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A wide range of the best of various genres

Movie Lists

10 Films For November

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The summer blockbuster season has been over for a fair while now, the nights are drawing in and the leaves are forming a handy carpet. For film-goers, this can only mean that it is time for the quieter, quirkier films to be released, the possible Oscar contenders and films looking to stand out from the crowd. There’s a fair few of these on their way in November and we’ve gathered the top ten right here.

drinking

 Drinking Buddies – 1st November

A romantic comedy with a healthy amount of alcohol thrown into the mix, Drinking Buddies stars Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson as Kate and Luke, co-workers in a Chicago Brewery who just happen to be the ideal couple. Except that they are both in relationships with other people. With Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick playing the obstacle other halves, Drinking Buddies has a great cast and a director with some excellent form in the shape of Joe Swanberg. The film is largely improvised with the actors given an outline of the major plot points and given the green light to play it all by ear. [Read our review here]

Philomena

 Philomena – 1st November

Starring the unlikely couple of Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench, Philomena  follows the true story of Philomena Lee (Dench) who was forced to give up her son for adoption after giving birth to him in a convent in Ireland. She teams up with recently unemployed journalist Martin Sixsmith to track down what became of the son she was forced to give up. It looks set to be a fascinating tale of re-discovering family and if Dench doesn’t get an Oscar nomination, I think we can all eat our collective hats.

gravity

Gravity – 8th November

Possibly one of the most anticipated releases of the year (already in cinemas just about everywhere else in the world), Alfonso Cuaron‘s film about survival in space has been getting rave reviews since it first screened at the Venice International Film Festival. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star as two astronauts who survive a mid-orbit explosion and have to attempt to somehow return to Earth. By all accounts, it’s the complete science fiction package; excellent performances, thought-provoking philosophy and mind-blowing special effects. [Read our review here]

butler

 The Butler – 15th November

The Butler is loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen and stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, an African-American who served as the White House butler for 34 years and observed some of the most important events of the 20th century. It features an extensive and excellent cast, featuring the likes of Robin Williams, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack and Alan Rickman as the Presidents that Gaines serves as well as Vanessa Redgrave, Cuba Gooding Jr and Lenny Kravitz in other roles. Look out for this one come awards season.

counsellor

The Counsellor – 15th November

On paper, The Counsellor already sounds like an intriguing thriller with themes of greed and ambition mixed into a plot centred around iffy drug deals. Then you look at who is involved. The sheer pedigree behind this film is worth the price of admission alone; written by bestselling author Cormac McCarthy, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem with yet another wacky hairdo. I’m sold.

don jon

 Don Jon – 15th November

Don Jon is Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s feature film directorial debut which he also wrote and stars in as the title character, a New Jersey lothario who has only a few concerns, mainly girls, his friends, his car and porn. That is until he meets Scarlett Johansson‘s Barbara, a blonde bombshell type who could just be his true love. The trailers for this have been a hoot so far and it’s got a great cast to boot with Julianne Moore, Tony Danza and Brie Larson all appearing. [Read our review here]

hunger

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – 21st November

The sequel to smash hit The Hunger Games, Catching Fire is based on the second book in Suzanne Collins‘ dystopian trilogy. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role a badass Katniss Everdeen along with Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth as well as franchise newcomer Sam Claflin as fan favourite Finnick Odair. As always with sequels, expect the scale to be bigger and better with Katniss forced to take part in the Quarter Quell, a Hunger Games in which the tributes are taken from a pool of previous victors.

blue

Blue is the Warmest Colour – 22nd November

Blue is the Warmest Colour has been making waves since it screened back at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival which saw it win the Palme d’Or, awarded to both the director, Abdellatif Kechiche and lead actresses Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux.  Though controversy has since followed in its wake with its explicit sex scenes and talks of behind-the-scenes issues, praise has been fairly universal and there is no doubt that this is one of the film events of the year. [Read our review here]

carrie

Carrie – 29th November

Brian de Palma‘s original film is a masterful adaptation of Stephen King‘s debut novel but there is still plenty of room for a new take on this story of a teenage girl developing telekinetic abilities after harassment from both girls at school and her zealous mother. Chloe Moretz takes over from Sissy Spacek in the title role but the one to watch here is surely Julianne Moore as her mother. Piper Laurie was terrifying but Moore is one to give her a run for her money.

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Saving Mr Banks – 29th November

A heartwarming one to head into the Christmas season with, Saving Mr Banks tells the behind-the-scenes story of Mary Poppins’ author PL Travers (Emma Thompson) and Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) attempts to gain the screen rights to her novel. What ensues is a battle between two unstoppable forces with the usual dash of Disney charm and wit thrown into the mix. It’s also another film on this list with an excellent cast including Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford and Ruth Wilson.

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Celluloid Screams Festival Round-up

CelluloidScreams2013

Horror came to Yorkshire between the 25th and 27th October when The Showroom Cinema in Sheffield hosted Celluloid Screams, the steel city’s very own horror film festival.

The line up last year was impressive and included films such as Sightseers, Manborg, V/H/S, Cell Count, Before Dawn, Resolution, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh and Excision. Guests attending the festival included Ben Wheatley, Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson, Todd E Freeman, Dominic Brunt, and Dennison Ramalho.

This year saw the festival grow even bigger and we were there to enjoy every blood-soaked minute. Festival Director Robert Nevitt put on an incredibly strong lineup this year which included the hallucinatory horror comedy Motivational Growth, a twisted vampire love story with Chimeres, a lesson on how to survive a zombie apocalypse in The Battery and the ultimate revenge film Big Bad Wolves.

