Friday, 31 July 2015

Reviews of my book on The Blair Witch Project

Last year I completed my first book/monograph on The Blair Witch Project. It is published by Auteur as part of their Devil's Advocates series on classic horror films. I have just started to notice some reviews of the book popping up online and thought I would share them here.

So far, the response has been very reassuring. I hope that you will consider buying a copy here and reading the book for yourselves!

Exquisite Terror Review
"A pleasurable read, the author’s style is clean and unfussy and, while his love for the film abounds, he’s careful to ensure arguments and assertions are well balanced throughout. This is not only another welcome instalment of the Devil’s Advocate series, but a fascinating insight into how a deceptively simple horror film with a minuscule budget and cast of unknowns, made such an overwhelming impact on the landscape of cinematic terror. Highly recommended."

Horror Channel Review
"The whole book is a very authoritative read and one that should be done in one setting just after re-watching the movie. Another “must buy” from the Devil’s Advocate range."

FrightFest Review
"From explaining it origins, through to its reception, the book concisely articulates the history and legacy of this movie into a neat format, which provides deserved reading for either people who have seen the film before, or will provide some fascinating insights to make Blair Witch virgins want to watch it."

Psychobabble Review

Friday, 17 July 2015

The Revenant Teaser Trailer Reveals Leo Still Not Winning That Oscar

Goddamit I just know that The Revenant isn't going to get Leonardo DiCaprio his long overdue Oscar. Doesn't matter how bloody epic the film looks, somebody in some plain old, possibly very boring biopic is going to come along and snatch it away from him.

To be fair, judging from this teaser, Leo's going to be doing a lot of screaming his lungs out and running and fighting for his life, but this doesn't even look like it's his film.

Firstly he's joined by Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domnhall Gleeson so this could be just as much their time to shine as it is little old Leo's.

More importantly, from the look of this footage, this is another chance to see what director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki can come up with together after the wonderfully shot Birdman. You just know we're going to be immersed right in the middle of those stunningly harsh landscapes, as well as the bloodshed and chaos of all that fighting. If anyone is getting Oscars, it will be one of those two.

Even if it doesn't bag Leo Best Actor (and I pray that I'm wrong by the way), it's my most anticipated film of 2016, as I wrote here for The Daily Heckle. I think it looks absolutely brilliant, even if Leo does miss out AGAIN on taking home a golden baldie.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


I've been nominated for a Liebster Award by Heather at That Film Girl. Thank you very much to Heather and go check out That Film Girl if you are not already familiar with the site.

For the uninitiated, the Liebster award is bestowed upon bloggers by their fellow bloggers. When you are nominated, there are a few simple rules to follow in order to accept your award:

1. Thank the blog who nominated you and link back to them.
2. Nominate up to 11 other bloggers to receive the coveted award.
3. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
4. Tell your readers 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Give the nominees 11 questions to answer on their blog when they post their nomination.

It's a great way to meet new bloggers and expand horizons within the blogosphere.

I've heard a rumour that I am literally the last blogger on the planet to receive this award, but I'm still going to nominate the following to have a go at it, in case they wish to. The catch is, I'm not going to tell them, so hopefully one day one of them may stumble across this post and if they haven't already had this award 17 times already, they might keep passing it along!

My nominees are:

1. And So It Begins
2. Cinematic Corner
3. Movies and songs 365
4. Time Well Spent

Here are the questions I have to answer from Heather:

