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The Jackson Five

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Mark Kermode Mark Kermode | 16:06 UK time, Tuesday, 11 December 2012

This week sees the release of The Hobbit - the new film by Peter Jackson - one of my favourite directors. Here is my choice of his top five movies to date.

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My five worst films of the far

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  • Comment number 1.


  • Comment number 2.

    I know Lovely Bones gets a hammering all round the park but as a 39 year old man it made me cry so it must have done something right! On the other hand Heavenly Creatures was just ok for me.

  • Comment number 3.

    Never mind about Jackson's filmography. What's your take on the BBFC's new policy towards sexual and sadistic violence in movies?

    The BBFC are doing a great job so far when it comes to releasing movies that poses hard hitting, raw, taboo subjects. Could the new policy have an adverse effect on future films, as well as movies that are currently available on DVD/Blu ray.

    For example, could films such as Base Moi, Antichrist, Salo, Last House on the Left, Irreversible etc be forced to be re-submitted with cuts, or banned in order to comply with the new policy?

    The last thing we movie lovers want, is the BBFC to go back to the draconian period of the 20th century of censorship.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Dr. K,

    So glad that you featured The Frighteners, which I've been a massive fan of since the mid-90s. For me it's one of that decades most underrated films, and it's a real shame that more people haven't seen it. As you say, Michael J. Fox is terrific in the lead role, and it has some fine supporting performances as well, including Jeffrey Combs as Special Agent Milton Dammers, who has a strange aversion to women yelling.

    Often when outsiders make their first American film (although this was once again filmed in New Zealand) it doesn't have the same effect as their domestic work, and sadly some reviewers did feel this at the time, but time has shown that Jackson was actually on the ball with his big studio production.

  • Comment number 5.

    Frighteners is my fave Jackson flick - genuinely scary and funny and very affecting in a weird way. I think it is due a reassessment and a revival (and maybe even a sequel?)

    (stevezizzou - are you a big Cocteau Twins/This Mortal Coil/4AD fan? I ask because Lovely Bones had the same affect on me, but I put it down to hearing those tracks accompanied by such sumptuous visuals rather than the script)

  • Comment number 6.

    What does Jackson's King Kong add to the original? About 90 mins.

  • Comment number 7.

    Oh, and Titanic is only 24 frames per sec and it made me puke like the Trevi Fountain!

  • Comment number 8.

    couldn't agree more with this list (though i havent seen frighteners yet). and i especially like the werner herzog-like explanation about the "ecstatic truth" of heavenly creatures.

  • Comment number 9.

    Totally agree about Heavenly Creatures, it's far more imaginative and not as overly reverential as the 'Rings' films, and as you might expect, i liked the brief appearance by Orson Welles. I have seen Braindead, although the only time i had to look away was a scene of a man urinating. As for the 'Rings' films 'Fellowship' is constantly digressing with characters about whom i couldn't care less and don't seem advance the story. For my money 'Two Towers' is the best of the trilogy because it's got a much tighter story and is more focused on the central quest. Mark, you criticize the multiple endings of The Return of the King but people have said if you watch all three films back to back then the endings make sense. Coming onto The Hobbit, if it wasn't for the fact that my Curzon membership allows me to see it for free, i'd probably skip it, but you never know i may end up loving it.

  • Comment number 10.

    Totally agree on Heavenly Creatures, the blend of the two lead performances, Jackson's immersion into their metaphysical fantasies and the inevitably path to tragedy which leaves you feeling helpless is a masterful triumvirate.

  • Comment number 11.

    Braindead should be at 1 just because of the line "your mother ate my dog!" Heavenly Creatures is a belter too ofc. Other than Bad Taste and the Rings trilogy Jackson's films tend to lean towards crappy if we're honest. So it's lucky he's just made a little more than 5 good movies or it'd have been a top 4 or so.

  • Comment number 12.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure I remember this from your Return of the King review
    "You know what, I don't want it to end either"

  • Comment number 13.

    I find the conception of Gollum in Peter Jackon's film version of LOTRs and The Hobbit, to be really mawkish. I can't stand this computer generated character, with the big eyes and squeaky voice. It's like a cartoon has been added to the feature film which is supposed to be serious about being epic: *cue interminable music score*.

    The Frighteners is a watchable movie I vaguely recall. Overall LOTRs is watchable, but I'd much prefer to watch "Game Of Thrones", where there is time for the characters to "be themselves" in between moments of action and story.

