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Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 11/05/2014 - 21:22

Seth Rogen and Zac Efron's Neighbors knocks Spidey off his perch in style

By Rich Matthews

In a slightly unexpected turn of events, the new ribald R-rated frat house vs new parents comedy Neighbors, starring unlikely cinematic bedfellows Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, chugged a Rogen-best $51.1m over the second weekend in May 2014.

That represented a good $10m more than most predictions from industry insiders, and easily trounced The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which took a hefty drop to web $37.2m in its second weekend at the box office.

Sony will be keeping a beady corporate eye on Marc Webb's sophomore webhead outing, which has now grossed $147.9m, but has already bagged $403m internationally for a global gross of $550.9m.

The first Amazing reboot had managed to haul in more than $50m more than the sequel in the US by this point, but it still looks set to better the first film's final international cume of $490.2m.

This falls in line with a general trend of declining domestic numbers for the wall crawler, paired with improving foreign funds. Neighbors was no slouch itself at the global box office, raking in $34.4 to take it's tally to $85.5m worldwide. If it continues at this pace, it should easily become Rogen's biggest movie to date.

The only other two new releases – Christian mom-com Moms' Night Out and indie animation Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return – could only muster just shy of $8m between them to languish down at seventh and eighth respectively. Clarius Entertainment, the independent behind the Oz flick, is likely to take a real bath as a result of such poor grosses for a wide release.

Sitting between them, and making up chart positions three to six, were a bunch of solid performers – Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton continued to get female buns on seats with The Other Woman ($9.3m, US total $61.7m, worldwide $127.7m), other god-bothering drama Heaven Is For Real kept the faith for the current theatrical piety bubble ($7m for a domestic tally just past $75m), while sequels Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($5.6m, $245m, $696m) and Rio 2 ($5.1m, $113.2m, $423m) continued to keep tills ticking over nicely.

Expect Cap to pass the $700m mark very soon. Rounding out the chart at nine and 10 were YA blockbuster (in the US at least ) Divergent ($1.7m, $145m, $253m) and Paul Walker's last fully completed movie Brick Mansions ($1.5m, $18.3m, $26.6m).

On the specialty front, Jon Favreau's return to low-key indie comedy a la Swingers, Chef, posted a decent screen average of $34,000 on six screens, so it may have some real legs when it widens its release.

Rogen and Efron should enjoy their current lofty position at the top of the heap, because Godzilla is waiting in the wings to stomp over all contenders next weekend, and then mega-sequel X-Men: Days Of Future Past is predicted to debut with at least $125m on May 23, by which time summer madness will be in full swing.

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Cozzilla: The Godzilla movie you’ve never seen

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sun, 11/05/2014 - 21:01

By Mark Searby

As the creature rises from the water ready to do battle with the humans, his mighty battle roar echoes and shudders. Fire rushes from his mouth, burning the city. People run for their lives. The fire burns red, then orange, then blue. The crowd running from the vicious monster also appear in the same colour sequence. Welcome to the first ever colourised version of Godzilla, which has actually been dubbed Cozzilla by fans. But this is no ordinary monster movie. Instead this is an Italian redubbed/semi ripped/part stolen take on the Far East’s most famous monster from one of its biggest fans and the director of Cozzilla – Luigi Cozzi.

So a quick run through of how Cozzi’s version was arrived at. The black and white Japanese 1954 film Godzilla (the original theatrical movie featuring the monster) was bought by Jewell Enterprises in the US and redubbed with American voices and additional footage inserted with actor Raymond Burr. Burr’s footage was filmed and inserted to match the original style from the 1954 film, making it look and feel as if it was all shot at the same time. This new English language version called Godzilla: King Of The Monsters was a big success at the US box office, and eventually in Europe. This is where it came to the attention of Cozzi. He wanted to licence the original ’54 version without the Raymond Burr scenes, but was unable to obtain the rights. Instead was sold the Americanised version and set about creating the first colourised film version of Godzilla.