1. What movie is responsible for making you a film buff?
Fight Club. I loved films before, but this fused my love of movies with my emerging interests in politics and sociology.
2. What's your favourite current TV show? 
Probably The Walking Dead. I feel like it's been getting better and better recently.
3. What's your favourite TV show that has ended? 
Breaking Bad. 
4. The last (new) good movie you saw? 
Pixar's Inside Out (for a second time). Absolutely love it. 
5. If you could live in any fictional land/country/universe, where would you pick? 
Hobbiton. Seems like they have everything sorted there.
6. Is there any actor/actress/directors that you'll see their movies, no matter what? 
David Fincher. He used to be my favourite director, but he's gotten far less interesting in recent years. I hope he gets back to making films like Seven, Fight Club and Panic Room.
7. What's your favourite animated film? 
Probably Toy Story or Inside Out. I was never a big Disney fan, but Pixar's films are brilliant.
8. Where's your favourite place to watch movies/TV? 
The Cannes Film Festival. Big screens, great audio and with a lot of people who all love film!
9. What's your favourite thing to snack on during a movie? 
Nothing. I wish no one ate at the movies. I do love Haribo cola bottles though.
10. How many movies do you own? 
Shitloads but I try not to buy them anymore, as I very rarely get a chance to re-watch anything anymore.
11. How and why did you become a blogger? 
I started this blog because I just realised that no one wants to talk about movies enough with me. Having a blog meant I could write about movies as much as I wanted and get it all off my chest. I also want to turn writing about movies into a career and am still desperately clinging to that dream!

Now for 11 random facts about me:

1. I was in a plane crash on the Thai island of Ko Samui in 2009.
2. I was featured on an episode of BBC3 TV show Freaky Eaters for being 'addicted to meat'.
3. I have written a book on The Blair Witch Project which you can buy here.
4. I'm about 6 months away from finishing my PhD in Film Studies.
5. I teach Film and Media for a living.
6. I have a dog called Buddy, who is my best buddy in the world.
7. I am in love with Costa Rica, after spending my honeymoon there, and would love to live there one day.
8. I've been lucky enough to go to the Cannes Film Festival twice for Tastic Film
9. I lived in Australia for 7 years in the 90s.
10. I used to play ice hockey when I was a kid.
11. I'm trying to run 40 half marathons before I'm 40. I'll have done 14 by the end of this year, so I'll have 26 more to do in 6 years.

Right enough about me. If the blogs nominated above manage to see their nomination, then here are the 11 questions I'd really like to see them answer:

1. If you could work on a film set, what would be your ideal role?
2. What is the best ending to a film ever?
3. If you could have one actor or actresses' career, whose would it be?
4. If you could be any film character, who would it be?
5. What is the ideal length for a film to be?
6. Are there particular things in films that make you cry?
7. Who is your favourite director?
8. What is your favourite film not in the English language?
9. What is your favourite film blog?
10. If there was one film you could destroy forevermore, what would it be?
11. Can a film change your life?

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Red Army Trailer Quote

This is too cool for words. I was just checking out the trailer for one on my favourite films of Cannes 2014, when my jaw dropped to discover that I had been quoted in the trailer.

I wish I could say that it was because of some of my dazzling wordplay, but it's actually because I managed to put two nice words together about the film.

My review of the ice hockey documentary Red Army is at Tastic Film here. I absolutely loved this film and it is a great honour to be mentioned in the trailer.

Here is the trailer in full:

It is not just a film about ice hockey either. It's a film about Russia, America, capitalism, communism, and the past, the present and the future of Russia. But most of all, it does have some of the most beautiful ice hockey playing you will ever see. Find it and watch it!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Suicide Squad - Comic-Con First Look Trailer

Can somebody make sure that Suicide Squad gets rated 18 please?

I haven't got anything against kids, but I'd just like to make sure the bad guys are reeeeally bad in this. No redemption. No corny Will Smith jokes. More Jared Leto hurting people really badly please.

He's got a tough job ahead, trying to get us all to forget about Heath Ledger as the Joker. If anyone can do it, I have faith that Leto might be our guy.

This trailer shows that Batman gets mixed up in the affairs of the Suicide Squad, which is a good sign, both for DC's world building and for the action stakes.

Most of all, I worry that Will Smith might be the key to wrecking this. The character looks cool, but I want to see less world saving, and more villains doing what they do best.

