10 Reasons why the critics have got it so wrong about Gone Girl

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Last night, to dust off the writing cobwebs formed after a long summer of football, festivals, house moves and holidays, the Framerates team went to the cinema to see the highly-anticipated, critically-acclaimed, David Fincher directed, adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel Gone Girl. With the screenplay also by Flynn, and a top cast that included Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, our hopes were high. Could Fincher channel his immense talent to create a chilling, intelligent thriller that echoed the intensity of Se7en and Zodiac?

In a word: no.

To our surprise, though, Gone Girl is seemingly a hit with many critics. Here are ten reasons why we feel that this critical reception is a case of mass “drinking the Fincher Kool Aid”.

This article contains spoilers.

1) A faithful, unfaithful adaptation

Despite a screenplay from Flynn herself, the tense, psychological, emotionally engaging tone that is captured in the book fails to fully translate onto the screen. Flynn has faithfully stuck to the narrative laid out in the novel however without the continuous stream of thought from the characters the movie feels shallow and the characters motivations and emotional arcs unclear. This is no more apparent than in the final act of the movie where we see Amy heartlessly slaughter Desi Collings. This played on screen like the calculated acts of a horror movie psychopath whereas in the novel, despite Amy’s deplorable moral compass, the reader understands that she is left with little choice.

2) Tone issues

Perhaps Fincher added flecks of humour throughout Gone Girl to provide comic relief, and to heighten the darkest moments of the movie. However, when characters are making the stupidest decisions left, right and centre, unfortunately, the humour intended as light relief was actually just a series of snorts at the movie’s ridiculousness. An absurd movie this was; “an absurdist thriller” this was not.

3) Pacing. Pacing. Pacing.

I felt I was watching three episodes of a TV programme that were cut together by an amateur YouTube editor. I do believe that the movie got caught somewhere between police procedural and Stepford Wives thriller, and there was such a blatant division between the three acts of the film, which resulted in an extremely jarring watch.

4) Direction

Was Fincher deliberately telling his cast to act on the same level throughout the film? Everything was so flat, it felt like the director was intentionally channeling Frank Underwood and the entire feel of House of Cards, but with a mixture of Prisoners thrown in for good measure. It was very disappointing that this didn’t feel like a Fincher movie, but maybe that will act in his favour when people finally remove their tongues from his arsehole.

5) Acting

A flat tone, jarring pacing and seemingly misguided direction in Gone Girl all results in some rather underwhelming performances from the leads. Pike as Amy does a good job as coming across as cold, sharp and intelligent but fails to fully round Amy as a character- arguably this is in large part down to the lack of distinction between the opposing Amy’s (see point 7 for more). Affleck has always been a firm favourite over here at Framerates.net as an actor, as well as a director, however the stoic nature of the character of Nick required a nuanced performance that depicted an internal dialogue, instead Affleck at times felt vacant and the emotional weight was lacking.

6) Team Amy vs Team Nick

Fincher himself has said that people will leave in either a “Team Amy” or “Team Nick” camp. If the director has acknowledged that fact, there are clearly flaws in the way his characters are represented. One can claim “misogyny” towards Amy, or “men’s rights” at Nick, until they’re blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is that all of the above factors have contributed to a film that leads us beautifully into Point 7.

7) Failing to define the character roles.

The single most important element of the movie to get right was the clear and apparent differences between the two Amys. ‘Cool girl’ Amy, the Amy created for Nick, and the real Amy. Fincher makes no distinction between the two opposing personalities. Without this we don’t understand Nick for falling in love with Amy and equally we don’t empathise with Amy and the façade she is forced to display. Instead of creating a compelling insight into two flawed characters, who we both empathise with and despise, or making a coherent point about gender roles and feminism, the movie leaves us with two people who we neither understand very much and who represent very little.

8) It looks beautiful, but what is below the surface?

When you look at a movie like Zodiac, you can literally peel back the nuanced layers within the frame, the acting, the cinematography and plot. In Gone Girl, because the characters were so unrelatable, it was hard to get fully immersed into the world that Fincher is normally so great at building. Gone Girl left me with a similar feeling as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is a movie referenced in another 10 things post from last year.

9) No one shags in a library after 3 years of a relationship

After 1095 days together, you’re lucky if you get your genitals get but a fleeting glance when you’re out with your other half, let alone being balls deep in a dark corner of a public library. I will suspend my disbelief for many things, but this is not one of them.

10) It’s just really not as good as people are claiming

All-in-all, the film was over two and a half hours long and after half an hour I was feeling frustrated and bored. The word flat has been used many times in this article to describe elements of this film and that’s exactly what the overall experience left me feeling. There was no excitement, intrigue or desire for any of the characters to succeed in anyway. Unlike Se7en, Zodiac or Fight Club, which are intense, thrilling and heaped with personality, Gone Girl is as grey as the colour palette it displays.

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Gravity

All aboard the hype train! And for good reason; Lauren and I both saw Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron’s latest entry into the ‘Greatest Sci-fi Films of All Time’ list (alongside his Children of Men). We have decided to do a joint review in the format of our 10 Things posts. So without further, here are –

10 reasons why you need to see Gravity (at the cinema in 3D)

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1. The Computer Graphics are mind-blowing

Irrespective of how good the 3D in Gravity is (hint we thinks its awesome – see point 4) this movie wouldn’t have worked if they hadn’t absolutely nailed the the fundamentals of the visual effects. Not only is Space the best Space we have ever seen (again skip to point 6), everything else in this film is tangible, vivid and completely believable.

2. If it doesn’t win an Oscar for Sound Design then the Oscars are more corrupt than we initially thought

The sound design is so well thought out, it made me giddy. When the astronauts are on their space walk, working on the space station, instead of hearing the sounds as external SFX, we hear them as vibrations through their suits and hands. It’s actually a case of ‘in space, no one can hear you scream’! And once the silent chaos ends, and we are in the ship, the clicks, whirrs and cracks of the space station become the percussive sounds of the rest of the movie. It really is something to behold.

3. You care about the Characters

It was always going to be difficult for the actors in Gravity. When the star of the show is the infinite wonder and beauty of Space, the actors were always going to be fighting an uphill battle to make their performance memorable, especially when everything else is being done so well. However, despite a rather lukewarm response to the performances in Gravity, both Bullock and Clooney are fantastic in their roles. Bullock manages to keep her performance reined in and, despite the temptation to push the performance into the hysterical, what she delivers is solid and mature.

4. The 3D is perfect

Hollywood, take note, you hacks. Stop retrofitting Marvel comic movies and provide a 3D camera to a creative team that cares about their project. Every shot is meticulously planned in Gravity, to the point of the movie being so full of depth it feels like it’s actually happening in front of you. A reason for the 3D working so well is because Cuaron has nailed representing zero gravity; the camera moves like it is in treacle, which means your eyes aren’t straining to stitch the stereoscopy together. No headaches, no light loss issues and I actually got 3D glasses that clipped onto my prescription lenses! It’s a win win win win win situation.

5. The POV shots work to perfection

The reason that Gravity immerses the audience so completely is Cuaron’s use of point of view shots throughout the film. When the characters are spinning so is the audience. We are expected to be active participants in the experience instead of passive bystanders. Its remarkable that not only has Cuaron achieved this but he has achieved this with 3D without it feeling like a gimmick or unnecessary.

6. Space feels like how we imagine space to be

I never have and will never go to space, so I can only imagine it looking almost exactly like what is shown in Gravity, just with marginally shittier lighting. Space is obviously not Star Wars or Star Trek, but Gravity feels a lot more realistic than anything I have ever seen in fiction film, despite it being a completely fabricated story. As mentioned, the zero gravity looks brilliant, the sound is excellent and Earth looks…magisterial. The first shot is absolutely stunning and almost worth the admission price alone.

7. Short, Sweet and to the Point

In an age when a cinema trip can easily eat up half your day Gravity came in at a delightful 90 mins. It really is direct, punchy and focused film making at its best.

8. As a spectacle, it’s the best film we’ve ever seen at the cinema

Gravity may not have a groundbreaking plot, and it’s certainly not the ‘best film’ we’ve ever seen at the cinema, but as a spectacle, this is how action movie cinema-going should make you feel; it’s a rollercoaster ride of epic visuals, fantastic sound and spectacular pacing. The Science Museum in London used to (it may still do) have a 3D simulator; about 16 people could fit in a weird, train cab-looking metal box, which wobbled you around while you watched a spaceship rocket around the galaxy. Our auditorium didn’t have any movement (aside from nerve-wracked bowels), but Gravity was even more thrilling than some rollercoasters on which we have been.

9. It’s not perfect – But I don’t care

Despite our obvious gushing there were elements of the film that didn’t always hit the mark. Some of the dialogue bordered on the saccharin and when you step back and look at some of the action sequences common sense dictates that how they played out on screen is quite far-fetched. However, it was only a week later when I was talking to someone who didn’t like the movie that I gave these thoughts any real credence. Yes, maybe it wasn’t a blow-by-blow accurate account of what might have happened in an actual space disaster, but was I in it from the moment the film started till the end? Yes. Yes I was. I didn’t breath for 90 minutes and that’s never happened to me before in the cinema.

10. I will survive

Survival narratives tap into the most raw aspects of our psyche, and Gravity uses that to tell a story of redemption and the will to survive. There were points during the film where I felt like it was slightly too nerve-wracking; there’s peril and there’s floating into space with an emptying tank of oxygen, which has to be one of the most horrific, lonely ways of potentially dying. We won’t give any spoilers, but despite the sometimes overwrought dialogue, Gravity will have you white knuckling for the protagonists throughout the film.

All that said, and it’s not a criticism, however the movie is clearly designed to be as immersive as possible, so seeing it in 2D in theatres or when it is released on VOD/DVD might provide a different experience to the one we shared. So put down whatever you are doing, reorganise your plans for tonight and go see Gravity; unless you are a completely cynical bastard you will not regret it.

