Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Man Of Steel Gets A New Poster

I cannot deny I am one of those superhero fans that has always stood by Superman. Christopher Reeves' efforts in the suit have always remained iconic, albeit the sequels gradually turning down a rather laughable path, but the son of Krypton has always been my favourite.

Even through what some people thought was a poor return in Superman Returns, I rather enjoyed the man of steel back on the big screen and am hugely anticipating the return of DC Comics' finest hero in Man Of Steel

After a teaser trailer that did a great job of ramping up the excitement and a nifty close-shot poster of new man in the cape Henry Cavill, a new poster has recently been released and boy is it an interesting one. Click here for my story on the new poster via Filmoria.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen Join 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past

Now usually I don't post many news stories on the site but this was one that could not be ignored purely for the fact that A) The follow-up to X-Men: First Class is one that just cannot be ignored and B) Two men who helped make the X-Men films such a global phenomenon are returning in roles that they made their own.

That's right, Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will be returning to the X-Men foray as Magneto and Professor X, respectively for Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days Of Future Past. This is the news that we had somewhat been waiting for and now Bryan Singer has confirmed this exciting development via his Twitter account.

The acquisition of the two legends of film means that Days Of Future Past looks set to bring us the famous comic story arc that sees future member of the X-Men Kitty Pride sent back to the past to warn the younger versions of the team that an apocalyptic future dawns upon them. In the future world, following the assassination of a huge political figure, war has been declared on the mutants and giant robots by the name of Sentinels roam to eliminate all mutants in existence. 

Despite a story that could prove a complicated one to transfer on screen, there is no doubt that this will be the most ambitious and heavyweight outing yet. With Bryan Singer back in the director's chair for a franchise he started, it certainly looks promising for a return to form and with The Wolverine also set for the near future things are looking good for those X-Men. Now all we need is a decent Gambit...

Source: Filmoria

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Cinema Review - Silver Linings Playbook

As we edge closer to the end of yet another year in cinema, 2012 is proving to be one hell of a ride for films. As is accustomed for this period of a year, the Oscar contenders are unveiling themselves thick and fast, and one that I would certainly put money on is David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) is a man whose life you could say is starting over. Having been recently released from a mental institute following a eight month stint, the bi-polar sufferer heads back home to reside with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) in order to remain stable. The problem for Pat is that he is still insistent that he will reunite with his wife, whom has put a restraining order against him following the revelation that she was having an affair.

After meeting with the sister of a family friend, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), an equally unhinged and judged individual, Pat strikes up a rather dysfunctional yet blossoming relationship with her and soon the pair collaborate to aid one another's needs. As Pat seeks to regain the love of his wife, Tiffany's feelings for him grow stronger, but will Pat's 'silver lining' theory be proved true?

Silver Linings Playbook is a film of sheer brilliance that captivates from start to finish. David O. Russell continues his fine form from his previous Oscar banking chip The Fighter to bring to us yet another endearing and compelling drama. Bringing together a dysfunctional family and two hugely engaging central characters, the director creates a film that, despite being far from genre-specific, is a joy to behold and oozes realism and ultimately captivates.

In Cooper and Lawrence, the film possesses two whirlwind talents, and their performances are surely to be commended with Oscar nods. On one side Cooper copes brilliantly with tackling a bi-polar sufferer, awkward in conversing with others, unaware of his errors and intent on particular things in life. 

Lawrence, on the flip side, provides the standout turn as she breezes through with a performance that is a stamp of authority on her versatility as an actress, flipping a switch from seemingly controlled to outright unpredictably broken. The actress is going from strength to strength and I think it's fair to say this is her best showing to date. Both acts create characters that you will want to invest time in and many will find themselves drawn in by individuals who are hard not to care for.

Add into the fray a superb OCD father portrayal from the return to form Robert De Niro, as well as superb support from Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker and John Ortiz, and Silver Linings is a delight of a film. Russell has created a visionary piece of work that combines real-life issues, love, drama and comedy and comes out with the formula for success. Lawrence is groundbreaking, Cooper is exceptional, Russell's direction is nothing short of sublime and Silver Linings Playbook enters the Oscar race at the top of the tree.

Rating: 4.5 F's out of 5

My First Taste Of Poster Stardom...

It's every critics' dream to have their work showcased to the world, and fortunately for me I had some very exciting news of late that I have finally receive my first addition to a poster that is showcased in the tube stations in our fair city London.

The film in question is one that brings both laughter and horror in equal measure; the superb Ben Wheatley's follow-up to Kill List, black comedy Sightseers. I was lucky enough to catch a press screening at London Film Festival this year and without a doubt it is one of the funniest films you will witness this year.

Check out my four star rating for Filmoria included on the poster and click here for my review.

Sightseers is out in cinemas on 30th November, check it out!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Blu-Ray Review - Katy Perry: Part Of Me

Through the decades we have bared witness to the rise of a large number of unforgettable pop stars heading into the limelight and staggering the industry with record sales and a fan bases like no others. You only have to look towards the likes of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to see just how influential these individuals are, and one who certainly cannot be left unnoticed is Katy Perry.

Following the quirky star on her unbelievable world tour and focusing on her private life, Katy Perry: Part Of Me documents a key point in the songstress' life as she tackles a tour that is both physically and mentally draining. As she begins to feel the fatigue of jetting all over the world and performing night after night for the masses, Perry's marriage to comedian Russell Brand comes under strain, and soon the emotional aspect of her life takes over.

Tracking Perry as she scours the globe on her remarkable California Dreams tour, Part Of Me provides viewers with a look into how the star came to be, how life on the world tour pans out and offers up some of her performances around the globe. It really is the full package for anyone who has a remote interest in the pop star's remarkable rise to fame.

Presented in all its respendance and quirkiness that constantly surrounds Perry wherever she goes, the film looks absolutely stunning, whether it be her on-stage presentations to the meet and greets with her fans. But in stark contrast to the colourful nature, the scenes in which we delve into Perry and Brand's marriage soon bring about a more serious side to the story.

