Includes cinema reviews and trailers for upcoming films. A digest of the best and worst interviews on movies and cinema.
Organisors of Mr Gay UK turn on a man for being not the ideal weight. Stavros Louca was robbed:
When Stavros decides to enter the Mr Gay UK beauty pageant nothing goes quite to plan. This is the story of one man’s unbreakable spirit – a tale of triumph, heartbreak and how to wear your underpants.
We love this. Patrick Smith has used BBC Five Live’s film critic Mark Kermode’s bon mots as film poster reviews.
THE Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything features a face familiar to fans of Chelsea FC.
The doctor is played by none other than Frank Leboeuf, star of such hits as Taking Sides (2001) and Le foot fait son cinéma (2003).
He tells the Radio Times:
In France I can’t audition because they still think I’m a footballer and don’t take me seriously. But in England they’ve given me the opportunity. I shot two movies here last year, Allies and The Theory of Everything. They give me a chance to show my new skill, and I’m thankful for that. People said very stupid things: they say, “Oh, every football player wants to act.” But there are only three really: Vinnie Jones, Eric Cantona and myself.
And the nominations for the worst London accent are…
Dick van Dyke (Mary Poppins)
The mother lode. To quote his song, ‘even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious’, there is something supercalifragilisticexpialidocious about Dick’s seminal cockney performance…
READY for Christmas? Ready for your seasonal sweater?
Mondo have greated designs based on the 1984 film Gremlins and the 1996’s Fargo.
AS you may have heard, Ghostbusters 3 is definitely happening.
However, there’s a twist – writer and director Paul Feig says the new film will be an all-female Ghostbusters cast and he will be writing it alongside Kate Dippold (from Parks and Recreation).
Of course, some fanboiz are spitting feathers over this, as an all-female Ghostbusters isn’t what they had in mind at all. However, if the casting is right, this could be a brilliant addition to the franchise.
Feig said on Twitter: “It’s official. I’m making a new Ghostbusters & writing it with @katiedippold & yes, it will star hilarious women. That’s who I’m gonna call.”
So who could Feig cast? There’s a wealth of brilliant and funny actresses out there and everyone will have a shortlist of their own. Here are some of our favourites.
Tina Fey is one of the funniest humans on the planet. Whether she’d take the Ghostbusters role is another matter, but producers should be throwing money at her.
THE film Idiocracy features perverted corporate logos created by Ellen Lampl. She tells TriviaHappy:
“A visual vernacular fusion of Nascar, candy packaging, Mexico handpainted signs and Japanese pop culture…
“Sometimes in comedy, graphics are the straight man. But, in Idiocracy, we let it be absurd, as part of the experience. We realized that life in its present state already had tendencies towards the ridiculous—branding seeps in everywhere—so we let it be over the top.”
EVER filmed a Hollyood sex scene?
Joe Carnahan filmed one for his new film Stretch. To help us understand the process, he’s released this behind-the-scenes video of the film’s fast-forward-to scene. You will see Brooklyn Decker and Patrick Wilson getting into the loving zoone and then engaging in the full 10 seconds dry-humping coitus.
UNCLE Monty’s 1953 Silver Wraith by Hooper & Co.is for sale. Last seen in the wonderful film Withnail and I, this is your chance to live the dream.
Mr Gulbenkian is profiled:
“I’ve been retired all my life,” explains Nubar Gulbenkian, now 69. “but I’ve also been working hard all my life. A fortune does not look after itself, after all.” The fortune Gulbenkian refers to is one of the largest in the world. He inherited it from his legendary father, Calouste; who was nicknamed “Mr. Five Percent” because that was his usual cut on Middle Eastern oil and who owned possibly the world’s greatest art collection. Nubar, an Armenian, was exported in a Gladstone bag from his birthplace in Turkey, a land then inhospitable to Armenians, when he was only a few weeks old. Educated in England and France, he has been married three times and would be an impressive figure, even if he lacked his father’s business acumen (which he doesn’t), for his stupendous eyebrows, well trimmed beard, monocle and a habit of inserting into his lapel every morning a fresh orchid, the color chosen to suit the occasion. He has just written an autobiography, Portrait In Oil (Simon & Schuster), in which he discusses not only his finances but his voracious appetite for preferred pleasures like foxhunting, riding, food, drink, the odes of Horace, and driving, which he took up shortly after his 65th birthday. “If something is too much of a bore to do thoroughly and with zest,” says Gulbenkian, “then don’t bother to do it at all.”
