Aug 14 2013

TRAILER: A first glimpse at Frank Darabont’s Mob City

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 2:48 pm


Formerly known as L.A. Noir and then Lost Angels, creator Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) has revealed the first trailer for his upcoming crime series set in 1940s Los Angeles. Starring a couple of familiar faces from Darabont’s tenure on The Walking Dead, Mob City is led by Jon Bernthal as en-marine now working in the LAPD’s mob squad. Tasked with tackling organised crime and corruption, he’s joined by Jeffrey DeMunn (also from The Walking Dead) and Neal McDonough (Band of Brothers) as fellow cops who must not only deal with notorious historical mobsters Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen, but also with interference from City Hall.

As a nice little bonus the trailer also shows Simon Pegg playing a convincingly-American comedian and mob hanger-on. But don’t get too excited: he’s only slated to appear in the pilot episode, which probably means he gets killed in it.

What do you think? Will this be a thrilling period drama in the vein of L.A. Confidential or a silly fantasy like Gangster Squad? Let us know in the comments board or on our Facebook page.


Aug 14 2013

6 Amazing Things Only Mad Men Fans Will Understand

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 1:40 pm

title
With the arrival of Mad Men’s Sixth Season on blinkbox, we thought it would be a good time to share some of our favourite Sterling Cooper-relating observations, reactions and parodies. Fire up a Lucky Strike and pour yourself a stiff one… you’re going to enjoy this.

1. Of all the Man Men parody accounts on Twitter, none can hold a candle to ‘80s Don Draper
80s-Don-Draper

2. You can’t be classed as a pop-cultural phenomenon until you get your own parody on Sesame Street.

3. Tom & Lorenzo’s Mad Style is possibly the best Mad Men blog on the internet.

Written by style and fashion bloggers Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez, Mad Style is an indispensable resource for Mad Men fanatics. Their posts break down each weeks’ episodes, analysing the work and decisions made by costume designer Janie Bryant.
Madstyle
The more you read of this blog, the more you appreciate how much time, consideration and talent goes into every element of this show. With their impeccable eye and understanding of how costumes inform character, relationships and narrative, Tom and Lorenzo rarely miss a trick. They sometimes even act as forensic fashionistas, attempting to predict a characters’ secrets by their choice of neckerchief or by speculating why a necklace from Season 2 is making a return in a key scene from Season 5.

This is an essential read for fans of the show.

4. As it turns out, the employees of Sterling Cooper [Draper Pryce] have a lot in common with the high school students from Mean Girls.
MeanMadMen1

MeanMadMen3

MeanMadMen2

MeanMadMen4
(from meanmadmen.tumblr.com)

5. “I am Harry Crane. Look on my increasingly poor sartorial decisions and despair.”
Harry-Crane
Harry’s transformation from Nation of Islam to creepy L.A. lounge lizard has to be one of the most unsettling things about the show.

6. And let us never forget the wit and wisdom of Roger Sterling:

tumblr_lymyjfGiMs1qbsbnoo1_250 Sterling's Gold 4
Sterling's Gold 3 Sterling's Gold 2

7. And speaking of Roger, his failed memoir ‘Sterling’s Gold’ is actually available in Hardback!

Sterling-Book

It’s not long ‘til Christmas and this would definitely make for a great stocking-filler!

Mad Men Season 6 is now available in blinkbox

 


Aug 14 2013

TRAILER: Woody Allen is a total P.I.M.P. in ‘Fading Gigolo’

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:12 am


With the recent success of Midnight in Paris and having received the biggest opening of his career with Blue Jasmine earlier this year, Woody Allen is currently riding another peak in a career spanning 6 decades. But while he’s chosen not to act in most of his post-millennial movies, he hasn’t closed the door to appearing in front of the camera again. In an interview with Yahoo last year, he spoke briefly on this: “I’ve always been open to acting in other people’s films, but no one has ever asked me to be in their films, only two or three times in 30 years. When John Turturro asked me to be in Fading Gigolo, I said sure.”

Any judging by the trailer, Woody seems absolutely suited for the material. He plays a cash-strapped bookseller who helps his shy friend (Turturro) make a little money ‘attending to the needs of women’ in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. Despite having a cast that includes Sofia Vergara, Sharon Stone and Liev Shreiber, the trailer focuses on Allen’s character, who seems to be getting a lot of great one-liners to work with.

Written, starring and directed by Turturro, Fading Gigolo will be opening at the Toronto Film Festival this September.


Aug 13 2013

10 Steps to Surviving a Horror Movie

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 3:54 pm

title
What is the number one cause of death in horror films? Could it be Demons? Ghosts? Or maybe Serial Killers?

