PULSE THE MAGAZINE FOR THOSE WHO MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN - EDITION 04 - SUMMER 2011 Your
Opinion News ONLINE SURVEY: THE RESULTS Matters
Faces of NEIL GOULDING, FACILITIES & CONSTRUCTION DIRECTOR Portfolio SILVER E - FIRST PRIZE DRAW In the back row with... REESE WITHERSPOON Top 10 Tips MAKING IT PERSONAL Films in focus SUPER 8/X-MEN/ THE BEAVER/HP7
HP7: PART 2 A Magical Battle Like No Other
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MARY WARD BISHOPS STORTFORD
Mary’s idea was for THE PALMER FAMILY COMBO which would contain x4 tickets, x2 Kids Boxes, x2 small drinks and x1 small popcorn. This provides food and drink for everyone whilst speeding up service and decision making. The customers also save a couple of quid as well!
A special thank you to our friends at Britvic for supplying the iPod as the Dragon’s Den competition prize
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BIG E Customer Key - We gave our Big E customers a grilling. - What do they like? We asked them: - How often do you go to the cinema? - What films do you favour? - What is your favourite time to go to the cinema? - What purchases do you make? - What would make it the best cinema experience? “Billy” - The care-free student - Two / Three times per month - New releases - Opening weekend / “Saverdays” / Orange Wednesday - If feeling flush - Hot dog / Nachos / Combos - Deals / Being first to see films / Fast & efficient service “Jane & Friends” - Sociable best friends - Once per quarter - Rom Coms / Big event films - Evenings - Chocolate / Still soft drink / Wine (if there’s a bar) - Making it an occasion / Spending little / Stress-free “Dan & Sarah” - The romantic couple - Once / Twice a month - Mixed - Evenings - Sharing combos / Chocolate / Ben & Jerry’s - Dinner beforehand / Fast & efficient service / Cleanliness “The Palmer Family” - The typical family - Once a month for big releases or Juniors on a Saturday - Family / Animation - Weekends / School holidays - Own refreshments / Kid’s Boxes / Coffee / Chocolate - Kids enjoying themselves / Cleanliness / Safety “JJ” - The typical teen - Two / Three times a month - PG and 15 rated films - Weekends / School holidays / Early evenings - Anything & everything! / Tango Iceblast / Popcorn - Being treated like an adult / Limited conversation “Beryl” - Retired senior - Once in a blue moon / Regularly to Seniors - Big event films / Whatever’s showing on Senior screenings - Midweek / Quiet times - Tea / Coffee / Occasional chocolate or Ben & Jerry’s - Cleanliness / Welcoming / Good manners / Friendliness “Sally & Jacob” - Wheelchair user & carer - Once / twice a month - Mixed / Generally easy-watching - Week days / During quiet afternoons - Mixed, but not usually a lot - Wheelchair facilities / Welcoming / Safety / Cleanliness
Letter from Roz Wow, I can’t believe we’re on the fourth Pulse magazine already. Welcome to the summer edition! It is only with the help of our fabulous staff that Empire Cinemas can produce an informative and enjoyable read, so a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to this issue. If you want to see your name (and face) in print then please send us in your photos, articles or general comments to the usual address. We love to hear from the people we write for. For me, one of this issue’s highlights is the results of our online customer survey. This is the first time we have ever collated such important feedback from our customers and we are delighted to have heard from 1384 of them, from around the country, telling us what they think of their cinema experience. Turn to page 8 for a break down of the results using my mate Billy’s face. Well done to The Empire, Sunderland and Great Park Birmingham who have done a fantastic job of implementing the Big E and are top of the league this time round. Our customer feedback notice board is a bit special this issue too as it’s some of the written comments we extracted from the online survey for each cinema. We also set Dean from Empire Newcastle a hot dog tasting challenge to see how we fare against our rivals and the results from that are on page 6. If you fancy yourself as a nacho’s critic, we’d love to hear from you. We are currently looking for someone to taste test all our competitor’s nachos with cheese sauce as well as our own of course. Get in touch if you think you’re up to the challenge. Congratulations are also in order for Empire Swindon who have been awarded ‘Partner of the Year’ award from Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service. A big well done to all of the team. Pulse has been around now for four whole issues and we are reviewing the magazine’s content and layout, so we might change things around a little bit before the Autumn edition. We’d love to know what you like about the magazine and what you would like to see more or less of. Please let us know ASAP so we can make your Pulse even better. So here’s to a fun filled summer, enjoy the magazine and see you in the autumn!
Produced by: BA (Hons) Magazine Journalism and Feature Writing Editor: Helen Archard Features Editor: Ali Kirkby Art Director: Daniel Poole Senior Consultant: Susa Dickerson Staff Writers: Edward Bailey / Kelly Woolford / Alice Bagnall / Kirsty Welsh Art Designer: Marcus Faint / Emma Curran / Charlotte Page
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FREE CONE DAY A big thank you and congratulations to all the cinemas who took part in this year’s Ben and Jerry’s Free cone day. Over £1669 was raised and donated to local worthy causes.
PHOTOGRAPHS © Susa Dickerson
Thank you for your entries to the Free Cone Day competition and congratulations to Newcastle and Swindon, our joint winner, who have been awarded six tickets each to Sundae on the Common, for the best implementation of Free Cone Day. Newcastle raised £130 for the Bobby Robson Foundation. Swindon raised £247 for the Children’s Cancer & Leukaemia Movement.
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Thank you to Susi and the team at Empire Poole for their help on Free Cone Day
PRODUCT QUALITY HOT DOGS
NEW SILVER ES PRIZE DRAW WINNER YOUR OPINION MATTERS THE RESULTS TOP 10 TIPS MAKING IT PERSONAL FACES OF EMPIRE NEIL GOULDING
8-9 10 11 12-13 14 15 16-17 18-19 20 21
CINEMA UPDATES SPECIAL SCREENINGS FILM FOR THOUGHT STAFF REVIEWS INVESTMENT IN CINEMAS REVAMPS AND RENOVATIONS CINEMA IN FOCUS CLYDEBANK CUSTOMER FEEDBACK YOUR OPINION MATTERS STAFF PROFILE JESS HART-SHEA GUEST PAGE HIGH WYCOMBE
FILMS IN FOCUS REVIEWS AND FACTS
IN THE BACK ROW WITH... REESE WITHERSPOON
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HOT DOG CHALLENGE
Dean Mowbray, Assistant General Manager from Empire Newcastle was given a special mission to check out the standard of hot dogs at our leading competitors. ODEON
First on the list are local rivals, Odeon, at the Metro Centre Shopping Centre. They must have known our man was on his way as. a few steps over the threshold, he was met by a mouth watering picture of Odeon’s new “Beachwood Smoked” which set off the Hot Dog Challenge. Although the Hot Dog came in a well designed cardboard holder, Dean’s first impressions were not what he was expecting. The hot dog looked an unusual greyish colour and had no appetising smell. The bun was a baguette which failed to complement the hot dog as a whole. The meat had little or no obvious taste of the ‘smokey beachwood’ which the display promised. It was awarded 3 out of 5.
Dean then hopped in the car and blasted his way down to Boldon Colliery to see what Cineworld had to offer. Their Hot Dog carton stated they were “The Best Hot Dog in the World” – he was keen to sink his teeth into this bad boy. Once again, Dean noticed the bun was a baguette and the hot dog had an ‘out of the jar’, supermarket taste. If this was supposed to be the best, Dean was grossly disappointed. Cineworld’s product had a stronger meaty taste however and worked well with their choice of bun. Although it didn’t meet Dean’s high expectations, it was awarded 3 out of 5.
Once back on his home turf, Dean was served his usual, coupled with tomato and mustard sauce. A big thumbs up from Dean on the quality and presentation of the hot dog. Empire’s dog not only provides a meatier taste but it is noticeably larger in size and is served up in a lightly floured bun. A strong 4.5 out of 5!
HOT DOG FACT
- HERE’S HOW -
The first sausages used as fast food were born in the US in the 1900’s, where the first hot dog stand was situated at the Coney Island fairground.
Left: Mr Joel Lindvall. Above: Today’s hotdog production. Below: Lindvall building.
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HOW DO WE MAKE SUCH AMAZING HOTDOGS
gs come all the Empire’s exquisite hot do y Lindvall, who way from Swedish compan heritage and quality. pride themselves on their best possible Empire want to deliver the gs, to ensure a better products, including hot do value the tastiness and customer experience. We this products to give high quality meat used in te sensation. customers that delicious tas ary, foyer delight, The suppliers of this culin a modest, family-run Lindvall, began in 1925 as eden. As their quality butchers in the south of Sw siness grew and soon became recognised, the bu s AB in 1965. expanded to Lindvall Meat s: “Lindvall’s CEO Lars Andersson say that we can always strength is flexibility and ” They produce 120 guarantee supply security. and also deal with tons of sausage per week, and Shell. customers such as IKEA
Meet our stars
New Silver E: Amy Stonehouse
The Silver E awards have been busy with three new members added to our growing collection of talented staff. We’ve also seen one Silver E win big in the very first of our quarterly prize draws. First Silver E Prize Draw: Winner Announced
New Silver E: Mary Ward
ean Mowbray, Empire Newcastle, has become the first winner of the Silver E prize draw, a quarterly event which all members are automatically entered into when awarded a Silver E. This event is yet another reason why it’s worth aiming for Silver E status. To say Dean was pleased he had won the draw would be an understatement. “Weeeee! I won something! I never win anything! This company rocks!” was his delighted reaction. Dean won two tickets to The Hard Rock Calling concert, travel and accommodation included. Although not a hard-core rock and roll fan, he said: “I’m most looking forward to seeing the Barenaked Ladies and some of the old acts such as Rod Stewart.” Dean will be attending the festival on the 26th June, along with his girlfriend Danielle.
When Mary arrived to work at Empire Bishop Stortford one morning, the last thing she expected to receive was a letter from her manager, Adam, which contained the exciting news that she had won a Silver E. “I felt honoured. It’s nice to see the work you’re doing being recognised and being rewarded for it,” she said. General Manager of Empire Bishops Stortford, Adam said “Mary has worked very hard recently to drive the Big E message and has completed the full Big E training along with our new team members.” Mary, as with all the Silver Es, will receive double allowance for family and friends tickets, entry into the regular Silver E draw plus tickets for herself and a friend to go see a premiere in London’s Leicester Square!
Massive congratulations to Dean who proposed to his girlfriend, Danielle, on the blue carpet of the Pirates of the Caribbean 4 premiere last month. With the paparazzi’s flashing lights in the background, she said yes!
Mary - One of Empire’s latest Silver E member.