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with all your choices, Mark.
    The LOTR trilogy is fantastic but if I had to pick one then I'd go for Fellowship too. Out of the three it works the best as a stand alone film with a definite beginning, middle and end.
    Return of the King does have about five endings, and I cry at each of them! From about the time Aragorn says 'my friends, you bow for no-one' the tears don't stop until the credits roll!
    The other four are fantastic too and I could with re-watching all of them because it's been a while.

  • Comment number 15.

    5. The Fellowship of the Ring. 4. The Two Towers. 3. Brain dead. 2. King Kong. 1. The Return of the King

  • Comment number 16.

    Nope Dr. K - the best Jackson movie is Braindead!


    It's the best zombie gore fest re-imagining of the tale of Oedipus (which let's not forget is a gore-fest work of literature).

    Yes Psycho was a clever spin on those ideas but for me the greatest film reinterpretation of this great mythology is realised full in Brain Dead!

  • Comment number 17.

    I agree with many of your points. The Lovely Bones was, undoubtedly, a failure for Jackson. It was an honorable failure, a forgivable one, but a failure nonetheless. I disagree, however, about Meet the Feebles. It has great puppet designs and makes a very creative approach to a subject that, before then, was dominated by the demographic aim at children. Sure, you could argue that Jackson did to the Muppets what Michael Bay did to Transformers; except, Bay took a kids product and shamefully exploited it through commercial intentions, whereas Jackson made a, yes, nasty but hilarious film (unless, of course, you're a stuck-up, posh upper-class Brit) out of a kind of film that was originally only for kids because he wanted to.

    As for his take on King Kong, while it's no masterpiece, it is as much an achievement as The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films. In fact, I consider it a companion piece to them. As all of us should know, Jackson was inspired to go into filmmaking all because of his encounter with the 1933 original. That film has obviously dated in that it's less believable; nevertheless, it still has an emotion under-layer, one that Jackson was most impressed by, impressed by enough to strengthen it in his version of the story as well as give the film a sense of visceral realism that the original never had.

    And, yes, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, similar to the original Star Wars films, are best judged as one entire film. Yes, there is lots of walking, but do remember that it's a quest they're going on.

    @information1st I hope you don't mind me asking, but have you not read the Tolkien literary works? I like the Gollum we see in the '70s animated version of The Hobbit, but Andy Serkis's is perfect. Of course he's cartoonish. He's a fantasy monster--The Hobbit was a novel written for kids! And even though TLOTR is much darker and grimmer, his personality still blends in with it well. He's rather scary in those films, but you can easily picture him being in The Hobbit as a less frightening character, despite being the same character.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm glad you seem more balanced towards his King Kong than when it came out. For me the problems with it are best represented by what happens once Kong breaks out in New York: in the original Fay Wray runs away, but Kong tracks her down and kidnaps her. In Jackson's version they meet up and go ice skating.

    It's also way too long, of course. In some ways it was like he made two 90 minute films - a largely shot-for-shot remake of the original and an incredibly saccharine 're-imagining' - then spliced them both together.

  • Comment number 19.

    Merian C. Cooper's original King Kong is my favorite movie period. Having said that I do think the Jackson film brought something new to the table. Fay Wray's Ann Darrow is never shown to emphasize with Kong or to be anything other than terrified of him. Naomi Watts' had a much more sweet and understanding relationship with the ape making Jackson's version more like a love story than the original. Jackson's version also curdles my blood in certain places, and that's no mean feat.

  • Comment number 20.

    I definitely agree with a lot of things about this list. I like the Lord of the Rings films but I don't think they are the greatest films ever made as some people might say, indeed, sitting through them is at times a chore. I've always been a fan of Jackson's early work so I agree with the placements of Heavenly Creatures and Braindead. I do also like Bad Taste but I have to say I would rate Meet The Feebles higher. Granted, it is quite silly and there are some truly reprehensible characters in it but I think its fantastic, if only for the Vietnam flashback and the ending Massacre with Heidi the Hippo. Plus the idea I thought was unique and enthralling, presenting a sleazy underbelly for a muppets-style kids show.

  • Comment number 21.

    Mark has been watching Eat Pray Love again. There must have been some Bad Taste by the Braindead on youtube as the comments are blocked.

  • Comment number 22.

    I like Heavenly Creatures but I love Braindead. I first saw it after it was amazingly broadcast on celestial television at 2 am. Supposedly the schedulers thought they could just about get away with it. Sometimes you just know from the very first shot that your about to watch greatness.Their she was , the queen on her Horse and I thought ,here we go . I spent the next 103 minutes with my jaw open. Just when I thought it couldnt get any gorier IT DID , again and again and again. At the end I took the VHS out of the machine , holding the treasure in my hand, and thought where oh where can I hide it so that there is No possibility of my kids EVER finding it. A precious memory.

