Friday 30 December 2011

A Scientifically Accurate List Of The Ten Best Films Of 2011

In a wildly original move, which I'm fairly sure nobody else has thought of, I've decided to present a list of ten films made in 2011 that were better than all the rest. If you see anyone else displaying similar lists please report them for copyright theft because I THOUGHT OF IT FIRST.

UPDATE: When I wrote this, Animal Kingdom was far and away my favourite film of the year. However, a second viewing of the virtually flawless The Artist in early January 2012 has forced a minor reshuffle of my top two: apologies if for some bizarre reason you actually care.

"You'd be surprised how quickly they adapt."
Love it or hate it (love it), you've got to admire The Incredible Suit's Cumbersomely Titled Tenth Favourite Film Of 2011 Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, if only because it's a film about talking monkeys that isn't a Dreamworks animation. Its flaws are cavernous but to be so crowd-pleasingly entertaining despite them is remarkable enough; to be the best of the summer's FX-heavy blockbusters is nothing short of miraculous. Although to be fair I never saw The Smurfs. Review

"You don't know what it's like out there, you haven't a clue."
Tyrannosaur might have *'80s POP CULTURE REFERENCE ALERT* Barbara Woodhouse barking in her grave, but it's memorable for so much more than the canine cruelty on offer: a terrific directorial debut from Paddy Considine; a touching, terrifying script perfectly balancing furious rage and fingertip tenderness, and three astonishing central performances by some of Britain's most talented actors, including one from Olivia Colman that appears to come from nowhere and punch you firmly in the knackers. As devastating as that sounds, and much harder to recover from. Review

"There is no point. That's the point."
Ranking only slightly higher on the 2011 Devastatometer than Tyrannosaur, We Need To Talk About Kevin is also possibly the most effective method of contraception on the market. If you still want kids after seeing this then you should probably consider some kind of therapy. Tilda Swinton predictably knocks it out of the park, but the three youngsters who play Kevin (even improbably-named toddler Rock Duer) give the film its spine-chilling spine. Warning: unsuitable for ereuthrophobics. Review

"Actions have consequences, you know?"
Everybody expected the debut film of that funny bloke off of the radio to be good, but nobody thought it would be quite this good. Joe Cornish the comedian transformed - apparently overnight - into Joe Cornish the director with his brave, original take on the alien invasion genre, and gave the world a few young faces to remember at the same time. Satisfyingly old-school yet absolutely of its time, Attack The Block justifiably takes its place among the great British debuts of all time. Review

"How's your thirst for adventure, Captain?"
The Bergatron's thirst for adventure finally reappears after a lengthy spell of, uh, unthirstiness, and the result is The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn, the world's first watchable performance-capture film. An unbridled joy for everyone except The Guardian and Robert Zemeckis, Tintin might just be the film Super 8 tried and failed to be: an homage to Spielberg's glory days that kids will still be talking about thirty years from now. Review

"I don't quite know what I am yet."
Submarine, Richard Ayoade's wildly original tale of two duffel coats, is the finest coming-of-age tale for years: his fat-free script, based on Joe Dunthorne's novel, is full of ridiculous but perfect zingers and gives every member of his flawless cast a fully-realised character to sink their teeth into. And sink they do, taking us under with them to a horrendous place we all remember being nowhere near this enjoyable. Review

"You gotta be careful that the person that
you fall in love with is worth it to you."
Heartbreakingly tender and unforgivably brutal, Derek Cianfrance's story of a doomed relationship is one of the most simultaneously beautiful and painful love stories ever committed to the screen. Anchored by two phenomenal performances each by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine tells it like it is, and while the subject matter isn't always pretty, every frame is a work of art. Review

"You put this kid behind the wheel, there's nothing he can't do."
The Year Of The Gosling peaked with genre-defying retro-neo-noir Drive, in which The World's Greatest Human Being Alive Right Now does very little apart from pootle about in a car and beat a few people up, but does it in such inimitable style and backed by such an achingly hip soundtrack that it's impossible to take your eyes off him. A genuinely iconic actor creating a genuinely iconic character isn't something that happens every day; be thankful you were alive to see it happen this time. Review

"You've gotta decide. You've gotta work out where you fit."
The year's second finest film comes from a land down under, both literally and metaphorically, and is another unbelievably great debut that gives boundless hope to the future of cinema. Animal Kingdom's writer / director David Michôd treats his audience with absolute respect in his intelligent and shattering drama about loyalty, conscience and finding your place in the world. Yet another astonishing cast pull us deep into a life we knew nothing about, and once inside proves impossible to forget. Review

"                                                     "
Joyously exuberant from start to finish, The Artist is probably the film that stopped Kim Jong-il's cold black heart with its boundless charm and relentlessly magical chemistry, and should be prescribed as a cure for all forms of grumpiness, depression and suicidal tendencies. Director Michel Hazanavicius demonstrates an unerring mastery of the craft of pure cinema, taking his cue from some of its earliest and finest exponents, and proves that while they don't make 'em like they used to, they damn well should.