Amy, Empire Sunderland, found out that she had been nominated for a Silver E when she came across a fellow member of staff writing a nomination letter to head office listing reasons why she was worthy of winning. “I was ecstatic and really touched by some of the lovely comments fellow members of staff had made about me,” she said. “Enthusiastic”, “patient” and “attentive” are just some of the words that were used to describe Amy and these qualities show why she has now become a Silver E. Amy will also receive the Silver E rewards and attend a premiere.
Amy - One of Empire’s latest Silver E member.
New Silver E: Sandra Hedley Sandra, Empire Newcastle Supervisor, received her nominations for the Silver E award by providing excellent customer service and excelling herself within her job role. Dean, describes Sandra as “an absolute rock of reliability. The beauty of what she does is that she’s so consistent and she does it without bragging or anything,” he said. Congratulations to Sandra and all the other new Silver Es for outstanding dedication in providing the Big E to our customers.
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Opinion Matters W
Empire Cinemas launched their online customer survey in April and now the results are in. Compare the results of your cinema below and see if you can change Billy’s face by next results day.
e’ve now had over 1,300 customers complete the Your Opinion Matters online survey which has given us some amazing feedback on how we are all delivering the Big E. The survey asked our customers a number of questions ranging from how easy they found buying tickets on the website to how happy they were with the toilet facilities. From these, we chose eight killer questions which we think teams can do something about to change Billy’s face. The same questions will be asked each time we host the survey and the killer question feedback will be shown through a percentage and a ‘Billy’s face’ rating. We want Billy to be smiling all over the country. The majority of our customers experience a wonderful welcome to our cinemas, in fact, 4 out of 5 say they are really or fairly happy with the welcome they received. We’ve had some really terrific comments about the staff and how friendly and efficient they are as well as information on how we can make our toilets more appealing and that temperature of screens can ruin the experience if it’s just not right. Lisa Rowland, our Customer Experience Manager, said: “We have been really pleased with the amount of customers that took the time to respond to our new survey. The feedback has been really valuable to all of
us and has shown that we are offering a welcoming environment to our customers although there is still work to be done in our toilets and the farewell we give. The absolute key for me now is to ensure teams in both HO and Cinemas do something about the feedback so that, when we ask customers to complete the survey again, we will see an improvement.” On the opposite page you will find a Big E league table of the results from this survey which shows the overall experience percentage and Billy’s rating. See how you compared to other Empire Cinemas and aim to work your way up the leaderboard. A more detailed breakdown, of results of each individual killer question, has been made available to management to give feedback to their teams and pinpoint areas of improvement. As you can see, no one scored the top mark this time around but we know we can all reach the OMG GOOD status. Our initial objective is to reach the high standard of offering the best cinema experience in the UK by providing consistently great service that makes them feel special. Once we have reached this goal, our aim is to become World Class, a vision that drives us all. Becoming famous for delivering a consistently fantastic experience is that ultimate goal and, with a World Class team on board, we know we can achieve it.
BILLY’S FACES KEY OMG Good
Alright I Guess
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PULSE ONLINE SURVEY
BIRMINGHAM GREAT PARK
BILLY’S FACE RATING
Check out pages 18 & 19 for a special Your Opinion Matters feedback noticeboard with some of the written customer comments from the survey. SUMMER 2011 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 9
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PULSE TOP TEN
TIPS Making IT to
Each quarter, PULSE will feature your top ten tips on how to tackle an issue that might affect the experience given to customers.
A massive thank you to the winner of 250 E pounds, Craig Colville, Clydebank who contributed the most useful tips this issue
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Be enthusiastic about your job, whatever you’re doing, the customers can pick up on this and will feel wanted.
Treat every customer as an individual and always give them a personal response, not just a generic one.
If a customer lets you know they have had a bad day, listen to them and empathise.
If a customer comes to you with an obvious question, answer it like it’s the first time you’ve ever been asked it. You may know the ins and outs of how the cinema works but the customer doesn’t.
When dealing with a line of customers, everything you say should be different. The customer will probably have heard you just speak to the customer in front so change the way you say things
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When you are interacting with a customer, make sure you given them your full attention and keep eye contact.
As much as possible, chat with customers about themselves, films, the weather etc. rather than talking about yourself unless the customer specifically asks about you.
When you are serving a customer don’t chat with other people or staff, give the customer your full attention.
Treat every customer as though they are a member of your family. For example how would your Nan like to be treated? There’s Beryl for you. How would you like your niece or nephew’s experience to be? Every child should be made to feel special. Strike up a conversation whenever possible with customers. If nothing else, you have a love of films in common!
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PULSE FACES OF EMPIRE
unning a cinema is not just about showing films and getting customers through the doors. There are a lot of specifications, fire strategies, health and safety procedures and improvement projects that go on behind the scenes. Neil Goulding, Facilities and Construction Director, explains what goes into the running and maintenance of all Empire Cinemas and how his team also aims to bring the Big E to customers from the background, through new projects, updates and well presented cinemas.
How did you get involved in the cinema industry?
I started working for UCI cinemas in 1996. It was only supposed to be a part time job to earn beer money whilst I was at university but I just got sucked in and never wanted to leave. I think the free cinema tickets had something to do with it. I still love going to the cinema even though it’s where I work. I do miss being a cinema manager because I used to watch virtually every film that we played whereas I don’t have the time to do that anymore.
How has the cinema industry changed since you have been working there? I joined Empire in 2006 so the basics have really stayed the same. The 3D and digital screens have obviously had an impact, certainly from the design and also cost point of view. It makes new screens for cinemas a lot more expensive. I am interested to see what happens in 10 years or so when the current batch of projectors become obsolete and need to be changed. It’s not something we faced with 35mm. I think that unless we plan correctly, capital monies that would ordinarily be spent on new air conditioning or seating will be
soaked up by the need to replace the projectors.
What projects have you been involved in since you started at Empire?
Well, in the five years I have been with Empire, we’ve achieved quite a lot. We’ve gone from refurbishing the sound and fitting THX in Empire one, to expanding The Empire, Leicester Square and constructing five new screens. We’ve also put two extra screens in High Wycombe, installed four extra screens and the new concept IMPACT screen at Basildon, all of which are digital only. There has also been a complete refurbishment of Poole with an extra six screens currently underway and a further eight screens at Newcastle pending. On top of this, there are several more new builds at various stages of negotiation.
Favourite film of all time: The Adventures of Ford Fairlane
What was your first experience of cinema and what did you think?
Favourite film of this year: RED
My first experience was at an independent cinema in the town I grew up in. It was a small, single screen cinema where the manager was also the projectionist, usher, box office and retail staff (so pretty much like a Cineworld). My Dad took me to see Star Wars. I was blown away not just by the film, which was fantastic, but by the whole experience. In those days people still smoked in cinemas and I can still remember looking up at the smoke filled beam coming from the projector and thinking it was really something quite magical.
Looking forward to seeing: The InBetweeners What’s the best thing about working for Empire Cinemas? The calibre of people we have and the company culture that welcomes input and ideas from all areas. Popcorn, Sweet or Salted? Salted.
A special thank you to Neil Goulding for sparing the time to talk to PULSE Magazine.
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E H T SCENES
Empire Cinemas have been working hard to provide our customers with the ultimate experience by holding specialist screenings for a wider variety of audiences. From Clydebank to Poole, cinemas are running screenings to accommodate audiences with certain unique needs.
s well as the seniors and juniors screenings already available, specialist screenings for people with autism have been introduced and trialled at a number of Empire Cinemas. The aim is to provide customers with a high quality cinema experience by giving them a comfortable film viewing without worrying about affecting or disturbing the other customers. Margaret Turnbull, General Manager of Empire Newcastle, said: “A National Autism Society representative contacted us regarding involvement with specialist screenings for people with autism and asked to trial a few films to see how effective it would be. The idea is aimed at customers suffering or caring for someone who has autism as they can be noisier than the rest of the audience and may disrupt or affect other customers. Autism friendly screenings tend to be noisier which means the audience feel comfortable and don’t
have the feeling that they are being judged.” Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autism Society, said: “We are so thankful to Empire for making cinema screenings more accessible to people with autism and their families. These screenings aim to make families feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed in a cinema environment that can otherwise become traumatic. We hope cinemas across the UK will follow Empire’s positive example so that more children and adults with autism can enjoy the same experience as their peers.” Other cinemas that have trialled the autism friendly screenings include Empire Swindon, Empire High Wycombe and Empire Poole. Cinema-goers at all the films were free to move around, make a noise and take regular breaks if necessary – something not usually encouraged at regular screenings. Empire Newcastle are trying to hold screenings once a month, on a Sunday at 4pm
,ensuring the lights aren’t fully dimmed and the sound isn’t as loud, taking into account the needs of the customer. “So far the trial has been a success with 85% capacity,” said Margaret, which is higher attendance than a usual screening at this time. Similarly, other cinemas are holding specialist screenings for audiences such as mothers and babies; seniors and juniors. Deidre Mullins, cinema administrator at Empire Poole, assists with the senior screenings: “We’ve been running senior screenings for a few years now. It began to pick up in January following the release of The Kings Speech. We hold screenings every Wednesday at 11am as it’s the best time to suit senior audiences. So far we have had a capacity of around 50-60 which is gradually increasing over the weeks but it’s dependant on several factors such as the film, weather and what’s on offer. We find more people are happy to buy tickets on the day”
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PULSE BEHIND THE SCENES
“It’s £3 per person and included in that price is tea and biscuits, so in general the customers are getting the ultimate experience for a small fee. We build up a rapport with the customers so they are happy to come back and tell their friends and return the following week. We are looking to add more screens for the audience so they can have the opportunity to watch other films, especially if they have already seen one that is being screened.” Empire Poole not only offers specialist screenings for seniors but also a selection of films for juniors at the weekend. Deirdre said this has been a huge success: “There are screenings every weekend for children and they are always full capacity. For just £1.50 per person, the children are able to see the chosen film and then go on to buy any snacks they like.” Empire Clydebank is also offering youngsters the opportunity to have their specialist screenings. Andrew Rapson, General Manager, said: “Every Saturday
and Sunday at 11am we show two films for Empire Juniors. Every ticket is a fantastic £1.25 and the only stipulation is that an adult must accompany the child. The films shown are a mixture of recently released children’s films and from time-to-time we also show older films that some very young children may have just seen on DVD.” The Empire Junior screenings at Clydebank are proving to be a massive success with an average of 200 customers a day and some popular films exceeding 300+. Andrew said: “We compiled a survey over the weeks asking parents if a 10.30am start would be agreeable to them, but it was deemed more popular to have the 11.00am start giving them an extra half hour to get ready and more time to guarantee a seat. It’s apparent we have a strong core of regular customers who visit us often, showing that staff are giving families the ultimate Empire experience.” Andrew also says any negative feedback
is being worked on to ensure customers and families are receiving only the best experience at Empire. “The issues that have risen are usually from families who say there are too many children moving around and talking as well as there being no booster seats or baby changing facilities. However, these are being worked on by ensuring there is an usher who will periodically come into the screening to check everything is running smoothly.” At Empire Cinemas we are aiming to go out of our way to provide for every individuals circumstances and offer a comfortable, welcoming environment for all to relish in the joy of film.
