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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide for the More Curious Film Enthusiast, 13 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Radio Times Guide to Films 2013 (Paperback)
As a long time devotee of the pithy Leonard Maltin Movie Guide - essential for those many stateside releases that do not make it over the pond,the Radio Times Film Guide is comfortably the best UK guide and knocks spots off the Time Out and Virgin Guides.
My last one was the 2010 guide so I thought I would update and was very glad I did.

On the plus side there are over 23000+ capsule reviews with a decent cast list for nearly all the entries(something not offered in Maltin)which is excellent and an inconsistent tone in opinions (which I like) for the more contemporary stuff e.g 4* to Prometheus(utter dreck )and the same to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter(fun but hardly one notch below say Odd Man Out).Importantly also a treasure trove for films that you probably have not heard of(in the b's alone there are films like Blue Black Permanent,a 1992 drama with Celia Imrie and Jack Shepherd and Bolweiser,a Rainer Werner Fassbinder from 1977 that was edited down from a tv project,etc etc.

However the above examples are also illustrative of the book's only real weakness, namely that they are not available to buy on any format at present and the same goes for quite a number of entries.Still if you look at it as broadening your film knowledge ,then maybe it's not such a fault after all.

Add to the mix,comprehensive filmographies for both actors and directors of work released in the UK and you have a good all round package ideal for beginners as well as confirmed enthusiasts.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Apr 2014 17:22:40 BDT
Hi Mark, had an enjoyable time with you recently as we pinioned back and forth about the Coen Brothers not living up to their overdone acclaim, which naturally brought us onto the often truly useless and illogical point of music and film critics (but especially music). As an avid film viewer, I peruse this in the shops quite regularly, and with the 'Radio Times' being the TV supplement I get weekly, I'm well versed in what films tend to get what, and you're not wrong about the inconsistent tones up to a point, nonetheless I find too many reviews share the same miserable opinion. I guess it's just bad luck of the draw, I've long been aware that around 75% (and likely more) of what I enjoy and am impressed with, this publication finds a way to diss, deride and shrug off, and incidenatally love with an astounding passion often moribund and plain horrible bits of Oscar-baiting petentious guff, and empty-headed Blockbuster fluff they tend not to love when it IS likeable.

Even more problematic is ever widening range of decent films not even INCLUDED in the guide, many of them decent low-budget horror films, and while this seems to be a modern disease flaring up from 2000 ('Dagon', 'The Burrowers', '100 Feet', 'The Bone Snatcher', 'Hallowed Ground', 'Husk', 'Ogre', 'Absentia', among others are horrors all made between 2000 to the present), I've seen that increasingly, as newer reviews for obvious big and space-wasting reboots and sequels to worthless slasher and cannibal movies bulk it out, earlier movies (and little-seen ones to) that were once proudly there in print like 'Bastard Out Of Carolina' and 1988 horror-western 'Ghost Town' have been shorn out, and the same year's 'Scarecrows', one of the best horrors of all time, though still little-known was never even there anyway.

But there's comedies ('Comic Book Villains', 'Skipped Parts', 'Dorian Blues', 'Insterstate 60', 'Were The World Mine') and dramas too ('It's The Rage', 'You Belong To Me', 'Open Window', 'Heights', '12 And Holding') that have been absent ever since they were released on to the market, and the rule seems to be that while unheard of films are here, they have to be older than 1980, and while I appreciate the fairness as the prints of many are probably real hard to come by, it's utterly unfair to do this to post-1980 little-seen films that have more going for them than their cinema crushing, popcorn crunching, Oscar-pleading counterparts. It could never happen, leaving everything big and well-known, but I wish a smaller sister guide would accompany it, collecting all such deliberately ignored films like this, films we only know by coming across ourselves while internet searching. Isn't it bad enough these would all suffer from entirely predictable and unloveable reviews, but at least they'd be acknowledge to exist. Music guides too, are also criminal, in what they leave out, leave in, big up, ignore, dimiss, deride and hate, so I'd never own one, a film guide book like this far more preferable, I just wish it was more balanced, and now its updated to include all the newer movies of specific choice, even more reviews will fall out.