The guest list for the festival was just as impressive. Directors Don Thacker (Motivational Growth), Lee Hardcastle (ABCs of Death), Oliver Beguin (Chimeres) and Dominic Brunt (Before Dawn) all made an appearance and took part in a Q&A for their films. Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary) also made an appearance via recorded video message to judge the Twisted Bumper Competition and there was also an appearance form the guest of honour Frank Henenlotter, the director of the genre cult classics Basket Case and Frankenhooker.

This year saw the return of the Celluloid Screams secret film. Last year it was Ciaran Foy‘s terrifying Citadel and this year we had Almost Human, a sci-fi horror movie about a man who is abducted by aliens to return as a blood thirsty killer. As if that wasn’t enough, Celluloid Screams held its very first allnighter called Night of the (Un)Dead featuring exclusive 35mm presentations of Frankenhooker, Return of the Living Dead, The Beyond and Demons (which replaced Braindead).

It was Renaud Gauthier’s 70s inspired Discopathe that brought Celluloid Screams to a thrilling climax. So, after three days of some of the best films that the horror genre has to offer it was announced that Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado‘s Big Bad Wolves won the audience award for best film and Fredrick S. Hana‘s Angst, Piss & Drid was awarded the prize for best short film by the jury.

So with the festival over for another year it is time to thank Rob and his team for a brilliant weekend. We will certainly be there next year but for now here are our top five films from the festival.

Discopathe#5: Discopathe

Directed by Renaud Gauthier and starring Catherine Antaki, François Aubin, and Sandrine Bisson, Discopathe is a throwback to the ’70s. It follows a timid young New Yorker who finds himself unable to control his murderous impulses after he is exposed to the pulsating rhythms of disco music. Complete with a killer ’70s soundtrack the film plays with its tongue firmly in its cheek and enough blood splatter to keep gore fans satisfied.


jug-face-poster#4: Jug Face

An enjoyable slice of southern gothic, Jug Face is directed by Chad Crawford Kinkle with a fantastic cast including Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter, Larry Fassenden and Sean Young. Telling the story of a small backwood community ruled by a creature in a pit, pregnant teen Ada is forced to do whatever it takes to escape when she learns she is next in line to be sacrificed to the creature. With believable performances from its stella cast, Jug Face is a prime example of gothic storytelling done right. Both beautiful and harrowing we strongly recommend this movie.


AlmostHuman#3: Almost Human

Announced as the 2013 secret film, Almost Human is  the feature debut of Joe Begos who directed and wrote the film. A throwback to ’80s horror, it tells the story of Mark Fisher (played brilliantly by Josh Ethier). After disappearing from his home in a brilliant flash of blue light almost two years ago Mark returns a changed man, leaving a string of grisly, violent murders behind him. It’s up to his friend Seth and his ex-girlfriend to stop the evil inside of him. Almost Human is a back to basics ’80s homage packed to the brim with blood with lots of practical FX and a decent story at its core.


MotivationalGrowth#2: Motivational Growth

Don Thacker’s comedy horror about a mass of talking fungus opened the festival. Starring Adrian DiGiovanni, Danielle Doetsch and featuring the voice talents of genre legend Jeffrey Combs, Motivational Growth tells the story of a man depressed with his life that finds himself taking advice from a growth in his bathroom after a failed suicide attempt. With The Mould’s help, he manages to improve his life but its not long before he realises that the help he has been getting may not be coming from good intentions. Supported by an 8-bit soundtrack, Motivational Growth delivers an equal balance of horror and humour whilst grossing you out with its FX.


TheBattery#1: The Battery

Clearly my favourite film of the festival was Jeremy Gardner’s The Battery, telling the tale of Ben and Mickey, two former baseball players as they cut an aimless path across a desolate New England that has been torn apart by a zombie apocalypse. In order to survive, they must overcome the stark difference in each other’s personalities, but when the duo intercept a radio transmission from a seemingly thriving protected community the boys will stop at nothing to find it. Made for just $6,000, The Battery is not just a character driven survival horror film but it is a prime example of how to create a professional looking movie without breaking the bank. Wonderfully written by Jeremy Gardner who also steps up to play one of the leads along with Adam Conheim the film is a must-watch for any horror fan looking for something different to your average run-of-the-mill zombie movie.

For more information about Celluloid Screams and to read about the films that were shown over the course of the weekend you can check out their official website (www.celluloidscreams.co.uk).


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Movie Lists

Hallowe’en Horror Wanted? Let Netflix Help

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It’s Hallowe’en once again and everyone starts to knock through horrors to get them in the frightened spirit. Netflix‘s member base is growing and growing and as the member base expands, so does the list of titles. It can be difficult to decide on what to finally watch, before you know it, that three hour slot you booked for a film has now evaporated into a 35 minute window in which to try and cram an episode of something in as you kick yourself for not deciding sooner. Worry not, here at Cinema Chords we have tried to narrow the list down so the decision should only take an hour, or maybe two, at best. We’ve set aside the endless cheap imitations and countless awful sequels such as Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver (yes, that’s on the US Netflix) and Surf Nazis Must Die as well as all the exploitive horror filled with nudity like Girls Gone Dead, Strippers vs Werewolves and 1313: Cougar Cult (yes, again, these films exist and most are on US Netflix if you feel like punishing yourself). Regardless, below are the recommendations split into two categories, the first which is “Highly Recommended” which should be read as “If You Haven’t Seen it Then Correct That Now”.