Now please feel free to make a fool of yourself in the comments box by disagreeing with me.

Thursday 29 December 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tat, Two

Opening with a balls-out brilliantly bonkers Bondesque title sequence that's surely the year's best, David Fincher's possibly-redundant version of every commuter's must-have accessory immediately announces its intention to take 2010's Swedish interpretation back to the Ikea returns desk and swap it for a new, slicker, upgraded model that'll convince us all that Hollywood remakes of foreign films are the only possible way forward for an industry almost bereft of new ideas.

What we get, disappointingly, isn't the reinvention of the wheel but a new wheel that does much the same as the old wheel, only without whatever the wheel equivalent of subtitles is. I should probably have thought that analogy through a bit more before I started but I've been on holiday and haven't quite remembered how to do clever metaphors yet. Hey ho.

Fincher's direction is typically classy and, predictably, he gets the goods from Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the former of whom spends a distracting amount of time with his glasses dangling under his chin like some kind of spectacle-beard. Still, it could have been worse:
And while it's a serviceable whodunnit for anyone unfamiliar with the book or previous film, it still can't justify either the hype created by its source material's omnipresence or the need for a new version in the first place. There are no shocking twists and no groundbreaking additions to the genre, and when all the answers are revealed it's hard to care a great deal thanks to a baffling assortment of suspects spread over three generations, many of whom it's often tricky to remember which are meant to be alive or dead.

A lengthy, tacked-on epilogue we didn't really need ties a couple of things up in a way that suggests Fincher and co aren't too fussed about finishing the trilogy, which is a shame because although The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo fails to sufficiently surpass its equally good forebear, any potential sequels would effortlessly erase the memory of the disappointingly abysmal Swedish parts two and three.

Still, never mind. We'll always have this.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Mission Impossible: Tusk Mustard

Really sorry but I didn't have time to write a full review of Tom Cruise Climbs A Tall Building IV because I've been too busy packing to go on holiday. You'll have to make do with this tweet:

Also if you can imagine a
wittily photoshopped still
here that would be great.

Monday 12 December 2011

Dreams Of A Life

I fully intended to catch Dreams Of A Life, Carol Morley's true story about the long-unnoticed death of 40-year-old Joyce Vincent in a North London bedsit, at the London Film Festival this year. I never made it to the screening for reasons lost in the mists of time (I may as well blame the Victoria Line), so in my stead I sent Mrs The Incredible Suit with specific instructions not to come back without a review.

Amazingly, she did exactly as she was told, so in a shock departure for The Incredible Suit, here's a review written by someone who isn't The Incredible Suit. You can tell because she writes in Arial and I use Trebuchet.

Dreams Of A Life had me holding back tears from the start, and not just because it’s the sad story of a woman who died alone in one of the busiest cities in the world and was found in her flat three years later with the television still on, but also because it’s a telling reflection on our disconnected communities. The film is told through the positive testimony of people who knew Joyce, intermingled with dramatised reconstruction, and it's immediately one of those tales that catches your attention because you’re afraid it could happen to you.

Although it wasn’t always clear who the people in the film were, through their stories we learn that Joyce was like most other people. She had demons from the past that meant she found it hard to trust people (she told a doctor her next of kin was her bank manager) and she couldn’t settle, never made long term plans and regularly moved flats and jobs when things went wrong. With friends, she was the life and soul of a party, but with hindsight they now think she'd become a chameleon and adapted to their way of life rather than live her own.

