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Trips of the Week

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 06/07/2014 - 16:20

By Stuart O'Connor

Each week, the Screenjabber inbox gets overloaded with emails containing new film trailers, or clips of films or upcoming Blu-ray/DVD/VoD releases. Here are a few of those trailers and clips (hence trips) that caught our eye ...

Earth to Echo

Let's Be Cops

Movie Preview Show

Sex Tape clip: I Was Thinking

Hercules: The cast comes to London

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INTERVIEW | Film composer Frank Ilfman

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 01/07/2014 - 18:36

Screenjabber's Mark Searby and Stuart O'Connor chat with Saturn award-winning composer Frank Ilfman, the man behind the brilliant score for Big Bad Wolves, Rabies ... and many more.

You can listen to and download the interview ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Men at Play

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 01/07/2014 - 17:13

Throughout cinema history, the "group of guys misbehaving" trope has been visited often – whether this is through the medium of school/college kids searching for sex, or middle-aged men behaving badly. The Stag, set for a digital release on July 7 and coming to Blu-ray and DVD from July 21, is the latest testosterone-heavy comedy to mine this seam so, to celebrate we’re taking a look at some of the best "man" films out there ...

Animal House (1978)
Directed by John Landis, National Lampoon’s Animal House follows a misfit group of fraternity members who challenge the dean of Faber College. Based on writer Harold Ramis and producer Ivan Reitman’s personal college experiences, the film’s cast is led by John Belushi as drunken degenerate Bluto, who leads his fellow frat members into all kinds of gross-out, tasteless but very hilarious antics.

Swingers (1996)
Doug Liman’s much-loved 1996 comedy-drama follows two single, unemployed actors living in Hollywood during the 1990s swing revival. Starring Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn (in his debut role), the former is pining over the loss of his long-term girlfriend, while the latter makes it his personal mission to teach his pal the swinging lifestyle (giving exposure to the term "wingman") amid Hollywood nightlife.

The Full Monty (1997)
Peter Cattaneo’s Sheffield-set comedy-drama stars Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy and Tom Wilkinson as unemployed men who decide to form a male striptease act in order to earn enough money to do something with their lives. The film’s title is a reference to a line of dialogue in the film where it is announced they will go "the full monty" – which translates to stripping all the way. The film’s use of Hot Chocolate’s classic You Sexy Thing helped earn this place among the most revered British films of the 90s.

American Pie (1999)
This naughty teen film – which has spawned three sequels – focuses on five male friends who make a pact to lose their virginity before their high school graduation. Forcing Jason Biggs and Seann William Scott (as scene-stealer Stifler) into the limelight, the film was a box-office smash with the film’s title referring to a particularly debauched scene whereby Biggs’ Jim is caught masturbating with a pie after being told how "third base" feels like "warm apple pie". Eugene Levy’s role as Jim’s father is also a highlight.

Wedding Crashers (2005)
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star as John and Jeremy, the two "wedding crashers" of the title who naughtily sneak into wedding parties in order to meet and bed women. During one particular wedding party (held by Christopher Walken’s US Secretary of the Treasury) the two meet and fall for his daughters Claire (Rachel McAdams) and Gloria (Isla Fisher).

Superbad (2007)
Greg Mottola’s Superbad, written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (responsible for 2013’s This Is the End), stars Jonah Hill, Michael Cera and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as teenagers who lament their poor social standing and, of course, their virginity. Obtaining a fake ID, Fogell (Mintz-Plasse) successfully buys alcohol for a party they were invited to by Emma Stone’s Jules. What ensues is a debauched night of drinking, drug-taking and sexual mishaps.

Role Models (2008)
Role Models stars Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott as two energy drink reps whose wild behaviour forces them to enrol in a community service program which sees them given the task with being role models to two kids. Showing they have hearts, and forging genuine affections for the kid they’re paired with, the two still manage to get up to no good during several raucous set-pieces – one standout scene taking place on a scouting trip.

The Hangover (2009)
The two films that followed it may have dipped in quality, but the first Hangover film was a stellar naughty comedy which saw a group of males (led by Bradley Cooper, alongside Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis) head to Las Vegas to celebrate their best friend’s wedding. Having a night to remember, they wake up the next morning to find they have forgotten almost everything about the night before – including why one of them is missing, why one of them has lost a tooth and why there is a tiger in their bathroom... 

