Mar 24 2014

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Walt Disney

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 12:54 pm

Saving-Mr-Banks-Title
In this week’s new release Saving Mr Banks, Tom Hanks plays the legendary animator and producer Walt Disney. Set in the early sixties, it tells the story of his efforts to secure the rights for Mary Poppins from author P.L. Travers, who was notoriously protective of her most beloved creation.

The film is packed full of little details about Disney, the man. We see him inundated with autograph requests at Disneyland, a problem he circumvented by handing out pre-signed autograph cards. He also alludes to his childhood in Kansas City, where he and his brother were made to deliver newspapers twice daily by their short-tempered father.

While Hanks’ portrayal of Disney in Saving Mr Banks is widely considered to be a rose-tinted look at the real man (it is a Disney production, after all), it did make us curious to learn more about this titan of entertainment.

1. ‘Disney’ comes from the French surname d’Isigny.
Disney-Name
His ancestors likely settled in Britain and anglicised the name, giving the moniker to the Lincolnshire village of Norton Disney.

2. He has won 32 Academy Awards –competitive, technical and honorary—making him the most decorated man in the history of cinema!
Snow-WHite
For Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, he was awarded a bespoke statue that featured one big gold figure and seven tiny figurines behind it.

3. Walt’s Body is (not) frozen in a cryogenic chamber, hidden beneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.
Frozen-Disney
This urban legend is one of the most prevalent in Hollywood, despite the Disney Company’s long-standing denials. But if you were in the business of entertaining children, you probably wouldn’t want your name associated with frozen heads and a Boys from Brazil-type conspiracy.

3. Over the years, a number of Disney characters have been named after the big man.
Sword-in-the-Stone
Those include the young King Arthur (Walt) in The Sword and the Stone and Wall-E. The magician from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia is named ‘Yen Sid’, or ‘Disney’ spelled backwards.

4. Walt Disney signed an exclusivity contract with Technicolor in 1932. Between then and 1936, Disney were the only company permitted to release colour animations!
Technicolour

5. Walt Disney died of lung cancer in 1966. His last written words were, cryptically, “Kurt Russell”.
Kurt-Russell
When asked about it on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show in 2007, Russell commented: “It’s true. I don’t know what to make of that. I was taken into his office one time after he died and I was shown that.”

6. A lifelong locomotive obsessive, Disney built a miniature rail network in his backyard called the Carolwood Pacific Railroad.
railroad
It boasted 2,615 feet of track, including overpasses and even a tunnel. (via carolwood.com)

7. Mickey Mouse’s first speaking role was in 1929’s The Karnival Kid.
Hot-Dogs
His first words: ‘Hot dogs!’

8. Speaking of hot dogs: according to legend, Walt Disney ate a hot dog in Disneyland and counted how many steps it took to finish it.
Trash-Can
It took him about 17 steps, which then determined the spacing between rubbish bins in every Disney theme park today.

9. One of Disney’s earliest popular creations was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who appeared in his short films for Universal Studios.
Oswald
When they parted ways, Disney was unable to take this lupine character with him, spurring him to create Mickey Mouse as a replacement.

10. In 1952, Disney produced a television ad for the Eisenhower presidential campaign.

It featured a cartoon elephant and a catchy jingle written by songwriter Irving Berlin.

Saving Mr Banks is now available at blinkbox


Mar 24 2014

A First Look at Dwayne Johnson in Hercules: The Thracian Wars

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:45 am

Dwayne-Johnson-Title
Right now, Dwayne Johnson’s on one heck of run with his recent films roles. As well as starring the über-successful Fast and Furious franchise, he put in a hilarious performance as a steroid-addled criminal in last year’s Pain and Gain.

If you’re one of the 6.9 million people following Johnson on twitter, you’ll know that he’s been in production with his film Hercules: The Thracian Wars, in which he plays the titular son of Zeus. After a load of behind-the-scenes peeks provided by The Rock over the past few month, we’re now getting the first proper look at the legend in action.

Here are some new production stills, courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Johnson’s twitter feed:

hercules 2

Dwayne Johnson

Needless to say, Johnson’s spared no effort turning himself into a demigod. Judging from his exercise photos and dietary plans, he’s been working hard to decimate global chicken reserves.

12-Labors-Diet

The first trailer of Hercules: The Thracian Wars is due to go online tomorrow (Tuesday 25 March). Watch this space!