  • Comment number 23.

    I agree with everything in that blog post, except I don't think King Kong is that bad. Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners both need to be seen by everyone. Age permitting.

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm in complete agreement with the good Dr. Love both The Frighteners and Heavenly Creatures. They have been two of my favourite movies for years. Everyone needs to see these wonderful, underrated movies by Peter Jackson.

    I recently bought the blu-ray of The Frighteners. Still looking for Heavenly Creatures in this format as well.

  • Comment number 25.

    1. Braindead
    2. Bad Taste
    3. Heavenly Creatures
    4. The Frighteners
    5. Meet The Feebles

    Has Peter Jackson made any other films? If so, I haven't seen them. Once he stopped doing horror, I lost interest in him.

  • Comment number 26.

    My two-pence...
    The Fellowship is the walking fighting film of the LOTR trilogy, the Two Towers is by far the best of the 3 (though all are great), the charge down the hillside at the end is one of my favourite moments in cinema!
    The Frighteners is great, though it has its weak points, for a Peter Jackson film the effects always seemed a little conventional and weak to me.
    Bad taste and Brain Dead were very good and fun but I saw them ages ago so its difficult to comment after so much time, I remember enjoying them alot though.
    I've never seen Heavenly Creatures.
    My 5...
    King Kong: Wonderful updating of the tale, Naomi Watts was great.
    LOTR: I'm taking them all.
    I'd be happy with The Lovely Bones here which I thought was pretty good, but I think I'd have to put in Bad Taste as I have memories of feeling both disgusted and amused by it.

  • Comment number 27.

    Jackson's Kong was so boring and sooooo long. I remember looking at my watch constantly hoping it would end before I died. It also looks like a glossy cartoon. Cold and soul-less.
    I'm no fan of any of the LOTR trilogy either. Yawn.
    However, BadTaste, Braindead and The Frighteners? Now you're talking! Films with real spirit. You've made me want to watch them again.

  • Comment number 28.

    I really enjoyed "The Lovely Bones", missed it at the cinema so bought it on a whim on Bluray and, visually, it blew me away. I'm not the biggest fan of LOTR but credit to the first one being my favourite too. I need to rewatch "The Frighteners"!

  • Comment number 29.

    Really, Mark? The Frighteners is better than the LOTR films? Really? I actually LIKED the Frighteners, but it in no way deserves to be any kind of 'Best of' list anywhere. And those films that preceded Heavenly Creatures are AWFUL. Dead Alive is a terrible film even by no-budget/amateur actor/homemade FX standards. I've seen better films by middle school kids on youTube. On the basis of having seen DA, I count myself fortunate for having avoided his other stinkers before he left Amateur Hour behind and started making real films.

    Does Jackson even have enough films on his resume to have a Top 5? He's got 20 directorial credits on imdb, but more than half of those are shorts, documentaries, amateur films or films that haven't even been released yet). So we're drawing from a pool of about 11 films (and that's counting a TV movie and the 3 stinkers you mention that came before Heavenly Creatures). But, hey, I'll play along. here's my Top 5 PJ films (from a pool of 11).

    5. King Kong - This one deserves more credit Mark. Is it in the class of the original? Of course not. But if you grade it without comparing it to the original and let it stand on its own, you might like this one a little more. Is it too long? Yes. Much like with what I think about The Lord of The Rings series, Jackson apparently falls in love with every frame he shoots and doesn't have the heart to leave scenes that are clearly repetitive on the cutting room floor... but there are some spectacular visuals in this movie, especially in the setting of 1930s New York. Kong's ice escapade alone is enough reason to watch this film for.

    4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
    3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King
    2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring - Apparently you never read the books, because by going on and on, Jackson was just staying true to the material. I like all three in the series, but I don't think they're the works of genius that some others have thought and I agree with you about the multiple endings. Jackson is one of several filmmakers who have come around in the last 20 years or so that learned everything they needed to know about making movies except how to edit them. Of course, that's sometimes someone else's job, but at least he could hire someone that was competent.

    1. Heavenly Creatures - I agree. Two great performances (if not the whole cast) and far beyond anything else that Jackson has directed. It's amazing that if you take away all of the FX and force him to concentrate on story, Jackson can actually make a great film.

    Maybe you can do a Wes Anderson Top 5 next. He has 7 or so films under his belt. Or a Paul Thomas Anderson Top 5! I think he's directed 6 (and I can guess your #1!). We could play "Which Film Will Dr. K Leave Off Of His Top 5 List'....