Thank you to Susi Teall and Mark Lever for taking the time to help PULSE and capture some great photographs.
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PULSE FILM FOR THOUGHT
FILM for thought I think one of my favourite films of all time is Back to the Future. As a child, I thought it was the best film EVER! I became a huge Michael J Fox fan, had posters on my walls, sticker books and even the t-shirt! I imagine everyone has seen the film but I thought the idea of going back in time was fantastic and I would love to do it, with or without Michael J Fox! The music, the outfits and the excitement was a compelling experience that, in my mind, could never be repeated when they made the sequels. By then I was 16 or 17 so it was much more exciting to get into an 18 film with an older boyfriend! Happy memories however and I still find time to watch it with my kids when it comes on the telly. LISA ROWLAND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGER
PULSE specialises in keeping it’s readers up to date with the latest film releases but we also like to take a little dabble in films gone by. Everyone has at least one favourite film which can be watched over and over and it still gives us goose bumps. We received an email from Neil Thompson, Empire Newcastle, who was interested to find out a bit about the favourite films of Empire Cinema’s staff so PULSE have risen to the challenge. If you’re itching to tell us about your favourite film ever then please send a 200 word review to: firstname.lastname@example.org Where Eagles Dare (1969) is a highly entertaining war movie. I’ve been a fan of this film since around 1970 when my father took me to see it at a local cinema. I was immediately caught up with all the on-screen action and loved every minute of it. Now, forty years later, the film still holds the exact same thrills for me as it did then and it’s my all time favourite movie. Neil Thomson Empire Cinemas Newcastle
I have too many favourite films – it really depends on my mood, but there are some films that impacted the most. I was in 6th Form when The Life of Brian came out and can still remember clearly watching it with a group of mates and finding it difficult to breathe because I was laughing so much. More recently, I was completely blown away by The Fellowship of the Ring. I’d never seen anything like the scale of the film. Last year there was Inception – is it a dream? At the end of the day it has to be The Magnificent 7. I can remember my Dad taking me, sitting in the nonsmoking section and watching the coolest actor ever, Steve McQueen – just a great film. PAUL BAXTER OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
One of my favourite films of all time, as cheesy as it is, has to be Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Going to see this film was the first time I had really gone to the cinema without any of my family, so the grown up feeling added to the excitement. As soon as it started to the end of the credits I was gripped. It was a magical mixture of everything that truly makes a classic film: romance, comedy and action. The forest looked beautiful, the costumes where enchanting and Maid Marion’s hair was amazing, though no amount of curling was ever going to help me recreate the look for my school prom. I once watched the film 15 times in one week and any time I am feeling a little blue it always cheers me up, I just love a happy ending. ADEL SMITH REGIONAL SUPPORT MANAGER
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PULSE EMPIRE PORTFOLIO
CINEMA INVESTMENT At Empire we make every effort to create a comfortable environment. We put much of our profits back into our cinemas to ensure a brighter customer experience and a pleasant workplace for our team. Here’s a taster of some upcoming improvements.
mpire cinemas across the country are set to get a re-vamp this summer. Approximately 2000 seats will be replaced with the ‘Empire Premiere seat throughout Swindon, Sunderland, Bishops Stortford, High Wycombe and Great Park. Major seating repairs are also going to take place in Sutton and Hemel Hempstead. Work has also already started in laying 20,000 square metres of new carpet in various Empire cinemas. The first phase of the operation sees carpet being replaced at Swindon, Clydebank, Sutton Coldfield, Basildon and High Wycombe, with more cinemas set to receive it over the summer. Steve Clode, regional facilities manager, has expressed his enthusiasm with the project. “The feedback we have received where these works have already taken place has all been positive and we are trying to ensure that all work is being undertaken so that disruption is kept to a minimum.” The project will also be re-vamping retail stands at Swindon, Basildon and Sutton Coldfield and a Ben and Jerry’s counter will be installed at Bishops Stortford. Finally, the toilets will be receiving some special attention at the following cinemas: Basildon, Bromley, Great Park, Hemel Hempstead, High Wycombe, Slough, Sutton, Sutton Coldfield, Swindon and Wigan.
New payroll system This summer, Empire Cinemas are changing the way we administrate our staff’s pay. At the moment, cinema staff are using the ‘pen and paper technique’ for clocking in and out and to make holiday requests A trial has been launched of a new internet based
system which uses biometric and codes for clocking in. Suzanne Hills, project manager, explains that: “It will ensure efficiency and accuracy in our payroll reporting and allow us to control our expenditure more effectively, not to mention save a few trees!” Background work is already in place and the system is set to pilot in three Empire
cinemas: Leicester Square, Clydebank and Newcastle for two months. The team hope it will be less time consuming for the management team and easier for team members to communicate holiday leave. Once it has been tested and proved itself worthy, it’s planned to be launched in the remainder of Empire Cinemas by the end of September. PC Switchover Going behind the scenes, into the cogs of Empire Cinemas, the offices are home to an array of computers and laptops ranging from fairly new models running off Windows XP, to pre-historic ones using Windows 98. That is about to change as a new scheme has been launched which will ensure all computers are running off the latest operating system, Windows 7, and using Office 2010. This will be done by upgrading all current PCs and laptops so that they have the latest software, and introducing 87 new computers and 7 new laptops in cinemas around the country. The new PCs will be Dell Optiplex 380 desktops with 19 inch TFT monitors, running off Windows 7 and Office 2010. The team behind this exciting switchover hope all new equipment will be in place and up and running by the beginning of June.
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A Bonny Scottish Experience From Birmingham to West Dunbartonshire, our journey around Empire Cinemas takes us to our first Scottish multiplex, Empire Clydebank.
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PULSE TEAM IN FOCUS
ulse takes a look at Clydebank’s history, recent developments and plans for the future. Situated in the Clyde Regional Centre, West from Glasgow city centre, Empire Clydebank has some of the largest screens in the area, its biggest seating 388 people. Originally an AMC before becoming a UCI, customers come from far and wide to this location even with the arrival of Odeon and Showcase meaning more cinema choice. It was given an internal refurbishment in 1989 and has maintained its 10 screens to this day. It became a fully fledged part of the Empire group in 2006. The surrounding area offers a wide range of fast food restaurants along with a Playdrome Sports centre for the kids and the Clyde Shopping Centre for the adults. Over the years, Empire Clydebank has seen a whole host of famous people pass through its foyer including Jeremy Irons (The Lion King), Terry Gilliam (The Fisher King) and Robbie Coltrane (Twin Town). Coltrane was the only person ever allowed to smoke a cigar in the hall whilst attending an exclusive premier! Most customers opt for the famous salted popcorn with butter
when visiting Empire Clydebank but staff occasionally have to deal with expectant fathers arriving to collect strange food combinations for their wives/girlfriends. The most unusual request to date has been cheese and chillies on sweet popcorn! The Big E programme at Empire Clydebank, which has been a huge success so far, has encouraged and motivated staff in their work. Each member of the team has their own “Mini Me” character that is displayed on their performance tracker, which incorporates POSH reviews, timekeeping and attendance, that all lead towards the Team Member of the Month award. The winner will receive a £25 voucher for a shop of their choice. General Manager Suzanne Hills said: “Interaction is more responsive and less robotic. It has bought the team much closer together as we have a common goal and we are being more supportive of each other.” Suzanne sums up the team members thoughts on the Big E programme by saying: “It makes you think about your approach to each customer, making conscious decisions as to what you are going to say, how you are going to say it and how, if possible, you can
be more personal.” Empire Clydebank’s team planned a Pirates Day event on Saturday May 21st, to celebrate the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean: on Stranger Tides. This community led day involved children dressed as pirates, the cinema foyer resembling a pirate’s ship, as well as gifts and merchandise from Disney. The team’s main focus for the future is to continue improving on customer experience by continuous refreshment training all year for the Mini Me groups and a focus on POSH reviews and Employee of the Month. Another step will be taking on board customer comments from the Your Opinion Matters survey which is a huge priority for the team. A board will display all positive and negative comments so that they can improve the negatives and continue to do well and improve on the positives. On the technical side, more 3D screens are also being installed at Empire Clydebank, along with a fully upgraded PC system. Suzanne said: “We are the biggest and most unusual ‘family’ you will come across and we all support each other in a fun environment for ourselves and our customers.” One of our larger, more established cinemas, Empire Clydebank’s ‘family’ oriented approach is what makes it stand out, along with it’s ever loyal customers who keep coming back for the delicious salted popcorn with butter!
MEET THE CLYDEBANK TEAM
INTERESTING FACTS Clydebank has a total of 36 team members The total number of admissions to date is in excess of 15 million people The cinema was first opened in 1988 Empire Clydebank’s biggest selling film this year was The King’s Speech making a huge £46,700, but this has just been topped by Tangled (2D and 3D) at £47,200 Empire Clydebank sell more salted popcorn than sweet!
General Manager: Suzanne Hills started as a team member in 1988 and has worked her way up the Empire career ladder to General Manager. Suzanne opened the Filmworks Greenwich, the UK’s first circular cinema. She is also the new Project Manager of a new electronic Payroll project. She has a deep rooted fear of spiders, heights and tight spaces! Assistant General Manager: Andrew Rapson started for UCI in July 1994. After taking a year off to help look after his first son, Andrew has progressed through the cinema team from staff member to team leader. He became a full time manager shortly after Empire Clydebank became part of the Empire chain in 2006. Now an AGM he assists the GM role where necessary. His job has enabled him to discover it is possible to function perfectly
well on four hours sleep a day. Manager: Alan Hogg has been employed by UCI/Empire for 16 years. His previous role was the Manager of a West of Scotland photographic retail chain and one of the UK’s top 20 photographic salespeople in 1988! He is also an Ex- DJ for Glasgow Art School and Glasgow University stations as well as DJ-ing for a band called Torsilator. Manager: Emma Brand started working for Empire Clydebank in 1994 and has met some of her best friends over the last 16.5 years of working there. Her favourite film is The Princess Bride or Eraserhead, depending on her mood! The Supervisor team: Michelle, Karen, Jerry, John and Steven all pull together to provide leadership and encouragement to other staff.
