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Horror in the House: June Releases

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Last month Willow Creek was a found footage film that proved Bigfoot just might exist, Delivery shocked us with its chilling tale of a haunted pregnancy and we were glad to see the Paranormal Activity franchise get back on track with The Marked Ones. Now, as we move into June, let’s see what horror delights will be gracing stores over the next few weeks.

june01Absentia (out 7th June)
Director: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Starring: Katie Parker, Courtney Bell, Dave Levine

We can honestly say that director Mike Flanagan knows how to terrify an audience. With his latest effort Oculus about to be released in UK cinemas not that many people outside of the festival circuit would have heard of his earlier film Absentia. Telling the story of Tricia whose husband Daniel has been missing for several years. After her younger sister Callie comes to live with her to help declare her husband ‘dead in absentia.’ However, whilst Tricia begins sorting out the paper work, Callie is drawn to a tunnel near the house which may have links to Daniel’s disappearance. Believe me when I say this but Absentia is a slice of horror that will unnerve you and keep you on the edge of your seat.

june02Devil’s Due (out 16th June)
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet
Starring: Allison Miller, Zach Gilford, Sam Anderson

Released in UK cinemas at the beginning of January, Devil’s Due tells the story of newlyweds Samantha and Zack. After finding themselves pregnant following a lost night on their honeymoon, Zack begins to notice odd behaviour in Sam and things take a more sinister turn as the months go by. Despite the similarities between last month’s favourite Delivery, this film pales in comparison. So if you’re looking for actual scares you’re going to be disappointed with this. Go check out Delivery instead, you will thank us later.

june03Raze (out 16th June)
Director: Josh C. Waller
Starring: Zoe Bell, Rachel Nichols, Tracie Thoms

If someone was to ask you who the toughest woman is in film? Our money is on Zoe Bell. She massacred the Crazy 88 as Uma Thurman’s stunt double in Kill Bill and she got her revenge against Kurt Russell’s Stuntman Mike in Death Proof. Now stepping out into the spotlight in a feature role, Zoe Bell stars in Raze a film about 50 women who are kidnapped and forced to fight each other to the death until the last person standing is given their freedom. With nicely choreographed fight scenes that will have you wincing in pain, Raze is a mixed bag but worth checking out.

june04Julia X (out 16th June)
Director: P.J. Pettiette
Starring: Valerie Azlynn, Kevin Sorbo, Alicia Leigh Willis

TV’s very own Hercules Kevin Sorbo turns nasty after arranging a date with Julia (Valerie Azlynn) over the internet. After their initial meet he kidnaps Julia and brands her with the letter “X”. This sparks a deadly game of cat and mouse where plenty of blood will be shed. From the look of the trailer Julia X looks quite the gorefest so those looking for this sort of thing might have struck gold here but for us here at CinemaChords, we’re going to tread carefully.

The Frankenstein Theory (out 16th June)
Director: P.J. Pettiette
Starring: Valerie Azlynn, Kevin Sorbo, Alicia Leigh Willis

From the makers of The Last Exorcism comes The Frankenstein Theory, a found footage film that sees Professor John Venkenheim (Kris Lemeche) lead a documentary crew to the rim of the Arctic Circle. Inspired by Mary Shelly’s ghastly story Frankenstein, Professor Venkenheim searches for traces of the monster. The trailer looks pretty solid but it doesn’t show anything that we haven’t seen before.

june06Mr. Jones (out 23rd June)
Director: Karl Mueller
Starring: Jon Foster, Sarah Jones, Mark Steger

From the producers of The Pact and The Divide, Mr. Jones is the directorial debut of Karl Mueller. The film had its world premiere at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and follows Penny and Scott, a young couple who decided to head out to the woods to work on a film. After settling in their cabin they soon find themselves being terrorised by a series of unexplainable events. It would appear that this film is an acquired taste for some so why not check it out, make your own mind up about it and let us know.

june07Wither (out 23rd June)
Directors: Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund
Starring: Patrik Almkvist, Lisa Henni, Patrick Saxe

Shown during last years Film4 Frightfest and Grimmfest, Wither tells the story of a group of young people who decide to take a holiday in an isolated country house. When one of them accidentally unleashes a mysterious and murderous creature trapped in the basement. Wither is Sweden’s homage to Evil Dead and in some respect is what the Evil Dead remake should have been. Its effects are gruesome and its use of comedy is superb. This is a film that we thoroughly recommend checking out.

june0813 Sins (out 30th June)
Director: Daniel Stamm
Starring: Mark Webber, Devon Graye, Ron Pearlman

From Daniel Stamm, the director of The Last Exorcism, 13 Sins follows Elliot, a man drowning in debt and soon about to marry his fiance. After receiving a mysterious call from a voice informing him that he is on a hidden camera game show where he must complete thirteen tasks to receive a big cash prize Elliot jumps at the chance. But when the stakes rise with each challenge, Elliot soon realises he’s trapped into the horrors and the only way out is death. Borrowing elements from 12 Rounds and Cheap Thrills, 13 Sins is a surprisingly well made film that will keep gore-fans content.

So this month horror fans get to embrace deadly challenges, paranormal hauntings, fairytale monsters, and even more found footage films to add to their collection. We here at CinemaChords hope you will keep these titles in mind when you want to kick back with a scary movie or two but our favourites this month are Absentia and Wither so be sure to check them out.

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FeaturesMovie Lists

Contemporary Indie Directors Making Monstrous Progress

godzilla-review-2014

To celebrate the release of Gareth EdwardsGodzilla, Cinema Chords has decided to discuss the lucky directors who have scored a big-budget blockbuster right after a successful indie debut.

garethGareth Edwards

The rightful place to begin would be with Gareth Edwards. His original feature Monsters was a hit back in 2010; on its measly budget of $800,000 it grossed an impressive $4 million at the box office. As Edwards is a British director it was unsurprising to see that the majority of its earnings came from the UK and Europe. However, Hollywood must have noticed something they liked and quickly snatched him up for the re-imagining of Godzilla.

