Mar 21 2013

“Axes and Knives and Spears, Oh My!” The Many Weapons of ‘The Hobbit’

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:52 am

Check it out, film fans!

If you’re like us, you may have caught the first Hobbit movie when it was out in cinemas last year. An epic return to Peter Jackson‘s vision of Middle Earth, it introduced us to an enormous gang of characters, new and old. From Martin Freeman‘s young Bilbo to Sylvester McCoy’s crusty Brown Wizard, each character was created and performed with the utmost care and devotion.

In anticipation of the digital release for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (8th of  April, don’t you know?), we have this exclusive infographic that takes us through all the weapons used by Bilbo and his Company of Dwarves on their journey to The Lonely Mountain. The spears, swords and such are designed so ornately that it’s a real treat to see them in this kind of detail. Enjoy!

(click to expand)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives on blinkbox 8th of  April

Mar 21 2013

Review: Compliance

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:31 am

A film that proved too challenging for many audience members on its US release, Compliance asks its audience a lot of tough questions, the answers to which might shock us were we to answer honestly.

In the very first scene, the manager of a small town fast food restaurant is already having a pretty challenging day: she’s short staffed and a lot of her produce has spoiled due to a mistake the night before. When a man phones up the back office claiming to be from the police, Dowd does her best to deal with the situation. The man claims that one of her employees, a teenage girl (Dreama Walker), has been caught on camera stealing money from a customer and that Dowd needs to keep her detained in the back room until an officer can come down.

Under his instructions, Walker has her phone and bag taken away — and eventually her clothes. It’s no secret that the film gets darker, as every other restaurant employee brought into this ‘interrogation’ seems to comply -in varying degrees- with the man’s orders.

At some point, audience credulity will be stretched to breaking point: how could anyone believe that a real cop would instruct a stranger to conduct a strip search? How could anybody do this to someone they know? It would be totally unbelievable… had it not actually happened in real life. In fact, similar incidences have occurred over 70 times in the US, according the film’s post-script. The events of Compliance are based beat-for-beat on one such fiasco that took place in a Kentucky McDonald’s back in 2004.

At times, Compliance is incredibly tough to stomach, in no small part due to director Craig Zobel’s economical script and the cast’s incredibly believable performances. Some TV fans might know Walker as the non-B on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 but she shows a frightening level of vulnerability in this film – not just physically, but emotionally as well. Playing the restaurant manager, Ann Dowd has a naturalism that makes her character’s actions both horrific and somewhat understandable.

More terrifying than most horror films we’ve seen, it peels back some ugly layers on the human condition, confirming what normal decent people are capable of doing when they’re merely ‘following orders’. It’s utterly compelling.

Compliance is in cinemas Friday 22 March

Mar 21 2013

Danny Boyle’s new trailer will hypnotise you into watching ‘Trance’

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:17 am

“You are getting very sleepy… You will head to your local cineplex and fork out the GDP of a developing nation for two tickets and a large popcorn… You will watch….TRANCE”

Almost 9 months after becoming a bona fide national treasure for his part in creating the Olympic opening ceremony, Danny Boyle will unveil his newest London-based project. Namely: Trance, a tense psychological thriller that circles around the worlds of hypnotism and crime.

James McAvoy plays an art auctioneer who becomes mixed up with criminals Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel who are trying to get him to recover a lost painting by using the Dark Art of the Mind. The trailer makes it look like a Scanners-esque digital nightmare: the kind of movie David Cronenberg would be making — if he were still in the business of making David Cronenberg movies. And like last week’s Welcome to the Punch, it’s another film that casts London as a grimy city of the future: all reflective surfaces and skyscrapers.

Boyle’s on a bit of a hot streak right now. Aside from his triumph at London 2012, his last two films were feted at the Oscars while 2007′s Sunshine was merely one of the best science-fiction films in the past 20 years. Working again with his Trainspotting screenwriter John Hodge, there’s no reason whatsoever to think that Trance will be anything less than good.

Trance is in cinemas next Friday 27th March

Mar 20 2013

ZOMG! ‘Iron Man 3′ Theatrical Poster

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 5:01 pm

You know, it’s only mid-March now, but the summer blockbuster season is actually little over a month away. You want proof? Well, if we could direct your attention to the latest poster for Marvel’s Iron Man 3 (in cinemas on May 3rd in the US):

In an explosion of potential plot spoilers, Marvel has packed an awful lot of information into one poster. We see Robert Downey Jr‘s Iron Man suit in an advanced state of disrepair, a sneering Guy Pearce  and Sir Ben Kingsley sitting on a throne, wearing aviators like some kind of Uday Hussein lookalike. On top of that, there’s also the fleet of Stark’s Iron Men that we caught a glimpse of in the last trailer.

Hopefully there will still be a surprise or two left for the paying audience!


