Sunday, 15 June 2014

OPINION: A cinematic alternative to Panini

Attention all cinephiles, film fans and dark room enthusiasts.

Have you ever felt the sudden urge to use the hashtag #GotGotNeed ? Have you ever wanted to complete a World Cup sticker album but don’t know your Pirlo from your Pogba? Have you ever wished for a cinematic alternative to football stickers?

Introducing... The Beautiful Frame.

The Beautiful Frame is a celebration of the UK’s and USA’s finest moviemakers over the past four years. Since the last World Cup in 2010, film directors have been creatively challenging for positions and attempting to justify their place in the final 23-man squad.

Discover which directors have boarded the plane to Brazil this summer!



Sunday, 20 April 2014

Under The Skin - REVIEW


Only two people walked out of the Under The Skin screening I attended. However, I was definitely not one of them! Scarlett Johansson braves and bares all in this daring 'Kubrickian' dream that Need For Speed viewers will fail to connect with.

Monday, 6 January 2014

50 Must-See Movies in 2014 (preview)

I anticipate another golden year for cinema. Here are 50 movies to add to your viewing schedule for the forthcoming year.

[In no particular order]

01. Godzilla (dir. Gareth Evans)
02. Interstellar (dir. Christopher Nolan)
03. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (dir. Matt Reeves)
04. 12 Years A Slave (dir. Steve McQueen)
05. The Wolf of Wall Street (dir. Martin Scorsese)
06. Inside Llewyn Davis (dir. Joel & Ethan Coen)
07. American Hustle (dir. David O. Russell)
08. Out of the Furnace (dir. Scott Cooper)
09. The Dallas Buyers Club (dir. Jean-Marc Vallee)
10. Robocop (dir. José Padilha)
11. Her (dir. Spike Jonze)
12. The Monuments Men (dir. George Clooney)
13. Gone Girl (dir. David Fincher)
14. Lilting (dir. Hong Khaou)
15. The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir. Wes Anderson)
16. Grace of Monaco (dir. Oliver Dahan)
17. Under the Skin (dir. Jonathan Glazer)
18. The Raid 2: Berandal (dir. Gareth Edwards)
19. The Equalizer (dir. Antoine Fuqua)
20. Snowpiercer (dir. Bong Joon-ho)
21. Stretch (dir. Joe Carnahan)
22. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (dir. Justin Chadwick)
23. The Double (dir. Richard Ayoade)
24. Guardians of the Galaxy (dir. James Gunn)
25. Big Eyes (dir. Tim Burton)
26. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (dir. Anthony & Joe Russo)
27. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (dir. Kenneth Branagh)
28. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (dir. Marc Webb)
29. Bad Neighbours (dir. Nicholas Stoller)
30. The Expendables 3 (dir. Patrick Hughes)
31. Transcendence (dir. Wally Pfister)
32. Chef (dir. Jon Favreau) 
33. Birdman (dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
34. Muppets Most Wanted (dir. James Bobin)
35. Noah (dir. Darren Aronofsky)
36. X-Men: Days of Future Past (dir. Bryan Singer)
37. Foxcatcher (dir. Bennett Miller)
38. Labor Day (dir. Jason Reitman)
39. Edge of Tomorrow (dir. Doug Liman)
40. The Lego Movie (dir. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)
41. Nymphomaniac Part 1 & 2 (dir. Lars von Trier)
42. Fury (dir. David Ayer)
43. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (Francis Lawrence)
44. Dumb and Dumber To (dir. Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly)
45. Exodus (dir. Ridley Scott)
46. The Interview (dir. Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen)
47. 22 Jump Street (dir. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)
48. Transformers 4: Age of Extinction (dir. Michael Bay)
49. Unbroken (dir. Angelina Jolie)
50. The Hobbit: There and Back Again (dir. Peter Jackson)

Honourable mentions; to these movies, if they are indeed released in 2014. 

51. Boyhood (dir. Richard Linklater)
52. Macbeth (dir. Justin Kurzel)
53. While We’re Young (dir. Noah Baumbach)
54. Inherent Vice (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
55. Untitled Cameron Crowe Project
56. Midnight Special (dir. Jeff Nichols)
57. Serena (dir. Susanne Bier)
58. Ex Machina (dir. Alex Garland)
59. The Trip to Italy (dir. Michael Winterbottom)
60. Nightcrawler (dir. Dan Gilroy)
61. The Man From U.N.C.L.E (dir. Guy Ritchie)
62. Kill the Messenger (dir. Michael Cuesta)
63. Welcome to Me (dir. Shira Piven)
64. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (dir. Robert Rodriguez)
65. A Most Wanted Man (dir. Anton Corjbin)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Do the Right Thing - REVIEW

DO THE RIGHT THING ★★★★☆ Forget the temperature of Brooklyn, Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing is cinema at its HOTTEST! A masterpiece

Blackfish - REVIEW

BLACKFISH ★★★★☆ Bringing a whole new perspective to the phrase 'a whale of a time.' Blackfish is by far my favourite documentary of 2013.

