Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz star in this romantic comedy in which a couple try to spice up their sex life by filming it on their iPad. But when they realise the next day that the video has been synched to all other linked devices owned by friends, bosses, family members and a postman, they must race to delete the footage before anyone sees it.
Considering the extremely recent news of Apple’s iCloud hacking scandal, Sex Tape echoes real life in an incredibly surreal way that it almost feels like the film was released this week specifically to coincide with the news stories. This of course is not the case, yet still, it couldn’t possibly have been any luckier with its release date.
A host of comic actors keeps Sex Tape endearing enough, with the aforementioned Segel and Diaz heading up the film as the unfortunate couple, Annie and Jay. Asde from the two likeable leads the film also offers up the familiar comedic charms of The Office’s Ellie Kempar and Hot Tub Time Machine’s Rob Corddry, popping up occasionally in supporting roles. Then there’s Rob Lowe, who appears as an almost extended guest appearance for much of the middle act.
While it’s nice to see such comical talent throughout the 94 minute runtime, it’s Segel who gives most in Sex Tape. No matter how weird and wacky the film gets, Segel’s loveable goofiness is sure to keep you distracted sporadically. It’s just a shame that the cast can’t entirely rescue the film.
The main idea behind Sex Tape is almost passable. A couple film themselves doing the dirty, but when the footage is saved, it ends up saved on other devices. It’s a believable story that could realistically happen to anyone. However all the plausibility of the script is soon stripped away when it’s revealed just who has access to the footage.
First and foremost is Annie and Jay’s children. OK. Credible enough. Why wouldn’t the family be all connected on the same network at home. Next up are their best friends. Again, credible enough. After all iPads are pretty nifty gifts and Annie and Jay are well off enough to give them as such. Then there’s the postman. Which is where Sex Tape moves from silly to absurd. However we don’t get to see much of this plot thread bar one or two shots of the man. Instead, the film focuses on Rob Lowe’s character, who also has access to the video. Lowe plays Hank, a possible future boss of Annie’s who seems to be given an iPad almost instantly after their first meeting.
Though the excessive generosity does seem ludicrous, it is at least explained through Segel’s character in a few throwaway lines about him having gone through so many iPad’s in his job as a music producer that he is able to give them away freely and often. Yet this isn’t the films most nonsensical plot point. The winner of that particular award goes to the incredibly dismissed and unquestionable drug use between Diaz and Lowe.
All this and yet we haven’t even touched upon what instantly appears to be the main point of the whole film. To sell Apple products! An agenda which admittedly is handled well enough. Even if the plot revolves around the fact that using iPads can be dangerous when it comes to privacy, the solutions come simply after the script takes some time to poke fun at the fact that technophobic Segel has gone to so much trouble when the answer was in front of him the whole time.
If you’ve seen the trailer then you know exactly what to expect as far as the laughs go, it’s a mostly lazy combination of obvious innuendo and slapstick physical comedy. The couples desperate quest to avoid embarrassment is a predictable series of awkward moments interrupted by angry guard dogs and falling onto/over things.
The Ugly Truth
Not even an admittedly talented comedic cast can save this extended Apple advertisement from a substandard script that could have been tweaked easily enough to deliver a more believable and satisfying end product. Segel is as always a likeable saving grace but is certainly not enough to elevate proceedings beyond being a guilty pleasure, albeit a very topical one this week.]]>
Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller team up again to bring a second dose of stories from Miller’s ever popular graphic novel. Bruce Willis, Powers Boothe and Mickey Rourke are among the returning faces, whilst newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin and Eva Green are added this time around.
It’s been 9 years since cinemagoers were first introduced to the beautifully shot streets of Sin City, with its nods to film noir and incredibly well adapted scenes which, quite literally brought Frank Miller’s comic book series to life. But finally Robert Rodriguez and co-director Miller have managed to gather the previous actors together as well as add in a few new faces for a selection of more stories from the city where ‘you go in with your eyes open, or you don’t come out at all’ as Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Johnny so eloquently puts it.
This is perhaps the best way to describe Sin City: A Dame to Kill for. It’s certainly a wonder to watch as Rodriguez and Miller bring the same beauty that made the first film such a hit. The stories explored this time around feature the aforementioned Gordon-Levitt in The Long Bad Night as Johnny a smug young gambler who swaggers into Sin City in the hopes of embarrassing Powers Booth’s Senator Roarke in a game of poker. We also have Eva Green joining the film in the titular storyline, A Dame To Kill For as femme fatale, Ava Lord who has Dwight McCarthy (with Josh Brolin replacing Clive Owen as a younger version of the character) wrapped around her little finger in the way that someone only of Green’s calibre could do.