When asked whether he most enjoys city life or country life, horses or Rolls-Royces, old brandy or young women, Nubar Gulbenkian reflectively strokes his luxuriant beard, puffs deeply on his cigar and makes a simple affirmation of love for the business of good living: “I prefer everything.”
For £250000 o.n.o, you get a long wheelbase, coach built, 4.5litre vehicle one off with snakeskin trim, electic windows, Sedanca de Ville style roof, air con. and a speedometer in the back, so allowing Gulbenkian to keep tabs on his chauffeur and ensure he drove quickly.
Bid at Frank Dale & Stepsons.
DEATH is a terrible inevitability. You could pop your considerable clogs at any given moment. You might be half way through a banana. You could be mid-poo, like Elvis. You could be *this close* to finishing that computer game that proved so difficult all those years. You might suddenly die just before someone finishes a joke.
Worse than all these things put together, is when great actors die before they’ve had the chance to do one last film that is any good.
There’s a whole host of brilliant actors who have been in absolute crap – Robert De Niro in ‘The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle’, Michael Caine in ‘Jaws: The Revenge’, Kevin Spacey in ‘Fred Claus’, Faye Dunaway in ‘Dunston Checks In’ and Al Pacino in Adam Sandler’s beyond woeful ‘Jack & Jill’.
However, they all got another shot at correcting the blips on their showreels.
YOU’LL have seen the sweary letter signed ‘Stanley Kubrick’ written to the head of AGM about the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
DRUGS and sport is a familiar story. One school of thought says all drugs cheats should be banned. Another says that since cheating is rife, why not make the drugs legal.
Dock Ellis took drugs and played pro sports. He’s the subject of the film No No: A Dockumentary.
GRANT Meyers makes sound effects for porn films:
IN 1896, French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière‘s cameramen filmed life in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. All 500,000 inhabitants were subjects of the Sultan of Constantinople.
…this year, we have something very special to show. In an antique shop, we have discovered 93 wonderful little camera negatives from c. 1897, all shot in the Middle East (Jerusalem, Palestine, Egypt.[…] etc), that would form an ideal 80 [minute] program of what could be among the earliest films shot in the region still in existence. … They are in wonderful condition … Not a scratch, no decomposition, and those little sprocket holes typical of the films of that year.
This clip is from documentary Palestine: histoire d’une terre 1880-1950.
Spotter: Sabotage Times
WAY back in 1973 Woody Allen did a movie called Sleeper, from which comes this little scene above. The idea was that he went to sleep for 200 years and thus has to learn how to deal with his new world that he wakes up in. Sorta a Woody Allen take on Rip Van Winkle.
ROCK biopics are always fun, even if they’re not always good. There’s been mixed movies, from The Runaways to The Doors, from Ray to What We Do Is Secret. Even the crappy ones are still worth a look because, even if the storytelling and acting is lousy, at least the music will be great.
And so, we’re looking down the barrel of a Jimi Hendrix biopic and there’s a lot riding on it.
Why? Well, Hendrix was a smooth, fascinating character with a preposterous talent and a gentle soul – that’s not easy to capture. Moreover, Outkast’s brilliant Andre 3000/Benjamin is playing the title role. There’s no-one on Earth who wants this to fail.
IF the Seventies proved a fertile time for imaginative horror filmmakers, the 1980s very much represented a new age of plenty, a span wherein every idea that had worked in a movie once before was hauled out a second, third and sometimes fourth time.
And because of the home video revolution and VHS technology, new filmmakers had the opportunity to get their movies seen by more eyes than ever before.
In terms of the decade’s horror then, there was more of everything to enjoy: more slasher films, more Jaws films, and more holiday-themed horrors too.
IT’S not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
In the seventies, science fiction and horror filmmakers were certain that mankind was going to soon face his comeuppance for polluting and over-populating Mother Earth. And more so, that this comeuppance was going to be delivered at the paws, claws, talons, webbed fingers, and teeth of our former friends: the animals.
Call it the Circle of Death.
Between 1970 and 1979, more than a dozen genre films involved Mother Nature striking back against man for his mis-use of pesticides, his damage of the ozone layer, and for polluting previously unspoiled terrain.
