The Babadook (2014) | This frighteningly brilliant Australian Grimm fairytale will get under your skin!

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When troubled six-year-old Samuel (Noah Wiseman) finds a pop-up book called The Babadook on his bookshelf, his widowed mum Amelia (Essie Davis) makes it his new bedtime story. But the book exerts a bad influence on Sam, who becomes convinced The Babadook is coming to get them. At first Amelia suspects Sam’s disruptive behaviour is in response to her resentment of him (she blames him for his father’s death), but then she starts seeing glimpses of the sinister storybook presence herself! Is it just a figment of her imagination brought on by her insomnia, or is there a very real monster in the closet?

The Babadook
Justifiably earning rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, The Babadook is probably the best Aussie horror since 2005’s sleeper hit Wolf Creek. Making her feature debut here, writer/director Jennifer Kent has conjured up a contemporary suburban Grimm fairytale exploring grief, loneliness and guilt to reveal the monster that potentially lurks inside us all.

Essie Davis gives a captivating performance as the increasingly unhinged Amelia, trapped in a maelstrom of grief and terror, while young Noah Wiseman brings real depth to the troubled Sam who, armed with his homemade weapons, goes from frightened to fearless as the film’s dark events take hold and both son and mum are propelled into the very heart of darkness.

This frightening brilliant horror certainly gets under your skin, and marks Kent as an emerging new talent that’s one to watch.

The Babadook is out now UK and Irish cinemas from Icon Film Distribution

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Win the twisted horror comedy Bad Milo on DVD

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From Sony Pictures Home Entertainment comes the UK DVD release of the twisted comedy horror Bad Milo.

After being demoted at work, stressed out Duncan (We’re the Millers’ Ken Marino) discovers he has an actual pint-sized demon living inside him. In order to keep it from popping out and murdering anyone who angers him – including his sweet but pressuring wife (Community’s Gillian Jacobs) – Duncan must learn to embrace his inner demon and control its killer appetite!

If you fancy winning a copy of Bad Milo on DVD, answer the following question and send your answer to movietalk@timeinc.com:

Q: Milo is also the name of a popular chocolate malt drink that originates from which country?

  • Australia
  • Japan
  • United States

Competition closes 4pm Friday 14 November. Terms and Conditions apply.

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Win the novel behind the dramatic comedy This Is Where I Leave You – in cinemas October 24

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To celebrate the release of This Is Where I Leave You in cinemas October 24th we’re giving you the chance to win a copy of the book by Jonathan Tropper the film is based on!

Starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Drive, Jane Fonda, Rose Byrne and more, this dramatic comedy sees a Jewish family attempt to sit Shiva after the death of their father. The four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother.

Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humour, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.

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We have ten copies of Jonathan Tropper’s novel to give away. To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic book, simply answer this question and send your answer to movietalk@timeinc.com:

Which Australian actress starring in This Is Where I Leave You is known for her work in the films Bridesmaids and X-Men: First Class?

  •  Rose Byrne
  •  Nicole Kidman
  •  Mia Wasikowska

Competition closes 4pm Friday 7 November. Terms and Conditions apply.

For further information on This is Where I Leave You join us here https://www.facebook.com/warnerbrosuk or follow us @WarnersBrosUK

© 2014 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved.

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La Dolce Vita (1960) | Federico Fellini’s greatest cinematic triumph even more stunning on Blu-ray

La Dolce Vita blu-ray cover

WHEN IN ROME…
In late-1950s Rome, over seven days and nights, cynical showbiz columnist Marcello Rubina (Marcello Mastroianni) has his eyes opened to his soulless existence as he drifts from one wild party to another in Rome’s amoral high society. His affair with Maddalena (Anouk Aimée) causes his fiancée Emma (Yvonne Furneaux) to attempt suicide, he accompanies a film starlet (Anouk Aimée) to St Peter’s where she dresses as a priest, he awaits an abortive miracle, and takes his ailing father to a nightclub… But as Marcello’s crazy carousel ride spins out of control, will he ever find the answers he’s so desperately looking for?

La Dolce Vita

THE LOWDOWN
Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (aka The Sweet Life) is one of the most influential movies of all time and one of the most notorious films to emerge from 1960s world cinema. While time has rendered it less so, it has lost none of its power to delight, and that’s down to Fellini’s delirious visuals, which have become part of contemporary culture, inspiring legions of film directors, from Woody Allen to Paolo Sorrentino – whose Oscar-winning The Great Beauty is its brilliant offspring – as well as musical artists like Bob Dylan and Blondie. It even gave us the term ‘paparazzi’. A soaking wet Anita Ekberg in a strapless black gown in the Trevi fountain and a statue of Christ hanging from a helicopter are two of the most iconic images in this comically caustic tour through the empty pleasures of modern life which is a must-have in any serious world cinema collection.