Wrapped around these stories we also have the return of Mickey Rourke looking and sounding as gruff as the last time we saw him as Marv, in Just Another Saturday Night where he has a run in with some frat boys attacking a homeless man. And finally, Bruce Willis returns as John Hartigan along with Jessica Alba’s Nancy Callahan in Nancy’s Last Dance.
Each of the four stories weave effortlessly in and out of each other with characters popping up here and there before taking the stage for themselves in their own stories. While it’s nice to see Willis and Rourke back, the highlights this time around are undoubtedly Eva Green and Joeseph Gordon-Levitt. Gordon-Levitt becomes instantly likeable as the cocky Johnny but Green eventually tops him as she charms the audience just as easily as she does Brolin’s Dwight.
The nine year gap has not helped Sin City in the long run. Though it is just as amazing to watch as it’s predecessor, A Dame To Kill For doesn’t have anything really new or ground-breaking to warrant it’s existence. If it had been released maybe a year or two after the first, we could have had a strong franchise on our screens by now. However as entertaining as a third instalment would be, if the gap between films is even half as long next time round, interest will surely have died out altogether.
Another wrong move in the sequel is the cameo’s. While Christopher Lloyd just about gets away with his, the appearance by Lady Gaga feels incredibly out of place. This is a film which certainly doesn’t need cameo’s like this to keep it interesting so why Rodriguez bothered to include her for such a blink and you’ll miss it scene is just plain confusing.
The Ugly Truth
Joeseph Gordon-Levitt and Eva Green shine brightest in the long overdue sequel to the dark adaptation of further stories from Sin City while Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke bring a sense of familiarity with them. Although it has issues with the lengthy gap between the first instalment and this one, and it’s unnecessary cameos (mainly Lady Gaga’s), fans will definitely get a kick out of returning to the beloved setting.]]>
After 4 days of scares, Frightfest comes to a close with day 5. Here’s a look at what was on offer to round the festivities off:
Also known as Killer Mermaid in America, Nymph fails to deliver on it’s main selling point, namely the killer mermaid. Instead we get a rather poor attempt at a character driven horror filled with all the usual cliches. The only thing that keeps this film remotely interesting is the inclusion of Franco Nero as the traditional creepy old guy who warns our protagonists not to go to the bad place for them to ultimately ignore his protest. Featuring an abandoned submarine tunnel and an abandoned island-prison, yet not even two scenes to rub together involving killer mermaids, Nymph is truly one of the more disappointing films of Frightfest this year.
Luke Hyams brings a North Devon set woodland thriller in which an American couple go in search of the mythical panther which roams the moors. Equipped with enough cameras to turn the area into big brother and a hunter acquaintance who knows the land like the back of his hand, the trio soon find something worse than a panther. With hints of found footage, Xmoor is creepy enough, but fails to keep up with the pace in the end. Alleluia: Lola Duenas brings a stunning performance in Fabrice du Welz’s quirky take on real life serial killers Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez (also known as the Honeymoon Killers).
Truth Or Dare:
Without a doubt the most disgusting film showcased at this years Frightfest, Truth Or Dare is a shocking low budget piece of torture porn in which a group of YouTube sensations play the most brutal game of truth or dare you’ll ever see. If your squeamish in the slightest, this film is most certainly not for you.
The third in the series of short film anthologies brings more directors to the franchise as they each attempt to shock and scare with a short film. Highlights include a look at alternate universes in a short from Open Windows director Nacho Vigalondo entitled ‘Parallel Monsters’, and a thrilling mockumentary around a magician and his cloak in ‘Dante The Great’
Lawrence Fishburne’s latest slow burning, chiller is an unfortunate choice for this years closing film. Centered around three friends who go off in search of a master hacker known only as Nomad, The Signal soon takes a very different turn as Nic (Brenton Thwaites) awakes in a mysterious hospital and has to figure out how to escape this new nightmare.
An now time for the Final Frightfest Daily Awards:
Highlight: Truth or Dare
Most imaginative kill: death by spiky bones to the back in X Moor
Quote of the Day: ‘looks like England isn’t just about Supernanny and Prince Harry’ an interesting observation from our American cousins in X Moor
As the penultimate day ends, here’s a look at what horrific highlights were screened at day four of Frightfest:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs The World) and Leland Orser (The Guest) star in this intriguing drama which takes a look at cults. rose plays Ansel, an expert in cult organisations who is hired by concerned parents of Claire (Winstead) to de-programme her brainwashed mind after she is taken in by a new cult organisation known a Faults. An engaging script and powerful performances by Orser and Winstead makes Faults an invigorating watch.
