The Ultimate Christmas Film List

Wondering what to watch this Christmas holiday? Here's my list of Christmas favourites, and the good news is they're all available to stream on either Amazon Instant Video, UK Netflix, or Now TV! Enjoy!  

Home Alone (on Amazon Instant Video)

home alone

 

Die Hard (on NOW TV)

die hard

 

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (on UK Netflix and Amazon Instant Video)

GAC_CHRISTMASVACATION

 

Love Actually (on UK Netflix)

love_actually

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (on UK Netflix)

the-nightmare-before-christmas

 

Jingle All The Way (on UK Netflix)

jingle-all-the-way

 

Scrooged (on UK Netflix)

scrooged

 

Elf (on NOW TV)

elf

 

It's A Wonderful Life (Amazon Instant Video)

georgelassosthemoon

My Top 10 Films of 2014

It's that time of year again - we're on the final pages of the last chapter of the book of 2014, so it's time to take a look back at the cinematic offerings since January and compile our top 10 lists! Please comment below with your thoughts/ your own lists below. In no particular order:

gone girl

GONE GIRL

Continuing his string of stunning novel adaptations, David Fincher has created yet another masterpiece. My advice? Read the book before you see the film - while the film is almost faultless (in my opinion) it would have been impossible to cram in every last plot arc and detail from the book, so inevitably some things were condensed/ missed out.

the lego movie

THE LEGO MOVIE

Everything IS awesome - from what seems to be a frivolous cashcow throwback to a popular toy back in the '70s and '80s, turns out to be a lovely story with moral values at its core. With some hilarious jokes that work on many different levels, it will have both kids and adults doubled up with laughter.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-zoe-saldana-chris-pratt

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

An epic win from James Gunn (of whom I've been a long time fan) with a fantastic story, unforgettable characters and a kick ass soundtrack. Plus, Chris Pratt with his top off? Exactly!

nightcrawler

NIGHTCRALWER

I had the pleasure of working on the UK social media campaign for this, and I must admit, I didn't foresee it becoming a sleeper hit, despite starring the brilliant Jake Gyllenhaal (who is going through somewhat of a McConaissance at the moment). The story will have you gripped and guessing all the way until the end credits.

TGBH poster

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Wes Anderson scores a hit with this crazy tale of hotel life in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka sometime between the two world wars. A winning, Russian Folk soundtrack from Alexandre Desplat (who I'll be seeing at the Barbican on Thursday) and beautiful set designs and direction make it certainly one of the most unique films of the year.

under-the-skin-poster

UNDER THE SKIN
This is an odd one - I remember coming out of the preview screening, not quite sure if I liked what I had just seen. It was so very strange, almost completely lacking dialogue (usually something I avoid in films if possible) but very beautifully directed. The more I mulled it over, I realised it had done it's job and got me thinking - definitely worth a watch, but don't expect to make too much sense of it.
28676_Quad+date.indd
EDGE OF TOMORROW
What can I say about this? I bloody loved it! I'm not a massive Tom Cruise fan, but he was totally watchable in this, as was Emily Blunt, who was incredible as the no-nonsense, butt-kicking Special Forces Warrior. Other time-bending movies, take a leaf out of this book on how to keep things fresh and interesting.
interstellar-banner-poster
INTERSTELLAR
I'm still trying to get my head around some of it (unsurprisingly), but what an incredible feat of scale, storytelling and science-fiction - bravo Christopher Nolan, I expected nothing less from such a talented director.
ColdInJuly
COLD IN JULY
Eighties NEON delight with a killer soundtrack. Hunt this one down if you haven't already, you won't regret it.
Birdman-Movie-Poster-Keaton
BIRDMAN
Michael Keaton is back in charge and showing us all how its done. An excellent play on screen with some impressive shots, and an unusually surreal few moments, this is one to watch!

Something for the Weekend

This week has been a busy one - I've mostly been preparing for my trip to Glasgow for the MTV EMA Awards this weekend (which is very exciting), so didn't have chance to post the Weekly Viral Vaccine. In it's place I've put together a little 'Something for the weekend' - a couple of juicy links to keep you entertained when you're on the bus or waiting for a friend at the pub. Enjoy!

  • Honda The Other Side - this incredible video allows you to switch between two stories with the click of the 'R' key. Beautifully (and meticulously) shot, it will have you watching again and again to see the different sides of the story.
  • The Motherlode of Deliciously Disturbing and Disgusting VHS Horror Art - naturally!
  • The John Lewis Christmas TV Ad Recut - the internet has been inundated with comments and tweets about Super-Agency Adam&Eve DDB's newest heart-melting festive ad, but I always have more of a soft spot for the parodies - this one is winning by a country mile. Introducing The Babadook recut:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJfuGsbK0Io&w=560&h=315]

  • All the Best Fake Commercials from the Movies, in One Amazing Supercut - some of these are awesome!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiZjaBIGnlI&w=560&h=315]

applause

The Rules of Zombieland - Just in Time for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, and I know you'll all thank me for giving you a recap of these rules (and a heads up that this might be the year that the undead come to shake things up and generally wreak havoc), so that you can live to survive another day. So without further ado (time is tissue), here are the rules of Zombieland - learn them, live them, respect them.

 

zombieland

 

RULE #1 - CARDIO

rule1

Now we're not saying skinny = fit, not by any stretch of the imagination, so whatever your size, genetic makeup or natural athletic ability, now's the time to start getting fit and build up your stamina because you're going to need it to run rings around these stupid things.