None of them. The characters in most horror movies all keep on dying when they invariably insist on acting like idiots and refuse to follow these ten simple rules:

1. Never buy a house with an adjoining cemetery — no matter how cheap it is.
Cemetary

 

2. If you are in a large group, DO NOT split up into pairs when you’re exploring an abandoned mansion/amusement park/school/shopping centre.
Split-Up

 

3. No matter how dirty you feel, never take a shower. Just spray on some Lynx Java.
Shower

 

4. NEVER hide in the closet: it’s the first place the killers will look. Plus, who wants to die surrounded by a bunch of dress shirts and corduroy slacks?
Closet

 

5. Also, don’t go into the basement. Nothing good ever happens in the basement.
Basement

 

6. Don’t be a sceptic. You’ll only end up looking stupid when the devil finally turns up to kill you.
sCULLY

 

7. Make sure you’re not the smart-ass in your group. Your demise will be the most gruesome and irony-laden of them all.
Smartass

 

8. Ladies: when backed into a corner, why do you always insist on picking up a chef’s knife?
Knife
There’s a reason why God gave us stun guns and bear mace.

 

9. If you think the killer’s dead, don’t hesitate and DO NOT check his pulse. Finish him off with a heavy rock or an air-con unit.
Aircon

 

10. Most of all… NEVER EVER OPEN A MIRRORED CABINET AND THEN CLOSE IT MOMENTS LATER!

Evil Dead is now available at blinkbox


Aug 13 2013

Review: Evil Dead

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:05 am

Okay, let’s put our cards on the table first.

To us, there’s nothing that smells more like a cash-grab than a glossy remake of a classic Horror film. Just about every big franchise from the seventies and eighties has received a reboot. From the Nightmare on Elm Street to Rob Zombie’s Halloween and 2009’s Friday the 13th, there has been no shortage of classic horror movies that have been remade with a slightly condescending view of modern audiences.

So imagine our delight when we discovered that the new Evil Dead was actually pretty good.

Produced by Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi –the star and director of the original—this remake is a pretty reverent treading of the same ground that also manages to bring something new to the table.

Mia (Jane Levy) is an addict on the cusp of recovery. Her brother and best friends have brought her to a cabin in the woods where she plans to go cold turkey far away from civilisation. While struggling with symptoms of withdrawal, she inadvertently becomes possessed by an evil spirit released by the opening of a creepy book found in the cellar. This, of course, leads to a series of gruesome events in which the spirit begins to pick off her friends one by one.

The tropes of the Evil Dead were pretty thoroughly deconstructed in last year’s Cabin in the Woods, even down the character archetypes but director Fede Alvarez and his co-writers Diablo Cody and Rodo Sayagues have found a way to inject a little credibility into their characters. By using Mia’s addiction as a plot device, they have managed to:

a)      Give the characters a reason to stay in a crappy cabin despite discovering a basement full of burnt out cat husks. Any right thinking human would abandon their holiday if that happened. Idiot kids in bad horror movies don’t behave that way;

b)      Give the characters a legitimate reason not to believe Mia when she tells them she was sexually assaulted by a demonic tree. In bad horrors, her friends would just say “eh, you’ll be fine in the morning” before continuing to get drunk; and

c)       Add another dimension to the story. The addiction informs the relationship between Mia and her estranged brother, allowing for an actual character arc to develop in a horror movie. It also presents a central metaphor for the film: equating the unreliability of addicts to someone who has been possessed might be a little on the nose, but it’s interesting at the very least.

Many fans of the original film have been pretty vocal in expressing their distaste at the idea of a re-make. And so they should – they’re almost always pointless. But from a nuts-and-bolts horror perspective, this Evil Dead works perfectly well. It delivers set pieces that aren’t necessary novel but they’re still effective. Even casual horror viewers should hopefully appreciate the fact that not every scare is created by having something scary pop into background of a frame, punctuated by a jolt in the score. As a young horror director, Alvarez also shows a lot of restraint by not throwing absolutely everything at the screen.

Sure, it’s a little jarring to see such an un-ironic take on these horror tropes less than a year after Cabin in the Woods. But for some reason, this sincere and reverent reworking of The Evil Dead kind of works.

But please… no more remakes now, okay?

Evil Dead is now available at blinkbox


Aug 13 2013

The Gloriously Low Budget World of Asylum Mockbusters

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:25 am

title
If you were paying attention to the New Releases section at blinkbox a few weeks back, you may have noticed something strange. There was a film released to rent in mid-July that featured giant robots battling alien creatures: a science-fiction/fantasy movie seeming inspired by the Japanese kaiju films of 60s, 70s and 80s. And if you thought for one moment that Guillermo del Toro’s summer hit of that description made its way to video early, the producers of Atlantic Rim will be very pleased.