FLASHBAK to August 4 1967:
Actor Eli Wallach takes advantage of the studio lights on the set of “MacKenna’s Gold,” Aug. 4, 1967, to make some stills of tone of his co-stars in the film, Edward G. Robinson. Robinson plays the role of an almost blind prospector. Wallach adjusts the lights on his subject and takes pictures with his own Nikon F camera. (AP Photo/David F. Smith)
HIP HOP royalty, Dr. Dre, has shared details of the forthcoming NWA film ‘Straight Outta Compton’, stating that the biopic will see release on August 14, 2015.
The film will tell the tale of how NWA – Dr Dre, Ice Cube and the late Eazy E – came to be.
Dre and Eazy E will be played by newcomers while Ice Cube’s own son will play his father. You have to hope there’s no sex scenes with an actress playing his mother, because that would be weird.
Yesterday, Dre tweeted an image of the cast, and they really look the part, if better looking than the original members.
Ice Cube will be played by O’Shea Jackson Jr, while Dre will be played by Marcus Callender who has had some roles in Criminal Justice, Blue Bloods and Elementary. It is thought that Dre wanted Michael B Jordan, but he’s signed up for the The Fantastic Four franchise.
‘The Same Animals…Only Functioning Less Perfectly:’ The Five Most Underrated George A. Romero Movies
GEORGE Romero’s impressive movie-making career stretches back to the Pittsburgh area in the late 1960s and spans over forty years.
Like many horror filmmakers of his generation, Romero has seen his share of big successes, like Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Creepshow (1982), critical darlings like Martin (1976), cult classics such as The Crazies (1973) and the occasional out-right bomb, like Diary of the Dead (2007).
But several of Romero’s finer films didn’t meet with financial or critical success, and deserve to have further light shone on them. Accordingly, my selections for the most underrated of his feature films are listed below.
Hungry Wives (1971)
George Romero’s self-described “feminist” horror movie, also known as Jack’s Wife and Season of the Witch, involves a bored suburban house-wife, Joan Mitchell (Jan White) who is only able to define herself in terms of her place in the suburbs as a married woman and a home-maker.
In an attempt to rebel against her “accepted” role in society, Joan delves into witchcraft and then adultery, but the movie’s crafty point is, commendably, that witchcraft is no more defining or self-actualizing for Joan than being a house-wife had been. She has merely changed her demographic affiliation or club, while everything else in her life remains the same
Hungry Wives is so powerfully-wrought because George Romero serves as both editor and director, and his editing flights-of-fancy make the movie’s point plain in terms of visualizations. Early on, for instance, Joan experiences a telling dream in which her husband leads her around on a leash, like a dog. One of the film’s final images reveals Joan involved in a coven ritual, a red rope looped about her neck, and the symbolism is plain: she has merely traded one trap for another. This visual counterpoint is underlined by the counsel of Joan’s therapist, who advises her that she is imprisoning herself, and must change that pattern if she hopes to make her life better.
Day of the Dead (1985)
Before 2007 at least, Day of the Dead (1985) was the least-appreciated of the famous Romero living Dead cycle. This lack of approbation was a result, in part,of the film’s overtly and relentlessly serious tone. For all its mayhem and violence, Dawn of the Dead — set at a shopping mall — also had a fun or jaunty side to it. But Day of the Dead proved a totally different animal: a solemn and extremely gory exploration of mankind’s last chapter as the dominant species on Earth.
Rather unconventionally, the movie ends with a committed and likable protagonist, Sarah (Lori Cardille) realizing it is all over but the crying, and essentially giving up the fight so as to live her last years (and the last years of humanity…) on a nice island beach somewhere with two decadent helicopter pilots.
But importantly, Day of the Dead also moves the cycle forward in significant fashion via its introduction of Bub (Howard Sherman), a zombie who has been domesticated, after a fashion, and reveals both rudimentary memory, and rudimentary humanity.
In fact, this lovable zombie shows more humanity than the film’s brutal military leader, Rhodes (Joe Pilato), and thereby suggests that the change in the social order might not be all that bad, if the zombies continue to evolve towards something…civilized.
Finally, Day of the Dead features an epic and awe-inspiring opening,:a view of a city in Florida completely overrun by the living dead. This moment is arguably the biggest in scope of the entire dead run, and establishes brilliantly the zombies’ numerical advantage. As this shot reveals, Day of the Dead is actually the Twilight of Man.
