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Good to be back – What did you get for Christmas?

Posted by LiveFor on December 29, 2008

Hi all. Did you all have a good Christmas? What did you get up to and what movie related cool stuff did you get as presents from Father Christmas?

We had a lovely Christmas. The kids loved everything they got and Christmas dinner went off without a hitch which was great. Plus I got to see my son sing in the Metropolitan Liverpool Cathedral which was fantastic (he has recently become a Chorister there).

I also got some great gifts from my Wife and family and I am made up with all of them. Here are just a few.

Classic Sci-Fi Collection : Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers / Thing From Another World / Incredible Shrinking Man / This Island Earth / Creature From The Black Lagoon / It Came From Outer Space

Mongol – The Rise To Power Of Genghis Khan – Director Sergei Bodrov’s sweeping MONGOL focuses on battles physical and emotional as it follows the early ascent of the ‘Great King’ Genghis Khan in the 12th and 13th centuries. Born Temudgin to a kingly father, the film introduces the nine-year-old (Odnyam Odsuren) making his first fateful decision: going against his father’s wishes and choosing the lesser-born Borte as his future wife. When his father is poisoned, Temudgin flees from his father’s rivals. Temudgin is saved by a young prince, Jamukha, and the two become blood brothers. That bond of friendship is tested, though, when the grown Temudgin (Tadanobu Asano) wages war–against the Mongol code–to win back the captive Borte. As Temudgin asserts his own power, he must also face Jamukha in all-out battle if he is to secure the safety of his family and his own kingly destiny. Gorgeously shot on location in Kazakhstan and Inner Mongolia, MONGOL represents the first in a proposed trilogy of films that will chronicle the full impact of Genghis Khan’s reign. As ambitious in scope as its subject was in life, MONGOL–a 2008 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film–offers a unique look at the influence of love and loyalty to the life and times of one of history’s most enigmatic rulers.

The Mist
(2 Disc Edition) – Frank Darabont (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE GREEN MILE) serves as director, writer, and producer of THE MIST, an adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novella. After a vicious storm wreaks havoc in their small town in Maine, artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) heads out to the town supermarket for some much-needed supplies with his young son, Billy (Nathan Gamble), and his neighbour, Norton (Andre Braugher), in tow. Their trip soon turns to terror when a menacing white mist settles in, leaving this group of locals and out-of-towners fighting for survival against an unknown, bloodthirsty enemy. When the local religious zealot (Marcia Gay Harden) begins to convince the group that the mist is punishment from God, Drayton and his cohorts realize that they may be trapped inside with an enemy just as dangerous as whatever is lurking outside.

Tension runs high in this tale as the trapped group faces difficult moral decisions. Should they stay and wait out the terror, or make a break for it and risk suffering a terrible fate? Is the eerie mist the will of God, an experiment from the local military base gone awry, or, maybe, a freak natural disaster? Without modern conveniences and the normal conventions and rules to guide them, the group is easily swayed by the loudest opinion. Will they save themselves at the expense of each other, or work as a team to save everyone? There is a decent amount of blood and gore for horror fans, some deadpan humour and just a hint of politics thrown in for good measure. Thomas Jane is a stoic leading man, but Frances Sternhagen and Toby Jones are more fun as unlikely heroes. Laurie Holden, Alexa Davalos, Bill Sadler and Jeffrey Demunn also star in this creepy tale.

– Welcome to Westworld, where nothing can go wrong…go wrong…go wrong….Writer/director Michael Crichton has concocted a futuristic “Disneyland for adults”, a remote resort island where, for a hefty fee, one can indulge in one’s wildest fantasies. Businessmen James Brolin and Richard Benjamin are just crazy about the old west, thus they head to the section of Westworld populated by robot desperadoes, robot lawmen, robot dance-hall gals, and the like. Benjamin’s first inkling that something is amiss occurs when, during a mock showdown with robot gunslinger Yul Brynner, Brolin is shot and killed for real. It seems that the “nerve center” of Westworld has developed several serious technical glitches: the human staff is dead, and the robots are running amok. Suddenly promoted to the film’s hero, Benjamin (who seems as surprised and shocked as the audience) must first avoid, then face down the relentless Brynner. Much of Westworld was lensed on the expansive grounds of the old Harold Lloyd estate in Beverly Hills, so it’s no surprise that there’s something Lloydlike about Dick Benjamin’s instinct for self-preservation.

