Dec 31 2013

10 Great New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

The New Year marks a moment of change for many of us: a fresh chance to start anew and right some wrongs in our lives. In many cases, this need for change manifests itself in the form of resolutions. Some of these resolutions can be vague (“be nicer”) and some of them can be really specific (“apologise to Auntie Emily for insulting her mince pies”) but the one thing that all resolutions have in common are that they’re broken more often than not.

But this year is different, isn’t it? The resolution-breaking version of you is in the rear view mirror now: this year’s you will definitely make good on your plans.

To help you get 2014 started in a positive way, here are our suggestions for some great New Year’s Resolutions!

1. Quit Smoking


2. Make some positive changes to your diet


3. Cut back on your alcohol intake


4. Learn a new instrument

Instrument 2

5. Go travelling


6. Wean yourself off the ‘retail therapy’

Shopping 1
Shopping 2

7. Improve your attitude at work

Office Space 1
Office Space 2

8. Reduce your dependence on coffee


9. Spend more time with kids

Jerry Maguire3
Jerry Maguire
Jerry Maguire2

10. Take up an extreme sport

Napoleon Dynamite2

We here at blinkbox hope you have a happy and prosperous New Year. But if you’re not quite ready to let go of 2013 yet, head over to our Best of the Year Collection and catch up on the finest films from the past 12 months.

Dec 30 2013

Exclusive ‘Pain and Gain’ Featurette: The Real Deal

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

In Pain and Gain, Michael Bay’s latest testosterone-fueled action-comedy, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson play a pair of bumbling bodybuilders who embark on a hare-brained scheme to kidnap and extort a local millionaire. As far-fetched as the premise seems, it’s actually based on a true story that took place in Miami around 1995.

To ensure a certain level of authenticity during production, Bay drafted in former Miami-Dade police officer Roy Rutland to serve as a technical consultant. On top of that, all the police and SWAT teams in the film are played by actual, active Miami law enforcers!

See more in this exclusive behind-the-scenes clip:

Pain and Gain is now available to buy and rent at blinkbox

Dec 30 2013

End of Year Edition: New Releases Monday 30 December 2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

Vin Diesel returns to the character that made him a star in a sci-fi action picture that owes more to Pitch Black than it does to the overblown Chronicles of Riddick. Stranded on a forbidding desert planet, Riddick hatches a plan to escape by attracting the attention of mercenaries looking to collect the bounty on his head. Even with all their sophisticated weapons and technology, these mercs don’t stand a chance against the one-man wrecking crew. The cast includes WWE superstar Batista and Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck, Katee Sackhoff.

Promised Land
Matt Damon is an executive at an energy company who’s sent to a small Pennsylvania community to secure drilling rights for a natural gas reserve. He meets the local farmers and though they’re struggling to stay afloat, they remain proud of having passed their land down from generation to generation. If you’ve seen the documentary Gasland or followed the plans to ‘frack’ portions of the UK, you’ll understand how prescient this subject is. Directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), Promised Land is pretty much a remake of Bill Forsyth’s beloved Scottish drama Local Hero… which is by no means a bad thing.

You’re Next
Straw Dogs meets Funny Games in this tight slasher flick from indie-horror director Adam Wingard. When a family head to their holiday home deep in the heart of Missouri, they have little idea of what’s waiting for them. An armed group of masked bandits have secreted themselves inside the house, biding their time before picking murdering the family one by one. This is certainly not one for the squeamish.

What Maisie Knew
Young Maisie’s parents are getting a divorce. Her father (Steve Coogan) is an art dealer who’s shacked up with the babysitter while her mother (Julianne Moore) is a busy rock star. They split custody of her, even though neither of them seem fully capable of caring for her. In fact, the only person who seems to give her the love she needs is mummy’s new beau (a warm, wonderful Alexander Skarsgård). In a cast of great actors, the real stand-out is 7 year-old Aprile Onata as Maisie. She puts in one of those rare child actor performances that doesn’t feel coached or precocious and she will absolutely break your heart.

Updated from a Henry James novel that’s over 100 years old, this film feels stunningly fresh and arrestingly honest. If you’re not in the mood for blood and violence, this should definitely be your film of the week.