The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)
Take a small-time E4 comedy series set in a fictional town in England and put it on the big screen and set it in Crete and apparently you get a recipe for blockbusting success. Obviously, this is down to writers Damon Beesley and Iain Morris and the Inbetweeners themselves: Will (Simon Bird), Simon (Joe Thomas), Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison). After completing their final year at school together, the four head on a party holiday where misadventures follow – as well as laughs. Lots of laughs.

The Stag (2014)
The Stag follows a group of males who attend an adventurous bachelor party weekend in Ireland, which takes some unexpected detours throughout. Led by Sherlock’s Andrew Scott, the laugh-out-loud comedy enabled him to showcase a softer side, playing the adorable, charming best man to Hugh O’Conor’s groom. Displaying a natural aptitude for comedy, Scott was roundly praised for his performance, and the film displays far more depth and heart than the average ‘bachelor weekend’ film.

• The Stag is released on digital platforms from July 7 and on Blu-ray and DVD from July 21, from Arrow Films

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 30/06/2014 - 06:13

Transformers: Age of Extinction is first 2014 movie to open to $100m

By Rich Matthews

With the summer box office running significantly behind summer 2013, the arrival of Michael Bay's fourquel Transformers: Age Of Extinction with the first $100m opening weekend of 2014 represents the season's best chance of recovery.

Internationally, the return of the Autobots was a mammoth success for studio Paramount, raking in more than than $200m – including the biggest opening ever in China of $90m – to post a worldwide opening of $301.3m. That puts it on course to challenge the previous Transformers entry Dark Of The Moon's $1bn-plus final total. How much of that success is to do with new star Mark Wahlberg is debatable, but Age Of Extinction is easily Wahlberg's career-best opening.

Coincidentally, the franchise's former leading man, Shia LaBeouf, was arrested for disorderly behaviour on the day of release. With no decent comers due out over the next month, Bay, Wahlberg and the Dinobots (new in this entry) will likely have the run of the box office that previous big 2014 releases, including Godzilla and X-Men: Days Of Future Past, would have given their eye teeth for.

Outside of Transformers, no one was bold enough to dish up any other wide releases to the slaughter, so the remaining nine of the top 10 was basically a carbon copy of last weekend. While Disney's Angelina Jolie fairytale revision Maleficent managed to cross the $200m mark with a gross of $8.2m at five, no other landmarks were crossed. Sony's 22 Jump Street held on at two, grossing $15.4m for a domestic total of $139.8m and worldwide tally of $194m, with DreamWorks' How To Train Your Dragon 2 also scoring a solid $13.1m for $121.8m US and $227.9m global, which is pacing behind the original, much like Kung Fu Panda 2 did a few years ago. AT four, Kevin Hart comedy Think Like A Man Too took $10.4m ($48.2m - $12m behind the original film at the same point two years ago).

Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys fell to six with $7.6m for a domestic tally of $27.3m, showing little sign of the hoped-for slow-burn for backers Warner Bros, which also saw its embattled Tom Cruise sci-fi actioner Edge Of Tomorrow fall to seven with $5.2m ($84.2m and $318.7m). The Fault In Our Stars tumbled even more at eight with $4.8m ($109.5m and $195m), X-Men: Days Of Future Past landing at nine with $3.3m ($223.4m and $712.7m) and Jon Favreau's Chef continued to simmer at 10, adding $1.7m to make its total $19.4m.

It's doubtful that Melissa McCarthy's latest, Tammy, will knock Optimus Prime off his perch next week, with the first possible hope coming from Fox's Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, which is currently garnering absolutely stellar early reviews. If that doesn't do it, then The Rock is waiting in the wings with Hercules on 25 July before Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy rocks up on 1 August.

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Screenjabber Podcast: Such a tasty treat

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 29/06/2014 - 14:30

Join Neil Davey, Mark Searby and host Stuart O'Connor for more film reviews and jolly japes as we take a look at a few of this week's UK cinema releases: The Golden Dream, Chef, Walking on Sunshine and Cold in July. Plus we take a quick peek at the newly-announced line-up for the Film4 FrightFest 2014.

