The world has changed a lot in the past sixty years, but some things don’t change, from the time of James Dean’s Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause to today all teenagers seek social acceptance.   At one time or another every teenager has felt different, alien, or just misunderstood, that is why it is no surprise  that when adapting Young Adult novels filmmakers have gravitated towards films characters who really are different: Percy Jackson (2010 & 2013) (son of Zeus), Blood and Chocolate (2007) (werewolf), The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), (Shadowhunter, a human with angelic powers), Beautiful Creatures (2013) (witch), I am Number Four (2011) (alien), Vampire Academy (2014) (vampire and dhampir). And while Bella in Twilight (2008 – 2012) is human her chosen boyfriend isn’t.  This fits with the idea of someone who is accepted within a group wanting their chosen boyfriend/girlfriend to be accepted too.Blood and Chocolate

Over time we come to accept the world and the people around us.  It doesn’t take a geniuses to see the dystopia of other books/films as a metaphor for the world from a teenage prospective.  Think: The Hunger Games (2012 – 2015), Tomorrow When the War Began (2010), How I Live Now (2013).  But what is the next step?  Films where there is both dystopian setting and a lead character who “different” in some way: Ender’s Game (2013), Divergent (2014), The Giver (2014).  The latest film in this YA movie genre The Maze Runner (2014) is on the edge of this new sub-genre with a dystopian setting and a charters whose difference id the catalyst for the plot.divergent

My thoughts on the genre are mixed; the crossover success to the mainstream proves the quality of some of the films, I have seen all the films mentioned above and enjoyed many of them, The Hunger Games being the standout.  But it seems the genre is becoming diluted.  When asked if I had seen Beautiful Creatures, it took me a few minutes to remember what is was and decipher it from The Mortal Instruments.  I can remember the premise and a few of the scenes from Blood and Chocolate, I am Number Four and Tomorrow When the War Began but can’t actually remember the plot.  To put this in context I can remember great details of films I have seen once twenty or more years ago.   But back to those mixed thoughts, I like Dystopian movies, for example I love Mad Max, 12 Monkeys and Blade Runner, therefore I worry the genre will collapses under its own weight.  Think of all the Vampire movies after Twilight and not only how few decent vampire movie have been made in recent years, but how many of them are actually horror films.  I also worry that the genre is been taken away from more brutal films like Doomsday (2008) and Battle Royale (2000) (I’m sure the muted remake will be 12A) in favour of more teen friendly films.Rhona Mitra Doomsday

But it isn’t just about teen movies taking over the genre, they are also stopping other films getting made.  Where is this generations Back to the Future (1985) or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)?  Where is the fun in teen movies?  The simple answer, as teen movies appeal to adult audiences the fun is in the mainstream with films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow (both 2014), both of which have a 12A rating in an attempt to crossover to the teen market.  There are some other types of films creeping through, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), that I loved and The Fault in Our Stars and If I Stay (2014) that I haven’t seen.  And that is a good thing, all films shouldn’t appeal to all people, it is righty that as a thirty-something man I am not interested films aimed at younger or female audience.Back to the future

What will be the next trend of YA and teen movies?  I have no idea, but am sure someone does, it is more than likely already in the pipeline.

Last night I attended the European premier of The Imitation Game.  This isn’t entirely true, the European premier at The Odeon Leicester Square doubled as the opening film the 58th BFI London Film Festival.  It was simultaneously screened across the country at 30 cinemas.  While the stars squelched down the red carpet in pouring rain I was sat 120 miles away in the comfort of Cineworld Birmingham.  Given the absence of a large film festival anywhere in the UK outside London and Edinburgh I jumped at the chance of seeing the film over a month before its general release.The Imitation Game European premier

By way of introduction, Alan Turing was a British mathematician and computer scientist. An early pioneer of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation” he is regarded as the farther of computing, his “Turing machine” is considered a forerunner of what we now know as a computer.  During World War II he worked at Bletchley Park, Britain’s code-breaking centre. As the head of “Hut 8″ he was largely responsible for cracking Naval Enigma.  Winston Churchill is believed to have said Turing made the “single biggest contribution to Allied victory”. A decade later he committed suicide after being persecuted by the authorities for being homosexual, a crime at the time.Alan Turing

I first became aware of Alan Turing in the late 90’s when I read Robert Harris’ excellent novel Enigma (published in 1995 and made into a film of the same name in 2001).  A fictional account of the battle to decrypt Enigma.  Although fictional the film gives a good overview of the exploits of the cryptanalysts of Bletchley Park and encouraged me to read more of the true story that was just becoming public knowledge fifty years after the fact.