At times emotional and ultimately heartbreaking, the 'fairy tale' romance is deemed destined to fail as we witness Perry attempt to save a failing marriage before the eventual break-up, leaving the star emotionally ruined and almost on the edge of quitting her stage show. This really hits home amid the flamboyance of her tour and provides a realistic edge to the documentary.

Blending personal trauma, success and growth with a fascinating tour, Katy Perry: Part Of Me is the ideal documentary for pop music fans. It is beautifully presented and in Perry comes a focus individual who is both endearing and ever so interesting. Her life story is remarkable and the stage production is awe-inspiring for what is a wholesome and enjoyable ride of a film.

Film Rating: 3 1/2 F's out of 5

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Cinema Review - Breaking Dawn - Part Two

A year ago we were talking about the epic conclusion of the Harry Potter series and now we find ourselves in the midst of the final steps for the Twilight Saga, bowing out with Breaking Dawn - Part 2. Entering this final film of the series with yet more reservations and a feeling of expected disappointment, I was pleasantly surprised.

Continuing straight from the end of Part 1, Breaking Dawn's second leg sees Bella (Kristen Stewart) as a fully converted vampire, with her and Edward's (Robert Pattinson) daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) growing at a rapid rate due to her half human half vampire state. Concerned by the rate at which their daughter is growing, the newlyweds also encounter problems when the Volturi are alerted about their daughter and a future battle looks set to be unleashed within the community of vampires.

Finalising what has become a global phenomenon, director Bill Condon concludes with what is the most ambitious and exhilirating entry of the series. Moving on from the underwhelming and overdrawn love triangle and focusing on a bigger scale event, Breaking Dawn Part Two excites and proves a breath of fresh air in what has been a fatiguing series.

Injecting some much-needed pulsating action and some real oomph to its central characters, Condon drives the Twilight saga onto smooth roads and sets events alight with some instances of pure genius. Despite the first hour trudging along at a steady pace, the final half is a joy to watch and in the final act comes a fantastic twist and an incredible battle that will make many film fans weak at the knees with excitement.

All the woes emanating from the previous instalments are vanquished in one swoop as the finale offers up a staggering beast of a twist and a powerhouse battle to usher in the saga's conclusion. More violent than we have experienced before, limbs are severed in abundance and shocks and surprises are served up in the battle that Twilight desperately required. 

Aside from a remarkable conclusion, Part Two serves up a superb performance from Kristen Stewart as she evolves in her role as Bella to flourish in freedom and bring a much less reserved portrayal compared to the rest of the films. She shows off her acting prowess and is the clear star of the show. Additionally  the forever reliable Michael Sheen hams it up to create the sinister bad guy of the piece and the likes of Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson offer improvements in their dominant male roles.

Some questionable baby CGI and a rather odd young and old relationship aside, Breaking Dawn Part Two establishes itself as the best of the series with an epic final battle, a superb central lead performance and a much improved flow to proceedings. For Twilight fans this may feel like the perfect send-off, for people like me it sees the end of an average series, but capped off how it should be done.

Film Rating: 3 out of 5 F's

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Film Review - Excision

Teenage angst, blood-soaked dreams and aspirations to lose virginity – one title competing this year for the most surreal film of 2012 is undoubtedly Richard Bates Jnr’s Excision.

The story takes us into the life of misfit Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), an aspiring surgeon and the ‘odd girl’ at school. Misplaced within her family, consisting of her two less-than-happy parents (Traci Lords & Roger Bart) and her cystic fibrosis-sufferer sister, Grace (Ariel Winter), Pauline suffers the footfalls of being the older and more responsible daughter whilst coping with the reality that she has no friends at school. 

Dreaming constantly of becoming a surgeon and harbouring thoughts of losing her virginity with her perfect intimate partner, Pauline’s life is a convoluted mix of sexual oddities, medical obsession and a distinct lack of belonging. Determined to prove her worth to her mother especially, Pauline takes her dreams and aspirations to the next level in one final attempt to prove her worth to her family.

A rather unforgettable and often unsettling film, Excision is driven by its oddities and a superb central character showcased by an exceptional performance from AnnaLynne McCord. From her misfit status at both home and school to her witty replies to those mocking her, McCord refreshes with a central protagonist who is troubled by teenage issues and ultimately fitting in. Her dreamt visions are harrowing and the plans in life seemingly unreachable but all the while we remain intrigued with this individual.

Visually striking yet menacingly haunting, her dream sequences are a concoction of bloodlust and eroticism, culminating in a sense of disturbia, yet impressing with every frame. Crimson red lashings of blood set against simplistic white sets and visions of autopsies; the moments within the realm of dreams are disconcerting but ultimately beautiful, unnerving but perfectly placed. Bates Jnr has indeed created a masterpiece of unsettling horror and combined it with some sharp and witty dialogue to create a monster that cannot be ignored.

A fantastic central performance backed by great turns from the co-starring personnel, Excision is a nightmarish vision of teenage angst, sexual fantasy and blood-drenched dreams. Many may scratch their heads in confusion but few will forget this truly unmissable and diverse outing.

Film rating: 4 F's out of 5

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Cinema Review - Argo

Ben Affleck is no stranger to critically acclaimed films, his previous directing efforts Gone Baby Gone and The Town both proving he possesses the abilities behind the camera to forge a whole new direction in his film career. This year, he once again returns to the pinnacle of filmmaking with one of the year's best films, Argo.

Based on a true story, Argo opens with the U.S. embassy in Tehran under attack from militants, resulting in six American personnel turning fugitive in Iran and seeking solace at the Canadian embassy until it is possible for them to return home. Unfortunately such a task is one that even the CIA and American government are experiencing mass difficulty with, until CIA specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck) hatches a plan that may well be unbelievable but could be the only answer to the sextet's safe return home.