The Way, Way Back - REVIEW

THE WAY, WAY BACK ★★★★☆ Forget the blockbusters, The Way, Way Back is the perfect movie to end the summer in style!

About Time - REVIEW

ABOUT TIME ★★★★☆ About Time is so beautifully enchanting I want to find a dark cupboard, clench my fists and watch it all over again!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Another 50 Must-See Movies in 2013

In January 2013, I anticipated another golden year for cinema with 50 movies to add to your viewing schedule for the forthcoming year.

[In no particular order]

The Impossible (dir. Juan Antonio Bayona)
Les Miserables (dir. Tom Hooper)
Django Unchained (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Lincoln (dir. Steven Spielberg)
Flight (dir. Robert Zemeckis)
Hitchcock (dir. Sacha Gervasi)
This is 40 (dir. Judd Apatow)
Elysium (dir. Neill Blomkamp)
Gravity (dir. Alfonso Cuaron)
Fast & Furious 6 (dir. Justin Lin)
Man of Steel (dir. Zack Snyder)
Only God Forgives (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)
Monsters University (dir. Dan Scanlon)
The World’s End (dir. Edgar Wright)
Star Trek into Darkness (dir. J.J Abrams)
Captain Phillips (dir. Paul Greengrass)
Oblivion (dir. Joseph Kosinski)
After Earth (dir. M. Night Shyamalan)
The Great Gatsby (dir. Baz Luhrmann)
Zero Dark Thirty (dir. Kathryn Bigelow)
Rush (dir. Ron Howard)
Wreck-It Ralph (dir. Rich Moore)
The Paperboy (dir. Lee Daniels)
The Place Beyond The Pines (dir. Derek Cianfrance)
Carrie (dir. Kimberly Peirce)
Pain & Gain (dir. Michael Bay)
This is the End (dir. Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen)
Spring Breakers (dir. Harmony Korine)
A Field in England (dir. Ben Wheatley)
The Wolf of Wall Street (dir. Martin Scorsese)
Cloud Atlas (dir. Tom Tykwer, Lana and Andy Wachowski)
Thor: The Dark World (dir. Alan Taylor)
Iron Man 3 (dir. Shane Black)
White House Down (dir. Roland Emmerich)
Trance (dir. Danny Boyle)
Twelve Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen)
World War Z (dir. Marc Foster)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (dir. Peter Jackson)
The Dallas Buyers Club (dir. Jean-Marc Vallée)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (dir. Francis Lawrence)
Runner, Runner (dir. Brad Furman)
A Good Day to Die Hard (dir. John Moore)
The Monuments Men (dir. George Clooney)
Jack Ryan (dir. Kenneth Branagh)
The Hangover Part III (dir. Todd Phillips)
The Heat (dir. Paul Feig)
The Escape Plan (dir. Mikael Hafstrom)
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (dir. Adam McKay)
The Counsellor (dir. Ridley Scott)
Jobs (dir. Joshua Michael Stern)
Here are another 50 Must-See Movies set to be released in the second-half of 2013.
[In no particular order]
The Bling Ring (dir. Sofia Coppola)
The Lifeguard (dir. Liz W. Garcia)
Pacific Rim (dir. Guillermo Del Toro)
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (dir. Alex Gibney)
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (dir. Declan Lowney)
The Lone Ranger (dir. Gore Verbinski)
2 Guns (dir. Baltasar Kormákur)
Upstream Colour (dir. Shane Carruth)
About Time (dir. Richard Curtis)
Don Jon (dir. Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
Inside Llewyn Davis (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen)
The Company You Keep (dir. Robert Redford)
Before Midnight (dir. Richard Linklater)
American Hustle (dir. David O. Russell)
Prisoners (dir. Denis Villeneuve)
Europa Report (dir. Sebastian Cordero)
Black Fish (dir. Samantha Berg)
Springsteen and I (dir. Baillie Walsh)
Girl Most Likely (dir. Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini)
Kick-Ass 2 (dir. Jeff Wadlow)
Lovelace (dir. Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman)
Blue Jasmine (dir. Woody Allen)
Diana (dir. Oliver Hirschbiegel)
Oldboy (dir. Spike Lee)
Philomena (dir. Stephen Frears)
Drinking Buddies (dir. Joe Swanberg)
The Fifth Estate (dir. Bill Condon)
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (dir. Frederik Bond)
A Most Wanted Man (dir. Anton Corbijn)
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (dir. Ben Stiller)
The Spectacular Now (dir. James Ponsoldt)
The Way, Way Back (dir. Nat Faxton, Jim Rash)
Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp (dir. Jorge Hinojosa)
Some Girl(s) (dir. Daisy von Scherler Mayer)
The Butler (dir. Lee Daniels)
Crystal Fairy (dir. Sebastian Silva)
Disconnect (dir. Henry Alex Rubin)
Adore (dir. Anne Fontaine)
Grace of Monaco (dir. Olivier Dahan)
Saving Mr. Banks (dir. John Lee Hancock)
The Call (dir. Brad Anderson)
Afternoon Delight (dir. Jill Soloway)
Prince Avalanche (dir. David Gordon Green)
In a World (dir. Lake Bell)
Machete Kills (dir. Robert Rodriguez)
Scenic Route (dir. Kevin Goetz, Michael Goetz)
Snowpiercer (dir. Joon-ho Bong)
Out of the Furnace (dir. Scott Cooper)
Dead Man Down (dir. Niels Arden Oplev)
Her (dir. Spike Jonze)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Welcome to the Punch - REVIEW

