Nov 28 2013

Competition: Win a £25 fashion voucher from F&F

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:16 am

Keep warm this winter! Stay at home, put on a lovely film, and wrap yourself from head to toe in some brand new clothes!

For our competition this week, we’ve partnered up with F&F to give away twenty £25 vouchers for you to use on anything from their extensive collection of quality clothing. Might we suggest you peruse their line of fine Onesies?

If you’re going to settle in and watch a film from the comfort of your own couch or bed, we couldn’t think of any better attire than these chic one-piece outfits. They come in a great number of designs from Fair Isle print and Camouflage to an adorable cow-print fleece!


Nothing says “Sorry, love: I’m staying in tonight” better than a stylish Onesie. Check out F&F’s options for men, women and children.

For a chance to win a £25 F&F voucher, just answer this simple sartorial question:

Complete your entry by 23:59 on Monday 2 December 2013 for your chance to win. Good luck!

Nov 28 2013

‘Son of God’ trailer drops in time for Christmas season

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:20 am

I can tell you now that this film is blasphemous. For us, the one and only screen Jesus will always be Robert Powell in Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth: his sallow face and soulful eyes were etched with passion, pain and empathy. He had the look of a man who would totally suffer for our sins.

In Son of God, an upcoming film on the life of Christ, he is played by Portuguese model Diogo Morgado. And while he’s not as accomplished an actor as Powell, he’s certainly very handsome. Could this be the first incarnation of the Messiah who wouldn’t be out of place outside an Abercrombie and Fitch outlet?

Edited from a recent 10-hour American miniseries of The Bible, Son of God is produced by the husband/wife team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Burnett’s greatest success was in creating the long running reality series Survivor while Downey is best known as the star of the spiritually-themed drama Touched by an Angel. She also pulls double duty on this project by playing the role of Mary to Morgado’s Jesus.

It’s a handsome looking film, though we’re not sure whether there’s that much demand in the UK for an overtly religious film starring a non-British Jesus. Having said that, Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ did make over US$20 million in Britain, so what do we know!

Son of God is in cinemas from 5 March 2014

Nov 27 2013

Sandra Bullock is the only Female superstar in Hollywood. Discuss.

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 3:03 pm

sandra bullock gravity
Here’s a statement that sounds kind of contentious: Sandra Bullock is the only true female movie star in Hollywood.

Now, that might sound completely daft. You very rarely hear anyone describe Ms Bullock as anyone’s favourite film star and you never see ‘Sandra Bullock movies’ on anyone’s list of Facebook ‘likes’.

The tabloids and online media certainly have a preference for younger stars like Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence or Mila Kunis. Readers of glossy magazines would argue that Angelina Jolie or Catherine Zeta-Jones have a greater star quality. And that might be true. Let us not forget the grand dame of Hollywood Meryl Streep: arguably the greatest actress of her generation. But is she truly a proper movie star?

In William Goldman’s legendary books on Hollywood, Adventures in the Screen Trade and Which Lie Did I Tell?, he defines a movie star by one standard: can he or she ‘open a film’? By ‘opening a film’, he asks if that actor is able to guarantee success on a first box-office weekend on the back of their own name.

Tom Cruise is the ultimate movie star. Regardless of how bland a film might seem (let’s call this speculative film ‘Jack Reacher’, for the sake of argument) having Tom Cruise’s name at the top of the poster can usually guarantee a good box-office result in the first week – over $30 million dollars in the case of Reacher. And almost always, the Cruiser’s movies will go on to make mega-bucks worldwide, thanks to his international appeal.

By this metric alone, we can describe Sandra Bullock as a proper star. Even taking into account the fact that she has recently taken time off from acting to raise her adopted child, she has been the lead in no fewer than 4 blockbuster hits in as many years.

sandra bullock blind side

When you put her four films in perspective with all the female-led films made by major studios, her achievement becomes even more staggering.

Let’s take a look at some of the other ‘big name’ actresses in Hollywood within the same time period. Remember, we’re looking for films in which the actress plays the lead: not the love interest or the sidekick. The movie has to be about her character.

Between 2009 and 2013:

  • Scarlett Johansson acted in 6 films but was not the lead in any of them
  • Natalie Portman won the Oscar for her lead role in Black Swan, her only top-billed performance. She played the girlfriend in Thor, No Strings attached and Brothers.
  • Angelina Jolie has only acted in 2 films since 2008: she was only the lead in Salt.
  • Renee Zellweger has not acted in one single film for the past 5 year
  • Emma Stone has only headlined 1 film (2010′s Easy A). Since then, she’s been playing girlfriends and working in ensemble casts
  • Mila Kunis has only played supporting roles and/or girlfriends

Our main point is how Hollywood’s pretty terrible when it comes to writing movies about women. There are enough girlfriend roles to keep America’s most glamorous starlets employed but it’s really dismal how few movies there are told from the perspective of a female characters.

