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Marvelguy’s Favourite Horror Films of 2014

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With Christmas only a few days away now is the perfect time to look back on what has been an interesting year for horror. Now I say interesting because this years calibre has been a bit of a mixed bag. There have been some incredible titles released this year that were shown in cinemas and on the festival circuit but there have been others like Ouija, Annabelle and Devil’s Due which all fell short and deserved to have gone straight to video sentenced to life in the deepest darkest corner of hell and forgotten about (if they haven’t been already).

I will say one thing though and 2014 has been a wonder for independent horror especially on the festival circuit as there have been some horror films that not only met expectations but exceeded them leaving me wishing that one day modern horror films will once again become scary and original again. The reason I say this is that thanks to franchises like Paranormal Activity and Saw which famously churned out sequels and their lesser somewhat cheaper imitations since have tainted the minds mainstream audiences making them forget what a scary movie actually is.

Call me a horror snob or not but I can’t stand it when a film tries to be scary by throwing a shedload of jump scares accompanied with a loud blast of music. This is not scary, it’s just annoying! As a genre fan I want to be creeped out, to have my level of acceptability challenged and have icy cold chills down my spine. Or I want to enjoy a solidly crafted slasher film or creative monster movie. I don’t however want to watch the same studio produced horror-by-numbers which is something I’ve seen a hundred time before. So reading this it should come as no surprise that the majority of titles in this list were seen during the UK festival circuit.

So which 2014 horror films ticked the boxes for me. Which ones stood out from the crowd and cemented their place in my black heart? You’re about to find out but before I start to list the ten films that I think deserve the title of Best Horror Films of 2014, here are three honourable mentions that are certainly worth checking out (when you get the chance to).

2014_wolfcopWOLFCOP
Director: Lowell Dean
Starring: Leo Fafard, Amy Matysio, Sarah Lind, Jonathan Cherry
Seen at: Grimmfest 2014

One part dirty harry one part wolfman, Wolfcop is directed by Lowell Dean and stars Leo Fafard in the title role. The film follows an alcoholic cop who is called to investigate a disturbance in the nearby woods only to be caught up in a ritual sacrifice and is cursed to become a werewolf. A definite crowd pleaser, the film features some truly hilarious moments and a werewolf transformation that begins in a place you will never have imagined. It’s a Troma-esque film with a much bigger budget where every bit is enjoyable and inventive.

2014_marrowDIGGING UP THE MARROW
Director: Adam Green
Starring: Adam Green, Ray Wise
Seen at: Film4 Frightfest

He took us to the swamp to battle the villainous Victor Crawley in his Hatchet trilogy, he had us pinned to our seats when Shawn Ashmore and Emma Bell were stuck on a chair lift in Frozen but in his latest project Digging Up The Marrow, Director Adam Green will have us pondering one question… do monsters exist? I refuse to reveal anything further about this film and with good reason as I believe without doubt that this is Adam Green‘s best film to date. It’s fun, It’s scary and is a must see for any self respecting horror fan. Look no further for spoilers online, just seek out the film, sit back and enjoy every minute of this gem that I am certain will become a cult classic.

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Director: Eduardo Sánchez
Starring: Samuel Davis, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards
Seen at: Film4 Frightfest

The Grandad of found footage, Eduardo Sánchez (The Blair Witch Project) returns to the genre once more for his latest effort Exists. The film follows five friends who are on their way to a remote cabin in the woods for a weekend of fun. But, on their arrival they quickly discover that the cabin is located inside the lair of the legendary Bigfoot. Featuring outstanding special effects and a monster that seemingly has a sense of intelligence and rationality about it, Exists is thoroughly entertaining and twice as scary as last years Willow Creek. It also has one of the most effective jump scares i’ve seen all year round.

Now before we get to the films that I think deserve to be hailed as the best horror films of this year I want to remind our readers that this is based on my own personal taste and will most probably differ from others. That said, I would like to bring to your attention my favourites which I believe are the Best Horror Films of 2014 (in no order).

