The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence

Director: Tom Six (2011)
Starring: Laurence R. Harvey, Ashlynn Yennie, Centipede
Find it: IMDB

Of all the unintentionally hilarious ideas at play in The Human Centipede 2, the very funniest is the central conceit that someone could actually become obsessed with the first movie. Like almost every single other person who watched The Human Centipede, I found myself underwhelmed. It's a great idea, but not one that can carry a whole film. It works best as a trailer. Preferably one with Rick Astley singing 'Together Forever' over it.

Gone is the magnificent Doctor Heiter (Dieter Laser), replaced with a more realistic and terrifying villain. The actor behind Walter (Laurence R. Harvey) doesn't have a name like Dieter Laser, but he does have a terrifying face and looks (and sounds) like a man I used to work with. Martin works as a security guard in a car park, which is a standard career for this sort of movie psychopath. Clearly a man with problems mental and physical (he's frequently described as 'a midget' and 'a retard'), Martin is obsessed with the film The Human Centipede. Director Tom Six pre-empted the BBFC suggesting idiots could be influenced by the Human Centipede 2 by making a film in which an idiot is obsessed with The Human Centipede. How very meta, Tom Six.

When he's not re-watching The Human Centipede or scrapbooking The Human Centipede, Martin is in the process of building his own human centipede; kidnapping people and locking them up in his rented warehouse. The sequel is actually set in England, which is maybe why I found it a lot funnier than I should have. My favourite scene comes where one victim realises what Martin has planned. "It's a film!" He yells, "he's gonna stitch us up arse to mouth!" Cue gagged screams from the rest of Martin's captives. The word 'arse' should never be used seriously in a serious movie. 'Arse' may be a very British word, but it is not one that us British use on serious occasions. (True story, if you watch an American movie with English subtitles, a lot of Region 2 releases tend to swap the word 'ass' for 'arse' as if us Brits are going to assume you mean donkey). "He's gonna stitch us up arse to mouth!" Even if I had been one of those fellow victims, I still would have laughed. Arse. There's another occasion where a character says "stop those tears. You're just making daddy's willy harder." Even more so than arse, no English person has ever used the word 'willy' whilst trying to be menacing. Well done on doing your research, Human Centipede 2, but it's all about context.

The Human Centipede 2 is a hilarious movie. Even more so than its predecessor. A lot of it is unintentional, but some of it, Tom Six is doing with a wink. Look, he wears a stetson. You don't wear a stetson if you're the sort of person who takes yourself seriously. For all the furore, outrage and thinking of the children, The Human Centipede 2 is ultimately a piece about twelve people being forced to do ass-to-mouth. It's more seriously done here, but it is still not really a serious film. And when it does try to be serious, it fails in almost every way.

The only thing it does do effectively is the gore. It's a black and white feature (except for one use of the colour brown...), which might fool some into thinking it more arthouse than your average bit of torture guff. It is certainly not. A Serbian Film and Martyrs are titles thrown around in some reviews. But those films had a depth that The Human Centipede 2 does not. Fuck though, the gore. The Human Centipede 2 features the most repulsive tooth removal scene I have ever seen. The last half an hour sees less of the humour (intentional or otherwise) and a turn towards some truly horrible surgery scenes. Those scat-lovers disappointed by the lack of poo in the original will go away happy this time.

And this was only the cut version. Whilst I disagree with censorship of any sort, I don't feel I'm missing all that much by not seeing a man rape a human centipede with barbed wire wrapped around his bell-end. The cut version goes far further in terms of grue and bodily fluids than I was prepared to see. That said, I will be seeking out an uncut version. Not because I want to see it, but because the BBFC told me not to.

The BBFC posits that by presenting the film from Martin's perspective, his victims are objectified, his Centipede an aspirational figure. I would beg to differ. The things that happen in The Human Centipede 2 are impossible not to sympathise with. I don't need to know a character's life story - or even their name - in order to feel bad for him/her. On a similar note, I'm not going to start feeling sorry for Martin just because he's the main character. BBFC, stop talking out of your arse.

Many will hate The Human Centipede 2, lots will be outraged by it, some might even watch it. But nobody will like it. At least, nobody will admit to liking it. I found it amusing, disgusting (forego the mid-movie snacks during this one) and not at all inspirational or arousing. Maybe I have the BBFC's cuts to thank for that, but I like to think that it's because I'm just a nice guy who doesn't like rape or centipedes. Past the first hour, it makes for truly horrible viewing. Without the humour it becomes a tiresome slew of witless violence, bodily fluids and fart noises. It's not scary, nor is there any tension, thrills or intelligence. But nor was I outraged either.

"Well," I thought, "that was pretty nasty." Where the original Human Centipede should have been left as a trailer, The Human Centipede 2 should be left as a series of descriptions in horrified reviews and on the BBFC's website. Because that does The Human Centipede 2 more favours than the film itself. The Human Centipede 2 literally throws shit at the lens and calls it art.

The Non Horror Halloween Antispectacular.

Halloween for the hardened horrorhound can, at times, be like Christmas for a North Pole Elf. Who cares? I watch horror every day of the week anyway. So Halloween is on TV for the umpteenth time; I watched it last week at my nan's birthday party. With that in mind, The Horror Review Hole decided to watch and review something a little bit different this year: 31 movies (and a TV show or two) that were definitely outside of our beloved horror genre. Happy Halloween.

