Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Lego Movie- Moments Worth Paying For

With the release of The Lego Movie on Friday, a  trailer has been made to raise awareness of the need to choose official content to stop film piracy.

THE LEGO MOVIE assembles an exclusive new trailer, marking the 10th in the successful ‘Moments Worth Paying For’ campaign!

To coincide with the upcoming release of THE LEGO MOVIE (in cinemas February 14th), Film search engine and Warner Bros. UK have teamed up to bring to you an exclusive trailer that shows just how many bricks go into making a great movie experience…literally!

The trailer aims to shine a light on the thousands of talented and dedicated professionals behind the animated feature film – just some of the 70,000 professionals who work in the UK film industry – in an effort to inspire audiences to respect and value official film, TV and video content.


THE LEGO MOVIE sees an ordinary LEGO minifigure (Chris Pratt), mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant (Will Ferrell) from gluing the universe together. Also starring the talented voice work of Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Jonah Hill to name a few, THE LEGO MOVIE is biggest movie you’ll see next year!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Ten reasons why you should watch Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation has just been renewed for a seventh season! Not familiar with the employees of City Hall and the people of Pawnee? Here's why you should treat yo self and watch Parks and Recreation.

1. Leslie Knope

Amy Poehler just deservedly won a Golden Globe for her role as Knope, the loveable Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation department in Pawnee, Indiana. Knope is the friend and colleague you've always wanted, her biggest loves include waffles, Pawnee and Joe Biden.

2. Ron Swanson is the best

Never one to show much emotion, Swanson is the manliest of men. Forget sentiment, all Ron cares about is meat, hunting and himself. Sounds horrible, doesn't he? You'll come to love him.

3. The stupidity of Andy Dwyer

Chris Pratt expertly plays the innocently stupid Andy Dwyer, providing slapstick and dumb one liners with ease.

4. Pawnee

Small town America has never looked so good. Home to a Harvest festival and JJs Diner, it isn't exactly envied by its neighbours, Eagleton. Ignore them, you just need to look past the seedy nightclubs and raccoon problems. To top it off the town's biggest celebrity is miniature horse, Li'l Sebastian. 

5. There is no one more positive in the universe than Chris Traeger. No one.

ANN PERKINS! Chris seems to have only one emotion, ecstatic. Fitness fanatic, tell him the worst news ever and he'll still be smiling. He also loves to use the word, literally, literally all the time.

5. Leslie and Ben's relationship

There is no cuter couple in television, film or local government. Ben loves Leslie, Leslie loves Ben's butt. They may be geeky and have a cringey handshake but it's hard not to love them.

6 . Tammy

There have been three women in Ron Swanson's life, all of them named Tammy. Nonetheless, it is Ron's second wife, Tammy 2, that is the most dangerous and brilliant. Played by Nick Offerman's real wife, Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) this is a lady that sets the fear of God in Ron. A sexual animal, she'll stop at nothing to wreck Ron's newest relationships.

7. Jerry's fault! Jerry's fault! Jerry's fault! 

Jerry is the bumbling, clumsy guy who the whole office likes to mock. Spilling soup, tripping over  and breaking wind- these are Jerry's best skills. Looking for someone to blame? Blame Jerry. Fancy teasing someone? Tease Jerry. Need wardrobe advice? Don't ask Jerry.

9.Tom Haverford's swagger

Tommy Haverford was born to go on Dragons Den. Fragrances, a night club and a talking tissue box, Tom has got his fingers in all the pies. Social media mad, he likes to be referred to as The Brown Gosling but doesn't always have much luck with the ladies.

"At the risk bragging, one of the things I’m best at is riding coattails. Behind every successful man is me, smiling and taking partial credit."- Tom Haverford
10. Tom and Donna's friendship

These are two friends that love the finer things in life. Three words: Treat. Yo. Self. 

See a dress you like? "Treat Yo Self." An aftershave? "Treat Yo Self." Fancy a massage and some mimosas? "Treat Yo Self."

The Lego Movie

Weirdly, The Lego Movie is one of the films I am most looking forward to in 2014. The trailer is fantastic, it doesn't give too much away yet still looks very funny.
Batman: "Relax, everybody. I'm here."
Emmet: "Batman? Awesome! Could you make one of these in orange?"
Batman: "I only work in black. And sometimes, very, very dark grey."
On top of the humour, the fact that Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and many others come together in Lego form has got to be a winner. Throw in a cast that includes Will Ferrell, Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, this could be the animated hit of 2014.