10 film characters who terrified us when we were kids

It’s All Hallows Eve today, and if you’re into that kind of thing, like that noisy lot on the other side of the Atlantic, you’ll more than likely be donning some questionable attire and, depending on your age, either annoying your neighbours or getting mortal at a drinking establishment. To celebrate Halloween, me and Lauren are diving into our childhood to pick out the 10 scariest kids film characters from our childhoods. So without further…

1. Scoleri Brothers – Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

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The scene in Ghostbusters 2, which culminates in the release of the Scoleri Brothers, was the scariest thing about this movie. Even as a child I found the rest of the film a little bit camp (without knowing the concept of campness), yet the Scoleri Brothers scared the shit out of me. The tension built up in the scene, with the malevolent pink goop bubbling and popping with increasing viciousness, was immense. It was probably my first introduction to the concept of murder (as the brothers were executed for murder) and it still gives me shivers to this day.

2. Grand High Witch – The Witches (1990)

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Anjelica Huston before the big reveal was scary enough to make a little whipper snapper like me shit themselves. Then she peeled her face off and…. WTF! Terrifying and gross in equal measures the Grand High Witch was a seriously bad ass villain with a seriously bad ass, facial, fungal infection. Tough to beat on the WTF scale of children’s characters.

3. Judge Doom – Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

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Doc hit the sauce when Marty left.

[SPOILER ALERT…even though you all should have seen WFRR?] 

[voice getting higher, until it reaches a high-pitched squeak] ‘REMEMBER ME, EDDIE? When I killed your brother…I spoke…like….THIS!’

Oh gahd, it’s still horrific thinking about that line. And then he melts in the toon-dissolving acid and my dreams get haunted for about 2 years. Scary stuff for a child’s mind.

4. Dr. Janosz Poha – Ghostbusters II (1989)

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Arguably not intended to be as scary as the creepy painting guy Vigo, however the weird transvestite/Victorian child/demon/ghost apparition of Dr. Janosz Poha was horrifyingly chill-inducing. He had a molestery vibe before he became possessed and afterwards it was off the scale. “He’s a molester…. HE’S A CHILD MOLESTER!” Points for the reference here.

5. The Goblin King – Labyrinth (1986)

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Not sure if sexy or a paedophile…

A weird choice, I know. I think the scariest thing about David Bowie in this movie is his bulge bouncing around in the tight leggings he wears throughout. It also confused me as a child because he had long hair like a girl yet had quite the package in his pants. Oh yeah, and he could be summoned into your life with a simple incantation, and what 3 year old wants to get kidnapped by a singing dude that can sprout a chubby while playing baby catch with a load of goblins?

6. Willy Wonka – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

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Let me just start by saying Willy Wonka is a bloody legend, If he was real and alive today I’m sure he’d have a banging Twitter personality, would appear on Question Time to debate the the importance of import regulations and would go out to dinner with Stephen Fry, however there are moments in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ where I seriously questioned his legitimacy as a sane human being. Wonka had a temper and an unhinged nature that, as a child, was oh so slightly scary. Boats in tunnels will never be the same again.

7. Ursula – The Little Mermaid (1989)

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If Ariel was the jewel of the ocean, then Ursula was the toxic waste dumped into the Gulf of Mexico by BP. She’s one of those Disney antagonists that starts off fairly chill and ends up multiplying into something horrific, all while singing a song in a minor key. Disney, there was something deeply wrong with you, you brilliant bastard.

8. Mola Ram- Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom (1984)

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Rips. A. Guys. Heart. From. His. Chest.

9.Darkness – Legend (1985)

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Tally-ho, chaps.

Why is the devil always an Englishman? Regardless, I loved this movie as a kid, yet every time Darkness appeared on screen I white-knuckled instantly, even my toes (do toes have knuckles? They look like they do.) When re-watching this movie it was significantly less scary, but I honestly thought the devil in this was going to get me somehow and poke me in the eye with his horns. Irrational kids be irrational.

10.  Debbie Jellinsky – Addams Family Values (1993)

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There is no such thing as being too young to understand the complexities of a straight up, psychopathic, socio-path according to the world of The Addams Family. As a child Fester’s wife Debbie seemed so nice, that was until she started killing people. Tapping into a fear we didn’t even know we had as child, Debbie made us realise that appearances can be deceiving. In a refreshingly moralistic tale the Addams family taught us that not all monsters are monsters and that some people most definitely are. Existentialism as a child. Terrifying.

140 words: Hausu

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After Oshare discovers an unwelcome guest on her summer trip, her and her friends change their plans and visit her aunt instead. As the group settle into the house, they soon find their lives in grave danger.

I missed the film showing of Hausu while at university, but heard many great things about the movie; it was subversive, bizarre, but more importantly, bloody good horror fun. I agree it’s bizarre and subversive, but unfortunately it was also quite a chore to behold. The first act plays out as an arduous slog, and whilst there are some funny moments of dialogue and interesting uses of animation, I’m disappointed that I didn’t enjoy Hausu more.

Hausu has cult status among fans of Asian cinema. I can’t liken it to another movie, so you’ll have to watch it and make up your own mind!

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Ernie’s 10 overlooked genre picks

Lauren is away enjoying her honeymoon (wooo), which means I’m holding fort for the week! So, without further ado…

10 overlooked films. 10 genres. None of these movies are mentioned in previous lists (but two I have reviewed: cheating, right?)!

1) Action: Tropa de Elite

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City of God is often lauded as the greatest Brazilian film of recent years, and deservedly so. That said, Tropa de Elite pushes it a close second, in my opinion. The sweaty, vibrant Rio is once again under the spotlight, but this time the focus is a team of expert urban police named the BOPE: Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais. It’s violent, funny, poignant and just fucking great. The sequel is as good as the original, and the final film in the trilogy is rumoured to be in production! Excelente!

2) Animation: Sword in the Stone

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As a child, there were few things as exciting and magical as watching the song Higitus Figitus (all the shrinking household objects!) in Sword in the Stone. Merlin was my favourite Disney character after Genie from Aladdin, and if you haven’t seen this 1963 classic then where have you been?

3) Comedy: Kenny

The proper use of sanitation equipment, as explained by Kenny (Shane Jacobson).
“There’s a smell in there that will out-last religion.”

A charming, sincere and heartwarming mockumentary about an Australian shit-shoveller called Kenny. The writing, although being very culturally-specific to Australia, delivers a universally-relevant protagonist; Kenny has a slight speech impediment but a huge heart. Much like Homer Simpson, Kenny is one of those characters you wish was a real person. It’s an utter success as a comedy, too, with some laugh-out-loud scenes milestoning the few touching moments throughout the narrative. You must see this movie; it doesn’t have 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for nothing.

4) Documentary: Restrepo

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We love documentaries here on Frame Rates (Blackfish, McCullin, The Summit, Searching for Sugar Man, The Cove), and Restrepo is no exception to this rule. Focused on a platoon of US soldiers, Restrepo is a visceral study on the effects of modern warfare; losing friends, winning battles and leaving loved ones are elements put under the microscope here. It’s harrowing, hard to watch but also exhilarating (if a bit “‘Murica, baby”, and is one of the more honest documents about the War on Terror.

5) Drama: The Hunt

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6) Horror: Excision

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Click for full thoughts

7) Sci-Fi: Westworld

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Click click click click click. That is the sound of the killer cowboy hunting you. This is not a case of mistaken identity, but rather a case of machines going wrong. Westworld is a dystopian take on future theme parks, in which you can take vacations in bygone day; drinking in saloon bars, shagging disease-ridden hookers and gallivanting around the Wild West. That is until the wiring in one of the machines goes wrong and you are left fighting for your life! 1970s sci-fi at its depressing, paranoid best.

8) Thriller: Leon

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I don’t think this is that overlooked, however it is one of my all-time genre favourites. What starts life as a lone wolf thriller quickly falls into buddy territory, however the buddies are a middle-aged Jean Reno and a young Natalie Portman. Luc Besson’s best movie, alongside The Fifth Element, is a joy to watch, has some laughs juxtaposed with some epic violence and a turn from Gary Oldman that will require you make change of underwear upon finishing the movie.

9) War: Brotherhood

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It’s not cool to cry at movies, right? Well, regardless of the fact I don’t think that’s true at all, fifteen year old me was extremely shocked when salty stuff started coming out of his eye sockets after watching Brotherhood. A story about two brothers that find themselves on opposite sides of the Korean conflict, Taegukgi is hearthbreaking. I haven’t actually seen this in years, but I remember being absolutely astounded by the movie, and this is a reminder to myself to hunt this down and have a second viewing.

10) Western: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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Gotta be honest; I haven’t seen too many Westerns. Rango, 3:10 to Yuma, The Searchers, TGTBATU and True Grit come to mind, however what Andrew Dominik has achieved in Jessie James is nothing short of phenomenal. It’s like watching a series of perfectly-framed photographs, and the script is alright as well! Sam Rockwell, Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck are brilliant, and even the often monotone Jeremy Renner pulls out all the stocks for this movie! It’s very slow and requires your undivided attention, but if you are in the right mood this will wash over you wonderfully.

10 iconic wedding movies and scenes

This may appear a weird list when considering what we usually post here on FrameRates, so here is some context: Lauren, my FrameRates buddy, is getting married on tomorrow! *cue cheers*. She’s currently getting the kilts ready and making the final preparations, so I have put together a special list!

So, to celebrate, here are 10 movies with marriages as a plot device or a key scene!

