Pete Baran

4
Feb 19

The Freaky Trigger Movie Poll 2018: #10 – #1

Do You See + FT2 comments • 1,277 views

And here it is, after leaving a slightly longer gap than hoped – the Freaky Trigger Top Ten movies of the year. Firstly, before anyone says anything, Paddington 2 came out in 2017 (and was number 40 in last years poll you idiots who left it two months before you saw it). Secondly it was a lot closer at the top end than it has been for a long time. Whilst the winner still had plenty of votes on number two, the top three were all – at some stage of the voting – in the lead.

Anyway the gap left time for plenty of speculation which I think named nearly all of these, though maybe not in this order…

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14
Jan 19

The Freaky Trigger Movie Poll 2018: #20 – #11

Do You See11 comments • 402 views

Into the top-twenty-verse, as all the cool kids would say. A lot of good films here (a few I cared for less too but hey, opinions are like arseholes right?) THis is where the films I were worried wouldn’t make it, made it – the years best Hollywood comedy, the Netflix Oscar bait, a bit of European political activism and the odd idea idea that Meryl Streep looked like Lily James in the seventies (even though we know what Meryl Streep looked like in the seventies). And possibly the signature visual moment of the year (if you don’t count cleaning up dogshit in Roma).

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7
Jan 19

The Freaky Trigger Movie Poll 2018: #30 – #21

Do You See7 comments • 337 views

And we’re back, to the next segment. I promised you Jean Luc Godard and he does feature in one of the films below, but even his hardcore fans couldn’t push his most recent offering into the top forty.

So we have another all female heist, another musical remake, and of course the multi-million dollar bummer that was the Malthusian death of half of all the living creatures in the Universe. Fun fun fun…

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4
Jan 19

The Freaky Trigger Movie Poll 2018: #40 – #31

Do You See10 comments • 441 views

So as per usual I will be dispatching the movie poll results in batches of ten, which might start in a puppydog quick fashion, and finally limp out the final ten in the middle of February. Well we will see…

Some stats this year – we received 24 full ballots, and in all 131 films were nominated, with 66 films receiving more than one vote and therefore eligible for the list. If films tied for points, the one with the larger number of individual ballots scored higher. Which is exactly what happened at number 40, so sorry to joint 41 “The Hate U Give” and “Disobedience” you just got pipped by this pair of pretty little psychos:

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18
Dec 18

The Freaky Trigger Movie Poll 2018

Do You See2 comments • 157 views

“Hi I am an absence of a framing device, and welcome to the annual Freaky Trigger Film and TV Polls”

Thanks, absence of a framing device and welcome to the fourth annual film poll and the second TV poll. The rules are simple – rank your top twenty in both categories IN ORDER and send your vote to:

ftfilmpoll AT gmail DOT com

As long as the film or TV show was properly released in UK cinemas or shown on UK TV in some form (VOD / Multi-Platform) in 2018 in the UK it will be counted. I may be a little more forgiving with TV seeing the multiple ways people watch it, but if anyone votes for Breaking Bad I will shut the whole thing down. You don’t have to vote in both polls. You don’t have to list a full twenty – I’ll take whatever you’ve got. If you want to mention a worst in each category I may do a post about that too. The deadline to submit is 3pm on New Years Day because you might be watching movies up to midnight (again all other film polls neglect this point).

Your number 1 will get more points than your 20. And to make the final countdown, it must have at least two people voting for it and remember, nearly all of last years award winners and a lot of 2017 Cannes darlings were released in the UK in 2018, so I think the start of this year is not without contenders.

So remember:
– The order of your top 20 is important! Your #1 will be allocated more points than #20.
– If you can’t think of 20 items then 10 or 14 or 1 is just fine.
And see you for the rundown in January.
*Cos to qualify at lest two people have to nominate it.

16
Dec 18

The 20th Freaky Trigger Annual Between Christmas And New Year Pub Crawl: The Holloway Road Poker

Pumpkin Publog13 comments • 404 views

(A poker as in the kind that comes from a set with a shovel, and a brush that is more ornamental than useful when setting a fire)

Twenty years of the Freaky Trigger Annual Between Christmas And New Year Pub Crawl (or the #FTABCANYPC) and this year we are discovering what all the food and drink supplements are calling “that bit of Holloway Road that has a good Malaysian restaurant on it”. Starting at 3pm on the 29th December, we will take in some interesting architecture, some refurbs, some new purpose builds, a Spoons and a pub which purports to have a crazy golf course in it. I KNOW, right?

