Tuesday, 18 September 2012

And the BBFC's Dumbest Recent Decision goes to...


Certificate: 12A
Contains Moderate Violence and Threat

So now you can take the kids to see Neeson kicking ten tons of shit out of Turkish terrorists. Although chances are your little ones may question Liam's behaviour for which you cannot respond. They're ears are too delicate to know about the sex trade from the first film...


Many thanks to The Shiznit for creating this fantastic image below which I simply had to share...

Liam Neeson dials down threat following Taken 2's 12A rating

Why are Britain's Blu-Ray and DVD Releases so SHIT?


If you're a film nerd and have nothing better to do with your precious time, you may have heard about the backlash that's coincided with the Blu-Ray and DVD release of one of the year's best films, Avengers Assemble.

Considering the film is the HIGHEST GROSSING PICTURE of 2012 beating The Dark Knight Rises, it's fair to expect a reasonably good home media release right? Like maybe a double-disc Blu-Ray with lots of special features and perhaps a nice case/slip-cover? Not much to ask is it Disney and Marvel considering we gave you over $80 million in box-office sales in this country alone?

 Instead us lucky Brits get this shit-fest above; a single disc Blu-Ray with virtually NO EXTRAS (not even a commentary), no slip-cover or fancy edition and even worse, the film has been CUT. This is undoubtedly the most depressing Blu-Ray/DVD release of the year so far considering the sheer potential of this release. Granted the film looks fucking incredible and sounds perfect but that's simply not good enough. Most British retailers are selling this Blu-Ray for £16.99 - certainly at the higher end of the week's releases in price terms and for that money, you get basically fuck all. It may as well be a rental copy. 

 The USA received FOUR versions of the film on Blu-Ray and DVD to choose from. Four. Each of them offering more for their hard-earned bucks. Using an online currency converter, your £16.99 sterling would equate to around about $27.59 US dollars. With that cash, you could afford this...


A set that includes the film on BLU-RAY 3D, Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Copy plus it comes with the ORIGINAL SCORE and a bonus disc of extras. Now scroll back up to the sorry piece of fucking cunt we get. How is this fair?

 Now US Blu-Ray sets are often better than UK releases and one can only assume that is simply the studios and manufactures decisions; US released picture warrants a more comprehensive US home media release perhaps but then surely the pricing should be more balanced? If this US Avengers set was released in the UK, it would probably sell for about £23-25 which would be about $38-40 US dollars, nearly a third more expensive than the actual retail price in America.

 With Blu-Ray truly surging too, many films are getting the update and special edition sets are out in their droves. Check out this UK future Blu-Ray release of Singin' in the Rain...


The three disc set includes the film fully restored on Blu-Ray and DVD as well as a bonus disc featuring in excess of 4 hours extras and comes with a 48 page hard-cover book filled with interviews, images and exclusive artwork. It sounds perfect; the set this masterful film deserves. Plus it's reasonably priced at £17.99, just a single bloody pound more than our version of Avengers Assembled Really FUCKING BADLY. So far so good; a happy Chris here ready to purchase, but wait, the US release? How much is that? $60? So basically £36 for the same thing? What a joke. Oh wait, it's not the same....


Still three discs, same extras, same book, but wait? It also has a photograph pack, a second book including the screenplay, a collectable set of art cards, a limited edition and numbered boxset and what's that? No way. A MOTHERFUCKING UMBRELLA. An umbrella. SERIOUSLY. And that's only £9 more expensive than the UK release. KILL ME.

 Maybe I just care too much, but as an avid and proud Blu-Ray and DVD collector, I'm getting fucking sick of always having second best. Even British films seem to get better, more expansive home media releases in the States and it's quite frankly ridiculous. When we do a boxset or Blu-Ray release right, it can be spectacular; see the forthcoming Hitchcock Blu-Ray collection and the latest Harry Potter Wizard's Collection...


But both of these sets are available in the US for the same price, if not cheaper. I'm getting sick of importing my Blu-Rays and DVDs but it seems to be the only way to get what you deserve for your coin...

Monday, 17 September 2012

Period Dramas AREN'T BORING.