Benedict Cumberbatch is perfectly cast as Alan Turing and to the films credit isn’t afraid of showing the antisocial and socially awkward side of his character.  His performance is heartfelt and convincing making it captivating.  The supporting cast is excellent with Matthew Goode and Mark Strong being as good as ever and Keira Knightley proving her critics wrong again.the imitation game

Based on Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges and directed by Morten Tyldum (best known for Headhunters (2011)).  The film is well paced and constructed but does suffer from a lack of focus.  Told in flashback from his arrest for indecency (for being gay) in 1951 to his school days and his exploits during the war.  The film doesn’t know if it wants to be a biography of Turing or a story of the cracking of Enigma.  Personally I would have liked to have seen one or the other, either a full bio-pic or a more in depth look at the Bletchley Park years.  Anyone who has read up on the subject will learn little from the movie and are likely to enjoy it as a film, but those with little or no knowledge it is perfect introduction.the imitation game cast

Not without its faults, but an enjoyable and informative film and a fitting tribute (largely thanks to a monumental performance from Benedict Cumberbatch) to a British war hero who is finally getting the recognition he deserves.  Well worth checking out when it goes on general release 14 November 2014. 

On Saturday morning I received a text message from a friend who is a huge Twin Peaks fan:

“So Dale Cooper first arrives in Twin Peaks at 11:30am.  Yesterday at that exact time both David Lynch and Mark Frost sent the same tweet”:

The text also quoted Dale Cooper “When two separate events occur simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry we must always pay strict attention”

The immediate reaction.  Lynch and Frost are going to re-team for a new Twin Peaks series or Movie.  The speculation was ended on Monday when they tweeted their intentions:

The Show Time website confirms the series is set to return in 2016, to mark the 25th anniversary of the end of the original run.  Original creators/producers David Lynch and Mark Frost are on board and will write and produce all nine episodes and Lynch will direct them.   No plot details have been released but many original cast members have expressed an interest and I understand Kyle MacLachlan (Special Agent Dale Cooper) has confirmed he will be reprising his role.

We are long overdue for a serving of cherry pie and some damn fine coffee!

After averaging about seven movies a month through the summer I have been making up for lost time with sixteen trips to the cinema in September. 

Million Dollar Arm: The true story of a down on his luck sports agent stage sets up a talent show to find Indian crickets that he can turn into Major League Baseball pitchers.  A little lightweight but fun.Million Dollar Arm

As Above, So Below: Found footage horror movie set in the Paris catacombs.  Unoriginal but surprisingly enjoyable despite the ludicrous found footage.  Perdita Weeks makes a likeable star I expect to see more of.As Above So Below

The Guest: Homage to 80’s thrillers and slasher movies.   It really shouldn’t work but it strangely does.  Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens makes a seamless transition from TV to movies.The Guest

The Guvnors: British crime/gangster drama.  Turning football hooligans into sympathetic, even heroic  characters leaves a bad taste, but the film is actually very good.The Guvnors

Before I Go to Sleep: Amnesia thriller.  Nicole Kidman is good, Colin Firth has fun playing against type but Mark Strong steals the show as always.  Comparisons to the far superior Memento are inevitable.Before I Go to Sleep

The Hundred-Foot Journey: An Indian family move to France and set up a restaurant opposite  Michelin-starred restaurant.  Om Puri steals the show as the patriarch of the family. The second film this year that you shouldn’t watch on  an empty stomach.THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

A Most Wanted Man: A German intelligence officer is on the trail of Chechen illegally immigrates who may be in Hamburg to help fund terrorists.  A well paced and believable thriller.  Philip Seymour Hoffman reminds us just how good he is in this adaptation of a modern John le Carré novel.A Most Wanted Man

20,000 Days on Earth: Fictionalised account of musician and writer Nick Cave’s 20,000th day on the planet Earth.  Existing in a nether-region between documentary and narrative cinema, a real treat for Nick Cave fans and a great film for the uninitiated.20,000 Days on Earth

Pride: A group of lesbian and gay activists raise money to help miners during the 1984 strike.  A true story appears to be one of the best kept secrets of the era.    As funny and uplifting as it is poignant.Pride