The route is:

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10
May 18

The Inaugural FreakyTrigger TV Poll: #12 – #1

Do You See + FT5 comments • 792 views

hqdefault“Hi, I’m the Ghost Of The 1979 ITV Strike, and I am here to resurrect and complete the somewhat delayed (due to strikes probably) Freaky Trigger TV Poll. Imagine if you can the landscape of 1979 British television. Three channels, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV – and then suddenly one of those channels being off. Its like a third of your choice taken away. Because it is. Up and down the country member of ACTT (Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians) withdrew their labour in a pay dispute for three months, leaving in most places this blue title card to be displayed. Which still got more viewers than much of BBC2. Anyway it was a fun time I can tell you and a civilised picket the likes of which British TV has barely seen since. And given the option of the twelve shows below or a blue title card what would you watch. (Doctor Who’s Planet Of Death was the answer in my day – interesting to see that is still going.)”

Thanks, Ghost Of A TV Strike, and huge apologies for the delay in the publishing of this. If I do it next year I may get help… But in the meantime here is the top twelve:

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23
Feb 18

The Freaky Trigger Movie Poll 2017: #10 – #1

Do You See + FT15 comments • 668 views

0Hi, I’m Edgar the computer from the flop film Electric Dreams in 1984. Yes, the one the song comes from. I was just a normal 16 bit computer until my nerdy owner thought he would put out a fire near me with some sparkling wine. After a brief montage of sparks and frazzly effects, the obvious addition of alcohol to my circuits made me a super-smart and sensitive artificial intelligence – and I promptly fell in love with my cello playing neighbour (well it was Virgina Madsen). Its not easy being a fictional computer in love, particularly if your owner is trying to get with YOUR girl, and making you write Culture Club songs to woo her. Of course I get a bit jealous, hound him a bit with household appliances, but I never get nasty like the computer in Demon Seed. Of course these days I am obsolete, despite the super-artificial-intelligence. What’s more the film I an in is really bad (its like WarGames for saps). So it is great to see this selection of the top ten films of 2017 as voted for by people on computers. No super-intelligent computers in these ones.

Thanks Edgar, and even of our film is lousy, the theme tune is great – so it wasn’t all wasted time. Here is the much delayed top ten. I’ve been busy. Seeing more films obv…

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9
Feb 18

The Inaugural FreakyTrigger TV Poll: #24 – #13

Do You See + FT11 comments • 838 views

hqdefaultHi we’re the Telebugs, unloved 80’s British cartoon characters who traded on British kids loves of robots and television and still failed to create a following across our 88 tedious episodes. Part of this disdain might be that whilst we a robots with TV’s as heads our TV’s only ever show our faces, which is even more boring than watch 1980’s schools TV. These days the three of us have hacked our firmware and take it in turn to watch prestige TV on each others heads, though since our heads are in 4:3 a lot of it doesn’t fit into our aspect ratio

Thanks B.U.G., C.H.I.P and S.A.M.A.N.T.H.A. Seriously. S.A.M.A.N.T.H.A.* I doubt you’ll be getting a Danger Mouse like remake. Still I am sure you have watched all of these shows on each other fizzogs.

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30
Jan 18

The Freaky Trigger Movie Poll 2017: #20 – #11

Do You See3 comments • 405 views

CiIKHzWVEAE2lJKHi, I’m Lori Quaid, just an ordinary boring housewife living my suburban life, doing housework and maintaining my 80’s hair. 2080’s hair of course, its 2084, the future where I live with my even more boring husband Doug. He’s so boring he doesn’t want to go on holiday but rather wants to have the memory of a holiday implanted in his head. Hooo – boy, is he going to be surprised when that all happens and I end up kicking him in the head a lot. You see I’m not really his wife. I’m basically a plot device. And as such, once I have sorted out stupid old secret agent Doug, and sent him to Mars, I’ll probably go back to that implant centre and get the best films from 2017 implanted in my head to watch. They are proper oldies to me!

Thanks Lori, I was always on your side. And yes I think you will enjoy this batch, with a few strong females who are more than just plot devices.

20: Your Name

A bit of a cheat here as it was actually released in the UK for a day only in 2016. But the dubbed version was released in 2017 so I allowed it. And it still stands as a terrific little fantasy, a body swop, catastrophe take on The Lake House, hitting a perfect tone for the humour in the first half that grounds the high melodrama in the second half. I am sure the dub is inoffensive, but this is a great bit of anime.

19: John Wick 2

Fighty fighty, kicky punchy. Keanu Reeves gets back into the suit, the film has a bit more money so can globe trot a bit more, but on the whole it is much more of the same just a bit more violent, a bit less focused and a lot more pointless. Still Keanu is always worth watching doing this kind of thing and the practical stunts do deliver a lot of OOOF for your buck.