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K C A B D E E F R E M O CUST D R A O B E C NOTI Your
This issue, instead letters from customers, we’ve plastered the noticebaord with written feedback from the Uour Opinion Matters online survey. Spot your cinema and enjoy!
Iw if I as on ent wou crut e SU r the ld nee ches a TT d ON cinem any nd as h a elp ked It’ to sl rec ove l a f ognise y wh req yo en t SL OU uent u aga hey GH atte in i nde f yo Alw r ua a re HE ys r ME eall L H y po EM lite a PS TE nd ch AD att y
y in a ed lad ma l b a s i r cine or a d arer f visited you leased c a e y p I am air. W re both ver e building h c l e e e w wh f th er and ility o ff were togeth e accessib sta e th l the l and w A l . with u s f e p i l t he cili and fa odating and xperience e m accom ry pleasant e v K had a ful. T PAR A d help n GRE a y l to nd y frie ie I went r e v e wer mov ere Staff a sold old ues w e u q s h the olved It wa thoug veryone inv n e v e and an ept e ther th they k a r e d g n u ie h K a fr EBAN me like CLYD Treated er m a custo ARK P GREAT elpful ly and h ek) d n ie r f a we really it (once Always is v e w e every tim N O SWIND g the ad takin en l e n O staff. e scre nter th e Friendly o t s tub l as my ticket s dibility helpfu he s for t e t r e c k in ic t s wa is ase olved th d purch wife ha een and he res cr wrong s ON SWIND 18 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2011
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ets ick said t d he e t ile an little r o t e sm hat arm ’s th t w uy It e g great lm. h t T nd a e fi coun d ta h a n t h a t y as o e ha enj gs t TLE ple ther nd y l S n i l if r ea da th WCA s r sking neede t ou E a N e tw sa bou tan alway lse w us a r park ry s i s e e As pful, hing o ask a ca as v aff d t l w st t ny ide gt he s a berin prov ough ovely a w em th le l hey rem as t ich I who LD car s wh n the DFIE pas d. O COL goo TTON SU
Mix up with the drink s was quickly sorted out with no problems. Friendly staff HIGH WYCOMBE
Her inte patien c r imp acted e was o b SW rtant rill w fantas IND i as a pa th the tic and ON rent kids s Tic , ve he ket r y BAS m ILD an ver y jo ON lly Sta ff a toil et i re read sa sta lwa y to h f y e like f are alw s clea lp wit t o ays n, f h in tha use n r f s BR k you this o miley iendly o, r st OM . p LEY aff portu I wo u and n thu ity to ld mbs up
In general from all my experiences at this cinema, all staff are unbelie vably welcoming, helpful, attentive and friendly service is always great SUNDERLAND
Th and e tea ver my m we so y we frien re ve d l m SU eon com s an ry po TT e’s e li d m lite ke ON ad h t Se CO ome we e us o m cu w L ere fee e DF qu rit I i y c ent l E sta abo kly LD eri ng GR ut p and ff al e w EA oo f T P r b ficie ays AR ehav ntly res S e taf ic N iou K to pond . f fo me r w r r o i n c com f day a lo ere ere, ent h l ine pla p l r e s ) c eal o . xc a ma int m t e t l h l a T s s em he cha y go m g i r n i a h v isi sel y s rit od , w yt r m e a . v v t e y e n E WI mo es t eme (f and E atio ing t r GA re d d ha n smil lent loc SQUAR a t m to ee co push le N l b e a R c t b c E ing ade e e ne ex T sti for CES njo com is fanta m y LEI r e enj ying e ve rs s ar r senio oy t a e s o my The ervice f s the E L POO
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PULSE STAFF PROFILE
Dancing the day
To the untrained eye of our customers, Empire employees may look like ordinary people, but we like to dig a little deeper and find out what goes on in their private lives. It turns out there are some very interesting hobbies and activities hiding behind those uniforms.
his issue, we delve into the world of Jessica Hart-Shea from Empire Hemel Hempstead. When at work, she is an Assistant General Manager, whose main priorities are motivating staff, dealing with customers and manning her desk. In her free time and special occasions, Jess reveals a completely
different side of herself – her keen interest in the fashion, music and movies of the 1940’s. “The interest was passed down from my mum who used to sit me down in front of black and white movies when I was little. I used to watch in awe of all the glamour and romance. My mum also used to have a collection of vintage dresses, one of which I still have, which I love and will occasionally wear to events or weddings. “I love the Golden Age of Hollywood and the glamour that surrounded screen icons, it’s something you don’t really see that often today.” Jessica lists some of her all-time favourite films as Harvey, It’s a Wonderful Life and Bringing up Baby, and favourite actors and actresses as Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and Rita Hayworth. “I feel like I have a great appreciation for the stars and the people who lived at the time. It was a really tough time to live in, and there was so much sadness during the war. They had so little but they were still so glamorous.” Thirty-one-year-old Jess’ love for black and white movies was encouraged when she enjoyed film studies at A Level. Jess pursued a different path at University, but is happy to be working in the cinema industry. Now, she attends monthly 1940’s-themed Blitz Parties in the fashionable area of Shoreditch, London. The nights include fancy dress, a live band playing jazz music, a bar that serves 1940’s beer and gin & tonic, and authentic 1940’s dancing. “The parties are really fun because everyone goes in fancy dress and looks fabulous, some of the outfits are truly amazing and so vibrant. It is brilliant because you get to meet people that have the same interests as you, although I’m quite lucky in that my group of friends all share the same passion as me. You can try your hand at some authentic dancing too, which is always fun. I can do a little bit of Jive, but my friend can do the Lindy Hop and she’s amazing! I’ve been to a lot of
parties are really fun because “ The everyone goes in fancy dress and
INTERESTING FACTS JESSICA HART- SHEA What is your favourite film of 2010? Shutter Island What is your favourite film of 2011 so far? The King’s Speech Who is your favourite actor? James Stewart Popcorn, sweet or salted? Popcorn is mixed, half sweet, half salt!
There is never a better time to dance
1940’s themed weddings too, they’re always lots of fun.” If you saw her working at Empire Hemel Hempstead, you wouldn’t for one second think that Jessica is a 1940’s style icon outside of the cinema.“At work I’m pretty limited obviously, because of the uniform, but I do love to incorporate a bit of red lipstick into my everyday look! Who says you can’t be glamorous all of time?”
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PULSE TEAM BLOG
M A E G
T LO B
r very own Empire team members. you by n tte wri is t tha ge pa the to me Welco “Hello!” from your favourite cousins in the Buckinghamshire
reetings from the heart of Buckinghamshire and highfives from High Wycombe! It’s great to be taking over the Blog for this edition of Pulse. So much has been happening here over the last few weeks with lots of charity and community work, the launch of our Big E retail incentive plus the development of ‘Hollywyc’, our very own ‘Big E’ area!
OMI! Retail Incentive
We’ve all heard of OMG! Well, our new retail incentive is all about OMI! We wanted to come up with an incentive which could move our retail operation forward and encompass the values of The Big E. That’s what ‘One More Item’ is all about. Simply put, the incentive is about making the experience personal and suggesting an appropriate extra retail item for each customer. This is tracked by Items per Transaction of each Team Member, with weekly E-Pound prizes for top performers and a star prize at the end of the six week incentive period. So far the results have been excellent with big improvements every week.
The Birth of ‘Hollywyc’
After discussing ways of keeping The Big E values at the forefront of each and every shift, the concept of ‘Hollywyc’ was born! Although still in its early stages, we are looking to create an area that inspires our team to deliver The Big E consistently and take pride in ourselves and our cinema. Along with reminders and references to each Big E character, we have also reinforced this with famous quotes from pioneers of customer experience such as Walt Disney. Moving forward, there will be an area to check your appearance before going out to deliver The Big E, a staff comment board, Big E plan updates, a ‘Walk Of Fame’ for Silver Es and, finally, the birth of new areas such as Beverl-E Hills and Rod-E-o Drive! It’s ambitious, but we firmly believe it will keep our team focussed on delivering the very best customer experience.
With a cinema competitor right on our doorstep it’s important that we distinguish ourselves as the ‘community’ cinema and look to get involved in the local area and
charity projects. One such project took place on Sunday 10th April, when 16 of our team took part in a sponsored walk to raise funds for the Mayor of High Wycombe’s charity, The Pepper Foundation, which provides support for the care of terminally ill children. We arrived at 7am (a time that many of us were clearly not used to seeing!) kitted out in our film-themed fancy dress with everyone from Spiderman to Big E Man (yes really!) to a Dalmation and the House from ‘Up’ in attendance! It was a great morning and along with a charity screening, we raised around £1000 for The Pepper Foundation! There may have been a few fry-ups consumed afterwards.
Thanks to Paul and the team for the great pics and this issue’s Team Blog! Look out for the next one in PULSE autumn edition 05. If you’d like to get involved, please email us at: email@example.com
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running. Basildon disposed of High Wycombe in the quarter-finals as Birmingham toppled Bishop Stortford with 6-0 win. Sunderland got the better of Hemel Hempstead and Slough ended Poole’s run with a 5-1 victory.
raised a few eyebrows after firing a whopping 12 goals past brave Wigan, including two penalties from Laura Brown.
Quarter Finals The competition heated up in the afternoon as the knock-out stage got up and
The semi-finals saw two of the favourites fight it out in a fiery and tense game. Birmingham eventually lost out to Basildon who advanced to the final following a 2-1 win. The hosts took the lead thanks to Leon Fairbank, but goals from George Lawton and Frasier John were enough to turn around the game - sending the hosts to the third place playoff.
However, Jonathan Woodbridge’s goal regained the lead for Slough who went through to the final to face Basildon.
An enjoyable day for all as the tournament was played in good spirits, with all 17 teams given the opportunity to show what they can do.
Thanks goes to Britvic for The final started nervous- sponsoring the event for the ly before two goals from 4th year. Fraiser John and a fortunate shot through the legs of the Slough goalkeeper gave The second semi-final saw Basildon a healthy lead. Slough take an early twoSome great defending and goal lead, but Sunderland goalkeeping frustrated battled back to tie the game. Slough, who did finally get on the scoresheet thanks to a lucky deflection. Basildon could have added to their tally, but the woodwork came to the rescue for Slough on several occasions. The 3-1 win reflected Basildon’s dominance throughout the day. The Essex side took the crown having dominated the knockout rounds with some superb performances. Birmingham took third place after beating Sunderland in the third place playoff.