At first Cozzi tried to release the black and white version in Italy, but the distributors felt black and white films had become boring and wouldn’t capture the audience's money anymore thanks to Technicolor movies becoming the main staple of cinemas. Also the original Godzilla runtime was only 80 minutes, but during the 1970s a film had to run over 90 minutes for a theatrical release in Italy. Cozzi was forced to add more footage to make sure it played in theatres; the final runtime of Cozzilla was 105 minutes. The additional material consisted of scenes from other sci-fi films and real-life footage from news reels about death and destruction, including scenes of dead bodies scattered in wasteland. The additional Godzilla scenes had been ripped from Godzilla Raids Again (1955) and the shark fighting an octopus nabbed from Ray Harryhausen’s The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953). There are some minor additional clips from The Train (1964) and The Day The Earth Caught Fire (1961) also inserted to pad out two disaster scenes.

Cozzi decided to colourise his Godzilla movie and hired Italian animator and cartoonist Armando Valcauda to work on this, by using gels attached to the negatives one frame at a time. This new colourisation was called Spectrorama 70. Yet this is an invented name by Cozzi to help sell advertising. The 70 refers to the 70mm movie reels that every major Hollywood blockbuster was being shown on. The issue arises on the film that shows the gels used consisted of four or five different colours only. Many times the orange, blue and yellow gels are used during the scenes featuring humans and the red gel reserved for big explosions. But when the camera pans across the gels remain static, causing a real mess on screen.

Due to the additional length of Cozzilla, the film required new musical scores for selected scenes which were provided by an Italian music composer called Vince Tempera under the alias Magnetic System. The name Cozzilla actually came from Cozzi’s pen-name, which he used when writing articles for sci-fi magazines. He decided to use it as the production company name for his version of Godzilla, and it is seen at the beginning of the film causing the film to have a nickname that differentiates it from all the other Godzilla movies from around the world.

With the updated Cozzilla finished, Luigi Cozzi released it into the wilds of Italian movie theatres in 1977. It received mixed to positive reviews from Italian film critics, yet audiences flocked to see the monster from the deep finally in colour. In selected cinemas it had additional special feature that when Godzilla took a step the seats would rumble creating a bigger immersive experience for the viewer. The movie soldiered on in Italian cinemas for a couple more months and was then withdrawn; at the time, no home entertainment existed (VHS and Betamax were a while off yet) for its lifespan to continue.

So with all this Godzilla talk, where is the Cozzilla? Where is it possible to watch it? The answer is: virtually nowhere. In-the-know traders have sold and exchanged copies on worn out VHS tapes that were converted to DVD-Rs. This version is from the 16mm print (they even included reel announcements beforehand), but it cuts off towards the end without the film's ultimate resolution. The now defunct website wtf-film.com was given a copy in 2008, which it restored as best possible – the source copy was recorded from TV with lots of video interference. The site even added subtitles to the film, and uploaded its version of Cozzilla to Google Video; sadly, it has since been removed and the site is now archive only.

In 2013, exploderbutton.com received several moments of the ending of Cozzilla that had never previously been seen on the bootleg copies floating around the trading tables. Long since thought lost, this end segment gives as much an ending as possible but still see’s the finale cut before the end credits can roll – giving no conclusion to the question of whether or not humanity has been saved.

This still leaves Luigi’s Godzilla without an official release in this age of DVD and Blu-ray restorations of classic and cult films. But why? Well the answer seems to now lie at the door of Italian distribution house Yamato Video, specialists in importing Japanese animation to Europe. It is believed that it owns a copy of the original colourised 35mm film negative. Intending to package it as a double DVD release along with the original Americanised release, this never materialised and has since faded into just a rumour. It’s unclear as to if Toho Studios (the original Godzilla production house) has a copy, but as Cozzi basterdised its version, I wouldn’t expect them to be too happy putting out a film that doesn’t show their work in the greatest of offerings. Cozzi is keeping very quiet as to if he may have a copy stored away at his home or in the clutter of the Deep Red Store, a retail shop he co-owns in Rome with Italian Giallo master Dario Argento.