Mar 20 2013

Natalie Portman film loses director on FIRST DAY of production

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:07 am

In the second piece of controversy to hit the film in a week, director Lynne Ramsay has apparently bailed on the indie drama Jane Got a Gun on the very first day of filming. According to Deadline Hollywood, the cast and crew arrived on set on Monday, only to discover that the entire production was going to have to be put on hold until a new director was found.

Starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton and Jude Law, the project made headlines last week when Michael Fassbender allegedly walked away from a starring role, suggesting that the director’s fall-out might be a little more fractious than your usual ‘creative differences’. Director Ramsay is widely considered one of Britain’s most distinctive filmmakers, though the past decade has seen her struggle to work: there was almost a ten year gap between her second film Morvern Callar and 2011′s We Need to Talk About Kevin, in some part due to her doomed adaptation of The Lovely Bones (later to be made into a rubbish film by Peter Jackson).

Jane Got A Gun‘s producer Scott Steindorff told Deadline: “I’m shocked and so disappointed someone would do this to 150 crew members who devoted so much time, energy, commitment and loyalty to a project, and then have the director not show up. It is insane somebody would do this to other people.” (Translation: “You’ll never eat lunch in this town again!! Not if the producer of Penelope and The Human Stain has anything to say about it!”)

Well, if Ramsay becomes persona non grata in Hollywood, she’ll still be welcome back here in the UK. If she can’t get a film off the ground here, we’re sure she can at least get a job directing episodes of Miss Marple. There are worse things in this world…



Mar 19 2013

Trailer: Despicable Me 2

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:05 pm

Steve Carell‘s lovable super-villain Gru makes a return this summer and by the looks of the brand new trailer for Despicable Me 2, it’s going to be a bigger, starrier event than the original. It finds Carell’s reformed bad-guy-turned-father-of-the-year recruited into an organization of good guys led by Kristen Wiig and an old, posh, stuffy Steve Coogan.

Though the trailer doesn’t show any footage of Gru’s new nemesis, it’s been confirmed that he will be voiced by Al Pacino. So, if anything, you can expect a lot of evil vocal histrionics! HOO-HA!

The most promising aspect of the trailer is its funky 60s spy movie style. It seems that the makers of DM2 have taken a page out of Pixar’s playbook for The Incredibles. And that’s no bad thing: expect more gadgets, more adorable Minion antics and also a plenty more action.

Despicable Me 2 hits UK cinemas June 28th


Mar 19 2013

Ian McKellen to MARRY Patrick Stewart!

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:12 am

LONDON — This week in the world of misleading headlines, Hobbit star and revered stage veteran Ian McKellan has announced that he is to wed his X-Men co-star Patrick Stewart… to Stewart’s fiancee! McKellen further clarified on Jonathan Ross’ ITV chat show this past weekend: “How else do you put that? I’m going to officiate at his wedding.”

This will be nuptual number three for the erstwhile Captain of the Enterprise but as they say in show business (and other cultures prone to platitudes): third time’s the charm. Much has been made of Stewart’s fiancee, jazz singer Sunny Ozell who is 33 years his junior. But after 7 years of Star Trek, three X-Men films, numerous stage accolades and a Knighthood, Stewart can pretty do much whatever he wants, like a BOWSE!

If he wants to marry a woman half his age, he’s more than earned the right to “make it so“.

Mar 18 2013

Watch: Teaser for Disney’s ‘Planes’

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 1:02 pm

Taking place in the same world as the Pixar’s talking vehicle movies Cars and Cars 2, Disney Animation Studios has released a teaser trailer for their upcoming summer animated extravaganza, Planes!

It’s the first time any one of Pixar’s franchises have emigrated over to their parent company, although in this case, you can’t help but think that this decision was made to protect their reputation. Cars 2 wasn’t an unsuccessful film but it’s universally considered to be their worst film. And the law of diminishing returns only works one way…

Leading the voice cast is Dane Cook, the American stand-up best known for developing a new way to flip the bird. He plays a crop-dusting plane who “dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. The problem? He is hopelessly afraid of heights.”

Originally planned as a straight-to-video film, an August theatrical date has now been announced. Before we throw our hands up in despair, let’s remember that Toy Story 2 was also originally supposed to be a DTV feature. On top of that, don’t forget that Disney Animation is also the same studio that made the excellent Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph. So there’s no counting out the possibility that Planes will turn out great.

Planes is scheduled for release on August 16th.


Mar 18 2013

Review: Amour

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:38 am

In one of the opening scenes of Amour, we see a theatre audience settle into their chairs before the start of a performance. The camera looks head-on into a crowd of hundreds; but if you let your eyes wander, they will find themselves drawn to an old couple in the fourth row. Just as with the final shot in his meditative thriller Caché, director Michael Haneke shows that he can be incredibly subtle as a director: his directorial hand is incredibly firm but almost always invisible in Amour. For Haneke –the peerless master of European cinema– this is perhaps his most affecting film yet.

