Failed Critics Podcast: The Pope is a D**khead



Apologies for the… un-Christian… language in this week’s episode title, but when Steve goes off on one during the podcast recording – as he does this week – it’s hard to ignore.

For everyone but the Pope, welcome to another episode of the Failed Critics Podcast! It’s our last regular episode now until 2016, as Christmas, Star Wars and End of Year specials are the only thing left for us to record in order to see the year out.

As ever, this week’s episode starts off with a quiz, straight from Steve’s bulging sack. Yes, you guessed it! It’s Santa themed (that’s what you were guessing, right?) and swiftly followed by a look through a few of the winners at the BIFAs. We also make an appeal for votes in this year’s Failed Critics Awards! Last year we had record numbers of people submitting their top 10 films of the year to us, and we hope this year that you’ll help improve on 2014’s total! Voting ends on Sunday 27th December.

We also have a lengthy discussion about the relative merits of Star Wars Episodes I-VI that Brooker has been watching recently – and quickly preview what we’re expecting from Episode VII: the Force Awakens. We also have a moan about the new full Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice spoilerific trailer that came out this past week. Steve reviews a couple of films that he’s watched of late, including Tony Scott’s final movie, Unstoppable, and the Disney classic, Jungle Book. Meanwhile, Owen is back on the Korean movies for a review of the Hitchcockian crime-thriller A Hard Day, as well as recommending Danish Western The Salvation, starring Mads Mikkelsen.

All of this, plus three new release reviews! Festivities may be under way in Christmas With The Coopers, but Brooker doesn’t think it’s bringing much joy to the world. Similarly, he struggles to remember much about the awful Victor Frankenstein adaptation that came out this weekend. Finally, ending on a positive note, Krampus establishes itself as one of our favourite Christmas films of all time. Genuinely.

Join us again next week as Andrew Brooker returns along with Brian Plank for our Christmas special 2015!



Failed Critics Podcast: Ronaldo, World Cinema & Listener Questions




Bonjour, guten tag, konnichiwa, hola, namaste, aloha, salve, an-nyong, olá, goddag, ahalan, shalom, nei ho… and hello!

Welcome to this week’s Failed Critics Podcast as Owen and Steve take a break from reviewing new releases (sort of) to draft in special guests and world cinema aficionados (and podcast débutantes), Andy and Liam.

Whilst it may be the first time on Failed Critics for the cultured duo, this episode does see the return of a feature from earlier this year called ‘Listener Questions’. Through our Twitter and Facebook pages, we invited listeners and previous podcast guests to send in any question at all that they wanted to ask us – and they did! We’ve done our best to answer as many as we could but as ever, it’s all a bit shambolic from the get go!

There’s also reviews of some lesser known movies from around the world; from the Danish black comedy starring Mads Mikkelsen called Green Butchers, to the charming Spanish animation Nocturna, via a stop over in Romania for some tasteful holocaust comedy with Train of Life. We do manage to sneak in one quick new release review though as Steve reports back on sports documentary Ronaldo, executive produced by James Gay-Rees and Asif Kapadia (Senna, Amy, etc).

Join us again next week for a Hunger Games special episode with guests Callum Petch and Chris Haigh! Who will survive?? (Hopefully everybody. It’s only a podcast.)



Failed Critics Podcast: The Blair Witch Project (Commentary)



Never let it be said that the Failed Critics are afraid to try anything new. I mean, it’s only taken us 192 episodes to finally get around to doing a film commentary.

Andrew Brooker and Matt Lambourne joined hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes for this special episode as together they watch and share their thoughts, opinions, anecdotes and stories about 1999’s pioneering indie found footage horror, The Blair Witch Project, co-written and co-directed by Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick.

As the four failed critics gathered for their unholy ceremony, only Owen knew which film they were going to be watching that night. If you listen closely when it’s revealed, you can hear the lamentations of Brooker who hates the film, the rustle of a jumper as Steve’s shrugging shoulders indicate he has no opinion either way, and then Matt jumps for joy as he prepares to shit himself at one of the scariest films ever made.

The film was streamed via Netflix UK, so if you want to watch the film underneath our commentary, we’ll tell you when to hit play and you can listen along as we try to remain interesting for the whole 80 minutes. Alternatively, the podcast should just work as a normal hour and 20 minutes of general shenanigans and film related chat. What I’m getting at is you don’t need to watch the film to enjoy this week’s podcast, but it will probably help!

If you like the idea or would like to see more of this sort of thing for some of your favourite movies, leave a comment in the box below, send us a tweet or post on our Facebook page. Otherwise, join us again next week as we get back to our regular format.



Failed Critics Podcast: In SPECTRE, It’s Columbo




The name’s Critics. Failed Critics. Should you expect us to die during our James Bond special episode? No, you should expect us to talk!

And that’s exactly what we do for about 90 minutes, as hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by special guests Tony Black (from Pick A Flick) and Brian Plank. The main review this week is of course the latest adventures of Britain’s (worst kept) secret agent in SPECTRE. Sam Mendes is back in the director’s seat after his record breaking success with Skyfall, and Daniel Craig faces yet more peril with the rise of a shady organisation threatening the safety of the British people.

To tie into the release of SPECTRE, we have a miniature version of our Corridor of Praise episodes as we induct 007 himself. Starting with Ian Fleming’s original novels, right through to Daniel Craig emerging from the sea in Speedo swimming trunks, we cover the character’s history from beginning to the modern day.

There’s also time for us to squeeze in Owen’s review of the Columbo TV movie that Steve made him watch after last week’s quiz, before this weeks Bond-themed quiz takes place. We also react to a few news items that have crossed our paths over the last seven days, including: Indiana Jones 5 and potential re-casting issues; why the Steve Jobs movie is tanking in the US; and one of Hollywood’s Golden Age actresses, Maureen O’Hara, passing away.

