Review – Silent House

Silent House

Viewed at the Prince Charles Cinema, London on Monday 30th April 2012


Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah
Adam Trese as John
Eric Sheffer Stevens as Peter
Julia Taylor Ross as Sophia


Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) helps her Dad and Uncle to renovate the family’s recently vandalised summer-house but after a forgotten friend visits, her Dad disappears only to turn up gravely injured and a mysterious strangers stalks Sarah around the ‘silent house’


Silent House is an ‘ordeal’ told in real-time (’24’ style) and shot to look like its done in one 88 minute long unbroken take (although the cheats are easy to spot) and, after seeing the trailer, I was really looking forward to seeing this. Unfortunately all the best bits of the film are in the trailer and what you’re left with is a very straight forward psychological horror by numbers.

It does reasonably well at building atmosphere but, beyond that, everything is so cliché and heavily signposted that there are no real scares or jumpy moments for anyone who’s ever seen a horror film before. This is like a gateway horror film. A Fisher Price ‘My First Horror Film’ that may only scare young teenage girls or very timid kittens. That the audience spent most of the film laughing really showed how badly this film misses the mark

There’s a twist (of course there’s a twist), but it’s heavily hinted at early in the film and due to the utterly, utterly atrocious performances of the actors portraying Sarah’s Father and Uncle, its done with such a complete lack of subtlety that it’s almost laughable

Elizabeth Olsen has the makings of a great actor. She was outstanding in Martha Marcy May Marlene and reports about Josh Radnor’s Liberal Arts are encouraging but here she has so little to work with (run, scream and hide on repeat for 70 minutes) she never gets the chance to shine.

Silent House is a remake of a 2010 Uruguayan film ‘La Casa Muda’ which a quick google of lead me to think wasn’t very good either. If you’re looking for cinematic chills you’d be far better off watching the infinitely superior Woman in Black


Silent House – (a probably very over-genourous) 5/10


The Best Films of 2011

Some people publish their top 10 film list at the end of the year. Not me. I, for no reason other than sheer laziness, wait until some random point in early May

So, here are my top 10 films of 2011:


Intense and provocative and once seen, not easily forgotten. Shame is out on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK on 14th May 2012


One of the most heart-warming family films I’ve ever seen. Very sadly, no UK release is currently planned for I Wish


Good old-fashioned comic book fun and great prequels for The Avengers. Thor and Captain America now both available now on DVD and Blu-Ray


The most stylish film of the year. Drive is now available on DVD and Blu-ray


Hilariously, blackly, laugh-out-loud funny. The Guard is now available on DVD and Blu-ray


A surprisingly smart comedy with fantastic performances from Carell, Gosling and Stone. Crazy Stupid Love is now available on DVD and Blu-ray


One of the unsung cinematic highlights of the year. Michael is available on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK on May 28th 2012


Clooney is at his brilliant best in this funny and moving tragi-comedy. The Descendants is in available on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 21st 2012 in the UK

2. 50/50

An incredibly bold, incredibly funny and equally touching and thoughtful script with stand out performances from Gordon-Levitt, Rogan and Kendrick. 50/50 is available on DVD and Blu-ray now


Confessions is easily my film of the year and I urge everyone to see it! You can read my full review here:

Confessions is now available on DVD and Blu-ray

Film 2012

Over the next twelve months I will be keeping a full list of all the films that I watch. The films in blue are ones that I am viewing for the first time. Those in black are films I’ve seen before.

