Tag Archive: horror


April sees the biggest film release of the year so far, as well as the latest Ryan Gosling feature.
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Dark Skies – 3rd April

From the director of the not too successful Priest and Legion comes Dark Skies. It adds nothing new to the horror genre but should be a good ride for any fans of recent horrors like Insidious.
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Spring Breakers – 5th April

This has been getting a lot of attention because all of its publicity relies on seeing four girls in their bikinis, two of them being former Disney stars Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez. The actual film itself doesn’t look that interesting at all, but I’m sure some people will like it.
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Oblivion – 12th April

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr Cruise had a little flop on his hands here. I’m just not sure there’s much room for these films at the minute, and with Will Smith’s After Earth out later this year people may rather just wait for that. They seem to be pretty much the same film anyway.
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The Place Beyond the Pines – 12th April

It should come as no surprise that both Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper have both been earning great reviews already for their performances here. Just see for yourself, this will be brilliant. Guaranteed.
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Iron Man 3 – 26th April

The film, the story, the actor, the character. This is a movie that needs no introduction. The big blockbusters begin here. Iron Man 3.

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Sharlto Copley is a man who clearly loves film. When he was growing up he wanted to become an actor and now that dream has been realised. But before that, Copley started up his own production company Vasbyt Films LLC and became South Africa’s youngest television producer at the age of 25. At age 22 Copley first met a 16 year old Neill Blomkamp (a name you’ll be hearing a lot in the coming paragraphs and years) and Blomkamp began working at Copley’s production company in return for the use of the computers at the company for Blomkamp to furthur his passion of 3D animation and design.

Over ten years after this meeting Sharlto Copley made his acting debut in short film Alive in Joburg about a close encounter of the third kind in Johannesburg. Copley also produced the six minute film which was directed by Neil Blomkamp. In 2009 Copley made his feature film acting debut, again directed by Blomkamp, in science fiction masterpiece and Oscar nominated film District 9, an adaptation of Alive in Joburg. You can read my review of District 9 here, but one thing I didn’t mention in the review was just how good Copley’s performance is. This was the first time he had acted in a full length feature but he looks right at home in front of the camera, his performance is excpetional and he is nothing but loveable in his role. The change and development his character goes through is unbelievable and the emotion that Copley is able to bring to the role is just wonderful. I think this is one of my favourite performances of recent years.

This performance and the success of District 9 allowed Copley to make another of his dreams come true. Thanks to his performance he was noticed by the Hollywood executives and cast in the film remake of one of Copley’s favourite television shows, The A-Team. Now, the cast looks pretty good on paper with the likes of Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper among the names and token eye-candy-in-summer-blockbuster Jessica Biel included, and there were some good action scenes that made it a fun popcorn movie but there was nothing to it. However, Copley’s performance as “Howling Mad” Murdock was the shining light of brilliance among the film and he even gained praise from Dwight Schultz, the man who made the character famous in the TV series.

Having tried his hand at action and science fiction it seems clear which one he enjoyed the most as a look at his upcoming films will tell you that Sharlto Copley is sure to become one of science fiction’s greatest ever actors. His next film is Europa Report about a crew of international astronauts sent on a mission to Jupiter’s fourth moon. Another upcoming film is the intriguing Open Grave which will see Copley try his hand at horror: Copley’s character wakes up in a pit of dead bodies with no memory and must try to find the serial killer or decide whether he himself is actually the killer.

After this Copley is set to team up with old friend Blomkamp for Elysium, another science fiction film, however not connected to the earlier District 9. There is a lot of anticipation and expectation surrounding Elysium because it is Blomkamp’s follow up project and it also features Matt Damon, Jodie Foster and William Fichtner among the cast. Copley’s role in Elysium is set to be completely different from District 9 as he plays a bad-ass and vile South African mercenary: his versatility is set to be tested.

With roles in the Oldboy remake and the retelling of Sleeping Beauty in Maleficent alongside Angelina Jolie Copley’s career looks to be a path that is very well chosen. All we are going to see over the coming years is just how good and how versatile Copley is. Such a talented actor, he already has a cult fan base but he is deserving of even more!

