Movie News

Film adaptation of Scottish Author John Niven’s Kill Your Friends to start filming in March

90s music movie to star Nicholas Hoult


A film adaptation of John Niven’s critically acclaimed novel Kill Your Friends is set to start shooting in March.


The book, which tells the story of Steven Stelfox, a ruthless, psychopathic A&R agent at a record label in the 90s at the height of Britpop mania, was released in 2008. Yesterday (February 12), Niven confirmed the film adaptation will commence filming in March. 


“After much delay and hell I am very pleased to say that the movie of Kill Your Friends starts shooting in March,” the Scottish author tweeted.


Little details have been announced about the film, but Niven has confirmed Nicholas Hoult (Skins, A Single Man) will take the role of Stelfox, who has been described as a Patrick Bateman-esque character. Anyone who has read the eye-popping book will also know it’s highly unlikely to be rated anything other than an 18.


Spotlight On: Wes Anderson

This is Wes Anderson, director of upcoming The Grand Budapest Hotel. His instantly recognisable style is intriguing so we’re taking a closer look….Image

So some of his trade marks from IMDB:

Makes obsessive and comedic use of “rostrum camera” insert shots, foregrounding the minutiae of books and other documents.
Has ended all his movies with a slow-motion shot, with the exception of The Darjeeling Limited (2007).
Just about the entire soundtrack in all of his movies, with the exception of The Darjeeling Limited (2007), is composed by Mark Mothersbaugh.
Likes to shoot with extremely wide-angle anamorphic lenses that exhibit considerable barrel distortion.
Frequently uses a take/double take technique where he will show a character/action, quickly pan to another character/action, then pan back, usually with handheld camera.
Movies often focus around a broken or unorthodox family circle
At least one of his characters is usually a grown man seeking the approval of a parent or parent figure.
Often includes songs by The Rolling Stones on the soundtracks of his films
The titlecards are always in the font: Futura Bold, most commonly in yellow color.
A character giving a complex, lengthy explanation for humor
Unique ways of introducing a large cast of characters
Characters who are heavy on body language
Quirky themes of white middle-class and upper-class issues

Shots of the characters standing still and facing towards the screen with little to no emotion.


So that’s his style then.  Now how many of these Wes films can you name?ImageImageImageImageImage?

…And as a director?…

Jeff Goldblum on working with Wes:“I’ve gone to other movies and the director will go, ‘Oh maybe you are wearing this,’ and I’ll go ‘That’s a good idea but how about this? What if I have a hat or a thing?’ With him you don’t do that. You go: ‘What do I get to do in this?’ And he goes: ‘Here’s the thing, here’s the thing, here’s the thing.’ And you go, ok, so, that’s what you sign-up for too. And his ideas are so good. And his taste is so good that you go: ‘Oh, yes please.’”


See The Grand Budapest Hotel at The Grosvenor cinema from March 7th.

Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street by Samra Muslim

From Samra’s blog:


The Wolf of Wall Street Poster

Martin Scorsese’s latest offering The Wolf of Wall Street has divided audiences into two camps: those who praise the work as a masterpiece of cinematic verve and those who say it glorifies white-collar crime.

While not quite the magnum opus some call it, The Wolf of Wall Street can be a black-hearted comedy, filled with parties, money, corruption and drugs, which oozes energy throughout its three-hour long running time.

The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a lying, cheating alcoholic and drug addict who happens to know how to con people out of their money. When his lips are moving, he is lying. Belfort was a New York stockbroker and founder of Stratton Oakmont, a company that engaged in securities fraud and corruption on Wall Street during the nineties.

First off, the performances are top-notch. Leonardo DiCaprio has proven himself to be one of the most versatile and engaging actors of today and in this movie he has managed to evoke compassion and support for a character who doesn’t deserve it. DiCaprio has truly done more than enough in terms of acting to win his Oscar.

Jonah Hill is the standout as Belfort’s psychotic sidekick Donnie Azoff, bringing his comedy skills into the mix. Margot Robbie excels as Naomi, likable and hated at once, and Kyle Chandler plays a FBI straight arrow well, teetering between hero and villain. Also of note is Matthew McConaguhey who plays the Wall Street broker who teaches young Jordan the ropes and conveys the film’s whole message in his Native American style ‘war chant’ before and after a ‘raid’.

At a 3-hour running time, the film is too long and it easily could have been shorter as during that last hour the scenes tend to get repetitive: the cocaine snorting, the manic behavior, the parties, the shouting – all of it tiresome, tedious and incredibly boring and dull.

As a rise-and-fall story, it has too much ‘rise’ and not enough ‘fall’. Although the real plot should have been Belfort’s actual crimes in Wall Street, the film doesn’t focus much on that. In fact, his victims are never even shown, so the movie just ends up being a series of outrageous parties, and schemes that will keep their fortune and pleasures going. Right till the end, Scorsese does not seem interested in taking the focus away from the glamour.