**Update Dec 30th – Comments and scores to be added**

1. Jan 1 – Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian 6/10 enjoyable and well realised
2. Jan 2 – Max Payne 3/10 recreating the atmosphere of the game without the fun
3. Jan 14 – The Guard 7/10 Brilliantly black comedy but not quite as good second time around
4. Jan 15 – Limitless 7/10 Love the style and direction
5. Jan 19 – The Iron Lady 5/10 Crass and disappointingly insubstantial
6. Jan 22 – The Artist 8/10 Classy
7. Jan 23 – Star Trek (2009) 7/10 Far from perfect reboot but still fun
8. Jan 24 – Zombieland 7/10 Smart take on the zombie genre with a superb cast
9. Jan 25 – Hot Rod 6/10 Silly but fun
10. Jan 28 – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 6/10 Good but nothing more
11. Jan 28 – Drive 8/10 Stylish beyond compare
12. Feb 19 – Woman in Black 7/10 Superior reimagining with plenty of scares
13. Feb 19 – In Bruges 7/10 deliciously dark
14. Feb 26 – Moneyball 8/10 The best sports film since…
15. Feb 27 – Muppets 6/10 old fashioned fun
16. Feb 27 – Midnight in Paris 8/10 Allen’s best film in years, smart and very enjoyable
17. Mar 1 – John Carter 6/10 Fun but over-long Disney Sci-Fi with unnecessary 3D
18. Mar 3 – Wanted 7/10 Silly, OTT but fun
19. Mar 4 – Thor 8/10 The best superhero movie so far
20. Mar 9 – Iron Man 7/10 Smart origin story
21. Mar 9 – Transformers Dark of the Moon 4/10 Amazing action scenes but utterly souless
22. Mar 11 – Green Lantern 5/10 so so superhero
23. Mar 11 – Frost/Nixon 7/10 great perfomances
24. Mar 18 – Young Adult 5/10 meh
25. Mar 24 – Hanna 6/10 Good film, great soundtrack
26. Mar 25 – 21 Jump Street 8/10 Relentlessly laugh-out-loud funny
27. Mar 25 – Hunger Games 7/10 good film with some excellent performances
28. Mar 25 – The Illusionist 6/10 fun but flawed
29. Apr 2 – Captain America 7/10 a super hero
30. Apr 7 – Cabin in the Woods 8/10 excellent subversion of the teen slasher genre
31. Apr 8 – Dawn of the Dead (2004) 7/10 not a patch on the original but still good
32. Apr 13 – The Devils Playground 5/10 interesting but flabby and overlong documentary on the Amish right of passage ‘Rumspringa’
33. Apr 13 – Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom 8/10 Incredibly powerful documentary set in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan
34. Apr 15 – The Dilemma 5/10 reasonable but shallow bromance movie
35. Apr 19 – Avengers Assemble 9/10 the biggest and best superhero blockbuster ever
36. Apr 20 – Two-Headed Shark Attack 3/10 Awful and yet oddly watchable
37. Apr 21 – Tron Legacy 6/10 enjoyable and much better than I expected
38. Apr 22 – Mirror Mirror 5/10 fun re-imagining of the Snow White story
39. Apr 22 – Headhunters 8/10 a big, sexy, violent Norweigan version of Hustle
40. Apr 24 – Thor 8/10 the road to Assemble
41. Apr 28 – Avengers Assemble 9/10 still brilliant
42. Apr 29 – Thor 8/10 yes, Thor again
43. Apr 29 – Dreams of a Life 6/10 Desperately sad documentary
44. Apr 30 – Silent House 4/10 Fright free chiller
45. May 5 – Source Code 7/10 Enjoyable time twisting action
46. May 6 – American Reunion 7/10 this pie is as tasty as ever
47. May 6 – Avengers Assemble 9/10 still loving it
48. May 7 – Avengers Assemble 9/10 even better with friends
49. May 14- Safe 6/10 Statham hitting things – great fun
50. May 14 – Snow White & The Huntsman 6/10 a dark fairy tale
51. May 16 – Men in Black 3 6/10 back on form and good family fun
52. May 20 – Johnny English Reborn 5/10 silly, funny and a good enough way to pass a afternoon
53. May 21 – Haywire 7/10
54. May 21 – Megamind 6/10
55. May 21 – In Time 7/10 suprisingly enjoyable Logans Run-lite romp
56. May 26 – Killers 5/10
57. May 26 – Bridesmaids 1/10 one of the worst films I’ve ever, ever seen. Utter dog shit
58. May 29 – Beastly 4/10
59. May 29 – Super 8 7/10 Abrahms dark ET tale, let down by the monster
60. May 30 – Tintin 4/10 fun but souless take on the Tintin adventures
61. May 30 – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows 7/10 – Superior sequel  