Director Carol Morley takes on the role of private detective to try and find out why Joyce was seemingly forgotten, apparently doing a better job than the detective hired by Joyce’s family but still not getting to the bottom of it all. The family chose not to take part in the film, but told Morley they had tried to stay in touch with Joyce throughout her life but they too had been unable to find out why she had effectively disappeared.
We never did get to find out why the electric had remained on for three years either (energy providers are usually quick to cut off people who don’t pay their bills), but the shots of Joyce in her final moments watching snippets of the film we’re watching on her TV was a nice touch. It may seem that Joyce had been forgotten, but this wasn't the case. She was often in the minds of her friends, especially Martin, one of the stars of the show, and the reason I finally succumbed to a few tears.

I like films with a reason, and the subtle messages throughout Dreams Of A Life about friendship and society made it so without shoving them down my throat. Our personality is often defined by others’ views about us, but do we really know people? Should we all make more of an effort to make time for people? Should we reach out and ask for more help? This film could be a reason to start.

Thursday 8 December 2011


Tonight's the night the whole of East London shakes to the sound of Kenny Loggins urging us to kick off our Sunday shoes and lose our blues, as the mighty Kevin Bacon BASICALLY TAKES ON GOD in order to get the kids of Bomont, Middle America, dancing their asses off to mark The Incredible Suit's Cumbersomely Titled Very Good Film And Quiz Night.

You can witness this spectacle by paying £6.50 to the nice people at the Stratford East Picturehouse box office, and if you turn up before 7pm (let's say 6.30 to be on the safe side) you can join in with the free film quiz in the bar before the film. Maximum team size is six peeps and if anyone's coming alone I'll find a friendly team for you to latch on to if you want.

So remember:
7.00pm PROMPT
Film quiz in the bar

Footloose in the cinema

Answers and winners announced

Back to the bar to celebrate, commiserate or just go home

Be there or be an absolute arsepipe.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Forty Amazing Things About The New 2-Disc Die Hard Soundtrack Album

#1 - #39: The tracks
Note (click the picture to embigulate) the inclusion of RUN-DMC's Christmas In Hollis, the greatest Christmas song ever recorded.

#40: The booklet
Twenty-four pages comprising an exhaustive essay on the making and impact of Die Hard by film historian Eric Lichtenfeld and an insanely detailed track-by-track analysis by soundtrack geek Jeff Bond. Sample text:
"A pulsating rhythm and some shrill piccolo and reed lines alternate with pizzicato and synthesiser textures: a light metallic percussion line heard about 1:16 into the cue will later form the driving snare rhythm for 'The Battle/Freeing The Hostages'."
What he means is "that bit that goes dum-dum-dum-dum-DER-DUM is the fucking shit".

The booklet also contains this truly great still which I can't believe I've never seen before:

Michael Kamen's Die Hard score was released by La La Land Records last week in a limited run of 3,500 copies and sold out within six femtoseconds. If you didn't get one, don't worry, they'll be on eBay soon. Best have a chat with your bank manager first.

Titanic thanks to Simon Underwood for alerting me to the album's imminent release. I have promised him my first-born child as a reward.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Thirty Minutes Of The Three Colours Trilogy Non-Live Blogged

Having recently decided to haul my philistinic ass into the 21st century by buying a Blu-ray player, I decided that something I could do with is actual Blu-ray discs to play on it. Otherwise it would just be an expensive footrest, and not even a very good one. A pathetic plea on Twitter to anyone who fancied sending me some for free yielded surprising results (i.e. nobody told me to piss off), and thanks to Organic Marketing I am now the owner of Krzysztof Kieślowski's Three Colours Trilogy on Blu-ray, which I have shamefully never seen.
The gift was made with the perfectly reasonable proviso that I say something about the trilogy's impending release on The Incredible Suit, and I promised faithfully to do so before sticking the discs in a drawer and forgetting all about them for several weeks.

Some time later later someone at Organic (hi Will) gently pointed out that the release date for the trilogy had been and gone without so much as a whisper from me (obviously nobody's going to buy it without my recommendation), and so I resolved to do something about it immediately. The thing is, who's got time to watch three films in a row these days? Nobody, that's who. So I decided to make my life easier by watching the first ten minutes of Three Colours: Blue, the middle ten minutes of Three Colours: White and the final ten minutes of Three Colours: Red in order to save all that boring actual watching of entire films.

Yep, The Guardian may have liveblogged the whole trilogy over three nights in November (here, here and here), but The Incredible Suit is going one step further by reducing a recognised genius' magnum opus to half an hour of ill-informed and embarrassingly late wittering. Here are my findings.