RULE #2 - DOUBLE TAP

double tap

Ok, so we don't have guns here, but this rule still applies. Don't be the dumbass that hits a zombie once in the face, then walks right by their outstretched arm, only to be grabbed by not-quite-dead-undead zombie and eaten alive. Mistakes cost lives. Double tab that walker with whatever weapon you have. Make sure they're dead. Destroy the brain.

RULE #3 - BEWARE OF BATHROOMS

BATHROOMS

You should beware them in general, but especially when there are zombie hordes lurking. Remember, bathrooms typically have very small windows that are almost impossible to get out of (have you seen Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead?), so cubicle = cornered. Don't do it - go in public, use the facili-trees if you have to.

RULE #3 - SEATBELTS

seatbelts

Safety first - it's what every almost-survivor forgets. They get so caught up in the adrenaline-fuelled action that they forget the simplest things. You're not going to be able to defend yourself from the undead when you're splayed out on the road now, are you?

RULE #5 - NO ATTACHMENTS

It's statistically proven that people without close family members or friends last longer in a zombie apocalypse, this is mainly because they don't have to think about anyone other than themselves. Self-preservation is key. The minute you start trying to save other people, that's when you make stupid decisions and end up risking your own life. Sad but true.

RULE #7 - TRAVEL LIGHT

TRAVEL LIGHT

Chances are, when the hordes attack, you're not going to have time to pack all of your treasured possessions to take with you, so learn to travel light - ideally taking nothing at all. Get practicing now, detach yourself from material possessions, then it will come as less of a shock when you're on the road with just a flashlight and a baseball bat to keep you company. Depressing but entirely possible.

RULE #17 - DON'T BE A HERO

don't be a hero

At least, not unless you're willing to die for it. This one's all about picking your battles. If a zombie is about to eat the only friend you have left in the world and you can't imagine life without them, then THAT'S when you go for it - be the hero you've always dreamed of, and risk going out with a 'bang'!

RULE #18 - LIMBER UP

limber

This kind of goes hand in hand with rule #1 - you wouldn't run a race without limbering up first, so how do you expect to out-run a horde of hungry zombies for several miles? Whenever you get a few quiet moments (which are few and far between in the zombie apocalypse), stretch your limbs and mentally prepare yourself for what may lie ahead...

RULE #22 ALWAYS KNOW YOUR WAY OUT

zombieland rule22

Trust me when I say 'smart people survive longer' - you know why that is? Because they plan ahead - they keep their cool and look for signs and opportunities when others are in a state of panic. By quickly checking your suroundings and planning a way out, you hopefully won't be caught short if an unexpected guest arrives *gulp*

RULE #31 - CHECK THE BACKSEAT

31check-the-back-seat

If there's one thing to learn from horror movies it's 'check the backseat' - this can be extended to checking the following areas too: under the bed, behind the door, behind the shower curtain - basically open plan with plenty of windows and open space is the way to go. Don't let the fear of finding something put you in danger. Chances are, you're going to be in a lot of cars (to get to where you want to go), so don't let the sly suckers catch you out.

RULE #32 - ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS

enjoy

Finally, one of the most important rules - 'enjoy the little things'. What's the point in fighting bloody battles with the undead if you're not going to enjoy what you have at the end of it? So swing from the Chandelier of the mansion you just broke into, go Skinnydipping in the river like you've always wanted to, or just eat as many Twinkies as you like (without someone nagging at you for being 'unhealthy') - now's the time to enjoy life while you still can!

Disney Villain inspired fashion at George at ASDA

Perhaps it is because Halloween is almost upon us (the only time when it is socially acceptable for you to dress like a ghoul and act like a child), or it might be because according to the retail world, we are now technically in ‘pre-holiday season’, either way George at ASDA have decided to celebrate by collaborating with Graduate Fashion Week to bring customers a collection of Disney Villain inspired dresses.  

Starting with the first one, which is clearly inspired by the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The floral design on the tulip-cut skirt balances out the masculine collar of the top, adding a touch of femininity to the dress.

Graduate Fashion Week Floral Bottom Disney Villains Dress - £28

Disney villain floral bottom

evil queen

 

 

Next we have a Dalmation dress inspired by Cruella De Vil. A mix of smart casual styling and structure makes this a versatile dress that can be worn with boots and a scarf to a coffee date with friends, or dressed up with statement accessories and heels for a glam night on the town.

Graduate Fashion Week Belted Disney Villains Dress - £30

Dalmation

Cruella_De_Vil

 

The final dress in the collection is inspired by the enigmatic Maleficent. This gothic, structured dress is perfect for a grown up Halloween party, and the high-neck and sheer sleeves are practical touch for those chilly Autumn nights.

Graduate Fashion Week Belted Disney Villains Dress - £28

black dress

maleficent

 

So whether you're looking for that perfect Halloween costume or are simply looking for a stylish nod to your favourite childhood characters, give these a whirl. At these reasonably prices, they're sure to sell out quickly.

If dresses aren't your thing, you could always go for a Bambi onesie!

Disney Bambi Onesie - £14

bambi

 

Trailer Drop

This is a good week for new trailers - get your eyes and ears round this lot!  