The film hits cinemas on 14th February.

Check out the 'Behind the Bricks' featurette and trailer below:

The LEGO Movie follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which he is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

Have a watch of the trailer:

Monday, 30 December 2013

My Top Ten Films of 2013

2013 has been an absolutely incredible year for cinema across every genre, audiences have been treated to some real magic. Phenomenal stories brought to life, revolutionary visual effects and big blockbusters wowed cinephiles as they were transported into Space, set sail in pirate-infested waters and met Walt Disney for the first time on the big screen. So lets take a look at my top ten films of 2013 (in no particular order).

Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks has had a lull in the past decade but Captain Philips marks a return to form in this sensational true story of the hijacking of a Maersk container ship off the east African coast. Hanks' performance is sublime alongside Somalian newcomer, Barkhad Abdi, who provide one of the year's most intense films.

The Way Way Back

Set at a water park near Cape Cod, this was one of the films that surprised and charmed me the most. Steve Carrell refreshingly plays the straight guy as a patronising step-father type figure to the moody 14 year old Duncan, portryayed exceptionally by  Liam James. On a summer vacation Duncan finds life with his mum (Toni Collette) and her new boyfriend (Carrell) unbearable so manages to escape to the local water park where he strikes up an unlikely friendship with the owner, the hilarious Sam Rockwell.

Django Unchained

Tarantino delved into the world of the Wild West and has produced an absolute gem.  Christoph Waltz deservedly bagged an Academy Award for his portrayal of Dr King Schultz but stellar performances from Jamie Foxx, Samuel L Jackson and Leonardo Di Caprio combined to give Tarantino another hit. A perfect soundtrack, over the top deaths and a scene that completely takes the mickey out of the Ku Klux Clan, what more could you want?


Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench proved the perfect duo in this heartwrenching true story about Philomena Lee and her quest to find the son that was taken her away from her over fifty years ago. Dame Judi gives a faultless performance as the compassionate Philomena alongside Coogan's grumpy portrait of journalist, Martin Sixsmith. It's very hard not to like this film as the unbelievable truth of the story stuns you between the tears and the laughter.


I've never been the biggest Sci-Fi fan but Gravity simply blew me away. If there was ever a film that is mandatory to see at the cinema, this is it. Appreciated best on the biggest screen and in 3D, Alfonso Cuaron used revolutionary visual effects creating an authenticity unlike any other film I've seen. Sandra Bullock continued to show her versatility as she is our only companion in a film centred around isolation, desperation and determination. One thing is for sure, I don't want to go into space!

The Kings of Summer

Stand By Me is one of my favourite ever films so I approached The Kings of Summer with excitement but also with trepidation after various comparisons between the two. They are certainly worthy as this indie film captures a coming of age tale, as three teens decide to escape family life and build a home in the woods. The cast are simply perfect from the rebellious Joe, played by future star, Nick Robinson to his stern but loving father, portrayed by Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman.  Try it, you''l love it.

Saving Mr Banks

For the first time on the big screen, cinemagoers got to see Walt Disney brought to life and who better to do it than Tom Hanks. It was very hard to dislike Hanks' depiction of the man behind the mouse and likewise it was hard not to become wrapped up in the magic of Mary Poppins. Emma Thompson expertly played the detestable Pamela Travers as we are swept away with the iconic music played to her by the Sherman brothers. A fascinating insight into the making of a Hollywood classic this was one of 2013's feel good films.
“This is what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again, and again, and again. Let me prove it to you.” -Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, Saving Mr Banks

Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen brought us the unique but charming Midnight in Paris in 2011 but it is Blue Jasmine that really shows us there is life in the 78 year old yet. Cate Blanchett as Jasmine is unequivocally the best thing about the film, a performance you can get lost in with her chaos, insecurities and instability. San Francisco provides a gorgeous backdrop to the life of the fallen socialite, complimented brilliantly by Sally Hawkins as Jasmine's innocent sister.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty avoids being pretentious and annoying, it sweeps you off your feet and takes you on an adventure you didn't know you needed. A unique concept that brings Walter's daydreams to life provide surreal but funny moments, in particular a Benjamin Button spoof. Directed and starring Ben Stiller, the film is a giant epiphany to throw caution to the wind as he's sacked from his job at Life magazine, it's time to turn life into an adventure.

