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I recently watched Michael Haneke’s Funny Games. My original plan was to watch the original and then watch the US version, a shot by shot remake directed by Haneke himself. Watching the original quickly dispelled this notion.

Funny Games is not a film you enjoy, it is a film that you yield too, a film you are constantly afraid of admitting weakness too, a film that attempts to completely deconstruct ideas you have established about onscreen violence. In short it is a brilliant piece of work, but a piece of work which is remarkably repellent. Funny Games, through its constant destruction of the fourth wall, is a movie which attempts to reveal innate truths about the viewer.

Feeding a cinematic bloodlust and then pausing for cool introspection at its height. It is a movie which demands people pay attention to their own desires and forces you to study exactly what you expect of films in terms of their violent content. Watching Funny Games got me thinking about depictions of onscreen violence, and particularly the way that filmmakers attempt to generate a need for wanton destruction. As a species we are naturally voyeuristic and as such we are fascinated and thrilled by violence perpetuated against other humans.

Funny Games examines this fascination by making the viewer acutely aware of his own primal desires through a plethora of cinematic devices a great example of this being the wink the main villain gives to the audience as we anticipate the discovery of a dead pet. But what is Haneke commenting on? The audiences desire for viscera or the intellectual desire for violence? His arguments against the subtle use of screen violence only holds when violence is used as a sleight of hand tool, when it is used as punctuation in films which have intellectual merit. Far from putting me off of violence in cinema, Funny Games made me want to rediscover the movies in which violence was entertainment.

My first thought was to look at the action films of the 1980s and profile the work of directors like Mark L. Lester and Paul Verhoeven who would take transgressive screen violence as far as the ratings board would allow. Personally I felt more comfortable detailing films from East Asia and as such I’ll have to deal with American violence cinema in another post at some point. Continue Reading »

As a child my favourite movies were “The Never Ending Story” and “The Karate Kid” or at least my favourite kids movies, I was a huge “Aliens” fan. Every year these two favourites are aired on Bank Holidays, Easter Holidays maybe even Christmas, and every year I watch them as if for the first time.

No kid’s movie has yet made such an impact on me, enough for me to care, except now. “The Forbidden Kingdom” probably isn’t written to be a kid’s movie but is basically a mash of the two. With that new fancy-pants kind of Kung-Fu, the kind with ropes and badass stunts. Continue Reading »

“An Epiphany” by Jack

For those of you interested enough in my dismal life I have been without the internet for about 4 weeks. Although this did give me the much needed time to appreciate the pros and cons of the giant step in my life that is moving in with my girlfriend, time spent on actually talking to people in the real world and last but pretty much least the joys of working more hours than I thought existed.
Continue Reading »

Tom Marvolo Riddle

Tom Marvolo Riddle

With my recent focus on comic book films I’m beginning to feel the onset of arrested development. The premiere of a teaser trailer for the new Harry Potter is certainly not helping in my attempts to cover more mature material. Of course this being the summer season there’s not much maturity to be found in cinemas at the moment, so we might as well indulge the inner child while we can. So lets all get excited about our first glimpse at Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

This being a teaser there’s not much to see, but the stuff shown demonstrates that David Yates, who directed Order of the Phoenix and is scheduled to finish off the series with The Deathly Hallows, really was the right man for the job. Really this trailer is all about introducing the young Tom Riddle and it does an exceptional job, with Ralph Fienne’s nephew oozing menace as the precocious little bringer of ethnic cleansing.

For a start you can view the trailer in High Definition at Moviefone here, and of course you can view it below in the usual youtube dreariness. I’d actually suggest the HD version every time, not least because the teaser is packed with little details which kind of get lost in the grain of youtube’s compression. Continue Reading »

It is certainly an exciting time to be a comic book fan. Even someone like me with limited knowledge of the back catalogues of Marvel and DC can get caught up in the hoopla as more and more comic book properties get announced. Like every genre comic book films can be both good and bad, with an Elektra balancing out every Spider-Man 2. The wealth of comic book films these last few years has however made this ratio exceptionally noticeable. Even worse for the lesser comic book films is the level of craft and imagination in the good comic book films. With directors with the pedigree of Sam Raimi, Christopher Nolan, Ang Lee and Bryan Singer helming comic book films it casts an even harsher light on the lesser entries.

When stacked up against the likes of Batman Begins, Spider-Man 2 and 300 the Punisher never really stood a chance. Aside from a few notable scenes and a spirited turn from Thomas Jane as the titular anti-hero the film just paled in comparison to its stable mates. The poor critical and commercial showing of the Punisher made many assume that the property, at least in cinematic terms, was dead. So when a teaser trailer for a new Punisher film premiered a little while after the release of Iron Man I was surprised and morbidly curious about the reasons for resurrecting a character that had already had two chances at the big screen. Continue Reading »

Lara Croft, the ductile acrobat with impeccable guns, is back this November on all major platforms.

Underworld is the third game in the series to be developed by Crystal Dynamics, and is set to take our vigorous heroine places she has yet to go – all within a world that reacts and remembers.

In her latest adventures, Lara embarks upon the secrets of the ancient Mayan civilization, eventually making her way into the underworld known a-” Please…please stop.

Despite the game’s orthodox storyline, CD have managed to pack it with some nice game-play mechanics and top notch locations. The opening level itself starts very unexpectedly beneath the Mediterranean Sea.

There’s still a lot more to be revealed, but so far Underworld is looking fantastic. Much like Lara’s tits.