The result is that all your favourite actresses are rarely a film’s headline star.

On the other hand, Bullock has rarely vacated the top billing since she broke out in Speed back in 1994. In a short time, she proved her capabilities with romantic comedies like While You Were Sleeping, thrillers like The Net (okay, that film has dated badly but she’s pretty good in it) and dramas in the vein of A Time to Kill.

But the one thing that has solidified her position in Hollywood –and we cannot stress the importance this enough— is that her films make money. Her comedy The Proposal (which she also produced) made over $317 million at box-offices around the world; she scored a $310 million hit with The Blind Side, which is crazy amount of money for a family drama. Gravity and The Heat, her two films from this year are collectively pushing their way towards the $1 billion mark.

sandra bullock proposal

In The First Wives Club, Goldie Hawn’s character (an actress) says: “There are only three ages for women in Hollywood: ‘Babe’, ‘District Attorney’, and ‘Driving Miss Daisy’.”

Bullock’s played her fair share of District Attorney-types but she’s not limited to them. Few actresses could have pulled off her role in Gravity, a remarkable movie which has quickly become the year’s ‘must-see’ film. She is an affecting on-screen presence who could also plausibly be an astronaut.

Maybe she’s enjoyed a long successful career thanks to the fact that she’s never been ‘The Babe’ in anything. We’re not saying that she isn’t a remarkably attractive woman – of course she is; but she’s never been a pin-up kind of gal. As she gracefully transitioned into middle-age, Bullock has never given off the air of someone desperately trying to cling on to her youthful looks (see: Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan).

She’s shown an eclectic taste in film projects, some of which she has produced herself. In the same year she won the Oscar for playing a wealthy southern matriarch in The Blind Side, she also won the Razzie for Worst Actress in All About Steve, in which she played a manic woman-child. In a charming and classy move, she even turned up to collect her award:

She’s very funny and charming, and she’s non-threatening to women which makes her the female Tom Hanks. By that we mean that she’s able to play normal people in a way that many other stars cannot.

Regular women can’t possibly empathise with the majority of female stars. I mean, could you see Scarlett play a check-out girl who gets fired from the Co-Op? Of course not: the idea of it would stretch credulity to its breaking point. Scar-Jo is a good actress but she can’t play a regular human being: her character in We Bought a Zoo isn’t a human being as much as a middle-aged man’s fantasy of what a zookeeper should look like!

Despite the fact that she’s a multimillionaire, Sandra Bullock looks and acts like someone you would want to meet in real life: you would definitely take her up on a lunch invitation. If Angelina Jolie asked to meet you for an afternoon drink, you know she’d spend the entire time droning on about how smart her kids are before bullying you to set up a direct debit to her charity.

sandra bullock heat

So as we head into an Oscar season that will likely reward Sandra Bullock for her performance in Gravity, let’s acknowledge the fact that she’s still one of Hollywood’s greatest personalities.

Beautiful actresses come and go, but real stars never fade away.

What do you think? Do you agree with us or do you think we’ve contracted a terminal case of Sandra Bullock Fever? Let us know in the comments below.

Check out this week’s latest comedic release, The Heat

Nov 26 2013

8 Things You Might Not Know About Helen Mirren

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 4:59 pm

1. She was actually born Helen Lydia Mironoff

2. Her grandfather was a diplomat and a Colonel in the Russian Imperial Army
Whilst in Britain negotiating an arms deal in 1917, he found himself stranded when the Russian Revolution broke out. (image via Daily Mail)

3. In 1997 she married American film-maker Taylor Hackford, the director of Ray and An Officer and a Gentleman. Taylor-Hackford
Sorry boys, she’s off the market!

4. She has played multiple screen queens! Queens
Clockwise from top left: Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth I, Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, Queen Tuya in The Prince of Egypt, Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George.

5. She once lived with Liam Neeson in the early 80s. Neesons
They had met on-set while filming Excalibur.

6. She’s twice played roles made famous by John Gielgud. Mirren

7. She has starred in an X-Rated movie! Caligula
Well, kind of… She played Empress Caesonia in Tinto Brass’ film of Caligula. Co-starring Malcolm McDowell and Peter O’Toole, the project was taken away in editing by producer Bob Guccione (the publisher of Penthouse magazine) who inserted 6-minutes of hard-core sex into the final cut.

8. She has probably won at least her own weight in major acting awards: Awards

If you can’t get enough of Dame Helen Mirren, check her out in this week’s latest release, RED 2

Nov 26 2013

Joffrey to quit acting after ‘Game of Thrones’

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:40 am

Probably sick of being called a hateful twerp by strangers, actor Jack Gleeson –best known as hateful twerp King Joffrey on Game of Throneshas told Ireland’s Independent of his plans to retire from acting after his time on HBO show is done.

