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Musicals have been tap dancing their way into moviegoers' hearts since the invention of cinema sound itself. From Oliver! to Singin' in the Rain, here are the Guardian and Observer critics' picks of the 10 best
• Top 10 documentaries
• Top 10 movie adaptations
• Top 10 animated movies
• Top 10 silent movies
• Top 10 sports movies
• Top 10 film noir
• More Guardian and Observer critics' top 10s
Historically, the British musical has been intertwined with British music, drawing on music hall in the 1940s and the pop charts in the 50s – low-budget films of provincial interest and nothing to trouble the bosses at MGM. In the late 60s, however, the genre enjoyed a brief, high-profile heyday, and between Tommy Steele in Half a Sixpence (1967) and Richard Attenborough's star-studded Oh! What A Lovely War (1969) came the biggest of them all: Oliver! (1968), Carol Reed's adaptation of Lionel Bart's 1960 stage hit and the recipient of six Academy awards. »
It’s a given that a movie poster needs to be both visually and verbally succinct. It must grab your attention in the amount of time it takes to walk past it in the street; it must tell you all you need to know—or enough to make you want to know more—in one arresting image and with one pithy tagline. One of the challenges of movie poster design and movie marketing is to say as much as possible in a small space and few words.
But then there are posters which break those rules, which, for one reason or another, feel the need to make you stop in your tracks and read. I own a couple of posters for Robert Aldrich films—The Longest Yard and The Emperor of the North— which I’ve always loved because they are anything but succinct. In place of taglines these two tough-guy movies have long-winded, »
- Adrian Curry
Peter Suschitzky has photographed films for John Boorman, Ken Russell and most notably David Cronenberg, but the 72-year-old d.p. still prepares each film with the written word. “It begins with a careful reading of the screenplay,” he says in a polite English accent over the phone from London, “trying to get a feel for, subconsciously, what’s in that script.” Suschitzky is giving interviews to promote, Evolution, Tiff’s celebration of hometown boy and horror master, Cronenberg. Evolution launches Hallowe’en week at the Tiff Bell Lightbox in downtown Toronto with a multimedia exhibition of celebrating Cronenberg’s five-decade career that began long before […] »
- Allan Tong
Review Simon Brew 31 Oct 2013 - 06:25
We take a look at Mark Kermode's latest book, Hatchet Job, where he takes issue with the modern movie critic....
I find myself in a nice, rare position with Mark Kermode's latest book, Hatchet Job. Ostensibly the third part of his four-part trilogy of 'radio voice' film titles (as opposed to his more academic tomes; a book on pop music's intersection with film is next), the conundrum for this site is that he says nice things about Den Of Geek in the book. As such, in the interests of transparency, I felt we should highlight that from the off. So whilst this is a review, and whilst this is impartial, it'd be remiss that you didn't know we come out of it rather well. If that bothers you, as the man himself might say, "other opinions are available". Will Self didn't like it, »
At 68 years old, a survivor of throat cancer, and with only one produced screenplay to his name since 1997, Joe Eszterhas has done the unthinkable: he's become a scriptwriting teacher. Well, not exactly – he's on his way to London to deliver a headlining lecture at the London screenwriters' festival – but anyone who has even the smallest familiarity with his books will know the contempt in which he holds teach-yourself-screenplay-writing gurus such as Robert McKee.