Monsters was a terrific tale about the human condition and the science-fiction alien setting worked wonderfully. Edwards proved himself to be gifted in the creation of heartfelt and realistic characters, as well as showing off his talent in the CGI and special effects department.

Pairing the director with a much-loved movie monster seems like a recipe for success, and early reviews of the film are proving positive. Hurray! Gareth Edwards should definitely be a director on your radar and it’s going to be interesting to see what he does next.

Colin_TrevorrowColin Trevorrow

Safety not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow is to helm the much-anticipated sequel Jurassic World. His debut film was the highly original time-travel comedy Safety Not Guaranteed from writer Derek Connolly.

It was a greatly nostalgic and touching film that was appreciated by audiences and critics alike. The cast were spot-on and included Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson, showing that Trevorrow understands how to encourage great performances. With a great franchise like Jurassic Park it is easy for the human characters to get lost and become forgettable amidst the dinosaurs; and that is one reason why the original film is so superior to its sequels. With the help of Derek Connolly once again, hopefully Trevorrow will be able to conjure up some strong characters for his addition to the franchise.

joss-whedon-empire-podcastJoss Whedon

Joss Whedon was a well-known name in TV and fans of Buffy, Angel and Firefly will have heard his name long before the superhero smash The Avengers back in 2012. Nonetheless, as a director of film Whedon’s debut Serenity failed to break even at the box office. So, why was there such faith in him to direct a multi-superhero movie that so many of us would be eager to see?

Well, putting aside the flop of Serenity, we have a perfectly competent director who has a damn dedicated fanbase. The Marvel comics themselves are adored by plenty, so pairing the two of them together combined two strong fanbases. As you know, The Avengers was not too shabby and the box office figures speak for themselves, so the decision was a good one.

movies_marc_webbMarc Webb

I refuse to believe that Marc Webb landed The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2 for any other reason than his apt surname. Not really. The director’s debut 500 Days of Summer was a welcome addition to the American romantic-comedy form and put a much-needed spin on the genre.

The film shone with brilliant performances from the cast and Marc Webb’s name was fast on Hollywood’s radar. Whether a superhero comic adaptation and reboot of Spider-Man was expected, that’s a whole different story. However, Marc Webb’s interpretation of the web-slinger is exciting, boasting a great use of 3D and visual effects. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has split audiences and critics alike, but it’s still been a financial success and that’s what it’s all about, right?

The Amazing Spider-Man 3 will undoubtedly need to improve on number 2 and if Iron Man can do it, so can Spidey. Marc Webb will probably be returning to direct, but there are internet murmuring arising that questions whether another film is needed. We’ll have to keep an eye out, because that would be a surprising outcome.

Duncan-JonesDuncan Jones

Back in 2009, Kent-bred Duncan Jones was the talk of the town when his mesmerising sci-fi drama Moon hit our screens. The film was a spectacularly shot and unpredictable piece of film-making that made Jones a household name within the film community. It was a masterpiece in claustrophobic cinema and a wonderful character study; questioning a human’s identity and the effects of isolation. Not to mention the brilliant voice acting of Kevin Spacey as a Hal-inspried robotic companion.

It was no surprise when the director was scooped up by Hollywood to direct another sci-fi flick. This time, Source Code would be even more of a mind-bender as it incorporated elements of time-travel; there is a real mystery to decipher in Source Code and it’s brilliant to watch the events unfold. The film continued to show that Jones is a pro at presenting a popular genre in a new and exciting way.

As a young and promising director, Duncan Jones is another one to keep your eye on. If his previous work is anything to go by, his next film titled Warcraft and based on the popular game, is going to be a blinder.

So, there it is. We are bound to keep seeing major film companies pick up prospering Indie directors and if they prove successful, why ever not?

Make sure you catch Godzilla in IMAX, 3D or 2D from Friday 16th May. Click here to read our review.

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Movie Lists

Top Samurai Films as 47 Ronin Heads to Blu-Ray & DVD May 12th

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ronin

Samurai warriors have for many years been the subject of some of cinema’s best films. Stories of bravery, loyalty and revenge have captivated audiences and inspired some of Hollywood’s most loved films. 47 Ronin, a visually spectacular story of revenge, love and honour comes to Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and DVD May 12th and to celebrate we are taking a look at some of the best samurai films.

seven-samurai-a2-posterSeven Samurai

Perhaps the most well-known of the genre, Seven Samurai was directed by Japanese cinema legend, Akira Kurosawa and has become one of the most iconic films in cinema history. Set in a Japanese village under attack by thieves, the residents hire seven masterless samurai to defend them.

Sound familiar? Hollywood adapted the story and the result was… The Magnificent Seven.

harakiri

Harakiri

Winner of the special jury award at Cannes, Harakiri is set in 17th century Japan, a time where the country’s feudal system had been thrown out. Masterless samurai, known as ronin wander the countryside asking wealthy lords for a place to commit ritual suicide, known as hara-kiri, in line with the samurai code of conduct. Described by critics as both a satire and tragedy, Harakiri is visually stunning with its black and white cinematography.

twilightTwilight Samurai

Nominated for an Oscar and winner of 12 Japanese Academy Awards, The Twilight Samurai sees 47 Ronin’s Hiroyuki Sanada star as a 19th century low level samurai. Nevertheless, this isn’t your typical Samurai film, it follows the story of a widowed father who has to work hard to support his daughters. It doesn’t rely on swashbuckling sword fights but explores the love and honour of an ordinary man.

yojimbo_by_rafamaciel-d6sm6dtYojimbo

Released in 1961, Yojimbo, meaning bodyguard, is another film from master Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa. Like many samurai films the protagonist is a ronin and this particular warrior finds himself in a village split between two criminal gangs. The samurai decides to live dangerously, playing them against each other with aim of liberating the village. It has also been suggested that Yojimbo was the inspiration for Sergio Leone’s classic Spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars.