For more of the latest films, head to our New Releases page

Dec 26 2013

Win: Sony Xperia Tablet with our Elysium Competition

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

Elysium, the latest sci-fi action film starring Matt Damon, is set in a near future where Earth’s wealthier citizens live on a beautiful orbital platform while the working classes toil away on the ruined wasteland that used to be our planet. When he’s accidentally inundated with a lethal dose of radiation, Damon employs some cutting-edge bio-technology to help escape Earth and save his own life.

Win a taste of the future for yourself with this week’s fantastic competition prize: a Sony Xperia Tablet Z SGP311 16GB WiFi


Featuring a 10.1 inch Full HD display boosted by Sony Mobile Bravia Engine 2, the Sony Xperia Tablet Z weighs only 495g and measures 6.9mm thin, making it the lightest and slimmest tablet on the market. It boasts including a 1.5 GHz Quadcomm quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, a Micro SD card slot, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, and virtual surround sound speakers.

Running Android v4.1 (Jelly Bean), you can download blinkbox’s excellent Android app and catch up on all the latest films and TV shows.

Winners will also receive a hardback copy of Elysium: The Art of the Film.
Don’t miss Elysium: The Art of the Film, featuring a foreword by Neill Blomkamp, and a wealth of stunning production art and photos, out now from Titan Books!

**This competition is now closed. Thanks for entering!**

Elysium is now available to buy and rent at blinkbox

Dec 26 2013

Winter Comedy 2013: Eight Stand-Up Specials

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

It’s become a great British winter tradition for comedians to release the DVD of their latest tour in the run-up to the holiday season. They’re perfectly priced as stocking-fillers and they’ve given families across the nation something to do on Christmas Day instead of watching The Great Escape on telly for like, the millionth time.

But now that Christmas is done and dusted, there’s a chance you’re still in the mood for good laugh. For that reason, we’re highlighting 8 new stand-up comedy specials that Father Christmas may have forgotten from his list:

1. Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler
What do I know him from? Black Books. He also used to be a team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

There’s something reassuring about Bailey’s set that very little has changed over the past ten years. We’re not saying that this is identical to his previous shows, but if you’re a fan of whimsical observations and you enjoy when he deconstructs and rearranges pop songs, you’re going to slip into this show like a lovely old pair of boots.

2. Jack Dee: So What
What do I know him from? Celebrity Big Brother, Lead Balloon. If you’re very middle class, you’ll know he replaced Humphrey Lyttelton as host of Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue

Britain’s favourite curmudgeon returns with his popular brand of dour observation after a five year hiatus. Droll as always, he sardonically hits on modern topics like smartphone apps while finding time to complain about age-old problems like dealing with call centre employees and trying to understand today’s youth. Despite his time off, Dee doesn’t miss a step and reaffirms his place as the ironman of British comedy.

3. Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure
What do I know him from? From being one of the most famous comedians in Britain.

Arguably the man who started this entire modern booms of comedians doing Arena tours, Eddie Izzard has taken a break from his Hollywood roles and marathons to do only his second stand-up DVD in the last 10 years. His style remains the same: stream of consciousness dialogues between characters in his mind, non-stop tangents and love of deconstructing history.

This particular show isn’t quite up to snuff with his classic shows like Dress to Kill but there’s still enough in him to put on what is a pretty decent show.

4. Roy Chubby Brown: Who Ate All the Pies?
What do I know him from? If you’re from the North, he’s one of your dad’s favourite comics. But if you’re from the South, you’ll know his reputation for old-fashioned, catchphrase-heavy profanity.

With his pilot’s goggles and trademark disdain for his wife, mother-in-law and immigrants, you have to admire how Roy Chubby Brown has stuck to his guns despite the changing times. He still plays to working class Northern audience – just one look at his audience and you know you’re not watching Live at the Apollo– and they still seem to love his brand of scatological, rude humour (he opens his set with a number of timely Viagra gags).

Now, we cannot admit that he’s our cup of tea but we know there are a lot of people out there who do. If you’ve seen more than one of his previous shows, you’re definitely going to watch this. But if you’re tempted to give him a go based on the avuncular picture on the front of the box, you’ve been fairly warned.

