My Most-Read Posts of 2021

2021 was a relatively quiet year for me, review-wise — I made just 55 posts, vs. over 120 in each of 2019 and 2020, and over 200 in 2018 and 2017. Nonetheless, that’s still enough from which to draw a Top 5, right?

Normally I do a “TV Top 5” and “Film Top 5”, but, as I only posted three TV columns last year, that seems a little pointless. Instead, here’s an overall Top 8 — because of course all the TV posts made the very top of the list, and this means you can deduce the film-only Top 5 if you want to.

Also, the graph in the header image was made with accurate figures, if you want an idea of the posts’ success relative to one another. (A less balloon-obscured version is available here. If you think the two on the left, 7th and 8th, look the same height, they’re not — but they are very, very close: the difference between them has come out as just 1 pixel.)

My Top 8 Most-Viewed New Posts in 2021

8) Psycho Goreman
One of just four reviews I posted in 2021 of new films I watched in 2021. Two of the other three are also in this top eight, while the fourth (Muse: Simulation Theory) came 12th overall. Also worth mentioning (as much as any of this is): Psycho Goreman beat the post in 9th place by just one hit. That was the 100-Week Roundup XXII, for what it’s worth.

7) The Man Who Reviewed Some Films
A four-film compilation, including The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Man Who Sleeps. Was one of those responsible for its popularity? Or is it a unique combo of four fairly-popular films? Who can say. Maybe people were just intrigued by the title.

6) Nomadland
The 2020 Oscar Best Picture winner finally made it to a wide UK release in April 2021, occasioning my review. The mix of awards season success and “new release” status likely explains its success here.

5) The Past Christmas on TV
The 2020 edition of my Christmas TV overview, including Cinderella: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas, Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks, Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse; a roundup of comedy specials, including Ghosts, The Goes Wrong Show, Not Going Out, and Upstart Crow; plus brief words on Blankety Blank and Have I Got 30 Years for You.

4) No Time to Die
A new James Bond film was too significant to miss — especially one as long-awaited as this — and so it broke my (inadvertent) long run of not posting reviews, and proved unsurprisingly popular with readers, too.

3) Death to 2020
Now, normally this wouldn’t count, because I posted it last year. But I posted it at 11pm on December 31st, and in that first hour it only gained 11 hits, so — under those unique circumstances — it seemed unfair to leave it out entirely. More than unfair, it would be inaccurate: a highly successful post, that could’ve been missed off both the 2020 and 2021 lists due to a technicality of posting time. Anyway, I expect it did well because reviews of Netflix content often do… and because it’s probably more a TV special than a true film, and, as we know, TV reviews usually do best of all. To wit:

2) The Past Month on TV #67
including Dial M for Middlesbrough, It’s a Sin, more of The Twilight Zone, WandaVision episodes 5–8, and A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote. I expect the combo of It’s a Sin (one of the best-received TV series of the year) and WandaVision (the much discussed debut Marvel Disney+ series) is responsible for this.

1) The Past Month on TV #66
including Cobra Kai season 2, Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema series 3, Staged series 2, more of The Twilight Zone, and WandaVision episodes 1–4. All very popular shows, so it figures they would add up to the #1 spot.

2021: The Full List

As revealed in my December review, 2021 finished on a tally of 207 new films — my third highest ever. They’re all listed below, in alphabetical order, along with the small handfuls of titles I admitted to my “Guide To” series and the short films I watched. After last year’s “frankly extraordinary” high of 65, this year I only watched four shorts. Maybe I should set a shorts-watching target too…

Normally this post also serves to be a big pile of links to reviews I’ve posted in the past year. But those were thin on the ground in 2021: in the list of 207 new films, just four have a review to link to. Oh dear. But you can always (re-)enjoy my monthly reviews (filled with Fun Stuff like the Arbies), and the TV reviews I posted… before that column came up short too.

Well, hopefully things will be different soon…

  • As It Happened — 2021’s monthly updates, with a chronological list of my viewing.
  • The List — an alphabetical list of every new film I watched in 2021.
  • Television — an alphabetical list of the TV programmes I reviewed in 2021.
  • Next Time — more of 2021 still to come.

Below is a graphical representation of my 2021 viewing, month by month. Each of the images links to the relevant monthly review, which contain a chronological list of everything I watched this year. There’s also other exciting stuff in there, like my monthly Arbie awards and what I watched in my Rewatchathon.

And now, the main event…

An alphabetical list of all the films I watched for the first time in 2021, followed by other films I’ve covered (or intended to cover) this year — primarily, a couple of instalments in film series that I’ve given the “Guide To” treatment, and a trickle of short films. As I mentioned in my introduction, normally many of these titles would link to the appropriate review, but this year you’ll find just four links in the main list. Coincidentally, they’re all really close together.

  • 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
  • 23 Walks (2020)
  • 3 Idiots (2009)
  • The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), aka Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed
  • The Aeronauts (2019)
  • Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972), aka Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes
  • An American Pickle (2020)
  • Appointment with Death (1988)
  • Appointment with Murder (1948)
  • The Awful Truth (1937)
  • Baby Done (2020)
  • Bachelor Knight (1947), aka The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
  • Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)
  • Beginners (2010)
  • The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
  • Bill (2015)
  • Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020)
  • The Birth of a Nation (1915)
  • The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
  • Black Widow [3D] (2021)
  • Blithe Spirit (2020)
  • Boss Level (2021)
  • The Broadway Melody (1929)
  • A Brief History of Time Travel (2018)
  • Bright Young Things (2003)
  • The ’Burbs (1989)
  • The Burning Buddha Man (2013), aka Moeru butsuzô ningen
  • A Boy Called Christmas (2021)
  • Calling Dr. Death (1943)
  • Capernaum (2018), aka Capharnaüm
  • Captain Phillips (2013)
  • Carefree (1938)
  • Carol (2015)
  • The Catcher Was a Spy (2018)
  • Cats (2019)
  • A Christmas Story (1983)
  • Cinema Paradiso (1988), aka Nuovo Cinema Paradiso
  • The Coldest Game (2019)
  • Coming to America (1988)
  • Con Air (1997)
  • Crank (2006)
  • Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001)
  • The Current War (2017)
  • A Damsel in Distress (1937)
  • The Danish Girl (2015)
  • Daughters of Darkness (1971), aka Les lèvres rouges
  • David Byrne’s American Utopia (2020)
  • David Lynch: The Art Life (2016)
  • Dead Man’s Eyes (1944)
  • Dead Man’s Folly (1986)
  • Defending Your Life (1991)
  • Detective Conan: The Phantom of Baker Street (2002), aka Meitantei Conan: Bekâ Sutorîto no bôrei
  • The Dig (2021)
  • La Dolce Vita (1960)
  • Dreamcatcher (2003)
  • Drop Zone (1994)
  • Dumb and Dumber (1994)
  • Dune: Part One (2021), aka Dune
  • Ernest & Celestine (2012), aka Ernest et Célestine
  • Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time (2021), aka Shin Evangelion Gekijôban
  • Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021)
  • Falling for Figaro (2020)
  • The Father (2020)
  • Festen (1998), aka The Celebration
  • The Final Countdown (1980)
  • The Fly (1986)
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • The Frighteners: Director’s Cut (1996)
  • From Here to Eternity (1953)
  • The Frozen Ghost (1945)
  • Futureworld (1976)
  • Gambit (2012)
  • Godzilla Raids Again (1955), aka Gojira no gyakushû
  • Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)
  • Going in Style (2017)
  • Going My Way (1944)
  • Good Boys (2019)
  • The Green Knight (2021)
  • Gremlins (1984)
  • The Guilty (2018), aka Den skyldige
  • La Haine (1995)
  • Happiest Season (2020)
  • Happy Death Day 2U (2019)
  • High Life (2018)
  • Holiday Affair (1949)
  • Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)
  • Hotel Reserve (1944)
  • Hotel Transylvania [3D] (2012)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978)
  • The House of Fear (1939)
  • I Care a Lot (2020)
  • The Invisible Man (1933)
  • Isn’t It Romantic (2019)
  • Jerry Maguire (1996)
  • Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway (2019)
  • Jingle All the Way (1996)
  • Joint Security Area (2000), aka Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA
  • Jungle Cruise (2021)
  • The Kid Detective (2020)
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
  • The King (2019)
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), aka Kingu Kongu tai Gojira
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)
  • The Last of Sheila (1973)
  • Last Train to Christmas (2021)
  • The Last Warning (1928)
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
  • A Little Chaos (2014)
  • Love Affair (1939)
  • Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
  • The Matrix Resurrections (2021)
  • Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019)
  • Midnight in Paris (2011)
  • Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (2017)
  • The Money Pit (1986)
  • Mortal Kombat (1995)
  • The Mummy (1932)
  • Murder by Decree (1979)
  • Murder in Three Acts (1986)
  • Muse: Simulation Theory (2020)
  • My Fair Lady (1964)
  • My Man Godfrey (1936)
  • The Mystery of a Hansom Cab (2012)
  • News of the World (2020)
  • No Time to Die (2021)
  • Nobody (2021)
  • Nomadland (2020)
  • Official Secrets (2019)
  • One Night in Miami… (2020)
  • Page Eight (2011)
  • Pather Panchali (1955)
  • Pillow of Death (1945)
  • The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (1975), aka Flåklypa Grand Prix
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
  • Primary Colors (1998)
  • The Prom (2020)
  • Psycho Goreman (2020)
  • The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)
  • Radioactive (2019)
  • Raffles (1939)
  • Rain Man (1988)
  • Red Notice (2021)
  • Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
  • Rodan (1956), aka Sora no daikaijû Radon
  • Royal Wedding (1951), aka Wedding Bells
  • Salting the Battlefield (2014)
  • Sansho Dayu (1954), aka Sansho the Bailiff
  • Sátántangó (1994)
  • Search for Danger (1949)
  • The Secret Garden (2020)
  • Seven Chances (1925)
  • Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  • A Single Man (2009)
  • Six Minutes to Midnight (2020)
  • Sneakers (1992)
  • The Social Dilemma (2020)
  • The Son of Kong (1933)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
  • Space Station [3D] (2002)
  • Spielberg (2017)
  • Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021)
  • Spontaneous (2020)
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
  • Stowaway (2021)
  • Strange Confession (1945)
  • Strictly Ballroom (1992)
  • Stuart Little (1999)
  • A Study in Scarlet (1933)
  • Superman and the Mole-Men (1951)
  • Sylvia Scarlett (1935)
  • Taken 2 (2012)
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
  • Tangerines (2013), aka Mandariinid
  • Tea with Mussolini (1999)
  • Terje Vigen (1917), aka A Man There Was
  • Testament of Youth (2014)
  • Thirteen at Dinner (1985)
  • Three Identical Strangers (2018)
  • Time After Time (1979)
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)
  • Tokyo Godfathers (2003), aka Tôkyô goddofâzâzu
  • Tower Heist (2011)
  • Truly Madly Deeply (1990)
  • Turks & Caicos (2014)
  • Twister (1996)
  • Under Siege (1992)
  • Vampyr (1932)
  • Vivacious Lady (1938)
  • Warning from Space (1956)
  • We Bought a Zoo (2011)
  • Weird Woman (1944)
  • When the Wind Blows (1986)
  • The White Tiger (2021)
  • Who? (1974)
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
  • Wild Target (2010)
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Wolf Warrior (2015), aka Zhan lang
  • WolfWalkers (2020)
  • Wuthering Heights (1939)
  • Xchange (2001)
  • You Only Live Once (1937)
  • Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)
  • Zatoichi’s Conspiracy (1973), aka Shin Zatôichi monogatari: Kasama no chimatsuri
  • Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983), aka Shu Shan – Xin Shu shan jian ke
The 100 Films Guide To…
  • Meshes of the Afternoon (1943)
  • Scenes with Beans (1976), aka Babfilm
  • Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900)
  • What! No Spinach? (1926)
10 Things I Hate About You

Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Black Widow

The Broadway Melody


Con Air

Daughters of Darkness

Drop Zone

Evangelion: 3.0+1.01


Godzilla Raids Again

La Haine

Hotel Transylvania in 3D

Jerry Maguire

The Last of Sheila

Make Way for Tomorrow

Mortal Kombat

No Time to Die

Flåklypa Grand Prix

Rain Man


Seven Chances

Space Station

Strange Confession

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Time After Time

Under Siege

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Meshes of the Afternoon


My monthly TV columns came to an accidental halt in February (crikey, I hadn’t realised it was so long ago), but that means I still got in reviews of the following…

Things are in a slightly different order this year, for one reason or another. Normally next up would be the statistics, but I think before that it’ll be my most-read posts of 2021.

2020: The Full List

As I already revealed in my December monthly review, 2020 is the biggest year of 100 Films ever. That’s thanks to me watching 264 films I’d never seen before, a figure that just pips 2018’s 261. I didn’t quite reach my Rewatchathon goal of revisiting 50 films I’d seen before, but I finished up on a not-unrespectable 46. Combined, their total of 310 is slightly behind 2018’s equivalent 311; but I also watched a frankly extraordinary (by my standards) number of shorts this year — 65, enough to increase my shorts review list by over 76%.

More on all that in my annual statistics post, which is coming soon. For now, it’s time to look back over the year as a whole with these lovely long lists of all I watched. As well as films of all lengths, there are links to my monthly reviews (which contain all sorts of other goodies, donchaknow) and, further down, a list of my TV reviewing from the past year. To help you find what you’re looking for amongst all that, here’s a nice little set of contents links…

  • As It Happened — 2020’s monthly updates, with a chronological list of my viewing.
  • The List — an alphabetical list of every new film I watched in 2020; plus other stuff.
  • Television — an alphabetical list of every TV programme I reviewed in 2020.
  • Next Time — still to come: actual analysis of last year.

Below is a graphical representation of my 2020 viewing, month by month. Each of the images links to the relevant monthly review, which contain a chronological list of everything I watched this year. There’s also other exciting stuff in there, like my monthly Arbie awards and what I watched in my Rewatchathon.

I’ve often felt this section looks a bit unwieldy, so this year I’ve made it half the size. Any opinions on the change (or, indeed, anything else) are always welcome in the comment section.

And now, the main event…

An alphabetical list of all the new-to-me films I watched in 2020 (though some series are in chronological order within their alphabetisation). That’s followed by lists of other things I watched this year: alternate versions of films I’d already seen; rewatches I’ve marked out for ‘Guide To’ posts; and short films. Where a title is a link, it goes to my review; when there’s no link, it’s because I haven’t reviewed it yet (that’s probably self-evident…)