UK Release Date: 5th April 2013.

Stars: Kimberly Peirce (director), Chloe Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Gabriella Wilde.

Plot: A sheltered high school girl unleashes her newly developed telekinetic powers after she is pushed too far by her peers.

This is the first piece of footage we have been able to see for the remake of Carrie, based on the novel by Stephen King. Horror isn’t normally my thing but if this is anything to go by then Carrie could well be something that gets me into the cinema.

Chloe Moretz is a wonderful actress and at such a young age it is obvious that she has a huge future ahead of her. In this teaser trailer we get to see her recreate a famous image from the original film.

Carrie should be in safe hands with Kimberly Peirce at the helm. She hasn’t directed much but when she has it has been terrific; Boys Don’t Cry back in 1999 and the highly under rated Stop-Loss (starring Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in 2008 being her stand out projects. She should have another hit on her hands here!

The trailer overall gives off the spooky and paranormal/supernatural vibes you must expect from Carrie and puts you amidst the destruction that has been caused in the town. In just a minute and one simple scene the teaser trailer gives plenty of reasons to be excited about this film.

Back in 2009 unless you were a die hard Home And Away fan it’s very unlikely that you would have had any idea who this Chris Hemsworth guy was. But now, it seems like every big film that gets announced Hemsworth is linked with the role and more than likely getting it as well.

Chris Hemsworth has undoubtedly been the break out star from all of Marvel’s success. Obviously, Hemsworth is best known as Thor to mainstream cinema goers; first of all picking up the hammer in his individual solo outing alongside the likes of seasoned pros Natalie Portman and Sir Anthony Hopkins, he then appeared in the third highest grossing film of all time, Marvel’s The Avengers, or Avengers Assemble if you like. And of course, it goes without saying that once again Hemsworth will be donning the cape and armour for 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and who’s to say we won’t be seeing him in Captain America: Winter Soldier as well? It’s a role that Hemsworth has played almost perfectly so far and as he is only 29 at the minute he could have a lot more outings as Thor left in him.

As well as the continued affiliation with Marvel Chris Hemsworth also had a small stint in Star Trek where it is unlikely he will return considering he died in the first fifteen minutes, he featured in the critically acclaimed genre defying project Cabin in the Woods and then took on the mentor/protector role of Huntsman in the re-imagined telling of Snow White, Snow White and the Huntsman. With Kristen Stewart (Snow White) seemingly dropped from the sequel to the fantasy fairy tale the sequel is rumoured to focus on Hemsworth’s character, putting him at the helm of another franchise.

Along with the franchises Chris Hemsworth has managed to not get stuck in one role as he varies his projects with various stand alone movies. He stars as the main character in the remake of 1980s film Red Dawn alongside Josh Hutcherson (another rising star) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Then there is also Rush, the biographical drama of Formula 1 driver James Hunt where again Hemsworth is leading man. Then there’s one of the most anticipated and sought after movies in Hollywood today: Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse, a sci-fi story set in the aftermath of a robot uprising. This is already being anticipated as a huge hit and with Chris Hemsworth in the staring role it is hard to estimate just how high the success will be that Robopocalypse reaches.

So that’s Robopocalypse, The Huntsman franchise, Marvel’s continually expanding universe with Thor making Hemsworth’s schedule more than just a little busy so you could forgive him for slowing down a little bit, yet that does not seem to be his plan. Word has it that Hemsworth has an offer to play Mitch Rapp in American Assassin, an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s novel. Rapp is a recurring character in Flynn’s work so it seems as though another franchise beckons for this already huge star.

Soon enough, Chris Hemsworth will be one of the biggest stars on the planet, it’s just a matter of time.