That plan involves creating a fake movie named Argo, along with a fake movie company and all the trimmings, and using it as a cover to get the six 'recruited' as part of the cast and then sent back home on a plane. With the help of Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), Mendez has the lives of six people in his hands in what is an unbelievably tense series of events.

Argo is pure tension bottled up and unleashed all in one foray of drama unmatched by any this year. Ben Affleck once again shows his prowess behind the camera and also puts in a good turn in the lead role. For all those involved, an incredible cast to behold indeed, it is the comedic double act of John Goodman and Alan Arkin that steal the show, two veterans of film playing hilariously off one another and creating memorable characters.

Blending humour with heart-pounding drama, Affleck showcases to the world he is at his best when in the director's chair and after an impressive two films in the role, he knocks it out of the park with a film that will leave you with lack of nails and have you sitting on the edge of your seat. 

Simply incredible and amongst the best of the year, Argo is pure unadulterated cinema at its most dramatic. 

Film Rating: 4.5 F's out of 5

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

My Top 5 Halloween Movies

Put out those pumpkins, prepare for mass knocks at your door and stick on those horror movie,s Halloween is back for yet another year! As is standard for this time of year, recommendations and top 5/10 lists regarding the horror genre appear on many a website, and I'm no different. 
Here are my top 5 horror movies of all time.

5. The Omen - Kids have always been a huge part in the horror genre and this little bugger ranks among some of the best. Damien is a character forever present in the annals of horror history in what is a scary-as-hell movie. Couple the devil's son with the superb performances from Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, and The Omen excels to greatness.

4. Trick 'r Treat - Michael Doguherty's Trick 'r Treat is an ode to Halloween stories. Featuring an all-star cast, the film's interwoven stories are a concoction of conventional scary tales with a neat twist. From Anna Paquin's coming-of-age sub-plot to Brian Cox's miserable house dweller being terrorised by the pumpkin-headed Sam, the film delivers on every level.

3. The Evil Dead - Hilarious, outrageous and filled with over-the-top violence, The Evil Dead continues to live its own legacy amongst horror's elite. Any film that can still make you jump at the same point every time or continue to wince as utensils thrash through body parts after all these years deserves great credit.

2. The Thing - John Carpenter's The Thing is a work of horror magic. Claustrophobic, tension-filled and stunning visually, even to this day, it continued the director's reign as a master of horror. Featuring one of the best uses of creature make-up of any film and an engaging and heart-pounding premise the film eases into second place for me.

1. Halloween - Sharing its name with the official horror season, Halloween will forever remain my favourite movie of the genre. Setting the benchmark for slasher films, it is simply the blueprint for others to follow and true testament to John Carpenter and Debra Hill's genius. Creating a horror icon, an unforgettably simple yet oh so effective score, and pure terror, Halloween remains the top choice for any Halloween film marathon. 

Don't agree with my choices? Post your top 5 in the comments box below, I would love to hear your choices!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

My LFF 2012 Highlights

London Film Festival has finally waved its last goodbye for yet another year and although it will fill many people with sadness, one can be assured that an abundance of positives came out of the festival film-wise. 

As my first proper film festival, LFF was a sheer joy for me to attend when it was possible and I was lucky enough to experience no less than 13 films in 6 days in London. Among those were an eclectic mix of foreign cinema, heartwarming love stories, some rather tough watches and a spellbinding film that rocketed to the pinnacle of my current top ten of the year. 

Here are my Top Five films I saw whilst at LFF.

1. Rust and Bone - Sublime, emotional and utterly breathtaking, Rust and Bone is a spectacle of foreign cinema that captivates from start to finish. Perfect performances, cinematography and direction throughout.

2. Robot and Frank - Moving and funny in equal measure, Robot and Frank produces a breathless performance from veteran Frank Langella and impressive vocal work from Peter Sarsgaard.

3. After Lucia - A Mexican film with plenty of clout that will have audiences affected with some disturbing imagery, After Lucia is a powerful and affecting affair. Tessa Ia excels in a challenging lead role.

4. Compliance - Yet another tough watch due to its subject matter, Compliance is a tense encounter that cranks up a notch with every passing moment. Despite its 'based on a true story' tag, the film shocks with a true-to-life depiction that is often unbelievable to the human eye.

5. Sightseers - The follow-up to Ben Wheatley's memorable Kill List is a hilarious affair. Fronted by two superlative leads, Sightseers blends dark humour with horror to create a laugh-a-minute outing that proves Britain still possesses unique talents in the film industry. 

Make sure you check out the above films and I'm sure others will have plenty of other recommendations of films they saw - Argo and End Of Watch two films I have heard way too many good things about to miss when released. 

Seek out these films when you can and feel free to leave your comments on my choices of the festival. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

An Ode To Rust And Bone

It fills me with absolute delight that Rust And Bone has been awarded with Best Film at this year's London Film Festival. Not only was it head and shoulders the standout film I personally saw over the time I participated in the festival but it was the first film in such a long time that stayed with me, constantly reminding me of how exceptional it really is.

I must admit, despite my love for cinema, foreign movies were never quite my foray and, whilst I dabbled in more well known foreign outings such as City Of God, The Raid and Let The Right One In, my viewing of overseas releases was somewhat of a poor show. Little did I know that I was missing out on a bulk of cinema that is clearly unmissable and fortunately one film changed my perspective forever.

Rust and Bone truly astounded me with its performances, a strong and affecting story and direction that has seen it peak at my current favourite for 2012 by a long distance. Having never seen A Prophet, my knowledge of Jacques Audiard's work was minimal and my only experience of the sublime Marion Cotillard came in the form of her American efforts as well as her much publicised Oscar winner La Vie En Rosé. Truth be told, I didn't know what to expect when entering the screening for the film.

To say the viewing experience was astounding may even be an understatement as, despite two viewers' insistence on sexualising the screening for the audience, I came out absolutely beaming at the sight of what I had just witnessed (film-wise that is people!)