INTERSTELLAR

The new trailer (3rd overall) for Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated Interstellar gives me goosebumps - it's that good! With Hans Zimmer doing the soundtrack, and uberstars McConaughey, Hathaway, Caine and Affleck in leading roles, I can't wait to see what this epic Space Adventure movie has to offer.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vxOhd4qlnA&w=560&h=315]

 

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2

Nick, Dale and Kurt are back - after facing and conquering their horrible bosses in the first film (of the same title), they decide to be their own bosses and set up a business.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utriEZFno0E&w=560&h=315]

 

INSIDE OUT

This is the nostalgic trailer for Disney's latest animated outing, which introduces us to the emotions of a young girl, allowing us to see the world through her eyes.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t0A_tZGrYw&w=560&h=315]

 

THE IMITATION GAME

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the first English language film from Headhunters Director Morten Tyldum. Based on the life of Alan Turing (the British Computer Scientist who helped crack the Enigma code, this looks like it could be a good contender for awards season.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2jRs4EAvWM&w=560&h=315]

 

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

I can't remember the last time a trailer made me cry. The true, touching story of Stephen Hawking's incredible life.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jprNL3caOE&w=560&h=315]

Trailer Drop

Here's a bunch of new trailers to get your peepers round!  

THE CROSSING

First up, Frank Woo's The Crossing. which tells the true store of the ship Taiping, which sunk it 1949, an incident that led to the deaths of over 1,500 passengers and crew members.

Click on the link above to watch the exclusive trailer.

 

BETTER CALL SAUL

This is the one Breaking Bad fans have all been waiting for... the fist teaser for Better Call Saul.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztcWJmmRt_4&w=560&h=315]

 

ELSA AND FRED

One for film fans - a touching love story that reinforces the notion that it's never too late to fall in love and change your destiny.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnORJy_2tzg&w=560&h=315]

 

BIG EYES

Biographic drama about painter Margaret Keaton. Directed by Tim Burton and starring Amy Adams.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izUU6Nt5wOc&w=560&h=315]

 

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR

Crime drama set in NYC in the '80s, starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ4mlEnRoOs&w=560&h=315]

 

THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN

Found footage, Supernatural thriller from Bryan Singer. The plot sounds a bit ridiculous, but I'll reserve judgement for now...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiODgrdAJvo&w=560&h=315]

 

THE LOW DOWN

Winning the Cinematography award at Sundance Film Festival this year, this American biopic (executive produced by Flea and Anthony Kiedis from Red Hot Chili Peppers) is based on the memoirs about famous Jazz Pianist, Joe Albany.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXFi2KoREW4&w=560&h=315]

 

Trailer Drop

I've been scouring the web to find some of the best, new trailers to be released online this week. Enjoy!

 

SERENA

 

First up is Serena. This is the third film that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence have worked on together, and the high-profile pair will no doubt draw a big crowd for this Depression-era Drama.

 

 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wFHiZHZVaU&w=560&h=315]

 

 

JOHN WICK

 

20 years after Speed and Keanu Reeves is back in the Action Thriller saddle again with fast-paced revenge flick, John Wick. The moral of the film? Don't piss off ex-hitmen! Count me in.

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AUmvWm5ZDQ&w=560&h=315]

 

 

DAYS AND NIGHTS

 

An ensemble cast that promises a great performance for this comedy drama, set in rural New England in the '80s. A Memorial Day weekend that turns sour after an unexpected event, reveals some truths and ultimately salvation for a troubled family.

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6554C_3n7Q&w=560&h=315]

 

 

THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN

 

A modern re-take on a 1976 horror movie 'loosely' based on a true story, The Town That Dreaded Sundown picks up in Texarkana, 65 years after the original 'moonlight murders' took place, with a new masked murderer on the loose. Is it the same guy or a copycat? Is there more to this plot than meets the eye? Perhaps not, but it looks like it could be a fun horror flick anyway...

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziRIF0kWOJs&w=560&h=315]

 

 

THE BOY NEXT DOOR

 

If I told you this stars Jennifer Lopez as the lead, would you be surprised to know that it isn't another dull rom-com? The latest addition to the growing trend of Creeper Thrillers, The Boy Next Door looks like a promising take on obsession movies, a reverse Fatal Attraction, if you will. It's not out until January 2015 though...

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgbBwovOOoc&w=560&h=315]

 

 

EFFIE GRAY

 

Written by Emma Thompson, Effie Gray is an historical drama starring Dakota Fanning in the titular role. It tells the tale of the first woman in history to seek a divorce from her husband. Fascinating stuff!

  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BLzK1z0EII&w=560&h=315]  

 

GTA V

 

Rockstar has just released a new trailer for GTA V to celebrate the new-gen console version release date announcements. Xbox One and PS4 players will be able to buy the new version from November 18th. Additions to the game include new vehicles, new weapons, and even new wildlife!

  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb1vOrm9SX4&w=560&h=315]  

RESIDENT EVIL REVELATIONS 2

 

Capcom has released this new trailer, and announced that the game will be released episodically (odd, but perhaps a smart move).
"The party is crashed, Claire and Moira are knocked unconscious and taken to a mysterious detention center located on an island. They soon encounter demented, writhing enemies called Afflicted roaming the halls of this abandoned facility, and have to team up to survive. The real question is, who brought them here? And... why?"

