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Best and worst of 2022

Best and worst new-to-me movies of 2022. Links to reviews (where applicable) in the title.

A very strange list this year and with only one Indian film. Though I did watch quite a few, they were generally uninteresting. Maybe it would have been better if I’d watched old ones but I mostly made an effort to keep up with newer releases and they just aren’t good.

This year is less overshadowed by my Christopher Lee obsession, which nevertheless was a wonderful time and one I miss.

An honourable mention to the concert movie of Songs for Drella, which is beautiful and perfect and everything you ever need to know about Andy Warhol, but which doesn’t meet the criteria of this blog.


  1. Umbracle (Spain, 1972)

    Sometimes I forget movies can be art, actually, and something like this has to remind me. A true joy and treasure. As soon as I had finished watching it I knew it would be top of the best list for this year, no matter what else I watched, because it is just that good. However, not for the faint of heart and you should check content notes before watching. Absolutely Christopher Lee’s best movie; maybe not his best performance though a very brave and difficult one and he does succeed in it.

  2. Harold and Maude (USA, 1971)

    Beautiful, life-altering, heart-breaking. Everyone thinks so, and so do I. If you want to watch it you should definitely check content notes first though.

  3. The Hours and Times (USA, 1991)

    Very realistic and touching, full of insights into the relationships and people concerned, like the best fanfiction. I’m not a Beatles expert but even straight male Beatles fans say this is basically accurate and the characterisation is good.

  4. Robin Redbreast (UK, 1970)

    Strictly speaking this is TV but it was re-released as a stand-alone so whatever. A foundational folk horror movie. Great but would have been perfect if they’d cast someone more sexually threatening as Fisher (say, Christopher Lee).

  5. The Picture of Dorian Gray (UK, 1976)

    Again, strictly speaking this is TV, but eh. A great version of the book. Wonderful to see some actual acting for once, every performance is more delightful than the last. Even Dorian is interesting.


  1. The End of the World (USA, 1977)

    Listen, you know I ADORE unwatchably boring 70s movies. Love and adore and worship them. But this was too unwatchably boring even for me and I had to fast-forward to the five glorious minutes of Christopher Lee priest clones.

  2. Haseena Dillruba (India, 2021)

    At the time I commented saying I wished I hadn’t seen this and I stand by that. It starts to give a progressive moral, then starts to give a conservative moral, then is like actually the moral is people are terrible and so it’s stupid to have morals! But then it’s not properly nihilistic either, it’s just a glossy, overproduced, mainstream movie that’s misanthropic and hateful.
    Why does this exist?

  3. Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf (USA, 1985)

    Honestly, it probably could have been worse but the whole vibe was so gross and misogynist and it thinks it’s soooo cool and funny and edgy. Just shut up and sit down, movie.

  4. Manolescu (Germany, 1929)

    I can put up with a lot from silent films but this was just unbearable. The main character was the literal worst and a rapist and not even the fact that he was played by Ivan Mozzhukhin endeared him even the slightest to me.

  5. One Trick Pony (USA, 1980)

    An excruciatingly un-self aware and badly acted movie about manpain. Did you know middle-aged (supposedly) straight men with enough money and no real problems who have gone through amicable divorce have literally the hardest lives in the world? You do now. The only good things about it are the mild homoeroticism and Lou Reed (though sadly no real homoeroticism with Lou Reed).

Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2022: Up In Mabel’s Room (USA, 1926)

One of the subjects of this year’s Giornate del Cinema Muto was the great female screenwriter and director Frances Marion. I always think Frances Marion gave a real touch of quality to whatever she worked on, and Up In Mabel’s Room is an example of that.

Up In Mabel’s Room is yet another sex farce in which our man Harrison Ford wears some women’s clothing. In fact it also has some other similarities to A Pair of Silk Stockings, but I guess that’s the result of genre conventions.

Continue reading “Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2022: Up In Mabel’s Room (USA, 1926)”

Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies: the Finale

Time to give credit to the thing that kicked off my obsession, this episode of Screen Drafts, although I didn’t like their list. I will say that it is very hard to make one that isn’t totally bland or totally insane, but anyway, here’s my vastly superior list of the seven essential Christopher Lee movies. Not a best of list but a list of films to understand his career and what he was like as an actor, TV parts excluded since that’s what they do on the podcast.

  1. Penny & the Pownall Case (1948)
  2. Dracula (1958)
  3. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
  4. The Whip and the Body (1963)
  5. The Wicker Man (1973)
  6. House of the Long Shadows (1983)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

So make of that what you will. I’m available for any other kind of recs list of his movies you might need.

This instalment runs 50s-90s and also stars: Fran Drescher, Jayne Mansfield, Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Olivia de Havilland, Malcolm McDowell, Gregory Peck, Kim Cattrall (twice), Naveen Andrews, Mark Hamill and SHASHI KAPOOR.

Definitely the craziest and longest collection of movies of all because it has everything I was too scared to watch sooner.

Continue reading “Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies: the Finale”

Best and worst of 2021

Best and worst new-to-me movies of 2021! Links to reviews in the title where available.