To pinpoint just one factor in the film's success would be a crime in itself. Rust and Bone is subliminal filmmaking at its finest and perfectly warranted my first five-star rating of the year. With Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts performing to levels that truly astound, the film possessed two leading characters who will be hard to match this year in providing emotion, angst and audience connection. Their differing characters not only proving that opposites attract but also presenting two difficult life scenarios that collide to create a breathtaking spectacle in story-telling.

Driven by beautiful cinematography, unbelievable performances and a powerful story, Rust and Bone has infinitely changed my stance on foreign cinema. Immediately after watching the film I discussed with friends what films I have been missing out on and my Lovefilm list is now abundant in foreign cinema gems I have been recommended. Not only has the film solidified my interest in more diverse films but I also fully appreciate the fact that films such as these with minimal budgets are often those that astound and prove that low-budget foreign films offer some of the greatest viewing experiences known to man.

Rust and Bone truly is a remarkable beautiful film and sits at the pinnacle of my favourite films of 2012. I urge you all to seek this gem out upon its release on 2nd November.

Cinema Review - Ruby Sparks

Romantic comedies can often become tedious and repetitive as we witness the birth of love between a couple, enjoy their ups, gasp as their relationship tumbles and rejoice as all is forgiven in a reconciliation and a happy ending. We all know the conventional rom-com formula these days and it takes something diverse to make one stand up and take notice. I give you exhibit A - Ruby Sparks.

Calvin (Paul Dano) is a young man struggling with writer's block. Despite constant visits to his psychiatrist (Elliott Gould), he cannot quite find something to write about - that is until he continues to dream about a particular woman who takes his breath away. His imaginary girlfriend, Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan), is the woman who is about to change his life. As he begins to write about Ruby, Calvin feels he is on to a winner and then the impossible becomes possible, she becomes an actual person and is part of his real life. 

Ruby Sparks' premise is one that already provokes an immediate positive reaction in that it represents something different in a romantic comedy. Almost a hybrid of the Weird Science variety, the film presents to the viewer the idea of creating the perfect woman and brilliantly merges it with real life situation. 

In Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan (in real life also a couple), Ruby Sparks oozes with perfectly timed humour and a tenderness that will warm even the coldest of hearts. The pair are infinitely lovable and drive the film on along with Kazan's genius script. Throw in the likes of veterans Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening and the hugely underrated Chris Messina into the mix, and the film excels to much more than just a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy.

With plenty of heart, twists and turns, and acting talent that infuse laughter and wonderment through every minute, Ruby Sparks is a beautiful film worthy of being held in high regard among some of the best films of the year. 

Film Rating - 4 out of 5 F's

Cinema Review - Skyfall

Friday 26th October is the date that sees the return of James Bond in Skyfall, Daniel Craig's third outing as 007, and undoubtedly his best and possibly THE best Bond film of the franchise's illustrious 50-year history.

This time under the reigns of director Sam Mendes, Bond tackles his toughest mission yet as he faces up against a figure from M (Judi Dench)'s past, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a cyber terrorist who manages to infiltrate MI6 and proves a constant hindrance for the British government. 

As Bond tracks Silva across the likes of Shanghai and our very own London, the villain leaves a trail of death and destruction in his wake as the past of M comes back to truly haunt her and push her relationship with Bond to the limit.

In bringing the esteemed talents of Sam Mendes to the Bond universe, the franchise has found a new lease of life which results in Skyfall being one of, if not the, best James Bond film in its superb 50 year history. A gripping and pulsating sequence of events, the film is as action-packed as it has ever been and a true testament to how a Bond film should be made.

Eliminating the disappointing memories of Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall puts rights to all the wrongs in the previous outing with unmatched action sequences, superb characters and a truly unmissable story. Craig is at his best as 007, Dench, in a meatier role, excels in providing a great spark with the leading man and a vulnerability to her own character, and Bardem produces one of the most memorable and diverse Bond villains in years. 

An exceptional outing to celebrate 50 years of Bond, Skyfall delivers in aces with stunning cinematography, slick dialogue and direction of the highest quality. Coupled with a stunning cast and beautiful locations, it is the Bond film to kick-start the franchise once again after a rough few years on the ropes.

Film rating: 4 (4.5 if we did half ratings!!)

Friday, 5 October 2012

My Pick Of Bond

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Britain's biggest on-screen spy, James Bond, I thought no better way than to list my top five favourite Bond films, as well as the order in which I rank the different portrayals of 007. 

Agree or disagree with my views, let me know!

My Top Five James Bond films
1. Goldeneye
2. Casino Royale
3. Licence To Kill
4. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
5. The Spy Who Loved Me

My Order Of Best Bonds
1. Daniel Craig
2. Sean Connery
3. Timothy Dalton
4. Roger Moore
5. George Lazenby

No doubt my views will bring about debate and as I said, I would love to get your views on both my opinion and your own.

Enjoy Global James Bond day and don't forget ALL the Bond films are now available on Sky Movies!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Man Of Steel: Why I Think It May Well Be A Fine Return To Form For Superman

Superman is undoubtedly my favourite superhero of all the DC and Marvel comics clan and the impending 2013 release of Man Of Steel is one film I cannot wait for. Whilst Avengers Assemble and The Dark Knight Rises set alight the box office and earned rave review, I still maintain that Man Of Steel is the one comic book film I personally want to see above all else.

Such is my anticipation for the Zack Snyder project that i took to Yahoo to voice my views on why I think it will be a grand return for Krypton's sun-charged hero.

Check out the article below and feel free to leave comments and share with your friends.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Blu Ray Review - The Woman In Black

Based on the Susan Hill book and the terror-inducing stage production, The Woman In Black was always set to be an interesting affair in its conversion to film and, with familiar British face Daniel Radcliffe in leading man duties, as well as the legendary Hammer production company taking the reigns, the early signs were positive. Plenty of hype surrounded the film upon its arrival in cinemas and upon calls of Hammer returning to their roots I finally had to get a taste of the action via the blu ray. 