That’s right. Not Pacific Rim. Atlantic Rim.

Here are the posters for the two films, side by side.
Rim
Watch the trailer here.

Aficionados of straight-to-video movies will be aware of what’s going on — but for the others among you, please allow us to introduce you to the strange world of The Asylum.

Established in the mid-90s to produce low-budget horror films, The Asylum saw its business take off after their cut-price version of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds received an inordinately large number of orders from Blockbuster video, perhaps thanks to the release of Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the same story that very year.

War-of-the-Worlds

Since then, the company’s bread-and-butter has been the production of movies now lovingly referred to as ‘mockbusters’: films that are similar –but legally distinct– to big Hollywood productions.

By releasing them on the market weeks (if not days) before those blockbusters’ theatrical openings, Asylum are able to piggy-back on the big studios’ marketing spends. We can’t imagine this tactic has made them very popular among the established industry players, but you have to see the genius in it.

Defined by their low production values and starring actors you’ve either never heard of (or assumed were dead), these films are regularly profitable in part thanks to their tiny budgets. But there is also no supply without demand: Asylum has found a niche market of hip movie fans who love their Ed Wood-like ambition and ineptitude. Sure, some of these titles are bad; but some of them are so bad that they become immensely fun.

Here are just some typical films produced by The Asylum:

Snakes on a Train
Snakes
Not to be confused with: Snakes on a Plane.

Official synopsis: Under a powerful Zombie curse, a young woman is being slowly devoured from within by snakes that have hatched inside her. Her only chance of survival is a powerful Shaman who lives across the border. With only hours to live, she jumps aboard a train headed for Los Angeles. Unfortunately for the passengers aboard, they are now trapped, soon to be victims of these flesh-eating vipers… Watch Trailer

Notable for: the scene where a giant viper appear and EATS THE TRAIN! Just like on the poster!

 

Pirates of Treasure Island
Pirates
Not to be confused with: Pirates of the Caribbean

Official Synopsis: Adventure in which an innkeeper’s life of monotony suddenly changes when he comes into possession of a treasure map. Enlisting the help of Long John Silver (Lance Henriksen) and his band of cutthroat pirates, he sets off in search of the cursed Skeleton Island.

Notable for: the belief that Lance Henriksen is a suitable replacement for Johnny Depp.

 

American Warships
Battleship
Not to be confused with: Battleship

Official Synopsis: When a Fleet of mysterious ships wage war against the Earth, only the crew of the USS Iowa, the last American Warship, can prevent global Armageddon. Watch Trailer

Notable for: the fact that all actors are shot from low-angles so that you can’t see the ocean (or the fact that they’re standing on a museum ship).

 

Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies
Lincoln
Not to be confused with: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Official Synopsis: With the country torn apart by an ongoing civil war and a proposed end to slavery, Lincoln may already have believed himself to have his hands full. However, when he hears of a zombie outbreak in Savannah, Georgia, the US President leads a team of Secret Service agents to the area to try and contain the disaster. Watch Trailer

Notable for: Lincoln’s weapon of choice. In AL: Vampire Hunter, Honest Abe wields an axe just as he did in many historical representations. In AL vs Zombies, he uses a scythe because… who knows why!?

 

Grimm’s Snow White
Snow-white
Not to be confused with: Snow White and Huntsman

Official Synopsis: When the King is killed by a ferocious reptile beast, his Queen takes control of the kingdom. She tries to kill her beautiful stepdaughter SNOW, but she escapes into the enchanted forest… Watch Trailer

Notable for: being a lizard-heavy retelling of the classic fairy tale. And for starring a trio of embarrassed-looking British actors.

And perhaps the most brazen mockbuster ever made…

Transmorphers
Trans
Not to be confused with: Transformers

Official Synopsis: A race of alien robots has conquered the Earth and forced humanity underground. After 300 years of domination, a small group of humans develop a plan to defeat the mechanical invaders in the ultimate battle between man and machine. Watch Trailer

Notable for: it’s unflinching portrayal of women in the military as leather-clad lesbians who make out all the time.

 

SHARK TALES

As well as producing these ‘mockbusters’, Asylum have also produced a lucrative range of shark films, some of which you may have heard of:
Sharks

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus has become one of the big cult films of the 2000s alongside The Room and Birdemic. Its success can mostly be attributed to the crazy title and this clip in particular. MS vs GO proved so popular, that it spawned a sequel in the form of Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus. 