62. May 31 – The Artist 8/10  A delicious slice of cinematic nostalgia
63. May 31 – Carnage 7/10  a small disagreement leads to big performances
64. June 1 – New Years Eve 5/10
65. June 3 – Hall Pass 5/10
66. June 4 – Prometheus 5/10 over-zealous marketing, disappointing film
67. June 9 – Crazy Stupid Love 8/10 classy comedy
68. June 10 – Gantz: Perfect Answer 5/10 not perfect nor an answer but utterly bonkers
69. June 12 – J Edgar 6/10 interesting film, great performances, awful prosthetics
70. June 13 – X Men: First Class 4/10 X-Men: the swinging years
71. June 14 – Avengers Assemble 9/10 better on each viewing
72. June 14 – Rock of Ages 11/10 ok, not quite 1 louder, but a solid 7/10 for RoA fans
73. June 16 – Anatomy of a Murder 7/10 Stewart/Scott coutroom classic but a weak ending
74. June 16 – I am Number Four 6/10
75. June 16 – Shame 9/10 One of the best films of 2011, Fassbender is astounding
76. June 16 – Stranger Than Fiction 8/10
77. June 18 – The Woman in Black – 7/10
78. June 18 – Batman Begins – 7/10 flabby but promising orgin movie
79. June 21 – One night in Turin – 6/10
80. June 22 – Taken – 7/10
81. June 23 – The Hangover 2 – 6/10
82. June 23 – Everything Must Go
83. June 23 – 300
84. June 23 – American Psycho
85. June 24 – Tron Legacy
86. June 25 – Girl Model
87. July 1 – Fright Night (2011)
88. July 1 – The Ides of March
89. July 2 – Galaxy Quest
90. July 4 – Lars and the Real Girl
91. July 6 – Drive
92. July 8 – Amazing Spiderman
93. July 9 – 21 Jump Street
94. July 10 – Forgetting Sarah Marshall
95. July 14 – Magic Mike
96. July 15 – Seeking a friend for the end of the World
97. July 15 – Blue Valentine
98. July 16 – The Social Network
99. July 17 – Haywire
100. July 18 – The Dark Knight
101. July 20 – The Dark Knight Rises
102. July 25 – The Change Up
103. Aug 12 – The Dictator
104. Aug 19 – The Imposter
105. Aug 19 – Take this Waltz
106. Aug 21 – Lord of War
107. Aug 26 – Apollo 18
108. Aug 26 – Cowboys and Aliens
109. Aug 26 – Team America: World Police
110. Aug 27 – Friends with Benefits
111. Sept 1 – Jiro Dreams of Sushi
112. Sept 2 – Bad Teacher
113. Sept 3 – Word Wars
114. Sept 8 – The Third Man
115. Sept 11 – Dark Shadows
116. Sept 12 – Trekkies 2
117. Sept 19 – Total Recall (2012)
118. Sept 25 – Office Space
119. Sept 26 – Total Recall (1990)
120. Sept 26 – Step Brothers
121. Sept 26 – Avengers Assemble
122. Sept 30 – Looper
123. Oct 1 – Moonrise Kingdom
124. Oct 6 – 50/50
125. Oct 7 – The Descendants
126. Oct 10 – Helter Skelter (LFF)
127. Oct 11 – The Hunt (LFF)
128. Oct 12 – Lore (LFF)
129. Oct12 – Teddy Bear (LFF)
130. Oct 13 – Ginger and Rosa (LFF)
131. Oct 14 – Ruby Sparks
132. Oct 14 – For Loves Sake (LFF) – (Ai to Makoto) 
133. Oct 15 – My Ammityville Horror (LFF)
134. Oct 16 – Hyde Park on Hudson (LFF)
135. Oct 17 – Argo (LFF)
136. Oct 18 – Compliance (LFF)
137. Oct 19 – Jeffery Dahmer Files (LFF)
138. Oct 19 – Seven Psychopaths (LFF)
139. Oct 20 – Japan in a Day (LFF)
140. Oct 20 – Celeste and Jesse Forever (LFF)
141. Oct 20 – Silver Linings Playbook (LFF Suprise Film)
142. Oct 21 – End of Watch (LFF)
143. Oct 23 – Prometheus
144. Nov 1 – The Man who changed his Mind
145. Nov 2 – Berbarian Sound Studio
146. Nov 4 – Rust and Bone
147. Nov 11 – Horrible Bosses
148. Nov 17 – The Master
149. Nov 20 – The Fifth Element
150. Nov 20 – Equalibrium
151. Nov 20 – Real Genius
152. Nov 17  – Sighseers
153. Nov 24 – Bernie
154. Nov 25 – Jack and Jill
155. Dec 1 – Star Trek
156. Dec 2 – Election
157. Dec 4 – Les Miserables
158. Dec 8 – Contagion 
159. Dec 9 – The Thing (2011)
160. Dec 10 – The Raid
161. Dec 11 – Adjustment Bureau
162. Dec 16 – Tower Heist
163. Dec 22 – Dear Santa
164. Dec 22 – Mrs Miracle 2: Miracle in Manhatten
165. Dec 22 – Four Christmases
166. Dec 24 – Scrooged
167. Dec 25 – Snow Dogs
168. Dec 25 – Ted
169. Dec 27 – The Amazing Spider-Man
170. Dec 27 – Magic Mike
171. Dec 27 – Rock of Ages
172. Dec 28 – The Dark Knight Rises
173. Dec 29 – Life of Pi
174. Dec 30 – Back to the Future