A Walk Amongst the Tombstones: Liam Neeson plays another man with  a very particular set of skills, but this is a very different film to Taken.  A more thoughtful movie than I was expecting, based on number ten of eighteen novels, it could be the start of a more interesting franchise for Neeson.A Walk Amongst the Tombstones

Magic in the Moonlight: A renowned stage magician is hired to debunk a spiritualist.  Colin Firth and Emma Stone are as good as you would expect.  Woody Allen’s direction is light and well paced but his script lacks and gravitas.Magic in the Moonlight

The Riot Club: Based on the acclaimed play Posh, that in turn is a thinly disguised take on real life institutions like the Bullingdon Club.  Entertaining but lacks any pathos,  it makes a couple of the characters a little too sympathetic and the rest are just caricatures.The Riot Club

The Giver: In a dull but supposedly perfect future there is no is no conflict but there is also no emotion.  Things begin to change when a young man who can see beyond the veneer of society gets a new job.  Effective and enjoyable low-fi, sci-fi. The Giver

Maps To The Stars: David Cronenberg’s satire on Hollywood  is as enthralling as it is cutting.  Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska are both excellent and would be early contenders for Oscar nominations  if the films gaze wasn’t so close to home.Maps To The Stars

I Origins: Mike Cahill reteams with Brit Marling.  A meditation on science, religion and the possibility of reincarnation told through the medium of a love story.  The film holds together even in its most arty moments largely thanks to Marling and co stars Michael Pitt and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.i origins

What We Did on Our Holiday: A couple try to hide their separation from the family at a 75th birthday party but their children don’t find lying as easy.  Improvised scenes with the kids provide some very funny moments.'WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAYS'

There were five real contenders this month, but for its originality and the feeling I walked out with, the movie of the month has to be: 20,000 Days on Earth:20,000 Days on Earth poster

When returning for a third appearance on The Matineecast, Ryan asks his guests about the moment they got serious about film, the film that turned a corner for them.  Whenever I hear that question I wonder how I would answer, I have been obsessed with films for as long as I can remember.  Watching copious amounts of videos as a kid, becoming a bit of a film snob as a student, and making over a hundred trips a year to the cinema for the past decade and a half. 

Star Wars (1977), The original Star Wars: episode IV; A New Hope; or just Star Wars, whatever you call it wasn’t the first film I saw, it was the first film I remember seeing.  The first time I saw it was on TV, we didn’t have a VCR at the time.  It is credited as changing the course of movie history (for good or bad depending on your point of view) but it also hooked me on movies forever.  The other film I remember seeing around the same time was Robin and Marian (1976).  I didn’t watch it again for about 25 years ago and it wasn’t as good as I remember it being but it encouraged me to lookout other Robin Hood films.  By the time Patrick Bergin’s Robin Hood disappeared into the shadow Kevin Costner’s and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991 I had seen the Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) countless times.adventuresofrobinhood

I have never been a fan of outright comedies but love films with lots of comedy, two early examples of this that I watched a lot as a kid and still enjoy now are Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and The Blues Brothers (1980).  A few years later came Ghostbusters (1984) and Back to the Future (1985).  This coincided with a time when we had a VCR and I started watching a lot of films relatively soon after release and not when they found their way to TV.  In a rare trip to the cinema I went to see Ghostbusters II (1989) on the strength of the original film, but I am getting ahead of myself.ghostbusters

Having seen the second and third Star Wars movies;  Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) by this time I would have watched anything in a similar vain.  One such film was Starcrash (1978), another film that I looked out more recently, although it has its low budget charms, it is a poor movie.  However my star wars obsession did result in watching Dune (1984).  I was around ten years old when I watched it and loved it.  It was also my first experience of being a film snob, as everyone I knew who had seen it at the time said they didn’t understand it.  A relatively straightforward story, I think people who claim it doesn’t make sense just got board and didn’t watch it.  At this point I had little knowledge or interest in who directed a film, David Lynch was possibly the first director that I began to look out films on the strength of who made it.  This resulted in me watching Blue Velvet (1986) at far too young an age.  I have since seen every Lynch film on or soon after release.Dune

The other director I looked out for by name was Alfred Hitchcock.  This began on Christmas eve in the early 80’s when I watched North by Northwest (1959).  It remains one of my favourite films.  Over the next few years by the time I was around 15 I had seen all of Hitchcock’s greatest hits: The 39 Steps (1935), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), Strangers on a Train (1951), Dial M for Murder  (1954), Rear Window  (1954), To Catch a Thief (1955), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963). I have since looked out many more of his films and think I have seen everything from 1935 on.North by Northwest

