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PREVIEW: FrightFest Glasgow 2015

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 25/02/2015 - 12:01

By Garry McConnachie

This weekend, gore hounds and horror fiends will be descending on Glasgow to join in the annual Film4 FrightFest weekender celebrations.

With an eclectic selection of films and talent on display over the course of Friday 27 and Saturday 28 February, the appetites of those attending are sure to be satisfied.

Here we take a look at our most anticipated films of the festival.

First up is the European premiere of Chris Sparling's The Atticus Institute. The 70s-set shocker follows Dr Henry West (William Mapother), the founder of the institute, and his studying of telekinesis and ESP. However his tests are mysteriously shut down when subject Judith Winstead (Rya Kihlstedt) shows powers beyond even Dr West's comprehension.

In Marcus Nispel's The Asylum, hell is quite literally unleashed upon a group of unsuspecting teens when they decide to host an all-night party in a derelict building. The discovery of old vinyl records unwittingly leads the group to play them backwards but, unbeknown to them, doing so results in them fighting for their lives as they face an unspeakable horror.

Anything with Eli Roth connected to the production is bound to pique the interest of horror fans. The latest is the Roth-produced Clown, directed by John Watts. Here doting dad Kent is left standing in for a no-show clown at his son's birthday. Unfortunately for Kent, his costume turns out to be the skin of demon intent on turning whoever wears it into a crazed killer – and they can't take off the make-up, wig or big red nose. If only the demon had a tiny clown car for all his demon pals…

The Blair Witch Project is a classic the found footage sub-genre of horror. It spawned a raft of copycats – mostly inferior but, on occasion, something terrifying broke through the sea of mediocrity. Spanish directing duo Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza brought us the [Rec] series. The pair joined forces to direct the first two films in the franchise – both of which were superb. Plaza went solo for [Rec]3 and, for the most part, ditched the found footage approach for something more conventional. And fun. But less terrifying. Now it's Balaguero's turn with [Rec]4: Apocalypse and we return to the apartment of the first two films where reporter Angela is rescued and taken to an oil tanker for examination. But her hell on Earth is set to be dialled up to 11 as the demonic virus follows her on board.

Speaking of The Blair Witch Project, documentary The Woods gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how a little indie horror turned into a global phenomenon. With input from directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick, as well as recordings of auditions and pre-production tapes, this could be an intriguing and insightful glimpse behind the camera.

One of the most anticipated films of the weekend is sure to be Australian zom-com Wyrmwood, directed by Kiah Roach-Turner. It centres around mechanic Barry (Jay Gallagher), who goes searching for his sister after she is abducted by sinister gas mask-wearing soldiers who want to use her for flesh-eating experiments. Expect laughter, splatter and… KC and the Sunshine Band.

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Win a copy of The Judge on Blu-ray or DVD

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 24/02/2015 - 11:02

To celebrate the release of The Judge on Blu-ray and DVD from March 2, we’re giving THREE lucky winners the chance to get their hands on a copy of the film on Blu-ray or DVD.

The Judge stars two-time Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr (Chaplin, Tropic Thunder) and Oscar winner Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies, Crazy Heart) alongside Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, The Conjuring) and Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, Friday Night Lights).

In The Judge, Downey stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

The Judge will be available on Blu-ray and DVD from March 2, and both include a digital version of the movie with UltraViolet Digital Copy.

For a chance to win, just follow @Screenjabber on Twitter and tweet the following text:

Follow @Screenjabber and RT for a chance to win The Judge on Blu-ray or DVD. For an extra entry, LIKE the official Screenjabber Facebook page.

The competition will close at NOON on Sunday March 15, 2014. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

©2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 23/02/2015 - 10:38

Fifty Shades Of Grey shows stamina even while it suffers performance anxiety

By Rich Matthews

In a severe case of drooping performance, Universal's pseudo-erotica Fifty Shades Of Grey adaptation starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson fell hefty 73 per cent from its record-breaking Valentine's Day opening, to take a significantly lower $23.2m. However, that still means that the $40m-budgeted adaptation of EL James' bestseller has grossed $130.1m domestically, while also crossing the magic $400m mark globally with $410.6m.

The international business was less flaccid, declining 57 per cent while it remained number one in most of its markets. The Oscar ceremony traditionally (and ironically) tends to make a dent in Sunday evening cinema going in the US, so it's hardly surprising that the estimates are on the soft side. Contrary to the usual sequel fast tracking for a film like this, there are all sorts of rumoured complications slowing the production of the second book in the trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker, with author James demanding to write the script herself, and effectively losing the participation of original director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter, Saving Mr Banks' Kelly Marcel.

