Review – The Equalizer

14 Oct

Poster for 2014 action thriller The Equalizer

Genre: Action
Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: 26th September 2014
Runtime: 132 minutes
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Richard Wenk
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Marton Csokas
Synopsis: A man with a particular set of deadly skills makes it his mission to help people who have been subjected to crimes and injustices.




Denzel Washington is excellent as a cinematic hard man. Such is his status in the industry that there were few eyebrows raised when he was cast in the film reboot for 80s TV series The Equalizer. Unfortunately for Denzel, those who have seen the film now have those eyebrows firmly in the air.

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Blu-ray Review – Shivers (1975)

13 Oct

Cover art for the 2014 Arrow Films Blu-ray release of Shivers

Genre: Horror
Certificate: 18
UK Release Date: 13th October 2014
Runtime: 87 minutes
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Starring: Paul Hampton, Lynn Lowry, Fred Doederlin, Barbara Steele
Synopsis: In this classic body horror, sexually transmitted parasites make their way around a tower block.


Nowadays, David Cronenberg is permanently enshrined in history as a true icon of horror cinema. His work is so recognisable and iconic that it’s common to refer to a work of visceral body horror as “Cronenbergian”. Even as he moves into more dramatic pieces, such as A Dangerous Method and the recent Maps to the Stars, it is body horror that will define his career. 

Shivers was Cronenberg’s first feature-length film and marked the beginning of his obsession with gruesome, flesh-based horror. The 70s shocker has never been seen on Blu-ray, until now courtesy of this new release from Arrow Films.

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Review – Maps to the Stars

7 Oct

Poster for 2014 satirical drama Maps to the Stars

Genre: Drama
Certificate: 18
UK Release Date: 26th September 2014
Runtime: 112 minutes
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: Bruce Wagner
Starring: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams
Synopsis: A satirical tale of nepotism, sex and corruption within the dark bowels of the Hollywood system.



He may be best known for torturing the very nature of humanity with his body horror works, such as The Fly and Videodrome, but David Cronenberg’s recent works have been weird and offbeat in a totally different way. A Dangerous Method and Cosmopolis were both incredibly talky movies, rooted in character rather than catastrophe. His latest, Maps to the Stars, turns his unique gaze towards Hollywood – a system he has always shunned.

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Review – What We Did On Our Holiday

7 Oct

Poster for 2014 family comedy What We Did On Our Holiday

Genre: Comedy
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 26th September 2014
Runtime: 95 minutes
Director: Guy Jenkin, Andy Hamilton
Writer: Guy Jenkin, Andy Hamilton
Starring: David Tennant, Rosamund Pike, Billy Connolly, Emilia Jones, Harriet Turnbull, Bobby Smalldridge, Ben Miller
Synopsis: Despite their troubles, a divorcing couple must conceal their unhappiness for the sake of one of their fathers, who is battling cancer.



The guys behind Outnumbered, Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton, have been pressurised for years to produce a film adaptation of their beloved sitcom. What We Did On Our Holiday, cut from a very similar cloth, is pretty much the next best thing. However, due to some bizarre decisions and a confused script, it certainly never hits the heights of life with the Brockmans and their kids.

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Review – Gone Girl

6 Oct

Poster for 2014 mystery thriller Gone Girl

Genre: Thriller
Certificate: 18
UK Release Date: 3rd October 2014
Runtime: 149 minutes
Director: David Fincher 
Writer: Gillian Flynn
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Kim Dickens
Synopsis: A man finds himself facing trial by media and the court of public opinion after his wife disappears in mysterious circumstances.



Alongside Tarantino and Nolan, David Fincher is one of the few directors of the modern era who can claim that his movies count as real, must-see events. Gone Girl, adapted by author Gillian Flynn from her own bestselling novel, is an atmospheric, twisty-turny thriller that will certainly make some sort of showing during next year’s awards season.

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Q&A – Film critic Charles Gant on disappointing summer box office figures

6 Oct
Guardians of the Galaxy was the biggest film of the summer at the US box office

Guardians of the Galaxy was the biggest film of the summer
Photo: Marvel Studios


This has been a weird summer at the box office. In the USA, box office takings for Summer 2014 were 15% down on 2013, creating the worst-performing year since 2006, despite an impressive display from Guardians of the Galaxy. If the figures are adjusted for inflation, the picture is even gloomier – the worst year since 1997.

The picture in the UK wasn’t much stronger, with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes alternating top spot with The Inbetweeners 2 throughout the last few months.

Charles Gant, film critic for Heat, is one of the UK’s most knowledgeable box office experts. He spoke to The Popcorn Muncher about whether this year really has been all doom and gloom.

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Review – Magic in the Moonlight

3 Oct

Poster for 2014 romantic comedy Magic in the Moonlight

Genre: Romcom
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 19th September 2014
Runtime: 98 minutes
Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Starring: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Simon McBurney, Hamish Linklater, Jacki Weaver, Eileen Atkins 
Synopsis: An illusionist travels to the South of France to debunk an impressive young medium who is living with a wealthy American family.



In the late stages of his illustrious filmmaking career, Woody Allen is still producing a movie every single year. His 46th feature as director, Magic in the Moonlight, is a sun-baked tale of a skeptic being brought round to the supernatural when he is tempted by an attractive young medium. It’s as light as a soufflé, but packs plenty of warmth and wit.

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