The Art of Ray Harryhausen
– A great looking book which takes you into the ideas and processes that Harryhausen has used throughout the years. Plus it is signed by the great man himself.

Watching the Watchmen
– Acclaimed as one of “Time Magazine’s” 100 Best Novels, “Watchmen” is widely considered to be the greatest graphic novel of all time. “In Watching The Watchmen”, artist Dave Gibbons gives his own account of the genesis of “Watchmen”, opening his archives to reveal excised pages, early versions of the script original character designs, page thumbnails, sketches and much more, including posters covers and rare portfolio art.Featuring the breathtaking design of Chip Kidd and Mike Essl, “Watching The Watchmen” is both a major art book in its own right, and the definitive companion to the graphic novel that changed an industry.

The Gabble and Other Stories
– Neal Asher. Can’t wait to read this.

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life
– Steve Martin – Steve Martin has been an international star for over thirty years. Here, for the first time, he looks back to the beginning of his career and charmingly evokes the young man he once was. Born in Texas but raised in California, Steve was seduced early by the comedy shows that played on the radio when the family travelled back and forth to visit relatives. When Disneyland opened just a couple of miles away from home, an enchanted Steve was given his first chance to learn magic and entertain an audience. He describes how he noted the reaction to each joke in a ledger – ‘big laugh’ or ‘quiet’ – and assiduously studied the acts of colleagues, stealing jokes when needed. With superb detail, Steve recreates the world of small, dark clubs and the fear and exhilaration of standing in the spotlight. While a philosophy student at UCLA, he worked hard at local clubs honing his comedy and slowly attracting a following until he was picked up to write for TV. From here on, Steve Martin became an acclaimed comedian, packing out venues nationwide. One night, however, he noticed empty seats and realised he had ‘reached the top of the rollercoaster’.B ORN STANDING UP is a funny and riveting chronicle of how Steve Martin became the comedy genius we now know and is also a fascinating portrait of an era.

Just some of the bits I got (having some problems with uploading images, but I’ll get it sorted so you can see what they all look like). Let me know what you got. Take it easy and enjoy the rest of the holiday.

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Discuss: Films set at Christmas that are not Christmas films?

Posted by LiveFor on December 22, 2008

Over the weekend I attended a Christmas meal laid on by the might Colin Bermingham for the few true heroes who put up the Christmas lights in Bebington Village. I was one of those heroes. Jinja was not, he was in Australia for a few weeks, but was invited anyway as he has helped out in previous years and is going to take them down in the new year.

Before the meal (which was lovely by the way), Jinja put forward a movie themed question for us to ponder and I now put it to you.

He asked, “What films can you think of that are set at Christmas but are not Christmas movie?”

At first you could be thinking, what is he talking about? Is that man insane and why are we wearing the same jumper (it wasn’t quite the same jumper, the label was slightly different. I put it down to great minds and all that).

Nonplussed I responded with a “Huh?!” and then Jinja continued, “Go on you know like Trading Places.” I had it and understood, I reached for my beer and supped deeply (Live for Films does not condone drinking alcohol kids and if you do have a drink this Christmas drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive).

Trading Places – the great comedy starring Eddie Murphy (back when he was funny) and Dan Aykroyd (back when he was thin and not selling crystal skull bottles of vodka) who play a tramp and a rich Wall Street dude respectively. Then through a bet by Dan’s mean bosses have to swap places to see if they will cope. Dan meets up with Jamie Lee Curtis’ breasts so he’s fine and Eddie Murphy laughs and shows a flare for stocks and shares. An excellent movie that is often shown on cable channels throughout the land. It also brought us the phrase “Beef Jerky Time!” which can be used for a multitude of meanings. The main point of it though is that the film is set at Christmas – there are trees and lights dotted around and Dan Aykroyd dresses as Father Christmas (Santa Claus to the American visitors to this site!) and eats a salmon through the beard (does that actually cut into his lip?), but you don’t think of it as a Christmas movie.