Has anyone who has read the comics got any inside information for me on this? Do all the bad guys turn good? I bloody hope not.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Top 10 Films of 2015 So Far

We made it to the half way point! As we move into the final 6 months of the year, I thought I'd take stock of my top 10 films released in the UK in 2015 so far. Even though Amy and Inside Out come out in July, I'm including them here as I was lucky enough to see them in Cannes. Otherwise, all of these were released in January to June in the UK.

As usual, because of my stubborn insistence on going with UK release dates, many of you who read this may consider these films to be 2014 releases, especially all the Oscar contenders. Still, hopefully UK readers will understand our collective pain at getting some of these later than other countries!

Surprisingly, I've actually reviewed all of these for a change so just click the titles to be magically transported to my reviews of these films at Starburst Magazine, Tastic Film, and this very blog.

10. The Theory of Everything

"The Theory of Everything is an inspiring tale of a great mind, perfectly rendered by a powerful and mesmerising performance from Eddie Redmayne."

9. Testament of Youth

"This is an incredibly moving story, driven by a brilliant performance from Vikander and a vital message that still resonates tragically today."

8. Birdman

"Inarritu directs with a visceral mixture of simplicity and complexity. Long takes complement the fluid dialogue, while the drumming score and use of real locations keep things grounded, even as Riggan really starts to lose his mind. Unlike the superhero movies it rails against, Birdman is smart and requires way more than one sitting to fully appreciate its complexity."

7. Whiplash

 "Whiplash is a film that strives for perfection and brings out the thrill in low budget, committed and quick filmmaking having been shot in just 18 days. It is a film about the sacrifices required to be the best at something, even if it means cowering in front of a madman and losing the enjoyment in doing what you love."

6. Ex Machina

"Ex Machina is an exciting and often challenging watch. Garland has surrounded himself with an expert team, meaning the film is gorgeous to watch, despite its limited locations. Its look and its sounds are essential to its gripping tale of men and machines. Compelling, claustrophobic, cutting edge and clever, Ex Machina is as smart and satisfying as science fiction gets."

5. Inside Out

"If you’ve ever wondered what’s going on inside someone’s head, Pixar have created a wonderfully inventive answer in Inside Out. Back at the absolute top of their game, Pixar’s latest is fresh, funny and positively bursting with emotions from joy to sadness. Crammed full of ingenuity, it’s a film that has been sprung from the very best minds of Pixar. With its perfect blend of high concept idea with intimate themes, Inside Out is a new peak for the animation studio."

4. Coherence

"Coherence is inconceivably thrilling; a must see if you want your head scrambled by comets and quantum mechanics."

3. Amy

"To even the most hardened of critics, Amy is a heart wrenching reminder of the deceased star’s enormous talent, and an early contender for Best Documentary."

2. Wild Tales

"Wild Tales may not get ten out of ten for all of its six short stories, but with its dazzling direction and audacious storytelling, it is clearly the work of an exciting cinematic genius."

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

"Strap in, say goodbye to your fingernails and prepare for a white knuckle ride of epic proportions. Mad Max Fury Road is everything and more that you could hope for from an action film, and viewers will be left shaken from its incredible levels of vehicular mayhem. Director George Miller may have taken twenty years to get this to the screen but his efforts have paid off with a film that rushes by in a breathless barrage of explosions and insane stunts."

So that's me done. I'd love to know your own top 10s of the year at this point, or what you think of my own list. Drop me a comment if you're feeling conversational, argumentative, or simply depressed and need someone to talk to.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

RIP James Horner: Titanic Suite

The man who composed one of my all time favourite movie soundtracks has passed away. RIP James Horner. You will be missed. And thank you so much for creating this. It was the perfect complement to an incredible film.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Secret Cinema Striking Back with Star Wars

Secret Cinema is back breaking the first rule of being Secret Cinema again. Surely no one in the entire UK thinks that there is anything secret about this particular cinema experience anymore. Well I suppose, we don't know what goes on exactly behind the closed doors of the Secret Cinema, but I'm sure you can read many reports online from those lucky enough to have already attended.

