Jun 24 2013

“Marky Mark’ll Fix It!”: New Releases Monday 24th June 2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 8:42 am

Broken City
On the eve of an important election, disgraced cop Mark Wahlberg is called into the office of the Mayor of New York (Russell Crowe). As his bills for his detective agency are piling up, Wahlberg reluctantly accepts a simple job to tail the Mayor’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and find out who she’s sleeping with. The money is good and the work seems pretty straightforward — but as we know from years of watching movies, things are never that simple. Broken City is a pretty standard thriller in terms of its plot but with a few decent twists and dependable leads in Wahlberg and Crowe, it becomes an eminently watchable potboiler.

Korean director Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy) makes his English Language debut with this gothic psychological thriller. Mia Wasikowska plays a teenage girl who loses her loving father in a car wreck and finds herself living with her estranged mother (Nicole Kidman) and a creepy uncle that she’s never seen before (Matthew Goode). Dripping with atmosphere, great performances and awesome camerawork, there’s a lot to recommend in this Hitchcock-flavoured title. As a side note, the film’s screenplay is an original work by Prison Break star Wentworth Miller!

Song for Marion
Okay, it’s not: a conservative performance group, obsessed with tradition is shaken up when new woman turns up and jazzes up their repertoire with contemporary pieces! It’s the plot of both Sister Acts, Joyful Noise and next to any dance film you care to name. This time round, Gemma Arterton plays a woman brought in to spice up a choir of senior citizens that includes a terminally ill Vanessa Redgrave. It’s a very sweet film with a great turn by Terrence Stamp as Redgrave’s curmudgeonly husband and Arterton continues to prove her solid credentials as a lead actress. And let us not forget about the songs because yes: there will be songs!

Simon Killer
Simon is an American student, wandering aimlessly through the streets of Paris. He meets Victoria, a Romanian sex worker who takes him home and falls for him, despite his strange demeanour. As you may have guessed from the title, Simon is not a nice guy and he soon takes advantage of the girl, hatching a plan to extort her clients. The director, Antonio Campos, was one of the producers of Martha Marcy May Marlene and stars Brady Corbet, who you may recognise as John Hawke’s #2 from that film. The two films also share an air of dread as well as an uncertainly for our lead character. It’s a dark and uncomfortable film that casual viewers may find too intense. But if you’re up for the challenge, why not check it out?

The Bill Collector
B-movie staple and Machete hero Danny Trejo stars in a straight-to-video movie about a guy who works as a debt collector who gets a taste of his own medicine when an LA loan shark sends a ‘debt collector’ to collect the collector’s debts. It all sounds a little weird and it’s tough to gauge by the trailer exactly what kind of movie this is but it’s got Danny Trejo in it, so it can’t be all bad. Can it?

For more of the latest films, check out blinkbox’s New Releases page

Jun 19 2013

Objects that look like actors

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:41 am

Have you ever noticed that Owen Wilson looks just like a phone, or that Ben Stiller is the spitting image of a sink?

Probably not, but if you have we’d love to see your objects that look like actors so tweet your pics @blinkbox

Items+Actors Full

Jun 18 2013

WIN £100 blinkbox credit with our Movie Tagline Quiz!

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 2:57 pm

“In space no one can hear you scream…”

…or so sayeth the poster for Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic Alien. That line above is perhaps one of the most famous tags in the history of American cinema, which alongside “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water!” and “Be afraid. Be very afraid” (Jaws 2 and The Fly) helped to highlight the value of a tagline when it comes to selling a film. The Don Drapers of the movie world would spends weeks trying to find that one little piece of wordplay that captured the essence of their film, knowing that it could make or break them!

So for our quiz this week, we’re going deep into the world of poster taglines! We want you to tell us the names of the following films just from their taglines. To aid you in this, we’ve presented them in ways that you might find helpful! And as a nice incentive, you can send your submissions to competitions@blinkbox.com and stand a chance to win £100 of blinkbox credit. 5 runner-ups will also win £10 credit.

We know that you can probably just type the taglines into Google and be done with the whole thing, but where’s the fun in that? Plus you never know: we might have some PRISM software that can tell us if you’ve been cheating…

Anyway, here we go….

Name the films










Please send all entries to competitions@blinkbox.com before 23:59 on Monday 24th June. Answers posted on the comments board below will not be eligible for the prize. The winner will be selected from all the correct answer and will be notified by Friday 28th June. Good luck!

