Tag Archives: James Mullinger

Field and Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Rom com ramble

After a winter hiatus, James and Paul are back with a new episode of Underground Nights.

In this episode, the pair take a look at James’s secret passion that he’s finally telling the world about: romcoms. The boys count down their top five in the genre, offer an early sneak peak review of the new Mark Murphy comedy, For Love or Money, and Paul forces more recommendations on his co-host.

There’s even time for James to review new release, Love, Simon, and they are still banging on about why Oscar films are boring. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show, leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, and for UK audiences, check out Mullinger’s live stand up special for free on Amazon Prime, Anything is Possible.

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Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Uncle Don’s Mop

Paul Field and James Mullinger are back with another episode of their cult film podcast for a special Brit-flick edition, focussing particularly on their favourite (and least favourite) British gangster and crime movies, from football hooligans to Essex boys and all that’s in between (as long as it wears a sovereign ring and is a bit nawty oi oi).

Continue reading Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Uncle Don’s Mop

Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: UGN’s Guide to 2016

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The tinsel is down, the tree is in a skip, the annual bottle of port is long gone and only the orange ones remain in the tub of Quality Street, but 2016 has one last hurrah as hosts Paul and James take a look back at their favourite films of the past 12 months.

First they tackle the results from the Failed Critics Awards 2016 and discover which hugely popular titles they’ve managed to completely miss. They discuss their biggest surprises, biggest disappointments and hopefully don’t alienate most of their movie-going listeners by rubbishing the biggest critical hits of the year.

Finally, they each countdown their three worst films – and the lads have their sights firmly set on those with money and talent who’ve managed to balls things up spectacularly in 2016. There’s also time for a round-up of the top 5 movies of the year. What a wonderfully mixed bag it is too!

As ever with Underground Nights, if you’re looking for superhero films, head elsewhere. If you want competitive endurance tickling, bizarre erotic fan-fiction, Nicolas Cage movies without Nicholas Cage, and Dave Courtney in a tank, then you’re in luck.

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Support the podcast by streaming the podcast from our hosts Acast, subscribing on iTunes and leaving us a review and rating, or sharing this page with all of your friends – and some people who aren’t your friends too, just for good measure.

Failed Critics Podcast: Halloween Necromancing Triple Bill

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Brushing the cobwebs out of the way through the passage right at the back of the Failed Critics library, where nobody has been for centuries or more, we’ve found an ancient book containing spells for raising the dead.

Using our powers wisely, we let Steve Norman, Owen Hughes and Tony Black conjure up some deceased actors, putting them straight back to work in brand new movies pitched on this very episode of the Failed Critics Podcast Halloween special.

Resurrecting the dead in a triple bill is about as creepy as it gets this year, with What We’ve Been Watching ditched in favour of reviewing the new release Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, and a quick chat about the brand new semi-biographical comedy The Comedian’s Guide to Survivalstarring James Buckley (The Inbetweeners). Comedian’s Guide is co-written by and based on the life of our very own James Mullinger from Underground Nights – check out their latest episode for some great background information on the making of the hilarious film.

Elsewhere on this podcast, the Failed Critics found time to bring back the quiz with Owen in the driving seat. News was trailer heavy, packed with discussion about the new Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Logan trailers.

We’ll be back as normal next week with a review of Doctor Strange, but in the meantime keep an eye out for a brand new episode of our sister gaming podcast Character Unlock – as well as a round-up from this year’s Cambridge Film Festival, the longest running film festival in the UK!

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Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: The Comedians Guide to Survival

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Welcome to this special episode of Field and Mullinger’s Underground Nights all about the brand new comedy film The Comedian’s Guide to Survival, the semi-biographical story of James Mullinger.

Written and directed by Mark Murphy, featuring The Inbetweener‘s star James Buckley as Underground Nights’s co-host Mullinger, Comedian’s Guide follows the trials and tribulations of a hapless pant-wetting stand-up juggling his dreams with paying the bills as a magazine writer.

In this hour-long podcast, Mullinger chats with Paul Field about how true to life the film’s depiction is, how the movie came about, as well as some reminiscing about life as a journalist for GQ and nights in comedy clubs.

The Comedian’s Guide to Survival is released in cinemas nationwide on Friday 28 October 2016. Follow on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest news.

Support the podcast by streaming the podcast from our hosts Acast, subscribing on iTunes and leaving us a review and rating, and sharing this page with all of your friends – and some people who aren’t your friends too, just for good measure.

The Comedian’s Guide to Survival

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“I’m not even on stage and I’m getting heckled.”

Imagine you’re heading into the office in the morning. Heading towards your desk, coffee in hand, when for the fourth time that week, you’re reminded not to piss on yourself at work. If you’re anything like me, you’ve quit that job as soon as the first trickle hit your thighs. You certainly haven’t made it such a regular enough occurrence that colleagues feel the need to drill into you that urine on your jeans is simply not the way to go.

While you or I might quit and take solace in a darkened corner hoping for the ground to open up and swallow you whole, that’s not how veteran stand-up comedian James Mullinger rolls.

Maybe he’s got less pride than me or you? Maybe he likes the feel of warm urine leaking into his socks? Or maybe, if semi-biographical comedy The Comedian’s Guide to Survival is to be believed, it’s just that a shoe filled with warm asparagus scented fluid isn’t even close to the worst thing that happen to James Mullinger on his journey to become a stand-up comedian.