5. Adam Hills: Happyism
What do I know him from? As the Aussie co-host of Channel 4’s topical comedy show The Last Leg.

You’ve probably never seen a comedy show with a live sign language interpreter but for Australian comic Adam Hills, it’s a regular part of his tour. He gets a lot of mileage out of saying rude things just to get to the poor woman to translate it. A story-teller at heart, Hills’ real strength lies in his audience interactions. There’s something about him that manages to get an entire auditorium on his side. Unlike a lot of his peers, there isn’t an ounce of cynicism in Hills’ act. There is some gentle use of bad language but if you’re looking for a show to watch with the whole family, Adam Hills’ show is a real gem.

6. Reg D Hunter: In the Midst of Crackers
What do I know him from? From his appearances on every panel show under the sun.

Having lived in the UK for almost the entirety of his professional life, Hunter has managed to carve a niche for himself as an outsider, observing middle-class British culture from his perspective as a black man from America’s Deep South. His deliberate, slow delivery is may be misconstrued as a lack of polish but it’s very rare that he’s anything short of hilarious.

You know who he is: if you haven’t seen him do stand-up yet, this is a great place to start.

7. Josh Widdecombe: And Another Thing…
What do I know him from? A former Guardian sports writer, he co-hosts The Last Leg with Adam Hills.

He’s only been a full-time stand up for a few years, but in that time Josh Widdecombe has established himself as one of the more reliable comedians on the circuit. His act revolves around exasperated incredulity with modern living, putting him in a similar boat to Sean Lock and Jason Byrne. His cynical worldview may not be to the taste of all audiences but if you’re the kind of person who loves a good moan, then you’ll want to check this out.

8. Ross Noble: Mindblender
What do I know him from? QI, Have I Got News for You.

Those who have seen his stand-up will know what to expect from this improvisational stand-up. Noble generates most of his material on the spot from audience interaction and observations: from night to night, his shows often bear no continuity. His seemingly uncontrolled flights of fancy come running out a mile-a-minute, only to be reincorporated an hour later. It’s seriously impressive stuff.

His surrealist style ensures that you won’t recall any part of his show the next day, but what you will remember is that you laughed pretty hard throughout.

Happy Boxing Day, folks!

Dec 24 2013

Top Ten: The Best Movies of 2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

This has been a remarkable year for film in some ways. While many of the big summer blockbusters have lacked originality, it has certainly been a strong twelve months for independently-minded film makers.

Our list of the year’s best films has been made with one consideration in mind: they all must have seen general release in the UK in 2013 but before the 6th of December. This means that a few of the year’s Oscar contenders and festival favourites had to be omitted. After an early screening at the London Film Festival, we would have loved to include the Coen Brothers’ amazing Inside Llewyn Davis, but it’s not in UK cinemas until January. That’s the way it works, sadly.

But what we’re left with is an eclectic and wonderful collection of films. Five of them feature women in the leading role; two of them are shot in black-and-white; one is a ground-breaking documentary and another is an effects-laden comedy featuring prominent British faces.

So, without further ado: The Best Movies of 2013.

10. Side Effects
Great suspense films have an ability to obscure the truth from the audience, whether it’s the identity of the killer, the motive for a robbery or whatever. One of the best things about Steven Soderbergh’s Hitchcockian medical thriller is the way in which it conceals its own true nature.

Rooney Mara plays a troubled housewife whose husband (Channing Tatum) has just been released from prison, having served time for a white collar crime. Unable to sleep and suffering from panic attacks, she approaches a psychiatrist (Jude Law) who prescribes her an experimental medicine: a drug that may have incredibly dangerous side-effects.

When you finally unpack the film’s many twists and turns, you’ll come to realize that we’ve all been thrown in the same boat as the characters and led far down the garden path. This very satisfying and as Soderbergh’s final feature film, it’s a strong note on to end an acclaimed career.

9. The Impossible
Arriving in cinemas almost a whole year ago, Naomi Watts put in a career-defining performance in this real-life tale of tragedy and triumph. Set in Thailand during that fateful December in 2004, it tells the story of a British family split apart when the tsunami hits the beachfront resort where they’re staying. Films about true disasters are a bit of a hard sell but this gut-wrenching survival tale feels palpably real thanks to the power of Watt’s performance.

Ewan McGregor co-stars as Watt’s husband and in one central scene in which he shares a mobile phone with fellow survivors, he’ll show you precisely how he became a film star in the first place.

The film is tough at times, but director J.A. Bayona wisely knows when to lift his foot off the ‘harrowing’ pedal. The swelling catharsis that comes at this film’s final act is one of the most satisfying we’ve seen in quite a while.

