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Screenjabber Pubcast Finale: It was a very good year

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 29/12/2014 - 19:01

Join Andrew Jones, Christa Ktorides, Doug Cooper, Mark Searby and host Stuart O'Connor down the pub for a look back at 2014. From Boyhood, Guardians of The Galaxy and Gone Girl to The LEGO Movie, Interstellar and Paddington, it was a very good year for cinema.

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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Restaurant review: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 22/12/2014 - 22:01

By Neil Davey

“Life,” drawled Forrest Gump, “is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

There’s a certain irony then that the restaurant chain that span off from this Oscar-winning movie – and which shows said movie on endless loop on screens around each branch – doesn’t follow that principle. This is a case where you know exactly what you’re gonna get – and, to be fair, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Many will no doubt use the opening of this London branch – Bubba Gump Shrimp Co’s first of several UK outposts – as the starting off point for a long riff / Buzzfeed-style gallery of “Movies that should have spawned a restaurant chain”. We’re not going to do that (although man, we’d love to have seen Jack Rabbit Slim’s go global) or focus on how it’s set up shop in Planet Hollywood’s old location. Nor will we get too distracted by the whole shrimp thing: just pretend they mean prawn, alright? Other countries don’t differentiate like what we do…

Instead, we’ll focus on the food and drink offering, with the odd sidebar on the “aw shucks” Gump-themed décor for, as well as the movie on endless loop, the walls are adorned with famous Gumpisms, bits of memorabilia and assorted “faux-southern” touches. But hey, it’s a chain restaurant: if you want cosy originality go somewhere cosy and original.

In terms of the food, not so surprisingly the “shrimp” is the best bet. There’s a cult that’s evolved around the Coconut Shrimp and you can see the appeal. The fish is dense – with a fresher feel than you might expect from a global enterprise - the coating is crispy, and the sum of these parts is a thoroughly decent, generously portioned dish. Even so, how that’s become the cult dish rather than the Hush Pups is a mystery. The “hush puppie” is a staple of Southern States’ cuisine – it’s essentially deep-fried balls of cornmeal, often with a hit of chilli and / or onion. Here – you’ll never guess – shrimp are added. The result is a hush puppy with a satisfying texture that, when dipped in the spicy sauce accompaniment, is dangerously addictive. They also form part – the best part – of the “Run Across America” sampler (heh, see what they did there?), which also includes an artichoke dip and chips, spicy chicken strips, chilled shrimps and fried shrimps. The dip and chicken are fine, but the shrimp, not so surprisingly, are comfortably the best thing here.

That’s the moral you should take into the main courses as well. There’s a very good reason why it’s not called Bubba Gump Burger Co., and perhaps the less said about that, the better but seriously, chaps, just how hard is decent meat in a decent bun? Our fish course – Mahi Mahi, allegedly Cajun-spiced, served with a Bourbon sauce and rather cloying mash – was better but not a patch on the shrimp and at least it came with some shrimp, so that helped.

Drinks are mostly of the multi-coloured, neon variety but, if you ask (quite why they’re not on the drinks list is a mystery) there’s a decent enough selection of bottled beers, while desserts are crowd-pleasing favourites – cheesecake, brownie, bread pudding – typically adorned with a massive pile of that squirty cream. We doubt much is being made fresh but the Key Lime Pie had a decent zing to it and, as with most of the food here, came in a portion comfortably big enough for two.

Stick to the specialties and you’ll actually do alright, particularly if you’re part of a big group. To sound like Forrest Gump for a second, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co is what it is: a reliable enough chain turning out large platters of sometimes quite decent food to share. Just stick with the shrimp. After all, the clue’s in the name, right?

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 22/12/2014 - 10:32

The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies unwraps a bumper Christmas package

By Rich Matthews

The final chapter of Peter Jackson's trio of JRR Tolkien adaptations, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, stormed to the top of the last pre-Christmas weekend box office this weekend, with a five-day opening of $90.2m, besting even the most optimistic industry predictions by a good $10m. The wrap up chapter of Jackson's six-part Middle-earth saga, which includes 2001-2003's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Battle of the Five Armies has already racked up a mammoth $355.6m in it's first 12 days on worldwide release, putting well on track to match An Unexpected Journey's $1bn final gross.

There is a lot of competition in the Christmas run-up, but The Hobbit has already seen easily seen off Ben Stiller's threequel Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (whose $17.3m was a huge franchise low, especially as it contains the last performance by the late Robin Williams), and hacked off Sony's update of Annie starring Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx (which took $16.3m to place third). At fourth, Ridley Scott's biblical CG-fest Exodus: God and Kings tumbled a hefty 67 per cent to fourth with $8.1m for a US tally of $38.9m and a worldwide total of $100.1m, followed closely by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 with $7.8m ($289.2m, $350.5m).

The back five were made up of Wild ($4.2m, $7.2m), Chris Rock's Top Five ($3.6m, $12.5m), Disney's hit animation Big Hero 6 ($3.5m, $190.4m, $272m), underperforming Dreamworks spin-off Penguins of Madagscar ($3.5m, $64.2m, $198.8m) and Bollywood comedy P.K. ($3.5m).