1. Mean Girls
11. Avatar
12. Titanic
16. Babe
23. Elf
24. Grease

31. Futurama: Jurassic Bark

Director: Swinton O. Scott III, Rich Moore (2002)
Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio
Find it: IMDB

Mankind's single greatest achievement. The pinnacle of all animation, television and scripted entertainment anywhere. Jurassic Bark is the single greatest individual episode of any television series ever. No matter how many times I watch this episode (and I've seen it a lot) it never fails to reduce me to a blubbering wreck come the final montage. It is perfectly structured, written, acted and constructed. Jurassic Bark is the crowning episode for a TV series already overflowing with wit, intelligence and heart. Heartbreaking heart.

Delivery boy Fry visits a museum dedicated to the 20th Century. He is shocked to find the fossilized remains of his pet dog, Seymour, exhibited there. For three days he protests outside the museum, until they relent and give him the fossil. Professor Farnsworth discovers that a clone of Seymour can be made from the remains. Jealous Bender grabs the fossil and throws it in a pit of lava. Fry is devastated. Seeing his master's love for the dog ("I thought you were only pretending to love him to toy with my emotions") Bender leaps in the pit and retrieves Seymour. Just as Farnsworth is about to begin the cloning process, Fry has a sudden change of heart. "Seymour went on to live a full and happy life without me", he thinks. Concluding that Seymour would have forgotten all about him by the time he died, Fry violently aborts the operation. But did Seymour forget all about his beloved master after all? NO, NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST.

If you didn't find that video the most beautifully miserable thing ever, then you're an emotional husk. That final minute of the episode has affected me far more than any Requiem For A Dream, Bambi, Dancer In The Dark or death of Buffy. It is the perfect riposte to anyone who might claim that animation is shallow or childish. There are funnier and cleverer episodes of Futurama, but none reach the same notes. Some (The Luck Of The Fryish) come close, and others are heartbreaking for different reasons (Time Keeps On Slippin, The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings) but none have quite the sting (also a good episode) of Jurassic Bark.

The below score, by the way, is the highest 5/5 on the site. The below 5/5 is the standard by which everything else shall forever be judged.

30. Queen Rock Montreal

Director: Paul Swimmer (2007)
Starring: Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon
Find it: IMDB

The greatest band of all time, live at their 1981 concert in Montreal. The greatest frontman and vocalist of all time rocks his way through the set, starting with 'We Will Rock You' (yes, they will) and finishing with 'God Save The Queen,' via the greatest songs of all time. Basically, Queen Rocks Montreal is the greatest movie of all time. That is all.

29. Dancer In The Dark

Director: Lars von Trier (2000)
Starring: Bjork, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse, Peter Stormare
Find it: IMDB

Selma (Bjork) is a European immigrant relocated to America where she hopes to make a living. But life is not as happy as her cheerful outlook would deserve. She's suffering from a terribly degenerative disease that will soon leave her blind. And her young son looks to one day suffer the same fate. Earning a meager living, she's saving up for an expensive operation that she hopes will save his eyesight. All she has is a love for musicals and a really great singing voice.

Where I found the equally artful Requiem For A Dream to be dark, disturbing but overrated, Dancer In The Dark is completely successful in its aspirations to break your heart. I've never thought much of Lars von Trier, but this is his least pretentious and most genuine movie so far. The performances and direction are naturalistic, which makes up for some of the dodgy acting. Like Requiem For A Dream, it starts off reasonably light, but doesn't take long to build up to a crescendo of misery. Bjork is easier to sympathise with than Requiem's collection of desperate druggies. Also, she can sing something beautiful, which is more than Jared Leto can ever say for himself.

Whenever something terrible happens, Selma retreats into a fantasy musical world, and these are by far the most powerful and affecting sequences in the film. Von Trier makes the most of his leading lady's considerable talents, each of the songs achingly beautiful. David Morse and Peter Stormare join in with the singing too. They can't sing for toffee, but nor do they need to be able to. Dancer In The Dark is a realistic musical, its fantastical elements contrasting with the grit and realism of the story. It's quite a cruel trick by von Trier to have something horrible happen to lovely Bjork every time she starts singing.

The singing does soften the blow somewhat. Good. Because I certainly need comforting after watching Dancer In The Dark. This is what happens when you let Lars von Trier direct a musical.

28. Star Trek: Insurrection

Director: Jonathan Frakes (1998)
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner
Find it: IMDB

This is what happens when you let Riker direct a Star Trek movie. Headless Data, stupid aliens, an even stupider plot and Mister Worf singing Gilbert & Sullivan. There's a theory that all of the even numbered Star Trek movies are good and the odd numbered ones are shit. Insurrection is indeed kind of shit and it does indeed follow a good installment (that'd be First Contact, also directed by Jonathan Frakes). However, Nemesis is terrible too, so stick that in your space pipe and smoke it. A better rule of thumb would be that the Next Generation crew are simply a bit dull.

The crew of the Enterprise discover a magic planet that helps its inhabitants to stay eternally young. Captain Picard (Stewart) and his merry band of space travellers discover a Federation plot to steal the planet from under its natives' noses. Picard being a massive space stickler, he decides to save the natives from the evil foreigners. Later, in the movie's most disturbing scene, Riker (Frakes) shaves off his beard and gets jiggy with Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) in a bathtub.

Insurrection is the Star Trek movie that most resembles an episode of the TV series. That's not entirely a criticism; it's a fun and funny film, as silly and inconsequential as it might feel. Whilst it's probably the weakest of The Next Generation movies, it's also the most fun. The cheerful, adventurous tone is preferable to the stupid, moody Nemesis with rapey Tom Hardy. But as a result, Insurrection is the installment least approachable to non-Trekkies. But hey, if there's one thing us Trekkies don't need, it's friends.

27. Star Trek: Generations

Director: David Carson (1994)
Starring: Patrick Stewart, William Shatner, Malcolm McDowell
Find it: IMDB

The first Star Trek movie to star the Next Generation crew. Film traditions being as they are, there has to be a passing of the torch moment. This comes in the (now rather chubby) shape of William Shatner's Captain James T. Kirk saving the day. This comes in a roundabout sort of way, with Kirk being sucked into a magic wormhole and disappearing, presumed dead.