Highly Recommended

The Awakening (US)

Yeah, this British horror is unfortunately only on the US Netflix but is definitely something that’s worth a watch. It seems quite typical period horror where a paranormal debunker goes into a haunted orphanage to disprove the existence of a boy with a twisted face. It is atmospheric, having the colouring reflect the gothic nature with darkness and candlelight for the majority of the sequences at night. It’s well crafted by the director, the performance from Rebecca Hall is genuine and of course it’s scary.

Carrie (US/UK)

The remake is out soon in the UK and already is in America so why not familiarise yourself with Brian De Palma’s adaptation? Sissy Spacek plays the shy, suppressed girl who snaps after having her idyllic moment ruined by bullies. This film still is a classic horror because you care about Carrie, you feel for her and it’s horrible to see it all go wrong.

The Evil Dead (US)

Sam Raimi’s low-budget indie classic is available if you feel like catching up with the world of stop-motion gore and the Necronomicon’s ritualistic horror that birthed the cult favourite Bruce Campbell.

Evil Dead 2 (US)

This is, pretty much, a remake of The Evil Dead but still starring Bruce Campbell as Ash. It’s a reboot with more money but it has 2 in the title so it’s technically a sequel but it ignores what happens in the first really. Regardless, this is funny, gory fun that will tickle you then scare you.

The House of the Devil (US)

One of the best indie horrors to come out in recent years. This is Ti West’s best film so far in his career. It is an homage to all of the B-movies of yesteryears while feeling modern, rejuvenating and not at all stagnant. Never does it feel like a cheap rip off but a film of its own that tips its hats to the genre. Jocelin Donahue’s performance as the housesitter is greatly unnerving and it’s a true slow-burner in horror, using sound and silence to get that chill up your spine that will stay with you for weeks after the credits roll. Lights will remain on when walking around your house.

Identity (UK)

This is different to normal horrors and to normal paranoid thrillers that play on one person in a group in an isolated location being a murderer. James Mangold has created a horror film with an ending that many will roll their eyes at when in fact it’s a brilliant one. It stars John Cusack, Ray Liotta, John C. McGinley, John Hawkes, Amanda Peet and Clea DuVall who all don’t do it for the wage nor believe the film is beneath them, there’s an admiration for the work and it is achieved.

Let the Right One In (US)

Remade with Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee in 2010, this original one is a much more intimate take on it, not adding the police investigator that seems to be a standardised addition to the story. Tomas Alfredson focuses on the touching relationship between neighbours Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) and Eli (Lina Leandersson), creating a haunting experience that is tragically beautiful and sometimes horrifying. It should be watched for the cinematography alone by Hoyte Van Hoytema – Christopher Nolan’s new DP for his next film Interstellar.

Maniac (US)

Released in the UK in January uncut (surprisingly), Franck Khalfoun’s remake surpasses the original because it makes Frank’s (Elijah Wood) character completely sympathetic. Instead of the usual distant monster that terrifies because of its inhumanity, this one is harrowing because of its humanity. His constant struggle with his life and himself leads to one the year’s scariest and goriest.

The Mist (UK)

Frank Darabont’s classic horror here focuses more on the horror of humanity than the horror of what’s outside. This film destroys souls. Created with a cynical view from the mind of Stephen King then adapted for the screen with an even more depressing view of life by Frank Darabont. Prepare to have a heavy heart, a heavy chest and a heavy hatred of humanity for a while after. This film causes side effects.

Pulse (Kairo) (US)

This Japanese horror is one of the more muted experiences that shows a slow inevitability and a supernatural epidemic that’s impossible to stop. Fear is achieved by having everything slow, inescapable, because curiosity really can kill. Kiyoshi Kurosawa has created something so atmospheric that even a walk is terrifying.

Scream Quadrilogy (US/First available in the UK too)

Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s postmodern deconstruction of the horror genre is an obvious classic and the sequels aren’t bad either though many would disagree. The first is obviously the best and managed to be funny, witty, tell us the rules outright then completely subvert them. Scream 2 has one of the most tense films ever and adds to it with the rules of sequels and so on for the other two. You cannot go wrong with any of them, including the underrated fourth which is the weakest but still worth a watch.

Sinister (UK)

Putting in a performance that cements the authenticity of the piece, Ethan Hawke manages to terrify us by playing a character that we like getting involved with. Not only that but it’s a character that reacts genuinely to the horror going on around him, reluctantly looking around an empty house at night and playing his fear with a credibility that makes everything more horrifying.

The Snowtown Murders (US)

Want to watch one of the most disturbing films ever? Go to this. The less you know about it the better.

The Strangers (UK)

A great home invasion horror that manages to get a real performance out of Liv Tyler – that should not go unnoticed. The cinematography is beautiful, the masks petrifying, the tension tangible. With the final shot of the film ruining a lot of its hard work, The Strangers is a work of creepy brilliance that plays with the couple as much as it does with the audience.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (US/UK)

Another good deconstruction horror, this focuses more on the comedy side of things rather than the horror. Tucker and Dale are mistaken as monsters who are about to go on a slashing spree on the teenagers who are staying up in the woods. They think – because of their horror knowledge – that if they get them first then there’s nothing to worry about it. What ensues is brilliant comedy which is directed really well by Eli Craig but the film’s funniest moments comes from the duo of Alan Tudyuk and Tyler Labine that really make this a necessary watch.

