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)
Ee arr, our kid. Yow wo’ believe it, but we’ve only gon’ an’ published anuva bostin’ episode! Ark at four half-soaked wallies blaberen about films an’ that in a Failed Critics Dudleycast.
Listen. Focus on the rain. Can you hear it? Find the rain. Now, once you’ve found it… sink into the pod!
Yes, this week’s main review on the Failed Critics Podcast is the chilling black comedy/horror/psychological thriller, Get Out. Let Steve Norman, Owen Hughes and Tony Black lull you into a false sense of security and then fill your head with nonsense for the following 60 minutes.
Things temporarily go all weird on the latest episode as the team try to have a somewhat sensible conversation about the representation of black characters in mainstream media following Thandie Newton’s recent comments.
However, the regular What We’ve Been Watching section soon brings a sense of normality to proceedings as reviews of Simon Amstell’s mockumentary, Carnage, friend of the podcast Jonathan Sothcott’s We Still Kill The Old Way, our fifth best film of last year Green Room, and rebooted comedy Ghostbusters all feature.
Join us again next week for a mighty morphin’ good time.
The year is 2029. The world is a horrible place where those who are different are deemed a threat. Those with special or otherwise exceptional talents, skills and abilities are segregated out from the rest of society. Shunned. In some cases, destroyed. Hunted.
Fortunately this precludes Steve Norman, Owen Hughes, Andrew Brooker and Tony Black, who are allowed to just carry on as normal producing episodes of the Failed Critics Film Podcast for your delectation. Just in time for us to review the latest thriller in the X-Men movie franchise, Logan, starring Hugh Jackman as the titular mutant, aka Wolverine.
On this weeks show, Steve wonders why anybody would ever want to watch anything like the Dave Courtney straight-to-DVD geezer movie Thugs, Mugs and Dogs. We also have our regular What We’ve Been Watching, where Tony begins plotting a trip to Derby after Brooker reviews the new Iko Uwais actioner, Headshot; Owen rewatches Kill Bill Volume 1 and decides he definitely won’t be returning to Volume 2; Steve runs through the Netflix Original movie Tallulah; and Tony ponders the unfortunate situation where Friend Request is about as good a social-media influenced horror as we’re likely to get.
Join us again next week for blockbuster monster-movie, Kong: Skull Island.
Ow yow doin’, ar kid? Y’am oroight, ay ya? Bostin’! This bonus triple bill episode has the dubious honour of being our first ever podcast recorded live in person without the aid of Skype. Owen Hughes, Tony Black and Andrew Brooker went all the way to a pub in Birmingham to record 70 minutes worth of bonus content just for the Hell of it.
Alcohol was consumed and a quiet corner in a lovely little boozer was found. The fact that the Six Nations then kicked off and the Failed Critics were soon surrounded by a cacophony of noise, whilst being stared at by the barmaid for not ordering any drinks for an hour and a half, is by the by.
A short opening 5 minutes or so of slightly-tipsy chatter aside, the format is much the same as usual. There’s a What We’ve Been Watching segment, where Tony gives us his take on the first five Resident Evil films, Brooker rewatches Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon in preparation for Patriots Day, and Owen categorically states that yes, Shallow Grave is indeed a film.
The show is rounded off with a triple bill of our completely new ideas for films that would be guaranteed to win an Oscar. Paraplegics, Nazi Germany, political biopics, and, um, a touch of bestiality: the works! All of our ideas are of course copyright of Failed Critics – just in case you’re reading this, Harvey Weinstein.
We’ll be back to normal (and much improved sound quality) for the 250th episode special, due out next week.
It’s just gone midnight on Christmas Eve, which means those of you who have managed stay up past your bedtime and wait for Father Christmas can officially open one of your presents early! I’ve got the perfect one for you, right here…
This brand new episode is a three and a half hour long ‘best of’ the Failed Critics Podcast from the past 12 months, all cobbled together into some kind of Christmas TV type compilation episode. There’s all of our favourite bits, including Paul’s famous quizzes, reviews of Mob Handed and Killer Bitch, every single booby-prize that Owen and Steve put each other through, all of our pre-titles and post-credit stingers, and loads more.