Years later, Captain Picard (Stewart) and his crew receive a distress call from a solar laboratory. Everyone is dead, save for Doctor Tolian Soran (McDowell) who has some sinister plans for the Enterprise and its crew. He too wants to be sucked into Kirk's magic wormhole, an energy ribbon called 'The Nexus' where dreams come true. In Kirk's case, this is chopping logs and riding horses. McDowell outwits everyone on The Enterprise, which is not a difficult feat - The Next Generation's crew are a notorious bunch of halfwits - and manages to find his Nexus. He gets himself and Picard sucked in to live happily ever after.

Only not. With the help of Whoopi Goldberg, Picard escapes, enlisting the help of Kirk along the way. There's a beautiful bit where Kirk says to Picard "I was saving the galaxy while you were in diapers." To a Trekkie like myself, the meeting of Kirk and Picard was a big deal. Like, a Freddy Vs Jason or Avengers big deal. To this day, Generations makes shivers run down my spine. At least, until the final battle it does.

It goes to the great effort to bring Kirk back, and then visits upon him the crummiest death this side of Sayid in LOST. James Kirk - Starfleet legend and hero of years of Trek TV and film - dies falling from a bridge. It's even worse than Data's own demise in Nemesis. And then Picard leaves him on that distant planet, buried beneath some rubble and a rockery. Little wonder Shatner keeps trying to write himself back into continuity. Hopefully JJ Abrams' new Star Trek timeline will grant Kirk a more worthy death. That said, I would quite happily watch Chris Pine fall off a bridge, repeatedly.

Generations is otherwise a fine bit of Trek. It depends on one's tolerance for Star Trek, Whoopi Goldberg and The Next Generation crew, and requires some pre-existing knowledge of the characters, but I loved it. Well, apart from the bit where Captain Kirk falls off a fucking bridge and dies.

26. Super Size Me

Director: Morgan Spurlock (2004)
Starring: Morgan Spurlock, Ronald McDonald
Find it: IMDB

What happens if you eat nothing but McDonalds' for a month? Shockingly, it makes you fat and ill. I would have thought it obvious, but I'm glad Morgan Spurlock did it anyway; it saves me doing it myself as the sort of stupid experiment I would do for the sake of it. Spurlock (Spurlock) decides that for a month he will eat nothing but McDonalds' takeaways for every meal. And if a staff member asks him if he'd like to 'supersize it', then 'supersize it' he must. It sounds like an extended Jackass stunt.

And at first, it plays like a Jackass stunt too. Upon indulging in his first super sized Maccy D meal, he promptly vomits it back up out of the window of his car. The physical (and a little bit mental) degradation of Spurlock over the course of Super Size Me is actually quite scary to witness. Fairly well educated in the importance of healthy eating, I found it somewhat obvious, but it's still scary to actually see it. Mind you, over here in England, we never had 'Super Size' meals. Probably a good thing. I always go for the biggest thing on the menu, regardless of how hungry I am.

It's a depressing state of affairs that Super Size Me has to exist at all; that people need telling that stuffing their face full of shit will make them ill. Following the film, the 'Super Size' option was discontinued and more healthy options were made available on McDonalds' menus. I feel about that the same way I feel about the BBFC censoring slash banning The Human Centipede 2: surely it should be my decision whether I fill my body and mind with that rot? Mind you, a diet of terrible food will actually make you ill, whereas The Human Centipede 2 won't. No matter what the tabloids or the BBFC or some dipshit who's never seen it tells you. Not that the absence of 'Super Size' meals will stop anyone truly determined to get their gut rot on either.

Super Size Me is a powerful, witty and amusing documentary. Unlike the work of Super Size meal abuser Michael Moore, you get the sense that Spurlock is generally telling the truth, and his humour actually funny. There's a great line about him punching his children in the head whenever they pass a McDonalds' restaurant. I'm going to punch my own children in the head whenever Michael Moore is on TV. Not to provoke a Pavlov's Dog style reaction, just because Michael Moore's face inspires violence in me.

I watched Super Size Me at the cinema with a friend, back in 2004. "Hey," I said, "wouldn't it be a good idea if we got Big Macs and ate them while we watched the film?" "Yeah!" As it emerges, that was not a good idea. Especially not during the liposuction scene.

25. 3000 Miles To Graceland

Director: Damien Lichtenstein (2001)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox
Find it: IMDB

Elvis impersonators botch a casino heist when Murphy (Costner) gets greedy and decides to keep all the money for himself. Michael Zane (Russell) hits the road and steals the money. But he doesn't count on the annoying Cybil (Cox) and her even more annoying son, who decide to tag along, hoping to bag themselves a share of the cash. Murphy, meanwhile, is not a happy Elvis, and sets about hunting down Zane with a vengeance. Despite the fact that it's his own stupid fault that everything went all Pete Tong.

3000 Miles To Graceland is an entirely underrated, often mocked action comedy that has at least one of its stars at his very best (that'd be Costner, who is actually good as the villainous Murphy). Kurt Russell (who actually made his movie debut in a John Carpenter Elvis movie) is a great lead. Courteney Cox is thoroughly annoying, but there are enough fun performances elsewhere to detract from that. David Arquette is a highlight, as are Ice-T and Thomas Haden Church.

The action scenes are well directed, tense, gory and explosive. Costner's increasingly eccentric Murphy makes for an oddly sympathetic villain towards the end, and the wardrobe department is quite wonderful. Well, if you like quiffs and sideburns. But who doesn't like quiffs and sideburns? It does tend to drag a bit though - at 125 minutes, it's a lot longer than it really needs to be, especially where the annoying romance is concerned.