Join us again next week where we’ll have more guests, more films and less Columbo.



Podcasting – Part 1: The future is now

In this five-part series, I’ll be taking a look at why I believe podcasts are not the future of broadcasting. But why they are the present. The current. The here-and-now of personal broadcasting. Each article will also feature a selection of my favourite podcasts from a variety of categories.


Along with slightly less flexible tools like YouTube and Periscope, podcasts are continually changing the way we consume media.

In 2005-06, podcasting was seen as the future, given the huge success and popularity of XFM’s downloadable digest of The Ricky Gervais Show. First released for free, and subsequently developed into a paid-for series earning record breaking download numbers, it created an enormous amount of hype around this exciting new platform.

Choosing when and where you want to listen to your favourite radio shows? Imagine the possibilities!

It was in the same year that Apple recognised the value of podcasts, incorporating a native podcast function into their iTunes software, making it even easier to discover new shows; and for new shows to be discovered.

I was no different. I got caught up in the hype. I had an iPod – or an iPod classic as they’re called these days – which only finally kicked the bucket a couple of years ago. I’m not loyal to any particular brand (I have an Android phone, a Windows laptop, a Playstation console and so on) but top of my list to Santa Claus that year was a new iPod classic. I loved that little gadget and I wasn’t prepared to give up on it yet.

Back in 2005, I never left the house without this little white electronic device in my pocket. After I had finally gotten over the fact that something so small had a 60GB hard drive that could hold all of my music and still have plenty of space for videos, audiobooks and photos, I set about filling that remaining void with podcasts.

And I did over the years. Adam & Joe’s 6Music podcast, Kevin Smith’s SModcast, Russell Brand pre-Sachsgate; they all helped make my hour long commute to work on the bus fractionally more bearable through the early-adopter years.

Below I’ve listed three of my old favourite podcasts that used to get me through those tiresome treks to work, back when podcasting seemed to be the realm of professional writers and performers only.

Part two of this series will continue tomorrow as I ponder what a podcast revolution looks like, along with a list of my current three favourite podcasts.

“Timeghost” by Armstrong & Miller – Known now mainly for their BBC sketch show, in 2008, The Times Online transferred their radio-critic characters Martin Baines-Jones and Craig Children to a weekly podcast. And it was (and still is) hilarious.

The Adam & Joe XFM Podcast – Long before they had a show on 6Music, I used to love staying up late to watch The Adam & Joe Show on Channel 4. A few years later, in 2004, they started to appear together on the London radio station XFM which my wife (then girlfriend) and I listened to together. And if truth be told, it’s these episodes that they trimmed down and released as podcasts that first introduced me to the potential of podcasts.

Richard Herring’s As It Occurs To Me – A sketch-comedy series by comedian Richard Herring that was released in 2009, I pretty much listened to this non-stop when I found out about it, frantically trying to catch up on the back-log of episodes.

Fayled Crytycs Podcast: Termynator Genysys & Magyc Myke XXL

Fayled Crytycs Podcast: Termynator Genysys & Magyc Myke XXL


Come with us yf you want to lyve yn a world where there are only 25 letters of the alphabet.

Or stay in your regular 26-letter alphabet world if you like? You can still come with us through another 90 minutes of Failed Critics Podcast film chatter. On this episode, the usual voices of Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by the returning Callum Petch to review new releases Terminator Genisys and Magic Mike XXL.

Also on this episode, the team take a look over the past week’s film news, including the Film4 FrightFest programme announcement and Inside Out smashing a box office record previously held by Avatar! Sticking with the James Cameron theme, Owen reviews his 1989 deep-water sci-fi The Abyss in our What We’ve Been Watching section; Steve reveals his thoughts on spy-comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service and why Danny Dyer would still make a good James Bond; and continuing along his path to see more cult 80’s classics, Callum watches the recently restored Furious, as well as voluntarily torturing himself with the abhorrent FIFA-backed drama United Passions.

Join us again next week as we’ll be chatting with Jack, Chris and Phil from the Wikishuffle podcast! And probably reviewing Ted 2..? We’ll see.



Failed Critics Podcast: An Advert!


Never actually listened to our podcast?

Only ever read our articles on the website?

Then why not try giving the following 60 second clip promoting our podcast a quick listen as we attempt to “string a few sentences together”!

Each week on the Failed Critics Podcast, the team review the latest cinema release, talk about what else they’ve seen in the past seven days and discuss the latest news from the film world (if it happens to have crossed their Twitter feeds prior to recording). Occasionally the team will also produce a themed Triple Bill, choosing three films each that fit a particular category.

If you want in depth reviews of the key components that make an individual movie good or bad, then you’re looking in the wrong place. If you want to listen to a group of people chat about film and be occasionally humorous with it, then that’s us.

In the meantime, if you’re new to the Failed Critics podcast and want to listen to more, but aren’t sure where to join in from, then the latest episode is always the best. We hardly ever have in-jokes or call backs to podcasts older than maybe one or two weeks, so hopefully you won’t feel left out!

The Failed Critics Podcast was created by James Diamond. It’s produced by Owen Hughes and presented by Steve Norman. Including (but not limited to) contributions by: Gerry McAuley, Carole Petts, Matt Lambourne, Callum Petch, Andrew Brooker, Mike Shawcross, Paul Field and James Diamond.

All music by Kevin MacLeod of (remixed by James Yuill from episode 150 onwards)

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You can also find us on Twitter (@FailedCritics) and Facebook (/failedcritics). Or email us at