  • 127 Hours (2010)
  • 1917 (2019)
  • 3:10 to Yuma Hours (2007)
  • The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
  • 6 Underground (2019)
  • 7500 (2019)
  • 8½ (1963)
  • Ad Astra (2019)
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
  • Agatha and the Midnight Murders (2020)
  • Aladdin [3D] (2019)
  • All About Eve (1950)
  • All Is True (2018)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  • American Animals (2018)
  • The American President (1995)
  • An American Werewolf in London (1981)
  • Anand (1971)
  • Andrei Rublev (1966)
  • Aniara (2018)
  • The Armour of God (1986), aka Lung hing foo dai
  • The Assistant (2019)
  • August 32nd on Earth (1998), aka Un 32 août sur terre
  • Bad Boys for Life (2020)
  • Bait (2019)
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
  • The Battle of Algiers (1966), aka La battaglia di Algeri
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)
  • Belladonna of Sadness (1973), aka Kanashimi no Belladonna
  • Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
  • Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020)
  • Black Angel (1946)
  • Blind Fury (1989)
  • Blockers (2018)
  • Bloodshot (2020)
  • Booksmart (2019)
  • Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
  • Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)
  • The Breakfast Club (1985)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
  • A Bug’s Life (1998)
  • Burning (2018), aka Beoning
  • Cairo Station (1958), aka Bab el hadid
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)
  • Chariots of Fire (1981)
  • Chicken Run (2000)
  • The Children Act (2017)
  • The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (2020)
  • Clueless (1995)
  • Coded Bias (2020)
  • Color Out of Space (2019)
  • Crawl (2019)
  • Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
  • Crooked House (2017)
  • Dangal (2016)
  • The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
  • Death to 2020 (2020)
  • Dial M for Murder [3D] (1954)
  • The Diamond Arm (1969), aka Brilliantovaya ruka
  • Dick Johnson is Dead (2020)
  • Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • A Dog’s Will (2000), aka O Auto da Compadecida
  • Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
  • Down with Love (2003)
  • Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
  • Dune: The Alternative Edition Redux (1984/2012)
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  • Emma. (2020)
  • End of the Century (2019), aka Fin de siglo
  • Enola Holmes (2020)
  • Entrapment (1999)
  • The Equalizer 2 (2018)
  • Escape Room (2019)
  • Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)
  • Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Extraction (2020)
  • The Face of Fu Manchu (1965)
  • Falling (2020)
  • Fanny and Alexander (1982), aka Fanny och Alexander
  • Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
  • Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (2017)
  • Fisherman’s Friends (2019)
  • For the Love of Spock (2016)
  • The French Connection (1971)
  • Fun & Fancy Free (1947)
  • The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  • Gemini Man (2019)
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters [3D] (2019)
  • The Good Liar (2019)
  • The Goonies (1985)
  • Greyhound (2020)
  • Guinevere (1994)
  • Hamilton (2020)
  • Harakiri (1962), aka Seppuku
  • He Dreams of Giants (2019)
  • The Head Hunter (2018)
  • Hotel Artemis (2018)
  • Der Hund von Baskerville (1914), aka The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Hunter Killer (2018)
  • Hustlers (2019)
  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
  • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs [3D] (2009)
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift [3D] (2012)
  • Ikiru (1952), aka Living
  • An Impossible Project (2020)
  • In the Mood for Love (2000)
  • Influence (2020)
  • Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
  • The Invisible Guest (2016), aka Contratiempo
  • The Invisible Man (2020)
  • The Ipcress File (1965)
  • It Chapter Two (2019)
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
  • Johnny English Strikes Again (2018)
  • Joker (2019)
  • Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
  • K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
  • The Karate Kid Part II (1986)
  • The Karate Kid Part III (1989)
  • The Kid (1921/1971)
  • Klaus (2019)
  • Knives Out (2019)
  • Lady Bird (2017)
  • The Lady Vanishes (1938)
  • Lancelot du Lac (1974), aka Lancelot of the Lake
  • Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986), aka Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)
  • Last Chance Harvey (2008)
  • Late Night (2018)
  • Le Mans ’66 (2019), aka Ford v Ferrari
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part [3D] (2019)
  • The Lie (2018)
  • The Lighthouse (2019)
  • Little Women (2019)
  • Long Day’s Journey Into Night [3D] (2018), aka Di Qiu Zui Hou De Ye Wan
  • Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman (2006)
  • The Looking Glass War (1970)
  • Lost in La Mancha (2002)
  • Love on a Leash (2011)
  • Lovers Rock (2020), aka Small Axe: Lovers Rock
  • The Lunchbox (2013)
  • Luxor (2020)
  • The Mad Magician [3D] (1954)
  • Maelström (2000)
  • Make Mine Music (1946)
  • Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
  • A Man for All Seasons (1966)
  • Man on Wire (2008)
  • The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)
  • The Man Who Laughs (1928)
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
  • The Man Who Sleeps (1974), aka Un homme qui dort
  • Mangrove (2020), aka Small Axe: Mangrove
  • Marriage Story (2019)
  • Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
  • The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
  • Melody Time (1948)
  • Men in Black: International (2019)
  • Millennium Actress (2001), aka Sennen joyû
  • Minions [3D] (2015)
  • Misbehaviour (2020)
  • Misery (1990)
  • Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)
  • Missing Link (2019)
  • The Mole Agent (2020)
  • Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
  • My Favourite Wife (1940)
  • My Mexican Bretzel (2019)
  • The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador (1912), aka Le mystère des roches de Kador
  • Near Dark (1987)
  • Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)
  • Never Surrender: A Galaxy Quest Documentary (2019)
  • Never Too Young to Die (1986)
  • The Next Karate Kid (1994)
  • The Nightingale (2018)
  • The Old Dark House (1932)
  • The Old Guard (2020)
  • One Cut of the Dead (2017), aka Kamera wo tomeruna!
  • Ordet (1955), aka The Word
  • Out of Africa (1985)
  • Palm Springs (2020)
  • Parasite (2019), aka Gisaengchung
  • Paris When It Sizzles (1964)
  • Patrick (2019), aka De Patrick
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)
  • Pearl Harbor (2001)
  • Phase IV (1974)
  • Philomena (2013)
  • The Platform (2019), aka El hoyo
  • Polytechnique (2009)
  • Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2017)
  • Puzzle (2018)
  • Quartet (2012)
  • Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
  • Rang De Basanti (2006)
  • Ready or Not (2019)
  • Red Joan (2018)
  • The Rhythm Section (2020)
  • RoboCop 3 (1993)
  • Robolove (2019)
  • Rocketman (2019)
  • Rose Plays Julie (2019)
  • Safety Last! (1923)
  • Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)
  • Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2018)
  • The Scorpion King (2002)
  • The Secret Life of Pets 2 [3D] (2019)
  • Shadowlands (1993)
  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019)
  • Shazam! [3D] (2019)
  • The Sheik (1921)
  • Shoplifters (2018), aka Manbiki kazoku
  • The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story (2019)
  • Showman: The Life of John Nathan-Turner (2019)
  • Showrunners (2014), aka Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show
  • The Sky’s the Limit (1943)
  • So Dark the Night (1946)
  • Some Beasts (2019), aka Algunas Bestias
  • The Son of the Sheik (1926)
  • Soul (2020)
  • Spaceship Earth (2020)
  • Spider-Man: Far from Home [3D] (2019)
  • Split Second (1992)
  • A Star Is Born (2018)
  • Stop Making Sense (1984)
  • Stuber (2019)
  • Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
  • Tag (2018)
  • Tenet (2020)
  • Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
  • The Thin Red Line (1998)
  • The Three Caballeros (1944)
  • Tim’s Vermeer (2013)
  • Tolkien (2019)
  • Tomb Raider [3D] (2018)
  • Top Secret! (1984)
  • The Two Popes (2019)
  • Ugetsu Monogatari (1953)
  • Uncut Gems (2019)
  • Under the Skin (2013)
  • Us (2019)
  • Vampires Suck (2010)
  • The Vast of Night (2019)
  • Venom (2018)
  • Vice (2018)
  • The Viking Queen (1967)
  • Waking Ned (1998)
  • Waxworks (1924), aka Das Wachsfigurenkabinett
  • The Wedding Guest (2018)
  • Who Killed Captain Alex? (2010)
  • Without a Clue (1988)
  • The Wolf’s Call (2019), aka Le chant du loup
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)
  • Yes, God, Yes (2019)
  • Yesterday (2019)
  • You Will Die at Twenty (2019)
  • Zatoichi in Desperation (1972), aka Shin Zatôichi monogatari: Oreta tsue
  • Zero Charisma (2013)
  • Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
Alternate Versions
The 100 Films Guide To…
  • Adnan (2020)
  • Alan, the Infinite (2020)
  • Anoraks (2020)
  • Appreciation (2019)
  • Befriend to Defend (2019)
  • Blue Passport (2020)
  • Booklovers (2020)
  • Chumbak (2019)
  • Clean (2020)
  • Closed Until Further Notice (2020)
  • The Crimson Permanent Assurance (1983)
  • The Dancing Pig (1907), aka Le cochon danseur
  • David Lynch Cooks Quinoa (2007)
  • The Day of the Coyote (2020)
  • DC Showcase: Jonah Hex (2010)
  • Destructors (2020)
  • The Devil’s Harmony (2019)
  • Embedded (2020)
  • The Escape (2016)
  • Flush Lou (2020)
  • Frankenstein (1910)
  • Frayed Edges (2020)
  • The Fruit Fix (2020)
  • Fuel (2020)
  • Guardians of Ua Huka (2020)
  • Hold (2020)
  • Home (2020)
  • Interstice (2019), aka Mellanrum
  • Keratin (2020)
  • The Last Video Store (2020)
  • Life in Brighton: An Artist’s Perspective (2020)
  • Man-Spider (2019)
  • A Map of the World (2020)
  • The Monkeys on Our Backs (2020)
  • My Dad’s Name Was Huw. He Was an Alchoholic Poet. (2019)
  • My Life, My Voice (2020)
  • Nelly (2020)
  • Nut Pops (2019)
  • One Piece of the Puzzle (2020)
  • Our Song (2020)
  • Pardon My Backfire [3D] (1953)
  • Peter’s To-Do List (2019)
  • Players (2020)
  • Quiescent (2018), aka Anvew
  • Quiet on Set (2020)
  • Reconnected (2020)
  • Shuttlecock (2019)
  • Siren (2020)
  • Slow Burn (2020)
  • So Far (2020)
  • Spooks! [3D] (1953)
  • A Spring in Endless Bloom (2020)
  • The Starey Bampire (2019)
  • Sticker (2019)
  • Stitch (2020)
  • The Stunt Double (2020)
  • Swivel (2020)
  • Talia (2020)
  • Time and Tide (2020)
  • Under the Full Moon (2020)
  • Water Baby (2019)
  • We Farmed a Lot of Acres (2020)
  • What Did Jack Do? (2017)
  • The Wick (2020)
  • Window (2019)

