Preview: Zombieland

Zombieland_2Sony Pictures presents the action packed comedy Zombieland which focuses on two men who have found a way to survive in a world overrun by zombies. The film is directed by Ruben Fleischer and stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. Zombieland is in cinemas October 9th.


Columbus (Eisenberg) is a big wuss – but when you’re afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive. Tallahassee (Harrelson) is an AK-totin’, zombie-slayin’ badass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth. As they join forces with Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin), who have also found unique ways to survive the zombie mayhem, they will have to determine which is worse: relying on each other or succumbing to the zombies.

This looks insanely good! Looks like this is going to be a kick ass year for Woody. Check out the trailer below.

Preview: 9



From producer Tim Burton, Shane Acker’s new film 9 (featuring the voices of Elijah Wood and Martin Landau) is set to hit our screens just in time for Halloween 2009. 

When 9 first comes to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world where all humans are gone, and it is only by chance that he discovers a small community of others like him taking refuge from fearsome machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite being the neophyte of the group, 9 convinces the others that hiding will do them no good. They must take the offensive if they are to survive, and they must discover why the machines want to destroy them in the first place. As they’ll soon come to learn, the very future of civilization may depend on them. Written by Focus Features.

Check out the awesome new trailer below…

Feature: Top 10 UK Director Debuts



Top 10 UK Director Debuts

 By Marek Steven

Shifty director Eran Creevy

Shifty director Eran Creevy

Eran Creevy’s critically lauded UK thriller Shifty is out now on DVD. Shifty is a fantastic debut film that was rightly critically lauded on theatrical release. The performances, structure and general direction are all flawless in this hard-hitting outer London tale. It suggests Creevy could have a quality career as a successful British filmmaker. He might want to look at the early careers of these 10 fantastic UK directors and at the films that launched their careers…

Alfred Hitchcock


Arguably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from the UK, Hitchcock did as much as anyone has to shape modern cinema. His very early work is not what he is known for The Man That Knew Too Much (1934) and The 39 Steps (1935) came fairly early in his careers. Hitchcock mastered a variety of styles of cinema, but obviously particularly is known for the suspenseful thriller. His key skill generally was for narrative and for creating an unparalleled audience engagement with his stories.

Nicolas Roeg


The influential Roeg exploded onto the film world almost 40 years ago with the psychedelic assault of Performance (1970). His drugs and sex focused debut is actually quite a profound film which is also authentically ‘of it’s time’. The glamour of the gangsters and rock stars is the path into a mediation on identity and the individual. He followed Performance with outback fable Walkabout (1971) and the horror classic Don’t Look Now (1973) before his career sadly waned somewhat.

John Boorman


The visionary British director John Boorman is often sadly overlooked. He switches between genres almost as experiments, and has crafted some of the best cinema of the last 50 years. His true feature debut was the American noir masterpiece Point Blank (1967). Point Blank’s widescreen look is stunning and Lee Marvin packs a huge wallop both then and now. Boorman is also known for Deliverance (1972) and the fantastic epic Excalibur (1981), which looks set to re-made.

Stephen Frears


Ever since Stephen Frears launched his period deception tale Dangerous Liaisons in 1988, there seems to be surprise the quality of each of his new films. This may change one day as he seems almost incapable of making a bad movie. Take such diverse settings as the US set geekery of High Fidelity (2000) the contemporary London drama of Dirty Pretty Things (2002) and hugely successful biopic The Queen (2006). He is fantastic model for up and coming directors like Shifty’s Creevy.

Ridley Scott


South Shields born, Ridley Scott is rightly one of the best-known directors of modern times. Scott has made some of the most exciting, influential and visually astonishing movies ever. Some of his key work includes Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982), but one of his most overlooked gems is his feature debut The Duellists (1977). The flawless Napoleonic era duelling tale is a stunning, atmospheric tale. Interestingly he looks set to return to finally return to sci-fi (and possibly the Alien series) for his next work.

Danny Boyle


The kinetic opening credits of the Glasgow set Shallow Grave (1994) announced the arrival of a thrilling directorial new talent. The claustrophobic thriller is actually one of his best films. Boyle has gone on to have regular critical and commercial successes with Trainspotting (1996), 28 Days Later (2002) and of course the behemoth that is Slumdog Millionaire (2008). He has numerous projects on the go, so we can look forward to more hits in the future.

Ken Loach


The raw poverty depicted in the TV movie Cathy Come Home shocked BBC viewers in 1966. Loach followed it with the beautiful and poetic ‘kitchen sink’ movie debut Poor Cow (1967). Fantastic performances from Carol White and Terence Stamp (Soderburgh used clips from Poor Cow in his film The Limey) mix sublimely with Loach’s all seeing eye and subtle direction. One of the UK’s most respected directors, Loach also looked at the underclass in great movies like Kes (1970), Riff-Raff (1991) and Sweet Sixteen (2002).