3000 Miles To Graceland is a movie which starts with weird chrome Scorpions battling in the desert and ends with Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell dancing to an Elvis tune. 3000 Miles To Graceland, thangyewverymuch.

24. Grease

Director: Randal Kleiser (1978)
Starring: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing
Find it: IMDB

The greatest musical film of all time. Yes, even better than South Park. Virginal good gal Sandy (Newton-John) falls for greaser Danny Zucco (Travolta) over the course of one dreamy summer. It happened so fast. They had themselves a blast. But as summer drew to an end, they found their dreams ripped at the seams. Oh, those summer ni-ights. But no, because Sandy and Danny run into each other at the start of the new term. Sandy notices a change in Danny though. When he's around his guy mates, he's kind of a dick. Can they rekindle their romance?

Of course they can, even if it happens via Sandy turning herself sluttish and dancing up a storm whilst Danny looks on, the chills running through his body practically electrified by the power she's supplying. Personally, I preferred Sandy as she was before the leggings and massive hair. Hair which can never hope to compete with John Travolta's beautiful quiff. If there's one thing that fuels a good man-crush in me, it's a good quiff. And John Travolta's is a very good quiff. Of all the movies I've ever watched, Grease made by far the biggest impact on my head (the rest, Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park).

Every single one of the songs in Grease is a party anthem, guaranteed to get me on the dancefloor; the best being 'Summer Loving', 'Greased Lightning' and 'You're The One That I Want'. Bring on the Grease megamix. It does indeed give me chills and they do indeed multiply. Quite simply, Grease is the word.

The Roommate

Director: Christian E. Christiansen (2011)
Starring: Minka Kelly, Leighton Meester, Cam Gigandet, Billy Zane
Find it: IMDB

Within 12 seconds of its starting, I realised that I would probably hate The Roommate. 2 minutes later, I started to hate The Roommate. One of the earliest scenes takes place at a frat party, which is a very good indication of its quality. Its lead character is Sara (Kelly), a girl who names The Devil Wears Prada her favourite movie. Of all time. And the stalker character (Meester) looks up to this moron as a role model. They deserve one another.

The Roommate has the worst soundtrack I've heard in years, all softcore American rock and the sort of thing you might expect to hear on The OC. But that's fine, because it has the worst acting, worst script and worst wardrobe department I've seen in years too. The Roommate is Single White Female dumbed down for teenagers too badly educated to realise that Single White Female exists.

Whilst everyone and everything else about The Roommate is atrocious, it does have Billy Zane, which was a nice surprise. He plays Professor Roberts, a lecturer on our heroine's fashion course. Although she's a late entry, he lets her on the course because she has good fashion sense. Which wouldn't be particularly remarkable were it not for the fact that she has this on her head at the time:

Which would be like me getting on to an English Literature course even after telling a lecturer that Twilight is the greatest book of all time. The stupid hat is not relegated to just the one stupid scene. She wears it in a nightclub at one point. But even with her ridiculous choice in headwear, Sara manages to bag Ethan (Gigandet). Ethan introduces himself by telling her how he and his fraternity buddies use spiked punch to essentially date rape girls. Charming fucker.

Meanwhile stalker Rebecca menaces Sara's friends, beats up Billy Zane and murders a kitten in a washing machine. But there's no explanation as to why Rebecca should so quickly become fixated with Sara, especially given how utterly uninteresting Sara is. Some of Rebecca's loonier actions raise a smile (a tasteless tattoo, a sketchbook and a scene in which she beats someone up in the shower whilst wearing a waterproof jacket) but its every moment feels derivative and stupid. There's even the whole angle where Rebecca starts dressing like Sara, wearing her perfume and dying her hair like Sara's. She goes so far as to steal the hat. Imitation, I suppose, is the sincerest form of flattery. By that logic, Single White Female should be very flattered right now.

The Roommate is vacuous twaddle that should be of no interest to anyone who has seen Single White Female, Cable Guy, Play Misty For Me or any other stalker movie, ever. It's reminiscent of other such dumbed down toss like Swimfan and Homecoming. Single Shite Female, more like.

23. Elf

Director: Jon Favreau (2003)
Starring: Zooey Deschanel, Will Ferrell, James Caan
Find it: IMDB

A human raised as an Elf (Ferrell) in the North Pole with Santa, Buddy heads to New York to find his real parents. His real father, Walter Hobbs (Caan) is a grumpy professional with no sense of Christmas spirit. Inbetween ruining his father's life and ripping off The Jerk, Buddy meets Zooey Deschanel and fools her into thinking him worthy of her love. Sigh.

Bearing in mind that The Jerk and Enchanted did this sort of thing so much better, Elf is a fine fish-out-of-water comedy. Will Ferrell is amusing as Buddy, as is Caan as his father. Peter Dinklage is a highlight, whilst Zooey Deschanel is in this movie. I don't like watching Elf because Deschanel's scenes with Ferrell make me jealous. Everything else feels vaguely predictable but hard to dislike. Even Will Ferrell's now overdone screaming childishness fits the role. Individual scenes are enjoyable, such as Buddy's snowball warfare expertise and his interactions with Dinklage.

As Christmas movies go, Elf is the one I would be most likely to watch. Well, unless I had a choice between that and Black Christmas or Silent Night, Deadly Night. I'll rephrase: Elf is the 'proper' Christmas movie I would be most likely to watch. And even then, I'll be spending most of the film thinking either about how awesome Zooey Deschanel is, or that one time James Caan got murdered by Santa in Santa's Slay.

