Monday, 10 February 2014

Movie Matters #24 supplement - listener lists

If you've made it to the end of the Top 10 of 2013 podcast, you'll have noticed that this year, in a break with tradition, we didn't read out each individual list submitted by our listeners but rather collated them all into a single Top 10. We're constantly experimenting with the format of the show, trying to determine the optimum way of presenting both our own thoughts and our listeners' contributions, and we do of course welcome any and all feedback on our efforts. In the case of listener lists, we continue to be overwhelmed (in the best possible sense) by the sheer number of submissions we receive. Our Top 10 episodes already run considerably longer than the average podcast (we pride ourselves on being thorough), and in the interests of avoiding this episode reaching an unwieldy length, we decided to try something a little different this year.

That said, we didn't want to deny our loyal listeners their moment in the spotlight. Therefore, we decided to post the submitted lists in their entirety on the web site. These are included below, in the order in which we received them, along with any additional comments that were submitted.

Richard Booth

10. The Iceman
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
8. I Give It a Year
7. Prisoners
6. Mud
5. The Conjuring
4. Captain Phillips
3. About Time
2. The Butler
1. Gravity

All dates refer to year of origin. I'm yet to see Dallas Buyers Club, Anchorman 2, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Mandela, 12 Years a Slave, Saving Mr Banks, Philomena, Nebraska or The Counselor, some of which may well have made the list. My biggest disappointments in 2013? The World's End, for sure, and Runner Runner, Gangster Squad and the Oldboy remake.

Mark C

10. Spike Island
9. Les Misérables
8. I Give It A Year
7. Gangster Squad
6. The World's End
5. Broken
4. Spirit of '45
3. Byzantium
2. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
1. Django Unchained

Some didn't make the cut; The Look of Love and the documentaries Utopia and McCullin, whilst A Field In England and Only God Forgives are two beautiful movies but hardly entertaining films.

Cevin Moore

10. Byzantium
Either a love letter to or direct steal from Daughters Of Darkness, but nevertheless stylishly done.

9. Antiviral
Well we've found that the David Cronenberg legacy is in safe hands with Brandon.

8. Behind The Candelabra
Tour de force performances all around still can't eclipse the terrifying turn from Rob Lowe.

7. Maniac
Elijah Wood was a complete surprise by pulling off the trick of being more creepy than Joe Spinell. With a brilliantly evocative soundtrack to boot.

6. Trance
Danny Boyle crafts another great piece of highly stylised film making that's a feast for the eyes and mind.

5. Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th
Probably one of the most exhaustive documentaries ever made and sometimes more entertaining than it's subject.

4. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Finally realised after one of the longest big screen transitions ever. Worth the wait though.

3. The World's End
We were treated to two superb British comedies this year, for me this was a slightly stronger effort probably due to the Sci-Fi & Horror elements and the fact I still wear my twenty-one year old Sisters Of Mercy belt...

2. Cloud Atlas
Six stories that pull you in immediately and take you on an astonishing three hour ride.

1. Upstream Color
A dizzying follow up to Primer that I know i'll be re-watching just as many times over the next decade

Biggest disappointments of 2013: Either plain Stinkers or just completely overhyped, here's my worst...

10. Red 2
9. Man Of Steel
8. Pacific Rim
7. Iron Man 3
6. World War Z
5. A Field In England
4. Only God Forgives
3. Star Trek Into Darkness
2. The Lone Ranger
1. The Purge

I know that'll stir a hornet's nest with some of the defenders, but hey, the emperor is still naked ;)

Beki Simpson

This year's not been as much of a movie year for me, having spent most of the year pregnant, I seem to have only half watched a lot of films, whilst reading childcare books and websites , so I can't supply a top ten or anything.

So, films I enjoyed:

Alpha Papa - as a fan of Partridge it was great to see his transition to the big screen sustained the humour of the TV show (perhaps not as funny, but packed with quality laughs). I've watched it twice now and can see it remaining entertaining each further viewing.