8. Wadjda
Wadjda is a 12 year-old girl in the Saudi capital of Riyadh: she lives with her mother and (largely absent) father in what looks like a fairly comfortable middle-class home. She’s sharp, rebellious and incredibly enterprising (she sells friendship bracelets that she makes at home and haggles with a classmate who asks Wadjda to deliver a letter to her boyfriend). We follow her quest to buy a new bike, something that sees her entering a Qur’an competition just so she can win the cash prize.

Taking a cue from Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief and Iranian works like Children of Heaven, the film is structured like a classic fable but infused with culturally specific details that somehow make Wadjda more accessible rather than less.

This was the first film ever shot entire in Saudi Arabia, a country that doesn’t even have a cinema. What make this feat even more remarkable is that its director Haifaa al-Mansour is a Saudi woman, who can’t even legally drive in her home country. It’s a brave new world we’re living in.

7. The World’s End
The third film in Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s loosely-connected Blood and Ice Cream trilogy that includes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Pegg plays Gary King, a middle aged alcoholic who convinces his childhood friends to recreate a pub crawl from their youth in their hometown of Newton Haven. When they all get arrive, they realise that things have changed in their absence, both metaphorically and literally. And by literally, we mean that the citizens have been replaced by robot clones from outer space.

The World’s End has all the quick and funny gaggery that we expect from their films, as well a number of riotous action sequences. The thing that distinguishes this from Shaun and Hot Fuzz is its sober undercurrent: Gary is a man paralysed by nostalgia. He still lives like he’s 18, drinking to excess, listening to the same music and even wearing the same clothes. He’s a serious wreck-of-a-man whose troubles are dealt with seriously. It’s Pegg and Wright’s most pointed work and given time, The World’s End may be seen as their best film yet.

6. Nebraska
nebraskaWhen 77 year-old Woody (Bruce Dern, in a role for which he will be Oscar nominated) gets a letter from a magazine company telling him that he’s won a million dollars, he seemingly accepts it at face value, despite the fact that we know those things are a scam. In the face of his exasperated family, he becomes determined to get to Nebraska and pick up his winnings, even if it means he has to walk all the way.

Eventually, his youngest son David (Will Forte) relents and offers to drive him there, though the pair of them make a long detour to the town they left decades again. Through increasingly tense encounters with long-abandoned cousins and neighbours, David beings to learn about the quiet man a thing or two about small town existence.

Understated in its charm and subtly uplifting, this decidedly small film from Alexander Payne sits comfortably alongside his earlier masterpieces.

5. Captain Phillips
If we were to talk about this story in movie-terms, the plot of this true-life film could be likened to that of Air Force One: a seemingly mild mannered leader (Tom Hanks’ cargo ship captain) has to summon up his resources to fend off hijackers (in this case Somali pirates). But where a conventional Hollywood hero would take up arms and murder their captors, Captain Phillips’ strength lies in his level-headed response to the situation. He’s not a glamorous action hero in any way, but his ability to stay calm and talk to the pirates turns out to be the only thing keeping his crew alive.

Shot with his usual frenetic camerawork, Paul Greengrass’ vérité-style of direction works wonders at creating expressive and visceral moments of real tension. As with his 9/11 non-fiction thriller United 93, he’s also careful not to dismiss his antagonists as faceless monsters. The pirates are criminals by any standard, but they’re driven by influences more complex than what we read in the headlines.

In short: Captain Phillips is a deeply entertaining thriller with one hell of an emotional and intellectual punch.

4. Gravity
The movie opens with his camera in Earth’s orbit, the distant sound of radio chatter grows as a space shuttle drifts into shot and we find astronauts George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in the middle of upgrading the Hubble Space Telescope. The shot remains unbroken for the next 14 minutes as the crew is suddenly endangered by a field of high-speed space debris heading their way.

The camera glides around the ship and into Bullock’s helmet while the carefully unobtrusive use of 3D reinforcing the reality of the film despite the fact that almost all of the sequence was created in a computer. That’s perhaps the most remarkable feat of this film: everything on screen seems tangible, which is rarely the case with CGI.

The film plays out like a survival thrill ride, as the two leads desperately try to find their way to the International Space Station and its last remaining escape pod. And a thrill ride is exactly what it feels like, in the best way possible. Gravity one of 2013 most hyped films and yet it has managed to meet expectations on every level.

