Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Thing - Cast and Crew Interview Feature

Released this Friday, The Thing is the hugely anticipated prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 horror classic.
Set before the events of the original, we bare witness to the Thing's arrival and how it wreaked havoc at the Norwegian base before it reached MacReady and co.

Check out an exclusive interview with  the cast and crew before you hit the cinema!

Special thanks to Feref for the feature.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Review - Catfish

We already had one film about Facebook which was a fascinating insight in how the social networking site came to existence but one other Facebook-related film that is often overlooked is Catfish. Putting us into a real-life situation, Catfish is a staggering look at the effects the site can have on individuals and the power it has over everyday life.

Nev Schulman lives in New York and is a photographer with dreams of making it big in the future and he may just have his break after he gets to know a very special young girl, who is an incredibly talented painter, through Facebook. Abby is a painting prodigy from Michigan, with her paintings usurping a lot of artists much older than her age of just eight. When Nev gets to know more about her through her family he strikes a great bond with mother Angela and constantly receives packages showcasing Abby’s most recent paintings. Being told that the paintings are selling for large sums of money and that they are being presented at different events, Nev is excited at the prospect of being involved with such a huge talent.

He is then introduced further to the family with the introduction of other daughter Megan. Striking an instant connection with one another, they find themselves communicating online and via text every day and in no time at all Nev finds himself infatuated with a girl he has never met. With his bond increasing with the family, Nev decides it is only right to go to the other side of America in order to finally meet those he has been in constant contact with for such a long time.

Despite such a vast amount of contact between Nev and the Pierce’s, the cracks begin to show in some of the family members causing some questions to be asked and a decision to find out the full truth surrounding this supposed child prodigy. We then set off with Nev and his two friends, Ariel and Henry, who document the whole journey, to locate the house of Pierce family and finally come face-to-face with those he has been in contact with for so long. When they arrive it seems that all is not as simple as Angela the mother has been letting on.

Catfish is a highly successful film in immersing the viewer into a world that really exists in this day and age. The world of social networking is a huge part of our lives in this day and age and this story is one that is so intriguing that you cannot help but watch to find out the eventual outcome. Nev’s story is a captivating tale dealing with such issues as love and betrayal put against the backdrop of the perils of social networking sites. We are truly given a tour de force of the dangers of sites such as Facebook and the ways in which they can be so easily manipulated; it really does make you think twice about the uses for such sites.

With its clear message surrounding social networking and a truly masterful piece of thrilling filmmaking, Catfish is a film to be treasured and shared amongst all film fans. Raising some clear issues with something we can all relate to, it manages to grasp the viewer with such a simple premise and the events we witness are neither over-hyped nor played out in an unbelievable fashion. This is reality and this is a film with a hard-hitting message that really does hit home. Fantastic.

Film rating: 4 out of 5 F’s

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Cinema Review - Breaking Dawn Part 1

The Twilight saga has mesmerised young and older audiences since 2008 and we finally reach what is the last stretch home, Breaking Dawn. With Stephanie Meyers' final book being the largest in the series the decision to split the film into two comes as somewhat of a replication of the final Harry Potter instalment.

Being a non-Twilight fan I had to go into this one with, yet again, an open mind and here's what I essentially thought.

Following Edward's proposal in the previous film, Eclipse, he, Bella and the Cullen family are preparing for the wedding that will finally unite the two and cement Bella's place into the family of vampires. With the impending transformation of Bella into a vampire, Jacob is yet again on the scene supporting her despite his beliefs.

After a prolonged wedding preparation and eventualy ceremony, the couple head off to their honeymoon retreat on the secluded island of Isle Esme. On the island the two finally express their feelings for each other and consumate their love despite the risks involved and Edward's reservations. Unfortunately this has repercussions for the newlyweds...

In addition to the problems Bella and Edward are about to face, Jacob has his own issues to deal with. Due to his strong relationship with Bella and his dealings with the Cullen family he is forced to rise up against his own family and join the opposing side. These events soon result in some unexpected friendships within the families and ultimately these bonds will help shape the future for both sides.