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad



Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Chicken Run

Crazy Rich Asians

Do the Right Thing

Enola Holmes

The Face of Fu Manchu

Fanny and Alexander



Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

The Invisible Man

The Karate Kid Part II

The Lady Vanishes

The Lighthouse

Lost in La Mancha

The Lunchbox

Small Axe: Mangrove

Millennium Actress

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

Never Rarely Sometimes Always



Rambo: Last Blood

RoboCop 3



The Son of the Sheik

Split Second

Tomb Raider

Under the Skin

The Wedding Guest

Zatoichi in Desperation

Zero Charisma

The Avengers

Alan the Infinite

The Crimson Permanent Assurance

The Escape

Interstice, aka Mellanrum

My Life, My Voice

Pardon My Backfire


The Stunt Double

What Did Jack Do?


As well as all those films, I also covered many TV programmes in my monthly(-ish) review columns. Just listing those individual posts would be meaningless, so instead here’s an alphabetical breakdown of what I covered, each with appropriate link(s).

Get ready for the best bit of the entire year: it’s the statistics!

My Most-Read Posts of 2020

For the first time since I moved my blog to WordPress, my number of views went down this year. *sob* Partly that’s because 2019 had one exceptionally large month (when people flooded in from IMDb to read my thoughts on Game of Thrones’ final season), but it was more than that, because 2020 didn’t even reach the same level as 2018 — though it was close in the end, coming just 0.2% short.

As for individual posts, this may technically be a film blog, but since 2017 my most-read chart has been dominated by TV reviews. That was the case once again in 2020 — well, if it was going to happen any year, it would be one where we were mostly stuck at home. Despite that, a film review did break into my overall top five… although that was a direct-to-Netflix movie, so some would argue it’s TV anyway.

Nonetheless, here I once again present two top fives: one for TV, one for film. If you want to know my overall top five new posts, the #1 film slots between #2 and #3 on the TV list. Also of note: the image at the top of this post is accurate, so the top two TV posts were far out ahead of anything else. Why? Who ever knows.

My Top 5 Most-Viewed New TV Posts in 2020

5) The Past Month on TV #61
including Archer season 7, The Crown season 2, Derren Brown: 20 Years of Mind Control, The Great British Bake Off series 10, Hannah Gadsby: Nanette, Jonathan Creek series 3–4 + specials, Lucifer season 5 episodes 1–8 (aka season 5A), Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years, The Rookie season 2 episodes 1–17, and the best of The Twilight Zone #9.

4) The Past Month on TV #59
including Daniel Sloss: X, Doctor Who: The Time Meddler, Elementary season 6 episodes 1–14, what passed for Eurovision 2020, The Great British Bake Off series 9, Jonathan Creek series 1, Lucifer season 4, the RSC’s Macbeth with Christopher Eccleston, The Rookie season 1 episodes 16–20, Star Trek: Picard season 1 episode 8, and the worst of The Twilight Zone #3.

3) The Past Month on TV #55
including Doctor Who series 12 episodes 3–5, The Goes Wrong Show series 1 episodes 3–5, The Great British Bake Off series 1 episodes 1–3, His Dark Materials series 1, a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Picard season 1 episode 1, the best of The Twilight Zone #6, and the Twin Peaks pilot and season 3 episode 8 in UHD.

2) The Past Christmas on TV 2019
including Criminal: United Kingdom season 1, Doctor Who series 12 episodes 1–2, Dracula, the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special, The Goes Wrong Show series 1 episodes 1–2, In Search of Dracula with Mark Gatiss, Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration, and Vienna Blood series 1.

1) The Past Month on TV #56
including the 92nd Academy Awards, the British Academy Film Awards 2020, Death in Paradise series 9 episodes 3–8, Doctor Who series 12 episodes 6–10, Flesh and Blood series 1, The Goes Wrong Show series 1 episode 6, Good Omens, The Good Place season 3, Lucifer season 3 episodes 16–24, McDonald & Dodds episode 1, My Dad Wrote a Porno, The Rookie season 1 episodes 1–6, Star Trek: Picard season 1 episodes 2–3, and the best of The Twilight Zone #7. Whew! No wonder it topped the list with all that variety.

My Top 5 Most-Viewed New Film Posts in 2020

Some might say this is also a list dominated by “TV”, because Netflix original movies make up three of this top five, and another was a Disney+ premiere. There’s just one theatrical release here — but then, 2020 was hardly a year in which theatrical releases were dominant anywhere.

5) Hamilton
The filmed version of the cultural phenomenon, performed by the original Broadway cast in its original staging. Is it a film? Is it a documentary? Is it just a filmed concert and so should we consider that its own form at this point? Whatever your opinion, this was a highly anticipated event — brought forward from its intended October 2021 theatrical release due to the pandemic — that helped cram even more subscribers onto Disney+.

4) The Old Guard
One of Netflix’s many attempts to kickstart an action franchise, this one starred and was directed by women, helping it tap into the general cultural zeitgeist and therefore generating conversation — and clicks.

3) 1917
An actual honest-to-God theatrical release! Remember those? A popular hit as well as an awards frontrunner, so no surprise it attracted plenty of clicks considering I posted my review while it was on the circuit.

2) Extraction
Another big Netflix franchise starter (this one already has a sequel in the works). It was reportedly Netflix’s biggest movie ever (back in July — I don’t know if that’s changed since), so it’s no surprise people wanted to read about it.

1) Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Mixed reviews greeted this attempt to spoof the unspoofable, as some Americans attempted to take on the singular phenomenon that is the Eurovision Song Contest. It wasn’t a resounding success, but with some fab performances (the always wonderful Rachel McAdams and Dan Stevens), surprisingly good songs (there’s Oscar buzz for Husavik), and even a catchphrase or two (“SING JAJA DING DONG”), this was kind of a breakout hit.

The Past Month on TV #55

It’s SF/F-agogo in this month’s TV update, with new Star Trek, new Doctor Who, old Twilight Zone, and I’ve finally finished His Dark Materials too.

Doctor Who  Series 12 Episodes 3-5
Doctor Who series 12Well, it certainly has been an eventful first half to this series of Doctor Who! Never mind bringing back the Master and destroying Gallifrey (again) in the opening two-parter — showrunner Chris Chibnall has much bigger continuity-bothering ideas on his mind. But before that, two standalone episodes.

The first, Orphan 55, is currently the worst-rated episode of modern Who according to IMDb voters, with a score almost as low as the much-maligned Game of Thrones finale. But whereas I defended that episode, unfortunately I have no love for Orphan 55. I know a lot of people’s issue with it is that it’s a bit of a climate change polemic — some people just hate Who engaging with contemporary ‘political’ issues. Sorry, but it’s been doing that since at least the Pertwee era. It’s normally a mite more subtle than this, though. I mean, The Happiness Patrol is a blatant analogy for Thatcher, but at least it’s an analogy. So Orphan 55’s problem isn’t the content, it’s the delivery: an on-the-nose lecture, practically delivered straight to camera, stapled on the end like an afterthought. But it doesn’t exactly ruin the episode, because the rest of it isn’t much cop either: a logically-dubious runaround with a shopworn twist (one that Doctor Who itself has done before, in fact). But is it actually worse than previous “most despised” editions, like Fear Her and Sleep No More? Um, actually, I think it might be.

Thankfully, the week after things swung back in the right direction. In previous years Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror would probably have been regarded as a solid midseason bit of fun, but in the current era it virtually amounts to a classic. There were undeniable overtones of the Racnoss in the creature design, and Vincent and the Doctor in its depiction of an unappreciated-in-his-time historical genius (I half expected them to take Tesla into the future to show him there was a car named after him), but plenty of Who is like other parts of Who (it is 57 years and 879 episodes old, after all, not to mention the uncountable spinoff novels, audio dramas, comic strips, etc). All in all, it was fun enough.