There’s also a lot of nudity and sex in the movie. The party office scenes are somewhat disturbing, especially the one where they pay a woman to shave her head.

The Wolf of Wall Street is not a film for everyone — it is an over-the-top movie about a larger-than-life character, with big dreams and high hopes. He lived life fully, unapologetically and excessively. It is extremely funny and entertaining for those with ‘the strength to live it.’

The Wolf of Wall Street Oscar Trivia:


The Wolf of Wall Street is colourful

The Wolf of Wall Street is colourful

Spotlight On: Brendan Gleeson

We can’t wait for Brendan Gleeson’s newest role in Calvary, the follow-up film to The Guard….Here’s a look at his back catalogue, how many can you name?


Did you know…Gleeson became an actor at the age of 34, after a career in teaching. There’s hope for us yet!

Here’s a first look review of Calvary from The Guardian

Also starring Chris O’Dowd, Aidan Gillan, Dylan Moran and Kelly Reilly, Calvary will be released in Ireland and the UK on 11 April 2014. 


The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger had been something of a curiosity for me, having never grown up with repeats of the television series and only being aware of the disapproval and criticism of the reimagining of Tonto by fans in the build-up to the film’s release. I was interested to see how it would come across as someone watching with little prior knowledge or expectations.

The film starts out with a young boy in a white hat and black mask visiting the Wild West attraction at a carnival. He meets an aged Comanche Indian who reveals himself as Tonto and serves as the narrator, telling us the origins of The Lone Ranger in the form of flashbacks. The real story takes place in Colby, Texas in 1869 during the early stages of the railroad industry where it’s not long before we’re introduced to our main characters.

There’s Latham Cole, the railroad Tycoon who is planning on celebrating the launch of the latest leg of the Transcontinental Railroad by transporting notorious criminal Butch Cavendish to be publicly hung for his crimes. On the train carrying Cavendish we also have a much younger looking Tonto, who is chained up in the carriage beside him, and John Reid, a lawyer returning home to see his brother Dan, the Texas Ranger that captured Cavendish.


Before the train reaches it’s destination it’s intercepted and hijacked by Cavendish’s gang and the first big action sequence occurs with Cavendish escaping and Tonto and John meeting for the first time through their shared goal of stopping him, even though Tonto’s aim is to kill him while John wants to make sure he’s brought to justice before the law. Throughout the rest of the film we’re shown the awkward three way relationship between John, Dan and Dan’s wife, John’s transition from lawyer to deputised Ranger to The Lone Ranger and his unlikely partnership with Tonto in trying to capture Cavendish.

By the final third all character backstories and connections have been revealed and the audience is treated to an action packed and (literally) explosive finale. With a runtime of almost two and half hours the finale almost seems like a reward for surviving through the rest.It’s hardly surprising that the film goes on for a while as “Westerns” and “long” seem to be two things that go hand in hand. In most classic Westerns though the scenes are intentionally drawn out to build up suspense and provide more satisfaction when the action occurs.

That’s not to say that The Lone Ranger isn’t satisfying at times and you can certainly see director Gore Verbinski’s love for the genre with little nods towards classic films such as Once Upon a Time in the West. There are scenes that could have been cut to improve the pacing though, in fact, entire characters such as Helena Bonham Carter’s madam seem to serve no real purpose to the overall plot at all.

As for the other characters, Armie Hammer is likeable as the idealistic John Reid and the unwilling hero The Lone Ranger while William Fichtner as Cavendish perfectly portrays the role of a truly evil villain in both looks and actions. Johnny Depp performs exactly as you’d expect as Tonto although his comic relief moments are easily upstaged by Silver the horse and it’s hit and miss at times on how convincing he is as an Comanche Indian, despite being the plastered in makeup the whole time.

The musical score for the film is provided by Hans Zimmer with the William Tell Overture being teased at partway through before finally giving the audience what they’ve really been waiting to hear during the finale. There is also some terrific backdrops and scenery used throughout. The general “feel” of the film will be very familiar to fans of Pirates of the Caribbean which should come as no surprise given that it’s been made using the same Verbinski, Bruckheimer and Depp combination.

With its mix of action, heroics, comedy and supernatural elements, The Lone Ranger does for Westerns what Pirates did for swashbucklers. In summary, The Lone Ranger is enjoyable enough even if it does outstay it’s welcome in terms of running time. It’s also rated as 12A but parents should be wary that there is some heavily implied violence throughout even if it’s not graphically shown, such as a scene where Cavendish cuts out and eats another character’s heart. Having read up on the original radio show and TV series it’s obvious that, despite the controversial update of Tonto, a lot of love has been shown towards the source material with everything from the silver bullets, catchphrase and theme tune to a modern update of the “Who was that masked man?” line being used and the opening scene being set in 1933 (which is when the radio show was first broadcast) so fans of the originals shouldn’t be too disappointed either.


