How To Make A Quick Billion
The PictureShow Guide to Cannes Exclusive Interviews with Caity Lotz and Nicholas McCarthy PictureShow Reviews Things To See
Page 4: How To Make A Quick Billion
Page 17: Avengers Assemble
Page 7: The Pact Exclusive Page 13: Cannes Film Festival
Page 18: The Raid Page 19: Dark Shadows Page 20: The Dictator
Page 21: Men In Black 3
Page 3: Editorâ€™s Note and Contributors
Page 22: Prometheus
Page 25: Things To See In June
Page 23: Juan Of The Dead Page 24: The Innkeepers
Contributors Editor’s Note Editors
Joshua Hammond: Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
Dale Pearson: Editor
Joshua Hammond Dale Pearson Chris Binding Benjamin Schwarz Benjamin Ostell
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Welcome Back to PictureShow Magazine It’s been far too long. Since our last issue the majority of our writers have finished university for good. Which means that over the next few months we’ll be bringing you the greatest issues of PictureShow yet. Anyway, looking at this issue we have a sterling piece of film journalism for you to indulge in. Our six page The Pact special has two fantastic interviews with Caity Lotz, the lead actress and Micholas McCarthy the director of the film. A great series of interviews even if we do say so ourselves We also have a quick guide to why Avengers Assemble has become the third most successful film ever made, even though it is a superhero movie. Dale J Pearson also gives us his unique take on the Cannes Film Festival and whether we can expect the same level of classics from the festival as it featured last year. Joshua Hammond, Editor-in-Chief
8 Rules For Marvel-lous Movie Success JOSHUA HAMMOND
Marvelâ€™s The Avengers (or in the UK Avengers Assemble) has absolutely destroyed a series of Box Offfiice records. PictureShow Magazine tries to account for its incredible success
PLAN IN ADVANCE
The plan for Avengers Assemble was in motion from the get go. Whilst Marvel does not own the rights to Spiderman, Fantastic Four or X-Men, it did own the rights to the individual elements of the Avengers. Marvel even had the sense to tie Robert Downey Jr to three Iron Man films AND the Avengers film in his initial contract. Iron Man piqued interest in the project with the now famous credit sting with Samuel L Jackson (a man with a contract for nine films, he has appeared in five). Marvel’s clear plans made it so that people were aware of Avengers Assemble, 4 years before it came out. There are even possibly clues to the next few sequels in the films already released (have a look in the Treasure Vault in Thor for the Infinity Gauntlet).
PLEASE THE FANS
There is little doubt that the most vocal voice following the release of any comic book adaptation is the voice of the people that read the comics. The power of the internet can have an incredible effect on the performance of any film, there is evidence to suggest that the mighty takings of The Avengers in the US is down to the ecstatic reaction of fans in Europe and Australasia, who saw the film days before it was released in America. Marvel’s films over the last 4 years have treated the eagle eyed and those “in the know” to little moments of geeky pleasure. In Iron Man, the little shots of Captain America’s Shield in Tony Stark’s workshop provided something extra for those willing to look.
. . .BUT DON’T SACRIFICE THE STORY
It is wise, however, to never sacrifice story for the will of the fans. Case in point, Spiderman 3, fans wanted Venom, fans got Venom and it sucked. Updating the time and location of Tony Stark’s kidnapping from Vietnam to Afghanistan worked with a modern audience that was unfamiliar with the source material. Equally, had Captain America woken up in 1964, as he does in the comic books there would not be the ripe opportunity for Cap’s fish out of water humour in Avengers Assemble or the storyline revolving Steve Rogers adapting to life in the 21st century. HIRE AN INTERESTING DIRECTOR
This could apply to any film in reality, but Marvel’s frequent gambles with inexperienced or untested directors have paid dividends. Jon Favreau had directed three feature films before being given the reigns to Iron Man, something entirely unlike anything he had done before. Kenneth Branagh, director of Thor had largely only directed Shakespearean adaptations, but that experience fit the tone of Thor perfectly. Joss Whedon was possibly the least experienced of all Marvel’s directors, having only directed one film before The Avengers, but his love and enthusiasm for the source ensured that The Avengers was not the clunky CGI fest it could have been. Possibly the least inspired choice Joe Johnston, director of The Wolfman, Jumanji and Jurassic Park III, created one of Marvel’s weakest films, Captain America: The First Avenger.
MAKE SURE THE SCREENWRITER CAN HANDLE THE PROJECT
As was mentioned earlier, Joss Whedon’s success can in no small part be down to his knowledge and enthusiasm for the characters Iron Man 2, another one of Marvel’s slight missteps was written by Justin Theroux, a man largely known for his acting rather than his writing and his only previous work was on Tropic Thunder. Equally, the Captain America writers’ only notable work was on the adaptations of The Chronicles of Narnia. Thor’s science fiction elements meant that the screenwriters’ experience on Andromeda, Fringe and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles proved invaluable creating a better film.
ENSURE THE ENTIRE CAST IS RIGHT FOR THEIR ROLES
Whilst Tom Hiddleston’s acting experience prior to Thor was in television and theatre work, there is little doubt in anyone’s mind that he was the perfect choice to play Loki. It is certain that other names were thrown around for the role, but ultimately Hiddleston was the right choice and the films were considerably better because of it. Tony Stark may have his issues with alcoholism but casting Robert Downey Jr, a man who only a few years previous had a very severe drug problem, as the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, hero in quite a family friendly flick was “out there” at best. Downey Jr undoubtedly plays the role with suitable aplomb. The only issue Marvel have had is with Terrence Howard as Col. James Rhodes who allegedly earned more than Downey Jr for Iron Man and refused to take a pay cut for the sequel.