Among The Living:
French horror directors Julienne Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside, Livid) bring a new nightmare to Frightfest about a mysterious masked maniac who hunts down three young boys after they discover him in an abandoned film studio. Part slasher, part home invasion, Among The Living is entertaining enough. While the young actors aren’t quite as strong as they could have been, their performances don’t really affect the film enough to bring it down too much.
Elijah Wood stars in this fantastically presented high tech thriller. When Nick Chambers (Wood) wins a competition to meet his favourite actress Jill Goddard (Sasha Grey) and interview her for his website devoted to her, he’s over the moon. But things soon become sinister when he’s contacted by an unknown man who has access to her mobile phone and plenty more. Open Windows brings the found footage genre to an entirely new place, keeping the focus entirely on Nicks desktop. Multiple twists in the final act takes away from the inventive filmmaking but it manages to keep you enthralled from beginning to end.
Frightfest brings Kubrick’s classic back to the big screen in this one off screening of an extended version. A perfect place to present such an iconic film.
The Pact director Nicholas McCarthy brings a whole new set of jumps and tension in Home. Real estate agent Leigh (Catalina Sandino) gets more than she bargained for when she assesses a new property to put on the market. Before too long, her sister, Vera gets sucked into the haunted mishaps too. Though jump scares are often viewed as cheap in the horror genre, McCarthy will no doubt make it worth your while as they come in droves and bump the terror up to 11!
This German horror about a young police officer’s attempt to track down a werewolf in his home town eventually turns into one of the festivals craziest films this year when a samurai sword and a man wearing a dress are added into the mix…
Frightfest daily Awards
Highlight: Open Windows
Low-Light: The Samurai
Most inventive kill: death by hardback book in Faults
Quote of the Day: ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ The Shining
The halfway mark has officially been reached for this years Frightfest. Here’s a brief look at some of the offerings on yesterday’s horrific menu of movies:
Cheap Thrills producer brings this commentary on Hollywood in which Sarah Walker, a young waitress desperate to make it big in movies gets the role of a lifetime with the mysterious Astraeus Pictures. After some uncomfortable auditions, she comes face to face with her producer and eventually accepts the role in Scream Queen. What follows is an extremely gruesome transformation as Sarah becomes more and more removed from her previous self to entirely envelope herself in the role. Whilst it has some good moments, Starry Eyes fails to stay entertaining for most of the second half.
Michael Shannon and Samantha Morton star in this incredibly tense thriller as parents of a dying boy, Andy. When Maryann moves into the area she soon forms a friendship with Andy, but is quickly stopped from seeing him by his ever increasingly insane mother (Morton). But when Maryann finds the secret in their basement, she must act soon to save Andy’s life. With extremely strong performances all around, The Harvest quickly asserts itself as one of the highlights of this years festival.
I Survived a Zombie Holocaust
With plenty of zombie movies already out there, I Survived A Zombie Holocaust tries to create something more creative by being set on the making of a zombie B-Movie. But when the extras get contaminated by the water supply, their acting becomes stronger than before. A fun filled zombie flick, I Survived A Zombie Holocaust is sure to keep fans of the franchise happy to be along for the ride.
Essie Davis (The Matrix Reloaded) stars in this tension filled horror about a terrifying book entitled the Babadook. Relying more on atmospheric scares than jump scares, The Babadook will chill you to your bone and make you keep the lights on for a week…
Life After Beth
Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza star in this rom-zom-com. Mourning the death of his girlfriend Beth (Plaza), Zach (DeHaan) starts to spend a bit more time with her parents. But when they suddenly start to avoid his calls, he finds that Beth is back and her grave is empty. It’s not long before Beth starts to change and soon enough the whole town is threatened with the arrival of a zombie. Although Life After Beth has an interesting idea behind it, it fails to keep it entertaining after the first half. Co stars John C Reilly and Anna Kendrick try their best to bring more but ultimately fail.
Time for today’s Daily Frighfest Awards:
Highlight: The Harvest
Low-Light: Life After Beth
Most Inventive Kill: Death by zombie sex – I Survived A Zombie Holocaust
Quote Of The Day: ‘Baba… Dook. Dook. DOOOOK!’ The most terrifying thing heard at Frightfest so far…
With opening night out of the way, day two of Frightfest brings even more horror to entertain fans with not only 6 films playing in the three separate main screens, but 12 more in the two discovery screens. This of course means that choices have to be made and films must be sacrificed. Here’s a look at a select few of the films playing during day two
The Green Inferno
With release date problems attached to Eli Roth’s latest, The Green Inferno is perhaps one of the most exclusive screenings of the festival this year. Taking it’s title from the cult classic Cannibal Holocaust Roth has created a masterpiece and is truly at the top of his game right now. With gruesome deaths and truly terrifyingly uncomfortable scenes, The Green Inferno is an incredible piece of filmmaking.