1) The Graduate

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When you get referenced in a movie, regardless of how shitty the movie is, you know you are relevant and well-known enough to the cinematic lexicon. Wayne’s World 2, the above average sequel to Wayne’s World, contains a scene that directly references the end of The Graduate. There are so many scenes in this certified classic that have gone down in history, and none more so than Ben (Hoffman) hammering on a window above a congregation during his love’s wedding to another man. Part of the Hollywood New Wave era, The Graduate is a standout example of how to construct a story with great characters, a solid script, as well as technical adventurousness.

2) Romeo and Juliet

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Oh, Leo, how lovely it is to see you grow into the actor you are now. The child star that scowled his way through such early 90s movie like This Boy’s Life and The Basketball Diaries, really hit the dizzy heights of Hollywood stardom when he trod the boards as Romeo in Lurhman’s Romeo and Juliet. Lurhman transported the Shakespeare classic into modern day America, and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s a solid enough reimagining, complete with contemporary music and a colour palette that would make Pixar squint.

3) Wedding Crashers

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I’m not a comedy snob but I find it quite difficult to like Vince Vaughn. It’s to his testament that he nails it in Wedding Crashers, an interesting take on the ‘buddy movie’ we have all become so comfortable watching. Fast-talking Vaughn and Owen Wilson play a pair of ballsy business partners that spend their summer vacations crashing weddings and boning bridesmaids. That is until they crash a lavish wedding, during which they fall for two women who are their equal match. It sounds like your average Hollywood snorefest, but this is a decent movie with a lot of laughs!

4) Four Weddings and a Funeral

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“Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed.”

CRINGE AT THE TERRIBLE ACTING! Putting that single-worst line of delivered dialogue in cinema history aside, Four Weddings and Funeral stands up as Richard Curtis’ best work to date. Complete with a bumbling Hugh Grant, a rainy London and some clever laughs, this is probably the seminal movie about weddings in recent times, if not ever. It was, however, responsible for the Marty Pellow/Wet Wet Wet song, Love is All Around Me; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQQ6SfPZggw. I used to sing ‘I roll them in my fingers, I roll them in my toes, bogeys all around me, I got them from my nose.’ 7 year old me was such a funny guy.

5) The Hangover

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I want you to take a long, hard look at yourself, The Hangover, and report back when you can admit your mistakes. I won’t regale you with Stag Do stories about Lauren’s groom-to-be, however his tooth has been fixed now and Latvia has just about recovered.

6) The Wedding Singer

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The second-least annoying Sandler role after Punch Drunk Love, The Wedding Singer tells the story of Robbie and Julia, a singer and waitress engaged to the wrong partners, that eventually find out each others’ love for the other. This was the first movie I saw on my own at the cinema, which may sound lame, but I was only 11 so fuck you. I jest, of course. I’d like to reiterate that it is Sandler’s second-least annoying role, which should be reason enough to check it out.

7) Match Point

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The last Woody Allen outing that got reviewed on FrameRates was not received well at all. It’s a shame, because when he is on form, Allen can craft a story that will engage the most ADHD among us. Match Point is no exception; set in the opulent world of London’s elite, a marriage between a loving couple gets shaken to its very core with the introduction of a busty, blonde siren. Rhys-Myers plays the bachelor-then-husband that succumbs to the charms of Johansson (who wouldn’t?), and by the time the credits have roled you may be shocked as to where this movie has taken you.

8) Father of the Bride

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A remake of a classic always creeps up on our lists, and this is one of them. Father of the Bride is a remake of the 1950 classic about a dad that cannot accept his daughter is a grown woman making her own decisions. While not being Martin’s best role as the titular father, George Banks, he still manages to convey the character as having his daughter’s best interests at heart, in between all the comedic moments that one would expect from a wedding movie. The original is probably more of a classic, but if you’re a Martin fan then this is certainly not his worst work!

9) Downfall

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Probably the most infamous wedding in modern history. Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun got married while holed up under the streets of the Reichstag, Berlin, 1945, just days before committing suicide together. Downfall (or Der Untergang in German), tells the story of the last weeks of Hitler’s life. Critics of the movie have stated it paints too human a portrait of the dictator, and while this could be substantiated, it doesn’t detract from how good this movie actually is. You’ve probably all seen the parody videos of Hitler’s rant, however, when in the context of the movie, that scene is Hitler coming to terms with the fact his Reich is coming to an end.

10) Sideways

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I’ve never been middle-aged. That said, if I get to a certain vintage and am still not married, I’d like to take a week off before my wedding to eat fine food and drink fine wine. Sideways is a smart, slow but hilarious movie that is as much about food and wine as it is about getting older, feeling young and friendship at all costs. 22 year old me loved this film, and while at that age I had nothing in common with any of the characters, who doesn’t love a movie about booze?

Do any of you have any you’d add to the list?

Also, congratulations, Lauren (and James!)! You guys rock 😀

10 sequels that tarnished the brilliance of the original

You would be hard pushed these days to go a week without hearing about, or seeing, a movie sequel being stuffed down your throat. The desire to turn movie’s into franchises, money making juggernauts, means that integrity and genuine creativity goes right out the window. To stick our finger up to lazy film making, here’s our top 10 sequels, to brilliant films, that didn’t really need to be made.

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1) The Matrix Reloaded (& Revolutions) – When The Matrix was released in 1999 is was so god-damn good, so unbelievably cool, so original and well made, it collectively blew the minds of everyone who saw it. When we found out it was a trilogy, we were excited. Giddy some might say. Then we watched the sequels and it all started going a bit wrong. What had begun as clever became slightly confused, and what had been original felt stale by the third film. It wasn’t that The Matrix Revolutions and The Matrix Reloaded were bad, the special effects and action sequences were first rate, it was that the idea from the original Matrix was lost. Rules that had been created were broken and by the end no one had a clue who or what the fuck Neo was. I’m still not sure to be honest…

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2) The Hangover 2 – The Hangover franchise has garnered a lot of criticism over the past few years for it’s undeniably awful sequels, but we really have to remember that the original was pretty darn funny. The jokes were fresh, story well put together and Zach Galifianakis was new, exciting and not the most annoying man on earth. Cue a totally unnecessary and lazy sequel and all the credibility for the original goes out the window. Boring, unfunny, annoying and shit; the most heinous of mercenary film making.

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3) Star Wars Prequels – Fuck you, George. I hope you and Jar Jar Bollocks find a small hole to crawl into where you can waste away and hopefully no one will ever remember you existed. You proved that the magic of Star Wars was due to the collective thinking of a larger team, and if it had been down to you we may not have even had the original films. Given sole creative control you royally fucked it up.

Check out what George Lucas didn’t actually said in 2011:

“I took a lot of crap for Jar Jar Binks, But let me say here once and for all: He was the best damn character in any of the six movies. He was by far my favorite. He was funny, he was kind and moral and he ended up playing a pivotal role in setting the course of the Emperor’s actions in motion. If not for him, the story would’ve gone nowhere. Nowhere.”  You’re still a hack director, George.

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4) Men in Black 2 – Now, unlike some of the other stinkers on this list, Men in Black 2 wasn’t wholly horrific. There were some new aliens, some cool new weapons, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones were in it…. It was just so distinctly average, and compared to the original it was bad. Men in Black was action-packed, scary (yes that cockroach guy was terrifying), funny and it was a delight to watch. Left at just one film Men in Black would be a cult classic. As it is we’ve had another two, over-egged the pudding and what could have been a single delight has been replicated and killed. R.I.P M.I.B.

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5) Kronk’s New Groove – Now Emperors New Groove is by far my favourite Disney film. If you haven’t seen it, stop what you are doing and go and watch it right now. This is a film that pitched the humour so perfectly it appealed to adults and children, so it pains me to have to include the straight to DVD follow up in this list. However, not as much as it pained me to have to see my favourite characters wheeled out to try and milk some of the success from the first movie. Patrick Warburton is a genius voice actor and, arguably, Kronk made the original film, but the sequel goes to show you can have too much of a good thing. When the comic relief becomes the film, then the jokes quickly dry up.

This looks nothing like the original. WTF is up with his hair?
This looks nothing like the original. WTF is up with his hair?

6) Son of the Mask – The gif is back, but there really in only one way to express how I feel about Son of the Mask.

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Can anyone in L.A let us know if you have got out alive?
Can anyone in L.A let us know if you have got out alive?

7)  Escape from L.A. – Escape from New York has a classic, 1980s sci-fi premise; in near-future 1997, New York has become so overrun with crime that it has been turned into a maximum security prison. When the President’s plane crashes in Manhattan, the only person that can save him from a heinous buggering is convicted burglar, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell). Directed by John Carpenter, this seminal piece of science fiction delivers thrills, one-liners and a Die Hard-esque tone. Escape from L.A. doesn’t have half the heart & soul of the original despite being directed by Carpenter, which is a shame because Plissken is a badass.

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ಠ_ಠ

8)  [Insert Genre] Movie – I’m taking genre liberties here (I’m so postmodern) and am going to consider Scream (which is one of the best horror films ever made) the mothership to the scores of terrible ‘parody’ movies that have come out since; Scary Movie started the ball rolling, then we got [in no particular order] Date Movie, Scary Movie 2, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Scary Movie 3, Not Another Teen Movie, Meet the Spartans, Scary Movie 4, Superhero Movie and Scary Movie 5. If you, or anyone you know, were involved at any level of production on any of these movies, hang your head in shame. Parodies are great…when they are done like Airplane or Blazing Saddles.

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9)  Saw 2-1000 – [music] Duh duh DUH, duh duh duh duh duh DUH duh duh! Saw was awesome. Regardless of the acting, which at some points was pretty melodramatic, the twist at the end of the first movie was EPIC. The first time I…saw…it, my jaw hit the floor. Then I see’d Saw 2 and it was no way near as good, despite having some pretty good gore. Then the rest of the franchise came out, and by this point I was indifferent to the imagery, jaded if you will, and the films never really recovered. Saw 3 was probably the best out of the rest in my opinion, but Saw was the movie which, if you haven’t, you all have to see.