WHY did at least three movies I watched this year have evil albino villains?! Also, as you will see, not a landmark year for Indian cinema. The Velvet Underground is disqualified because it’s a documentary or it would be on the best list.


1. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (USA, 1988)

A perfect movie. Great to see a lead character who is actually like me for once.

2. Barb & Star Go to Vista del Mar (USA, 2021)

An actually good and funny comedy, in this economy? Points deducted for the borderline evil albino.

3. The Final Programme (UK, 1973)

Basically unwatchable even to hardened movie nerds, but I can have little a experimental glam rock cinema, as a treat.

4. Scars of Dracula (UK, 1970)

It’s not good but it’s great! Easily my favourite movie of the year even though literally nobody agrees with me. Deeply hilarious and gay but also genuinely creepy sometimes.

5. Nartakee (India, 1963)

A lovely movie about lovely people being lovely. I love Nanda so much. Dusted Off has a great review.


Feast your eyes upon this list and consider that all of these are somehow worse than Starship Invasions which I also watched this year. However, to do justice to the many other bad movies I watched, I kept the Christopher Lee films to two (Serial, Jocks, and Sfida al Diavolo would have completed a worst top five of those).

1. Aan (India, 1952)

Why? Not only are the politics and morals abhorrent but basically everything else is also wrong with it. It takes commitment to make a movie even I cannot make sense of for large swaths of it. Of course, Nadira is a goddess and genius but given NOTHING.

2. Sandeep aur Pinky Faraar (India, 2021)

Breathtakingly casual and vicious about violence against women. It’s 2021. I’m not watching that no matter how much like a sexy chunk of beef Arjun Kapoor looks.

3. The Magic Christian (UK, 1969)

The only thing worse than an unfunny comedy is an unfunny comedy made by the establishment with establishment values that thinks it’s edgy and subversive.

4. Whispering Death/Night of the Askari/Albino (West Germany, 1976)

Historically interesting, but unless you’re a scholar in a thematically relevant field or you are desperate to see Christopher Lee in shorts you should avoid this for the racism, pro-colonial propaganda, rape, and demonization of albinos.

5. Ek aur Ek Gyarah (India, 1981)

The worst. One of the female characters mopes around wanting her abusive boyfriend back after he goes to jail (after either beating her or trying to kill her I can’t remember), and it’s presented as good. Shashi’s character does that harass-a-woman-into-loving-you thing in a super aggressive and real way that makes him seem actually scary, which takes some doing.

The Velvet Underground (USA, 2021)

I don’t usually review documentaries here, but because of the maker and the subject matter, I am making an exception.

This documentary is about The Velvet Underground and is made in their actual visual artistic style, which is a risky choice but it really pays off. It also factually accords with everything I’ve read and can therefore be regarded as the definitive documentary about events up to when Lou Reed left the band. However, the ending is completely confounding and really lets it down.

Continue reading “The Velvet Underground (USA, 2021)”

Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2021: Moral (Germany, 1928)

I always forget how completely delightful Weimar cinema is. This edition of Le Giornate focused on the powerhouse actress and producer Ellen Richter, but this was the only film of hers shown on streaming.

 It’s too bad because this was wonderful and she is not well known at all, even though this is precisely the sort of thing to appeal to a more mainstream modern audience. However, things do fan out from the festival across the world so hopefully we will be seeing more of her.

Picture from an article about it in Il Friuli.

Continue reading “Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2021: Moral (Germany, 1928)”

Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies, part 2

Part Two! In which I go off the rails about the supposed virility of Christopher Lee characters.

An extremely varied collection of every genre and every degree of quality, from actual classics to softcore porn trash and including two different Sherlock Holmeses and a MST3K episode, 1940s-1970s. I have to say I’m having a very good time with his filmography because it takes you absolutely everywhere.

I also have to apologise to Curse of the Crimson Altar. It has come to my attention that Christopher Lee does NOT turn into a woman at the end, he and Barbara Steele are the same character the whole time. So they are tweedy Christopher Lee part of the time and blue monster Barbara Steele the other part of the time, which is amazing. Doesn’t make the rest of the movie less annoying though.

Continue reading “Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies, part 2”

Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies, part 1

Since my brain finally gave me a obsession to take my thoughts off the pandemic, I thought I might as well get some use out of it. So here are very short reviews for the first 20 new to me Christopher Lee movies I watched (60s-80s, lot of Hammer, including the Dracula ones I hadn’t seen).

There’s no real way to give a list here or make the titles clickable, sorry.

Just for fun, my ranking of the Dracula movies is:

  1. Horror of Dracula
  2. Scars of Dracula
  3. Dracula AD 1972
  4. Dracula, Prince of Darkness
  5. Dracula Has Risen From the Grave
  6. Taste the Blood of Dracula
  7. Satanic Rites of Dracula

It’s funny to me how everyone’s list is completely different, except that almost everyone has Horror of Dracula at the top.

Anyway, hope you enjoy movies about stupid people showing up at a creepy house where Christopher Lee also is!

Continue reading “Dead Sea Scroll of Christopher Lee movies, part 1”

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