22. The Bucket List

Director: Rob Reiner (2007)
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes
Find it: IMDB

More narration duties from Morgan Freeman, despite the fact that (a) it's his own movie, and (b) his character is supposed to be dead at that point. The implication being that there is an afterlife, and god has allowed Morgan Freeman to continue narrating from there. Although that's just one way of looking at it. I myself would suggest that Morgan Freeman's narrations are a force of nature, and now unbound by body, his spirit is free to go around mystically narrating things everywhere, always.

Carter (Freeman) and Edward (Nicholson) are two very different men from very different backgrounds. Carter is a working-class mechanic who knows a lot about trivia and smokes. The only way you can get away with showing someone smoking in a film now is if that same someone then spends the rest of the film dying of cancer. Edward is rich, owns hospitals and goes on dates with Michelle Pfeiffer. The two men are basically playing themselves in The Bucket List, only this time with cancer. They share a room in Edward's hospital and become friends. As they each receive a terminal diagnosis, they write a 'bucket list', funded by Edward's millions.

Together they travel the world, dining on caviar, skydiving and driving flashy sportscars. Evidently Edward's millions couldn't cover an extra body, since Carter leaves his wife, children and grandkids without a second thought. It's a wrinkly, cancerous bromance. In which they both die at the end. That's about as much a spoiler as my saying that the boat sinks at the end of Titanic.

The Bucket List, thankfully for my tear ducts, is not a morbid film. They're both dying and it looks very painful, but the movie is imbued with a celebratory, cheerful atmosphere. Tears will be jerked at the end, but not in a wallowing, Requiem For A Dream kind of way. But for all the cheer and boyish enthusiasm, The Bucket List is very predictable and not even very insightful. Every beat is telegraphed from the start, from Carter's reconciliation with his wife to Edward's with his estranged daughter. Furthermore, I was irritated by a scene in which Carter tries to 'convert' Edward atop the pyramids. If I went around forcing The God Delusion upon dying friends, there'd be an uproar. But because Edward is an atheist, it's perfectly fine to sneer at his views and tell him he should believe in god now that he's dying. Piss off. Edward's money he made at the expense (boom boom) of friends, family and faith. Money which he is using to drag your condescending Christian carcass around the world. That's gratitude for you.

The Bucket List is serviceable shmaltz, the movie equivalent of those facebook updates dedicated to victims of cancer everywhere, disapproving of the "99% of people who won't repost this". You'll go away with an "aw, how sweet" and maybe a tear in your eye, but it won't change anything. Although it did leave me wishing I too had a rich friend.

21. Stardust

Director: Matthew Vaughn (2007)
Starring: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Strong
Find it: IMDB

A very adult fairytale from the team that brought you Kick-Ass (director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman) and a certain Neil Gaiman. Starring Mark Strong with a disconcerting amount of hair, the wonderful Michelle Pfeiffer as an evil witch and Robert De Niro in a dress. Naive young romantic Tristan Thorn (Cox) is in love with Victoria (Sienna Miller) whose heart he promises to win by retrieving a fallen star from a faraway land. Only the falling star happens to be an actual girl named Yvaine (Danes) who doesn't want to be anybody's gift. Evil witch Lamia (Pfeiffer) needs to eat Yvaine's heart to be young again, whilst Septimus (Strong) needs her to become king of the land. Phew.

An adult but not puerile fairytale, Stardust is a joy. It's so packed full of stars that the IMDB doesn't know who to list first. Especially so if you're British. A good 60 or so percent is made up of English actors and comedians, all of whom hit the spot. Unless their name is Ricky Gervais, whereupon it's a bit embarrassing. Stardust was made during a period in which Gervais would cameo in anything, his appearances becoming more and more cringeworthy. Ricky Gervais is 2007's James Corden.

Stardust is a lovely movie, designed to warm the heart as much as it is to thrill and amuse. The writing/directorial partnership of Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn is a strong one, and they bring us distinct, likeable characters as they did with the later Kick-Ass. Even the villains are sympathetic. I want a jacket like Mark Strong's. Michelle Pfeiffer looks just as hot now as she did in Batman Returns. Rupert Everett is thrown out of a window as a host of British comedians look on.

I even like the song by Take That. Which is not something one is supposed to admit in public; not unless you're a 40-year-old woman, anyway.

20. Catwoman

Director: Pitof (2004)
Starring: Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt
Find it: IMDB

Mild-mannered graphic designer Patience Philips (Berry) finds herself embroiled in the midst of a corporate conspiracy and is murdered. But not even by Christopher Walken, who at least knew how to murder in style. Nobody in Catwoman does anything in style, which is odd, considering that over half of the characters are supposed to be involved in the fashion industry. Patience is killed and then resurrected by cats, who endow her with super cat powers. Indeed. Looks to me like somebody decided to bypass reading any Batman comics and instead take Tim Burton's stupid Catwoman 'resurrection' as an actual thing that could actually happen. Myself, I prefer to take Batman Returns' Catwoman origin story with a grain of salt. She just banged her head and went a bit mad. She doesn't have nine lives, she's just a bit resilient. If anyone can survive falling out of a window, it's Michelle Pfeiffer. Halle Berry looks like she'd have trouble opening a door.

Resurrected with her super powers, Patience reinvents herself as Catwoman and sets about trashing some guy's house just because he won't turn the music down. Then, wearing a truly ridiculous costume, she foils a robbery in progress and goes around doing dodgy CGI over ceilings.

Daredevil breathe easy, you no longer have the stupidest flirt-fight (or flirticuffs, as I refer to it whenever I randomly start attacking women in playgrounds). Daredevil had its blind lawyer battling Elektra whilst jumping about on playground equipment. Catwoman does exactly the same thing with a basketball game and a hot cop (Bratt). Meanwhile, Catwoman's fat comedy friend (see also: Jon Favreau in Daredevil) is hospitalised by toxic beauty products. This signals the coming of the plot, which somehow involves Patience's boss and Sharon Stone.