It’s not gift wrapped. It’s not store-bought. There’s no receipt so you can’t go and exchange it for any other podcast during the Boxing Day sales. But hopefully it’ll keep you company should you be enduring any agonisingly long car journeys over this festive period.
Merry Christmas all and a happy new year from everyone here at Failed Critics!
It’s been a while since we did a review of the year’s soundtracks, so we drafted in frequent collaborator Tony Black – and head honcho at the TV and film music podcast Between The Notes – who put down his microphone in favour of writing down his thoughts on the top soundtracks of 2016. Plenty to consider before you vote in this year’s Failed Critics Awards.
Let’s be honest, it’s not been a great year at the movies has it, 2016? Not if you’re a major blockbuster at least. Oddly enough though, the same can’t quite be said for the scores to many of those films, dodgy or otherwise. David Ayer, Zack Snyder or even Scott Derrickson may have let you down, but Michael Giacchino, Clint Mansell or Cliff Martinez have been right on the money with their orchestral scores to some of this year’s most disappointing or divisive pictures.
Here are five scores to the biggest (and not necessarily best) movies that have troubled your multiplex that I consider to be composers close to the top of their respective games:
5 – THE WITCH (Mark Korven)
Just like you probably hadn’t heard of The Witch before early this year, chances are you won’t have heard of Canadian composer Mark Korven. He’s a new kid on the block. Much like how Robert Eggers wowed us with his debut feature, Korven backs him up with a score that drips remote, screeching, primeval terror and the coldness of the austere Puritan setting in which Eggers tells his chilling tale. It’s not Sunday afternoon easy listening, but it’s one of the best horror/chiller scores in years.
Standout track: Caleb’s Seduction
4 – STAR TREK BEYOND (Michael Giacchino)
The new master and heir apparent to John Williams; it’s rare Michael Giacchino has a bad year. After a stonking 2015 scoring a raft of average movies with stunning music, he delivers this year both with Doctor Strange and even more so Star Trek Beyond. It’s his third score for the JJ Abrams spearheaded revival of the classic TV score and it’s possibly his best yet, a heady mixture of iconic, reworked themes with powerful, thrilling brass and an elegant sense of galactic scope. Plus you’ll always have a good laugh at the wonderful puns that litter the names of his cues, as if you needed more of a reason to listen!
Standout track: Night on the Yorktown
3 – 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (Bear McCreary)
You’ve heard Bear McCreary, even if you don’t know his name. Trust me. He scored the excellent Battlestar Galactica remake and it’s his music that forms the memorable title track to The Walking Dead. He’s been much more television based (and continues to be) but in scoring the underrated, Hitchcockian sequel to secret blockbuster Cloverfield, he truly advances to the big leagues with a score one parts mythic, and two parts a gorgeous mesh of dark thriller & Jerry Goldsmith-esque creeping mystique. Even if you don’t love 10 Cloverfield Lane (and you should), it would be a surprise if you don’t end up a little in love with how it sounds by the end.
Standout track: Michelle
2 – THE NEON DEMON (Cliff Martinez)
Following previous partnerships with Nicolas Winding Refn on films such as Drive or Only God Forgives, Cliff Martinez perhaps reaches amongst the peak of his accomplishments with his remarkable and unique work on The Neon Demon. Now, not everyone took to Winding Refn’s garish horror about the fashion industry, but Martinez’s music drips with substance. It often sounds like diamonds falling onto a cold floor, infused with a sense of warped, pulsing disco, underlain with painful violins capturing the tragedy of Elle Fanning’s main character. It’s a stunning piece of work, and remarkable for the fact the standout piece, ‘The Demon Dance’, is a contributing from Julian Winding, the directors brother. If it’s not being played in clubs forevermore, it’ll be a travesty.
Standout track: The Demon Dance
1 – HIGH-RISE (Clint Mansell)
There’s a strong argument that Clint Mansell is the greatest composer on this list discussed today and, after listening to his score for High-Rise, it’s hard to provide a counterpoint. Ben Wheatley’s absurdist, neo-capitalist, period masterpiece and searing critique on Thatcherism may both be the greatest film of 2016 but also have a score to match. Mansell belies his roots as a Midlander growing up in the gaudy, concrete monstrosities of the 60’s & 70’s to deliver an operatic and creeping piece which matches Wheatley’s adaptation of JG Ballard’s commentary. It’s full of brash violins, strong towering themes and an underpinning of controlled mayhem which Mansell explodes outward for effect at just the right moments. Of all these pieces, it’s the score that can be most listened to and enjoyed in isolation. Even in Mansell’s glittering career it’s a standout, possibly career best piece of work.
