Mar 28 2014

Gather ’round and watch the new trailer for The Purge: Anarchy

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:39 am

The Purge was one of last year’s biggest disappointments for us. It was set in a future dystopian America where all crime -including murder- is legalised for 12 hours each year. Citizen would lock themselves in, while the deviant members of society went and got all that looting and killing out of their systemrs

We felt so let down because it squandered such a great idea by turning itself into a basic home invasion movie with Ethan Hawke. The upcoming sequel, however, looks like the movie the original should have been.

From what we can gather, it’s about a grieving family man (Frank Grillo) who heads out to the purge with an eye on avenging his daughter’s death. But before he can get his Punisher act on, he reluctantly saves two young women from a paramilitary goon squad. This now puts them all in unfathomable danger.

The cast also includes Zach Gilford (from TV’s Friday Night Lights) and Michael K Williams, who will forever be Omar from The Wire.

The Purge: Anarchy is in cinemas 25 July 2014


Mar 28 2014

Win a £100 Tesco Voucher with our ‘Looking’ Competition

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 6:00 am

Looking is the acclaimed new show from HBO, who previously brought you the smash hits Sex and the City and Girls. Set in San Francisco, it focuses on three gay friends in their 30s as they explore the exciting, sometimes overwhelming, options available to a new generation of gay men.

The celebrate the launch of Season 1 on blinkbox, we want to give one of you the opportunity to host the perfect Looking viewing party in the comfort of your own home. For that to happen, you’re going to need some quality provisions. Armed with a £100 Tesco voucher, we’ll think you’ll be able to rustle up a decent spread.

Dom, one of the characters in Looking, is a wine waiter at fancy restaurant. So perhaps you should take this opportunity to treat your friends to a really nice bottle of wine. Something like this Bollinger Grande Année Vintage Champagne (retailing for £74.99 at

You could alternatively spend it on a week’s worth of groceries for your family, but where’s the fun in that?

To stand a chance to win the £100 voucher, just answer this question about Looking:

The competition closes at 23:59 on Monday 31 March 2014.

Looking Season 1 is now available on blinkbox

Mar 27 2014

Cowabunga! It’s the First Trailer for the Michael Bay-ified Ninja Turtles Movie

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 4:29 pm

The long-gestating Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles re-boot from producer Michael Bay has now got itself a trailer. And while you won’t be surprised to see some all-CGI turtle assassins, you’ll probably be shocked to see how much it looks like a Michael Bay joint.

After all, it has Transformers star Megan Fox as journalist April O’Neil as well as Bay regular Michael Fichtner playing some sort of shady corporate baddy (who may or may not be The Shredder). Plus, its total Bayification wouldn’t be complete without some collapsing skyscrapers!

Due to drop at the end of Summer, we can only hope that this Ninja Turtles movie will feature a timeless musical cameo from a certain beloved rapper

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is in UK cinemas 17 October

Mar 26 2014

10 Great Debut Films from Actors-Turned-Directors

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 9:30 am

1. Robert Redford – Ordinary People (1980)
Robert Redford’s directorial career has largely been defined by a number of successful, though decidedly ‘safe’ pictures. Quiz Show, The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Horse Whisperer are fine films, though hardly ones that would put him in the upper-echelons of directors. However, his greatest distinction came with his 1980 debut.

A domestic drama starring Donald Sutherland, Ordinary People provided one of the greatest Oscar upsets of all time, when Redford beat out Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull in both the Best Director and Best Picture Category.

2. Robert De Niro – A Bronx Tale (1993)
De Niro is no stranger to New York crime stories, so it perhaps came as no surprise that his first film as a director would involve a couple of wise guys. Young Calogera (Lillo Brancato) is a kid growing up in the 1960s. Like Ray Liotta’s character in Goodfellas, he’s obsessed with the low level mobsters he sees on the streets every day.

When a local hood (Chazz Palmentieri) takes a shine to him, the boy finds himself pulled between his decent, straight-laced dad (De Niro) and this new potential father figure.

Despite his experience with Martin Scorsese, this first film by De Niro actually looks more like a Spike Lee film; the stylised POV shots and atmosphere of warm summery nostalgia evoke Do the Right Thing more than Taxi Driver.

De Niro has since only directed one other film: his 2006 history of the CIA, The Good Shepherd starring Matt Damon.