DON’T CUT RUNNING TIME
Most studios like their bigger blockbusters to have a lean running time of betweeen 105 and 120 minutes, this means that they can fit more screenings into the day. With a film of this length, you can fit about 4 or 5 screenings of a film into any one screen with the time needed for trailers and cleaning on either side of the a screening. This increases the potential to generate more ticket sales. The Avengers runs to about 145 minutes and as such you can only fit 3 screenings of the film into any one screen in a regular cinema, 4 at weekends. One of the problems many blockbusters encounter is of a lack of development in both the characters and the story, Avengers Assemble’s longer running time makes sure that each character is suitably developed
ADVERTISE FOR A BROAD AUDIENCE
While the advertisers behind The Avengers will not have had much time to take heed of the warnings John Carter and Battleships presented they still made damn sure that they advertised Avengers Assemble tactically. From the very first ad shot of 4 chairs (see below) the advertisers knew that their key selling point was the whole crossover theme. The set pieces, while spectacular, were not the main focus of the film, the focus was the characters and the way they interact. This ensured fans of the series would be interested as well as those who were unfamiliar prior to the release of the film. By not advertising to any particular audience and emphasising the highlights of the movie, the film generated interest on its own merits.
PictureShow speaks exclusively to Nicholas McCarthy and Caity Lotz, Director and star of upcoming horror movie The Pact JOSHUA HAMMOND
By now you will all have heard of The Pact, the film’s posters and trailers have been all over cinemas for the last few months. PictureShow secured an exclusive interviews with the star of the movie Caity Lotz. Caity will be most familiar to you as Stephanie from the few episodes of Mad Men set in California. Her career is speeding up with more features on her horizon.
No, that was me. Definitely me. I did all my own stunts, the only stunts I didn’t do where with the motorcycle because I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle and we didn’t have time to learn. I would have been more than happy to learn but we were on a pretty tight schedule and if I got hurt we’d be in big trouble. But all the wire work, getting thrown around and flying around the house was me. So yeah, they beat me up Are you a big fan of horror movies?
So Caity, can you quickly summarise The Pact for our readers? [Thinks] I like … umm, some horror movies. You see, I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan but I’m comMy character Annie, she left home when she was ing around. My favourite horror is The Shining, I like seventeen, and hasn’t been back since. She’s like things that are more like a psychological thriller really trying to avoid her family and her childhood, that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The she had a pretty rough upbringing. Her mom was Pact is definitely the kind of horror movie that I like. crazy religious and her Dad was never around and You know it’s not just about [makes slashy noise] then her sister left so she was trying to get long killing as many people as you can. There’s a lot gone. When her mother passes away, she is forced going on. It scares your mind, so it’s pretty cool. to come home and deal with everything that happened but when she gets there, her sister disap- What was it that attracted you to The pears and all of a sudden all of this crazy stuff starts Pact? happening in her house. So she goes on this whole hunt and gets the shit kicked out of her [laughs]. Well, the character. I read the script and for me the So she’s just trying to find her sister and find out role is the biggest thing and this is the kind of charwhat’s going on and it’s definitely not what she was acter that I’ve never played before. She’s a little bit expecting. tough, a little bit darker and it just grabbed me. I enjoyed it when I was reading it, I really enjoyed Did you personally “get the shit kicked it, I was getting scared as I was reading it y’know? out of you”, or did you use a double?
There’s a lot of twists and turns and you never really know what’s going to happen. I think that’s what makes it a good movie. How was it working with Nicholas McCarthy on his first feature length movie? Well it was great. I didn’t feel like “Oh this guy’s inexperienced”. We worked a lot and he wrote the script so he knew that thing inside and out. He had a great DP (Wayne Bridges) Everything went pretty smoothly. I really love working with Nick he really gave me space to do what I wanted to do and he was really helpful with collaborating on the character and the performances.
I like the both. I honestly like them both. If I’m working then I’m happy. TV’s cool because it’s so quick. You do so many scenes in a day and you’re just flying through it which I actually really like. But film has this thing to it where it just has this timelessness to it, it’ll last forever. So yeah, I like them both. Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I have a movie that comes out in January and it’s called Battle Of The Year and it’s a really great dance movie. It was a looootta fun. Pretty crazy. Benson Lee is doing it. It’s got a great cast Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, Chris Brown and it’s really fun working with the greatest b-boys in the world. Now, we’re big fans of your work on We shot it over in France and some of it in LA and Death Valley. it should be a lot of fun Have you found that you enjoy films like Battle of The Year that combine your talIs it likely that there’ll be a second sea- ents for acting and dancing? son? It’s cool you know because I think if I did that movie You know as of right now, no, there’s not going at the beginning of my career I probably would be to be a second season of Death Valley. Which is a little bit worried that people would think that I’m really unfortunate, just not enough people saw the just a dancer that can act rather than an actor that show over here. Everyone that saw it loved it, even can dance. So, because I have done work before the critics. It just wasn’t getting out to enough peo- that movie, I’m not worried about it. It’s great to be ple. But it’s a good show. It’s a fun show, right? able to use those skills because it was part of my life for so long Yeah, we like it You’re also working on Live At The FoxGood es Den with the director Michael Kristoff and Jackson Rathbone. There is a cliffhanger at the end of the season, which is why we thought it might Yeah, that movie’s cool because it has this great get recommissioned. musical aspect to it. There’s some great jazz music to it and it’s great to bring that it. Jackson RathYeah, well you don’t know if you’re going to get a bone’s character is an attorney and I play an atsecond season until way later. Until way after the torney as well. He basically quits his law firm to go series finishes shooting. Sometimes things change, and work with this jazz band. Quitting his law firm but in our case we didn’t know if we would get a kinda changes his whole life and he’s just trying to second season or not so we just went for it. It ei- figure everything out. Like I said the musical aspects ther happens or it doesn’t. You never know, it might are great, Jackson’s a great singer get some kind of resurgence on something. Maybe we’ll make a movie [laughs]. That’s what I’d like to Is there anyone in particular that you redo. ally want to work with? Good, I am too [laughs]
You also had a role on Mad Men, after Yeah, there’s so many. I’d love to work with LeonThe Pact can you tell us whether you pre- ardo DiCaprio because I have a massive crush on fer working on TV or film projects? him and I’d love to work with some more really great directors.
