Out Now – 28th September 2012


Resident Evil: Retribution
The fifth (fifth!?) instalment in the Resident Evil series. Milla Jonovich is clearly terrible at killing zombies.

The Campaign
It’s funny comedy time as Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis play rival candidates for US congress. Not as funny as it should be say the reviews I have hastily read. Not enough time travels say I.

Barbara (limited release)
When I was 7 I found out that my teacher’s name was Barbara and it felt like the world’s most explosive revelation. Now Barbara is a film about a “doctor working in 1980s East Germany finds herself banished to a small country hospital.” So a German Doc Martin then?

Holy Motors (limited release)
Controversial art house drama about a man who is driven around town in a limo/dressing room taking on various guises/roles/characters. Essentially a series of short vignettes in which each shares a character playing a different character. Does that make any sense?

Husbands (limited re-release)
“A common friend’s sudden death brings three men, married with children, to reconsider their lives and ultimately leave together. But mindless enthusiasm for regained freedom will be short-lived.” Stars the late Peter Falk. Sad face.

The Babymakers (London only)
After a man’s sperm becomes lazy he plots to steal back some of his less lazy sperm from the sperm bank in order to impregnate his wife. He clearly should have put his sperm into a current account rather than whatever strict saver he seems to have become stuck in.

Cross of Honour/Into the White (limited release)
English and German pilots shoot each other down and are forced to struggle for survival together in the same isolated cabin in the Norwegian wilderness. With Rupert Grint among the cast this feel like the angsty camping segment of Deathly Hallows but with less sexy Emma Watson.

Out Now – 26th September 2012

Saints and Soldiers 2: Airborne Creed (limited release)
A prequel/sequel to a film you’ve never heard of telling the story of the invasion of Southern France in World War II. There’s not a huge lot of other info out there but at least Brandon Purdie liked it.

Globe on Screen: All’s Well That Ends Well (limited release)
Surprisingly enough this is the cinematic release of a filmed performance of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well (as made famous by Gromit) at the Globe theatre in London. The Globe website has a helpful list of venues where the film is screening for anyone who feels that Saints and Soldiers 2: Airborne Creed doesn’t offer enough cultural merit. All’s Well That Ends Well is not one of the 5 or 6 Shakespeare plays that I understand so I won’t try to explain the plot – luckily the Globe’s website is braver than me: “Helena loves the arrogant Bertram, and she cures the King of France of his sickness, she claims Bertram as her reward. But her brand new husband, flying from Helena to join the wars, attaches two obstructive conditions to their marriage – conditions he is sure will never be met.”

Oh Crap, The Emmys…

I woke up on Monday to discover that I had completely missed this years Emmys. The nominations, the red carpet, the whole award presenting bit – all of it passed me by. Could this be because I am a lazy TV blogger whose finger is gradually falling off the pulse as I drift on in an internet haze? Or because I have been away from the internet for two weeks? Who can say.

I will now ramble my way through the winners offering the unique opinion of a British blogger with an unquenchable crush on Zooey Deschanel and confusing feelings for Maggie Smith.

Commence ramble:

Outstanding Comedy Series
Modern Family
So long as The Big Bang Theory doesn’t win I consider it a victory for mankind.

Outstanding Drama Series
Homeland is only bettered by Breaking Bad. Downton Abbey and Mad Men have had weak years and all the boobs and violence in the world won’t make me watch Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire.

Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie
Game Change
In a shock twist I have actually seen this years miniseries winner. It made Sarah Palin look like a right bitch as well as being stupid, lovely. Shame Sherlock didn’t win as a warning to Elementary to back off.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Jon Cryer for Two and a Half Men
I dislike Jon Cryer. That’s not entirely true; I dislike Two and a Half Men and it has left a taint on poor Duckie.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Damian Lewis for Homeland
Being both British and ginger there is no one more suited to winning any award ever.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Kevin Costner for Hatfields & McCoys
Eh? No Cumberbatch? Too tricky for the engravers?

