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Jameson Cult Film Club: Friday the 13th, Part II

In many ways, Friday the 13th, Part II is an interesting choice for a Jameson Cult Film Club event. Traditionally, these special screenings have tended to focus on films that are broadly agreed to be popular classics – films as diverse as Jaws, Alien, Fight Club, The Blues Brothers and Die Hard. There is a very solid argument to be made that Friday the 13th, Part II is the odd film out here.

It is an early eighties slasher film, one with very few nuances. It is a grimy, gritty horror thrown together very quickly to cash in on the success of the of the original film – it is very much channelling better and more successful horrors like Psycho or Halloween. The movie’s defining feature is a ruthless pragmatism, a willingness to do anything to get a jolt from the audience.

Jameson Cult Film Club 78 (1)

As such, Friday the 13th, Part II is a controversial choice. It is a film that is even subject to considerable debate within the fandom of Friday the 13th. Is it one of the weaker films in the series? Is it one of the stronger? There is a sense that Friday the 13th, Part II is more open to debate and discussion than many of the films screened as part of the Jameson Cult Film Club cycle.

However, the fact that Friday the 13th, Part II is such an off-centre choice is refreshing. It affords the event a considerable freedom With Halloween approaching, the goal seems to have been to do a slasher movie in the Jameson Cult Film Club style, and Friday the 13th, Part II works very well in that context.

Jameson Cult Film Club 58

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My Best of 2011: Super 8 & Understanding as a Child…

It’s that time of the year. To celebrate 2011, and the countdown to 2012, I’m going to count down my own twelve favourite films of the year, one a day until New Year’s Eve. I’m also going to talk a bit about how or why I chose them, and perhaps what makes this list “my” best of 2011, rather than any list claiming to be objective.

Super 8 is number ten. Check out my original review here.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

– Corinthians 13:11

It seems easy to lambast modern mainstream cinema as devoid of originality or of new ideas. It seems that every other film is a sequel or a prequel or a remake of another film, with Hollywood seemingly eager to cannibalise itself. I’ll concede that there are more franchises than before, but I also think that indie and original cinema is thriving in its own environment. I’d make the case that there’s room for all sorts of film, and that originality and quality don’t necessarily equate. Still, I doubt that will appease too many of the people who are sick of “the same old nonsense”, and I imagine that those people will cynically pick apart Super 8 as exactly the sort of copycat movie that demonstrates everything that’s wrong with modern cinema.

Naturally, I take a different approach, even if I can concede it’s hardly the most original of films. Then again, I’d make the case that this is precisely the appeal.

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My Best of 2011: Rango & Justifying Personal Choices…

It’s that time of the year. To celebrate 2011, and the countdown to 2012, I’m going to count down my own twelve favourite films of the year, one a day until New Year’s Eve. I’m also going to talk a bit about how or why I chose them, and perhaps what makes this list “my” best of 2011, rather than any list claiming to be objective.

Rango is number twelve. Check out my original review here.

It’s December, so that means it’s list time. Critics and pundits will be ranking their “top ten” of everything, and I suppose that I should defer to tradition and offer my own opinion on the “top ten” films of the year. I don’t want to make just another list, though, lost in a sea of opinions of individuals far my experienced and qualified than myself to advise you on the current state of cinema. So I decided that I’d list my own personal choices, by talk about why I chose them and bit and why they appealed to me. I have, after all, already reviewed them all, so I’m not going to try to convince you of their quality (or even my opinion of their quality). Instead, I’m going to talk a bit about why they appealed to me. My list will undoubtedly look very different to yours and – I suspect – to the vast majority of opinions, but the fun in making lists like this lies in defending, debating and justifying your choices.

So, let’s talk about the bottom entry on the list, and the one I feel will be toughest to justify: Rango.

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Trick or Tweet: Phoning or Tweeting During a Movie…

I don’t know, I guess I kind of assumed that “don’t use your phone during a movie” was such a basic part of movie decorum that it really wasn’t worth mentioning. However, it seems that I might have been just a little bit naive in my supposition, at least concerning the iPhone app that came with Despicable Me. Now the Tateuchi Center in Bellevue in Washington is building a theatre designed to accommodate those who want to text and twitter during a film, stating:

“This is the wave of the future for the people we worry about attracting,” said John Haynes, the theater’s executive director. “Simply forbidding it and embarrassing people is not the way to go. So we are wiring the building in anticipation of finding ways to make it work over time.”

I don’t know, I thought embarrassing users was actually a pretty good idea. I just don’t like the idea of encouraging people to use their mobiles during any sort of performance – and, you can bet, this theatrical example will have implications for usage in cinemas.

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Re-Release Me… Let Me Go… Hollywood and Re-Releases…

So, yep. It’s a bad time for the US box office. The Lion King, a movie first released in 1994, managed to hold on to the number one spot at the top of the charts for two whole weeks, and ranking higher than any new release in its third week. If anything, the major movie studios have been very quick to jump on any trend that offers even the slightest hint of a money-making opportunity. It’s a trend one can easily see from the way that Hollywood pursues ideas. After Harry Potter was a breakout hit, every studio in town was looking for a young adult franchise to adapt to the big screen. After The Dark Knight, it became customary to plan for the superhero sequel before the original even hit theatres. It’s a trend even more obvious with technological gimmicks. After Christopher Nolan proved that you could make money in Imax, it seemed every other movie was being released in the format (even if it didn’t warrant it). Avatar led to a wave of 3D releases, which seemed to be growing old fast. So the success of a film originally released nearly two decades ago in the cinema, remastered in 3D, is pretty much assured to be the next big thing.

I'd be lion if I didn't admit I want to see it...

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Meme of the Moment: Double Feature Blog-A-Thon… or why I should never be allowed to run a cinema…

Hey, I was invited to take part in the latest movie blogger meme by the wonderful Marc over at Go, See, Talk. The idea is to pretend you run a movie theatre and schedule a week of double-bills for that cinema. There are no other rules, save for the fact that you run a triple-feature on Sunday. So I peered into an alternate universe where I was allowed any sort of responsibility, and came back with a handy brochure for Cine-Moi, the exclusive high-end movie theatre experience that my alternate self has somehow bamboozled his way into running (not into the ground… so far). Let’s see what a typical movie schedule might look like.

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A Gilda Caged: Thoughts on the Movies We Label “Classic”…

I had the pleasure, a while back, of attending a screening of Gilda being hosted by the Irish Film Institute. The black-and-white forties noir-tinted thriller is somewhat warmly regarded among film historians, and one of those movies you label as a “classic” without any real hesitation. However, as I emerged from the cinema, I found myself wondering how such a film would be received were it released today. I honestly wonder what we would make of these “classics” if they didn’t have the word “classic” to hide behind.

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