A blog dedicated to cinema in all its forms - Hollywood, European, horror, action, romance, children's... Absolutely everything.

Look here for film reviews, news, articles about cinema, as well as some personal posts about film from me, an aspiring screenwriter/filmmaker.

6th April 2012

Post

You guys should follow my Wordpress blog, with the same name. I update it more regularly than this Tumblr, and I think you’ll enjoy it more. I’ll still update here, just not as often. There’s a follow button in the bottom right corner, click on it, put in your email address, and get notified every time I post!

The Movie Locker

Tagged: filmcinema

21st March 2012

Post

In Cinemas: 21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street is a real oddball. Completely unexpected, it’s dropped in that post-awards ceremony lull, generally the time of lower-quality romcoms and action films. But it’s perhaps the fact that 21 Jump Street is so out there that makes it really work.

Co-writer and co-star Hill (Schmidt) really looks out of place next to Tatum. Tall and muscular, Tatum looks every inch the ‘cool jock’ his character (Jenko) is in the film. The two actually play off each other very well – I was especially surprised with Tatum. I’d largely dismissed him before now, but he’s really got a good sense of comic timing here. In short, the unlikely pair play a couple of useless cops assigned to a high school drugs bust.

The film knowingly acknowledges the weirdness of this set-up. People ask if the two are really the brothers their cover says they are, and jokes are constantly made about Tatum looking ‘about 40′. The film even has a dig at itself when a police chief makes a speech about ideas from the 80′s always being remade and no-one doing anything new anymore, while Hill and Tatum sit po-faced. But that’s about as clever as it gets – once you get past the meta-comedy, it’s all dick and fart jokes from there in (‘you shot me in the dick!’).

The gags do fly thick and fast. By the time you’ve finished laughing at the Korean Jesus another joke has followed. There’s hardly room for breath between Ice Cube (Captain Dickson)’s tirades and Hill deliberately running Tatum over. Inevitably, the jokes can be a bit hit-and-miss, but when one misses another follows straight away to hit.

Being hit-and-miss is the only real problem I found in the film. Sometimes it seemed to wander off in strange directions, always coming back to the main story, but sometimes a scene sticks around for a tad too long. It’s not a real issue though – you just flow along with it.

The depiction of high school is also a welcome change. Hill ends up (by mistake) hanging with the ‘cool kids’, led by Eric (Dave Franco), who are all eco-friendly and super liberal. Tatum finds that ‘coolness’ and moved on, and his old response of violence towards the ‘uncool’ (‘you punched a gay black kid in the face!’) means he ends up with the very kids he mocked when he was at high school. While Hill’s character gets more obnoxious, Tatum’s character actually provides the emotion in the film, stepping out of his comfort zone and finding it’s not all bad out there.

That’s not a bad metaphor for the whole film – always a little out of the comfort zone. It’s not as outrageous as The Hangover was, but it has that slightly off-the-wall comedy you can find in films like Anchorman and Bruce Almighty. All in all, a riot of a film. See it in cinemas with a big crowd – you’ll all laugh, even if you aren’t quite sure why.

Tagged: 21 Jump StreetChanning TatumJonah Hillcomedyfilmreview

15th March 2012

Post with 1 note

On DVD: Midnight In Paris

Midnight In Paris opens with a montage of, essentially, postcard pictures of Paris. It’s a beautiful place, and much like Woody’s New York-based films, his love of the city practically oozes from every shot.

Gil (Owen Wilson) is a Hollywood script doctor with aspirations to be a ‘serious’ novelist. Inez (Rachel McAdams) is his wife to be, a thoroughly modern, typical rich-girl. Gil wants to walk home in the rain, soaking in (pardon the pun) Paris’ beauty. Inez doesn’t want to get her hair wet. They’re in Paris with Inez’s parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy), rich, upper-class, suburb-loving Americans, and meet up with Inez’s old friends, ‘pseudo-intellectual’ Paul (Michael Sheen) and his wife Carol (Nina Arianda). Gil is very much the outsider here – a romantic at heart, his wants and desires don’t much figure in everyone else’s plans.

Wilson carries the weight of the film on his shoulders as the typical ‘Woody Allen’ character. And he does a perfectly fine job – he’s so enthusiastic and sincere it’s hard not to feel for Gil when everyone around him seems to think he’s losing it. The rest of the cast is solid too, although no-one else gets nearly as much screen time as they could have done. Cameos (including Adrian Brody) seem to just flit by, waving at you before disappearing.

Because I find it hard to believe anyone with an interest in this film doesn’t know the plot, I won’t bother trying to hide it. The magic that takes Gil back to the 1920′s is never explained, never even touched on. It’s just accepted at face value, and it’s so understated (Gil just gets into a car and he’s there) we never even really question it. The historical figures are all well-known names, even to the less literate movie-goer. Hemingway (Cory Stoll) is amusingly macho (‘Courage!’), Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill) is annoyingly high-maintenance, Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) is no-nonsense and seemingly all-knowing. A wide-eyed Gill makes his way through the time period he has idolised so much, and his initial reactions are hilarious to watch (“That was Djuna Barnes?”).