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep
On the one hand an excellent choice for a fine actress in a great show. On the other hand she is not Zooey Deschanel so I am confused.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Claire Danes for Homeland
Go Claire! It’s your Birthday! What? April? My mistake.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Julianne Moore for Game Change
She was very good, almost as good as Tina Fey. Almost. I will give a massive shout out to Emma Thompson in The Song for Lunch. The Song for Lunch is a 50 minute masterpiece you must seek out and watch.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Eric Stonestreet for Modern Family
Should have been Max Greenfield for successfully taking my attention away from Zooey in New Girl.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul for Breaking Bad
A well deserved win I have nothing amusing to say about – much like the previous categories.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Tom Berenger for Hatfields & McCoys
I’m not convinced that Hatfields & McCoys even exists and refuse to be proven otherwise.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen for Modern Family
Yes. Fine. Very good.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey
Maggie Smith is easily my second favourite dame after Dench so is clearly a deserving winner.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Jessica Lange for American Horror Story
American Horror Story was good and Lange was good in it. Like a crazy/creepy version of Maggie Smith in Downton.

All in all the winners are an acceptable bunch and the Emmys are far from exciting. Downton Abbey may not have collected the majority of the awards it was nominated for but time will move forward, people will keep watching, and Benedict Cumberbatch will keep having a moan. Shame Sherlock won nothing, I do like that show.

The full list of winners and nominees can be found here.

3rd Rock from the Sun – TV Classics

3rd Rock from the Sun Theme

In the first of a possibly recurring, possibly soon to be neglected, series I take a look back at the mid-nineties sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun and see what its stars are doing now.

3rd Rock from the Sun still stands out in my mind as one of the classic sitcoms. Not only does it stand out for having a high-concept premise, that of four aliens taking human form and trying to assimilate themselves in American life, but also for the unique mixture of broad slapstick comedy and clever humour it showcased. 3rd Rock was frequently over-the-top but never to excess and was never a show that could be considered stupid. While we were often laughing at the characters rather than with them it was because of some finely crafted jokes. For once you could believe that the laughter track was genuine rather than added in after the fact.

For a show with as much physical comedy and witty dialogue as 3rd Rock you need a cast of skilled comedy performers. Luckily for you I have detailed them all below, looking at the characters they played and what they’ve done since the show finished back in 2001.

John Lithgow
Where did you come from? Dr. Richard Solomon was the high commander of the band of aliens sent to investigate the planet Earth. As part of his cover Dick took on the role of a professor at a “third rate university” and gave a group of poor students a terrible education in Physics. Most of Dick’s time was spent in a rocky relationship with Mary Albright, though he occasionally dabbled with other women Albright would always be the woman for him. Dick was great for over-reacting to the world in general and referencing Lithgow’s role in best-film-ever Footloose.
Where did you go? Lithgow’s career post-3rd Rock has been prolific on both stage and screen, this includes the time I saw him playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night when, like a true nerd, I got a photo and autograph afterwards (lovely man). Good supporting performances were given in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and Kinsey but his best performance was given as The Trinity Killer in season 4 of Dexter. More recently he has guest starred in How I Met Your Mother, given heart to Rise of the Planet of the Apes and wisely went uncredited in New Year’s Eve.

“You want the truth? You want the truth? Well, I can’t handle the truth!”

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Out Now – 21st September 2012

It’s an Out Now in very poor haikus this Friday.

House at the End of the Street
Katniss Everdeen
makes friends with dead neighbours’ son
really bad idea

Killing them Softly
poker game gone wrong
Brad Pitt investigates heist
cue mob-style antics

two pot-growing friends
share girl (how bohemian)
kidnapped by cartel

Untouchable / Intouchables
quadriplegic man
hires carer from ghetto
“touching” French film

Big Boys Gone Bananas (limited release)
Swedish film makers
sued by Dole Food Company:

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel (limited release)
who is this about?
fashion icon possibly?
I don’t really know

Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live In Budapest ’86 (limited release)
relive the ’80s
concert movie re-released
Freddie Mercury!