2014_whatweWHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
Director: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh
Seen at: Grimmfest

This mockumentary from the team behind the popular TV series Flight of the Chonchords is best thought of as the Spinal Tap of vampire films. Not only does it stand neck and shoulders above other vampire films but does so with respect to the very material it plays homage to. There’s a killer Lost Boys reference that will have you howling like a werewolf at the moon and a joke that will change the way you think about a sandwich. But what is very pleasing about this film is that it possesses the ability to keep its flow of jokes consistent. That said, when you have Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement in front of and behind the camera you simply can’t go wrong. So if you like your horror with a double serving of comedy then What We Do In The Shadows is fangtastic and just for you.

2014_sacramentTHE SACRAMENT
Director: Ti West
Starring: AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Gene Jones
Seen at: Glasgow Frightfest

Inspired by the shocking events of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre, Director/Writer Ti West teams up with Eli Roth for his stab at the found footage sub genre. With a solid script and superb direction, West commands attention from his audience quickly and holds it firmly in a vice-tight grip thanks in part to the sense of isolation and heightened anxiety that gradually develop into a terrifying sense of dread. It’s cast are equally as good. AJ Bowen delivers a solid performance but it is Gene Jone’s performance as the compound’s leader that steals the spotlight. He creates a villain with the ability to literally draw you in to his way of thinking as his motives come from a place of reason. Intriguing and harrowing, The Sacrament still holds its power on repeated viewings and it is for that reason I recommend you to check it out.

2014_latephasesLATE PHASES
Director: Adrián García Bogliano
Starring: Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest
Seen at: Film4 Frightfest

When you discuss a werewolf film inevitably comparisons are made with such classics like An American Werewolf in London however very few manage to fully capture its sense of creativity or ferocity. Well in this case Adrian Garcia Bogliano comes incredibly close to doing so with Late Phases, a geriatric werewolf horror. Telling the story of Nick Damici (Stake Land) as a war veteran who moves into a gated retirement community only to survive an attack by a large wolf like beast. With his neighbours concerned over his sanity Ambrose (Damici) must figure out a plan to stop the monster from attacking again. Both Damici and Ethan Embry (Cheap Thrills) do a fantastic job to sell the realism of the film but the true star is its special effects. The wolf transformations are fantastic and are done mostly practically which I thought was amazing.

2014_afflictedAFFLICTED
Directors: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse
Starring: Clif Prowse, Derek Lee, Michael Gill
Seen at: Glasgow Frightfest

Winner of Best Special Effects Award at the Sitges Fantasy Festival, Afflicted is the lovechild of Canadian filmmakers Clif Prowse and Derek Lee and sees the the duo play best friends that find their one in a lifetime trip thrown up in air when one is struck by a mysterious illness. In desperation to find the source, the duo must come to terms with what has happened before things spiral out of control and the chaos consumes them both. Utilising the conventions of the found-footage sub genre this film puts the audience right into the middle of the fray making the experience thrilling and that much more enjoyable. For example, a chase sequence on a rooftop perfectly blends CGI effects with filmed footage to create an unforgettable sequence that will leave your jaw on the floor. Simply put, Afflicted does for horror what Chronicle did for superheroes.

2014_creepCREEP
Director: Patrick Brice
Starring: Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass
Seen at: Celluloid Screams

If you were low on cash and came across this little ad in the paper offering $1,000 for a days filming would you do it? Director Patrick Brice does in his claustrophobic chiller Creep. Without using foul language, excessive gore or constant threat of violence to shock its audience, Creep instead builds its scares naturally through solid acting and some very out there moments that are simply unnerving. Speaking of acting both Brice and Mark Duplass show amazing chemistry on-screen demonstrating their true acting ability. As a typical Blumhouse film you can expect quite a few jump scares but fear not these only serve to heighten your vulnerability as its vice-tight grip on you never dissipates. Just keep an eye out for PEACHFUZZ.