Maybe an accompanying listen or apology list could be bolted on to the index, with a list of all titles kicked off since God's knows then that were once featured, it's the least they could do, and God know's how many that would run into.

Good review of it, of course, this comment is not meant to impact on that side at all, more the side of the publishers, but it's also something people should know at least as it is a big deal, certainly for me.

Posted on 11 Apr 2014 23:53:25 BDT
Mark Pearce says:
Hello Scott Paul Scott Paul
We have not communicated in a while.Your Coen brothers discussion was with Pen Ultimate in the comments section of my review of Hanna from a couple of years ago.
Happy to chime in mind on the Coens - Just saw Inside Llewyn Davis recently. Dull about covers it and the joke to a degree is wearing a bit thin.I really like Millers Crossing,Blood Simple,Raising Arizona and No Country for Old Men.Bloody and eccentric I like.Just eccentric no.
Thanks for comment.Your examples were good ones,Bastard out of Carolina and 12 and Holding esp -great films.I'm sure that if this team were to get funding to go along the route that Rough Guides(their horror guide was OK,the westerns one was excellent come to mind) did a few years back then you might get your wish but genre guides from a commercial standpoint must be marginal.I just spent £25 buying a used copy of Phil Hardy's Aurum Encyclopaedia Of Horror from the 80s (has not been updated in 20 yrs )and that's reminded me of some stuff I had forgotten about.
Have watched Hallowed Ground(OK)and Husk(gd)in the last year but have seen some real junk recently.Horror is my fix for when I can't apply myself to literally anything else but I can get a bit snooty at times as I place acting and story over gore etc and too many modern horrors (mainstream or otherwise)are very indifferently acted - You 're Next(Absymal) and No One Lives(Painful)come to mind.Mind you I enjoyed Dark Skies so what do I know.If I want bad acting,I go to Fulci Or Argento whose films generally have such a sense of delirium and vividness that I seem not to care about the dubiousness of the performances.
Regards
Mark

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2014 17:58:34 BDT
Hi Mark,
Sorry about that, you're right, it was Pen Ultimate I was talking to, but your review was very apt, and the Coens did have some things going for them fra while (you've named almost all of them) but people sometimes just lose it and they have. I must check out that Phil Hardy's Aurum Horror Encyclopaedia, and not one update, that is good. After all, an update would only include turgid mash like 'You're Next'-so glad you hated it, and thrilled you liked 'Dark Skies' and that's my point. This human serial killer rubbish I can get from any thriller or drama or action film, I do not want it in horror films, so non-human or once-human-but-no-more threats like 'Dark Skies' or 'Husk' will always win out, especially when made so well. Glad you really liked 'Husk' and while I really like 'Hallowed Ground' too, you're another who is utterly right in rating 'Husk' above it, we all do that on here, those of us who bothered to see them both. Typically, for pointless Rotten Tomatoes, they rate 'Hallowed Ground' over 'Husk', though typically like neither, but by name, Rotten Tomatoes, who would want them? 'No One Lives' sounds dreadful in itself and I'm not sure that-and certainly not 'You're Next'-should be termed horror any way. Just abso-brat thriller drama without the thrills, drama and no horror. Seen more horror in 'Toy Story'!

I'd say you know more than many if you're prepared to like 'Dark Skies' and 'Husk' over stuff like 'You're Next' and ilk. So good for you and I heartily agree, especially as proper horror is deemed out of place in this fake horror hell the cinema world has been in too long and the market in general. If there's one thing I hate more than a bad horror, it's a bad offensive film pretending it's a horror when it isn't, but, hate even more that, people terming it horror when it so obviously isn't!
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