"Wannabe screenwriters sorely lack getting the truth from these so-called scriptwriting teachers," says Eszterhas, his post-cancer voice gravellier than ever. "McKee is the perfect example: he's had one TV movie made, and yet he pontificates on how to write scripts." He also has beef (one that's been going for decades, it seems) with other big-name scriptwriters, accusing »
- Andrew Pulver
Rugby Union: Bath v Gloucester
7pm, BT Sport 1
The picturesque setting of Bath's Rec ground, a stone's throw away from Bath Abbey, won't seem half as convivial when Gloucester come to town. This is a West Country derby where little love is lost. Both sides come into this game after tasting success in Europe: Bath beat Bordeaux 16-5 in the Amlin Challenge Cup, with 20-year-old fly half George Ford kicking all the points for the spa-city dwellers, while Gloucester defeated Perpignan 27-22 under the floodlights at Kingsholm in the Heineken Cup. Lanre Bakare
7.30pm, Channel 4
Ade Adepitan investigates the appalling conditions in Mexican mental hospitals and the organisation trying to effect change in them. Collectivo Chucan is a pressure group »
- Lanre Bakare, John Robinson, Hannah Verdier, Hannah J Davies, Jonathan Wright, Ali Catterall, Bim Adewunmi
Darren Aronofsky takes on the Bible for his next movie Noah, and though the film won't be in cinemas until 2014, there's already controversy swirling around the big budget drama. Paramount's recent test-screenings - to Jewish, Christian and general audiences - reportedly prompted "troubled reactions", leading to much speculation about what Aronofsky's epic has in store.
Noah is not the first film to fall foul of church groups - it seems that anytime a movie portrays religion, headlines and column inches swiftly follow. Digital Spy takes a look at six movies that have sparked religious uproar below...
The Devils (1971)
Ken Russell relished his reputation as a provocateur, and his early '70s drama The Devils was prime bait for the tabloids with its depiction of witchcraft, explicit nudity and Vanessa Redgrave as a masturbating nun. The film naturally fell foul of ratings boards and was heavily censored on its initial release. »
McM Expo/London Comic Con returns to ExCel London on 25th – 27th October. As well as hosting a galaxy of great sci-fi, movie, games, comics, anime and cosplay content, they’ve also got their usual huge line up of special guests – with more guests being added all the time! see www.mcmcomiccon.com for the latest London Comic Con news – but here’s a round-up of who’s been announced so far:
Red hot fantasy-noir show Lost Girl is coming to McM London Comic Com, with stars Ksenia Solo (Black Swan, Life Unexpected) and Rachel Skarsten (Transporter: The Series, Birds Of Prey) plus executive producer Jay Firestone (Andromeda, La Femme Nikita). Stars from hit sci-fi series Warehouse 13: Kelly Hu (Arrow, X-Men 2, The Vampire Diaries); Eddie McClintock (Bones, Desperate Housewives) and actor/director Saul Rubinek (Frasier, Curb Your Enthusiasm). The stars of new crime thriller By Any Means: Warren Brown (Luther, »
- Phil Wheat
‘The devil it seems departed from the Mother Superior at 10.45 precisely’
Director: Ken Russell
Plot: In seventeenth century France a sexually neurotic nun can’t stop having pervy thoughts about Father Grandier. Thwarted in her desires, it’s only a matter of time before the destructive accusations of witchcraft start and a kick-ass witch-hunter (and his bag of torture tricks) arrives in town…
What do you get if you cross the late enfant terrible of British cinema, Ken Russell, with a room full of nuns? Only one of the most contentious, provocative and flamboyant films you’ll ever see, that’s what. Even over forty years later The Devils (1971) has lost none of its power to shock, whether by confronting the viewer with naked and masturbating nuns, blasphemous iconography, torture, plague pits, self-flagellation or forcibly received enemas…at times »
- Claire Joanne Huxham
Every year, we here at Sound On Sight celebrate the month of October with 31 Days of Horror; and every year, I update the list of my favourite horror films ever made. Last year, I released a list that included 150 picks. This year, I’ll be upgrading the list, making minor alterations, changing the rankings, adding new entries, and possibly removing a few titles. I’ve also decided to publish each post backwards this time for one reason: the new additions appear lower on my list, whereas my top 50 haven’t changed much, except for maybe in ranking. Enjoy!
Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking dance routines and unique vocals have influenced generations of musicians, dancers, and entertainers. He was one of entertainment’s greatest icons, and like most gifted individuals, he was always pushing boundaries, reinventing himself, and testing his limits. One of his biggest accomplishments was Thriller, a 14-minute »
"Every time you see A-list genitalia on screen, you have Nick Roeg and the Brit pervs to thank," according to this snappy video, which is entry #406 in Vanity Fair's "Film Snob's Dictionary." The entry defines Nicolas Roeg as an "English director who established himself with the 1970 film 'Performance' -- a swinging-London movie featuring a bad trip, plenty of sex, and Mick Jagger. His highly sexualized films cemented his status as a Brit Perv director, alongside 'Women in Love' filmmaker Ken Russell....Film snobs love Brit pervs for a reason. Roeg and his colleagues made it okay to dispense with logic, clothes and chronology, to mess with movie conventions in the most mesmerizing and tripped out way."The "Brit perv school" also included Peter Greenaway and Derek Jarman who, the video intones, "along with Roeg and Russell, faced outraged from both critics and ratings boards... Remember: every time the »
- Paula Bernstein
Your muscles contort. Your skin bubbles and stretches. Your loins throb and your limbs writhe. You thrash in the throes of excruciating pain and agonizing pleasure. Before you even realize your body has betrayed you, like a snake shedding its skin, you are born anew. Perhaps the most visceral of the horror genres, body horror represents the most intimate of all fears. It’s the inescapable sensation that the shell housing every synchronized component keeping you alive is under attack. Yet it is more than simple infection; it is metamorphosis, a mutation that does not always spell death. More so, it may even be the start of a beautiful new life.
The human body has long been the enemy of horror films. One only has to look as early as The Invisible Man or The Wolfman for manifestations of physical forms undergoing irrevocable change. But the body horror genre encompasses »
- Shane Ramirez
Reviewed by Kevin Scott, MoreHorror.com
I really had not planned to write a review about Rob Zombie’s latest endeavor “The Lords of Salem”. The primary reason simply being that the internet just plain didn’t need another review of this film residing out there in cyberspace. Call it “saturating the market” if you will, me writing about something slightly obscure, new or old would have more than likely served the reader better. Here I am though, so let’s get to it.
I guess I should elaborate on the reason I ended up here. I’ve read only one review that was somewhat favorable about this film. The rest offered no hope of Mr. Zombie regaining his former greatness as the man that would save mainstream horror by giving it all the grime, violence, and homages to vintage films that just could not be found in any similar ilk anywhere else. »
This new version of a cult British horror contains nothing to surprise the aficionado but is satisfying nonetheless
Reading on mobile? Watch the trailer here
Summer is icumen in… again. Longer than the shortest cut, but still shorter than the longest, this cleaned up "middle version" of the cult British horror classic about a puritanical policeman chasing his tail on a pagan island contains no surprises for Summerisle regulars. The old weaknesses remain (the risible dubbing and body-doubling of Britt Ekland, Hardy's often clunky direction) but the strengths are overpowering; Edward Woodward's towering performance, Anthony Shaffer's brilliantly nasty script, Paul Giovanni's weirdie folk music, and that matchlessly horrifying ending. Cut down to B-picture length on initial release, The Wicker Man now exists in several versions which variously satisfy fans and creators. Meanwhile, Ken Russell's restored cut of The Devils (another mistreated early 1970s British chiller) languishes »
- Mark Kermode
Tiff’s Midnight Madness program turned 25 this year, and for two and half decades, the hardworking programers have gathered some of the strangest, most terrifying, wild, intriguing and downright entertaining films from around the world. From dark comedies to Japanese gore-fests and indie horror gems, the Midnight Madness program hasn’t lost its edge as one the leading showcases of genre cinema. In its 25-year history, Midnight Madness has introduced adventurous late-night moviegoers to such cult faves as Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. But what separates Midnight Madness from, say, Montreal’s three and half week long genre festival Fantasia, is that Tiff selects only ten films to make the cut. In other words, these programmers don’t mess around. Last week I decided that I would post reviews of my personal favourite films that screened in past years. And just like the Tiff programmers, »
Chicago – The biggest column yet on What to Watch on DVD, Blu-ray, Netflix, Amazon, On Demand, and more is another seemingly random hodge-podge of offerings that you can use to guide your way through the new releases shelf at Best Buy, the On Demand section on Vudu, the store on iTunes, and maybe even Netflix and Hulu. Pick your favorites. This is the way we’d rank these new releases if you have a free night this weekend or money to burn next week.
