10 Films You Should See at Raindance 2011

Intriguing, provocative, downright weird - here's what to see at this year's indie festival.

Friends with Benefits

It's stifled by its rom-com roots, but the endearing cast and funny script offer their fair share of perks.

A Lonely Place to Die

Ignore the rocky script and this is a cracking bit of boulder-dash.

Kill List

A brave low-budget entry, Kill List is curious but confused. Yes, the unexplained is scary. But you know what? It can also be really unsatisfying.

Fright Night

Someone needs to bite a chunk out of its runtime, but Fright Night is actually quite alright. And that's mostly fangs to Colin Farrell.

The Skin I Live In

A sexy masterpiece that excites as much as it unsettles. Demented, disturbing and terrifyingly brilliant.

Final Destination 5

All the fun of watching the opening of Casualty for 90 minutes. And then some.

The Guard

Brendan Gleeson deserves an Oscar nomination - for Best Racist, if nothing else.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Honestly? You had me at gorilla vs helicopter.

Mr Popper's Penguins

A proposition for Mr Carrey? P-p-p-p-put down the penguins.

BlogalongaBond: Live and Let Die

Put on your politically incorrect wig, brother, for Live and Let Die's Guide to Being Black in a Bond Film

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During afternoon tea there is a shift in the air, A bone trembling chill that tells you she’s there. There are those who believe that the whole town is cursed, That the house in the marsh is by far the worst. What she wants is unknown but she always comes back, The spectre of darkness, The Woman in Black.


It's OK. You can stop hiding behind your mouse mat now. The scary rhymes have gone away. But in their place is the new trailer for The Woman in Black, and it's chilling stuff.

After The Woman in Black teaser trailer, the new video shows us more of Eel Marsh House and its spooky innards. There are children, dolls, shadows, Daniel Radcliffe... Jane Goldman's script has pretty much got it covered.

There's still not that much in the trailer in the way of plot, but for those not familiar with Susan Hill's novella or the frankly terrifying stage adaptation, lawyer Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) is sent to a remote village to sort out the affairs of the newly dead owner of Eel Marsh House. Cue a tragic backstory, an evil ghost and a brief appearance by Ciaran Hinds.

The Woman in Black is directed by Eden Lake's James Watkins and released in UK cinemas on Friday 10th February 2012. Read on for the full video, or head this way for our James Watkins interview. Then you can get back to hiding behind that mouse mat.

Read more...  

When I was 11, I was taken to see The Woman in Black at the theatre. By my parents, obviously, I wasn't kidnapped by some stranger in the street intent on traumatising a defenceless child.

It's safe to say that the play terrified the flipping life out of me - I've never had the courage since to go and read Susan Hill's original novel.

So it was great to hear that the upcoming Hammer Horror movie adaptation would be appearing at Empire's BigScreen over the weekend. After reliving my childhood trauma by reminding myself of the trailer, I managed to wander into the press conference for the film and interview James Watkins (director of Eden Lake and writer of My Little Eye) about making The Woman in Black.

Here's what James Watkins had to say to us about making a period horror, living up to the play and helping Daniel Radcliffe to grow up.

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Review: X-Men: First Class

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Nicholas Hoult
Certificate: 12A

It's been over a decade since we saw a small boy get separated from his mum at a Nazi concentration camp in 1944 and twist the metal gates apart out of good old, healthy rage. Now we're revisiting that cheerful moment, shot for shot. It's a bold move for a prequel to Bryan Singer's X-Men movies, but X-Men: First Class is certainly bold. And cool to boot.

Read more...  

The rather exciting new character videos for X-Men: First Class are the first major clue as to what the marketing department have been spending their budget on.

Marketing budgets are always a closely kept secret, but Marvel have loads of money. Thor's UK box office debut was good and Iron Man 2 took in a scary amount last year. And don't forget that the X-Men franchise has taken around $1.5 billion in total (X2, X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine all took over $300 million each worldwide).

So there should be some spare cash to throw at Matthew Vaughn's mutant prequel. But at times, the X-Men: First Class promotional materials have been downright dodgy. Here's where the money went:


Rubbish Banner


So cheap everyone thought it was fake. Possibly Photoshop. More likely a 12 year old with scissors and glue.


Pritt Stick



Read more...  

X-Men: First Class

Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon
Certificate: TBC
Release Date: Friday 1st June

X-Men: First Class charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events.

Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time.

Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

Read more...  

Before there was X-Men: First Class, there was another crap poster. Just in case those floating head ones weren't rubbish enough...



But just after that dreadful piece of Photoshocalypse (that word's a work in progress) raised its head this week, the new trailer for Matthew Vaughn's prequel popped up. And much like the first X-Men: First Class trailer, you'd have to be one grumpy mutant not to like it:



If this goes the way of Arsenal's Premier League chances when it comes out on Wednesday 1st June, I'll be massively disappointed.



If you were one of the people lucky enough to spend the weekend queuing at Kapow! Comic Con, you'll have already seen the first teaser trailer for The Woman in Black. If you were one of the people lucky enough to not spend the weekend queuing, be prepared for 44 seconds of proper scary music. And Daniel Radcliffe with facial hair.

Yes, it's little else but ickle Danny standing in a big empty house, but there's more atmosphere in those 44 seconds than in the whole of Paranormal Activity 2.

In fact, James Watkins' film (written by Jane Goldman) is based on a play that's so terrifying that even Hammer Horror - that studio stalwart of spooky cinema - was hiding behind the sofa. Which would probably explain why the film got released several weeks ago without anyone noticing:


For those without time machines, you can join lawyer Arthur Kipps in his exploration of Eel Marsh House on Friday 10th February 2012. Read on for the full teaser trailer. And start queuing now to see more Woman in Black footage at Kapow! next year.

Read more...  

Following in the footsteps of the politically charged Mrs. Doubtfire, this new short film examines gender inequality for International Women's Day - and reminds us that Robin Williams made a far better woman than Daniel Craig.



"We're equals, aren't we 007?" Judi Dench's imposing M addresses her male secret agent while Daniel Craig stays silent.

Nowhere Boy director Sam Taylor-Wood was commissioned to shoot this short for International Women's Day. It lists figures that will be quoted a lot today, but whether you agree with the need to have International Women's Day or not, this is technically the first film featuring 007 directed by a woman. Given that Kathryn Bigelow was only recently the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker, the choice of production team (including Kick-Ass writer Jane Goldman) is almost as significant as the statistics that Judi Dench reads out.

"Are we equals? Until the answer is yes, we must never stop asking."  

That's what Mrs. Doubtfire was trying to tell us all along, right? 

Read more...  

They did the rounds earlier this week, but the first two posters for X-Men: First Class have now officially popped up in my inbox, and they reveal some interesting new details about the past lives of Professor X and Magneto. Not that they were called Charles and Erik - those names stayed the same no matter how shiny Magneto's helmet got. In fact, they used their first names throughout the rest of the X-Men films.

But there are other facts that we don't know about these mutants, and Matthew Vaughn's prequel may finally give us their full backstory...

Before he was Professor X...

... He could walk on water. 

Before he was Magneto...

... He used to wet the bed.


For more prequel awesomeness (without the Jesus stunts or bed wetting), check out the X-Men: First Class trailer. Charles and Erik will be showing off their failed plumbing skills in cinemas on Friday 2nd June.





So MSN posted this official picture of the characters today. Which means that it's not a fake after all. Shame. 


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