Mar 24 2014

Game of Thrones: Sound the trumpets! For here are some more Season 4 trailers

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:03 am

Game-of-Thrones
Over the weekend, HBO release two more teaser trailers for their upcoming fourth series of Game of Thrones, officially turning this into the single-most teased television event in history. We promised last week that there would be no more trailers until the season actually debuted but that turned out to be promise we couldn’t keep.

So please accept out apologies while you take a look at these new 30-second spots:

Cue the Inception horn!

As always, we remain totally excited for these upcoming episodes.

Catch up on Game of Thrones Seasons 1 to 3 on blinkbox


Mar 24 2014

Kevin Bacon made a big ‘Footloose’ entrance last week on Jimmy Fallon

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 8:38 am

Footloose
Believe it or not, this year marks the 30th Anniversary of the original Footloose.

That’s right, three decades have passed since the Bomont City Council outlawed rock and/or roll music as well as any associated dancing. To mark the milestone, the film’s eternally-young star Kevin Bacon made a big entrance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, pulling out some of the old moves.

As a part of a sketch in which Fallon banned all dancing from his talk show (which would axe about half his regular segments), a tortured Bacon thrashes around the dressing rooms and corridors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, re-enacting his most iconic dance moves

Bacon’s spoken before about how embarrassed he gets at weddings when the DJ inevitably starts playing the Kenny Loggins track. However, he seems completely game here, as you would expect from a phenomenally spry 55 year-old.

Kevin Bacon can now be seen all cinemas, appearing in those mobile phone ads. Also, he currently stars in The Following.


Mar 24 2014

Saving Mr Banks, Philomena and more: New Releases 24 March 2014

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

Saving Mr Banks
Saving-Mr-Banks
There have been so many films made about the making of films that it’s practically a genre to itself. However, very few of them have portrayed an artist anywhere near as unyielding as P.L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins. As played by an excellent Emma Thompson, she’s a truly misanthropic creature.

In 1961, Travers finds herself in Hollywood at the invitation of Walt Disney, who’s looking to convince her to sign over the rights to her most beloved character. While Disney and his writers become frustrated by every one of her objections, we slowly discover the story of Mary Poppins is perhaps more fact than fiction.

With an incredible supporting cast that includes Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti and Jason Schwartzman, Saving Mr Banks is a charming film that was undeservedly snubbed at this year’s Oscars.

Carrie (New to Rent)
Carrie
Brian DePalma’s 1976 film of Stephen King’s debut novel is somewhat of a classic. Carrie White is a high school student who finds herself mercilessly bullied by the other kids at school. Her home life is hardly much better, as her puritanical mother convinces her that menses are a really punishment from God.

But what the kids at school don’t know is that they really shouldn’t be messing with Carrie; not when she has the power to truly wreck stuff with her mind.

This new Carrie is a pretty close retread of the original, with the exception that new star Chloë Moretz doesn’t look like the dorky outcast in any school we’ve ever seen. Also, the climactic sequence in which Carrie exacts revenge on her town is a lot more gruesome and protracted, which is arguably an improvement.

Julianne Moore plays her mad mother in this new version and as always, she delivers on the goods.

Philomena
philomena
Steve Coogan co-writes, produces and stars in this touching comedic drama based on a true story. He plays Martin Sixsmith, a journalist and disgraced former spin-doctor for the Labour Party. Having burnt most of his professional bridges, he accepts an assignment to follow an avuncular old Irish woman in search of the son who was stolen from her fifty years ago.

While the interaction between Dench and Coogan is enjoyably humorous, the story behind Philomena’s experience in the Magdalene asylums is deadly serious. The film manages to tread the fine line between being flippant and over-serious. The end result is an enjoyable and deeply moving film that deserves its Oscar nominations.

Don Jon (VOD)
Don-Jon
Joseph Gordon Levitt makes his debut as a writer/director with this unusual romantic comedy. Playing the Italian-American Jon, he behaves like an outcast from the set of Jersey Shore. His interests are pretty much limited to working out, hitting on girls and navigating the darker corners of the internet. When he meets the impossibly-attractive Scarlett Johansson at a bar one night, he’s finally forced to re-assess his priorities.