Set in the Edwardian era in Britain, Arthur Kipps, a lawyer down on his luck and almost broke, is tasked with heading to the isolated Eel Marsh House for a job that may well just save his career. His job a simple one as it seems; head into the empty secluded house and retrieve all paperwork regarding the house in order to proceed with selling the property.

As with many instances in the horror field, things aren't quite what they seem and Kipps soon finds out that the house has a dark past, the mother who lived there having passed away and her son apparently drowned in the marshland. Couple this with a mysterious woman appearing in black attire all around the premises and Arthur suddenly finds himself in somewhat of a haunted nightmare. With the help of local Samuel Daily (Ciarán Hinds), Kipps must retrieve the paperwork as well as solve the secrets of the house before he falls victim to the woman in black.

The Hammer Films history tracks back decades and in films such as The Quatermass And The Pit and The Devil Rides Out, amongst many others, produced such atmospheric and truly chilling encounters. Whilst those days are far behind us it appears that there may be somewhat of a resurgence heading our way, spearheaded by The Woman In Black.

A real treat for horror fanatics worldwide, the film is a staggering lesson in the build up of not just a gripping ghost story but also a presentation in thrusting the audience into edge-of-your-seat territory. Such is the atmospheric feeling of The Woman In Black that the audience are in constant fear of a jump moment or some horrific event lying just around the corner that it really brings back the golden age for the genre. Whether it be creaking doors, whispers around the house or short sharp glimpses of the woman herself, it maintains a creepy and unnerving feel throughout. 

In Daniel Radcliffe the task of brushing off his Harry Potter alter-ego was as tough as any but in truth he has garnered that maturity so present as the famed series continued and applied it to this outing. Utterly believable as both a concerned father and troubled working class man, Radcliffe portrays Kipps succinctly and breezes through proceedings whilst well backed by the fantastic Ciarán Hinds. 

Despite some familiar scare moments and a rather predictable conclusion, The Woman In Black works like a well oiled machine of horror in providing a remarkably eerie and scary ghost tale. Steering away from unnecessary abundant gore in favour of a compelling classic tale, the film returns to the classic roots of the genre and proves that sometimes the old school way of frightening viewers is the best. 

Film rating: 4 out of 5 F's

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Cinema Review - Total Recall

For those of you who are big Arnie fans or you just simply watch a lot of ITV2, Total Recall thrust Arnold Schwarzenegger into a world set on Mars for what was an event of action, one liners and plenty of sci-fi to keep the early '90s fans happy. Fast forward to 2012 and the film gets its very own revamp/remake/reimagining (whatever your preference) in placing Colin Farrell in the lead role followed by co stars Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel.

This time around we are still following an individual by the name of Douglas Quaid (Farrell), a factory worker who is gradually questioning whether his life is the one he actually wants to lead. As he begins to grow tired of everyday life, Quaid heads to Rekall in order to live out his wildest dreams in having memories inserted into his brain enabling him a life as a secret agent. When things go awry it appears that he is in fact already an agent but his memory is not quite what is used to be. With his 'wife' (Beckinsale) in tow attempting to kill him, aided by a force of soldiers, both human and robotic, Quaid joins forces with Melina (Biel) and looks to unveil the truth about the life he thought existed.

Veering off slightly from the original plot, the Total Recall of 2012 is undoubtedly an actioner that fans of the genre will be hugely satisfied with. Each and every pulsating sequence is a barrage of gunshots, explosions and CGI landscapes, all backed by a pumping orchestral score, and the presentation of it all is impressive. From neon-signed territories riddled with the massess to underground tunnels leading to other accessible areas, the film is a feat of visual brilliance, somewhat influenced by the likes of Blade Runner and The Fifth Element in presentation.

As for the acts involved, Farrell is a perfect choice for the everyday man turned fighter in a turn that sees him in familiar territory, and breezes through yet another leading part. Co-stars Biel and Beckinsale are very much a chalk and cheese operation though, Biel trudging through rather unnoticeable as Farrell's partner in crime, whilst Beckinsale revels in her role as the bad Jezebel. Clearly working under director Len Wiseman once again following their Underworld series, Beckinsale adds meat to the bones in much of the action unfolding and portrays her character in very much a similar vain to that of her Underworld role. Elsewhere, Bill Nighy is hugely underused in a role that almost appears rather understated and Bryan Cranston's villain cruises through proceedings with nothing more than a standard performance.

Total Recall is one of those action films that is hugely entertaining yet utterly forgettable, rather ironically. Farrell's Quaid is not quite the character we were treated with in the original, with hardly any stand-out moments throughout, and Beckinsale aside, the other acts fail to provide that extra panache to make you sit up and pay attention. Admittedly, the action is a treat to behold, both visually and in entertainment value, but there seems to be one piece of the jigsaw somehow missing. Whether its the humorous quips of Arnie or a lack of Mars focus, Total Recall retains a feisty and pacey edge but falls slightly short of astounding.

Film rating: 3 out of 5 F's

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Cinema Review - The Dark Knight Rises

As one of the most celebrated directors in the business today, Christopher Nolan has done what many people thought unimaginable. Like a phoenix from the ashes, the Batman franchise has been transformed from the infinitely hammy (I’m talking about you, Batman & Robin) to a stunning real world representation of one of DC Comics’ finest. Opening with Batman Begins, Nolan set the bar high with a superb origin story of how Bruce Wayne came to become Gotham’s cowl-wearing savior and instilled a breath of fresh air into proceedings. 

Once he had cracked the nut, Nolan went on to greater levels with The Dark Knight. With Christian Bale continuing his reign as the lead character, and Heath Ledger given the task of bringing a new age Joker to screen, expectations were at a high and audiences were far from let down. Ledger put in a career defining performance as a chilling and dark nemesis for Batman and the continuation of real world issues, coupled with a distinct level of darkness helped the film become one of, if not the, best comic book hero movies of all time. Needless to say, The Dark Knight Rises has been the most anticipated film of 2012 so does it live up to the abominable hype?