Standout track: The World Beyond the High Rise
In terms of honourable mentions, a shout out again to Giacchino for Doctor Strange, to Henry Jackman for The Birth of a Nation, the great John Williams for The BFG, Johann Johannson for Arrival, John Ottman for X-Men Apocalypse, Abel Korzeniowski for Nocturnal Animals and John Powell/David Buckley’s collaboration on Jason Bourne. There are more I’ve missed, undoubtedly, from even the honourable mentions, let alone the best of list.
So take a moment to remember than even in a hellish political year, or a largely average one for movies on the screen, the composers behind the music are still delivering work you’ll be listening to for years to come. 2016 does have one saving grace, after all…
We left some mince pies and a nip of sherry out in a vain attempt to attract someone jolly onto the Christmas special podcast this year but instead we ended up with Steve Norman, Owen Hughes, Brian Plank and Tony Black.
Festive frivolities ensue on our very merry podcast with a Christmas-themed quiz to kick things off before a plug for our Failed Critics Awards 2016 (which you can vote for here before 27 December) and a glimpse at what we might be picking for each category.
You can thank Tony’s autocorrect for the invention of our Secret Sandra section of the show. Anonymously exchanging movies amongst each other in a ‘secret santa’ format, we somehow only exchanged one lump of coal. Steve ended up watching quirky black comedy I Love You, Philip Morris, whilst Brian unwrapped The Internet’s Own Boy (a documentary about Aaron Swartz) and Tony mulled over topical horror-comedy Krampus. Meanwhile, Owen sulked in the corner at being made to watch Kevin James’s Netflix Original, True Memoirs of an International Assassin.
We stuffed the Failed Critics Podcast Christmas turkey with a few new releases just for good measure (and to hide the taste of our giblets). There’s a few choice words for Office Christmas Party (look out for Brooker’s written review tomorrow – it’s a doozy) and a word of warning for those hoping to catch Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation. We even make room for a wrap-up of Season One of Westworld.
Join us again in a couple of days for our Rogue One: A Star Wars Story special!
The team have all got their wands out and they’re not afraid to
DM unsolicited pictures of them show them in the latest triple bill episode of the Failed Critics podcast in honour of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, starring Meddie Redbayne as Newt Scaramanger.
Hosts Steve Norman, Owen Hughes and Tony Black pick three movies each from the back catalogue of various stars from the big new release that’s reigniting the Harry Potter extended universe (ugh), with an accompanying review courtesy of Mr Black.
That’s not the only latest release on this week’s episode to receive a review, as Owen explains why his Twitter went nuts after he watched the Ken Loach drama, I, Daniel Blake. Meanwhile Steve rounds up what’s happened so far in The Walking Dead as we slowly lurch closer to the mid-season break.
There’s quizzing, a chat about video game adaptations with the news that another attempt at making a Mortal Kombat movie gets off the ground, and a futile rant about the lack of independent movies shown in Cineworld.
Insert your own pun here about the main review on this week’s podcast being Arrival and yet you’re receiving another episode nearly three days late… Go on.. I know you want to. Get it out of your system.
Well done. Now onto the other stuff in this week’s show with hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes, and guests Andrew Brooker and Tony Black.
It seems only fair that I issue a warning to anybody of any decent moral sensibility who will almost certainly find the use of a particular word in this episode outrageously offensive. It’s not out of the ordinary for the Failed Critics to amuse themselves during recording by being as outrageously offensive to each other as they can. Consider this a sneak-peak behind the curtains of what almost always has to be edited out so that you can listen to the normally only mildly offensive language on the podcast. The fact that this episode is still heavily edited, and this isn’t the worst of what had to be taken out of the show, should give you a flavour of how a recording session usually goes. You have been warned.