After the Back the the Future events proved so popular last year, Secret Cinema has returned with The Empire Strikes Back this year, riding a renewed wave of Star Wars mania as we all wait impatiently for The Force Awakens.

Apparently, Empire is now back in the top 10 of the UK box office as 8000 people have already attended the experience. They are putting on 100 performances over the next few months, running until 27th September. I'm surprised to hear that there are even some tickets still available, though with that hefty price tag, I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised.

It's bigger than the Back to the Future events were last year too. There will be actors, DJs, bands and hundreds of people dressed as a variety of different characters and creatures wandering around the secret location before they all settle down to actually watch the film.  

It all sounds rather incredible and overwhelming and the tweets I've read about it so far have been very positive.

‘The Force was strong - @secretcinema was out of this galaxy #RebelX’ @leeisaacs1
‘Epic intergalactic eve with @secretcinema #usetheforce’ @Leonora_O
‘Secret Cinema Star Wars is the most awesome thing EV-ER’ @tommcfly

·SECRET CINEMA presents STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK takes place from 4th June – 27th September 2015Tickets are available here:  

Arrival times are from 5.30pm to 6.30pm Tuesday to Sunday. 
Get more information about Secret Cinema here:

Spectre Extended TV Spot - Bond gets Belluci Up Against Wall

We all know that James Bond can be a bit of a grubby sex pest, but Spectre looks to be taking Bond's ways with the ladies to unprecedented levels of creepy. Or maybe Daniel Craig menacingly saying his name with his face only centimetres from Monica Belluci's face is meant to be sexy and appealing. I don't think it's just because I'm a dude, but if someone introduced themselves to me while I was backed up against a wall and had their nose about to touch mine, I'd be tempted to shove them backwards down the stairs.

The latest TV spot for Spectre shows Naomie Harris struggling to deliver some godawful sounding exposition about how the new film will link back to Skyfall, before revealing some stuff we've already seen in the previously released trailer. We get that awesome 'kite dancing in a hurricane' line again before a bunch of shots of the big action set-pieces.

Christoph Waltz is still purring from the shadows (and definitely not bald or stroking a cat), but the car chases, helicopter attacks and plane crashes look like they are going to be an absolute blast.

Sam Mendes has set the bar bloody high with Skyfall so it will be exciting to see if he can outdo himself with Spectre. Just please get Craig to back off Belluci. Anyone would think Bond had watched Irreversible too many times and is about to reenact its most bloody horrible scene by the way he's harassing her.

With this, The Martian and Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 all released in the same month, November is going to be a busy month at the cinema.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Trailer Brings War to Capitol

Katniss is back for the fourth and final time in the brand new trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. It's time for the people of Panem to rise up and overthrow that mean old bastard President Snow. But at what cost will victory come?
Those who have read the books will know all too well just how dark this final chapter goes. Author Suzanne Collins was not kidding when she decided to write her stories based on the sickening shit she saw on the news in wars around the world (and reality TV shows).

Mockingjay Part 2 should be the most adult of all Katniss' adventures and that's really saying something after the firebombings, genocide and kids killing each other ruthlessly for the entertainment of the rich of the previous installments.

We also finally get to see Brienne (Gwendoline Christie: future Star Wars star) from Game of Thrones in this trailer and she manages to look pretty terrifying just with one sideways glance.

I wasn't a massive fan of the final book in the trilogy but I think they've done a great job of adapting it so far, so I'm hoping the final film is going to end this franchise on a high note.

More trailers at I Love That Film

More on The Hunger Games

In cinemas across the UK from 19th November 2015

This franchise has grossed more than $2.2 billion at the global box office, so it's pretty safe to say that this final chapter will be a huge smash at the box office in November.