Last night, one of Great Britain's best shows returned to our screens attracting an average of 9.3 million viewers. The show before it, The X Factor, still topped the evening however with 9.7 million. Admittedly it's fairly obvious that more people would tune into the talent show over Julian Fellowes' masterful Downton Abbey seeing as it's appeals to a wider audience as well as airing before the watershed but that's beside the point of this article. Even with a figure as impressive as 9.3 million, so many still believe period dramas are boring and they couldn't be further from the truth. 

 Currently some of the finest shows on television fall into the period drama bracket - they may not all be about aristocrats, lords and dukes, but they still present audiences with a visual representation of a past era. These shows include:


Boardwalk Empire


Mad Men


Parade's End


The Borgias

 And of course Downton. All of these shows offer as much tension, drama, suspense, sex and scandal as any other major television drama but because the casts are often draped in older fashion or aren't constantly tweeting each other on their iPhones, it's not 'interesting' enough. Even a show like Game of Thrones could be considered a period piece in some respects and that's more grisly and depraved than some pornography.

 What period dramas do better than any other television show genre is bring an element of sheer cinematic grace to the small screen. They are lavish, sumptuous entertainment; shows that have been handled and crafted with true artistry and beauty. Often their running times mirror a 90 minute feature film too which only emphasises this point. 

 Yes sometimes the dramatic dialogue changes can take some getting used to as well as the era in which the show is set but that isn't enough to be a prude and think it's uninteresting. Last night's Downton was simply riveting, engrossing drama littered with humour and fantastic performances - everything you could possibly want from a Sunday evening television show.

 It's difficult to covert someone into liking period dramas because for many they are like Marmite but if you haven't watched any of the shows above, do yourself a favour and try. I'm certain you won't regret it. 


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Chris' Top 10 Films of All Time in Pictures


Just for the excuse of actually making a list, here's what I like to consider as my top 10 favourite films of all time. It's an incredibly hard list to compile for any cinephile but alas, here we go. I'm sure the vast majority of you will totally disagree with me too...


The 5 That Just Missed Out:

15. Funny Games 
(dir: Michael Haneke - 1997 - Germany/Austria - Artificial Eye - 108 Mins)

14. Touch of Evil 
(dir: Orson Welles - 1958 - USA - Universal Pictures - 95 Mins)

13. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning 
(dir: Karel Reisz - 1960 - UK - Woodfall Films - 89 Mins)

12. Annie Hall
(dir: Woody Allen - 1977 - USA - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - 93 Mins)

11. American Beauty
(dir: Sam Mendes - 1999 - USA - DreamWorks - 122 Mins)



10.


Stand by Me 
(dir: Rob Reiner - 1986 - USA - Columbia Pictures - 89 Mins)


9.


Irreversible
(dir: Gaspar Noe - 2002 - France/Spain - 120 Films - 97 Mins)


8.


Groundhog Day
(dir: Harold Ramis - 1993 - USA/Canada - Columbia Pictures - 101 Mins)


7.


Inception
(dir: Christopher Nolan - 2010 - UK/USA - Warner Bros. - 148 Mins)


6.


Meet Me in St. Louis
(dir: Vincente Minnelli - 1944 - USA - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - 113 Mins)


5.


Pan's Labyrinth
(dir: Guillermo del Toro - 2006 - Spain/Mexico - Estudios Picasso - 118 Mins)


4.


Juno
(dir: Jason Reitman - 2007 - Canada/USA - Fox Searchlight Pictures - 96 Mins)


3.


Toy Story
(dir: John Lasseter - 1995 - USA - Pixar Animation Studios - 81 Mins)


2.


Cache (Hidden)
(dir: Michael Haneke - 2005 - France/Austria/Germany - Artificial Eye - 117 Mins)


1.


Manhattan
(dir: Woody Allen - 1979 - USA - Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - 96 Mins)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Top 5...

...Depressing Movies


Now I'm a happy-go-lucky kinda guy but some of the greatest films ever made are FUCKING DEPRESSING so in Haydon's Movie House fashion (which is a total lie as this is the first time I've done this...) here's my top five depressing films that will make you grab that Ben and Jerry's quicker than lighting and make you sob when you check your iPhone and see that NOBODY has called or text you. Enjoy, I guess...