I saw a couple of James Bond Films in the early 80’s Live and Let Die (1973) and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969).  Soon after that I saw From Russia With Love (1963), I was hooked and every time a Bond film came on TV I had to watch it. The first Bond films I saw on video and relatively soon after their initial release were Say Never Again and Octopussy (both 1983), both on the same day.  The first one I watched in a cinema was GoldenEye Pierce Brosnan’s first and only decent Bond movie.From Russia with Love

My introduction to horror came a few years later, I think it was 1986, when Channel 4 started a season of Hammer horror films.  The first week was a double bill, Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1986) and Frankenstein Created Woman (1967).  The season seemed to last about a year and covered many of the seminal Hammer movies.  I then started watching more and more horror movies, both contemporary and older movies.  The 80’s was a great time for horror, by the end of the decade I had seen: The Shining (1980), An American Werewolf in London (1981), The Evil Dead (1981) Scanners (1981), The Thing (1982), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Aliens (1986), Near Dark (1987), The Lost Boys (1987) and Hellraiser (1987).  But the horror movie that got to me most was Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now (1973), a disturbing rather than scary movie, especially for a 12 year old.Dont-Look-Now

In my early teens I got into action movies, most notably The Terminator (1984) and Die Hard.  The Terminator often unfairly overlooked in favour of its more flashy and expensive sequel.  It combines all the things I loved at the time; action, adventure, horror, sci-fi and a great story, an instant classic for me, it took a little longer for the establishment to agree with me.  It was around this time that I first saw Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985).  I didn’t see the original Mad Max (1979) for a few years.  Watching them all again recently, all three films have aged really well.  I have mentioned in previous articles that until I went to university at the age of eighteen I had only seen seven films at the cinema. The seventh and final of those was Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).  My most anticipated film for many years prior to its release.  It didn’t disappoint.the terminator

My love of films had begun on television, as had my introduction to horror but in 1988 the breadth of my watching increased with BBC2’s Moviedrome.  Shown on a Sunday evening between1988 and 2000 Movidrome was a series of cult films introduced originally by director Alex Cox and later by Mark Cousins.  You can see my article about Moviedrome HERE and a list of all the films they showed HERE. In 1991 my movie landscape suddenly grew.  The previous year I had seen a review on TV of Nikita (1990) and was intrigued.  at the time I hardly ever went to the cinema, but even if I did, my chances of getting into an 18 certificate film weren’t great.  Video shops were less discerning I rented the Video the day it came out.  I believe it was the first foreign language movie I ever saw.  Dismissed at the time for style over substance now it has the recognition it deserves as a classic.nikita

As I read other peoples blogs or listen to their podcasts I hear of people deciding they should “make the effort” to watch older classic films.  I have never seen this as an effort, I have watched films of all ages for as long as I can remember.  My parents introduced me to many films at a young age, they include films by Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford as well as two of my all time favourite films: Some Like it Hot (1959) and Casablanca (1942).  From the age of around twelve I quite simply devoured movies discovering directors like Francis Ford Coppola, Akira Kurosawa, Sidney Lumet, John Huston and Sergio Leone.the searchers

When I went to university the age of eighteen not only did I study film, but I began watching films as they were intended, in the cinema.  I now visit the cinema more than 100 times every year.  In the last two weeks I have seen more films at the cinema than in the first eighteen years of my life.  So when did my film watching turn a corner?  When I first saw Star Wars or Nikita?  When I started watching films at the cinema, or about five years ago when I came to the conclusion that American Graffiti (1973) is George Lucas’ best film.  Probably all the above. 

The New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, California is a world famous “revival houses”.  Its legend is helped by the fact it is owned by Quentin Tarantino.  He purchased the 1920’s building that includes the cinema in 2007 to save it from redevelopment but acted more as a landlord than proprietor, until now.  The director had always vowed to show double features in 35mm, but has now taken it a stage further and has taken over programming and will be showing double features from his own  35mm private collection.  I’m sure he will show some of his own movies from time to time, but what would he pair them with?  Here are my ideas:

Reservoir Dogs  (1992) and The Killing (1956)

Three films are often credited with influencing Reservoir Dogs: Ringo Lam’s City on Fire (1987) (undercover cop and the suits), Joseph Sargent’s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) (the Mr [insert colour here] names) and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (the overall plot).  All great films but I am going with my favourite and possibly the least well know, The Killing.Reservoir Dogs  and The Killing