Stuck at a career impasse, magazine writer James Mullinger (The Inbetweeners star James Buckley) has aspirations to be a stand up comedian. And he would be able to do it, except for one rather large problem: he sucks harder than one of them toothless £1.50 cum-buckets you can smell coming down Catford High Street. Oh, and he pisses his pants on stage.

Failing to balance a job he’s beginning to loathe with countless hours on the road, urinating on pub stages, and spending time with his wife and kids; James is fast coming to a point where something has to give.

The writer’s abusive twat-bag boss (the equal parts sublime and hilarious Paul Kaye) gives him an ultimatum: take a promotion to deputy editor but drop the dreams of making people laugh, or lose his job and try and live on the pittance bar room comedy pays.

It seems the difficult decisions are being made for him. If having his dreams shat on isn’t bad enough, his dick-breath editor sends the down-trodden writer half way around the world to interview some of his comedy heroes and cover Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival.

One way or another, James is going to have to take control of his own destiny and decide what he wants to do with his life. Only once he hits several feet below rock bottom does his path become clear.

Biographical comedies are a tough sell. You’ve got to make someone’s story interesting enough to watch, but make it funny as well. This can only have been made more difficult for a stand-up comedian as the audience will be expecting side-splitting, laugh out loud funny from start to finish. Of course, the early gigs where everything is going laughably bad are easier to win the viewer on side, but the tricky part is saving a little for when all is going well in the life of Mullinger.

For a barrel-scraping hobby writer like myself, the mere thought of having to do that is giving me heart palpitations, but the man himself, writer James Mullinger along with co-writer and director Mark Murphy, have not only pulled off the great comedy balance, but managed to squeeze a little soul into the film that I really didn’t expect.

James trudging through the bar and pub comedy scene is a depressing little look into the lives of all those stand-ups that have told us stories of their early days. The fourth wall is broken to regale us with stories of journeys with people he couldn’t stand, running for busses and trains, and of nothing ever really going right. At the point that our protagonist gives in, going about his regular writing job, trying to move on with the 9-5 life, you truly feel sorry for this man who can’t catch a break. You can’t even find it in yourself to will him to keep going. The poor bastard is done.

And you really feel it when a line of the man’s heroes, in a string of “as Himself” credits from the likes of Omid Djalili, Mike Wilmot and Gilbert Gottfried, tell him to give it up repeatedly, brutally and painfully.

Conversely, The Comedians Guide to Survival is a real joy to watch. Particularly after the turning point in the film as a sense of purpose and a new found confidence washes over Mullinger. It’s almost humbling to watch – which says just as much about the direction and Buckley’s performance as it does about the writing.

It’s not all plain sailing. I do have one minor complaint about the film and it’s simply this; while I appreciate seeing Mullinger’s story on the screen, I would have liked to have seen a little more of the darker, behind the scenes stuff that the comedy scene can be known for. I only say this because it seems like the film should be telling me the whole story. This rings especially true when your film features Brendon Burns; a man who has very prominently, very loudly and very bluntly spoken about the comedy scene in the past. I just would have liked to have seen it explored a little more.

But this isn’t a deal breaker by any means. Comedians Guide doesn’t suffer without this aspect, it’s more a personal preference and I wouldn’t expect everyone that watches this laugh-out-loud comedy to come out wanting it.

What I would expect for everyone that sees the film is to see a big old smile on their face. The Comedian’s Guide to Survival is a comedy with a steady stream of chuckles right from the start that gradually builds into some brilliantly delivered laughs. It will have you pissing in your pants (not literally, James) and at the same time rooting for our hero the whole time. There are even some unexpected moments that had me wanting to reach in and give the guy a hug.

As the credits roll, you will find yourself with a massive involuntary grin on your Chevy Chase. Just remember who told you how much you were going to enjoy this cool little comedy.

The Comedians Guide to Survival is released in UK cinemas nationwide on 28 October 2016

Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Aroma du Troma

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Emerging from a flaming toxic waste drum ready to avenge the podcasting world, potty-mouthed Paul Field and feminist comedian James Mullinger are back – and they’re bigger, better and uglier than ever! Well, at least two of those are true.

Joining your Underground Nights hosts in the fourth episode of the podcast is the iconic Troma producer, director and all-round legend that is Lloyd Kaufman. If that weren’t enough, Troma Institute for Gifted Youth inductee Dylan Greenberg also takes part in the very personal interview. Lloyd and Dylan discuss everything from how Kaufman got into films, to what they really think about Netflix and why Troma NOW is better.

To top it all off, Dave Valentine (aka Crisp Packet Dave) and Mullinger bond over their love for VHS, whilst Paul holds an impromptu quiz… and not a single question was about laser-disc! There’s also enough time to chat about VHS Forever before Dave’s sexy voice gets all too much.

Support the podcast by streaming the podcast from our hosts Acast, subscribing on iTunes and leaving us a review and rating, and sharing this page with all of your friends – and some people who aren’t your friends too, just for good measure.

To see James’ VHS and Troma collection follow him on Facebook and Instagram:
Instragram: @tromavillecitizen

 

Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Cult Comedy

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The lads are back!

After a brief hiatus whilst James Mullinger was busy doing actual paid stand-up comedy, rather than fannying around on the internet talking about films with Paul Field, our Underground Nights duo return with a cult comedy special.

They tackle the outrageous Danish road trip movie Klown and try and look back on James’s childhood obsession with the little known Scorsese feature After Hours.