Allen’s screenplay is tight and well-deserving of the Oscar. It gives his actors enough to play with, and turns out some typically laugh-out-loud Allen one liners – “she was a volcano in the sack…”. The overall message at the end is a little heavy-handed, but it’s not a major problem. We’ve known we’re watching a film all about nostalgia from the word go, we didn’t especially need the whole thing spelled out for us, but there you go.

All in all, Midnight In Paris is Woody’s finest in years. The move from London to Paris has suited him, and a strong script and good performances from the ensemble cast make Midnight In Paris a thoroughly entertaining watch.

Tagged: Midnight In ParisWoody AllenOwen WilsonRachel McAdamscomedyromanticfilmmoviereview

2nd March 2012

Post with 1 note

Inspiring Films #1: Star Wars.

For most of my life I’ve gotten stick about Star Wars. When I was younger I brought Star Wars magazines, Star Wars toys and Lego, Star Wars everything. I knew all there was to know about the fictional universe - I still do. I always got stick, but it didn’t matter. It sounds pretentious, but those people just don’t understand.

I’ll never forget how I felt when I first saw A New Hope. Never. I remember the anticipation as the THX sound thing came up, then the Lucasfilm logo, and then finally the Star Wars logo and the music. And when that Star Destroyer came in from the top of the screen… It makes my heart beat a little faster now, just thinking about it.

Star Wars really did change my world. It sounds cliched or stupid, but that’s how it is. The Hoth battle scenes blew my mind - AT-ATs are to this day the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Darth Vader scared the shit out of me. C-3PO made me laugh. I wanted to be Han Solo. They were just perfect. Watching them now I can pick up on the slightly weak dialogue, some of the less-than-great acting, but none of that mattered at the time. Yoda’s little phrases (‘there is no try, only do’) were the deepest, most important things in the world.

I loved Star Wars because it was an escape. I was bullied as a kid, and the films took me away from that, to this wonderful universe that was everything I wanted. That’s what people don’t understand - I love Star Wars because it meant so much to me then, means so much to me now. The trilogy represented hope for me (pun intended), which again sounds cliched, but again it’s true.

Whenever I think about my love for films, Star Wars is always the starting point, and always will be. While it’s not the ‘best’ film that’s inspired me (dodgy dialogue, story and sometimes acting), it will always be the most important, and certainly the one closest to my heart. This is the reason I love cinema, and if I can ever make a film that makes a young boy feel how I did when I first saw Star Wars, I’ll count my life as a success.

Tagged: Star WarsA New HopeEmpire Strikes BackReturn Of The Jedifilmfilmscinemamoviesinspiration

1st March 2012

Post with 1 note

Starting a little feature about films that have inspired me over the course of my life.

Partly to build myself up to finally learning how to make films at university, partly as something to do, and party to try and inspire myself all over again.

Hopefully you’ll all find it interesting, you could even tell me about the films that have inspired you. I think it’ll be fun.

Tagged: filmscinemamoviemoviesfilminspiration

28th February 2012

Post with 3 notes

Hey followers!

Important news!

I’m rebranding House Of 1000 Horrors as The Movie Locker. So instead of just posting about horror films, I’ll branch out and post about whatever takes my fancy. I’m also completely re-doing the page, making it a bit more personal - I’ll have an ‘about me’ section, so you can know a little more about me, the films I like and the films I’m trying to make.

I hope you like it - spread the word, I’ll be keeping this one steadily updated!

Tagged: moviemoviesmovie blogfilmfilmscinema

31st October 2011

Post

Happy Halloween!

I’ve celebrated by watching John Carpenter’s Halloween and Halloween II back-to-back - no better way of celebrating, right?

What’d you guys watch, if anything? Let me know!

Tagged: Halloween

3rd October 2011

Post

Shark Night 3D

  • Directed by: David R Ellis
  • Written by: Will Hayes, Jesse Studenberg
  • Starring: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan and Chris Carmack

When you walk into a cinema to see a film called Shark Night, you pretty much know what you’re gonna get. If you settle into your cinema seat expecting to be blown away by some serious acting, believable story and brilliant direction, you’re in the wrong film. Go and see (the wonderful) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy instead. If you’re willing to stop thinking and just roll with it, put your 3D glasses on and stay. It’ll be fun.

Another thing. Don’t bother comparing this to Jaws. There’s just no point. Jaws is far better, and will always be. Shark Night 3D is essential a Friday The 13th movie, only instead of Jason stabbing horny kids you’ve got sharks eating them. Go in with this mindset and you’ll be fine, ‘cause Shark Night does generally deliver on this. It doesn’t mess about a huge amount with backstory and exposition, once the kids arrive on the lake the shark action kicks in pretty quickly. The acting and script are as good as you’d expect (Joshua Leonard steals pretty much every scene he’s in as a bearded, mental hillbilly), the directing is solid too. The GCI isn’t bad either - the sharks look pretty good, at least.