Eight years after the events that saw the death of Gotham District Attorney Harvey Dent, it appears the city is in a state of peace, with the 'Dent Act' in place seeing a staggering fall in crime levels. A place now revelling in a state of calm, Gotham no longer needs Batman in Bruce Wayne's eyes and following the death of his true love, Rachel, lives as a recluse in Wayne Manor, avoiding any outside contact. 

When he encounters a thief within the manor, breaking into his almost impenetrable safe, Bruce sets out to discover the mystery of the woman's identity and, in turn, uncovers a new and brute force waiting to take over Gotham and unleash pure destruction and chaos, Bane.

Christopher Nolan's final return to the streets of Gotham City and into the world of Batman is once again a piece of cinematic mastery. To follow such an astounding entry as The Dark Knight would be an unbelievable task for any director, no matter their reputation, and once again he does not fail to deliver a film that will go down in history as a modern classic.

Dark, gritty and unrelenting, TDKR is a tale of the highs and lows of an individual in the role of a hero and certainly manages to continuously convey the highs and lows through some intense and emotional scenes between some of the main characters, most notably Bruce (Christian Bale) and Alfred (Michael Caine). From Bale and Caine's emotively strong exchanges to the slick and sexy purrings of Anne Hathaway's Selina Kyle, the dialogue is a treat and, despite his voice appearing odd at times, even Tom Hardy as Bane is given some extra meat with some truly scary instances of dialogue.

As well as exceptional talent on display in the acting department, TDKR once again showcases a willingness to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat with a pulsating change in direction throughout, from the gradual catch up events in the first half hour to the stunning final hour. Nolan is a man who knows how to draw his audience in and he never lets up in giving us what we want.

Whilst not quite matching the magic of The Dark Knight, Nolan's final Batman movie is another instance of his pure genius and brings a poignant and utterly satisfying conclusion to the darkest saga in comic book film history. 

Film rating: 5 out of 5 F's

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Cinema Review - The Amazing Spider-Man

It was always going to be a tough year for Spider-Man to re-enter the superhero fray what with Avengers Assemble conquering the global box office and The Dark Knight Rises appearing as the most anticipated film of the year. After all, Spider-Man 3 was a blasphemous outing for the web-slinger and the idea of a reboot re-telling Peter Parker's past almost seemed a redundant idea.

Nevertheless, Sony Pictures proceeded with giving ol' Spidey the reboot treatment under the watchful eye of director Marc Webb (500 Days Of Summer) and placing Andrew Garfield in the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.A decision that undoubtedly pays off in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Abandoned by his parents at a young age to live with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, Peter Parker remains clueless as to why his parents left him before their demise in a plane crash. As a teenager reaching the end of his school years, Parker is an independent and cool geek-chic figure, a guy who is happy to help out those in need and close to his aunt and uncle.

When Parker finds a briefcase of his father's containing possible leads to his sudden exit in his youth, he heads to Oscorp Industries to find a man that worked with his father very closely, Dr Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans). Whilst exploring the various laboratories in the building, Parker is bitten by a genetically modified spider, an event that will change his life forever.

Working at Oscorp is Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), a strong and intelligent pupil whom Peter has a crush on. As their relationship blossoms, so too does Peter's with Connors, the pair looking further into research to re-grow the scientist's missing arm. When Connors and Parker come up with a formula that could well be the answer, Connors steps ahead to human testing, but things don't go to plan. The dose transforms the scientist into The Lizard and a path of rage and destruction begins.

Peter, now gracing the powers from the spider bite, becomes Spider-Man and is the only thing that can save the city from the evils of The Lizard.

A revisit to the origins of Spider-Man may have proved to be a huge fail but Marc Webb creates a new entry into the saga that is both strong in character and ultimately excites viewers. In Peter Parker we now have a cool kid who is confident enough to fight his own battles and attracts the hottest girl in school. Andrew Garfield adds a new definition to Peter Parker and in transforming to Spider-Man also breathes a new life into the hero, at times cocky and funny, but also a beacon of hope and respect. 

Coupled with Garfield, Emma Stone is just as strong in her role as Gwent Stacy. Erasing all memory of the constant droning of Mary Jane Watson, Stone's blonde-haired Stacy kicks her predecessor into touch and even jumps in to help our hero on occasion. Such a strong female is a joy to behold and the chemistry between the two sizzles beautifully. With Garfield and Stone outstanding, the inclusion of veterans Martin Sheen and Sally Field is unsurprisingly graceful, the aunt and uncle combination offering wisdom and solidness.

It is Rhys Ifans' The Lizard that slightly lets the side down, more so in the CGI stakes. Admittedly, Ifans offers his best evil act in the slow transformation of Connors but once we catch a look at The Lizard, the excitement somewhat falters. The CGI is shabby and at no point does it look as though Spidey's enemy will ever forge an upper hand against his foe, despite some wonderfully shot action sequences. 

The Lizard aside, The Amazing Spider-Man is a reboot to saviour for the web-slinger. Garfield and Stone are on sizzling hot form, the action (and even the 3D) mightily impressive and even Stan Lee's cameo is the best so far. If Webb keeps up this form with the franchise the Avengers may well come a calling!

Film rating: 4 F's out of 5

Monday, 2 July 2012

Cinema Review - Rock Of Ages

Are you ready to rock? If the answer to that question is yes then you are in for one hell of a treat. Heading straight from theatres into the local multiplex comes the film version of the much praised stage show Rock Of Ages, and together with a superb ensemble cast, the film supplies two hours of anthems and sheer joy.

Sherrie (Julianne Hough) has travelled from her hometown in Oklahoma to seek stardom in Los Angeles as a singer. Upon arrival she finds herself mugged of her collection of records only to meet Bourbon Club worker Drew (Diego Boneta), who manages to help her get a job at the club once convincing owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his assistant Lonny (Russell Brand) that she would be a good bartender.