Gordon-Levitt has assembled a great ensemble that includes Julianne Moore, Brie Larson and Who’s The Boss star Tony Danza (perfectly cast as his father). It’s an assured first film from a genuine talent: a funny and touching comedy that’s made with a grown-up audience in mind.

Diana
Diana
As is the norm these days, this biopic of the late Princess of Wales focuses on a small portion of her life. In particular, it covers the romance between the recently divorced Diana (Naomi Watts) and a Pakistani heart surgeon (Lost’s Naveen Andrews). While some critics did not react favourably to the film’s decision to focus on the fairy-tale romance aspect of this story, many have also praised Watts’ performance as the troubled princess.

German director Oliver Hirschbiegel is behind the camera for this film, which couldn’t be further away from his previous attempt at historical drama, the Hitler bunker drama Downfall.

The Family
The-Family
Robert De Niro is known for two things: starring in crime films like Goodfellas and appearing in comedies as an old grouch. This new film from writer/director Luc Besson (Leon) combines those two things into one neat package! He plays a Mafia boss whose family has been relocated to rural France as a part of the FBI’s witness protection program. His supervising agent (Tommy Lee Jones) has instructed him to keep a low profile, but as the old man said: you can take the man out of the mob, but you can’t take the mob out of the man.

Playing De Niro’s family is Michelle Pfeiffer and Glee’s Diana Agron.

Free Birds
Free-Birds
In this new animation from the director of Horton Hears a Who!, Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson are a pair of turkeys (literally) who go back in time to prevent a centuries-long turkey genocide.

Well, okay, that’s one way to put it. They actually break into a time machine at The Pentagon and head back to the very first Thanksgiving, with the plan of stopping the pilgrims from starting the tradition of eating turkey every year.

It’s a funny film that’s helped along by the unusual presence of Harrelson as well as the super-talented Amy Poehler. It also doesn’t hurt that it features hoards of humorous yellow henchmen, à la Despicable Me.

It doesn’t matter that Thanksgiving means absolutely nothing to most people on this side of the Atlantic: this is still a funny family film that’s very much in the vein of Chicken Run.

Jeune et Jolie (Young and Beautiful)
Jeune-Jolie
Isabelle is a teenage girl who comes from a wealthy middle-class family. After an awakening experience during her summer holiday she begins to work as an escort, meeting older gentlemen over the internet and liaising with them in hotel rooms. She has a seemingly stable home-life with no need for the extra money, so what drives her to these extremes?

Playing Isabelle is the young newcomer Marine Vacht, whose waif-like figure and aloofness is reminiscent of a young Catherine Deneuve: she really is very good. Having recently made the excellent In the House, this latest film from director François Ozon is a clear-eyed and non-exploitative look at a very taboo subject.

G.B.F.
GBF-title
The brand new independent comedy G.B.F. has already been touted as ‘Mean Girls for the post-Glee generation’.

Newcomer Michael J. Willett plays Tanner, a closeted gay high school student whose only desire is to fly under the radar until he graduates. But when he’s accidentally outed during school hours, he finds himself coveted by the three most popular girls in school. After all, nothing would improve their social standings better than the ‘must-have’ accessory of the season: a Gay Best Friend.

With a fantastic supporting cast that includes Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black) and Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), this is a comedy that will appeal to film fans of all stripes.

Television

Looking Season 1
Looking
Patrick, Agustin and Dom are three 30-something friends living in San Francisco exploring the exciting, sometimes overwhelming, options available to a new generation of gay men.

If press reaction is to be believed, this new show from HBO is simply a gay carbon copy of Girls. Sure, they air on the same channel, are both set in a big city, and revolve around a group of friends trying to muddle their way through modern relationships. But in the 8 episodes of its first season, Looking has managed to assert its own voice and identity. It’s funny, touching and very often relatable.

If you like Girls and Sex and the City, you should definitely check it out. Just don’t expect a pale clone of those two shows: it’s so much better than that.

Mr Selfridge Series 2
Mr-Selfridge
Jeremy Piven returns to deliver another dose of brash American showmanship to the stuffy shoppers of Edwardian London! Set five years after the first series, it now seems that Selfridge’s department store in London is going to survive (as if that was ever in doubt). Since we last saw them, Harry and his wife have grown estranged while former accessories assistant Agnes has become a hot-shot window display artist.

It being 1914, everybody is distracted by the looming threat of The Great War, which will threaten not only the store but the very lives of the men who work in it!

