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Anton van Beek  |  Dec 29, 2011  |  0 comments

Maybe it was the horrible aftertaste of what Tim Burton’s remake did to the franchise, but for some reason nobody really expected too much from this contemporary prequel to the beloved 1968 sci-fi classic. But, thanks to its smart storytelling, winning performances and groundbreaking visual effects (a vital issue here, as the main character is a combination of CG effects and Andy Serkis’ motion-captured performance) Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one of the year’s best and most satisfying blockbusters.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 12, 2011  |  0 comments

As much as I enjoy Arnie’s 1982 take on Conan, I’d be hard pushed to describe it as anything like a faithful screen adaptation of Robert E Howard’s pulp icon. Which is why I was quite excited by the idea of somebody trying to reboot the franchise.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 05, 2011  |  0 comments

At first glance, JJ Abrams’ new sci-fi flick stands out from the rest of this year’s blockbusters by virtue of not being a remake or based on an existing property. But looks can be deceiving. While Super 8 is essentially an original story, it’s so heavily indebted to the early films of Steven Spielberg (right down to the pre-credits use of the original Amblin Entertainment logo) that it actually feels like a remake.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 21, 2011  |  0 comments

Taking its cue from Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, this likeable comedy stars Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis as three friends who decide to kill each others’ horrifically unbearable bosses (Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell, respectively).

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 14, 2011  |  0 comments

While it never quite matches up to the brilliance of the original, this second animated outing for Po and the Furious Five is a worthy sequel that stands up there with the best of DreamWorks’ animated output.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 14, 2011  |  0 comments

Orson Welles’ final foray as a Hollywood director is known as much for the chaos surrounding its release as for the story it tells. A hot, sordid slice of film noir set on the Mexican border and starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Welles himself, Touch of Evil was famously re-cut by Universal before its release in 1958.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 07, 2011  |  0 comments

Was there ever another Disney classic that’s had as much success as The Lion King? A box office sensation on its original cinema release in 1994, the film went on to set new sales records on VHS and DVD, before ushering in an award-winning Broadway musical adaptation and two further direct-to-DVD sequels. And all that before it smashed box office records again earlier this year during its limited 3D re-release in cinemas.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 02, 2011  |  0 comments

Following the crippling one-two punch of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, time was surely running out for this superhero franchise. The only thing that could possibly turn things around was a complete reinvention of the series.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Regular readers of this site will know that the film was originally scheduled to make its UK DVD and Blu-ray debut on May 16 this year. However, the release date ended up being delayed after review copies were sent out to the press and were found to present the film in an incorrect (open matte) aspect ratio. Almost a month after first contacting Warner Home Video with our discovery (during which time our story had been picked up by other sites and had even got back to Carpenter himself, who Tweeted about the situation), the studio finally announced that it was delaying the release until later in the year, so that it could master the film in the correct aspect ratio. So, let's find out if it's actually been worth the wait...

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 29, 2011  |  0 comments

While the recent remake might have done its best to kill him off for good, Freddy Krueger remains the definitive '80s horror icon and has carved out a place as one of the legendary monsters of cinema. Admittedly, as proven by this collection of the original seven films in the series (only the subsequent crossover hit Freddy vs Jason is missing from Robert Englund's run in the franchise), Freddy's film career has been as hit and miss as they come.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 23, 2011  |  0 comments

Despite the presence of actors Rachelle (Twilight) Lefevre and Stephen (True Blood) Moyer in its lead roles, The Caller has nothing to do with creatures of the night with pointy teeth. Instead, Matthew Parkhill's film has more in common with the decade-old sci-fi drama Frequency. But, whereas that film dealt with a son and father connecting across 30 years via a radio link, The Caller has Lafevre's character being bothered by a batty old lady from the past with murder on her mind.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 20, 2011  |  0 comments

Horror films about killer insects are nothing new. Cinema is littered with the broken carapaces of insect invaders, both big and small, that had waged war against mankind. And in 1997 it was the turn of giant genetically-altered cockroaches in Guillermo del Toro's first Hollywood movie.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 17, 2011  |  0 comments

Forget Baz Luhrmann’s flashy contemporary update of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise got there first with this magnificent bigscreen musical. Fusing The Bard’s most popular work with superb music, inventive dance choreography and expressionist production design, the film charts the doomed romance of two star-crossed lovers belonging to rival gangs competing for turf on the streets of New York. While the two leads are pretty anaemic and the story falls flat between songs on a few occasions, it’s more than made up for by the astonishing dance routines and memorable tunes.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 16, 2011  |  0 comments

While he’s been a mainstay of DC Comic’s superhero pantheon since 1960 (in this incarnation, at least), you’d be hard-pushed to say that Green Lantern is a particularly recognisable name for most people. As such, this sci-fi blockbuster had its work cut out not only introducing its hero Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) and his supporting cast, but also establishing the concept of the inter-galactic police force he ends up working for, the Green Lantern Corps. Add to that a melodramatic back-story and two separate villains and its no wonder that the film struggles under the weight of its ambitious scope. But what’s surprising, given all of that, is how thin and uneventful the film ends up feeling. While the space stuff looks great, but most of the action takes place on Earth and looks ordinary and unexciting by comparison.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 16, 2011  |  0 comments

Having made a name for himself with horror fans with the surprisingly effective ultra-low budget shocker Zombie Virus on Mulberry Street in 2006, director Jim Mickle has stepped up his game for this even more impressive follow-up flick. Playing out a bit like The Road, albeit with monsters lurking around every corner, Stake Land follows a small group of survivors as they try to reach safety in post-apocalyptic world overrun by a vampire epidemic.