Well, we’ve been going for 18 months and I thought – hey, why don’t we write about movies in the Midlands? Ha ha. In all seriousness, I’ve been intending for a long time to not only promote future talent (please see our Spotlight and Showcase pages – as well as archived feature slots on new filmmakers from the region in our Blog section) but also look back into what the region has contributed to the film industry in the past.
From all over the Midlands, there are filmmakers, actors and locations that have been featured in big successful movies and the region has both the gritty realism needed for a British kitchen-sink/urban drama and the grandiose buildings required for stately homes and castles for Hollywood visions of “olde” England...
With a 73% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes I suppose with a bit of hindsight the film has not been quite as mauled to death as my Twitter feed would suggest but with such strong opinions and many a fan-boy claiming it to be a disaster of Queen-sized proportions I thought I would take another look at Ridley Scott’s polarising sci-fi film Prometheus.
Released in 2012 to a round of naysayers, I enjoyed the larger issues it tackled inside the “Alien” universe and it seemed that a lot of people went in expecting what Ridley Scott told them not to expect – i.e. a direct Alien prequel – and wondered why they were disappointed. His perfect summary that it contained the “D.N.A.” of the Alien story was a great description for his film that dared to do something new rather than an easy re-hashing of Alien’s scares or Aliens’ shooting thrills.
So what criticisms have been levelled against it? Well, as I’ve mentioned above, some felt that it was nothing like Alien or Aliens (the 2 most revered films in the franchise). Well, I’d argue that there is no need to have a strong connection or a repeat of themes and sequences we’ve all seen before. This is a good thing.
Okay, so The Expendables 3 came out in Summer 2014 and although it is far better than 2 for me (despite its 12A rating) it is not quite as good as the first one. My dislike for The Expendables franchise is pretty clear and the main reason is an argument to why the Transformers franchise also no longer works.
So what went wrong? Well, Transformers went nowhere and after the initial awe at the photo-realistic CGI, the film had nothing else in its bag of tricks whilst I’ve already stated that The Expendables is neither funny enough to do the Hot Shots-style pastiche or serious enough to be a good action film. Click here to read more...
After purchasing The Art of Drew Struzan, I decided to investigate the lost art of innovative film poster design. It seems to me it has been taken on a much more serious sub culture as designers (homemade and unprofessional) have flooded the internet with alternative designs to a wealth of films.
So, please take a look at 25 brilliant pieces of art (with some further thoughts after the jump) and I also request if any readers can please illuminate me with the names of any of the artists responsible so I can link to their sites and reference their work appropriately. Please click here to read about the artists
From Al Pacino shouting to more subtle diatribes on the future or motivating a crowd, Hollywood is stuffed to the gills with amazing monolgues, narration and speeches of all kinds.
Here, Midlands Movies Editor, Mike Sales, takes a look at 15 of his favourite movie speeches from courtroom clashes to intimate confessions as they rouse audiences with their differing delivery styles. From uplifting tales to harsh put downs, movie speeches can immortalise an actor or film in just a few minutes.
With a mix of franchise balls-ups and delayed sequels as well as the truly horrid unnecessary follow up, here is my countdown of 30 of my least favourite sequels of all time with a few reasons why.
Sorry for those wanting to see Matrix Reloaded (the action saves it for me), X-Men: Last Stand (it’s pap but finishes the story fine for me) or Terminator: Salvation (it’s not the worst in the franchise by a long way) but I hope there’s plenty of others that got on your nerves without spoiling too many of your favourite films.
With queues around the block when we arrived, it was a cold Sheffield evening on Sunday 25th January when Yorkshire was treated to a bit of Hollywood glitz and glamour as living legend Sylvester Stallone came to town.
The megastar was performing in an “Audience With...” format and there were fans aplenty who wanted to find out more from their Rocky and Rambo hero.
After a short wait outside, the throngs were let in through the large doors of Sheffield’s City Hall venue and then into the main auditorium I went with my girlfriend Lucy, who as the biggest Stallone fan I know, was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement...
Having been in a rock band for much of the ‘noughties’ I’ve always had an affinity with music films and especially those with guitarists or guitar playing in them. With that in mind, it got me thinking of some of my favourite scenes in cinema where we see guitarists in full on action.
Although not completely following the rules I’ve tried to omit any films that overtly showcase the talents of real musicians (that’s Elvis’ films out) or are based on real musicians’ lives.
After intending to plan a trip to the lovely cities of Belfast and, for the first time ever, Dublin, the increased cost (£120 for a hostel for one night in a room of 18!) unfortunately put a halt on going down that road.