Mike Leigh


Mike Leigh takes unconventional looking actors and shabby homes and makes them distinctive, beautiful and often very lovable. After some TV work his key early movie was the powerful critical success of Naked (1993). The performance Leigh took from David Thewlis is close to genius. Naked is a tough film that opened the doors for more hard-hitting dramas from up-and-coming directors. He has too many good films to list but the recent Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) is as good an example as any of the unwavering quality of his work.

Shane Meadows


Working with small budgets, the Nottingham-based Meadows stealthily dipped into the mainstream by making quality films since his feature debut Small Time in 1996. The believe characters and dialogue of Small Time were a sign of things to come in films like the popular Dead Man’s Shoes (2004) and the acclaimed skinhead tale This is England (2006). Much like Creevy’s Shifty, Meadows often makes films that are loosely based on people and situations he has directly experienced.

Saul Dibb


After making his mark with BBC documentaries Saul Dibb burst onto the feature film world with the hard-hitting Ashley Walters starrer Bullet Boy (2004). The low budget debut covered a controversial area (gun crime in London estates) with taste and subtly that suggested a long career ahead. Following up with the lush Keira Knightly period film The Duchess (2008) proved that the ability to direct believable performances is a skill that works in any setting. The Duchess was a great success and we have a new UK directorial talent to watch.

DVD Review: Shifty



DVD  Release Date: 24th August 2009

Director: Eran Creevy

Starring: Riz Ahmed, Daniel Mays, Jason Flemyng,


VIVA Template

Funded by London’s Microwave project for £100,000 and shot in 18 days, commercial director Eran Creevy brings us his debut feature film, SHIFTY.

Set on the outskirts of London, the film follows themes of friendship and loyalty over the course of 24 hours in the life of a young drug dealer, the charismatic Shifty (Riz Ahmed) and his old friend Chris (Daniel Mays).

Now on paper you could easily be forgiven for expecting a ‘proper naughty’ Danny Dyer number, the film’s marketing doesnt do much to change that. Okay, so one of the character’s does call an acquaintance “rude boy”, but apart from that the whole thing was a welcome surprise. The gritty reality is given some breathing room by a few comical moments, most notably a 60 year old crack cocaine addict with a penchant for cats.

Shifty is not a cliché, wrong side of the tracks, drug dealer. He is a rather intelligent guy coming from a Muslim family and we are given an intriguing insight of his disappointed religious parents. Shifty’s brother, Raz, puts him up and faces the constant struggle of keeping his sibling on the straight and narrow, whilst remaining loyal to his parent’s traditional values.

Daniel Mays (Chris) and Riz Ahmed (Shifty)
Daniel Mays (Chris) and Riz Ahmed (Shifty)

When Daniel Mays’, Chris, Shifty’s best mate, shows up after he ran out years ago, he is forced to face up to the reasons he left in the first place. The chemistry between Mays and Ahmed as two friends trying to rebuild a fractured relationship works very well. Rather impressively, as the pair attempt to get to know each other again, the friendship comes together in front of our eyes and you have credit the leads for that.  Jason Flemyng as Shifty’s dealer, Glen, is a major coup for a film on this budget as he adds an extra something to what could have easily been a one dimensional part.

Commercial directors always seem to have a good visual style, and first time director Eran Creevy succeeds admirably. Creevy manages to keep in line with the films gritty feel, without the urge to over stylise and avoids becoming self indulgent.

Overall, Shifty is sharp, witty and gritty British cinema that manages to stay away from the usual stereotypes. Creevy looks to have a good future ahead of him, provided people see this film and he receives the funding deserved. 

  • Commentary with Writer/Director Eran Creevy & Riz Ahmed (Shifty)
  • The Making of Shifty
  • Behind The Scenes
  • Music Videos & Promos
  • Shifty Soundtrack Sampler
  • Theatrical Trailer

For your chance to win a limited edition, signed copy of SHIFTY, check out the competition here.




Competition: Shifty


I have a limited edition, signed copy of Eran Creevy’s debut film, SHIFTY to give away.

Since we all have the Internet these days it doesn’t matter how tough the question is, you will just Google that bitch anyway, so I’ll keep it simple.

Who plays the character of Shifty?

Email you answers to

Closing date will most likely be in a few weeks.

In the meantime, check out the review and the trailer below.

Preview: The Lovely Bones


Here’s the trailer for Peter Jackson’s latest film, THE LOVELY BONES, and it looks pretty damn good if you ask me.


Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan

Synopsis: Based on the critically acclaimed best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, and directed by Oscar® winner Peter Jackson from a screenplay by Jackson & Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens, “The Lovely Bones” centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from heaven.  She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.  Oscar® nominee Mark Wahlberg and Oscar® winners Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon star along with Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli and Oscar® nominee Saoirse Ronan. 

Weekly Rant


So it’s been a bit of a vampire orgy this week. I started off by watching the beautiful and haunting Swedish number Let The Right One In (half arsed review here) and I have to say it is probably in my top films of the year so far along with Moon, The Wrestler and The Hurt Locker. Let’s just hope they don’t screw up the remake!

So from a brilliantly atmospheric vampire piece, to the hot stinking turd that is LESBIAN VAMPIRE KILLERS. I like vampires, I like lesbians, I also found Gavin and Stacey rather amusing, but that this fat barrel of monkey spunk (the film in general, not just Corden) tried to pass itself off as a ‘comedy/horror’ film is funnier than it’s own pitiful script. I’d rather not go into a full discussion as I may destroy my laptop Office Space fax machine style, but the scene that summed it up for me was as a vampire died (using possibly the worst visual effects the world has seen) she squeezed out a little fart. Yes, it is as funny as it sounds. Corden’s constant squealing further cemented that he HAS to be cast as Ned Beatty’s replacement should a Deliverance remake come about. He has that squeal down to a tee, and let’s face it Burt Reynolds will do anything for a quick buck. Maybe he could be the rapist? Pounding Corden’s ass, a thrust for each excruciating skit he made us sit through during the Horne and Corden show.

James Corden?

James Corden?

So talking of ass pounding, I managed to catch up on two more episodes of HBO’s TRUE BLOOD. I’m starting to get right into this crazy and cool show, with it’s dark humour, violence and of course it’s constant sex, I swear there seems to be more and more sex every week! One of the last episodes I watched there was someone trying to get it on with what appeared to be a gimp mask, at any moment I was expecting Herr Mosley to appear at the door ready for a spank and wank! It turned out not to be a gimp mask though, just the lifeguard from Home and Away acting the goat. Now don’t all shoot me at once (easy now) but there’s something that bothers me about all this sex, I now start wondering who’s going to go at it next! As Anna Paquin’s character Sookie (which sounds like the name of a Vietnamese prostitute) continues to playfully masturbate numerous times, I fear I will sit thinking “Oh yeah she’s gonna get it…No wait, plot development? Fuck off!”.  As SONS OF ANARCHY and LIE TO ME (it’s okay to like that, right?) come to an end, I’m happy in the knowledge that there is something to keep me going until something else comes along.

As I often rant about on Twitter, my feud with Love Film continues. They have yet to send me a DVD I actually want, and next up was S. DARKO.  Sequels are unnecessary at the best of times, but when i heard about this i was flabbergasted.  And yes it is that bad! I’m not actually sure what the point of the film actually was, I don’t think it even had a plot.  It also features that utter bell-end Ed Westwick. Anything I see him in he plays a complete knob, with the same constant expression of a smug cat after it’s been tonging it’s asshole while you try and eat dinner.   Next i have been sent NEVER SURRENDER which, besides sounding like a Orangemen propaganda film, ‘stars’ a group of MMA fighters including Rampage Jackson and Anderson Silva in an “erotically charged action thriller”. Okay so maybe i put it on my list, but it must have been in the ‘low priority’ section.  If I am still alive after watching it, i will tell you how bad it is or you can check out the trailer here.

DVD Review: Let The Right One In



DVD Release date: 3rd August 2009

Directed By: Tomas Alfredson

Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar


Vampires have had something of a resurgence lately, coming a long way from the likes of cult 80’s cheese The Lost Boys, to current cheese in the form of Twilight. Since Let The Right One In also features kids, vampires and was released around the same time, many peeps have tried to draw some kind of comparison between the two. Fact of the matter is, the only thing we can learn here is the difference between a great film and the cinematic equivalent of a Mills and Boone novel. I promise not to go off on a Twilight bashing tangent so finally, even though Let The Right One In features kids and vamps, this Swedish masterpiece is nothing like Twilight and thank Lucifer for that.

Set during the early 80’s in Stockholm, Sweden, Let The Right One In tells the story of 12 year old loner, Oskar and the relationship he develops with mysterious local girl, Eli. 