TRANSFORMERS

10)  Transformers 1-4 – Bla, bla, anti-Bay circlejerk, bla bla. That’s what is often spouted online but without much to back it up. However, the affection I have for the original Transformers cartoon from the 80s is huge. I own the series’ on DVD, have still got my favourite figurines, and that’s why I cannot understand how the Transformers movies have done so well. Originally concepted as a way to sell Hasbro toys, the cartoon had an 80s innocence. It was good vs evil, a true 80s narrative. Cars, planes, trucks and robots, maybe with a white conservative Christian subtext, but who cares? It didn’t work on me anyway, and I just loved the battles and one liners. Then I saw the first Transformers movie and my heart collapsed in on itself. I’m sure there are some idiots out there that enjoyed these movies, but when you go from selling toys to a sexist, machinist wankfest, you know your childhood has been pillaged and left to burn inside a bum’s rusty bin.

10 Films we couldn’t watch until the end

As film lovers, bloggers and decent human beings we always try and see a film through to its conclusion. You can’t judge a film if you haven’t seen the whole thing right? This list begs to differ. Here are some of the films that no love nor money could make us watch all the way till the end…

Worst. Film. Ever
Worst. Film. Ever.

1) The SitterThis film is a lesson in how not to make a comedy. For a comedy to be funny either you bring funny characters into a mundane situation or you bring normal characters into a funny/over the top situation. This film strings together the most ludicrous people (the kid makes bombs?!! WHAT??!!!) with the most insultingly far-fetched yet predictable of plots. I don’t know how this finished and I don’t care. Adventures in Babysitting this is not. Jonah Hill I like you but just no. No. Bad Jonah Hill. Bad.

This is how I felt 5 minutes in..
This is how I felt 5 minutes in..

2) The Double This is probably getting rather short shrift from me, and doesn’t really deserve to be on a list with some of these absolute howlers, however I can’t pretend that I saw this through all the way to the end. I didn’t even make it to half an hour. This film isn’t so much bad, it’s just been done before, a lot better. It’s boring, clichéd and Richard Gere started to get on my nerves after 10 minutes. I wondered why I had never heard of it when I spotted it on TV and now I know why… Sorry Rich, seeing you like this was too painful..

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3) The Hottie and The NottieDon’t think we really need to rehash this again but for those who haven’t had the joy of hearing us say it the first time then here it is again. This film may be the worst film I have ever seen. I spent most of the film fast-forwarding through someone saying something douchey so managed to watch the entire film in about 15 minutes. Name a group or minority; this film insulted them. All this film does is show Paris Hilton wanking herself off and we all have to watch. With a gun against my head I couldn’t say one nice thing about The Hottie and The Nottie.

The only time I was this happy to be at school was when I was drunk..
The only time I was this happy to be at school was when I was drunk..

4) High School the MusicalOk so I may not be the target market for this all singing, all dancing, corny, cliche, cheese-fest of a film, but I’m a firm believer that, when a family movie is done well it appeals to adults and kids alike (er hello most things Pixar makes!). This is so sugary, sickly, void of any tangible cynicism and difficult for an adult to digest I simply got annoyed and turned it off. I am a huge fan of musicals but this has zero integrity as a musical for all ages, and for me will always be a film for the under 10’s. I will forever be grateful, however, as it gifted us with Zac Efron. So thank you for that!

GIRL

5) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)Now, this film is probably the best film on the list. However, after spending a good 12 hours (it took a while to recover from each film) with my emotions invested into the Swedish language versions of The Millenium Trilogy, I found Fincher’s remake offered nothing more than better cinematography and a selection of questionable accents. I am not a hipster, but I feel this was a pointless remake of a perfectly acceptable Swedish film. I turned off 70 minutes in when I saw the movie was going to finish in 2018.

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6) Grindstone RoadShit. Didn’t last 15 minutes.

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7) AnuvahoodAdam Deacon, stick to your London accent and shitty chav roles. This was one of the most embarrassing things to come out of London since Boris Johnson got stuck on a zipline. No wonder we had riots; they were probably all looking for Deacon to try and merk him. And for the cultured, ‘merk’ means to beat up, not supply him with a reliable German-made automobile.

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“But mum, swimming cap or no swimming cap, I will drown if I wear this in the pool.”

8) Hostel Part IIITo be fair, Hostel was a pretty groundbreaking horror movie. However, by the third iteration of the series there was no heart and, by the looks of things, no money left. Boring, even the gore was half-arsed. I felt compelled to turn it off because I remembered I had more interesting things to do, like to watch dust float past the crack of light between my curtains.

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9) The PromotionMy girlfriend loves shitty movies, and not ‘so bad they are good’ movies. Just shitty movies. *Jumps down from high horse*. That’s why it surprised me when she was the one that suggested we turn this off. What didn’t surprise me is that she suggest we watch it in the first place…

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Believe or not, in this picture Cusack is cradling what’s left of his career.

10) The Raven –

“Did I add this or did you add this?! Totally started watching this the other day and didn’t finish it…. well confused!! Apologies if I’m having a moment and this was me. John Cusack needs a punch in the face in this film.”

If two of us turned off this shit then what hope does it have? Just rubbish. Nothing more, nothing less.

So, what are your picks for movies you just couldn’t bring yourself finish?

Post 100! 100 years of film

We’ve made it to our first milestone! We have published 100 posts on the interwebs! To celebrate this, while Lauren is off enjoying her hen party weekend, I have decided to do a 100 year retrospective on my favourite (not critically-acclaimed, or necessarily best) film from each decade between 1910 and 2010.

1910s: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)

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Yes, I know this was released in 1920, but I’m going to count the date of production rather than the 1920 release. Whether it’s in the films of Tim Burton, the film noir movement of the 40s-50s, countless graphic novels, or pretty much most horror that followed on for the next forty years, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari can be counted as a major influence. German Expressionism at its best, this movie looks amazingly original, and regardless of how many times the stylistics have been pastiched, it still charmed the pants off me while being very unsettling to boot. I consider it a favourite of mine, despite being released almost 100 years ago.

1920s: The Gold Rush (1925)

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Talking about charming the pants off me… Charlie Chaplin, oh how I wish an equivalent actor was jobbing in Hollywood nowadays. Modern Times may be his best work, but The Gold Rush is relentless tomfoolery with a heart. Slapstick humour hasn’t evolved a great amount since Chaplin’s movies, but he will always be the undisputed king of that pool of comedy. There will never be an actor that can tell a story using their body with such precision as Charlie Chaplin, and despite a decade of seminal classics such as The Jazz Singer, Metropolis and Battleship Potemkin, this movie slapsticks its way into my top spot for the 1920s. This film also contains the best use of a chicken suit in cinema history.

1930s: Things To Come (1936)

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The thing I love about this British science fiction movie from the mid-30s is how weirdly accurate it is in predicting following 100 years. Granted they thought we wouldn’t make it into space until 2035 (idiots, pah), they did however mention wars, plagues, the mistrust of science and machines, and revolting workers. As a bit of an After Effects/post-production geek, I love how they achieved the visuals in this movie. Much like The Impossible, but a million times more impressive, they used practical effects because they didn’t have computers. Well they did, but they were much bigger and I don’t think you would be able to run After Effects 64-bit on them.

1940s: Double Indemnity (1944)

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Do you remember your first film noir experience? Mine just so happened to be with Double Indemnity. It was gentle at first but towards the end I was being taken on such a ride I could barely breathe. There was something quite magical about watching my first noir; I was coming off the back of a photography a-level, so was pretty obsessed with chiaroscuro, and noir pretty much is the biggest proponent of that high contrast between light and dark aesthetic. Style aside, Billy Wilder knows how to put together a story, and Double Indemnity is gripping from the first to the last.

1950s: Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

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Electric pacing, stunning performances from every cast member, gripping plot. This is the second Wilder movie on my list, and it’s not the last either. In my opinion, there isn’t a better courtroom drama than Witness for the Prosecution, and this is one of my ‘go to’ movies that I feel compelled to watch each year. Nail-biting, and if you haven’t seen it, stop what you are doing and spend the next 2 hours in cinematic heaven by watching Witness for the Prosecution. It’s such a special movie.

1960s: The Apartment (1960)

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Some people have a song or a city that reminds them of a special time with a loved one. I have The Apartment, a movie that changed the opinion of a girlfriend that has stated, on record, that black and white movies are rubbish. Billy Wilder constructs the best rom com in history, with a set of believable characters and a charming story of love and loyalty. Jack Lemon, who would later go on to start in Grumpy Old Men, gives the performance of a lifetime as a cheerful, hapless in love office worker that falls for a woman who knows how to press his buttons. It’s funny, beautiful, brilliantly-paced and NOT cloying or sickly. A complete cinematic experience, and I think I’m going to watch it again today!

1970s: Alien (1979)

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I should not have been allowed to watch this at such a young age. Alien gave me nightmares for a couple of years, and, to this day, is a movie that knows how to terrify me. The 1970s were fantastic for dystopian science fiction movies, and while there are some classics from the decade, none manages the same rewatchability as Alien. It blends horror and sci-fi, looks gothic yet futuristic, and doesn’t resort to cheap narrative cliches to achieve its scares. It might be cool to say you like Alien, but do I care? Nope.

1980s: The Shining (1980)

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I only realised last week after a conversation with Lauren why I love this film so much. Kubrick has constructed a movie in The Shining that looks extremely photographic. You could literally take any still from this The Shining (or any Kubrick film for that matter), frame it and hang it on your wall. Much like Mulholland Dr., The Shining has a narrative that demands you think about what you are seeing, and the ending, while being the literal opposite to what happens in the book, is a massive head-fuck. I love being challenged by a film, be it through imagery, thematics or narrative structure and development, and The Shining absolutely carries the flame for all of those categories.