Photo credit: Universal
“Parks and Recreation: Season Five”
The funniest show on network television. Seriously, it’s not even close. I love “Enlightened,” “Girls,” “Louie,” and even the FX bad boys of shows like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Legit” but there’s nothing left on network TV to compare to this brilliant program now that “30 Rock” is gone. There are good comedies, »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
★★★★★ Following an almost decade-long absence - his last film, the controversial Birth, was released in 2004 - director Jonathan Glazer returns with his third feature, Under the Skin (2013), which joins a strong raft of British films in competition at the 70th Venice Film Festival. Scarlett Johansson stars as the woman who fell to Earth, Laura, an alien who - assuming the form of an alluring temptress - lures men into her van with promises of sex, only for them to befall a terrible fate. Although based on Michael Faber's 2000 novel, Glazer's film dumps much of the plot and the more obvious factory farming-targeted satire of the latter section.
What remains is an impressionistic piece of Martian poetry, viewing Scottish roads, shopping centres and scenic vistas as an alien planet. The utter strangeness of the world is seen through Laura's eyes as she wanders past football crowds and into nightclubs. As with »
- CineVue UK
For the last couple of months in The Daily Briefs, I’ve been counting down my list of the top 40 horror movies of the 80′s, and now it’s time to unveil #1. But first, here’s a look back at #40 – 2.
Thank you for all of your comments, and I hope I triggered some fun memories. But now it’s your turn! What are your favorite horror films from that bygone era? Do you prefer the Jason franchise, or Freddy? Any obscurities you think should be more well known? Let’s see your lists!
39. Visiting Hours
38. The Boogens
37. Blood Beach
36. New Year’s Evil
35. The Beast Within
33. I, Madman
Director Tibor Takacs followed up his surprise hit The Gate with this sadly overlooked, well-crafted slasher, written by David Chaskin (who wrote A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddie’s Revenge). Sadly, there’s no gay subtext in this one, »
Hugh Hudson is perhaps best known as the director of the critically acclaimed 1981 film Chariots of Fire. Philip French's reassessment of his 1985 film Revolution prompted Hudson to include his review in a booklet accompanying its DVD release in 2008. French stated: "Revolution was misunderstood and unjustly treated on its first appearance 20 years ago. Seeing it again in the director's slightly revised version, it now strikes me as a masterpiece – profound, poetic and original."
The thing about Philip is that he is a very truthful, very fair journalist who considers carefully what he writes, unlike many film critics who are inclined to be very hurried in their assessment, often acting like lobbyists. He never had his pet hates or favourites. I'll never forget Ken Russell on TV whacking Evening Standard critic Alex Walker on the head with his own rolled-up paper, for calling his film The Devils "monstrously indecent"!
Typical of Philip's »
We’re back with another Q&A feature, this time talking with Saturday Morning Mystery director Spencer Parsons, who tells us about growing up with Scooby-Doo, balancing horror and comedy, and his time on the set of the movie:
With this movie being Scooby-Doo influenced, can you tell me about your experience with Scooby-Doo as a child? What’s one of your favorite episodes?
Spencer Parsons: Oh yeah, when I was little, it was huge to me. My little brother and I would stay over at my grandmother’s house and wake up early to watch it with my older cousins while snarfing down sugary breakfast cereals my mom never let us have. By the time Jason of Star Command came on, I’d be flying high on Count Chocula, trying to get pony rides from the cocker spaniel. So I’d call it formative.
But Scooby and any »
- Jonathan James
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