47-ronititl247 Ronin

Samurai culture has long fascinated many across the globe and the story of 47 Ronin is often regarded as one of the most revered. Known in Japan as Chusingura, meaning tale of the loyal retainers, the story follows 47 masterless samurai who aim to avenge their master’s death. 47 Ronin stars Keanu Reeves and Hiroyuki Sanada in an epic fantasy tale of revenge, with legendary heroes, shapeshifting witches, mythical beasts, told with incredible special effects.

47 RONIN COMES TO BLU-RAYWITH ULTRAVIOLET& DVD FROM 12 MAY 2014LIMITED EDITION 2 DISC LENTICULAR 3D & 2D BLU-RAYALSO AVAILABLE

We’ll leave you with this stunning clip all about the weapons used in 47 Ronin:

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FeaturesMovie Lists

Horror in the House: May Home Releases

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Last month The Borderlands was a found footage film that curdled our blood, Antisocial showed us the dangers of our addition with social media and we watched Radha Mitchell and Stephen Moyer team up to collar a serial killer in Evidence. If you haven’t yet seen any of those films then we strongly recommend you check them out. Now, as we move into May, let’s see what horror delights will be gracing stores over the next few weeks.

Monday 5th May, 2014

may_galGallowwalkers
Director: Andrew Goth
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kevin Howarth, Riley Smith

Shown during the 2012 Film4 Frightfest Halloween All Nighter, Gallowalkers is the story of a cursed gunman whose victims come back from the dead. In order to fight the gang of zombies heading his way he recruits a young warrior to help him. From the looks of the trailer, Andrew Goth’s western horror is practically Blade in the desert except instead of vampires it’s zombies. Is it any good? Reviews wouldn’t suggest so as this one was stuck in development hell for quite some time and was further delayed by Snipe’s run in with the law.

Monday 12th May, 2014

The Invoking
Director: Jeremy Berg
Starring: Brandon Anthony, Carson Holden, D’Angelo Midili

A low budget horror movie, The Invoking was originally known on the festival circuit as Sader Ridge where it won the Audience Award at the 2013 Seattle True Independent Film Festival. The film follows a girl called Samantha Harris who inherits a house from the family she never knew. After heading out with her friends to inspect the property, Sam begins to experience terrifying visions of unspeakable evil sending her into a waking nightmare where secrets won’t stay buried. After watching the trailer it is painfully clear that this is low budget so we might have to wait to see if this is picked up by one of the popular video streaming providers before we watch it.

may_delDelivery
Director: Brian Netto
Starring: Laurel Vail, Danny Barclay, Rob Cobuzio

We were fortunate enough to attend the UK premiere of Brian Netto’s Delivery when it played as part of the line-up during last years Celluloid Screams Film Festival. Delivery is the story of Kyle and Rachel Massy, a young couple who who agree to document their first pregnancy for a family-orientated show. The production spirals out-of-control after the producers of the show witness unexplained paranormal phenomenon occurring in the home and soon find out that it is attracted to Rachel and her unborn child. Folks may think this sounds similar to the awful found-footage film Devil’s Due but make no mistake, this film is so much better in every way possible.

House of Good and Evil
Director: David Mun
Starring: Rachel Marie Lewis, Christian Oliver, Marietta Marich

David Mun’s House of Good and Evil took home the Award for Best Feature at the 2013 London International Film Festival. After a family tragedy, Chris and Maggie Conley, in a last-ditch effort to save their dying marriage, purchase an isolated home in the deepest woods. When Chris leaves to complete his training to become a firefighter, Maggie begins to witness unexplained events leading to a struggle of good and evil. From the looks of the trailer things certainly look spooky in the House of Good and Evil.

may_paParanormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Director: Christopher Landon
Starring: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh

Paranormal Activity 5 will be released this October but the team behind the franchise released The Marked Ones to keep audiences happy after a Paranormal Activity movie was missing in cinemas last Halloween. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones follows teenager Jesse who begins experiencing a number of disturbing and unexplainable things after the death of his neighbour. As he investigates, it isn’t long before Jessie finds he’s been marked for possession by a malevolent demonic entity. We loved it when we saw it back in January and it goes without saying that we’re excited to revisit it again as it does more than make up for the disaster that was the fourth installment.

Monday 26th May, 2014

After
Director: Ryan Smith
Starring: Steven Strait, Karolina Wydra, Madison Lintz

Ryan Smith‘s After was featured as part of the main line-up of the 2012 Film4 Frightfest Film Festival. Telling the story of two bus crash survivors who awake to discover that they are the only people left in their small town, they must form an unlikely alliance in a race to unravel the truth behind their isolation. One part mystery and one part thriller, After suffers from some pacing issues and very basic performances from its cast. However, the film does feature some intriguing special effects and somewhat interesting story at its core.

may_wilWillow Creek
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait
Starring: Alexie Gilmore, Bryce Johnson

A solid found-footage film from Bobcat GoldthwaitWillow Creek played to sold-out audiences during last years Film4 Frightfest in London and explores the more sinister side to the famous Bigfoot legend. The film follows amateur filmmaker Jim who decides to make a movie about the infamous Sasquatch with his sceptical girlfriend, Kelly by his side. As they start asking the locals for information and stories of sightings they begin to get the feeling that they are not welcome in Willow Creek but they decide to continue their fateful journey. As a director Bobcat Goldthwait certainly knows how to crank up the tension in this film which serves as a pure test of nerve which is why we strongly urge you to check this one out.

So this month horror fans get to embrace possessions, ghosts, zombies and plenty of found footage goodness to keep themselves happy. We here at Cinema Chords hope you will keep these titles in mind when you want to kick back with a scary movie or two.

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Andy Serkis, Domnall Gleeson and Adam Driver: Our Guide to Episode VII’s Cast

Star Wars

There was a great disturbance felt in the force recently when the cast was finally announced – here’s our take on it.

