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Anton van Beek  |  Nov 22, 2010  |  0 comments

Toy Story 3 is possibly the year’s most surprising film. Given the narratives and themes explored so brilliantly by its two predecessors, it’s hard to imagine any new ground or fresh ideas that could be explored. And yet, thanks to the brilliance of the creative minds at Pixar, what could have been little more than a crass exercise in financial, rather than artistic, franchise filmmaking has emerged as the most exciting, creative and touching films since… well, since the last Pixar movie, in all honesty. Surprising then, and also one of the year’s very best films.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 13, 2010  |  0 comments

Avatar is a frustrating film in so many ways, not least the fact that while Cameron has clearly spent years creating an engrossing and entirely believable new cinematic world, he then uses it as the backdrop for a fairly ordinary tale packed with wooden acting and leaden dialogue.

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 10, 2010  |  0 comments

Beauty and the Beast ranks up there amongst Disney’s animated crown jewels. A critical and commercial smash, this charming film even held the distinction of being the only animation to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award until Pixar’s Up got the nod earlier this year.

Mark Craven  |  Nov 01, 2010  |  0 comments

The Big Four: Live From Sofia is an indispensable BD platter for thrash metal hedz, as it captures the only time these titans of the genre (Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica) have shared the same stage. Filmed at the Sonisphere music festival in Bulgaria, and running for five hours, it’s a non-stop barrage of razor-sharp riffs, pounding kick drums and snarled vocals that’s guaranteed to leave fans grinning from ear to ear.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 25, 2010  |  0 comments

The Back to the Future Trilogy should play an integral part in every home cinema fan’s collection, standing proudly alongside the like of the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Alien boxsets.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 19, 2010  |  0 comments

When Sarah Tyler (Isabella Calthorpe) returns from America to visit her family home in the English countryside, it's not long before she gets much more than she had bargained for. Together with her extended step-family and a bunch of old friends, Sarah discovers that something else has also decided to visit the remote mansion at the same time. Something very hungry, that will happily spend the 13 hours they have left until sunrise picking them off one by one.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 18, 2010  |  0 comments

Predators was designed to be the sequel that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987 hit has always ‘deserved’ according to producer Robert Rodriguez. What he and director Nimrod Antal have delivered is effectively a reworking of the original, with a selection of trained killers finding themselves kidnapped and taken to a strange jungle where they’re hunted by invisible creatures. That said, despite lacking much in the way of original story ideas, Predators is a perfectly enjoyable piece of disposable cinema, with decent performances, good FX and plenty of violence.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 02, 2010  |  0 comments

Moulin Rouge! is the pinnacle of Baz Luhrmann’s cinema of excess. Described by the filmmaker himself as ‘belonging to a cinematic vernacular where you are essentially heightening the cinematic experience’, this bold, brash and electrifying attempt at re-creating the movie musical for a modern audience offers little original in the way of narrative. But the way it is designed, staged and filmed, not to mention the inventive use of pop songs throughout, makes it a film like nothing you’ve ever seen before – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 26, 2010  |  0 comments

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is undoubtedly the definitive cult movie. Now 35 years old, this film adaptation of Richard O’Brien’s stage musical is more popular than ever, continuing to do big business with its loyal fanbase as it plays at midnight screenings across the US and UK. It probably doesn’t hurt that it’s also a marvellously madcap piece of cinema, packed with outrageous performances, big laughs and catchy songs that stick in your head forever.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 23, 2010  |  0 comments

Confession time: Before getting started on this review, I had never seen Meir Zarchi's notorious 1978 rape-revenge shocker I Spit on Your Grave. Despite being a child of the 'video nasty', having spent the latter part of the '80s and early '90s building up an extensive VHS library packed with titles like Nekromantik, Cannibal Ferox and Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, for some reason I had never actually bothered with the film that - for many - was synonymous with this controversy-baiting collection of movies.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 23, 2010  |  0 comments

The Exorcist is a film that surely needs no introduction. One of the most celebrated horror films of all-time, this tale of a young girl possessed by demonic forces still has the power to unsettle and shock audiences despite the number of times it has been referenced, parodied and ripped-off by other movies across the better part of three decades.

Anton van Beek  |  Sep 20, 2010  |  0 comments

The Pacific is a companion piece to the earlier Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks produced Band of Brothers. As its name indicates, this ten-part miniseries shifts its gaze from Europe to the war in the Pacific, and this time the narrative(s) follows three marines and their various experiences rather than a single company of soldiers. 

Anton van Beek  |  Nov 08, 2009  |  0 comments

Optimum Home Entertainment has had something of a spotty history with the quality of its Blu-ray releases. That said, the company definitely appears to have found its footing with its recent Studio Canal Collection of classic films, and nowhere is that more evident that with this lavish high-definition treatment of Alain Resnais' mind-bending 1961 French New Wave outing Last Year at Marienbad (L'Annee derniere a Marienbad).

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 21, 2009  |  0 comments

Quite simply, Raimi's return to the genre that spawned his career is a much needed breath-of-fresh-air for the increasingly self-referential, po-faced and torture-obsessed American horror genre. It's not the most original film - the story about a young woman with only days to live after being cursed treads much of the same ground as MR James' Casting the Runes (and the excellent 1957 adaptation Night of the Demon) - but that really doesn't matter a jot, as writer-director Sam Raimi delivers a fast-paced and playful chiller that's entirely focused on making its audience jump. In other words; exactly the kind of silly ghoulish treat Hollywood seemed to have given up on.

Anton van Beek  |  Oct 04, 2009  |  0 comments

Before Jason Voorhees donned a hockey mask (or even the burlap sack he wore for one film) and started his epic killing spree there was another murderer killing promiscuous teens at Camp Crystal Lake. While the villain is different, the modus operandi is exactly the same - watch horny teenagers get it on with each other and then butcher them with an inventive array of weapons. As you can probably guess, it's not the most elaborate plot ever devised, but director Sean S. Cunningham's 1980 classic is still a tremendous model of economy, ditching anything like characterisation in favour of cutting straight to the good stuff (Tom Savini's wonderful makeup effects and the odd bit of partial nudity).

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