This crazy, bizarre, psychedelic edition of Godzilla appears destined to be consigned to the bootleg versions. It’s a shame to see the first ever colourised version of Godzilla is unlikely to receive an official release. It’s looking increasingly likely that the real Godzilla will appear before a Cozzilla DVD/Blu-ray will hit the shelves.

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Studio Ghibli interview: BFI curator Justin Johnson

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Sat, 10/05/2014 - 15:32

It this two-part interview, Screenjabber's Mark Searby speak to Justin Johnson, the curator of the Studio Ghibli season at the BFI. He gives us his insight into the animated world of Ghibli, including the latest release The Wind Rises.

SYNOPSIS | As Studio Ghibli nears its 30th birthday, and Hayao Miyazaki’s long-awaited and hotly anticipated final film arrives in UK cinemas, BFI Southbank launches a two-month complete retrospective of their remarkably innovative animated features, with a number of films screening from brand new DCPs.

The Studio Ghibli season runs at BFI Southbank in April-May 2014

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A film screening? I'll drink to that

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 07/05/2014 - 18:44

By Hannah Smith

For those of you who read the reviews on this website, or other film websites – shhhh, as if there are ‘other’ film websites – let me tell you a bit about what it costs the people who write the reviews.

“Why are you staying late?” Asks my boss.
“I have a screening to go to” I reply.
“Show off.”

It does sound glamorous; I have a ‘screening’ to go to. Tell me what you picture when I say that word? ‘Screening’ - champagne glasses, red carpet, people dressed like Carrie in Sex and the City?

The first screening I went to didn’t even have wine. Know what made that worse? There was another screening taking place at the same time and they had wine. They also had biscuits – the fuckers. They also had a really insecure and annoying man who had to talk to everyone.

The review for the first film I watched at a screening (without wine) has not yet been published; the release date has not been announced (probably because there won’t be one). For all of your sakes, one can only hope. I spent more than half of the film analysing the many ways in which the main character demonstrated walking, while simultaneously trying not to die of actual boredom. It could happen people, I know it could.

Luckily the other two have had wine. For wine read one plastic cup. Show me the glamour, Cuba Gooding Junior. Show me the glamour.

So I settle down with a plastic glass of cheap wine, a sweaty mess because I have come straight from work and try to enjoy the moments of silence. This lasts one entire second. You see, one of the worst parts of these screenings is that ‘other’ people bring guests. I couldn’t imagine hating anyone enough to want to put them through the ordeal. But it’s free films I hear you cry! Sure, of course, who can afford the cinema these days? I get it, that’s a perk…until you’re watching the worst film you’ve ever seen and you’d pay more than your weekly wage to make it end faster. That’s this week. And then next week, it’s worse still. And worse. And worse – dear Lord when will this torture end?

However, like all stories there are moments of highs – well all stories that haven’t been green lit for production by some film company. Occasionally you get a good one. My second screening had wine, in an actual glass, AND an entertaining film. PR people, you are spoiling me. I’d seen the posters for the film and wasn’t at all sure. If it wasn’t free I wouldn’t have seen it, but I have and I’m happy to implore you to pay good money to see it. And that’s the point, isn’t it? I’m here to tell you what to pay to see and what to avoid as if your life depended on it - people can die of boredom, I promise you. The problem is 99.9% of the films I’ve had the pleasure of watching, you should avoid.

The small plastic glass of wine and the free ticket is no compensation for time. Time is precious. And I have a whole bottle of cheap wine at home. And a glass, sure, I have one wine glass, I am just one person. I’ll tell you what else I have at home … an off button. I also have a pile of bad films that need to be watched, again, so I can save your life. LIFE people, this is life or death. Okay, it’s bottle of wine or cinema ticket but don’t pretend that is not a VITAL service. And we do it, for you.

