I have clinical anxiety, crippling amounts of it. When most people or works of art think of people with anxiety, it’s typically in the sense of the awkward guy at the party who can’t talk to girls, or other people but mostly specifically girls, without stammering incessantly and maybe vomiting up some ridiculous and invasive fact out of panic. And whilst I do have major problems starting conversations with people I don’t know, my anxiety – for clinical anxiety is paradoxically a universal yet hyper-personal mental illness, much like depression, so it’s not the same for everyone – goes further than that, manifesting in almost every decision I make, however big or small. Coming to the Festival last year was a major source of anxiety for me. Like, sure, it went fine and I relaxed (as much as I can relax anyway) and had a great time, but in the lead up to it I was panicking over every single thing. Was I doing this thing right, would they accept my application, do I deserve to be here at all being such an unknowledgeable fraud as I am, and so on?
Since arriving in London on Tuesday, I have had my one of the lenses in my glasses banged slightly out of place at a Wolf Alice gig, had my throat feel like it was doused in acid thanks to being sent with some accidentally well-past-use toothpaste, gained a painful yet hard-to-find ulcer on the inside of my lips, been incapable of getting an uninterrupted night’s sleep for whatever reason, and (as of yesterday) stricken down with a cold that I have no doubt inadvertently infected many other fine members of the Press Corp with by now. Yet, I strive on to bring you coverage, because I care like that. All joking aside, I’m not telling you this to try and garner “woe is me” pity sympathy, but rather because it inadvertently puts me in the right mood to watch a new Michael Haneke movie. For Michael Haneke, as anyone who has made even the most cursory glance at his filmography will be able to tell you, makes bummers. Often confrontational bummers about really horrible self-absorbed people, but always with something to say, even if it requires a fair bit of work on the part of the viewer to figure that out.
Life, as they say, comes at you fast. Just yesterday, in the opening pre-amble to the content you actually care about, I was whining of how it had been 3 days since the Festival started and I had yet to be blown away by any of the films I’d seen. I’d really enjoyed quite a few – this was not to take away from Equilibrium, The Light of the Moon, or Golden Exits – but I’d yet to fall in love with anything, and that was just unacceptable, dammit! By this time last year, I had loved The Handmaiden, and Elle, and My Life as a Courgette, and so on and so forth, so how dare all the excellent films be hiding themselves from me, or (based on comments I’d heard from online friends currently at other festivals) failing to do a better job at convincing me to not make bad decisions that I knew I wasn’t going to love anyway! And then, today, presumably to force me to quit my moaning, the Festival unleashed The Breadwinner (A) upon me, as if the everything so far was all about building my anticipation and appreciation levels up fully enough so that, when an excellent film came along, I’d recognise its excellency instantly.
When I first had a glance through the festival programme this year once it was announced in mid-September – I may just be applying rose-tinted spectacles to last year since it was my first time, but I swear everything was better-organised last year in advance of the fest (the staff have all been super kind and helpful as the festival has gotten underway though) – I felt like it lacked a lot of the obvious “wow” that 2016’s line-up had in abundance. It wasn’t like last year when I saw names like Arrival, and Free Fire, and La La Land, and The Handmaiden, and so many others littering the programme from top to bottom. That’s not to say that there aren’t big names at this go-around, I’ll be jostling to get coverage for many of them later on in the fortnight, just that there were less big-ticket names that excited me by their mere mention.
As London Film Festival kicks off for another year, we sent Callum Petch to collect his press pass, find the wi-fi password and report back to Failed Critics HQ right away on opening gala screening of Andy Serkis’ debut, Breathe.
Welcome to the absolute best podcast we’ve ever recorded…. ooooh chinny reckon. Chinny. Reck. Kon. Oooh Jimmy Hill chinny reckon. Chinnnnny.
Ok, ok. No, it’s probably not the best podcast we’ve ever recorded, but it was still a lot of fun as hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes chat Korean revenge thrills in The Villainess with Paul Field, as well as trying to work out whether Darren Aronofsky’s mother! was pretentious tosh, or if that is even a bad thing at all.
Just a short podcast for you all this week as Owen Hughes and Character Unlock‘s Andrew Brooker float the idea of a very short It Spoiler Alert review special rather than take a week off. This is your second and final warning: do NOT listen to this episode unless you have seen the weekend’s release of Stephen King’s killer clown movie.
Hosts Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland wrap up series four of Front Row with their 30th ever episode – and possibly their last ever? As ever, this is a bitesize edition of their show on Bucks 101 Radio.
Leaping out of a moving aircraft with a Union Jack adorning their parachutes, before safely landing in the driver’s seat of their sub-aquatic Aston Martin, it’s your podcast hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes. Spinning around on his high-backed leather chair with a pussy in his lap, it’s our special guest Paul Field, joining Owen and Steve for a special spy triple bill episode!
Following on from Owen’s recent recommendation on the Failed Critics Podcast for the Vestron re-release of Brian Yuzna’s 90’s cult classic zombie film, Return of the Living Dead 3, this article takes a look at the undying love found only in this weird but wonderful genre.
Spooktacular! Fangtastic! Unbelieva…ghoul…? Yes, it’s our Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 special episode of the Failed Critics Podcast.
Hosts Steve Norman-Bates and VoodoOwen Hughes drag Andrew ‘PVCface’ Brooker and Mike ShawcrossedTheWrongGuy straight from FrightFest and onto Skype for a podcast devoted entirely to the UK’s largest genre film festival.
Amongst the general chit-chat about the five-day event over the bank holiday weekend, we chat about over 15 different films, including: Leatherface; Cult of Chucky; 68 Kill; Better Watch Out; Tragedy Girls; The Bar; Mayhem; Double Date; Psychopaths; Freehold; Fanged Up; Jackals; Bloodshed; Mob; and not forgetting the Adam Wingard’s Netflix Original Death Note.
We’ll be back next week with a spy thrillers triple bill, but in the meantime, check out some of Mike’s photos from the festival below.
He went 15 rounds in the stunning 1975 heavyweight world championship against the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali, and ultimately inspired the billion-dollar Rocky franchise. No, not Andrew Brooker, but the guy in the film he’s written about…
“They’re slipping away” – Paul McEvoy on Tobe Hooper
At a point where it appears that the quality of atmosphere and company is topping the overall quality of the horror films, it’s clear that while we are over the halfway point of this year’s FrightFest, it’s going to be a bit of a slog to the end for writer Andrew Brooker.
“Fear changes people.”
A lovely Saturday morning in the finest city in the world. Seems like another perfect day to hide out in a dark, air conditioned cinema watching scary movies all day for Andrew Brooker, who rejoins a few hundred horror fans for the third day of this year’s FrightFest.
Continue reading FrightFest 2017 – Day Three
“The great pyramids wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for pussy.”
Embarking on a second journey to London in as many days, on a dangerously low amount of sleep, regretting the choice of jeans for his hot-as-balls morning commute, Andrew Brooker heads back into the fray of the Horror Channel FrightFest.