1990s: LA Confidential (1997)

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I bought the video game, LA Noire, expecting something as engaging as LA Confidential, but was bitterly disappointed. Much like the rest of the films on this list, LA Confidential left me feeling completely engrossed in the story, and it puts a smile on my face when I think about the first time I watched it. The 90s were Kevin Spacey’s decade, and his output doesn’t get any more compelling or exciting than LA Confidential. If you haven’t seen this, why the hell not?!

2000s: Mulholland Dr. (2001)

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No hay banda. There is no band.

My mind was blown so much when I saw this movie at the beginning of university that I decided to do my dissertation on Lynch. There are so many memories I have related to Mulholland Dr.; doing an all-nighter with mates and putting this on at 8am, much to their confusion; watching it in the rain in an open air cinema in Somerset House, London, with my girlfriend; watching it twice in one day while writing the final chapter of my dissertation about this movie. It’s clever, sleek, dream-like, confusing, a complete mind-fuck, but it’s just so damn good. If this is Lynch’s middle finger letter to Hollywood, my 11,169 word, 65 page dissertation is a love letter to Lynch.

2010s so far…: Inception (2010)

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There have only been three and a half years of the Teens, and while we’ve seen some fantastic movies released, I don’t think any of them have come close to giving me the feeling I had when I left the cinema after watching Inception. I caught a late screening, but if I had seen it during the day I absolutely would have bought another ticket and watched it again. Nolan is magical, and regardless of the fact this movie has been called many things, I would proudly be the standard bearer for Inception as a blockbuster with smarts. Much like Looper, forget the science or technicalities of the plot and let it wash over you like the intelligent sci-fi action movie that it is. Amazing.

Honourary mentions (some of these are on par with my choices, and could be interchangeable, especially the 1950s, that was a GOOD decade):

The Public Enemy, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Big Steal, Stray Dog, Rear Window, Singin’ in the Rain, Night of the Hunter, Les Diaboliques, North by Northwest, Psycho, Dr Strangelove, Goldfinger, Soylent Green, The French Connection, Chinatown, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Labyrinth, Aladdin, The Usual Suspects, Men in Black, 28 Days Later, City of God, Oldboy, Shaun of the Dead, Brick, Martyrs, I Saw the Devil, The Cabin in the Woods, Looper

10 films of Matthew McConaughey: From the sublimely bad to the sublime!

In his own words, Matthew McConaughey is undergoing a McConaissance of late, getting offered challenging roles and putting out some stellar performances. To celebrate the impending UK release of Mud, here are some highlights and low blows of the Texan’s career. We’ve both gone from loathing his output to thinking he’s the best thing since sliced bread, so here’s our ode to Matt.

The Bad…

He loves to get his lean on..
He loves to get his lean on…what a chilled guy.

1) Failure to Launch: It wasn’t so much that failure to launch was bad it just wasn’t any good. Sarah Jessica Parker and McConaughey have little to no chemistry together, the plot is just ridiculous, there is a scene where McConaughey gets bitten by a dolphin (wtf!). Oh and they didn’t capitalise the actors names in the poster. There really is no excuse for bad grammar..

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Terrifying…

2) The Wedding Planner: The late 90’s early 00’s was the era of the rom com by numbers and it doesn’t get more by numbers and more sickly than this McConaughey/Jennifer Lopez offering from 2001. This film is poorly written with horrible people doing horrible and cynical things. For some reason I have seen this film twice. Which means I hate it twice as much.

"Wait wait wait! Have you actually read the script?!"
“Wait wait wait! Have you actually read the script?!”

3) Ghosts of Girlfriends Past: This film really was an embarrassment for everyone involved (Jennifer Garner, Emma Stone and Michael Douglas!) and may be one of the worst McConaughey films on the list. The modern rom com’s take on A Christmas Carol was unoriginal, predictable and oh so so so cheesy. McConaughey puts in a solid enough performance but could do this role in his sleep.

Dat on-screen chemistry…

4) Tiptoes: If you haven’t seen this film please please please watch the trailer to get a taste of exactly what we are talking about. Did the actors hear “Gary Oldman”, “role of a lifetime” and sign a contract before reading the script?? This film is LITERALLY insanity from start to finish and is a blot on the careers of all involved.

5) U-571: To say this movie is historically inaccurate is an understatement. One of the turning points in WW2 was the discovery and subsequent cracking of a naval Enigma code machine used by the Nazis. U-571 tells us that it was a crew of Americans and their heroics, spearheaded by Lt. Tyler (ol’ Matty McC), that undertook this mission, when in reality it was Great Britain (and other European Allies) that apprehended the cipher machine. It is for this reason, Matthew, that we are including this movie and your performance in the stinky end of the list.

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Rule Britannia

The Good….

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No more fucking rom coms! I have my serious face on now

1) The Lincoln Lawyer: The Lincoln Lawyer was the changing of the tides for McConaughey. His first film after Ghosts of Girlfriends past, this was a notable shift for the Texan actor. The subject matter was heavy, the character complex and the emotional range more demanding that anything he had done in the last decade. McConaughey is fantastic and pulls, what is otherwise a rather bland crime thriller, up to be a rather decent and enjoyable film.

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“Put your hand up in the air if you think this is miles better than Wedding Planner!”

2) Magic Mike: McConaughey is one of many components that makes this film great but also manages to hold his own as the sexually enigmatic club owner. He effortlessly attacks this role and its difficult to imagine another actor doing a better job. A film definitely not just for the ladies.

Contact

3) Contact: While this probably kicked off Matt’s career in unchallenging, boring rom-coms, he gives a convincing performance as the voice of reason between science and religion. This is Zemeckis at his best, and we feel that this was one of the movies from the early part of McConaughey’s, non leaning on women, career that deserves some respect.

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4) Dazed and Confused: Same goes with Dazed and Confused, his first major film role. As someone that has been young, this film was a refreshing, relatable tale on adolescent experimentation, regardless of it being set in 1970’s Texas. We’ve all experimented with all manner of glorious things, even if we think we haven’t (your latex fetish must have come from somewhere, right?…). You can tell he’s nailing his performance because he standing up straight.

God I'm so serious and intense and awesome now
God, I’m so serious and intense and awesome right now

5) Mud: OK, hands up…We haven’t seen it yet! But having seen the trailer, listened to the critical noise and eyed up the cast list so we’re confident that this should be fantastic. Check out the trailer now for a glimpse of the McConaughey magic in action.

Watch this Space….

Dallas Buyers Club: Currently in pre production, McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a drug abuser, womaniser and homophobic, who in 1986 was diagnosed with AIDS and given 30 days to live. McConaughey lost enormous amounts of weight for the role and is almost unrecognisable as the emaciated Woodroof. If Dallas Buyers Club is good, and it could be really good, we predict this could earn McConaughey an Oscar nod. The academy go crazy for physical transformations, real life stories and characters with addiction. This has all three. Remember you heard it here first.

McConaughey as AIDS victim Ron Woodroof in Dallas Boys Club
McConaughey as AIDS victim Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club

10 really bad ‘bad guys (and girls)’

Iron Man 3 came out in the UK this week. In honour of Robert Downey Jr’s arse-kicking, mega hero, here is a list of ten bad guys and girls that we think rightfully belong on cinema history’s rubbish [garbage] heap.

10) Jurassic Park: Dennis Nedry

I’m not sure about you lot, but I think I hate this guy more than any villian in any film ever. If there weren’t dinosaurs roaming around killing everyone I’m pretty sure Richard Attenborough could have caught up with this diabetic bastard and taught him a lesson or two.

You are lying if you say you wouldn't punch this guy.
You are lying if you say you wouldn’t punch his smug face.

9) Super Mario Bros: King Koopa

Split-tongued, rubbish hair, looks nothing like anything in any Mario game ever. Dennis Hopper said yes to some questionable roles, none more so than his turn in the WORST video game adaptation in history. Doom, you can stop holding your breath.

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8) Snakes on a Plane: snakes

SMH.

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7) 3 Ninjas – High Noon at Mega Mountain: Medusa

I don't see no motherf*ckin' snakes in her motherf*ckin' hair...
I don’t see no motherf*ckin’ snakes in her motherf*ckin’ hair…

Saw this movie back in ’98 on a pirated VHS (remember those?). Colt, Rocky, Tum Tum and a washed-out Hulk Hogan have to battle the big-breasted blonde siren, Medusa. It’s not like the 2 movies that preceded High Noon at Mega Mountain were Oscar-worthy, but this, and she, was truly awful.

6) This guy

5) Birdemic: the birds

Watch this film. It’s the funniest thing we’ve seen since Grabbers, which was actually supposed to be funny. The birds, rather than looking like epic vessels of apocalyptic destruction, appear to be GIFs of parrots cut-and-pasted over the live action. We are currently doing a post for Disaster Movies, but if you get the chance the full movie is on Youtube.

4) Batman and Robin: Mr Freeze

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If you had told me way back in 1997 that Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man more wooden than a piece of wood having a particularly woody day, would go on to become the Governor of California (yes this actually happened people) then I would have told you to lay off the meth and take a time out. Mr Freeze is by far the worst of all Batman villains, saying some of the worst dialogue you’ll ever hear in a Batman film.

3) Star Wars The Phantom Menace: Darth Maul

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Everything about this character was unbelievably annoying. His face looked like inside of a gone off watermelon, which may have been scary if it didn’t look like the prosthetics had been stuck on with chewing gum and the make-up done by someone at a local fair. Give me a fat, slimy, slug looking creature over this poor excuse for a Star Wars villain any day..