While the Mega Shark films are rip-offs of nothing in particular, 2 Headed Shark Attack is an obvious take on Piranha 3D that goes the extra mile by casting Jerry O’Connell [’s brother] in the lead.

And lest we forget, Sharknado recently set the internet alight, with many B-movie fans claiming to enjoy the experience unironically!

 

PREACHING TO THE CHOIR

In 2008, Asylum began to recognise a space in the market for religiously-oriented content and set about creating Faith Films, an imprint which would put out movies for Middle America’s enormous Christian audiences. Their first effort was Sunday School Musical: a movie that is definitely not a rip-off of the High School Musical series:

Perhaps Sunday School Musical didn’t sell as well as they had hoped, or maybe the creatives at the company didn’t want to make another feel-good film. Either way, the following Christian features from Faith Films were less about praising The Lord’s warm embrace as they were about fearing of His Almighty Wrath:
Christian

Inspired by the direct-to-video successes of two films called The Omega Code and Left Behind, these films are all about the End Days and how non-believers are really going to suck it come the apocalypse. Three of these DVD covers even feature quotes from Revelations! And if you reckon there isn’t much of a market for these cynically pious Fundamentalist Christian fantasies, you would be dead wrong. 

If there’s a market for a certain type of movie, you can be sure that Asylum is already trying to figure out how to make it as cheap as they can. And for this enterprising spirit, we salute them today.

For a taste of the Asylum experience, the following films are now available for your perusal at blinkbox:

Atlantic Rim

Grimm’s Snow White

Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus

Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus

2 Headed Shark Attack


Aug 12 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Behind-the-Scenes of ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:24 am

Pines
Reuniting Ryan Gosling with his Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance, The Place Beyond the Pines is a sprawling spiritual epic that defies the expectations set-up by its all-star cast. Take a look behind the camera with this exclusive featurette that sees Gosling, Cianfrance and co-star Bradley Cooper talk about the film’s genesis and their reasons for being drawn towards the project.

Those of you who haven’t seen this film yes should avoid reading too much about it beforehand. It’s not like there’s a Shyamalan-style twist or anything — but the story is unpredictable in a way that most films are rarely these days. It’s not Drive 2, as you may have been told; it’s very different but very good as well.

The Place Beyond the Pines is now available to rent at blinkbox


Aug 12 2013

“Get her to the church on time”: New Releases, Week Starting 12 August 2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 7:57 am

Bachelorette
Bachelorette
You can’t have missed the fact that there has been an uptick in the amount of wedding comedies made in the wake of the super-successful Bridesmaids. If we’re being honest, most of them have been total all shades of rubbish… but thankfully that’s not the case with this week’s new release. Featuring a fantastic cast of female stars, Bachelorette is actually very funny. Kirsten Dunst is a miserable woman in her 30s who finds herself embittered when she’s asked to act as the maid of honour at the wedding of her ‘fat friend’ (Rebel Wilson). Together with their friend Isla Fisher (crazy party chick) and Lizzy Caplan (dry, sardonic), she unwittingly threatens to ruin the wedding with some solid 15 Certificate hijinks!

The Place Beyond the Pines
Pines
Ryan Gosling reunites with his Blue Valentine writer/director Derek Cianfrance in a dark and moody film about fathers and sons. He plays a travelling stunt biker who re-encounters a woman he hooked up with the year before (Eva Mendes). Discovering that they’ve has a child together, he promptly packs in his job so that he can stay in town. Of course, there are very few opportunities for a man whose only skills involve riding motorbikes, which result in him to armed robberies.

As you know from the poster that Bradley Cooper also stars: he plays a local cop with dreams that stretch further than the confines of his small town. Further than that, we really think that this is a film that you need to discover for yourself. It’s an ambitiously-told story with plenty of great turns from its ensemble cast and you should check it out before you read too much more about it.

Evil Dead
Evil-Dead
Mia (Jane Levy) is an addict on the cusp of recovery. Her brother and best friends have brought her to a cabin in the woods where she plans to go cold turkey far away from civilisation. While struggling with symptoms of withdrawal, she inadvertently becomes possessed by an evil spirit released by the opening of a creepy book found in the cellar. This, of course, leads to a series of gruesome events in which the spirit begins to pick off her friends one by one. The film is a straight-forward and sincere homage to the horror classic – one that is very scary indeed.

Spring Breakers
Spring-Breakers
James Franco stars a corn-rowed, gold-grilled gangster wannabe in this sun-kissed crime comedy from director Harmony Korine. When a group of four young college girls on Spring Break run out of money, they try to rob a restaurant and end up getting arrested. Seeing potential in them, Franco’s character bails them out and the group embark on a wild crime spree across Florida. One of the biggest American indie hits of the year, Spring Breakers is crazy good fun.