The 21 year-old actor currently balancing his responsibilities on the show with a philosophy degree at Dublin’s Trinity College. He said: “It was always a recreation beforehand, but when I started doing Game of Thrones perhaps the reality was made too real for me.

“The lifestyle that comes with being an actor in a successful TV show isn’t something I gravitate towards.”

He did not, however, mention if this decision was in any way formed by the frosty reception he receives anytime he tries to chat up ladies who have seen him on the telly and assume he’s a sadistic little monster in real life. Which he is not, from what we’ve heard.

In the interview, Gleeson is described as having returned from a trip to Haiti with the charity Goal. “I’d been looking to use the celebrity I’ve got from the show to bring awareness for causes Goal supports,” he said. “I had the connection with the organisation through my uncle, Tim Gleeson, and he worked with Goal in the 1980s.”

While his is the most hated character on the show, millions of fans around the world recognise and respect his ability to pull off such a hateful character with aplomb. In tribute to his performance as Joffrey, here’s a GIF of him getting beaten about the face:


Game of Thrones Seasons 1-3 are now available at blinkbox

Nov 25 2013

Trailer: A First Real Look at Idris Elba as Mandela

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:50 am

Over the weekend, The Weinstein Company released the first full trailer for their upcoming biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Starring Idris Elba as that most iconic of all South Africans, the film chronicles Nelson Mandela’s dramatic transformation from law student to civil rights activist to freedom fighter to terrorist to prisoner to his nation’s president.

With Mandela himself now confined to what is likely going to be his death bed, it seems like a stroke of morbid coincidence how his life is about to be immortalised on the big screen. There’s no doubt Elba will bring a lot of gravitas to this role — he’s also managing to nail Mandela’s distinct speech pattern without making it seem like a Harry Enfield sketch character.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom opens in the UK 3 January 2013

Nov 25 2013

Review: RED 2

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:20 am

Old people do the craziest things! Well, that was sort of the theme of the original film, which found former government agents Bruce Willis and John Malkovich pulled out of their retirement to do things that Danny Glover’s character in Lethal Weapon would consider ‘beneath of man of my advanced age’.

A lot of its charm and humour came from the idea that spies would get restless in their retirement – you know, just like normal people!

This sequel perhaps wisely ditches a lot of that geriatric gaggery for fear of re-treading old ground and has instead presented us with a pretty conventional –but by no means bad—comedic spy thriller.

Now living in boring suburban bliss, former mega-operative Bruce Willis and his girlfriend Mary Louise Parker are tossed headfirst into action when the a shady branch of the CIA decides to track down a cold war WMD that he and John Malkovich were involved with back in the 70s. Now firmly in the cross-hairs of two world class assassins, the gang have to track down this weapon before Uncle Sam’s naughty stepson gets his greasy hands on it.

Their adventures take them all the way from Middle America to classic spy-guy locations like Paris, London and Moscow where they encounter characters old and new. David Thewlis plays a baddie whose central gimmick is that he loves expensive wine; Korean star Lee Byung-hun plays a contract killer who also loves expensive wine. You get the feeling that someone involved with this film on a script level must really love expensive wine.

Admittedly, the film’s plot and action are nothing exceptional. Any fun the film has comes from its solidly defined cast of characters: Malkovich is still a paranoid mess, Parker is charmingly girlish and Helen Mirren seems having a lot of fun as a gun-toting bad-ass. Even Bruce Willis, who can play a curmudgeon in his sleep (and often does), seems to be putting his back into yhis performance.

Sure, RED 2 isn’t as fresh as its predecessor, but it doesn’t really need to be. It’s simply one of those solid Friday night films you don’t have to worry about.

RED 2 is now available to buy and rent at blinkbox

Nov 25 2013

#sherlocklives in promo spot for Sherlock Series 3

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 10:00 am

If you were one of the 10 million people who tuned in to watch the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who this past Saturday, you may have waited around til after the credits to see a couple of promo spots for upcoming BBC dramas. One of said trailers was for the long-awaited third series of Sherlock. Here it is:

First of all: it’s good to see Watson embracing Movember with his dubious lip slug. Surely he grew that moustache to raise awareness for the #2 killer of men in Britain (after deadly plunges from atop buildings, of course).

Secondly, it’s good to see Holmes’ next-of-kin (Mycroft?) spring for a decadent polished granite tombstone. But one has to wonder what funeral director would forget to inscribe a date on the thing. You had one job!