There’s news – lots of news – as we discover the outcome of James trying to flog more gig tickets than Jerry Seinfeld, they reminisce about over-indulging in the 90’s, tackle the Cannes film festival and go misty-eyed over the Carry On movies.

They end by discussing some listener suggestions and deliver their own Top 5 personal favourite cult comedy movies – and as ever, they discover ever more things they have in common and parallels in their lives.

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Check out Mullinger’s most riskiest stand-up comedy routine ever in the YouTube clip below!

Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Episode Two – Top Docs

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Back by popular demand, it’s the second episode Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights. Once again, your hosts Paul Field and James Mullinger are delving into the depths of cinema to dig out some of the best documentaries they can find. From the phenomenon of the Netflix series Making A Murderer, to the ground-breaking Paradise Lost, they’ve got it covered.

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Joining Paul and James to discuss the world of documentary film-making is Cleanflix co-director Joshua Ligairi. As well as sharing his thoughts on some of the crazy conspiracies behind Making A Murderer, Josh also talks about his own work past and present, including the upcoming Plan 241.

There’s also time for the trio to quickly run through the recent Oscar nominations and explain how Alan Rickman inadvertently funded one member of the team throughout his education!

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Failed Critics Podcast in 2015 Recap

As 2015 draws to a close, let’s take a look back over some of the best podcasts we’ve produced over the past 12 months.


JANUARY – The Pod In The Machine

ex machinaIn tandem with the release of Ex Machina, Matt Lambourne joined Steve and I for a special ‘Artificial Intelligence’ themed episode. On top of reviewing Alex Garland’s movie (which would go on to be voted the best British film of 2015 in our Failed Critics Awards this past month) we each chose our favourite movies featuring A.I. in honour of both this and the upcoming releases of Big Hero 6 and Chappie.


 

FEBRUARY – Your Unconventional Desire

50 shadesAs Fifty Shades of Grey hit the big screen in February, we invited Matt Lambourne and (for the first time ever) Paul Field onto the podcast to review the not-so-erotic erotic-thriller. It was almost left up to Paul to review the movie on his own as both Steve and I welched and Matt did his best to ruin Valentine’s Day. The podcast also featured reviews of two other new releases, with Will Smith’s con-film Focus and the sci-fi indie movie Predestination.


 

MARCH – Don’t Laugh, We’re Being Cool

?????????????????Quickly becoming one of our favourite guests on the show within just three months, Andrew Brooker was invited back onto the podcast again to discuss Neill Blomkamp’s latest action thriller, Chappie. Also joining us that week was Jack Stewart – then of Not This Again fame, but now one part of the Wikishuffle trio. It’s fair to say that there were some mixed opinions about this new release!


 

APRIL – Episode 150 and as shambolic as ever

New LogoIf you’re actually a fan of the Failed Critics Podcast, then April 2015 was quite the month for you as we put out 15 individual episodes, including a five-hour long triple-triple bill podcast with Matt Lambourne, Andrew Brooker and Paul Field, to celebrate reaching a pretty incredible milestone of 150 episodes. It was also the episode where we debuted our new logo and theme tune, which was a remix of the old tune by professional musician James Yuill.


 

MAY – Mad Critics Fury Podcast

mad max 4Andrew Brooker was back on the podcast as we reviewed the film that would go on to win first place in our Top 10 of 2015 list at the awards, Mad Max: Fury Road. From the way Brooker and Jackson Tyler reacted to it back then, it’s hardly surprising it had such a lasting impact. This was also the podcast that saw us change our opening quiz format for the first time to some degree of success, as I made up a few Albert Pyun film descriptions.


 

JUNE – Jurassic World & Christopher Lee

Jurassic-World-1With the legendary Sir Christopher Lee passing away, it seemed somewhat fitting that we had our resident horror expert on the podcast that week in Mike Shawcross. We paid tribute to the iconic film star, as well as reviewing the biggest film of the year, Jurassic World.


 

JULY – Small, Bald, Jaundiced Critics

illuminationIn our first podcast of the second half of 2015, Callum Petch joined us to review one of the highest grossing movies of the year, Minions. We also had some-time guest writer Nick Lay join us for review of yet more low-budget indie movies. We also ranted once again about another Spider-Man reboot news.


 

AUGUST – Corridor of Praise: Danny Dyer

dyerAfter much persuading by Paul Field, the ‘slice’, he convinced us to dedicate and entire episode to the work of British actor Danny Dyer … and it turned out to be our most downloaded podcast of the entire year! A lot of work went into it, with Paul watching every Dyer film in existence. We even got professional stand-up comedian James Mullinger to appear on the show, as well as an interview with film producer Jonathan Sothcott, who co-authored the book The Films of Danny Dyer with Mullinger.


 

SEPTEMBER – Legend, The Visit and Award Winning Comedy

legendWith Steve on a week’s break, Jack Stewart was back on the podcast – but this time in the host’s chair. Phil Sharman (also from Wikishuffle) appeared on this episode, fresh after the pair of them won Best Comedy Podcast at the UK Podcaster Awards. Andrew Brooker also helped join in the collective sigh of disappointment at Legend, starring Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy.