2014_springSPRING
Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Starring: Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Vanessa Bednar
Seen at: BFI London Film Festival

No one can ever accuse Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead of never delivering something different to your average horror film because they certainly do. Their previous effort Resolution was a real genre-bender and nothing changes with their latest effort Spring. Effectively combining the sweet romance of Before Sunrise with horror elements inspired by An American Werewolf In London, Benson and Moorhead have delivered a truly unique love story that you will remember for years to come. Benson’s script is intelligently written and his co-direction with Moorhead is superb. Together the duo show plenty of artistic flare that is difficult to resist as a genre fan. Overall, I absolutely fell in love with this film and I’m confident you will too.

2014_theeditorTHE EDITOR
Directors: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy
Starring: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, Conor Sweeney
Seen at: Celluloid Screams

Inspired by such Italian Giallos as The Beyond, Opera and Tenabrae, The Editor is the latest project for the Canadian film collective Astron-6 who have written, directed and starred in this thoroughly enjoyable homage. Also starring Paz de la Huerta, Laurence R. Harvey, Tristan Risk and genre legend Udo Kier, the film utilises vivid colours, bizarre angels and throws in black-gloved killers and gruesome death scenes to perfectly capture the spirit and feel of the Giallo. Admittedly I am not a fan of the Giallo but it says something when a film as fun as this has made me want to return to the sub-genre to revisit a few more titles. Overall, The Editor is a satisfyingly fun film and truly deserves more viewers so check it out when you can.

2014_dersamuraiDER SAMURAI
Director: Till Kleinert
Starring: Michel Diercks, Pit Bukowski, Uew Preuss
Seen at: Film4 Frightfest

Till Kleinert‘s impressive German horror Der Samurai has been hailed as a gay liberation piece and features a fantastic performance from from Pit Bukowski as a sword wielding menace and from Michel Diercks as Jakob, the young police officer with the task of bringing him down. Packed with mystery and blood thirsty carnage, Der Samurai is expertly directed by Kleinhert and looks beautiful on screen. This film may have some very graphic visuals that might affect those of a nervous disposition but for me this film is a compelling thriller and it is for this reason that I recommend checking it out.

2014_oculusOCULUS
Director: Mike Flanagan
Starring: Karen Gillan, Katee Sackoff, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane
Released: 13th June

Mike Flanagan‘s flair as a director and screenwriter is remarkable. With Oculus he has constructed a strong concept at its core which he executes masterfully catapulting his audience on a roller-coaster ride that is not easily forgotten. Yes there are a few jump scares scattered throughout the film but the intricacies of its interweaving timelines in the last hour make Oculus truly compelling viewing. The cast are fantastic. Karen Gillan is effective in the lead and it is great to see her in something other than Dr. Who. The real star of the film is Katee Sackoff as she delivers a solid performance and as such, I would love to see more of her on the big screen in future. Creepy and unsettling, Oculus for me was one of this years most strongest horror films.

2014_canalTHE CANAL
Director: Ivan Kevanagh
Starring: Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Rupert Evans, Steve Oram
Seen at: Grimmfest

If you haven’t heard about this one yet then you will soon. Director Ivan Kevanagh‘s The Canal is one of very few films that truly managed to scare me. Following a film archivist whose life is turned upside down when his wife goes missing, The Canal is incredibly tense and unbelievably scary. Flawlessly directed and superbly acted by Rupert Evans and Steve Oram, this film is a whole package. Containing some of the most horrific imagery that still sticks to me to this day, I guarantee you that it will send icy cold chills down your spine as a result. The Canal is a highly engaging and incredibly tense horror and it is for this reason that it makes this list.