I’d love to work with Paul Thomas Anderson or So- Absolutely not, I think that was a dream, but I had phia Coppolla of course. I don’t know anyone who only finished making the short about a week and a wouldn’t want to work with her. half before taking it to Sundance. I wasn’t thinking much further past whether the picture was gonna Have you seen the teaser trailer for The be in focus and the sound was going to be alright. I Master? The new Paul Thomas Anderson had the meeting about the feature about three days movie? after the festival. I didn’t even know what the meeting, with the company Content Film, was going That’s the one with Philip Seymour Hoffman right? to be about. It was a complete surprise to me, but Yeah I enquired about the role and I got to meet after having made so many short films and written Paul Thomas Anderson and it was really cool to so many screenplays before trying to get a feature meet him. I want to see it, but it’s hard to watch off the ground for years and years and years I felt movies where you read for a part and don’t get it. like I was ready to tackle it. But I’ll still give it a look Now that you have that experience The Pact is Nicholas McCarthy’s debut working with feature length movies, will feature length film. After many success- you stick with that format or go back to ful showings of short films at Sundance short films? Festival, he was given the opportunity to adapt his short feature The Pact into Hmm... that’s a tough question. At a Film Festival a longer film. Whilst our interview was they’ll have a Short Film programme and all the only short, McCarthy quickly revealed short film makers are there and they’ll get asked by his excitement about Cinema in a gen- a member of the audience “What are you doing eral sense and his real love of horror next?” and nine times out of ten they’ll say “Oh, movies. As a director, McCarthy clearly I’m trying to get a feature made”. I love the short knows what he wants The Pact to be and film form and if people get a chance to see The Pact short then they’ll se it’s an entirely different kind of how he wanted to achieve it. movie to the feature and in a way there are lots of When you showed The Pact at Sundance things that were easier and lots that I couldn’t do in January last year, did you think you with the short. There is something about that brevity would be given the opportunity to adapt of story telling that is the same difference between the are of the short story and the art of the novel it into a longer film?
3D is the past, from like the 1950’s ... for pe
y’know. I would love to do another short film, but Well, i’ve always liked the idea of when you are now that I’ve gotten a taste of directing a feature, shooting something that you look to the camera and you can actually see what you’re getting as that’s what I want to do next opposed to when you work with a computer which Why did you opt to keep the majority of means that everything is done later. To me CGI is the crew from the short for the feature? used brilliantly in very subtle ways in all sorts of films and in our movie a computer WAS used but Becase they were great, what’s really important to to remove things. There’s no instance where a coma director it his or her collaborators and I think one puter is used to create something. I think when actuof the reasons why The Pact short film was so suc- ally have the actress falling to the floor … you have cessful was because I reached a kind of sweet spot the actress falling to the floor. You don’t have some with a few people that I had worked with before sort of Walt Disney cartoon version of a person falllike my director of photography, Bridger Nielson, ing from the ceiling and that’s why I would want to my editor Adriaan van Zyl. I found new collabora- pay money to go see a movie tors on that short the composer Ronen Landa and the production designer Walter Barnett. It was just Would you ever be tempted to use more this wonderful experience for us all to make that CGI? short because we all enjoyed the sort of movie that we were making and working together to do some- Well CGI is just a tool and it’s a tool that can either thing mew with that world. The feature is almost like be used well or can be used poorly and obviously a riff on the short and the chance for all of us to just there’s a lot of terrible examples of it. The decijump back into it and continue the conversations sion to use practical effects is more of an aesthetic that we had been having about ghosts and terrible one for me it’s just how I see things. Maybe it’s because I grew up watching older films and con1970’s wallpaper was just a dream come true. tinue to watch older films I can appreciate that kind Caity told us that you “kicked the shit out of aesthetic where you are seeing something actually happen. It’s just a quality to filmmaking that I of her” with the stunts. like. But y’know, if there’s some kind of effect that [laughs] Yeah. demands that a computer create it because it’s the right thing for the story I wouldn’t say no to it outWhy did you opt to use practical effects right. I’m not that religious about it. rather than CGI?
ople who are into porn, it might be the future.
What was the last film to really scare On a similar note, what would you want to see as a double bill with The Pact? you? That’s an interesting question. What was the last film to really scare me. Sssshhhhhiiiiiiiit. [laughs] The truth is that I see a lot of horror films and I see a lot of older movies, there are older films that have spooked me. The most recent, kind of modern, film that really scared me, and it scared me in a different way to how people associate the scares in say Paranormal Activity or something, was Martyrs. And Martyrs scared me because I couldn’t imagine the person that made that film. It was just so diabolical and so strange and upsetting that it was such a frightening experience from scene to scene but also after having turned it off. Just finishing the DVD and sitting there feeling kind of bathed in grime after having seen that movie and that was a really frightening experience. I’ll never forget that movie.
Hmm … The movie was influenced by a lot of the 1970’s Italian exploitation and horror films and there’s a Dario Argento movie called Deep Red. However imperfect Deep Red is, it has these kind of indelible mysterious images and that was the kind of thing that I was hoping to get in some places in my film. Just things that would stick with you, like when you wake up from a dream, which Deep Red has in spades. I would be honoured if anyone would pair the two films together. They might not have a lot to do with one another aside from that philosophy but that would be the one I’d pick Just one more question; is 3D the future of filmmaking?
3D is the past, from like the 1950’s. For people The first hour of Martyrs really terrified who are into porn, it might be the future. The fume, the initial scenes in the house are ture of filmmaking is telling a fucking good story, it doesn’t matter what the tool is, it can be 3D or not just insane 3D. That’s what we need, we need strong writers It’s probably the only film i’ve wanted to fast for- and directors. We’ve got a lot of strong directors ward through and I NEVER use the fast forward but not a lot of strong writers and I’m not saying I’m one of them but i’m trying. button.