(Spoiler Alert: The Shop doesn’t close down this series either)

Also new to blinkbox:

Foreign Films: Fill the Void and Floating Skyscrapers

Comedy: Powder Room (Early Digital Release)

Horror Flicks: The Kiss of a Killer, Dead of the Nite, Butcher Boys, Black Water Vampire and The Borderlands

Documentaries: Plot For Peace and The Missing Picture

Independent Dramas: Just Like a Woman, Besties and Generation Um

Action Drama: Violet And Daisy

Anime: Blood C: The Last Dark

Family Animation: Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery

 For more of the latest titles, head to our Movies and TV sections


Mar 21 2014

Win £100 blinkbox credit with our Cabin Fever 3 Competition

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

cabin-fever
This week sees the blinkbox release of Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero. The sequel to director Eli Roth’s breakout film, it’s a thrill ride of terror set on a tropical island where scientists are running brutal tests on the original victim of a deadly plague (played by Sean Astin).

To tie in with the release of this gore-filled splatter fest, we’re giving away £100 of blinkbox credit to one lucky winner in our weekly competition.

This competition is now closed.

We asked you who Sean Astin played in the Lord of the Rings films. The answer is Sam Gamgee. Thanks for entering and we’ll be in contact with the winner very soon!

Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero is now available on blinkbox


Mar 20 2014

Win a Signed Poster for the Brand New Comedy ‘G.B.F’!

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 1:54 pm

GBF-title
The brand new independent comedy G.B.F. has already been touted as ‘Mean Girls for the post-Glee generation’.

Newcomer Michael J. Willett plays Tanner, a closeted gay high school student whose only desire is to fly under the radar until he graduates. But when he’s accidentally outed during school hours, he finds himself coveted by three most popular girls in school. After all, nothing would improve their social standings better than the ‘must-have’ accessory of the season: a Gay Best Friend.

With a fantastic supporting cast that includes Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black) and Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), this is a comedy that will appeal to film fans of all stripes.

G.B.F hits select theatres this Friday 21st March with a early digital debut on blinkbox the day after.

To celebrate its release, we’re giving away a full-sized poster signed by star Michael J Willett and director Darren Stein!

GBF-Poster

The competition is now closed. We asked you what ‘GBF’ stands for; the answer is ‘Gay Best Friend’. Thanks for entering!

G.B.F is now available on blinkbox


Mar 19 2014

Pixar Announces Sequels to ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Car

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 4:41 pm

Incredibles
As the owners of all properties related to Pixar Studios, Marvel Comics and Star Wars, Disney have not been shy in announcing sequels to every one of those franchises.

But this week, with an announcement that Pixar would be making The Incredibles 2 and another Cars movie, we felt a chill run down our spine.  While many fans will be looking forward to the former, the fact that they’re making another picture about a redneck tow truck is a bad omen for the folks over at Emeryville.

Pixar used to be a bastion of creativity in an otherwise corporate and profit-driven industry. In making inventive films like Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Ratatouille, they proved that you could make films that were original and idiosyncratic while also making stupid amounts of money.

But now, a studio that once prided itself on pushing boundaries and making proudly original movies is now morphing into a cynical sequel factory.

Since 2009, Pixar have made 3 sequels (Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters University) and one original film (Brave). Their upcoming slate is also heavily weighted towards spin-offs: in between the Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory and the two titles we mentioned above, Pixar have only announced two original films: Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur.

Plus we haven’t mentioned Disney’s very own Cars spin-offs: Planes and the upcoming Planes: Fire and Rescue. That would make five entire films based on their weakest film.

planes

Are they doing this because the Cars universe is the most beloved and creatively fertile imaginary world they’ve ever created? Or does it have anything to do with the fact that talking planes and wise-crackin’ cars are incredibly easy to merchandise?

It’s not as though their original films are unprofitable. Brave was apparently considered a financial disappointment but it still managed to gross over half a billion dollars in cinemas worldwide.

Brave

This is the classic big-studio mindset. It’s been reported that Frozen is on course to become Disney’s biggest animated release ever. Instead of seeing that audiences are ready and willing to pay for more original material, Disney already in talks of making a Frozen stage musical and green-lighting Frozen 2!

Wouldn’t it make just as much sense to encourage the creative team to start work on another original project?

Looking back, Pixar might have been the engineers of their own downfall.