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDIxSsPD0OE&w=560&h=315]

Film Friday - New Trailers

Not been keeping up with the latest trailers to be released? Fear not, I've compiled them all for you here - and will be updating each week along with a little blurb to explain what it's about. First up - CUB:

A new campfire horror flick, in which a group of cub scouts find themselves terrorised during a camping trip to the woods.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l75j-JeFM1c&w=560&h=315]

 

MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT

This is the first trailer for the follow up to Gareth Edwards micro-budget film, Monsters. Since landing mega-budget gig directing Godzilla, Edwards is now 'big time' and so has passed the directing helm to newcomer Tom Green (not the comedian), whose previous work includes the channel 4 series, Misfits.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjVvJeaHBLE&w=560&h=315]

 

THE WALKING DEAD

Two new teasers have landed for the new season of The Walking Dead, which starts on Fox TV UK on the 13th October (not too long to go)!

Co-creator of the Graphic Novel Robert Kirkman has described this season as "explosive", "messy", "brutal" and "thrilling" and added "this is a season that is going to be pretty close to the comics".

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqsKa_60VhM&w=560&h=315]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WnSH8ncj2o&w=560&h=315]

 

GOTHAM

Gotham is an origin story of the great DC Comics super villains and vigilantes, from executive producer/writer of The Mentalist and Rome. Starring Sean Pertwee and Jada Pinkett Smith, Gotham premieres on FOX on the 22nd September.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzuvSEJ-9o8&w=560&h=315]

 

Awesome Sci-Fi novel klaxon!

If you're into sci-fi/ supernatural thrillers and are looking for a new read - look no further, The Voice In The Mirror has landed, and is now available to buy on Amazon. The author, Sooz Parnam-Harris, is inviting fans to submit designs for the cover artwork, for the chance to have their design featured on a special edition new print run of the book. Click here to see some already submitted designs, for inspiration. To find out how to enter, click here.

Let me know what you think of the book (drop me a comment), and good luck to all entering the competition! :)

tumblr_inline_moy867ufj61qz4rgp

Latest Movie Reviews: Fairy Tales, Zombies, Aliens, Car Chases, Corrupt Cops and Contract Killers

This month I have a quite a backlog of DVD and Theatrical reviews, so let's start with the most recent. Mirror Mirror is one of two major movie adaptations of the classic Snow White tale, released this year.

While Mirror Mirror doesn’t boast a star-studded cast, there are a couple of familiar faces that pop up, including Sean Bean as Snow’s father and Mare Winningham (Miracle MileTurner & Hooch) as Baker Margaret. The rest of the cast are mostly unknown, but all put in great performances – you can’t help but love the seven dwarves, who stalk the woods as giants, with springy accordian-like stilts (complete with accordian sound effects). This is just one of the many imaginative spins on the story – but who’d want to spoil any more of it for you? Watch it and see for yourself.

Click here to read my review and catch the trailer below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbXC7JulCzE&feature=fvwrel]

Next up, is the first ever Taiwanese Zombie movie - Zombie 108. 

The zombie makeup and special makeup effects overall are pretty good, it’s just a shame that the shaky plot and direction are so distracting and let the side down. If you have an odd sense of humour and a high tolerance for the oversaturated zombie genre, then by all means give Zombie 108 a whirl – just don’t come crying to me when you end up with a headache. You have been warned.

Click here to read the rest of my review.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux_kj-SQ34A]

 

On to one of the best British genre films of the year, Noel Clarke and Johannes Roberts' Storage 24.

The microcosmic script works so well – with almost all of the action taking place inside the storage depot you don’t even think about how it will effect the outside world and that’s the beauty of it. It is a story that is containable, a necessity when working to a tight budget.

Click here to read the full review and see the trailer below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xiWZmFEiug]

On to some foreign cinema and two very different French Thrillers. First up is The Prey, starring Albert Dupontel.

Directed by Eric Valette, who also made the J-horror American remake One Missed Call (which may be enough to put some off watching this altogether), does a pretty good job of keeping a rather derivative plot interesting to watch. I’ve not seen any of his other films (including Malefique) but The Prey has some unusual directorial choices to offer that pay off – a chase scene on foot for example, featuring our main protagonist Franck, is filmed head-on, showing the chase from a new perspective that the audience isn’t used to seeing.

Click here for the full review.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rSdIclYjrw]

The second of the French films I recently reviewed was Requiem For A Killer, starring Melanie Laurent, of Inglorious Basterds fame.

What starts off as a simple contract killing job becomes rather more complicated as more people get involved. For most films of this genre, that means an opportunity to involve more thrilling and cerebral plot developments, double-crossing characters, red herrings and the like.

See the rest of my review here.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAlUK6IHmbg]

 

Finally, its on to Woody Harrelson taking a break from comedy to play a corrupt and troubled cop in Rampart.

A very strange film with almost no relatable characters is a brave move for any director or writer, but somehow this works. It is very oddly shot for the most part; with actors or props obstructing the view of other actors and some shots horribly out of focus (on purpose it seems), yet while jarring and almost annoying on one level, it adds to the feeling of despair.

Click here to read the full review.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j80VOKYz1E]

 

Also, keep an eye out for my next DVD review coming shortly, which also happens to be one of my top films of the year - the touching, mid-life, coming of age drama, This Must Be The Place.