Whilst Sherrie and Drew spark a romantic relationship, the Bourbon Club prepares for the final gig of Stacee Jaxx's (Tom Cruise) career as a member of superstar rock band, Arsenal. With rock and roll at the pinnacle of the music business, there are a number of locals who strongly oppose the music and at the front of all protests lies Patricia Whitmore (Catherina Zeta-Jones), the mayor's wife, who will stop at nothing to ban it for good.

As Sherrie and Drew's relationship and dreams slowly hit a curve in the road, Stacee Jaxx finds himself feeling the effects of being a 'slave to rock and roll', and in Rolling Stone magazine's Constance Sack (Malin Akerman), realises he may have found the woman to usurp all those he has been showering himself with. Cue plenty of catchy numbers, a few surprising voices in the mix and a host of unbelievable performances, and Rock Of Ages gives you plenty of bang for your buck.

Containing such an impressive ensemble cast, Rock Of Ages could have suffered from overload but each star is given their chance to shine and none fail to deliver the goods. Hough and Boneta's chemistry represents a blossoming relationship you cannot help but will on, and Baldwin and Brand show off their own unique talents with an unlikely romance and sparkling moments of comedic genius. The likes of Akerman, Zeta-Jones, Mary J. Blige and Paul Giamatti all contribute to keep proceedings solid as a rock, but in truth it is Tom Cruise who steals the stage as rocker Stacee Jaxx.

Channelling rock gods such as Axl Rose, Jim Morrison and Keith Richards, Cruise revels in his unrecognisable role as rock idol Stacee Jaxx and even proves that he really does possess an incredible singing voice. Commanding each and every scene he appears in, Cruise acts exactly how a rock star should and blows away the audience with great ease.

Along with unleashing inner rock into the souls of his leading cast members, director Adam Shankman has copious amounts of fun blending a familiar storyline with songs that will get those toes tapping and even induce moments where you just want to get out of your seat and rock out. Shankman never lets up, with breathers a non-existence and this helps to ensure the two hours of songs, fun and frolics flies by. 

At times cheesy and cringe-worthy, Rock Of Ages does seem rather familiar at times but manages to make 120 minutes seem like five minutes with a quirky bunch of characters and some truly emphatic anthems. Whether you are a fan of Def Leppard, Journey, Poison or any other legendary rock band, or just a sucker for musicals, Rock Of Ages provides all the ingredients for a laughter-inducing feel-good session. Believe me, you will come out of it with a big smile on your face!

Film rating - 4 F's out of 5

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Cinema Review - Prometheus

It has been a while since I posted a review on this, my very own blog, and what better way to come back than with a film everyone has been talking about...

It’s amazing to think that in a blockbuster season consisting of two of the most popular comic book franchises ever, it is another film that seems to have ramped up the marketing and sent the hype factor into ultimate overdrive. Prometheus is the long-awaited latest entry into Ridley Scott’s Alien universe and has been one that fans of the series have craved since a series of misfiring sequels. Sometimes, though, where expectations hit their peak, films ultimately let fans down and in Prometheus’ case this could well be the biggest let-down of the year.

After Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and partner Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover identical markings on a number of cave paintings littered around the world, it sets off an expedition into an unknown world where the origins of mankind may finally be discovered. Teaming with individuals working for global colossus Weyland Industries, the 16-man crew embark on a journey into the unknown on their ship, Prometheus. Upon landing in the unknown territory, it soon becomes clear that they will get more than they ever could have bargained for.

Ridley Scott was always going to revisit the franchise that he so wonderfully set up way back in 1979, but even with today's advanced technology on his side, Prometheus is let down by pure loss of direction and mediocre scripting. Before we focus on why it doesn't quite hit the sweet spot, there are some plus points along the way.

Visually, the film is a beautiful spectacle; a grand ship the focal point for the opening scenes whilst making way for splendidly eery landscapes and moments of awe in which our characters find themselves in the midst of technology from the future. Admittedly, the 3D tends to give up after a mere 20 minutes of the film but is saved by moments of brilliance in the computer generated arena. 

In terms of star power, Prometheus contains enough heavyweight acts to breeze through but it is only a select few who come out unscathed. Charlize Theron's moody Weyland boss Meredith Vickers is a treat in terms of a character we can love to hate, whilst Idris Elba's ship captain offers sarcasm and laughs to the full. 

Coupled with these impressive performances, it is Michael Fassbender who steals the show as android David. An often misunderstood individual by his crew, David is the most interesting of the 16-man gang and Fassbender captures the feeling of a non-human somehow inch-perfect. Resulting in the character becoming the most intriguing of them all, David's persistence in uncovering the truth is both fascinating and keeps us guessing as to his motives on the mission. 

Moving on to the less-than-satisfying, and it is unfortunate that Noomi Rapace, as exceptional a leading lady she has proved to be in the past, is frustratingly ordinary. Almost as if she is holding back, Rapace never quite gets to grip with her role in the vain of Weaver's Ripley. At times likeable, but ultimately flat, Rapace never quite commands her scenes over her supporting cast and is often outshone by those who should not be in the limelight.

Moving on, the film's structure never allows a sense of fluidity and is often a misguidance in keeping the audience on track with the story. Partly expecting a similar feel to Scott's original, Alien, the plot wavers off plot from the Alien universe in some ways and this, in turn, provides more than a little disappointment.

Unable to fully maintain a claustrophobic feel to the proceedings and any real memorable sequences, Prometheus is a huge turn in direction to what many may have expected and because of this, fails to wow to its full potential. With further viewings, the thesis of Scott's world may be uncovered more but on first view it results in the hype machine failing to deliver the goods.

Film rating: 3 out of 5 F's

Sha-Ting! Keith Lemon: The Movie Gets A Full Trailer

Following the success of his rubber-faced celebrity antics in Bo Selecta, comedian Leigh Francis forged a breakthrough once again in the form of the controversial figure, Keith Lemon. As host of popular quiz panel show, Celebrity Juice, Lemon soon became one of the biggest comedic acts on the television and sooner or later it was bound to happen...