The gore, however, is not good. There’s simply none of it. The film has been pretty much castrated by it’s rating, so instead of a shark ripping someone’s leg off we just see some splashing as the water begins to go red. Gore hounds will fume, but hey, it’s all we’ve got. The tension is pretty minimal as well. But then again, there was no tension in Piranha 3D either, and look how awesome that was. Largely down to the gore. I don’t want to sound like gore makes a movie good, because it doesn’t. But in a film like this, without plot, tension or real scares, it’s the thing that really makes it a fun time.

Shark Night is essentially a warm-up to Piranha 3DD. That might sound harsh, but it’s pretty much true, in my opinion. It’s definately worth a watch - there are a lot of worse ways to spend 90 minutes - but lower your expectations and make sure your brain is firmly turned off. It’s the only way you’ll see a shark eat some out of a tree and laugh instead of asking how on earth that’s possible.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know! The ask box is right up there…

Tagged: Shark NightShark Night 3Dhorrormovieshorror moviesreviewDavid R EllisSara Paxton

28th September 2011

Post

I appreciate that this blog may be, erm… Of less interest to you Americans, due to the simple fact that films tend to come out in the UK weeks after they do in America, so by the time I can get to see a film it’s probably already finished in the States, making my review a little late for you. I’m sorry, but there’s obviously nothing I can do.

I hope you’ll just like reading my opinions on the films, and compare them to your own. Maybe some of the other articles I write would interest you too, and I’ll try to get back to screencaps soon.

Thanks a lot for following and reading, everyone. I know I don’t post as regularly as anyone would like, so thanks for sticking with it.

28th September 2011

Post with 3 notes

Horror and the Box Office: Dead or Alive?

I’d like to make one thing clear from the off – horror movies are not dead at the box office. Most of the people who make such a daft claim tend to be Americans who don’t look past the domestic figures of a film. At least, that’s how it seems to me. A good example is Scream 4 – according to a lot of people it flopped, only making $38 million in the US, $2 million short of its budget. A lot of people seem to stop there – but take into account international figures, and Scream 4 made nearly $100 million, with DVD sales still to come. Hitting the hundred million is surely a mark of success, so if horror’s so-called ‘flops’ are still hitting that, how can we be in trouble?

I’m going to focus on modern films here, e.g post-2000. We all know back in the 70’s and 80’s it was easy to make a load of money off a low budget, and in a post-Halloween era people were rushing to get cameras, a man with a mask and a knife and make back their budget tenfold. It’s in the 2000’s that a lot of people are claiming horror movies are ‘dead’, if you’ll excuse the pun. I don’t believe this is true, and I’ll look at some of the low-budget successes as well as the big budget blockbusters in our genre.

Whenever low-budget horror is mentioned, the mind instantly springs to the incredibly successful Paranormal Activity. The quality of the film is a moot point, something that’s been argued over since it came out 4 years ago, but the figures do not lie. On a budget of $15,000, the film was shot over 10 ten days in the directors house, and has since grossed $107 million worldwide. That’s over 7000 times its budget back – truly mind-blowing figures. More recently, the brilliant Insidious was made for $1.5 million and grossed $91 million worldwide, again with DVD sales to come. James Wan, the director of Insidious, is probably responsible for the boom in low budget horror, with the well-known Saw becoming a huge hit, the $1.2 million-made film making $102 million back. The Saw franchise, whether you love it or hate it, has been a huge success, all 7 films making $873 million off a combined budget of $63.5. Whether you love the Saw films or not, those are very impressive figures. Other low-budget success include Neil Marshall’s The Descent, Chris Kentis’ Open Water and Greg McLean’s Wolf Creek, proving that even in this so-called ‘death’ of horror movies, a well-made, low budget film can still scare and pull in some profits.

As we all know, most of the ‘big budget’ horror films of this decade have been remakes and/or sequels. I’m not going to get into the whole argument over remakes here (you all know at least some of my views anyway, from my article on ‘reboots’), but it’s a fact that studios won’t throw money at a film anymore, unless it’s got some history to it. As a result, it’s the big remakes like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare On Elm Street and The Ring with all the money to splash. And whether you like them or not, people flock to see these huge remakes, with all three that I mentioned breaking the $100 million barrier, and The Ring breaking even the $200 million barrier, on the back of the huge hype around it. Even sequels haven’t done too badly for themselves – I’ve already mentioned the figures of the Saw franchise, and a more recent example is Final Destination 5, which has again broken the $100 million barrier worldwide.

I’ve focused on the extreme here – most, if not all the films I’ve mentioned have hit the $100 million mark, making them big blockbusters. But other films, like The Hills Have Eyes, The Last Exorcism and Cloverfield have made upwards of $50 million each. While these sums are, of course, nothing compared to the really huge blockbusters (although infinitely better every time), for a genre that is supposedly ‘dead’, making the film’s budget back multiple times in nearly every case is pretty damn good going.

Agree? Disagree? I write these articles to make people think, so let me know your thoughts! My ask box is right up there.

Tagged: horrorhorror moviesbox officemoneyfilms