5.


Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
(dir: Isao Takahata - Japan)

I know what you're thinking: "Chris, it's a fucking Studio Ghibli film mate, get a grip", well I'd love to agree but Grave of the Fireflies is an utterly beautiful and equally devastating film about a young father and daughter who are desperate to survive during the horrific events of the Second World War. Spoiler alert: virtually everyone and everything fucking dies in a bloody, brutal and albeit artistic way.


4.


Vera Drake (2004)
(dir: Mike Leigh - UK)

Not only is this one of the best films of the 2000s, it's also one of the most eye-watering, wrist-slitting pictures in Leigh's filmography and recent British cinema. It feels odd to feel such strong emotions towards a back-street abortionist but trust me, Vera Drake will get under your skin and upset you long after the DVD ends. I bet it's even more horrendous on Blu-Ray...


3.


Requiem for a Dream (2000)
(dir: Darren Aronofsky - USA)

I know - you were expecting this to be number one like every other list online. There's no doubt that it's worthy of the top-spot but I've still got two more cards to reveal. Aronofsky's audacious, incredible and heart-wrenching drug drama is utterly earth-shattering and soul destroying, particularly Ellen Burstyn's character, Sara Goldfarb whose descending spiral into the blackened belly of addiction is simply eye-gouging to endure. This is a sheer masterpiece which deserves to be seen by all, you'll just want a long bath and cake afterwards...


2.

 

Dancer in the Dark (2000)
(dir: Lars von Trier - Denmark/Spain/USA)

You thought Melancholia and Antichrist were depressing? Man, you ain't seen shit. Lars' best film (yeah I said it) is one of the most unshakable, harrowing films in recent filmmaking. I'm pretty sure he actually hated Bjork, that's how cruel this film is. She learns to speak fluent English in order to start going blind, have everything taken away from her, have all her money stolen that she has worked so hard for to help her son get to college, gets banished from her home after being accused of theft and foul-play and then she fucking dies. JESUS LARS YOU HEARTLESS BASTARD. It's like Precious only really, really good and actually moving. Just typing about it is making me sad.


1.


Irreversible (2002)
(dir: Gaspar Noe - France/Belgium)

No, it's not just because it has that horrific 9 minute anal rape scene which is sickening and virtually unbearable, it's because even in the slightest glimmers of hope that begin to emerge at the end of this reverse narrative masterpiece, you know that it's all in vein. Soon enough, everyone will meet their depressing and often timely fates. Even the joys of falling pregnant is tarnished by the sheer brutality of the violence and sexual abuse Monica Bellucci meets. Noe's Irreversible is one of the few films that is actually unforgettable and it's equally one of cinema's most defining and important releases. After watching, you will feel drained of any life and happiness for a good week or two and you'll instantly want a Happy Meal and a hug. TRUST ME.

LFF 2012: Top 5 to See


If you visit this site often, you'll know the BFI London Film Festival is on it's way and I for one cannot wait. This year has seen a big change in the programming with many films being separated in categories including 'Love', 'Thrill', 'Family' and 'Dare' as well as the usual Gala screenings, Competition pictures and Special Screenings. With other 200 movies this year, there is at least 65 films I would love to see during the festival. The likelihood of this is fucking minimal obviously but still...

 Anyway, out of the huge list (which doesn't feature The Master!), here's the five films I psychically have to see...

5.



Argo
(dir: Ben Affleck - USA)

With a fantastic cast, a director on-top of his game and a genuinely thrilling narrative premise, Argo looks like a winner. This is Ben's first steps away from Boston and judging from early word and trailers, this is going to be a highlight at LFF.


4.



Beasts of the Southern Wild
(dir: Benh Zeitlin - USA)

I stupidly missed this at Cannes but I won't at LFF. It's been showered with praise since early 2012 and it sits highly on many top 10 lists for the year. The trailer looks harmonious and gorgeous and I cannot wait to take this journey.



3.