With both Toy Story sequels, they managed to make films that topped their predecessors buth financially and critically. In our opinion, Toy Story 3 is actually the best of the lot. But now the creatives at Pixar can’t exactly turn around and refuse to make Ratatouille 2 on the grounds that ‘it wouldn’t be as good as the first one’.

Don’t get us wrong. We’re still in awe of the movies made by Pixar (and that includes their wonderful shorts!). Some of them even rank among our favourite films of all time. But with this trend of sequels and spin-offs showing no sign of abating, it’s clear that they’ve passed their creative peak. All we have now are front row seats to their slow, unfortunate decline into irrelevance.

(via Telegraph)


Mar 19 2014

Cute Alert: A Baby Dressed Up as Her Favourite Movie and TV Characters

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 12:28 pm

title
We’re big fans of TV shows here at blinkbox, which is why we really smiled when we saw this collection of pictures taken by photographer Karen Abad. She ‘borrowed’ her friend’s infant daughter Olivia and proceeded to dress her up as a variety of characters from Game of Thrones, Moonrise Kingdom and many more. The results were, predictably, very cute.

Walter White from Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad

Frank Underwood from House of Cards
House of Cards

Suzy Bishop from Moonrise Kingdom
Moonrise Kingdom

Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones

Michonne from The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead

Hannah Horvath from Girls
Girls

In 15 years time, this little girl is really going to be pretty embarrassed when this turns up in her Facebook feed.

(via mashable)

Check out more of Karen’s work on her Tumblr.


Mar 19 2014

7 Sequels that are Better than the Original

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 11:57 am

title
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire made its debut on blinkbox this week, delighting fans of the books by improving on the original in significant ways. On top of being a darker, more brooding piece, Catching Fire benefits from a deeper cast of veteran actors and a higher-stakes plotline that sees the nation on the verge of a revolution.

To mark the triumph of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, here are 7 more sequels that are better than the original:

Toy Story 2 (1999)
Toy-Story

The sequel to: Toy Story (1995)

How does it compare? All of the Toy Story films are about abandonment and mortality in one way or another. In the first movie, Woody worries that he’s falling out of Andy’s favour after the boy gets a fancy Buzz Lightyear doll for his birth. In Toy Story 2, he has to deal with the reality that his owner’s growing up. Within a few years, Andy will be leaving the nest, perhaps to never play with him again.

He comes to this sobering realisation when he has the opportunity to head off to the toy museum with Jessie, a cowgirl doll who was once abandoned by her own beloved owner. During the flashback montage where her story is underscored by Sarah McLachlan’s When She Loved Me, we dare you not to shed a tear or two.

The film deftly balances the scenes where the toys mount a rescue mission with Woody’s emotional journey. It somehow avoids over-sentimentality, managing to tell a story that’s also fun and funny. With a rousing airport action sequence in the third act, Toy Story 2 finishes with a real bang.

And then there’s the matter of Toy Story 3. Made eleven years after the second film, it’s another perfect sequel that might actually be the best of the lot.

The Godfather Part 2 (1974)
Godfather

The sequel to: The Godfather (1972)

How does it compare? It’s hardly controversial to call The Godfather Part II a superior piece. The original might feature more classic scenes (the horse’s head, Sonny’s death at the toll booth, “leave the gun, take the cannoli”) as well as Marlon Brando’s much-parodied performance as Don Corleone but The Godfather features nowhere near the amount of thematic and emotional depth as its sequel.

It tells the two stories of young Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) coming to power and Michael (Al Pacino) settling into position as New York’s mob king, drawing parallels between the two. This is, after all, a film about what it takes to acquire and maintain power. It’s the chapter that truly sees Michael’s transformation from war hero to ruthless criminal.

And in terms of poignant moments, there’s nothing in The Godfather to beat the scene where Fredo rolls out a fishing boat and says a Hail Mary to his lure before a gunshot rings out across the lake.

The Godfather: Part III is another matter, however. Apart from the Andy Garcia scenes, that 1990 movie was am unwatchable and miscalculated stillbirth of a film.

Fast Five (2011)
Fast-Five

The sequel to: The Fast and the Furious (2001)

How does it compare? The past few films in the franchise bear next to no resemblance to The Fast and the Furious. In the first film, Paul Walker was just a cop who goes undercover in a street-racing gang run by Vin Diesel. Four instalments later and they’ve become the world’s most invincible cat-burglars, boasting combat skills that make the SAS look like a children’s karate class.