Jun 17 2013

“Big Spooky Mama’s House”: New Releases Monday 17th June 2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:21 am

High off a busy couple of years that have transformed her into one of the world’s most coveted film stars, Jessica Chastain takes a breather from all those prestige projects for this down-and-dirty supernatural horror. When her boyfriend’s orphaned nieces are found years after being lost in the wilderness, Chastain agrees to take them in her home. But little does she know that the two girls were being looked after by a mysterious presence they called ‘Mama’, a spirit who isn’t quite ready to cut the apron strings. Produced by horror maestro Guillermo del Toro, this film delivers some pretty big scares amidst a palpably chilly atmosphere.

Movie 43
Produced by the Farrelly Brothers, this filthy comedic anthology has more big name talent than even The Player and New Year’s Eve put together! We’re talking about Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Kate Winslet starring in gross, profane and sophomoric sketches. If we’re telling you that Jackman’s character has a pair of testicles hanging under his chin and you find yourself completely repulsed, this movie might not be for you. But if you have appreciation for the edgier, sloppier side of humour, you’ll find a complete mine of comedy gold here. Or at the very least, comedy copper.

Cloud Atlas
Long-considered to be an ‘un-filmable’, author David Mitchell’s spawling novel gets the Hollywood treatment thanks to visionary directors The Wachowskis (The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run). They tell a huge number of concurrent stories that span continents and centuries, with the all-star ensemble cast playing multiple roles throughout. We’re talking about stars like Tom Hanks playing everything from a Nineteenth Century doctor to a nuclear scientist in the 70s to a post-apocalyptic family in the distant future. This is actually a film that has divided critics and audiences alike, with many people loving its scope and reckless ambition; others not appreciating how nebulous the story gets. Having seen it in the cinema, we think this could very well be a masterpiece: an essential piece of viewing for movie fans.

Sir Anthony Hopkins IS Alfred Hitchcock. With the help of prosthetics and make-up, he portrays Hollywood’s Master of Suspense to tell the story of the making of ‘Psycho. Now seen as one of the all-time classics, we discover that there was once a time when it was taboo to do things like show murders, sympathise with killer or even depict a toilet on the big screen! Starring opposite him is Helen Mirren as Hitch’s wife Alma who, as it turns out, had a much bigger creative input than anyone in the public imagined! If you’re looking for two top level British thesps going head-to-head in a handsomely made period piece, you’re in luck this week!

To The Wonder
Director Terrence Malick returns this week with his follow-up to 2011’s Oscar-nominated The Tree of Life. Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko play a married couple whose passion for each other cools, leading Olga to re-connect with her faith while Ben rekindles a relationship with Rachel McAdams. Like just about every Malick film, it’s light on narrative drive but big on theme and beautiful shots of nature. It’s not necessarily to everybody’s taste but if you have a big screen and a good sound system, you might find yourself enjoying his lush and meditative style of film making.

12 Rounds 2: Reloaded
It’s straight-to-video time in the New Releases Round-Up and that means another hard-hitting action film featuring a WWE Superstar! The wrestler in question this week is Randy Orton (taking over from John Cena in the original). He plays a curiously muscular paramedic who finds himself pitted against a vigilante who’s forcing him to twelve rounds in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. The mystery man is somehow knows about his past and Orton has to figure out the connection before it’s too late! If mindless fun and carnage is what you’re after, we’ve got 245lbs of red-blooded action coming your way!

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Director Alex Gibney, best known for Iraq documentary Taxi to the Dark Side and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, turns his eye to perhaps his most hard-hitting subject yet. In investigating the Catholic Church’s systematic cover-up of child abuse, he meets four deaf men who intend to expose the priest who abused them through the sixties. Starting from the ground floor, the film soon finds that the smokescreen goes all the way top to the Vatican. This is a powerful film that inspires shock, outrage and a disbelief at how spiritual leaders can so thoroughly fail the people they’re charged with looking after.

For more of the latest films, check out the blinkbox New Releases page

Jun 14 2013

WATCH: Full ‘Elysium’ Trailer Drops… and it Looks Pretty Mega

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:37 am

When District 9 arrived in 2009 on the back of cryptic viral campaign, fans of great science-fiction action films were treated to one of the most inventive and refreshing films we’d seen for years. South African director Neill Blomkamp told a story with close parallels to the civil rights movement in his home country, albeit in the form of a mockumentary with aliens and space guns and giant robot suits!

In the four years since, we worried that Blomkamp would struggle with his ‘difficult second-album’, either selling out and making a middle-of-the-road Hollywood blockbuster or cranking out a vanity project. But if this trailer is anything to go by, he may have delivered something amazing in Elysium.