3. Sarah Polley – Away from Her (2006)
As the least recognisable name on this list, Sarah Polley’s achievements are nonetheless pretty impressive. As an actress, you may remember her as the young girl from Terry Gilliam’s Baron Munchausen or as the lead in Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake. Although IMDb cites a 2002 film called All I Want for Christmas as her feature debut, her first significant work was this 2006 drama.

Based on a story by Alice Munro, it concerned a woman (Bridget Christie) suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and the affect her deteriorating condition has on her husband. For such a young director, Polley had an extraordinary control on the rather sensitive subject matter. She coaxed an Oscar-nominated performance from Christie and her film ended up on the year’s Top Ten list of many major critics.

Polley has since made the Michelle Williams/Seth Rogen drama Take This Waltz and an excellent documentary portrait of her own family, Stories We Tell.

4. Joseph Gordon Levitt – Don Jon (2013)
Despite being just 33, Gordon-Levitt has already had over two decades experience in film and television (we all remember him as long-haired Tommy from Third Rock from the Sun). And having worked with such respected directors as Christopher Nolan, Gregg Araki and Rian Johnson, it was perhaps only a matter of time before he stepped behind the camera himself.

For his first outing as a writer-director, Gordon-Levitt plays a porn-addicted narcissist, which is just about the furthest you could get from a vanity project. It’s a funny and surprisingly touching film that shows a lot of potential from its blossoming auteur.

5. Orson Welles – Citizen Kane (1941)
Having revolutionised the New York theatre scene in his early twenties, Orson Welles would go on to have a similar effect on the world of cinema with his first film, Citizen Kane.

The grand story of a millionaire newspaper tycoon (Welles), the film employs a number of experimental techniques that were ahead of its time. The story was told through a fractured narrative that jumped between time periods: a structure that’s now commonplace in film. On the technical side, he and cinematographer Gregg Toland pioneered camera effects like deep focus, which allowed for a number of the film’s trademark shots that played with perspective.

Another detail you might not appreciate is that before Kane, you never saw any ceilings in movies. Because all films were shot on a set, you would have a load of lighting equipment and microphones hovering just above shot; Toland developed a way of building cloth ceilings that looked real, allowing the director to shoot Kane’s many low angle shots.


Orson Welles would go on to direct a number of excellent films throughout his tumultuous career. But with his debut film hailed in lots of circles as ‘the greatest film ever made’, almost everything that followed was looked on as a disappointment in some respect.

Also consider this: Orson Welles was just 26 years old when he co-wrote, directed and starred in this movie. As debuts go, this is the one to beat.

6. Kenneth Branagh – Henry V (1991)
By 1989, Kenneth Branagh was already considered by many to be the Olivier of his generation. Following in his hero’s footsteps, Branagh’s first job as a filmmaker was to direct himself as the lead in Shakespeare’s Henry V. As with Olivier, this gritty and muddy take on the Battle of Agincourt earned him Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Director.

Branagh’s Henry V is almost a perfect blueprint for filming Shakespeare: his cast including a number of theatrical titans (think Paul Schofield, Ian Holm, Brian Blessed); his battle scenes were raw and energetic; and his soliloquies were rousing. Branagh’s own delivery of the St Crispin’s Day speech really is one for the ages.

Over the next twenty years, Branagh would go on to direct a number of vital Shakespeare adaptations, Marvel’s Thor and this year’s new Jack Ryan thriller.

7. Clint Eastwood – Play Misty for Me
The director Clint Eastwood is in many ways just like Clint Eastwood the actor. They share a workman-like attitude to films that values simplicity and boldness over any sort of flashiness. Whether it’s his work in Westerns (High Plains Drifter, The Outlaw Josie Wales) or contemporary dramas (Mystic River), there’s an un-fussiness to the direction that’s distinctly Eastwood.

Having said that, his debut film Play Misty for Me is one of the most un-Eastwood films he’s ever made. He plays a late night radio DJ who gets himself into a world of trouble when goes to bed with his most devoted listener, played by Jessica Walters (Arrested Development’s Lucille Bluth). It’s a real bunny-boiling thriller along the lines of Fatal Attraction and could be considered Eastwood’s only foray into horror.

Fun fact: Play Misty for Me was filmed in Eastwood’s home of Carmel, California. Being the towns’ favourite son, he was able shoot in local restaurants and at friends’ homes for a fraction of the usual cost.