La Dolce Vita

While Fellini’s Palme d’Or and Oscar-winning masterpiece should really be seen on the big screen, watching it on Blu-ray is the next best thing. The legendary director’s immortal images are simply luminous, while Nino Rota’s Grammy nominated score is a perfect match to Fellini’s vivid imaginings. Future Andy Warhol superstar Nico plays herself in the 6th night sequence, while one-time TV Tarzan Lex Barker plays Ekberg’s fiancé.

THE UK BLU-RAY RELEASE
The Blu-ray, which is distributed by Nouveaux Pictures in the UK, is a new ‘Conservation clone’ remastered in 2010 from the restored Total Scope camera negative (scanned in 4K HD), as well as a 2nd print (to replace scenes that were badly damaged), using the restored 1995 Mediaset print as a print guide. The original 35mm optical-sound negative was also restored. The only special extras included is an interview with Anita Ekberg from 2004 (her account of filming the famous Trevi fountain scene is hilarious), plus trailers of four Fellini films and a host of Westerns and war classics from Argent.

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Oculus | Blu-ray/DVD review – Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the scariest of them all?

Oculus Blu-ray 2Karen Gillan’s spunky orphan Kaylie and her far less gung-ho brother Tim (Brenton Thwaites) endeavour to prove that an antique mirror is possessed by an evil spirit in cunningly crafted, enjoyably creepy horror thriller Oculus. Delivering spine-tingling scares over the course of the night after Kaylie rigs their old home with cameras to catch the mirror in the act, the film cleverly interweaves the present with flashbacks to Kaylie and Tim’s childhoods and the deaths of their parents. As the older and younger versions of the siblings move seamlessly in and out of the same spaces in the house, it becomes impossible to work out whether what we are seeing is illusion or reality. The acting isn’t always as elegant as the camerawork, but that doesn’t prevent this effective chiller from delivering its short, sharp shocks.

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Certificate 15. Runtime 103 mins. Director Mike Flanagan.

Released on Blu-ray & DVD by Warner Home Video Ltd.

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Maleficent | DVD/Blu-ray Review – Angelina Jolie looking good as Sleeping Beauty’s bad fairy

Disney's MALEFICENT..Maleficent (Angelina Jolie).

Striding around in her horns and black cloak and with cheekbones to die for, Angelina Jolie is quite simply spellbinding as the evil fairy Maleficent – who isn’t really evil at all, but simply misunderstood – in Disney’s epic re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty.

Although it comes across as Lord of the Rings Lite in places – with a prologue that seems to last most of the movie and a fey fairytale kingdom not a million miles removed from Middle Earth – this is an ambitious and strikingly good-looking fable which finishes off with a nicely empowering message for little girls about women doing it for themselves.

Maleficent

The action sequences are expertly handled – and include some awe-inspiring flying sequences, a couple of brutal battles and a palace showdown with a fire-breathing dragon. Incompetent fairies Imelda Staunton, Leslie Manville and Juno Temple supply some cute slapstick interludes and if Sharlto Copley’s bad King Stefan and Brenton Thwaites’s bland Prince Phillip never rise above the level of caricature, Sam Riley’s shape-shifting crow and Elle Fanning’s sunny Aurora do well to register opposite Jolie’s magnificent star turn.

While it lacks the crowdpleasing songs of Frozen, or the wry humour of Tangled, this is a doggedly magical movie-going experience which — in keeping with all great Disney movies — should give the very young a few nightmares when they get a load of Jolie’s prosthetic cheekbones.

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Certificate PG. Runtime 93 mins. Director Robert Stromberg

Released on Blu-ray, Digital HD and DVD from Walt Disney Studios In-home Entertainment on Monday 20th October.

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58th BFI London Film Festival | Pick of the Day: Sunday 19th October – Fury

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A dozen days and some 250 features on from opening night film The Imitation Game, the 58th BFI London Film Festival reaches its climax with David Ayer’s ferociously brutal World War Two drama Fury. Set in April 1945, as the Allies make their final push into Germany in the closing stages of the war, the film stars Brad Pitt as the battle-hardened Wardaddy, an army sergeant commanding a Sherman tank and its five-man crew (Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, John Bernthal and callow new recruit Logan Lerman) on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Unflinching in his depiction of the horror and pity of war, writer-director Ayer, whose gritty police thriller End of Watch showed in the LFF 2012 Official Competition, balances the savage action with moving human drama.

