THE MAGAZINE FOR THOSE WHO MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN - EDITION 12 - SUMMER 2013
News WINNERS AND PICTURES FROM THE ANNUAL FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT
............. FACES OF PHIL PIERCE GENERAL MANAGER AT EMPIRE BASILDON
............. BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE TECHNICAL DEPARTMENT
............. FILMS IN FOCUS WOLVERINE MAN OF STEEL KICK ASS 2 WORLD WAR Z
............. HELPING YOU TO DELIVER
Tue 17 September 2013 The Royal Opera Puccini TURANDOT Marco Berti / Lisa Lindstrom / Eri Nakamura / Raymond Aceto Conductor: Constantinos Carydis Stage Director: Andrei Serban Wed 16 October 2013 The Royal Ballet Petipa/Minkus DON QUIXOTE New Production Carlos Acosta Mon 4 November 2013 The Royal Opera Verdi LES VÊPRES SICILIENNES New Production Marina Poplavskaya / Erwin Schrott / Bryan Hymel / Michael Volle Conductor: Antonio Pappano Stage Director: Stefan Herheim Thu 12 December 2013 - The Royal Ballet Tchaikovsky THE NUTCRACKER Cast tbc Wed 18 December 2013 The Royal Opera Wagner PARSIFAL New Production Simon O’Neill / René Pape / Gerald Finley / Willard White / Angela Denoke Conductor: Antonio Pappano Stage Director: Stephen Langridge Mon 27 January 2014 The Royal Ballet Coralli/Perrot/Adam GISELLE Cast tbc Wed 12 February 2014 The Royal Opera Mozart DON GIOVANNI New Production Mariusz Kwiecien / Alex Esposito / Malin Byström / Veronique Gens Conductor: Antonio Pappano Stage Director: Kasper Holten Wed 19 March 2014 The Royal Ballet Tchaikovsky THE SLEEPING BEAUTY Cast tbc Mon 28 April 2014 The Royal Ballet Wheeldon A WINTER’S TALE New Production - Cast tbc Tue 24 June 2014 The Royal Opera Puccini MANON LESCAUT New Production Kristine Opolais / Jonas Kaufmann / Christopher Maltman / Maurizio Muraro Conductor: Antonio Pappano Stage Director: Jonathan Kent
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE The opera is making its way back to the cinema screen. Every perfomance is streamed LIVE from the Royal Opera House, and now is the time to start talking about it. Tickets start at just £15.00 for adults and £12.50 for children - which isn’t bad, considering you can watch top-quality perfomances from the comfort of the cinema seat!
A letter from Roz As the last few pages come together of Pulse , thanks to Mel and the new team of Pulse designers from Solent University, it’s looking like a cracking edition. We’ve had a great few months in the world of Customer Experience. As well as the most compliment letters (see page 20 for details) and the highest YOM figures as a company overall, we have 6 Silver E’s, yes 6 new Silver E’s for you to read about on page 16. Exciting times! On page 22 you can read how one of the Head Office teams have adapted to help you with the roll out of all things digital, details of the winners of Film Fight Theft on page 14 and to prove we work hard and play hard, pictures of this year’s Football tournament held in London. Have a great summer, thank you to you all for all your hard work in the first part of 2013 and here’s to a brilliant second half of the year. Let’s go break some more records!
Contents summer ‘13 4 5 6-7 8 9 10-13 14-15 16-18 19 20-21
FREE CONE DAY REFRESHMENT CORNER TRAINERS AND GUARDIANS FACES OF EMPIIRE SUNDERLAND BACK TO THE FLOOR FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT FIGHT FILM THEFT SILVER E AWARDS EASTER AT NEWCASTLE COMPLIMENT LETTERS Produced by: BA (Hons) Magazine Journalism and Feature Writing Editor: Melissa Wylie Staff Writers: Nikita Hall, Abigail Harman, Katie Hayes, Yasmina McNabb, Emily Smith, Keira Simpson, Sophie Ghatreh Designers: Jack Wetherill, Laura Dronfield, Hannah Green, Kayleigh Kent
22-23 24-25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34-35
BEHIND THE SCENES TEAM IN FOCUS AFTER EARTH WORLD WAR Z DESPICABLE ME SMURFS 2 MAN OF STEEL KICK ASS 2 WOLVERINE ALAN PARTRIDGE COMPETITIONS
R 2012 | PULSE MAGAZINE|05 SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 03
With charities in mind, the annual Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day set individual new records for Empire cinemas nationwide. With each cinema providing different entertainment, activities and a host of family activities, Free Cone Day is all about raising awareness and support for charities that deserve and need it.
Free Cone Day
During this year’s Free Cone Day event, every Empire cinema raised at least £100 for their chosen charity. After dishing out over 7,000 scoops of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, the total raised went over £3,000. Empire Swindon raised £577.84 for their charity - Alzheimer’s Society, as the disease is one that has affected some of the staff personally in their family lives. The theme was Garden Party and the foyer was truly transformed into a garden haven thanks to the generosity of Swindon Garden Centre, which provided a gazebo for the picnic area as well as other garden furniture. The team took inspiration from garden gnomes, fairies and garden creatures for their costumes and face paints as, along with volunteers from the Alzheimer’s Society, they scooped ice-cream, facepainted with the children and played games like ‘hook the duck’. Deputy General Manager, Michelle Reid, described the whole day as a huge success: “It was great fun and the customers were extremely generous. Last year’s Free Cone Day fell during the Easter school break, and this year the children had already returned to school but that didn’t stop us breaking our record for money raised.” Empire Poole had similar success with their animal themed fair that helped them raise £562.35 for their chosen charity - Autism Wessex. Members of staff dressed in animal costumes as they helped out at the two events the cinema held. The first was a charity stall opened by the Poole Town Crier, which included cakes, a tombola and a raffle. In the evening people were drawn to the
Free Cone event thanks to the sounds of the Bournemouth brass band, Gugge 2000. Overseeing all the activities was Deputy Manager, Mark Adey, who described his first Free Cone Day event as, “Absolutely fabulous.” “From start to finish it was really good,” he added. “It was a long, but good day as it was so rewarding and the team worked so hard.” The highlight for him was seeing how the event helped the children, many of whom were autistic. “We put on an autistic friendly movie in between the two events. I also remember a little autistic girl came up to me and said, ‘Tiger. Dance’, as I was dressed as a tiger. I did a sort of MC Hammer dance for her. That was special.” Paul Baxter, Operations Director said, “I would like to thank all the staff who participated in this years Free Cone day. Raising £3,158 for the nominated charities is a fantastic effort so a big well done to all. I hope you enjoyed the day as much as your customers enjoyed their free Ben and Jerry’s, and we look forward to making next years event even bigger.”
See your Free Cone Day photos on the back cover! e day
Empire Swindon’s free con
04 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
Two friendly faces at Leicester Square’s Free Cone Day
PULSE REFRESHMENT CORNER
t n e m h s e r f e R Corner
we Following on from the successful EPIC kids combo, will be running a range of collectables through the summer months. These are all in the final stages of t so sign off with the distributors as PULSE goes to prin fingers crossed they’ll be with you in cinemas!
The prequel to Monsters Inc. sees best
friends Mike & Sulley meeting for the 1st time at University. We’ll have some awesome Cups and Toppers featuring
with a collectable cup and character straw
To help support coming
these two along with a new character
films and to generate
additional revenue we’ll
also have a number of film
sequel to the surprise hit of 2011 -
Marvel Heroes and Man of
Smurfs 2. This one will hopefully come
Finishing off the summer will be the
S um m er R et a il P ro m o ti o ns
posters available. First up will be Monsters University,
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 05
G A T
To ensure a consistently high level of service, Empire cinemas recognises the need to invest in its learning and development.
hose working for Empire know
customers the best Empire Cinema treatment no
that at the heart of what we do
matter who they are served by.
is ensuring customers have the best experience possible. To
Empire recognises that the training is only ever as good as the person delivering it, so for this
help the teams receive the best training and
reason the company has selected and trained the
understand what is expected of them from
best people in the cinemas so that they can bring
the beginning, the company has recognised our best Trainers and Guardians in the cinemas. These TAG teams are there to support team members by helping them have all the correct kmowledge and skills to do their job to the
Ensuring customers have the best experience possible
best of their ability.
the new training programme to life. By supporting existing team members as well as new, customers can approach anyone in the cinema and are certain to receive the best customer service. The TAGs are instantly recognisable by wearing a TAG
The new induction and training programme is
badge. Friendly and approachable, they are
designed to help new team members get the best
always on hand to answer any questions.
training possible when they join Empire. TAGs
In the near future team members will
provide the induction making newcomers confident
receive regular training to help refresh
of the job in hand and allowing them to give
their skills and knowledge, ensuring customers receive the best Empire Cinema service possible.