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SUNDAE COMPETITION WINNER Lyndsey Warnett, Sunderland “BANA-NUTTY SUMMER SUNDAE” • Fairly Nuts • Chunky Monkey • Caramel Sauce • Sprinkle of Hazlenut • Whipped Cream • Swirl of Caramel
This super sundae will be Empire Cinema’s promotional summer ice cream, coming to foyers soon! Lyndsey has won x2 tickets to attend the Sundae on the Common Festival in July
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HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART II COWBOYS AND ALIENS
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
36 37 39
MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS THE BEAVER
SENNA CARS 2 / KUNG FU PANDA 2
THE LITTLE BLACK BOX
THE LITTLE BLUE BOX
Look to me for fantastic facts on this season’s releases
Look to me for all your vital film knowledge
NOT ALL FILMS LISTED WILL BE SHOWN AT ALL EMPIRE CINEMAS
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Potter on his last legs?
spellbinding HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 July 2011
Harry and his gang cast their magic for the last time. name that needs no introduction, the Harry Potter films have become iconic since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit cinema screens a whole decade ago. J.K Rowling’s series of books have captured the hearts and minds of children and adults alike, selling a combined 400 million books worldwide and being translated into 67 different languages. This final instalment will have fans across the world mourning the end of the journey, but it’s certainly not going out without a bang. Truly appealing to those of any age, it’s guaranteed to attract huge numbers to every cinema. Not only will Dan & Sarah be heading along to see the conclusion of the story which began in their younger years but The Palmer Family will also be out in force. Fans of the books will already know the plot off by heart but it’s only fair that
everyone else is brought up to speed. The first part of Deathly Hallows saw Harry, Hermione and Ron hunt down the Horcruxes in an attempt to destroy them to defeat the evil Lord Voldemort. Along the way they discover the existence of the Deathly Hallows, three of the most powerful objects in the wizarding world. Part 2 sees the trio head back to Hogwarts to destroy the last of the Horcruxes but, unfortunately for them, Lord Voldemort discovers their mission. It culminates in a final epic battle between Hogwarts and Voldemort’s evil forces. This mix of intense action and magic will prove a big reason for JJ to head along to the cinema. Since donning the scar and glasses to become Harry Potter back in 2001, Daniel Radcliffe’s career has been remarkable for someone who is only 21 years old. Having had a desire to act since the age of five, he first appeared on our screens in a 1999
adaptation of the Charles Dickens book David Copperfield. Two years later he would gain worldwide exposure as Harry Potter but that’s not the only role he’s lent himself to in the past decade. In 2007, he starred in the independent Australian film December Boys and also appeared on stage in Equus, a role which gained much publicity due to him appearing nude in one scene. Now that his time on Harry Potter has come to a close, he has several other projects on the horizon. His next film will be The Woman in Black, a supernatural thriller. Playing the level-headed Hermione Granger once again is Emma Watson. At only 9 years old when cast as Hermione, Emma is the youngest of the main characters. Prior to Harry Potter, she had only appeared in school plays but was thrust into the public eye when the first of the films was released. Aside from Harry Potter, she also appeared
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PULSE FILMS IN FOCUS
Harry and Voldermort, The final face-off
by the British public after coming last in the in the BBC film Ballet Shoes and voiced a 1988 Olympics. character in The Tale of Despereaux. Outside Of course, while central to the story it of acting, she has recently been highly isn’t only the heroic trio that are making involved in fashion and modelling. In 2009 a return to the screen. After her BAFTA she became the face of a new Burberry winning performance as Queen Elizabeth in campaign, modelling their Autumn/Winter The King’s Speech, Helena Bonham Carter collection. She was also involved with makes her return as Bellatrix Lestrange, a People Tree, a Fair Trade fashion brand, as faithful member of Voldemort’s inner circle. a creative advisor. Life after Harry Potter Speaking of which, Ralph Fiennes returns will see Emma appearing in My Week with as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Ralph Marilyn, an upcoming film about Marilyn has kept pretty quiet between the Deathly Monroe. While she won’t be appearing as Hallows instalments, Monroe herself but, on the basis of the Deathly Hallows Part 2 brings the but you wouldn’t expect anything less talent displayed in franchise series to a close in a from the enigmatic the Harry Potter fitting way and closes the chapter Lord Voldemort. films, she’s certain on what has been an amazingly Taking up directing to put in a stellar successful decade. duties once again is performance. David Yates, who has A recurring helmed the Harry Potter films since the fifth theme throughout the series of films is the instalment, Order of the Phoenix, in 2007. will they/won’t they relationship between Having worked with the actors for the last four Hermione and Ron Weasley, played by years, he certainly knows how to get the best Rupert Grint. As with his two co-stars, Harry out of them and it truly shows on camera. Being Potter was Rupert’s first major role and is the so familiar with the source material also ensures one that continues to define him. However, that he captures the atmosphere of the books he’s also been successful in a number of perfectly on screen. He’s also proven himself other roles. In 2002 he appeared in the family on numerous occasions away from Harry Potter comedy Thunderpants, before securing his having won awards for his short film When I first leading role in Driving Lessons in 2006. Was A Girl and TV series State Of Play. He then went on to show his dramatic skills Deathly Hallows Part 2 brings the in Cherrybomb in 2009 and starred alongside franchise series to a close in a fitting way Bill Nighy in Wild Target the following and closes the chapter on what has been an year. His next project sees him tackle the amazingly successful decade. This is what eponymous role in Eddie the Eagle, a film all the years of hard work have been leading about the British skier who became loved
up to and the entire cast and crew have done their best to ensure that every single Harry Potter fan will leave the cinema pleased. In past years many have accused the Academy Awards of snubbing the Harry Potter franchise but Deathly Hallows Part 2 shows that it’s about time they took notice. This is the biggest cinematic event of the year; you’d be a muggle to miss it.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Adventure / Fantasy Director: David Yates Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint Movie Recommendations: Twilight Red Riding Hood Sucker Punch FANTASTIC FACTS Over 500 wands were made for use in the film. Deathly Hallows Part 2 is set to be the first Harry Potter film released in 3D. Plans to convert Part 1 to 3D were scrapped so as to avoid delays. Deathly Hallows Part 1 was the 10th highest grossing film of all time.
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Craig as the fogetful lead, Jake Lonergan.
Wild West vs Deep Space The Indians are on a leave of absence.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS
August 2011 ave you ever wondered what would happen if James Bond and Indiana Jones teamed up to fight a group of aliens? You can be sure that Billy and JJ have. Now that question is about to be answered. Iron Man director Jon Favreau has taken the reigns of this new sci-fi, action adventure for what hopes to be one of the biggest draws of the summer blockbuster season. The Dan & Sarah’s of the world have got plenty to invest themselves in as well. Regardless of their age, just about every male on the planet has at some point wished they could be an iconic legend like Bond. It’s not just the men who drool though. You can only imagine what was running through Sarah’s
mind as Daniel Craig came strutting out of the ocean in Casino Royale. The man men want to be and women want to be with. Not that he is the only reason to come and see this movie by any means. In case you didn’t catch the title, this movie’s about cowboys battling actual aliens, with James Bond and Indiana Jones as the main force of attack. Two classic genres, westerns and sci-fi thrillers, merged exquisitely in to a single film. It’s genius! As you might be able to tell, PULSE are extremely excited about this particular release. Let’s try and catch our breath and see if we can pull together an acceptable preview. Favreau has enjoyed massive success with the Iron Man franchise, now he’s
stepped away from that he’s decided to have a go at some less familiar source material; and boy, has he picked a beauty. This is his third stab at comic-book movie fare, a genre which seems to have hundreds of films being released this summer. We are not complaining though as the standards have shot up since Nolan broke the mould with his Batman series. Amongst the cast is sultry, sexpot Olivia Wilde. Last seen brightening up the grid in TRON: Legacy, this time around she’s playing a sassy bartender aiding in the fight against outer space. Sam Rockwell is another welcome addition to the cast. He’s reteaming with Favreau after his beautifully smarmy turn as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2. This
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FANTASTIC FACTS Jon Favreau is the first person to appear in a Marvel Comic film adaptation, (Daredevil) as well as direct on (Iron Man). Daniel Craig is the first Bond actor to have been born after the Bond series began.
Craig and Ford having a Brokeback moment
Harrison Ford has the highest box office record of any actor in the world. Estimated at around $5.65 billion dollars.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Action Director: Jon Favreau Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde Movie Recommendations: Attack the Block Paul
Olivia Wilde once again lighting up the screen in a strong female role
grizzled Col. Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford). is the first of Daniel Craig’s first major release Lonergan is taken prisoner and set to be of the year. Aside from being her majesty’s most transported to a county marshal, but before valuable agent, he’s also got The Adventures of that can happen, something appears from Tintin out later this year as well as being cast as the sky and the fun, sorry, chaos ensues. Mikael Blomkvist in David Fincher’s remake of All of the writers involved in Cowboys The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This is going to be vs. Aliens are bringing certain skills to the a massive year for him. table. They’ve all dabbled in film and TV, Ford has been working steadily over the last few years, his ascending years however have kept mixing up period with modern day action and sci-fi. Some of their CV’s may not be him away from the action since 2008’s Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of Crystal Skull. It is a joy held up as glorious, artistic, filmmaking to see him putting the fedora back on and proving genius but it can be deemed as explosive, blockbusting excellence. Their credits tick he can still kick an ass or two. off something from every genre and subAs far as the plot goes, Craig plays Jake genre you can think of. It’s clear they have Lonergan, a drifter who wakes up in the desert a solid grasp on adapting this great comic outside the town of Absolution. He has no idea series and have great combined experience who he is or how he got there. He does however have some kind of mechanical device attached to with a few of their titles including Mission Impossible 3, Transformers, Iron Man and his wrist. When he wanders into town, he finds Children of Men. If they don’t qualify as that no one does anything without the say so of
brilliant summer blockbusters, nothing will. With the release date edging ever closer, the powers that be have slowly been releasing more footage and titbits to stop the fans heads from exploding. The brand new trailer, that has only recently hit us, has exposed more of the overall plot than has been available so far. It looks to be a good mix of old school set ups and new age developments. Not to mention the set-pieces that Favreau has been promising which look amazing enough to bring out the eight year old boy in all of us. PULSE were lucky enough to be privy to a pre-screening of a portion of this film and we were more than a little impressed. No notes were taken during the 20 minutes we saw and you can rest assured it wasn’t due to boredom. The effects, the actors, the set-design, everything was beyond brilliance. Keep a keen eye out for this one.
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A childhood alien encounter.
