The Best and Worst Films of 2014… that I didn’t review

Definitive best and worst lists are so impossibly selective, and rely on a reviewer seeing literally everything in order to be credible. This is not that. Instead, in order to celebrate the New Year, and do away with the old, Jack Brindelli presents the 3 best and worst films he saw but never reviewed last year, and 2 that he did for good measure. And what a collection it is – 2014 was a cracker. Roll on 2015…

Three of the best.

Calvary – If you like your comedy blacker than a priest’s shirt then this little gem from the emerald isle is just what the doctor ordered. Along with long anecdotes about paralysed children. John Michael McDonagh’s follow up to the smash hit The Guard (Ireland’s all time highest grossing film to date) tackles attempted suicide of various kinds, domestic abuse, and the catalogue of sexual assaults by paedophile priests on the children of Ireland. Continue reading

Advent Calender #7: Father Christmas

In the final last minute instalment of advent goodness, Jack Brindelli looks at what the man himself says about the spirit of the season, looking at the animated film Father Christmas.

I’ve been recovering from flu over the festive period – so even though I’ve had so many glorious contributors from other writers over the past week, I am completely blooming knackered. But nothing my aching, moaning body has been through could be comparable to the suffering of one sacrificial seasonal figure. That’s right, our one and true miracle worker, a bearded bringer of peace and joy without whom the day could not happen. Father Christmas. What – Jesus – why would I want to talk about that new testament Bono? Continue reading

Advent Calender #6: Battleship

Let’s be honest, Christmas is rarely the season of peace and love it is billed as. Sometimes it can be a war-zone. Literally. All right well not literally, but in the 6th instalment of our Advent Calender series, Jeanette Karen tells us why 2012 flop Battleship is the perfect seasonal stress-buster this Christmas.

This will not impress Liam Neeson

Ah, it’s Christmas time again, the season for eating some exceptionally terrible combinations of food and bankrupting ourselves to prove our love via the convenience of materialism, how joyous. All cynicism aside, I love this time of year, when else is it perfectly normal to eat chocolate for breakfast? Plus is the perfect time to just sit and watch films by fairy light and ignore that ever growing festive to do list. Continue reading

Advent Calender #5: The Thing

Sometimes films at this time of year shock us with a clever twist on the tired Yuletide formula. In the fifth of our Advent Calender’s selection of Christmas crackers Alex Francis reviews his favourite of these films, John Carpenter’s The Thing (Comes For Christmas). 


I can still remember the first time I set down to watch it. It was the nineties, and, amongst discarded wrapping paper and boozy snoozing family members sat an enraptured little Franco boy, eyes wide with Christmas glee. While other girls and boys were watching Tim Allen grow a beard or the barely disguised burglary tutorial that is Home Alone, I was enjoying a very different kind of Xmas film. Continue reading

Advent Calender #4: The Nightmare Before Christmas

What’s this? What’s this? Jack Brindelli takes a brief look at another Jack’s efforts to subvert Christmas and why revolutionaries should all try and think outside the box sometimes, in our third Advent Calender instalment: The Nightmare Before Christmas.

This film was first screened as part of a “Christmas Chillers” double-bill by the Norfolk People’s Assembly, who also showed Hollywood Hegemony’s Halloween creation Witches and Bitches – which you can also see below…

Advent Calender #3: The Apartment

Love, laughter and loneliness are all part of life during the Holidays, like it or not. In the third instalment of our Advent Calender series, writer Lucy Cowburn takes a look at the bitter-sweet The Apartment, and contrasts it with It’s a Wonderful Life to reveal an all-together less saccharine portrait of festive melancholia.

The Apartment is the story of C.C. Baxter, a low ranking employee at an insurance firm who hopes to further his career by lending out his flat to the company’s managers- and their mistresses. The trouble starts when Baxter discovers that one of these mistresses is his crush, Fran Kubelik. It’s a great love story, because it’s not one that can be resolved in the film’s running time and director Billy Wilder doesn’t even attempt to close off the narrative. More than this, though, it’s the only Christmas film I’ve seen that honestly deals with just how crushingly lonely the holidays can be. Continue reading

Advent Calender #2: It’s a Wonderful Life

In the second instalment of our Advent Calender series, writer Katy Quigley takes a look at the timeless It’s a Wonderful Life, and explores just why it’s message of human kindness is so enduring.

It’s still a wonderful life…

The story of George Bailey’s exasperated plea for help when he finds himself on the verge of suicide has been a Christmas favourite for generations of film fans, despite its rather morose premise. The film details a series of events which stop the heroic and self-sacrificing George from fulfilling his dream of travelling the world and, after a terrible blunder by his uncle, potential imprisonment. Believing his life insurance is worth more than his actual life, George decides to jump off a bridge, but is saved when a guardian angel shows what life in the town would have been like without him and the townspeople themselves show just how much he means to them. Continue reading