Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Top 10 Of 2013

As we approach another exciting year, it's time to look back at some of my own favourite films from the past year, in what was yet another exceptional 365 days in the cinematic calendar. It was a tough contest, with many a brilliant film emanating from every corner of the cinematic universe, but I've finally narrowed the list down to 10 and here they are.

1. Captain Phillips -Tom Hanks deserves an Oscar for this spellbinding performance in a gruelling, thrilling, nail-biting film that grabs the audience from start to end. Talking of the end, it is one of the most profoundly moving finales you will see in a long time.

2. Gravity - The work of an absolute visionary, Gravity is monumental in its scale, visuals and performances, culminating in a groundbreaking cinematic experience. The 3d is stupendously perfect, Bullock earns another Oscar nod and Clooney offers a superb supporting role. Unbelievable visuals, immense sound work and gripping drama, Gravity is a stunner.

3. Don Jon - Honest, funny and wonderfully structured, JGL's debut feature stands out from the rom-com crowd in every aspect. It's one of the cleverest and in-depth studies of the genders in a very long time and just shows how talented Gordon-Levitt really is.

4. The Selfish Giant - A magnificently brave debut feature that speaks volumes in the British industry today and stands tall like a giant among even the very best of British in recent years.
The young talent on show here is nothing short of astounding, even usurping the hugely impressive senior cast members.

5. Man Of Steel - It's the Superman depiction we were waiting for; epic in scale and in its action sequences, strong in its emotional edge and utterly engaging.

6. The Spectacular Now - Simply breathtaking stuff. Miles Teller is the best he's ever been and Shailene Woodley once again shows why she is one of the best young females around.

7. Like Father, Like Son - With a simply fascinating premise, Like Father, Like Son presents interesting key individuals who really help the audience to invest in the events unfolding. A strong adult cast is only bolstered by superb choices in child casting, to create a wholly emotional and affecting film experience.

8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Capturing the sheer essence of its literary counterpart, Catching Fire is the film that builds on the foundations of the first films and delivers in aces.

9. The Kings Of Summer - Cut from the same cloth as Stand By Me, The Kings Of Summer is a sheer exceptional film brimming with wonder and superiority. Packed with beautiful imagery and scenery, this is one independent film that will live long in the memory with its captivating story of running away from home to begin a new life and the eventual perils involved with independence.

10. Stoker - Haunting, psychological warfare on the mind that etches itself in there and doesn't let go. Sublime direction and editing backed by the exceptionally unsettling and sinister Goode and tainted Wasikowska

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Where are they now?

As a regular contributor to Yahoo!, I often throw my hat into the ring of their horror blog and produce content that focuses on the best in the genre.

Recently, I took a journey of exploration to find out about five individual figures notable in the world of horror and asked the question; where are they now?

Check out my articles and feel free to share.

Sir Christopher Lee

Robert Englund

Christina Ricci

Jamie Lee Curtis

Heather Langenkamp

You can also check out my Yahoo profile with more of my work here.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Cinema Review - Carrie

Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed horror remakes/reboots (whatever you want to call them) in the past; Rob Zombie's Halloween even made me sit up and recognise that my favourite horror film could be tinkered with to great effect, but there are some that should have been simply left alone. The latest edition in the 'classics that should be left alone' is Kimberley Peirce's Carrie

For those not familiar with Brian De Palma's classic take on the Stephen King novel, Carrie focuses on the shy Carrie White, this time portrayed by the brilliant Chloe Grace Moretz, as she attempts to make her way through school. Unfortunately for her, trouble comes in the form of both her abundantly religious, self-harming and forceful mother (Julianne Moore), as well as the majority of those around her at school.

For Carrie, life is dreadful and day-by-day the events that unfold see her slowly descending into anger, culminating in her uncovering that she has telekinetic powers that are growing stronger. Amazed by her newfound characteristic, Carrie's life seemingly improves further when she is invited to the prom by one of the most popular guys in school. Initially confused, she soon comes around to the idea it is not part of a joke, but unbeknownst to her or her date, something terrible is being planned, and will unleash her inner fury upon them all...

Shot-for-shot remakes simply have no place in the horror genre, let along any
other. They seem like the most pointless addition to the growing list of Hollywood releases, and in Carrie it feels like a lot of the 1976 film is being replicated through lack of originality. That being said, Kimberley Peirce's 'update' is flaccidly scripted, devoid of any scares or real terror, and simply doesn't provide the strong characteristics required to be called a success.

In truth, the only guiding light throughout the whole film is Moretz, gritting her teeth and plunging herself into a role that sees her turn from scared and bullied teenager to livid defier of human nature. She produces another horror remake turn worthy of plaudits, it's just a shame she is let down by her support anchors. The usually reliable Julianne Moore turns pantomime villain as she overplays mother Margaret, while the remainder of the cast may as well have been plucked from a straight-to-DVD film. 

Peirce clearly respects her subject material but all too often, culminating in a wholly forgettable horror entry. Cementing her version with laughable dialogue, changes that provoke head shakes, and a real failure to channel any fear into her audience, this is a piece of work she may want to forget. 

Film rating: 2 out of 5 F's