So there you have it ten of my favourite horror films of 2014. I would like to thank you for reading and before you go, I would also like to recommend that you to check out Chad Archibald‘s Splasher The DrownsmanZack Parkers shocking Proxy, Tommy Wirkola‘s excellent undead sequel Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead and Jennifer Kent‘s The Babadook which has a phenomenal performance from Essie Davis that can only be described as outstanding.

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Get Festive with Secret of the Tomb!

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Starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson, Sir Ben Kingsley, Dan Stevens, Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan, the magical third instalment of the popular franchise NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB is finally here.

In SECRET OF THE TOMB Ben Stiller returns as nightwatchman Larry Daley to travel the world in an epic quest to save the magic that brings his friends to life before it is gone for ever. With the aid of Jedediah (Wilson), Teddy Roosevelt (Williams) and joined by a rather dashing Sir Lancelot (Stevens), Larry and the team must do all they can to save the day.

So with Christmas less than a week away and we are already buzzing with festive cheer. So to celebrate Today’s release of the third and final instalment of the franchise in cinemas across the UK we have teamed up with Twentieth Century Fox to bring you four exciting seasonal clips guaranteed to exercise your funny bone.

Clip 1: Carving the Turkey
Our first clip see Nightwatchman Larry Daily (Ben Stiller) takes his seat at the table alongside his friends to enjoy a hearty meal together. As a newcomer to the group Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) is offered the chance to carve the turkey and he does so in spectacular fashion.

Clip 2: Rexy Lights
Everyone’s favourite boney dinosaur is given a festive facelift as Larry (Ben Stiller), Tilly (Rebel Wilson) and Lancelot (Dan Stevens) watch on in delight.

Clip 3: Larry and Tilly Under the Mistletoe
A well known tradition and the perfect excuse to plant a snog on your festive crush, Tilly (Rebel Wilson) ‘accidentally’ bumps into Larry (Ben Stiller) at the ‘right’ time. Will they use tongues?

Clip 4: Lancelot to the Rescue
Whilst watching television with Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) and Sacajawea (Mizuo Peck), Lancelot (Dan Stevens) jumps immediately into hero mode to the amusement of his couch-mates.

Be sure to check out NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB which is OUT NOW!

 

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Bloom and Whitaker in action-packed trailer for ZULU

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Currently starring as Legolas in THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES actor Orlando Bloom teams up with award-winning actor Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) to star in Jérôme Salle‘s crime thriller ZULU. Balancing exciting action with emotional drama, the duo play tough detectives investigating a brutal murder in post-Apartheid South Africa in this 2013 Official Cannes Selection.

Coming to DVD & Blu-ray from 19th January, 2015 ZULU film follows Policemen Ali Sokhela (Whitaker) and Brian Epkeen (Bloom) as they investigate investigate the brutal murder of a young white woman, apparently provoked by the availability of a new illegal drug and somehow connected to the disappearance of black street children.

“The picture is first-rate, benefiting from the expert combo of Denis Rouden’s vibrant-hued photography and superb location scouting. A stunning helicopter shot of Cape Town announces the film’s sweeping sociological intentions at the outset, and Salle provides fascinating glimpses of the city at every level, from the cluttered shantytowns to the wide-open sand dunes where the climactic action unfolds” Variety

ZULU will be released on DVD & Blu-ray from 19th January, 2015.

zulu

 

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A Short Mission: Knick Knack

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Pixar is one of those studios that will always be met with quiet admiration (or wide-eyed obsessive wailing). Their film portfolio is brimming with delightful and astonishingly visual movies that are created by clicking a mouse (which is a lot more hard work than that sentence made out). From the much beloved Toy Story series to the stirring Wall.E and all the innovative movies that came between, Pixar is often seen and revered as the greatest computer animation studios of all time. And quite rightly so. You cannot earn as many Oscars as the team has done without having a bustling array of talent and story-telling skills. However, as the ominously silent opening tells us, this 1989 short Knick Knack was one of the first shorts that John Lasseter and crew made. And because it centres on a Snowman, I am straining my article on it to cater to the Christmas season.