Garry MacDonald


The Lone Ranger is now playing at the Grosvenor Cinema. To book your tickets click here.

Guillermo del Toro: A Brief Retrospective

When considering Guillermo Del Toro’s work, mythical creatures, terrifying monsters, and of getting lost in a wonderful world of his creation for a couple of hours seem typical statements of his work. So when I saw the trailer for his new piece Pacific Rim, I couldn’t help but think that it was a little out of keeping with his style of storytelling. If we look back over some of his most influential and successful works however, and make a point of looking past his distinctive stylistic vision and storytelling technique, it soon becomes evident that, thematically, Pacific Rim is simply an extension of an ever present subject matter. In each of his works, Del Toro questions what it means to be human, the tolerability of immortality, and the causes of monstrosity. Questions which, judging by the trailers, will be at the forefront of his latest offering. In preparation for the release of this action packed instalment on July 12th, we look back over some of his pervious works, and follow his thematic journey through cinema.

Del Toro’s 1993 offering, Cronos, is a constant blur between the line of humanity and immortality, with the essential mythical monster thrown in for good measure. It questions when, if ever, is immortality the answer? If you had the choice between a normal life of aging then death, dying of a terminal illness, or immortality with a number unknown side effects and restrictions, what would you choose? The story focuses in on the protagonist, Jesus, and what his state of being is. He remains convinced throughout that he is in control of his actions, particularly his use of the Cronos device. A device which prolongs the user’s life, making them feel, and even appear more youthful, but at the price of becoming slave to its use. Even after his death, and resurrection, Jesus remains convinced of his humanity. It takes the slow realisation that his new lifestyle of nocturnalism, blood draining, and consumption, is in fact completely inhuman, for him to become aware of his current state. His personal battle with what it means to be human (love, family, freedom) brings about his demise. Upon the realisation that he can no longer experience these simple pleasures, and in turn, can no longer be called human, he sacrifices himself, and consequently, saves his daughter from death. His last act of compassion and humanity.

2004’s Hellboy, and 2008’s Hellboy II pose similar questions about humanity, immortality, and monstrosity, again questioning when, if ever, is immortality the answer? And what defines a character as monstrous? In these films however, Del Toro explores these questions from the point of view of what would traditionally be labelled as monsters, changing the expectations of his audience, and forcing us to examine the possibility that often we, as humans, are the monsters. Following the story of Hellboy (literally a creature from Hell found on earth), we see how this ‘monster’ works with both humans and other fantastical creatures in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence, in order to keep the world, and in particular the human race, safe from members of the occult. In both films, humans are at the source of all the problems, as they attempt to gain more power, achieve immortality, and rule the world and all its races for all eternity. In these films, Del Toro proves it is possible to be human without being humane. Monsters can come in all shapes and sizes, but it is often those who seem the least monstrous that prove to be the most nefarious.


In 2006, Del Toro brought us the world of Pan’s Labyrinth. A visually striking film filled with fairies, fauns and fantasy. The piece is set between two contrasting worlds. The world we know, and the world of Princess Moanna. Princess of the underworld. Set during post Civil War Spain, we are instantly given cause to question what it means to be human, as we witness the emotionless Falange Soldiers, in particular Captain Vidal, kill, maim, and torture for both information and entertainment. How can these beings be called human when they treat others with such disdain? How can one inflict so much physical and mental pain upon others without causing suffering to themselves? This is truly the behaviour of a monster. However, monstrous traits are also displayed by the mythical creatures of the film. The faun, who appears initially as a guide and mentor, abandons the protagonist, Ofelia, when she fails to carry out her assigned task to the letter, and even attempts to convince Ofelia to sacrifice her baby brother. Hardly the behaviour of the righteous. Del Toro demonstrates how circumstance can play a huge part in behaviour patterns. Cause and consequence. Beings react to their situations and the way those around them react. Had there been no civil war, perhaps the soldiers would not have become such violent beasts. Had Ofelia not angered the faun, she may not have suffered in solitude. Monsters do not simply come into being, they are created by circumstance. A creature is not a monster for having horns and hoofs, but for using them to inflict pain on others.

So what can we expect from Pacific Rim? Evidently, plenty of strong men, big machines and battle scenes, but what of the story behind the visuals. The trailer itself states “In order to fight monsters, we created monsters of our own”. I am confident that Del Toro will present us with many more interpretations of what defines humanity, monstrosity, and immortality, and prove that he can work with any genre of film, and make it his own.



Jenni Wright


Pacific Rim is now showing at the Grosvenor Cinema. Click here to book your tickets.