Christmas Day (Thursday) sees a bumper crop of new releases, including Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, Clint Eastwood's Bradley Cooper drama American Sniper, Disney's adaptation of Broadway hit Into The Woods, Mark Wahlberg crime drama The Gambler and a limited release for Tim Burton's Big Eyes. Then, in the new year (January 3), Liam Neeson kicks his way back into the fray in Taken 3.

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Screenjabber Pubcast: Exodus, stage left ...

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 21/12/2014 - 18:37

Join Andrew Jones, Christa Ktorides, Doug Cooper, Mark Searby and host Stuart O'Connor in the pub for a quick chat about this week's big movie news – Sony pulling the release of The Interview – plus a review of the big new releases on offer in UK cinemas this week, and on Boxing Day: Annie, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Dumb and Dumber To, Big Eyes, Unbroken and Exodus: Gods & Kings. Merry Christmas!

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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Interview: Eduardo Sanchez

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 21/12/2014 - 16:02

Writer/director Eduardo Sanchez tells Screenjabber's Mark Searby all about his recent work on TV shows The Intruders and From Dusk Till Dawn. Eduardo also talks in depth about his movies Lovely Molly, Exists, Altered and The Blair Witch Project.

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Screenjabber Podcast: The Battle of the Three Critics

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 14/12/2014 - 11:12

Join Andrew Jones, Amon Warrman and host Stuart O'Connor for a quick look at this week's big movie news – including the new trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road, as well as the Sony server hack – plus a review of the big new release on offer in UK cinemas this week, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies.

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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Interview: Rich Peppiatt on One Rogue Reporter

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 09/12/2014 - 13:00

Screenjabber's Stuart O'Connor chats with Rich Peppiatt about his film One Rogue Reporter and the state of the press in Britain ...

Listen to the interview

Peppiatt, the former tabloid journalist who resigned from the Daily Star and revealed all at the Leveson Inquiry, turns the tables on deceitful elements of the UK media in a hilarious dissection of his former trade. Through a series of cunning stunts and interviews with heavyweights of journalism, politics and entertainment One Rogue Reporter is this year’s most side-splittingly controversial documentary. Peppiatt’s widely-acclaimed filmmaking debut is now available across a range of platforms including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Xbox 360 and GooglePlay

Featuring interviews with heavyweights from film, comedy, journalism and politics including Steve Coogan, Hugh Grant, John Bishop, Kate Smurthwaite, Roy Greenslade, Nick Davies, Owen Jones, Joan Smith, AC Grayling, Kate Smurthwaite and former Deputy Prime Minister, One Rogue Reporter is a riotously satirical film: part exposé; part comedy caper and a rally against the dangers of unaccountable press power.

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 08/12/2014 - 08:36

No new big releases means Mockingjay Part 1 is still top dog

By Rich Matthews

The weekend after the Thanksgiving marathon is traditionally barren of major studio releases, following the logic that nothing can open well in the post-Turkey slot except more turkeys. While we'll have to continue wondering what would have happened if Warner Bros had been ballsy and opened December 17's The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies this weekend, the year's bums-on-seats decline continued, following last weekend's 20 per cent drop from Thanksgiving 2013, with a further loss of 17 per cent for even this perennially quiet period.

So, even though The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 declined a massive 62 percent to bag $21,600,000, taking it's US tally to $257.7m and worldwide gross to $560m, it was still enough to stay in pole position. Plus, Mockingjay is now only a couple of million away from overtaking Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the second most successful in the US this year – with only $70m to get to catch Cap's stablemate, Guardians Of The Galaxy, at the top. With Fox only opening The Pyramid on 589 screens at number nine with $1.4m, the rest of the chart is pretty as it has been for a few weeks now.

At two, Dreamworks' Penguins of Madagascar continued to underperform when it grossed $11,100,000 (US $49.6m, $143.4m worldwide), while Warner's R-rated comedy sequel Horrible Bosses 2 also stayed well below the original at three with $8.6m ($36.1m, $59.2m), Disney's latest animated success story Big Hero 6 took fourth with $8.1m ($177.5m, $240m), and Chris Nolan's epic Interstellar rounded out the top five with $8,000,000 ($158.7m, $593m).

At six, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels still couldn't quite stop Dumb and Dumber To's freefall with $4.2m ($78.1m, $117m), Eddie Redmayne's take on Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything hung in there at seventh with $2,.7m ($13.6m), while David Fincher and Ben Affleck's Gone Girl keeps raking it in at eight with $1.5m ($162.9m, $336.2m). Jumping The Pyramid, the chart was topped off by Michael Keaton's postmodern Birdman taking $1.2m ($19m).

Next week, Sir Ridley Scott thumps bible by making Batman plays Moses in the Christian Bale-starring Exodus: Gods and Kings, then the aforementioned Hobbit bows the Wednesday before the updated Annie and Ben Stiller's Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb make a stab for your festive buck.