Bishops Stortford TAGs
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PULSE TAG TEAMS
The Empire TAGs
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 07
PULSE FACES OF EMPIRE
Phil Pierce, helps
to provide a great
for customers at Empire Basildon.
When he’s not overseeing his cinema
and working hard, he is relaxing and following his favourite football team
Arsenal. Phil explains his everyday job,
from looking after a scared cinema-goer, to setting an agenda for the day ahead. What is your job role? I am currently General Manager at Empire
What is the best thing about working for
we are currently taking part in is probably the
biggest. Better quality image and the radical
The best thing about working for Empire
change in a manager’s daily routine is a big
is definitely the people. I love working with
cultural change to us all. The other change is
the team here at Basildon and I include
the slow but sure takeover of the big cinema
both managers and team members in that.
chains, as the likes of Picturehouse, Reel and
I am lucky to work with a group of people
Apollo are being swallowed up by the big fish.
that all feel the same way about helping our
What makes Empire different?
Cinema in the Festival Leisure Park, Essex.
customers escape from the real world for
I oversee all aspects of the cinema and try
a couple of hours. All the managers and
approach to its customers, concentrating on
to ensure that our customers enjoy their
supervisors here have worked their way up
what they want from us rather than imposing
visit to the full, making their time with us
from the floor and all have great passion for
what we want from them. If they want
as effortless as possible. That ranges from
Empire Basildon and what it represents.
cheaper tickets, we give them Saverday. If they
organising which films go in which screens,
What has been your biggest achievement at
want to watch opera, we give them Empire
to how many staff we need and ensuring that
Arts. By understanding their needs we are
they are trained and motivated. What is a typical work day for you? My working day can vary massively, with
I have lots of achievements here that I am proud of, but probably watching my team develop, grow and get promoted is what I
I think that Empire has a refreshing
continuing to grow as a business. What is your ideal day off? In my spare time I enjoy following sport,
each day presenting its own challenges. At the
enjoy the most. Currently I am really enjoying
particularly Arsenal, and also like to read and
weekends it is all about running the cinema
the success that we are having with our
to the highest standards possible, while mid-
market share and this is testament to the hard
week is a series of meetings, phone calls and
work that everyone has put in. I am hoping
e-mails that set the agenda for the day. Just
that we are in the same position come the end
today we toured a customer who is afraid
of the year.
Upcoming film you are looking forward to
of the cinema, around the building before
How long have you been working in the
we opened, to try and help them with their
watching? Star Wars 7, hopefully without Ewan
I have worked in the cinema industry for
bought their first ever cinema ticket and
around 15 years, starting with UCI Cinemas
watched Iron Man 3 all the way through and
with a young GM called Andy Bush as my
was ecstatic about the experience. Straight
boss, then going on to Odeon before coming
afterwards I met with a street dancing group
to join the Empire family.
who are going to perform in the foyer for
Have you seen many changes in the industry
the opening of new kids film All Stars in
since you started?
phobia. At the end of the tour, the customer
two weeks. It is the variety that keeps my job interesting.
I have seen many changes over the years in the industry, but the digital revolution that
08 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
Jaws, just a fantastic piece of film making. Favourite actors? Cameron Diaz, John Wayne, Christopher Lee Favourite cinema snack? A hot dog with lots of tomato sauce, I don’t like popcorn!
PULSE BACK TO THE FLOOR
o T k c a B R O O L F E TH The managers at Empire Sunderland went back to the floor working as employees, which was a very different experience altogether for John, Anish, Nick and Craig.
eneral Manager, John, formed
as well just having a bit of a laugh with the
the idea in order to find out what
customers. It also made us appreciate how
would make life easier for team
hard our team members are working for us.”
members and customers. The
Empire Sunderland is very successful
managers worked a 4:30pm until close shift and
but this experience helped underline what
served customers on the retail stands.
needed to change in order to reach its best
As an Empire Manager, the job role is very diverse. Their aim is to ensure the cinema is
potential. Anish says:
“It was great to talk about the FIlms with the customers and see the shared interest”
running to its highest
“We did notice that the Nacho boxes are quite fiddly and slow service down slightly. This is something we have
standards whereas team members have
spoken to Gordon MacDonald about and he
more interaction with customers. Empire
is looking at new designs for the Nacho boxes.
Manager, Anish says: “We really enjoyed it!
We noticed a few changes operationally for
As managers, sometimes you don’t get to
us too. The obvious things which we knew
speak to customers as much as team members
about were the coffee machines slowing down
do. It was great to talk about the films with
service. So since then we have introduced
the customers and see the shared interest
Barista shifts during busy periods. We also noticed a requirement for a few extra pieces of equipment, which we have arranged since.” The experience was very successful and staff at Empire enjoyed watching the managers on the stand as it created more of an incentive based on beating the managers RPG. Empire Cinema are very passionate about offering the best quality and premium experience to their customers and this experience is something that has benefited them, therefore will be performed on a regular basis, mainly on a Saverday Tuesday.
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 09
5 tournament -a-side
The location was Power League, Wembley, with the outstanding Wembley Stadium as a fitting backdrop for the annual Empire Cinema five-a-side tournament. This year’s annual football competition saw 19 Empire cinema teams take part, in what was one of the most goal-feasted tournaments yet. Pulse was pitch side to witness it all. Group A Ben & Jerrys Clydebank Head Office Basildon A Bromley
P 4 4 4 4 4
W 4 2 2 1 0
D 0 0 0 1 1
L 0 2 2 2 3
F 11 11 9 9 6
A 5 9 12 10 10
GD 6 2 -3 -1 -4
PTS 12 6 6 4 1
Group B Slough H.Wycombe Wigan Britvic Basildon B
P 4 4 4 4 4
W 4 2 2 2 0
D 0 0 0 0 0
L 0 2 2 2 4
F 15 13 13 9 2
A 2 6 12 11 21
GD 13 7 1 -2 -19
PTS 12 6 6 6 0
Group C Newcastle Birmingham A Swindon Hemel Hemp. Sutton
P 4 4 4 4 4
W 3 3 2 1 0
D 1 0 1 0 0
L 0 1 1 3 4
F 28 15 31 17 1
A 1 5 5 22 59
GD 27 10 26 -5 -58
PTS 10 9 7 3 0
Group D Poole Bishops Stort. The Empire Sunderland
P 3 3 3 3
W 3 1 1 0
D 0 1 1 0
L 0 1 1 3
F 19 18 13 4
A 4 12 9 29
GD 15 6 4 -25
PTS 9 4 4 3
10 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
PULSE EMPIRE FOOTBALL
Meet The Teams! Basildon A
Ben and Jerrys
Wigan SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 11
ith a bright start to the day, the teams wasted no time in their bids to be crowned Champions and
go on to participate in the Film Industry fivea-side tournament. Amongst the teams were sponsors Ben and Jerry’s and Empire Slough, who were eager to repeat last year’s success. The first round was the Group stages, which was split into four groups. Spectators were provided with more desire, more sweat
Pitch 3-Slough vs. Clydebank
and most definitely more goals, (one team
The defending champions had played well
conceding 59) than the group stages of this
up to this point but truly showed their skills
years’ Champions League. Quick feet and
in this match as they spread the ball well
good performances were shown by many
with the help from some quick footwork. The
players but by the end of the final whistle of
match started and finished in high tempo.
the last group match, we were left with eight
Final Score: Slough 6- 1 Clydebank
Quarter-Finals Next up were the knockout stages which
Ben and Jerry’s vs. Newcastle This game definitely turned up the heat as the referee was kept busy trying to keep tempers down. Both teams had a player sent off for bad sliding tackles which are against
teams, which included a top four all of whom were unbeaten.