Monkey Shines (1988)
I still remember discussing this Romero horror film at length with visiting movie critic Molly Haskell at the University of Richmond in the late 1980s. We agreed that the critical community had virtually ignored what was a very powerful and very relevant film about human nature.
Monkey Shines involves a man, Allan (Jason Beghe) who is paralyzed in an accident and becomes a quadriplegic. As such, he is provided by his scientist friend (John Pankow) a capuchin monkey named Ella to act as his arms and legs. Before long, Ella and Allan form a close bond of friendship and dependence…but then each begins acting on each other’s emotional states and desires. Soon bloody murder is being committed…but is it at Ellas behest, or Allan’s?
Monkey Shines informs audiences that the “devil” is “animal instinct,” which acts by its “own set of laws,” and then asks the pertinent question: are we that different from the lower animals we treat as pets? Are we truly evolved, or — underneath the surface — are we just as violent and capricious as cousins in the jungle?
The scenes involving Ella in Monkey Shines are convincing and powerful, save for a few moments where an inert stand-in is clearly utilized, and the film’s debate about instinct (an avatar for the human subconscious in some critical way…) makes the film stand out in an era when rubber reality and slasher movies reigned supreme.
The Dark Half (1993)
Here’s a Stephen King adaptation that almost nobody loves, or even remembers. In The Dark Half (1993) Timothy Hutton plays Thad Beaumont, a writer grappling with his famous nom du plum, George Stark. When Beaumont elects to kill his famous literary name, however, the alter ego comes to life and threatens the writer and his entire family.
A deliberate and modernJekyll-Hyde story, The Dark Half is part of an early 1990s “meta” or post-modern movement in horror. Films such as Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) and John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness (1994) gazed at worlds in which the line between fiction and reality were blurred. The Dark Half treads meaningfully in similar territory, and gazes at the act of writing as literally a physical birth, as an independent creation that – much like a human child – can no longer be fully controlled by its creator.
There’s nothing flashy or expensive about The Dark Half, and the ending is a bit of a bust, but otherwise Romero crafts a thoughtful, low-key horror film that possesses some electric jolts. One early scene, set in an operating room is downright terrifying, and another — with a woman broaching an invader in her dark apartment — also gets the blood flowing.
More than anything, however, The Dark Half explores the idea that the creative act of writing represents a violent assertion of will. “The only way to do it is to do it,” one character notes, and this same determination indeed is what wills the Dark George Stark into the world.
Survival of the Dead (2009)
Survival of the Dead is yet another Romero living dead movie, and another seriously underrated work of art. Since the very beginning of his career in 1968, director Romero has used his zombie saga to explore political and social issues of the time.
For example, Night of the Living Dead speaks to the political violence and upheaval of 1968, and to race relations in America. Dawn of the Dead very much concerns conspicuous consumption and the “Crisis in Confidence” Carter Age. And Land of the Dead (2005) explores post 9/11 territory.
Similarly, Survival of the Dead is a thoughtful, point-for-point allegory for American involvement in the Iraq War. Unfortunately, horror movie fans were too busy complaining about CGI blood effects to notice the movie’s clever thematic framework.
In short, Survival of the Dead involves a refugee, O’Flynn (Kenneth Welsh) — the fictional equivalent of Ahmed Chalabi — who tricks American armed forces into fighting his war for him, and ousting his enemy, Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) — a Saddam Hussein figure – from the land that he would like to lead, paradise-like Plum Island.
Obligingly the National Guard moves in — guns blazing — only to find that matters aren’t so straight-forward. The soldiers have become involved in a pissing match that, ultimately, doesn’t concern them or their well-being.
The film features an Old West sort of milieu on Plum Island, with rivals O’Flynn and Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) wearing cowboy hats and riding horses while zombies (here called Dead-Heads) are trapped in the nearby corral.
Again, Romero’s thoughtful set-up makes it impossible not to think of the post-911 “dead or alive” rhetoric from the Bush White House. The film’s final imagery — which depicts cowboy zombie versions of O’Flynn and Muldoon trying to kill each other under a bright moon — makes one despair that human nature is ever going to change.
With neo-con dead-enders everywhere on cable news stations this week attempting to re-enlist America in the war in Iraq a decade later, Survival of the Dead is more relevant than ever. Accordingly, this Romero film is really about discredited zombie ideologies that have long outlived their usefulness, but which keep coming back from the dead to threaten the rest of us.