The Heat

Perhaps a bit of curveball to some but this for me was the funniest film of the year and I actually preferred this to Paul Feig's previous film, Bridesmaids. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are the perfect comedy duo as they aim to bring down one of Boston's biggest drug rings. Slapstick comedy, biting one liners and impressive action mean this is a comedy full of big belly laughs.

Honourable mentions: Frozen, The Impossible, Mud, Iron Man 3, This is the End

Friday, 8 November 2013

Gravity- why you should see it

Some films don't live up to their hype, leaving you underwhelmed but Gravity certainly doesn't.

Last month I was lucky enough to attend the LFF IMAX screening of the film introduced by director, Alfonso Cuarón. He joked about the need for sick bags as you're taken on the intensest of space. However, the film isn't typical of the sci-fi genre, it isn't about aliens, starships and galactic battles. This is a story about isolation, desperation and determination, an event that could happen. Those who don't like Sci-Fi should not dismiss Gravity. 

Source: the guardian

The film tells the story of astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) who finds herself struggling to survive after an accident on her first space engineering mission alongside the experienced Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). Bullock shines in a tricky role where she is the audiences' only companion for the majority of the film. She portrays the panic and desperation expertly but also there's a humanity to Stone as we more learn about her backstory. I'm in no doubt that Bullock will be nominated for an Academy Award but she'll have stiff competition from Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) and Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks).   
"You should see the sun shining on the Ganges. It's amazing."- Matt Kowalski (George Clooney)
Whilst the story is entertaining, this film is predominately about the visuals. This is a film that begs to be seen on an IMAX screen or at least in 3D. I've never been a huge fan of 3D  feeling it rarely adds much to a film. Nonetheless, do try and see it in the 3D. The cinematography and visual effects are simply stunning with dazzling, sweeping shots of earth next to the chasm of space. The realism Cuarón has created from the attention to detail with the anti-gravity to the authenticity of the setting is astounding. This is a film that is as flawless as they come. Gravity is not only one of the best films I've ever seen but undoubtedly the best looking film. 
Source: impawards
From start to finish, Gravity is an intense film that will have your gripping the arm rest as you become absorbed in the story and mesmerised by the spectacle.  You won't be checking your watch, you won't want to go to the toilet and it will most probably but you off a career as an astronaut. At only 90 minutes long this is cinema at its finest.
Don't miss Gravity whilst it is at the cinema. This is one of the those films that needs to be seen on the big screen to do it justice. No film has made me sit in awe as much as Gravity. Believe the hype. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mrs Robinson, Buzz Lightyear and Danny Zuko: Movies and Music

Soundtracks can so often make a film.  In some cases the music becomes synonymous to the movie rather than the artist. When your hear that song you can picture the scene perfectly. Stuck in the Middle With You, conjures up the image of Mr Blonde dancing in Reservoir Dogs and Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head takes you to the bicycle scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. So plug in your speakers, turn up the volume and get comfortable as I take a look at some of the best ever movie soundtracks.

The Graduate

If Mrs Robinson didn't manage to seduce you then Simon and Garfunkel most certainly did. The Mike Nichols' film, features songs solely from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel that have contributed to make The Graduate so iconic. The Sound of Silence is used on three separate occasions in the film and most memorably plays over the classic bus scene at the end. Nevertheless, the song most associated with the 1967 comedy is of course, Mrs Robinson. Paul Simon's working title for the song was actually Mrs Roosevelt, a tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt but it was changed to the known version for The Graduate. 


The story of Grease isn't exactly a good moral lesson and it may have one of the most surreal endings but there is no doubting that it has a classic soundtrack. The film includes some incredibly catchy upbeat tunes such as Greased Lightning, You're The One That I Want and Summer Lovin. A trio that you can be sure to hear in a Grease Megamix at your next family wedding. Nonetheless, one of my favourites is perhaps the most underrated, There Are Worse Things I Can Do sung by Stockard Channing. Grease may not be everyones' cup of tea but perhaps it is the soundtrack that makes the film rather than the story.


Nora Ephron's Michael didn't get the most positive reviews from the critics but the soundtrack is certainly worth listening to.  The film stars John Travolta as an angel that isn't particularly angelic and Sir Terry Wogan once stated that he loved the film but loved the soundtrack more. Singers such as Randy Newman, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin bring a charm to the film but it is Bonnie Rait's Feels Like Home that steals the show. The song, written by Randy Newman, was originally featured in his musical, Faust.  Rait's rendition can be heard below with Newman on the piano.