 

OCTOBER – In SPECTRE, It’s Columbo

spectre1208141280jpg-398894_1280wInadvertently spawning a new catchphrase, my review of a Columbo TV movie (that Steve forced me to watch) led to ‘it’s Columbo’ causing a few chuckles amongst our guests. Both Tony Black (of Pick A Flick and The X-Cast fame) and Brian Plank helped us to review the latest James Bond film and somewhat underwhelming SPECTRE.


 

NOVEMBER – Ronaldo, World Cinema and Listener Questions

NocturnaIn a re-hash of an idea we tried out in 2014, we invited listeners to send questions in to us and our guests for the episode (and world cinema aficionados) Liam and Andrew Alcock. We also discussed the new Cristiano Ronaldo documentary that had just been released, as well as lesser known international movies Nocturna, Green Butchers and Train of Life (yeah, I hadn’t heard of them either!)


 

DECEMBER – Winterval Special 2015

gremlinsEvery October, we have a Halloween special podcast. In April, we celebrate the “birthday” for Failed Critics. In December, of course we always have a Christmas special episode. It was the last of the year that both Steve and I were on (as he missed the end of year awards and I was booted off the Star Wars: The Force Awakens episode) so why not listen to both of us (plus Andrew Brooker and Brian Plank) spread some Christmas cheer!


 

Some others not mentioned above:

Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Fred’s Pocket – Although I didn’t appear on this podcast, I am its Producer and Editor! Paul Field and James Mullinger started off their new podcast series with a look at their favourite Canadian films and interview WolfCop director Lowell Dean.

Avengers Minisodes and Age of Ultron – Gerry McAuley, Brian Plank, Leighton, Callum Petch, Tony Black, Carole Petts, Andrew Brooker, Matt Lambourne and Mike Shawcross each joined us for ten individual 15-20minute long “minisodes”, re-evaluating the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe up to and then including Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The Failed Black Wikishuffle Hole Quizcast and The Failed Black Hole Word of Friction Wikishuffle Critics – After we hosted the first ever quiz-only edition of the Failed Critics Podcast – dubbed a ‘Quizcast’ – featuring both Black Hole Cinema and Wikishuffle, back in April, it fell to Tony Black to host the second rendition which also added Word of Nerd and Fan Friction to the mix.

TV Specials: 2.5, (S3, Ep1) and (S3, Ep2) – In 2016 we’ll be hosting our first Netflix Original podcast, but earlier this year we hosted three TV specials, including episode 2.5 with Paul Field and Andrew Brooker, which reviewed Entourage: The Movie, and then again with episode 3 split into two parts. James Diamond (founder of Failed Critics) and Matt Latham (creator of The Bottle Episode) joined us in part 1 for a chat about the Emmy’s and in part 2 to talk more generally about our favourite TV shows.

The Blair Witch Project (Commentary) – Less of an actual film commentary and more like a watch-along (as I tried to explain on my blog), Steve, Matt, Brooker and I all watched cult 90’s found-footage phenomenon The Blair Witch Project and released our running dialogue as an episode people could either listen to whilst watching the film themselves, or just as a stand alone podcast. We’ll be trying it again at some point in the new year. If there’s any suggestions as to what we should watch next, leave a comment in the box below!


 

2016 is already shaping up to be another successful year for us. The first three months of podcasts have been scheduled and we’ve got two Corridor of Praise episodes lined up, our usual Oscars special, a world cinema triple bill, episode number 200 (!!) and of course all of the big releases including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Hateful Eight, Creed and loads of others too.

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded or listened to any of our podcasts over the past 12 months. We’re ending the year on a high, having once again made it onto the iTunes Film Fanatics list on their podcasts page, sandwiched between Mark Kermode and the Barbican. You could help make it an even better end to the year by visiting our iTunes page and leaving us a review and/or a rating: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/failed-critics-film-podcast/id522507819?mt=2

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed listening to these podcasts almost as much as I’ve enjoyed making them and you will continue to listen to us throughout the next 12 months too.

Happy New Year all and see you in 2016!

Owen’s 2015 In Film: Part 11 – No(tmanyfilms)vember

In the penultimate entry to Owen’s 2015 in review series that has been looking back on all of the movies he’s watched during each month of the year, he discusses a few of the films he’s seen in November.

by Owen Hughes (@ohughes86)

cg-buckle1If October was my busiest movie-watching month of the year, watching at least one horror film every single day, then November was something of a respite period. When I wasn’t writing stuff for my University assignments, then I was writing a new blog post every single day, or occasionally even finding time to review movies on here.

What I apparently didn’t find time for is actually watching more films. I think this past month is possibly the first time since around 2011 that I actually went four days in a row without watching anything at all. Not only did that happen once, but twice! What kind of behaviour is that for a man who supposedly runs a film podcast?

Although, some of that time that I didn’t spend watching films, I did spend productively. I appeared on the pilot of The Bottle Episode‘s new podcast, talking about my TV genealogy, which was a lot of fun. I also drove down to Wikishuffle HQ and interviewed Chris Wallace and Phil Sharman about their show and Best Comedy Podcast award, which you can watch on my YouTube channel.