V/H/S (US/UK)

Found footage  anthology directed by a lot of upcoming filmmakers of horror makes this a bit muddled because of its anthology nature but really is a scary piece of cinema too. The shorts are well-constructed and are all vastly different meaning you’ll have several different nightmares that night. It can, for some, start off weak but the two final segments are especially effective.

V/H/S/2 (US)

They heard the criticisms of the first and completely understood by making this a sequel that builds up on the strengths of the predecessor. The Safe Haven segment directed by Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto is the best in it and stretches out to roughly 30 minutes but it’s an insane 30 minutes of everything going everywhere for the most chaotic and scary minutes of your life.

Recommended

The Bay (US/UK)

Barry Levin. Yes, Barry Levin. Yes, the guy that did Rain Man. Barry Levin was in charge of this found-footage and environmental horror that tells the story of a town which undergoes a huge problem. Told in a reconstruction of all of the footage that could be found from various different outlets – news crew, biological researchers, police car, CCTV – to create a scarily realistic problem but not one that’s necessarily scary-scary like others on this list.

The Cabin in the Woods (US/UK)

It’s not that huge of a subversion, it’s not really that gigantic of a game-changer, it’s not really anything that great but it’s worth a watch. Many disagree and it is adored so the addition comes more from its status rather than anything else.

Devil (US)

This horror film written by M. Night Shyamalan and Brian Nelson is underrated in all honesty. Pitting people against other in a lift is a pretty great idea and director John Erick Dowdle has fun playing around with the audience. When it goes black, there’s such dread of what will happen next. Tightly paced terror in a compact space and the characters are still interesting, creating full arcs in a few feet.

Drag Me to Hell (UK)

Throwback horror at its finest with a lot of people dismissing it for the most ludicrous of reasons. People who believe that plausibility in horror should only stretch too far have a hard time dealing with a single moment near the end of the film that lasts maybe 15 seconds but don’t let that detract you. There’s a great performance by Alison Lohman and, of course, plenty of horror to stop you from sleeping or trusting any old woman you see walking down the street.

The Faculty (US/UK)

Good fun with a sharp script, it channels and pays homage to plenty of great sci-fi beforehand – especially Invasion of the Body Snatchers which is spoken about here many times. There’s a great cast of famous people before they’re famous that makes this a good nostalgic film as well as thrilling one.

Grave Encounters (US)

Get past the first 20-30 minutes of annoying mockumentary presentation and you’ll find yourself involved in one of the more terrifying ideas of recent years by the Vicious Brothers. It’s a shame that the performances sully moments of a great idea that would improve to one of the best horror films of the past decade had it been performed well. Otherwise a great horror film.

Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer (US)

It’s based around the real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas and Michael Rooker puts in an unsettling yet thoughtful performance that can lead to tender moments before they’re ruined by his bloodlust.

A Horrible Way to Die (US/UK)

Not exactly the all out horror film that will terrify but more one that will instantly dampen your mood and prove how horrifying addiction is.

The Host (US)

A Korean film about a monster that appears from the river one day that makes a lot of comments on political, societal and environmental problems but it’s confused atmosphere ruins a lot of its hardwork. It loses a lot of it through poor music choices, a running time that’s too lengthy and a lack of suspense in a lot of the scenes that loses the audience.

The Innkeepers (US)

Empty hotel with a past of hauntings and two characters that have a great repertoire make this good fun but scary when it wants to be too. When it is empty around the frame, enveloped in darkness or lack of characters, there’s true terror looming over it but when it goes for it, it goes too far. Otherwise a fantastic film.

The Pact (US)

Our lead suffers from the problem of trying to be a strong female character when really that makes her insufferable to be around. There’s one fantastically tense scene but its status in the horror community was one that was hard to ignore.

Resident Evil (US)

Paul W.S. Anderson started strong and that is in no way a sarcastic statement about the man. This series started well but it fell apart in different ways in different films. Definitely worth a visit, it pays a few good enough tributes to the games while remaining an entertaining film.

Resident Evil: Extinction (UK)

The only worthwhile sequel in the tired franchise that shouldn’t have been, this actually makes the social and political commentary that games made for the first time in the franchise… and the last. Not only that, it’s scary again, creating something that isn’t awful but instead entertaining thankfully.

Stake Land (US)

Vampires are worn out if they’re not sparkling or sexualised but in this they’ve returned to them being carnivorous bastards that will destroy you. Jim Mickle pays more attention to the characters within the story but never fails to land the horror beats he aims for either. Thoughtful, clever work rather than an all out attack to the senses.

Don’t say we don’t care for making your Halloween an ever better time of year. Whilst this is a pretty extensive list please feel free to let us know some hidden treasures you’ll be watching. We’d love to hear from you.

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Movie Lists

Cinema Chords’ Top Halloween Treats

halloween

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Amongst other things, All Hallows’ Eve is everyone’s annual excuse to prepare a marathon selection of horror films, not that an excuse is ever required to perform this ritual of course. Whenever this time of year comes around the decision as to what to watch can be just as frightening an ordeal as the movies themselves. Choosing just the right scary movie is fundamental when it comes to setting the perfect mood so when compiling our very own list below we have done our utmost to try and strike just the right balance between a strong dose of scares and a healthy helping of laughs. We’ll leave you to enjoy this list of the ten of the eeriest films you should certainly consider watching this Halloween.