But the real belter was the most recent episode, Fugitive of the Judoon. It’s most impressive as a bit of show-running stagecraft: foregrounding a popular returning monster in the title and publicity (the Judoon, obv) in order to hide the long-awaited return of a popular character (Captain Jack), which was a big surprise that in itself is designed to distract you from the real twist: another incarnation of the Doctor, played by Jo Martin.The two Doctors Social media and fan forums and whatnot have debated and analysed that revelation to death, so I won’t bother digging too much into all the possibilities of what it means — only time can tell. I will stake out this opinion, though: I am not a fan of the theory that she’s a pre-Hartnell version of the Doctor. The idea there were incarnations before the one we know as the first has always seemed disrespectful to me, somehow. Yeah, the Daleks ‘made’ Doctor Who, but Hartnell gave it his all too — without him week to week, and the effort he put into public appearances and the like, would the series have survived those early years? He’s not the only thing responsible for its success, and certainly not for its longevity, but he was The First — leave that be, thanks.

But, as I say, we’ll find out in time. More interesting to me, for now, is how showrunner Chris Chibnall is going about his job nowadays. Comparing his two seasons so far, Chibnall’s attitude to reusing stuff from Who’s past seems to be — very literally — all or nothing. Last season, he made a point of not using any continuity — no returning characters or villains, no significant references to the Doctor’s past or previous adventures. This season, he seems to be using all the continuity. I can’t remember a Doctor Who story so loaded with references to not-recent previous adventures as this one. Even the Chameleon Arch gets an outing, a thing that mattered in two stories that aired 13 years ago. It feels like Chibnall is an RTD-era fanboy revelling in bringing back stuff from a time when the show was at its peak of popularity. Maybe that’s what it needs right now. Though, in a broader sense, I feel like last season was Chibnall trying to copy RTD-in-2005 (fresh! new! start watching here!), while this time he’s doing his best to be Moffat-in-2011 (complicated mysteries! revisionist continuity! wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey explanations!)

Whether these additions to the mythology are interesting and productive, or whether it’ll be like “half-human” and fans ignore it ASAP, will depend on what’s to come. Either way, it’s the most exciting the show’s been in a good few years, and that’s something in itself.

Star Trek: Picard  Season 1 Episode 1
Star Trek: Picard season 1The Star Trek series boldly goes where it’s never gone before: into the Prestige TV market. (Despite initial appearances, based on things like the reviews I’ve read and variably-sized season orders, I’m not sure Discovery was really “prestige TV” in the end.) Is it up to competing with the big boys of this peak TV era?

Well, after just the first episode, I’m going to hang fire on answering that — on the evidence of this one instalment, it could go either way. It can certainly walk the walk: it looks very nice, with plenty of lush cinematography and expensive visuals (both globe-hopping locations and swish CGI), and it certainly wants to appear weighty, with themes of ageing and decay (not only of people but also institutions). But can it talk the talk? Does it actually have things to say beyond “Picard is old now, and Starfleet’s a bit shit”? Once upon a time I’d’ve said the fact it’s heavily (heavily) embedded in existing Trek continuity was a barrier, both to entry (“only fans will know enough to follow the plot”) and quality (“it’s so busy looking to the past it doesn’t do anything new”) and acclaim (“I’m not a Trekkie so I didn’t care”) — but that’s not necessarily the case anymore, as HBO’s Watchmen only just proved: you can reuse and remix and lean hard on previous texts, and still produce a high-quality work. That said, while Picard does invest energy in making sure newbies have all the continuity stuff explained, I feel like the show already shows signs of wavering towards Trek’s usual habits, for good or ill. But there’s an interesting enough set of mysteries just getting underway, and it’s always great to see Patrick Stewart, so I remain optimistic it’s going to go somewhere good.

His Dark Materials  Series 1
His Dark Materials series 1I reviewed the first three episodes of His Dark Materials in my previous regular update, just over a month ago, but I’d actually watched them much earlier, so when I returned to the series in the new year I decided to restart from the beginning. That improved my opinion of them considerably, I must say, but then a second viewing always has the ability to help clarify things you were unclear of before. Still, I got much more invested this time, and was swept along for the ride and the mysteries the show unfurled. Like the two series I’ve reviewed above, there’s plenty of mystery and intrigue here — some of it answered, much of it left hanging for future seasons (there’s two whole books to come, intended to be adapted across four more seasons). But even in this first salvo, events and characters move in interesting directions. It’s a very dark show at times, especially for something adapted from what are ostensibly children’s books, but that at least creates a genuine sense of jeopardy and unpredictability. So too the way it handles its characters — there’s not just simplistic twists of “hero turns out to be villain” or vice versa, but definite shades of grey. With the promise of whole new worlds to come, I’m definitely excited to see what’s next.

Also, I bloody love the theme music now.

The Twilight Zone  ‘Best Of’
The Midnight SunIt’s been six months since I did one of my “best of The Twilight Zone” roundups, but I always intended to continue them, so here we are again.

Having already reviewed the top ten episodes as ranked by several different sources (IMDb voters, ScreenCrush, and Paste), I decided to resume my journey through the original Twilight Zone by producing an average of various different lists to identify which instalments are acclaimed by consensus (because that’s the kind of thing I do). To help broaden the range of opinions, I added a bunch of new lists to my calculations — namely, Ranker’s The Best Twilight Zone Episodes of All Time as sorted by voters; Buzzfeed’s Ranking Every Episode by Arianna Rebolini; TV Guide’s 50 Essential Episodes Ranked by Joal Ryan: and Thrillist’s The 50 Best Episodes by Scott Beggs.

This new average ranking gave me a fresh top ten with a couple of episodes I’d not seen. The first of those was in 9th place (also, for what it’s worth, it’s now in IMDb’s top ten too, having moved up from 11th to 8th since I last looked). That’s The Masks, which I think is one of the series’ best-paced episodes. I’ve found that even some of the greatest episodes can feel a little thin, with a singular concept that only just fills 25 minutes, but this one doesn’t overstay its welcome by a second — and yet it’s as simple and clear a concept as any. That’s perhaps when TZ is at its best: simple but effective concepts, cleanly executed. And there’s a moral lesson too, of course.

I was slightly less impressed by The After Hours, which finishes off the consensus top ten. It’s an effectively creepy edition for the most part, with some genuine scares, but for me it was slightly undermined by the final explanation, which I don’t think quite hangs together with what’s gone before. A definite case of “it’s about the journey not the destination”, then, because up ’til that point it’s superb.

Number 12 Looks Just Like YouMoving beyond the top ten to complete the top 10% (i.e. the 16 best episodes), next is Number 12 Looks Just Like You (which, by-the-by, comes 10th on Thrillist). This is what some people might call “proper sci-fi” — an idea of the future spun out of what’s possible in the present, using it to present an analogy for the times we live in. And what is the analogy? In this case, there’s a few things you can read into it: mental health; conformism; the transition from childhood to adulthood; maybe all of the above; maybe something else. The only real downside is the episode hints at a wider world that isn’t explored. It’s mentioned in passing that the writing of Shakespeare, Keats, and others has been banned. Why? By whom? And while a bunch of middle-class white people are choosing which generic model they want to look like, what about other races? Class is less of an immediate issue because it seems this is a government-backed thing that everyone must undergo — but then, why do the lower classes get to look just the same as their ‘betters’? Surely there’d be different models depending on your social station? Never mind a 25-minute episode, someone could spin an entire series out of this… Still, having so much to ponder is one mark of a very good episode.

The Midnight Sun is the penultimate episode in the top 16, and also is another one that’s 10th on one list, this time Ranker’s. I’d probably put it even higher — this is definitely one of my favourite episodes so far. It takes a massive world-altering event and shows it to us from the point of view of two ordinary women; and not even from when the event happens or is discovered, but from a month into the new status quo, when it’s become a fact of life rather than some revelation. It’s a different way to approach such a story even today, and it works all the more for it. And, of course, there’s a twist (spoiler to come!) — one of the very, very few times “it was just a dream” works.

Robert Redford invites you to The Twilight ZoneFinally for now, the last episode in the top 16 (and the only one of today’s episodes not in anyone’s top ten), Nothing in the Dark. Probably best known for staring a young Robert Redford, it’s about an old woman who’s paranoid and agoraphobic due to her fear of meeting Death; but when Redford’s cop is shot right outside her door, she has to let him in to save his life. It’s a nice idea for a story, but (to loop back to what I was saying about The Masks) it feels a little slight in the execution. Half of the second act is taken up in a diversion with a demolition guy which is just that, a diversion. Still, there are very good performances from the two leads, and it comes with a well-meant little message by the end.