Admittedly fans of the Twilight series will be in familiar territory with the first part of Breaking Dawn but it appears too sentimental and overly mushy. Understandably it is a story about love but this is constantly thrust into your face for too much of the film.

A film which could have been simplified with a shorter running time is what we come across and some scenes, such as the wedding event itself tend to drag their feet. There is little in the terms of action, with time limited to just one scene in which the vampires and wolves face off but this is short-lived and is nothing newcompared to previous encounters.

There is little in the way of positivity when summing up the film, Bella is as ever, miserable in the majority of her scenes and Jacob and Edward are as always the men behind her showing their powers of 'forever devotion'. One saving grace, albeit after the credits, was a well set-up scene involving the infamous Volturi, kindly lending some prospect for the final edition.

Film rating: 2 out of 5 F's

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Trailer Breakdown - The Hunger Games

Following Monday's release of the first full Hunger Games trailer there was quite a buzz on the internet surrounding this book to film adaptation. 
In case you missed any notable pieces of the trailer check out our breakdown of the best bits.

Meet Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth), best friends in District 12, who are about to experience an event to change their relationship forever. The Hunger Games are set to begin.

About to announce the participants of the next annual Hunger Games Effie Trinkett (Elizabeth Banks) hits the microphone to seal the fates of 2 individuals from each of the 12 districts.

On the announcement of Katniss' sister Primrose being selected for the Games her older sister refuses to let her compete and announces herself as a Tribute, and replaces her sister as a competitor in the fight to the death. 

With all the competitors picked for the Games they are then whisked off to be made up for the big event. The man tasked for transforming Katniss is Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), a man determined to get Katniss noticed when each individual is shown off to the district-wide crowd.

Also, offering a word of advise to our Katniss, is a quick glimpse of the 50th winner of The Hunger Games Haymitch Abernathy. He also represented District 12 in the tournament. 

Despite having a tough time ahead Katniss is a skilled archer, following her hunting expeditions in the forests with Gale. She will certainly be a formidable force if she can get her hands on her weapon of choice.

Katniss and fellow Distrcit 12 participant Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) ponder life before they prepare to enter into battle. A relationship that progresses as the film plays out...

As the clock counts down to zero...


The Hunger Games is released in the UK on 23rd March 2012.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer arrives!

It's one of my most anticipated trailers for some time and finally today we have The Hunger Games trailer unleashed! Check it out below.

Let us know your thoughts!
Hopefully this won't be another Twilight situation!!!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Fanatical Film Spotlight: The Hunger Games

As the official trailer is released tomorrow I thought it only best to do a feature on the upcoming Hunger Games film and give my thoughts.

Now I admit I am not particularly an avid reader but when I heard about The Hunger Games Trilogy and upcoming plans of movies I couldn't help but want to read the first book before the first film's release next year. Having finally finished book one I am immensely looking forward to the film but there are some slight qualms I have after reading various reports on the film. Check out what I think below.

Firstly, if you are not familiar with the premise of The Hunger Games then let me divulge.

North America is now known as the nation Panem, the Capitol, with 12 districts surrounding it. Each year a competition known as The Hunger Games is forced upon these districts by the Capitol with one boy and one girl, aged between 12 and 18 chosen to represent their district in a fight to the death.

We follow the journey of sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who forces herself into the Games to replace her younger sister. She is a natural hunter, roaming beyond the walls of District 12 with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth) to find food for their families.

But this is a whole new test for Katniss' hunting skills. She has to kill or be killed in the annual event which brings the people of the Capitol together for the biggest event of the calendar. Will Katniss' skills with a bow and knowledge of the forest aid her or will she fall victim to the competitors from the other districts?

With a premise that promises both excitement and emotion, The Hunger Games is a perfect book to be adapted to screen. I do however have a few reservations about the film.

Firstly, the decision to make it a 12a slightly baffles me. A book which contains some rather graphic violence deserves to be reflected thoroughly in the movie, after all this is a tournament where killing is the only way to win. Extreme violence is not necessary but to get the audience immersed into the seriousness of the events unfolding it would only make sense but to immerse us into a Games with utter realism.