Cannes Report DALE J PEARSON
Dale J Pearson gives us the lowdown on this yearâ€™s Cannes Film Festival. Contains Violence, Drug Use and Golden Showers
comes paralysed down one side of her body she resolves herself to commit suicide. Georges, partly fearing for his own wellbeing, bids to stop her. Haneke, who has forged a career out of making films rooted in allegory and social statement, has been criticised in recent times for tending to toward Hollywood Audiences. And Amour has been regarded by many as a step away from his traditional styles. However, with two Palme d’Ors under his belt in just three years, Haneke has set a Cannes Last year’s Cannes was indeed the platform for record. Amour will be released later this year. many of the year’s great films. ‘In competition’ films included Drive (10/10), The Skin I Live In (9/10), Contender for ‘line of the festival’ has to go to The Artist (8/10), We Need to Talk About Kevin Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy - ‘if anybody’s (8/10) and Melancholia (8/10), all of which Pic- gonna piss on him, it’s gonna be me’. Critics have tureShow commented upon very favourably. Even been described as being ‘delightfully appaled’ at PictureShow non-favourite, The Tree of Life (even- a scene in which Nicole Kidman’s character ‘goldtual Palme d’or winner) turned out to be the most en showers’ all over Zac Efron (because of a Jeldevisive and debated film of the year. And so, if lyfish sting...of course). In a bid to shake off his Cannes is to be as half as influential as it was in High School Musical stigma, Zac Efron stars in this 2011, the following films will definitely be ones to film about a trailer trash femme fatale who gets her look out for, and PictureShow, as always, will be kicks by writing to convivted murderers in prison. In sorting the wheat from the chaff as and when they a film which has recieved a mixed response from hit our screens. critics, Kidman is said to have been the shining actor of the festival. Starting with the 2012 Palme d’Or Winner, Amour is the new film from veteran director Michael The Weinstein Company returned to Cannes with Haneke. The film follows 80 year-old couple, Anne another Western-themed film. (In 2009, they proand Georges. After Anne suffers a stroke and be- duced Tarintino’s ‘spaghetti western’, Inglorious Regular readers will know that PictureShow has reported on the decline of the ‘great European film festivals’ in previous issues. Last year, Venice and Berlin film festivals came and went relatively unnoticed. There is however, one European film festival which still maintains all the gravitas and prestige of it’s heyday. And so, it was with great anticipation with which PictureShow watched on as the 65th Cannes Film Festival unfolded.
Basterds, which also premiered at the festival) This year, they introduce John Hillcoat’s Lawless, a film about bootlegging in Virginia. The film stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Gary Oldman with a writing Credit for Nick Cave (formerly of ‘Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’)
film; especially a film which is looking to capitalise on a preexisting fan-market. Garrett Hedlund, has been cited by many as the saving grace of the film, but mainly, the attention has been on Kristen Stewart who is considered by many to have not quite shaken off her Twilight shoes. However, we must also remember that she did not have the benefit Fans of Ken Loach will be excited to hear about his of Nicole Kidman’s urine to destroy all those teen11th entry to the festival, The Angels’ Share. The dream preconceptions. director has opted for a more comedic film than his usual gritty style. The film follows a young father Fans of less highbrow cinema, however, might be who narrowly escapes prison and finds an oppor- more interested in Cannes Screening of Dreamtunity to turn over a new leaf in a Scottish whiskey works’ Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. distillery. A point of interest in this film is that Loach The franchise will return later this year starring Ben uses several non-professional actors to portray sup- Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett porting roles. Thankfully, Loach’s skill as a director Smith, Frances McDormand and Sacha Baron Cohas left many commenting on the fact that this is hen. Not out of place at Cannes, the film has a distinctly ‘French Riviera’ theme, set against the Cabarely noticable. sinos and hotels of Monte Carlo. One of the less well-received competition runners this year has been Walter Salles’ adaption of the Cannes Film Festival may be over, but its real test Jack Kerouac classic, On the Road. The film stars will be over the coming months as its honoured films Sam Riley as Sal Paradise, Garrett Hedlund as make their onto general release in cinemas around Dean Moriarty, Kristen Stewart as Marylou, as well the world. And while it looks as though the runaas Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen. Praised for way successes of 2011’s festival films will probably excellent cinematography, but criticised for many not be beaten, there is enough variety and exciteother aspects, On the Road could be an occasion ment surrounding the films to stop Cannes from bewhere an early release to a negative response at a coming a ‘dead’ film festival any time soon. film festival damages the economic potential of the
Avengers Assemble After 6 years of planning, plotting and meddling, Marvel Studios finally brough the superhero crossover behemoth to the big screen. In 2008, Tony Stark and the movie going public were introduced to the idea of the Avengers Initiative. From the moment Samuel L Jackson broke into Tony Stark’s living room audiences have been excited by the idea of The Avengers. Avengers Assemble is Marvel’s final masterstroke in the first act of their Studios, it proves not only is there a massive audience for superhero movies, but also that in 6 years a company that had sold most of its major properties, like Spiderman, Fantastic 4 and X-Men, can still make quality films. Avengers Assemble sees the return of Loki, determined to steal the Tessaract and harness its power to travel between dimensions and enslave the human race. To counter Loki’s plans Nick Fury brings together 6 of the worlds most brilliant people in order to try and fend off Loki’s attack. Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Captain America need to overcome their differences to stop the destruction of the planet.
to see such hatred in any film, nevermind a family friendly blockbuster.