Three Colours: Blue
The trilogy opens with a camera bolted to the underside of a moving car and blurred streetlights flashing across a blue-hued frame before the car drives into a tree and an obvious metaphor a colourful beach ball bounces away, suggesting some kind of end of childhood or innocence or something. Every shot is gorgeous - a close-up reflection in an eye is astonishing - and before the first ten minutes are up I'm already blubbing as the car crash's only survivor, hospitalised, watches her family's funeral on a tiny monitor and strokes the screen where her daughter's coffin is. I immediately want to abandon my experiment and watch the rest but RULES IS RULES.

Three Colours: White
Plunging myself into the middle of the middle film of the trilogy, I find myself listening to some men talking in Polish about a building development on virgin countryside. I'm flummoxed but struck by the enormous amount of whiteness on screen - a character's vest, the sky, a map, all whiter than a party at John Wayne's house. I suspect that this may be deliberate and am busy admiring Kieślowski for his artistic synergy when someone suddenly produces a gun. In the film I mean, not in my front room. Shit just got real and I immediately want to abandon my experiment again and watch the rest but RULES IS STILL RULES.

Three Colours: Red
I boot up the final ten minutes of the trilogy and am immediately smacked in the chops by the largest amount of obvious redness in production design since I saw We Need To Talk About Kevin. Before I've had a chance to bang on about Kieślowski's artistic synergy again I'm faced with a woman of such staggering beauty that I immediately want to abandon my experiment for a third time and watch the rest but RULES IS STILL BEING RULES, DAMMIT. The woman gets on a ferry, there's a staggering shot of the boat's ramp raising and then something happens which a) appears to tie all the films together and b) makes me wish I'd watched the films in their entirety before ruining the ending for myself.

In conclusion
I'm none the wiser about what the Three Colours trilogy is about but I can tell you that it's unutterably beautiful to look at, remarkably gripping surprisingly quickly and very blue, white and red. I'll be watching the whole thing in full as soon as possible but for now, Organic Marketing, I think my work here is done. Any chance you could send me Kill List?

Saturday 3 December 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Score: Even The Waveforms Are Terrifying

In crafting a suitably unsettling score for David Fincher's version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have not only dragged their music from the filthiest, most depraved recesses of a shit-flinging, brain-eating serial killer's mind, but they've also made music that even looks terrifying. Here's the waveform for People Lie All The Time:
I'm reasonably sure Lisbeth Salander uses a dildo that looks exactly like this track to exact revenge on somebody at some point. My eyes are watering just thinking about it.

Here's a selection of tracks from the score that were "leaked" last week: just the thing to send your kids to sleep with on Christmas Eve, especially if they won't shut the fuck up about the Fireman Sam Pontypandy Rescue Set or the Monster High Lagoona's Hydration Station.

Friday 2 December 2011

BlogalongaMuppets #3: Beaker Reviews The Muppets Take Manhattan

Yeah, I'm late again. What are you gonna do about it? SUCK IT UP BITCHES, THAT'S WHAT. I didn't even want to review this film, but apparently I have to. Frankly I'd rather jam my stupid long head up Professor Bunsen's arsehole because not only is The Muppets Take Manhattan not very good, it's also ALMOST ENTIRELY DEVOID OF BEAKER ACTION. What the FUCK is that all about?
"Together again", they all warble like retarded cloth animals. Well, not quite together, are we? Yeah, the frog and the pig are all over each other like some kind of interspecies porno while the bear and the chicken and whatever Gonzo is watch, but where's Beaker? NOWHERE, that's where. It's a fucking liberty I tell you.

Seriously, this film is fine if you just want to look at Muppets, but - to quote some bastard rat that was deemed more crucial to the plot than me - where's the beef? A few rubbish songs, a handful of lacklustre cameos (does anyone REALLY remember Gregory Hines?) and stupid plot turns that make no sense - uh, yeah, let's all split up for no other reason than to get back together again - do not a classic make.

I'd like to say it all perks up for the THREE FUCKING SECONDS I'm in it at the end, but it doesn't, because that's the bit where they shoved all the songs that didn't fit anywhere else so they crammed them into a dumb story within a story, the lemons. I wish they hadn't put me in it at all. The fucker's on my IMDb page for the rest of my life now.

Next month - or this month if I get my shit together - it's some cocking Christmas story we're all supposed to get excited about. Well I fucking hate Christmas so whoopee-shitting-doo, I can't wait. Here's a picture of Miss Piggy as a baby to keep you going until then. I think she looks kinda hot. Sue me.