New Years Resolution 2012

Usually, I’m not a great fan of New Years Eve. Usually, I look back on the year past with a sense that I’ve not achieved very much, not pushed myself to do something, anything with my life and have been content to let time slide idly by while dreaming about all the things I’d like to do

2011 has been different and was a great year for me personally. Probably the best and busiest year that I can remember, with so many highlights. If I had to rate it, I’d give it a solid 7 out of 10. I know that sounds low but if I score it higher there is less room for improvement, less room for me to push myself to make next year a 10 out of 10 year

There are a few things I want to do in 2012, a few things I want to try to do in 2012 and a few things that I want to start working towards during 2012, for the future. This year I’m going to do all of those things. This year I’m going to believe in myself and do those things that I’ve put off for far, far too long

And if, despite all of the hard work and effort I put into achieving the things that I want to achieve this year, I fall short of the target, I’ll do it knowing that I gave it my best shot



Japan 2011 – Pre Tour


Japan Day 0 – 9th and 10th September 2011 (23)

Its finally here! My long, long awaited and unfortunately delayed return to Japan…..

Please note, the following is a quick opinion piece which may contain some sarcasm and is in no way reflective of the blogs that will follow this. They will be happy, happy pieces about returning to a place I love with ever fibre of my being

So lets clear up one quick thing before we start

If you are travelling in economy class on any long haul flight anywhere in the world and you choose to recline your seat you are, without a doubt, a first class, grade A, bell end – of course this is just a general statement and is in no way at all aimed at the hugely annoying gentleman (lets call him Spencer, after the most odious person i can think of) who was sat in front of me on Virgin Altantic flight VS900 from London Heathrow to Tokyo Narita airport, no sir, most definitely not

Most definitely not aimed at ‘Spencer’ despite the fact that he wasn’t even sitting in his assigned seat due to a hilarious mix up where he was too thick to work out the difference between row numbers

The person who show have been sitting in row 35, seat A seemed a nice chap – definately not a recliner – but after he arrived looking for his seat to find it already occupied by ‘Spencer’ he kindly offered to swap seats to save the hassle of making ‘Spencer’ move

Personally I love it when the small tv in the back of the chair in front is reclined so far thats it’s barely 4inches from my face (I believe this is the optimum viewing distance recommended for all tv these days) and my fold out tray is squashed so far up into my chest during dinner that I no longer need utensils, I can just lap at my (admittedly delicious) food like a dog

I like to think there is a special level of hell reserved for these ‘recliners’ – somewhere between people that molest the elderly and people who watch the BBC ‘comedy’ My Family

Anyway, enough gloom – I’m in Tokyo and lots of things to tell…….

Super – Review


Viewed on the closing night of the 10th Annual London Sci-Fi Festival, at the Apollo Cinema, Regent Street


Rainn Wilson as Frank D’Arbo / The Crimson Bolt
Ellen Page as Libby
Liv Tyler as Sarah
Kevin Bacon as Jacques
Nathan Fillion as The Holy Avenger

Written and Directed by James Gunn


When Frank’s wife Sarah leaves him for local drug dealer Jacques, Frank transforms himself in the crime fighter ‘Crimson Bolt’ ready to stand up for the little guy – from Drug Dealers to Line Cutters, no evil to too small for the attention of the Bolt and his trusty weapon of choice, the ‘Wrench of Justice’ (not its actual name, I just made that up)

As the Crimson Bolt’s infamy rises he soon gets his own sidekick in the shape of sociopathic comic store clerk, Libby, who becomes Boltie and joins Franks quest to bring justice back to the streets and together they prepare to take on Jacques, crush his drug dealing empire and save Franks wife

But real life isn’t like comic books



It happens quite often. Two films with very similar themes come out quite close together. Armageddon‘s took on Deep Impact in the battle of the planet killing asteroids, while Misson to Mars took on the insufferably shit Red Planet.
There are plenty more examples such as The Illusionist vs The Prestige.
Paul Blart Mall Cop vs Observe and Report. Dantes Peak vs Volcano and 1492: Conquest of Paradise vs Christopher Columbus: The Discovery

