Tag Archives: owen hughes

Top 5 Films of 2017 (So Far)

We’ve reached the point in the year where it’s safe to start legitimately putting together a rough outline for your top 10 films of the year. Your number one might be displaced come December, or a handful of others might infiltrate the rest of the list; but it’s likely that those you’ve already decided are your favourites, will still be there or thereabouts by the time we compile our End of Year Awards. Continue reading Top 5 Films of 2017 (So Far)

Front Row with Owen and Paul: Superbown

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Having somehow survived three whole weeks of producing radio shows without being kicked out, Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland are back with the latest bitesize podcast edition of their Bucks101 Radio programme.

Unfortunately, the rules haven’t changed so we still can’t bring you the music from the show. This is a huge shame anyway, of course, but especially so this week as our guest in the studio, Chris Armar, not only talks about his passion for NBA, the NFL and particularly the Super Bowl, but also plays some of his own music for us.

Elsewhere on the show, Owen reviews Zoolander 2 briefly before descending into discussion about Spotlight with Paul, as promised last week. We’ve also got our regular sports round-up and general tom-foolery.


  1. Saint Motel – My Type (Paul)
  2. Sultans of Ping FC – Where’s Me Jumper (Owen)
  3. Gnarls Barkley – Run (Paul)
  4. Half Man Half Biscuit – If I Had Possession Over Pancake Day (Owen)
  5. The Heavy – What Makes A Good Man (Paul)
  6. The Pogues – Thousands Are Sailing (Owen)
  7. The Who – My Generation (Paul)
  8. Trebble™ – Communist Manifesto (Chris Armar)
  9. Guru Josh – Infinity (Ultra Music) (Owen)

Right-click and choose ‘save as’ to download the podcast as an mp3

Front Row With Owen and Paul: Get Paul Weller

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Just one day after broadcast on Bucks101 radio, Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland are back with the latest bitesize podcast edition of their show.

This week, Paul is suffering from some serious, heavy studying over the weekend. After being up all night drinking Lemsip and popping paracetamol like Smarties, he was just about able to crawl into the studio to play through some tracks and round-up the week in sport.

Meanwhile, Owen reviews another documentary in the Movie Review section, albeit one that’s slightly lighter in tone than last week’s My Nazi Legacy. Following its screening through BBC’s Storyville series, Owen discusses The Great Gangster Film Fraud – still available to watch the iPlayer – leading to a conversation about the merits of Storyville in general.

The die is cast again at the end of the show, rolling on the number one, prompting a chat about the very broad topic of ‘television’. Top Gear’s new host and Jeremy Clarkson’s obnoxiousness, as well as the ensuing battle between streaming and traditional TV, are all squeezed into the final section of the show.

You can join Owen and Paul again for the live Bucks101 broadcast of Front Row on Thursdays at 6pm. Until then, enjoy the podcast!


  1. The Velvet Underground – What Goes On? (Owen)
  2. Guns n’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine (Paul)
  3. Pere Ubu – Heart of Darkness (Owen)
  4. Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock (Paul)
  5. The Modern Lovers – Roadrunner (Owen)
  6. Stevie Wonder – Superstition (Paul)
  7. Paul Simon – I Know What I Know (Owen)
  8. Bryan Adams – Can’t Stop This Thing We Started (Paul)

Right-click and choose ‘save as’ to download the podcast as an mp3

Front Row with Owen and Paul: Episode 1

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Welcome to the first ever episode of Front Row with Owen and Paul!

The podcast is a bite-size edition of their radio show, originally produced for Bucks101 Radio on Thursdays at 6pm. If you miss the live stream of the show, then you’ll be able to catch up on all of the movie reviews, sports round-up and general shenanigans that hosts Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland got up to. As Paul describes, it’s not that we make it up as we go along, but as we go along, we make it up.

Unfortunately, the podcasts will not feature the music that’s played on the radio show – to hear that, you’ll need to make sure you tune in live every Thursday. But we’ll try to make up for that with a bit of extra chat on the podcast that you won’t get on the radio show. Alternatively of course, you can use the YouTube links below to listen to the songs at your own leisure!


  1. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising (Paul)
  2. Sleater-Kinney – A New Wave (Owen)
  3. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out (Paul)
  4. James Yuill – Turn Yourself Around (Owen)
  5. Invictus Soundtrack – 9,000 Days by Overtone with Yollandi Nortjie (Paul)
  6. John Grant – Black Belt (Owen)
  7. Toseland – Renegade (Paul)
  8. The Clash – Stay Free (Owen)

Right-click and choose ‘save as’ to download the podcast as an mp3

Failed Critics Podcast: An Advert!