3. Frances Ha
In a film that rarely leaves her off-screen throughout its 90 minute run-time, Greta Gerwig puts in a quirky, sympathetic performance that’s one of the finest we’ve seen all year. She plays Frances, a dancer who’s seemingly refuses to see that her fledgling career has hit a brick wall. After her best friend and flatmate decides to move to a more expensive neighbourhood in New York, Frances is set adrift. Like a transient she shuffles between temporary homes, outstaying her welcome with relative strangers and attempting to befriend people who can’t possibly connect with her.

Working from a script he devised with Gerwig, director Noah Baumbach crafts a black-and-white, Godard-influence study of an extrovert dealing with disappointment and loneliness in the big city. In some ways a platonic love story between her and her best friend, Frances Ha is never better than when it achingly crystallises the way people delude themselves when they feel their dreams begin to slip away.

2. The Act of Killing
In 1965, following a failed coup of the Indonesian government, a purge of Indonesia communist took place over several months. Drafting in the services of gangsters and paramilitaries spread throughout the nation’s islands, General Suharto presided over the extortion, torture and execution of over half a million suspected communists. After Suharto’s rise to power, these killers became national heroes and even today, they remain feared and respected within their communities.

At the invitation of director Josh Oppenheimer, a few of these gangsters were invited to film re-creations of their killings. Inspired by the Hollywood films of their youth and given creative freedom, the killers draft in neighbours to play victims. They choose to film their exploits like a musical, or dress up like gangsters and cowboys to retell their stories.

The film is utterly compelling and disturbing for its refusal to abhor its subjects: unlike former members of the Gestapo, these killers survived to become heroes and have never faced a reckoning. Instead of apologising for the mass killings, they remain boastful of them. But by allowing them to tell their own stories, the re-enactments get gradually more surreal as they open up to their feelings. To see grown men in costume and horror make-up casually discuss murder is so banal yet so chillingly grotesque.

This film gets closer to the men behind evil acts than any other film before it. It’s devastating and remarkable.

1. Blue Jasmine
Cate Blanchett plays Jasmine, a New York socialite whose vapid life of Fifth Avenue shopping and summers in the Hamptons is brought to an end when her charming cad of a husband (Alec Baldwin) is revealed to be a Bernie Madoff-style huckster. Left with nowhere go, Jasmine does the only thing a bankrupt woman can do: pack up her Louis Vuitton bags, book a first class flight to San Francisco to crash with her common-as-muck sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins).

Jasmine is one of the most compellingly condescending characters we’ve seen for quite a while, constantly putting down her Ginger’s modest lifestyle while ignoring the fact that her ex-husband is responsible for squandering little sister’s savings. She also openly insults her Stanley Kowalski-ish boyfriend (Bobby Cannavale) for being rough around the edges while still harbouring delusions of class and standard.

The tightest and most cohesive film he’s made in ages, Blue Jasmine ranks right up there with best Woody Allen films of the 70s and 80s. That alone would put it in the top ten list of any year.

Which films did we miss out? Which films deserved to be higher? Which films shouldn’t have been on the list at all? Let us know in the comments board below.

For more of the year’s finest films, check out our Best of 2013 Collection

Dec 23 2013

New Releases: Week Beginning Monday 23 December 2013

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

Pain and Gain (New to Rent)
Michael Bay makes his best film in over a decade with this steroid-fuelled crime caper. Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson are a trio of bungling Miami bodybuilders who hatch a plan to extort millions of dollars from a local millionaire. However, things escalate pretty quickly and things get out of hand when drugs and murder enter the picture. It’s a film that’s pretty high in testosterone levels but also darkly funny. Johnson and Wahlberg prove themselves very capable at playing earnest idiots. When the film came out in cinemas, we compared it favourably with Chris Morris’ terrorist comedy Four Lions: a few months down the road, it’s an analogy that holds up. Surprisingly good!

Elysium (New to rent, Thursday 26 Dec)
South African director Neill Blomkamp follows up his break-out debut District 9 with another politically-conscious sci-fi actioner. Set in a future where Earth has become a complete wasteland, the wealthier classes have relocated themselves to an orbital platform called ‘Elysium’. When ex-con Matt Damon is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, his only hope of survival is to find a way up to Elysium where they have machines that can cure cancer. Slightly more cerebral than your usual blockbuster fare, Blomkamp’s film still delivers big on the whizz-bang action! This is the perfect afternoon film for a post-Christmas comedown.