Anyway. Back on topic, I suppose I better get on with discussing a few films that I’ve seen lately, starting with…


Week 1: Sunday 1 – Sunday 8 November 2015

Sunday – The Blair Witch Project (1999); Monday – The Blair Witch Project (1999), The Blair Witch Project (1999); Tuesday – [absolutely nothing]; Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – [absolutely nothing]; Friday – Batman (1966), The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994); Saturday – Iris (2015), HUDSON HAWK (1991); Sunday – Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse (2015)

hudson-01I’ve already moaned about this on the podcast, but I honestly don’t think I can fully portray just how bad I thought Hudson Hawk was. For those that don’t know, Bruce Willis plays a cat burglar recently released from prison, who is set up with a new job to steal various Da Vinci inventions from museums. Hidden in said items are special diamonds required to power an alchemy machine, turning lead into gold. I said it at the time and I stand by it now, even after the steam has stopped blowing from my ears, but Bruce Willis (credited as a story writer) is absolutely appalling in what is one of the worst movies I have seen all year. Possibly even ever. From the eye-rollingly bad premise that’s too absurd to contemplate, to the lamentable performances and sickeningly smug comedy skits, it’s just horrendous. I’m sure it was probably a lot of fun to make, as Danny Aiello, Richard E Grant, Andie MacDowell etc all seem to be enjoying themselves in what I think is supposed to be a throwback to old fashioned goofball comedy capers; it just doesn’t translate into anything even remotely associated with the word “fun” for the viewer. It’s definitely one to avoid.


Week 2: Monday 9 – Sunday 15 November 2015

Monday – He Named Me Malala (2015); Tuesday – [absolutely nothing]; Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – [absolutely nothing]; Friday – WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968); Saturday – [absolutely nothing]; Sunday – Green Butchers (2003)

2a9435Going right back to where this blog series all started with last October’s Horrorble Month, where I watched one horror film every day in the build up to Halloween, the very first review I wrote was for Witchfinder General. I don’t remember when I first watched Michael Reeves’s English folk-horror, starring Vincent Price as the infamous Matthew Hopkins. What I do remember is that it was then – and still is now – one of my favourite horror films of all time. It might possibly have been my first introduction to Price, kick-starting my love-affair with his movies. It’s atmospheric, dark and uncomfortable to watch as you might expect. Whether it’s because the charismatic witchfinder himself is asserting his influence to sexually assault and murder women, or from the sheer brutality of the violence, it’s a chilling historical drama. I think this time around, one thing struck me more than any other, which was the fact that you never understand Hopkins’ motivation for doing what he does. Not properly. You don’t know whether or not he believes he’s actually on a mission from God, or if he’s just a sadistic killer who is after fame and fortune. It’s odd that I’ve never really noticed that before. It seemed like a glaring omission at first, but the more I thought about it, the more clever I thought it was. Hopkins (the real Hopkins who was responsible for around 60% (nearly 300) of ALL the women killed in the 17th century accused of witchcraft) was a monster. Leaving the film character’s motivations as clouded as the real man’s were, it’s entirely fitting. And, more to the point, doesn’t matter. Price’s subtleties in the role are more than enough to keep you interested in the character – and again, credit to the young director for winning Price’s respect and forcing him to tone down his occasional tendency to perform with a certain… vivaciousness. Excuse the plug for a moment, but I wrote up a piece on Witchfinder General for my blog, Films As News, which you can read here.


Week 3: Monday 16– Sunday 22 November 2015

Monday – [absolutely nothing]; Tuesday – [absolutely nothing]; Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – [absolutely nothing]; Friday – THE VOICES (2015); Saturday – X-Men: First Class (2011); Sunday – Don’t Look Now (1973)

The-Voices-01-GQ-10Mar15_rex_b_813x494I think I owe Callum a certain degree of gratitude for being so insistent earlier this year that The Voices was one of the best films of 2015. If it wasn’t for his continuous recommendations for this psychological horror comedy, starring Ryan Reynolds as a delusional psychopath whose dog and cat talk to him (both of which are voiced by Reynolds), it might have passed me by entirely. As it happens, I’m inclined to agree with his assertion that it genuinely may be one of the most underrated gems of the entire year so far. It’s almost guaranteed to make my top 10 list when I submit it for the Failed Critics Awards (ahem, please vote in them this year as soon as you’re done with reading this article!). As Callum also pointed out in his review, to say too much about The Voices would be to spoil it for those who have yet to see it. Suffice to say, it’s a plot that escalates in its complexities as Reynolds’ character, Jerry, stops taking his meds. Whilst I’m positive there’s a message behind the film about not-so-much perhaps mental illness and how it affects people, but more about a general social conscience and how we, the mentally well, perceive them, the mentally unwell. With Jerry more contented to live in a fantasy world as it makes his grim situation more easy to digest, there’s a sadness in what feels like an uncomfortable truth. Marjane Satrapi deserves to take credit for the way she portrays Jerry’s dreamlike existence with its vibrant colours that fade or get stronger, depending on what stage his mental wellbeing is at, but I also think that Michael R Perry’s script is incredibly detailed and it just seems like the perfect combination of style and substance that’s so very rare. So if Callum’s recommendation wasn’t strong enough for you, let me add my weight behind it too. Go see it! It’s on UK Netflix right now so you have no excuses. Unless you don’t subscribe to Netflix, I guess.