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Screenjabber Podcast: Bumbersnatch is Strange

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 07/12/2014 - 11:59

Join Andrew Jones, Amon Warrman and host Stuart O'Connor for a quick review of this week's big movie news - including the reveal of the title of the new James Bond film (Spectre), the release of the first Terminator Genisys trailer and the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Marvel's Doctor Strange - as well as a look at a few of the new films on offer in UK cinemas this week: The Pyramid, Get Santa, St Vincent, The Grandmaster, Black Sea, Men Women and Children, and Penguins of Madagascar.

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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Christmas Gift Guide: Paramount Home Media

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Fri, 05/12/2014 - 13:12

It's hard to go wrong with a DVD or Blu-ray as a perfect Christmas gift, so let Paramount Home Media help you to pick the perfect prezzie this Christmas. As the nights draw in and our thoughts turn to all things festive, shoot your way to the top of the Christmas card list by offering your friends and family the perfect night in.

Lock the doors and pull down the blinds – you’re not going anywhere once you’ve checked out these wonderful treats

 

 

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy &
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Box set

Say Whatttttt! Will Ferrell is Ron Burgundy, a top rated 1970s San Diego anchorman who believes women have a place in the newsroom – as long as they stick to covering fashion shows or latebreaking cooking stories. So what will happen when Ron is told he’ll be working with a bright young newswoman (Christina Applegate) who’s beautiful, ambitious and smart?

After a long absence, Ron Burgundy is back, bigger and bolder than before in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. After losing his job to his wife, will the world’s greatest anchorman be crushed beneath the weight of his own ego? After all he was put on this earth to read the news and have salon quality hair! Filled with wicked wit and slapstick humour, this box set is the perfect laughter fuelled gift this festive season.

 

 

Star Trek Stardate Collection: The Movies 1-10

EXPERIENCE THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE LIKE NEVER BEFORE!
The first original 10 FILMS REMASTERED plus over 8 HOURS OF SPECIAL FEATURES for the first time in STAR TREK history, nearly every frame of the final frontier is brought together in one brilliantly remastered motion picture box set.

Discover the Star Trek Universe and experience every unforgettable moment from Kirk’s triumphant return to the bridge of the USS Enterprise in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE to Picard, Data and the crew of the Enterprise-E’s final battle for control of the universe in STAR TREK NEMESIS.

The spirit of the Enterprise lives in the heart-stopping action and unforgettable characters of this one-of-a-kind collection which is a most have for any Trekkies, sci-fi fans or simply your Dad.

 

 

 

 

 

Indiana Jones: The Complete Collection

A great Christmas experience all in one, either on DVD OR Blu-ray, for the ultimate hero in your life. From the award-winning duo of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, experience every heart-pounding thrill like never before with Indiana Jones The Complete Adventures on DVD and Blu-ray Recently released on Blu-ray, featuring brilliant high definition picture quality and 5.1 audio presentation.

This five-disc Blu-ray collection boasts fully colour corrected digital master versions of The Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade, and the highly anticipated frame-by-frame full restoration of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Dive into the adventures and spectacular action of the Academy Award-winning Indiana Jones series with hours of special features. Only one name defines the ultimate hero... only one format delivers the ultimate experience.

 

 

 

 

Dexter Complete 1-8

The perfect gift for the psychopath in your life! After eight seasons of cling-film-wrapped kills, heart-stopping nearmisses and shocking twists, it’s time to mourn the loss of our favourite serial killer thriller as Dexter comes to a shocking end. Satisfy your dark passenger and own all 8 acclaimed seasons in this to die for 1-8 complete box set collection.

 

 

 

Sex And The City: The Essential Collection

It has become the by-word for a generation of women. It has defined how we wine, dine and drink cocktails, and how women relate to men and each other. It made fashion a bonafide best friend, and superstars of its leading ladies. Very rarely do TV series capture a moment, but over six saucy seasons, Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte have delighted, inspired, shocked and comforted women the world over. And where better for it all to take place, give or take a few hilarious jaunts, than in the concrete jungle that dreams are made of. Sex And The City: The Essential Collection is a revamped edition box set that will make the perfect gift for fans, friends and even newcomers, as the series that led the way establishes itself as the ultimate guide to dating, mating and shopping. It’s all here – each and every man and Manhattan, and of course, many more Cosmopolitans. With new special features and beautiful shelf-friendly packaging, this must be the easiest and quickest way to any woman’s (and the odd man’s) heart this Christmas.

 

 

 

 

Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery

Probably THE TV series to have revitalised television in the 90s. Now for the first time ever, Twin Peaks is here on this amazing HD Blu-ray box set containing a 10-disc set that houses an extraordinary archive of special features culled from the entire history of Twin Peaks on home video, including featurettes, cast and crew interviews, promotional reels, archival deleted scenes... plus much much more.

This extraordinary box set includes every episode from the original TV series, plus almost 90 minutes of deleted and alternated scenes from the film itself, making Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery an outstanding Christmas gift for anyone that loves TV at its best.

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