  • Comment number 30.

    I always liked Bad taste better than Brain Dead I have to say, Kung Fu priest who kick arse for the Lord aside, and Lord of the ring has to be one of if not the greatest trilogies cinema has produced and sorry but to quote clerks 2 does not fly in my dojo, their is no argument in the world (or random dance numbers and song interludes) that can hold up them being worst films than the Star Prequels which are quite possibly the worst trilogy of all time.

    I actually got to the hobbit in 48 frames at the opening of the IMAX in Dublin and reading reviews and hearings people reactions after the screening was quite shocked to hear people where judging the film based on the quality of the 48 frame rate than the film itself. I can safely say as a fan of Lord of the Rings films and books that the film is great and fits perfectly with the trilogy and any comparisons to episode 1 are just sad as its noting of the sort.

    On the matter of 48 frames it does take a bit of getting used to but its not as bad as people on are making out (I have awful travel sickness and I was quite alright throughout), it has problems and does take the art of the film away at times and effects show up now and again but at others it really does look stunning and makes a great use of 3d and adds a real dept to the screen I have not seen in a 3d film before, but I think out of the two options I would stick to the old 24frames but it should not deter anyone's enjoyment of the film in the upgraded frame rate.

  • Comment number 31.

    Mark, you don't half change your mind about stuff. you giving Peter Jackson's "King Kong" a fairly glowing review when it was released - what's changed there?

  • Comment number 32.

    Ecstatic to see the Frighteners on here. Having grown up with Back to the Future, I've always thought of it more as a "Michael J Fox film" than a "Peter Jackson film" - but in any case it's always good to see it getting some love.

  • Comment number 33.

    I hate to be toady, but actually on this occasion it is complete assent from me. Heavenly Creatures had to be top of the list. Beautiful, harsh, sharp and a fantastic debut from Kate Winslet. The delight is that you included the superb The Frighteners. I first saw it in a small, natty cinema in Exeter all those years ago with just one other person two rows in front. Even now I have just one friend who knows this fine addition Jackson's (and Michale J. Fox's) canon.

  • Comment number 34.

    It might be easier if you get a Zoetrope and run it at 2x speed.

    Still haven't seen Bad Taste or Meet The Feebles (though I'd like to). Otherwise, similar views about the rest, especially the brilliance of The Frighteners which treads the comedy/horror line masterfully, so that the threat still feels like genuine threat, an antidote to Ghostbusters. Braindead also, I'm not big on splatter, or slapstick, but somehow the right combo here is hilarious and gives me one of those padded cell laughs throughout, like to see its protagonist take on Ash from Evil Dead II, chainsaw vs flymo.

    LOTR is great but its weaknesses are largely in the source material. Fellowship... is the best film, it was the best of the three books, with enough self contained plot capped by a to be continued cliff hanger. Whilst Jackson improves on the interminable trudging of the second two books, he can't quite bring himself to excise this or the, oh boy, yet another crazy king, and a plethora of increasingly difficult to pronounce characters. Most of the extra endings are in the book, and he even, semi-judiciously, left out the trouble in the homecounties bit... from the theatrical version. (although I cannot fathom why he left out the demise of the one recognizable big bad, and felt cheated that Christopher Lee wasn't on screen in Return..., seemed like a scam to sell the DVD).

    King Kong actually has a shorter masterpiece struggling to get out, but Jackson was clearly having too much fun at WETA. The low point is the valley of the gross-out deathworld insects which only serve to pointlessly kill off some half decent characters and add nothing but running time. Jackson is a Ray Harryhausen fan, but Harryhausen always made his creatures for a reason, not just to show he can. Watts and Serkis could almost have carried the day, if not for the showy distractions. And whatever you think of Jack Black, this time it's not his fault.

    Heavenly Creatures is the pinnacle, blending an appreciation of the imagination with the corollary that it can dangerously replace reality. It also suggests that Jackson should have been up to the task of The Lovely Bones, if it weren't for a script that utterly mishandles key aspects of the novel. It feels like he spent too much time concerned with creating the fantastic visuals (which somehow make the afterlife of the book look like New Zealand) than looking after the drama they are there to serve. He got that mix right in Heavenly Creatures, so I hope he will again someday. You know, after he's shaved his feet.

  • Comment number 35.