The first thing you should realise before sitting down to watch this, is not to expect a conventional horror film. The film focuses primarily on the friendship between the two youngsters, and most of the terror comes from the uneasy atmosphere created by the pairs almost perverse relationship and that of Eli’s and her ‘guardian’, Hakan. You could perhaps put this film an entirely new genre with some of Guillermo Del Toro projects, almost a gothic fairtyale.  Director Tomas Alfredson strips down the scenes of violence and is not at all indulgent, usually filming the action from a distance minimising any gore. Following on from the stripped down violence, the empty landscapes are painted beautifully with thick white snow and complements the overall tone of the film expertly. This accompanied with the sound recording of the conversations between Oskar and Eli, so sensitive that as the pair talk in an almost whisper you can hear the saliva trickling down their throats, builds a haunting atmosphere rarely found in films today even when they strive so hard to achieve it.


 Multi dimensional characters played by children is always a tall order, but Kåre Hedebrant is able to give an edge to Oskar which swerves away from him being seen simply as a bullied schoolboy, delving deeper into his disturbed and possibly violent psyche. Lina Leandersson’s Eli manages to show an empty vampire soul, yet aching to be a young girl again and you have to wonder how anyone will be able to repeat that performance.

An interesting point to note is that the screenplay was written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, on whose novel the film is based. I found the book a tough read but it does touch on a lot of the unanswered question that the film leaves as a mystery, and you have to commend Lindqvist for carving out an excellent piece from the much larger and complex source material.

So not your traditional vampire fare, and perhaps no even a horror, but Let The Right One In is perhaps one of the most powerful and thought provoking films of this year, at least.

With a US remake announced it will be interesting to see what direction it will take, hopefully not sacrificing what made the original work so well for extra violence.

Film Review: The Hurt Locker

By Richard Bodsworth

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, David Morse, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, Evangeline Lilly

Originally posted at


It has been almost 18 years since Kathryn Bigelow brought us the 100% adrenaline thrill ride that was Point Break, and after a 7 year hiatus following K-19: The Widowmaker she is back with Iraq war set, THE HURT LOCKER.

Jeremy Renner stars as the maverick leader of the U.S Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, charged with the dangerous job of defusing bombs in the unpredictable war zone that is modern day Iraq. Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty play
the other key members of the EOD, struggling to adapt to their leaders gung-ho attitude in an environment where it could all go wrong in a split second.

Hollywood war movies these days usually focus on the dangerous nature of the job, an Action Man figure, scar and all, overcoming ridiculous odds to defeat a stereotypical villain in emphatic fashion, accompanied with emphatic explosions and gore. Bigelow manages to turn this on its head and present us with a gripping, psychological character study into the minds of the men on the front line. But that is not to say the film is void of any action, the opposite in fact. Bigelow directs the many set pieces with outstanding flair and tension without the use of an instrumental score and it works to perfection. Filmed handheld style, this usually unnecessary and overused technique is perfect for the harsh unpredictable terrain of the war zone. This style, accompanied by the authenticity of Mark Boal’s script, you almost get the feeling you are there, perspiring, as Renner attempts to diffuse a rogue device. Even with several disposal scenes, they manage to seem original and fresh and sometimes bloody terrifying. A brilliant example of tension is a silent standoff, peppered only occasionally with the sound of a sniper rifle. Renner directs Mackie’s aim to the enemy as they remain under fire themselves. Another one of my favourite scenes is as Renner attempts to disarm a car bomb, Mackie and Geraghty scour the surrounding buildings panicking over possible conspirators watching on. Here Bigelow teaches a master class in building tension without the need of an instrumental score to bump it up. The enemy here are the actual devices themselves as we very rarely see an actual living enemy attack, this makes it all the more terrifying and is a nice twist for the genre.


The cast themselves are perfect. Renner excels in the lead role, stepping out of his usual supporting roles in the likes of SWAT and 28 Weeks Later. His performance as adrenaline junkie, William James, goes much deeper than normal as we are revealed to deeper problems in his psyche. His scenes with a local Iraqi child and the films final ten minutes or so would usually be omitted from you usual fare, but work so well to build an understanding of a fragile soldier under pressure. Geraghty is also well cast as the nervous member of the group, continuing to build on his indie status and Mackie once again shows he has what it takes to be a great actor. Following on from his standout turn in Half Nelson, he makes the most of a character who could have most easily developed into the stereotypical ‘angry black man’ .

I felt the film could have trimmed a slither of fat from the middle, and I was also left confused by the cameo roles of Guy Pearce, David Morse and Ralph Fiennes. These however are only minor gripes in a almost flawless film.

Time and time again Kathryn Bigelow has taken the Hollywood big boys on at their own game, and she succeeds once again. You have to wonder what she has been up to in the past 7 years and what the future holds. For me the film drew comparisons with TV mini series Generation Kill, showing the army as human beings rather than sensationalised heroes. However of all films set during any Middle East conflict, The Hurt Locker is one of, if not the best depiction.

Weekly Rant

In this section I plan to write a weekly blog about my weeks TV and DVD viewing.

I hope it is entertaining, but I will accept being called a bell-end.