Additionally with the decision of a younger audience being reached it could turn out that the Hunger Games may result in shifting gears down the Twilight route with a love triangle representing two districts, this may mar a potentially good film. 

On the plus side the cast seems almost perfectly assembled with the possibility of great things to come. Up-and-coming Jennifer Lawrence looks the part as Katniss and the likes of Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks supporting help to give extra bang for your buck. 

Whatever happens there can be no doubt that The Hunger Games will draw in the crowds and let's hope that after a very vague teaser trailer we get a fantastic one to whet one's appetite tomorrow.

Stay tuned to Fanatical Film tomorrow for the new trailer.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Review - In Time

At first glance in Time appears with slight comparisons of Michael Bay's The Island but under the surface is a much different film.

With a unique take on life In Time places us in the future, 2161 to be specific, where the world has changed vastly, with nobody ageing beyond 25 physically and time now the universal currency. With the price of living costing more and more by the day, life is difficult for the working class and amongst those is Will Salas (Timberlake), a factory worker who lives with his mother (Olivia Wilde) attempting to cope day-by-day to survive. 

With their life clocks at a maximum of a day at a time, life is a struggle with the threat of death looming constantly. When his mother runs out of time and dies in his arms, Will decides that action must be taken against those who govern the time supplied to the masses. After meeting a stranger in a bar who gifts him with with over a century of time Will finds himself a wanted man and heads towards a different district where he aims to take down those responsible for the time handling. 

After meeting the 90-year old millionaire Phillipe Weis and his daughter Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) Will is caught by timekeeper Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) and questioned as to how he acquired so much time. Escaping custody and taking Sylvia with him, Will embarks on a journey to overcome the might of the timekeepers and restore the world to normal living.  

In Time is a film shrouded in mediocrity from beginning to end. Despite a pretty solid performance from Timberlake the events that are unfold to not help him. Every chase scene we witness offers little threat to our main characters and at points the film does not know whether it wants to be either an action thriller or simply a film with a message about the state of the global economy.

The film will make the viewer feel slightly redundant following its trailer which suggests a reasonable amount of high octane action chase sequences.  In truth these are short-lived and in most cases dreadfully dull and predictable. Despite a story that is both unique and thought-provoking, the film is let down by a lack of ambition in its set pieces and Timberlake as an actor was built for better projects. Bitterly disappointing as a whole. 

Film rating: 2 out of 5 F's

Monday, 7 November 2011

Movie Talk On Sunday Overview - War Films

Sundays at 8.00pm GMT is where its at for film lovers all over the world, that's right that is the time for Movie Talk On Sunday (MTOS) on Twitter. If you're not familiar it's a basic concept, one host, one film genre, ten questions each spread by ten minutes and a whole lot of film discussion. This week's edition was hosted by @kindamoviesnob and was all about War movies. Check out the best of the action below soldier!

Q1. What are your favourite War movies?
Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, Paths Of Glory, Where Eagles Dare, Inglorious Basterds, Bridge Over The River Kwai, The Train, A Path To War, The Hurt Locker, Three Kings,Platoon, Good Morning Vietnam, Starship Troopers, Cross Of Iron, Letters From Iwo Jima, Guns Of Navarone, The Thin Red Line, Schindler's ListAll Quiet On The Western Front, Das Boot, Pan's Labyrinth, The Dambusters
A1. Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, All Quiet on the Western Front, Rome: Open City, Lord of the Rings (?) #MTOS
A1 Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, The African Queen. Aka my top 3. PopPeelings
A1. Small Soldiers! It's warfare... against Middle America! #MTOS

Q2. Is historical accuracy important in films?
A2- It depends of the message the movie is trying to convey. Is the war just a backdrop to something else? #MTOS
A2. Only if they are pushing the TRUE STORY element. Otherwise I'm all for cinematicing it up for a flowing plot. #MTOS
A2. I think Inglorious Basterds is a prime example that skewing history can be very entertaining #MTOS
A2 Captain America wasn't real but had a more accurate portrayal of the Allies than most US films- where it seems only yanks fought...