8. Mel Gibson – The Man Without a Face
Without trying to wade into some dangerous territory here, let us say this: it’s a crying shame that Mel Gibson has only four directing credits to his name. Of all the actors to win a Best Directing Oscar, his work on Braveheart has really held up over the years. The Passion of the Christ may not be to everyone’s tastes (with secular audiences seeing it as little more than a biblical snuff film) but 2006’s Apocalypto was a genuinely exciting and well-made chase movie. The only reason nobody saw it was because Gibson decided to film it in a Mayan dialect, as though it were his intention to alienate all mainstream audiences.

But let us back-peddle to his first film as director: a period drama in which he plays a reclusive, disfigured artist. It’s a modern reworking of the Frankenstein movies that sees Gibson’s character chased from town-to-town by local mobs who suspect he’s a pederast.

Who would have guessed that two decades later, life would mirror art when Mel Gibson found himself chased out of Hollywood over the not-so-small business of his anti-Semitic behaviour.

9. Jon Favreau – Made (2001)
Before he was the guy responsible for summer blockbusters like Iron Man and Cowboys & Aliens, Jon Favreau was best known as the writer and star of the 1996 indie comedy, Swingers.

For his first film as a writer/director, he reunited with his Swingers co-star Vince Vaughn for a story about two low level schmucks who are sent to New York to broker a money laundering deal with an East Coast mobster (P Diddy). It’s soon apparent that the pair of them are in over their heads; having seen all the gangster films ever made, they’re giddy at the prospect of becoming real tough-guys.

In this film, you see the sort of improv-heavy dialogue that would carry over to his later work on Elf and Iron Man. With camera work from Wong Kar-Wai’s maverick cinematographer Christopher Doyle, Made looks unusually quirky and experimental for a Vince Vaughn comedy. This came and went without a trace at the cinemas back in 2001 but if you’re a fan of Vaughn, this is a must-see.

10. Rob Reiner - This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Rob Reiner was born into showbiz. His father Carl was a writer on Sid Caeser’s Your Show of Shows before becoming famous for his collaborations with Steve Martin (The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid). Rob himself became a household staple with his role as ‘Meathead’ on the US television remake of Till Death Us Do Part.

In 1984 he directed his first film This Is Spinal Tap, a mockumentary (or, if you will, rockumentary) that is still considered to be one of the funniest comedies ever made. Relying on improvisation from its stars Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, This is Spinal Tap was a hilarious look at a washed-up British rock band on a dismal comeback tour of America.

While Guest would later refine the improvised film format as the director of Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show, Rob Reiner went on to develop a more eclectic palette. We’d argue that no director in history has had a better run than Reiner between the years of 1984 and 1992. During that time he made Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery and A Few Good Men: that’s six stone-cold classics in nine years.

Notable Omissions

Ralph Fiennes – Coriolanus

Tommy Lee Jones – The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

George Clooney – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Angelina Jolie – In the Land of Blood and Honey

Don Jon is now available to buy and rent

Mar 25 2014

These 8 Terrible Screen Mothers Will Make You Grateful For Your Mum

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 3:42 pm

With Mothering Sunday quickly approaching, we thought it was about time we reflected on how much we owe to our dear mums. And what better way to put things in perspective than to take a look at some of the worst mothers in the history of film and television?

Once you’re done with these monstrous matriarchs, you’re going to feel a whole new sense of appreciation for your own mums. We assure you.

1. Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walters) from Arrested Development
The fabulously bitchy Lucille Bluth has an awful track record as a human being: she’s self-centred, alcoholic, casually racist and dismissively homophobic. On top of that, she’s also managed to raise four diversely broken children, ranging from the philandering illusionist G.O.B to the emotionally-awkward Michael.

Worst of all is hyper-dependent Buster (Tony Hale), a man-child whose crippling Oedipus complex has been brought on by years of being forced to attend annual Motherboy events.

2. Stifler’s Mom (Jennifer Coolidge) from American Pie
We’re aware that being a single parent in suburban America can be quite a lonely existence. But the very fact that Steve Stifler (Seann William Scott) turned into such a jerk must be in some part due to his mum’s lack of parenting skills. We’re not psychologists, but the ever-looming threat of your mother seducing your high school buddies can’t be good for a boy’s emotional development.

3. Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury) in The Manchurian Candidate
Years before she played everybody’s favourite crime novelist/singing teapot, Angela Lansbury starred in this cold war thriller as a Communist agent who brainwashes her war hero son into murdering the US president.  Not only is she willing to sacrifice her son to Mother Russia, it’s also heavily implied that there’s some incest action going on between the two of them. Treasonous and gross!