Pitch 4- Newcastle vs. Bishops Stortford
the rules of 5-a-side. Newcastle scored first,
This game was more of an even affair
just after Ben and Jerry’s had a player sent
with both teams displaying good defending
off and managed to end the game on a high
and counter-acting play. Up to this point
as their last goal cheekily rolled in between
Newcastle’s defence had been almost rock
the legs of the goalkeeper to take them to the
saw the group winners matched up against
solid, conceding only once, but Bishops
a runner up from the groups. Goals were
Stortford improved their play to score twice.
scored in every match, and the hot and then
However Newcastle pushed on to get the win.
wet weather was a perfect reflection of the up-and-down tempo that these four matches
Final Score: Newcastle 3- 2 Bishops Stortford
provided. Pitch 1- Ben and Jerry’s vs. High Wycombe Ben and Jerry’s continued to play some
Final Score: Ben and Jerry’s 1- 3 Newcastle Slough vs. Poole With the defending Champions hoping to reach the final for a second year, up against
Pitch 6- Poole vs. Birmingham
a Poole team that had improved massively
The pace of the game started off slow, as
from last year, the game started off well.
both teams struggled to produce any clear
However Slough yet again picked up the pace
good attacking football as they pushed High
cut chances. As the game went on, the teams
as their team scored in quick succession to
Wycombe’s defence back. High Wycombe
grew in confidence but neither side could
take the game to 2-nil. Poole struggled to
tried to stay in the game, but Ben and Jerry’s
provide the winning goal as it finished 2-2.
have shots on target put continued to press.
kept pressing and were awarded rightfully for
The game then went to penalties where Poole
Slough’s number 11 scored a nice side volley
their quick play.
had the edge.
for the third goal as Slough edged that little
Final Score: Ben and Jerry’s 5- 1 High Wycombe
Final Score: Poole 2 – 2 Birmingham Poole won 2-0 on penalties
12 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
closer to the title. Final Score: Slough 4-0 Poole
PULSE EMPIRE FOOTBALL
here was no doubting the
heated towards the end. But it was our first
winning team as Slough scored
time in the final so I am proud.”
an early goal, making their intentions clear. Newcastle
The good collaborative atmosphere continued as all the teams and spectators
responded well, scoring a good equaliser to
gathered back to the bar where food was laid
spur on the team but their resurgence was
out for the teams and preparations were being
short-lived as Slough quickly retook their
made for the presentation of the trophies.
lead. A fiery shot into the corner of the net gave Slough a 3-1 lead. After an eager start to the match, the pace
First up was the Newcastle team who were greeted with a strong applause and commiserations as they were handed their
slowed slightly. Slough then scored their
trophies. Following swiftly was the Slough team
fourth goal and from then on they kept
led by their team captain who was delighted
hold of the ball, passing it around the pitch
with the team’s efforts. One by one the team
trying to run down the clock. Newcastle
received their trophies as the room cheered and
tried to get back into the game but became
congratulated worthy winners.
frustrated and began making mistakes and putting in heavy tackles. As a result, Newcastle had a player sent off and the
Operations Director, Paul Baxter gave us a final word on his view of the day. “I am really pleased with the overall
game ended with Slough being crowned
tournament. It’s great to see representatives of
every cinema here. The tournament has been
At the end of the game Newcastle team captain Kris Mason commented on the
played in a really good spirit.” We couldn’t have put it better and on that
match saying: “The best team won in the
note, we look forward to next year for another
end. It was a good game but it got quite
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 13
fight film theft Dodgy DVDs and progressively, illegal downloads, cost the film industry substantial amounts each year. With illegal copies on the increase film piracy has become an increasingly high-profile issue, with national and international organisations raising awareness of the consequences of piracy.
14 | PULSE MAGAZINE |SUMMER 2013
PULSE FIGHT FILM THEFT Paul Baxter with FACT award winners: (left to right) Laura Mcleod, Darren May, and Daniel Fairhurst
f a person is a true movie lover, they will want to respect the film and staff
fightfilmtheft.org.uk). Entries are put into a
a fantastic day in London
by contributing to the
to receive my prize. to encourage all staff
films to be released encourages
throughout Empire to stay
stream the film online. Is it really worth watching a bad copy of
walking up and down the aisles
which detect light Laura explained different
one method of detecting
quiz she said: “The quiz wasn’t
the customer’s general
particularly hard as the questions
behaviour – if they seem
were all to do with fighting film
suspicious they may have a
theft and what we do in cinemas
recording device with them.
on shift. It only took me about
It’s not only the staff at Empire who
ten minutes to enter the whole
are on the watch for illegal recordings
Bond Skyfall had just been
police and banned from the building.
“The one thing I took from this
experience is that it’s not just criminal organizations that copy films, it can be literally anyone!
“The FACT award was like a
bolt out of the blue, and it was great
to meet other individuals who take the
issue of film piracy seriously, it affects all of us and I was proud to do my part,” Darren
same screening as them who like us, do not agree with illegal copies. Barbara Broccoli, James Bond Producer said to the BBC that: “You
All members of staff across Empire
know piracy is one of the enemies
were all working hard to ensure that
of the film industry and I think
the Fight Film Theft website (www.
result, the person caught was cautioned by the
but also viewers. Throughout the country
the U.S, so that made it a VRA.
The quiz is online and hosted on
Murtagh who contacted the police. As a
people have been caught by others in the
released here in the UK ahead of
no one could steal Skyfall.”
Darren escorted the person out of the cinema and alerted general manager Tristan
methods of catching people who are filming with
the quiz to come out as James
to see the patron blatantly copying the big battle scene.”
in the room.
of last year. When asked about the
“November was a great time for
“On the last show of the night I was checking screens when I noticed a phone they were on Facebook I was surprised
Fight Film Theft Quiz in November
of projection. I was at the cinema to provide help and technical assistance.
being used on the back row, assuming
Laura McLeod, a member of staff at
that the management team at Sutton Coldfield were in charge
quieter than expected - to wearing night
Empire Clydebank won £500 on the
Dawn pt.2 and the first weekend
ones which are busier or
cinemas remain the single biggest illegal online copies.
weekend of Twilight Breaking
of vulnerable screenings -
worldwide illegal recordings from source of both counterfeit DVDs and
Darren said: “It was the opening
Staff at Empire use many different
or two for it to be released at According to the Federation
attentive and to enter the quiz,”
ways to detect film piracy, from
Against Copyright Theft,
has first-hand experience at catching
a film rather than wait a week cinemas?
cinema to inspire staff to be vigilant. Darren
“I would just like
prospect of having to wait for them to illegally download or
award, with a copy of his certificate up at the
the winner of £500. “I had
involved in making it
revenue. Obviously, for some the
Empire Sutton Coldfield also won a FACT
quarterly prize draw to determine
Although with the development of
technology, piracy seems to be spiralling. At Empire Cinema we aim to eliminate
any illegal copying at all of our cinemas
by staying observant with every screening being checked by a member of staff, and
the audiences have been very
if a customer’s attitude seems a little off,
vigilant.” Darren May, a member of staff at
following this through.
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 15
R E V L I S EA THE
rewarded for re a es ye lo p em ire p at Em It is always important th Silver E Awards are a way to make e all of their hard work. Th and shared throughout Empire. d sure that this is recognise
Wayne Jones - Basildon
ayne Jones is just one Empire employee to have his hard work and commitment to his job recognised through the Silver E. The 31year- old has worked at Basildon Empire for 7 years and has always put the customer first in his job. Being a big fan of ballet, he is especially happy that the live streams from the Royal Opera House have proved popular with customers.
“I take great pride in having received a Silver E and being recognised for the effort I put in.” The AGM explained. He is also a favourite of the Seniors who visit the Basildon branch and he is always looking for ways to better their cinema experience and it has been noted that they enjoy his kind and pleasant manner. “It is fantastic that this scheme exists and encourages staff to go that extra mile to help our customers have an effortless escape.”
“I take great pride in having Wayne received a Silver E” Jones Alberto Marcano – Basildon
lberto Marcano was another lucky winner of the Silver E award from Basildon. Originally born in Miami, he travelled to Tenerife to work as a DJ where he met his wife and moved to Basildon. From the moment he heard about the Silver E award, the 26- year-old made it his mission to win one for himself. Alberto loves working Empire and has fun on every shift that he works. “I was surprised that I was awarded with a
16 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
Silver E in the short time I have been with the company.” He explained He received his Silver E for his exceptional customer service and it never goes unnoticed that his customers alway leave with a smile. As part of his prize, Alberto set his sights on seeing ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘This is the end’. He added, “I would just like to thank my management team at Basildon who were always there for me and leading me in the right direction. I believe that any day you get a High 5 from Andy Bush is a good day”
S D R A AW
PULSE SILVER E AWARDS
n e e b d a h I t a h t a “ I had no ide ly e m e r t x e s a w o s Emma nominated ” t u o Curran d n u o f I n e h happy w
Emma Curran – Wigan
mma Curran was the latest Silver E winner from Wigan. She was nominated for the award by her general manager for her excellent customer service in her job as keyholder supervisor. Having worked full time at the cinema for nearly 8 years, it is a great achievement for the 27- year- old who was given her award by Andy Bush. “I was really shocked when I received the letter from Nicola to say that I had been awarded a Silver E. I had no idea that I had been nominated so was extremely happy when I found out.” said Emma who also noted that this award has made her proud to work for
Empire. Emma was surprised to be nominated by the people that she works with and that they think she is good enough to receive the award. As part of her prize, she was allowed to take her father to see the G.I Joe premiere in March. “I took my dad to the premiere as he is huge fan of action films.” She was even fortunate enough to see the the star of the film Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on the red carpet before he introduced the film in the screen. “The whole experience was amazing from start to finish (despite the rain!) We were greeted by Paul Baxter upon arriving at the cinema and felt very important! We enjoyed every minute of it!”
