Sunday, 23 August 2015

New series: This is England 90 Gets Air Date, Poster, Trailer

The definition of mixed emotions? The joy of seeing the This is England cast reunited at the same time as knowing things are going to get mighty bleak for them. It's been a four year wait since This is England 88 screened in December 2011. We've had four years to prepare for the fact that Shane Meadows is bringing his intimate drama to an end with This is England 90.

But you know what, never say never. I still reckon there might be more from Woody, Lol, Shaun, Combo, Gadget and the gang. More pressingly though, the cast have to make it through TIE90 before we can even begin to think about talking about further spin off sequels to the original This is England.

Meadows mentioned way, way back that that in 1990, the Madchester scene was underway and everyone was getting into ecstasy. It wouldn't be This is England though if they all just ended up hugging one another, having random in-depth conversations with strangers as if they are best mates and the worst thing that happened to any of them was a 24 hour comedown. No Meadows, stated 'I'd seen a lot of friends get into heroin off the back of that, so in a kind of way, Shaun's journey, if there is to be a second series, will continue in 1990.'  

Does this mean Shaun becomes a junkie? I bloody hope not. Still, it can't possibly get more harrowing than the racism and sexual abuse of previous installments of the series.

Even though Combo, Wood and Lol are all back, it looks very much like the focus on squarely on the younger characters this time round. Digital Spy asked Meadows about the themes of TIE 90 and he gave a great little insight into what the characters will be up to when we see them this time around. "The younger members of the crew, it becomes their time. In This Is England '90 it becomes about Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) and Kelly (Chanel Cresswell) and Trev (Danielle Watson) and Gadget (Andrew Ellis) actually getting into the Roses and getting into that scene and going clubbing and going raving and all of that. They sort of go off on that journey. Combo comes out of prison, he's served his time for manslaughter, and actually starts working in the community and the rehabilitation of his character begins. Woody and Milky set up a scooter shop. Woody finally gets out of that awful Mr Squire's factory that he's been working at, and him and Milky become really strong again. Everyone starts to do slightly separate things, but it's still got that beautiful unity that the others have all had. So, I've got the stories all lined up in my head, but I just need to get them down on paper."

Here's the trailer:

It all kicks off on September 13th on Channel 4.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Goodbye to Russell Brand's The Trews

Say what you like about Russell Brand. He's probably already said it anyway. The Trews has frequently been a little too silly for my linking, but it's also been spot-on more often than not. I have wondered how long Brand would continue with it and sadly, today seems to be the last day for now.

I really hope he does come back stronger than ever. Trew be continued!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Screening The Blair Witch Project in the Middle of the Woods

What are they... nuts?

As much as I love The Blair Witch Project, I'm not sure I'm ready to watch it in the middle of some woods on a dark night. But that is exactly what the Friends of Langley Park have proposed that you come along and do on Sunday August 30th 2015. You can book tickets here, if you think you're brave enough.

I don't know how many times I've now seen this film, what with writing a book about it, and it being one of the primary focus films of my PhD thesis. I must have seen it at least 30 times and I still don't think I'm ready to watch it in the middle of the forest, even if I am surrounded by a bunch of other people stuffing popcorn into their mouths.

On the other hand, this sounds like THE perfect way to watch this film and there is absolutely no way that I'm going to miss this opportunity. OR, if I don't feel like forking out £20 for a ticket in order to watch a film that I've already seen at least 30 times, then I may just hide in the woods nearby the screening spot and blast out the sounds of babies crying and distant cackling in order to REALLY give the audience the FULL Blair Witch experience.

In fact, the only thing that could make this screening better, is if they made you camp in the woods overnight after the film finished. Could you imagine the amount of urine that would be spilled in the tents that night?

The park is here and the price is £20 and if you ask me, this sounds like the best way to spend a summer evening at the end of August so get your tickets here!

Once you've booked your tickets, and if you have another tenner to hand, please consider picking up a copy of my book about The Blair Witch Project here. It's really good, honest. If you don't believe me, then check out these reviews!

I hope to see some of you at the screening! Bring spare underwear.

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.