Week 4: Monday 23 – Monday 30 November 2015

Monday – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015); Tuesday – [absolutely nothing]; Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – Event Horizon (1997); Friday – The Warriors (1979), Zardoz (1974); Saturday – [absolutely nothing]; Sunday – Force Majeure (2015); Monday – Cartel Land (2015), THE COMEDIAN’S GUIDE TO SURVIVAL (2016)

James-bombing-on-stageI’m not going to talk about The Hunger Games again. I made my feelings quite clear on the podcast that week that it’s just not a series of films I’ve particularly enjoyed. In fact, I am struggling to think of a series of movies that I’ve invested so much time into and got so little out of with each passing entry in the series. Especially as I didn’t even enjoy the first bloody one! Instead, I’m going to talk about (and not review) a film that I went to see the test screening of in London that’s due for release sometime next year. It’s called The Comedian’s Guide To Survival and stars James Buckley (Jay from The Inbetweeners) as the struggling stand-up comedian, James Mullinger. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because Mullinger is not only an actual professional comedian with his own TV show, but is also (and more importantly, I’m sure) the co-host of the first Failed Critics spin-off podcast, Underground Nights, along with Paul Field. The movie about his life (which he wrote along with director Mark Murphy) had an audience test screening that Paul, Carole and I went along to see at the Courthouse Hotel. It’s a bit weird going to see a film about the life of someone you kind-of know. Mostly, as Paul and I discussed on our way there, what happens if the film turns out to be.. well.. shit? Do you lie about it? Do you not say anything at all? As it turned out, it wasn’t an issue, because the film was thankfully very funny. With support from various British comedy actors such as Paul Kaye, Kevin Eldon, Mark Heap and so on, I think it could go on to be a success next year. Word of warning, though: don’t buy a round of drinks at Soho hotels. £28 for three drinks! What a rip off. (Cheers for that by the way, Carole. I’ll buy you one next time….)


And that’s it. Only one more of these to go that I will be scrabbling around to write in the following few weeks. If you’ve any thoughts about the reviews above, or if you disagree and want to tell me why I’m wrong, leave a comment in the box below or message me over on Twitter at @ohughes86. See you all in the new year!

Failed Critics Podcast: The Good Bridge of Dinosaur Spies

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We’re back to our normal routine today with Steve Norman and Owen Hughes joined by Callum Petch. There’s not a single professional comedian amongst them after the first episode of Paul Field and James Mullinger’s Underground Nights popped up in your podcast subscription software of choice this past weekend.

And what a bumper crop of new release reviews we have in store for you! Four new movies that have hit your cinema screens recently, including: The new Pixar dramedy, The Good Dinosaur; Black Mass, a crime biopic starring Johnny Depp; a film that Callum describes as “perfect” in Carol; and cold war drama Bridge of Spies, the latest Spielberg and Hanks collaboration.

All of this plus a look at the new Captain America: Civil War and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice trailers and a bunch of other stuff that we’ve seen this past week. Callum boldly goes where millions of others have gone before and inducts himself into the Star Trek universe via the original motion picture. Meanwhile, Steve talks us through a post apocalyptic horror like so many more before it with Hidden and rounds up this season of The Walking Dead. There’s also still time for Owen to talk about a film that very few have seen before after attending the test screening of The Comedians Guide to Survival, a movie starring James Buckley (Jay from The Inbetweeners) about the life of James Mullinger (yes, that guy from Underground Nights).

Join Owen and Steve again for more “film related nonsense” with returning guest Andrew Brooker.

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Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Episode One – Fred’s Pocket

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Welcome to the premiere episode of Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights, where we’ll be tickling the underbelly of cinema, from Troma & Astron 6 to the much maligned British gangster flick and everything in between. Your hosts James Mullinger and Paul Field kick off with a Canadian Special (not a euphemism) where we discuss our favourite Canadian movies.

wolfcop

James tells us why he loves Lost After Dark and explains why he is still buying VHS, whilst Paul shows a lot of love for The Soska Sisters (come on, we all love a Dead Hooker In A Trunk…)

We go balls deep into WolfCop as we’re joined by the director Lowell Dean who shares his passion for Canadian cinema and offers a veritable feast of WolfCop news & insight – including some exclusive WolfCop 2 news!

There’s even time to finish up with a new release review, where we look at the controversial LOVE 3D from notorious French auteur Gaspar Noé. Obviously that flies off at a tangent so acute we end up on a jolly jape concerning Fred and the stash of gentleman’s journals in his pocket.

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Owen’s 2015 in Film: Part 8 – August, You Slice

Another month on in his year in review series, Owen takes a look at some of the films that he’s seen this past August. As with each of the previous articles in the series, the month will be broken down by week, with a review of one arbitrarily chosen film seen during each period.

by Owen Hughes (@ohughes86)

these final hours 2015Anyone who has been following the website and podcast over the past few months might have noticed that for a little while now, we’ve been going a bit Danny Dyer crazy. Not, like, mugging off slaaaags as per his persona. I mean, we’ve been covering a lot of Danny Dyer stuff.

In last month’s article, for example, I talked about how his tweet at the Failed Critics meet up in July played a part in cheering me up after some rather gutting news. We then had our most popular individual episode since 2012 when we inducted Dyer into our Corridor of Praise. Basically, we haven’t shut up about him. Throughout August, particularly in the couple of weeks leading up to that particular podcast, I watched a boat load of his movies. I’ll try not to talk about them all here [if you really want you can read my short reviews of them all over on Letterboxd] to spare you from being subjected to the same material over and over again.

Instead, I’m going to kick off this month’s article by talking about something completely original for this series: a b-movie sci-fi horror…

…What?