Set in a future where the poor slave away on Earth, under the thumb of their robot middle-managers while the wealthy live on a rotating orbital platform where they never get sick, thanks to their rich people technology. Starring Matt Damon (fresh off the success of Behind the Candelabra), the film shares the same socio-political DNA as District 9, though you can’t help but feel it’s a year or two too late to capitalise on the 99% movement.

With lots of cool action and breezy humour, there’s an inkling that this might turn out to be the most satisfying mainstream film of the summer.

Elysium reaches UK cinemas 23rd August

Jun 14 2013

Arnie to Return for ‘Terminator’, Presumably as a Geriatric Robot

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:01 am

In the year-and-a-bit since Arnold Schwarzenegger left the office of Governor of California, he’s wasted no time resuming his film career. Making a cameo in Expendables 2 before easing back into the genial action film The Last Stand. The next step, of course, is a return to the franchise that made his name.

According to a quote released by TheArnoldFans, which is ‘the biggest, best and ballsiest Arnold Schwarzenegger news source’: “…I’m very happy that the studios want me to be in Terminator 5 and to star AS the Terminator, which we start shooting in January…

Although it comes as no surprise that he’d want to return to his most famous role, they’re going to be hard-pushed to explain why Skynet created a killing robot who looks like an giant middle-aged woman. Maybe he’ll be tasked with infiltrating John Conner’s retirement facility?

He also went on to drop none-too-subtle hints about other sequel opportunities: “I’m also going to do King Conan – to play that role and also to do another Twins movie,” Governor Schwarzenegger told TAF. “So I feel very proud of that.

With his willingness to return to his old roles, we should probably hurry up and mail that spec script for a Kindergarten Cop sequel that’s gathering dust in our drawer.

Arnold’s latest film The Last Stand is now available at blinkbox

Jun 13 2013

Norfolk Digital Goes On-the-Air and Off-the-Hook in ‘Alan Partridge’ Trailer

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:11 am

The first full trailer for the Alan Partridge movie has dropped and despite the fact that it sounded like a sly joke in the teaser, the title will actually be Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. Steve Coogan reprises his most famous character for a story that will see the Norfolk (digital) Radio DJ involved in a siege when a disgruntled former colleague Colm Meaney takes the station by force. There are appearances from Alan’s put-upon PA, Lynn (Felicity Montagu) and his Geordie friend/acquaintance, Michael (Simon Greenall).

Co-written by Coogan, Peter Baynam and Armando Iannucci, there’s no reason to believe that the film will be any less excellent than any of the previous Partridge projects. Having said that, we won’t have to speculate for very long: the film arrives in cinemas August 7th.

Jun 13 2013

WATCH: ’300: Rise of an Empire’ Gets a Full-Length Trailer!

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:48 am

The saga of the Sparta’s war against the Persians continues in this sequel to 2006′s unexpected hit 300. Gerard Butler’s Leonidas might not be back but there are more muscles, more slow-motion action scenes and more beautiful women in the form of Game of Thrones star Lena Headey and Eva Green. Reprising his role as the towering god-king Xerxes is Rodrigo Santoro, who faces opposition from an alliance of Greek city-states that he engages in a naval battle.

Playing the lead role this time is Sullivan Stapleton, an Australian actor who is just about the last of the actors from Animal Kingdom to get his own movie in the states. He plays Themistocles, an Athenian General and hero of the Battle of Marathon (in which the Persians and the Greeks fought over 26 miles while wearing novelty costumes). Gerard Butler became a household name on the back of his role in 300, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we started hearing Stapleton’s name everywhere this time next year.

300: Rise of an Empire arrives March 2014

Jun 12 2013

TRAILER: Naomi Watts goes ‘Full-Diana’ for Princess of Wales Biopic

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 3:09 pm

We’ve heard about this project for quite a while now but now that we’re faced with actual footage, we’re not quite sure how to feel. Starring Naomi Watts as one of the most famous Britons of the 20th Century, this film was bound to be made at some point. But even 15 years after her death, it’s tough to gauge whether it’s still too soon.

Regardless, we don’t expect Watts to be anything short of great in a role that just screams ‘Oscar nomination’. She doesn’t really look much like Lady Di, but we can already see her hair and makeup doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Also, behind the camera is German Oliver Hirschbiegel, a director who was able to squeeze humanity and quiet drama out of a story about Hitler with 2004′s Downfall

There’s every possibility that this film will turn out to be this year’s ‘The Queen’ but it’s still too early to tell.