Obviously some of you will still be after even more horror gems to pad out your Halloween celebrations so we asked the rest of the Cinema Chords team what terrors they would be sliding into the DVD player this week:

Emmy Griffiths

Emmy Griffiths

Jon Dickinson

Jon Dickinson

James Walpole

James Walpole

Sarah Cook

Sarah Cook

William Goodchild

William Goodchild

Becky Lea

Becky Lea

Paul Savage

Paul Savage

Ben Iland

ben iland

Jack Amor

Jack Amor

Ashley Norris

Ashley Norris


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Protein Shake Overdose: 5 Macho Movie Team-Ups

escape-plan-poster

With last week’s release of Escape Plan stirring up a nostalgia storm for audiences with two of the hardest-hitting action heroes of the ‘80s, we take a look at some familiar, and some not so familiar, team-ups that should be on everyone’s watch list. These beefcake bonanzas tend to come replete with some of the best one-liners coming out of Hollywood and, whilst it’s going to be tough to beat Arnie’s latest zinger (“You hit like a vegetarian”), we’ve included some lines the we have savored over the years.

Escape Plan is in UK cinemas now and we’ll leave you with a trailer to whet your appetite.

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Before & After: The Goonies All Grown Up

goonies1

The Goonies managed to personify everything you wanted to be able to do as a child, but it wasn’t possible and even if it was, you weren’t allowed to. It’s an inspirational tale of a group of kids who embark on a coming of age adventure, which manages to produce enthusiasm in people of all ages. But what are the child stars up to these days, all grown up?

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MIKEY

Sean Astin Final

Mikey, the leader of the group, was played by Sean Astin and this was his film debut. These days, he appears on TV a lot, including NCIS and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but his most famous role was that of Sam in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Should you ever fancy catching him as you’ve never seen him before, we highly recommend watching 2007 indie horror flick, Borderland.

Goonies Fact: Astin left halfway through recording a DVD commentary for the film and never came back. The recording session had started later than scheduled and Astin had already made plans to introduce his friend Joe Pantoliano who was M.C.’ing at a local theatre. He left the recording studio for a quick change of clothes, popped his head back in to say why he had to make an early departure, and left an action figure of his Lord of The Rings character, Sam Gamgee to take his place.

MOUTH

Corey Feldman Final

Clark, or Mouth as he is nicknamed, was the loud one of the group, portrayed by Corey Feldman. Since then, his most famous role was in another iconic coming of age tale, Stand By Me, in which he played an equally bold and brash young lad. He has also been in many films such as cult fave, Lost Boys, but most recently took part in ITV’s Dancing on Ice. Quite the switch, right?

Goonies Fact: Mouth’s grandma is in fact Feldman’s real grandma.

CHUNK

Jeff Cohen Final

Chunk, the loveable inventor of the truffle shuffle, was played by Jeff Cohen. Since hitting adulthood, Cohen has shied away from the limelight and now runs a law firm which practices entertainment related law.

Goonies Fact: Cohen got chicken pox just after being cast as Chunk but pulled himself out of bed to turn up on set as he was frightened he would be replaced by someone else.

DATA

Ke Huy Quan final

Richard Wang or “Data” was played by Ke Huy Quan, who was already rather famous thanks to his role as Short Round in Spielberg’s classic, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Since then, Quan has also taken himself away from the limelight, and instead works behind it: he became a fight choreographer and has worked on such films as X-Men and The One.

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BRAND

Josh Brolin Final

The oldest of the group, Mikey’s big brother was Brandon, AKA Brand, who was played by Josh Brolin. Perhaps the most famous of the bunch, Brolin has gone on to appear in many blockbusters including Gangster Squad, W and the Oscar winning No Country for Old Men. He also plays the lead role in the upcoming adaption of the Japanese classic, Oldboy.

Goonies Fact: When the Goonies gang is in the restaurant’s basement there is a scene with Josh Brolin and Sean Astin arguing. Pay close attention and you’ll hear Mikey say “There is so,Josh!”

ANDY

Kerri Green Final

Andrea or Andy, was the eye candy of the group, played by Kerri Green. Since The Goonies she quit acting and started a family some years later. Having said that, she has made a few causal TV appearances, including ER and Law and Order.

We’ll leave you with a vintage clip from Entertainment Tonight way back in June, 1985 featuring interviews with the cast on the brink of experiencing the success that The Goonies brought with it.

Goonies Fact: Out of all the main cast members of the film, she is the only one who doesn’t appear in the music video for Cyndi Lauper’s ‘The Goonies R Good Enough’.


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Top 5 Unlikely Friendships in Film

Prince Avalanche

The stories behind unlikely friendships have been charming audiences for decades. From the awkward pair-up, to the first argument and subsequent foundations of companionship, the intriguing, and often very funny experiences of how friendships are formed will continue to be told for many years to come.

Prince Avalanche is an offbeat odd-couple comedy, starring Paul Rudd (Anchorman, Knocked Up) and Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild, Milk), as two highway road workers who spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind.

To celebrate the cinematic release on 18th October, we’ve compiled a list of the five greatest and funniest stories of unlikely friendships in films.

Jack Lemmon & Walter Matthau (The Odd Couple – 1968)

the odd couple final

In the definitive representation of how far friendships can be pushed when actually forced to spend a significant amount of time together, The Odd Couple charts the fallout when pals Felix (Lemmon), a highly-strung neat freak, and Oscar (Matthau), a charming slob, move in together. The pair had such great chemistry that they starred in ten films together throughout their careers, including The Front Page (1974), JFK (1991) and Grumpy Old Men (1993).

Comedy moment: After moaning about Felix’s nagging notes, Oscar finds a message reading “We’re all out of cornflakes. F.U.” and gets offended – only to realise later that “F.U.” are Felix’s initials.