We’re sticking with starring roles so some cameos, bit parts and TV appearances are not included. Sadly that means no Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time (1996) – the movie short directed by James Cameron that appeared during Universal Studios’ Terminator ride at their Florida theme park. It’s still better than Terminator 3 though! I haven’t included Maggie and Terminator: Genisys (both of which are due for release later in 2015). “I’ll be back” with a position for those two films after Summer ;)
With the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron in May 2015, I thought I would write about some of my favourite scenes and sequences from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to date.
Whilst avoiding the SHIELD and Agent Carter spinoffs as well as the Marvel “one-shots”, I am sticking solely to the cinematic films which are (in release order) Iron Man, Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor 2: The Dark World, Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier & Guardians of the Galaxy.
I will set myself one caveat however. In order for a tiny bit of fairness I have decided to include at least one scene/moment from each of the films – otherwise I may just choose only The Avengers scenes – which for my money is the best of the bunch so far. Click here to read more...
After a tough end to 2012 I decided that I would visit a country that had been on my “to-do” list for many a long year and go and visit the glorious cities of Italy. A big fan of their food, art and fashion, I arranged to meet my friend Dave (who was ski instructing in Turin) and that we would visit three cities in 5 days in the northern part of the country.
Leaving on an afternoon flight on Thursday April 18th I soon landed at Venice Treviso airport, 30km from the city itself, such was the RyanAir small print but I couldn’t complain as the flight cost me just a tenner!
Ever since the knight jumped from the stained-glass window in the mid-80s film Young Sherlock Holmes, audiences have been increasingly exposed to computer generated imagery (CGI) as a means of directors to tell their stories through the use of special effects.
As films have moved from the practical effects and stop motion miniature techniques from pioneers like Ray Harryhausen, there has been a heavy reliance on digital manipulation to not only assist with previously unfilmable monsters and spectacular set pieces, but now to do everything from extending backgrounds, adding sheep (Brokeback Mountain) and even changing hairlines (Nic Cage!)
Horror blog Runs in Rivers made plans to make everybody scream in space at Leicester’s National Space Centre with a summer screening of Ridley Scott’s Alien. Midlands Movies Mike (and Marek) headed down to this exclusive showing making sure our priority one was to bring back some great memories. All other priorities rescinded...
When Midlands Movies Mike (as I am contractually obliged to call him) asked me if I’d like to write a Top 10 piece on Tom Cruise, I lurched drunkenly at the chance and offered it outside for a fight.
But it turned out that he meant pick my top 10 films by the microScientologist. Ah.
Y’see, I can’t stand Tom Cruise. Even leaving aside his frankly insane pronouncements in interviews and the like, I loathe his anodyne, uninspired, unimaginative, box office-fodder “blockbusters”, and I find his acting utterly, as they say in my country, shite. This may not be the article MMM deserves, but it’s the article he needs right now...
Nicolas Cage. Well, what can you say?
Critics have described the actor as a pantomime or someone who reverts to over-the-top performances to compensate for a lack of quality. Others (such as Roger Ebert, no less) have noted that he has an “operatic” air to his work. In a world of method acting and weight gain/loss, the overdramatic theatrics of Nicolas Cage still dazzles and confuses fans in equal measure.
Midlands Movies Mike takes a trip to the ever-expanding Comic Con Leicester at the Athena venue in the city’s cultural quarter.
With a completely sold-out event, Mike braved the throngs of cosplayers and comic fans for the weekend where the wacky and wonderful sat side-by-side in a showcase of the region’s immense talent.
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After a brilliant trip to the Italian cities of Pisa, Venice and Florence in 2013 I was itching to get back to the land of perfect pizza with a trip to their capital city of Rome. Leaving on my birthday May 3rd, the city itself has a rich history of cinema – both as a location, a studio system and a place to film a wide variety of movies throughout history.
With my walking boots on (a mere 15km was tracked on a running app on just my first day) I was looking forward to exploring the beautiful city streets without too much planning but also not missing the major sights. It is with these tourist sites that I will begin with.
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25 years. 25 YEARS? How did Terminator 2, one of my favourite films of all time, hit the cinema 25 years ago? Wow. As time goes by, my cinematic knowledge seems to have had an awakening in 1991, the year of its release, and much like Marty McFly and 1955, the year now has a particular significance for me.
The year 1991 involved some important events but oh how we’ve moved on since a war waged in Iraq, the European Market and closer political union were heated public debates, a Star Trek sequel was released and The Simpsons was on TV – wait, what?
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It had been a few years since my last visit to the MCM Comic Con in Birmingham’s NEC arena and after a fantastic time at Leicester’s own independent convention (see here) I decided to see if the event was still as much fun as before.
With new writer Robb Sheppard in tow (@RedBezzle) we met at New Street station where there was already train carriages packed full of the weird and wonderful cosplayers on their way to the event. As we entered through the snaking queues of people waiting in line for what was sure to be a jam-packed two days, Robb and I dropped off our bags and hit the throngs of comic, film, game and TV fans.
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