Midnight Cowboy

Interestingly, Bob Dylan wrote the song, Lay Lady Lay, for the Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman classic but another song was chosen, Everybody's Talkin' by Harry Nilsson. The song is played many times throughout the film and was listed as number 20 in the American Film Institute's top 100 movie songs.  In a biography on director, John Schlesinger, it was stated:
"one cannot imagine Midnight Cowboy now without Everybody's Talkin'."
Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is a film that follows a journey, an extraordinary life of an an extraordinary American. Consequently, the music matches perfectly to the moments in Gump's life from fighting in Vietnam and discovering Elvis Presley to running across the country. It's a love letter to American music with songs from Elvis, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, The Supremes and The Beach Boys.

Singin' in the Rain

I wanted to stick a classic musical into the mix and for me they don't come better than Singin' In The Rain. Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds treat us to a musical masterpiece with Good Morning and Make Em' Laugh but there is of course one song and scene that really stands out. Gene Kelly disregards his umbrella and mesmerises the audience as he splashes and sings he way through one of the greatest ever movie scenes.

Toy Story

There are some modern animated films that have great soundtracks including Shrek, Monsters Inc and Cars but the Toy Story trilogy stands head and shoulders above them all. Randy Newman's comforting and jolly You've Got a Friend In Me works wonderfully in accompanying the relationship between Andy and Woody but where he really excels is in the songs that strike a melancholic tone. Strange Things shows Woody struggling with the arrival of Buzz Lightyear and I Will Go Sailing No More plays as Buzz realises he isn't a real spaceman.

"I have had power. I was respected. But not anymore
 And I've lost the love to the one whom I adored" 
 -Strange Things
The final film saw Newman pick up an Academy Award for We Belong Together and The Gypsy Kings spanish version of You've Got A Friend In Me also featuredHowever, it is Toy Story 2 that steals the show when it comes to music. Newman penned When She Loved Me, sung by Sarah McLachlan. Disney Pixar had the bravery in a children's film to play the whole song. The sad tune combined with the story of Jessie's relationship with her former owner makes for a poignant and emotional scene.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

This was a choice by @JulietaLucca who believes that Moon River by Audrey Hepburn is the most iconic song in movie history. Henry Mancini wrote the song specifically for Hepburn but in a post production meeting, a studio executive suggested the first thing they needed to do was get rid of the song. Hepburn protested, 'Over my dead body' and thus the song remained.  Gladly she stood firm and Moon River went on to win a Grammy and Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.

The Lion King

Tim Rice is one of the best living lyricists and this was highlighted in several Disney movies of the 1990s. The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin are rich with some of the wittiest and catchiest tunes. Alan Menken wrote the melody for the cheesy A Whole New World which was originally titled "The World At Your Feet" but Rice came on board and changed it. He worked alongside Elton John with the music for The Lion King in which Can You Feel The Love Tonight won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, although the film's producers initially intended the song be a duet sung by Timon and Pumba. The quality of the music in The Lion King is further emphasised with the global success of the stage show. Additionally, a Broadway production of Aladdin  is currently in production and is expected to open at the New Amsterdam Theatre in 2013.

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer was a surprise hit when it was released with its original and charming take on the romantic comedy. I'd argue it has one of the best soundtracks of the last decade with The Smiths, Regina Spektor, Simon and Garfunkel and The Temper Trap. Nonetheless, it is the upbeat Hall and Oates hit, You Make My Dreams, that sticks in the mind as Joseph Gordon Levitt stars in a grand musical number on the street.

I realise there are many other films with amazing soundtracks but these are just a few that have made their mark. Leave a comment below to let me know your favourite.

My next blog post will look at some of the best movie scores ranging from The Big Country and The Magnificent Seven to The Rock and Disney's Up, so make sure you visit soon and follow me on Twitter @sam_batty.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Curious Case of Blackburn Rovers

Put bluntly, Blackburn Rovers is a circus. A gruesome circus where in the early days the audience yelped but nobody listened.  The critics derided the fans but ignored the ringmasters. For over two years the Ewood Park outfit has seen more twists and turns than Eastenders and most would suggest that Peggy Mitchell could do a better job than 'Global Advisor', Shebby Singh.

Now I like fried chicken as much as the next person but chicken farmers should not be running a football club. They took over Rovers promising the Champions League and David Beckham but fans ended up with the Championship and David Goodwillie. The nightmare began with the nonsensical  sacking of Sam Allardyce. A manager that had the respect of the players and fans, regarded as one of the safest pair of hands to keep a club in the Premier League. Why sack such a manager and why replace him with the first team coach, Steve Kean?