Sammy Jo Reeves - Great Park
ammy Jo Reeves is the winner from Great Park Birmingham. Having worked at Empire for three years, she is enthusiastic, bright and cheerful on shift and takes pride in her work. One of the reasons she received her award, was her ability to serve all types of customers and their needs. This includes helping two regular disabled customers that come in to the cinema. Sammy Jo often helps one gentlemen with his money as well as getting him settled in the screen and making sure his visit is both enjoyable and comfortable.
On another occasion, she goes above and beyond to help a couple with their needs. She helps a blind customer and her husband when they come to the cinema on a regular basis. Sammy helps them to the screens and to their seats, she then waits until the film is due to finish and enters the screen and takes the customers outside and calls a taxi on their behalf. Sammy Jo was especially happy that the original nomination had come from her colleagues and friends from Empire and was surprised when she actually won her award.
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 17
PULSE SILVER E AWARDS
t for rs fi e th is it s a E r e v il S e “I am honoured to win th .” d te a in m o n t o g I n e h dw ke c o h s ry e v s a Chelsea w I . le o o P e-Smith Le
Laura McLeod – Clydebank
aura McLeod is the latest winner from Clydebank. Having worked at Empire since 2006, she is involved in lots of aspects of the business including H&S Champion and Facebook Administrator. Laura is seen as a valuable asset to the Clydebank Team and is always smiling and cheery. “When I received my letter to say that I was awarded a Silver E we were on a TAG Team Training Day and were having lunch. Andrew the AGM came in and presented me with a bunch of flowers and an envelope. I
was a little confused and then surprised, well a big bit surprised. I couldn’t believe that I was getting a Silver E.” She explained. Laura enjoys helping customers with every part of their visit to the cinema. “I love the banter that you can have and its always a great atmosphere to work in.” She is also looking forward to going to ‘The Hangover part 3’ premiere as part of her prize “Smiling is a great tool to begin with, customers are always telling me that I’m always smiling. Most of the time now I can’t help but smile.”
Chelsea Lee-Smith - Poole
aving been at Empire for a year, Team Member Chelsea Lee-Smith is the first winner of the Silver E award at Poole. Her bubbly and friendly attitude to her job has earned her a good reputation when serving customers. She was delighted to receive her Silver E. “I am honoured to win the Silver E as it is the first for Poole,” Chelsea explained. “I was very shocked when I got nominated”.
18 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
One of her responsibilities is helping with the seniors showings on a regular basis and her constant welcoming and lovely attitude no doubt bagged her the award. Operations Director, Paul Baxter, presented Chelsea with her award in the Empire Poole foyer. She added: “I’m very proud of myself and excited about taking my brother to the premiere even though I haven’t decided which one I am going to attend yet!”
PULSE NEWCASTLE EASTER
Like many Empire cinemas, Empire Newcastle is no stranger to running charity events. Over the Christmas period they held a Santa’s Grotto to raise money and now that Easter had come around, it was only fitting that they held an Easterinspired event all in aid of charity. This time around the lucky recipients were Cash For Kids - a local charity run by a local radio station.
eaded up by their Key Holding
Other attractions included a bunny standee
Supervisor Sandra Hedley, the
which both children and staff members alike
Easter weekend provided the
had their picture taken in a specially designed
perfect setting for a two day
bunny standee created by staff member James
long Easter Eggstravaganza which raised £190 in
Lyndon. Along with an Easter inspired raffle, the
total. Children aged between 4 to 9 years, were
chance for children to win little Easter goodies
encouraged to get creative and decorate Easter
were never ending.
eggs and Easter Bonnets and enter them into
With all their hard work their efforts were
the two respective competitions where the best
celebrated by Cash For Kids, with the radio
entries would win a special prize donated by
station praising Empire Newcastle on air in
Cadburys. We are talking Easter bunnies and a
addition to writing a spread on their website
lot of crème eggs!
to acknowledge their achievements.
Judged by organiser Sandra Hedley and her
t n e v E
When asked if they would repeat this
bunny assistants, Michelle Parker and Victoria
event next year, Sandra made it clear
Landale, the decision was made to give all the
that the event was a success. “I was really
entries a well-deserved prize. For Sandra this
pleased with the way the Easter event went.
was definitely the right decision and just made
This is something I would definitely hold
all the hard work worth it.
again next year.”
“It was really hard to choose the winner so we decided to give all the children who took part a prize - which was more than worth it to see the smile on their little faces. It spoke volumes.”
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 19
Empire Basildon to see rday night at screen 7 tu Sa on a em cin ur Hello, i was in yo Les Miserables. website. ich were bought via the wh ts ke tic r ou th wi There was a problem g there lady you have workin g un yo a t en m m co I’m writing in to ing out. ely proficient in help m tre ex s wa o wh ve called Jade i belie lem. in sorting out the prob nt lle ce ex s wa & y dl She very frien e girl eat night thanks to th gr a d ha we at th y sa Just wrote in to to her. d pass on our thanks ul co u yo if & e er th g you have workin Ken Davies
Note from Ro of co mplim z: I think it’s a r ent le Empi ecord tters re! H t numb h is qua ere is er rter. a sele Way ction t o of my Basild go favou on le r a i d t es. ing th of co e way mp this q Cinem liment let uarte ters s as can r with howi Maki make n a load g e ng th v i t e perso n the e cus n b and m al for igges tome t r’s jou our c emor ustom able e rney achie a n e s easy rs. ough veme nt so as po to wr ssible a HU ite in GE th is a fa ank y ntast name ic ou to d this every editio one n.
uare Empire Leicester Sq
ays d at the cinema and alw ive ce re we ice rv se nt excelle busy and What stood out is the cinemas as they’re so in lly cia pe es , on nd by in Lo ound for do. It’s hard to come every time. I stuck ar nd yo be d an e ov ab guys go ns and they understaffed, but your d those on concessio an ff sta e us ho of nt your fro l service 10 mins and watched felt like a very persona it d an e tim eir th ok e same, to treated everybody th ne up. without holding anyo ng may it continue. and the company, lo u yo to it ed cr a ’re They ibutor A major (studio) distr
was a one py smiling faces. I thought it hap h wit te, era sid con and ly t like Your staff are helpful, friend it I make to your cinema. I’d jus vis h eac for ed ain int ma is us foc off at first, but this customer eration is much appreciated. to say thank-you. Your consid Ian Law
I would just like to thank you have you Way done for ne for all m that e today wit over my h helpin anxiety a g me get ttacks. I cinemas don’t thin would le k t hat man t me do y for me to what you day. I ca h a v e d n o n n ow go to e not be sc the cinem ared of it a a a n nymore, d would li and me a ke to tha n d n S k t e you for le ve watch G tting us I Joe. Yo g o u in h ave been and time of n ver y help eed and f u l n in o w see ho my and how w the sc BIG they reens wo are. I wil rk l be com watch m in g b a c ore mov k to ies soon . Jack Mu rray 20 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
Empire Newcastle Just to send our thanks for excellent customer service received by myself, my friend who has additional needs and his support workers on our visit on the 31st March to see GI Joe. One member of staff, Haroon, gave exceptional customer service, personally showing us how to get to where we needed to go/where the lift was etc. - He then came running after us to ensure we knew where the toilets were to save us trailing back downstairs. He was friendly, polite and helpful and I cannot express enough how impressed we were. Amanda
Empire Newcastle I am contacting you about the outstanding customer service I have received today from Vicki and Dean at your Newcastle cinema.
