them being the ones that involved children or innocents in some way: Children of the Dark was heartbreaking and had me in tears; 7 Seconds was windey and worrying, emotional.  In Heat made me cry too – how sad to have to hide who you are in such a basic way; and Tabula Rasa, the killer who didn’t remember…that was an episode begging to be made.  True Night was a silly clichéd stylised episode – but very well shot and very memorable.)
  11. Blue Bloods, Season 1
    (Despite some total and utter cliché about this, and some dreadful cheesiness, its nice to watch an old fashioned cop drama that has an almost Cagney and Lacey feel; and what can go wrong with Tom Selleck about?  The career defining ham cop Donnie Wahlberg is doing is lovely, and Jennifer Esposito is doing something quite laid back and magical as his partner.  Its stooooopid, and mythologizes the idea of being a New York Cop in the ‘Greatest City In The World’ [can you imagine a Londoner going on like that constantly?, no, I didn’t think so…] but very watchable, and some good plots despite some bad episodes.  The stand out one in the first season was early on – Redo, where Erin is attacked, and the one where Tom gets shot…but several thoughtful properly good episodes and lots of pleasing subsidiary characters.)
  12. Lovelace
    (This could have been way more hardhitting than it was.  As a biopic meant to tell both sides of the star of Deep Throat – this was strangely restrained.  Marvellously done 70s atmosphere though.  And excellent performance by the husband character.)
  13. Behind the Candelabra
    (Ooooooooooooo.  Not surprised this one is picking up awards left right and centre.  I didn’t really know much about Liberace at all, but this weird and wonderfully done biopic gave me enough moments of creepy voyeurism to get me interested.  Michael Douglas was scarily scarily good as an extremely camp gay man.  His house was a shiny mausoleum that itself would have made me feel a bit ill [when I went to Russia, I had to leave the Hermitage because all the gold in one place was making me feel a bit sick and overdone; and Liberace’s house reminded me of that].  Matt Damon and the weird kind of love that lets you get your face surgically resculpted to look like your lover was a small triumph of acting.  A very very weird and well done story about a weird and talented man.  HBO is putting out some good stuff lately.)
  14.  Trilogy of Terror (1975)
    (Ahh, the late great Karen Black.
      A portmanteau horror vehicle, made for TV.  The first story was good, and subtle, unusual.  The second was good too – I always like multiple personality stories.  And the last was incredibly stupid which is funny considering the last one is sposed to be the best and the middle one is usually the dud in these films!)
  15.  Criminal Minds, Season 4
    (This season was odd – a lot of it was melodramatic, and beyond implausible.  Dramatic without proper realism – there was also some very clumsy and obvious exposition writing.  However, there were lots of good episodes nonetheless, and a cluster right near the end of the season that were excellent: Omnivore, Conflicted, A Shade of Gray, the Big Wheel, Amplification.  To Hell and Back had a scary animalistic vibe and the noise of pigs was like Evilspeak.  Earlier in the season Minimal Loss, and Pick Up 52 were good.  Pleasure is My Business, also.  A very strange season – the tone was wrong, the writing wasn’t all that in many places, the weakest season so far from a characterisation point of view – yet still hugely addictive.)
  16.  Criminal Minds Season 5
    (Starts absolutely smoking hot! Drama levels high, a whole Hotch story arc going on – his holding in of his emotions just…so well played.  Character development going on for Rossi and Morgan, and Hotch has his arc that affects everything he does.  And the episodes are hard hitting – I did NOT expect his ex wife to get killed in 100, that was gobsmacking.  Also – the violence depiction level is subtly higher.  First 4 eps are noticeably more violent, especially Hopeless – a truly scary episode about violence for the sake of it, because its fun. The Uncanny Valley and Mosley Lane were 2 extremely surreal and disturbing episodes later on. But as the series progressed something became apparent that’s been creeping in ever since the end of series 2 and Mandy Patinkin’s leaving – some of the episodes just sink into a sort of fantasy.  Not in a surreal way, but you can feel the writers thinking, ‘so how can we do serial killers but differently, this week?’, which leads to some very odd stories that break credibility…which is a shame as the stable of regular characters at these points feel strained and less like possible real people, more like pure fictional stereotypes.  Weird.  That a series can be so incredibly good one minute, and so oddly uninvolving the next – and you can never tell when its coming; plus, the good episodes seem to clump together…)
  17.  The Worlds End
    (Last in the Cornetto Trilogy.  Apart from a daft end, I enjoyed this a lot.  It was sci fi, but I think it was really a paean to drinking with your friends, that’s what it was really about.  And it made me laugh quite a bit, especially arguing back to an alien while very drunk, in a very English way.)