Kean came in and found moderate success in the early stages. Sadly, John Williams, Tom Finn and several others of the highly respected staff members left the club. Dangerously, these people have never been properly replaced.  Despite later press reports fans got behind the manager but as the season came to crunch time, Rovers found themselves in a relegation battle. The signs were worrying but the Lancashire club managed to stay up thanks largely to the points amassed earlier in the season under Allardyce.

The nightmare really kicked in the following season and Kean remained in charge. The Scot compared various signings to top quality players: David Goodwillie was a young Wayne Rooney, Bruno Ribeiro was Dennis Irwin and Myles Anderson (now playing for Exeter) was the next Chris Smalling. Anderson had previously played just once for Aberdeen and in the end never played for Rovers. Fans could only laugh at Kean's comparisons but it didn't end there. The season started badly yet the Venkys couldn't see the need to replace the struggling Kean. A routine appeared where the team would lose several games and then a win would come along papering over the cracks. Fans could see what was happening, they shouted and no one listened. There was only one way Rovers were going. They protested and many in the media laughed. It wasn't until the Bolton game in December that the frustrations of Rovers fans bubbled over perhaps too much when Kean was barraged with abuse. Finally, the media took notice. They ignored the ridiculous owners and the hapless Kean, they chastised the fans. Kean became the victim and Blackburn fans the villains. Other Premier League managers rallied around Kean, berating the fans.

This was a nightmare where you shout for help but nobody can hear you. It seemed everyone was against the fans because of that one game.  A few national journalists could see the fans' plight. Admirably, the Lancashire Telegraph, made the bold move to call for Kean's sacking on their front page. They stood up for the fans, they could see what was happening. It was clear those who followed Rovers closely could see disaster unfolding but too many on Sky Sports and in the national press cherry picked incidents to criticise Rovers' fans but ignore the bigger picture of Venkys and Kean. Arguably, by sympathising with Kean it kept him in a job and contributed to Rovers relegation in May 2012. One interview in January 2012 Kean suggested he was getting 500 letters a day of support, had the support of other managers and told the concerned MP, Jack Straw, to focus on gritting the roads. He blindly chose to ignore the fans, a community. He was commended for his dignity but the dignified thing would have been to resign.

Blackburn aren't a fashionable club and they certainly aren't media darlings. For many of these fans, football is their lives, their hard earned wages go on season tickets and travel to away games. Kean was termed 'unsackable', fans felt helpless, hopeless and tired. They had spent so long shouting about the threat of relegation and their fears' were realised. On a rainy evening at Ewood Park, the former Premier League winners lost to Wigan and dropped into the Championship. Kean stood on the touchline, a lonely figure who had brunted both protests against him and his bosses. Could it get much worse?

Shebby Singh, a Malaysian pundit,  arrived in the summer after a relegation under the title 'Global Advisor'. He wasn't a fan of Steve Kean and this was most prominent in a Q & A with Rovers' fans. One fan joked:
'I'm a liar. I'm a suck up. I know nothing about football and I'm half Scottish. Can I have a job?' 
Singh replied,
'I'm very sorry that position has been filled.'

He clearly wanted to become popular with the fans and achieved this to an extent with the ousting of Kean and the signing of Jordan Rhodes. Nonetheless, these two positives are completely overshadowed with Singh's ineptitude. His interviews are embarrassing, his opinion of himself is inflated and the way he has disposed of the many managers has been cowardly and tactless.  You then have to combine his relationship with  two other board members, Derek Shaw and Paul Agnew. The latter has been a firm feature since the Indian takeover, the man that oversaw many PR disasters and an ally of Kean, was also weirdly promoted to board level. A boardroom battle: Shebby versus Shaw and Agnew has contributed significantly to the chaos at the Ewood circus. It seems like a pathetic competition between the two sides on who can win the affection of the Venkys.

This infighting has lead to the chop for several managers and has seen Rovers plummet into a second successive relegation fight. It now looks likely that they will stay up but three years ago Rovers' fans would never have imagined they'd be celebrating just missing the drop into League One. The club needs a complete clear out from top to bottom. Singh, Shaw and Agnew need to leave and experienced football administrators need put at the top to run the club. Is this really likely to happen though? Very few decisions Venkys have made make sense.  The best thing for Blackburn Rovers, a football league founder, would be to rid themselves of Venkys completely.