Knick Knack tells the story of souvenir brick-a-brack all lazing about on the shelf. Equipped with sunglasses, the bouncing palm trees, flamingos and a blonde haired woman all merrily dance with the spirit of whatever summery place  they were brought in. A Snowman, caged in his winter scene, looks on with jealousy and when he is invited by the beautiful lady, he endeavours to escape his lair in order to join the festivities. But the snow-globe is a lot tougher to break than it looks.

The story and the animation are, true, dated (you’d hardly get away with showing a Snowman who wants to bone a plastic big bosomed figure before you settle down for Toy Story 10 or whatever these days). However, there is a rambunctious spirit throughout it that relies on the old humour of films such as Laurel and Hardy; the film was openly inspired by Tom & Jerry too. Combining all the elements of slapstick and visual puns, Knick Knack is helped by the jovial antics that the Snowman goes through to escape his snow-globe cage. This has a fun element to it that will please audiences everywhere who wish to visit the small roots that this great studios began with. The inspiration for Toy Story is clear here (what with stationary objects springing to life) and it smatters of a happy and glee-filled origin for the animation giants that we hold in high regard today.

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A Short Mission: I Remember April

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There are people in this world who are often eschewed by the people around them because they quake with this deluded confidence that feels awkward in the atmosphere. You’ve met them, rabbiting on down the pub and unearthing these darker secrets as they desperately try to play this character, on top of the world and without a care. They jabber on with this narrative that is unwavering but off somehow. Trying to be tougher, hard and more confident than their mind is letting on. In film, it’s really hard to balance a character like this and make them watchable, somewhat likeable yet still convey the problems underlying. Rob Hurtt’s great and rather darkly comic film I Remember April is just that short to do this.

It’s the festive period and scummy, pathetic man Douglas is making his rounds to friends and colleagues. As he stops to visit shop keeper Dave’s, he regales about what is going great in his life and his lost love April. But is his speech just hiding a much more visceral undertone as he hides his true feelings with tales of grandeur, love and more.

I Remember April is a rather endearing whilst uncomfortable watch. Hurtt’s writing is so terrifically realistic that Dougie leaps off the screen becoming this character that you would see in the middle of the street and would avoid eye contact with. It’s a perceptively written role that Hurtt directs with this humanistic realness. The dialogue absorbs you into the quaking mind-set and defines him, giving him much depth and substance.

What really works for I Remember April is the terrific performance by Eric Colvin. As he recounts his mischiefs and his memories, Colvin is aware of how to make Dougie tick and sublimely gives him little nuances to flesh him out. He holds back when he should and then erratically gives Dougie a frantic nature that is compelling. It’s Colvin that delivers the almighty script and delivers it extremely well that you unfold with Dougie and are shocked when he makes a darker confession.

An enthralling performance combined with clever dialogue and direction, I Remember April is a charming yet gloomy short.

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A Short Film: Touched

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Ever since we caught his work at Shorts On Tap – Beyond Scotland, we’ve all be extremely excited to see the rise of director Jeremiah Quinn. His previous work was the brilliant and stunning The Strange Death of Harry Stanley and was certainly remarkable for the excellent shifts in narrative viewpoints, the emotional vein that trickled the reality of the story throughout it and the excellent cinematography and aesthetic. As Quinn celebrates the release of his film Incognito, whilst climbing his way up the cinematic ladder of greatness, let’s have a look at his previous work; the touching (sorry) Touched.

The film follows a young lover who has had her heart broken. Lost and abandoned on greenery of Hampstead Heath, she reminds herself, bitterly, of the love that she has lost through the engravings of the benches nearby. Can connecting to the ghosts of lovers past help heal her or plunge her further into despair?