Fast fact: Lansbury was only 36 years old when she starred in this film. That makes her just 3 years older than Laurence Harvey, who plays her son.

4. Margaret White (Piper Laurie) in Carrie
The American public schooling system really failed this single mother. When her teenage daughter Carrie (Sissy Spacek) receives the first of her ‘monthly visitors’ at the age of 17, Margaret tells her that the bleeding is actually God’s punishment for her sins. She then traps poor Carrie in their home prayer closet and tells her to repent. Because theirs is the kind of overbearing home that has a tiny room with a giant statue of Jesus bleeding on the cross.

After that kind of abuse, can you blame Carrie for going postal at her senior prom?

5. Livia Soprano (Nancy Marchand) on The Sopranos
Spoilers ahoy! Few mothers who would be happy if their sons tried to put them in a care home for the elderly. Even fewer mothers would respond by trying to get their sons murdered, but that’s precisely what Livia Soprano did. By revealing to Uncle Junior that her son (and mob boss) Tony was seeing a psychiatrist, she tries to provoke him into having her baby boy whacked.

When that plot fails, she tries again for revenge by telling Artie Bucco that his pal Tony fire-bombed the hell out of his family restaurant (which he technically did), thinking that he’d put Tony on ice (which he almost does).

With family like this, who needs to worry about the Feds?

6. Kate McCallister (Catherine O’Hara) from Home Alone
While Kevin’s mum might be the kindest, sweetest matriarch of this bunch, that doesn’t mean that she’s a responsible parent. Surely you can’t accidentally abandon your pre-teen son twice in the space of two years and not expect to hear from social services? Especially when that son end ups in a life-and-death struggle with criminals on both occasions.

Seriously… if Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) didn’t have the skills to build elaborate booby traps, Joe Pesci would definitely have murdered him on the streets of New York, right?

This lady really needs to get her act together.

7. ‘Joan Crawford’ (Faye Dunaway) in Mommie Dearest

This film based on the memoirs of Joan Crawford’s daughter did not paint the Hollywood star in a very flattering light. As played by the excellent Faye Dunaway, she’s a short-tempered, OCD-afflicted homemaker who constantly belittled and abused her daughter. She can’t stand messiness or insolence; but above all, she cannot abide wire hangers.

8. Mrs Lift (Anne Ramsay) from Throw Momma from the Train

Taking a cue from Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, hen-pecked Owen (Danny de Vito) hatches a half-baked plan to off his own mother, whom he lives with. And why not? She’s a shrieking harpy who constantly berates and belittles him. Without her around, there’d be nothing to stop him from making friends and having a life of his own!

What other baaad muthas from film and TV would you like to put in Room 101? Let us know in the comments below.

For more cinematic mothers, both good and bad, head over to our Movie Mums Collection

Mar 24 2014

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ gets a Star-Filled Poster and Trailer

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 3:57 pm

There are seemingly fewer and fewer summer blockbusters these days that aren’t based on Marvel Comics but let us not forget about the franchise that arguably started it all.

Director Bryan Singer, who was responsible for igniting the comic book film with his first two X-Men films is back with X-Men: Days of Future Past. And judging by everything we’ve seen so far, it will be the most epic entry yet. Combining the casts of the original X-Men films and X-Men: First Class, Days of Future Past is certainly the most star-laden action film of recent memory.

Just take a look at the new trailer:

You have veteran Shakespearean actors/Twitter besties Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart; two of the most impressive young actresses in Ellen Page and Jennifer Lawrence; and Michael Fassbender, who’s fresh from the award-winning 12 Years a Slave.

Plus there’s James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman and Oscar-winner Halle Berry!

How can you possibly fit so many stars onto one poster? Just like this:


It’s a suitably epic poster, even if it looks a little familiar:


Let it be known that from this moment in time, all Marvel posters must feature lots of characters superimposed over each other, with flying things streaking across clouds behind them. Also, if something could be on fire in the background, that would certainly be nice.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is in cinemas 22 May

Mar 24 2014

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Walt Disney

Tag: blinkboxblinkbox @ 12:54 pm

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.
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!
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.
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.
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!

5. Walt Disney died of lung cancer in 1966. His last written words were, cryptically, “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.
It boasted 2,615 feet of track, including overpasses and even a tunnel. (via

7. Mickey Mouse’s first speaking role was in 1929’s The Karnival Kid.
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.
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.
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

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.


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

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

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.