Jason Voorhees, This Is Your Life: A look back at the Friday the 13th series

Jason 'mummy's boy' Voorhees is looking pretty pleased with himself these days (eyes right), and so he should - How many other socially inept, unfortunate looking dudes like him do you know that can say they've made a successful cult franchise with 11 movies and are a household name? Not many!

Here's a run down all 11 films (watched/ re-watched in only 4 sittings, I'm hardcore) and what makes them awesome (or indeed awful)!

Friday the 13th:

It all started here. The year is 1980 - We follow a group of innocent teens to Camp Crystal Lake for the summer, where they are picked off one by one, by an unknown killer. Great early use of the killer's POV camera shots and some stunning SFX from the master, Tom Savini. Don't get me wrong, this movie scared the absolute bejesus out of me when I first saw it (aged 12) but it doesn't hold up as well now, against some of the other classic slashers of it's time such as Halloween or A Nightmare On Elm Street. Having said that, if we didn't have the original, the below beauties would never have existed... Check out the trailer for Friday below, and enjoy the pointless counting to 13 - it may be entertaining now, but it soon gets dull when you realise they do it on EVERY trailer up until about part 6!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjiqwTv9yeI]

Friday the 13th Part 2:

It's exactly one year later - and still somehow also Friday the 13th, that's impossible, but let's allow a little creative license shall we? even though it defies the laws of physics...

The trailer for this one again gives away all of the details of who dies, how and in which order - what is the obsession with body counts? If you missed the first film or forgot how it ended, don't worry, the first 10 minutes of part 2 is pretty much a shot for shit recap of the whole thing.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYIoiusGk14]

Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D:

My favourite of the first 3 movies, by a country mile. It's got everything: A biker clan, a fat girl eating a donut, some unruly sex-crazed teens with particularly awesome '80s hair and attire. Oh and it's in 3D! Some clever use of that eye-popping new 3D technology including yoyo gags, pitchfork fun and hot poker jiggery-pokery. A particular highlight from this film for me is the upside down, machete-meets-crotch kill - any guy showing off doing a handstand when there's a killer on the loose is asking for it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoyLoSaXc0w]

Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter:

...Except it's not, is it? What I didn't realise until putting the DVD on was that Crispin Glover was in this one, and boy did he put on a good show! Check out the video below of his super-cool dance moves - my heart did a little dance when I first saw this. Note to all genre filmmakers: Just because you're making a scary movie, doesn't mean you can't throw in a little 'funny':

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_f0ELRcgCo]

Back to the movie, this is perhaps one of the most sophisticated in terms of direction (in particular that beautiful slo-mo shot of a girl falling through a window) and Jason is more dynamic than ever; bursting through walls and doors, pulling peoples heads through windows - there's no stopping him!

Part 4 introduces a younger character to the previously predictable and stale ensemble, Tommy Jarvis. Younger brother to our central heroine Trish, Tommy is fascinated with horror films (he even creates his own latex masks) and this sets him up as the perfect candidate to go head to head with Jason. Cue the child actor who never grew up Corey Feldman, who kicks some serious ass and goes balls-out batshit crazy in the final scene. I like to think this is how I would have dealt with Jason as a kid (I was a bit mental back then!)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y56Xl7ZKJq4]

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning:

Damn right it's a new beginning - the Friday series gets a new lease of life the same year as I was born, yay! How can you follow up the brilliant dance moves of Crispin Glover in part 4? I hear you cry. With a goth girl doing 'the robot' to His Eyes by Pseudo Echo, of course! Just watch the dancing (not the death - don't spoil the surprise):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpBTSZXKktA]

Someone really needs to work out a timeline for the Friday the 13th franchise because it seems to get very confused. I'm not sure how many years are supposed to have passed after part 4, but with the exception of the intro/ recap, Tommy Jarvis is now played by someone who looks completely different, and appears to have aged about 15 years!

There is a lot of mixed feeling towards this installment, partly because is breaks one of the fundamental rules of the horror genre - don't cheat. I won't say anymore than that in case you have yet to see the film (what are you waiting for, get a copy and see it now!), but I will say not everything is as it seems...

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc6oHiXVJ0Y]

Friday the 13th part VI: Jason Lives:

With yet another, couldn't-be-more-different-looking actor playing an even more grown up Tommy (how old he is supposed to be now is anybody's guess), Jason Lives is the first of the series to turn Jason into a zombie (how else were they going to bring him back?) - the opening scene shows Jason being accidentally raised from the dead thanks to Tommy and his dumbass mate, who intend to dig up the corpse and cremate it, but just as they start digging with a big spike, a bolt of lightning strikes and re-animates Jason. Uh-oh.

This episode sees Tommy return to Crystal Lake (now renamed Forest Green) to put right the damage, so he warns the town Sheriff – unfortunately he recognises Tommy as having escaped a mental insititution and locks him up in a cell. Cue sheriff's good-girl-gone-bad daughter, Megan, (whose idea of entertainment is balancing chairs on two legs – hardcore), who takes a liking to the sightly unhinged Tommy and wants to help him out.

Everyone raves about the paintballing scene, which I think for the most part is overrated – except for a bit where a guy gets his head smashed against a tree to reveal a bloody, smiley faced imprint (which I didn't realise was actually there before).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-XRW1zgAcE]

Friday the 13th part VII: The New Blood:

Everyone seems to be having sex in tents or the back of a van in this one.

Lead girl Tina has a very Amy Smart vibe about her, the mum has possibly the best gravity-defying '80s hair and the Doctor won't stop harping on about Tina's dad.