Wrong Turn 6
Hosting it’s world premiere here at Frightfest, the inbred canniballistic franchise is now moving to it’s 6th instalment. This time focussing around a long lost family member of the savage cannibals who arrives at the derelict Hobb Springs hotel to find out more about them. Fans of the franchise will still have fun with the bloody deaths, however it takes a good while for it to truly begin…
Featuring a knockout performance by Nick Damici, Late Phases is a story of one mans fight against a Werewolf. The only problem is, this man is blind. Although it’s rather slow moving, Damici’s performance is strong enough to keep Late Phases interesting and entertaining along with director Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s use of practical effects.
The Last Showing
Horror legend Robert Englund is back in the genre with this extremely meta thriller. Englund plays Stuart, a former cinema projectionist who decides to make his own film with the help of two of the cinemas patrons. A fantastically written film which gives great commentaries on the state of modern cinema whilst mixing in plenty of thrills.
Dead Snow 2
Red vs Dead Director Tommy Wirkola brings the sequel everyone wanted to his Nazi Zombie smash hit. Picking up right where the first instalment left off, Dead Snow 2 is bigger and better, with more laughs and most importantly, more zombies!
Now time for the Daily FrightFest Awards:
Highlight: The Last Showing
Low-light: Wrong Turn 6
Most inventive kill: using someone’s intestines to siphon petrol for a tank in Dead Snow 2. Those smart Zombies!
Quote of the Day: ‘Hey! I didn’t know there was an ugly face convention in town!’ Which is clearly the best way to distract an army of Nazi Zombies…
With the August bank holiday just beginning, so too comes the Film 4 Frightfest. Now in its 15th year, the annual and infamous horror festival is bigger than ever at its new home at the Vue Leicester square.
Exploring the weird, wonderful and at times gore drenched delights of the horror genre, Frightfest remains the most high profile international celebrations of Horror movies in all their guts and glory. After a brief introduction from Frightfest regular Andy Nyman, fans were treated to an opening night triple bill.
Kicking off proceedings was The Guest, the latest offering from You’re Next director, Adam Wingard. With a knockout performance by r Dan Stevens in a role which completely removes the actor from his days at Downton Abbey and a beautifully fitting soundtrack, The Guest was the perfect film to get fans geared up for the weekend.
Sin City: a Dame to Kill For
Next up was Robert Rodiguez’s follow up to the artsy comic book adaptation. Taking stories set both before and after the ones featured in the first film, Sin City 2 sees the return of familiar faces like Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis while introducing new ones such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eva Green as the titular dame. While it’s nice to come back to Sin City after 9 years, it doesn’t seem to have any point to it. The new story lines aren’t enough to warrant a return, with the look and feel of the sequel being exactly the same as it’s predecessor, there doesn’t seem to be much to add to the franchise. Perhaps if this had been released closer to the first it would have had a bigger response, instead it feels like a belated film noir afterthought.
What better way to wake the crowd up in the last film of the night than with a film which features zombie beavers! Plenty of laughs are had in this ridiculously silly B Movie as well as some nice throw backs to classic films such as Jaws and Die Hard. This is exactly the kind on inventive, odd and memorably titled indie horror that the Film4 FrightFest helps horror fans discover. A perfect way to round off the fist day…
And now for the daily FrightFest Awards:
Low-light: Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Most inventive kill: Face gnawed off by a Zombie/beaver/human hybrid in Zombeavers
Quote of the Day: ‘I feel like a power ranger!’ Zombeavers – easily the best example of dirty talk in a sex scene yet!
When David (Dan Stevens – Downton Abbey) visits the Peterson family to pass on a message from their recently deceased son and his old comrade, he’s almost instantly welcomed as part of the family and invited to stay a few days. But as people start dying, daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) starts to suspect that David might not be the charming young man everybody believes he is…
After the warm reception from Your Next it’s no surprise that Adam Wingards latest is this years opening film for Frightfest. And quite deservedly so. The Guest has enough humour, gore and shocks to kick off the five day festival that it barely give the other films a chance.
Accompanied by a fantastically fitting electro soundtrack, Dan Stevens works his way through the film with the help of his instantly appealing approach to the role. Starting off as a pleasant young man visiting his ex partners family to give them his condolences, David really does seem like the perfect house guest. However the constant glint in his eyes tells us that this probably won’t continue for too long.