2) Harry Potter Series: Draco Malfoy and his merry band of arseholes

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He has the looks of Aaron Carter, the smugness of Piers Morgan and the same amount of threat as a common cold. And just like a cold, there didn’t seem to be any cure for him. He stuck around for seven fucking films, leaching from one film to the next, getting more and more bloody annoying as the series developed. Turns out he wasn’t really a villain anyway, he was just a massive douche.

1) The Mummy: Benny

Look who's got all the horses!
Look who’s got all the horses!

Goddamn it, this weasel brings nothing to The Mummy apart from a stupid, high-pitched cackle laugh. Wasn’t it enough having Imhotep running around nicking people eyes?

Have we missed anyone? Perhaps that purple thing from Power Rangers? Or the floating head in Crank 2? Who would you have on your top ten?

10 movies with amazing soundtracks

For one reason or another we’ve both gone into the weekend feeling a little bit under the weather. It is because of this we are reaching for the medium of film, in particular film music, to provide us with well-needed smiles. Here are 10 movies with epic soundtracks!

The Breakfast ClubIf you’ve forgotten about how good this movie is then you need to stop what you are doing right now and find a way to watch it! This classic John Hughes coming of age teen comedy would be nothing without amazing music underscoring the twists and turns in the lives of a bunch of rag-tag adolescents on detention.

Dumb and Dumber

Mary Moon, she’s a vegetarian
Mary Moon, Mary Moon, Mary Moon
Mary Moon will outlive all the septuagenarians
(Mary Moon, Mary Moon, Mary Moon)
Oh she loves me so, she hates to be alone
She don’t eat meat but she sure like the bone

That’s all we have to say on this subject.

The Good, The Bad and the UglyThis list wouldn’t be complete without one Ennio Morricone score, and his most well-known and probably best is the OST from TGTBATU. One of us actually did a bootleg remix of the most famous track, Ecstasy of Gold, which we’ll put up on Twitter later. Here’s the original!

InceptionThere is something about the way Hans Zimmer composes tracks; he has layers of not only instruments and sound, but meaning as well. He’s arguably the best composer in Hollywood at the moment, and is definitely an auteur of sound. The OST of Inception (it could have been True Romance as well) is so damn good, and nothing captures the emotion of the movie like this track: Time. When the big brass comes in at 3:05, I defy anyone to admit they didn’t get goosebumps.

Requiem for a DreamHaunting. It’s a struggle enough to get through this movie without being pounded by melancholic, big, sombre and haunting tracks. None more so than the iconic theme tune, which has sadly been adopted by many reality TV talent shows. God-damn, TV sucks sometimes. (We aren’t sure why they have used a Sunshine screenshot in this video, but whatever.)

This is Spinal TapWait a second, it’s got a bit depressing all of a sudden. Here is a song about big arses.

Danny BoyleYes, we know that he is a director and not a series of songs set to moving images, but the man is a GENIUS with music. Pick from any of his movies, we don’t care. However, here’s one of his best scenes and track choices.

Aladdin: We had to choose a Disney film, right? Aladdin had it all and it was all hand-drawn. Here’s to the death of animation without a computer (even though the scene when the turret falls down the sand looks composited with a computer).

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking BarrelsWe love a bit of Jungle around these parts.

Human Traffic: We went into why this movie is so great in this post. Spoiler: the music was a huge factor!

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We hope you’ve been cheered up if you’re down. It’s been fun going through YouTube and listening to such amazing tracks! Any thoughts? This list is by no means definitive, so what would you add?

10 scariest films we’ve ever seen

In honour of the upcoming UK release/forthcoming review of Evil Dead, and before we go to the cinema to shit our pants watch the movie, here are ten films that scared the bejesus out of us.

Martyrs: This movie has been addressed on Framerates before, so we won’t go into it too much. But it was scary insofar as it made us question our very existence, and that is not something anyone wants to do after watching an hour of soul-destroying imagery. We will review it when we can find our souls, which have actually been AWOL since the first viewing.

One Missed Call: Imagine knowing the exact time and date of your death and being able to do nothing about it? It would be pretty scary, right? Now add in some sketchy ghosts and bloody demises and you’ve got yourself a ticket to Stainedpantsville. There’s a bit in an abandoned hospital that had me shriek very loud indeed.

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Candyman: My extended family were pretty nonchalant with regards to letting me watch horror movies at a tender age, and this is the first on the list of films I shouldn’t have seen at 5 years old. It’s very trippy horror fare, and there’s something inherently terrifying about looking at yourself in the mirror and repeating an urban legend’s name a number of times. *shudders*

28 Days Later: Oh no, you’ve caught a disease that turns you into a violent, mindless, flesh-munching machine! No, you aren’t Mike Tyson, you’re a zombie in 28 Days Later. The opening of this film is so scary without throwing buckets of blood at the screen. Boyle’s best, in my opinion, and one that will live in the hearts and minds of zombie lovers everywhere. If that’s a thing…

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Believe it or not, Texas Chainsaw (it’s what the cool kids call it) doesn’t show any blood, and the only real violence you see is when Leather Face appears out of his little door and wallops some dude. Nevertheless, the intense dread in this seminal horror movie is so tangible, you may feel as if you’ve run a marathon once the credits roll.

Ringu: Japan knows ghosts, and it was a choice between this and Ju-on, but Ringu wins solely because of the last scene. Obviously Hollywood made a remake, which did have Naomi Watts as the lead and we love her, but was completely unnecessary and nowhere near as scary. If you watch this you’ll never look at a TV in the same way again.

REC: Again, another foreign film that got a less scary remake. Check out the trailer here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeaUokzE9fI

Nightmare on Elm Street: Second on the list that I saw when I was far too young. I can still remember the reccuring nightmare I used to have thanks to this film. On a recent viewing it wasn’t as scary, but it’s a fantastic movie nonetheless.

You bastard.
You bastard.

Alien: Horror sci-fi done right! Gothic up to the eyeballs, Alien is an amazing feat of genre-merging and has about 8 amazing set pieces. Spawned a number of lesser sequels, and to this day is scaring the old and young in equal measure.

The Exorcist: What’s scarier than a demon? A demon that vomits green shit in your face and sounds like Joan Collins. Probably the best horror movie ever according to Mark Kermode, and he’s like Jesus around here so we’ll have to agree. But seriously, it’s fucking scary.

Do you agree or disagree? Have anything to add? Sound off in the comments!

10 films we can’t wait to see in 2013….

Ain’t them Bodies Saints

Exciting cast, interesting narrative and some positive rumblings from its Sundance Première.

Cast: Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Casey Affleck

Director/Writer: David Lowery

IMDB Synopsis: The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.

Est. Release: Aug.2013

Trailer: N/A

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Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in Ain’t them Bodies Saints

Runner, Runner

Ooo I do have a soft spot for the Afflecks. Ben Affleck can do no wrong for me at the moment.

Cast: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton.

Director:  Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer)

IMDB Synopsis: A businessman who owns an offshore gambling operation finds his relationship with his protégé reaching a boiling point.

Est Release: Sept. 2013

Trailer: N/A

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The only proof this film is happening. No stills from the films or a trailer have been released yet

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Please don’t be shit, please don’t be shit, please don’t be shit…

Confirmed Cast: Will Farrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Harrison Ford, Kristen Wiig, James Marsden

Rumoured Cast: Luke Wilson, John C. Reilly

Director: Adam Mckay (Anchorman)

IMDB Synopsis: The continuing on-set adventures of San Diego’s top-rated newsman

Est Release: Dec. 2013

Trailer: 

Elysium

Loved District 9, love Matt Damon and, if done well, this could be amazing.

Cast: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster

Director: Neill Blomkamp (District 9)

IMDB Synopsis: Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station. The rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, and a man embarks on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

Est Release: Sept. 2013

Trailer: N/A

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Matt Damon in Elysium

Kick Ass 2

If the writing and the story is as good as the first then I’ll be happy. Sequels are tricky beasts so I hope this retains the simplicity and class from the original. 

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Jim Carrey, Christopher Mintz Plasse, Donald Faison

Director: Jeff Wadlow (Matthew Vaughn directed Kick Ass)

IMDB Synopsis:  The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins forces with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.

Est Release: July 2013

Trailer: 

Mud

Trailer looks fantastic. Matthew McConaughey has been reborn as an actor with some real weight. The supporting cast aren’t half bad either.

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson

Director: Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter)

IMDB Synopsis: Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love

Est Release: May 2013

Trailer:

The Iceman

Michael Shannon (his second feature on this list) stars; he is fast becoming one of my favourite actors. Fantastic cast. Compelling story. What could go wrong?

Cast: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, James Franco, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer

Director: Ariel Vromen

IMDB Synopsis: The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession.

Est Release: June 2013

Trailer:

The World’s End

So excited by this!! The cast, writers and director are enough to have me pre ordering my cinema ticket already. If this isn’t funny then I give up.

Cast: Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine,

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg

IMDB Synopsis: Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind’s only hope for survival.

Est Release: Aug. 2013

Trailer: N/A

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Freeman, Considine, Pegg, Frost and Marsan in The World’s End

Monsters University

Monsters Inc. was such a delight, I’m excited but scared for this sequel/prequel. Fingers crossed it will retain the magic and wonder from the original.  Trailers looks great though.

Voice Cast: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi, Alfred Molina,

Director: Dan Scanlon (Cars)

IMDB Synopsis: A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends.

Est Release: July 2013

Trailer:

The Wolf of Wall Street

DiCaprio. Scorsese. Bosh.

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey

Director: Martin Scorsese

IMDB Synopsis: A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration.

Est Release: Nov. 13

Trailer: N/A

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Leonardo Dicaprio in the, first look still from, The Wolf of Wall Street

10 kids TV Shows from the 90s that changed your life

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1) Power Rangers: When The Power Rangers burst onto the scene in 1993 you could hear the collective sound of kids heads exploding everywhere. The Power Rangers were everything you wanted from your action heroes and more. Not only did they have mad fighting skills, they had unique weapons, the ability to control colossal assault machines called Zords and a mentor that looked like a giant potato, the tastiest and most versatile of the root vegetables. The Power Rangers have gone onto achieve world domination, with so many different spin-offs I’ve lost count, but every child of the 90’s will agree that the original line up has been and always will be the best.

