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Movies, TV and Comic Books

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    One cannot accuse Stephan Franck for not keeping busy as he directed The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow(2013) and established Dark Planet Comics which published his supernatural pulp tale about a a con artist who encounters some major vampire issues as he attempts to orchestrate a heist of a lifetime.

    The first two issues of  Silver are being reprinted while the third instalment will be arriving shortly and will also be part of Silver Volume 1 which includes bonus material created by guest artists like Rodolphe “Rodguen” Guenoden and Takeshi Miyazawa (Runaways). 


    A Kickstarter campaign has been initiated for the trade paperback collection.  “All the work has already been created,” states Franck.  “The point of the campaign is to help fronting the printing cost ahead of us. So essentially, it’s just pre-ordering the books for an April delivery.”  As an incentive Dark Planet Comics is offering signed and numbered limited edition art prints.  “Although we greatly enjoy our digital distribution, at this stage of our development, comic book conventions are the place where we get to show our ware to a new committed audience. That’s where we did 90% of our business last year, and for that to work, we need physical books on the table.”


    To learn more visit the official Kickstarter campaign site for Silver Volume 1.


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    Last night the Writers Guild of America announced the winners of the 66th annual WGA Awards, with Her (Spike Jonze) the recipient of the award for Best Original Screenplay and Captain Phillips (Billy Ray) taking home the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

    Among the winners on the small screen were Breaking Bad (Episodic Drama), Veep (Episodic Comedy), House of Cards (New Series) and The Simpsons (Animation), while The Last of Us was victorious in the videogame category.

    Check out the full list of winners here....

    ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
    Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.

    ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
    Captain Phillips, Screenplay by Billy Ray; Based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty; Columbia Pictures

    DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY:
    Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions

    DRAMA SERIES:
    Breaking Bad, Written by Sam Catlin, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Gennifer Hutchison, George Mastras, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett; AMC

    COMEDY SERIES:
    Veep, Written by Simon Blackwell, Roger Drew, Sean Gray, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, Georgia Pritchett, David Quantick, Tony Roche, Will Smith; HBO

    NEW SERIES:
    House of Cards, Written by Kate Barnow, Rick Cleveland, Sam Forman, Gina Gionfriddo, Keith Huff, Sarah Treem, Beau Willimon; Netflix

    EPISODIC DRAMA:
    “Confessions” (Breaking Bad), Written by Gennifer Hutchison; AMC

    EPISODIC COMEDY:
    “Hogcock!” (30 Rock), Written by Jack Burditt & Robert Carlock; NBC

    LONG FORM – ADAPTED:
    Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, Written by Shawn Slovo, Based on the book by Howard Bingham and Max Wallace; HBO

    SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA – ORIGINAL:
    “Episode 4: The Collected Sylvia” (Sylvia Plath: Girl Detective), Written by Mike Simses

    ANIMATION:
    “A Test Before Trying” (The Simpsons), Written by Joel H. Cohen; Fox

    COMEDY / VARIETY (INCLUDING TALK) – SERIES:
    The Colbert Report, Writers: Stephen Colbert, Tom Purcell, Michael Brumm, Nate Charny, Rich Dahm, Paul Dinello, Eric Drysdale, Rob Dubbin, Glenn Eichler, Gabe Gronli, Dan Guterman, Barry Julien, Jay Katsir, Frank Lesser, Opus Moreschi, Bobby Mort, Meredith Scardino, Max Werner; Comedy Central

    COMEDY / VARIETY – MUSIC, AWARDS, TRIBUTES – SPECIALS:
    Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas, Head Writers: Jay Martel, Ian Roberts; Writers: Alex Rubens, Charlie Sanders; NBC

    QUIZ AND AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION:
    Jeopardy!, Written by John Duarte, Harry Friedman, Mark Gaberman, Debbie Griffin, Michele Loud, Robert McClenaghan, Jim Rhine, Steve D. Tamerius, Billy Wisse; ABC

    DAYTIME DRAMA:
    Days of Our Lives, Written by Lorraine Broderick, David Cherrill, Carolyn Culliton, Richard Culliton, Rick Draughon, Christopher Dunn, Janet Iacobuzio, David A. Levinson, Ryan Quan, Dave Ryan, Melissa Salmons, Christopher J. Whitesell; NBC

    CHILDREN’S – EPISODIC & SPECIALS:
    “influANTces” (A.N.T. Farm), Written by Vincent Brown; Disney Channel

    DOCUMENTARY – CURRENT EVENTS:
    “Egypt in Crisis” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria & Martin Smith; PBS

    DOCUMENTARY – OTHER THAN CURRENT EVENTS:
    “The Abolitionists” (American Experience), Written by Rob Rapley; PBS
    “Silicon Valley” (American Experience), Telescript by Randall MacLowry and Michelle Ferrari; Story by Randall MacLowry; PBS

    NEWS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED, BULLETIN, OR BREAKING REPORT:
    “Tragedy at Newtown” Special Edition (ABC World News with Diane Sawyer), Written by Lisa Ferri and Matt Negrin; ABC

    NEWS – ANALYSIS, FEATURE, OR COMMENTARY:
    “Lethal Medicine” (60 Minutes), Written by Michael Rey, Oriana Zill de Granados, Michael Radutzky; CBS

    RADIO DOCUMENTARY:
    “2012 Year in Review,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News

    RADIO NEWS – REGULARLY SCHEDULED OR BREAKING REPORT:
    “Afternoon Drive,” Written by Bill Spadaro; CBS Radio/1010 WINS

    RADIO NEWS – ANALYSIS, FEATURE OR COMMENTARY:
    "Remembrances,” Written by Gail Lee; CBS Radio News

    ON-AIR PROMOTION (TELEVISION, NEW MEDIA OR RADIO:
    “The Crazy Ones – Building a Better Comedy,” Written by Erial Tompkins; CBS

    TELEVISION GRAPHIC ART AND ANIMATION:
    CBS News Animations: “Brain Injury,” “Pills,” “Bionic Leg,” “Midland Parade,” “Concordia Salvage;” Animation by David Rosen; CBS News

    VIDEOGAME:
    The Last of Us, Written by Neil Druckmann; Sony Computer Entertainment



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    Villordsutch chats with actor, comedian and writer Robert Llewellyn...

    Villordsutch: Always an easy question to start with: I suffer from a bad case of a dry sense of humour and it often gets me into bother with people I’ve just met; occasionally relatives too.  Has your humour ever caused any concerns to your own personal safety?

    Robert Llewellyn: That’s a fascinating question and although people in my profession are probably asked weird questions more than say engineers, plumbers, accountants, I’ve never been asked that before.

    In about 1982 I wrote a sketch about a flying psychoanalyst who visited remote outback farmers in Australia and helped them ‘deal with their emotional problems.’ I was performing in a comedy sketch and music group called ‘The Joeys’ at the time, we performed the sketch and many people laughed, well, everyone laughed. It was funny.

    One night in Cricklewood, North London we were playing to a packed house and right after the audience stopped clapping at the end of the sketch a very angry and real Australian (we’d just been bellowing in very bad, sub Monty Python Australian accents) stood up and shouted ‘why don’t you tell more racist jokes about Jews and blacks you bastards!’

    He took to the stage and berated us, he was very angry and I think that was the first time I felt any direct threat emanating from something I’d written or said. Other than that, I’ve had plenty of verbal aggression, heckling and cruel insults from audiences but I quite enjoy that, no direct physical assaults. In social groups I have been known to ‘cross the line’ apparently, I’ve been told that something I’ve said was offensive or more commonly ‘insensitive,’ but I don’t deliberately set out to upset people. I admire people who do, Frankie Boyle is a hero of mine, I do not have the nerve to do what he does.

    V: A fair amount of readers obviously know you as the man behind the rubber mask (Kryten from Red Dwarf) as well as presenter of Scrapheap Challenge and Carpool, however many more also know you as the author of (amongst other books) the “News from…” Trilogy (Gardenia, the Squares and coming soon the Clouds) can you give us a brief overview of your fictional universe?

    RL: I once said to the producer of Scrapheap, a wonderful man called Dom Bowles, that “I primarily think of myself as a writer.”

    As you can imagine a statement of such deluded pomposity did not fall on fallow ground, to this day (9 years later) he still addresses me in e-mails as “Bob, (primarily a writer) Llewellyn.”

    That aside I have written books, plays, scripts and articles since I was a kid. I always loved reading and always wanted to write books. I just had no idea how to do it. Through chaotic stumbling I kind of fell on stage, not something I had ever wanted to do and found that I could have an outlet for my writing even if it was scrawling words for other people to say. I wanted to tell stories and when people actually laughed at them my life changed overnight. Through even more unlikely stumbling I ended up on telly in Red Dwarf, but one of the main things that attracted me to working with Rob and Doug (Grant and Naylor, the creative team behind Red Dwarf) was the quality of the writing.

    For the first time in my life I had the time to actually write books, it’s basically all I did between recording 5 series of Red Dwarf. It has taken me many years to bring together all my interests and obsessions into my fictional universe. I have always been fascinated and challenged by what can broadly be termed ‘sexual politics.’ I came of age in the mid 1970’s when the feminist debate was very much to the fore.

    My other obsession which has been with me even longer is engineering, the creation of new technologies and their impact on the environment. So many threads lead into this interest I can’t begin to untangle them here, but the main thrust has been the concept of long term planning, long term thinking and the rather obvious consequences of the current 6 months ultra short termism so entrenched in our political and corporate systems.

    This lead me to reading and thinking about the long term future of the human race which resulted in writing ‘News from Gardenia’ a story set in a world 200 years in the future where things are generally better. Not perfect, not some set in aspic Utopia where everyone is happy all the time. News from Gardenia is Protopian science fiction. Progressive utopia combined, a continuing process, it’s the depiction of a changing and developing social and economic system, it’s an attempt to explore what life could be like if we lived with the planet rather than simply using it as fast as possible.

    Gardenia was swiftly followed by ‘News from the Squares’ which looked at how the world could develop in a more sustainable, less brutal way if women took over running the place. Again this is no perfect world, it’s challenging and complicated, the hero of all three books, Gavin Meckler is baffled by most of what he comes across but he is also changed by his experiences.

    I am currently writing the third book in the trilogy, ‘News from the Clouds’ which is again a book celebrating the indomitable human spirit, rising up to meet the challenge of climate chaos, extreme weather and a very different planet to the one we now reside in.

    V: Was taking the “News from…” trilogy to Unbound which offers fans and future readers the chance to get the book published by pledging money to assist with its publication (along with appropriate reward for pledge) a risk?  Did you ever worry that people may have replied with “Bob, stuff your book!” and you’d be sat with a brilliant tale going dusty inside your PC/Mac (delete as required)?

    RL: I started writing News from Gardenia before I met the folks who run Unbound, my original intention was to self publish the book. I’d had a long talk with the extraordinary Cory Doctorow (he recorded an episode of Carpool with me) and was very inspired by his experiences self publishing.

    However the more I explored the idea the more challenged I became. While I am chief technical officer with my family, I can set up routers, sort out e-mail issues and run my families phones and tablet devices, my skills in actual independent publishing are limited. Meeting the Unbounders when I did was a real blessing. I immediately loved the model, the idea behind it and had no trepidation jumping in.

    I think I was at an advantage having already published 11 books through the traditional method, getting an advance from an established publisher, waiting years for it to hit the bookshops, doing the PR tour etc. While I’ve had reasonable success in the arena it was always a little frustrating. I loved meeting my readers, I loved talking about the books and writing them but the traditional publishing business, while generally benign is definitely locked into many out-dated practices.

    With Unbound the whole process is utterly transparent, I know how much we raise for each book and I know exactly where every penny is spent, how much it costs to print books, convert them into e-books, record the audio book version (which for me is part of the writing process) etc.

    So far it’s been wonderful, the books are available everywhere a book published traditionally would be, no restrictions and I get a much fairer % of the cover price. For someone in my position who can get the books launched through Unbound, it’s been every win-win/no-brainer clichés you want to use.

    I would admit that for an unknown or first time writer, getting the book off the ground would be harder but Unbound have proven beyond doubt that it can be done.

    V: You’ve written roughly around twelve books have you ever considered taking your talents perhaps towards writing a graphic novel perhaps in the “News from…” universe and choosing and artist to bring the tale to life or even a good stab at a Red Dwarf graphic novel?

    RL: When I sat in front of my careers master at school I told him I wanted to be a cartoonist. He wasn’t impressed and suggested I try the army. Yes, I have dreamed about doing something in the graphic novel arena for a long time and there I do have a project taking shape at the moment. I won’t be doing the drawings though, my cartoon skills are fairly limited.

    V:  I knew a fair chunk of your showbiz talents and your views on self-sufficiency, but checking the Wikipedia on yourself and your blog http://llewblog.squarespace.com/ it becomes apparent that you’ve been around and are a dab hand at everything.  Is there anything however that you can’t do or would love to try?

    RL: Blimey, I’m fairly rubbish at everything but I’m prepared to have a go. Working on Scrapheap Challenge for so long and meeting so many really skilled engineers and bodgers made me realise how cack handed I really was. I can’t fly a plane, would quite like to learn, I’d love to be better at welding, some of my basic plumbing skills are passable and I’d love to be able to understand electronics more readily. I’m in the long, slow process of trying to get a community solar and micro hydro generating system installed in my local area, that’s my main, long-term non work related project at the moment

    V: Quickly dropping back to the self-sufficiency was there a particular moment where you thought to yourself, ‘Electric Cars, local wine and my own chickens!’?

    RL: That’s a good list, I haven’t previously connected chickens and electric cars but I do indeed have both. Local wine, in the Cotswolds? I’m sure there is some, local apple juice is fantastic though. I don’t think I’m that interested in ‘self sufficiency’ but I’m very interested in local, community sustainability, the idea of massively distributed energy generation, locally owned and operated strikes me as a rather fine direction for the country.

    V: Looking to Red Dwarf, which has been a huge part of my sci-fi/comedy life and obviously yours, it did particularly well on Dave with Red Dwarf X drawing in 1.5 million people to the first episode.  Did you enjoy returning to role as Kryten and the way the new show expanded the lore of Red Dwarf?

    RL: There is no question that Red Dwarf has become a very big part of my life since 1989, it’s been a massive privilege to be involved and I count the cast as some of my best mates so it’s always fun to work with them. I essentially worship the ground Doug Naylor walks on so I am always full of admiration for his insights and the incredible effort he puts into writing the scripts. When we sit down together and read through the new scripts, that’s as close as we get to the experience the audience gets when the see the episode on the telly. I love those days, then my heart sinks when I remember I have to learn all those lines and remember them when my head is reaching temperatures that would set off alarms in Sellafield.

    V: Perhaps the question you’ve been asked so many times you have an set answer on a card to hand out to the person asking the question; I am talking Red Dwarf the movie here.  I know it has mooted way back in the past but in late 2012 Doug Naylor said, “Craig said something interesting to me which was if we were to do the film, he wouldn’t want to leave the TV series…” with the recent Harry Hill and Alan Partridge films appearing are be getting closer to another UK film release namely Red Dwarf: The Movie?

    RL: That is so much a question for Doug, I’m sure if he wrote the script and managed to raise the budget, none of us would say ‘No Doug, I don’t want to make a Red Dwarf movie.’

    I was very happy when we made a new series and recorded it in front of a live audience, it kind of felt that’s where Red Dwarf belongs, it’s a sit com about four space bums trapped together… for ever.

    I’d never say never, I think a movie could work if it was pitched right, but I’m happy that we’ll (hopefully) make another series soon.

    V:  Final question – Can you give us one secret project you’re working on that nobody else knows about?

    RL: Well, the graphic novel thingy, hopefully that’ll come to fruition. I’m also working on a top secret tablet based swishy, sophisticated app thingy that is so exciting I can’t even speak about it, and some other telly stuff for later in the year which is very much up my electric street but at the moment all those projects could go down the crapper so I’m loath to go into detail.

    Many thanks to Robert Llewellyn for taking the time for this interview. Find him on Twitter here.

    Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.

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    This week, Stan Lee will make his debut in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the upcoming episode 'T.R.A.C.K.S.', as ABC and Marvel ups its guest star quota in an effort to reverse the decline in ratings that's befallen the show since its premiere last year.

    Ahead of his camero, IGN caught up with the comic book legend to get his thoughts on the show and the decision to have the show revolve around Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson and his team of non-superpowered S.H.I.E.L.D. agents...

    "I guess they felt they had to have some normal people — or seemingly normal people — and certainly Clark is doing a very good job playing the role. I just feel that we also need more colorful characters to be popping up all the time. I don't mean that Clark isn't colorful as an actor, but what I mean is characters who as comic book characters are more colorful."

    Of course, the show is taking steps to bring in more "colorful" characters, with J. August Richards' Mike Peterson undergoing a transformation into Deathlok and Thor and Thor: The Dark World star Jaimie Alexander set to guest star as Lady Sif in an episode that will also feature The Enchantress' sister Lorelei (Elena Satine), and Stan believes this is a step in the right direction...

    "That will be great. I think that's what the show needs. I think people will tune in to see those characters and will enjoy seeing them in the context of being with normal people on a normal mission."

    Will you be tuning in for Stan Lee's guest appearance this week? Let us know in the comments below...




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    Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found dead at his home in New York of a suspected drug overdose, aged 46. Born in Faripoint, New York in 1967, Hoffman began his career in the early 1990s with a guest role in Law & Order, but enjoyed his breakthrough in 1992 when he appeared in four films, including Scent of a Woman.

    During the 1990s, he enjoyed film roles in the likes of The Getaway and Nobody's Fool, as well as making a small appearance in Paul Thomas Anderson's feature debut Hard Eight. He would reunite with Anderson on a further four films in Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and The Master, as well as earning acclaim for a string of performances in films such as Happiness, Flawless, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Almost Famous and Capote - the latter of which saw him receiving the Academy Award for Best Actor.

    Following his Oscar success, he would be nominated a further three times, twice for Best Supporting Actor in Charlie Wilson's War and Doubt, and once for Best Actor in The Master. Meanwhile, his other notable film roles included The Big Lebowski, Red Dragon, 25th Hour, Cold Mountain, Mission: Impossible III, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, The Savages, Synecdoche, New York, The Boat that Rocked, Moneyball, The Ides of March, A Late Quartet and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He will next be seen in the Joe Le Carre adaptation A Most Wanted Man and was currently reprising his role as Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, of which he had a week of filming left to complete.

    Our condolences to the family and friends of this immensely talented actor.



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    Muppets Most Wanted Super Bowl TV spotIt's the Super Bowl tonight, so movie fans can expect plenty of previews for Hollywood's upcoming releases. We've already had early peeks at Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as well as full spots for 3 Days to Kill, Draft Day, Pompeiiand The Monuments Men, and now we have another in Muppets Most Wanted, which you can check out below after the official synopsis...

    Muppets Most Wanted takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe's most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine—the World's Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit—and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two.

    Muppets Most Wanted is directed once again by James Bobin (The Muppets) and stars Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey alongside a host of cameos from the likes of Sean Combs, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Salyma Hayek, Tom Hiddleston, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci, Usher and Christoph Waltz.


    Muppets Most Wanted opens in North America on March 21st and in the UK on March 28th.

     

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    Paramount Pictures is set to give us our first look at Transformers: Age of Extinction in just a few short hours with a TV spot during the Super Bowl, and to whet our appetites the Paramount International YouTube page has given us a thumbnail which features our first shot of one of the Robots in Disguise in action. Check it out via TFW2005...


    Transformers: Age of Extinction is out on June 27th with Michael Bay directing a cast that includes Mark Wahlberg (Pain & Gain), Jack Reynor (What Richard Did), Stanley Tucci (Captain America: The First Avenger), Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel), Bingbing Li (Resident Evil: Retribution), Sophia Myles (Underworld), Victoria Summer (Saving Mr. Banks), Titus Welliver (Lost), and T.J. Miller (She's Out of My League).


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    Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb...

    Woody Allen is in the news, again, for alleged child molestation. An open letter from his daughter, Dylan Farrow, has detailed precisely how he is said to have abused her. Furthermore, Nicholas Kristof for The New York Times who has openly stated his friendship with the Farrow family, supports her claims:

    "I asked her why she’s speaking out now. She said she wants to set the record straight and give courage to victims: 'I was thinking, if I don’t speak out, I’ll regret it on my death bed.' These are extremely tough issues, and certainty isn’t available. But hundreds of thousands of boys and girls are abused each year, and they deserve support and sensitivity. When evidence is ambiguous, do we really need to leap to our feet and lionize an alleged molester?"

    The full open letter by Dylan Farrow was released on The New York Times on February 1st 2014 and can be read here.

    Kristof’s article, revealing his own opinion, is accessible here.

    To muddy the waters more, filmmaker Robert B. Weide defends Woody Allen himself writing an article titled “The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast” and can be found on The Daily Beast, accessible here

    It is a considerable amount of information to take it. As a fan of Woody Allen’s films it is difficult not to hold an opinion. Is it a case of asking who to believe? Indeed, if you believe Dylan Farrow then Woody Allen, a child molester, has been free and potentially abusing others for decades. Indeed, he has two adopted daughters himself. To adopt, he had to provide evidence to support his claim that they would be brought up in a safe household. This puts a question mark around the entire adoption process and how effective it is. If you side with Allen whatsoever, you discredit the victim’s opinion and therefore fail to support those who are abused – and justify their silence and fear of being heard.

    To make matters worse, the strange age difference and former relationship between Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn almost gave a sense that if he is willing to cross those boundaries, what others is he willing to cross?

    Personally, I make no judgement. I am not a judge in any case. I am merely a reader of gossip, “news” and second hand information. The open letter should be sent to those in a position to make an arrest. Weide may be professionally hung for supporting Allen, but again, I don’t believe that his opinion is worth any more or less than Kristof's. Allen has never been a fan of awards and commendations. The fact that Farrow’s letter notes his Oscar nomination and Golden Globe accolade gives the impression that, somehow, this matters. Of course they don’t.

    Justice is determined by a court of law and not by internet websites and their ‘comments’. The fact that this situation has been brought up again, two decades since it was initially brought to the attention of the authorities, may mean that the justice system is flawed. This is a bigger concern - how many others have been let down by this?

    As I stated before, as a fan of Woody Allen’s films, it is difficult to hold an opinion. But I will not refuse to watch his films. I will not argue his innocence either. I will wait until the law catches up with him – and with an open letter from a victim and the support of family and friends, surely this is the stage whereby an investigation is begun - or continued. Suffice to say, if he is found “not guilty”, then this outcome must be accepted too.

    But I will still enjoy his films (and write on our Woody Allen Wednesday). It is important in this social-media age, whereby articles and tweets can cast doubt and challenges our ideas about others that evidence, proof and – in the case of a child molestation allegation – the proper course of justice is followed. I am not a judge and therefore all these column inches to ‘prove’ one way or the other mean nothing as they will only make the situation more unclear. As Kristof states, "certainty isn't available", but reading all the articles and reminding yourself that you could be wrong, at the moment, is the only certainty I will comfortably live with. I don't know the truth - and I accept that.

    Simon Columb

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    Simon Columb begins our Al Pacino Retrospective with a look at The Panic in Needle Park...

    While we read of those trapped in the never-ending cycle of drug-use, it is more tragic and soul-destroying to see the innocent victim pulled into it. In 1971, The Panic in Needle Park captures the story of an artist’s girlfriend Helen (actress Kitty Winn in the central-role), as she falls for heroin-addict and thief Bobby (in Al Pacino’s break-out role), one amongst the dealers and social-ills in New York’s Sherman Square – known as “Needle Park”.

    Stark, arresting close-ups of needles pinching the vein and releasing their fluid are common place. The Panic in Needle Park is not a dying exposé on the hippy-culture that was rife in the 1960’s, and could hardly be considered a follow-up to pop-soundtrack drug-fuelled films such as Easy Rider and Midnight Cowboy two years prior. Instead, more akin to Trainspotting, The Panic in Needle Park is an insight into the loneliness, isolation and dependency that addiction takes hold of. Helen and Bobby need each other, but not as much as they need their next hit.  Cop-character Hotch (Alan Vint) reminds Helen that drug addicts “always rat”, while Bobby aspires for so much more – sincerely claiming he wants to marry Helen while she dreams of living in the country. Trust and loyalty is not an attribute of junkies.

    Director Jerry Schatzberg films on location with grimy, yellow stained walls and handheld camera work that we would see two years later in Robert De Niro’s breakout film, Mean Streets. Indeed, the hyper-active Johnny Boy of Scorsese’s film is an interesting contrast to the quirky, likeable rogue Bobby in Needle Park. Both are self-destructive and both need their respective posse to survive. While Bobby has Helen, Johnny Boy has Harvey Keitel’s repenting sinner to look after him. James Bell writes in Sight and Sound that, considering Schatzberg won the Palme D’Or in 1973 for Scarecrow, he should’ve joined Coppola and Scorsese in the ranks of esteemed filmmakers of the 1970’s. Responsible for the iconic sleeve of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album, his career is surely ear-marked for a revival.

    Actress Kitty Winn was celebrated for her performance too. Winn’s Helen carries genuine grace as a victim of her own loyalty to Bobby. Disintegrating before our very eyes, she is the heart of the film. Al Pacino steals every scene he’s in. The wild-eyed junkie, switching between joker and spaced-out heroin-user, he needs to be likeable enough that we believe Helen falls for him. But this has to be counter-balanced with an addictive persona that relies on drugs despite his own claims that he’s chippin’, when he’s clearly dependent. Shortly before the film starts, we realise Helen has had an abortion and her short spell in hospital provides Bobby with the opportunity to charm. He woos her by bragging about prison. These are vulnerable characters.

    The bleak depiction of New York is purposefully tragic. The repetitive cycle of drug-taking, unfortunately drains the viewer forcing The Panic in Needle Park to rely on the central performances. Pacino immediately achieves recognition through his unhinged portrait of Bobby, it is only a shame others failed to break the same ground. The Panic in Needle Park is a challenging watch – and not easy to comfortably sit through. Without Kitty Winn and Al Pacino, this would simply be a shock state-of-society film. Instead, we see a blossoming relationship spiral southward. While Kitty reacts and follows Bobby, the thrust relies on Pacino. He transcends the cliché performance of the crazed, dangerous and threatening druggie. We believe in him and know that behind his amiable nature (it’s why Helen loves him) there is a broken man.

    For more on the Al Pacino Retrospective running at the BFI throughout February amd March, head here.

    Simon Columb

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    In what was arguably the most anticipated of all the Super Bowl TV spots, Paramount Pictures has given us our first look at the fourth instalment of director Michael Bay's Transformers franchise, as the series gets a makeover for Transformers: Age of Extinction.

    The new movie sees Shia LaBeouf and the rest of the human cast out, with Mark Wahlberg (Pain & Gain) now headlining alongside Jack Reynor (What Richard Did), Stanley Tucci (Captain America: The First Avenger), Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel), Bingbing Li (Resident Evil: Retribution), Sophia Myles (Underworld), Victoria Summer (Saving Mr. Banks), Titus Welliver (Lost) and T.J. Miller (She's Out of My League). Peter Cullen returns to lend his voice to Optimus Prime, while the Autobot ranks will be bolstered by the first appearance of the Dinobots.

    Check out the Super Bowl spot for Transformers: Age of Extinction right here, and be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below...


    Transformers: Age of Extinction is set for release on June 27th.

     

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    After debuting a brief teaser on Friday, Marvel Studios gave us a new look at the upcoming superhero sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier during last night' Super Bowl, and you can check out the big game spot right here after the official synopsis, as well as two brand new trailers.

     "After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy — the Winter Soldier."

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Community) and sees MCU veterans Chris Evans (Captain America), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Toby Jones (Arnim Zola) and Maximiliano Hernandez (Agent Jasper Sitwell) joined in the cast by Anthony Mackie (Pain & Gain) as Sam Wilson / Falcon, Emily VanCamp (Revenge) as Sharon Carter / Agent 13, Frank Grillo (Zero Dark Thirty) as Brock Rumlow / Crossbones, George St-Pierre (Death Warrior) as Georges Batroc / Batroc the Leaper, and Robert Redford (All Is Lost) as Alexander Pierce.



    Update - And here's a batch of new stills...









    Captain America: The Winter Soldier is set for release on March 26th in the UK and April 4th in North America.


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    With Fast & Furious 7 pushed back to 2015 in the wake of Paul Walker's death back in December, this year's high-octane, over-the-top racing entertainment will come courtesy of DreamWorks adaptation of the hit video game series Need for Speed, which debuted a new TV spot during last night's Super Bowl in the States, as well as an extended preview that we've got for you below....

    Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, muscle car mechanic and street racer Tobey (Aaron Paul) gets out of prison determined to settle the score with the man responsible for his false conviction. Tobey tears up the road in a gritty cross-country journey— one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. 

    Need for Speed is directed by Scott Waugh (Act of Valor) and sees Paul joined in the cast by Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger), Kid Cudi (How to Make It in America), Imogen Poots (Fright Night), Rami Malek (The Pacific), Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey), and Michael Keaton (RoboCop).

    Watch the Need for Speed Super Bowl spots here...



    Need for Speed is set for release on March 14th.



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    Last week Sony gave us a sneak peek at The Amazing Spider-Man 2 by releasing the first part of its action-packed Super Bowl TV spot, and now with the big game behind us the second part has arrived online, which we've got for you below as well as a special extended 'Enemies Unite' trailer.

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sees Marc Webb directing a cast that includes the returning Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker / Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Sally Field (Aunt May), Chris Zylka (Flash Thompson), Campbell Scott (Richard Parker), Embeth Davidtz (Mary Parker), Martin Sheen (Ben Parker) and Denis Leary (George Stacy), while new additions include Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) as Electro, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as Harry Osborn, Paul Giamatti (12 Years a Slave) as The Rhino, Chris Cooper (American Beauty) as Norman Osborn, Colm Feore (Thor) as Donald Menken, Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings) as Dr. Kafka and Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), Sarah Gadon (Cosmopolis), and B.J. Novak (The Office) in as yet unrevealed roles.

    We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that a greater conflict lies ahead.

    It’s great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.



    The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for release on April 18th 2014 in the UK and on May 1st 2014 in North America.



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  • 02/02/14--22:56: RoboCop Super Bowl TV spot
  • New poster and second trailer for the RoboCop remakeThe RoboCop reboot is almost upon us (we'll have a review up for you midweek), and last night U.S. TV audiences got a preview of the 21st century update of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 cult classic with a Super Bowl spot for the film, which sees Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) leading the cast as Alex Murphy alongside Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises), Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers), Michael Keaton (Batman), Abbie Cornish (Sucker Punch), Jay Baruchel (Knocked Up), Aimee Garcia (Dexter), Michael K. Williams (The Wire), Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen) and Miguel Ferrer (Iron Man 3).

    "In RoboCop, the year is 2029 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes their remarkable science of robotics to save Alex’s life. He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities, but with issues a regular man has never had to face before."

    Watch the RoboCop Super Bowl TV spot here...


    RoboCop opens here in the UK this coming Friday February 7th and in North America on February 12th.


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    Thanks for Sharing, 2012.

    Directed by Stuart Blumberg
    Starring Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Josh Gad, Joely Richardson and Alecia Moore.


    SYNOPSIS:

    Adam (Mark Ruffalo) is a recovering sex addict, who begins to doubt his six years of celibacy when he meets dream girl Phoebe (Gwenyth Paltrow). Leader of the self help group, Mike (Tim Robbins), has his own problems as his recovering drug addict son returns home, much to his discomfort. Mike and Adam also try and guide young doctor Neil (Josh Gad) whose career is almost ruined several times over by his sex addiction. Neil meets newcomer Dede (Alecia Moore/Pink), as he wonders if she'll be able to save him from himself.


    There is one huge problem that plagues Thanks for Sharing as a film, and it appears almost immediately. Thanks for Sharing claims to be a film about sex addiction, but it doesn't understand the addiction of which its characters suffer from. If a writer wants audiences to empathise or sympathise with characters, we need to see them endure hardships, we need to see them at their lowest point, so they can rise again. Simply using exposition to tell us our characters are addicted to sex is a mute point, we should see it.  Because the film starts during the recovery process, it's incredibly hard for us to relate to what our protagonists have been through. As an additional consequence of the film starting so late in its own narrative, the pace is incredibly wonky, and almost nothing happens.

    The film boasts quite a star-studded, capable cast, but for some reason, there is little or no chemistry between most of the characters involved in emotive scenes. Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow were particularly disappointing as the key romantic couple. Tim Robbins was fairly good, regardless of his story arch being quite irrelevant. Alecia Moore (Pink) was genuinely impressive, this being her acting début. Although the drama or comedy was mostly ineffective, the cast aren't to blame. The dialogue is wooden and rigid enough, that it would have been hard for any cast to make it believable.

    Thanks for Sharing had potential, but it simply didn't gel as a film. A funny, emotive romantic comedy about sex addiction was an ambitious goal from first time director Stuart Blumberg, but the bold attempt is appreciated nonetheless. For fans of the romantic comedy, Thanks for Sharing is still worth a watch. The novelty of seeing Tim Robbins after such a long hiatus is certainly a factor, alongside Pink's surprisingly good acting début. If it appeals to you, by all means watch it. Otherwise, might be worth missing.

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★

    Sam Thorne



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    Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer is set to return to the small screen this year for the 24: Live Another Day, and during last night's Super Bowl FOX aired four short teasers, building up to the first trailer for the upcoming miniseries, and we've got them all for you right here...

    24: Live Another Day sees Jack trying to avert yet another global disaster, this time on the streets of London. 24 veterans Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O'Brian), Kim Raver (Audrey Raines) and William Devane (James Heller) all return, alongside new additions such as Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter), Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order), Giles Matthew (Jobs), Michael Wincott (The Crow), Judy Davis (A Passage to India), Stephen Fry (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Tate Donovan (Damages), Gbenga Akinnagbe (Graceland), Giles Matthey (True Blood) and Colin Salmon (Arrow).

    Check out the four teasers, followed by the first trailer here...






    24: Live Another Day is set to get underway on May 5th.


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    Dracula: The Dark Prince, 2013.

    Directed by Pearry Reginald Teo.
    Starring Luke Roberts, Jon Voight, Kelly Wenham, Ben Robson, Holly Earl and Stephen Hogan.


    SYNOPSIS:

    In his quest to find the only weapon powerful enough to destroy him, Dracula (Roberts) falls in love with Alina (Kelly Wenham), a woman who bears a striking resemblance to his long-deceased bride. He then has her kidnapped and taken to his home where he plans on seducing her, but with the legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing (Voight) in hot pursuit, he'll have to act fast to win her over...


    If you’ve ever felt that there weren’t quite enough cinematic offerings about Dracula, then you might be pleased to know the just for good measure we have another adaptation coming straight to Netflix. Hollywood hasn’t been blessed with originality for years, and in recent times the amount of sequels, remakes, re-imaginings, or rip offs has become almost epidemic. As such this low budget fantasy adventure opts for one of cinemas most overused antagonists, Dracula.

    In this tale Dracula was once a warrior prince fighting for his country. Having turned to the dark side, the people he fought for, rebelled against him, killing his beloved bride. He became immortal, spending his time longing for his lost love and searching for the light-bringer, a weapon that can help him defy God and eradicate death. There’s an attempt here to paint Dracula as a more sympathetic character than his standard Christopher Lee-esque depictions. It doesn’t work unfortunately, largely because of poor characterisation, flat acting and an overriding feeling that this cheap film looks like a bad episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, without the charm, or the Lucy Lawless (Mmmm Lucy Lawless).

    Now there’s something very embarrassing about this film. It’s incredibly low rent and doesn’t do nearly enough to make this an interesting telling of the legend. What it does have though, somewhat inexplicably, is Jon Voight appearing as Van Helsing. Voight is hardly tearing up the big screen these days of course, but his appearance here is slightly cringe-worthy. His performance is terrible and he’s clearly here for a quick paycheck. It almost feels at times in this like he’s just some jobbing actor from England who’s appeared in a few episodes of The Bill, who’s been given a plum role and happens to look a little like Jon Voight. If you ever watch a really cheap film that’s been shot for peanuts in Eastern Europe and you see a guy who looks like Jon Voight. Look again, because it may well be Jon Voight.

    Aside from Voight half assedly hamming things up, the rest of the cast are distinctly average. Luke Roberts is a bland Dracula who smoulders and pouts a lot but not much else. This is a role that has been filled by many great actors over the years. To join that pantheon you’ve got to do something memorable and really knock it out of the park. Roberts doesn’t come close. The remainder do little of note besides giving lots of wistful looks, something that seems to be becoming ever more fashionable in cinema since the Twilight films.

    With lacklustre direction, cheap sets, poor CGI and ropey fight choreography, there’s little visual stimulus to make up for the mediocre cast. The highlight of the film is the part animated prologue which is actually reasonably well done. Overall this is not a film that will compare favourably to the Dracula canon. It’s hardly the worst, although there have been some so bad they become comically good. Dracula-philes may get a kick out of this, though I doubt it. For everyone else it’s not really worth your time. 

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ / Movie: ★ 

    Tom Jolliffe




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    Oliver Davis on the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman...

    Philip Seymour Hoffman (or 'PSH' as he was lovingly called in my house) was never a leading man in the conventional sense. A man of untucked shirts, his face was rough and slightly weathered, his portly torso giving him the appearance of a New York slob.


    But Hoffman was no slouch. He was a tremendous actor, one who effortlessly commanded any scene in which he appeared. And that word, effortless, encapsulates his talents more than any other. Whether he be a socialite darling in Capote or a sweaty social outcast in Happiness, there was an incredible naturalism that seemed to come, well, naturally to him. Seeing him in a movie always made me feel the same way after it had ended: I wished he was in it more.

    In Mission: Impossible III, Hoffman was the wonderfully over-the-top villain Owen Davian. He ate entire pieces of scenery for all his chewing. He strung out odd words in the middle of his sentences, and barely moved throughout the film. Effortless. Strangely, though, his most terrifying attribute was his breath. The way his nostrils sounded like a rhino's, or like James Gandolfini's (another actor who went too soon) as Tony Soprano. Even though the movie was 126 minutes long, I wished he was in it more.

    For Paul Thomas Anderson's recent The Master, Hoffman's commanding screen presence was perfectly suited to cult leader Lancaster Dodd. Frequently throughout the film, Dodd would hold court with people hanging on his every word. His sudden flashes of anger, whenever confronted on his beliefs, were something else. His face would transform, all contorted and red, from the subdued, benign father figure he wanted to see himself as. Rather prophetically, The Master is a film about substance addiction. Dodd was an alcoholic, a double-edged demon he both relied on for inspiration and one that caused those sudden inflammations. And yet, even though he was a central character, I wished he was in it more.

    In that same director's Boogie Nights, way back in 1997, Hoffman was charming. His shirts were always too tight, exposing his rounded stomach, and his shorts unfortunately high. He'd hang around the pornography shoots like an excited fan, never really having an on-set role, yet finding something more, a sense of belonging. In this family, he was only ever a peripheral player. So once it was over, I wished he was in it more.

    Synecdoche, New York had Hoffman play the lead, Caden Cotard, a theatre director replicating his own life on stage. The production spiraled out of control, with characters that would play him playing him playing him. The reality-reflecting mirrors stretched into infinity. And still, despite his starring role, I wished he was in it more.

    Charlie Wilson's War was Tom Hanks' film - he played the titular role - butI only ever remember Hoffman's Gust Avrakotos. We were shown his 'Another Broken Window' scene in my University screenwriting course, as an example of great writing. The words are great, sure, but Hoffman is electric. He's a vibrating ball of energy, a rumble beneath a mountain. Watch his left hand whenever it finds itself on his hip in the clip below (beware: adult language). It's shaking. "How was I?" he asks a colleague on the way back. Pretty damn good. So good, that upon leaving the film, I wished he was in it more.


    It's a terrible shame I won't be able to say that Philip Seymour Hoffman is my favourite living actor anymore. I always took great delight in telling people why he was. His smile that often hinted at a deeper trouble, the way his eyes moistened and his eyebrows sloped off to the side when he was about to cry. And how whenever I saw him in a film - which is also now how I'll always think of him in life - I wished he was in it more.


    Oliver Davis is one of Flickering Myth's co-editors. You can follow him on Twitter @OliDavis.

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    Force of Execution, 2013.

    Directed by Keoni Waxman.
    Starring Steven Seagal, Ving Rhames, Danny Trejo and Bren Foster.

    DVD Review - Force of Execution (2013)

    SYNOPSIS:

    Alexander Coates' (Seagal) criminal empire has been good to him - and devastating to his enemies - until his number one hit man, Roman Hurst, messes up what should have been a routine hit. Alexander spares his protege's life but cripples his hands, thus 'retiring' Hurst forever. Before long, though, Alexander realizes that he'll need Hurst's help one last time when Iceman, a ruthless killer, surfaces.

    DVD Review - Force of Execution (2013)

    Steven Seagal returns with another cinematic (or straight to video) opus. In the last decade a new Seagal film would appear with great frequency. Sometimes, three or four a year would pop up in (wipes away a tear) Blockbusters. Seagal moved into TV a few years back with his reality show Lawman, as well as his fictional cop show, True Justice.

    In the U.K, True Justice tends to pop up on video in feature length, presented (somewhat falsely) as a brand new Seagal movie. The truth is the way they are presented offers little continuity or sense as two episodes get glued together and sold as a movie, often not working as a stand-alone film. In others the film will be left open ended, but the expected resolution in the following True Justice movie, doesn’t materialise as another couple of unconnected episodes then get pasted together and released. So despite so many DVD covers showing up in the ASDA charts with Seagal’s face on, the two films he’s done in the last couple of years are just Maximum Conviction, and now Force of Execution.

    Force of Execution sees Seagal team up with director Keoni Waxman for the umpteenth time. They’ve done a number of movies together, whilst Waxman has also directed many of the True Justice episodes. In some regards this might be good, he’s serviceable enough. In other regards though, it leaves a more Seagalistically (should be a real word) clued audience member knowing just what to expect in terms of style, action and look. Seagal has worked with far worse directors it must be said, but he’s also worked with better. So does Force of Execution offer anything new and exciting for Seagal fans? Well, not really.

    Once again, as seems to be common in his recent outings, Seagsy takes something of a backseat in proceedings. The actual lead of this picture is Bren Foster, playing the right hand man of Seagal’s underworld crime boss. After a hit gone wrong, Foster is consigned to the scrapheap by his mentor, but his life is spared because Seagal likes him. When a rival gangster (Ving Rhames) tries to muscle in on Big Papa’s territory, Seagal has to go to war, and once again calls on Foster to help him out. The plot is simple enough, though it plods along a bit too slowly, and sometimes with little cohesion.

    Since this is a Seag film, the primary focus of course is on the blowing up and face bashing side of things. There’s plenty of action here. In terms of Seagal himself he has a few fights. The problem is, like most of his recent films and TV fights, is that they’re poorly filmed and uninterestingly choreographed. Waxman films everything too tightly, and it’s also edited to frenetically to see what is going on clearly. This isn’t a stylistic choice as much as it’s a matter of filming around the constraints of filming a Seagal film. For one, he’s only on set for master shots normally, so they need to hide the fact that there’s a double doing half the work. However when it’s time for Foster to open up a can of whoopass, Waxman proves that he’s more astute at filming a fight sequence than some Seagal fans might give him credit for. Foster showcases some impressive moves and his participation for more than just masters, and his athletic ability, means that the camera can pull back and show these fight sequences in all their glory. They’re not ground-breaking, but his fast hands and feet offer some effective fisticuffs here. The rest of the action, largely gunfights, is pretty perfunctory.

    Seagal here has a more interesting character than usual. He’s not particularly a good guy here. Moralistically he’s obtuse, making it a shift from the majority of Seagal’s holier than thou characters. He also seems less bored here and a little more animated. He wouldn’t have been troubling Di Caprio et al at the Oscars by any means, but it’s at least good to see Seagal putting in some effort.

    Bren Foster is okay. Physically he does everything required of him with aplomb. However as a launching piece to become a new action star, I’m not sure this will be good enough. He’s not a bad actor, he’s just lacking in movie star charisma, which for all of Seagal’s faults, he has inspades. I think the best way I could describe Foster is that if he was in a movie like Kickboxer or Bloodsport he’d be the guy Jean-Claude Van Damme would fight in the semi-final. He’s drawn comparisons with Scott Adkins, but Adkins is a stronger actor and has a bit more charisma. We shall see, but it’s very tough these days to break into the action genre and maintain anything like a career guys in the 80’s and 90’s did. As for Ving Rhames, he enjoys himself as the villain, whilst Danny Trejo also appears and is typically reliable.

    Force of Execution is a marked improvement on Seagal’s last film (Maximum Conviction) but still leaves a lot to be desired. A prequel is currently in the works, and hopefully Seagal can push himself a bit more, but right now his films all feel a little bit too similar in almost every department. With rumours already circulating about his involvement in The Expendables 4, we may yet see Seagal producing something closer to his glory years for a last hurrah, but time will tell. 

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★

    Tom Jolliffe


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    Prisoners, 2013.

    Directed by Denis Villeneuve.
    Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo, and Paul Dano.

    Blu-ray Review - Prisoners (2013)
      
    SYNOPSIS: 

    When Keller Dover's daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?
    Blu-ray Review - Prisoners (2013)

    Prisoners stars Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, a man whose daughter has been kidnapped along with her friend right in their own neighborhood. The number one suspect is a strange man named Alex Jones (Paul Dano), who is let go by the police after not having enough evidence to convict him. Keller is more than sure that Alex took the girls and he will stop at nothing to make Alex tell him where they are. Meanwhile the detective working the case, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), must search all possible suspects while at the same time make sure Keller doesn't do something drastic that they all will regret.

    It doesn't take a lot to put together a competent thriller. Have a decent story, some good performances and hopefully a decent director behind the camera. Prisoners manages to get all that right and then some. Director Denis Villeneuve crafts a tight-knit film that keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting for the final outcome. The story here is good and manages to keep you guessing right up until the final scene. This is a beautifully shot film and the cinematography here is fantastic, something that will hopefully be acknowledged come award season.

    Like I mentioned before it helps to have some good performances and here we get a few great ones. The supporting cast do their part, including the likes of Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Melissa Leo, and what are essentially the three main leads here all give fantastic performances. Paul Dano gives a quiet yet outstanding performance that is easily one of his best yet, and Jake Gyllenhaal delivers one of the finest supporting performances of the year. However, even with a fantastic supporting cast the entire film works off the brilliance of Hugh Jackman. Jackman has steadily improved his acting over the years and with this performance he has surpassed anything he has previously done in his career.

    There isn't much else you could say about Prisoners except how good of a film it manages to be. Even with a running time that might be just a little too long and a third act that feels a little rushed, the film is right up there as one of the best of the year.

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★

    Jake Peffer


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