Finally we have had some real information regarding Star Wars: Episode VII. After months of waiting we know have it confirmed that many original stars such as Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill will be returning to the franchise in order to reprise their famous roles. They will be working alongside a bunch of new faces such as Adam Driver and John Boyega.

You can see the cast together in the photo below:

Episode 7

We’ve decided to write a quick guide for you on all of the announced cast so far and what we are thinking about each one. Some are more obvious choices than others, and one of them is a complete mystery to us! So, in no particular order, here are the members of Episode VII‘s cast:

BoyegaJohn Boyega

You will probably know this 22 year old actor from the 2011 movie Attack the Block. He really impressed us there and so we’re looking forward to seeing what he will be bringing to the franchise. There has been some discussion online that Boyega could be playing Lando’s son, and whilst we aren’t fully against that idea, we would rather see him play a completely new character. We don’t want a situation like that which they had in prequels; where every character from the original films (or their relative) had to appear on screen regardless of whether it really served the story.

Daisy RidleyDaisy Ridley

Currently Daisy Ridley is an unknown although she has appeared in a few projects such as Mr Selfridge and the short film Blue Season. Due to her status as the only unknown on this list it is hard to predict who she could play or what we think of her. She does a good job in Blue Season but really that isn’t too much to go on. The predominant internet rumour that she will play a Skywalker seems plausible, most people think that she will play Han and Leia’s child as she is sitting between Ford and Fisher in the above image, but that seems a little thin as evidence. Also, it’s again not much to go on at all, but we think that there is something of a vague Natalie Portman look to her, which of course would make sense if indeed she is a Skywalker.

DriverAdam Driver

Driver is one of the least surprising cast members here as it was heavily rumoured weeks ago that he would be playing a Vader-esque villain in the upcoming film. We are not quite sure what to make of that. We strongly suspect that they won’t be stepping into too familiar ground with the Vader comparison but you never know. After Vader/Anakin being the dominating character of the entire franchise so far, we feel that we would rather see a very different style villain and put some freshness back into the role of the main antagonist. As much as they have all been different, all of the bad guys in the prequels were basically working in the shadow of Vader and a completely different villain could be very successful. Of course this is all just speculation so we will have to see quite who and what Driver ends up playing.

IsaacOscar Isaac

Isaac has rather quickly become a name to be reckoned with. We had seen him in films such as Drive and now all of a sudden he has found success in the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and now he is appearing in the Star Wars films. The guy is clearly talented and so we look forward to seeing what kind of a role he will play in the franchise. We have nothing to go on really, but we have a feeling he would make a very good dark and potentially evil character if that were the direction they were to head in.

SerkisAndy Serkis

Serkis is a very interesting name to have come up, he could of course be playing a normal human character, but his name is now most firmly associated with creatures such as Gollum and King Kong. We are very excited to see his name attached to star; we like him as an actor if he is playing a human, and he is an excellent choice to try and reach some middle ground between the original film’s use of puppets and the prequels CGI overload. We can’t wait to see who or what he is going to play.

GleesonDomhnall Gleeson

Now here is a choice which we are very interested in. Gleeson has been challenging himself with a real wealth of roles since the Harry Potter franchise finished with roles ranging from Levin in Anna Karenina to Jon in the unusual and interesting ,movie Frank. He has been impressing us with his range and talent for a while now and so we are excited to see him take on a role in the Star Wars universe.

Von SydowMax von Sydow

Talk about acting royalty, we welcome this Ingmar Bergman regular with open arms. You will have seen him in everything from that iconic scene where he plays chess with death to The Exorcist. It seems likely that he will be playing a villain, which would be great, however we are equally excited to see him as potentially a good guy with him lending a Kenobi like presence to the cast. Whatever his role, we are excited to see it.

FordHarrison Ford

There are, of course, no mysteries as to who Harrison Ford is or who he will be playing in the upcoming movie. Han Solo shall be gracing our screens once again with his charisma, charm and… grey hair? Audiences have mixed feelings about Ford‘s attempt to revive a much loved character of his in the past with Indy in 2008, however we place the blame for that one on the film itself and not on Ford‘s efforts. Still, whether we need to see an older version of Han Solo is debatable, but we remain optimistic for this appearance.

FisherCarrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher will be returning in order to reprise her role as Princess Leia. It’s going to be interesting to see exactly where they plan on taking her character as there are quite a few options open. Unlike Han or Luke who seem pretty set in one direction for their life immediately after Episode VI ends, Leia has many choices including working in politics or maybe experimenting with her Skywalker blood and any potential Jedi skills she may be able to hone. That said, Leia is the character we are least excited to see back. If she is handled well then there is the room for her to be a great returning figure, but we don’t want to see much political discussion (we’ve had our fill thank you prequels), we don’t want to see her in a lightsaber battle and we don’t really want to see her reduced to purely a housewife and mother either. We shall have to wait and see quite where Leia is going to end up.

HamillMark Hamill

It’s going to be very interesting to see quite what they do with Luke. We are hoping that he will effectively be a younger version of Obi-Wan Kenobi, somewhere between the ages of Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor. I don’t think we really want to see him in a lightsaber battle, however some other demonstration of his power such as when Kenobi uses his Jedi mind trick on the Stormtroopers or Yoda raising the X-Wing, that could be effective. We perhaps would have rather seen an Episode VII where there was say one of the returning stars, perhaps Lando, and then build up to another couple appearing across the following two films. At the moment it seems that a focus on the new characters would have been preferable, but let’s just wait and see what they do with them next December.

DanielsAnthony Daniels

Daniels was pretty much a given from the get go. After all he and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) are the only two actors to have appeared in every Star Wars movie so far. In many respects the two droids are the narrators/observers of the franchise and so it makes complete sense that he has returned.

MayhewPeter Mayhew

Once you have accepted that loved characters such as Han Solo and Luke are coming back you know that Chewbacca has to be amongst them. It would just be distinctly odd to have the gang back together but without him. We are very happy to see that Mayhew could reprise his role again, he is a great guy with a real passion for the series and we are so pleased for him that he is able to return after he has undergone surgery allowing him to walk again.