Week 1 – Saturday 1 – Sunday 2 August 2015

Saturday – HARDWARE (1990); Sunday – [absolutely nothing]

hardware 1990In my July In Review article, the very last film I talked about was a documentary called Lost Soul. It follows director Richard Stanley’s doomed attempt to bring HG Wells’s novella The Island of Doctor Moreau to the silver screen back in 1996. It led to me immediately afterwards searching frantically online for a copy of said film to stream with no luck whatsoever. However, I did find Stanley’s two previous feature length movies available on Netflix, starting with his futuristic, dystopian, science fiction thriller Hardware. As you may have already ascertained from the title, the plot can essentially be boiled down to “cyborg gone bad”. It has the claustrophobic paranoia of Alien crossed with the relentlessness of The Terminator, made for a fraction of the cost of either film. Anyone who has been following these articles will know that during the past eight months, despite already having some degree of fondness for b-movies, one particular director, Albert Pyun, has really grabbed my attention of late. Richard Stanley’s Hardware is very reminiscent of Pyun’s style, with a nuclear ravaged world and killer-robot running rampage in an apartment, although it is somewhat smaller in scale. Where Pyun’s ambition is to always tell as epic an adventure as is possible, it maybe stretches him further than his budgets would sometimes allow. When he pulls it off, I love it. When he’s been a bit too ambitious, obviously it leaves his films rather painful to watch. Stanley seems as aware of his restrictions and tries to utilise them as much as possible. Hardware isn’t a perfect movie; indeed the last 20 minutes seem very repetitive and ends rather tamely. There are so many different ideas all crammed into an hour and a half that it convolutes things slightly too. But there’s a lot to admire here. Visually, I absolutely adored it. From the design of the robot to the red and orange tint across the picture, it is beautiful to look at all the way through. The world building is great to start with but kind of gets thrown out of the window at the mid-way point to turn it into a more close-knit horror, but is interesting all the same. All in all, despite knowing what happened to Stanley’s Island of Dr Moreau, Hardware just made me all the more keen to find it and question the reputation of it being one of the worst films ever made!


Week 2 – Monday 3 – Sunday 9 August 2015

Monday – Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)SOUTHPAW (2015)Tuesday – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), Fantastic Four (2015); Wednesday – Dust Devil (1992); Thursday – Top Gun (1986); Friday – Ginger Snaps (2000); Saturday – [absolutely nothing]; Sunday – [absolutely nothing]

southpawI could continue this Richard Stanley theme and talk about Dust Devil, his next feature after Hardware, but I won’t say any more than simply: I didn’t enjoy it as much. I could also discuss the two Mission: Impossible films that I enjoyed – alas, I found them largely forgettable and, as such, have… er… forgotten most of what they’re about beyond Cruise-gon’-Cruise. Instead, I want to explain why Southpaw was the film I was most looking forward to seeing this August and why it didn’t actually live up to my expectations. I actually picked Southpaw on our Summer Preview Podcast back in May, mostly because I was excited to see if Jake Gyllenhaal could improve on his performance in Nightcrawler last year. (Spoiler: it doesn’t.) The fact is, his performance is good enough to warrant a film like this; the way he transforms himself so he’s hardly recognisable in each role is thoroughly impressive. But Southpaw as a whole simply turned out to be a film that is just good enough. It keeps coming back to me. It’s just good enough. Good enough for me to have not felt like I’d wasted two hours in the cinema. Good enough for me to say it wasn’t disappointing. Good enough for me to have liked a lot about it. But it’s not great and I can’t quite put my finger on why that is. Perhaps the story is little more than OK, with a Rocky-meets-Raging-Bull quality to it? Boxing films do seem to follow a pretty standard pattern, whatever culture they’re from. It doesn’t matter if it’s South Korea’s Crying Fist or a very Clint Eastwood Million Dollar Baby; they are typically about a character falling on hard times, facing adversity and then redeeming themselves. Maybe the lack of anything new or original is why I’m struggling to think of any reason that this would be anywhere near my top 10 of the year so far list, despite not actually disliking it? It’s just good enough. Nothing more and that’s a real shame.


Week 3 – Monday 10 – Sunday 16 August 2015

Monday – Apocalypse Now (1979); Tuesday – [absolutely nothing]; Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – The All Together (2007); Friday – Devil’s Playground (2010); Saturday – The Other Half (2006); Sunday – Next Goal Wins (2014), WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER (2001)

wet hot american summerLike a lot of other people, I have since found out, I too was tricked by the pretty terrible TV advert for the new Netflix prequel series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. It didn’t appeal to me at all, despite Callum raving about it on our podcast not too long back. The cast looked impressive, but it had something off-puttingly Scary Movie / Epic MovieMeet The Spartans / other-shit-parody-movie about it. However, I knew it had cult status and I fancied watching a comedy film – something that The All Together and The Other Half had failed to deliver earlier in the week! So, despite going into Wet Hot American Summer with some degree of trepidation, it actually delivered a very smart, mostly laugh out loud comedy full of self-parody, fantastic comic-performances and made me re-think how I’d interpreted that TV ad for the Netflix series. I’m certainly glad that I watched the film first as even though the show is a prequel (made 15 years after the first film – something hilarious in itself) it does have a heck of a lot of call backs and set ups for the movie that have great pay-offs that I otherwise would have missed out on. Also, I’m aware that they very rarely all appear on screen together, but to get some of this cast back on board is simply amazing. Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper etc are all so much more well known now compared to back in 2001, yet still fit together like they’ve been planning a prequel show all this time. I highly recommend it for some quick consistent giggles and advise against letting that fucking advert put you off.