You can listen to and download the podcast – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Screenjabber Games Pubcast: 2014 E3 Roundup

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 29/06/2014 - 12:04

Host Stuart O'Connor is joined by game journalists Steve Boxer and Nick Cowen – plus game PR and now a game-maker himself, Simon Byron – for a look back at this year's E3 show in Los Angeles. And Simon fills us in on his new Android game Up, Down, Left, Right.

You can listen to and download the podcast – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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Trips of the Week

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 29/06/2014 - 09:48

By Stuart O'Connor

Each week, the Screenjabber inbox gets overloaded with emails contaning new film trailers, or clips of films or upcoming Blu-ray/DVD releases. Here are a few of those trailers and clips (hence trips) that caught our eye ...

Dracula Untold Trailer (Universal Pictures)



Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Hanging Out clip


The Hundred Foot Journey trailer


The House of Magic trailer


Earth to Echo trailer


Shame The Devil trailer


Transformers: Age of Extinction "It Was Me" clip


Into The Storm trailer

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Interview | Director James Rouse talks Downhill

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 28/06/2014 - 06:31

Sometimes, the most enjoyable film experiences are the surprises. Downhill is a small, independent UK comedy movie that follows a group of four middle-aged men as they try to replicate a hike across the UK that they made in their youth. As the tagline eloquently puts it, it's a a road movie, without the road. Director James Rouse was kind enough to have a chat with Screenjabber's Peter deGraft-Johnson about the making of the film, and the life-saving qualities of ham sandwiches.

James, here's your starter for 10 – how did the idea for Downhill come about?
Well, I'm in my mid-40s, so the idea felt very personal to me. It's a rich emotional area to delve into, and the way the characters act is familiar to me, I've got friends who act in similar ways and I thought that it would make for a great film. We chose the coast to coast walk because it can bring out the best and worst in people, it's a very intense physical environment and you're very close to one another, tensions can run high quickly.

Which of the characters do you feel closest to? They all have their pros and cons…
I can definitely relate to Gordon's anxiety about providing for his family. I can empathise with him,  he's struggling to fulfil that role of alpha male, breadwinner and putting food on the table. Maybe that idea's outdated now, but it's still a very powerful idea, it's rich emotional area to delve into.

Was making the film a “fun” experience? Did you actually embark on the same hike that our team of intrepid explorers do in the film?
Yes, we did a couple of legs of the walk, and subsequently nearly died! We had a very small budget, so we practically survived just eating ham sandwiches. It was pretty funny actually, ham sandwiches saved us! We were even more poorly-equipped than Julien, the barely functioning alcoholic. Hiking around with all of our equipment probably wasn't too smart, but it was a great experience. I had so much fun making Downhill because it's a character driven piece about nothing really, it's just some guys going on a walk, but it's about what happens to the characters over the hour and a half of screen time.

As much as the performances in Downhill are to be admired (and they really are to be admired), you've also got some breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. Did you seek those out specifically, or was it a happy accident?
We were keen to follow the real coast to coast route across the Lake District, and all of the shots are from the route. I guess it was a happy accident, but it was a conscious decision to make sure we shot some beautiful scenes. Alex Melman, our cinematographer, did a great job on a shoestring budget.

Was it shot digitally, or on film? Also, where did the idea of having Gordon's son, Luke, act as the team's personal cameraman come from?
It was all shot digitally, but the Gordon's son idea came about basically through practicality. We had a very low budget and needed to a film technique that wasn't going to compromise the film, and we would have had much more control with digital than film. It was a creative solution to a practical problem, and in a lot of cases, restrictions can help creation.

Another thing the film manages to do so well is keep the laughs coming, it's got a great sense of juvenile humour right alongside the very adult troubles of the characters. How did that balance come about?
Adults do keep that side of themselves, but I think they bury it and try to forget about it. What better way to bring that back out again than with a hike with your old school friends, with added alcohol? When you've got a grown man throwing a full on, 6-year old's tantrum, you can't help but laugh, it is very funny.