Hysteria (limited release)
Mild Concern favourite
in Victorian rom-com
best said in Tim’s words…

A film co-starring Felicity Jones about the invention of the vibrator. Oooer.

Inbred (limited release)
in Yorkshire village
blood-soaked happenings happen
(bored of haikus now)

Santa Sangre (limited release)
see childhood trauma
of young man in asylum
well creepy poster!

Tower Block (limited release)
murder witnesses
some battle for survival
some killed by sniper

Dredd 3D – Film Review

Dredd 3D

Dredd 3D, you are about to be judged. How do you plead?

Literally the only things I know about Judge Dredd are that he is a badass cop and that an awful lot of people thought that the 1995 film, Judge Dredd was a disrespectful piece of garbage. Sometimes not knowing much about an existing franchise before seeing a film adaptation can be a good thing though. I quite liked the Sylvester Stallone film. It’s not the greatest work of art but as golden age action movies went, Judge Dredd was pretty decent.

Though, with such open negativity surrounding the 1995 film I’ve learned what Judge Dredd is really ‘supposed’ to be. You hear things like “he’s unrelentingly violent,” “he’s got a wickedly dark sense of humour” and “that chin of his is pretty neat; much cooler than Stallone’s.” With all of these newfound expectations I was worried that I too would join the ranks of the disappointed when Dredd 3D was to be released. But Alex Garland, Olivia Thirlby and Karl Urban were never going to let us down. No, Dredd 3D is the popcorn flick we all deserve after 2012’s numerous tame attempts at testosterone-filled action films with offerings like Lockout, The Expendables 2 and What To Expect When Expecting.

Dredd 3D drops us into the bleak Mega-City One, one of the few remaining regions on Earth still inhabited by man after a future war leaves most of the planet irradiated and practically inhospitable. With traditional society broken, violence, crime and mutants rule the city. To attempt to maintain order an organized force of “Judges” patrol MC1 as self-appointed Judges, Juries and Executioners. We join rookie Judge Anderson (Thirlby) on her final field test as she accompanies the notorious Judge Dredd (Urban) who attempts to take down the city’s leading drug lord, MaMa (Lena Headey), producer of the popular drug Slo-Mo which makes the user’s brain feel as if everything around them is happening at 1% speed.

Just as there are period dramas, Dredd 3D definitely qualifies as a period action (©sjbowron 2012). Almost everything about the film has the air of an 80’s actioner: the sets and most sfx are grim and practical, where there is CGI it occasionally stinks, the indulgent violence is something we just don’t see enough of these days and, oh, the deadpan humour. Take this excellent nugget:

Judge Anderson (who is a skilled telepath) and Judge Dredd are under heavy fire. Dredd growls at Anderson, asking why she has neglected to put on her helmet:

JA: “Sir, I think a helmet will interfere with my psychic abilities.”

JD: [straight-faced] “I think bullets will interfere with them more.”

Also, for those who are comparing Dredd 3D to The Raid, know this: The Raid wasn’t the first ever movie with the “get from here to there by fighting your way through these 1,200 men” plot, you know. Dredd 3D has audience’s derrieres clenched with tense anticipation and awe far more than The Raid ever did.

One more thing that makes Dredd 3D great is that it balances its indulgent action and tender (I’m playing fast and loose with that term) character moments perfectly. Where Stallone’s Dredd seemed a bit too much of an emotional guy and the comic’s Dredd is (from what I’ve heard) practically a robot, Karl Urban’s take feels more like a strict 1950’s dad: He’s just doing his job, working for the greater good. He’s not going to wince or moan about his load, he just wants to clean the streets and protect the innocent. As for Thirlby’s Anderson; well, she might look pretty and perhaps vulnerable (and you’re right on both counts) but she is easily the film’s strongest character.