Week 4 – Monday 17 – Sunday 23 August 2015

Monday – The Island of Dr Moreau (1996); Tuesday – The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015); Wednesday – The Wraith (1986); Thursday – VENDETTA (2013)Friday – Dead Man Running (2009); Saturday – Soldier (1998), Piranha 3DD (2012); Sunday – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

VendettaIf I’m going to pick any Danny Dyer film to talk about in this month’s article, it’s got to be the revenge thriller Vendetta, featuring an appearance from James Mullinger and produced by Jonathan Sothcott, both of whom appeared on that Corridor of Praise podcast I mentioned at the top of the page. The plot is very straight forward as British soldier (Danny Dyer) goes AWOL, returning to the UK to catch the scumbags who have burned his parents alive. It’s very nicely shot, there’s a lot of violent revenge enacted on people who “deserve their comeuppance” (described by The Guardian as revenge-porn) and it’s entirely unapologetic about it. If that’s your thing, then you are quite likely to love Vendetta. It’s probably the most grown-up performance from Dyer who, although having the reputation as a geezer and/or gangster, is usually playing the likeable, fallible, boy-ish good looking fellow in a group, not the rampaging murderer. In this, he properly is the hardened cold-killer and nails the role. Paul Field basically pressured me into buying this on blu-ray and it turned out to be a good decision as it’s an entertaining low-budget British thriller. It’s actually a shame that there’s no sign of a sequel just yet as they can’t “get Danny out of Walford” for the foreseeable future.


Week 5 – Monday 24 – Monday 31 August 2015

Monday – The Business (2005), The Football Factory (2004); Tuesday – Outlaw (2007); Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – White Chicks (2004); Friday – THESE FINAL HOURS (2015)Saturday – The Guvnors (2014); Sunday – American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987), Sinister 2 (2015); Monday – [absolutely nothing]

these final hoursWe’ve talked about this Australian pre-post-apocalyptic (a genre term I’m pretty sure I coined) on the podcast in recent weeks, particularly as it was shown at FrightFest this year – although I actually found it on US Netflix. Written and directed by Zak Hilditch, starring Nathan Phillips (Wolf Creek), Sarah Snook (Predestination) and Jessica De Gouw (Arrow, Dracula), as mentioned on the pdocast it does start off a bit like a music video. You’re not really invited to connect to the story nor the characters as a series of expositional dialogue sets things up alongside a show of bright, shallow visuals. It’s safe to say that it didn’t grab me straight away and I immediately thought it’d be a tediously dull wasted concept. However, once I got past the opening credits and the first five minutes, things suddenly get very dark. Whilst on the surface it appears to be as bleak as hell about humanity when facing a crisis – hey, let’s all get pissed, do a load of drugs and party until our skin is burnt from our bodies in 12 hours time – it does showcase some brightness in how we interact with each other. That there’s good in some of us. As the protagonist James stumbles across a young girl who has been separated from her family (played brilliantly by Angourie Rice), he decides to help her find her dad; at first reluctantly, but eventually it takes him on a course to see visit his mother, make peace with some friends and discover something about himself (albeit a little bit too late!) As far as these stories go, it never quite gets as distressing as something like The Road, but if you’re into an apocalyptic story that doesn’t feature either vampires or zombies, this might just be for you.


And that’s it! I’ll be back next month to recap what I’ve been watching throughout September. Until then, leave a comment if you’d like or just ignore the entire article completely. Your call.

Failed Critics Podcast – COP: Danny Dyer

danny dyerWhat else are you going to do on a Wednesday afternoon? Sit in your fucking armchair, listening to Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review? Then go and spunk your wages on Twilight DVDs and merchandise? Fuck that for a laugh. We know what we’d rather do! An entire podcast dedicated to Danny Dyer. Love it!

That’s right. In this episode, the Failed Critics will be honouring the work of Britain’s most unappreciated actor, Danny Dyer, by inducting him into our illustrious Corridor of Praise and dedicating a special one-off two-hour long episode to discussion about his career and influence.

Luckily, Steve Norman and Owen Hughes don’t have to do this on their own and are joined by some very special guests this week. We were accompanied by both Failed Critics regular Paul Field, who has recently re-watched Dyer’s entire filmography, and the hilarious professional stand-up comedian James Mullinger, co-author of the book ‘The Films of Danny Dyer‘ – and co-star of Dyer’s in the 2013 revenge thriller Vendetta! Together, we take a look at Danny’s early career in films like Human Traffic, Borstal Boy and Mean Machine, through to his work with Nick Love on Goodbye Charlie Bright, The Football Factory and The Business, all the way up to his Revolver period and current gig on Eastenders. We reveal what our initial opinion of Danny Dyer was and how that might have changed over the years, we wonder what tastes like chicken and have a short quiz that’s as shambolic as ever.

We’ve even included an interview with film producer Jonathan Sothcott who, as well as working with James on their book, has also worked with Danny Dyer on numerous occasions for productions such as Devil’s Playground and Danny Dyer’s Football Foul Ups. (Stick around for a post-credits stinger this week where Jonathan sheds some light on just what the Hell a ‘slice’ is!)

We’ll be back to our usual format next week as Mike Shawcross rounds up this upcoming weekend’s FrightFest, and Andrew Brooker joins us to review new releases Straight Outta Compton and Hitman: Agent 47.

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