Pulp Fiction (1994) and Go (1999)

There are so many films I could pair with Pulp fiction, I am going with Doug Liman’s Go.  The narrative structure is different to the one used in Pulp Fiction but does use a group of intertwined stories in a similar way.  For all the films that have influenced Tarantino, it is nice to include a film that is most probably influenced by him.Pulp Fiction and Go

Jackie Brown (1997) and Nikita (1990)

The obvious choice, Out of Sight (1998), both are based on Elmore Leonard novels and even feature a shared character Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton).   However I am going for Nikita, a very different film but with a similar thread, both films are about woman who get drawn into worlds that they don’t want to be in.Jackie Brown and Nikita

Kill Bill: Vol. 1  (2003) and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

I am not going to pair these films with anything , instead I am going to put them together the way they should have been originally, as one film.Kill Bill Vol 1 and Kill Bill Vol 2

Death Proof  (2007) and Doomsday (2008)

Death Proof started life out as part of the  Grindhouse project and therefore already has a paired film, Planet Terror.  My first thought for a paired film was the movie it most directly references Vanishing Point (1971), but I went a different way, of recent films Neil Marshall’s Doomsday is the film that best captures the exploitation cinema vibe that Tarantino was looking for in Grindhouse.Death Proof  and Doomsday

Inglourious Basterds  (2009) and Casablanca (1942)

I considered various movies: resistance films, Flame and Citron (2008) or Black Book (2006), WWII behind enemy lines story Saving Private Ryan (1998) or ludicrous comedy Tropic Thunder (2008), however I went with Casablanca (1942) for no particular reason, I could just see these very different WWII movies working together.Inglourious Basterds and Casablanca

Django Unchained (2012) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

The obvious choice Django (1966) (original Django, Franco Nero has a cameo in unchained) but when you strip away the themes of Django Unchained you are left with a buddy movie disguised as a western and the best buddy movie disguised as a western has to be Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.Django Unchained and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

When writing about a female led comic book/superhero movie I purposely missed out the X-Men.  The X-Women are so complicated they need their own article.  20th Century Fox currently hold the rights to the X-Men.  The film series so far consists of: X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011), The Wolverine (2013) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).  The next film in the series will be X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) followed by an as yet untitled Wolverine sequel (2017).  There has also been a suggestion of a spin-off X-Force movie.

The problem is twofold, the X-Men exist as a group or team and work best as such.  The second problem, the X-Men haven’t always made best use of their female characters.  In the comic books Wolverine has been truly successful as a solo character and in turn is the only one to get a his own movie.  The one female character that could hold a film, Psylocke has never been properly introduced.  The most notable character that advances have been disappointed with is Storm/Ororo Munroe.  Many people blame Halle Berry for her performance, in reality it is more down to the writing.

Jean Grey / Phoenix (Famke Janssen) is better written for the screen but is used to the greatest effect when playing against Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.Jean Grey  Phoenix Famke Janssen

Marie / Rogue (Anna Paquin) has been used to less effect in each film until the most recent where she is reduced to a cameo.X-Men: Last Stand (2006) Anna Paquin as Marie/Rogue

Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) Promoted from a cameo for to a leading role in Days of Future Past.Kitty Pryde Ellen Page

Raven Darkholme / Mystique could be the answer.  Always an interesting character in the first three movies  played by Rebecca Romijn, replaced by Jennifer Lawrence for the prequel movies, First Class and Days of Future Past, star power has been added to the mix.  I suggested the possibility of a Mystique movie five years ago.  I’m would have to be a different story to fit with the existing continuity but could still work.Raven Darkholme Mystique Rebecca Romijn Jennifer Lawrence

I mentioned about the idea of an X-Force movie, this could do two things.  Continue the old film series with some of the old characters alongside the First Class team.  It also gives the chance to introduce unused characters or reintroduced characters that were wasted in The Last Stand such as Psylocke.  Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock/Psylocke first appeared in Captain Britain, vol. 1 #8 in 1976 as a supporting character to her brother Brian Braddock Captain Britain.  Originally having precognitive abilities, then later revealed as a telepath, she also gained Jean Grey’s telekinesis ability.  She later transferred into the body of female Japanese mutant ninja Kwannon.  She gained Kwannon’s skills and elements of her personality.  The Character has a lot of millage and could introduced in her Japanese form with an origin story to follow using an English actress.Psylocke

I don’t see Fox rushing to join the race for a female comic book movie.  But like the idea of an X-Force movie.


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