WELCOME TO THE PUNCH ★★☆☆ A knock-out container complete with style and substance. Mark Strong dazzles while James McAvoy shines under the neon illumination of Eran Creevy’s sharp cerulean London.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Song for Marion - REVIEW


Boys Don’t Cry; unless you watch Paul Andrew William’s Song for Marion. Incredibly affecting and adorably enchanting, Song for Marion is a perfectly sweet and poignant picture that tears at the heart strings and evokes the emotions hidden deep within. My machismo is usually rendered feeble by the excess of Stallone and Statham. This evening, however singing pensioners expended tears to the point of dehydration. Utterly tear-iffic. Now, let's talk about sex!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

OPINION: The Expense-ables by Russell Ford

The Expense-ables
By Russell Ford

Love cinema? Good at spending other people’s money? Ever wanted to be a Hollywood film producer? Excellent, you’re hired. Welcome to the Expense-ables.
The year is 2011; you have just been handed a cinematic menu and given a blockbuster budget of two-hundred and thirty million dollars. You’re responsible for the expenses of any productions you wish to finance for release in 2012. Your budget must include the costs of story rights, screenplays, cast and crew, all production totals, visual effects and of course a soundtrack. Don’t forget, you also need to market your productions to a paying cinema going audience. Any movies you green-light must justify the expense and be worth the price of admission. Additionally, please be sure to make a box-office profit on any movie you produce. 
Are you sure you still want the job? Brilliant; you better get started!
So for $230 million you can produce 1 Amazing Spider-Man, nearly 6 Les Miserables, almost 8 Looper’s or indeed 32 Magic Mikes. Alternatively, you could produce The Avengers Assemble or Skyfall and have still have enough change to produce End of Watch, Lawless or Silver Linings Playbook. Equally, if you spend wisely you could produce 2 Life of Pi’s, 3 Rock of Ages, 5 Argo’s or 23 Best Exotic Marigold Hotels.
So what’s it to be? A year of unforgettable indies? A season of moving dramas? Or a summer of super superhero blockbusters? Ideally, we all create masterful productions that are adored and applauded by both the popcorn-kids and critics. However, the truth is there is a vast distance between opinions of the movie reviewers of Cannes and movie revellers of Camden. From prep to premiere your decisions will determine whether you become an award winning or money spinning producer. Perhaps you can be both?
So you fancy setting the art houses of Sundance alight; backing an award winning director’s passion project may be a brave, bold and brilliant move. For $100 million you could produce both Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln or conversely champion Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington’s Flight with Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. However, for all of the Academy Award and BAFTA nominations you may receive, the box-office proceeds still needs to equate and excess the expenditure to be seen a cinematic success by the investors.
You may want to concentrate on the mint of the multiplex, so why not cash in on a name? $100 million for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, $150 million Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, $75 million for Kevin James’ Here Comes the Boom. All these movies are on the cinematic menu for you to consider. Perhaps you fancy rebooting an existing franchise or two? With a loyal following of fans this may be financially safe investment for your budget. For the expenditure of $230 million, together, Prometheus and The Bourne Legacy would earn you a profit of roughly $450 million. So what if the reviews aren’t as positive as their predecessors; you’re in profit, right? Maybe you’re determined to remake and improve a much criticised past production? Well, you may want to think again; sometimes the returns on a re-envisioning can also be Dredd-ful; even if the film is judged to do the source material justice.   
Now, sex sells and so do sequels; so why not produce a limited budget follow up to a well produced original. For less than half of your budget you can produce Taken 2, Piranha 3DD, American Reunion and Paranormal Activity 4 and generate a $700 million profit. A further $100 million would also see the return of Sly and The Expendables; another guaranteed money maker. Alternatively, you could invest the small, hairy fortune of $150 million to finance Peter Jackson’s unexpected and long awaited journey, The Hobbit.  The Lord of the Rings prequel will add precious pennies of over $750 million into your off-shire account. Failing that, for your whole budget you could get Will Smith to dust off his MIB suit for a third instalment in the forgotten series.  
Struggling for original ideas? Can’t get the rights to the latest Hunger Games or Twilight novel you want to bring to the silver screen? Then for over $200 million why not develop the much loved board-game of Battleship into a celluloid and CGI frenzy of cinematic hits and misses? Feeling geeky? Then release you’re inner child and produce a box office breaking animation; for $50 million you could generate the pot-smoking wise-joking, Ted. However, a world of complete CGI wizardry together with elite commando penguins or a ravishing red-haired princess will cost you between $145 million to a $185 million each.  
Those producers able to add an extra $20 million to the production budget could inevitably produce a $250 million blockbuster as brilliantly bold as The Dark Knight Rises or as disappointing and dull as John Carter. On the other hand, perhaps you fancy attempting to create a year of low budget hits? The minimal sum of $25 million would fund The Grey and Liam Neeson’s fight for survival. While an affordable $16 million would successfully finance Wes Anderson’s quirky cinematic scout-outing, Moonrise Kingdom.
So, you’ve tasted the wine, perused the menu and listened carefully to the waiter’s specials. The time has now come for you to make you order. So, what’s it to be?
If I were given a blockbuster budget of two-hundred and thirty million dollars I know what I would order. However, as Gordon Gekko once said, “It’s all about bucks, kid. The rest is just conversation.”
Now are you ready to take my order? Excellent, can I have one Skyfall, a side of Magic Mike and a serving of Piranha 3DD for dessert.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Django Unchained - REVIEW