Late last year saw the release of Kick Ass, a film about a teen with no powers trying to become a super hero. This year we have Super a film about a man with no powers trying to become a super hero *

I was really, really, really disappointed with Kick Ass. A film with so much hype that delivered so much less than it promised, it was my biggest let down of last year (with Scott Pilgrim a close second) and yet here comes Super, quietly sneaking into cinemas (and soon onto DVD) in the latest round of similar-type-of-film-face-off and, for me, Super comes away a clear winner – although, sadly not at the box office

Super comes from the slightly twisted mind of writer/director/producer/actor James Gunn (Slither, Dawn of the Dead, PG Porn and er..Scooby Doo) and while it may look low budget in comparison to its recent competition it has a very smart script with some great dialogue, some clever effects and a great use of music. Add to that a fantastic cast and it that more than makes up for the lack of polish.

Rainn Wilson is perfect as wronged, potentially mentally ill, average Joe turned god endorsed super hero Frank/Crimson Bolt, while Ellen Page brings her fast talking Juno persona into the realm of the not-so-super super hero. Kevin Bacon plays sleazy wife stealing club boss Jacques with such relish that he almost oozes from scene to scene; leaving a slippery film over everything he touches
Special mention, though, has to go to Nathan Fillion. His brief few minutes of screen time as religious TV star the Holy Avenger are some of the film’s most bizarre and funniest moments

Super isn’t a perfect film. Like Frank, it suffers from an identity crisis – it’s far from being a traditional super hero film but then it’s also neither an action film nor a comedy, despite having elements of all three. It’s funny but not as funny as the trailer suggests and has a far darker side. I found the violence to be surprisingly jarring at times and the final payoff to be a little disappointing

Despite this Super is a really enjoyably odd movie and, although it won’t appeal to everyone, it has the makings of a real cult classic.

Score: 7/10 Funny, surprisingly violent and often surreal. Super kicks Kick Ass’s ass!


*A very honourable mention must also go to Superhero Me, a documentary about a man with no powers trying to become a super hero:

New camera test

One thing that I’ve found on returning from my last couple of holidays, or from events, was feeling let down by the quality of the photographs I’d taken. As you can see from the picture above (taken with a Samsung HMX-U10) I was lucky enough to visit beautiful Tallinn in Estonia last year but, if you believe my pictures, the whole place has a been built extra curvy.

I have some great memories from that trip but I don’t have many pictures to back them up and, sadly, this isn’t the first time

In Japan we visited Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, the most amazing aquarium I have been to. Set over 8 floors, you start at the top and work you way down around a giant central tank. At night, outside the aquarium, there are some beautiful light displays in the shape of stingrays, a droplet of water and a pair of whale sharks. I relied on my Samsung Jet S8000 camera phone for the most part while in Japan and, while it managed well during the day, it struggled at night and I found that a lot of my pictures were blurred

The english language website for Osaka Aquarium:

More recently, I attended a preview event at BFI Southbank where they showed the first episode of Miracle Day, from the new series of Torchwood ahead of its BBC1 premier. Following the episode there was a Q&A with cast members John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Bill Pullman and creator Russell T Davies. Again, I relied on my camera phone, this time a HTC Desire HD, and despite being in the third row my pictures were blurred almost beyond recognition

If you’d like to see the video of the Q&A (blur free), it can be viewed at the BFI website:

As you can probably tell I really don’t know the first thing about photography but after a one too many disappointments I decided it was time to try something new and, after some frankly brain bending research into different camera types, I decided to go for a bridge camera and settled upon the Fuji Finepix 2750HD and am going to use the next few weeks to test it out in different environments

My first test was a trip to Kew Gardens with some of my family last weekend and below are just a couple of pictures from the day out. unfortunately the weather was pretty awful and it rained heavily all day, so we didn’t get to see half as much as we had hoped to, but I’m quite pleased with my first attempt

At the moment I’m like a child with a new toy. Previously, if I’d wanted to get a close up of something, I would’ve had to walk up to it. These first couple of pictures were taken in the Waterlily House while I practiced with the zoom

These last two pictures were taken in a rare break from the rain as I wanted to try some more panoramic pictures, but I don’t think I had the camera set up very well so the colours in the picture look a little washed out.

Above is the waterfall behind Davies Alpine House and below is the Palm House viewed from the north

I’ll be uploading some more picture as I continue to practice over the next few weeks. Does anyone have any tips for a novice like me?

The website address for Kew Gardens: