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Author: Josh Greally

Writer and filmmaker from Chesterfield. I have a masters in directing film and television and have written film reviews for several smaller sites in the past. Films are my life, but I also enjoy writing, reading, listening to music and debating.
Editorials

UK Drive-In Cinemas: Boom or Bust?

July 9, 2020
Drive-In Cinema [Source: Harpers Bazaar]

Drive-in cinemas. The American phenomenon where you can enjoy watching films on a big screen from the comfort of your car. It’s something that brings all the benefits of the communal experience without the annoyances of viewing films in a crowd of people. Well with the current pandemic worries drive-ins are seeing a resurgence in popularity. And the UK is looking to get in on the action.

So, today we’re going to look at the history of drive-ins, as well as some of the drive-in cinema events coming to the UK. And asking if UK drive-ins will take off as they have in the US?

History

Drive-In Theatre history began when Richard Hollingshead came up with an idea to accommodate his mother, who couldn’t fit into normal cinema seats. He had the idea of allowing people to view movies from the comfort of their cars. He set up a screen between some trees to project movies onto, with a radio behind the screen. And in 1933 he opened the first official drive-in cinema in Camden, New Jersey advertising it as affordable family entertainment.

Subsequently, drive-ins sprang up across the US in the 1950s and 60s. Culminating in 1958 when over 4000 drive-ins operated across the US. The numbers slowly declined in the 70s and 80s due to high land values and competition from television forcing many theatres to close. But since the 90s the number of theatres still open has remained steady. Recently new theatres have even begun to open. During this time drive-ins also gained access to new Hollywood releases. And with evolving technology drive-ins have received a great boost in projection and sound quality. A far cry from the grubby exploitation roadshows of old.

Similarly, Australia also enjoyed a history of drive-in success, with several big drive-in screens still operating today. The UK however never cracked the drive-in market. There were several attempts. In 2012 Route 66 opened, hoping to be a permanent fixture of the UK cinema scene, though it has since closed. And there are around 20 drive-in theatres currently operating in the UK. But compared to the US and Australia, UK drive-ins don’t have the same affection needed to keep business going. However, in the age of social-distancing, UK drive-ins may finally have their time to shine.

Enjoying a drive-in together [Source: Deseret News]

Coming Soon To A Destination Near You

Several pop-up drive-in events are coming to the UK over the next few weeks. Among them, The Luna Cinema and At the Drive-in, which will be screening films across several different UK areas (Including London, Oxford, the Midlands, Leeds, Manchester, and more) throughout the coming months.

Both are showing a wide variety of films. From modern Oscar contenders like Joker, and A Star is Born, to perennial favourites like Back to the Future, Grease and much more. Both allow you to order food and drink directly to your car. And both offer state of the art sound (broadcast to your car radio or a speaker which will be provided) and visual technology to ensure viewers get the best experience possible. But does this mean Drive-Ins will become a British mainstay?

Drive-Ins – Here To Stay?

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, many have wondered how the cinema industry will survive. With many movies now being released directly to on-demand, some argue that cinemas are a thing of the past. On top of that, according to some commentators, because the UK isn’t a car-based society like the US and Australia, the drive-in experience may not hold as much appeal for us. And in a time of economic uncertainty, many may not want to pay to see old films in a big car park.

But equally, there are many who crave the cinema experience, and the last few months have seen a renewed interest in supporting the arts and creative industries. And with 31.7 million cars in the UK, Drive-Ins are a good way for many to watch films in a way that is communal, supportive, and safe. Will it succeed? Only time will tell.

Are drive-in cinemas the future? [Source: Time Out]

What do you think? Are drive-ins the way forward? Will streaming ultimately win? Or are you waiting for regular cinemas to reopen? Let us know your thoughts.

Also Read: Amazon to Own Odeon Cinemas?

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Editorials

7 Great Claustrophobic Films

June 29, 2020
Top 7 Great Claustrophobic Films [Source: Taste of Cinema}

Over the past few weeks, we’ve all been feeling a bit claustrophobic with being trapped inside so much. But cinema has proven that even when restricted, creativity can shine through. So today I’m recommending 7 great claustrophobic films, all based in small or restricted settings, from different genres to show how greatness can flourish even with small canvases.

Drama: 12 Angry Men

A jury is tasked with judging if a teenager is guilty of murder. Initially many think he’s guilty but when Juror 8 (Henry Fonda) disagrees it turns into a riveting debate on the values of justice. 12 Angry Men continues to impress as more time passes. The topics of justice, human nature, and doubt remain universal. And as it largely takes place in one room on a hot summer day it makes you feel as frustrated as the characters. It’s currently ranked 5th on IMDb’s top 250 and has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The leads of 12 Angry Men [Source: Slant Magazine]

Thriller: Rear Window

While confined to his apartment, wheelchair-bound photographer L. B. Jefferies (James Stewart) witnesses his neighbour possibly committing murder. But how is he going to prove it? Rear Window is today regarded as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s finest films. And it’s certainly impressive. As most of the action is shot inside Jeffries’ apartment, we as viewers are put in the same position as Jefferies. Unable to move too far and confined by circumstances beyond our control. It’s currently ranked 50th on IMDb’s top 250 and has a 99% approval rating on RT.

L. B. Jefferies’ apartment in Rear Window [Source: Spy Culture]

Action: The Raid

A group of police officers head to a high-rise to arrest a prominent crime lord. The officers are quickly ambushed, have their retreat cut-off, and many are killed by the high-rise’s residents. Can the remaining officers get to their target before the residents kill them? The Raid has been referred to as one of the best action movies of the past decade and the limited location of the high-rise works to its advantage. Keeping the story focused instead of meandering and making for some incredibly creative set-pieces. It holds a 7.6 IMDb score and an 86% RT approval rating.

Getting ready for a halway fight in The Raid [Source: Listal]

Biopic: 127 Hours

When Aron Ralston (James Franco) goes climbing in Utah’s Bluejohn Canyon he ends up falling and pinning his arm between a boulder and the wall. Can Aron survive in these dire circumstances? 127 Hours is difficult to watch. It’s based on a real-life incident and like previous entries, it does an amazing job putting you into the protagonist’s position by restricting the setting and Aron’s movement for most of the movie. So, when the climax comes, you’re left wondering if you could do what Aron did? 127 Hours was positively received by audiences and critics. Even being nominated for 2011s Best Picture Oscar.

Caught between a rock and a hard place in 127 Hours [Source: Empire Online]

Horror: The Thing (1982)

An Antarctic research station is invaded by an alien creature that assimilates and imitates other life forms. With communication lines cut and the cold wastes outside providing no hope of rescue how are the station’s researchers going to fight this creature? Especially when anyone they know could be the thing? Initially, critics reviled John Carpenter’s The Thing but it’s now considered a horror masterpiece. Thanks to its slow-building suspense and paranoia. Further amplified by the restricted nature of the research outpost setting. It’s ranked 164th in IMDB’s top 250 and has an 84% approval rating on RT.

Confined in the cold in The Thing (1982) [Source: 3 brothers film]

Surreal: The Exterminating Angel

When upper-class dinner guests are unable to leave their hosts living room for unexplained reasons, slowly all semblance of morality and etiquette between the guests crumbles, revealing only animals beneath. Exterminating Angel is a surreal black comedy that uses its humorous conceit of the guests being unable to leave a party to ridicule the bourgeoise. And while it’s certainly weirder than previous list entries you’re guaranteed to remember it. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival. And currently has an 8.1 rating on IMDb and a 92% on RT.

One hell of a party in The Exterminating Angel [Source: Slant Magazine]

Romance: Time & Again

Former lovers Isabelle (Brigit Forsyth) and Eleanor (Siân Phillips) meet up 60 years after their relationship ended in a nursing home. With the action largely confined to two rooms, this short allows us to feel the isolation of both the main characters who have both lost their partners. And the limited scope emphasizes the great performances which immediately invest us in the couple and leaves us eager to learn about their history and ultimately their future. Time & Again has an 8.5 rating on IMDb and has received awards at several film festivals.

The central couple in Time and Again [Source: DaxiTales Ltd]

So ends our list of great claustrophobic films. Proving that a limited setting can still engage, thrill, excite, inform, terrify, challenge, and move us. But did we miss any out? Then let us know your favorite limited location film in the comments.

Also Read: Five Thought-Provoking Documentaries To Watch On BirdBox

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Editorials

30 Years On: The Godfather Part 3

June 13, 2020
Godfather Part 3 [Source: New on Netflix USA]

The Godfather Parts 1 and 2 are considered two of the greatest films ever made. Part 3, however, is seen as the black sheep of the series. But with Godfather Part 3 turning 30 this year, it’s time to see if it has aged well or if it should have ended up like Jack Woltz’s horse?

Synopsis

Years after Part 2’s events Michael Corleone is divorced from his wife Kay and trying to turn over a new leaf. Suddenly in walks Vincent Mancini, son of Michael’s dead brother Sonny. Vincent is feuding with enforcer Joey Zasa so Michael takes him under his wing.

Michael is also working to legitimize the family, but Don Altobello warns the mafia wants involvement in Michaels’s new business venture. Michael attempts to pay the mob bosses off to keep them away. He narrowly avoids an assassination attempt and Vincent realizes Altobello and Zasa are working together. Meanwhile, Vincent begins dating Michael’s daughter Mary. Vincent assassinates Zasa enraging Michael, who tells him not to see his daughter anymore.

The Corleone’s head to Sicily and Vincent defects to Altobello to get information. He discovers Altobello has hired someone to kill Michael. Michael’s business deal is ratified, and he names Vincent as the new Don. With this new position, Vincent decides to swiftly destroy the family’s enemies but have the Corleone’s underestimated their opponents?

Godfather 3 Critical Reaction

As mentioned earlier the first two Godfather movies are seen as two of cinemas greatest films. Both won best picture Oscars. Both have iconic dialogue that’s now part of everyday conversation. They feature incredible performances from some of cinemas best actors (Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Robert De Niro, Sterling Hayden etc.). And both are beloved by the public and critics. They are the second and third best films of all time on IMDb and have a 98% and 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Conversely, Part 3 won no Oscars, currently sits at a 69% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, and is rated 7.6 on IMDb. An incredible dip in perceived quality. But is that feeling justified?

The Godfather (Source: Films Leaving Netflix)
Iconic poster for The Godfather (Source: Films Leaving Netflix)

The Good

Part 3 does have positives. Firstly, Al Pacino is great as an older Michael Corleone. His cool, ruthless nature from the previous movies now replaced by world-weary wisdom and compromise making him feel like his father from Part 1. Returning players Diane Keaton and Talia Shire and new faces Andy Garcia, Eli Wallach, and Joe Mantegna are also fun in their roles.

The atmosphere is also top-notch. The golden tinged cinematography and excellent score help give a nostalgic and operatically tragic feeling to the film. 

And there are some genuinely good story moments. Particularly Michael coming to terms with his horrible past and mentoring Vincent to take over from him. Which gives this entry a great sense of finality. And set-pieces like Vincent’s apartment break-in, Joey Zasa’s murder, and the opera massacre are entertaining.

The Bad

However, Part 3 has a lot of problems. And a lot of them come from it living in the shadow of its predecessors. The plot is very convoluted, like the previous entries, but aside from Michael and Vincent, no one has a compelling motivation to invest us in the action. Compared to the multi-layered characters of previous entries, this film feels generic in comparison.

The first two movies were also effective because of their realistic presentation. The dialogue felt natural and the violence hit hard because it felt so mundane. Here the action is overblown and at points ridiculous (see the helicopter assassination scene). The dialogue also feels unrealistic, with people espousing their motivations rather than using conversations to infer character motivation. There’s also an air of desperation as the movie tries to make Michael sympathetic. The Michael that series fans know, who coldly ordered the murder of his brother and pushed Kay away, is a world removed from his characterisation here. Honestly if not for Pacino’s performance it would come across as a cynical attempt to make the character appeal to a broader audience.

Finally, Sofia Coppola’s performance as Mary is terrible. It’s not her fault, she was essentially forced into it after Winona Ryder was unavailable. But her inability to emote or sound convincing is a major hindrance to the film because she has such a prominent role.

Verdict

Godfather Part 3 isn’t without merit. There are some fun performances, solid atmosphere courtesy of good-looking cinematography; a great soundtrack, and some entertaining moments. But it’s overall incredibly disappointing. Most of the characters are dull, making the twisty narrative a chore. It also lacks subtlety, with the powerful realism of the first two films replaced by overblown clichés and it features an atrocious performance from Sofia Coppola. It isn’t awful but it’s a huge blemish on the Godfather name.

Also Read: Was It Really That Bad? Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker

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Editorials

Scream 5: What We Know and Is Scream Still Relevant?

June 8, 2020
Scream 5 is coming soon [Source: Vulture}

When Scream was released in 1996 it seemed like a breath of fresh air as it mercilessly mocked the tropes of the slasher genre which dominated horror in the previous decade. It was followed by three sequels and a TV series that the original creators weren’t involved with.

Now with Scream 5 being announced, it seems like a good time to ask what will be coming from the new movie? What the franchise mainstays have been up to? As well as reflect on the series as a whole and ask if Scream’s return is good or bad?

Scream 5: What to expect

Currently, details about Scream 5 are thin. Apparently, the films plot, “will follow a woman returning to her hometown to try to find out who has been committing a series of vicious crimes.”

However Scream 5 will mark a huge departure for the franchise, as writer Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven won’t be involved. Instead, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett who made the well-reviewed Ready or Not and the poorly received Devils Due will be directing. And Guy Busick (who wrote Ready or Not) and James Vanderbilt (whose credits include Zodiac and the Amazing Spiderman series) will be writing.

David Arquette is returning as Dewey Riley but it’s currently unknown if Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox will return as Sidney Prescott and Gail Weathers (Campbell is apparently in talks to appear, but this hasn’t yet been confirmed). Which could leave the series without two of its main stars.

Where are they now?

The cast of the original Scream movie in 1996 (Dimension Films)
The cast of the original Scream movie in 1996 (Dimension Films)

So, what have the series regulars been up to since Scream 4?

Series creator Kevin Williamson has created several original TV shows including The Following and Stalker. And has adapted several pre-existing properties for the small screen. Including continuing to write for Vampire Diaries; creating Time After Time and Tell Me a Story.

David Arquette remains a prolific actor, with starring and supporting roles in a variety of cult projects. Such as the film Bone Tomahawk and tv shows like Creepshow. Neve Campbell has continued with a steady workload. Starring in the likes of Skyscraper and lending supporting turns to the likes of House of Cards, while also focusing on raising her two children. And Courteney Cox has been very busy since Scream 4. She released her directorial debut Just Before I Go in 2014. She continued her starring role in Cougar Town until 2015. Produced several projects, through her production company Coquette Productions (including Cougar town, Just Before I Go and Celebrity Name Game) and solo (recently producing 9 months with Courteney Cox and the upcoming Last Chance U). And coupled with being an activist and a parent it would be understandable if Cox is too busy to return.

And Wes Craven sadly passed away in 2015. Scream 4 was his final directorial credit.

Can Scream maintain its power?

But is it possible for Scream to hold up in today’s world? Unfortunately, the series’ diminishing returns indicate that a new Scream won’t perform well.

The original Scream was a hit, making $173,046,663 worldwide. It also received critical and audience praise for its ridiculing of slasher tropes. Scream 2 focused on slasher sequel trappings, more elaborate death scenes, bigger body count etc. and while still a hit, it wasn’t as big as its predecessor, making $172,363,301. This entry received critical praise, but audiences were more lukewarm. Scream 3, the supposedly final entry (written by Ehren Kruger but still directed by Craven), which took broader shots at movie trilogies made $161,834,276 and was hated by audiences and critics. Scream 4, released 11 years later, parodied horror remakes while being more of a soft-reboot. With the surviving original cast members teaming up with younger leads. It was more well-received by audiences and critics than Scream 3 (Williamson returned as the writer) but only took $97,231,420. A series low.

Truthfully, Scream has done everything it can with its premise. It’s parodied slasher movies, their sequels, their supposed concluding chapters, and even the soft-reboot before its modern popularity with the likes of Halloween (2018). A full-on reboot with new leads is all that’s left. But by bringing Arquette’s Dewey back, Scream 5 doesn’t seem to be doing that. Also, full-fledged slasher films aren’t as prominent anymore. And with the likes of A24 and Blumhouse delivering horror films that play with conventions and audience expectations in a more effective and braver way (tackling race relations, religion, and more), a new Scream film wouldn’t offer much new. Lastly, it doesn’t seem respectful to continue on without Wes Craven. He was the man who directed every franchise entry. And without him, the franchise should be left in peace.

Conclusion

But those are just my thoughts. What do you think about the Scream 5 news? Please let me know.

Also Read: What Happens To Your Brain When Watching A Horror Film

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Editorials

Top 10 Films at the UK Box Office in 2020 (So Far)

May 22, 2020
The 2020 Box Office [Sources: Cineworld Cinemas,The Guardian; imdb]

With UK cinemas still closed we may as well run down 2020’s highest box office grossers so far. Today I’ll look at how much the highest earners took at the UK Box office (using Box Office Mojo and Google Money Converter). These numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred thousand and are correct at the time of writing (20/05/20)) and what critics; audiences thought of them.

10. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (£9,400,000)

Cathy Yan’s DC Universe offering sees Harley Quinn teaming up with a group of female heroines to fight against the evil Black Mask.

Audience Thoughts: 78% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.2 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “While watching Birds of Prey, it becomes clear that comic book movies are still going to dominate the box office for many years to come. If any of those could be as much fun…then we would be over the moon.

Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey
Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey swoop into 10th place at the UK Box Office [Source: Empire]

9. Parasite (£12,000,000)

Bong Joon Ho’s Best Picture winner sees the poor Kim family scam their way into working for the rich Park family. But do the Kim’s deserve our sympathy and what secrets are the Park’s hiding?

Audience Thoughts: 90% – Rotten Tomatoes / 8.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It’s dark, funny, clever, surprising, and I’m sure I could use almost every adjective in my lexicon.

Parasite
Best Picture Winner, Parasite smashes into 9th place [Source: Americamagazine.org]

8. The Gentlemen (£12,300,000)

Guy Ritchie’s latest gangster films focused on an American marijuana emperor trying to leave the business. But various factions conspire to extort him for all he’s worth.

Audience Thoughts: 84% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.9 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It is a coarse, convoluted, comical caper that exults in the joys of genre.”

The Gentlemen
The Gentlemen swan into 8th place [Source: Den of Geek]

7. Jumanji: The Next Level (£16,100,000)

The gang from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, along with new additions Danny Glover and Danny DeVito, return to Jumanji to face new challenges. 

Audience Thoughts: 87% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Jumanji’s next level is rather satisfying.

Jumanji
The Jumanji gang jump back into the UK Box Office [Source: Entertainment Weekly]

6. Dolittle (£16,700,000)

Robert Downey Jr. leads an all-star cast as the famous doctor who can talk to animals sets out to find a cure for an ailing young Queen Victoria.

Audience Thoughts: 76% – Rotten Tomatoes / 5.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It really is horribly inert, and every time Downey opens his mouth to say something unintelligible, the film dies a bit more.

Robert Downey Jr as Dolittle
Despite a critical thrashing Dolittle soars into number 6 at the Box Office [Source: GamesRadar]

5. Bad Boys for Life (£17,000,000)

Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett must team up with a team of younger cops to take down the leaders of a violent drug cartel.

Audience Thoughts: 96% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Bad Boys for Life is … pure enjoyment and entertainment.

Bad Boys returns to the UK box office
The Bad Boys return in glorious fashion [Source: RogerEbert.com]

4. Sonic the Hedgehog (£19,100,000)

Sonic and his friend Tom race to San Francisco to find the rings to transport Sonic off-world before Dr. Robotnik catches them.

Audience Thoughts: 93% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.6 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “The world contains many terrible video game movies. This isn’t one of them.

Sonic rushing into the box office top 10
Sega’s blue speedster rushes into the top 10 [Source: Hollywood Reporter]

3. Little Women (£19,400,000)

Greta Gerwig’s remake of the literary classic follows the March sisters as they experience career hardships, romance, tragedy, and triumph during and after the American Civil War.

Audience Thoughts: 92% – Rotten Tomatoes / 7.9 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “Though we can’t foretell whether time will be cruel or kind to Gerwig’s “Little Women,” it may just be the best film yet made by an American woman.”

Little Women stands tall at the box office
Greta Gerwig’s Little Women stands tall at number 3 [Source: Britannica]

2. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (£20,100,000)

The Skywalker Saga concludes. Emperor Palpatine returns to threaten the galaxy. Rey and the remnants of the resistance must find a way to stop him. While contending with the rage of Kylo Ren.

Audience Thoughts: 86% – Rotten Tomatoes / 6.7 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “It doesn’t do anything new or even terribly distinctive, but maybe it didn’t have to. It just had to be good enough to stick the landing, and it does that.

Rise of Skywalker rises to number 2 at the uk box office
The Skywalker saga’s final swipe took the 2nd place in 2020 so far [Source: Deadline]

1. 1917 (£46,600,000)

Presented in a pseudo-continuous shot 1917 follows two soldiers tasked with physically delivering orders for a battalion to stand down before German forces kill them all.

Audience Thoughts: 88% – Rotten Tomatoes / 8.3 – IMDb

Critics Thoughts: “1917 will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first moment and will leave you breathless.

1917 is number 1 at the box office
1917 stands atop the box office [Source: Letterboxd]

This year’s top 10 collective taking may be comparatively low (over £188 million) but with a relatively diverse group of creative teams (including 2 solo female directors and a foreign-language film) and an interesting mix of tales (including three original properties not based on pre-existing work or part of larger franchises), 2020 is more interesting than 2019. Which was dominated by comic book adaptations, remakes, and sequels to popular franchises (mostly from Disney and their subsidiaries). Hopefully, the upcoming months will bare good tidings for UK cinemas.

Also Read: What Happens To Your Brain When Watching A Horror Film

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Editorials

The Best Performances of Tom Hardy

May 13, 2020
tom hardy [Source: Newsweek]

He has been compared with Brando and called one of the best actors of his generation, there’s pretty much no one like Tom Hardy. While best known for his tough-guy roles he has shown that he’s more than capable of taking on more intimate projects and pays a lot of attention to his craft. Frequently changing his voice and body and to suit his parts, and his natural charisma makes him compulsively watchable. And with his latest movie Capone coming out soon I am going to look back at Tom Hardy’s 5 best roles. And explain what makes these performances stand out from the rest of his work.

Stuart Clive Shorter – Stuart: A Life Backwards

Stuart provides a blueprint for what Tom Hardy would later do with many of his roles. Focusing on every aspect of his performance he reportedly losing nearly 30 pounds for the role; adopted a limp and a slurred voice to play the titular “homeless, sociopathic, junkie“. There’s something brutally honest about Hardy’s portrayal of Stuart. He doesn’t feel Hollywoodized, he feels like a real person. The script also requires Hardy to go to a lot of different places. This results in him being equal parts scary, charming, funny, and disturbing but Hardy pulls it off flawlessly. In lesser hands, Stuart could’ve simply been a one-note sympathy card. But Hardy makes Stuart into a complex, intriguing, and tragic character. For his efforts, Hardy received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor.

Tom Hardy in Stuart: A Life Backwards
Tom Hardy in Stuart: A Life Backwards [Source: Telegraph]

Eames – Inception

Despite working with many great directors throughout his career Christopher Nolan is the director that always gets the best out of Hardy. Unlike many of his other roles here Hardy retains his regular voice and isn’t the center of attention, playing as part of an ensemble cast but he still manages to make a great impression. As Eames, a conman recruited to impersonate people within a dream (essentially riffing on Hardy’s chameleon-like acting persona) Hardy is very fun, bouncing off the other members of the cast with his deadpan humor and effortless charm. This movie proved that Hardy wasn’t just an actor but a movie star too.

Eames in Inception
Eames in Inception [Source: IMDb]

Bane – The Dark Knight Rises

Hardy’s most iconic role is perhaps the best encapsulation of him as an actor. He’s more than willing to change his body for his craft (the hulking behemoth of Bane is a world away from Eames and Stuart physically). He likes to experiment with his accents to give his characters a different feel (here Bane has a calm, vaguely Irish/Scottish voice that effectively contrasts with his savage and intimidating actions). He pays incredible attention to his physical performance (despite having his face covered for almost the entire movie we’re always aware of what Bane is thinking and feeling because of Hardy’s great use of body and facial language). And no matter what he’s doing it’s always utterly captivating. The result is a villain unlike any other.

Bane in The Dark Knight Rises
Bane in The Dark Knight Rises [Source: Indian Express]

Ivan Locke – Locke

After the action extravaganza of The Dark Knight Rises Hardy made a return to more low-key dramas. Hardy plays Ivan who is journeying from Birmingham to London to solve a crisis, all the while dealing with calls from his friends, family, and co-workers about where he’s going. Locke is perhaps Hardy’s most impressive role. The entire film takes place in a car with only Tom on screen. Meaning he’s confined in a tight space, restricting his movement and he has to carry the entire movie with his performance. Thankfully he pulls it off with gusto. Though his welsh accent wavers his calm delivery works incredibly well to endear a somewhat unsympathetic character to the audience. And his physical performance says so much with so little. Only Tom Hardy could pull off something that daring.

Ivan, the titular character of Locke
Ivan, the titular character of Locke [Source: Tribeca Film Festival]

Ronnie/Reggie Kray – Legend

The best thing about Tom Hardy’s portrayal of the notorious twin gangsters is that you never spend any time thinking about the technical side of his performance. You’re completely invested in him. Both roles complement his skills and past triumphs. As Ronnie, Hardy is much more animalistic. An imposing, violent tough guy which clearly recalls his performances as Stuart Shorter, Bronson, and Bane. And as Reggie, we see the same effortlessly cool but dark-edged charisma he showed in Inception and The Drop. And once again Hardy adds a lot of humanity to these characters. Ronnie’s admission to being gay and Reggie’s love/hater relationship with his brother are incredibly effective. Not because of the lines he’s given but because of how he plays them. This is why whenever anyone talks about Legend they do so solely for Hardy’s performance.

Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Legend
Ronnie and Reggie Kray in Legend [Source: Movie TV Tech Geeks News]

Thus ends our list of Tom Hardy’s best performances. Did we miss any out? Please let us know what your favourite Tom Hardy role is and what you think of our selections.

Also Read: What Happens To Your Brain When Watching A Horror Movie?

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Editorials

5 More Movies That Don’t Need a Sequel, Reboot or Remake

April 23, 2020
the wild bunch is a classic movie that should not get a remake [Source: Furious Cinema]

Since I listed five movies that didn’t need a sequel, reboot or remake in 2018 a large number of properties have been resumed or updated. With continuations, do-overs and re-interpretations seemingly released/announced every week.

It’s understandable. Many of 2019s highest-grossing movies were remakes or sequels to popular films. And properties like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and 2019s remake of Little Women proved to be critically well-received. Showing that remakes, sequels, and reboots can excel when they want to. But there comes a time when you must put your foot down and say no to certain things. So today I’m going to list five more movies that shouldn’t be touched. Some of these continuations are already on the way, but hopefully, I can convince you why continuing with these properties is an awful idea.

1) Children’s Film: Disney’s Robin Hood

Disney has recently become notable for remaking many of its classic titles. Providing slight updates to their older animated film’s stories and showing off advancing special effects by reimagining them in a live-action style. But while the effects are impressive, and the updates understandable, the changes mostly serve to hamper the simple fairy-tale charm of the stories, and provide us with ugly visuals that pale in comparison to their animated counterparts. So the prospect of seeing Disney’s Robin Hood (a personal favorite of many) remade in this style doesn’t bode well. And in the past decade, we’ve already had two high profile Robin Hood movies that failed to justify their budgets at the box office. It seems audiences aren’t really interested in this material. Do yourselves a favor and stick to Disney’s original. Oo-de-lally what a good day you’ll have.

Foxy Robin Hood relaxing in a basket in Robin Hood
Foxy Robin Hood relaxing in a basket in Robin Hood (1973) [Source: Collider]

2) Horror Film: A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place works best as a self-contained experience. By the end of A Quiet Place, every plot thread was tied. We learned the monster’s weakness and our heroes were ready to take on the threat. That was the perfect ending for the story. Continuing the story seems pointless. The characters know the alien’s weakness and most horror sequels also make the mistake of overexposing their monster. Which diminishes how scary they are to audiences. And a sequel also ruins the unique charm of the first film’s gimmick of having the characters remain mostly silent. Either they stick with the gimmick and repeat it until it becomes boring. Or they abandon it and make the film like every other horror movie. This is one property that should have remained quiet.

John Krasinski should have shushed the possibility of a sequel
John Krasinski should have shushed the possibility of a sequel [Source: Dread Central]

3) Comedy Film: The Naked Gun

Reboots like Vacation and Ghostbusters have shown that reboots of comedy franchises beloved for their original casts don’t go over well with fans. Naked Gun is a franchise that shouldn’t be touched for this reason. Leslie Nielsen (the spoof movie king) was the star of the original franchise since Police Squad, the TV show that spawned the Naked Gun films. His unique deadpan delivery and timing elevated the Naked Gun into being one of the best parody series ever. So, rebooting the series without Nielsen in the lead not only goes against the series’ main selling point but also seems quite disrespectful. Don’t ever let me catch you guys trying to reboot this one.

Lt. Frank Drebin (Nielsen), Police Squad
Lt. Frank Drebin (Nielsen), Police Squad [Source: Netflix]

4) Western Film: The Wild Bunch

This just shouldn’t happen. Firstly, The Wild Bunch is regarded as one of the best westerns ever. Which already makes it impossible to think about how anyone could equal it. Secondly, the original is so synonymous with legendary director Sam Peckinpah and his filmmaking style that remaking it becomes akin to staining someone’s legacy. Finally, a large reason why The Wild Bunch worked was because of when it was made. Released in 1969 the film pushed the boundaries of cinematic violence and how it could be used to tell stories. Today a Wild Bunch remake would simply amount to another violent western; dilute the legacy of the original. So of course, Hollywood has already decided to try and do it. This project should have been shot down immediately.

William Holden shooting down suggestions of a Wild Bunch remake
William Holden shooting down suggestions of a Wild Bunch remake [Source: Britannica]

5) Martial Arts: The Raid

The Raid is one of the best action movies of the 2010s. Featuring incredible choreography, excellent cinematography, great writing and brilliant physical performances from the likes of Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian. The idea of remaking it for western audiences seems like an exercise in taking something unique and making it blander for mainstream appeal. And a direct remake is already pointless since the movie Dredd already took elements from the original Raid and made it into a thrilling sci-fi action film. Lightning hardly seems likely to strike twice. So, Hollywood please leave the Raid alone.

One of the best fight scenes of the decade in The Raid (2011) [Source: Rising Tsunday – WordPress.com]

Thus ends our list. Are there any movies or franchises you would hate to see remade, rebooted or sequeled to death? Tell us about them in the comments.

Also Read: 5 Films That Don’t Need A Sequel, Reboot or Remake

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Editorials

Share the Love in Lockdown

April 11, 2020
Watching Online with Friends during lockdown [Source: The Daily Dot]

Since the COVID-19 lockdown began, many film fans have been missing the communal experience of going to the cinema. There’s just something about watching a story unfold with other people that enhances the experience. Well, many have decided to find other ways of connecting with the outside world in order to enjoy watching the latest digital releases and old favourites. So today we’re going to look at the various ways you can beat the lockdown blues and enjoy the cinema experience while in self-isolation.

Interacting on Social Media and YouTube

Sometimes the best motivation to give something a watch is knowing that others will be watching the same thing. Well over the past few weeks various social media sites and platforms like YouTube have presented opportunities for you to give a film a watch and interact with the wider community.

Several big names have encouraged the world to check out certain titles on Twitter. Jared Leto started his own tweet along cinema club with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And director James Gunn recently joined in with a #QuarantineWatchParty of Guardians of the Galaxy. Meanwhile, on Facebook, groups like Celluloid Screams have used the Watch Party function to host their own movie marathons. Here the festival programmers provided intros for several horror films encouraging people to binge-watch all of them in a single day.

Also, platforms like YouTube have proven a great place for watch parties to be hosted. Actor Riz Ahmed recently hosted a live stream on the platform where he provided commentary on the film Four Lions along with the films other actors Kayvan Novak & Nigel Lindsay.

The appeal of these online events comes from knowing that you are watching these titles along with others. And that you are able to engage and interact with them. So keep an eye open for similar events coming up on these platforms. Or why not host your own?

Watching movies on the laptop
There are plenty of interaction opportunities just waiting for you online [Source Liveabout.com]

3rd Party Applications and Add Ons

There are also several applications and add ons you can use to interact with others while watching films. Video and voice chat applications like Skype, Messenger Video Call and Discord allow you to connect with friends and chat along together while watching something.

But there are also apps that allow simultaneous viewing of films with your friends. For example the Netflix Party application for Google Chrome. This app allows you and several friends to watch and text chat over the same show/movie on Netflix at the same time. However, it’s currently only available on Chrome. Other resources like Metastream also offer similar services. Finally, there are services like Kast. This application works on Windows and Mac; it allows you to connect with several other people and stream your computer screen to them. Allowing you all to sit back and watch a movie on your platform of choice.

These apps and add ons provide a great way to Netflix and chill with your friends while in lockdown.

Watch Netflix with friends by using some of the apps mentioned above [Source: Tech Viral]

Festivals

Finally, because many film festivals have had to cancel physical screenings, several festivals including the upcoming SXSW festival in America and Visions du Réel 2020 in Switzerland have opted to showcase their films and other content on the internet. Releasing films through subscription services or websites, hosting interviews and performing masterclasses online. Which when coupled with the social media and connective opportunities mentioned above will allow the public to remain in touch with film culture. So be sure to keep an eye out for more opportunities like this in the future.

Conclusion

With all these options provided by 3rd party companies and online platforms, we have ample opportunity to connect together and still enjoy a social media experience during the lockdown.

With many filmmakers and stars providing opportunities for socialization the community has a great opportunity to interact with each other as well as creatives in the industry. Allowing us to gain extra insight into films and perhaps giving us some inspiration to make something for ourselves. And while it may not be the same as the cinematic experience, these apps and events will help us stay in touch. As well as allowing us to continue experiencing great movie moments with others.

Also Read: The Most Important Cinema In The World (To Me)

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Editorials

5 Movies on BBC iPlayer That Will Make You Smile

April 2, 2020
bbc-iplayer [Source: The Verge]

With the struggle against Coronavirus still going strong, I wanted to take some time to recommend five films currently streaming on BBC iPlayer that will help get you feeling more positive. These are all listed in order of when they leave the service, so be sure to hurry and check them out.

Lucky Jim (Leaves 7th April)

An old school treat. With his contract coming to an end history teacher Jim Dixon (Ian Carmichael) must do whatever he can to please his head of department (Hugh Griffith) to keep his job. But as the annoyances (the arrival of his boss’s son (Terry-Thomas), his involvement with a self-centered colleague and having to deliver a boring lecture on Merrie England) and distractions (His growing affection for Christine Callaghan (Sharon Acker)) mount up, Jim must consider if this job is really what he wants to do. Lucky Jim is a hilarious mixture of sarcasm, slapstick, and satire. With a pointed message about the pompousness of old establishments and fantastic deadpan delivery from the entire cast. If you’ve ever been stuck in a boring job that made you want to scream, this film will leave you in stitches.

Ian Carmichael as Jim Dixon in Lucky Jim [Source: BBC]
Ian Carmichael as Jim Dixon in Lucky Jim [Source: BBC]

Mindhorn (Leaves 20th April)

When a killer on the Isle of Man asks to speak detective Mindhorn (a fictional character from an 80s TV show) the police enlist the show’s star, washed-up actor Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt), to help them catch the killer. But Thorncroft seems more interested in reigniting his career than helping. Few people can do undeservedly pompous like Julian Barratt. Watching him trying to play a big shot actor come unwitting action hero is hilarious. And when backed up by some of Britain’s best comedy talent (Including Russell Tovey, Simon Farnaby, Steve Coogan, Simon Callow, and Kenneth Branagh) and a plot that continually gets more preposterous as it goes on, Mindhorn proves that sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.

Mindhorn can see the truth and you can see him on BBC iPlayer [Source: Bouquets and Brickbats]
Mindhorn can see the truth and you can see him on BBC iPlayer [Source: Bouquets and Brickbats]

Made in Dagenham (Leaves 20th April)

In 1968 Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins) leads the Ford Sewing Machinists in a strike. Demanding the female workforce receive the same pay as the male workers. But can the ladies achieve their goals when faced with fierce opposition from Ford, the unions, the government, and even their own families? Despite dealing with serious subjects Made in Dagenham is an incredibly positive experience. With beautiful presentation, an incredibly witty script delivered with gusto by the likes of Sally Hawkins, Andrea Riseborough, Bob Hoskins and many more and because of the darker moments, the characters experience bereavement, abuse and lack of funds, the sense of accomplishment when the girls finally achieve their goal is all the more satisfying. By the end, you will feel much more appreciative of the world we live in now.

The cast of Made in Dagenham [Source: BBC]
The cast of Made in Dagenham [Source: BBC]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Leaves in 7 months)

Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) goes up against Manfred Powell (Iain Glen) a man hired by the Illuminati to find the pieces of an ancient item known as “the Triangle”. Which when combined allow the wielder to control time. But the pieces must be combined before the end of the planetary alignment. Can Lara beat the bad guys before they get hold of this powerful weapon? While this film is flawed it makes up for it by being incredibly fun. The cast are all fantastic and are definitely having fun with their roles. The plot moves at a good pace so it never gets boring. The action is frantic but inventive, the mansion fight being a glorious highlight. And it has a very good dry sense of humor about itself. Sometimes cheese is the best cure for the blues.

Lara Croft leaps onto BBC iPlayer [Source: Syfy Wire]
Lara Croft leaps onto BBC iPlayer [Source: Syfy Wire]

Time & Again (Leaves in 10 months)

Former lovers Eleanor (Siân Phillips) and Isabelle (Brigit Forsyth) meet up after years apart in a nursing home and reminisce on why they separated all those years ago. But now they are together again can they put aside the past to be happy now? Time & Again is only 27 minutes long but it’s more impactful than films triple that length. With a biting but hilarious turn from Phillips and Forsyth’s sweet emotional performance playing beautifully against each other, Time & Again immediately hooks you and takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute you’ll be angry as you learn the couple’s history and then you’ll be laughing at their crabby banter. Ultimately the film leaves you, like the characters, optimistic for what will come. Time & Again is a short sweet love letter to what the future holds.

Award-winning short film Time & Again, currently streaming on BBC iPlayer [Source: DaxiTales Ltd]
Award-winning short film Time & Again, currently streaming on BBC iPlayer [Source: DaxiTales Ltd]

And so ends our list of titles on BBC iPlayer that will put a smile on your face. Please let us know what you thought of our selections. And be sure to check out our suggestions for feel-good movies to watch on Netflix. Stay safe and stay happy everyone.

BBC iPlayer is available for free in the UK, check all the films here.

Also Read: 5 Feel Good Films To Watch On Netflix

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Editorials

5 Feel-Good Movies on Netflix

March 29, 2020
5 Feel-Good Movies on Netflix

With everything currently going on in the world regarding Coronavirus, many of us just want a way to distract ourselves from this depressing situation. Thankfully streaming giant Netflix is happy to provide us with hours of escapist fun. And today I want to take the opportunity to recommend five titles that are currently streaming on Netflix to help put a smile back on your face.

Classic: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

This is the film equivalent of a warm, loving hug. There is nothing I can say about The Wizard of Oz that hasn’t been said a million times. The story of young Dorothy Gale’s (Judy Garland) journey of self-discovery as she is swept away to the land of Oz has inspired many people and continues to inspire many more as years go by. And while it may have its scary parts (The Wicked Witch of the West; her armies of flying monkeys and Winkies continue to scare children to this day) the loveable heroes, beautiful set design, iconic music, and the heart-warming story will ensure that a smile is never far away. If you don’t feel happy inside by the end of the Wizard of Oz, there is something wrong with you.

