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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Tag:matthew vaughn

Kung Fu Panda 2 kicked the UK Box Office's ass this week, taking £6.19m in its first weekend.

That's a massive relief for everyone who thought that The Hangover Part II might grab hold of the top spot, proving that there's nothing as satisfying as seeing an overweight panda punch Bradley Cooper in the face.

Yes, that figure includes previews and 3D ticket prices, but it's still officially a step up from the first Kung Fu Panda, which opened on £6m, so DreamWorks will be fairly chuffed to see their chubby dragon warrior bringing in the kids. With Rio finally down at number ten in the UK charts, expect the Kung Fu Panda to stick around well into the summer holidays.

The Hangover 2 is still terrifyingly successful in second place. It dropped 28% to take under £3m in its third week, but is now on a total of over £26m. Warner Bros will be laughing.

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X-Men: First Class hit first place at the UK Box Office with an opening of £5.4m. 

That sounds pretty groovy for a 60s-set mutant prequel, but it's actually the weakest of the franchise since the original X-Men back in 2000. Arriving without any audience awareness of the series, Bryan Singer's comic book movie opened on £4.8m - Fox would have been hoping for slightly more evolved figures by now.

With the other X-Men films taking between £6m and £7m on their debuts, Matthew Vaughn's excellent blockbuster is quite a way behind. Still, it has far more positive buzz than Brett Ratner's X-Men 3 or 2009's Wolverine outing, which may keep its powers strong enough to claw together a stronger total.

First Class almost took second place in the UK Top Ten thanks to The Hangover II. Even with a 15 certificate and a lot of backlash, Todd Phillips' sequel, which took just under £4m in its second weekend, has already passed the £20m barrier. 

That's a horrendously high amount for a 2D comedy - in fact, it's earned more than three times the £7.7m The Hangover had totalled up over two weeks in 2009. Feel free to bash your head against a brick wall at any point in the next seven days.

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X-Men: First Class is in cinemas today. One of the most spectacular moments is a training montage halfway through. It's better than Team America's training montage. It's even better the one from Rocky. Here's a clip that proves its pure awesomeness:


Now imagine that, but twice as long with stylish editing and on a bigger screen. If you're still not convinced, here's a full X-Men: First Class review.




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.

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With X-Men: First Class fast approaching, fanboys across the internet are drooling like crazy. Mostly over January Jones' breasts.

It's no surprise compared to the quality of breasts on show in X-Men 3: The Last Stand. But before people start saying Matthew Vaughn's prequel is as good as Bryan Singer's first two X-Men movies, it's probably worth taking eight hours of your life to re-watch them all to get a sense of perspective.

But what if you don't have the highly-evolved stamina to make it through Brett Ratner's ballsed-up sequel? Well, this X-Men marathon live blog should sort you out.

Four X-Men movies, one evening, no special powers. This is the X-Menathon. Mag-neato!

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There's nothing quite as arousing as an email containing a photo of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. Together. In a London hotel.

Even James is getting excited just by being in it. 



I put my hand in EXACTLY the same place.


X-Men: First Class is out on Wednesday 1st -- excuse me, I'm off to the toilet for some quality time with my one-eyed mutant... 



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



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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.

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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.



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.


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