Also watched…
  • The Goes Wrong Show Series 1 Episodes 3-5 — I love this show with all my heart. Episode 3 was perhaps the best yet (even the title, A Trial to Watch, is a gag). So this is a friendly reminder that the series so far is available on iPlayer and the sixth (and final, *sob*) episode is on tonight.
  • The Great British Bake Off Series 1 Episodes 1-3 — I joined Bake Off before it was an all-encompassing phenomenon, with series two. So I’ve always meant to go back and see the one season I’d missed, especially since the whole lot became available on Netflix. It’s funny watching it now, though, because so much of it is familiar as Bake Off, but it’s early days and it’s unrefined. It’s a bit like watching a version of the show made by someone who pretty much remembers how it works but not exactly.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation — I’ve never seen all of TNG (far from it), so as Picard is expected to be heavily indebted to existing continuity, I sought out a few likely-to-be-relevant episodes. The first was season 5 episode 23, I Borg, which is regarded as one of the series’ very best, and deservedly so. The other was the season 6 finale / season 7 premiere, a two-parter called Descent, which I guess was decent. There’s some good stuff in the first half about Data dealing with the possibility of experiencing emotion, but the second half is a bit too pulpy in a way I’m not sure fits Trek (or at least my idea of it). If any Trekkies reading this have other episodes they’d recommend (for relevance to Picard, not just because they’re good), I’m open to suggestions.
  • Twin Peaks in UHD — The recently-released Twin Peaks: From Z to A box set includes a bonus disc with two episodes in 4K Ultra HD. Yeah, just two. Why they didn’t do the full series, who knows. Expense, I guess. Some people reckon this is testing the waters for a full-series UHD release, but I dunno — considering they’ve already released the whole series on individual season DVDs, then a complete box set DVD, then Blu-ray, now a collector’s edition Blu-ray, do they think they’ll manage to sell it to people again? Sure, there’ll be some customers, but enough? Anyway, the two episodes here are the original pilot and season 3 / A Limited Event Series / The Return (whatever you want to call it) Part 8. The latter looked pretty great, even without HDR enhancement; the former… I’m counting as a movie, so will write about in January’s Rewatchathon segment.

    Things to Catch Up On
    Good OmensThis month, I have mostly been missing Good Omens… again! I didn’t get round to it on Prime Video when it premiered last May, and now it’s airing weekly on BBC Two but I still haven’t started it. I read the book as a kid and absolutely loved it (for a very long time I would’ve said it was my favourite novel), so when they announced a miniseries adaptation I was excited — especially as it was being managed by Neil Gaiman himself and starred a bunch of my favourite actors, not least Michael Sheen and David Tennant in the lead roles. That’s almost the problem: I want to watch it properly; I can’t just bung it on. Maybe I’ll get to it before next month’s column.

    Also missed: The Trial of Christine Keeler (I hear it got pretty good, but only after a couple of episodes); White House Farm (I’m interested in the case, but apparently the series is overly slow and long-winded); Deadwater Fell (David Tennant again); and probably a tonne of other stuff that’s slipped my mind for the moment…

    Next month… more Doctor Who, more Picard, more Twilight Zone. As for new stuff, Locke & Key finally makes it to the screen via Netflix… but that’s about all I can foresee for now. Maybe I will finally do Good Omens

    P.S. If you’re an attentive regular reader who’s thinking, “hold on, did I miss #53 and #54?”, the answer is no, you didn’t — the mistake is mine. A whole year ago, I forgot to count the 2018 Christmas post towards the numbering, which is the way I’d previously done things, so I am belatedly correcting for it by ‘hiding’ the jump alongside the one for 2019’s Christmas post. If you think that’s terribly confusing, just remember: it doesn’t really matter anyway.

  • The Past Christmas on TV

    Continuing the spirit of publishing things about ten days late, here’s my Christmas TV review, about ten days after the season ended. (And if you’re thinking, “um, Christmas was 18 days ago,” well, the TV ‘Christmas’ season goes on until at least January 1st here, so there.)

    Santa Goes Wrong
    Here’s Santa to rekindle your festive spirit.
    With alcohol.

    This is now my fourth annual Christmas TV post, would you believe. I still feel like TV reviews are a fairly recent addition to this blog, but nope, it’s been four years. And this is, in a way, a vintage year, what with the Gavin & Stacey revival becoming the most-watched Christmas Day broadcast in something like 17 years; and, even more impressively, it was the only scripted programme to make the top ten TV broadcasts of the decade (the rest going to sporting events and one random episode of The X Factor).

    As for whether it was any good, and what I thought of other stuff that was on… well, read on…

    Doctor Who  Spyfall
    Doctor Who: SpyfallFor the first time in 14 years, since the series returned, there was no Doctor Who Christmas/New Year special. Gasp! At least we got the first episodes of a new series, though — two slightly-longer-than-normal instalments (at 60 minutes each, which doesn’t feel that special when regular episodes are 50 minutes now). And a two-parter, too — the first of those since 2017. And a big two-parter at that, with big-name guest stars and big action sequences and big overseas locations.

    Yep, this is Doctor Who with a bang — a marked contrast to last series, which mostly went for understated. Well, as understated as modern Doctor Who gets, anyway. But whereas series 11 had no two parters and no returning monsters and, as I say, a markedly calmer pace and tone, series 12 begins with the antithesis of all of that. In case you’ve not seen it I shan’t spoil the end-of-part-one reveal, which was a massive delight that I did not see coming (I guess someone learnt a lesson from last time that villain returned, when the production team basically spoiled it themselves before anyone else could). That was the highlight of an episode that moved at a mile a minute, not pausing to let you consider the logic of what was going on (which, yeah, was not faultless). But while it may not have been perfect, I’m glad to see a return for this fun, exciting version of the show. I didn’t find series 11 a total washout (I think my reviews as it was airing were mostly positive, even), but overall I felt like something wasn’t quite working.

    Well, let’s be honest, what wasn’t working is showrunner Chris Chibnall. His episodes under previous showrunners Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat were never the very best (and I say that as someone who likes them more than most), but without their oversight to guide him, he seemed a bit lost. He’s a long-time fanboy of the show (somewhat famously, he appeared on a viewer feedback show in the ’80s to slag off the quality of the writing), and at times last series it felt like he was writing for the show as he’d loved it as a kid (that is to say, a bit slow-paced and old-fashioned). Now, possibly taking some of the criticism on board (or possibly just trying to mix it up), he’s attempting to emulate the whoosh-bang blockbuster-but-quirky style of RTD and Moffat. What he can’t grasp is their effortless-seeming slickness — when they rushed over something it was usually because “it makes sense if you think about it”, whereas Chibnall is trying to cover a logic gap; conversely, when there’s no gap to be hidden, he has characters mercilessly over-explain everything, I guess for the sake of anyone who’s just walked in.

    So, not perfect, but I thought Part 1 was a blast nonetheless. Sadly, I was much less enamoured with Part 2 — a virtually nonsensical runaround through time, which didn’t seem to know what to do with everything that had been put in play, just throwing “more” at us until the Doctor basically said “time for the story to end now”, and so the baddies disappeared and that was that. Apart from an epilogue, which was quite intriguing — and dove head first into full-on mythology territory, something the series studiously avoided last year. Whether Chibnall’s got anywhere good to go with what he’s teasing, God only knows (I fear not, based on the evidence), but it’s a welcome bit of business that will hopefully jazz up the season to come.

    Gavin & Stacey  A Special Christmas
    Gavin & Stacey: A Special ChristmasI won’t recap Gavin & Stacey’s ratings success (what with already having mentioned it at the start), nor will I touch on the controversy around its use of Fairytale of New York (I kind of get why people complained, but also, the song is the song). As for the episode itself, well, I thought it was masterful. It may be nine years since the last episode, but it was like they hadn’t been away. Not that they tried to ignore the passage of time — clearly, the best part of a decade had passed in the characters’ lives, and naturally changes had come with that — but the characters and performances felt true to their old selves, as if they’d never stopped playing them, with the rhythms and comedic style of the show fully intact. Some decade-later revivals feel like new shows — the writers have forgotten how to write it properly; the cast have forgotten how to play it right — but not this one. This was bang on what it should be. Tidy.