Wizard of Oz, currently streaming on Netflix
Dorothy skipping down the yellow brick road with Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz (1939) [Source: AVS Forum]

Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbour?

If you need to restore your faith in humanity, this is the film to see. This documentary goes in-depth into the life of children’s TV host Fred Rogers and gives us insight into his world view. How he believed in teaching children about important issues without talking down to them to help them grow and develop into good people. He dealt with topics like the assassination of Robert Kennedy, racism, depression and many other heavy subjects on his show. And the doc even delves into his personal fear that he hadn’t done enough to reach people. It’s a very human portrait of a man who believed in the best of us, which will leave you inspired and much more positive about the world.

Won't You Be My Neighbour, currently streaming on Netflix
Fred Rogers putting on his iconic cardigan. Won’t You Be My Neighbour [Source: Empire]

Comedy/Drama: Fighting with my Family

The story of Saraya Knight alias Paige (Florence Pugh) and her journey from humble beginnings, wrestling and teaching the sport with her family in Norwich, to WWE Diva’s Champion. Fighting with my Family is a treat for one simple reason, it feels entirely genuine. Everyone can relate to the hardships of trying to chase your dreams and even the hardship of having to give up your dreams for something else, like Paige’s brother Zak (Jack Lowden). And because of that, we route even more for our heroine to succeed. The family dynamic is also tender and affectionate with Nick Frost and Lena Headey providing fantastic turns as Paige’s parents. And a funny bit part for Dwayne Johnson ensures you will come out of the film with a spring in your step.

Fighthing With My Family, currently streaming on Netflix
Florence Pugh as Paige dreaming of becoming a wrestling superstar in Fighting With My Family [Source: Entertainment Weekly]

Animation: My Neighbour Totoro

My Neighbour Totoro is the definition of adorable. Two young girls and their father move to a new house in the countryside while their mother is in hospital. Through a series of chance sightings and some investigating the girls then encounter several woodland spirits. Which includes the eponymous Totoro with whom they proceed to have many adventures. Totoro is a film that is impossible to not love. Showing the world through the eyes of a child, where there is no argument that can’t be solved with kindness and compassion, nothing is ever hopeless, and the world truly is a magical place (coupled with some of the cutest creature designs ever) the film is guaranteed to get you in a good mood.

My Neighbour Totoro
Satsuki and Mei fishing with Totoro and the woodland spirits in My Neighbour Totoro [Source: Empire]

Netflix Original: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Lara Jean (Lana Condor) has long existed in the margins. Her crush is dating her sister, her former friend is now her worst enemy and her little sister won’t stop criticizing her driving. Her one solace is her letters to all the boys she has had a crush on. Which allows her to get all her feelings out. However, when her letters are sent to her crushes she has to try and fix the problem. And the answer to her problems may lie in her former friend’s ex-boyfriend Peter (Noah Centineo). If you’re looking for a rom-com, full of charming characters, a good sense of humour, a central couple with great chemistry and even a few surprises along the way then do yourself a favour and check out To All the Boys for a reminder of the beauty of young love.

Netflix Original, To All The Boys I Have Loved Before
Lara Jean, her younger sister Kitty and Peter watching a movie in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before [Source: NME.com]

Thus, ends our recommendations list of feel-good film on Netflix. We hope you all enjoy our choices and that they help to add a little joy during this tough time. If you want to recommend any films on Netflix then let us know in the comments.

Also Read: 5 Documentaries To Watch On Netflix

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Editorials

The Greatest Horror Villain of Each Decade

March 18, 2020
horror-movie-villains-collage [Source: shnakebite91 Wordpress]

Horror cinema has many iconic villains and today we’ll be counting down 10 of the greatest merchants of menace. I will choose a single villain from each decade, look at a bit of the villain’s background and how they managed to traumatize audiences who watched their films. So, let’s get spooky.

1920s: Count Orlok – Nosferatu (1922)

Originally made as a Dracula stand-in, Count Orlok has become a great villain in his own right. With actor Max Schreck’s towering frame, creeping shadow, sharp teeth, and keen unblinking eyes Orlok has become an instantly recognizable cinematic predator that has lasted almost a century. Not even Stoker’s estate could prevent him from becoming a cinematic nightmare.

Count Orlok one of Cinema's greatest early horror villains from Nosferatu (1922) [Source: PopHorror]
Count Orlok one of Cinema’s greatest early horror villains from Nosferatu (1922) [Source: PopHorror]

1930s: Frankenstein’s Monster – Frankenstein (1931)

The archetypal mad scientist creation. The monster isn’t necessarily evil but because of continual abuse and a lack of moral guidance, he begins violently lashing out at the world. Frankenstein’s Monster has a legendary look courtesy of makeup artist Jack Pierce. And thanks to Boris Karloff’s animalistic performance, which makes the character threatening and sympathetic, Frankenstein’s Monster has been cemented as one of horror’s most tragic monsters.

Frankenstein's Monster prowling through the woods in Frankenstein (1931) [Source: Movie Monster Wiki - Fandom]
Frankenstein’s Monster prowling through the woods in Frankenstein (1931) [Source: Movie Monster Wiki – Fandom]

1940s: The Wolf Man – The Wolf Man (1941)

Like Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man garners great sympathy because of host Larry Talbot’s (Lon Chaney Jr’s) inability to control the monster within him. But unlike Frankenstein the Wolf Man is vicious. Murdering innocent people and leaving Larry to deal with the consequences. With Jack Pierce’s brilliant makeup making the monster the midpoint between man and beast, the Wolf Man is an iconic example of the darkness in all men.

One of cinema's most iconic werewolves. The Wolf Man (1941) [Source: Fiction Machine]
One of cinema’s most iconic werewolves. The Wolf Man (1941) [Source: Fiction Machine]

1950s: Godzilla – Godzilla Series

Cinema’s biggest monster. Starring in 35 films since 1954 Godzilla is a Japanese icon. He’s a prehistoric monster awakened by hydrogen bomb testing and was created as a symbol for the destructive powers of the atomic age, though lately, he has become a metaphor for nature striking back at humanity. He’s the embodiment of destruction and for 66 years he’s shown that for all our advances annihilation is never far away.

Godzilla, the King of the Monsters. Gojira (1954)
Godzilla, the King of the Monsters. Gojira (1954) [Source: USA Today]

1960s: Norman Bates – Psycho (1960)

The grandfather of all slasher villains. While seemingly normal, Norman hides another personality that forces him to kill anyone who threatens the illusion that his mother is still alive. Thanks to Anthony Perkins’ understated performance and Alfred Hitchcock’s direction Norman Bates (based on murderer Ed Gein) terrified audiences by showing that even the quiet good-looking boy next door could turn out to be a murderer.

