May 23 2013

‘Gangster Squad’ Party (part 4 of 4): The Music – Super Sounds of the 1940s

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 5:51 pm

Music-titleMusic can really make or break your party: something that’s common knowledge to anyone who’s ever been at a housewarming with some dude and his ‘esoteric’ iPod.

For your late-40s Gangster Squad party, you’re going to want a decent mix of big band, jazz and radio hits to keep your guests delighted and on the dance floor. We’ve included some recommendations, just to help you get the ball rolling in the right direction. Just remember: there should be at least four upbeat songs for every ballad. You don’t want to depress the hell out of your guests…

1. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive – Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters

Incredibly popular after their work with the USO during World War II, the Andrews Sisters were the second most successful recording act of the decade, just behind Bing Crosby. So it would stand to reason that a few of their famous duets (or are they quartets) should make it on to your playlist.

2. Rockin’ in Rhythm – Duke EllingtonDuke

‘though the biggest recording artists of the era may have been the likes of Crosby and Sinatra, when it came to the music of the dance halls, there were few bigger names than that of Duke Ellington. Be sure to mix up a number of big band tunes, just to get the good folk dancin’. But remember boys: your hands should never wander far below the small of her back!

3. I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Tony Pastor and his OrchestraTony-Pastor

Of course, when you’re talking about big band music, you can’t forget that most of the tunes were arranged from standards of the day. Take, for example, this cool brassy take on Cole Porter’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin. For years, Tony Parker played sax for temperamental bandleader Artie Shaw. Leading his own orchestra in this track, he became an occasional vocalist whose exuberant tenor was styled after his musical hero, Louis Armstrong.

4. All The Things You Are – Django ReinhardtDjango

The D is silent, but his guitar certainly wasn’t. Raised in a French-Romani family, Reinhardt’s career spanned decades and continents, where he was eventually recognised as a musical pioneer and a virtuoso. His technique on the guitar was truly revolutionary despite the paralysis of some  fingers on his left hand after a serious accident. Here he is on a track with his long-time collaborator Stéphane Grappelli with a song written by Kern and Hammerstein for the Broadway musical Very Warm for May.

5. Dry Bones – Fred Waring and his PennsylvaniansWareing

It isn’t the 1940s without the the embarrassing co-opting of slave culture by enthusiastic college men. On this particular track,  famed radio personality/chorale leader Fred Waring conducts thirteen guys in tuxedos to performed James Weldon Johnson’s classic spiritual.  It’s doesn’t quite reach ‘Mammy’ -levels of cringeworthiness but it’s not far off, either. If you were to ignore that, however: you’ll find a pretty catchy little number!

6. Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall – Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink SpotsElla-Fitzgerald

No party of the period would be complete without an appearance from the First Lady of Song. In this, the first of her collaborations with Bill Kenny and the Ink Spots, Ella Fitzgerald drops in halfway through to bring home this smooth number. The song went to the top of the US pop charts in 1944: her first #1 in over 8 years!

7. Ornithology – Charlie ParkerBird

Belonging to a generation of jazz men that included Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis, Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker. Recorded at the high of his addiction to Heroin and alcohol, first released this single in 1946 – one of his many recordings with bird-themed titles (others being Bird Gets the Worm, The Yardbird Suite and Bird of Paradise). For Charlie Parker, it really seems that the bird was the word.

May 23 2013

blinkbox Movie Club: Django Unchained

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 5:50 pm

Forum!As an experiment, we’re hosting our inaugural blinkbox Movie Club this week in which we (us and you the reader) will talk about a new release right here on the blog. We’ll be throwing some questions out for you guys to discuss on the forum but we won’t be limited by those topics.

This week, we’re looking at Django Unchained, the latest film from writer/director Quentin Tarantino. Critically applauded and publicly divisive, this ultra-violent Exploitation Western seems to be the perfect film to kick off a great discussion on film.

  • Is it responsible of Tarantino to portray brutal events from recent history like slavery within the context of a film that’s designed to be entertaining?
  • Who do you think is the most ‘Evil’ character in the film? Is it Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie? Or perhaps Don Johnson’s Big Daddy? Or maybe even Samuel L Jackson’s duplicitous house slave…?
  • What non-Tarantino film would you like to see in a Double Bill with Django Unchained?

Share your thoughts on the board below before next Thursday and the best/most amusing/most thoughtful comments will be published in next week’s newsletter. That’s right: you can make yourself heard to a nationwide audience of movie fans!

Comment away!

May 23 2013

INFOGRAPHIC: Tarantino Unchained!

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 5:50 pm

So you think you know Quentin? To mark the arrival of Django Unchained at blinkbox, we’ve put together a infographic filled with variably arcane Tarantino trivia! Enjoy!

(click to expand)

Django Unchained is now available to rent and buy at blinkbox.