Fans are fighting for their club with the action group working hard to reveal the real truth behind the madness. This is a time for fans to be unified, to come together to save Blackburn Rovers. Fan ownership is one option with the creation of the Rovers Trust. The question that begs to be answered is will Venkys ever listen and will they want to sell? Singh stupidly suggested that those interested in purchasing the club couldn't even run a bar never mind a football club.  Another silly comment.

There are so many stories regarding Rovers that I haven't touched on including agents, transfers, players and also the role of the FA. Is the fit and proper persons test purely financial? Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that I wouldn't wish the disaster at Rovers on any football club. When will the circus leave town?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Mike Wazowkski, Mary Poppins and Star Wars: The Future of Disney

It may have all started with a mouse but the next couple of years see monsters, a snow queen, wookies and even Walt himself come to the big screen. When looking back at Disney's output over the last twenty years you don't have to look very hard to find quality. Since teaming up with Pixar back in 1995 for Toy Story, the animation powerhouse have never looked back and their ambition has only grown further. Titles such as Up, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc have become iconic, quotable films that appeal to both children and grown-ups.

Over the next couple of years Walt Disney Pictures have some of the most exciting films to hit the box office. Animation magic, live action adventures and even a biopic,  pepper an exciting release schedule that every moviegoer will be relishing. So pop on your Mickey ears, grab your lightsaber and take your spoonful of sugar as we explore the future of Disney's releases.

Monsters University

It's 12 years since Monsters Inc was released and so its prequel is anticipated with excitement by various ages. Billy Crystal and John Goodman return as Mike and Sully in Monsters University, a look into the college antics of the Monster world and the formation of Hollywood's greatest monster friendship. Some may argue that Disney are being lazy by doing a prequel but can you honestly blame them? Fans fell in love with Monsters Inc and the demand for more is certainly there. Will Monsters University replicate the success of the Toy Story series or will it be a disappointment like Cars 2?

The Lone Ranger

In the last couple of years Walt Disney Pictures have produced two huge flops in John Carter and Tron: Legacy but they'll be hoping The Lone Ranger won't see tumbleweed in the cinema foyer. Director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, Gore Verbinski takes on the challenge of bringing the 1950's Western TV series to the big screen.  Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Armie Hammer lead a strong cast and the trailer suggests this is a jam packed action film with explosions aplenty. Perhaps Pirates of the Caribbean in the Wild West?


A few weeks ago Disney announced their decision to cease making hand drawn animations that made the studio so iconic. It seems the CGI route is the way forward. In 2010 viewers were treated to the  Rapunzel adaptation, Tangled and in late 2013 Frozen will be released. A comedy much like Tangled, it will be based around the classic story of the Snow Queen filled with music written by Book of Mormon lyricist, Robert Lopez.

Saving Mr Banks

This film, to use a well know phrase, sounds supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. A PG-13 live action feature that I am  incredibly excited about. Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney in a true story that follows his efforts to persuade Mary Poppin's author, P.L. Travers, to allow him to take the story to Hollywood. Emma Thompson stars as the Poppin's author as Disney travels across the globe in a ten year pursuit against stubborn Travers. This is the first time Walt Disney has been properly portrayed in cinema and with huge acting heavyweights behind it this is one of the most interesting and intriguing films to come out of the studio in a long time.
The Muppets...Again

"It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights..."After the success of The Muppet Movie they're back again and this time with an even better cast. Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Christoph Waltz,  and many more are teaming up with the classic Henson creations. James Bobin returns to direct and in even better news Bret McKenzie is back again to write the songs.

Star Wars

A huge gamble for Disney as they take on one the most popular and loved franchises ever. JJ Abrams has been given the task to direct Star Wars VII, a direct sequel to George Lucas' original trilogy. Big name original stars are set to return including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. Due for release in 2015 many will apprehensive of Star Wars getting the Disney treatment but so far all the signs are positive. With plans to release a new Star Wars film from 2015 onwards, lets just hope Donald Duck and co don't make an appearance.

Inside Out

Inside Out was officially titled at Cinemacon last week with Up and Monsters Inc director, Pete Docter taking the reigns. Set for US release on 19th June 2015, according to Pixar, "the inventive new film will take you to a place that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen: the world inside the human mind." This sounds like another ambitious project from Disney Pixar that they believe will be unlike anything we've ever seen.