You can't ignore the massive Carrie homage in this one with our heroine Tina (who even happens to look like Sissy Spacek) harbouring telekinetic powers. She kills her alcoholic, wife-beating dad by willing the porch to fall on his head - he disappears underwater never to be seen again, at least, that's what we're meant to think.

Without a doubt the two best bits of the movie are when Tina's mum and doctor go out into the woods to look for her, and the mum ends up shouting her name maniacally, with a crazed facial expression to match. The other is when a nerdy kid is about to get it on with one of the popular girls only for her to reveal that it's not really gonna happen cos he doesn't turn her on – his response to this 'rejection' is classic and should be carved in stone: “I've been rejected by some of the finest science fiction magazines in the continental United States”.

This is the first entry of the series where for great chunks of the movie you completely forget you are watching a 'Friday' movie – Jason is a minor character (more so than in any of the other films), and he only really bothers to show up properly in the last 20 minutes. It's verging on Hellraiser territory.

Part 7 also marks the first appearance of Kane Hodder as Jason (perhaps the actor best known to play him in the series), as well as the introduction of the possibility of a collaboration with the Nightmare on Elm Street series (albeit subliminally); the changes in soundtrack from jarring strings to a more dreamlike electro sound and the supernatural element of having the main character with telekinetic powers. Funnily enough this was supposed to be the first film of the franchise where Jason and Freddy come to blows, but didn't go ahead due to Paramount and New Line not coming to an agreement (a problem that was eventually solved when New Line bought the rights to the Friday films and released Freddy vs Jason in 2003).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFueYFS9rB4]

Friday the 13th Part 8 – Jason takes Manhattan:

Manhattan, rather like Jason in several entries of the franchise, hardly makes an appearance in the film – in fact, most of the story takes place on board a boat en route to Manhattan.

It's pretty unique not only in it location, but also it's methods of dispatch. Jason's done with the machete - that was sooo '88, no man it's all about using what you've got to hand now, and getting creative with it. Cue a harpoon gun, control panel, an electric guitar, a needle, and just punching someone's head off!

This is by far my favourite trailer - it totally has you in it's grips; that cheesy, sax soundtrack, the romantic New York skyline - you think you're watching a trailer for the latest Tom Hanks '80s Rom-Com as they slowly pushes in on a male figure with his back to us, then BAM! He turns round and it's Jason! Fooled ya...

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5fc43O3ynE]

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday:

In the opening credits sequence the tension is palpable, this is the first Jason movie (up to this point) that has actually felt threatening and scary, and features perhaps the most memorable role reversal setup in a horror franchise - cue the female bait, a SWAT team, and Jason Voorhees being obliterated into a million pieces. All of this in the first 15 minutes.

I'm not usually a fan of jumping the shark, but I usually give horror films a bit of a break, especially if they bend the rules creatively. I knew we'd be in good hands with this one when I saw Sean S. Cunningham's name with a Producer credit, returning to the helm to spice things up and drag this antiquated series kicking and screaming into the 21st Century (way ahead of it's time, I might add!)

Having done the standard slasher stuff, then zombie thing, and the telekinetic tom-foolery, part 9 allows for things to get freaky with the occult. It turns out that Jason was just a mindless killing machine vessel, for a demon that possessed his heart, all along. When a coroner examines the infamous lifeless corpse of the serial killer, he gets a little too close and ends up EATING HIS HEART?! What the....? (stick with it, people...) This film has everything including a seriously badass Bounty Hunter named Creighton Duke and some of the best deaths of the entire franchise (deep fried head anyone?)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that despite it being totally bloody mental, part 9 is one of my all time faves of the series, save for the next entry - Jason X.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCeV_oKPQ_A]

Jason X:

Jason in space - WHY DID NOONE THINK OF THIS SOONER?! Usually reserved for part 4 of any franchise (see Hellraiser, Critters, Leprechaun for examples), Jason's far too cool for that, instead holding out for part ten to be set in space - let's face it, they've exhausted every other possible avenue by now.

This movie is tongue-in-cheek all the way, and revels in the fact. Every character is bursting with energy and charisma - there are no unforgettables in this one, you either love 'em or hate 'em. Sure, it borrows heavily from the best and original Sci-Fi Horror movies of all time, Alien and Aliens, but it has fun and sets out to do nothing but entertain.

It has perhaps the best re-watchability of all of the films in the franchise, as there's always plenty going on and it requires little neuron activity to take it on board. If you don't love this movie, to borrow a much loved end of a horror movie tagline: you're dead already!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J6EzXGl9I8]

Freddy vs Jason:

Ten years in the making, and the more forgiving, 18 year old me, watching it for the first time at Nottingham Odeon thought it was awesome - but having revisited it more recently (having seen a great deal more horror films since then) it didn't hold up so well, and definitely not in comparison to the previous ten Friday films.

Let's take a look at the evidence - you've got a member of '90s R&B pop group Destiny's Child in a lead role (that's strike one), there is a scene where Freddy fights Jason by using him as a marble in a human pinball game (lame move, strike two), and there are way too many CGI effects where real effects could have been used instead (that's three strikes, you're out).