There are some problems with Avengers Assemble. While Loki is brilliant and terrifying, his “army” of Chitauri warriors are remarkably easily disposed of. Defeat never looks like a real option, the greatest moment of tension comes at the hands of humans rather than the Chitauri. The soundtrack is also very Marvel’s gamble has paid off remarkably well, standard superhero fare, lots of triumphant horns from getting every one of the highly in-demand ac- and banging drums at pivotal moments. tors for a single film, to getting Geek Numero Uno Joss Whedon to write and direct the film. Whedon’s Avengers Assemble is one of the finest superhero love for the characters and the subject matter is evi- films to hit cinemas in a few years, it is by far the dent in the script. Possibly the smartest script for a best of Marvel’s output and it will be interesting to Marvel feature ever. Brilliantly working in each of see how Iron Man 3, Cap 2 and Thor 2 move on the individual superheroes and ensuring that none from this. The danger is that we will miss Thor when of them are left on the back burner, Whedon utilis- we watch the new Iron Man and vice versa. The es each character and their own talents with great Avengers is a remarkable film with a great script and fantastic characters. JH ability. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers’ little disputes are great fun to watch, as is Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner who seems more like a brilliant scientist than either Ed Norton or Eric Bana. Ruffalo, with help from Whedon’s script makes sure that we believe Banner when he talks about the sides of his personality that are unfavourable. However, the star of the show is undoubtedly Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Cast by his buddy Kenneth Branagh (the two worked together on Wallander) as Loki in Thor, Hiddleston comes into his own with this massive spectacle. Loki’s interactions with each individual member of the Avengers is both menacing and brilliant, even in defeat Loki can spit venom with his eyes. It is rare
this shoot. At the centre of almost all the action scenes in the film, Uwais’ boundless energy makes it hard for even a viewer to keep up with his flying fists. This should not diminish Uwais’ acting either, as the emotional centre of the film Uwais has to emote through his fury and manages to remarkably well. However, don’t let comparison’s to Die Hard fool you, Uwais is no Bruce Willis, there is never enough time for a pay off quip or line. Plus with as many vagabonds as Rama has to dispose of there is hardly enough time to know each enemy as well as we all know Hans Gruber. Evans’ choice of music director also pays off, the beats that accompany the fight scenes mirror the action, smaller beats for smaller hits and big pounding bass for knock out blows. Even the quiter moments seem to bristle with anticipation for the The Raid action that is always about to ensue. Whilst there is very little dialogue, the moments where characters The Raid revolves around father-to-be Rama after do discuss things are deathly quiet with as little as he gets assigned to the most covert of covert mis- possible to distract from the characters speaking. sions to try and attempt to remove a drug kingpin from his tower block fortress in Jakarta. In order to In short, The Raid is a deftly handled, economic yet remove the boss, a tiny team of elite cops have to unflinching action movie, but this does not account clear 15 floors of lowest kind of junkie, cook and for the skill with with Evans accomplishes everything drug pusher there is. What starts as a relatively in a scant 100 minute running time. Evans’ eye is straight forward becomes increasingly complicated on show for all to see here, insane camer angles as one by one, members of the unit are picked off. and tracking shots are some of the most interesting visual flourishes since Park Chan Wook’s OldBoy Director of The Raid, Gareth Evans, clearly owes another uncompromising action movie. The sounda great debt to a history of action and martial track is a revelation, its dubstep rhythm for every arts movies. Evans has been open about his influ- jarring injury adds real intensity to the action seences from Die Hard to the video for MIA’s Born quences. JH Free. Even with his influences to guide you, it is hard to be quite prepared for The Raid. The style of direction is uncompromising, long tracking shots through the fight scenes make you uncomfortably aware of every broken bone, every cracked skull and every burst vein. Whilst the scenes of brutality are certainly grim in their detail, there is a certain amount of beauty to the nature of the fights, almost inhuman levels of punishment are doled out with grace by both Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian. A great deal is made about the personal and honorable nature of fighting, characters prefer to beat one another than to shoot each other. After 15 minutes you stop thinking “Pick up the gun, look at that massive knife, arm yourself!” and just revel in the action. The Raid owes a great deal to its lead actor, Iko Uwais, who must have been put through hell on
Dark Shadows Like Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark that came before it, Dark Shadows is an adaptation of an afternoon television show from the 1970’s. The difference between the two is that Dark Shadows maintains the era of the show, where Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark did not and Dark Shadows keeps the camp element that the original show was loved for. Dark Shadows follows the Collins family as one of their ancestors is unearthed and revealed to be a vampire that has been entombed for 2 centuries, or 197 years if we’re not exaggerating. At the centre of Dark Shadows is Barnabus Collins, a heartbroken vampire who is seen to care about humanity regardless of the fact that he eviscerates 11 men in the first 10 minutes. The comedy largely comes from Barnabus’ fish-out-of-water character. Confused and terrified by tarmac, automobiles and McDonalds Barnabus’ introduction to the modern world is largely comedic, however, once integrated into the family (and this does NOT take long) Barnabus becomes more of a victim to gross out of physical humour, which does not seem to fit as well with the Burton aesthetic.
Barnabus appears in the Collins home and Barnabus becomes a modern man far too swiftly to maximise the potential. Instead the plot becomes embroiled in trivialities, Depp’s key love interest feels meek and undercooked whilst the renovation of the family business seems to be dealt with far too easily.
Like Tim Burton, Dark Shadows had great potential The cast of Dark Shadows is littered with Tim Burton and there are some fantastic moments however it regulars, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter becomes too complicated in parts and far to simple both have starring roles as Barnabus and Dr Julia in others. Maybe extra script work was needed or Hoffman. Michelle Pfeiffer, Catwoman in Burton’s (god forbid) new acting talent for Burton to try and final Batman movie plays Elizabeth Collins, unfor- direct, but Dark Shadows just isn’t as satisfying as tunately however, she does not don a leather catsuit Burton’s early work which was both hilarious and even though she is still smokin’ hot. Christopher Lee bleak. Dark Shadows is neither. JH continues his work in the Burton film universe with a brief cameo. Newbies to the Burtonverse include Chloe Grace Moretz who is continuing her seamless rise into super stardom, Johnny Lee Miller fresh from his TV Show and stint in Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein and Eva Green also “vamps” it up as the incredibly forward Angie. Burton ropes in his regulars behind the scenes too, Danny Elfman does the score which is a typical of Burtons work but does take cues from the era of the film. Dark Shadows exceeds when it embraces the comedy to be found in a character 200 years out of time. Heavy use of 70’s paraphanalia creates easy laughs, a scene involving a lava lamp is a particular highlight. The problem is that everyone adjusts far too easily, very little conflict seems to arise once
Charlie Sheen) are a, very scary source of comedy. Cohen is right to suggest that Col. Gaddafi spouted insane nonsense and dressed like a 85 year old lady, Kim Jong Il’s rhetoric is a source of hilarity here in the West, but there is less humour to be found in a character that says insane things and the supporting cast HAVE to act shocked. The problem is, that General Aladeen became passe the minute he dropped Kim Jong Il’s ashes onto Ryan Seacrest. The ‘plot’ for The Dictator is also as dissatisfying as its eponymous character. Events that transpire feel like the lead up to a joke that never surfaces. Whilst the characters are meant to daft, they are SO ridiculous that all humour is lost. The Dictator feels more like a rejected Farrely Bros. script than a whip smart Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle.