Elsewhere on the episode: Owen spends ages trying to explain why Green Inferno is great and why you’re all wrong; Tony gets grilled over The Danish Girl; Steve continues his lifelong quest to find a film about a dog that will make him cry more than Homeward Bound as he catches up on Max; and Brooker reveals the mystery booby-prize that was sent his way for losing last week’s quiz. We also find time to thank whoever it was for our anonymous nomination in the UK Blog Awards 2017, as well as dissect the Ghost in the Shell white-washing furore.
As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, as the sweet cupboard fills up and the pumpkins are carved, it can only mean one thing… Halloween is just around the corner.
What better way to celebrate than giving knocking on people doors and stealing lollipops from small children a miss for a night and spending a bit of time comparing our favourite (and least favourite) scary games? John “The Madman” Miller and Andrew “Axe Murderer” Brooker are joined by their first guest, The X-Cast host and podcast veteran “Spooky” Tony Black (who managed to leave the podcast this week with an enormous list of must-play games). Together, the trio take on the first week of decent news since Character Unlock began and dig into what they’ve been playing since we last heard from them.
Our latest episode tackles the new Nintendo Switch announcement as the guys ponder the future of the console maker and try to decide whether or not their new console is worth spending money on. We talk about Red Dead Redemption 2, the game guaranteed to be the biggest release of whatever year it gets delayed to. And super fans Tony and Brooker forget they’re not on a film podcast and dissect the latest Assassin’s Creed movie trailer.
A plethora of newer releases get the What We’ve Been Playing treatment as Battlefield 1, No Man’s Sky and Gears of War 4 are all analysed within an inch of their lives as John falls in love with the World War 1 shooter, Tony gushes over futuristic management game and Brooker loves, but gets really angry, over the latest in the Gears franchise.
As the boys go through their good and bad horror game lists, it becomes apparent that they all needed to expand their scary game horizons a little bit and needed advice from listeners and followers to get a feel for what games they need to be playing – or hiding from.
Join us in a couple of weeks when our hosts ignore everything else and hope to still have listeners after they do a Call of Duty retrospective.
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 Survival, starring 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!
The Earth still spins, the sun still shines and Hollywood still makes trilogies that nobody in their right mind wants, with Ron Howard’s third Dan Brown adaptation, Inferno, hitting cinemas last weekend.
Rather than expend any amount of energy reviewing the Tom Hanks led mystery thriller, the Failed Critics instead run through a triple bill of film franchises that should have ended before getting to the trilogy stage. Boy, were there plenty to choose from!
With regular host Steve Norman off celebrating his birthday, we drafted in Matt Lambourne to swivel on the comfy high-backed armchair and guide Owen Hughes, Brian Plank and Tony Black through another podcast. There’s no quiz this week, but a discussion about the new Star Wars: Rogue One trailer arose, as did a short summary of this year’s London Film Festival.
In What We’ve Been Watching, the team cover Netflix series Luke Cage and half of their newest feature-length comedy, Mascots. There’s even time for a chat about HBO’s latest smash hit, Westworld, up to episode three (spoiler free!)
Join us again next week as we’re back with a Halloween triple bill, resurrecting the dead… Spooky!
Hello and welcome to another episode of the Failed Critics Podcast. Proving that they’re not just a pair of losers with no friends, hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are back again but this time Paul Field and Tony Black join them.
As ever the podcast kicks off with a quiz, this week hosted by Steve, that puts the Failed Critics’ soap knowledge to the test, before they move on to What We’ve Been Watching. Paul makes a bold declaration that Park Chan-wook’s Handmaiden is the Oldboy director’s best film yet; Steve also takes a trip to Korean cinema with zombie-thriller Train to Busan; Tony reaches peak noughties teen melodrama as he continues his run-through of Smallville; and Owen laments ever letting Paul know his address after receiving a copy of British gangster-exploitation flick Killer Bitch in the post.
The big new release this week for the team to chew over is Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard’s eagerly anticipated Blair Witch, the sequel to the iconic cult classic, The Blair Witch Project in case you were wondering. It also leads to the second quiz of the week, with Paul surprising the other three with a game of ‘Bitch’ or ‘Witch’!
Join us again next week for a special triple bill of our favourite westerns as The Magnificent Seven remake hits the silver screen.