Lastly, the closer. What's next for you?
I'm shooting a film called Monumental, set in Serbia, where there are towns that have erected statues to unconventional characters, role models instead of corrupt politicians or military figures. It's a comedy with heart, based on a true story, but it does deal with the war. It serves as a backdrop to the drama that happens in the film.

Can you tell us who they have statues of? Are they general celebrities, or footballers, or actors…?
Off the top of my head, I know there's Bob Marley, Rocky, Tarzan, Bruce Lee and Johnny Depp. There's loads more, it's a bizarre phenomenon, but it's really interesting.

Downhill is out now on DVD and on-demand

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 23/06/2014 - 07:28

Think Like A Man Too woos while Jersey Boys hits a bum note

By Rich Matthews

Star Kevin Hart and director Tim Story complete a trio of hits with sequel Think Like A Man Too opening to a cool $30m at the US box office this weekend. Even though that's less than the first film's $33.6m, it still cements Hart's status after Ride Along.

It certainly had no trouble fending off the weekend's other big opener, Clint Eastwood's adaptation of Broadway hit Jersey Boys, which could only drum together $13.5m to land at fourth for the weekend. Studio Warner Bros is talking a lot about its key older demographic not all flocking on opening weekend, but it will have to really sturdy legs to make any solid long-term dent in its budget ($40m).

Between the two sat last weekend's top two sequels, with 22 Jump Street busting a further $29m to take its home tally to a hefty $111.5m and it's global gross to $149.7m, followed by Dreamworks Animation's How To Train Your Dragon 2 with $25.3m, $95.2m domestic and $171.5m worldwide. Provided Dragon 2 can stay aloft, it does stand a chance of at least matching the original hit's $217.6m and $494.9m, but it's gonna be a marathon rather than the usual Hollywood dash.

In contrast, Jump Street is easily going to soar past 21 Jump Street's $138.5m and $201.6m, making it yet another hit for Jonah Hill (who also, coincidentally, lends his voice to Dragon 2, er, too) and a welcome comeback for the slightly floundering Channing Tatum. The top five was rounded out by Angelina Jolie in Disney's Maleficent, which officially became her biggest hit yet but crossing the $500m worldwide mark with $13m taking its domestic gross to $186m and its global cume to $521m.

Six to 10 pretty much plays out like a sliding scale of the same old faces of recent weeks, led by Tom Cruise in Doug Liman's Edge Of Tomorrow ($10.3m, $74.5m US, $292.8m global), then waning young adult weepy The Fault In Our Stars ($8.6m, $98.7m, $163.3m), Fox's franchise best X-Men: Days Of Future Past heading towards $700m worldwide ($6.2m, $216.8m, $692m), Jon Favreau dishing alternative laughs to the bombastic blockbusters in Chef ($1.8m, $16.9m) and stomping, roaring reboot Godzilla still desperately (and likely failing) to reach $200m in the US ($1.8m, $195m, $477.3m).

However, any current releases who think the future looks rosy may just have their hopes stomped on next weekend when Paramount's big bot blockbuster Transformers: Age Of Extinction looks set to obliterate all comers. With no big $400m hit arriving yet this summer, and with no real competition in its wake until Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes on July 11, Michael Bay's mega-sequel looks likely to become the biggest of the summer, and probably the year. Even solid counterprogramming by Warner Bros with Melissa McCarthy in Tammy probably won't make a dent in the Autobot's hide – by the time next big hope, Marvel's Guardian Of The Galaxy, rocks up on August 1, the Mark Wahlberg-starrer could already be staring down a billion bucks.

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Screenjabber Podcast: The fault in our cast

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Thu, 19/06/2014 - 21:42

Join Doug Cooper, Peter Johnson, Mark Searby and host Stuart O'Connor for reviews of what's new in UK cinemas this week: The Fault in Our Stars, 3 Days to Kill, The Art of the Steal, Camille Claudel, Chinese Puzzle and Jersey Boys. Go ahead, make our day and have a listen ...

You can listen to and download the podcast – or subscribe to it on iTunes ... plus you can follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

PubQuest: We're looking to take the Screenjabber Pubcast on the road, and want your input. Know a great pub in London we should visit to record the show? Drop us a line and let us know.

WriterQuest: We're seeking some more writers, particularly those who want to cover video games for us. Please get in touch if you're keen.

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