Hugh Grant & Nicholas Hoult (About A Boy – 2002)

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When social misfit Marcus (Hoult) meets shallow, slacker Will (Grant) at a single parent picnic Will crashed to pick-up women, the young boy latches on to him despite Will’s protestations. As Will helps Marcus fit in at school, Marcus gradually becomes less selfish and cynical and the pair continue to support each other in their unique way as the credits roll.

Comedy moment: When Marcus accidentally kills a duck with a lump of stale bread, Will defends the boy by coming up with an elaborate story about the duck being dead already.

Simon Pegg & Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz – 2007)

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When a dedicated London police officer (Pegg) is relocated to sleepy Sanford and partnered with a slow, but well-meaning, small-town cop (Frost), he continues to use zero-tolerance on minor crimes before his suspicions are aroused by a series of gruesome deaths in the village. The British favourites admitted that when in costume they were often assumed to be police officers and asked for directions by passersby. Instead of telling the truth they went along with it, claiming it made them feel powerful.

Comedy moment: After Nick (Pegg) puts a dangerous villager in the freezer, Danny (Frost) asks whether he said “cool off” as he did it. The two cops then discuss awesome lines they have said after taking criminals down.

Colin Firth & Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech – 2010)

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After an impromptu ascension to the throne, King George (Firth) visits unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush) in a final attempt to cure his crippling stammer. The pair clash when Logue refuses to treat the new King as tradition dictates, preferring instead to call him Bertie, but as his unconventional methods begin to work, the reluctant royal places his trust in Logue, leading the country honorably through WWII, and remaining lifelong friends afterwards.

Comedy moment: When Logue observes that Bertie doesn’t stammer when he swears, he encourages the King to launch into a tirade of expletives.

Paul Rudd & Emile Hirsch (Prince Avalanche – 2013)

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When highly-strung Alvin (Rudd) gets his girlfriend’s simple brother (Hirsch) a job with him painting lines on a desolate Texan road, their attitude towards work ethic and the endless wilderness surrounding them are at odds. Cut off from human contact and modern amenities, their eccentricities are laid bare and each day is a losing battle to stay sane and keep their nitpicking hidden from each other.

Comedy moment: In a bonding attempt, the pair get drunk on moonshine a friendly trucker gave them and make up a song about bad phone connection.

Prince Avalanche is out in cinemas this Friday, 18th October and we’ll leave you with a trailer for the film.

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Movie Lists

Five Ocean Disaster Movies as Captain Phillips Sets Sail

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Captain Phillips is due to set sail this week. The drama, by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks is based on the real life story of Captain Richard Phillips. Phillips is in charge of taking a whole cargo across the coast of Africa. All is going well until Somali Pirates invade their ship and hold Phillips and the crew hostage for money. A life and death movie that is filled with tension as Phillips tries to not only save his life, but honourably the life of the crew.

Captain Phillips began chartering its voyage at the London Film Festival last Wednesday and is docking in cinemas at the end of this week. Already making waves with critics and audience alike (just last week, I gave it five stars!) Tom Hanks gives an impeccable performance as a man who has to fight against dangerous tides.

But Captain Phillips isn’t the first movie to take disaster to the Ocean and here we have the best movies to navigate the choppy waters.

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If we are talking about outstanding horror movies then look no further than Spielberg’s terrifying Jaws. Starring Richard Dreyfuss and Rob Schneider, the movie is about the lovely beach town of Amity who are preparing for a summer of sun and celebration. Unfortunately, an uninvited man-eating shark decides to crash the festivities and his appetisers are whatever is splashing about in the water be it a young boy or lady. It is up to Sheriff Brody, Marine Biologist Matt Hopper and sea Captain Quint to take to the vast ocean to hunt this killer down.

With the most memorable score by John Williams, Jaws is a delightfully gory treat. Not only did Spielberg make a monster of an animal that rarely kills humans, but Jaws has scared everyone from dipping their toes into the world of the deep blue sea.

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With the death of Tom Clancy still fresh in our minds and a new Jack Ryan movie coming to our screens, it is only apt that we talk about this tense submarine thriller that stars Alec Baldwin as the famous action star. With Sean Connery leading, The Hunt for Red October is about a Russian submarine (the titular one) taking the murky depths of the sea in order to attack America incognito. Not being able to detect Red October, it is up to CIA analyst Ryan to find the enemy before World War 3 is initiated in this Post-Cold War drama.

The first of Clancy’s Ryan novels to be translated to the big screen, this movie is drowning in heated action, explosions and some terrific performances.

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Last year’s Oscar Winning movie by Ang Lee is still captivating audience with its sweeping visuals and simplistic yet heart-warming tale. Starring newcomer Suraj Sharma, Life of Pi is about a boy called Pi who is travelling from his native home India with his family and their zoo. Amidst their hopes to relocate in Canada, disaster strikes when their boat hits a storm and the whole thing capsizes. Surviving, Pi is stranded in a lifeboat only to discover that he isn’t alone, and he is sharing his boat with Bengali tiger, Richard Parker. On an epic and harrowing journey it is up to Pi to survive.

With glowing whales that glisten in the midnight to the heighted horizon reflecting on the sea, this beautiful movie won the most Oscars at the 84th Academy Awards (four) and is a testament to a hardworking visual effects team.

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On a list of movies that were shown on Sunday afternoons but are horrendously scarring for children (Towering Inferno being another,) The Poseidon Adventure is one of those classic disaster movies that has now earned a strong cult following. The movie revolves around a classic cruise liner called the Poseidon which sets sail brimming with rich people partying. A massive tidal wave, however, hits the cruise liner; the ship is flip upside down. With only a handful of survivors, it is up to Gene Hackman to guide them up (or is that down?) to safety.