Here’s the original opening sequence; damn I forgot how good this is..

2) Fun House: A man, a mullet, an oversized playground, go-karts, a pair of blond twins and a wickedly catchy 80’s style theme tune. No it’s not a low budget porn film but the classic and epic kid’s TV show from the 90’s, Fun House. Show me a child that didn’t want to go on that show and I’ll show you a kid that needed a punch in the face.

3) Ren and Stimpy: This bizarre and twisted American cartoon followed the tales of a chihuahua and a cat as they embarked on graphically gross and often disturbing adventures. This cartoon sometimes left me feeling a little strange inside, like I’d just seen something that no child should ever see. And it was awesome.  If Ren and Stimpy were around now, they’d probably be in a methadone programme trying to kick their crack habit.

Check out this clip that shows why this show was like nothing on TV.

4) Art Attack: Neil Buchanan taught us that with a little creativity, some PVA and an array of coloured card you could make anything. It was a great time as a child when guessing the giant Art Attack, before he’d finished making it, was the highlight of your week. Art Attack was so successful that it is actually CITV’s longest running programme, running from 1990 to 2007.

5) SMTV:  Proof that children’s TV could be smart, funny and not at all patronising. If you were a kid (big kid) in the late 90’s and you weren’t watching SMTV then you there was something wrong. With Challenge Ant, Wonkey Donkey, Chums, the beautiful Corrs, Pokemon battles, to name but a few, this programme had it all going on. Many before and after tried to create the magic that existed between Ant, Dec and Cat but none came close. Here are two clips to remind you just how amazing it was:

6) Playdays: All the toddlers in the know were all about Playdays. Where would the bus be going that week? Who would be taking us there? What adventures would we have when we arrived? Playdays was the staple of any British child’s schedule and was a nice warm up to Neighbours later on in the day (My Mum and I learnt to share in the 90’s…).

7) Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends: Thomas had it all going on and more. Excellent plots, versatile characters, fantastic models and gripping, yes gripping, action sequences meant Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends was must see viewing in the 90’s. Originally broadcast in 1984, Thomas has such lasting and timeless class that the programme is still loved today. Thomas and Friends taught me how to be a better person and how to overcome obstacles. It even moved me to tears. Here’s a the sort of drama that had me hooked:

8) Gordon the Gopher: Gordon the Gopher and Philip Schofield were the sort of dream time that children’s TV was all about in the 90’s (hello? Bodger and Badger!). With a leather jacket gifted from Adam Ant and a personality that matched, we all wished we were friends with that gopher. In 2005 Philip Schofield claimed that sadly Gordon was an alcoholic but later revealed in 2008 that he was in rehab. Hopefully Gordon is managing to stay on the wagon.

9) Maid Marian and her Merry Men: Created by and starring Tony Robinson, this children’s musical comedy was well before it’s time. Horrible Histories owes a lot to Maid Marian and her Merry Men for paving the way with comedy accessible to adults and children alike, whilst being immensely watchable and bonkers at the same time. Maid Marian was hilarious and fantastic and taught me not to take life too seriously. I owe my later-day love of Blackadder this programme.

10)  The Simpsons: What can you say about The Simpsons that hasn’t already been said? It’s still one of the funniest, most intelligent, satirical, endearing and enduring, cross-generational TV shows ever to have been made. The Simpsons does family comedy like no other and after 20 years is as hilarious as ever. The Simpsons has become embedded in our culture and will stay there for a very long time.

N.B It’s seriously difficult to name just 10 TV shows that I loved in the 90’s so here are a few that were equally as awesome that didn’t make the list; Doug, Cow and Chicken, Cat Dog, Dexter’s Laboratory, Ahhh Real Monsters, The Secret World of Alex Mack, Sister Sister, Kenan and Kel, Angry Beavers, Are you Afraid of the Dark?, Johnny Bravo, The Animals of Farthing Wood, Sweet Valley High, Saved by the Bell, Hey Arnold, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Rocko’s Modern Life, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Inspector Gadget, Biker Mice from Mars, Pinky and the Brain, Sharky and George, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, Danger Mouse and Chucklevision.

10 amazing screen partnerships

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1) Brian and Mike (End of Watch): This movie is so damn good because it feels completely real. Jakey G and Michael P play two utterly believable ‘Brolicemen’ that don’t give a damn about the gang roots of LA’s most dangerous. There are a number of scenes that will make you forget you are watching a movie and question why there are no ad breaks in this latest police documentary. Obviously cinematic licence is taken, as the movie does shift perspective from ‘hand-held footage’ to ‘fly on the wall’, but the story is so compelling you won’t care.

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Is this your homework, Larry?

2) Walter and The Dude (The Big Lebowski): It took a five year break and a second viewing for me to fall in love with this movie, and the main reason for this is the relationship between Bridges and Goodman. Whether it is meaningless back-and-forths about bowling, or straight-face trying to scare the bejeezus out of a 15 year old kid, the pair manage to be hilarious, touching, ridiculous and awesome all at the same time.

3) Buzz and Woody (Toy Story): You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Toy Story. As a kid I didn’t wish for my toys to come alive when I wasn’t in the room because my toys were shit, but I wished Buzz and Woody were real. Buzz and Woody are two of the most genuine, believable characters in cinema history, which is odd because their original physical form is just a series of mathematical calculations inside a computer.

4) Bonnie and Clyde/Mickey and Mallory (Bonnie and Clyde/Natural Born Killers): Violence breeding violence, set against true love. Or is it the mutual love of violence that brings them together? Both of these partnerships make you root for the ‘bad guys’, and that’s not always a negative thing.

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5) Ferris and Cameron (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off): The ultimate post-modern lead in film history, Ferris Bueller is as much a film about bunking school as it is an advert for everything and nothing during the 80s. Cameron provides the perfect emotional foil to Bueller’s ‘crazy’ antics, which alone are worth watching just for the musical number in downtown Chicago.

6) Thelma and Louise (Thelma and Louise): It’s a buddy road movie with two female leads. Somewhat placed in the ‘all men are arseholes’ camp of feminism, this matters not, as Thelma and Louise prove you don’t to have a penis to travel across the US on a Kerouacian mission to find yourself.

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7) Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid): I just picked up a Paul Newman collection from HMV for £5, which contained The Verdict, The Hustler and this movie. Indexed by one of the most iconic endings in cinematic history, Cassidy and Sundance is almost the male version of Thelma and Louise, where friendship prevails under the most testing circumstances.

8) Harry and Lloyd (Dumb and Dumber): In true Farrelly style, this film has plenty of fart, poop and boob jokes to keep an adolescent male amused. However, there are some truly touching moments, compounded by the friendship of the two main protagonists. There’s not a moment when you aren’t rooting for them! And the music…

9) Wallace and Dave (See No Evil, Hear No Evil): Wilder and Pryor at their best in this comedy of errors. Filmed in the spirit of Mel Brooks, Wallace and Dave, one blind, one deaf, work together to foil the plans of some murderous criminals. It’s a great movie, with Pryor and Wilder on top form. Coincidentally, I share a birthday with Richard Pryor, and Woody Allen! And Pablo Escobar.

10) Don and Cosmo (Singin’ in the Rain): This is the second time Singin’ in the Rain has come up in one of our 10 Things, and rightly so because it is such a wonderful movie. It stars Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor as Don and Cosmo. Their chemistry is electric, their dancing timeless and energetic, and it’s one of those cinematic pairings that will put a smile in your face no matter your mood!

10 films that made us want to gouge our eyes out

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Please, just take our eyes.

LJ

1) Littleman: This 2006 ‘comedy’ film produced by the Wayans’, directed by the Wayans’ and starring the Wayans’ is terrible enough to make me suggest a family trip to the doctors for immediate institutionalisation. This film was so bad, so amazingly insulting to mankind it’s almost comical. A black, fugitive midget masquerades as a baby to avoid being caught by the law. WHAAAAT? No seriously..WHAT?? Now, Marlon Wayans, I’ve seen Requiem for a Dream so I know you are better than this…

2) Requiem for a Dream: Having just been mentioned, I think this film, despite being incredible, definitely qualifies for this category too. Darren Aronofsky’s mind-bending look into drug use is as beautiful as it is harrowing. Visually, this film reaches out of the screen and grabs you around the throat. The film will touch you and consume you and you will never want to watch it again.

3) Jurassic Park 3: With Jurassic Park 4 looming ever closer, now would be a good time to reflect on the monstrosity that was JP3. What started life as a simple and well executed idea in the original film, morphed into an ugly, part-dinosaur, part cash-cow-shaped franchise that humped the life out of any integrity that was contained in the original Jurassic Park film. By the end, when the film basically morphs into Godzilla, I wanted to rip out one of my eyeballs just so I had something to throw at the screen.

4) All the Harry Potter Films.. maybe not the last one: Just like how she needed to talk about Kevin, we need to talk about the fact that the kids in Harry Potter CANNOT ACT! WHY CAN NO ONE ELSE SEE THIS???? Inside voice.. inside voice. Woman in Black and The Perks of being a Wallflower have shown in recent years that Radcliffe and Watson clearly have the chops to star in major films, so what happened for the first nine years of HP?? Granted they seem to have got the hang of the parts by the eighth film, but then it features the least talking so I’m not surprised. Be it bad direction or miscasting, the Harry Potter films are a source of constant rage and disappointment for myself.