BakerKenny Baker

Similarly to Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker was always expected to return, or at least R2-D2 was. Ever since that first on-set photo was released of R2-D2 we have known, that he at least would be returning to our screens. Here at Cinema Chords we are more than happy that Baker will be returning as the loveable droid. In many respects it doesn’t matter too much who is inside the robot as there is no voice to be heard, only beeps and whistles, but it’s nice from a fan’s perspective to know that Baker is still the one inside.

So, there’s a very interesting mixture of people up there who have been announced and we are interested to see what the film does with them all. We haven’t had any news about Billy Dee Williams (Lando), and as much as we don’t want them to overload the next series with old characters just for the sake of it, we do somewhat hope that he may show up in either Episode VIII or IX.

For now we shall leave you with a quote from J.J. Abrams: “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.” – original source here.

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FeaturesMovie Lists

Our ABCs of Claustrophobia as Locke Drives Into Cinemas

Locke-cinemachords-movie

Tom-Hardy-Locke

With the date closing in for the release of the compelling Locke, starring Tom Hardy we thought it fitting to take a look at films which take place in confined spaces.

Directed by Steven Knight, Locke takes place entirely in a car, a BMW to be precise. For some people just watching Mr. Hardy in a car for an hour and a half might be too much, but I’m sure for most of the female population this wouldn’t be too much of a problem. What makes the film so interesting is how they capitalise so well on the use of their single location. The car he is driving becomes a barrier, an open book and at one stage his only possession and home. Much like the films listed here, without the film’s stellar script, a film with just one location could obviously turn quite tedious. Although, it’s fascinating how good a film can actually turn out when such a technique is used appropriately.

First up is the iconic Phone Booth (2002). Probably the film that springs to mind when thinking of confined spaces. Joel Schumacher traps Stuart Shepard (Colin Farrell) in a phone booth (surprise, surprise) where he is threatened with his life if he doesn’t pay attention to the voice down the phone. The creativity of Phone Booth shan’t go unnoticed. Despite being in one location the camera work is deft and provides most of the action. With zooms and fast edits, alongside the booming soundtrack, everything is enhanced and makes up for the fact that this only has one location. Leading star, Farrell also adds to this and brings a very solid performance to this sleazy, cheating publicist, absolutely nailing his portayal of a man who pays for his sins. This is original, daring and, most importantly, entertaining – Just don’t make the mistake of answering a ringing pay phone!

Taking confined spaces to a whole other level now with Rodrigo CortesBuried (2010). Paul Conroy an American truck driver working in Iraq, finds himself in a rather deep situation. Waking up in pitch darkness with only his cigarette lighter and mobile phone for light, he quickly realises he is trapped inside a coffin. Not a situation which any of us would want to be in, but nevertheless it makes great viewing material. Ryan Reynolds’ performance was described as ground breaking and rightly so. Considering it was mainly his voice bouncing off the walls of the coffin throughout, Reynolds holds his own alongside Cortes’ near perfect decisions on set. The cinematography and most notably the lighting really stand out here, providing the look and feel of physically being in such a confined space as a coffin. Buried is a claustrophobic narrative full of suspense and definitely deserves to be on this list.

If being caught in a coffin wasn’t bad enough, next up is being held captive in the boot of a car – Brake (2012). Again, a rather limited space with agent Jeremy Reins (Stephen Dorff) finding himself kidnapped and used as a pawn in a terrorist plot. Much like Buried, the lighting, camera work and cinematography play pajor roles in polishing this film off.  Brake takes on a rather clever script and Gabe Torres brings this intriguing story alive. Yes, the comparisons between Buried and Brake are unavoidable but nevertheless a film that takes on a limited space and a great solo performance. Just beware of the predictable ending.

Released the same year as Phone Booth, Panic Room was yet another breathtaking film shot in an enclosed area. As a woman and her daughter are forced to take refuge in their new house’s safe room after three men break in the film takes a turn for the worst. David Fincher brings us a nail biting feature, with Jodie Foster bringing a phenomenal performance to our screens. Even though shot in one single room, instead of a coffin, a boot of a car or phone booth, Panic Room still embodies that very claustrophobic vibe that consumes you. If you haven’t seen this one, it is certainly worth a watch.

Going back in time for the next one, but it’s well worth it – German director Wolfgang Peterson’s Das Boot. You really can’t get any more claustrophobic than a World War II U-Boat.  Considering the time period this film is set in, this illustrates the fact that, despite everything going on, these submariners still manage to maintain a professional persona. This group of men get bored with the laborious life in this enclosed metal case, terror consumes them but duty is their number one priority. This isn’t a happy film but a very powerful one that will stay with you for years after you have watched it. The cramped space is interesting and beautiful to look at – not so sure it would be a ball spending time down there though!

So that’s our list which we hope gets you in the mood for Locke which is released in cinemas this 28th April. We’ll leave you with a trailer for the film.

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5 Upcoming Sequels – Good, Bad or Ugly?

Jurassic Park Sequel

Do we really need that? 5 upcoming sequels we are unsure of.

There seem to be a lot of sequels coming out nowadays, and that begs the question – do we need them? From Star Wars to now The Goonies as well, every beloved film or film series seems to be having new additions planned. We set out to gather together five planned sequels and present them to you here. Of course these aren’t necessarily bad news, but all five of them come from films that we all love, and therefore ring alarm bells.

Read on for our five picks:

Mad Max e

The Mad Max series has had its ups and downs so far, however with Fury Road things are quite radically different as Max will not be played by Mel Gibson. Normally we would be very concerned at this news but we are calmed by the knowledge that Tom Hardy will be taking on the role. Hardy is one of the most exciting and dynamic actors working today, and we are tentatively curious to see what he does with the role.