With explosions taking off floors and the whole problem with walking through a boat that is mast side down, The Poseidon Adventure is an action packed drama fest.

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Here it is, the big one. The entry that we couldn’t miss off as it was as plain as that infamous iceberg. Titanic is THE blockbuster movie. Anyone and everyone has to have seen it or heard Celine Dion wallowing down your ear about hearts carrying on or something. Launching Leonardo DiCaprio into stellar fame, alongside Kate Winslet, the two play a pair of starcrossed lovers, Jack and Rose, who board that fateful ship. Jack, a working man and Rose an elegant lady, despite their classes and her betrothal to a very bad man, fall in love only for the historic disaster to pull them apart.

James Cameron masterminded this classic movie that celebrated its 15th Anniversary last year. The mega movie that generated mega bucks is still as heart breaking and powerful now as it was when first released.

Captain Phillips arrives in the UK this Friday, 18th October and you can read our five star review for Captain Phillips right here. We’ll leave you with a trailer for the movie.

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Before & After: Total Recall (1990)

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Total Recall is still – to this day – one of the best sci-fi movies ever made.

Why? Because it is based on a Philip K. Dick short story and he was one of the major science-fiction writers to ever have set foot on Earth. Total Recall also encapsulates the spirit of ’90s-style filmmaking thanks to director Paul Verhoeven’s vision. It features everything we loved about the ’90s : Arnold Schwarzenegger as your muscular common dude and part-time hero, Sharon Stone as a demonic uber-fit wife, a triple-breasted alien, suspense, action, romance, bad guys… Long story short, Total Recall is one of those movies that you have to watch once in your life. Or once a year.

But what happened to the cast of Total Recall?

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Then : Arnold was obviously the hero, Douglas Quaid. The year is 2084. Doug is a construction worker on Earth but has strange recurring dream about Mars and a mysterious woman. As it turns out, Quaid’s memory was erased and he is in fact a secret agent…

Now : After a few years in office as the Governor of California, Arnold has been back on the silver screen. As of now he has 3 announced projects for 2015 : Terminator, The Legends of Conan and Triplets. He has just finished filming Sabotage that has been sent to post-production and he is on the set of two movies : Maggie and The Expandables 3. In case you missed Arnold when he was no longer acting, you’ll be pleased to be seeing plenty of him in the next years.

Rachel Ticotin

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Then : Rachel was Melina, Douglas Quaid’s mysterious dream-girl. Melina is a resistance fighter who knew Quaid before his memory was erased.

Now : Ticotin has mainly scored small roles in TV series for the past few years. With a last appearance in an episode of Blue Bloods, it doesn’t seem like she has any upcoming projects.

Sharon Stone

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Then : Sharon played Quaid’s wife, Lori. This loving-wife persona is just a cover and she actually works for the bad guy in order to monitor Quaid.

Now : Sharon will star in 3 movies that will be released this year : Lovelace, Fading Gigolo, Gods Behaving Badly. While on the set of Un Ragazzo d’Oro, she has acted in What About Love – currently in post-production – and will be part of 3 projects coming up : Papa, Army Bratz, Mothers Day.

Ronny Cox

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Then : Ronny was Vilos Cohaagen, the governor of Mars. He is the corrupt head of the bad guys.

Now : Cox has appeared in a few TV series and is back to the silver screen. The Reach is currently being filmed and Nadia’s Promise is in pre-production. Both projects are scheduled to be released in 2014.

We’ll leave you with the trailer for Schwarzenegger‘s latest movie, Escape Plan which is released in the UK on October 18th.

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Movie Lists

10 Amazing Weapons That Graced the Silver Screen

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In a world of film that is filled with pointless violence and over exaggerated weapons, it’s hard to distinguish which are truly brilliant. Nevertheless, to celebrate the release of Machete Kills, we are here to give you the definitive top ten list of the most awesome weapons to grace the silver screen.

Fotor01010220257First on the list, Guy Richie’s wonderful adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous franchise with the help of Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law and Rachael McAdams saw a impressive cannon of archaic guns, but one stood out above the rest. The Sharps Pepperbox is a shiny little thing that Moriarty whips out every so often from his concealed wrist, to impressive effect. This brass boss was actually first used in a 1988’s Sherlock Holmes: Hound of the Baskervilles, according to the Internet Movie Firearms Database (a nifty website which records all of cinema’s guns – www.imfdb.org).


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Created by Dark Lord Sauron in the fires of mount doom, this bad boy can be used to enhance the wearer’s power to no end. It cannot take damage and can only be destroyed by the volcanic fires of where it was made. Although it has negative effects on the mortals and invisibility, for Dark Lord’s it is the ultimate evil power source and a worthy weapon indeed.


Little friend – Scarface

This gun gave birth to the iconic line ‘Say hello to my little friend’ which will be immortalized in cinema forever more. Scarface’s impressive gun manages to pick off numerous assassins; proving a customized grenade launcher is a gun not to be messed with, especially with Montana behind it.


Whip – Indiana Jones

Where would Jones be without his trusty whip and cowboy hat? Nowhere. Opting to not use the gun (most of the time) and going for a bit of whip slinging, Jones’ weapon is with him 24/7 and never fails him. Getting him out of sticky situations and whipping the bad guys into shape, this iconic weapon symbolises everything we loves about Harrison Ford’s character.


