[personal profile] magister
So what have my highlights of the last 365 days been?

Best film

Of stuff that was newly released this year, there were actually a few things I really liked. Spectre passed a vital test for being a Bond film in that I could imagine watching it on ITV after the Queen's speech with 20 minutes cut out to make space for more ads. The Force Awakens reintroduced me to a long-gone childhood pleasure - not being disappointed by a Star Wars film.The best was Mad Max Fury Road, though. By the time you've got to the opening credits, you've had a car chase, a capture, an escape, another chase, a fight and a recapture and you're less than 10 minutes into the film. It doesn't hang around, and it pretty much keeps up that kind of pace for the rest of the film, as well as actually having things like character development as Max returns to being a human being from a PTSD-ridden animal. There was a certain amount of fuss when a group of idiots whose name I forget, but shall refer to as whiny entitlement-ridden fuckstains tried to organise a boycott on the grounds that there was a woman in it who did things like being competent. Personally, I saw that as a point in the film's favour - you know, half the planet's population having a character they might identify with - but it's their right to be abject whinging fuck knuckles if they choose to. There was a similar campaign mounted against Force Awakens also. Force Awakens is now on track to become the biggest film ever released, so that clearly went well.

Best TV

Last series of Hannibal, which was excellent and only marred by being the last series. Doctor Who - Heaven Sent, which was a remarkable piece of television and shows that the production team do actually appreciate how good Peter Capaldi is. Only Connect for being the single quiz show in history to contain the highest number of serial killers.

Best book

Werner Herzog - a Guide for the Perplexed. I first heard about this through Mark Cousins' article in Sight and Sound. I suspect quite a few other people did too, as by the time I started looking for it, Waterstones had 2 copies left in the country and I had to order one from Glasgow. It was worth it.Herzog is the kind of man who walks across Europe to have tea with a friend or who, on hearing that a volcano is about to erupt, decides that the best thing to do is climb up to the crater and film a documentary there. Anyone who's ever met me will have noticed that this is not an outlook I have anything in common with, and yet it's fascinating to read the thoughts of someone so different to myself.

Best music

Pretty much all the music I've bought this year has been film soundtracks. Two things stand out - both by John Carpenter - his soundtracks to Escape from New York and The Fog. Escape... has the most memorable single track in Snake Pliskin's theme, although I have a soft spot for the overcranked guitars on the version used on Escape from L A fifteen years later. The Fog is the better soundtrack though, far more atmospheric and all-enveloping.

Best blu-ray/DVD.

There's a fair few contenders here. Network have produced the third of their volumes of The Professionals as well as the 1979 ITV Quatermass - both looking pretty much unrecognisable from any previous release on DVD or VHS and quite possibly looking better than their original transmissions. Eureka and Masters of Cinema produced gorgeous discs of The Quiet Man and Shane. And then there's Arrow - box sets of the first three Hellraiser films, Videodrome, Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa, Fulci's Black Cat and Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, as well as individual releases of My Darling Clementine, Rollerball, The Honeymoon Killers and What Have you Done With Solange, among many others. The highlight for me, though, was their disc of the Cushing/Morell/Lee Hound of the Baskervilles from Hammer. One of my favourite films, beautifully presented and with a metric fuckton of extras. Very happy with that.

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James Brough

July 2017

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