World's End - yes, this is my generation and my memories, so I'm clearly biased here. But again, lots of laughs and a really enjoyable film too.


A Field In England - self indulgent twaddle. After loving Sightseers and liking some of Kill List I had high hopes for this. They were not met.

Pacific Rim - I was really excited about this - Guillermo Del Toro! Giant robots! Huge monsters! Fighting! But somehow it turned out boring with an uncharismatic lead actor and not enough tongue in cheek. Boo!

Other things I liked:

Behind The Candelabra - excellent performances all round and a messed up fascinating story.

Crystal Lake Memories - I'm not a huge fan of the Friday 13th films, finding them very patchy, but as a documentary this was brilliant, extensively researched and full of interesting interviews. How this sort of thing should be done.

So that's about it, hope you have a wonderful 2014 and keep up the podcasts :-)

Graham McGettigan

In no particular order:

All is Lost
Pacific Rim
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Captain Phillips
Robot and Frank
Django Unchained

(Close ones are Upstream Color and Zero Dark Thirty.)

Mark Lucas

Pacific Rim
Michael's favourite, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Oz: The Great and the Powerful
Man of Steel
Machete Kills
Star Trek into Darkness

As you can tell I see a lot of artsy independent films.

Troy Howarth

I haven't seen a number of films I really want to see, but thus far I have seen TWO that really made a positive impression on me: The Wolf of Wall Street and Only God Forgives.

Richard Wells

10. Beyond the Hills
9. Stoker
8. Maniac
7. Simon Killer
6. No
5. What Richard Did
4. A Field in England
3. For Those in Peril
2. Mister John
1. Only God Forgives

Looking back at it, quite a miserable list, ha! I'm drawn to the darker themes and intense sensory experiences, clearly!

My numbers 2 and 3 are 'lucky I was working in London at the time' picks. A continuing frustration that a lot of releases don't make it outside the capital. I missed 'Big Bad Wolves' at Fright Fest, and was glad to hear of a UK release in December... then that release turned out to be on ONE solitary screen, in London, or course (after I'd finished working there).

My most disappointing. That was Kings of Summer. I'm usually a sucker for coming of age tales, but this one was ruined for me by the character of Biaggio. Clearly intended to be a kind of quotable cult favourite, I found him painfully unfunny, and clashed tonally with the rest of the film. Napoleon Dynamite crowbarred into Stand By Me...

Dan Auty

My favourite 10 of 2013, alphabetically, were:

Before Midnight
Django Unchained
Drug War
A Field In England
Frances Ha
Like Father Like Son
Side Effects
Spring Breakers
To The Wonder

In terms of worst/disappointing, the Evil Dead remake probably takes that prize. Not that I expected good things really, but it so misunderstood what made the original so good that I found it amazing that Raimi and Campbell wanted to put their names to it.


Based UK release dates:

10. Ain't them Bodies Saints
9. Upstream Colour
8. Side Effects
7. From Up on Poppy Hill
6. Mud
5. I Wish
4. Nebraska
3. All is Lost
2. To the Wonder
1. Zero Dark Thirty

The worst film that I saw this year, was a toss up between a few, but I will probably go with The Great Gatsby (though I could have easily went with Stoker for most disappointing). Baz seemed to miss the point, which made the film a real chore to watch.

Ben Robinson

Based on UK release dates:

10. Much Ado About Nothing
9. Maniac
8. The Act of Killing
7. Before Midnight
6. Stoker
5. Les Misérables
4. Captain Philips
3. Prisoners
2. Gravity
1. Wolf Children

Most disappointing would have to be A Field in England. It wasn't the worst film on my list (The Host gets that gong), but I just expected so much more from Ben Wheatley.

Alex Thomas

Based on films I've seen from Festivals / worldwide releases.