I had brought my 2 children and their 2 friends to the pictures
I booked to see Les Miserables last week. When my friends
to see the Wizard of Oz on Tuesday 9th April, all children
and I arrived yesterday we were told that cinema 11 was
were very excited about the Ben and Jerry free cone offer on
unsuitable for a wheelchair. When booking we mentioned
the same day. This excitement soon turned to disappointment
that we needed wheelchair access and not in the front seats.
when upon arrival we noted the poster said the offer was only
Stacey Clarke was the young lady who came to the rescue,
between the hours of 6 and 9pm, nowhere on the Ben and Jerry
advising us of the cinemas that were wheelchair friendly.
website did it say there was a time restriction. I commented
She then booked us into cinema 12 and then made sure
to Vicki the duty manager and asked if I needed to contact
that my friend in the wheelchair was happy.
Ben and Jerrys directly to complain, she spoke with Dean and
I think Stacey is very customer caring and certainly made
arranged for the children to still get their free ice creams.
our visit pleasant and we will certainly be returning. In fact
I am delighted and blown away by this gesture it is very
she told me to email her when we wanted to book again
difficult to find employees who are keen and happy to resolve a
and she would help us.
customer’s concerns so quickly.
A very happy customer.
A credit to your company!
Anne Chislett Vicki Marriott
Empire Sunderland Just wanted to say a big thank you to Johnny the manager at Sunderland empire cinema, who went out of his way to
Empire High Wycombe All of your staff were very friendly, efficient and helpful. The whole cinema experience was enjoyed by everyone. My sister says she is definitely converted to using The Empire High Wycombe in the future.
help my daughter and friend when they lost their cinema
Thanks once again.
tickets. Also to mention how helpful and courteous all the staff have been whilst going to this cinema for past 13
years, we will always use this cinema and recommend it to friends and work colleagues, thanks again. Mrs Karen Henderson
th my nce wi e i t a p t uper is grea were s h s r e o n f i en erto mach and th nd Alb e; the e e t e a l s m d o m t e o nted arriv ed to c Poor we wa k. We e I want m e l de !! w fi o s c h i c e h i t g h I Oran or” ith w s and r “seni him w ng the i u friend t d t o e e t s g a u f help ghter just so e con ask for d was s of lau t o slow ; w n t fi a d t o a t u n o tic. end h lving i rough fantas o h s s t s a i l my fri w d a re sion hich We we profes ion - w d v i e l y man... b a t O iscoll es w Pat Dr , but h ally sa , s n n t i fi n a e g e sa mom y. W Thank eat gu r G . l helpfu
on Basild e r i p Em
ents praise with you my par e ar sh to d te I just wan iscovered have recently d ey Th a. em n ci for this and that a extravaganza te d an ke ca rs the senio es in the erformance tim p le ab on as re it has very impressed as particularly w er th fa y M s. afternoon d efficient, eous, polite an rt u co ry ve , aff with the st o. High presentation to of d ar d an st t and a grea praise indeed.
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 21
In this edition we take you behind the scenes and introduce you to the technical team. This team support all the cinemas, keeping the sound and vision on screen and leading the change from 35 mm to digital.
Name: Current Posi tion: First Cinema Job: Interesting Fa ct:
n Dave Eggleto elopment ev D Name: al ic n Tech : on ti Posi Manager ctionist ABC Trainee Proje b: Jo in a d or em xf O First Cin George Street 73 19 g Managed the openin : ct Fa g al chnic Interestin of cinema te in Japan, ts en m rt pa de iwan. Ta d Poland an
Andre Mort Technical D irector Projectionist ABC Frogmore St . Bristol Coming up to 30 years in cinema in 20 14
n true Empire style an old junk room was found in Empire Slough and within a month it was converted into a space perfect for the technical team. With the old Virgin freezers removed, the majority of the team have made “home” alongside all the projection equipment since November 2011. Technical Director, Andre Mort, explains: “The team pre-builds and tests all the equipment here before it goes to cinemas. This includes sound equipment, servers and we also do any repairs here. We work on any future projects, ordering of equipment and the organisation of the roll outs here in the office too.” The projector base arrives at the workshop ‘flat packed’ and needs to be assembled. Once we have a base built, the automation unit and switch / patch panel (both of which are especially made for Empire) are fitted and cabled. The data, and control wiring are then installed. The base is a self-contained unit, just requiring external connection to things like lighting, dimmers and the sound processor. A server and projector can then
be installed in the base, and the macros that determine picture ratios, etc. can be loaded. We then connect the whole unit up to our local data network and sound processor in the workshop and test all functions. The whole lot is then shipped out to site. Pre-configuring the equipment off-site minimises installation time and flags up any equipment issues before it gets to it’s destination. Construction of a single base, from coming in the door to leaving fully built and tested, takes a day and a half. Despite having a great office space the majority of Pulse readers will see these guys out in the cinemas. Ben Doman, Senior Sound & Vision Engineer, and Chris Burford, Sound & Vision Engineer, survey and install, service, update the firmware and software, fault find, and repair and coordinate upgrades to current cinema equipment. They are usually on the road visiting cinemas when most of us are turning off the snooze button. Steve Dallman and Darren May, the Digital Maintenance Technicians known as DMTs, also have extremely early starts to the day.
22 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
Alan O’Hara who is currently Projection Manager at Newcastle will be joining the team as a DMT in the near future. Much of their time is currently spent maintaining the equipment and training managers on how to use the digital technology. Their Manager, Dave Eggleton, and the DMTs have a scary 103 years of technical experience between them so if they don’t know it, no one can help! The final cog in Andre’s wheel is Bob Tovey, who joined this team in January of this year after a stint in projection in Slough. He is responsible for monitoring and testing Empire’s Theatre Management System (TMS). He is set to roll out this system to all cinemas and provide training to general managers, OA’s and key-holding supervisors in the near future. Despite them all being different characters, what they all have in common is a love of the industry and a desire to ensure we make it as easy as possible for customers to enjoy and see films the way the film makers intended.
PULSE BEHIND THE SCENES
Name: Bob Tovey Position: TMS Manager First Cinema Job: Projectionist in Slough Interesting Fact: He started his career in Graphic Design and Photography
Name: Alan O’Hara Position: Digital Maintenance Technician First Technical Job: Trainee projectionist Odeon Newcastle Interesting Fact: Interviewed on live TV in the role of a projectionist for a production called “Ghost Train”.
Name: Chris Burford Position: Sound & Vision Engineer First Cinema Job: Projectionist in Newquay, Cornwall in 1989 Interesting Fact: Is known as the “Cornish Pixie”
Name: Darren May Position: Digital Maintenance Technician First Cinema Job: Trainee Projectionist at The Kings West Bromwich Interesting Fact: Met Richard Branson at his annual weekend party!
Name: Steve Dallman Position: Digital Maintenance Technician First Technical Job: Projectionist in Basildon Interesting Fact: Built playground equipment which resulted in a newspaper article!!
Name: Ben Doman Position: Senior Sound & Vision Engineer First Cinema Job: Worked as an usher in The Little Theatre, a 2 screen cinema in Bath Interesting Fact: Was just 14 when he started his cinema career and has shown a premiere to members of the Royal Family.
A junk room at Empire Slough...
...Transformed into a Technical Team space.
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 23
TEAM IN FOCUS: Empire Leicester Square
he Empire is located in the
It’s no wonder The Empire is a go to venue
heart of London’s West End
for film premieres and a red carpet day creates
sandwiched between Piccadilly
excitement and buzz throughout the entire
responsibility of updating our Facebook page
Circus and Covent Garden. Our
the team remains professional at all times. Team member Ben Spence said: “I have the
staff. The Leicester Square team thrives in
during the premiere which means I spend
flagship site situates itself the North side of
delivering the Big E to the highest possible
a lot of time on the red carpet uploading
the prestigious Leicester Square. The movie
standard during such high
live snaps. The atmosphere outside is always
mania hot spot is one of the most thriving
profile events. The pressure
and vibrant film scenes in the world. The fully
is also on for the projection
digital 8 screen cinema is often visited by
team to ensure the film
big industry names such as Steven Spielberg,
runs smoothly and that the
Quentin Tarantino, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt
projectors being used are at
and Cameron Diaz to name but a few.
Empire Leicester Square boasts premium
Alexa Raisbeck from the
The Empire remains at the cutting edge as cinema evolves into the 21st century
incredible as a sea of faces wait for their idols to arrive. At the last Twilight premiere people camped out days before the event and on the evening over 2,000 people
facilities and this and our heritage is what
projection team gives an
keeps us one step ahead of our rivals. The
insight into a premiere set up,
were outside our door.”
building first opened its doors back in 1884
“Leading up to the event multiple rehearsals
as The Empire Theatre and transformed to
are conducted by Technical Manager Chris
festivals and recently hosted the British
a cinema in 1928, celebrating 85 years of
Tostevin and the rest of the technical team.