    My sons (who were then quite young!) introduced me to Peter Jackson's films via "Bad Taste". I thought it was brilliant as is "Braindead". I'd missed "The Frighteners" so have that on my to-see list (please forgive me for not having seen it yet, Dr. K).
    I was initially worried about how Peter Jackson would handle the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy as I frequently re-read the book. I prefer the (longer) DVDs as I think they are for the book fanatics - so I would vote in all three at the top five. As for the many endings in the last film there was at least one from the book that Jackson missed out (be grateful). And yes, I'm blubbing by the end.
    So, I'll be off to see "The Hobbit" and will take the grandaughter's travel sickness bag with me in case of a bad reaction to the 48 frames per sec. But I will try (probably in vain) to avoid as many trailers and reviews as I possibly can before I get to a screening.

  • Comment number 36.

    With King Kong, I feel like somewhere in there, there is a really good film. It was just cut together terribly. Maybe if there was a cut version made, we'd all think a lot better about it.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm just glad you included The Frighteners - it's such a joyful film far too often overlooked. And all the actors are completely in on the joke - too often you find comedies where people are playing it completely against the tone of the film but get away with it because the accounts say, "don't worry, there's an audience tested laugh coming up". Here everyone is pitch perfect.

    Watching this film was the first time I heard Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Reaper, so it gets top marks just for that!

    (Even Danny Elfman's score doesn't seem as recycled as some of this more recent compositions!)

  • Comment number 38.

    @ #31 Verschrankung:

    "Mark, you don't half change your mind about stuff. you giving Peter Jackson's "King Kong" a fairly glowing review when it was released - what's changed there? "

    Yeah, I remember that review, and generally agreed with it at the time and still do now. Kong is quite a good film, despite its flaws (many of which are shared with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, yet don't seem to get the same reaction).

    Agree with Mark Kermode's top choice, though. Heavenly Creatures is a fantastic and chilling film, all the more because it's based upon a real event and yet still manages to convey a magical quality to it, leading up to the tragedy.

    Oh, and Lovely Bones isn't that bad a film. Maybe some were expecting hobbits and wizards to turn up. ;)

  • Comment number 39.

    Lovely Bones is an inetresting one. Yes, Jackson's vision was flawed but I am not convicned Lynn Ramsey would have done much better because it's actually the source material that's flawed.
    The book is excellent up until the last few chapters when it just falls apart becoming almost a parody of itself. I read it not longer after it had come out and when I got to the final chapters my immediate thought was "this authour's trying to get a film deal out of this". Some years later, guess what?

  • Comment number 40.

    I must be the only person on the planet who does not have a problem with the multiple endings in Return Of The King.

    After investing the best part of nine hours in all of those characters trials and tribulations (12 hours in special edition) nothing would be worst than a half hearted sudden ending. The ring left its mark on all of them to an extent and the final film needed that slow multiple layered ending to wind the drama down.
    If the film had one ending in the style of Star Wars A New Hope I can guarantee you would all be on here saying...was that it?

    I admire Peter Jackson for what he achieved in Lord Of The Rings for as anyone who has read the books would know there has been some heavy and much needed editing. If you felt the ending was drawn out as it is count yourself lucky he did not include the battle for the Shire, which features at the end of Return Of The King (Hobbits vs evil men from the South).

    Love the Frighteners btw, massively overlooked masterpiece.

    King Kong, too long (should have been on the poster as it has a nice ring to it!)

    Bad taste and Braindead my personal joint favourites. The horror genre needs you back Mr Jackson.

  • Comment number 41.

    Great Top 5. I would have liked to have seen The Frighteners when it came out but I was living in Tasmania at the time and the film was banned there for several years following the Port Arthur Massacre, as the scene in which Patricia and Johnny count off the numbers of dead. One of the numbers they mention is 36 which was the number of victims of the massacre, and that was deemed too offensive for distribution. Despite, and perhaps because, of this, the film became a cult favourite on video there.
    Still, I think LOTR is indisputably his greatest work, all 11-odd hours of it. Given the constraints put on big budgets, that LOTR came out as beautifully realised as it is, with its score, mix of digital and real-life effects, extreme levels of authenticity and attention to detail, it is a phenomenal achievement.

  • Comment number 42.

    1. Heavenly Creatures

    2. The Two Towers (for the most part)

    3. I quite liked the dinosaurs running along the cliff in King Kong...

    4. ...and the bit in Return of the King where the long-haired one climbed up a big elephant.

    5. Er...

  • Comment number 43.

    Haven't sene many Jackson films, but I love The Frighteners, think Heavenly Creatures is a disturbing masterpiece, like Bad Taste, despite its general roughness, and despise The Lovely Bones.

  • Comment number 44.