My plastic glass drains, the lights dim and my hopes fade away. At least this means the ‘other’ people with guests have to stop talking. 

It's one whole minute late and people are still talking, really loudly. Time is precious. The film begins … fucking hell, it’s subtitled and I’ve forgotten my bloody glasses.

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Next Goal Wins interview: directors Mike Brett & Steve Jamison

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 07/05/2014 - 08:37

Having got their start making top end football adverts for some of the biggest names in the game, directors Mike Brett and Steve Jamison have made the jump to the big screen with their debut film, Next Goal Wins. Screenjabber's Peter deGraft-Johnson caught up with the directing duo to find out more about this documentary that follows the American Samoan national football team in their attempts to qualify for the 2014 World Cup ... and chase their first ever international win.

SYNOPSIS | Next Goal Wins tells the story of American Samoa after they were ranked the 'world's worst football team' after being defeated 31-0 by Australia – a crushing match that made headlines all over the world. The film follows the team as they attempt to qualify for this year's World Cup in Brazil, a classic underdog story this film is genuinely really brilliant – both inspiring and heartwarming.

Next Goal Wins review

Next Goal Wins interview: stars Jaiyah Selua & Thomas Rongen

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Next Goal Wins interview: stars Jaiyah Selua & Thomas Rongen

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 07/05/2014 - 08:33

Screenjabber's Peter deGraft-Johnson catches up with the first international transgender footballer Jaiyah Selua and Thomas Rongen, her team coach, to talk about their unique story in Next Goal Wins, the new documentary that follows the American Samoan national football team as they recover from the worst defeat in international football history, and try to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

SYNOPSIS | Next Goal Wins tells the story of American Samoa after they were ranked the 'world's worst football team' after being defeated 31-0 by Australia – a crushing match that made headlines all over the world. The film follows the team as they attempt to qualify for this year's World Cup in Brazil, a classic underdog story this film is genuinely really brilliant – both inspiring and heartwarming.

Next Goal Wins review

Next Goal Wins interview: directors Mike Brett & Steve Jamison

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Mon, 05/05/2014 - 12:49

Amazing Spider-Man 2 swings to the top but can't match Captain America

By Rich Matthews

The US summer box office season sprung into action this weekend with the release of Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the second swing for director Marc Webb and for Andrew Garfield in the tights. However, while Spidey's $92m is undoubtedly a good opening, it is lower than Captain America: The Winter Soldier's $95m April debut.

Also, Spider-Man's box office apogee was Spider-Man 3's $151m opening seven years ago. It's hard to gauge Amazing 2 against the original because the first reboot was released over the the Fourth Of July weekend on a Tuesday – if you just tot up its weekend gross, it opened to $62m, but that's not a true picture as it would have undoubtedly have performed better if Friday had been the first day.

As it is, Amazing 2 is likely to top out at around $230m in the US, but is likely to beat the first's $752m worldwide thanks to potentially stellar international business - the sequel has already grossed $277m, for an early global tally of $369m. No other studio dared open a big movie against Spider-Man, so it was the only substantial new entry in the chart.

Knocked off the top, Fox's Cameron Diaz/Leslie Mann/Kate Upton lady laugher The Other Woman took in $14.2m for a US total of $47.3m (and $92.8m worldwide), while TriStar's godly grosser Heaven Is For Real kept the faith at three, taking a further $8.7m for a pious tally of $65.6m. Spidey's benchmark and the year's biggest blockbuster so far, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, continued to show superhuman stamina at four, adding $7.8m to its ever-growing domestic total of $237.1m for a worldwide gross of $679.8m, now a full $35m better than last year's Thor: The Dark World. The top five was rounded out by Fox's parrot sequel Rio 2 squawking up $7.6m to cross the $100m mark and raise its global haul to $393.3m, putting it on course to at least match the original's $484.6m.