For embeddable HTML, copy and paste this code: <img alt=”Tarantino” src=”” />

May 23 2013

Win £20 of blinkbox credit just by staring at Denzel Washington’s face!

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 2:04 pm

It’s competition time again and we’re giving TEN of you the chance to win the greatest gift of all: £20 in blinkbox credit.

This week, we’ve taken ten films from Denzel Washington’s back-catalogue and digitally erased everything but his face. All you have to do is identify the films in the correct order and you could be one of the lucky ten to win this great prize!

Submit your entries to by 23:59 Monday 27th May 2013.











Remember, do not post your answers in the comments board — submit your entries to for your chance to win. Click here for Terms and Conditions. Good luck!

Flight is now available at blinkbox

May 23 2013

TRAILER: Aniston and Sudeikis in ‘We’re the Millers’

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 12:54 pm

a.k.a Nation Lampoon’s Drug Smuggling Vacation

Horrible Bosses co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis re-unite this Summer for what turns out to be Hollywood’s most popular genre right now: the road-trip comedy. When he’s hired by preppy drug baron Ed Helms to smuggle Marijuana across the Mexican border, Sudeikis assembles a makeshift family to help him fly under the radar in a motor-home. A family comprised of ‘cheap stripper’ Jennifer Aniston and teenagers Emma Roberts and Will Poulter (him from Son of Rambow).

We’re the Millers  arrives in cinemas August 23rd

May 23 2013

Review: Django Unchained

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 12:35 pm

DjangoQuentin Tarantino has spent the second half of his career the exploitation films of his youth, ones that function as revenge fantasies in one way or another. Whether it’s Uma Thurman hunting down the man who betrayed her in Kill Bill or Brad Pitt’s unit of Jewish soldiers re-writing history by killing Hitler in a hail of bullets, Tarantino’s obsession with revenge genre has culminated in Django Unchained – his finest film in over a decade and a half.

Jamie Foxx plays the title character, a slave who finds himself freed from servitude by a wandering German bounty hunter (Inglourious Basterds alum Christoph Waltz in his second Oscar-winning performance). The two of them strike a deal: if Django aids him in tracking down a wanted trio of brothers, Waltz will teach him everything he knows about the bounty trade and help him find his wife (Kerry Washington).

Their search will eventually take them to the country estate of Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), a slave owner with the airs of an eccentric millionaire whose passions seemingly lie in ‘mandingo fights’. Waltz and Foxx quickly discover what this entails when they witness a slave brawl in a private members club. Tarantino shoots the scene like the fireside wrestling moment from Women in Love. Except in this version, Oliver Reed would have ended up much deader.

As always, Tarantino’s strength has always laid in his ability to write cracking dialogue and create characters that defy expectations in interesting ways. While most of the bit parts are utterly cartoonish in their racism, DiCaprio’s character operates by a code. It’s a code based on his sense of God-given entitlement and a genuine belief that slaves are less than human: notions which are channelled through the manners and honour of a Southern gentleman.

But the secret weapon of Tarantino’s ensemble may actually be Samuel L Jackson. Playing DiCaprio’s favoured house-slave, an Uncle Tom who takes on darker layers the more we see of him. It’s a refreshing change from the cool, angry men Jackson seems to specialise in these days and his performance is incredibly smart.

Plus we also mustn’t forget Jamie Foxx: in a cast full of weird and wonderful characters, he becomes the unflappable Eastwood-like hero of the piece, dispensing with the kind of cocky swagger he’s known for as an actor. In years to come, we suspect the role he’ll be most remembered for is the one right here in this film.

As with just about every one of Tarantino’s film, Django’s structure is much more episodic than your average blockbuster, which would make a lesser film flag in the middle. But the movie doesn’t feel anything like its 2 hours and 45 minutes: testament to its director’s craft and the laser-focused performances of its cast.

If you didn’t manage to catch Django Unchained at the cinema, you really must. It’s now available to buy and rent at blinkbox.


May 23 2013

‘Gangster Squad’ Party (part 3 of 4): Drinks – Classic Cocktails

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 8:46 am


In case there are any kids or concerned parents reading this: we’re not trying to say that you need to get drunk to have a good time: stay in school, alright?

But let’s assume that the rest of us are adults and as we know, there’s nothing quite like a quality libation to kick off a party. So here are a collection of popular cocktails from 1940s America – all made with ingredients that you should be able to source from your local Tesco (other supermarkets are available [though not recommended]).


  • 25ml Dry Vermouth
  • 50ml Rye Whiskey/Bourbon
  • Dash of bitters
  • Stir in cracked ice and strain into a cocktail glass
  • Garnish with maraschino cherry, if desired.