Disney isn't holding back on its Science Fiction with a project inspired by Tomorrowland, an area of their theme parks. Ratatouille and The Incredibles director, Brad Bird, is behind the lens in this mysterious picture with George Clooney and Hugh Laurie confirmed to star. Clooney is rumoured to be playing an inventor who creates a girl robot played by rising star Raffey Cassidy.

The Good Dinosaur

Another Pixar release for the next couple of years is The Good Dinosaur, a story about herbivore dinosaurs.  Disney's last venture into the Pre-historic world was the 2000 movie, Dinosaur, but John Lasseter suggests it's going to be very different. "It's a very funny story about a certain way of life that a young dinosaur has trouble fitting into and he ends up going on a quest. He kind of messes up and he has to put everything right by going on this quest and on that quest he meets our character that is an outcast from society too and so the two of them form this bond and it becomes this unique kind of story..." 

Finding Dory

Eventually after years of begging by Ellen DeGenres, Finding Nemo is getting a sequel. The film titled, Finding Dory will follow the forgetful fish voiced by DeGeneres:
"I have waited for this day for a long, long, long, long, long, long time," "I'm not mad it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating `Toy Story 16.' But the time they took was worth it. The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It's got a lot of heart, it's really funny, and the best part is -- it's got a lot more Dory."
Like Monsters University, this is a film that will have a huge audience. I'm not bemoaning the fact that its another sequel, I like many are excited to see the characters return and Dory get the screen time she deserves. 

Walt Disney Pictures are showing a lot of ambition with a diverse range of styles, stories and new ventures.  So which Disney project are you most excited about. Why not leave a comment below or vote in the poll? 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Anyone for a trailer?

The very best film trailers seduce moviegoers, leave them begging for more, ensuring that a trip to the cinema is a must. Film distributors have jumped on this even further with the recent dominance of teaser trailers before the full length trailer. It often seems that you've seen half the film before it's even hit the cinema.

These past few weeks have seen trailers released for some of 2013's biggest and most anticipated films. So lets look towards the summer as we mingle with Jay Gatsby, Clark Kent, Mike Wazowski and a guy named Alan.

The Great Gatsby
"Gatsby, he had an extraordinary sense of hope but I had the uneasy feeling that he was guarding secrets."
Visually and musically this is one of the best trailers I've ever seen. Director, Baz Luhrmann teases us with a tantalising tour of West and East Egg and the bright lights of Manhattan.  Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire lead a stellar cast to what must be one of the hottest soundtracks going. Frank Ocean, Florence Welch, Beyonce and of course the ubiquitous Emeli Sande are just a few of the big names that can be heard on what promises to be one of the most stylish films of 2013.

Release date: 16th May

Man of Steel

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Not it's another reboot of the Superman franchise. Nonetheless, the Man of Steel trailer does look pretty good. The new franchise is in good hands with Zack Snyder (300 and Watchmen) in the director's chair and Christopher Nolan involved in both the story and production. Iconic images with Henry Cavill adopting the Superman pose combined with appearances from Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Russell Crowe (Jor-El) and Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent) has got many buzzing so lets hope it lives up to the hype. 

Release date: 14th June

The Hangover: Part lll

The first Hangover instalment took us all by surprise, a fresh, laugh out loud original comedy with various scene stealing performances from Alan played by Zack Galifianakis. Sadly the sequel copied the same premise of the first film but moved it to Bangkok and it's success wasn't replicated. Nonetheless, the trailer for the final chapter ignores the concepts used in the first two films and looks to be packed with hilarious moments. Alan and Mr Chow take centre stage with scenes that involve gliding over Vegas and the decapitation of a giraffe. 
"My names's Alan and I bought a giraffe!"

Release date: 24th May

Catching Fire

"Every revolution begins with a spark."
The Hunger Games became a phenomenon in 2012 gaining both critical and commercial success and thus Catching Fire is one of the most anticipated films of 2013.  The snapshot the teaser trailer provides looks like it it could well match up to the first film. Academy Award winner, Jennifer Lawrence returns in the lead role of Katniss Everdeen as do all other principal actors with exciting additions including, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Who wants to see it? I volunteer!

Release date: 22nd November

Lone Ranger

From the team that brought us the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise comes Disney's The Lone Ranger. Armie Hammer stars as title character and Johnny Depp as Tonto in this adaptation of the classic 1950's television series. The trailer paints a vivid picture of the Wild West with cowboys, saloons, trains and like most Johnny Depp films, Helena Bonham Carter. Fingers crossed it isn't a flop like Disney's 2012 release, John Carter. 
"Never take off the mask."