Visually captivating, Touched is a fine example of how Quinn utilises the beauty of the park around our heroine whilst using the imagery to enhance the story. Though the narration can teeter somewhat into artistic pretention (which never hurt anyone, by the way, but may be off putting for some who’d rather the imagery speak for itself), the combination of sublime beauty and heartbreak is one that many people will relate to. As she ventures through the throne of nature, nestled in the heart of a bustling city, she connects with herself and her sorrow and it’s easy to get lost in this optical poetry. It’s rather brilliant, if a bit short. But Touched serves a small purpose, perhaps to help you deal with our own lost love issues. And director Quinn delicate handles it to great effect.

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“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” Presents ‘The Gift’ Clip

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Christmas wouldn’t be christmas without a crazy adventure so get ready as the third instalment of the popular franchise is coming. NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB arrives in cinemas 19TH DECEMBER and boasts an all-star cast including the likes Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson, Ben Kingsley, Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan and many more.

In SECRET OF THE TOMB Ben Stiller returns as nightwatchman Larry Daley to travel the world in an epic quest to save the magic that brings his friends to life before it is gone for ever. With the aid of Jedediah (Wilson), Teddy Roosevelt (Williams) and joined by a rather dashing Sir Lancelot (Stevens), Larry and the team must do all they can to save the day.

But if you can’t wait until 19th December we here at Cinema Chords have you covered as we are delighted to bring you ‘The Gift’, the latest exclusive clip direct from Twentieth Century Fox. In this clip, Sir. Lancelot (Dan Stevens) tells Larry (Ben Stiller) that he reminds him of someone from Camelot…

Be sure to check out NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB when it is released in cinemas across the UK on 19th December.

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A Short Mission: Basla Wood

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I would like to dedicate this to my lovely friend Carrie. While that may not be the most conventional way to start a review, ten seconds into this film just brimmed with the jovial dual cultural spirit that my adoring friend Carrie has. Though, understandably people are always different, the combined heritage of British and Filipino does brim in her. So in this delightful and humorous Balsa Wood, the understanding of reaching out to distant relatives and keeping in touch with your roots is one that people I know will engage terrifically with.

Starring the brilliant Jessica Henwick and Doctor Who’s recent Dr. Chang Andrew Leung, it centres on a loving family and two mixed race siblings who are taken to their distant Filipino relatives. Caught between two nationalities and two heritages, Scotty is forced to confront her own identity as she feels like an outcast in her own family. Sweet and charming, Balsa Wood is a wonderful little short that help you connect with your blood-line.

Directed by Dominique Lecchi and supported by backers thanks to Kickstarter, this is a rather endearing short film that encapsulates the clash between distant relatives and the new generations. Whilst not explicitly showing the turmoil as Scotty explores a new part of her family, Henwick and the writing allow it to bubble underneath and thus enthuse this delicate charisma to it. With wit, both visual and through the impressively realistic dialogue between the family members, especially Scotty and her brother Ted. There is a true heart with intellect behind this that Lecchi gloriously writes. Alongside this, she enhances the tale with this gorgeous countryside setting and phenomenal cinematography that drenches it in colourful sunshine.

Though it may seem slow, it is paced delectably with gentle comedy and humanity. Basla Wood is a magnificent and intriguing little short with a warming end, beating down in the sleep countryside. With strong acting, intense spirit and a glorious aesthetic. This is a superb charmer.

While the film is unavailable, it is making the way around film festivals. Here’s an interview with the director though!

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A Short Mission: WeWi

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There is always something so exquisite about dancing. No. No not the kind of acting where your drunken limbs flail so enthusiastically that you look like a drugged up spider. The kind that professionals undertake. Street dance, ballet, interpretive – it all mystifies in this spectacular way. So when short film, however experimental or without plot it may be, there is a level of excellence from the dancing that automatically drags you into the tale. Add that to wonderful cinematography and a sublime beach back drop and the greatly and bizarrely named WeWi is a little random short that you’ll enjoy.