10. Enough Said
9. This is the End
8. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
7. The Great Gatsby
6. Saving Mr Banks
5. Side Effects
4. Captain Phillips
3. These Final Hours
2. Blue is the Warmest Colour
1. Fruitvale Station

David SH

I usually do top 10 blu-rays released that year, but in 2013 I really didn't buy too many new releases. So thought I'd opt for a quicker top 5:

5. Star Trek: TNG The Best of Both Worlds - Great to have the best double episode on the series on blu-ray. Happy to get it as I doubt the series sets will drop in price for a while yet
4. Mulan - Bought a few of the Disney blu-rays released this year, I'd say this was one of the more solid releases PQ wise so it takes the Disney spot on top 5
3. Schindler's List - Another classic finally given a blu-ray release this year, and Universal didn't botch the transfer to boot...
2. Willow - This film was a favourite of mine growing up, good to see it held up well and thankfully got a pretty strong transfer
1. Grave of the Fireflies - Classic Studio Ghibli film, glad to finally have it on blu-ray. A film to show anyone that questions the merit of animated films.

Honourable mentions:

The Hobbit (extended) - Enjoyed the film more that I thought I would, and this release has 9hrs+ extras. Well worth the price I paid in Black Friday deals.

World War Z (Sainsburys exclusive) - Pretty good as an action film, decent zombie film. This release is worth it for the Sainsburys bonus disc with a 66mins discussion with George A. Romero, Max Brooks and Steven Schlozman. You may want to order now if interested as Sainsburys Entertainment will be becoming digital downloads only in a couple of months.

Daniel Sardella

10. Behind the Candelabra
9. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
8. Inside Llewyn Davis
7. Spring Breakers
6. Stoker
5. David Bowie: Five Years (documentary)
4. Her
3. The Place Beyond the Pines
2. Only God Forgives
1. The Wolf of Wall Street

Kirsty Grabham

UK cinema releases:

10. Django Unchained
9. The World's End
8. Good Vibrations
7. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
6. Stoker
5. Les Miserables
4. Wreck It Ralph
3. Gravity
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
1. The Place Beyond the Pines

Natasha Rosie Grabham

UK cinema releases:

10. Les Misérables
9. Iron Man 3
8. The World's End
7. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
6. Star Trek into Darkness
5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
3. Wreck it Ralph
2. Before Midnight
1. Gravity

Honourable mentions: The Kings of Summer, Side Effects, Beware of Mr Baker

Aman Fida

10. V/H/S/2
9. Only God Forgives
8. Evil Dead
7. Star Trek: Into Darkness
6. Gravity
5. Metro Manilla
4. Django Unchained
3. Wadjda
2. Rush
1. The Place Beyond the Pines

Honourable mention: Blackfish (documentary)

Worst movie: The most recent Die Hard movie

Sandy Richardson

5. The Conjuring
4. Star Trek Into Darkness
3. Gravity
2. Prisoners
1. Only God Forgives

Christopher Jacobson

5. Pacific Rim
4. Only God Forgives
3. A Band Called Death
2. Evil Dead
1. The Dark Knight Returns: Part 2

Thomas Rostock

10. Cosmopolis
9. La fille de nulle part
8. Stoker
7. Mud
6. La migliore offerta/The Best Offer
5. Passion
4. To the Wonder
3. The Place Beyond the Pines
2. Blue is the Warmest Colour
1. The Master -- A masterpiece and as such by far the most captivating of the bunch. Not an easy film, but then the best rarely are)

Mike Sutton

5. We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
4. Rush
3. Computer Chess
2. Passion
1. Stoker

Chris Bourton

In no particular order...

At Berkeley
Camille Claudel 1915
The Double
A Touch of Sin
A Spell to Ward off the Darkness
The Last of the Unjust
Night Moves
Stories We Tell
The Selfish Giant


In no particular order...

Before Midnight
Inside Llewyn Davis
Dallas Buyers Club
The World's End
12 Years a Slave
The Grandmaster (aka Yi Dai Zong Shi)
Captain Phillips (hey, someone hired a decent editor to work with Greengrass!)

Biggest Disappointment Of An Anticipated And Supposedly Great Film: ELYSIUM and ONLY GOD FORGIVES -- Refn for believing he's Kubrick/Yimou/Malick/Tarkovsky/et al.