Lovelace (New to rent)
Definitely not one for family audience, we have this star-studded biopic on the life of legendary adult actress Linda Lovelace. As played by Amanda Seyfried, she’s a sweet young girl from a conservative Christian family who’s forced into the sex industry by her abusive husband (Peter Sarsgaard). After the success of her film Deep Throat, Linda becomes an overnight sensation: her fame, sadly does not help matters at home. The supporting cast includes Sharon Stone, James Franco and Mr Big off Sex and the City.

The Way, Way Back (New to Rent, Thursday 26 Dec)
14 year old Duncan is having a bad time. His mother (Toni Collette) and her complete tool of a boyfriend (Steve Carell) have dragged him to Cape Cod during the summer holidays. He’s mostly abandoned by the pair of them, which leads him to wandering the town and eventually getting a job at a local water park (run by Sam Rockwell). Based on the troubled youth of co-writer/co-director Jim Rash, this aching, pseudo-nostalgic film will appeal to anyone who enjoys gentle, dramatic comedies along the lines of Little Miss Sunshine and Adventureland.

Frances Ha
Greta Gerwig plays the title character, a failing dancer who deludes herself into ignoring all the advice she’s given. Entirely through a fault of her own, she finds herself homeless after rebuffing her boyfriend’s offer of living together. She is, in many ways, the quintessential manic pixie dream girl: one of those free-spirited women who seemingly populate most rom-coms. In films, their uncontrollable quirkiness is seen as adorable while in real life, their behaviour would likely get them be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

As directed by Noah Baumbach (Squid and the Whale), we get a closer look at the neediness that makes this stunted character tick. But really, this wonderful black and white film ultimately poses one central question: why isn’t Greta Gerwig a bigger star yet? She really is something special.

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

Dec 19 2013

Paul Rudd to Join the Marvel Universe as ‘Ant-Man’?

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 2:18 pm

With Anchorman 2 looking to set the box-office alight this Christmas weekend, star Paul Rudd be looking at an early gift in the form of Edgar Wright’s upcoming Marvel film Ant-Man.

Having been on the cards for a few years, the film written by Wright and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) will centre around Dr. Hank Pym, a super-scientist from the Marvel Comics who has assumed various identities over the years, including that of Giant-Man. In the Marvel Universe he was one of The Avengers’ founding members, though there’s nothing to suggest he will make an appearance in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In fact, if rumours are to be believed, Wright’s film will take on more of a comic tone, which would make sense with Rudd’s alleged casting. There is also no reason to believe that his film will incorporate the story lines from recent Ant-Man comic arcs, which have variously recast Pym’s as a bit of a cad and a serious domestic-abuser. That would be a total downer, as they say.

Ant-Man is currently slated for release Summer 2015

Dec 19 2013

Win: 2 Tickets to see One Direction Live in Manchester!

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:18 am

To mark the release of One Direction: This is Us at blinkbox this week, we’re pleased to be able to offer all of you the chance to win tickets to see the Midnight Memories hit-makers live at the Manchester leg of their stadium tour!

In fact, here are the specifics of the prize:

  • A pair of tickets to the 1D ‘Where We Are’ tour at Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Saturday 31st May 2014
  • Overnight hotel accommodation for 2 people with breakfast
  • 2 OnePiece One Direction jumpsuit worth £119 each

Each OnePiece One Direction jumpsuit design is personalised with a detailed hand print by one band member. In fact, they look a lot like this:


**The competition is now closed. Thanks for entering!**

 One Direction: This is Us is now available at blinkbox

Dec 19 2013

A Beginner’s Guide to Jason Sudeikis

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on comedy films over the past few years, you will noticed the face above popping up all over the place. That’s Jason Sudeikis: a comic actor who is well on his way to becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Right now, he has more of a profile in the States thanks to his long stint on Saturday Night Live but here in the UK, we’ve only just begun to find out about him. We reckon he’s basically the new Paul Rudd, a funny actor with the right sensibility to play a straight comedic lead. As the star of We’re the Millers, he’s finally getting the chance to show off his talents as a star of the silver screen.