Worth a watch if, like me, you waited for ten years for the promise of a Freddy and Jason tete a tete to come to fruition. But just don't go expecting anything life changing.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qj_CqzTCTs]

If you have a spare 10 minutes and wanna check out all of the inventive - some just downright ridiculous - deaths from the franchise, then you're in luck - a helpful YouTuber has compiled the lot in this video. Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJVVWQyjBlw]

Review: Storage 24

Plot

Rising star Noel Clarke (Kidulthood) and Johannes Roberts ('F') join forces to bring you the ultimate S.F.H. (Science Fiction Horror) movie - is that even a genre? - Storage 24. Set almost entirely in a London storage depot, the film follows recently dumped Charlie (Noel Clarke) and his best mate Mark (Colin O'Donoghue), as they head over to their local storage facilities so that he can collect his belongings. To pour salt on the wounds when they arrive the Ex-girlfriend (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) is there along with her friends Nikki (Laura Haddock) and Chris (Jamie Thomas King), and it doesn't take long before arguments ensue.

A domestic is the least of their problems though, as the lights begin to flicker and strange noises fill the room, distracting them from their Jeremy Kyle like situation; Something is on the loose, and it's picking the people off one by one.

 

Review

The main problem I had with this movie (and it's only a minor one) is that the Alien is revealed in it's entirety a little too soon - there isn't enough mystery surrounding the reveal of the creature. Having said that, both the special and real effects (Roberts revealed at the Q&A that a lot of what you see of the alien is a guy in a suit as opposed to CGI) are pretty damn good and there are some tense scenes involving the Alien that had a couple of girls on the row behind me screaming for their lives!

The same girls could be heard throughout, wincing “I can't take any more of this, it's too much!” - it's got some nice tense moments, sure, but it's not that scary. Examples like this are a great barometer for a typical audience reaction – you could tell that these girls weren't hardened horror or Sci-Fi fans, they are the people who will see this film on a whim or because Noel Clarke's name is attached. For these particular audience members, Storage 24 will do a grand job of scary the crap out of you!

Written by and starring Noel Clarke, it could easily have turned into a self-indulgent, Tommy Wiseau style affair, but it didn't. Some of the dialogue is a bit clunky at first but the humour throughout is genuine – there are some great laugh out loud moments and considering that 95% of the movie is set in a storage depot (which gives it an eerie spaceship feel) it flows quite nicely. At no point do you find yourself checking the time because it feels like its dragging. One of my best friends happens to work in a storage depot – unfortunately I didn't get to watch the film with her (despite going to see it twice), but I'm keen to see what her reaction is to it.

The movie focuses quite heavily on the characters' backstory and relationships which, while it may seem very obvious and over-saturated, it works quite nicely here. The fact that the biggest audience reaction (both times) was an audible gasp (in horror) at a non-alien related plot twist, says it all.

It's also quite refreshing to see a modern British Horror/ Sci-Fi movie with a cast of solid actors - they all have a relatively natural acting style, going against the archetype of the genre; overacting. But not here, the performances remained understated for the majority of the film, only ramping it up in the final act for when it 'hits the fan' in the final act for extra effect.

The microcosmic script works so well - with almost all of the action taking place inside the storage depot you don't even think about how it will effect the outside world and that's the beauty of it. It is a story that is containable, a necessity when working to a tight budget. In the Q&A, Roberts and Clarke revealed that the film was made for an eighth of Joe Cornish's Attack The Block budget - a fact I think most would need to be told, as it certainly doesn't show. The script, effects, moral underpinning and cast are far superior in Storage 24, and more importantly it is more original - I'm sick of seeing these council estate horror films (Cherry Tree LaneAttack The BlockOutcast), it's been done and we're over it now.

Overall a pretty awesome movie. Half a star deducted for the last 30 seconds of the film - it may have been a budgetary decision or perhaps an attempt to pave the way for a sequel, either way it 'jumps the shark' and the film would have been better without it. Half a star added purely for the plot device involving a battery operated toy dog, which was a pure stroke of genius!

Latest DVD reviews: Basements, Lycans and Dragons

Hi all, apologies for not having posted recently (has it been a month? blimey!) My three latest DVD reviews are now up on Chris and Phil Present - if you haven't read them yet, what on earth are you waiting for? First up is The Divide, one of the better films of last year's Frightfest. It's flawed, yes, but it does have the god-like Milo Ventimiglia, so we can all be thankful for that. Check out my full review here.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/VBHdw0VC_JY]

Next is Underworld Awakening. Kate Beckinsale is back in the PVC for more werewolf vs vampire action. I didn't dig it that much, find out why here.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/eC67kNZGpeA]

Finally it's Jabberwock: Dragon Siege - I'm not sure I can articulate my feelings on this better than I have done in my review - check out what I had to say about it here.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/u5_chwmk7UA]

Also, keep an eye out for a mammoth Friday the 13th marathon blog post coming very soon!

Latest DVD reviews: Lot of 'or's - Mumblecore, Roger Cor, Thor.

Time to point you lovely people in the direction of some of my most recent DVD reviews, if you haven't read them already (where have you been?) First up is A Horrible Way to Die, check out my review here

[youtube=http://youtu.be/A829VRylP1s]

 

Next up is Roger Corman's eagerly anticipated documentary Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel. My review over on Chris and Phil Present can be found here.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngsD17ZAglE]

Finally, it's TV movie Thor: Hammer of the Gods - review here

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAsRSlOQs0U]

I'll also have three more reviews up in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for those. There's The fourth installment of the Underworld series, Awakening, TV fantasy adventure movie, Jabberwock, and one of my favourites from last year's Film 4 FrightFest, The Divide, starring the gorgeous Milo Ventimiglia.