Biggest Non-Sucking Film Surprise: THE WOLVERINE


Hazel Howard

10. The Place Beyond the Pines
9. Before Midnight
8. Blackfish
7. Wreck-It Ralph
6. Zero Dark Thirty
5. Trance
4. Prisoners
3. Broken
2. Star Track Into Darkness
1. Monsters University

Biggest Disappointment: Man of Steel

Worst Film: Compliance

And for those that missed it in the podcast itself, here is the combined Top 11 (due to a number of films being tied for second and third place), along with biggest disappointments and worst films of the year.

Top 11
=7. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
=7. Before Midnight
=7. Captain Phillips
=7. Django Unchained
=7. Star Trek: Into Darkness
=2. Only God Forgives
=2. The Place Beyond the Pines
=2. Prisoners
=2. Stoker
=2. The World's End
1. Gravity

Biggest disappointments
=3. Man of Steel
=3. Pacific Rim
2. Only God Forgives
1. A Field in England

Worst films of 2013
=1. Compliance
=1. Evil Dead
=1. A Good Day to Die Hard
=1. The Great Gatsby
=1. The Host

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Movie Matters #24 - Top 10 of 2013

In the first Movie Matters recording of 2014 we deliver our annual 'bumper-size' retrospective on the past 12 months in film. Join co-hosts Lee Howard and Michael Mackenzie as we count down our personal top ten films of 2013. We also catch up on our Christmas movie viewing and trade notes on our customary exchange of BD-shaped gifts. In addition, we name and shame some of the biggest disappointments and worst films of the year as well as highlighting those movies which succeeded or failed for our loyal listeners. Finally, we round out this extended special episode by looking ahead to the coming months and cherry pick some of our most anticipated films for this year.

The music in this episode is sampled from a selection of films eligible for inclusion in our Top 10 lists, but we shall say no more in the interest of maintaining an air of mystery!


Created by Lee Howard & Michael Mackenzie
Edited by Michael Mackenzie
Music and audio editing by Lee Howard & Michael Mackenzie


PS. As ever, we're keen to hear from you. What films are you most looking forward to in 2014? Did you agree or disagree strongly with the views expressed in this show or have any other responses to our Top 10s to share with us? Plus, what did you think of the structure of this 'Year in Review' episode? Did you like the new collated listener lists or would you rather see a return to the previous format of having the listeners' lists read out in full - be it kept separate or interspersed with the hosts' Top 10s? Let us know as we're still experimenting with how best to present these epic-length instalments each year. Thanks for listening and being part of Movie Matters.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Movie Matters #23 - Halloween Special IV

After an unavoidable hiatus, the Movie Matters podcast returns, better late than never, for its fourth annual Halloween special. Joining co-hosts Lee Howard and Michael Mackenzie once again is special guest Daniel Sardella. The trio look at an eclectic line-up of frightful festivities, starting with Michael Stephenson's 2012 Halloween Documentary THE AMERICAN SCREAM before going on to explore Stuart Gordon's 1986 cult classic FROM BEYOND and ending with Rob Zombie's controversial 2012 tale of demonic possession, THE LORDS OF SALEM. Also discussed are Halloween traditions and viewing habits, as well as a rundown of recent horror-themed Blu-ray releases of note.

Created by Lee Howard & Michael Mackenzie
Edited by Michael Mackenzie
Music and audio editing by Lee Howard
Featuring music from HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (John Carpenter and Alan Howarth), FROM BEYOND (Richard Band), HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN II (John Carpenter), and THE LORDS OF SALEM (John 5 and Griffin Boice)

Links for reference:

  • Kentai Films' comments on the HALLOWEEN 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Disc's video and audio
  • Synapse Films' post about the restoration of DEMONS and DEMONS 2

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Movie Matters Top 10 lists

Just a heads-up to let you know that the deadline for you to submit your list for the Movie Matters Top Ten of 2013 show to us (if you haven't done so already) is Saturday 18th.