That's right, Keith Lemon now has his own movie and it comes as no surprise that some of his famous (or formerly famous) friends have come along for the ride. From pop stars to American actors, to Kelly Brook, there is a whole host of familiar faces in the trailer.

If you don't believe me, see for yourself below.

Keith Lemon The Film is due for release on 24th August 2012. 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Cinema Review - Avengers Assemble

It's been four years in the making, and after six films of build-up, Avengers Assemble has finally hit cinemas. Undoubtedly this has been one of the most talked about films for 2012, and months of build-up has culminated to the main event. With expectation levels at their highest peak and director Joss Whedon in place to tackle what is one of film's biggest tasks, does Avengers Assemble deliver in aces? Unsurprisingly, it's an astounding yes.

Following on from the events in the most recently released Marvel films, Captain America and Thor, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is in possession of the Tesseract, a powerful cosmic cube that, if put in the wrong hands, could mean the end of the world as we know it. When Loki (Tom Hiddleston) infiltrates the S.H.I.E.L.D. base of operations and steals the cube, Fury has no option but to reignite the 'Avengers Initiative' and bring together the world's most mightiest heroes in a fight to save mankind. With Loki banding together an invasion army, it's up to Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow to prevent the imminent threat.

With such a heavy burden put on his shoulders, Joss Whedon could have easily crumbled and dashed any hopes of a superhero-ensemble ever working to its full potential; fortunately the man knows his stuff and shows here why he is such an icon. Avengers Assemble is a film that appeals to comic book fans, film fanatics and, basically, people of all ages.

It's without any hesitation that it should be said that Whedon has carefully considered every aspect of the film in order to provide for the masses. With perfectly flowing dialogue as well as action sequences that are nothing short of near perfection, Avengers Assemble wipes the floor with those films Marvel have previously released. It’s testament to Whedon’s directing ability that he is able to conjure up so many memorable moments of sheer humour combined with an impressive character development process and some hard-hitting, pulsating action sequences.

For a film littered with so many high-end stars (as well as characters) the end result could have been a pure mish-mash of personalities that clash rather than accentuate, but the cast all-round is solid as Thor's hammer. Whilst Chris' Evans and Hemsworth continue their sharp performances similar to those in their first outings in costume, it is Robert Downey Jr and newbie Mark Ruffalo who steal the show as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Dr David Banner/Hulk respectively. Downey Jr continues to inject his one-of-a-kind charm and wit to the Tony Stark character, whilst Ruffalo's take on Banner is one of great presence, clearly indicating a man who is still attempting to embrace 'the other guy' in his life. On villain duties, Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki and furthers his performance in Thor in leaps and bounds. Cutting a dark and evil figure, Hiddleston escalates in providing a truly worthy opponent for our heroes and lays the foundations for villains in years to come.

With an impressive showing from all involved, Whedon had to get it spot on with the action sequences and in maintaining pin-point pacing to the film, the anticipation levels heighten with the film's duration, leading to the grand finale battle. Whilst some may cast similarities with the climax of Transformers, Whedon's final battle shys away from the off-putting shaky cam and produces action of such fluidity and grace it wipes the floor with many blockbusters seen previously. Focusing on each character's fight in equal measure, the director teases and taunts with some run-of-the-mill action before unleashing a storm of superb shots involving the heroes banding together throughout the city. 

Avengers Assemble could have easily been a disaster. With a massive audience following and expectations possibly higher than any film before, Joss Whedon and his team had a mountain to climb. Fortunately the man knows what the people want and provides with a well-presented and ultimately astonishing superhero ensemble piece. Heading to the peak and vastly improving on its predecessors that led to this big event, Avengers is a movie experience not to be forgotten and sets the bar for blockbusters to come in 2012.

Film Rating: 5 out of 5 F's

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Cinema Review - The Cabin In The Woods

The words 'expect the unexpected' could not be applied to a film more than the latest horror film to hit cinema screens, The Cabin In The Woods. The brainchild of two of the most creative minds in the industry, Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, it can only be described as the horror event of the last decade.

As such a tale of intricacy and twists, it would not be fair to divulge the full details of the premise of The Cabin In The Woods, as it is essentially a movie you should enter knowing as little as possible. What you should know are the basics. A group of friends are setting off for a break away from everyday life to party and have a good time. Amongst these are your stereotypical horror movie individuals; a jock, a geek, a stoner, a sexy blonde and the virginal shy girl. Heading out to a secluded cabin in the woods, owned by the jock's brother, the gang proceed to get the party started, unaware of the threat that they are about to face.

A simple premise you will agree, but within its simplicity Cabin weaves out what is truly one of the best and cleverly made horrors for a vast amount of time. Whedon and Goddard, who have previously unleashed the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost and Cloverfield upon audiences, have clearly done their homework on the genre and set out to create something special. and special Cabin certainly is.

As is with many of these films, the acting can become rather one dimensional, but luckily in Cabin we witness some truly brilliant performances from all involved. As the most famous face in the proceedings, Chris Hemsworth takes the role of the jock and this plays out perfectly, with the Thor actor satisfying with another notable performance. Although Hemsworth's status is more established than his co-stars it is in fact Fran Kranz who outclasses his co-stars, with what is a hilarious and well presented representation of the conventional stoner character. Kranz has fun in his role and gradually ramps up the laughter levels to great effect. 

It will have you gasping, jumping in your seat and, most of all, laughing until it hurts. Such is the variety in the source material, that the reactions to the events are ever-changing, and usurping all those previous is the fact that the movie is filled so much with OMG moments you will feel almost perplexed upon exiting the cinema after viewing the incredible 90+ minutes. 

The Cabin In The Woods defines horror on a whole new level. It grabs the audience, throws them in a familiar situation and then pulls the rug from underneath to immerse you into an unimaginable scenario one could never foresee. It's a class above so may horror movies of late and proves that, when handled with care and benefiting from stark originality, the genre can be revitalised and continue to live on. 

Film rating: 5 out of 5 F's