Independent Film Festival. August is a busy
silver screen this November. The building
Often the director, distributors and members
time for the cinema as it hosts Film 4’s annual
now houses a variety of different sized
of the production attend these rehearsals
FrightFest for five packed days of premieres,
auditoriums starting with the 23 seater
too. On the day the projection team will have
previews, personal appearances and signings.
Empire 6, going up to Empire 1 which has
certain roles to perform, one job will be to
a seat capacity of 1,330! This state of the
man the spot light and microphones, another
Manager said, “The team at the Empire
art auditorium is the only one in the U.K to
projectionist will help with lights and perhaps
Leicester Square reflect the diversity of its
be installed with the Dolby Atmos sound
switching over to Atmos (if used) and one
custom that comes from around the world
system delivering a powerful and dramatic
person will be starting the film.”
to enjoy the delights of London, the West
The Empire is also a popular venue for film
Stephen Bush, the cinema’s General
new cinema-sound listening experience.
The multifunctional team downstairs
Atmos allows sounds to move around the
are responsible for greeting, directing and
always been an exciting cinema to work at
auditorium to create dynamic effects; the
ushering guests, selling a selection of alcohol
with its multitude of premieres and other
added overhead speakers also give cinema
and snacks on the trolley and ensuring the
special events.” He added “The Empire
goers the most realistic effects they’ve ever
cinema looks the best it can be. Even when
remains at the cutting edge as cinema
faced with some of the biggest stars in the world
evolves into the 21st century.”
24 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
End and the Empire in particular. It has
PULSE TEAM IN FOCUS
G.I Joe Premiere
Empire Leicester Square: - An adult ticket costs from £9.95 to £18.95 for a 3D film in the circle in Empire 1. - There is no Saver Day Tuesday. - Empires 1, 2, and 4 are equipped with Dolby 3D. - Empire 5 is equipped with Expand 3D. - Whilst the ticket prices are higher, retail prices are the same with large combos at £6.95 offering superb value against our competition in the square. - At the time of print it has been confirmed that
Empire Leicester Square will be hosting the premieres of Man of Steel, World War Z and 1D3D.
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 25
In their second father and son acting collaboration after The Pursuit of Happyness in 2006, Will and Jaden Smith return again acting in their real life family roles in sci-fi adventure, After Earth.
t’s another Smith family affair as Jada
establish trust in their relationship as Cypher has
Pinkett Smith along with her brother,
to rely on his son more than he ever has before.
Caleeb Pinkett, and Will Smith all coproduce the film.
M. Night Shyamalan is in the director’s chair
having to travel across a strange and now unrecognisable dangerous planet in order to
which is of no surprise as his previous sci-fi/
signal to Nova Prime for help. 1000 years on,
thriller successes include Signs, Unbreakable and
Earth has developed evolved animals which
The Village. The story is set 1000 years after the
now freely roam the planet posing a threat
population abandoned the Earth due to natural
to the travellers who also let slip a powerful
disasters forcing humanity to evacuate to planet
alien during the crash making matters worse.
Nova Prime thousands of light years away to
Although both their stubborn attitudes arise
upon Earth, they must for once learn to co-
An organization to keep peace established is
operate and work together for the sake of their
formed soon after the big move and is led by
own lives. Using their advanced technology
Will’s character General Cypher Raige. Jaden
against the demonic creatures they encounter,
plays his son Kitai who agitates him with his
there’s no knowing who will come out on top.
habit of causing trouble where it’s not needed in contrast to Cypher’s serious attitude. Cypher’s wife, Faia (Sophie Okonedo) sides
This film will surely bring back memories for Will, who played the lead in seemingly similar post-apocalyptic sci-fi blockbuster I Am
with her son, seeing his outlandish behaviour
Legend. He originally founded the idea with
as an attempt to break through his fathers
co-producing brother-in-law, Caleeb, whilst
emotionless shell and find his love for him. In
watching American show I Shouldn’t Be Alive,
order to bring them closer together, Cypher takes
accounting true stories of survivors who have
Kitai on a mission to Earth. Things unfortunately
escaped from dangerous situations. The story
do not go as planned when the father and son
that inspired them told of a father and son whose
bonding session doesn’t quite work out after the
car crashed into the mountains, leaving the son
ship taking them to their destination collides
to go out and find help for his father. Smith
with an asteroid field and crashes down to Earth.
changed the story to the future, expanding the
After their bumpy ride it’s clear Cypher is critically injured and unable to be agile, leaving his inexperienced son in charge of
know your stuff
Their new mission on Earth consists of
the legwork. The situation gives them both a chance to get to know each other better and
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi Director: M. Night Shyamalan Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Isabelle Fuhrman Movie Recommendations: I Am Legend, The Invasion, The Day the Earth Stood Still
Lenny Kravitz’s daughter Zoë stars as Senshi, daughter of Cypher and sister of Kitai The film is loosely based on a novel The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke. Director Shyamalan said working with Will and Jaden on a thriller sci-fi film is his “dream project”.
26 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
budget of the film to a cool $130 million. With this amount of money, audiences watching will be sure to be in for a visual treat.
W O R L D WA R
he zombie virus spreads with a frightening speed, contaminating anyone who encounters it. Apparently, the
torn limb from limb, much like Will Smith’s enemies in I Am Legend. This fixation on the action element is
cure that could save the dwindling human
strange when looking at the choice of
same could be said for Hollywood’s obsession
population. His research comes at a price
director. Marc Forster normally steers clear
with the glamour of walking, decaying bodies.
as he leaves his wife Karin, played by The
of the big Hollywood blockbuster fodder
No more is the movie industry obsessed
Killing’s Mireille Enos, and his two children
by choosing small, emotionally geared
with the sharp fanged paleness of vampires,
to cope with the unstable surroundings of
independent films. Monsters Ball and
much to the dismay of many erratic teenage
The Kite Runner couldn’t be further away
girls. Instead the masses want more innards
The action flick shows some impressive
from this dollar fuelled picture, which has
and guts chewed out of wailing victims as
CGI effects, which are perfect against the
franchise stamped all over it. But make no
the Zombie horde enjoy their banquet -
crumbling urban backdrops. One scene
mistake, he still conveys the raw emotion that
glamorous it is not.
displays a tower of scrambling zombies
is not normally required in such films, he
World War Z follows the pioneers of the
desperately attempting to reach the screaming
makes the fear real and the fiction a reality.
modern zombie genre, with television’s The
group of survivors who happen to be trapped
Walking Dead being the true example of how
in a bus perilously hanging
to portray the desperation of clinging onto
above the moaning horde. This
survival in a post-apocalyptic world. This same
large-scale vision differs from
relentless fear can be seen in the film adaption
its predecessors, as these zombies
of Max Brooks New York Times best selling
actually move. The film makes a drastic
book, which compiles the stories of numerous
change from the usual shuffling undead,
survivors from the zombie outbreak as the
instead of the George A. Romero standard
world crumbles away to the dead.
of zombie - a new highly charged variety
The film’s adaption follows the events of
occurs. The fast paced action makes a change
United Nations employee Gerry Lane, played
to the usually slow preciseness of the standard
by the stubble ridden Brad Pitt, who also
one shot to the head combat, normally used
produces the movie with his film company
in films, such as the Dawn of the Dead and
Plan B. Gerry travels around the globe
Resident Evil franchises. The sheer speed
interviewing survivors of the epidemic,
and ferocity of the undead actually provoke
gradually gathering evidence on a possible
more fear than watching a random guy being
Fun facts - A Beautiful Mind’s Ed Harris and Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad were originally cast in the film, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. - Leonardo DiCaprio’s pro duction company, Appian Way, entered a bid ding war with Brad Pitt’s Plan B to acquire the rights to the film. - Many scenes were shot in the UK including Cornwall and Glasgow.
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 27
In 2010, the first Despicable Me instalment managed to become one of the highest grossing animated films of all time with over $540 million. This is an impressive feat considering it managed to fend off competition from Disney classics, which seem to have been around since the dawn of time such as Aladdin, Pocahontas and Beauty and the Beast.
n terms of animation, Universal Pictures
as orphanage owner Miss Hattie. Also returning is
have had a very successful few years.
Russell Brand as gadget man Dr. Nefario and Miranda
Since 2010 their other two ventures,
Cosgrove as eldest daughter Margo.