All three of the weekend's new releases failed to make much of an impression, with Kevin Costner/Maria Bello sports drama McFarland USA scoring the highest at number four with $11.3m, followed closely by Lionsgate's McG-produced high school comedy The DUFF with $11m. Meanwhile, the sequel to 2010's Hot Tub Time Machine (which starred John Cusack and grossed $50.3m in the US), limped to a seventh place finish with a paltry $5.8m. Expect it to be down the plughole by next week.

Sandwiched betwixt Grey's S&M and Costner's running team were Fox and Matthew Vaughn's comedy spy actioner Kingsman: The Secret Service ($17.5m, $67.1m US, $124.7m global), and Paramount's bona fide kids' hit The SpongBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water ($15.5m, $125.2m, $201.2m). Meanwhile Clint Eastwood's American Sniper ($9.7m, $319.6m, $406.2m) also crossed the $400m mark at six, while the Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending ($3.7m, $39.5m, $100.9m) at least limped past $100m worldwide, Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game ($2.6m, $83.9m, $160.8m) continued to impress, and Paddington ($2.3m, $67.7m, $221.9m) tightened its hold on a sequel outing.

Next weekend, Will Smith and Margot Robbie in grifter flick Focus could well unseat Grey from the top spot.

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 17/02/2015 - 19:31

Fifty Shades Of Grey sets Valentine's Day pulses racing while Kingsman kicks ass

By Rich Matthews

Over the four-day Presidents Day holiday weekend, Universal's adaptation of EL James BDSM romance novel Fifty Shades Of Grey easily won the weekend with a massive $81.7m, Friday through Sunday.

That's the second biggest February opening in history, narrowly behind the $83.8m for Mel Gibson's Passion Of The Christ, and easily the biggest Valentine's Day/President's Day gross ever. It's also the fourth-biggest opening for an R-rated movie, with the top R honour still going to 2003's The Matrix Reloaded, which posted an unadjusted $91.8m.

That means that Fifty Shades teased out $93m by end of play of Monday, mostly thanks to a 21 per cent spike in attendance on Valentine's Day itself to take $36.7m on Saturday. Internationally, Sam Taylor-Johnson's pulse-pounder also seduced its way to the biggest ever overseas opening for an R-rater, with $158m from 58 markets, which is also Universal's second best international opening after Fast & Furious 6's $160.3m. That leaves it's worldwide opening at a mighty $248.7m – a mammoth number when you consider it has no stars (sorry Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson) and only cost $40m to produce. With two more books in the saucy trilogy, Universal must be wetting its lips in anticipation of even more whip-cracking S&M bondage bucks in the coming years.

Luckily for Matthew Vaughn and Twentieth Century Fox, the perverse Mr Grey didn't stop Kingsman: The Secret Service from shooting its way to a three-day total $35.6m and a four-day tally of $41.8m, which is well ahead of industry predictions. Clearly it was the alternative choice on Valentine's Day as the ultra-violent Bond spy spoof also spiked a massive 47 per cent from Friday. Costing twice as much as Fifty Shades, it will never be as profitable as its fellow new release but could easily pass $150m provided it shows some stamina in the coming weeks.

Over the four days, The SpongeBob Movie almost matched Kingsman, taking $40 to grow its domestic tally to a pretty mighty $103.1m and $149.4m worldwide. American Sniper was more than $20m behind Squarepants with $19.5m, but it also blasted past the $300m mark by more than $7m at the same time, growing its global gross to $393.8m. Hanging on by its pointy-eared fingertips, Jupiter Ascending continued descending with $10.7m still only making its homegrown tally a non-stellar $33.8m and its worldwide figure $95.2m, so Warner Bros is unlikely to see any of its $176m investment recouped at this rate. It's fare to say that Andy and Lana Wachowski won't be handing that kind of budget again any time in the near future – not how fantastic they say that future is.