    Was he not involved in District 9? I think somewhere I heard he had his hand in that. It's a great movie, and it does sort of bear some of his hallmarks. I've not actually seen Heavenly Creatures but I suppose I will have to see it now.

    Also, I'm not entirely sure I'm liking the new blog format. But no doubt it'll grow on me...

  • Comment number 45.

    Honestly, this 48fps business is just going to make it that much harder (not to mention time consuming) for the Post community (and everyone in art, make-up and wardrobe). Does anybody really care? Have the audience been demanding a disturbingly sharp and bright image, devoid of any texture or a hint of motion blur? No, not to mine or any of my colleagues knowledge.

    Despite what the Jackson's and Cameron's and, notably, certain 'rebel' camera companies of this world this might be saying, 48fps is just not needed. Lets just hope this all goes away very quickly.

  • Comment number 46.

    Not a fan of his earlier work, but i did take notice of when "Heavenly Creatures" was released - it was a major u-turn for the director, featuring stellar performances by its lead actresses, and a perfect balance of visuals. The same thing can be said for his most underrated work "The Frighteners" - barely got a look-in on release and always demands repeated viewings.

  • Comment number 47.

    Peter Jackson's film career is similar to that of Quentin Tarrantino: great when they were still pushing thier creativity to the limits in order to overcome budget limitations, rubbish when they became big enough to get away anything they wanted, no matter how infantile.

    To continue the comparison, Heavenly Creatures was Jackson's equivalent of Jackie Brown. Both are sincere, character-driven films made in the 1990s about the lives of women, in which special effects take second place. Followed by the 21st century deluge of their puerile fanboy drivel.

  • Comment number 48.

    I forgot my list:

    1. Heavenly Creatures. His masterpiece.
    2. Bad Taste. Rivals Evil Dead 2 as the contender for the funniest horror film of all time.
    3. Braindead.
    4. Meet the Feebles. Silly? Yes. Trashy? Sure. But occasionally hilarious as well. Imagine if a young John Waters had made The Muppets instead of Henson and Oz.
    5. Eh...? Pass.

    I haven't seen The Frighteners but now my curiosity has become piqued.

  • Comment number 49.

    Wow! Wha' hoppen?! New look!

  • Comment number 50.

    Everybody seems to forget "Forgotten Silver". OK, it was made for TV, but "Bad Taste" is hardly more cinematic than this wonderful little mockumentary ABOUT moviemaking!

  • Comment number 51.

    The Frighteners is a great film, it passed me by at the cinema also but I saw it on US import Laser Disc at a friend's house. Agree completely with Mark's top 5 choices but can't decide on the order I would put them in.

  • Comment number 52.

    Oh new layout to the blog.
    Please make the number of comments clearer ie at the top level with the title and right justified, currently its left justified at the bottom in a small size.
    Why you ask? Well this blog gets a very good quality of reply in the comments, and I (and I'm sure many others do to) return specifically to read the comments, the previous layout was very convenient to allow me to quickly see if there were new comments since the last time I looked ie no having to scroll for certainly the latest post, sometimes the first 2 post now I have to scroll for just one.
    To see the comments themselves I have to scroll down the page so that I can click show more, which takes me from 5 to 20...and then I have to scroll down the page again so I can select which page, and there is no option to see all the comments
    Suggestions :
    1)Move the number of comments at the top right justified on the same level of the main title.
    2)comment navigation Show more/ Older 1 2 ...Newer and Page X of X at the top and bottom please.
    3)New feature: Show All comments in one page option
    (as a now ex-web developer with RSI on my right shoulder, I'd be very happy to scroll less ;) but these suggestions should be helpful for everybody using the site)

  • Comment number 53.

    On topic the Frighteners is a good solid entertaining movie, but then so is Meet the Feebles. Feebles does have a darkly sophomoric sense of humour, but then so to does Bad Taste (there may be a clue in the title ;) ), and Feebles does have a lot of genuinely funny material. I find it hard to understand how Dr K can like Bad Taste and not like Meet the Feebles.

  • Comment number 54.

    Totally agree with Max@52. The old format made it easier to see if new comments had been added to each post. Some more tinkering needs to be done.

  • Comment number 55.

    In my view, The Fellowship of the Ring is by far the best LOTR film and Peter Jackson's best work. I can't forget his King Kong epic either. This film had by far the biggest effect on me of any movie I have ever seen. I can never look at worms the same way again.

  • Comment number 56.

    Heavenly Creatures. Jackson’s best – and most uncharacteristic – movie.