Cowboys & Aliens and Dr. Seuss’ The
Gru soon meets his match when he comes
Lorax, proved popular and both hit the
head to head with Mexican super villain Eduardo
upper end of the $300 million mark. Looking
who starts the conflict by kidnapping Gru’s naïve
to continue their good run comes 3D
minions. Eduardo was originally to be voiced by
Despicable Me 2 like the prequel, directed by
Javier Bardem who later dropped out, meaning Al
Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud.
Pacino stepped up to the plate. Best known for his
After the success of the first film, well
roles in hardcore gangster films such as Scarface
known funny man Steve Carell reprises
and the Godfather films, he will no doubt put his
his role voicing the main character in the
intimidating, gravelly voiced spin on the character
sequel, lovable rogue Gru, a man amongst his
in the first voice role of his acting career.
wide-eyed, little, yellow minions who have
This time around it will be interesting to see how
now became instantly recognisable across
Gru’s character varies from being the solo carer to
the globe. So much so, an entire franchise
his much loved girls, to having his wits and James
spawning toys, clothes and games has been
Bond-esque gadgets and weapons about him when he
created from the multi-lingual blithering
comes up against his toughest rival yet.
creatures. A spin-off film, Minions, rumoured to be starring Sandra Bullock voicing the villain has been announced and set for release in December 2014. In Despicable Me 2 we see Gru doting on his three adopted daughters getting recruited by the Anti-Villain League headed by flamboyant Lucy Wilde, voiced by fast becoming comedy queen Kristen Wiig. Although not reprising her role, Wiig also starred in Despicable Me
28 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
Know Your Stuff
Genre: Animation, Comedy Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud Starring: (Voices) Steve Carell, Al Pacino Movie Recommendations: The Croods, Shark Tale, The Smurfs 2
- It follows the eight-minute short film also directed by Pierre Coffin, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem 3D, 2012. - Steve Coogan stars in his first voice role since Marmaduke where he voiced a Daschund in 2010. - Steve Carell described voice acting saying the worst aspect was like, “Being in a vacuum away from the other actors and trying to do as many variations as possible.” Other than that, he said it was, “The best thing, fun, very freewheeling and creatively open.”
2 PULSE REVIEWS
THE SMURFs 2
A staple of many children’s morning television viewing since the 80s, The Smurfs have recently taken an adventure to the scary heights of the silver screen. After the box office success of the first film in 2011, the blue carpet is rolled out once again for the little creatures in The Smurfs 2.
nstead of the hand drawn cartoons
adoration of legions of fans by becoming
and Hackus, voiced by Monster’s Christina
usually seen in the television series,
the world’s number one wizard.
Ricci and Saturday Night Live’s J.B Smoove
this movie uses a hybrid animation that mixes real actors with computer-
Creating a batch of roguish Smurf-like
provide the mischievous comedy by causing
beings, aptly named the Naughties, Gargamel
destruction and havoc around the French
generated characters. This new wave of
plans to possess the all-powerful elixir of
capital, including toppling over the Parisian
animation has recently been used in the Alvin
Smurf essence by turning the monsters into
version of the London Eye.
and the Chipmunks trilogy and the crude
Smurfs. His continuous failed attempts to
teddy bear comedy, Ted, both achieving
obtain the power forces the angered sorcerer
Gosnel, known for specialising in the kids
commercial success. This new offering from
to kidnap the golden haired beauty, Smurfette,
comedy genre with Scooby Doo and Home
the relatively unknown team at Sony Pictures
innocently voiced by pop superstar Katy
Alone 3, proves his ability to take the much
Animation reunites the same characters from
Perry. Smurfette, who is whisked off to
loved characters to bigger and better heights
the first film, both real and animated, whilst
Paris, is the only one who knows the spell to
by placing them in the cultural surroundings
introducing some interesting new additions to
turn Gargamel’s creations into fully-fledged
of Paris. With a challenging plot that explores
Smurfs. It’s up to her blue family to cross over
the characters emotions and capabilities, The
After being catapulted from their tiny
This second instalment from director Raja
to the human world to save Smurfette from
Smurfs 2 is a daring film which uses the much
village to the skyscraper heights of New
the greasy clutches of Gargamel, and stop him
loved pulling of the heartstrings made famous
York City during the first film, the blue
from obtaining the power that can destroy
midgets are once again on the run from
Smurfkind. Papa Smurf (deeply voiced by
the dastardly Gargamel (Hank Azaria)
Jonathan Winters) teams up with Clumsy,
and his sly cat Azreal. Finally settling
Grouchy and Vanity to rescue the damsel in
back into their dotted mushroom homes
distress and finally defeat their archenemy.
following their adventures in the Big Apple,
c factssong Fantasarstireco rded a new
How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris
the Smurfs seem to be content with the
and Glee’s Jayma Mays return as the Smurfs
simple life. But all is not well; Gargamel
trusted human friends, Patrick and Grace,
seeks revenge after being defeated by an
to the help the blue ones on their dangerous
oncoming bus and becoming exiled to the
mission. Irish actor Brendan Gleeson from
human world during the previous movie’s
Cold Mountain and Gangs of New York also
events. Mixing with humanity suits the evil
appears, departing from the serious roles
sorcerer and his ambitions as he wins the
he’s normally seen in. The Naughties, Vexy
- Britney Spe for the film titled Ooh La La. - It was recently announced that this the film is the second of a trilogy, with July in third film scheduled for release 2015 es - Sadly Jonathan Winters, who voic for g Papa Smurf, will not be returnin the third film as he died in April this year.
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 29
M A N
S T E E L
he relaunch of the superhero genre is a common practice now in Hollywood, with the latest Spiderman reboot improving the tired traditions of such films by exploring the actual man instead of trivial blockbuster special effects. After a dismal attempt in 2006 with Superman Returns, the franchise has remained untouched up until now. Henry Cavill, made famous by his raunchy ways in The Tudors television series, displays the required good looks of his predecessors but in no way is he an incarnation of them. This version of the Superman story goes back to the roots of the well known story, with Cavill portraying a raw and emotional Clark Kent who battles with the origins of his identity. The film starts with the young Clark Kent, the alter ego sported by Superman, living on a remote Kansas farm with his adoptive parents Jonathan and Marsha Kent. Kevin Costner (Jonathan) who was last seen in Golden Globe winning Hatfields and McCoys, provides the affectionate wisdom and stability for Clark. This gentle father-like figure is very reminiscent of Spiderman’s wise Uncle Ben and his, “With great power comes great responsibility” speech to the shy, naive Peter Parker. Unlike Spiderman, Clark was born into his powers and (unknown by him) into a powerful family on his dying home planet of Krypton. This unsureness of his background plagues the young hero as he drifts into a life of invisibility by rejecting the powers that were given to him. It is only until an individual from
FANTASTIC FACTS Ben Affleck was approached to direct the film, but turned it down as he felt the film was more about action than story. Russell Crowe is the second Oscar winning actor to portray Jor-El, the other being the late Marlon Brando. This film is one of two not to feature Superman’s arch nemesis Lex Luther, the other film was Superman 3 starring Christopher Reeve.
30 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
his past threatens the lives of the people he loves, that the superhuman dons the blue and red suit that epitomizes the Superman franchise. As Earth is under attack from General Zod, ferociously played by Revolutionary Road’s Michael Shannon, the truth of Kent’s past is abruptly revealed. Sent to Earth by his father after his family came under attack as part of a political revolution, General Zod is ravenous for the deaths of Superman and all of his family. Gladiator’s Russell Crowe takes a risk by replacing the iconic Marlon Brando as Superman’s troubled father Jor-El, replacing the bold white hair of Brando with a rugged youthful image. Other appearances include the usual characters seen in the previous Superman films. The aspiring young journalist Lois Lane portrayed by Amy Adams (recently seen in The Fighter) gives a daring and undaunted performance by showing a reluctance to be in awe of the hero. Laurence Fishburne gives a twist to the eccentric editor of the Daily Planet, Perry White, and is the first African-American to play the role. The updated story from the minds of David S. Goyer and Batman’s Christopher Nolan removes the forgettable and recurring action sequences and replaces them with a plot that is both emotional and epic. Director Zack Snyder concentrates on the sheer beauty of the American landscape and teams it with the groundbreaking yet realistic special effects, which coincide with the modern organic story that fits right into the world we live in.