Q3. What is the saddest scene in a war film?
A3. The scene the end of Schindler's List where he contemplates how many more people he could have saved. Get me every time.#mtos
A3. The suicide scene in Letters From Iwo Jima, heartbreaking#MTOS
A3. The moment where Edward Woodward and Bryan Brown hold hands at the end of BREAKER MORANT as they walk to face the firing squad #MTOS
A3, Numerous scenes from Grave of the Fireflies. Saddest war film ever made. Don't wanna post any spoilers though. #MTOS

Q4. What is a war film you have not seen but should have?
Grave Of The Fireflies, Full Metal Jacket, Empire Of The Sun, Great Escape, The Pianist, Hotel Rwanda, Cross Of Iron, Paths Of Glory, Flags Of Our Father, Letters To Iwo Jima, Catch 22, The Battle Of Algiers

Q5. Why do you think we find entertainment in war films?
A5.) I guess the idea of beating adversity (though not always) because war films always seem to be from the proverbial underdog's POV #MTOS
#MTOS #A5 The same reason we love apocalyptic movies - we want to imagine the worst depths we can sink to, and come back unscathed
A5 Quite a few reasons, including: Horrified fascination, empathy, relief and appreciation, gratitude, enjoyment of action, instinct.#MTOS
A5. Drama, cinematic war sequences can be incredible. And everyone likes a bit of warfare every now and again. Just blow shit up. #MTOS
A5, despite the mentioned historical inaccuracy that can occur, it gives us a glimpse of some of histories most important events.#MTOS

Q6. Who is your favourite actor in a war film?
I actually loved Giovanni Ribisi as the medic in Saving Private Ryan, an understated actor and his death scene was harrowing#mtos
A6. Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds worthy of the Oscar he got. #MTOS
A6. R Lee Ermy from FMJ, hands down my favourite single performance. Or Tom Cruise on 4th July. #MTOS
A6) Mel Gibson. I know, I know. #MTOS

Q7. What is the most underrated war movie?
Hot Shots Part Deux, Heartbreak Ridge, Come And See, Tigerland, The Train, The Big Red One, Glory, For Whom The Bell Tolls, Saints And Soldiers, Attack, Siege Of Firebase Gloria, Ché, Soldier Of Orange, Murphy's Law, Red Angel

Q8. What is the most memorable scene in a war film?
A8. The Ewok leaning over to mourn his dead comrade in RETURN OF THE JEDI #MTOS
A8. So many iconic scenes in Apocalypse and Full Metal Jacket but the opening of Saving Private Ryan is completely amazing #MTOS
#MTOS a)8 Willem Defoe on his knees in Platoon or Matthew Brodericks death with his unit in Glory.
A8. Dr Strangelove. 'Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.' Totally sums up the ludicrosity of war #MTOS

Q9. Who is your favourite war film hero?
A9 I personally love Private Jackson from Saving Private Ryan. I'm a sucker for snipers. And Richard Winters from BOB. My all time fav #MTOS
A9 Han Solo all the way #starwarscounts #MTOS
A9 I think Rambo will be the overwhelmingly popular choice!#MTOS
A9. Kirk Douglas is a true hero in PATHS OF GLORY for pointing out the travesties those in power can perpetrate during war.#MTOS
A9 Robert Duvall...simply for being a surf-loving, napalm-smelling, aviator-wearing badass in the midst of war (Apocalypse Now).#MTOS

Q10. What is a war that deserves more attention in cinema?
A10 - Pre-WWI haven't received a lot of attention. Gibson's flicks have shown that enough budget dollars behind them, they can work. #MTOS
#MTOS A10 Anything that's not WW1&2 or Vietnam really. There's some great stories out there, & it can educate regarding history/politics etc
A10. Not enough fictional, fantastical wars like in Star Wars, Lotr or 300 #MTOS
A10. Some of America's nastier wars, esp against the Native Americans. Falklands? Would love more Napoleonic films. #MTOS
A10, The Korean war has had surprisingly little attention from Hollywood. #MTOS

As always another great MTOS was had by all and all participants will agree in thanking @kindamoviesnob for hosting this week's edition. Don't forget this Sunday's topic is Books To Film and will be hosted by the lovely @filmvsbook, see you there!