Aliens, Caught on Film We could be witnessing the dawn of a new Spielberg
August 2011 urrently one of the world’s hottest and most sought after directors, J.J. Abrams took a big gamble last year when he released a teaser for this movie without having shot a single frame of film. It wasn’t even clear if the production had been green-lit but, when the trailer went viral, Billy and Dan took to their computers and flooded the internet with mind boggling amounts of speculation as to what this new project was. Early rumours suggested that this could be the eagerly anticipated follow up to the Abrams produced smash-hit Cloverfield but, as fate would have it, those rumours were quickly quashed and a million fanboys hearts were broken. No, this was to be a standalone
project and Billy, Dan & Sarah all picked up the pieces of their broken laptops and began revelling in the excitement of an original sci-fi movie. Let us thank our lucky stars that someone has finally had the courage to get moving on an original story and thrown the idea of another remake out the window. As always, in the same vein as super director Christopher Nolan, J.J. is keeping plot details strictly under wraps. Now we could turn our noses up at this as if it demonstrates a lack of confidence from the studios. Or we could enjoy a throwback to the days of old where we go into the cinema and are genuinely shocked and surprised without having every little plot detail leaked online first.
What we do know is that the story revolves around a small town in middle America that is rocked when a train crashes nearby. A train that is housing some kind of monstrous life form. A small group of children are shooting a home movie on their super 8 camera and capture the train crash and subsequent escape of the creature. They then try and use the footage as evidence to help save their town from total destruction. With these particular plot elements and the help of the undeniably cool trailer, it’s clear to see the influence producer Steven Spielberg has had on the film. The tonal and stylistic comparisons to his early work are uncanny. Not that you could blame anyone for taking a little inspiration from one of the
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in Sofia Coppola’s cult, indie drama Somewhere last year. Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Mystery The other is Kyle Chandler. He’s by no Director: J.J. Abrams means a household name yet but he has been paying his dues and building a reputation Producer: Steven Spielberg for himself for some time now. He turned in Starring: Elle Franning, Amanda solid supporting performances in the likes Michalka and Kyle Chandler of The Kingdom and King Kong. Since then Movie Recommendations: he’s been part of the ensemble TV dramas Real Steel Grey’s Anatomy and pulled out an aweFACTS inspiring central performance in the TV FallingFANTASTIC Skies version of Friday Night Lights for which he was nominated for an Emmy. He’s on town FANTASTIC FACTS Sheriff and estranged father duties in what is a classic staple of the early Spielbergian cinema. None of the usual suspects will be J.J. Abrams’ debut film Mission: Impossible III disappointed. Sure, on the surface it looks is the most expensive film ever made by a first-time director. like a simple alien invasion movie. But if you care to venture a little deeper you’ll find some coming-of-age drama, a wee greatest directors to have ever lived. Look at little love story between two of the younger this as a blend of E.T and Close Encounters characters and a story of redemption for the of the Third Kind and mesh that with town sheriff. That is one Cloverfield, throw Let us thank our lucky stars that someone has finally had the the beautiful things about in a little bit of The courage to get moving on an original story and thrown the idea Abrams and Spielberg’s Goonies for good art. They are able to of another remake out the window measure and you get a craft multiple genres and good idea of how this cohesive plot devices that are usually seen before, who do you think is going to be picture is shaping up. confined to indie, festival pictures and the heroic survivor? Haters out there will say that this looks wrap them around a high-concept idea that The only real notable names to be found like a knock off of those early Spielberg sells to the masses. It’s not an easy thing on the cast list are that of thirteen year old classics and that the idea lacks originality, to accomplish, and it is a testament to their Elle Fanning, and that’s mostly due to the but we at PULSE like to look at it from a genius that they can continuously pull it off fact that she’s Dakota’s little sister. She sunnier position. This is a respectful homage so well. did however put in a fantastic performance to those early classics. In the same way this year’s PAUL was a love letter to Spielberg from a comedy stand point, this is Abrams’ own heartfelt note but on an entirely different spectrum. He is taking responsibility for both writing and directing, though it’s likely that Spielberg will have been through the screenplay with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it’s up to scratch. As J.J. is yet to make a bad film it’s safe to say that expectations of this are stratospheric. Let’s be fair, who can deny the sheer awesomeness of Mission Impossible 3 and Star Trek? He was also the creator of a little TV show called Lost. This boy has serious skills. It appears as if the casting director’s have taken a page out of Scream director, Wes Craven’s book. He is famous for casting largely unknown actors as it stops the audience from figuring out who’s going to survive. If you have a disaster movie with Brad Pitt and three other actors you’ve never
Ellie Fanning and Joel Courtney star in the thrilling Super 8
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Monkeying around, causing chaos on the streets.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES August 2011
One small step for man, one giant leap for ape kind.
ollowing the footprints of Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes, Rupert Wyatt’s interpretation of Rise of the Planet of the Apes is rumoured to be this year’s summer blockbuster. Captivating audiences since 1968, this franchise was originally inspired by novel ‘Planet of the Apes’ by Pierre Boulle. After Tim Burton’s entirely new adaptation in 2001, 20th Century Fox are to release a prequel to the series, seeing James Franco taking on the struggle of human versus primate. Appealing to those who want to see how the story began, this action packed rollercoaster is sure to fill seats. Alongside other cinema goers will be Billy, JJ and even the Palmer family eagerly waiting at the front of the queue. Avid fans of the previous films will recognise that director Rupert Wyatt’s imaginative addition is still centred on the development of genetic research in chimps. Success of his debut film, The Escapist, which he wrote and directed, set the bar for director Rupert Wyatt to do justice to this films legacy. Co-founder of award winning production company Picture Farm, he has collaborated with WETA digital, who produced phenomenal visual effects for Avatar, in order to create photo-realistic apes rather than costumed actors. Audiences will see James Franco as Will, the innovative scientist, struggling with his
father’s Alzheimer’s and using his knowledge and expertise to develop a cure. Focusing on apes to get the most realistic results, he trials his virus aimed to restore brain functionality. Failed attempts result in his research experiment being shut down, leaving him only the child of his most promising monkey, Caesar. Audiences are captured with the relationship between Will and Caesar as the ape grows and evolves. However, Caesar’s increasing human behaviour culminates in rebellion, catastrophe and the downfall of humanity. Spirit award winner, Franco has a proven track record for lead roles such as Eat, Pray Love, 127 hours and recently Your Highness. As well as supporting roles in the Spiderman trilogy, he seems only fitting to take over the role of Caesar’s creator. Through the use of ground-breaking digital movement technology, Andy Serkis has the task of imitating Caesar. Playing King Kong and Gollum in Lord of the Rings Trilogy he is responsible for bringing these characters to life and has the perfect CV for the job. Serkis is also due to play Captain Haddock in the upcoming film The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Starring alongside Franco and Serkis are two young critically acclaimed actors. Slumdog Millionaire sensation Freida Pinto plays the primatologist, Caroline, whilst Tom Felton, who is best recognised as villainous Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter Movies,
plays Dodge the evil research employee. Rise of the Planet of the Apes adds another fantastic addition to a vast back catalogue of ‘planet’ hits. Ground breaking technology and an Oscar winning cast encourage us to breathe life back in to one of our cult classics. Some are sceptical at tampering with an original, but this film only embodies and enhances the tale. There’s no monkey business about it!
FANTASTIC FACTS James Franco was handpicked by Robert De Niro for the film City Be the Sea in 2002. The role of Will was originally offered to Tobey Maguire but he turned it down and the role went to James Franco.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Action, Sci-fi Director: Rupert Wyatt Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis and Freida Pinto Movie Recommendations: Super 8 Transformers: Dark of the Moon X-Men: First Class
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Setting the next fashion fad.
MORE MARVEL MAGIC CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER May 2011
We’re travelling back to WWII to find the final and most important member of the team.
he Marvel team are taking the final and most difficult step in crafting their team of Avengers. Billy, JJ, Dan & Sarah have already had the privilege of witnessing The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. Now it’s Captain America’s turn to step up. Upon first glance it may not seem so, but this is arguably the most widely accessible film to date and there genuinely is something for everyone. Billy and JJ get all of the fanboy action they could ever wish for. With the captain facing off against a group of fearmongering Nazi’s led by Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull, Dan can enjoy all the action whilst mixing it up with plenty of World War II history. At the same time Sarah gets to sit back and swoon over man-mountain Chris Evans who has put in some serious gym time to transform himself into America’s latest poster boy. The studios clearly have plenty of confidence in the project as the internet has been awash with promos and advertising for months. Initially, this was supposed to be a standalone film. It wasn’t until the idea of The Avengers movie really came to fruition that the script was re-written to tie it in to that franchise. The story revolves around a scrawny, young, would be soldier whom, after medical tests, is denied entry into the army. Due to his undying patriotism and displays of
true courage, he is chosen to take part in an experiment with a super soldier serum. That young man is Steve Rogers (Evans), the future saviour of the world and leader of The Avengers. Once he has been transformed into the great captain, he must do battle with Nazi general Johann Schmidtt aka the Red Skull. Evans is no stranger to comic book world. He’s already had success as the human torch in the Fantastic Four movies and playing Jensen, a member of a U.S Special Forces team, in last year’s The Losers. Weaving was born to play the Red Skull. The original may only be just over ten years old, but The Matrix’s Agent Smith has already become one of the most iconic antagonists in movie history. The guy just oozes cool villainy. The JJ’s and Billy’s of the world rejoiced when director Joe Johnston announced that particularly perfect casting choice. Rounding out the cast is Hayley Atwell as love interest Peggy Carter, Stanley Tucci as the scientific genius behind the super soldier serum and Dominic Cooper, as Tony Stark’s (Iron Man) father, Howard , in a nod and a wink to the Marvel universe. Hollywood legend Tommy Lee Jones Is playing Col. Chester Philips, the military leader responsible for overseeing the supersoldier program but the Hollywood legend’s involvement is being kept fairly under the radar in the hype build up for this film.
Director Joe Johnston is another crew member who’s no stranger to the comic book world. He gave us the awesome The Rocketeer back in 1990 but his output has slowed a little in the last few years. If that movie is anything to go by however, the final set up for The Avengers is going to be an absolute corker.
FANTASTIC FACTS Chris Evans declined the role three times before finally accepting it after he had a meeting with the director and the producers who convinced him to take the role. Jon Favreau was originally chosen by Marvel Studios to direct this film, but he chose to direct Iron Man
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Action, Adventure Director: Joe Johnston Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving & Dominic Cooper Movie Recommendations: Thor Green Lantern X-Men: First Class
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The X-Men crew.
