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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

October 6th 2014 23:15


To be honest, I wasn't expecting a lot from this latest incarnation of TMNT. I'm not a huge fan of director Michael Bay's work and I had fears he was going to ruin some cherished childhood memories. And I was right.

But that's not to say Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a bad film. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. It simply wasn't the Turtles of my childhood. And that's OK. Yes, the heroes in a half shell look very different to the ones I grew up with - they're a lot bigger and meaner-looking - but I understand the need to update the franchise for a new generation.

Plot-wise, it's somewhat of an origin story, and we find out exactly how the Turtles came to be. Naturally, the evil Foot Clan is at work in New York, which is how the Turtles come into contact with Channel 6 reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox) and her cameraman Vern (Will Arnett). It soon transpires that fearsome Foot Clan leader The Shredder is working with someone close to April to spread a deadly virus throughout the city in order to seize control by offering mutagen extracted from the Turtles as a cure. Many battles - and an awesome impromptu lift rap - ensue.

All in all, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a fun film that reinvigorates the franchise. And if you watch it at a drive-in with a good friend and box of popcorn, like I did, you'll be creating more good memories that involve Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo. And Splinter. Can't forget Splinter.
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MALEFICENT

August 6th 2014 01:19


A retelling of the classic Disney story Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent stars Angelina Jolie as the title character - a powerful faery who acts as the protector of a magical land called the Moors.

Against all odds, Maleficent falls in love with a human named Stefan (Sharlto Copley), but the relationship turns sour when Stefan's ambition to become king turns him into a ruthless bastard who will stop at (almost) nothing to get what he wants. The pair become arch enemies and when Stefan fathers a daughter named Aurora, Maleficent, now bitter and twisted, puts a curse on the child that states she will die on her 16th birthday. However, as Aurora grows up, Maleficent's heart softens and she begins to regret cursing her.

Jolie is absolutely fantastic. She infuses Maleficent with real pathos and her performance is consistent and nuanced. Newcomer Elle Fanning does a good job as Aurora and Copley is a convincing madman. Aesthetically, the film is beautiful. The Moors is full of cool creatures and the special effects are slick.

All in all, Maleficent is a worthy successor to Sleeping Beauty. Walt would be proud.
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INTERVIEW: BRIAN SIPE

June 10th 2014 06:21

THE SFX FACTOR

With credits that include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and both JJ Abrams Star Trek movies, it’s no wonder award-winning make-up effects artist Brian Sipe was a key player in bringing Mystique to the big screen for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

What made you want to become a special-effects make-up artist?
Growing up, I was one of those kids who always watched Godzilla, King Kong, Star Trek – all that stuff. And I had a fascination with magic. I think I got fascinated with the thought of the illusion and fooling somebody.

Tell us about your job on X-Men: Days of Future Past.
That was a great experience. The producers knew going in that they had Jennifer Lawrence, who had just come off Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook and was the frontrunner to win the Oscar. The last time she was Mystique [in 2011’s X-Men: First Class], I was told it took seven artists up to eight hours to do her make-up. And then it would take them two to three hours to clean her up at the end of the night. I mean, that’s 11 hours, not counting how much time they could shoot her during the day, so I think they figured, “We’ve got this hot actress and we need to tighten this up.”

How did you streamline the process?
By the time I got the call, the process of how we were going to move forward streamlining the make-up was already in motion. But then it came down to me to be like, “OK, we gotta make this faster and we gotta make it last all day so we have minimal touch-ups and we’re not holding up production.” I did countless tests with different make-up materials and we knocked it down to three artists, three-and-a-half hours on and 45 minutes to get her out at the end of the night.

What was Jennifer Lawrence like to work with?
Jennifer was great, a real trouper. We would go through three-and-a-half hours of make-up and she would still be smiling. We watched a lot of South Park and Family Guy… got us through the 4am call times. When we put Jen in make-up, a lot of the time we also put her stunt double, Renae Moneymaker, in make-up. She is also a sweetheart and was very patient with all that we did to her.

What’s your best piece of advice for any aspiring make-up effects artists?
Really make sure this is where your passion lies. If you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life, but you have to have the drive and passion to know this is really what you want. I’ve had a pretty fortunate career and good opportunities.

Finally, what’s your all-time favourite movie make-up?
I like Rob Bottin’s Darkness from Ridley Scott’s Legend [1985]. There’s something pretty epic about that design. It’s really simple, but it’s just done so well.
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SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)

February 12th 2014 01:25
Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, George Raft
WHEN Some Like It Hot was released in 1959, the ukulele was riding a second wave of popularity in America, largely due to influential television personality Arthur Godfrey’s on-air championing of the four-string instrument


[ Click here to read more ]
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THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

December 18th 2013 03:29


My six-word review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
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JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO (1990)

October 21st 2013 02:16

DIRECTOR: JOHN PATRICK SHANLEY
STARS: TOM HANKS, MEG RYAN, LLOYD BRIDGES, ROBERT STACK

[ Click here to read more ]
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FORMED in 1978, British synth-pop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, or simply OMD, had some huge hits in the 1980s and influenced the likes of Radiohead and The Killers. The original line-up of Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys, Martin Cooper and Malcolm Holmes hadn’t played together since they supported Depeche Mode at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in 1988 when they reunited for an extensive tour of Europe in 2007. New to Blu-ray, OMD’s concert at London’s Hammersmith Apollo sees the band in top form. The first half of the show features a complete performance of the group’s seminal Architecture & Morality album, while the second part is devoted to a greatest hits set that includes fan favourites such as ‘Enola Gay’, ‘Locomotion’ and ‘If You Leave’. The musicianship is as good, if not better, than ever and because the event was filmed in HD, the Blu-ray transfer looks fantastic. There’s also some quality bonus material on offer, including interviews with the band.
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LILLYHAMMER: SEASON ONE

June 24th 2013 01:06

DIRECTOR: VARIOUS
STARS: STEVEN VAN ZANDT, TROND FAUSA, MARIAN SAASTAD OTTESEN, STEINAR SAGEN

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OBLIVION

April 21st 2013 04:33


DIRECTOR: Joseph Kosinski
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LOOPER

February 21st 2013 05:43

DIRECTOR: RIAN JOHNSON
CAST: JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, BRUCE WILLIS, EMILY BLUNT, PIERCE GAGNON


[ Click here to read more ]
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