Presented by Channel 4’s Random Acts and directed sublimely by, David Allain  a part of its programme during the late of night as well as commissioned by Dazed and Confused, WeWi is a beautiful and stirring short film. As the wind rolls into the coast, curling with the sea and breaking against the sand, two people connect across the whirling breeze and being to dance emotively. As they are caught into a cycle of movements, the erratic yet evocative movements start to push them apart as they battle different elements. Can their magnetic energy pull through?

Sometimes, Channel 4’s Random Acts is a little hit and miss or a little too surreal for But with WeWi, it is a delicately done and thoroughly absorbing piece that harnesses three art-forms in such a stirring way. The redolent score alongside the engaging dance movements with this beautiful cinematography make this a visual cinematic feast that pulls you into a story told by dance movements. Though there is little with plot, there still a story conveyed but the brilliant dancers Luke Divall and choreographer Emma Chadwick, are able to dance their emotions and characters. WeWi is a divine dance with nature too, plunging their feet and hands into the dirt and sand. It’s this visual filth with the beauty of the movements that conflict and therefore makes the interpretive film a little bit more incredible.

It’s superb

 

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Coming Soon: December 2014 Releases

BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES

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Last month Christopher Nolan took us into space with INTERSTELLAR and had most of us scratching our heads at it’s questionable sound mix. Tom Hardy starred in the THE DROP and Jennifer Lawrence once again picked up her bow and arrow to play Katniss Everdeen in THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1. So as we head into the new month now is the perfect opportunity to look at what films will be gracing the big screen for December.

RELEASED ON: 05/12/2014

dec_01ST. VINCENT (wide)
Director: Theodore Melfi
Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts

In his long welcomed return to comedy Bill Murray plays Vincent, a hedonistic veteran who lives next door to a young boy and his mother. After begrudgingly agreeing to babysit the boy for a fee he sparks an unexpected friendship with his young neighbour. So when life takes a turn for the worse, both of them find the best in each other that no one around them suspects.

dec_02THE PYRAMID (wide)
Director: Grégory Levasseur
Starring: Garsha Arristos, Joseph Beddelem, Omar Benbrahim

When a team of archeologists unearth a pyramid deep beneath the Egyptian dessert they become lost in its endless catacombs. Searching for a way out, the team are desperate to seek an exit. As the crew begin to disappear one by one those left soon realise they aren’t just trapped, they are being hunted by a supernatural force more terrifying than any of them could imagine.

dec_03BLACK SEA (wide)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Starring: Jude Law, Grigoriy Dobrygin, Tobias Menzies

From the director of THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND comes a thriller about a submarine captain (Jude Law) who takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold. As they arrive at their location the half British half Russian diving crewe come to heads over the ownership and it soon becomes clear that the last man standing will be the only one to take the gold home.

dec_04PREDESTINATION (limited)
Director: The Spierig Brothers
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor

Ethan Hawke plays as time-travelling Temporal Agent whom for his final assignment, must pursue the only criminal that has eluded him throughout time. Taking the time-travel thriller to new heights PREDESTINATION will keep its audiences on their toes and at the edge of their seats. Will this be just as successful as Looper or will it surpass this? With a limited release it’s unsure but we can’t wait to see what the Spierig Brothers deliver.

dec_05TUSK (limited)
Director: Kevin Smith
Starring: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment

Kevin Smith’s eagerly anticipated torture film tells the story behind missing person and podcaster Wallace Bryton. After his disappearance in the backwoods of Manitoba whilst interviewing a seafarer named Howard Howe, his best friend Teddy and girlfriend Allison team with an ex-cop to look for him. Strangely funny yet undeniably disturbing TUSK is a film that will no doubt divide audiences.

RELEASED ON: 12/12/2014

dec_06THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES (wide)
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage

Another fantasy blockbuster trilogy comes to a close with Peter Jackson’s exciting third instalment of The Hobbit trilogy. In THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Bilbo Baggins and company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants whilst attempting to keep the terrifying dragon Smaug from acquiring a kingdom of treasure. The Battle for Middle-Earth begins now.