Sequel

Everybody loves Jurassic Park don’t they? We think so. As to the sequels though, they are a little more divisive. Fingers crossed that Jurassic World  is more like the original film then. It should be a load of fun and hopefully will look amazing. We are more hopeful than we were back when the dinosaurs were proposed as being part human and dog, carrying guns and acting as mercenaries… anything is better than that right?

Star Wars

Just how should we feel about Episode VII? Sometimes we are excited, sometimes incredibly worried, sometimes we just plain don’t care. The possibility that the sequels will be worse than the prequels is unfathomably low, and yet it could happen… What we are most interested/concerned about is how our old heroes will be depicted onscreen. Just what does Han Solo get up to in his old age?

Sequel

Finding Nemo is one of the best Pixar films around and whether it needs a sequel is highly debatable. Unlike the announced The Incredibles sequel which is ideal for another installment, the story of a lost fish seems slightly silly to repeat. Who knows, this could go either way. We could have another heartwarming and funny story, or something which feels a little pointless. We shall have to see.

Sequel

The Goonies is a film which is very close to our hearts, and as much as there is a lot of excitement about the upcoming sequel, we can’t help but be a little worried too. It’s going to be fun to revisit the gang, but it’s going to be a tough job to match and compliment the nostalgia and love that we hold for the original. Finding Nemo and this are the two on this list which don’t currently have prequels/sequels and perhaps they are in the top two spaces. Currently they haven’t been added to, and we can’t help but wonder if we prefer it that way.

So what do you think of the upcoming sequels? Are you excited or just plain worried? Sound off in the comment box below!

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5 Upcoming Remakes: Which side of the fence are you on?

Scarface

They’re doing what?! 5 films that are getting the remake treatment.

With the recent news that Gremlins is going to be remade we got to thinking about just how many remakes and reboots are on their way. There are a lot of beloved films which for one reason or another are going to be remade, and we are worried. Of course not every remake results in a bad film: True Grit, Ocean’s Eleven… even Some Like it Hot – there are a lot of great films out there which are remakes.

So should we be worried? The five films listed below are all dear to our hearts in different ways, and we don’t want to see them damaged by a sub par remake… then again, they could be great successes… we shall see.

Here are the five we have picked out:

Logan

Logan’s Run used to have Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn attached but that has long since fizzled out. It very nearly whimpered out and died but it seems that now, having been placed in the hands of Ken Levine (Bioshock), the remake may just still have some life in it yet. Without a director or star though, the future doesn’t look too bright for this one. Is that a good thing?

Scarface

The original Scarface has already been remade with Al Pacino, and of course it’s one of the great remake success stories. There are now two well respected and loved Scarface movies out there in the world, but should we risk another? Director Pablo Larrain should be taking on the remake, and it reportedly will concern a Mexican who comes to the US in order to pursue the American Dream.

Weird Science

Weird Science is the classic John Hughes movie about two teenage boys who create their own dream woman in the form of Kelly LeBrock. This is such a perfect, oddball movie, and any talk of updating it for the new generation sounds rather meaningless and rings alarm bells. This remake has got a long way to go in order to convince us it will be worthwhile.

Jumanji

Jumanji is, rather like Gremlins and Weird Science, a film which is so entrenched in warm childhood memories that you can’t help but think that any attempt at a remake is doomed from the outset. Something like Scarface at least can be adapted to discuss different political situations, types of power etc, but Jumanji is just a great kids film, which doesn’t need updating. Of course we have already had Zathura which is a kind of remake, but a new film called Jumanji just doesn’t sit right with us. They had better not update the board game to a computer game…

Terminator

With The Terminator‘s remake it’s hard to know what to think. There have been a lot of terminator films since the original, its sequel even doing that rare thing and being better than the first film. So whether the reboot is an utterly awful idea is hard to call… it does feel unnecessary though. There are a lot of potential Terminator stories you can tell without treading on sacred ground. Still, the movie is on its way and Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke and of course Arnie have signed on for the film which should hit us next year.

So what do you think? Are you looking forward to these remakes? Or are you worried by them? Let us know in the comments below!

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Movie Lists

DVD of the Week and Other Worthy Mentions

filth-poster

Out this week (10 Feb. 2014) on DVD is Jon S. Baird’s, FILTH! British comedy at it’s finest. Filth tells the story of Bruce Robinson (James McAvoy) a bipolar, junkie cop who manipulates and hallucinates his way through Christmas in order to get one over on his colleagues and win back the love of his wife and daughter. Filth is well filthy and even though asphyxiation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, Filth is a outrageously brilliant crime, comedy that hits the spot. Starring James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Jim Braodbent, Shirley Henderson, Eddie Marsan and Joanne Froggatt this film will make you cringe and make you laugh but is certainly a film for people who don’t get offended easily.

Other releases worthy of a purchase:

Enough-Said-DVD-73630

 

Enough Said was sadly the last film James Gandolfini starred in and so happens to be a thoroughly enjoyable feel-good comedy. Enough Said tells the story of a divorced woman (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)  who attempts to gain the attention of a man she is interested in, only to discover he is her friends ex-husband. With realistic dialogue, this is a hearty film from director Nicole Holofcencer.

Bonus Features: Documentaries – Cast, Story, Meet Eva and Albert, Nicole Holofcener, Julia and Audio descriptive track.

 

 

Dracula-Series-1-DVD-73638

 

Dracula! From Henry VIII to blood sucking vampire, Johnathan Rhys-Meyers again shows off his talent in a new role. Based on Bram Stokers novel, Series One we see Dracula arrive in London, under an alias of an American entrepreneur, Alexander Grayson who is intent on bringing modern science to the Victorian society of London. In reality, he hopes to wreak revenge on the people who have made his life a living hell for centuries, but of course a woman gets in the way.

Bonus Features: Behind the Scenes and Deleted Scenes.

 

 

Captain-Phillips-DVD-73449

 

Directed by Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy , United 93), Captain Phillips is based on the real life hijacking of a US cargo ship by Somali pirates. Tom Hanks is Captain Phillips and puts himself in a rather sticky situation in order to protect his crew. A thrilling narrative, just be prepared for the shaky camera!