The Words
Words
Prepare to have your mind bent: this is the only film this week to have a story within a story within a story. Dennis Quaid is an author at a public reading of his novel it tells of an aspiring author (Bradley Cooper) wracked with guilt when he receives acclaim for a novel he plagarised from a lost manuscript.  The film’s action flits between Quaid’s story, his novel and the novel in the novel, which sees a young WWII soldier (Ben Barnes) fall in love with a French waitress. It’s kind of like a literary version of Inception, if you will.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
We-Steal-Secrets
From Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney (Mea Maxima Culpa, Enron) comes this documentary about one of the most pressing issues in the West. Following the much-publicised story of Julian Assange and the events that led him to become a hero to some… and Public Enemy #1 to others. Gibney has established himself as one of the world’s most essential documentary film-makers. This film is a must-see.

For more of the latest films, head over to our New Releases section.


Aug 09 2013

7 Incredible ‘Breaking Bad’ Memes and Virals

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 8:07 am

Title
With the first episode of Breaking Bad’s final season arriving on blinkbox next week, we’ve been revisiting some old episodes and trawling the internet for some of the best memes, viral content and fan-generated art. In order to understand these, you will need to be kind of up-to-date with Breaking Bad but surprisingly enough, and of course there will be spoilers.

**TO REPEAT: The following images and links may contain spoilers**

1. You know a show has really made it big when it inspires a web comic created on Microsoft Paint.

BBComics3

BBComics4

BBComics1

There are loads more of these on tumblr.

2. Ever notice how all of Walter Junior’s scenes take place around the breakfast table?
Breakfast

Breakfast2

breakfast3
(via storify)

3. After a while, people started noticing a number of similarities with Malcolm in the Middle.
Breaking-Malcolm
(via buzzfeed)

Jane Kaczmarek, who played Cranston’s wife on Malcolm, is also slated to appear in the final series of episodes. As proof, Dean Norris (Hank) posted this photo on Instagram:
Malcolm-Middle
5. Remember Bogdan, Walt’s boss from the carwash?
Eyebrows
He’s played by part-time actor Marius Stan, a senior physicist formerly of New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory!

4. You can actually go to Saul Goodman’s website, where he offers testimonials from former clients Badger and Wendy the meth hooker!
Goodman-1

Goodman

 
5. The Internet also has a huge crush on Hector Salamanca.
BBComics3

Hector-2

Hector

 
6. If you ever wanted to see poor Gale’s entire karaoke music video (complete with Thai subtitles), here it is:

The track he’s singing is Peter Schilling’s Major Tom (Coming Home), which continues the story of the astronaut from David Bowie’s Space Oddity.

 
7. Hank’s fascination with minerals in Season 4 took on a new life, thanks to the internet.

Mineral-4

Mineral 3

Hank1

Breaking Bad Seasons 1-5 (Part 1) are now available at blinkbox in HD.

The first episode of the Final Season will land on blinkbox next Tuesday 13 August with new episodes dropping every week after that.


Aug 08 2013

Review: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 4:23 pm

Partrdige
It’s been a long time coming but Norfolk’s favourite disgraced television host/mid-morning radio presenter has finally got his own theatrical film! And you know what? It’s actually very funny.

Carrying on from the Mid-Morning Matters online shorts from a few years back, Alpha Papa finds Partridge’s employment as a provincial DJ under threat when his station is bought up by a media conglomerate. As the new owners, their first point of order is to fire the station’s longest serving DJ (Colm Meany), who doesn’t take the news too well and comes back to work with a shotgun.

With hostages being taken and police surrounding the building, the authorities decide that it would be a good idea to send Partridge in as an intermediary. The same man who once shot and killed critic Forbes McAllister on live television.

Star Steve Coogan, along with co-writers Peter Baynham and Armando Iannucci have wisely kept most of the action confined to the station instead of sending Alan to America perhaps, or off on holiday to an unfinished hotel in Spain. We get to see just enough of fan-favourite characters like his put-upon assistant Lynn and Geordie factotum Michael. None of them outstay their welcome or feel extraneous to the plot.

The gags fly thick and fast, with new lines and set pieces that rank as highly as anything from the classic I’m Alan Partridge. Plus, it gets bonus marks for an eclectic soundtrack and a hyper-obscure Marillion reference!

Go see this in a cinema with a full audience: if there’s a more laugh-out-loud funny movie this year, we’d be pleasantly surprised.

Rating: ★★★★

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa is in cinemas now.

You can now watch the first episode of I’m Alan Partridge with our Try TV on Us offer (until Sunday 18 August).