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New Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows trailer September 23, 2010

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As Harry Potter fever hits unhealthy proportions, Warners Bros. have released the new trailer for Part 1 of the wizarding finale. The double bill which concludes the story by splitting J.K. Rowling’s final Harry Potter book into two films will hit cinema screens across the world on November 19th. Until then, enjoy the latest trailer for part 1 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows here.

10 reasons Jaws might be the best film ever made September 20, 2010

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Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is one of the most financially successful films ever made. It is also loved by critics as exampled by its 100% Fresh rating on Rottentomatoes.com. Not only that, it is one of the most widely decorated films ever made, collecting three Oscars as well as ranking highly on hundreds of top films lists including being named as one of the top 100 films ever made by Total Film, the 5th best film ever made by Empire, and the 48th best film ever made by the American Film Institute.

Here’s ten reasons why it deserves all the praise it gets.

Controversy: did Spielberg direct Poltergeist? September 18, 2010

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Who directed Poltergeist is a question that has been raised many times between fans of the film ever since an article appeared in the L.A. Times in 1982. The article, about a set visit during principle photography, queried whether credited director Tobe Hooper was actually at the helm. On the day of the newspaper’s visit Steven Spielberg was directing some on-location shots and Hooper was nowhere to be seen.

When you look at the film questioning if Spielberg had an influence on it you can see the Jaws director’s favoured sensibilities all over it - the innocent family, other-worldy activity, the influence of the television, child characters, etc. Reading some of the cast and crew’s interviews sheds more light on the fact this was a Spielberg movie.

What do you think? 

Top 10 Characters in a Steven Spielberg Film September 12, 2010

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Dan asked me to submit something for him to use in this massive Spielberg-themed week, and so I have dutifully stepped up to bat (which is a baseball term if I’m not mistaken, a genre of film Spielberg is yet to take up) and provided my take on the ten best characters in all of Spielberg’s films. Which is, the films he’s actually directed, because if we went on the films he’s been producer on or some other backstage role, we’d be here all day and the internet would collapse. Paring down the multitude of characters in his films is quite a challenge, although I think I’ve done well with the below list. No doubt you’ll all inform me of my mistakes in selection down in the comments, but I’m okay with that. My brief (which I gave to myself, because Dan was busy re-watching Jaws for the hundredth time!) was to choose characters that were the most unique, the most entertaining, and the most enjoyable to watch. They may be good or bad guys, I make no preference, but they must be good characters first and foremost. Iconic, stick-in-your-mind characters that are the first thing you think of when talking about each film. With that in mind, here’s my selection of the best characters to appear in films directed by Mr Spielberg. Oh, and one last thing. If anyone’s keen to do a list of the worst characters in his films, my top choice would be Kate Capshaw’s fingernail-tearing performance as Willie in The Temple Of Doom. Just so ya’all know. [Rodney’s top 10 Spielberg Characters is here]

Spielberg’s characters are as iconic as his films from the whip-wielding Indiana Jones to the child-sized alien E.T.

Who (or what) is your favourite character to appear in a Spielberg film?

Top 10 John Carpenter Films September 8, 2010

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Is John Carpenter overrated or underrated? Or neither?

Despite John Carpenter’s fall from grace you can’t help looking at his back catalogue with fond memories. Anyone with a knowledge of cinema only dating back to the middle 1990s would be forgiven for thinking Carpenter was a straight-to-video hack with little discernable talent. That’s understandable. There have been few worse films than “Escape From L.A.” or “Ghosts of Mars”, and Carpenter has gone into hibernation since. But cast your mind back to 1978 and the release of “Halloween” and you might think differently. There have been horror films as good as “Halloween” or “The Thing”, few fantasy-adventures as weirdly wonderful as “Big Trouble In Little China”, few science-fiction comedies as unique as “They Live”. He’s also made a habit of giving Kurt Russell his best roles from Snake Plissken to Jack Burton to Elvis Presley.

John Carpenter is welcome to a long and fruitful retirement. He’s always stuck to his guns and remained undiluted and un-impinged by studio interference. His determination to remain in creative control of every aspect of his movies has been at once his downfall as well as his legacy. Perhaps we would have seen more from the director had he allowed Hollywood to Hollywoodise his films. But he didn’t. He remained independent.

As a cult hero, John Carpenter is one of the best. You only have to marvel at his best work to know this straight-to-video hack is actually one hell of a filmmaker.

What’s your favourite John Carpenter film? Here’s my top 10 list.

Top 10 1980s science-fiction films for children September 7, 2010

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Those kids of the TV generation, bred on the old sci-fi serials that inspired Lucas to write Star Wars, really came to the fore in the 1980s thanks to the successes seen by Lucas and Spielberg in the late 1970s. The two Godfather’s of the blockbuster continued to be at the forefront of family-orientated science-fiction with “Empire Strikes Back” and “E.T.”, while those inspired by their method like Zemeckis, Dante, and Robbins took us on more adventurous journeys into the fantastical.

The 1980s might have been the year when spectacle took over from character, but with special-effects improving at an alarming rate, it was a special decade for those filmmakers wanting to explore the make-believe. Now time-travel, space exploration, and journeys to the bottom of the ocean could be brought to life like never before.

For the fantasy and science-fiction genres, there are few periods in film history better than the 1980s. Children, with their love of adventure and fairytale, had never had it so good. Here’s 10 of the best in science-fiction for families and children from the 1980s.

New images and featurettes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows September 6, 2010

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Warners have released new pics from the latest film - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - as well as some mini featurettes seeing the cast talk about the latest film.

Top 10 Films to avoid before flying September 3, 2010

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What films should the infrequent flyer not watch before boarding a plane? Which films would really end any hope of those suffering from air travel aversion ever setting foot on an aircraft again? Well, have a look here for a humourous look at ten films you should avoid before flying…

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