You’re getting the idea.

Die Hard – There’s another (as is Die Hard 2). Set at Christmas, Bruce Willis (with hair and a vest) attends his wife’s Christmas party at Nakatomi Towers. While he’s there Professor Snape / Hans Gruber and his crew of european bad guys break in, hold the partygoers hostage, and break into the safe. Snape / Gruber gives us the FBI, they send in the car, the quaterback is toast and Bruce Willis runs around the conveniently large ventilation system with no shoes on and says “Yippee Ki-Aye Muddy Funster!” while pulling glass out of his feet. Set at Christmas but not a Christmas movie.

Last one that was mentioned on the night (by my Dad no less) was It’s a Wonderful Life. Think about it. The film shows the life of George Bailey as he gets more and more ground down by Bedford Falls and his good intentions. Then when it all comes to a head he decides to kill himself to help his family. Clarence intervenes and shows George what his life has done while all around the townsfolk do a big collection for Georgie boy and all is well. Think about it. It’s not really a Christmas film, only the fact it has the huge downer and then uplifting moment with goodwill all around that has made it the seasons favourite.

There you go then. I’ve set it up now lets see what the rest of you can come up with in the comments below. Feel free to disagree with any of the above (make sure you explain why though) and put forward any other films you can think of that fall into the criteria. Something to discuss with your family as well on Christmas Day while you digest the turkey.

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Discuss: Batman 3 rumours – Who could play the bad guys?

Posted by LiveFor on December 18, 2008

Bearing in mind Christopher Nolan has not yet signed up for the third Batman film, no story has been decided, no script has been written, no casting has been made and no characters have been chosen, the old casting rumours keep on coming.

Remember all of this is basically the internet throwing up whatever it can think of, but it does get the old brain juices flowing.

Nolan has made a point of saying he wouldn’t have any super powers in his Batman films so people have been saying things will stay realistic. However Nolan did set up the fact that things keep escalating once the Batman hit the scene so it could go a little madder now that the Joker and Two-Face have appeared in Gotham. The great thing about Batman’s bad guys is that most of them have no powers they are just disfigured freaks.

The Riddler keeps getting mentioned and we have had Johnny Depp mentioned for that. Now I have heard that Eddie Murphy could play him, as Axel Foley said “Get the fuck out of here!” springs to mind with that rumour. If they do use The Riddler I hope they have him as a buttoned up obsessive kind of criminal who out thinks the Bat. Depp would be cool in the part, but Crispin Glover could bring a weirdness to the part. Guy Ritchie could be another interesting choice and his work with Nolan on Memento shows he can play the obsessive rather well.

Catwoman is another one that many people think will be in the next film. If she is I’d like to see her as the thief she is and not as the big bad. Maybe a cameo or just in the background. Although if they do use her she’ll probably end up as the love interest in the film. Rumours as to who would play her have included Cher, Maggie Gyllenhall, Angelina Jolie and most recently Rachel Weisz. Basically, any actress people can think of but I would like to see Carla Gugino take the part of Selina Kyle.

The Penguin. In the comics he has recently been portrayed as an arms dealer, criminal kingpin and a go to kind of guy for illegal goods. All of these would be okay for the next film and again, he wouldn’t necessarily have to be the main villian. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the main rumour for this one and I can’t really think of anyone better for the part.

The Ventriloquist. Not one of the most well known of Batman’s adversaries but a good one none the less. Like many of the villains in Gotham he has major mental problems. Basically it is an old bloke with a dummy called Scarface. The old bloke is totally unassuming and the dummy is the one running things and treated as if he is a real person. Anthony Hopkins would be great in the role and he has previous experience with ventriloquist dummies controlling people in the film Magic.