The Dictator Sacha Baron Cohen has a reputation to maintain, it is a reputation as a troublemaker, a cruel manipulator who gets into situations under false pretences and shows up those involved. A problem arose after his 2008 comedy Bruno failed to warm critic and audiences as his previous efforts had. Sacha Baron Cohen’s schtick was getting old. As such, Cohen decided a new direction was needed. So Cohen developed a scripted comedy, The Dictator, a comedy that still intended to be cruel but without the civilian casualties and a central character so outlandish that turning up to The Academy Awards in full costume could generate significant headlines. Ali G, Borat, and to an extent Bruno, worked as comedic creations because they were ‘of’ the world. Half the time, Cohen did not even know what he was going to say, he just got into character and went with the flow. The looks of shock on his unfortunate victims were genuine, because what his character was saying and doing was shocking. The Dictator has a similar set up, outlandish foreign character ends up in US and tries to shock folk, but when these folk are being paid to be shocked and Megan Fox is the only person playing herself, Cohen’s comedy no longer works, either as base comedy or as satire. Poking fun at dictators is hardly something new, Charlie Chaplin had a pop at Hitler in ‘44 and Trey Parker and Matt Stone mock tyrants so often that it was surprising when Saddam Hussein did NOT turn up in Team America: World Police. Dictators (like
In reality The Dictator is just another vehicle for Sacha Baron Cohen to demonstrate his incredibly versatile face, whilst putting on a silly voice. Cohen may look and sound the part but there is a lack of genuineness. He may have generated interest by surprising high profile people in high profile postions, like Eminem at the VMA’s as Bruno and those at the Toronto Film Festival as Borat, but General Aladeen feels harmless, a Mad Dog with no teeth. There is no bite to The Dictator and the reason for this is how clear it is that Aladeen is fictional and that the supproting cast are well known actors, like Ben Kingsley, Anna Faris and John C Reilly. JH
Men In Black 3 How long is too long? The last time we saw J and K on the big screen was just under a decade ago. Ten years have gone by, during which both Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones have done bigger and better movies than either of the Men In Black films. So why have they returned now? Well it certainly can’t be for the script which is so bereft of jokes that it raises questions about their standard of judgement. Men In Black 3 is nothing but a sideways step for all involved. Men in Black 3 revolves around Boris the Animal (Flight of the Conchord’s Jermaine Clement) with the ability to travel through time and affect the future. Boris travels back to the 1969 to kill Agent K before K has the chance to imprison Boris in Luna Jail and thwart a coming invasion. After waking up in a world without K, Agent J realises that something is wrong and travels back in time to save K and the also, world.
Smith alone because the quality of the visual effects is not up to the high standards of today’s filmmaking. Mad Men creates a more believable 1960’s atmosphere on a TV budget and Prometheus created more impressive worlds (not just an invasion) While this set-up seems almost guaranteed to pro- with half the budget. These problems don’t even voke laughs. The idea of Will Smith confronting the cover the fact that the 3D conversion is shoddy and racial stereotypes that were still very prominent at pointless adding nothing to the film. the time is a gift of a premise. Throw in the uber paranoid hippie brigade, a great buddy relation- Men In Black 3 fails to hold a candle to either of the ship and the threat of aliens and you’ve got a great previous installments in the series even though Men movie. Men In Black 3 avoids all these beats, fo- In Black 2 was a poor sequel in 2002. Any element cussing solely on J and K’s relationship and the that seemed right in this threequel, is either poorly main problem is that the relationship is dull. Josh executed or ignored. Will Smith has been absent Brolin may be inspired casting as a young Tommy from our screens for almost four years and it would Lee Jones, but his lack of gruffness feels like a mis- have been preferable for him to come back with a step. We have seen J and K learning to work to- vehicle worthy of his talent, not this half baked idea gether before and just seeing it in the 60s feels a of a movie. JH little old hat. [SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IN] The problems don’t stop there. The villain, Boris The Animal, may be one of the most powerful villains to enter the MIB universe but he is completely unthreatening, his gross hand insect thing is disgusting but that is as far as it goes. Jermaine Clement is doing his best Tim Curry impression and the make is impressive. However, if regular K defeated him in 69 without J, then J and K with knowledge of the future were always going to triumph. For a film with such a spectacular budget, the visual effect are also lacking. It would be interesting to know how much of that budget was spent on
Prometheus If writers Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells and Philip.K .Dick were key innovators in the transition of science – fiction to a popular through provoking medium, director Ridley Scott has to receive some recognition for his contributions the visual aspects of the genre. Despite only releasing two straight sci –fi films, Alien and Blade Runner, his iconic visual style provided a dark industrial filter to the colourful utopian visuals of future worlds, while creating some iconic images and characters in the process. Understandably, when it was revealed that Scott was releasing a film tied to the Alien universe, with images released of an ominous statue of a human head, fanboy tongues began waggling and since then Prometheus has been set to be one of the summer’s most anticipated cinematic ventures. With a viral campaign leaking tantalising plot snippets, a cast including Hollywood hot properties Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbinder and a trailer full of familiar epic imagery, Prometheus is an impressive endeavour, expanding and building upon Alien mythology and demonstrating a true master at his craft. The plot is fairly standard but has a lot more direction to the freight mission of the original Alien. Following the discovery of a several cave paintings that allude to links between human and alien contact, an expedition is set up to discover what is believed to be the origins of the human race , funded by the private enterprise Weyland corporation. Upon investigating the planet, the explorers find the remnants of a terrible incident and a
force that will threaten to consume their party and the safety of the expedition. From the H.R.Giger influenced architecture of the planet to the terrifying set pieces, Prometheus replicates the paranoia and fear of the original Alien while adding an air of mystery and speculation to the generic sci- fi horror formula. Avoiding didacticism and over – narration Scott creates a setting filled with visual clues and references to the planets original function and to the race of aliens that inhabited it. However the main focus of Prometheus is its links to Alien, with the revealed identity of the ‘space jockey’, a morbid inversion of the chest burster sequence involving a surgical pod and the alien itself also making a pre – credits appearance. Although many questions remain un –answered, including the wider context of the humanoid aliens, references are made to the hybrid biological composition of the aliens as we know them aswell as putting a face (albeit decrepit) to Weyland industries. The cast are also skilfully assembled and despite the ragtag expedition group character types, Charlize Theron standouts in her role as expedition leader and proto –villain with a quiet intensity However the standout performance rests purely with Micheal Fassbinder in his role of polite and well –spoken android David, both eloquent, efficient and genuinely unnerving at points, blurring the lines between humanity and machine. As the title Prometheus suggests, the horror and destruction in the Alien universe stems from individual’s hubris in ‘stealing the fire’ of God and creating life and from the androids to the aliens themselves, the horrors of Scott’s world stem from the artificial and the scientific rather than the natural. Despite somewhat slow pacing in parts, Prometheus thankfully functions both as a functional genre flick and a self –referential prequel to the Alien universe. As a classic addition to Scott’s oeuvre with epic visuals and a budget to match, it will undoubtedly become the unofficial companion piece to the original Alien and is a must see for fans. CB