    Brain Dead – Just for being like a gore splattered Carry On movie. The lead even looks like Jim Dale. As for the [zombie] baby in a blender scene…

    Frighteners. I wouldn’t say it’s a classic, but good fun.

    King Kong. One standout scene for me. Kong vs the T Rexes. Otherwise overblown when it needn’t have been and they really should have changed the last line to: ‘It was greed that killed the beast’.

    LOTR’s gets progressively weaker as it progresses through the three films. And it really should have ended with Sam & Frodo walking off hand-in-hand. Sam’s obvious love of Master Frodo got a bit excruciating at times.

    I’m not really looking forward to The Hobbit. At most there are just two movies in the novel; three is really stretching it a movie too far. From the trailer the action scenes look too overblown compared to the novel’s reliance on suspense. On the other hand if they manage to get Smaug right…

  • Comment number 57.

    I seem to remember King Kong getting good reviews across the board when it was released yet now there seems to be an acceptance that it was no good which I just can't agree with. I know I'm biased to the film (I even love the ice skating scene), but I would have it ahead of the Rings trilogy in my top 5. Mark asks what does it add? For a start there is a real character in Ann Darrrow. Whilst Fay Wray's Ann remains rightly iconic, as a character she is little more than a Scream Queen. The original has no love story between Kong and Ann, Kong crudely represents white man's fear. In Jackson's version the time is given to build this relationship so by the time you get to the Empire State building hearts are ready to be broken. I also see people complain about the length of time it takes to get to Skull Island. If I'm going to the last blank spot on the map I want to feel like its taken a bit of time to get there and the island isn't parked 5 minutes outside of New York harbour. I may be in the minority but for me Jackson's version is definitive.

  • Comment number 58.

    Thanks to Harry Limes Shadow@54, glad to see it wasn't just me that appreciates the quality of the comments here as much as watching Dr K.
    I rated you comment, there was one difficulty in that the graphics for a positive or negative rating don't show up (at least not in google chrome) so the first time I clicked by rated it rated you negatively... ho hum I had to reload the page and navigate back to your comment, find the invisible "rate this comment positively" (luckily the hover text does appear) and click that to change it, you're quite correct when you said "Some more tinkering needs to be done" ;)
    Apologies to everyone for posting web design related posts here, but it's just because I do actually care to be able to easily read what you say.

  • Comment number 59.

    My favourite flicks from PJ will have to be Braindead, LOTR-FOTR (whew...) and Forgotten Silver. I only noticed one other mention (by nechci) of this wonderful tongue-in-cheek mockumentary, which had NZ frothing in antipodean anger, when exposed as fraudulent.
    On another note (I am new here so do not know where else to post this); I would like to hear Dr. Kermode's take on the Sophia Stewart story, regarding The Terminator and The Matrix. If this has already been covered, I apologise and would appreciate a link. Thank you.

  • Comment number 60.

    I remember seeing The Frighteners in the cinema when it came out and loved it. I genuinely believe it is one of the most most under rated films of the 1990's and it is as good as The Evil Dead in combining horrific shocks with laugh out loud moments of comedy.

    I've not seen Heavnely Creatures but hope to in the near future.

    I certainly agree with Dr K about Fellowship as I think it was the best of the original trilogy. When I saw it at the cinema, I knew with the first 10 minutes of Fellowship starting that I loved the film and would read the books. I've just finished reading The Hobbit (for the 1st time) and am now reading Lord of the Rings again (for the 4th time) and own the Extended version on DVD. BTW don't bother with the extended bluray release of Lord of the Rings because the extras that came with the 4 disc special editions (apart from the commentaries) have not been carried over to the bluray release. Rip off or what???!!!!

  • Comment number 61.

    Love Heavenly Creatures. Great film. Funnily enough Two Towers my favourite of the LOTR series. More character. Won't be able to see Hobbit for a while - all 3D round here.

    New blog page - Hard to see where comments are and Film 24 link gone missing. Where does it lurk now? Hate it when they mess with the familiar.

  • Comment number 62.

    Oh wait. It's at the top amongst the blue bits - as you were!

  • Comment number 63.

    Thanks for the reminder about Heavenly Creatures. I've yet to see that but I remember the praise it received when it came out.

    Bad Taste is my all time favourite Peter Jackson movie because I have a lot of love for very low budget filmaking. Why don't we see any Clerks, Pink Flamingo's and Evil Dead type flicks anymore? I rememberthe first time I saw it when Alex Cox played it on Moviedrome years ago I coudn't stop laughing at the gory chaos on screen and I remember it was followed by a cool making of Bad Taste that was really great.
    The Frightners has always been a favourite in our house. Quite chilling yet lots of fun.