Diana is in UK cinemas 20th September



Jun 12 2013

8 Female Directors: Are They The Future of Hollywood?

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 2:27 pm

It’s half-way through 2013 now and in many ways, professional women are having it better now than at any point in the past. It would be incredibly glib to say that there’s equality in the workplace now: consider the fact that women only hold 4% of the CEO titles at Fortune 500 companies. Some might say that big business isn’t a particularly progressive part of society – that corporate structures are created by conservative men with socially conservative agendas. Perhaps.

But deep in Hollywood, California –in the belly of the entertainment beast where the stories are largely liberal in sensibility and they make movies about plucky young gals who prove themselves equal to men– only 1 in 15 film directors are women!

Just think about it: Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director and it only took until the 82nd Academy Awards for it to happen! On top of that, she was only the 4th nominee IN HISTORY.

Bigelow has always been an exception throughout her career. Even though she is a woman, she has always had a very powerful leaning towards genre films: a territory that many would identify as male. With a filmography that includes macho surf/crime movie Point Break, redneck motorhome vampire horror Near Dark and bomb disposal thriller The Hurt Locker, you wouldn’t say that Bigelow makes films ‘for women’.  Zero Dark Thirty is actually the first feature she’s made with a female protagonist – and even in this case, it’s about a woman having to ‘masculinise’ herself so that she can do her job in a man’s world.

We can only imagine how tough it is to be a woman making films in an industry where your primary audiences are assumed to be males aged 15-36. But that’s an entirely different topic for another time (watch this space).

To celebrate release of Zero Dark Thirty and the much-ignored sisterhood of quality filmmakers, we’re throwing the spotlight on some of our favourite double-X chromosome directors working in the English language today! If you haven’t heard of these filmmakers before, we recommend you search them out!

1. Catharine Hardwicke
Like many directors, Hardwicke cut her teeth in another aspect of the movie trade: in her case, as a production designer. Working with filmmakers like Cameron Crowe and David O Russell, she made the jump into directing features with Thirteen, a no-holds barred coming of age story starring a then-unknown Evan Rachel Wood. Just five years and three films later, she would go on to direct the first film in the incredibly successful Twilight franchise.

Unquestionably the best of the series, Hardwicke’s film is the only one of the films that seem remotely grounded in reality, presenting the story’s young female protagonist as a real person and not the cipher she would soon become in the later movies.

Off the back of Twilight’s success, Hardwicke seemed to have the world at her feet. But after the disappointing performance of Red Riding Hood, she’s since returned to the indie film bush leagues. It would appear that the studios have a very short memory. Her next film, a thriller titled Plush, is listed on the IMDb as being in ‘post-production’.

2. Sofia Coppola
Along with Bigelow, Coppola is one of four women to have ever received an Oscar nomination as a director, scoring big with her sophomore feature Lost in Translation. While it’s true that her subsequent films have been in no way as big as her melancholic tour of Tokyo with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, her choice of projects would suggest that she’s not looking to work within the studio system. Somewhere functioned as a slow meditation on fame and ennui while her funky take on Marie Antoinette really divided those audiences who ended up seeing it. Things could be changing, however, as her latest film, The Bling Ring, looks set to be a relative hit. Coming out this summer, it stars a post-Potter Emma Watson as a celebrity-obsessed teenage burglar and is easily her best film Translation. Watch out for it!

3. Lynne Ramsay
With her first two features, Lynne Ramsay quickly established herself as one of Britain’s finest feature directors. Her style combined social realist themes and strong characterisation with a powerful grasp of photography and music. After 2002 release of Morvern Callar and elevation to cult status, Ramsay delivered a shocking and powerful adaptation of Lionel Shriver best-selling novel We Need to Talk About Kevin.

In the 9 years between the release of Morvern and Kevin, Ramsay had worked on an adaptation of The Lovely Bones, a project which would have perfectly suited her sensibilities. After Ramsay’s adaptation was found to have significant departures from the novel, the film ended up in the hands of director Peter Jackson, who released it in 2009 to a poor box-office showing.

More recently, Ramsay made news again after her abrupt departure from the production of a Natalie Portman western Jane Got a Gun. Although her reasons for leaving were very unclear, this article from film.com makes a good point about the way in which this news was covered. Their basic point is that the language widely used by the entertainment media draws on all of the worst female stereotypes: in effect suggesting that she was being hysterical and PMS’ing.

Her body of work is relatively small, but there’s no denying her incredible talent and promising future.