Dirty Shirley
As ordered by Ryan Gosling in ‘Gangster Squad’

  • 50ml
  • 250ml Ginger Ale/ Sprite
  • Dash of grenadine
  • Pour over ice into a highball, add the grenadine and garnish with maraschino cherry


  • 50ml Brandy
  • 30ml Orange Liquer (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • Shake with ice and pour into a sugar-rimmed martini glass

Classic DaiquiriDaiquiri

  • 50ml Light Rum
  • 25ml Fresh Lime Juice
  • Sugar Syrup to taste (15ml or so)
  • Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes
  • Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Fruit Juice PunchPunch(Non-alcoholic)

  • 2 Parts Orange Juice
  • 1 Part Lemon Juice
  • 1 Part Pineapple Juice
  • 3 Parts Dry Ginger Ale
  • Add berries and orange slices to garnish

Remember: Cool cats and kittens always drink responsibly.


May 22 2013

Vince Vaughn is King of the Babymakers in ‘Delivery Man’ Teaser

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 4:22 pm

Vince Vaughn’s been off his game for quite a few years now. When Old School came out back in 2003, he became one of the most coveted comic actors in America. He was like 1984 Eddie Murphy, back when he was in Beverly Hills Cop and 48 Hours. But in the past few years, he’s only managed to appear in a handful of disappointing comedies aimed at a more family-inclusive audience. In effect, he had become 2005  Eddie Murphy within a span of a few years.

But things could be turning around for him in 2013: on top of reuniting with Owen Wilson in The Internship, he’ll also be headlining the upcoming comedy Delivery Man. In it, he plays plays an ‘affable underachiever’ who discovers that -thanks to an administrative error at the fertility clinic- he is the biological father of over 500 kids. The trailer doesn’t explicitly mention it, but we suspect the film will feature: a) hijinks; and b) Vaughn’s character doing a lot of growing up.

Directed by Ken Scott, this is a remake of a French-Canadian comedy Starbuck, which Scott also wrote and directed. The film is actually available at blinkbox right now and we would heartily recommend it, so long as you’re fine with reading subtitles.

If Delivery Man is as good as the original, there’s every chance this film could put some life back into Vaughn’s otherwise flagging career. It’s due in UK cinemas in October.

May 22 2013

‘World’s End’ Trailer: Simon Pegg vs The Small Town Robots

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 3:48 pm

For the third of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s distinctly British takes on genre films, it seem that classic horror fans are in for one hell of a treat. Taking a cue from paranoia horrors like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Day of the Triffids, The World’s End sees Pegg and his childhood friends attempt to relive an epic pub crawl from their youth. The only problem is that the town’s been over-run by robot doppelgangers. Ones that apparently explode in a plume of ‘blue ink’ when they’re killed.

With a career track record that consists of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, the bookies are expecting Pegg and Wright to deliver another thrilling fan favourite this Summer.

The World’s End will be in cinemas 19th July

May 22 2013

‘Gangster Squad’ Party (part 2 of 4): The Food – Classy Canapés

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:28 am

As any good host knows: it doesn’t matter whether your party is big or small, you’re going to have to put some kind of spread together. For this event, we’re not talking about a three-course meal or anything too elaborate… but a bowl of Doritos and a pack of Party Rings aren’t going to hack it either.

Here are some food items for cocktail parties, as suggested by the Antoinette Pope School Cookbook published 1948. Click on the links for online recipes.

Stuffed Deviled Eggs with Caviar  Deviled-Egg-Caviar This item has since become a perennial party favourite but for to ensure your deviled eggs are a cut above the rest, use heaps of caviar. It will give your guests the impression that you’re a real fancy-man/woman.

Olive Pinwheelsolive-pinwheelThese used to be made with  puff pastry but an easy modern shortcut involves using flour tortillas. Because seriously, who has time to make their own pastry these days?

Shrimp CocktailShrimp-CocktailI mean, seriously: what’s classier than serving seafood out of a drinking vessel? Nothing! Just remember that the success of any shellfish dish hinges on the quality of your produce.

Bacon-wrapped PineappleBacon-PineappleWhat later became the whipping boy of middle English mediocrity of Abigail’s Party, your pineapple, ham and cheese on a stick was derived from this classic and classy hors d’oeuvre.

Sailboat AppetizersSailboat-AppetizersI know what you’re thinking: this is just another deviled egg. But people in the 40s were huge on hard-boiled eggs (so you can only imagine how the room smelled by the end of the night).

Small CakesCakesDesserts are notoriously tough, so feel free to head down to your local patisserie for a selection of petit fours. But if you don’t happen to live in a lah-di-dah part of town, use your favourite layer cake recipe and bake it in a square tin. Carefully cut the cake into small squares and decorate with fudge, dusted icing sugar or frosting. Et voila – perfectly acceptable finger cakes.

 back to Main Page