    I love The Two Towers the most from the Ring Trilogy but I'm avoiding the new one as I have heard a rumour about animal cruelty being rife during the making of The Hobbit. Any truth to that?

    King Kong was just an indulgent, overlong dream project and it was quite a slog to watch.

    I've still to see Lovely Bones and Meet The Feebles but I'm not going to make the effort.

    Braindead is an absolute classic. I couldn't eat custard for years after that.
    I remember Empire giving it two stars back in 93 which put me off seeing it cause I thought that was my movie bible. How things have changed.

  • Comment number 64.

    I loved "The Frighteners" but immediately recognized it as an ectoplasmic version of "The Skin Game" (Paul Bogart) among other films where the merriment gets serious. It was the dynamism of Jackson's direction that drew my initial attention.

  • Comment number 65.

    Heavenly Creatures is my personal favourite film, so I was baffled how he managed to fluff the Lovely Bones when he had already made a masterpiece from similar material.

  • Comment number 66.

    Jackson made an important statement in Mayo's interview that was not picked up by Mark. He said he hated the idea that people would watch his movies on iPads -- advances in film tech such as 3D and frame rates were designed to get people into the cinema. In other words -- not 2D vs. 3D but cinema vs. sofa. Very important point don't you think, Mark?

  • Comment number 67.

    Hi lads, I'm a first time contributor to the show, but have been listening for most of the year now. BIG shout out to Ramsgate--,On a recent trip to France and in one of their fab' supermarkets I came across the new release of Batman - Dark knight rises available as a 2 disc set on DVD, oh I thought I'll get when I get back to blighty . But wait no not available in our supermarkets, not available on UK web sites not even on American sites, you can get a 2 disc blu- ray, but not on DVD why? What were the film studio thinking? Why do we only have the bog standard one disc version, I can't be the only one who likes special or collectors editions of films.
    PS. Saw 'Skyfall' last week - fantastic 5 out of 5, love the show by the way
    Ade from Ramsgate

  • Comment number 68.

    Evening Dr K,

    This isn't a post about Jackson, but just a quick query about the 5live podcasts. Would it be possible to actually list on the podcast site below each link a timeline for each show (by which i mean, how long in to the show are certain reviews, interviews etc eg The Hobbit 1 hr 5 mins or whatever). Sometimes I don't have time to listen to a 90 minute show but want to hear your opinion on a particular film, and it would save a lot of faffing about for me, and I'm sure some other listeners.


  • Comment number 69.

    'Bad Taste' (and the accompanying doc, 'Good Taste Made Bad Taste') all the way for me... I consider myself one of those responsible for helping make Jackson's career as I showed the vhs to at least hundred friends long before 'Brain Dead' arrived. ;-) Waaaaankers!

  • Comment number 70.

    I agree about 'Heavenly Creatures'.

    But on another subject: would you please consider not constantly using the adjective "extraordinary"? It is fingers down a blackboard stuff!

    Travelling through the Horsehead Nebula in Orion would be extraordinary; meeting and conversing with an alien being would be extraordinary; a person willingly giving up their life to save others would be extraordinary.

    Actors are not extraordinary. Do you sit riveted during a film and exclaim to yourself or partner: "my goodness, this is extraordinary!"?

    How about some of these instead: uncommon - unusual - singular - remarkable - exceptional

    I thank you for your time.

  • Comment number 71.

    5. The Frighteners
    4. King Kong
    3. Meet the Feebles
    2. Bad Taste
    1. Braindead

    Heavenly Creatures is quite overrated. It is a good film, but it's nowhere near as good as Braindead, my all time favourite movie.

  • Comment number 72.

    I totally agree with the #1 choice, Heavenly Creatures. I got so engrossed with the film that I forgot I was watching a movie. I had a weird experience at the end when I "came to" and realized that I was in a theatre surrounded by people. Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey were superb.

  • Comment number 73.

    recent quote from David Chase, creator of The Sopranos: "I could not get arrested, as they say. Nothing started to click movie-wise for me. All the scripts were either too dark or too this or too that. Their appetite for me didn't start to get whetted until The Sopranos, and once they see you are someone who can make a billion dollars, they let you do anything. That's all it comes down to." And that's basically why Peter Jackson is allowed to continue to destroy classic literature with his sentimental, fetishistic world of warcraft CGI mince. Heavenly Creatures was good, the frighteners OK and the rest decidedly mediocre. When you look at West of Memphis and District 9, he seems to be a better producer than a director.

  • Comment number 74.

    Love Frighteners! Superb film.


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