X-Men: First Class The Legend Begins Step back in time to the swinging sixties, to the end of a friendship and the start of an eternal war. X-Men: First Class
June 2011 ack in 2005 Matthew Vaughn developing their considerable powers. What 50 years of comic-book lore. But given the was personally handed the begins as a virtuous friendship, with goals of publicity that is being pushed for the film, the reins to the third X-Men movie. peace and prosperity, soon develops into a studios clearly have every confidence in his Unfortunately, due to personal bitter rivalry that will define both of their lives. story and the (almost) finished product. and contractual reasons, he walked away It’s Charles’ desire for mutant acceptance We’re getting treated to some extra-credit from the project, until now. that drives him yet the distance between he character development as we see our old Flash forward six years, after having and Eric grows due to Eric’s undying quest friends Mystique and Beast train and evolve received brownie points from the their abilities. This allows us a critics for Stardust and Kick Ass, glimpse into their tortured pasts that Superhero movies have always had a fantastic he’s now back as Fox’s golden boy made them the heroes and villains sense when it comes to casting. bringing the X-Men franchise into that we are now accustomed to. All a whole new era. This instalment of that is inevitably going to lead to sees the action go back to the 1960’s when some spectacularly explosive action that will for vengeance on his torturers in WWII. He mutants were still unknown to the world and believes that mutants should inherit the earth, entice JJ and Dan. is set against the back drop of the Cuban Regular Vaughn collaborator, Jane that they are the better men. How long can missile crisis. Goldman, has aided in writing the script. As it’s the two men remain a team? After expanding the universe extensively worked to such phenomenal effect so far there’s This is not just another comic book in The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine, no reason they should change their system now. movie for the kids. The historical and unfortunately to a slightly negative response, Superhero movies have always had a political background of the story should they are now taking things back to basics. fantastic sense when it comes to casting. For arouse the attentions of both Dan and Mr The plot finds the young Charles Xavier and old faces, it’s a way of opening yourself up Palmer. Vaughan is playing a risky game, Eric Lensherr, before they became Professor to a new fan base. Patrick and Ian certainly potentially rewriting history and the events X and Magneto, recruiting their team and reached a new plateau after becoming of the previous films and not to mention
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A young Magneto.
The birth of Magento.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Action, Adventure Director: Matthew Vaughn Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence Movie Recommendations: Reel steel Transformers: Dark of the Moon Avatar FANTASTIC FACTS Both Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy appeared in Band of Brothers at the start of their careers. This marks their first appearance together since then. This film has been developed from the original idea of creating an Origins movie about Magneto. Matthew Vaughn was also in line to direct Thor.
synonymous with this franchise. And for up and coming talent it’s a way of propelling you into the stratosphere of superstardom. Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence was the subject of huge discussion last year after her fantastic turn in Winter’s Bone, but she is no household name yet. That is a problem that will be solved after she plays Mystique in all her blue-toned, naked glory. Oliver Platt is also aboard as The Man In Black, a secretive government agent who is in cahoots with Charles and Eric during the missile crisis. Recognisable from 2012, Love And Other Drugs and cult-favourite Lake Placid. Filling the shoes of Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan is no easy feat. But by putting two of not only Britain’s, but the world’s finest up-and-coming actors; James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender was a seriously good call. Happily for us they’re continuing with a showcase of British talent by giving About A Boy and Skins star, Nicolas Hoult, a chance to shine in the big leagues. He’s been cast as Hank McCoy/Beast, a part made famous by the brilliant Kelsey Grammar in the third movie. Legendary X-men character, Emma Frost, is finally being brought into the movies. It is surprising that it’s taken five films before introducing her character, given how big a part she has played in the history of the comics. January Jones is stepping into her shoes. She was last seen in the Liam Neeson led thriller Unknown but got her big break as the object of Finch and Stifler’s affections in American Pie: The Wedding. In an unexpected, but by no means
unwelcome piece of casting, Kevin Bacon is playing the big bad guy of the movie, Sebastian Shaw. The ever reliable Bacon is no stranger to blockbusters or small character driven pictures and his magnetic charm is always among the highlights of any film. And finally we have the ever-so-loveable Rose Byrne as Moira McTaggart. After a brief appearance in X3 she is the long-time friend of Charles and a CIA agent. Byrne’s been making a name for herself in brilliant indies and some truly raunchy comedies of late, titles like Get Him To The Greek, Sunshine and 28 Weeks Later. Don’t be surprised if, in true Marvel fashion, an old friend pops in for a quick cameo. Those guys simply can’t help themselves when it comes to a nod and a wink cameo. The style and tone of this film is going to be very different to anything you’ve seen from the X-Men universe before. Those with a working knowledge of the comic books and animated series may have already noticed that the black, leather uniforms have been replaced by the much flashier blue and yellow ones. This keeps in with the tone of the brightly coloured, swinging sixties. It may be Marvel but the X-Men does take place within its own universe, so don’t be expecting to see any links to The Avengers here. It will definitely be nice to see them create a standalone feature without having to keep an eye out for every little spoiler and hint for the future on display. First Class arrives in June so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.
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Mr Popper’s Penguins
Carrey tries his hardest to stop the stampede of penguins
You shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, or penguins! MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS
he Palmer family have been getting spoilt rotten this year, especially the kids. The parents haven’t had it so bad either. They’ve already had the likes of Tangled, Rio, Hop, Pirates of the Caribbean to name but a few. Now they have a brand new treat in the form of Jim Carrey’s latest slapstick jaunt Mr Popper’s Penguins. Mr Carrey has been absent from this field of film making for some time now. He’s strayed away from the rubber faced kiddie fare that made him a megastar in search of more intense, adult, darker pieces a la The Number 23 and I Love You Philip Morris. It’s not all that surprising after his last few attempts at out and out comedy haven’t exactly received niceties from critics. It is with a sense of great anticipation from fans and of course the Palmer family that Penguins is arriving just in time for summer. After Ace Ventura made his name, fans have been begging for a part 3 and while this may not be it, it is about as close as we’re ever going to get. Carrey plays title character, Mr. Popper, a high powered business man with little time for friends, family and life for that matter. That is until he inherits six penguins from a deceased relative. From there he begins to transform his home into a kind of winter
wonderland to co-habit with his newly beloved Penguins. Director Mark Waters is usually known for his more female friendly movies such as the likes of Freaky Friday, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Mean Girls. This means, that in terms of this movie, he certainly knows how to balance the laughs with true heartfelt emotion. This is a skill shared with Carrey that has allowed him to continue to be a dominating comedic and dramatic force over the last 20 years. Most widely known as a kick ass heroine, Carla Gugino is also amongst the cast. Recognisable for her roles in titles such as, Watchmen, Sin City and Spy Kids, she’s recently been enjoying a recurring role in popular TV show Californication. So, as to not just be appealing to the kids, there’s a little surprise to perk up Mr and Mrs Palmer’s ears. Angela Lansbury has also bagged herself a role. That’s right, Mrs Murder She Wrote herself. She’s been absent from the film world for five years so it’s a welcome return for our favourite female sleuth. The writing partnership of Sean Anders and John Morris that brought us the not-so family friendly, but no less awesome Hot Tub Time Machine, has penned this script. Their deft mixture of ballsy comedy and sweet (but
not sickly) sentiment do nothing but fill us with even more giddy excitement. Movies like this often run the risk of faltering into cheesy, one-dimensional territory. Thankfully, with a solid director, the mega-star that is Jim Carrey and a writing duo on top form, this could be one of the surprise smashes of the summer.
FANTASTIC FACTS Carrey played a (fictional) man who is not (yet) aware he is on television on The Truman Show and a real-life man who believed he was always on television Man on the Moon. Jack Nicholson has called him the “Jack Nicholson of the next generation”.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Animation / Family Director: Mark Waters Starring: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Angela Lansbury Movie Recommendations: Kung Fu Panda 2 The Beaver HP7
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“Dad, what are you doing?”
PULSE FILMS IN FOCUS
This is what happens when you spend too long playing with your kid’s toys. THE BEAVER
M June 2011
el Gibson has appeared in and directed some pretty heavyweight films over the last decade. In 2004 he was director of The Passion of the Christ, depicting the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life as he endured torture and punishment. Then in 2006 he directed Apocalypto, a tale of a tribesman escaping human sacrifice and attempting to rescue his family after the destruction of his village. This year however he returns for something a little lighter and easier to take. He takes the lead in The Beaver as Walter Black, the CEO of a toy company who begins using a hand puppet to communicate with his family. That’s not to say it’s purely a comedy though. As funny as it may be seeing Mel Gibson walk around with a stuffed beaver, the reason he dons the hand puppet is due to a deep depression and his furry friend gives him an outlet. With its mix of drama and touches of comedy, it’s a perfect date night film for Dan and Sarah. Playing his wife, Meredith Black, is Jodie Foster who also directs the film. A versatile and award winning actress, Foster got her first major role in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver in 1976. Since then, she has gone on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, first for The Accused in 1988 and again for The Silence of the Lambs in
1991. This will be only the third time Foster has directed a movie and her first in over 15 years. The film isn’t just about Walter and Meredith though, they also have two sons whose lives are affected by their dad’s problems. Teenage son Porter is played by Russian born Anton Yelchin who, at only 22, is already on the path to having a stellar career. His major breakthrough came in 2009 when he appeared in Star Trek and Terminator Salvation, two of the biggest releases of the year. His role in The Beaver will prove that he is capable of more than just blockbuster action films; he can deliver a fine performance in dramas too. Alongside Porter is his younger brother Henry, played by eight year old Riley Thomas Stewart. Writing duties were handled by a newcomer in the industry, Kyle Killen. His script topped the 2008 Black List, an annual compilation of the best unproduced screenplays. After this unique and heartwarming tale is seen by audiences, his name won’t be unknown for much longer. Look out for it, it’s bound to be splashed across numerous movie posters over the next few years. With the relatable characters that Killen has conjured up, and the story of a relationship between a lovingly married couple, it will appeal to not only Jane &
Friends but Beryl too. After all, it doesn’t always have to be about young people struggling to find love. Much like star Mel Gibson, the film hasn’t had a good couple of years of late. In 2009 it was put on hold and there was no word as to whether it would ever see the light of day. However, at the tail end of 2010 it was confirmed for release, and will prove more than worth the wait.
FANTASTIC FACTS Steve Carell and Jim Carrey were both signed on to star at one point, but the role eventually went to Mel Gibson. Mel Gibson delivered all of the beaver’s lines on set using a cockney accent.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Drama Director: Jodie Foster Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Cherry Jones Movie Recommendations: The Dilemma The Kids are All Right Funny People
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Racing legend Senna
LIFE AND DEATH IN THE FAST LANE SENNA: NO FEAR, NO LIMITS, NO EQUAL. June 2011
The life and tragic death of legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna One of the most gifted and charismatic Formula 1 drivers to have ever lived, Senna is a documentary that racing fans have awaited for a long time. The documentary begins where Senna’s F1 career did, at the beginning of the 1984 season. Over the next decade the film follows his rise to success, gaining three Formula One world championships along the way. It’s not all about the highs though, the documentary also shines a light on his rivalry with Alain Prost and his struggles against the internal politics of the sport. Of course, as well as his legendary decade, the film also deals with his untimely death. At the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, several accidents took place over the weekend including the deaths of both Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna. It’s become known as the blackest weekend in the history of racing and prompted the implementation of many new safety measures. This isn’t only a film for racing fans, but a look at a man who became a legend in his own life time and left the world much too soon. Not only will Billy love it, but there’s something to please both Dan & Sarah too. Not only does it reveal why Senna was one of the greatest drivers the sport has seen, but also the tragedy that was felt with his loss.