Even aside from the fact that Catwoman has nothing to do with anything, it's a terrible movie. Maybe even worse than Batman & Robin. Halle Berry isn't all that awful though. She's as good as Uma Thurman managed to be as Poison Ivy, which is to say that her being shit is mostly the film's fault. Benjamin Bratt is likeable, whilst Sharon Stone is amusingly bad. Unlike everything else. Which is just bad. Cat-astrophically bad.

19. Justice League of America

Director: Felix Enriquez Alcala (1997)
Starring: Matthew Settle, Kimberly Oja, David Ogden Stiers
Find it: IMDB

A superhero movie that even my fourteen-year-old self thought was shit. Well done Batman & Robin, yours is not entirely the worst superhero film of 1997. I mean, it probably still is, but The Justice League Of America is solid competition.

This is a Justice League without Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman. Its most recogniseable heavy hitters are Green Lantern, Flash, Atom and Martian Manhunter. Which, to be fair, isn't all that bad as far as line-ups go. Of course, every team needs a few to make up the numbers (hello Hawkeye and Black Widow) so the big guys are joined by Fire and Ice. They must have run out of DC heroes for their Justice League and had to make up a couple of their own. The League joins forces to defeat a mad scientist who has himself a weather manipulation machine which he's using to hold the world to ransom. Or something. All I know is that dipshit calling himself Green Lantern is not Guy Gardner. The Green Lantern of Justice League has Guy Gardner's name and costume but Hal Jordan's personality. Which is to say that he's perfectly bland, like everyone else in Justice League.

The Manhunter, meanwhile, appears in only a few shadow-bound scenes and then disappears. At least he's green, which is more than we can say for Green Lantern's costume. It's like an episode of Smallville, down to the cheap rubber costumes. Forget Batman and Superman, this is an iteration of the Justice League which even Aquaman wouldn't join. Little wonder Manhunter didn't want to stick around. Any superhero movie which has a supervillain whose grand plot is to control the weather, as a rule of thumb, is not a good one. Even Bond villains are ashamed to go there.

To expect too much from Justice League is perhaps a little unfair - it's not actually a real movie, rather a TV pilot for a series that didn't happen. Going on this, that's probably a good thing.

18. Batman & Robin

Director: Joel Schumacher (1997)
Starring: George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman
Find it: IMDB

Batman (Clooney) and Robin (O' Donnell) fight the combined forces of Mr. Freeze (Shwarzenegger), Poison Ivy (Thurman) and Bane (Jeep Swenson) whilst bickering amongst themselves, agonizing over Alfred's imminent death and trying to keep Batgirl (Alica Silverstone) from crashing the party. Too many cooks, and all that. And if even one of those cooks is Joel Schumacher, it's a cook too many (although I did enjoy his 8mm).

Dispersing with most of the Gothicism the series had hitherto become known for (even Batman Forever), Batman & Robin is a brightly coloured neon-lit headache of a movie. It kicks off with Mr. Freeze relieving a museum of its valuable diamonds. Which is a lovely old fashioned plot, actually. Not enough Bat-villains these days are into the whole stealing things these days. They just want to watch the world burn. Well, Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze is very old fashioned, all stupid puns ("ice to see you" and "stay cool") and rocketships which shoot off into the atmosphere. But Batman and Robin can't stop arguing for long enough to stop him. "This," says Batman, "is why Superman works alone." If this is what a functional DC Universe would have looked like, I am in no doubt that the Superman of which Batman speaks is the Nicolas Cage version:

Elsewhere, we see the birth of Poison Ivy. Much like Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman, her creation is at the hands of a crummy boss. In this case, John Glover as Dr. Jason Woodrue. See, it really is a living and breathing DC Universe. This very much could have been set in the same universe as Wes Craven's Swamp Thing. Batman & Robin is full of ideas that predates the current slew of Marvel films by over ten years. Woodrue attempts to kill mild-mannered scientist Pamela Isley after she witnesses him selling their 'venom' to some very shady characters. Isley comes back, murders Woodrue and runs off with their experiment; Bane.

Definitely not the same Bane as the comics, cartoons, video games or forthcoming Dark Knight Rises. Bane in Batman & Robin is no criminal mastermind. He has green veins and growls a lot. Ivy and Bane forge a partnership with Mr. Freeze and set about destroying Gotham City. I suppose his making Gotham really, really cold would explain why Batman and Robin's nipples are so hard all of the time.

Batman & Robin is so bad that it's borderline unwatchable, destroying beloved characters and conventions with every passing moment. Clooney is a good Wayne (or at least, a good playboy - his Bruce Wayne is no more a 'mask' than Adam West's. In Schumacher's films, everything is taken at face value) but not much of a Batman. He's better than Val Kilmer in that he has screen presence, but no grit or substance. Robin is even worse. He's the worst character in the film, whingeing and crying and sulking the whole way through. Which is not attractive in a guy who looks about 25. Presumably because it looks cooler, he now dresses as Nightwing. Freeze is all glitter and stupid jokes. Poison Ivy is actually okay, but when surrounded by such ineptitude, even Uma Thurman can't help but suck a little bit.

Pat Hingle's portrayal of Commissioner Gordon, I still find offensive. Barbara Wilson's Batgirl is needless. Michael Gough as Alfred remains the series' anchor, managing to bring dignity to every scene in which he appears.

Batman & Robin is a ridiculous, ugly, stupid movie. I've come to regard it with some amusement since Christopher Nolan repaired the damage done, but it's still a very acquired taste. In some ways, it's more bearable than Batman Forever - it can be amusing if enjoyed ironically - but not by much. Batman & Robin is one of the worst movies ever made.