Bonus Features: Commentary by director Paul Greengrass, Capturing Captain Phillips and English audio description track.

 

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Marvel Guy’s Top Films in 2013

marvel

2013 was a year that saw some truly spectacular movies grace the big screen. Just like like any other film fan, I clocked up hundreds of hours in the cinema loving every moment of them. However, 2013 wasn’t such a consistent year for film. In fact there were some jaw-droppingly terrible films released along the way. Films such as Scary Movie 5, The Last Exorcism Part 2, The Internship and Movie 43 were unleashed and quickly became the lowlights of the year.

In 2013, I also attended several film festivals over the course of the year which included Celluloid Screams, Glasgow International Film Festival, Grimmfest and my personal favourite, Film4 Frightfest. On the festival circuit, I saw plenty of outstanding films (some of which have not yet been given an official UK release) but I was lucky enough to attend several UK premieres, met lots of filmmakers and was given the opportunity to interview Adam Green about his film Hatchet 3 exclusively for Cinema Chords (also to be published in February’s issue of Scream Horror Magazine).

So what films were the highlights of the year? Well you may already know that I’m partial to a bit of horror here and there but this doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a more sophisticated style of film so you may be surprised by some of the titles that appear on my list.

Moving forward, if you’re wondering what films made my top ten this year  then look no further as I present to you my top ten films of 2013 with a few honourable mentions at the end.

10. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

catchingfireFrancis Lawrence takes over directing duties for the sequel to the 2012 box office hit in what is a definite step forward in the popular franchise based on the novels that were written by Suzanne Collins. The film takes its time to fully develop its characters and its surrounding world to deliver what can only be described as a thoroughly engaging action blockbuster. Balancing drama and action perfectly, this movie is nicely acted and its core political themes are impressively woven into the plot. Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence does a great job as the ‘girl on fire’ and the film ends on a cliff-hanger that perfectly set the scene for The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Part One which will be released later this year.

09. Big Bad Wolves

bigbadwolvesThere’s no denying the power behind the Israeli horror Big Bad Wolves. Telling the story of three men on a collision course, the father of a recent victim and a vigilante police officer take matters in their own hands when they kidnap the main suspect in a string of killings to literally beat a confession out of him. Packed with plenty of shocking moments the film operates with a subversive layer of pitch black humour which is not only as disturbing as the films primary subject matter but somehow works perfectly with the pace of the film. I first saw Big Bad Wolves when it closed Film4 Frightfest 2013 and the reaction from the crowd was electric as the entire auditorium filled with cheers and applause when the end credits began to roll.

08. Cheap Thrills

cheapthrillsAnother festival favourite from Film4 Frightfest, Cheap Thrills follows Craig, who is down on his luck and in desperate need of money. After a brief encounter with an old high school friend, the two meet up with a strange couple that wants to have a drink with them.

The four then experience what can only be described as a truly horrific night as the two friends are pitted against each other for money.

A simple concept, the film is directed by E.L. Katz and stars Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton and David Koechner. Cheap Thrills develops naturally despite the ensuing craziness as the stakes are raised higher and higher with every passing minute. You will gasp, laugh, wince in pain and fully enjoy this film without a doubt and it is for this reason that this film appears in our list. There is no current UK release scheduled for this film but I strongly urge you to keep an eye out for it.

07. The Conjuring

theconjuringA certified taste-maker in the horror genre, Director James Wan transports audiences back to the 1970s with The Conjuring. Based on the true story of  the real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, Wan uses his talent of misdirection, creative sound design and the ability to effectively balance pace and tension to create a truly terrifying experience. Having some truly horrifying visuals that will guarantee to send a shiver down your spine.

I loved every minute of this movie and strongly urge you to check this out if you haven’t already just make sure you have something suitable to hide behind.

06. You’re Next

yourenextInspired by such home invasion shockers as Haute Tension and The Strangers, Director Adam Wingard’s You’re Next was given its debut as part of the Midnight Madness programme at the Toronto film festival. From there, You’re Next took the festival circuit by storm before it was given a limited cinema release in August 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and I loved the performance that was delivered by its lead actress, Sharni Vinson. She provides horror audiences with a Final Girl that is likeable but at the same time is someone worth fearing in her own right.

Packed with plenty of scares, chilling moments and inventive kills to keep horror enthusiasts satisfied, You’re Next plays to all the tropes of the home invasion sub-genre but  takes cues from Cabin In the Woods as it turns the genre expectations on its head with a very entertaining third act.

05. The Battery

thebatteryThe Battery was one of my festival highlights of 2013 which I saw at Celluloid Screams, the Sheffield horror film festival in October. The Battery is an astonishing directorial debut by Jeremy Gardner who shot the film in In August 2011 with a cast and crew of six. Offering something fresh for horror fans looking for something different, Gardner delivers an enjoyable character driven drama that just so happens to take place within a zombie apocalypse. The film is superbly acted by Gardner who is joined by Adam Cronheim who also provides a solid performance, and is supported by an interesting choice of music for its soundtrack.

Also, there is great news for those wanting to check it out as the film has been picked up for UK distribution by Metrodome and is slated for a release later in the year.

04. The Place Beyond the Pines

placebeyondthepinesThe Place Beyond the Pines is a thriller in which is essentially three short stories which are linked together through its characters and their actions. The film explores the notion that the sin of the father will be visited upon their sons. Starring Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendez and Bradley Cooper, the acting in this film is solid. But surprisingly, the best performance in the movie goes to Cooper who proves that his performance in last year’s Silver Linings Playbook, a film that gained him critical acclaim, was no fluke and he can really act when he has to. Derek Cianfrance’s direction on this film is second-to-none. However, it is a slow-burner which might put some people off but don’t worry as it has plenty of offer patience viewers.