The Odeon Leicester Square hosts tonight’s Closing Night Gala at 7pm, with a live satellite link to Vue cinemas across the UK and Ireland.

Fury goes on general release from Wednesday 22nd October.

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Cold in July | Film review – Michael C Hall’s jittery hero embarks on a gore-soaked, body-strewn journey

Cold in July - Michael C Hall

A world away from his cold-blooded serial killer in Dexter, Michael C Hall plays a jittery everyman hero in Cold in July, a heart-stoppingly tense, cunningly twisty crime thriller set in 1989 small-town Texas. Hall’s meek, mullet-haired family man gets hailed as a hero after shooting dead, semi-accidentally, a would-be burglar but incurs the vengeful wrath of the criminal’s terrifying ex-con father (Sam Shepherd).

Cold in July - Sam Shepard Michael C Hall Don Johnson

Yet things don’t turn out as you might expect, with director Jim Mickle and his screenwriting partner Nick Damici sending the story (adapted from a novel by Joe R Lansdale) down a series of unforeseen, gore-soaked, body-strewn paths. The plot couldn’t be more gripping, but with Don Johnson’s strutting private detective in the mix, too, the film’s richly drawn, superbly acted leading characters are equally compelling.

Certificate 15. Runtime 110 mins. Directors Jim Mickle.

Released on Blu-ray, DVD & On Demand by Icon Film Distribution on Monday 20th October.

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58th BFI London Film Festival | Pick of the Day: Saturday 18th October – Only Angels Have Wings

ONLY_ANGELS_HAVE_WINGS - Cary Grant, Jean Arthur

Director Howard Hawks and star Cary Grant teamed up again, following the previous year’s classic comedy Bringing Up Baby, for 1939′s Only Angels Have Wings. Trading most of the laughs for melodrama, this is a spirited romantic adventure, based on a story by Hawks himself, with Grant as a pilot in South America, flying the mail through the worst storms and fogs the Andes can throw at him. Showgirl Jean Arthur starts pulses racing when she arrives on the scene, and both she and seductress Rita Hayworth – in a movie that did much to further her career – have their sights set on clipping Grant’s wings. Grant and Arthur make a winning combination and, if nothing in the story is terribly original and the drama remains largely earthbound, there are still some rousing flying sequences, which won a special-effects Oscar nomination – in the first year for that category.

Restored in 4K from the Original Nitrate Picture Negative and Composite Duplicate Negative by Sony Pictures Entertainment at Colorworks. 4K scanning by Cineric, Inc. Digital image restoration by MTI Film. Sound restoration from the Original Nitrate Soundtrack Negative by Chace Audio.

Only Angels Have Wings shows at the Vue Leicester Square at 12.30pm today. 

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The Judge | Film review – Contrived? Guilty as charged but the two Bobs’ screen charisma gets legal thriller off the hook

The Judge - Robert Downey Jr & Robert Duvall

Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall are on such mesmerising, Oscar-baiting form in old-school family melodrama cum courtroom cliffhanger The Judge that it’s possible to pardon the film for being so clichéd and contrived.

The younger of the two Bobs is slick Chicago lawyer Hank Palmer, a specialist in getting filthy rich scumbags off the legal hook (‘Innocent people can’t afford me’), and the elder is his bitterly estranged father, Joseph Palmer, an unbendingly upright small-town judge who believes courtrooms are the country’s last cathedrals.

The rift between them, forged during Hank’s wayward adolescence, looks impossible to heal when he returns to his cornbelt, bible-bashing backwater of a hometown for his mother’s funeral. Indeed, he’s already heading back to Chicago afterwards when he learns that his father has been arrested for vehicular homicide and reluctantly turns around.

You can easily guess how things will pan out, and, yes, glib son does get to defend grumpy dad in court, yes, family skeletons tumble out of closets, and, yes, characters achieve reconciliation and redemption, but the stars’ combined screen charisma – plus classy support from Vera Farmiga (Hank’s old flame), Vincent D’Onofrio (his elder brother) and Billy Bob Thornton (his opponent in court) – makes this iteration of the formula immensely watchable.

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Certificate 15. Runtime 142 mins. Director David Dobkin.

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