Ice Man. Now we are getting into the realms of the super power although his ice gun could be explained as advance technology. Maybe stolen from Wayne’s company or he was working on it for Wayne when the accident happened. Only person I can see in this part is Patrick Stewart who would be amazing.

Robin. I think there would be a massive outpouring of rage if it was announced that Robin was to be in the next film which is a shame. If done right Robin is a great character and works really well. Unfortunately the memories of Robin in the old TV series reins supreme. Shia Labeouf is the one rumoured for this part but they are missing the point on the old rumour mill. Robin should only be a young teenager or slightly younger, who loses his parents and is taken under Bruce’s wing and is eventually adopted by him as his son. Maybe the kid out of The Spiderwick Chronicles would be good in the role.

There are many other characters in the Batverse – Bane, Black Mask, Poison Ivy, Firefly, Clayface, Harley Quinn to name a few more so Christopher Nolan will be spoilt for choice when he eventually sits down to write the next film.

Everything above is just a rumour. Let me know who you would want to see in the next Batman film and who could play them.
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Stephen King’s Top 10 movies of 2008 – What have been your favourites?

Posted by LiveFor on December 13, 2008

Entertainment Weekly have the horror-meister’s Top 10 movies of 2008. He seems to like Jason Statham. Do you agree with his choices?

1. The Dark Knight “This is to cape-and-tights movies what Godfather II was to the gangster movie: a genre-defining event.”
2. Slumdog Millionaire “It’s been years since the movies have produced such an affecting story about the power of friendship.”
3. Wall-E “The first half an hour is an almost wordless tone poem that combines humor with 
an elegiac sadness for our throwaway culture.”
4. Tropic Thunder “The funniest, most daring comedy of the year. Thunder is crude, rude, and constantly entertaining.”
5. Funny Games “The film is relentless, and all but unbearable. It works as a savage parody of the snuff-porn genre even as it transcends it.”
6. The Bank Job “Any doubts that Jason Statham is more than a muscle boy are set to rest in this rich (and often amusing) story”
7. Lakeview Terrace “Jackson’s performance deserves an Academy Award nod, but won’t get one. Too bad.”
8. The Ruins “Five young people are trapped on top of a pyramid, surrounded by carnivorous plants. It could have been ludicrous. Instead, it’s unrelenting.”
9. Redbelt “Written and directed by the always ferocious David Mamet, this is not your father’s Karate Kid.”
10. Death Race “Death Race is filled with laconic violence and blasting muscle cars, but just beneath the surface is a biting satire of reality TV.”

What have been your top 10 films of 2008? They don’t have to be the ones you think you should put, just the ones which you enjoyed for whatever reason

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2009 Golden Globe Film Related Nominations

Posted by LiveFor on December 11, 2008

Here are the movie related 2009 Golden Globe Nominees for the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards. The Awards ceremony will take place on 11th January next year.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie – Changeling
Meryl Streep – Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas – I’ve Loved You So Long (Il Y A Longtemps Que Je T’Aime)
Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Leonardo Dicaprio – Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn – Milk
Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Burn After Reading
In Bruges
Mamma Mia!
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Rebecca Hall – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky
Frances McDormand – Burn After Reading
Meryl Streep – Mamma Mia!
Emma Thompson – Last Chance Harvey

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Javier Bardem – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Colin Farrell – In Bruges
James Franco – Pineapple Express
Brendan Gleeson – In Bruges
Dustin Hoffman – Last Chance Harvey

Best Animated Film
Kung Fu Panda

Best Foreign Language Film
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Everlasting Moments
I’ve Loved You so Long
Waltz with Bashir

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams – Doubt
Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis – Doubt
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Tom Cruise – Tropic Thunder
Robert Downey Jr. – Tropic Thunder
Ralph Fiennes – The Duchess
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Best Director – Motion Picture
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry – The Reader
David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
Sam Mendes – Revolutionary Road

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Simon Beaufoy – Slumdog Millionaire
David Hare – The Reader
Peter Morgan – Frost/Nixon
Eric Roth – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
John Patrick Shanley – Doubt

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplat – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Clint Eastwood – Changeling
James Newton Howard – Defiance
A. R. Rahman – Slumdog Millionaire
Hans Zimmer – Frost/Nixon

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Down to Earth” – Wall-E
“Gran Torino” – Gran Torino
“I Thought I Lost You” – Bolt
“Once in a Lifetime” – Cadillac Records
“The Wrestler” – The Wrestler

Who do you think will win? Will Heath Ledger get pipped to the post by Robert Downey Jr? I reckon Benjamin Button will clean up although I hope Mickey Rourke wins for his role in The Wrestler.