RELEASED ON: 19/12/2014

dec_07DUMB AND DUMBER TO (wide)
Director: The Farrelly Brothers
Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels

It’s been twenty years since their first adventure. After learning that Harry has a daughter he and Lloyd go on a road trip to find her and discover why she was given up for adoption. Fuelled by sheer stupidity the duo climb into their dog and hit the road sparking a whole host of bizarre encounters that will hopefully ensure hilarity and crazy adventures reminding us all what we loved about the original so much.

dec_08NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB (wide)
Director: Shawn Levy
Starring: Ben Stiller, Dan Stevens, Robin Williams

In the third instalment of the kooky adventure comedy franchise, Ben Stiller returns as nightwatchman Larry Daley to travel the world in an epic quest to save the magic that brings his friends to life before it is gone for ever. With the aid of Jedediah (Owen Wilson), Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) and joined by a rather dashing Sir Lancelot, Larry and the team must do all they can to save the day.

RELEASED ON: 26/12/2014

dec_09EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS (wide)
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley

From the director of Gladiator and Robin Hood comes another legendary tale as the defiant leader Moses (Bale) rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues. Also starring Sigourney Weaver and John Turturro, EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS will have you spellbound by its display of dazzling effects and heart-pulsing action sequences.

dec_10UNBROKEN (wide)
Director: Angelina Jolie
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Jai Courtney

Angelina Jolie’s oscar bait UNBROKEN is a true story and chronicles the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II. Despite receiving mixed reviews from audiences the buzz about this film is promising and it is for this reason that we urge you not to miss it.

 

From the looks of things December is going to feature some interesting films so we here at Cinema Chords hope you will take time from your Christmas shopping and head into the cinema to see at least one of the films above. But, If you’re looking for inspiration about what to see then our top three favourites this month are ST. VINCENT, NIGHT OF THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB and THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES so be sure to check them out.

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FeaturesShort Film

A Short Mission: Comedienne

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I have had a whole slew of short films fall into my lap that have fooled me at the title. Death by Chocolate, for example, was not about the perfect way to die (massive amounts of suffocation thanks to Cadbury’s Dairy Milk). Siren wasn’t about some beautiful bisexual mermaid luring unsuspecting lovers to their watery graves. And Comedienne, whilst featuring the titular job, isn’t actually funny – teetering more to the sentimental backbone between a pair of jokers, rather than tickling your humerus. And in many respects, that is actually a good thing here. It’s just a shame that it is stretched a little thin.

Starring Lucy Dixon, who some will recognise as Tilly from Hollyoaks, and Roger Bingham, it revolves around a young girl who aspires to be a, well, comedienne. Unfortunately, her first exploration on stage sees her shot down before she could tell any jokes. When she confronts him, the pair start to form an unlikely friendship as he helps her with her act. Directed by Thomas Pickering and written by James Pickering, Comedienne isn’t a laugh a minute but it has a soul to it.

Despite throwing emotional curve balls into the pit and focusing on the poignancy rather than the wit, Comedienne suffers from not having much depth. Mainly because it spreads a lot of issues across a twenty minute slot rather than focusing on one  Instead, it feels as though this furtive little life confessions that happen to the pair divulge in happens too often and too fast in this constant one up of whose world is more depressing. Incidentally, while the performances are good (Dixon is impressive here whilst Bingham feels a little stale until he leaps into excellent in the third act) and the relationship between the pair is great; unfortunately, the atmosphere just feels awkward and unsure of itself.

There is a saying that less is more when it comes to cinema and Comedienne could definitely strip its act back a bit. After all, for a short – you have to effectively convey the visceral vein without slapping it around your audiences’ cheeks. Unfortunately, the drama is strained here which makes for muddled viewing. The film is good but needs tightening.

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