Quentin, you’ve had my attention; but now you have my heart. Delivering another intense and bloody brutal masterpiece, the King of yarn has once again spun an intoxicating web of weapons and words. Captivating and liberating, Django Unchained is an eloquent exploration into the time of white cake and slavery. Radiating revenge and retribution, Tarantino loquaciously fabricates a simmering tale loaded with shots of vengeance and whippings of aversion.

Accomplished and assured, Tarantino confidently honours an almost forgotten genre. However, this is not the heavy spurred stride of a tired outlaw across the worn terrain of the Spaghetti-Western; this is the confident swagger of an outcast as he escapes the shadows of oppression. Jamie Foxx exhilarates as the afflicted freedom fighter, Django, while Leonardo DiCaprio fascinates as the repulsive face of supremacy. Yet, it’s Christoph Waltz who dazzles most as the enchanting and eccentric, Dr. King Schultz; stealing each scene with a whimsical vernacular only offered by a filmmaker at the very top of the Hollywood A-list. However, as with all quintessential-Tarantino, what stands out is the intensity of the moment that often leads to violence. Tarantino has said that ‘the threat of violence is another character in the room.’ Django Unchained does not have another character; but, an additional cast.

The D in Django may be silent however, Quentin’s Fistful of Bastards are as rare and rambunctious as any of his creations. Wanted: Dead or Alive. But, I sure do like the way you die, boy.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Review of the Year - #1 The Best Feature of 2012


Life of Pi

A slice of mesmerizing movie magic that captivates and radiates the beauty of life, love and loss.

Review of the Year - #2 The Best Feature of 2012


Not a traditional James Bond movie, yet the most beautiful and cinematic 007 adventure in the series. For all the golden references throughout the franchise it turns out there's only one Silva.

Review of the Year - #3 The Best Feature of 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

A brilliantly brutal and mesmerizingly beautiful conclusion to Hollywood’s finest trilogy. Arise Sir Christopher Nolan; a modern master of awe inspiring cinema.

Review of the Year - #4 The Best Feature of 2012


A stylised and engaging reconstruction of Hollywood’s most historically golden production. It’s so good you’ll want to Argofuckyourself over and over again

Review of the Year - #5 The Best Feature of 2012

Avengers Assemble

Review of the Year - #6 The Best Feature of 2012


Dazzling inventiveness perfectly executed. Who says you need a Deloreon to time travel in style? 

Review of the Year - #7 The Best Feature of 2012

We Bought A Zoo

A steel enclosure of emotion that roars, growls and squawks triumphantly. Why not buy a zoo indeed; or at least pay for the admission.

Review of the Year - #8 The Best Feature of 2012

Magic Mike

Review of the Year - #9 The Best Feature of 2012

The Bourne Legacy

Following closely in the footsteps of Ultimatum, Legacy successfully completes its mission but without the elegance of the previous installments... oh and Bourne.

Review of the Year - #10 The Best Feature of 2012

The Descendants

Clooney is worth the trip but Alexander Payne's confident return to feature filmmaking is not quite paradise.