As David works his way through the family gaining their trust one by one, his crazy side soon starts to come out as he tries to help each of the Petersons with the problematic people in their lives. Starting with assisting young Luke with the senior students who are bullying him before moving on to fixing Anna’s boy trouble. Each mend David makes brings a worse result than the last until finally building up to the thrilling finale.
The main highlight is undoubtedly found in the films final act. Wingard uses a ridiculously over the top setting to its extent. Although it’s absurd, its still a riot and rounds off the film with dazzling cinematography and a beautiful palette of colours. It’s clear that he has fun with the surroundings of the horror filled setting, using jump scares and keeping that brilliant soundtrack going to give the audience as much entertainment as possible.
Apart from the slight distraction of Brendan Meyer looking like a male doppelganger of Chloe Grace Moretz, there isn’t too much to moan about with The Guest. Although it could have done with some tweaks here and there in regards to plot and characters, Stevens’ performance alone is enough to distract from these minor problems. And while it may have benefitted from a less lavish finale, with perhaps a more toned down setting for the conclusion, The Guest will surely have hooked you in well before the moment comes that you’ll just be having too much fun.
The Ugly Truth
If you liked Your Next you’re sure to like The Guest. Adam Wingard brings his winning formula of comedic timing, jumps and carnage to the screen again while finding a previously unseen side to Dan Stevens which is sure to win him more fans. Simply put, it’s a riot.]]>
The 58th BFI London Film Festival has confirmed that BJÖRK: BIOPHILIA LIVE will be presented as the Sonic Gala at this year’s Festival. Björk will attend the UK premiere with directors Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton on Thursday 9 October at the Odeon West End.
BJÖRK: BIOPHILIA LIVE is a concert film by Peter Strickland (The Duke of Burgundy, Berberian Sound Studio) and editor Nick Fenton (The Selfish Giant, Sigur Rós film Inni) and produced by Jacqui Edenbrow (Teenage, Joy Divison), that captures the human element of Björk’s multi-disciplinary multimedia project: Biophilia.
Recorded live at London’s Alexandra Palace in September 2013, the film features Björk and her band performing every song on her eighth studio album Biophilia and reworked versions of classic songs from Björk’s extraordinary catalogue using a broad variety of instruments – some digital, some traditional and some completely unclassifiable. The live performance is augmented with animation created by top designers and features science and nature archive and found footage inspired by the themes of the album, which explore the relationships between musical structures and natural phenomena – atomic, cellular and cosmic.
The infinitely creative journey presents a culmination of work that represents one of the most original musical endeavours of a generation. The film will receive a series of screenings at festivals, museums, galleries and cinemas in the UK and worldwide through Autumn 2014.
Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, comments:
“Under the curatorship of BFI Head of Events and Production, Stuart Brown, our Sonic cinema programme in both LFF and year-round at BFI Southbank presents an exceptional selection of screenings and events that revel in the connection between music and film. Björk is a true innovator, collaborating with exceptional filmmakers and artists to produce intoxicating work at the intersection of music and film. We are delighted to be welcoming her, along with Peter Strickland and Nick Fenton, to the BFI London Film Festival’s UK premiere.”
True to the daring spirit of the Sonic programme, director Peter Strickland said
“Being offered the Sonic Gala is gleeful revenge for all those many occasions when people complained about the music I was playing!”
Nick Fenton adds
“Let’s not get too excited as it is only a concert film with some volcanoes and a few viruses; thunder and lightning; plankton and planets. Not forgetting Björk, the jellyfish, David Attenborough and the beautiful sounds of the choir Nobili. So just another Sonic Gala at the BFI London Film Festival.”
The Sonic Gala is the lead film for the Sonic programme at BFI London Film Festival. The Sonic programme features music inspired films and events to leave you dancing in the aisles. In addition to its gala and competitive sections, the Festival’s sections are: Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic, Family and Experimenta.
The 58th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express runs from Wednesday 8 October-Sunday 19 October. The full programme for the Festival will be announced on Wednesday 3 September when the full Sonic programme will be revealed.]]>
Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch becomes the first official cast member of Warners Bros Jungle Book, signing on for the role of villainous Tiger Shere Khan. Acclaimed motion capture pioneer Andy Serkis is making his directing debut with the project, which will be going head to head with a rival production from animation masters Disney.
Disney had recently made their first casting announcements, setting a high benchmark with Idris Elba as their Shere Khan and Bill Murray as Baloo the bear.
No doubt Warners will be relieved to at least have found their own accomplished British badguy. It will also give fans ample opportunity to make hilarious Star Trek mash-up videos with Spock screaming Khaaaan! at a CGI tiger….]]>