Juan Of The Dead Like all great zombie movies, Juan Of The Dead is not just about the dead rising up and infecting the living. While George A Romero may be the undisputed King of the sub-genre using his movies as metaphors for race relations, capitalism and the need for society and human contact, Alejandro Brugués clearly aims to follow in the same tradition. The idea of a Zombie apocalypse in Cuba is something new, the way the news report the incidents is as much a part of the story as the blood and guts. The story involves Juan, a deadbeat scavenger, who after witnessing the dead taking over the city of Havana, realises that there is money to be made from the situation. After arming himself and a loyal group of buddies, Juan sets up a business designed to dispose of civilian’s relatives who have turned and they can’t kill their own family. Aiming to impress his estranged daughter, Juan and his associates travel around Havana looking for business or liquor. Juan Of The Dead owes a great deal to the many Zombie movies that came before it. Juan, like Tallahassee from Zombieland, couldn’t find his lot in life until the end of the world arrived. Like Shaun, he does what he can to impress a girl he loves (different kind of love) and like the characters of Day of The Dead, Juan has a history in the military. Juan Of The Dead definitely relies more of the comedy than the horror, Juan’s zombie killing collective range from a huge, hulking man who can’t stand the sight of blood and has to fight blindfolded to his best friend Lazaro who wields butcher knives to hack through the undead hordes. Various set pieces lead to brilliantly comedic scenes, Juan trying to communicate in English is a particular highlight. There is also a Zombie Kill Of The Week that far surpasses Sister Cynthia Knickerbocker’s cartoon piano disposal of the undead. Juan’s best joke is by far the reference to media control in Cuba, zombies are labelled dissidents and the attacks are blamed on the US. Certain set pieces are only eerie rather than scary, the sight of the zombie masses travelling under water is creepy and Juan walking through the streets of Havana with only screams soundtracking it is creepy. The problem is that there is no threat that comes from the Zombies, while they may stumble across the road aggressively and we do see a number of deaths, they could always have been avoid-
ed. Juan destorys zombie after zombie solely with the use of an oar, possibly an obscure reference the Shaun’s bat. All in all, Juan of the Dead is a delightfully light hearted romp. Juan may be an unlikely hero, but he certainly is that and his comrades are equally affable and brave int heir own way. Some of the jokes fall flat but the jokes about being Cuban are a refreshing delight. Certainly not a horror, but it is entertaining enough. Juan Of The Dead is a film much like its titular character, an underachiever that manages to surprise everyone at least a few time. If only it could have been scarier. JH
that make it into the movie are effective. The image of Madeline O’Malley is scary but not too memorable. The images are beautifully crisp and long tracking shots add to the effect, but also draw unfortunate comparisons to The Shining and other haunted house movies. As West’s experience and reputation grow he may come to be a great horror director
The Innkeepers The Innkeepers is a rather old fashioned ghost story. Set in the Yankee Pedlar Inn on its final weekend of business, the two remaining staff, Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), spend their final days dealing with customers and their evenings looking for evidence of ghosts. So far, so Most Haunted. The legend of Madeline O’Malley, a woman who took her life on her wedding night after being abandoned by her husband, haunts the Yankee Pedlar. Strange goings on pique Claire and Luke’s interest and they try and discover the spirit of Madeline O’Malley. The scares in The Innkeepers certainly don’t come thick and fast, a great deal of time is spent building up the tension. Odd noises from one place or another, a bird that had got trapped, regular red herrings that have are designed to have the whole audience questioning whether the stories are real all come into play. These ghost story beats have been used for decades, especially in an old creaky hotel. Even the characters seem like stock cut outs, there’s the believer, the skeptic, the psychic and the mysterious one. Look out for an odd 30 cameo by Lena Dunham, star of HBO’s Girls. Writer, Director and Editor Ti West clearly knows the horror genre, his previous work The House Of The Devil was equally indebted to old seventies horror movies. While The Innkeepers is traditional, there is certainly a skill to the directing, the low budget evidently takes its toll on the amount of ghosty shots that could be completed, but those
Once the action gets going The Innkeepers amps up the horror significantly. The appearances of Madeline O’Malley are infrequent, but the hysteria each character causes is easy to get caught up in. Sequences are overly long to try and increase the tension, but it’s a heavy handed tactic that gets old. As does the schrieking music designed to make you jump when a person appears from nowhere, which is considerably overused. While The Innkeepers certainly lacks originality it does partly make up for this with scares. Like The Woman In Black, it is good to find a horror film that does not solely rely on gore or found footage to provoke fear in the audience. There is just a desire for more, the horror is tame and it starts too late in the film to really shred the nerves. The predictable nature of The Innkeepers means that the scares come exactly when you think they will and no amount of tension building can resolve this disappointment. The Innkeepers is a good introduction for anyone who is unfamiliar with the genre but not for anyone with some experience with horror. JH
Things to see in June PictureShow’s Things To See section is back in full force. With a fantastic selection of sceenings across the country, there is nothing to keep you from experiencing some fantastic cinema from the last century. If Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter or The Five Year Engagement don’t take your fancy then pick a screening near you and give something different a try. North East Berwick-upon-Tweed
The Maltings Theatre and Cinema Cinema Paradiso 6 June A celebration of films and cinema. Cinema Paradiso revolves around Salavator Di Vita, an italian film director as he thinks back to his past and how cinema has shaped his life.
Hype Park Picture House Deliverance 30 June Definitely not for everyone, Deliverance is a classic extreme horror movie. Starring Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds as Ed and Lewis, the story revolves around an ill fated trip down the Cahulawassee River as four novices become lost in foreign territory and the situation only gets worse.
Showroom The Adverntures of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert
Possibly the campest film ever to be set on celluloid. A road movie following three drag queens as they travel across Australia for a lucrative dancing contract. Early performances by Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce are a world away from their more well known cinematic outings. Beware: Pearce’s laughter could break a glass.