If you’re still confused, don’t worry: here’s everything you need to know about the man.

Early Years

Born in Northern Virginia and raised in Kansas, a young Jason Sudeikis wasn’t unfamiliar with the world of show-biz. His uncle is George Wendt, was an actor best known for playing Norm (Norm!) in the long-running sitcom Cheers.

Although he was never a regular cast-member, Wendt would also make regular appearances on Saturday Night Live throughout the 90s, playing Chicago sports fanatic Bill Swerski (a role he continues to roll out even today). Little did he know that twenty years on, his nephew would also become a prominent fixture on the show.

2003 – 2013: Saturday Night Live

Like a good portion of Saturday Night Live’s rolling cast, Sudeikis got his start comedy through the improv world. He performed with several companies, most notably Second City in Chicago: a sketch and improv troupe responsible for nurturing talents like Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Mike Myers.

It was during his tenure at Second City’s Las Vegas Company that Sudeikis was hired as a sketch writer on SNL in 2003.

After a few years writing and appearing in bit parts, he was eventually promoted to the regular cast. While the bread and butter of SNL was always in political satire and pop culture parody, Sudeikis’ strength didn’t lie in his ability to impersonate celebrities or to play catchphrase characters: he was largely used as a straight man. As he puts it, he mainly plays “dads, coaches and game show hosts”.

That’s not to say he didn’t have his fair show of political characters. After Will Ferrell’s exit, Sudeikis took over as the programme’s resident George W Bush. In run up to the 2012 presidential election, his take on Joe Biden and Mitt Romney made him one of the show’s more prominent faces.

Best Friend Roles (2010-2012)

During SNL’s long summer breaks, many of its cast-members take the opportunity to appear in films. After his recurring guest role on 30 Rock as Liz Lemon’s alcoholic boyfriend Floyd, Sudeikis started turning up in a string of feature films, playing supporting characters.

In the Gerard Butler-Jennifer Aniston comedy The Bounty Hunter, he plays Aniston’s creepy co-worker (you can tell he’s a creep because he has a moustache); he and Charlie Day were Justin Long’s best mates in the rom-com Going the Distance; and in Hall Pass he was Owen Wilson’s buddy along with Stephen Merchant. None of these films set the world alight, but Sudeikis proved himself to be a reliable and affable screen presence.

Leading Man

Sudeikis’ departure from SNL earlier this year had been on the cards for some time. Having joined the show at roughly the same time as Sudeikis, cast members Kristin Wiig and Andy Samberg had chosen to leave the programme at the end of the 2011/2012 season. It was thought that Sudeikis was also looking to bow out but Gov. Mitt Romney’s Republican nomination meant that producer Lorne Michaels was keen to keep his Romney on the show.


However, it seemed that his ascendant star could not be stopped: in 2011, he starred in Horrible Bosses, the hit ensemble comedy with Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jennifer Aniston. Two short years later and he would find himself back in another Jennifer Aniston film, but this time as the lead.

We’re the Millers could prove to be the kind of breakout hit Sudeikis’ career needs. In it, he plays an underachieving, middle-aged drug dealer who’s forced to smuggle a shipment of marijuana across the Mexican border. In order to throw the authorities off his scent, he decides to pose as a family man, drafting in a stripper (Jennifer Aniston), a homeless street kid (Emma Roberts) and the weird kid next door (Will Poulter) as his fake family. It’s a thoroughly funny and surprisingly sweet road comedy that showcases his ability to play a likable everyman.

As we’ve alluded to before, it’s the sort of role Paul Rudd has been playing for years to great success.

With a number of projects (including a Horrible Bosses sequel) now in the cards, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a proper household name. Just remember: you saw him here first.

If you’re looking to check out some more of him in action, check these out:

In an extended promo sketch for NBC’s football (soccer) coverage, Sudeikis plays a fictional American ‘coach’ brought in to manage Tottenham Hotspur. British audiences may find this a little cringe-y but he sells the material well.

In SNL writer Mike O’Brien’s online chat show Seven Minutes in Heaven, he interviews celebrities inside a closet. As with the rules of ‘seven minutes’, he tries his best to make out with his guests by the end of the show. Here is the episode with Jason Sudeikis:

And lastly: here he is in a Mumford and Sons video with some other familiar faces:

We’re the Millers is now available at blinkbox. Check it out!