  18. When the Lights Went Out
    (Played straight which was quite a nice surprise for a ghost/ poltergeist story.  Based on that famous case I used to read about all the time when I was smaller that wasn’t Borley Rectory, you know – the other one, with the girl who used to get thrown off the bed up in Yorkshire.  Well, this one had almost perfect 1974 period atmosphere and put its money in the right places, i.e. not all on the effects.  Though it felt as if it had had some of its oomph edited away [like Cursed, I remember, famously, a great Joshua Jackson 18 film that got squashed into a tame shitey little 12 film and lost all its spirit].  But some very nice performances. I felt like it could have gone into a bit more detail and been a touch longer and it wouldn’t have hurt it.  I liked it.  Funny, in a gritty English way, too.  7/10 – it was well on its way to be very good and got a little hung up somewhere – the last sequence and ending, for sure [tsk to that], but also the explanation for the poltergeist activity.  Worth it though, enjoyed.)
  19.  Seance: The Summoning
    (Well.  Dear dear.  A good go I spose, but appallingly overly religious and moralistic – right in your face.  The boy doing the demon was confusing because he was extremely attractively ripped and Cajan ish and by far the best character in the film: am I actually supposed to be supporting the demon in a such overtly Christian film?!  Everyone else was a Bible story.  I wish people would stop trying to re do The Exorcist, as it’s never been bettered in either atmosphere or moral tidbits.  I love seance films, which was why I ended up watching this bit of fluff.  Let me give you a recommendation: the best seance film I've ever seen, is a little 80s number called Alison's Birthday, obscure hard to find little Oz made film: brilliant.  Not overdone, good plot, and an ending that makes you go: ooooooooooooooooo and have chills.  Simple simple simple; not like this overdone clot of effects and moralising we have here, sigh.)
  20.  Smashed
    (A very good low key film about an alcoholic who decided to dry up and how it affects her relationship with her very loving but also very drunk husband.  It manages to avoid drama, sentimentality and theatrics – it’s all very understated but quietly effective.  Elizabeth Winstead Jones does very well indeed, as does Aaron Paul as the husband.  And it doesn’t make the mistake of trying to cover all the issues of addiction, just the ones it is concentrating on, so it feels like a good study of those.  It’s a bit of a study of codependancy in some ways, which is a big issue in lots of addictions of all kinds…)

So, there you have it…some stuff I’ve been watching.  I’ve left out some of the absolute cack, and some of the good stuff too, oddly.  Maybe I shall do another post later, with some more.  See you soon, faithful 3 readers!

What I've Been Watching This Year: Panoramic Waffle, Part 1

Here’s some stuff I’ve been watching this year, Part 1 of…all the Criminal Minds I’ve heretofore been waffling about will show up in Part 2, plus some other stuff which will show up here.  And the rambly thoughts associated with. Apologies for my idleness in not putting the year of release by the side of each film, but all these can be IMDB'ed if you need to find them. 

SPOILERS FOR MOSTLY EVERYTHING, so beware if you don't want to know!

  1. Oooh, You Are Awful!
    (AGAIN! With Dick Emery.  Used to watch this as a child with dad, and Stanley is the only other person to ever recognise it from my sketchy description [man looking at women’s bums for a tattoo combination of something for some reason].  It was lovely, and restful, and interestingly, Dick Emery is the only man I think I’ve ever seen dress up as a woman that I haven’t found offensive in some way, or unkind, or weirdly woman hating (apart from the Python pepperpots).  His drag seems affectionate, amusing and almost sexy in one case.  Mad!  Lovely film.)