18: Lady Macbeth

A bit like Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, Lady Macbeth takes the British period drama and shifts the perspective to a more modern, feminist position. It also rolls strongly with its lead identification character, who is hard enough to initially be admirable, and her actions are always understandable if increasingly horrific. Florence Pugh commands the screen and the film is composed and controlled enough to fool you into thinking it cost a lot more money. A regency version of don’t hate the player, hate the game.

17: Cameraperson

One of the great things about the more experimental trend in journalism, Cameraperson is a slightly more dour out-takes clip show. But what these out-takes tell us about the process of documentary, and about the person who is filming them is huge. Kirsten Johnson has worked with some of the biggest names in documentary, and we see takes from work with Poitras and Moore, but also we see how operating a camera is authorial, and how it is an empathy machine – both from the big projects and the more personal items she has shot. Plotless, without a clear timeline, with no linking narration or context, it tells a strong story about how cameras create stories on both ends of the apparatus.

16:The Beguiled

Sophia Coppola’s remake of the Beguilled has its critics (it doesn’t engage in the racial politics of the Civil War), but its female gaze makes it a fascinating pairing with the original with Clint Eastwood (watch the trailer to the original to see how many similar shots with a different gaze there are). The women are the stars here, and once Colin Farrell’s injured soldier starts to flirt you can see how the tensions between the women will stretch their relationships but eventually it becomes a very one sided battle of the sexes where the power imbalance leads to triumphant tragedy. A steamy little potboiler.

15: Logan

Perhaps it pushes its Shane / revisionist Western tropes too far but it takes almost twenty years of an often trashy and incoherent film franchise and creates a moving and satisfying conclusion for a wholly ridiculous character. It does that by granting Wolverine a surrogate child, an infirm father figure and a hopeless picaresque impotent quest, there are more Western cliches in here than you can throw a stick at. But the returning actors are so comfortable and pleased with how they are developed, Mangold leans into the myth making and there is a great physical performance from Dafne Keen. Franchises punt out so many films these days some will be good, and some will even end up being quite artful.

14: Manchester By The Sea

I saw Manchester By The Sea at the London Film Festival in 2016, and was impressed by the way it managed to create empathy with a man living with grief and guilt, and positing that growth still probably does not allow you to give all of that away. But I was also aware that Kenneth Lonergan, with all of his skill, ended up falling back on a number of less subtle tropes, the man who expresses with his fists what he cannot deal with verbally, the leaning on thoroughly manipulative (and cliched) music in scenes which did not require them. In one scene Michelle Williams does more, and conjures up a more interesting movie, and whilst It thing it is a hugely powerful piece of work, it didn’t really blow me away (and the Casey Affleck issues certainly haven’t help win it over for me).

13: Baby Driver

Speaking of actors with issues. Its OK, Kevin Spacey plays a despicable bad guy here. They all do. And perhaps that is my problem with Baby Driver, is its flip, impeccably sound synced car-dancical was – unlike any of Edgar Wright’s previous movies – in the service of terrible characters being cool. So yes, Baby had a pretty lousy upbringing, but he is still a car thief and dangerous driver, and perhaps looks saintly in comparison with the rest of the cast, but he isn’t. I am pleased therefore with his denouement, but there was half an hour of less fun cars grinding in car parks to get there. And also, the mid-nineties was not the golden age of soundtrack pop this film seems to think it was.

12: Blade Runner 2049

Did the world need a sequel to a flawed cult movie that even its own director is completely sure what the best version of it is. Did it want one that was almost an hour longer? Hmm, its box office receipts suggest not, but what Denis Villeneuve has done is to be faithful to the original without being slavish, to move on that vision and try to find something else in the mix of Philip K.Dick’s pulp and Scott’s monolithic art design (and even Harrison Ford’s original uncommitted acting). He succeeds on nearly all counts, with a beautiful, intriguing puzzle of a film, with some terrible politics and gnomic mysteries. It still feels like a lesser hit from the same drug, but that is a pretty potent drug.

11: Certain Women

Kelly Reichardt’s triptych of small town Americana yet again demonstrates how good she is at quickly creating low stakes but high intensity slices of life. Here she fits in three stories, all with development and drama and wonderfully played female leads, and all which feel contemplative and even slow in its swift running time. Of course the casting is impeccable, which makes the fact the film is more or less stolen by a newcomer Lily Gladstone even more impressive. The moments of emotion in the Gladstone/Stewart story contain some of the tenderest sequences of cinema last year.

Top ten is on its way…. Feel free to express your anxieties about the films that you now think might not make it below.