Release date: 9th August

The Conjuring

Director of Insidious, James Wan, brings us what looks to be the horror film of 2013 in The Conjuring. Based on the case files of paranormal investigators, Frank and Lorraine Warren, this film looks at one of their most disturbing cases. Creepy music boxes, eerie clapping hands and of course an old American house provide what looks to be one the jumpiest movies of the year. It isn't just about the frights though as this looks like a classy piece of film-making with great 1970s authenticity, an eye-catching poster that requires a double take and a cast lead by the exceptional, Vera Farmiga.

Release date: 19th July

Star Trek Into Darkness

Another franchise but in a good way not in a Scary Movie way, sees J J Abrams take on the worshipped Star Trek series. Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Zoe Zaldana and, what looks to be a brilliant baddy, in Benedict Cumberbatch, appear in what looks to be one of the biggest films of the year.

Release date: 2nd May

What trailer caught your eye the most? Let me know by leaving a comment below. 

There are some really exciting films coming out in 2013 including, The Bling Ring, The Counsellor, The World's End, Pacific Rim and Don Jon. I'll take a look at some of these films and also a in depth look at various future releases from Walt Disney Pictures in future blog posts so make sure to visit again. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

My tips for the 2013 OSCARS

Best Film

This is a tricky one as there has been such a a high quantity of quality films. I would be more than happy for Les Misérables to take the gong but for me I hope and believe Ben Affleck's 'Argo' wins Best Picture. A fast paced, intense film with a fascinating story built around real events set in a authentic late 70's period.


Zero Dark Thirty
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Silver Linings Playbook
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi

Best Actor

Hugh Jackman was phenomenal as Jean Valjean and on another year I feel he may have taken the award for the Best Actor. Likewise, I also really enjoyed Denzel Washington's portrayal of a drunken pilot in 'Flight'. Nonetheless, two time Best Actor winner, Daniel Day Lewis, should make history tonight for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, in Spielberg's biopic, 'Lincoln'. Day Lewis' performance is phenomenal, you forget your watching Lewis and simply become immersed into the character of Lincoln.


Daniel Day Lewis- Lincoln
Bradley Cooper- Silver Linings Playbook
Denzel Washington- Flight
Joaquin Phoenix- The Master
Hugh Jackman- Les Misérables

Best Actress

This is one of the toughest calls. Jennifer Lawrence has enjoyed lots of success at awards ceremonies in the past month with her brilliant performance in 'Silver Linings Playbook' but so has Emmanuelle Riva for her role in French film, 'Amour'. Nonetheless, you then have to add Jessica Chastain into the equation for her commanding role in Kathryn Bigelow's, 'Zero Dark Thirty'. Which way will it go? I'm punting for Lawrence.

Jessica Chastain- Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence- Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva- Amour
Quvenzhané Wallis- Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts- The Impossible

Best Director

Only one choice for me and that is, Ang Lee. Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi, has written a story that seems incredibly difficult to direct well on the big screen. Nonetheless, Lee does this with perfection. Phenomenal visuals bring the tiger called Richard Parker is brought to life as does the relationship with Pi. They embark on a stormy voyage with phenomenal cinematography and editing that certainly deserves OSCARS success.
Ang Lee- Life of Pi
Michael Haneke- Amour
Benh Zeitlin- Beasts of the Southern Wild
David O. Russell- Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg- Lincoln

Best Supporting Actor

Tommy Lee Jones would be a more than worthy winner for his depiction of Thaddeus Stevens in 'Lincoln'. Nonetheless, I hope and believe Christoph Waltz will get his second OSCAR for his humorous and less villainous performance (compared to his role in Inglorious Basterds) as Dr. King Schultz in Tarantino's, 'Django Unchained'.


Alan Arkin- Argo
Robert De Niro- Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman- The Master
Tommy Lee Jones- Lincoln
Christoph Waltz- Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress

I can only see this going one way and rightly so. Whilst Sally Fields was exceptional as Mary Todd Lincoln, Anne Hathaway's portrayal of Fantine in 'Les Misérables' is the firm favourite.  With less than 40 minutes of screen time, Hathaway provides a raw and emotional performance, pinnacling with 'I Dreamed a Dream' that has left audiences covered in goosebumps and reaching for the tissues.


Sally Fields- Lincoln
Jacki Weaver- Silver Linings Playbook
Helen Hunt- The Sessions
Anne Hathaway- Les Misérables
Amy Adams- The Master