his year could well be a great year for hotly anticipated sequels. The fresh and quirky combination of superheroes and villains alongside humour with a punchy soundtrack created Kick-Ass, and now comes the sequel to pick up the story where the first left the audience wondering what happens next. Like the first, Kick-Ass 2 is based on a comic book series by Mark Millar, writer of Wanted, X-Men, Fantastic Four, John Romita Jr., Iron Man, Daredevil and The Amazing Spider-Man. Millar has said previously that he aims for the Kick-Ass comics to be a trilogy, later revealing the entire series will consist of five books. Fans of the film adaptions will be pleased there is hope they aren’t saying goodbye to Kick-Ass just yet. Squeezing back into the lycra is Aaron TaylorJohnson as the lead Kick-Ass, and Chloë Grace Moretz who seems to have suddenly grown into a woman in the space of three years as
Hit-Girl. Also making an appearance is Jim Carrey in a different role to which he is accustomed - the ex-mobster turned superhero known as Colonel Stars and Stripes. He is the leader of Justice Forever, a team of masked superheroes inspired by the previous work of Kick-Ass protecting the streets of New York from crime. The first instalment ended with Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl unmasking themselves and introducing their regular personas to each other, Dave and Mindy, with the intention of living their lives as normal teenagers. They attend the same high school with Mindy in the care of Marcus (her father’s ex-police colleague) after her father Big Daddy previously died in her arms after a face off. The antagonist looking to prevent their vision of a regular teenage life is reborn as The Mother Fucker (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) previously known as Red Mist who is looking to avenge his father’s death after swearing there would be consequences for Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and, “Any superhero wannabe that gets in his way.” After Mindy gets caught sneaking out as Hit-Girl she decides to retire her alter ego and concentrate on high
school instead. With no back up, Kick-Ass turns to Justice Forever and joins forces with them to take on the villainous league headed by The Mother Fucker. As the two sides come head-to-head there’s no knowing who will come out on top. Though the audience will be rooting for Kick-Ass how will he fare without Hit-Girl who, alongside her father, taught him everything he knows?
KNOW YOUR STUFF
Genre: Action, Comedy Director: Jeff Wadlow Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz Movie Recommendations: Red 2, Super, Rush Hour 2
FANTASTIC FACTS As well as writing the comic books, Mark Millar is also co-producing the film. In the time between the two films, Aaron Taylor-Johnson married director Sam Taylor-Wood, 23 years older than himself and fathered two children with her. After the controversy caused by her swearing in the first film, Chloë Grace Moretz took matters into her own hands saying, “It’s a role - it’s not meant to be taken as real-life. I was raised to think cursing makes you look unintelligent. As Chloe, I can honestly say I’ve never uttered a syllable of a curse word, not even behind closed doors.”
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 31
rom the very first time back in
Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan)
2000’s X-Men, Hugh Jackman was
dropped out. Jackman, who also had a hand
criticised by both cinema-goers
in producing the film, reportedly wanted to
and comic book buffs alike in his
have a more indie director than the previous
portrayal of the iconic character Logan (aka
Gavin Hood. Logan is taken to Japan by female
Wolverine). Though many liked it, some felt
ninja and member of Yashida’s gang, Yukio.
Jackman’s depiction was more ‘Emo’ Wolverine
Here Logan gets poisoned and his ability to
rather than the dark violent one they wanted.
be immortal and heal himself from wounds
For the sixth time, Jackman is pulling on
gets taken away from him. A love interest also
the razor sharp claws along with the mutton
forms in the shape of Mariko Yashida much
chops in The Wolverine. This is his second solo
to the distaste of her father Shingen, a Yakuza
endeavour away from his X-Men co-stars. Like
crime lord who wants Logan dead.
the X-Men: Origins film it’s distributed by 20th
Shingen enrols his illegitimate son,
know your stuff
Genre: Action, Adventure Director: James Mangold Starring: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen Movie Recommendations: The Expendables, A Good Day to Die Hard, Wrath of the Titans
Century Fox to the exasperation of many who
Kenuichio (Will Yun Lee) aka ‘The Silver
believe Fox changes the original characters
Samurai’ to take care of Logan. Kenuichio
depicted in the comic books in order to make a
has the power to charge his katana swords
financial gain by appealing to a wider audience.
with mutant energy, with enough force to cut
working on the film, he claimed the reason
through every known substance apart from
was because the studio refused to approve
as he has signed up for Bryan Singer’s Summer
the metal that conveniently forms Wolverine’s
his draft, which was rated R.
2014 project X-Men: Days of Future Past where
skeleton and claws.
- Director James Mangold says the film is a
This will not be Jackman’s last taste of Logan
the team travel back in time to alter events
With his ultimate power taken away from
fantastic facts - When Darren Aronofsky stopped
sequel to X Men: The Last Stand.
in order to have an impact on the future of
him, how will Logan cope physically and
- In order to bulk up, Hugh Jackman
mutants and humans. Those signed up to make
emotionally when he is at his most vulnerable
contacted Dwayne Johnson, aka ‘The
comebacks include Jennifer Lawrence, James
and facing his hardest challenges yet? Facing a
Rock’ for dietary information who
McAvoy and Halle Berry among others.
life or death battle, it will be interesting to see
recommended he eat 6,000 calories a day
how the film rates against Origins and how it is
and aim to put on a pound per week.
This addition is directed by James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted, Knight and Day) after
received by audiences and critics alike.
32 | PULSE MAGAZINE | SUMMER 2013
Partridge: Alpha Papa
hough Steve Coogan is well
Steve Coogan will be noticeable to audiences
known for his wide variety of
for his other big screen roles. Credits
characters and comedic roles,
include a supporting role in the Will Ferrell
one of his creations stands head
and Mark Wahlberg cop caper The Other
and shoulders above the rest - Alan Partridge.
Guys, and the lead in swashbuckling family
Partridge has long been a comedy staple on
adventure Around The World In 80 Days
British television, and 2013 marks the first time
with Jackie Chan.
the character has graced the big screen. Alan Partridge is one of the most recognisable
Fans of Alan’s small screen adventures
Know Your Stuff
will be pleased to know that a lot of the
Genre: Comedy Director: Declan Lowney Starring: Steve Coogan, Colm Meany Movie Recommendations: Hot Fuzz, 24-Hour Party People, In The Loop
comedy characters of the last twenty years. A
series’s favourite characters will also be
former television chat show and now digital radio
making appearances. Felicity Montague
host, Alan is a complex mixture of insecurity and
returns as Alan’s long suffering personal
arrogance with a habit of putting his foot firmly
assistant Lynn, joined by Simon Greenall’s
in his mouth. Since first appearing as a support
perpetually confused ex-soldier, Michael.
character on satirist Chris Morris’ radio show, On
Edinburgh Comedy Award winner and poet
The Hour, Partridge has since been the focus of a
Tim Key also reprises his sidekick role,
number of highly successful, hilarious TV shows.
the appropriately named Sidekick Simon.
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa finds Alan in
Colm Meany rounds off the cast as Pat, the
survival mode as Sharpe, the digital radio
former Sharpe Radio disk jockey hell-bent
station he now calls home, is under attack
from Pat, a disgruntled and recently fired ex-
film director Declan Lowney. Lowney has
save his co-workers, and more importantly
proved himself capable of handling Alan
himself, from attack.
Partridge, due to his impressive comedy C.V.
The idea for an Alan Partridge film has been
anarchic sitcom Father Ted, even bagging
recently that Coogan, who also co-writes
himself a Bafta award for his work on the
and produces, confirmed that filming was to
Father Ted Christmas special.
sports presenters on the BBC radio show On The Hour. - Coogan based the character of Alan Partridge on a radio presenter who interviewed him just as he was becoming famous. Coogan began mimicking the interviewer during the interview and from
begin in 2013. Although there were rumours
Frequently insensitive, brazenly brusque and
that Alan’s onscreen adventure would see the
always hilarious, Alan Partridge is a character
action move from Norfolk to America, they
that has long deserved his own feature film.
were thankfully untrue. Alpha Papa retains
With an impressive array of old and new faces,
Partridge’s uniquely British stamp by setting
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa will surely be a
the action in Norwich.
solid gold hit for comedy lovers up and down
Aside from bringing Alan Partridge to life,
al-Qaeda siege, was shelved after the 7/7 - Alan Partridge began life as a parody of
Lowney has directed several episodes of the
in circulation for years, but it wasn’t until
- An early version of the film’s plot, an bombings in 2005.
Helming Alpha Papa is Irish television and
DJ. It’s up to Alan to step up to the plate and
this came the inspiration for Coogan’s most famous creation.
SUMMER 2013 | PULSE MAGAZINE | 33
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Who am I?
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