Compliance 
(dir: Craig Zobel - USA)

"Taut", "tense", "terrifying" - these are many of the words that feature in the abundance of grade A reviews for Zobel's thriller which is inspired by true events. I've done a lot to stay away from as much information regarding the plot but I simply cannot wait to see this one.


2.


End of Watch
(dir: David Ayer - USA)

This has been on my anticipation list for months now and I cannot believe it is playing  in Competition at LFF. End of Watch looks like a cinematic adrenaline shot to the heart littered with brilliant performers and such wonderful uses of modern camera and filmic technologies. Some of the trailer above looks like a first person shooter video game and that's just BAD ASS.


1.


Simon Killer
(dir: Antonio Campos - USA/France)

I'm actually surprised a Campos movie is my most anticipated of the festival because I absolutely HATED, in fact DETESTED his d├ębut Afterschool - I thought it was the biggest load of pretentious shit I've endured for years and Ezra Miller had the screen presence of a flannel but his follow-up, Simon Killer which stars the fabulous and underrated Brady Corbet looks phenomenal. The film sadly doesn't have a trailer yet but from what I've seen, my appetite is certainly wet. It's also produced by the team behind Martha Marcy May Marlene which is still one of the year's best films, if not the best, and that too featured Corbet so high-fives all round. Simon Killer looks like filthy, edgy gold.


Other Movies in my Must-See List:

After Lucia (dir: Michel Franco - Mexico/Spain)

Blacanieves (dir: Pablo Berger - Spain)

Robot & Frank (dir: Jake Schreier - USA)

Beyond the Hills (dir: Cristian Mungiu - Romania/France/Belgium)

Wasteland (dir: Rowan Athale - UK)

Frankenweenie 3D (dir: Tim Burton - USA)

Celeste and Jesse Forever (dir: Lee Toland Krieger - USA)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

London Film Festival 2012: Schedule Breakdown


Films which look amazing:
  • END OF WATCH
  • COMPLIANCE
  • AFTER LUCIA
  • SIMON KILLER
  • BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
  • ARGO
  • ROBOT AND FRANK
  • CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER
  • BEYOND THE HILLS
  • THE SESSIONS
  • FRANKENWEENIE 3D
  • WOLF CHILDREN
  • WASTELAND
  • THE WE AND THE I
  • MY BROTHER THE DEVIL
  • ZARAFA
  • Girls Against Boys
  • Ginger and Rosa
  • Room 237
  • Seven Psychopaths
  • Sightseers

Films which look kind of amazing:
  • HYDE PARK ON HUDSON
  • WISH YOU WERE HERE
  • BLACK ROCK
  • GREAT EXPECTATIONS
  • CRAZY EYES
  • GRASSROOTS
  • EASY MONEY I & II
  • The Pervert's Guide to Ideology 
  • Song for Marion
  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Files
  • The Great Bird Race
  • Painless
  • Silence
  • Robot and Frank
  • Four
  • Helter Skelter
  • Just the Wind

Films which I already know are amazing:
  • AMOUR
  • THE HUNT
  • RUST AND BONE

Films which look total and utter shit:
  • THE SAPPHIRES

Films I categorically have to see:
  • AMOUR (again)
  • THE HUNT (again)
  • RUST AND BONE (again)
    • END OF WATCH
    • COMPLIANCE
    • AFTER LUCIA
    • SIMON KILLER
    • BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
    • ARGO
    • ROBOT AND FRANK
    • CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER
    • BEYOND THE HILLS
    • THE SESSIONS
    • FRANKENWEENIE 3D
    • WOLF CHILDREN
    • WASTELAND
    • THE WE AND THE I
    • MY BROTHER THE DEVIL
    • ZARAFA

Sunday, 2 September 2012

This Week...


You can see these two babes looking FUCKING SMOKING in Total Recall.
You can see Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Moss from The IT Crowd and that horrible fat cunt in The Watch.
You can see hands appearing from mouths in The Possession.
You can see that twat from My Family in A Few Best Men.

Or...


You can see Berberian Sound Studio - one of the year's very best and most ambitious films.
Take your pick.