The back five were all a bit lukewarm, with Paul Walker's swansong Brick Mansions at six ($3.5m, $15.5m US), YA adap Divergent at seven ($2.2m, $142.7m US, $250.3m global), Lionsgate's underperforming Hammer horror The Quiet Ones at eight ($2m on the nose, $6.8m, $7.9m), God's Not Dead still bible bashing at nine ($1.8m, $55.6m) and Wes Anderson's star-studded indie hit The Grand Budapest Hotel in last place ($1.7m, $51.5m, $140.5).

Now it's officially silly blockbuster season, things get interesting over the next few weeks, Seth Rogen going toe-to-toe with Zac Efron's frat house in Bad Neighbours on May 9, then Godzilla literally busting blocks on May 16 before X-Men: Days Of Future Past tries to steal the year's superhero crown from Marvel and Cap.

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Plastic London premiere

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 30/04/2014 - 22:06

Screenjabber's Mark Searby and Daniel Hatton hit the red carpet at the Plastic premiere in London to talk to stars Ed Speleers, Emma Rigby and Sebastian De Souza about their new British crime film.

SYNOPSIS | Sam and Fordy run a credit card fraud scheme, but when they steal from the wrong man, they find themselves threatened by sadistic gangster. They need to raise £5m and pull off a daring diamond heist to clear their debt.

Read our review of Plastic

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Gbenga Akinnagbe talks about 24: Live Another Day

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Wed, 30/04/2014 - 09:31

Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe talks exclusively to Screenjabber's Mark Searby about 24: Live Another Day – what we can expect in the upcoming season, who his character Erik Ritter is and how dangerous Jack Bauer has become.

SYNOPSIS | 24: Live Another Day sees Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) come out of hiding in London to head off a massive terrorist attack while being hunted down by American forces dispatched by President James Heller (William Devane).

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US Box Office Report

Posted by Stuart OConnor | Tue, 29/04/2014 - 08:26

The Other Woman cuckolds Captain America off the top spot

By Rich Matthews

Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and this generation's idea of a Bo Derek 10 – buxom model Kate Upton – finally knocked Disney/Marvel blockbuster Captain America: The Winter Soldier off the top of the US box office this weekend.

Fox's ribald comedy The Other Woman took $24.7m Friday-Sunday to claim number one, while Cap dropped to $16m. Still, Marvel can take some consolation in its domestic tally of $225m and worldwide gross of $645m, which takes it above Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World to make it the comic book studio's third biggest hit yet.

Topping previous women-driven hit Bridemaid's opening, The Other Woman also had a healthy foreign frame, taking $20.5m for a global total of $45.2m. All of this was a nice apertif for the official first weekend of summer next week, when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is expected to bust blocks aplenty – the only question being how many, given that it has already spun a massive $132m from foreign markets before making its domestic bow.

At number three, God continued to be popular in North America, with Sony Tristar's Heaven Is For Real managing to top $50m, while the top five was rounded out by Fox's other entry in the chart, animated parrot comedy Rio 2, which grossed $13.7m for a domestic total of $96.2m but a much more substantial worldwide haul of £344m, and the late Paul Walker's final flick, actioner Brick Mansions, could only muster $9.6m at five.

The remainder of the chart saw Lionsgate horror The Quiet Ones underperform at seven with only $4m, just beaten by Warner Bros' expensive Johnny Depp sci-fi flop Transcendence ($18.5m US, $51.6m worldwide) at six. Disney doc Bears grizzled up $3.6m (11.2m US) at eight, while US-only YA hit Divergent sat narrowly behind at nine with $3.6m too ($139.5m US, $232.7m global). Finally, horror spoof A Haunted House 2 rounded out the chart with $3.3m ($14.2m).text


Steven Spielberg to direct BFG film from Roald Dahl book | The BBC

Billy Connolly: the day I learnt I had cancer and Parkinson's disease | The Telegraph

Star Wars Episode 7 shoot: Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford in London | The Guardian

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