The Help (2011)

Based on the New York Times Bestseller of the same name, this movie tells the tale of the black maids of Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights era. Emma Stone is superb as the young wannabe journalist who ultimately tells the story of these oppressed and put down women but the show is well and truly stolen by Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis; The Help. The film’s not without it’s troubles, it uses a young white woman as the agent for civil rights change and at times falls back on stereotypes, but this doesn’t take away from the fact that this film is beautifully shot and well written with a strong and powerful message that is as important now as it was back then.

12 Angry Men (1957)

There is plenty here to suggest that the accused isn’t guilty but the Lumet’s film is a classic because there is doubt.  Technically, the film is perfect with every camera move, line and actor precisely aligned and it succeeds in it’s intention by refusing to resort to sentiment.  A lesser film would have justice being done by arriving at the correct verdict, 12 Angry Men has the conviction to arrive at the one the law demands.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

Both sequel to and spoof of the 1984 comedy horror classic, Gremlins 2 is a wildly inventive movie with a massive grin on it’s face and clawed hand behind it’s back.  Okay, so it’s not the original but it stretches the mischief so far that it even breaks the film (a situation rectified only by the intervention of the Hulkster himself)… but amidst all the fun and japes I’m sure there is an essay to be written on why 100% of Gizmo’s offspring are psychopathic.

24 Lies Per Second Podcast: Episode 18 – Ho Ho Ho Bit

Here is the latest 24 Lies Per Second Podcast: Episode 18 – Ho Ho Ho Bit

In the final review podcast of the year the 24LPS team check out new cinema releases ‘The Hobbit’ (00:39) and ‘End of Watch’ (11:38), while on DVD they review ‘Magic Mike’ (21:15) and ‘The Expendables 2’ (28:42). They also caught up with Murnau’s ‘The Last Laugh’ (18:04) and the Guernsey made ‘The Diary of Alice Applebe’ (34:18).

2012 (2009)

If you are reading this then the Mayan’s had it wrong and if you’ve seen 2012 then you will know that Hollywood also screws up plenty of things.  In a nutshell foreigners are dodgy or, at best, worthy of dying to save us white folk, doctors are noble unless they are plastic surgeons and if the end of the world does come it will all be okay in a couple of days… of course one could avoid taking this nonsense so seriously but the whole enterprise is just so dull that the mind is forced to wander off.

Deep Impact (1998)

A Comet discovered by a high school astronomy club (well, Elijah Wood) is coming to earth, only to be split in two by astronauts trying to destroy it. With the now two comets heading for Earth, it is revealed that there is sanctuary, but only those that have been selected. It’s a race against time to find higher ground, to be with loved ones and for astronauts to try again to save the world. Morgan Freeman plays a great US president.

Armageddon was out in 1998 too, pretty much the same plot, but has a lot more slow motion walking towards the camera.

Tank Girl (1995)

Its the year 2033 and the planet is a post apocalyptic wasteland, where water is controlled by Water and Power, the mega corp. Enter Tank Girl, Jet Girl (Naomi Watts) and a kangeroo dog called Booger, it’s time to kick some serious wacky butt. British based cult comic of the same name, by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett (creator and designer of The Gorillaz) produce this live action film with comic strip cutaways and an ass kicking soundtrack. Would have liked an animated series! One for the Riot Grrrls.

I Am Legend (2007)

How would you even start to adapt this book for the screen?  George A Romero nailed the feeling with Night of the Living Dead but of all the straight adaptations this is by far the best.  Will Smith takes on the role of Neville with gusto, deserted Manhattan looks great and the film even gives us a satisfying mainstream version of that ending (but make sure you watch the alternate version).  Check out The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made by David Hughes for a fascinating insight into the troubled genesis of this film that ends with a rumour that Smith might be attached.

Left Behind (2001)

Parodied in The Simpsons as Left Below (‘why did I only get one of my twins baptised?!’), this is the first of a series of hugely popular yet terrible films based on the mega selling yet hateful book series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins.  The premise is that the Biblical Rapture has arrived and those that are left behind must take on the forces of evil and the EU or something… IMDB shows a 2014 remake starring Nic Cage.

Miracle Mile (1988)

Anthony Edwards and the end of the world… what’s not to like?  Miracle Mile is one of those cult movies that you stumble across at midnight then spend the next week trying to remember the name of that one where a guy in a diner answers a payphone and is told that the missiles have been launched and world ends in seventy minutes.  Part John Hughes, part Strangelove this is an oddity to cherish.