Ah… remember the first season when Holmes still communicated with texts, like some sort of savage? It seems he’s finally caught up with the 21st century, hash-tagging his resurrection on twitter like some sort of digital Jesus (#ItIsAccomplished)

Series 3 still has no premiere date, but you can catch up on all the other episodes of Sherlock here

Nov 25 2013

“Evil always finds a way”: New Releases 25 November 2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 5:00 am

The Conjuring
Ron Livingstone and Lily Taylor are the parents of five daughters who move into their new home, only to witness things they cannot explain: strange noises, stopping clocks and — oh, yeah… the appearance of a malevolent spirit.  Based on real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played here by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), The Conjuring relates their terrifying attempts to exorcise the house before it’s too late. If this all sounds very familiar, its only because their story was the inspiration for The Amityville Horror. Director James Wan (Insidious, Saw) creates a palpably chilling atmosphere while his quality cast work fastidiously to ground the terror in some semblance of reality. So turn down the lights… and prepare yourself for a nerve-shredding experience.

Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich are back in this sequel to the 2011 geriatric actioner. When they’re targeted by an evil branch of the CIA for their connection with a cold war weapons project, the Retired and Extremely Dangerous ex-operatives hit the road and head for high adventure in Europe. It’s a solid action comedy with a fantastic cast: what more could you ask for?

The Croods
Nicolas Cage provides the voice of Grug, the head of a prehistoric family whose abiding philosophy is to keep his family safe inside a cave. When their homestead is destroyed by the shifting continents, he’s forced to leave his comfort zone and head out into the wild world, much to the excitement of his young daughter (Emma Stone). A dysfunctional family film in the same vein as The Incredibles, this is an unexpectedly charming affair that will appeal to viewers of all ages. Seriously.

The Heat
Sandra Bullock is having a great year with her Oscar-worthy performance in Gravity as well a great comedic turn in this buddy cop movie. She plays an uptight FBI agent who’s forced to partner-up with a crass Boston copy (Melissa McCarthy) in order to bring down a notorious drug ring. Unlike their characters, McCarthy and Bullock are a dream team, working well off each other in some of the loosest, rudest and funniest scenes you’ll see this year. Check it out.

Smurfs 2 (Early Digital Release)
In this animated/live action smurfquel, the evil Gargamel has created his own race of Bizzaro-Smurfs. These grey imps promptly kidnap Smurfette, taking her away to Paris (which doesn’t sound so bad) and it’s up to Papa, Grouchy and Vanity to rescue her! Featuring the voices of Katy Perry and Christina Ricci, this is definitely a great option for families with young kids!

Only God Forgives (Early Digital Release)
Ryan Gosling reunites with his Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn for this moody crime story set in the Bangkok underworld. When his brother is killed by Thai gangster, boxing promoter Gosling faces pressure from his overbearing mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) and reluctantly sets off for revenge. Unbelievably beautiful and achingly atmospheric, this trip into hell is a must-see for Gosling addicts.

Despicable Me 2 (New to Rent)
The year’s surprise family hit is now available to buy. Steve Carell returns to voice Gru, the retired super-villain with a heart of gold. When a mysterious bad guy arrives on the scene, he’s asked by the authorities to go undercover at a shopping mall to uncover this deadly new threat. As with the first film, it’s rather sweet and packed with loads of visual gags. And just as before, the hordes of tiny minions end up stealing the show from their big-name co-stars. Highly recommended for families and grown-ups alike!

The World’s End (New to Rent)
The final chapter in loose trilogy of films from Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright, this genre-bending comedy centres on a group of estranged, middle-aged friends who go back to their hometown to recreate a pub crawl from their youth. Most of them don’t want to be there, but have become at the behest of Gary King (Pegg), their former ringleader who seemingly hasn’t moved on from his misspent youth.

As with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, this is a satisfyingly funny movie with moments of inventive action but it’s also a film with something to say. From complaints about the ‘Starbucking’ of pubs to Gary’s desperation to relive the past, Pegg and Wright have made a pretty compelling film about the beauty and danger of nostalgia.

Ripe for multiple viewings, The World’s End is without a doubt one of the years’ finest comedies.


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

Nov 22 2013

‘Sabotage’ Trailer: It’s only over when Arnold says it’s over

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 12:48 pm

Arnold Schwarzenegger is rebuilding his brand one brick at a time and it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s surrounding himself with some quality talent. In the case of Sabotage we’re talking about David Ayer, the writer/director behind some of the best police movies in recent memory: Training Day and End of Watch. Here’s the trailer:

The former Governor of California stars as a veteran drugs enforcement agent whose team is being targeted after a major bust. Could it be that someone in his trusted team has betrayed him and sabotaged the operation? If they have, they best be ready for some gunnishment.

Co-starring Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Sam Worthington, Mireille Enos (The Killing) and Terence Howard, Sabotage opens in cinemas 25 April 2014