For years and years Danny Boyle has been my favourite director. With so many great and bigger names in the directing world at the minute (Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese etc. etc…) Boyle does seem to fly under the radar because of his low profile and because of the fact that, despite being critically acclaimed and having won numerous awards, he continues to work and remain in his homeland of British film. For the past few months Boyle has been kept busy with his latest project; this time it is not a film though. In just under two weeks the whole world will be watching as the Olympic games kick off in London and the opening ceremony has been put together and directed by Danny Boyle himself, no pressure. It’s been a long but very worthwhile journey for the lad from Lancashire.

Before getting into the film world Boyle began directing theatre projects; he directed plays for both the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company so right from the very beginning he was clearly ready to take on big projects. After that Boyle got into television and directed a few episodes of various television series such as Inspector Morse and Mr. Wroe’s Virgins. Then he finally got his big break in the world of movies with Shallow Grave, a crime thriller starring Christopher Eccleston and Ewan McGregor.

In 1996 Danny Boyle was responsible for directing one of the greatest films ever without a shadow of a doubt; Trainspotting. Again he teamed up with Ewan McGregor who this time took on the lead role and helped to make Trainspotting what it is, often voted the best British film of all time. Trainspotting received one Oscar nomination for it’s scriptwriting and Boyle was unjustly left out of the Best Director nominations. It was always going to be difficult to carry on the wave of success that Trainspotting brought him and his next couple of films were pretty far from that standard; first was A Life Less Ordinary (again starring Ewan McGregor) and The Beach. Originally Ewan McGregor was cast in the lead role for The Beach but rumour has it that Hollywood executives wanted to push through Leonardo DiCaprio as he was the current Hollywood pretty boy and hot property so DiCaprio got the role and, to this day, Ewan McGregor still hasn’t worked with Boyle since that dispute.

Anyway, Boyle returned to his best with horror film 28 Days Later… and followed that up with Millions. Since these two projects Boyle has continued to direct to the very highest standard. It took three years after Millions for another Danny Boyle film to be released but it was well worth the wait. Sunshine is a sci-fi film about a team of astronauts who are trying to reignite a dying sun to save the planet and it is absolutely brilliant! It was also named as one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite films of recent years, pretty high praise indeed!

In 2009 Danny Boyle finally won an Oscar for his direction on Slumdog Millionaire which pretty much cleaned up at the 2009 Oscars; as well as Boyle’s directing Oscar it also won for it’s cinematography, film editing, original score, original song, sound mixing, adapted screenplay and it won the big one, Best Motion Picture of the Year. This time round as well, Boyle was able to follow the success of Slumdog Millionaire with another one of my favourite films, 127 Hours which got nominated for six Oscars (including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film).

After the Olympics Boyle will return to the big screen with Trance, a crime thriller starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. He is also working on a follow up to 28 Weeks Later… which he has stated that it should be called 28 Months Later… in theory. Boyle has also expressed in interviews his desire to work with Ewan McGregor again on his next feature film. I hope that he does but I really hope that he continues to make prominent British films and remains to make them of the highest quality!

Cabin in the Woods Review

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!***

Filmed in 2009, Cabin in the Woods hit delay after delay and finally saw its release recently, three years later. Was it worth the wait?

The majority of the film takes place, rather unsurprisingly, at a Cabin in the Woods. Five friends go for a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods but soon find out that all is not as it seems with this innocent looking little shack. Working together, the group must find out what is the truth about the cabin in the woods.

The cast of the film is relatively unrecognisable to mainstream cinema audiences. The most famous member of the protagonist group is Chris Hemsworth who was pretty much unknown himself at the time of filming but has since rose to international fame with Thor whilst the only real star of the cast is Sigourney Weaver and her part is just a cameo really. The rest of the cast features Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz and Richard Jenkins.

There is a lot to enjoy about Cabin in the Woods. I have read a few blogs that have described this film as being a reinvention or a revitalization of the horror genre, I disagree. Instead of being any of these, I think that Cabin in the Woods is a critique and a very clever pulling apart of the genre, something which Joss Whedon (producer) wanted to do as him and Drew Goddard (director) set out to do.