And yet, if you are fourteen years old, you will love it, unequivocally. I watched Batman & Robin in 1997, at the cinema, with an Uncle and my little brother. Fourteen-year-old me, in all of his childhood thought that this was the greatest Batman movie ever made. I had a green Bane action figure and everything. As the only person to witness my saying "wow! That was a great movie!" in relation to Batman & Robin, I now can't look that uncle in the eye. Thanks a lot, Batman & Robin.

17. Batman Forever

Director: Joel Schumacher (1995)
Starring: Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones, Nicole Kidman
Find it: IMDB

The worst thing to be created by somebody called Joel since this blog. Although Batman Forever is generally considered a better film than its sequel, Batman & Robin, at least the latter film has consistency. It's consistently shit, granted, but at least it knows what it is. Batman Forever mixes the terrible camp of Batman & Robin with the gritty Gothicism of the Tim Burton films. It's as all over the place as the decor in Two-Face's hideout.

Batman (Kilmer) is still Batmanning, this time up against scarred ex-District Attorney Two-Face (Jones) and prancing green idiot The Riddler (Carrey). This film also introduces Robin (Chris O' Donnell) and love interest Chase Meridian (Kidman). Chase Meridian is only called Chase Meridian so that they can make the stupid "and what a delightful pursuit you are" joke.

Bruce considers giving up vigilantism and settling down with Doctor Meridian, a decision Robin is less than happy with, eager to avenge the death of his parents. The guy looks about twenty years old, but Bruce adopts him anyway. Meanwhile, The Riddler has invented a device that reads minds and Two-Face wears a series of atrocious suits. Every other iteration of the character realises that Two-Face was once District Attorney of Gotham City and is not all that bad a fellow, really. Batman Forever does not realise this. The only aspect of Two-Face's personality that the filmmakers get right is the fact that he flips a coin occasionally.

Val Kilmer is not a good Batman nor a good Bruce Wayne. He aims for the distant weirdness of Michael Keaton, but misses and comes across as bored and indifferent. There's a theory that Bruce Wayne is the mask, and Batman the real personality. Well in Batman Forever neither is at all convincing. He seems no more passionate about crime fighting than he is being a billionaire. That The Riddler's mind reading machine picks up anything more than static is quite impressive.

Once Batman's secret identity is uncovered by the villains (which seems to happen in nearly every Batman movie) The Riddler and Two-Face rock up at Wayne manor, beat up Alfred, blow up the Batcave and kidnap Doctor Meridian. Batman and Robin finally come together to rescue Chase and defeat the bad guys. Well, Batman does. Robin is immediately kidnapped by Two-Face so he can play Boy Hostage in the death trap next to Chase. There are a lot of death traps in Batman Forever, which recalls the days of Adam West and Burt Ward. Tommy Lee Jones's Two-Face really wouldn't have gone amiss alongside Caesar Romero and Frank Gorshin. He's a harmless goon. With nary a 'biff', 'pow' or even a 'sock', Batman saves the hostages, fries the Riddler's brain and makes Two-Face fall off a really high ledge. But at least he tries to save him, rather than vindictively tying a gargoyle to his leg and watching him splat on the pavement.

Batman Forever is a watchable film, but a terrible portrayal of Batman, Robin and Two-Face. Commissioner Gordon is still unrecogniseable. The Riddler fares slightly better, but the only person remotely fitting a character as we know him is Michael Gough as Alfred. I actually feel that he makes a better Alfred than Michael Caine. Not a lot of people know that.

Batman Forever? Well, not quite. Just one more film before they killed the franchise to sleep for nearly ten years.

16. Babe

Director: Chris Noonan (1995)
Starring: Christine Cavanaugh, James Cromwell, Hugo Weaving
Find it: IMDB

An adorable pig (Cavanaugh) decides that he doesn't want to be bacon sandwiches and sets his heart on becoming a sheepdog. Sheep-pig. Farmer Hoggett (Cromwell) discovers Babe's surprising aptitude for sheep herding and trains the little fellow up to realise his dreams, entering him in a national sheepdog competition.

I watched Babe today with a hangover and it left me wanting a sausage sandwich. Don't think bad of me; cannibal films make me hungry too. In fact, most movies make me hungry. But if I was the sort of person who was easily influenced, Babe would have turned me into a vegetarian. It's a cute, amusing movie for all ages. Children have the talking animals and grown-ups can laugh at the fact that Babe was written by a man called Dick King-Smith. Haha, Dick.

Look, it has a baby pig go around calling a dog 'mom'. Ain't that cute. It's also a very existential movie. At one point, Babe asks "why are any of us here?" Deep. And its musings on the nature of things (things which don't appear useful get eaten) is a message all children should hear. Damn straight, if you're useless, you get eaten. Now go herd some sheep or climb a chimney. Make yourself useful.

How can one not love a movie in which James Cromwell bottle feeds a pig whilst singing 'If I Had Words'? It's really beautifully done, actually, and precedes Babe's very best joke. Hugo Weaving voices a grumpy dog. It makes his villainous roles in The Matrix and Transformers very difficult to take seriously.

Babe is a great movie. Even if it does always make me hungry. It should leave a tear in the eye of even the hardest-hearted individual. That'll do, pig.

15. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down

Director: Pedro Almodovar (1990)
Starring: Victoria Abril, Antonio Banderas, Loles Leon
Find it: IMDB

Antonio Banderas; making Stockholm Syndrome sexy since 1990. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down is a romantic comedy about a man called Ricky (Banderas) who is released from a mental hospital and tries to convince an old flame and pornstar to be his wife. Marina (Abril) is less than keen, so Ricky ties her up whilst he tries to change her mind. Not in a rapey way, alright.