    Dracula“From the makers of Sherlock”, declared the publicity for this new adaptation of the Victorian novel — so you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a present-day reimagining. But it wasn’t. Well, until it was.

    This new Dracula is very much a tale of three parts, and not just because it was in three 90-minute episodes. While undoubtedly a serial, each episode was almost a standalone instalment, which was a structural trick I quite liked — it doesn’t feel like you’re watching one four-and-a-half-hour work broken into three by the necessities of the schedule, but rather three separate-but-connected works. And I really, really liked the first two.

    The Rules of the Beast is what you most expect of Dracula: a spooky Transylvanian castle; “I don’t drink… wine”; mild little Englishman Jonathan Harker discovering terrible secrets… Of course, writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss didn’t shy away from bringing a few affectations and twists to the piece, but I thought they all worked well. Claes Bang makes for a fantastic Dracula (a comment that holds true throughout the series), the rest of the cast were very good as well, and there were some proper horror bits — this adaptation was not, ahem, toothless.

    The second instalment, Blood Vessel, dealt with Dracula’s voyage to England aboard the Demeter — a part usually more or less glossed over in other adaptations, as far as I know. But here Moffat and Gatiss spin it out into a full 90-minutes, kind of like a slasher movie set in a confined location, albeit we know whodunnit — so, naturally, there are other twists to be found. Again, I liked this a lot — the way it felt respectful to the source while also expanding and refreshing it; the interesting supporting cast; some very impressive production work (they built the entire ship on a soundstage!)

    Then we get to episode three, The Dark Compass. There’s no way to talk about what happens here without spoiling it, so if you haven’t watched the series yet and are intending to, look away now. If you have watched it, you’ll know this episode jumps the action forward 123 years to 2020. And you also probably hated it, because it seems almost everyone did. My feelings were slightly more nuanced. In my opinion, its biggest mistake is that it’s a completely different show. Sure, we still have Claes Bang playing Dracula (and he’s still excellent), and we still have Moffat and Gatiss’s recognisable stylings in the dialogue and whatnot, but the entire setup has shifted. Judged in isolation, as a present-day-set reworking of the Dracula story as told in the novel, I don’t think it’s that bad. Maybe it’s a tad too cheesy (the scenes in nightclubs and whatnot do have a feel of “how do you do, fellow kids”), but it’s workable as a modern-day adaptation of the character and plot. The problem, as I say, comes from placing it as part of a whole alongside the reenvisioned-but-fundamentally-faithful adaptation we got in the first two episodes. In doing so, Moffat and Gatiss undermine the whole enterprise — it robs the first two-thirds of a fitting finale; and, by being so radically different to the style we’ve spent three hours getting used to, it doesn’t give itself a fair shake either.

    And so many have judged the overall result to be a failure. Personally, I enjoyed enough of it that I was still entertained, but if they’d given us a ‘proper’ third episode to round it out then I think I may’ve loved it.

    The Goes Wrong Show  Series 1 Episodes 1-2
    The Goes Wrong Show - The Pilot (Not the Pilot)Oh my, what a treat! Regular readers will remember how much I loved Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Christmas 2016 (“the best thing that was on TV during the festive season”) and its 2017 followup, A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong. When the gang missed Christmas 2018 I feared we wouldn’t be getting any more, possibly thanks to the negative-nelly reception in some quarters. But oh no, for 2019 they’re back with a vengeance: not a one-off hour, but a whole series of half-hour Plays Gone Wrong. Reader, I am cock-a-hoop with delight!

    The first episode was another Christmas special; the second a historically-inaccurate WW2 thriller (set in 1961); the third aired on Friday but I’m currently saving it. It’s a half-hour parade of utter silliness — slapstick, wordplay, entirely predictable tomfoolery… but sometimes the total predictability of what’s about to go wrong is part of the fun (episode one begins with a blatant setup for a joke that isn’t paid off until the very end of the episode). And it’s exactly the kind of thing the whole family can watch and enjoy, whether you’re 6 or 66. I genuinely can’t remember the last time I was driven to tears of laughter. Actually, I can — it was Peter Pan Goes Wrong. Long live the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society!

    Also watched…

    A mix of Christmas scheduling and non-Christmas stuff we just happened to catch up on.

  • Criminal: United Kingdom Season 1 — Netflix’s high-concept cop show wasn’t quite as classy as the publicity would have you believe (it still indulged in the old staples of office politics, breaking from the tension of the interrogation to faff around with romance subplots and whatnot), but the guest stars still gave it their all — I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hayley Atwell like that before, and David Tennant was superb as always. Good enough that I’ll check out some of the international versions.
  • In Search of Dracula with Mark Gatiss — This felt like it was planned as a promo for the BBC’s new Dracula, but aired after it. Weird. Anyway, Gatiss has fronted several great documentaries on horror before, and while this wasn’t quite in their league (the others are exceptionally good) it was still a solid and interesting look at the history of the Count. And it made me want to see a load of previous Dracula films, which I always think is the mark of a good movie documentary.
  • Miranda My Such Fun Celebration — I know the sitcom Miranda wasn’t to everyone’s taste, but I loved it, as did lots of others, hence this one-off special to mark its tenth anniversary. It’s a bit of an oddity — a mix of cast reunions, sketches, clip montages, and song and dance. Yes, song and dance. It was well-meaning but, well, I found it a little strange. But for those people whose lives have been positively impacted by the series (and, genuinely, hurrah to it and them for that), I’m sure it was a delight.
  • Vienna Blood Series 1 — A new crime series from “that other guy who wrote some episodes of Sherlock”, this adaptation of a series of novels set in Vienna c.1907 did feel a bit like Sherlock Lite, with its Freud-influenced genius consulting detective and some stylish visuals. But it lacked the innovation that marked out Sherlock, especially in its early days. You can tell this has half an eye on being an easy sell to international markets, able to sit comfortably alongside all the other 90-minute crime dramas the UK TV industry churns out. So, it was a bit predictable and formulaic, but decently done and reasonably entertaining. This Guardian article echoes my feelings on it pretty well.

    Things to Catch Up On
    A Christmas CarolThis month, I have mostly been missing the BBC’s new adaptation of A Christmas Carol, written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight. I know it went down with some degree of controversy, but its revisionist, horror-tinged style looked right up my alley. Unfortunately, it was stripped over three nights, and because I knew I was going to be away for the third evening I didn’t start it. By the point I had enough time to make room for it, it was so long after Christmas that I wasn’t sure it was appropriate. Now, it’s January 12th and it’s definitely too late. Guess I’ll have to try to remember to watch it next year, then.

    Next month… it’s a new year, so I’m sure there must be plenty of new TV. Although I kind of hope not, because I’ve still got tonnes and tonnes from last year to catch up on.

  • 2019: The Full List

    Here we are once again, dear readers: another year over, another long list of films.

    The final tally of new feature films I saw in 2019 is 151. Throw in an alternate cut and my Rewatchathon, and the overall total is 181. That’s not a patch on the 311 I got to last year (it’s 42% less, in fact) but it’s not bad in itself. Indeed, getting to #151 makes 2019 my 5th highest year ever, and is higher than anything before 2015 — five years ago, I would’ve considered it a wonder.

    More analysis along those lines when I get to my stats post. For now, here are some nice long lists…

    • As It Happened — 2019’s monthly updates, containing a chronological list.
    • The List — an alphabetical list of every new film I watched in 2019.
    • Television — an alphabetical list of every TV programme I reviewed in 2019.
    • Next Time — there’s more analysis of last year still to come…

    Below is a graphical representation of my 2019 viewing, month by month. Each image links to the relevant monthly review, with a chronologically numbered list of everything I watched this year. There’s other exciting stuff in there too, like my monthly Arbie awards and what I watched in my Rewatchathon.

    The main thing you can interpret from these is how much the number of films I was watching dropped and fluctuated in the second half of the year…

    And now, the main event…

    An alphabetical list of all the new-to-me films I watched in 2019, followed by the sundries I also watched (alternate cuts, shorts, etc). Where I’ve already reviewed a film, there’s a link. In the past, not-yet-reviewed titles linked to my “coming soon” page, but as there are so many of those now I decided they’d be better left link-less.

    Alternate Cuts
    The 100 Films Guide To…


    Captain Marvel

    Deadwood: The Movie

    Dr Mabuse, der Spieler

    Eyes Wide Shut

    The Favourite


    Green Book


    Isle of Dogs

    Jojo Rabbit

    The Meg

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    The Red Shoes

    Scott Pilgrim vs the World

    Sherlock, Jr.