  2. Dollhouse, Season 1
    (Since I waited my customary 3 years to let all and any hype calm down before watching this, I am really pleasantly surprised.  You can see the little Joss Whedon-isms all over it – ‘have I not shown you my drawer of inappropriate starches?’ Not only was the concept of taking personality imprints from one person, clearing out another, creating the ‘doll’: an empty person, then loading the imprint of one person to another a very good idea, it was also a very old one.  But it didn’t feel tired here.  It felt well explored, the various consequences and possibilities were spread out as the episodes went.  What about living forever?  What about who would pay to have fantasies enacted via an imprint?  What would they be, why?  So much of it to do with sex and violence (of course).  What if the technology got into the wrong hands and went wireless – what would the consequences be for the world?  Could technology like this ever be in the ‘right’ hands??  At its crux this was simply about who you are, and how your identity is formed, whether it can evolve, do you have a soul (that is, a steady essence that cannot be ‘erased’) – how much of yourself is your memories?  It was about identity, pure.  I had so many thoughts provoked I can’t remember what they all were.  Every episode flowing through me with this stream of associations and implications of the concept.  And like all good TV, all I can remember at the end is ‘Wow! I enjoyed that!  I FELT that!’ – and the taste and memory of good juicy thoughts.  And Topher, Whisky, Echo, Victor, Sierra, November.  Where were their lives while they paused?  Who were they?) 
  3. Remington Steele, Season 1
    (AGAIN! After the first few dud episodes, this was brilliant.  I was watching it only half, as Fluffhead was there and I had to keep re-watching, missing bits, only half giving it my attention – but the comic acting of Peirce Brosnan [e.g. the drunk episode – very funny physical acting], and its general lightness was brilliant.  Underrated.)
  4. Dollhouse, Season 2
    (Disappointing in some ways.  Whilst Topher had a personality transplant to goodness, Mr Lampton became an evil baddie – which was a great reveal but completely didn’t work as I was so invested in him being good it just didn’t wash…now why did Toby in Pretty Little Liars wash and not this?  I mean, I doubted and continue to doubt Toby is bad…but with Boyd Lampton I just rejected it.  It annoyed me, not tantalised me.  Mistake.  And apparently everyone got the last scene – Echo having Paul downloaded into her head, except me, I had to read a hundred reviews to see what had happened.  It felt like an unsatisfying ending.  I mean, after a war’s end, I too, would realistically take a nap…I just meant, the rest of it.  There were some very good things in this series, some extraordinary thoughts on abuse of power etc – but the flavour of the whole series, the development of some of the characters…pissed me off.  9/10, though nonetheless.  Despite the most downbeat happy ending ever…other than Brazil of course.)
  5. Phone Shop, Series 1
    (Started a bit dodgy, but I could see it had potential: and comedy, more than any other genre I reckon, needs to be given a bit of time to get going, to get the feel of it parameters.  It was very good,  Wiggas have never been so amusing
    J  )
  6. The Fades (BBC)
    (Bloody excellent!  So ENGLISH!  So sharp, so original, so witty, so funny, so scary!  Loved it.  20/10.  And some excellent music, Paul Thomason, whoever you are [episode 4 at the end].  Some brilliant acting from Iain de Caestecker and Daniel Kaluuya, stealing the whole thing.  But the writer Jack Thorne – full credit for that script
    J.  Why no second series?  It was forlornly set up at the end, which it shouldn’t have been, rather ruined the end, that…)
  7. Once Upon a Time, Season 1
    (Hmm – I have found the next Charmed.  Well, I didn’t find it, Daisy Ginn found it.  It’s a phenomenon.  Robert Carlyle OWNS it lock stock and barrel, and I am alarmed to fancy a creepy golden fairytale monster, but it’s also very me.  This prog manages to have the moral consistency that Charmed failed to.  And it also has a huge abiding theme: people fighting fear.  Its ALL about people’s actions as a result of fear – whether they let in run them completely and become monsters [Rumpelstiltskin], whether they fight but close off [Emma], whether they try hard to remain good [Snow] or succumb to badness because of terrible grief and insecurities [Regina] or because they feel hard done by [Cora]…or because they genuinely feel too scared to trust [Hook – I’m slipping into series 2 with those last 2, but they have kept up the emphasis of the theme, so its ok to mention here].  Brilliantly, outrageously stupid and contrived; amazingly addictive and innocent.  And some great clothes.)