Antonio Banderas, you can kidnap me anytime. Well, not really, I'm more of a dom, but if I was going to let any man do that sort of thing to me, it'd be Antonio Banderas. Who knows, I might even fall in love with him like Marina does. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down, granted, sounds more like the plot of a thriller or horror than it does a romantic comedy. But it's sweet in the same way as A Life Less Ordinary (a very underrated Danny Boyle romcom) and is a very feisty, sexy movie. It's not even misogynistic, which you might expect from a piece about a man who makes a woman love him by tying her to a bed and gagging her face. But this is from the mind of Pedro Almodovar, a man who knows his strong women.

Look, if I'm going to watch a romantic comedy, I might as well watch one with copious amounts of (eventually) consensual bondage and Antonio Banderas being manly and awesome. True story, I once wrote a girl a love poem. In the fourth couplet were the lines "Stockholm ain't just a place/she should have bought some mace" (and yet my heart still ended up broke like Greece, so I ask you who the real dom was in that relationship). That in mind, yes, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down is a great romantic comedy.

14. Requiem For A Dream

Director: Darren Aronofsky (2000)
Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans
Find it: IMDB

Drugs are bad, mmm'kay. Requiem For A Dream is a movie that I've seen frequently top "most depressing films of all time" lists, piquing my curiosity on many an occasion. A bit of cinematic misery can be good for the soul sometimes, so I approached Requiem hoping for the next Jurassic Bark or death of Buffy episode. Requiem For A Dream is very depressing. Shockingly so, sometimes. But still I was left disappointed. Maybe it's because I've seen the worst of the worst. Maybe it's because I'm an emotionless shell. Maybe it's because I've never tried drugs nor particularly liked the druggies I once called friends (if you can call someone who sits in a field on a cold winter's day smoking weed a 'druggie'). But Requiem For A Dream left me with little more than an indifferent "huh."

Still, I will never mock the acting powers of Jared Leto or Marlon Wayans again. Wayans is revelatory, although I have only ever seen the most obnoxious of his works (the admittedly enjoyable Scary Movie, the shit Little Man and White Chicks). His Tyrone is a completely serious character, and Wayans works it very well. Jared Leto is good as Harry. '30 Seconds To Mars' are still shit, but I'm less inclined to sneer at his acting output in future. Jennifer Connelly is as great as ever as Harry's girlfriend, Marion. But the most tragic of the stories is that of Sara (Burstyn) who becomes addicted to a mix of weight loss pills, antidepressants and an overriding desire to be on TV. A TV which Harry keeps stealing. Whilst the Harry, Tyrone and Marion storyline is very much 'drugs are bad' infomercial material, Sara's is simply horrific.

Through Sara's gradual physical and mental disintegration comes some of the most weird and disturbing imagery this side of a Takashi Miike film. At times, Requiem For A Dream is more unsettling and upsetting than many a horror movie. Its brand of body horror certainly wouldn't go amiss in a David Cronenberg piece, particularly Jared Leto's purple arm and Jennifer Connelly's later sex scenes.

And yet I expected it to go further. So much has said about the power of Requiem For A Dream that now it can't help but underwhelm slightly. The victim of too many "most depressing films of all time" features, I expected something spectacularly gruesome from its finale. Instead, there's something miserable but not unexpected. Maybe it's par for the course for a horror fan. We've seen Martyrs and Serbian Films.

Requiem For A Dream is a powerful movie, exceptionally well-acted and directed, and guaranteed to stick with the viewer for a long time afterwards. If nothing else, there's Clint Mansell's Orchestral track, which is completely and utterly one of the most beautiful things ever to be set to film. Whenever anything remotely crap happens in my life, this is the song I'll be listening to.

13. The Tourist

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2010)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton
Find it: IMDB

One of the more unpleasant moviegoing experiences of the past ten years. The Tourist is directed by somebody called Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, and is exactly the sort of film that you'd imagine somebody called Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck might direct. It is an atrociously bad movie, attempting to do something stylish and European but instead it flounders and becomes a flowery, incomprehensible, smug self-consciously pretty affair.

Holidaying American Frank Tupelo (Depp) is visiting Italy, hoping to mend a broken heart. On a train, he crosses paths with Elise (Jolie) a fugitive on the run after doing something not very interesting but nonetheless illegal. Something to do with her criminal mastermind lover, who may or may not be 'The Englishman' (Rufus Sewell). She is pursued by cops Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton. Frank and Elise dance around Italy looking pretty and aggressively flirting with one another. Pursued by the police and gangsters, there are rooftop chases and boat chases and a host of other scenes in which the characters are chased for reasons mostly unclear. At one point, Frank is chased across a rooftop in his pyjamas. Depp does his Jack Sparrow mince on a number of occasions, as well as the Jack Sparrow face and the Jack Sparrow voice. I fear Mister Depp has started to go native.

I watched The Tourist in the pursuit of sex, at the cinema. The Tourist was so rubbish that even she wanted to leave halfway through. We stayed, because I am a movie fascist and I never leave the cinema halfway through, sex or no sex (no sex, if you must know. The Tourist is so terrible that it causes impotence). The Tourist is the worst thing a woman has ever made me do, even worse than shaving my balls. Those hoping that The Tourist might offer a variation on Mr. and Mrs. Smith's sexy thriller will be very disappointed. The Tourist is neither sexy nor thrilling. Both Depp and Jolie act as though half-asleep or tranquilized, neither particularly interested in the stupid story and script. There's a ridiculous twist at the end, but not all that much worse than the preceding 100 minutes.

The Tourist made me want to never leave home again.