4. Sarah Polley
Even though she’s just 34 years old, Canadian Sarah Polley is somewhat of a movie veteran. You might recognise her from her days as a child, actress starring in Terry Gilliam’s Baron Munchausen. Or perhaps you know her as the lead in Zack Snyder’s excellent Dawn of the Dead remake. But for fans of independent cinema, she’s known for her stunning debut Away From Her. A tender and sympathetic look at Alzheimer’s effects on its victims and their loved ones, the film won its star Julie Christie her first Oscar nomination since 1971’s McCabe and Mrs Miller. She followed that up with Take This Waltz, the surprisingly nuanced Seth Rogen/Michelle Williams drama about a young woman torn between passion and commitment.

This year will also see the release of Stories We Tell, a documentary that’s ostensibly an oral history of her family. The premise sounds a little self-indulgent but word is that it’s absolutely amazing and a real entertaining film as well. So, check that out at your local art house cinema in a few months’ time.

5. Mary Harron
Having cut her teeth in the world of documentaries, Mary Harron shot onto the Hollywood radar with her debut feature I Shot Andy Warhol, which followed the real-life story of feminist Valerie Solanas’ attempt to assassinate the titular pop artist. But it wasn’t until her 2001 film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho that her work really entered the public consciousness. Scenes featuring Christian Bale have since been endlessly parodied, culminating in this particularly meta Funny or Die sketch.

Her next film, a liberal-minded biopic of 50s pin-up Bettie Page, received a decent critical reception while her 2011 horror film The Moth Diaries only just arrived in UK cinemas less than a few weeks ago. She’s an attentive director with a great eye and an interesting perspective on feminism. In short: she would have been perfect for one of the later Twilight episodes.

6. Lexi Alexander
With only 2 theatrical films under her belt, German-born Lexi Alexander has made the most of her opportunities, crafting two very different pictures. Her debut feature was Green Street, (known elsewhere as Green Street Hooligans) which saw Elijah Woods’ American exchange student fall in with a dangerous West Ham firm. In the recent history of movies about tough young cockneys getting into trouble, it’s actually one of the better ones. But it’s actually her follow-up that really should have marked her out as a director to watch.

Punisher: War Zone was a sequel/re-boot to an earlier Marvel film starring Thomas Jane. Taking on an entirely new lead actor in Rome’s Ray Stevenson, Alexander made an insane, graphic, balls-to-the-wall action film with gun battles that rival anything John Woo has made. If you don’t believe us, check out this incredibly violent clip.

The film ended up tanking at the box-office, slamming the brakes on her studio career. But in a marketplace where audiences can’t get enough of OTT Michael Bay-style action, Lexi Alexander really needs to be given another shot at blockbuster glory.

7. Nicole Holofcener
The step-daughter of famed producer and Woody Allen collaborator Charles H. Joffe, Holofcener has made her name with a fine line of darkly funny films about the affluent middle classes (mostly starring Catherine Keener). If you have to start somewhere, why not check out her 2006 comic drama Friends with Money: an ensemble piece about a woman in her 30s (Jennifer Aniston) who has to cope with the fact that all her friends have become rich while she still has to take housecleaning jobs.  Typical of her work, it’s thoughtful, character-conscious and intelligent in the way it explores its topics.

Likewise, her 2010 movie Please Give stars Keener as a successful business-owner who wrestles with guilt as she tries to reconcile her own good fortune with the suffering of others around her. Take it from us: both of these films are definitely worth seeking out and are incredibly easy to watch despite any misgivings you may have about indie cinema.

Her next film is in post-production and it stars Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus — watch out for it at an arthouse cinema near you!

8. Michelle MacLaren
One of the finest visual directors today hasn’t even made a single feature film, having worked through the recent Golden Age of Television. Starting off as a production manager and building up to a producer credit on shows like the X-Files, MacLaren turned the heads of TV fans with her work as a director on Breaking Bad. As that show’s producing director and most prolific shot-caller, she’s been responsible for a crafting the most cinematic sequences we’ve ever seen on the small screen.

The parking lot shoot out in Season 3 (spoiler clip)? The prison montage at the end of Season 5? Those were both done by her.

While balancing her responsibilities on that particular show, she’s also found time to direct episodes of other blue chip programmes like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead (the episode where they find out what’s in the barn? That’s her as well!). Privileged enough to be working on telly at a time when the quality of writing far exceeds Hollywood movies, it’s unclear whether she would even want to make the jump to feature films. But if she ever does, we’ll be lining up for tickets on the first weekend.


Also see:

Meek’s Cutoff (dir. Kelly Reichardt)

The Kids Are All Right (dir. Lisa Cholodenko)

Fish Tank (dir. Andrea Arnold)

Ginger & Rosa (dir. Sally Potter)