Never actually listened to our podcast?

Only ever read our articles on the website?

Then why not try giving the following 60 second clip promoting our podcast a quick listen as we attempt to “string a few sentences together”!

Each week on the Failed Critics Podcast, the team review the latest cinema release, talk about what else they’ve seen in the past seven days and discuss the latest news from the film world (if it happens to have crossed their Twitter feeds prior to recording). Occasionally the team will also produce a themed Triple Bill, choosing three films each that fit a particular category.

If you want in depth reviews of the key components that make an individual movie good or bad, then you’re looking in the wrong place. If you want to listen to a group of people chat about film and be occasionally humorous with it, then that’s us.

In the meantime, if you’re new to the Failed Critics podcast and want to listen to more, but aren’t sure where to join in from, then the latest episode is always the best. We hardly ever have in-jokes or call backs to podcasts older than maybe one or two weeks, so hopefully you won’t feel left out!

The Failed Critics Podcast was created by James Diamond. It’s produced by Owen Hughes and presented by Steve Norman. Including (but not limited to) contributions by: Gerry McAuley, Carole Petts, Matt Lambourne, Callum Petch, Andrew Brooker, Mike Shawcross, Paul Field and James Diamond.

All music by Kevin MacLeod of http://incompetech.com (remixed by James Yuill from episode 150 onwards)

Website: http://failedcritics.com/
Acast podcast page: http://acast.com/failedcritics/
RSS Feed: http://rss.acast.com/failedcritics (copy into your podcast management software or RSS reader)

You can also find us on Twitter (@FailedCritics) and Facebook (/failedcritics). Or email us at failedcritics@gmail.com

Failed Critics Podcast: The Failed Black Wikishuffle Hole Quizcast

Welcome to the Failed Critics podcast– or should I say, “quizcast”! For the first time in Failed Critics history, we’re teaming up with some fellow podcasters for 60 minutes of quizzing.

With our regular host Steve Norman in the quiz master’s chair, it was up to Owen Hughes and Matt Lambourne to represent Failed Critics. Up against them, from the weekly film review podcast Black Hole Cinema, was Tony Black and Matt Latham. The third and final team on the quiz (and the only non-film related podcast) was Wikishuffle, with Jack Stewart, Chris Wallace and Phil Sharman. Claims of shenanigans were respectfully kept to a minimum, although promises to rein in competitiveness were hastily abandoned during the first round.

Feel free to play along and post your score in the comments box below – or tweet it to @FailedCritics, @Wikishufflepod or @BlackHoleCinema! There’s no prizes for beating us. Only pride and dignity are at stake here.

We’ll be back to normal next week with our Avengers: Age of Ultron podcast. Until then why not catch up with our special Avengers Minisode previews for Marvel’s next big blockbuster?



Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Another conquest in the revitalised Planet of the Apes series, ‘Dawn’ has further enhanced the reputation of its new director (Matt Reeves) and delivered on its promise to realise the potential of a truly sophisticated and intelligent blockbuster franchise that was displayed during Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

by Owen Hughes (Twitter: ohughes86)

new-tv-spots-for-dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apesIt’s 11th August 2011. My 25th birthday and exactly one month after I first sat down to watch the 1968 science fiction masterpiece that is acclaimed director Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes and its four subsequent sequels. Enthralled by its epic story of ruling classes, forbidden zones, the devolution of mankind into speechless pets, time traveling hippies and Charlton Heston’s chest rug, I’m sat in the cinema eagerly awaiting the start of the latest sci-fi blockbuster, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Regardless of my personal opinion on reboots, anything will be better than Tim Burton’s effort in 2001.

Within 10 minutes, I have already fallen in love with this dazzling new re-imagination of the origin of the Monkey Planet and its founder, Caesar.

Immediately after the credits have rolled, cleverly teasing what is to come in the as yet unnamed sequel, I breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate what has been a successful birthday treat. As hungry as I am for more, surely a blockbuster as unusually intellectually stimulating and exciting as Rise cannot be topped? After all, the second film in the original Apes series, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, was by far the weakest of the bunch. If history does indeed repeat itself, then lowering ones expectations seems like the most sensible approach.

