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Guide to the Harry Potter story so far… November 14, 2010

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Will Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows be the first Potter film you’ll see? Or you fancy a handy recap of the story so far? Here’s all the major characters, plot points and expectations for the final two films covered in this handy guide.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows world premiere pictures November 12, 2010

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Here’s a selection of pictures from last night’s Harry Potter world premiere.

More pics here.

Retrospective: Straw Dogs November 10, 2010

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“I don’t know my way home,” says simpleton Henry Niles to a dishevelled David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) at the end of Sam Peckinpah’s masterpiece Straw Dogs. David, with one lens of his spectacles broken and cuts and bruises to his face, smiles and calmly replies: “That’s okay, I don’t either.” The two men drive towards the little Cornish village nearby, their futures uncertain. It’s a poetic and fitting climax to David’s story – a man who arrived in the little, unassuming English village timid and withdrawn, concerned more with his work than his restless, lascivious wife, and who leaves having found a bravery, or indeed an anger, he did not know he possessed. What he does with it now is up to him, but his life may have taken on a momentous change, one that will govern his future self.

Sam Peckinpah’s film is one of the greatest ever made – not because it sparked such controversy – because it rewards the discerning viewer with something unique on each and every viewing. It is thought-provoking, angry, and provocative. It is cold and detached yet displays the human condition as if laid naked in all its primal glory. It’s disgusting, painful, and upsetting yet at times funny, beautiful, and inspiring. Just sample the rape of Amy cut between David shooting birds in the Cornish countryside. It’s at once an horrific image and a picturesque one – Amy’s sweaty, frightened face and muted anguish coupled with the blissfully unaware David as he watches the odd bird fly into a blue sky over rolling English hills. Of course, underlying it all is this married couple’s violation by apathetic thugs – and Peckinpah displays this violation during this particular scene via two very different routes. Amy is sexually violated, her body and person dismissed as nothing more than an object, while David’s honour is corrupted. He has failed to foresee the plan to leave him in the wilderness, he has failed to protect his wife, and he has failed to protect his home. In the space of only a minute or so, Peckinpah has taken the viewer through a series of emotions, all differing in their intenseness depending on the person.

Find out my rating and read the rest of the review here.

Top 10 Richard Dreyfuss Films November 9, 2010

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Richard Dreyfuss famously turned down the part of Matt Hooper in Jaws. He didn’t think the film would be a good career choice. But after seeing, and being disappointed, by his performance in the film The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, he immediately called Spielberg on the phone and begged for the part fearing no one in Hollywood would hire him ever again. The rest, as they say, is history. Dreyfuss would appear in one of the most iconic horror movies of the 1970s. Jaws would go on to change the face of the industry, it ushered in the era of the blockbuster, and Dreyfuss’ memorable turn as shark specialist Matt Hooper would set him on a road to Hollywood stardom.

Read my top 10 list here

Top 10 George A. Romero Films

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Cult director George A. Romero’s most accomplished works derive from the fact that his first film single-handedly created an entire horror sub-genre. With his pivotal debut “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968 Romero captured the world’s attention by presenting a terrifying and frightening film that used the horror genre to comment on current political and human issues. Here are a few of the highlights of his career. [Click Here to see Kevin Powers full article on Top10Films]

Reader’s Choice: Best Tom Hanks Film

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You could say choosing your favourite Tom Hanks films is a stand off between his 1980s comedies and the drama of his post-Philadelphia work - a bit like asking if you’re a fan of Elvis or The Beatles. But he is a Hollywood actor with such a great body of work it’s almost impossible to pick a favourite. But give it a go and post your favourite Hanks film over at Top10Films. Voting closes soon!

Top 30 Horror Films - 1967-1979 November 1, 2010

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Horror film has always been at its best when representing in some form the genuine fears populating society at the time of release. Whether it be the cold-war fears of the 1950s or the feral youth of the 2000s, horror film has managed to tap into our base fears through the very real issues plaguing contemporary culture. Arguably, the genre has never been as powerful or influential as it was between the beginning of the American New Wave and the total commercialisation and high-concept era of the 1980s. In other words, the best horror films ever made appeared in the 12 years between 1967 and 1979.

Read the top 30:
Part 1 (30-21) | Part 2 (20-11) | Part 3 (10-1)

What were your favourite films from the period?

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