Lots of common elements of horror films are exaggerated and emphasised within Cabin in the Woods. Starting with the characters, the story of the ritual which the organisation of the film are trying to carry out requires five very different types of people: the athlete, the dumb blonde, the stoner/fool, the academic, the virgin. Sound familiar? These are stereotypes that can be found in most, if not all, horror films.

The 'monster board' from Cabin in the Woods

The fact that the organisation takes bets on which monster will be set loose to kill the five teenagers offers a lot more references to horror movies, from the curse the teenagers unknowingly decide upon to the monsters that it could be; aliens, killer clowns, mermen, jack o’ lantern, vampires and werewolves.

As well as the deep critique of the horror genre there is also a lot to enjoy on the surface of the film. The first two acts build up the characters and the idea of the organisation behind it all, whilst the third act really gets the blood pumping and is really quite exciting. Watching the third act makes it clear why the cast is pretty unknown and locations are limited: their entire budget went on the action scenes during the last half an hour. It is a budget well spent as the monsters and the havoc they reap really becomes real at the end of the film.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of the horror is lost from the film because of what it is trying to accomplish. By this, I mean that the main thing that makes horror work, for me, is the sense of ‘not knowing’, the tension and suspense growing throughout the film because we, the audience, know just as much as the protagonist and nothing more. Here, though, because we are placed inside the organisation from the off, the suspense and tension cannot be created. We are told, pretty much, or it is hinted at largely, what is going to happen to the five teenagers before it happens. While there are still a couple of moments to make you jump, it is not something I would call scary.

Overall, there is a lot to enjoy for film fans of all ages and experiences in Cabin in the Woods. It’s something very new and very original at a time where reboots, remakes and sequels are prominent in cinemas. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have created something very clever here and well deserve credit for it.

My Rating: 7/10.

Over the past week there has been a flurry of pointless sequels being announced. Is it any coincidence that the announcements have come at the same time as the cinema release of Wrath of the Titans, a pointless sequel in itself? I don’t think so. First, it was announced that Twins would be getting a sequel called Triplets, where Eddie Murphy plays long lost brother of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito, seriously. The news of Dumb and Dumber 2 followed starring Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels. And now The Woman in Black is getting a sequel and I could not be more furious.

The Woman in Black was a grand return to cinemas for Hammer and became the highest grossing British horror film for twenty years. It received mixed to positive responses from critics and I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it to be very entertaining. But it does not need a sequel! For anyone that has seen the film they will know that the story is rounded off nicely at the end and everything is tied up.

I think that with the announcement of The Woman in Black: Angels of Death, as the follow up is to be called, is proof that it does not matter whether a film NEEDS a sequel or not, if it is a commercial success you are practically guaranteed another film. And because The Woman in Black does not need a sequel there is a high probability that the quality of a second film will be significantly lower than the original. The Woman in Black is one of my favourite stories of all time and I do not want to see it ruined with a needless sequel made just for financial gain.

Obviously, Daniel Radcliffe will not be reprising his role. Angels of Death takes place forty years after the events of The Woman in Black and will follow a couple and their experience upon encountering Eel Marsh House, the house which the woman in black haunted in the original film.

Whether the sequel turns out to be good or not, it is still pointless!

Whilst she currently dominates the box office with The Hunger Games, this is the first trailer of Jennifer Lawrence’s next film, House at the End of the Street which will target a different audience to her other films as this is a horror thriller.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Elissa who moves with her mother, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) to a house in a small, upscale, rural town. However, soon after their arrival events begin to happen that can not be explained by any kind of logic and Sarah and Elissa learn that the town is in the shadows of a chilling secret.

The trailer may seem a little underwhelming to a lot of people but I think that it is actually a very clever attempt at marketing.

“Before you experience the fear, before you know the pain, to witness the horror, to uncover the truth, you have to go back to where it all began” is what the trailer tells us and this is very neatly intercut between scenes of the film moving both forwards and backwards. The entire style of the trailer is backwards really, where we get the action at the beginning and the story explained towards the end of the trailer.