It’s now 16th July 2014. Obviously not my birthday, but once again I feel like I can already crack open a beer and toast another successful entry into a much beloved franchise having seen Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at Cineworld’s surprise secret screening yesterday evening. It has achieved what I daren’t have dreamt it could; a worthy successor to one of the best big-budget films of recent times. Phew!

Deploying a multi-layered story of betrayal, family, home and tolerance, it once again draws you into its unlikely but bizarrely believable world through the meticulous undertaking that has gone into its conception and development.

Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver’s script begins by reminding us during the opening credits of the devastation caused by the outbreak of the ALZ-113 virus, as seen during the end credits of the previous film. A plague so devastating, it seemingly wiped out the human race. Shifting attention to the now ape infested (I mean, occupied) Muir Woods, California, over a decade later, we see the complex community formed by an older, wiser and greyer familiar looking chimp called Caesar. Juvenile chimps are being educated by orangutans in the laws of their society (ape shall not kill ape), the male chimps and gorillas are out hunting whilst the females stay at home. It’s a young and primitive society, but a functioning utopia for all ape kind. Aside from Caesar feeling a bit down about his old chum James Franco not being given a part in the latest flick, everything is now hunky dory in Monkey Town.

That is until the unexpected arrival of a trigger-happy Carver (Kirk Acevedo) who aimlessly drifts into the their territory. Unaware of the genetic advancements that ape-kind have gone through whilst humankind has regressed, feeling threatened by their sudden appearance, he promptly shoots one of them. Thus begins a calamitous clash of cultures so disastrous that not even Take That covering Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit compares.

What sets the Apes films apart from other big-budget Hollywood blockbusters this year (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Edge of Tomorrow, Godzilla, Transformers: Age of Extinction to name but a few) is not so much the spectacular way Reeves’ shoots his bombastic action sequences. Nor is it solely because of its gloriously uncompromising script that refuses to dumb down (monosyllabic apes aside) or spare the viewer any of the meatier dialogue that often can only take place via subtitles. Not even its consistently mind bogglingly life-like CGI that is on another level to almost everything that came before it can be the only reason why Dawn is so impressive. It’s a combination of all of the above. It hits a treble 20 with every single shot its spear-tipped poky sticks are aimed at.

Well, almost all of its targets. The only real downside is how it struggles to pin down a genuinely sympathetic human character like Rise did with James Franco and his father, John Lithgow. Watching their relationship slip away due to dementia was heart-breaking, but more importantly, both actors were tremendous. Discounting Andy Serkis and his (once again) stunning ‘motion capture’ performance as the leader of the apes, struggling to contain a rebellious little git within his ranks who wants war with the humans at the same time as providing a future for his family, there’s nothing here that matches up to what we’ve seen previously. The closest moments this ever gets to that level are, at best, fleeting.

Jason Clarke, whole-heartedly playing a father and partner determined not to let humanity lose its only chance to return to the glory days of old, gets the closest to immersing us in any individual humans struggles. We see what his old life meant to him in snippets, rather than in anything satisfyingly substantial. His friend in the human colony and co-leader of the people, Dreyfus, played by the ever-imposing screen presence that is Gary Oldman, gives a first impression of a man grappling with his responsibility to preserve a crumbling civilization. Unfortunately, one short emotional scene aside, it’s not expanded on or developed far enough to push the boundaries, but it is most definitely an assured performance nevertheless. I would have been shocked if it were anything less from an actor of his calibre.

In context, this minor gripe is hardly detrimental to the overall quality of the film in the grand scheme of things. It manages to capture the essence of what makes the original Planet of the Apes films so much fun and clever, whilst continuing to expand on the mythology firmly established in 2011. Verging into b-movie territory occasionally with the explosive action sequences does it no harm whatsoever and only serves to recall the ambitious nature of those 1970’s classics. None more so than both Conquest of and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Making apes riding horses seem terrifying rather than silly (honestly) is an admirable achievement.

Quite frankly, whoever is writing / directing the next unnamed sequel (Night of the Planet of the Living Apes, anyone?) the foundations have been laid so sturdily by Rupert Wyatt initially and now Matt Reeves, that it will take some monumental effort to screw it up from here. Step up one Joel Schumacher? Nah. Please, no. No! It was a joke.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is out in cinemas nationwide tomorrow (Thursday 17th July 2014).

Owen borrowed all of his writing techniques from I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan and can be found regularly mumbling away in a soft-brummie accent on the podcast, using profane words to describe films on Letterboxd, or wondering what to tweet about now the World Cup is over on Twitter.