5) Young Adult: This film, although not in the same league as some other films mentioned here, definitely had me wishing that my partial sightedness was full-on blindness. It features an horrifically awkward sex scene between Patton Oswalt and Charlize Theron that was harder to watch than anything from the last 10000 Saw films. I haven’t felt that uncomfortable since watching, with my Mum, Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman getting down to it in Black Swan. ‘I thought this was a nice film about ballet’ says Mum…

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6) Martyrs: This is on an IMDb list of mine titled ‘Films that I still think about long after viewing’, and even more so than Requiem for a Dream, is a film that leaves you feeling void of all emotions. A graduate from a recent school of French horror, Martyrs asks existential questions and answers them in the most chilling way imaginable. Watch, but at your peril.

7) Reeker: This is the only film I’ve ever thrown out of the window. Literally. I bought this on DVD, was less than impressed by the fact I lost 90 minutes of my life, so launched it into the main road that backed onto my halls of residence. Unfortunately the digital disc was versatile, didn’t shatter into a million pieces, and after a week of watching it get battered under car tyres I put it in the bin because I felt guilty for littering. Avoid.

8) Blades of Glory: I got slapped at a party once for saying that I don’t find Will Ferrell funny, which I feel is a massive overreaction anyway, but this movie proves me right. As a member of the Frat Pack, Will Ferrell has starred in some of the biggest grossing comedies of all time, and while I did enjoy Anchorman, and found him quite excellent in Stranger Than Fiction, Blades of Glory was one of the most unfunny, boring, contrived movies I’ve seen.

9) Home Alone 4: I’m not even sure in what context I saw this movie. It was about five years ago and it wasn’t watched ironically. Maybe I was hungover or something. All I remember is thinking how terrible it was. If John Hughes was alive today I’m sure he would’ve started proceedings to sue Debra Frank and Steve L. Hayes for making a complete joke of his characters. There honestly was a better character arc in the Pepperami adverts of the 90s than anything in Home Alone 4.

10) World War Z:

But it’s not out yet?

Having watched the trailers for World War Z all I have to say about it is you can do way more with less CGI. Look at The Dark Knight Rises. While much can be said about the plot, the final showdown between the Police and the criminals was choreographed with extras and it feels real. Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later had real zombies (hmmm) and it was bloody scary because you can place yourself in the situation of the protagonist. WWZ looks completely fake and if you are desperate to feel genuine dread and have the choice in June between WWZ and getting your head stuck between metal railings, choose the latter.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Let us know what films were so bad you wanted to cause physical pain to yourself as an alternative to watching it again?

10 films with links to weather

Monday-morning

The United Kingdom, despite being two days into Spring, is getting battered by snow and heavy rain. It’s like January over here! As we are being bombarded by news about the weather, here are ten films with [tenuous] weather links.

1) Singin’ in the Rain: Make ’em laugh! Kelly and O’Connor are ah-mai-zing in this all-singin’, all-dancin’ homage to the silent era of Hollywood. With the introduction of sound imminent, a production company finds it troublesome transitioning into the ‘talkies’. The iconic scene is Kelly’s dance in the rain, but my favourite is this one.


2) The Weather Man: Nicholas Cage agrees to some stinkers and this, surprisingly, isn’t one of them. Cage delivers a solid performance in this occasionally dark, sometimes funny, mostly cloying drama about a father trying to juggle his work and family life.

3) An Inconvenient Truth: Once hailed as signs of humanity’s progress, oil, coal and gas are now the greatest threat known to man. This is not an eco-horror, this is REAL LIFE! Al Gore returns from his failed presidential race to talk about global warming, the threat of polar ice melting, and a future in which Portsmouth and Southampton are held in the same regard as Atlantis.

4) The Day After Tomorrow: …is Sunday. Jake Gyllenhaal plays eco-Batman in this absolutely ridiculous action thriller about killer ice and library books. Take a look at the killer ice in action.


5) The Perfect Storm: A true story about a crew of sailors that get caught in an inconceivably large storm. Barnstorming (;-)) performances from this ensemble cast deliver a taut, compelling and harrowing account of the [SPOILERS] last days of their lives.

6) Twister: Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt have to insert an advanced weather measuring device into the heart of a number of ridiculously large tornados. Worth watching just for the flying cows, which we are about to show you, so it’s not worth watching at all.


7) Hard Rain: I remember watching this when I was in my early teens and thinking it was awesome because they had guns and swore and stuff. Retrospectively, this film was probably just an experiment to see how wet a production company could get Hollywood A-listers before they quit. With character names like Jim, Tom, Ray, Phil, Hank and Karen, it surprises me Morgan Freeman, Randy Quaid and Christian Slater signed up to this film.

8) Rain Man: This film has nothing to do with rain at all. Tom Cruise, a self-centred LA hustler, and Dustin Hoffman, his autistic brother, end up on a trip that is more concerned about the delicate nuances of human nature than where they are actually headed. This should be played at all acting schools in the first semester.
9) Sunshine: Danny Boyle’s sci-fi horror movie about a group of scientists that are tasked with reigniting the sun to save humanity. It goes from geek porn to WTF near the end, and in it you can see first-hand the effects of over-exposure to that big yellow ball in the sky.
10) Rear Window: New York in a heat wave. An apartment-bound photographer that has nothing better to do with his time than look out of his window. This is the ultimate film about voyeurism, paranoia and is a document on how to use a camera to create suspense. One of Hitchcock’s best movies, if not just for the intro.

10 Reasons why another Transformers film should not be made

1) The first one was ONLY alright (if a noise had to be attributed to the film it would be ‘meh’) and it didn’t even need a sequel; dat character arc… [read: explosion, explosion, Megan Fox’s arse, explosion, Wittwicky (what a weird name), end]

2) The sequel was just bad. And not even Adam Sandler movie bad, where you can laugh at it and feel smug. T2 was like being bog washed by The Undertaker.

3) Transformers are were super cool but Bay’s execution leaves you feeling exhausted and not in a good way. Watching these films feels like running up 10 flights of stairs whilst being chased by a rabid dog.

4) People will go and see it, thus enforcing the crazy notion that these films are decent, legitimate film making.

5) Michael Bay has stated that this will be the first in a new trilogy of films!!! When will the madness end?

6) Michael Bay will make lots of money and this is not good. He will keep on making money and making more films and the circle of banality will never end.

7) Mark Whalberg is set to star in the next iteration of Transformers. He doesn’t need to do this. His career has been on the up in recent years with some credible turns in films such as The Fighter.

What about The Happening?

*Fingers in ears*

8) Ehren Kruger is set to write the screenplay. His most successful works include the previous two Transformers films, Scream 3; the least plausible of the Scream films and Reindeer Games, arguably one of the worst Ben Affleck films ever made. Bay has argued that these new films are going to be completely different to the first. His way to do this? Hire the same guy to write the script as the last two?!

9) This is cynical filmmaking and needs to be stopped. There are new ideas to be explored and of course other cartoons to fingerbang with a rusty nail.

10) And finally. No one cares any more. The Autobots will win. Optimus Prime will be cool for like 5 mins and then we’ll realise we’ve seen it all before and hate ourselves.

I realise this is cynical and judgemental and could be so unbelievably wrong. If I’m not though Michael Bay won’t care. He’ll be too busy counting all his money and laughing. There will be lots of laughing.

PSA: This will be the first and last anti-Bay post you will see on here. Well, until he releases his next film.

10 Reasons why Human Traffic is amazing

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In 1999, Justin Kerrigan brought us an in-your-face, unapologetic, spaced-out, buzzed-up, smart, hilarious and fresh film that centred around a group of friends on a night out in Cardiff. Dividing audiences by it’s niche subject matter, for those that love Human Traffic it’s still a cult classic. The entire film is fantastic but here are 10 of the very best things about Human Traffic:

1) John Simm as Jip:  He provides an engaging and intelligent voice throughout the film and we genuinely root for him.  He drives the film’s emotional core and has a lot of the best scenes. Two classics for you back to back to refresh your memory:

2) The satire and social observations:  Human Traffic brilliantly mocks social norms and dramatises inner dialogue. The body poppers working in the cinema, the ‘how this conversation should have gone’ in the bar, and the news report in the club are some of my favourites. The themes of alienation, counter-culture and British society are explored inventively and intelligently.

3) The music: With Pete Tong as producer and music ranging from 1980’s disco; Last Night a DJ saved my Life by Indeep, to dutty Hip Hop; Last Request by Grim, the soundtrack is banging. It features a plethora of dance music produces the likes of which will make the hair on your head tingle. (full listing can be found here).

4) The love stories: Nina and Koop and Lulu and Jip are both authentic and engaging couples that provide some genuinely sweet moments in the film.

5) Star Wars revelations: Incredible. Need I say anymore…

6) Friendships: From the very start of the film I buy into this group as friends. Jip’s narration and the characters’ introductory monologues place them contextually within the film as well as with each other. By the time the night out clubbing arrives we are completely convinced by these people as best friends, a complete credit to the actors and the writing. The in-jokes are delivered with credibility and endear rather than alienate the audience.

7) Koop: Played by Shaun Parkes, Koop is a legend. Anyone who gets to say “This could turn Hare Krishna into a bad boy” gets ultimate ratings in my book. I love this scene below for MANY reasons, but I love it even more for the fact that the director, featured in the silver jacket, skanks out haaaard.

8) Cameos and Influences: Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Jo Brand and Howard Marks all feature in the film, and it is a testament to the quality of Kerrigan’s writing skills that they do. Spliff Politics with Howard Marks. Inspired.

Bill Hicks features briefly at the start of the film and his words close it  “Its an insane world, but I’m proud to be part of it”.

9) Moff: Best character in the film by a mile. Danny Dyer is brilliant and pitches the character just right. He’s likeable and funny and is wholly convincing as the “the cockney space case”.

10) Moff and Peter Andre:  I still quote this scene now. This scene is epic. Yes epic. Reason enough alone to love this film.