It’s impressively cut, the trailer, but doesn’t do much to entice the audience into seeing House at the End of the Street. Although, with the millions of new fans Jennifer Lawrence has thanks to The Hunger Games I wouldn’t be surprised if this film did pretty well.

UK Release Date: 13th April 2012.

The Cabin in the Woods has had several setbacks during production. It was firstly delayed because the studio (MGM) were hoping to convert it into 3D before it was delayed further because of MGM’s financial difficulties which jeopardised a lot of their projects at the time, including the upcoming James Bond film. But in April this year, it is finally getting its public release.

The Cabin in the Woods features five friends who go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin. It’s a pretty basic horror premise and a formula no doubt familiar to many movie goers but there is a lot of hype around this movie.

It was co-written and produced by Joss Whedon, the man who has been given the huge task of bringing The Avengers to the big screen and making it look good. So many fans will be basing their expectations of The Avengers on this film. It also features actors that Whedon has worked with before: Amy Acker (Dollhouse, Angel), Fran Kranz (Dollhouse), Tom Lenk (Buffy, Angel) and Chris Hemsworth (who will be starring in The Avengers as the Mighty Thor). So hopefully Whedon brings out the best in his performers.

The trailer for The Cabin in the Woods is your pretty basic horror trailer; starts peacefully, a creepy warning from an older person, then they start to realise something is wrong, and then all hell breaks loose and the characters have to run for their lives or fight back. It has its light hearted moments in the trailer and is a pretty dark trailer (in terms of lighting) to add to the frightening feel. With all the rubbish horror films being released in modern times it is a risk but the success of The Woman in Black earlier this year could mean horror is coming back.

The Woman In Black Review

 

***WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

The Woman in Black is a story I have known for years. In school I read the book and went to see the stage adaptation, which to this day remains one of the best experiences of my life. Since it was announced I have been looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation of one of my favourite stories, throw in the fact that Daniel Radcliffe was playing the lead character and my excitement levels go through the roof. Today, I went to see The Woman in Black and it did not disappoint.

Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) is struggling in his life. His wife died giving birth to their son, Joseph, and he is now facing financial problems as well as being under pressure from his employers. Arthur is sent away to the North East of England to deal with the deceased Alice Drablow’s estate, Eel Marsh House, a task which the locals seem concerned with when Arthur arrives and they all instantly want him to return to London. Whilst dealing with all of the paperwork at the Drablow estate Arthur begins to have visions of ‘The Woman in Black’ and strange things begin to happen in the house, along with children committing suicide in the local village. Despite the villagers insisting that Arthur leave, he takes it upon himself to solve this mystery and try to put an end to the haunting events that plague this place.

It is a great ghost story, in my opinion, and one that needs to be passed down through generations. This film does a great job of staying authentic to the book and putting across a very creepy and chilling tale. Radcliffe portrays Arthur Kipps brilliantly as a terrified man being scared half to death by the strange goings on at Eel Marsh House, but then again, if I’d spent seven years on the run from Voldemort I’d be able to pull off being scared pretty convincingly too. He really does come of age with this film as he tries to be taken seriously as an actor away from the Harry Potter franchise, although I still have trouble believing him as a father, unfortunately.

The way the film is shot is terrific so credit to James Watkins who directed the film. There are lots of moments in the film that will make the audience jump and maybe even scream, but it is bound to be an enjoyable experience. Sometimes it feels as if there is a lot of effort put in to making the audience jump too much in a short space of time but I felt that there were long pauses where nothing scary, as such, would happen and so on balance the film carries itself very well. The second act in particular is very impressive.

The climax of the film does feel slightly rushed in places, although very satisfying. The very end, with Arthur being reunited with his wife as the Woman in Black watches on is sure to bring on some debate. Has she stopped killing the children of the village or hasn’t she? Is killing Joseph and Arthur her way of saying thank you to Arthur? Is it a sort of ‘you reunited me with my family so I shall do the same for you’ kind of thing? All audience members will have their own different interpretations of the ending but there is one thing we should all agree on. This film is great.

My Rating: 7/10.