With the full co-operation of Senna’s family and the FIA, the documentary is free to tell the whole story. Interviews were granted with Senna’s mother and sister, Formula One journalists and even his rival Alain Prost. Director Asif Kapadia tackles his first documentary, but over his short career he has managed to impress audiences with his visually striking films. Born in Hackney, he studied filmmaking at the Royal College of Art and quickly gained recognition. His short film The Sheep Thief gained him awards from film festivals around the globe. He quickly followed this up with The Warrior, winning the BAFTA for Best British Film. Kapadia his brought his expertise to Senna, and has already gained the World Cinema Audience Award for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival. While the drama and intensity of the story is doubtless, it’s composer Antonio Pinto that really brings it to life on screen. Having been working on film scores since 1994, it was 2002’s City of God that truly displayed the talent Pinto possessed. Since then he has gone on to win a World Soundtrack Award, and gain a nomination for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards. It’s not often that a film deals with such extremes so well, from the rise of a young
Brazilian to become one of the country’s most loved personalities, to a tragic accident that rocked the entire sporting world. Senna’s life and death are treated with the utmost respect, and his story is told by those that knew him best. Senna is one of the best documentaries you could hope to see this year.
FANTASTIC FACTS In 1988 Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost won all but one of that seasons Grand Prix’s between them. After his tragic accident the Brazilian government declared three days of national mourning.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Documentary, Sport Director: Asif Kapadia Starring: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Frank Williams Movie Recommendations: The Cove Food, Inc. Waste Land
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PULSE FILMS IN FOCUS
Enter the Panda KUNG FU PANDA 2 June 2011
Po the panda gives Bruce Lee a run for his money with his kung-fu skills.
fter the hugely successful Kung Fu Panda was released in 2008, it was only a matter of time before DreamWorks gave us a sequel. The first outing delighted children of all ages and saw The Palmer Family flock to the cinema in droves, resulting in a gross of over $600 million. Kung Fu Panda 2 promises more of the same, but this time with added 3D. Jack Black returns as the voice of Po, the panda turned kung-fu master who is fighting alongside the Furious Five to protect the Valley Of Peace. The emperor peacock Lord Shen threatens to take over China, with a powerful weapon that jeopardises the existence of kung-fu. It is up to Po and the
Furious Five to stop him, but first Po must confront his mysterious past. As well as Jack Black, many other big names from the first film have signed on once again to lend their vocal talents. Making up the Furious Five are Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross), Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Mantis (Seth Rogen). Dustin Hoffman also makes his return as the red panda, Master Shifu. For a fun day out at the cinema that all of the Palmer Family can enjoy, you’ll struggle to find a film with more humour and heart than this. With some serious attitude, and kung-fu skills, JJ will find plenty to love too. Where else are you going to find a panda fighting a peacock?
When working on the first film, the animators took a kung-fu course to familiarise themselves with the action.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Animation / Family Director: Jennifer Yuh Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan Movie Recommendations: Toy Story 3 Gnomeo & Juliet Hop
Burn Some Rubber CARS 2 July 2011
This isn’t your regular Sunday Grand Prix.
FANTASTIC FACTS Cars broke records for Disney-Pixar merchandise sales, making an estimated $5 billion.
KNOW YOUR STUFF Genre: Animation / Family Director: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis Starring: Owen Wilson, Michael Caine, Jason Isaacs Movie Recommendations: Ice Age Rango Rio
ixar have become one of the most loved animation studios in the industry, releasing a plethora of films over the last 15 years that have enthralled kids and adults alike. After the phenomenal success of Toy Story 3, which delighted The Palmer Family, they aren’t resting on their laurels. Sure to be a hit with the family again, they bring us a sequel to 2006 film Cars and like Toy Story 3; this film will be rolling out in 3D. Cars 2 sees race car Lightning McQueen and his tow truck friend, Mater, head overseas to take part in the first World Grand-Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. However, it doesn’t all go smoothly. Mater gets caught up in an international espionage adventure where he must decide
between assisting his friend in the hugely important race or helping out in a top-secret spy mission. Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy are returning, voicing Lightning McQueen and Mater respectively. Michael Caine voices Finn McMissile whose sleek design is based on the classic James Bond cars. Finn is a British secret agent who recruits Mater to help get to the bottom of Professor Zündapp’s plot to sabotage the World Grand-Prix. With a whole slew of new vehicles showing up, it’s definitely going to thrill JJ. Pixar have proven time and time again that they can get the formula right, producing children’s films with enough depth to entertain adults as well. There’s no reason to think that Cars 2 won’t do just that.
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PULSE COMPETITION CORNER
Competition corner Congratulations to the winner of our Spring 2011 edition quiz, Rupinder Bains, Empire Slough, who wins a year’s supply of chocolate, kindly supplied by . To be in with a chance of winning a year’s supply of chocolate, courtesy of , simply tell us the hidden name within the picture equation below. Send your puzzle answer, with your name and site, with the heading “Competition Corner” to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31st July 2011 and those of you with the correct answer will be pulled out of a hat. The winner and the answers to the puzzle will feature in PULSE autumn 2011 edition. Good luck!
Classic Movie Mash Ups
Looks complicated right?
We’ve gone anagram crazy! This quiz is just to pass the time. 1.
Length of Sir Trode
Try Hero Part
Still rich sends
Is tooth like me
Now that I’ve got your attention, don’t forget to send your answer to:
Up if not clip
Theft hard ego
Brain shy plant
Look again, there’s a hidden meaning in there somewhere, plus there’s a year’s supply of chocolate in it for you!
- PULSE SPRING 2011 EDITION QUIZ ANSWERS ‘ Q1. Q2. Q3. Q4. Q5. Q6.
WHO AM I?’ FACE PUZZLE TOP : JUSTIN BIEBER / MIDDLE : WILL SMITH / BOTTOM : COLIN FIRTH
JOHNNY DEPP QUIZ In what year was Depp born? A : 1963 What other dream job did he pursue before acting? A : Rock star What film did he play his first role in? A : Nightmare On Elm Street When arrested for trashing a hotel room in 1994, what animal did he place the blame on? A : Armadillo How many Academy Awards has Depp been nominated for? A : Three How many children does he have? A : Two
Q7. Q8. Q9. Q10. Q11. Q12. Q13. Q14. Q15.
Can you name them? A : Lily-Rose Melody Depp and John Christopher Depp Who is he married to? A : Vanessa Paradis How many films has he worked on with Tim Burton? A : Seven Which of these was the first? A : Edward Scissorhands Which famous 90s Britpop band did he once record slide-guitar for? A : Oasis Which film did he win his first Golden Globe for? A : Sweeney Todd Which author did he portray in 1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? A : Hunter S. Thompson Who starred alongside him in 2001’s From Hell? A : Heather Graham Which is the only role he has played more than once? A : Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films
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Spot the difference
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE ANSWERS FROM PULSE SPRING 2011 EDITION
Here’s one just for fun. Spot the five differences between the two images from Cars 2.
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PULSE IN THE BACK ROW...
back row with Reese Witherspoon The Golden Globe and Bafta award-winning southern belle describes life as a working mum in Hollywood.
fter taking a break at the height of her career to concentrate on family life, Reese Witherspoon is ready to return to the silver screen in order to reclaim the ‘leading lady’ title. Starting her career as a commercial model at just age seven, Reese was keen to become a Hollywood star. Landing her first feature role in The Man on the Moon in 1997, she sky rocketed to fame and was chosen as the lead in the Legally Blonde franchise. However, she is far from the ditsy blonde we all know and love and her Screen Actor’s Guild and Oscar award for Walk the Line shows her versatility. Choosing the right movie script on your return to acting must have been difficult, what attracted you to Water for Elephants? I was drawn to the role of Marlena after I read the book. I’m always drawn to strong female characters who overcome adversity to find happiness in their lives. Marlena is an orphan with no education and no opportunity who manages to work her way to the top of the circus. It was an inspiring character.
Working with a 10ft tall elephant is a You are famous for your roles in romance daunting task for anyone, how did you and comedy films, do you worry about being manage? typecast? It was one of the best experiences of my I segued into comedy sort of accidentally. I career. I had to get in shape as I had no did this movie when I was 18 called Freeway. harness, no safety equipment, nothing. It was I thought I was being so sincere, playing literally just me and the elephant and I had this juvenile delinquent, and everyone was to climb on to It exists in your brain because you’ve been laughing at her. When she the premiere. living with it for a long time, processing it picks you up in I was like, when you’re not even aware of it. her trunk, she “Funny? could crush your hip, but she manages to just I thought I was playing this serious grab you tightly enough that you don’t fall. character!” and I realised, what’s funny is It’s a really beautiful thing where you learn to just committing. That’s what sent me into communicate with a creature non-verbally. comedy and it’s been the greatest thing that’s ever happened. Juggling parenthood and being a Hollywood movie star must be demanding, is it difficult Who inspires you the most? to keep that balance? My mother, my grandmother, they taught me My role as a mother has made me realise that no matter what happens in life, you deal that my job is not my priority. I’m a working with it with grace and strength and if you’re mum, so I definitely have those moments gonna be a woman you gotta be tough. My where I wish I could be home. But I’m lucky mother always said that. that my job isn’t all day every day, so I do Reese Witherspoon stars in the heart get to be there for the school fairs, plays, and wrenching love story Water For Elephants volunteering in the classroom. alongside Robert Pattison this summer.
SOURCES: ew.com, waterforelephantsfilm.com, movies.ndtv.com, dailymail.co.uk, parents.com, musicrooms.net, starpulse.com, youtube.com
Autumn issue of PULSE Send in your comments and suggestions to help us shape our autumn edition of PULSE. What do you like? What don’t you like? What would you like to see in future issues? Feature ideas, photographs and comments are always welcome at the usual address:
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The!challenge!with!recycling!will!always!be!the!divid recyclable!types.!Most!!of!the!team!has!spent!month rubbish!into!black!sacks.!
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The quarterly B2B staff magazine produced for Empire Cinemas by Southampton Solent University Magazine Journalism students.