  8. Carnage
    (Very funny  - Kate Winslet’s husband character stole the film.  Jodie Foster did tense very well; and the unexpected throwing up was very amusing.  The whole ‘this is the worse day of my life’ end and its recurring motif was a little puzzling though.  Maybe it was meant to show how shallow their lives were?  As it was hardly that serious, other than them clashing in views.  People really can’t take being disagreed with.  Or being offended.)
  9.  The Ghost
    (Also a Roman Polanski film, like the last.  EXCELLENT.  Thoroughly enjoyed.  Pierce Brosnan acted brilliantly, and that accent Ewan McGregor was doing was most intriguing – sort of old Estuary style cockney, sort of Oz. Excellent thriller – except I knew all along that Greta Saatchi was the one to look out for.  The gobsmacking moment of Brosnan getting shot left there no doubt that McGregor would also get it at the end.)
  10. Once Upon a Time, Series 2
    (It’s still wonderful and still has its strange little simple moral compass.  Peter Pan looks to be the villain set up for series 3.  Interesting.  Wonder if we’ll see anything more of Wendy?  Still loving Robert Carlyle.  Interestingly liked Belle better as an actress, as Lacey…)
  11. It’s a Mad Mad Mad World
    (AGAIN!  Liked this much better than I originally did.  I used to find it loud and shouty, but I found it quite amusing this time.  Ethel Merman made me laugh.  Spencer Tracy was understated.  I liked the whole silly swinging back and forth at the end.  Unexpected pleasure – and we all watched this together – Stanley because he already likes it, and Fluffhead found its loudness funny.)
  12. The Girl
    (What a pig Hitchcock was to Tippi Hedren.  Blimey.  Very much enjoyed this production.  Will go and read about Hitchcock now – had no idea how long the famous attack scene in The Birds took to film, or that he tortured her so much to accomplish it.  Or that he was such an overwhelmingly creepy bugger.)
  13. The Ward
    (A new John Carpenter film.  Had a bit of a feel of Halloween 2 about it, no bad thing.  I liked it.  I liked the Identity twist at the end – though I wish I had rewound and watched the list again, as that’s when I got it and I would have liked to read it properly. Also enjoyed the Dario Argentoesque frying of one of he characters heads; what does this say about my personality?!  Good thriller/horror.  Though it would seem that I’m the only one to think so, from what I’ve read on the net.)
  14.  Giallo
    (Hmm.  The worst wrong thing with this film is what no one else seems to have mentioned – the music.  ALL WRONG.  Adrien Brody does fine in a very mannered performance as a New York cop.  Emmanuelle Seigneur does feck all except not look pretty anymore…she is practically dead in terms of being used for anything in this; it was a very poor role for her.  The locations looked lovely; the blood looked just right for an Argento, as did the specific gore.  It was just lacking any real character, which is why Adrien Brody’s cop didn’t save it; he was too much of a wonderful stereotype to carry a plot that had bugger all in it.  It also didn’t feel like a Giallo despite trying very hard to look like one.  It didn’t have the sleaze, though it was disturbing.  But it was disturbing more in the way modern horrors can be disturbing, not in the special Argento deeply uncomfortable way of old.  Maybe this is because we fans of Argento keep wanting him to make films like he did in the 70s and its just not doable because the world has moved on.  We blame him for actually moving on; when we should have done the same!  I didn’t dislike the film as such, despite its very poor and unsatisfying ending – it was infinitely better than The Card Player, which didn’t even feel like a Dario Argento at all…this felt like someone trying to do a Dario Argento and failing!  But the glimmers were there, in the look, and feel.  Keep trying, my favourite Dario, you need to figure out what it is you’ve lost, I think, before you’ll get it back or do something different.)
  15. Lipstick Jungle, Season 1
    (Perfection of gloss.  Not a foot wrong.  Really irritated it only had 7 episodes. Andrew McCarthy…ahhhhhhh, still got it!)

So, see you on the other side, for the rest of this panoramic waffle on what I’ve wasted my time watching this year!