Norman Bates and his mother in Psycho (1960)
Norman Bates and his mother in Psycho (1960) [Source: Bloody Disgusting]

1970s: The Caller – Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas‘ sorority house killer remains perhaps horror’s most terrifying villain. Because nothing about him is explained. His victims are random. The only insights we get into him are his disjointed, threatening ramblings. And his appearance, voice; name remain a mystery. Inspired by the urban legend of “the babysitter and the man upstairsthe Caller embodies the fear that you’re never safe. Even in your own home.

The mysterious killer from Black Christmas (1974)
The mysterious killer from Black Christmas (1974) [Source: The Dead Meat Wiki Fandom]

1980s: Freddy Krueger – The Nightmare on Elm Street Series

The burnt, razor glove wielding, Christmas sweater and fedora sporting dream killer has been scaring viewers since his 1984 debut. Inspired by stories about young people suddenly dying in their sleep and brought to life in skin-crawling fashion by Robert Englund, Krueger takes sadistic pleasure in twisting his victim’s dreams into nightmares. And the sheer glee he takes in his cruelty is what makes him cinema’s most iconic bogeyman.

The Springwood Slasher from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The Springwood Slasher from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) [Source: NME.com]

1990s: Candyman – Candyman Series

Originally, Daniel Robitaille, Candyman became a vengeful spirit after he was killed over a 19th-century interracial love affair. His hand was mutilated, his body smothered in honey and he was stung to death by bees. Now he kills anyone who dares say his name five times in a mirror. With his imposing figure, hooked hand and Tony Todd’s intimidating voice, Candyman is a true terror titan.

The urban legend Candyman (1992)
The urban legend Candyman (1992) [Source: The Clive Barker Podcast]

2000s: Jigsaw – Saw Series

Jigsaw is the horror villain of the 2000s. Embodying post 9/11 anxieties about the morality of torture Jigsaw, aka John Cramer managed to carve out a gruesome legacy for himself. His use of ironic traps to reform/eradicate those who he believes don’t appreciate life, Tobin Bell’s commanding voice and his animatronic mascot made him the face of torture horror. And his legacy has continued through multiple accomplices and successors.

Jigsaw and his iconic billy puppet mask
Jigsaw and his iconic billy puppet mask [Source: Screen Rant]

2010s: It/Pennywise – It (2017)

Stephen King’s iconic horror creation made a huge impact with Its 2017 reimagining. The creature that haunts Derry, Maine can change into many forms that will give anyone nightmares. His most recognizable form is Pennywise The Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard) whose smile hides a desire to devour children. It exploits our fear of the unknown and attacks the sanctity of childhood innocence all at once. Making It the perfect modern horror villain.

Pennywise tormenting children in It (2017)
Pennywise tormenting children in It (2017) [Source: Entertainment Weekly]

So ends my list of horrors 10 best villains. Which horror villains did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

Also Read: 7 Reasons Characters Die In Horror Films

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Editorials

Road Trip to Joker: The Success of Todd Phillips

March 5, 2020
Todd Phillips Films

Love him or hate him, director Todd Phillips has certainly made a very successful niche for himself. Today I’ll be looking over the controversial director’s career. Beginning with an overview of his work before looking into his most acclaimed films, The Hangover and Joker and how they succeeded at the box office, with critics, and for the director himself.

Filmography

Phillips broke into narrative features with 2000’s Road Trip. A sex comedy that made over $119 million dollars at the box office against a $16 million budget. He followed that up with other successes like 2003s gross-out comedy Old School. 2004s movie adaptation of Starsky & Hutch. 2010s buddy road trip film Due Date. 2016s biographical black comedy War Dogs. And The Hangover sequels, which while never earning the acclaim of the original, were still financially successful.

Comparatively, Phillips’ only unsuccessful movie is School of Scoundrels which earned $24 million against a $35 million budget. However inarguably his most successful ventures are The Hangover and Joker.

The leads of The Hangover (2009)
The leads of The Hangover (2009) [Source: Standard.co.uk]

Success and Acclaim: The Hangover & Joker

The Hangover became the highest-grossing R rated comedy of all time during its release (not adjusted for inflation). While this record was later surpassed The Hangover was also celebrated by audiences and critics (Rated 7.7 on IMDb and 78% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Meanwhile, Joker has become the highest-grossing R rated movie of all time, making over $1 billion worldwide. Despite mixed critical reception (68% on Rotten Tomatoes) Joker still received great acclaim. Winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and being nominated for many Best Film and Best Director awards. Audiences also roundly embraced the film (it’s currently rated 8.6 on IMDb and is ranked 46th in the IMDb Top 250).

Both films are examples of popular film trends from their time. The Hangover owes some of its success to the popular raunchy comedies of Judd Apatow. And Joker owes a lot to the domination of comic book movies at the box office.

But both films also have something unique, ambiguity. While The Hangover was a raunchy comedy it also had a grimy presentation. This allowed people to view the film as a condemnation of the activities the characters get involved with. Thus even people unsympathetic to the characters could enjoy laughing at them. Meanwhile, Joker presented its villain as somewhat sympathetic by showcasing how many facets of American culture helped to turn him evil but also presented his actions as shocking. Meaning the film functioned as both a disturbing look inside a killer’s mind but also an exploration of the factors that turned him into one. This ambiguous presentation allows for audiences to engage with these films in different ways. And gives critics a lot to analyze. Which is likely something else that lead to their success.

Frightening killer or victim of society? Joker (2019)
Frightening killer or victim of society? Joker (2019) [Source: Variety]

Todd Phillips’ Risks

Surprisingly Warner Brothers were initially unsupportive of both films. They didn’t want to give The Hangover a $35 million budget, because of its R rating (often not as successful as PG-13 movies) and because the leads were relatively unknown at the time. And even though Joker was a sure-fire hit due to the main characters’ comic popularity, Warner Brothers still attempted to prevent the project being made by giving Phillips a relatively small budget of $55 million.

But this ended up paying off well for Phillips. Because of Warner’s reluctance to finance The Hangover Phillips gave up his directing salary to help make the film and asked for 16% of the films gross. Meaning his pay went from $6.5 million to $75 million. And Phillips took a smaller salary on Joker, again asking for a percentage of the gross. Many publications estimate he will make $100 million from it.

Controversial director Todd Phillip
Controversial director Todd Phillips [Source: NME.com]

Conclusion

In the end, Todd Phillips knows how to get moviegoers talking and how to make a success of it. By using successful formulas his films have struck a note with audiences. And the well-constructed morally ambiguous presentation of Hangover and Joker managed to appeal to many different audiences and critics alike. And thanks to their success and the risks Phillips took to make his two best films he’s now laughing all the way to the bank. What a Joker.   

Also Read: The Unique Style of Wes Anderson

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