Latest DVD reviews: Drunk and Kooky

I've had a bit of a break from blogging after relocating back to London and starting an amazing new job - so it's all been a bit frantic, but I managed to grab a couple of minutes to point you in the direction of some of my most recent DVD reviews.

First up is The Rum Diary, starring the ever lovely (how does he manage to stay looking THAT good?) Johnny Depp and every boy's fantasy girl (although the majority of non-horror/ comic book fans still have no idea who she is) Amber Heard. I had no idea what the film was about before being given it to review, as I hadn't read the book but based on the cast and the Director alone (Bruce Robinson, Withnail and I) I knew to expect a solid movie.

Check out over on Chris and Phil Present - trailer below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YUx36yLLug]

Next up is kooky Brit Indie movie, Booked Out - I think I summed up my feelings about the film succinctly enough in my review so have a gander and you can watch the trailer in the meantime:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7mqlknVBHM]

#RantAlert - New DVD Review: I Don't Know How She Does It

I think it's fair to say I've seen a good deal of duff movies, and while I enjoy indulging in 'so bad it's good' cinema on a regular basis, I struggle with the mainstream tat that features overpaid, dull actors and make no real attempt to tell a good story. Over the last 6 months I've reviewed a lot of films that I wouldn't have necessarily seen of my own accord, which is great - I'm all for broadening my horizons - but this particular film I had beef with.

 

Not many films rile me so much that the venom seeping from my review is almost tangible, but the latest Sarah Jessica Parker Rom-Mom-Com release, I Don't Know How She Does It did just that.

 

Here is the trailer for this disaster-piece  and a brief excerpt from my review:

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bn_OrhwIidA]

 

"As a woman I find it rather insulting that the entire film is not, as it first seems, a female-empowerment movie, but in fact an incredibly misogynistic, flat, poorly researched and incredibly antiquated view of life for the modern woman."

 

Click on the image or head over to Chris and Phil Present to read my full review.

FrightFest Glasgow 2012 Line-up Announced!

Friday 24th Feb: 1:30pm - CORMAN’S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL (Scottish Premiere)

101 mins Director: Alex Stapleton USA 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngsD17ZAglE]

 

4pm - TAPE 407: THE MESA RESERVE INCIDENT (UK Premiere)

90 mins Directors: Dale Fabrigar & Evette Wallin USA 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxySaOieS5w]

 

6:30pm - CRAWL (UK Premiere)

81 mins Director: Paul China Australia 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHRBdPYUoTU]

 

9pm - THE DAY (UK Premiere)

90 mins Director: Doug Aarniokoski Canada 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeTEaPbuuxU]

 

11:35pm - WAR OF THE DEAD (UK premiere)

85 mins Director: Marko Makilaakso Lithuania/USA/Italy 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRyO7p7uUeE]

 

Sat 25th Feb:

11am - EVIDENCE (UK Premiere)

80 mins Director: Howie Askins USA 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LlgTUpJU0U]

 

1:15pm PENUMBRA (UK premiere)

85 mins Director: Adrian Garcia Bogliano Argentina 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9S5RTiOm80]

 

3:30pm - RITES OF SPRING (UK premiere)

80 mins Director: Padraig Reynolds USA 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su36oP1t2Oo]

 

6:30pm - L’ARRIVO DI WANG/ WANG’S ARRIVAL (UK Premiere)

82 mins Directors: Manetti bros. Italy 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWwnbAIfmQA]

 

9pm - CASSADAGA (UK Premiere)

90 mins Director: Anthony DiBlasi USA 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLZu8hLEz64]

 

11:15pm - THE RAID (UK Premiere)

100 mins Director: Gareth Evans Indonesia 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS3QV6UV2y4&feature=related]

Latest DVD Reviews: Dead Heads, more heads, Top 10 of 2011 & B-movie brilliance

Happy New Year! (I realise I'm a little late - what can I say? I've been enjoying my New Year far too much). To kick things off, here are my most recent DVD reviews and features for Chris and Phil Present which, for one reason or another, I never got round to blogging about before the holidays - So in case you haven't had a nosy yet, here they are:

Up first, Dead Heads - "Starring a relatively unknown cast, this indie horror comedy dares to tread where few have done before (only Wasting Away comes to mind), in that the film is shot from the zombie’s POV. An interesting concept sure, but perhaps the lack of movies out there dabbling with this notion is so for a very good reason."

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OzLRYckkW8]

 

Then onto a bizarre action flick starring Samuel L Jackson and the brutish-looking Cullen Vamp from the Twilight films, Arena - "Sometimes when given a preposterously bad script, absurd delivery is the only way forward. Cue forced, pantomime-baddie, evil laughs."

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-HQX0wdu0c]

 

Up next, my Top 10 Films of 2011 - which I won't spoil for you on here, have a look and let me know what you think. Also check out the Top 10 lists by other writers on there - it's fascinating to see such a wide variety of titles included, ranging from mainstream blockbusters to foreign language arthouse films.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, I was given an absolute corker of a DVD review (about time!) in the form of B-movie absurdity Sand Sharks - I'll post a link up to it once it's gone live on the C&P Present site, so keep an eye out for it.

*update* Sand Sharks review is now live!