Batman – Nolan’s trilogy

Ever since his inception in 1939 in Bob Kane’s DC comics, Batman has always had a range of brilliant weapons. The Dark Knight trilogy brought the modern gizmos to the silver screen and it did not disappoint. From Bruce Wayne’s Batcar, Bat-Helicopter and batarangs, he has every bat related weapon you’ll ever need.


Hanzo’s sword – Kill Bill

kill billTarantino hugely popular film would not be complete without Hattori Hanzo’s sword. Claiming that is could cut God, this sword provided The Bride with enough power to kill hundreds of henchman and spill gallons of blood. The reason why the iconic fight scene at the end of Volume 1 was black and white? They ran out of fake blood and had to use coloured water. Now that is a lot of blood even for a mighty sword.


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Any James Bond Gadget

Well, where do you begin? With a very large array of gadgets, from both Bond and his foes, it’s hard to pick the best one. The golden gun is perhaps the cleverest, but Roger Moore’s Lotus submarine car is not one to forget, not to mention Connery and Craig’s Aston Martins; the Bond franchise is a treasure trove of innovative weapons.


Superman

Superman, arguably the ultimate superhero, also has a wonderful range of weaponry. His laser eyes, the fact he can fly and his body made of steel all culminate in the fact that Clark Kent is the ultimate walking arsenal. And to top it all off, his quirky kiss curl and iconic glasses make him humanly as well as powerful.


The Death Star

Well just missing out on the top spot is the ultimate weapon of mass awesome. This truly gigantic space station, which is no moon, can obliterate anything and everything it wants to. Nothing can beat this at all. Well, apart from a farmer in an X-wing and a convenient hole that leads to most fragile piece of the reactor. Nevertheless, you don’t get bigger and more powerful than this….


Lightsaber

starwarsBut you can get cooler. Yes, the Death Star can destroy anything, but what would you rather have? A lightsaber, defiantly. This beam of impenetrable light can slice through anything and everything and is most defiantly the piece of kit to grace any galaxy, however far, far away. The ultimate weapon and ultimately the most awesome.

And thanks scientists in America, it’s not long before one is made, according to the Guardian.

We’re sure that tomorrow’s release of Machete Kills will come packed to the teeth with a whole arsenal of crazy new gadgets and weapons. We’ll leave you with a taster with the film’s trailer.

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Movie Lists

5 Shakespeare Adaptations to Celebrate Romeo and Juliet in Cinemas on Friday

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Romeo and Juliet, done in all it’s traditional glory, is due to be released this Friday, and in anticipation we have listed our top 5 favourite Shakespeare adaptations, from the stoically traditional to the cheesy teen high school genre (trust me, there are many) to the crazily modern. Let’s start with the latter, shall we?

We’ll leave you with a trailer to the latest film version of Romeo and Juliet, starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth releasing this Friday in both US and UK cinemas.

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Before & After: Star Wars

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It been over 35 years since A New Hope stunned audiences worldwide and cinema has changed a lot since then. Incidentally, so have the actors who made up the famous cast of George Lucas‘ first three Star Wars films.

So, who’s been the most successful? And who’s still clinging to their fame from the 1970s? Find out below…

Mark Hamill

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Probably the best way to make a film debut, Mark Hamill hit the screens in 1977 as Luke Skywalker: farmer boy turn Jedi hero. After no more real film success, Hamill took to voice acting, most notably in the recent Xbox 360/Playstation 3 game Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, in which he voiced the Joker.

Carrie Fisher

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Like the rest, she was propelled to fame by Star Wars but has suffered mentally and physically since the films. She is open about her struggle with bipolar disorder as well as prescription drug addiction. Nevertheless, Fisher has been in numerous TV shows and films including When Harry Met Sally and Smallville. She has also written books about her life including Wishful Drinking, which was adapted into a successful stage show.

Harrison Ford

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Cast as the coolest cat in the galaxy far far away, Harrison Ford was shot to stardom with his role as Han Solo. Arguably the most famous out of the bunch, Ford starred in numerous films such as The Fugitive, Blade Runner and also the iconic Indiana Jones.

Peter Mayhew

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Unphased by typecasting, Mayhew continued his career as Chewbacca by making a living from it. He has made numerous appearances as Solo’s furry friend and the 7-foot actor continues to this day.

James Earl Jones

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His iconic voice spans more films than just Star Wars, but perhaps his most well known is that of Darth Vader. Starring in numerous films, his most prolific is perhaps Lion King, as the voice of Mustafa. Earl Jones continues to work in many areas of entertainment to this day, including an appearance on Two and A Half Men.

Anthony Daniels

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The man behind the gold plated cyborg, Daniels’ iconic performance was replicated in all six of the Star Wars films. And he stuck to what he was best at, voicing in numerous Star Wars console games (The Force Unleashed), television series (Droids) and CGI films (The Clone Wars).

Kenny Baker

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As well as Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker is the only actor to appear in all six of the franchise’s films. In a 2011 interview, he informally came out about his friction with Daniels: “He thinks he was the greatest gift to Lucas and I was merely a nobody operating a robot’s controls and didn’t contribute anything from an acting perspective.”

And with these reassuring words from Ford “It’s not in the bag yet, but I think it’s happening” regarding his involvement in the new Star Wars film and also Hamill and Fisher’s returns heavily rumoured, it’s only a matter of time before we see them back on the big screen, fighting the Empire once again. We’ll leave you with a recent interview with Harrison Ford proving that even all these years later there are still a few grudges that were frozen in carbonite along with Han Solo.

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