    The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

    Waltz with Bashir

    Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo

    Deadpool 2: Super Duper $@%!#& Cut

    The Matrix Reloaded

    Battle at Big Rock

    La jetée

    Pleased to Eat You!


    This year I reviewed many and various television programmes across a dozen(ish) monthly columns. It would be pretty meaningless just to list those roundups, so instead here’s an alphabetical breakdown of what they covered, with appropriate links.

    Always the highlight of the year: it’s the statistics.

    My Most-Read Posts of 2019

    2019 may’ve given us the highest grossing film of all time, amongst numerous other big events, but TV reviews once again dominate my most-viewed posts of the year — in the rankings of new posts, there’s no film until 8th (if we widen that to include older posts, it’s all TV until 14th).

    But this is still theoretically a film blog, so — as usual — I’ve compiled my five most-read TV posts (which, obviously, is the same as my outright five most-read posts) and then my five most-read film reviews.

    My Top 5 Most-Viewed New TV Posts in 2019

    5) The Past Month on TV #45
    including Game of Thrones season 8 episodes 1-2, Thronecast specials and series 8 episodes 1-2, Deadwood season 3, and The Twilight Zone ‘best of’ selection 2.

    4) The Past Month on TV #43
    including The Punisher season 2, Russian Doll season 1, Hanna episode 1, Les Misérables episodes 4-6, the 91st Academy Awards, the British Academy Film Awards 2019, Great News season 2 episodes 8-13, and Mark Kermode’s Oscar Winners: A Secrets of Cinema Special.

    3) The Past Christmas on TV 2018
    including Doctor Who: Resolution, The ABC Murders, Watership Down, Not Going Out: Ding Dong Merrily on Live, Upstart Crow Christmas special, Click & Collect, Goodness Gracious Me: 20 Years Innit!, Mock the Week, Have I Got News for You, Insert Name Here, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Simon Callow’s A Christmas Carol, The Dead Room, Mark Kermode’s Christmas Cinema Secrets, and Les Misérables episode 1.

    2) The Past Fortnight on TV #46
    This attracted almost three times as many views as the post in 3rd (that graph in the header image is accurate — the top two were out well ahead of everything else). What attracted such attention? Nothing less than the final season of the biggest TV show of the decade: Game of Thrones. This post included Game of Thrones season 8 episodes 3-4, Ghosts series 1 episodes 1-3, Columbo: Murder by the Book, The Twilight Zone ‘best of’ selection 3, Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema: Disaster Movies, and Thronecast series 8 episodes 3-4.

    1) The Past Fortnight on TV #47
    My comments about IMDb voters of the Game of Thrones finale attracted some degree of ire, which helps lead this one to first place. In fact, it’s already my 4th most-viewed post of all time. It only included Game of Thrones season 8 episodes 5-6, The Twilight Zone ‘best of’ selection 4, Eurovision 2019, and Thronecast series 8 episodes 5-7.

    My Top 5 Most-Viewed New Film Posts in 2019

    5) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
    Jumping in here in the final days of the year, the much-anticipated conclusion of the 42-year nine-film Skywalker Saga. Shame it was such a load of rubbish.

    4) The Highwaymen
    Netflix films often do well in these rankings, especially if I review them promptly, and that applies to both this and the film in 3rd. There were also Netflix films in 6th, 8th, and 9th places, and a Sky Cinema debut in 7th.

    3) The Silence
    Mind, there are better Netflix films people could’ve chosen to read about than this.

    2) Glass
    That said, a promptly-reviewed big theatrical release can top even Netflix titles, as these next two show. Alternatively, they say something about the continued dominance of superhero movies.

    1) Avengers: Endgame
    Well, it is the biggest film of all time.

    2018: The Full List

    2018 was the biggest year of 100 Films ever in terms of films viewed, and by some margin: my previous highest total was 2015’s 200, but this year I made it all the way to 261. Throw in my Rewatchathon and I watched 311 feature-length films this year.

    This post is, as the title should suggest, a list of those — plus a few other bits and bobs, as outlined in this handy contents list:

    Here’s a graphical representation of my 2018 viewing, month by month. Each of the images links to the relevant monthly update post, which contain a chronologically numbered list of every new film I watched this year. There’s also other exciting stuff in them, like my monthly Arbie awards, and the list of what I watched in my Rewatchathon.

    And now, the main event…

    Here’s an alphabetical list of all the new-to-me films I watched in 2018. Each title links to the appropriate review… unless I haven’t posted one yet, in which case it currently links to my “coming soon” page.

    Alternate Cuts
    Other Reviews
    The 400 Blows


    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    Being John Malkovich

    Black Narcissus

    Bohemian Rhapsody

    Christopher Robin


    Death at a Funeral

    Die Hard with a Vengeance

    The Florida Project

    Gods of Egypt

    The Greatest Showman


    I Kill Giants


    Jodorowsky's Dune

    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    The Lives of Others

    Lupin the 3rd: The Secret of Mamo



    The Navigator

    Paddington 2

    The Pixar Story




    Sartana's Here... Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin

    The Shape of Water

    Step Brothers

    Superman II

    Their Finest

    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

    The Way of the Gun

    Wild Strawberries

    Zatoichi and the Chess Expert


    Terminator 2 3D

    Mission: Impossible


    The Silent Child


    This year I reviewed many and various television programmes across 12 monthly columns. It would be pretty meaningless just to list those columns, so instead here’s an alphabetical breakdown of what they covered, with appropriate links.

    Breaking down the above list in all kinds of different ways, it’s everyone’s favourite part of the entire year (or mine, at least): the statistics!

    2017: The Full List

    2017 — the 11th year I’ve been doing this 100 films challenge, and the fifth consecutive year I’ve surpassed that goal. Below is the full list of new films I watched this year, all linked up to reviews and that. (“And that” being my “coming soon” page for the dozens of films I’ve not actually reviewed yet.)

    My “Full List” post is an annual tradition round these parts, of course, but this year it undergoes its biggest change of format since 2012, when I switched from listing my viewing in chronological (aka numerical) order to listing it alphabetically, and also added the “as it happened” section. This time, however, it’s an even bigger change — the biggest change to this annual tradition ever, in fact.

    I’ve got rid of the statistics.

    “What, completely?” No, of course not — as regular readers will know, they’re the best part of the year! (They’re my personal highlight, anyway.) Now they’ll be in their own post. Frankly, I don’t know why I haven’t separated them off sooner. Tradition, mainly. Anyway, I think they belong there. Expect that post tomorrow.

    In the meantime, there’s also a new addition to this post: TV reviews. As this was the first full year I’ve run my “Past Month on TV” column, and as there’s an ever-growing consensus to consider television on an equal footing with cinema as a narrative visual art form, and as that’s a position which I broadly agree with, it felt only right that I included my TV reviewing in this big ol’ list of reviews.

    So, time to crack on with things. As this post is just a long list of words and pictures, if you don’t fancy the scroll (or the swipe, if you’re on one of them newfangled touchy-screens) here are some handy links to jump to whichever bit might interest you:

    Below is a graphical representation of my 2017 viewing, month by month. Each of the images links to the relevant monthly update, which contain a numbered list of everything I watched this year. This is also the only place where I’ve listed the 52 films of my Rewatchathon. There’s other exciting stuff in there too, like my monthly Arbie awards.

    And now, the main event…

    Alternate Cuts
    Other Reviews
    Alien: Covenant

    Babe: Pig in the City

    Black Swan


    Death Note

    Don't Breathe

    The Driver

    Get Out


    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

    Hidden Figures

    Jackie Brown

    Kubo and the Two Strings




    New Tale of Zatoichi

    Robin Hood: Men in Tights

    Rurouni Kenshin

    Sing Street

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    That's Entertainment

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    War for the Planet of the Apes

    Your Name

    Mad Max: Fury Road - Black and Chrome

    The Terminator

    Hotel Chevalier


    Across 16 ‘monthly’ columns I reviewed a significant amount of television this year, and so I thought I should include it in my wrap-up. But rather than just link to 16 posts each containing a grab-bag of programming, I thought it would be more useful to list every series I commented on and then link to the relevant post(s). That also shows up just how much TV I watch…

    Tomorrow (hopefully): analysing all of the above in exciting statistics!

    Soon: ranking all (well, some) of the above in my lists of the best and worst films I saw this year.