03. Captain Phillips

captainphillipsDirector Paul Greengrass is no stranger to films based on actual events. His previous film, United 93 was based on the hijacking of the ill-fated United Airlines Flight 93 which took place on 11th September 2001. Captain Phillips tells the story of Richard Phillips, a real-life sea captain who was taken hostage by Somalian pirates. A remarkable film, Captain Phillips is a tightly crafted thriller and features a stellar performance from Tom Hanks which is said to be his best performance to date. It builds tension perfectly and the action sequences made my heart race all whilst retaining a sense of realism.

I cannot recommend this film enough as the last five minutes are literally heart-breaking and those who have seen the film will know immediately which scene I am referring to.

02. Prisoners

theprisonersPerhaps the most unsettling films in 2013 has to be Prisoners. Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenaal and Viola Davis, Prisoners is a film that taps into every parent’s nightmare when two families are torn apart when their youngest daughters go missing without a trace. Brutal and shocking in many places, the film investigates the notion of guilt, crime and punishment from three sides; the families of the missing children, the police investigating the crime and the accused.

What we have here is a film which is directed by Denis Villeneuve which operates its multiple plot-lines flawlessly and never becomes stagnant or loses its intensity. I even had to take a few moments after the film had finished to pull myself together because the film is that powerful.

01. Gravity

gravity (2)Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) and starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, Gravity is 91 minutes of solid thriller and is my film of the year. Telling the story of two astronauts who find themselves in the middle of a storm of space debris the film was stunning to watch on the big screen. As far as performances go Sandra Bullock is equally as impressive and her performance keeps the audience invested in the film and her performance demonstrates her reputation as a credible actress. The CGI is flawless, the 3D is the best i’ve ever seen in a cinema and watching the film in D-Box, where every movement was perfectly timed with what was happening on screen, made the film an unforgettable experience.

That was my top ten films of 2013. But what list would be complete without a few honourable mentions? That said, here are three more titles that are truly worth investing your time in.

Spring Breakers

When I think of Director Harmony Korine’s crime thriller Spring Breakers two things spring to mind, Guns and Bikinis! But if the thought of that puts you off I strongly urge you to give this one a try as the film itself is an experience. The first half is a mood piece allowing us to experience the american tradition of spring break through the eyes of four American college girls played by Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Harmony’s real-life wife Rachel Korine. The second half of the film is much more your traditional film in style. This is where James Franco comes in and forms a strong bond with the leads as they steal from, beat up and harass other spring breakers and nearby bad guys leaving a trail of chaos in their trail. Spring Breakers also benefits from using music from Cliff Martinez (who scored Drive) and Skrillex, two strong names in the business, which when combined together with creative editing brings a coolness to the picture which is undeniable and not easily forgettable.

The Human Race

Another festival highlight from Grimmfest 2013, Director Paul Hough delivers The Human Race, a gripping homage to Stephen King’s short story ‘The Long Walk’. The film sees eighty people from all walks of life kidnapped and thrust into a truly horrific situation where they are given the option to race or die. Undeniably mean spirited but with purpose, the film follows in the same steps as Battle Royale and The Hunger Games and provides an insight into human behaviour when people are put in life or death situations. The film also challenges genre expectations by integrating disability which is perfectly executed by one of its main actors, Eddie McGee who has more than you would ever want in an action hero. The acting isn’t perfect but this doesn’t stop the film being a 90 minute adrenaline fuelled thriller. You can check out The Human Race for yourself when the film is released on DVD in March.

Only God Forgives

In 2011, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn brought us Drive, An American crime drama based on the book written by James Sallis. Drive quickly became one of my favourite films of all time so when Nicolas WInding Refn teamed up once again with Ryan Gosling for Only God Forgives, I had to check it out. Not only is the film visually stunning but Larry Smith’s cinematography is beautiful and the use of lighting is immaculate. Just like Drive, music plays a key part in the success of the film as the soundtrack by Cliff Martinez is superb. However, Only God Forgives is by no means a perfect film as it lacks in substance so for those seeking a straight-up thriller are going to be disappointed as this film is rich of metaphors and fantasy scenes. But to put your mind at rest, I can confirm that this didn’t stop me from enjoying this movie.

Thanks for reading.

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Cinema Chords Awards: Best of the Best 2013

2013-in-Review

Just a couple of week’s to round out the year and our team of writers has had their heads together for the last few weeks to deliberate the top movie moments of the year. Over the next few days we will be posting various categories with six nominations for each one.

Without further ado, let’s crack on with the first five categories for 2013:

BEST SCI-FI FILM 2013

awardsscifi

And the winner is:

gravity

Deliberated by Zoe De Pasquale/Emmy Griffiths

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I’m Dreaming of a Dark Christmas

silent-night-horror-movie-killer-review-2012

[By Jon Dickinson featuring words from Jackson Shrout and Tiffany Hall]

When people mention Christmas images of Santa Claus riding his sleigh in the night sky, his reindeers, christmas trees and brightly wrapped gifts flood our minds. At a time of year that is rich of good tidings and well wishes films like It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol and The Polar Express are played constantly on our DVDs, in cinemas and other various establishments.

However, if you ever grow bored or tired with the busy shopping malls, the cheery carolers or the distracting shine of the tinsel on the tree, there is a way to escape the glee and embrace a more darker side to Christmas.

So for your enjoyment my fellow contributors (Jackson Shrout, Tiffany Hall) and I bring you ten alternative festive films that we think you should check out.

Gremlins

thumb-gremlins’80s movies don’t come more iconic than this.

Billy gets an unusual present for Christmas, from an old Chinese nik-nak shop. It’s a mogwai, and mogwais have three simple, easy to follow rules – don’t get them wet, don’t put them in bright lights and never, ever, feed them after midnight. But who’s got time to read the instructions on Christmas day?

Cue a small American town overrun by mischievous Gremlins, more comedic than terrifying all set to a wonderful backdrop of snow, Christmas trees and It’s a Wonderful Life. In one of the most memorable scenes in modern cinema, the gremlins themselves take a trip to the movies for a festive showing of Disney’s Snow White for a sing along like you’ve never experienced before…

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