We've had an excellent response so far with a diverse array of titles nominated for the best (and worst) of the year. However, we'd like to get even more, and are especially eager for more MP3 lists. So please, keep sending them in!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A Movie Matters New Year message

Greetings, listeners!

First of all, a very Happy New Year to everyone. We hope you had a relaxing end to 2013 with plenty of festive film viewing and are getting geared up for another great year of movies.

2013 proved to be a bit of a frustrating year for Movie Matters in terms of our releasing schedule. Despite our frequent and absolutely sincere promises, unavoidable real-life events beyond our control intervened, resulting in us being less productive than we'd hoped to be. Despite this, we did manage to spearhead a couple of new initiatives, namely Lee's Movie Matters [Mono] and [Music] solo offerings.

As we move into 2014, both Lee and myself are approaching the podcast with renewed vigour and endeavour to bring you as many shows as we are able. We appreciate and are inspired by our listeners' appraisal of Movie Matters as 'quality rather than quantity', and thank you all for your patience and continued support. Our first major milestone will be to get out our much-belated Halloween 2013 episode, featuring frequent guest Daniel Sardella, into public hands as soon as possible. The second will be to record and release our "Top 10 of 2013" episode.

The Top 10 episodes are something of a Movie Matters tradition -- we've done one every year since we started, and they've always proved to be interesting (and occasionally controversial) affairs. As with our previous Top 10s, we'd love it if as many listeners (and even non-listeners!) as possible could submit their own Top 10 lists, either in text or MP3 form. (If submitting an MP3, please try to keep it below five minutes in length.) The criteria for which films qualify for inclusion are yours to decide, though let us know what they are. (Some examples: released theatrically in your home country in 2013; released theatrically in the film's country of origin in 2013; released on DVD/Blu-ray in 2013.)

In addition to your Top 10 favourites list, we'd also be happy to hear what your biggest disappointment was or indeed what your worst film of the year was.

Please reply to this thread with your lists or send them to

We look forward to hearing from you and to getting our voices back out there in the webisphere once again!

Best wishes,

Monday, 25 November 2013

Movie Matters #22 - Love Crime/Passion

The Movie Matters podcast returns for an in-depth look at two strikingly similar but remarkably different films: Alain Corneau's 2010 thriller LOVE CRIME (CRIME D'AMOUR), starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, and its English-language remake, 2012's PASSION, directed by Brian De Palma and starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace.

Co-hosts Lee Howard and Michael Mackenzie also discuss films of note that they have recently watched. (Note: publication of this episode was delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, hence the "recent" films discussed being a couple of months old.)

Created by Lee Howard & Michael Mackenzie
Music/audio selection and editing by Michael Mackenzie
Music from PASSION by Pino Donaggio and LOVE CRIME by Pharoah Sanders

Links for reference:

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Movie Matters [Music] Vol. 2 - The Composer's Experience

Join Lee for the second volume of the Movie Matters [Music] podcast, the spin-off show where soaring, bombastic, introspective and timeless film scores reverberate.

Lee begins by delving into the differing circumstances composers experience when writing music for film and then serves up a selection of tracks from the soundtracks he has been enjoying. This instalment also showcases the first batch of 'listener requests' and we thank Alan, Wilson, Giles and Steini for their contributions to the broad range of film music sampled in this show.

We've deliberately omitted the track listing from this post in order to keep the film score choices a surprise. However, the curious can find full details via iTunes by clicking the "i" icon -- including information about additional music and audio clips featured in this episode. (Alternatively, send us an email and we can provide you with a full breakdown.)

As ever, we dearly want to hear from you, our lovely listeners, so please get in touch and request a track you'd like to hear on a future Movie Matters [Music] instalment. Include details of the composer, the track name, the film/soundtrack the piece is from and most importantly why you like it.

Created, edited and with music/audio selection by Lee Howard
Direct download | iTunes | Blog | Letterboxd | MUBI | Twitter | Email

Links for reference:

Disclaimer: All music used in this podcast is for preview/evaluation purposes and we urge you to purchase the tracks you liked or better still the full motion picture scores.