The Star and Shadow Ran 17 June At the time Ran was the most expensie Japanese film ever made. Directed by Akira Kurosawa, the story involves the downfall of clans and kingdoms in old Japan. While it may not be as well known as some of Kurosawa’s early work it is still a monumental film.
North West Kendal
Brewery Arts Centre Moulin Rouge 1 July
QUAD Timecop 8 June
“They Killed His Wife Ten Years Ago. There’s Still Time To Save Her” Nothing can be said about TimeDelve into the world of Parisian culture at the turn of cop that wasn’t summed up in it’s own tag line. the century. Moulin Rouge is possibly the defining Possibly Jean Claude Van Damme’s finest career film of Baz Luhrmann’s career, combining heavily moment. stylised imagery and modern music, Moulin Rouge was a massive success in 2001. It’s good to try and Leicester Phoenix Square forget Australia ever happened. The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp 15 June Lancaster The Dukes Bride Of Frankenstein 19 June
This fantastic 1943 Powell and Pressburger feature never features a Colonel Blimp, instead it relays the life and death of Major General Clive WynneAn immediate sequel to the 1931 Frankenstein, this Candy. Candy is a relic, out of time in the modern 1935 horror classic revolves around the creation warzone of World War Two. Following capture by of another creature. The new creation is intended the opposition Candy’s life flashes before his eyes. to be a mate for Dr Frankenstein’s initial creature. Wolverhampton Toast “To a new world of Gods and Monsters” Lighthouse Juan and Shaun Of The Dead Manchester 21 June Cornerhouse Soylent Green 17 June
You can read our review of Juan Of The Dead on page (). The Lighthouse in Wolverhampton is showWhile the ending may no longer be as shocking as ing a double bill of Juan and Shaun of the Dead, it was back in 1973 Soylent Green is still a classic most of you will have seen Shaun of The Dead piece of science fiction Cinema. Charlton Heston by now. It’s on ITV2 pretty much every week, but may be a symbol of ridicule these days, for his per- seeing it uncut, uncensored and without adverts is sonal politics and his hilariously over the top acting considerably better than seeing it on a TV. It’s also unliklely that you’ll ever catch Juan Of The Dead on ITV3.
mac 2001: A Space Odyssey 22 June
Electric Palace The Wizard of Oz Stanley Kubrick’s definitive movie muses on the be- 6 June ginnings of mankind and the future of space travel. While it may have been parodied multiple times Rereleased, remade, prequeled, sequeled and on various sitcoms and cartoons, nothing can come adapted. The Wizard of Oz has captured everyclose to experiencing this on the silver screen. A one’s imagination. There are even more adaptaprecurser to most SF cinema, there are elements of tions and stageplays in the works. See the original 2001 to be found in almost all good SF work, even to witness why this has become such an essential cultural referece. Even Captain America gets jokes more obscure titles such as The Tree Of Life. about The Wizard of Oz.
Phoenix East Finchley Manhattan 9 June
For all of Breakfast at Tiffany’s faults, the film will endure, becuase of the fantastic script based on Truman Capote’s novel. Mickey Rooney’s Mr Yunioshi is still terrible though.
Next to Annie Hall, Manhatten is Woody Allan’s Wales greatest motion picture. From the opening soundtracked by the notes of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Aberystwith Blue”, Allan’s love letter to the city of New York Aberystwith Arts Centre through the eyes of author Isaac is essential cinema. Fish Tank 6 June Prince Charles Cinema The Graduate Michael Fassbender in undoubtedly one of the best 26 June young actors working today. His brilliantly understated role as Connor, the new man in a household Everything about The Graduate comes down to the of women, is mesmerising. Being both terrifying final image. For those of you that have not seen it, and affable at the same time is a hard feat to acyou have been advised to make sure that you stick complish and it is something Fassbender does with it out until the very end. The Graduate revolves great ease. around Benjamin Bradock who returns home after having graduated from college in a state of flux. The Graduate follows his relationships with every- Cardiff Techniquest one as they affect his life Alien 9 June
Saffron Screen Breakfast At Tiffany’s 22 June Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly outside Tiffany’s in New York is one of cinema’s defining images.
For those of you that have seen Prometheus and felt like it was time to reacquaint yourself with Ridley Scott’s original entry there is a fantastic opportunity to see Alien at Techniquest in Cardiff. Techniquest is a great space, designed as an educational facility primarily concerned with the sciences.
Hippodrome Monsters Inc. 23 June While Monsters Inc. is possibly not one of Pixar’s more celebrated films it is hard to see why. The laughs come thick and fast in Monsters Inc, John Goodman and Billy Crystal’s chemistry is fantastic. Determined to capture that on screen the animation was built around their recordings rather han the other way around making Mike and Sully seem even more real. Sully’s animated hair also shows how far animation and animated films had come since Toy Story and signalled how far they were going to go.
Dundee Contemporary Arts The Man Who Fell To Earth 19 June
comes to Earth to find a solution to his own planet’s catestrophic draught. Beautiful and terrifying.
Edinburgh Filmhouse Jaws 17 June
The original blockbuster, Jaws was released 37 years ago and it is still as terrifying as it was. While the production may have been mired in difficulties, the resulting film is without doubt a masterpiece. The shark may not even look real but it still provokes a considerable fear in the audience. For all it’s naff sequels and poor imitators, nothing can take anything away from this stunning film. Look out for the shooting star, it’s real.
Glasgow Film Theatre The Bad And The Beautiful 10 June
60 years old this December, The Bad And The Michael Fassbender’s David in Prometheus is clear- Beautiful took home armfulls of awards for both ly a distant relative of David Bowie’s Thomas. While its astonishing performances and cinematography. David may be a android and Thomas may be a hu- Films about films can be a dicey game, they can manoid alien, the way Fassbender and Bowie act come off pompous or too self aware, but The Bad is definitely comparable. Written by the same men And The Beautiful counters this with fantastic charwho wrote The Deer Hunter, The Man Who Fell acter development and a hilarious script.. To Earth is no ordinary science fiction tale. Thomas
PictureShow Magazine will return on the 2nd of July