Dredd 3D gives us a completely formed world. It knows all its rules and has an answer for everything. Alex Garland and Pete Travis (screenwriter and director respectively) have created a solid action film that calls back to the tropes of the eighties whilst also being modern in just as many ways.

To bookend, Dredd 3D is unrelentingly violent, does have a wickedly dark sense of humour, and Urban’s chin is pretty darn neat – and all in the name of that wonderful, glorious 18 certificate (well, maybe not the chin part). It’s so good that I even looked past the fact that the film hasn’t actually been released in 2D as well.

Out Now – 19th September 2012

Now Is Good
Tessa (Dakota Fanning) has a posh English accent and leukemia, so naturally has written up a list of things she wants to do before she dies. Are we surprised that this prominently features breaking the law, taking drugs and losing her virginity to hunky yet wholesome neighbour Adam? Are we equally surprised that the BBFC warns that the film contains drug use, sex references and references to illness? (Also, two clear uses of strong language and the odd “wanker” and “knob”.)

Click through for video clips of teenagers engaging in illegal activities.

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Opinion – Why I Don’t Like Doctor Who, But If You And America Do, I’m Cool With That (Maybe)*

Watching “old” Doctor Who after The Simpsons on BBC2 was staple to a child’s television watching schedule way back when. So when Russell T Davies “rebooted” the show with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper in 2005 I became one of the millions across the UK that couldn’t not love the show once more. Of course though, like all good things in recent years, Doctor Who became one of the leading causes of hipsters and I slowly lost interest.

Not too long ago Doctor Who emerged in America as a minor hit. This intrigued me seeing as the kind of quirky and cheap (compared to US television) Britishness of UK shows like Doctor Who tends to be laughed at by American culture (see any episode of any US TV show ever). This isn’t to say that they don’t like our shows, no, they’re usually just impenetrable for US audiences and are simply remade (see The Office, Being Human, The Inbetweeners, Shameless etc. etc.). But recently, thanks to shows such as Downton Abbey (which has been nominated for 16 Emmys this year and has grabbed as many as four million regular US viewers) that could all change.

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Bloody Cuts

Bloody Cuts

Bloody Cuts is a 13-part anthology of horror film shorts, made by a team based in East Anglia who showcase different ways of creating horror. And they’re very good. The sixth in the series, Dead Man’s Lake, was released this weekend and is a callback to 80’s slasher films.

Mother Died - Bloody CutsNow, I’m probably one of the last people to comment on the quality of horror films, given I watched Dead Man’s Lake at 10 o’clock on a Sunday morning with one eye covered by the corner of a pillow (and then had to cover up the second eye at points). Still, the fact that I made myself watch it is a testament to how much I enjoyed their previous films. Which sounds backhanded but is a genuine compliment.

I especially like episodes four and five: Mother Died is creepy, brilliant and surprisingly emotional (and I love the poster), while Suckablood is my favourite, being a dark fairy tale of what happens to children who suck their thumbs.

Watch the Suckablood trailer below and for all six films, visit the Bloody Cuts site.

HItchcock’s Silent Films Offer

Champagne Hitchcock - BFI offer

You may have noticed how much we’ve been enjoying The Genius of Hitchcock season at the BFI recently (and should at least have played with the Rebecca soundboard). And now several more of the recently restored silent films are having their premieres, complete with soundtracks played live.

To celebrate this, the BFI are offering 25% off, if you buy any two full-priced adult tickets with the code SilentHitch. Book online, by phone (020 7928 3232) or in person. So take someone with you, or set yourself up for an awesome double bill (I am not convinced this works but it’s worth a go, right?)

It should be noted that there’s also a 50% offer running in conjunction when you book online, which is obviously better, but it doesn’t cover quite as many of the films.