From five to 10, Paddington continued his quest to earn enough dollars to actually buy Peru ($5.4m, $63.6m US, $217.8m worldwide), Universal's Seventh Son continued to be the only film that could possibly make Jupiter Ascending look like a hit ($4.8m, $14.1, $97.7m), Benedict Cumberbatch heads towards the Oscar weekend with The Imitation Game tracking to crack $100m ($4.1m, $80.2m, $157.1m), Kevin Hart and Josh Gad proving to not be such a happy couple in The Wedding Ringer ($3.7m, $60m, $63.2m), and Paramount's found footage sci-fi Project Almanac looking ever harder to find ($3.3m, $20.1m, $23.5m).

Next weekend we have to pin all hopes of Fifty Shades getting stripped of its hot spot by Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (which it won't) or Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Focus in two weeks (again, probably not).

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The EE BAFTAs Red Carpet 2015

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 09/02/2015 - 13:37

Highlights from the 2015 EE BAFTA Awards red carpet, and Stephen Fry’s "Fry Cam".

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 09/02/2015 - 09:55

SpongeBob sequel stops Jupiter Ascending and knocks American Sniper off perch

By Rich Matthews

A decade after his first cinematic outing, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water made a somewhat unexpected splash at the box office this weekend, finally knocking American Sniper off its high vantage point at the top spot by grossing $56m. That means you can expect to see even more of the Squarepants franchise in the very near future – and by opening on the same weekend as The Lego Movie last year, it cements February as the launch month for less conventional animated fare.

Internationally, the occupants of Bikini Bottom were outpacing the 10-year-old first movie by a factor of five, taking $26.8 million for an early worldwide tally just past $80m. It easily saw off the weekend's other two big releases, the Wachowskis' bloated sci-fi spectacular Jupiter Ascending ($19m) and fantasy flick Seventh Son ($7.1m), which stars Oscar nominee Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges and Narnia's former Prince Caspian, Ben Barnes. Son has already grossed $90.7m worldwide however, continuing the trend for Legendary Pictures movies recent tendency to do much better overseas than him – but it's still another costly dud after Michael Mann's monumental megaflop Black Hat starring Chris Hemsworth. Right now, Warner Bros may well be breathing a sigh of relief that Legendary upped sticks to Universal after all.

Sat firmly at number two, Clint Eastwood's American Sniper racked up a further $24.2m for a whopping home soil tally of $282.3m – which is firmly in star Bradley Cooper's Hangover franchise box office ballpark. In the reverse to Seventh Son, the bulk of the Warner war flick's coin has come from the domestic wallet, with a global gross only $68m ahead at $350.6m.

From five to 10, the rest of the chart was comprised of family hit Paddington ($5.4m, $57.3m US, $208.1m global), Paramount's found footage sci-fier Project Almanac ($5.3m, $15.8m, $17.7m), Benedict Cumberbatch cracking WW2 codes in Oscar bait The Imitation Game ($4.9m, $74.7m, $139.4m), Kevin Hart failing to recapture that Ride Along magic this time with Frozen's Olaf Josh Gad in The Wedding Ringer ($4.9m, $55.1m, $58.3m), Kevin Costner's racial drama passion project Black or White ($4.5m, $13.1m), and Jennifer Lopez chiller The Boy Next Door ($4.1m, $30.9m, $32.4m).
Next weekend, expect to see watered-down S&M adaptation Fifty Shades Of Grey take pole position (even though it is unlikely to stay there), just pipping Bond pastiche Kingsman: The Secret Service.

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Trips of the Week

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 08/02/2015 - 13:12

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 this week ...

Poltergeist

Magic Mike XXL

Fast & Furious 7

Marvel's Daredevil

Minions

Mortal Kombat X

Soldiers of the Damned

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Podcast: Wachowskis are strange, but Aardman is ascending

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 07/02/2015 - 16:12

Join Mark Searby, Amon Warmann and host Stuart O'Connor for reviews of the big new releases on offer in UK cinemas this week: Selma, Love Is Strange, Shaun The Sheep Movie, The Interview and Jupiter Ascending.

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 Podcast: Five big heroes

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 01/02/2015 - 10:35

Join Mark Searby, Amon Warmann, Tom Mimnagh, David Watson and host Stuart O'Connor for a little bit of movie news – Fantastic Four, Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones – and reviews of the big new releases on offer in UK cinemas this week: Big Hero 6, Inherent Vice, Son Of a Gun, Trash, Tales of the Grim Sleeper and Kingsman: The Secret Service.

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 | Sat, 31/01/2015 - 10:35

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 this week ...

 

Ted 2

Catch Me Daddy

Jurassic World

Fantastic Four

Selma

Kingsman: The Secret Service

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Wedding Ringer

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