Somewhere during the fourth and fifth movies, Fast and Furious totally jumped the shark –not in a bad way but in a ‘strapping on a jet pack and flying over hundreds of exploding sharks while giving the thumbs-up sign’ kind of way.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry-Potter

The sequel to: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

How does it compare? Before the third film came out, if you told people you liked the Harry Potter movies, you would have been rightfully mocked for being a child. Not that there’s that much wrong with Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. It’s just that they were bog-standard kids’ movies.

Once Warner Bros drafted in the services of director Alfonso Cuarón, they signalled their intention to make proper films with real technical verve and true excitement.

The early scenes set in Potter’s Privet Drive home were shot with handheld cameras, mimicking a Mike Leigh film. The Hogwarts sections also took a slightly less dopey turn, with Cuarón’s decision to have the students dress in jeans and t-shirts when not in class. Just imagine what the final Potter film would have been like if Hermione and Ron wore robes the entire time?

It’s also the first film where the leads come into their own. In particular, Radcliffe starts to shed a lot of his kid actor mannerisms and begins to polish his craft. Through the last six movies you can really see him come on leaps and bounds and some of that must be attributed to his work with Cuarón on Azkaban.

X2 (2003)
X-Men

The sequel to: X-Men (2000)

How does it compare? Looking back now, the first X-Men film was kind of small. The film followed Anna Paquin’s character, Rogue as she ran away from home and found herself at a school for mutants. As an audience, we get a quick walking tour of the academy, where we’re briefly introduced to a lot of underdeveloped characters with interesting powers (that they barely get to use). Cut to a little bit later: the film finishes with an underwhelming fight scene inside the Statue of Liberty. The end.

The 2003 sequel ups the stakes in a big way: going into Wolverine’s backstory, setting up an interesting character arc for the guilt-ridden Professor X, and presenting a more interesting enemy in the form of Brian Cox’s government stooge. Plus, it opens up with, hands-down, the coolest action scene from the entire franchise.

Even though the film is only 30 minutes longer than the original, it spends all its time with the correct characters, building the essential relationship between Wolverine and Jean Grey while correctly fobbing off some of the less interesting characters (Halle Berry’s Storm and James Marsden’s Cyclops come to mind).

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
MIssion-Impossible

The sequel to: Mission: Impossible (1996)

How does it compare? In just about every Mission: Impossible film, Tom Cruise is disavowed by his agency and forced to go lone wolf. However, this time he’s got a crack team of fellow disavowees comprised of Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner!

When a Swedish terrorist destroys the Kremlin and pins it on the US government, Cruise is forced to ‘go dark’ and do whatever it takes to stop him from nuking America. And should it require him to climb up the world’s tallest skyscraper during an exciting action sequence, so be it!

Working with first-time features director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille), Cruise has made something approaching the perfect Mission: Impossible film. The locations are suitably exotic and stunning, the action sequences are truly amazing, and it’s actually very funny when it needs to be. Brian de Palma’s 1996 Mission: Impossible film was a tight spy thriller with some classic scenes but it was also very dry.

There’s a good reason why this fourth film has been the most financially successful of the franchise. It’s far and away the best of the lot.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Bourne-Supremacy

The sequel to: The Bourne Identity (2002)

How does it compare? In 2002’s The Bourne Identity, amnesiac Matt Damon discovered that he was a part of a government program to create super-loyal super soldiers. At the end of that film, he dispatches his CIA handler and disappears to Greece to live happily ever after with his new sweetheart, Marie (Franka Potente). It’s a sweet ending but a little bit too tidy.

In Paul Greengrass’ sequel, Jason Bourne discovers that the CIA aren’t in the habit of forgiving and forgetting. He and screenwriter Tony Gilroy make the harsh decision to kill off Marie in the opening reel. It removes the possibility of another happy ending and sets up a chain of events that forces Bourne to confront the awful things he’s done in his past.

On top of that, the action even better than in the first film. Where Identity had a memorable car chase through the streets of Paris, Supremacy has a superb foot chase through Munich’s public transport system. And who could forget that awesome fight where Bourne kills a dude with a rolled-up magazine?

In almost every conceivable way, this is a film that asserts it supremacy over the original.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is available to buy and rent