Jean-Louis Trintignant (Three Colours: Red) and this year’s Oscar nominee Emmanuelle Riva (Hiroshima mon amour) are a married couple in their 80s. Formerly music teachers, they enjoy the spoils of retirement: reading books, drinking wine and attending concerts starring their former pupils. They’re living the kind of golden years you often see in insurance ads… until tragedy strikes. Riva is hit by a series of strokes and attacks, causing her health to deteriorate slowly but surely. Taking place almost entirely within their lovely Parisian flat, the film casts these walls as a prison; her condition has robbed her and her husband of their old lives. He looks after her the best he can, but even his best cannot stop his wife’s decline.

There are occasional visits from former students, their daughter (herself a touring musician) and a number of full-time carers but none of them can truly share his burden: the pain of having to watch his wife slowly disappear. We know the marriage vows always promise ‘for better or for worse’, though we rarely get to see the ‘for worse’ part.

Both she and Trintignant are heartbreaking in Amour, delivering two physically taxing performances well into their 80s. The scene where he tries to help her sing the word to Sur le Pont d’Avignon even though she can barely speak is one of the toughest things we’ve had to watch this year—and we’ve seen Maniac. The fact that Riva didn’t win the Oscar this year suggests only that not enough of the voters actually saw this.

It’s a really rough subject matter but Haneke handles it with sensitivity, framing scenes intimately, with great economy and a light touch. He takes its audience through the wringer, balancing sentiment and emotion with moments of clarity and dry humour. Amour deserves all the accolades it has received: it’s undeniably great.

Michael Haneke’s Amour is available on blinkbox Monday 18th March

Mar 18 2013

Watch End of Watch! New Releases Monday 18 March 2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 7:27 am

End of WatchJake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña are cops in the notoriously tough South Central district of Los Angeles Police Department. They go about their business, keeping the peace, busting drug dealers and keeping a video log of their entire experience (like everyone seems to be doing these days). Written and directed by David Ayer (Training Day), End of Watch was named by critic Roger Ebert as one of his Top 10 movies of 2012, praising it as one of the best police film in years. From a respected writer such as Ebert, that is a very high compliment indeed.

Silent Hill: RevelationA young amnesiac woman moves to a new town where she befriends a handsome boy from her school (Kit Harington). But when her father (Sean Bean) mysteriously disappears, she must remember her dark past and return to Silent Hill, a town located in an alternate dimension. A sequel to 2006’s Silent Hill, this is based on a popular series of video games and features two stars from Game of Thrones! This is a nerdy film fan’s dream movie!

AmourWorld Cinema legend Michael Haneke is on top form with this meditative drama that won the hearts of critics last year. Nominated for multiple Academy Awards including Best Picture, it is certainly one of the most powerful films of recent memory. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva play a married couple enjoying their twilight years until illness and dementia make them prisoners in their own home. Amour’s central performances are nothing short of magnificent, as is Haneke’s gentle directorial touch. If you ever want proof that cinema is capable of touching hearts and enriching the soul, then you really can’t afford to miss this film.

Fun Size
It’s Superbad for the teenage set in this likable new comedy. Victoria Justice (TV’s Victorious) is a young girl who just wants to go to a house party on Halloween (so that she can mack on a cute guy from school). But when she loses her little brother, she and her best friend have to track him down before her mother finds out! This leads them on an exciting adventure over the span of a single crazy night. The best friend is played by Jane Levy, who you might see next month as one of the stars of the Evil Dead remake. SPOILER ALERT: in this movie, she doesn’t sever any arms at all.

The Bay
Another week, another found footage horror movie; but The Bay could very well be the first movie of the genre to be made by an Academy Award-winning director. Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam) steps firmly out of his comfort zone in delivering this horrifying story about a parasite infection that spreads panic through a coastal community. The reviews have been good and with Levinson’s pedigree, The Bay is certainly a cut above the rest of the found footage pack.

Alien Dawn
“The chances of anything coming from Mars was a million-to-one, he said!”  Set in the near future of 2012, giant space robots have landed on Earth and have started enslaving the human race. Do the humans just lie down and accept defeat? Hell, no! A band of survivors take arms against their oppressors and prove once and for all why the Second Amendment is so important to them. Sic semper tyrannis!

Barbie in the Pink Shoes
This is the latest entry in the highly successful Barbie(tm) direct-to-video movie series. It sees the beloved plastic role model play Kristyn(tm), a young girl who discovers a pair of magical slippers that transforms her into a prima ballerina. Directly inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson’s The Red Shoes, it will probably won’t use that story’s ending in which the girl amputates her own feet to stop them from dancing. But if it does, I’m calling it now: this is the ballsiest family film of the year!

For more of the latest films, check out our New Releases section!