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"The Wolves are Running" – The Box of Delights needs to be remade

Posted by LiveFor on December 9, 2008

Chisholm and the rest of us at Live For Films got to talking about Christmas and things we remember watching as kids (although it’s not clear if Chisholm was ever a child or whether he was simply torn from the Earth fully formed). One of them was the BBC adaption of John Masefield’s 1935 children’s book, The Box of Delights.

The central character is Kay Harker who, on returning from boarding school, finds himself mixed up in a battle to possess a magical box, which allows the owner to go small (shrink) and go swift (fly), experience magical wonders contained within the box and go into the past.

The owner of the box is an old Punch and Judy man called Cole Hawlings, whom Kay meets on a railway station. They have an instant rapport, and this leads Cole to confide that he is being chased by a man called Abner Brown and his gang. For safety, Cole entrusts the box to Kay, who then goes on to have many adventures.

The Box of Delights was adapted for television by the BBC in 1984, featuring Patrick Troughton (Dr Who) and Robert Stephens. It was broadcast November–December, in six parts, with the last episode transmitted on Christmas Eve. Starring Devin Stanfield as Kay and directed by Renny Rye, it used an innovative mixture of live action and animation, with Quantel Paintbox and chroma key effects to bring the adventure alive. Noted for its yuletide atmosphere (it is set during Christmas), the series has become something of a nostalgic treat for followers of cult TV. The seasonal theme music is Victor Hely-Hutchinson‘s orchestral arrangement of “The First Noël” from his Carol Symphony.

Everything about this reminds me of Christmas as a kid. Everyone seemed to watch it and wait for the next episode in the hope of seeing an amazing (for the time) special effect – whether it be a man walking out of a painting, a demon from the pit, wolves with glowing eyes or people shrinking or flying. It is crying out for a remake due to the progress in special effects since 1984 (I cannot believe it is that old). Here’s the opening for the TV series (should bring back some fond memories for many of you).

Do you remember watching it? What happened to Devin Stanfield? Would you like to see a remake of the series or should it be the next big screen Christmas treat? Any other TV shows you watched as kids that you would like to see remade with todays technology?

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If you could get one cool prop from a movie for Christmas, what would you pick?

Posted by LiveFor on December 5, 2008

Christmas is getting closer and geese are getting fatter my thoughts turn to presents, food, Father Christmas and not enought time off work. Obviously the whole point of Christmas is the gifts…and spending times with loved ones…and the birth of some kid back in thay…but mainly it’s all about the gifts.

As this is a site dedicated to films (with a bit of comic, music and random stuff thrown in just to keep you guessing) I started wondering what cool item of movie memorabilia would be great to get as a gift this Christmas. You know what I’m talking about. That one piece of magic from a film that you always wish was yours, not replicas, I’m talking about the actual prop from the film (I know, I know, the real prop will more than likely be a sketchy pile of bits that on screen look great but in real life aren’t so hot, but you know what I mean) – a proton pack, Indy’s Fedora and whip, the actual Maltese Falcon, any piece of melted alien nasty from The Thing, the Spinal Tap Amp that goes all the way to 11, one of Nic Cage’s wigs, the Cerebro helmet, that weird table made out of a wagon wheel with a glass top that you see in When Harry Met Sally, Rosebud, any Ray Harryhausen model, Little Geek from the Abyss, John Wayne’s spurs, Roddy Piper’s sunglasses, you get the idea.

It’s not as easy as you think to pick just one thing. However, I can say with great confidence that I would pick the Plymouth Fury from Christine…or maybe the (original) Time Machine…or the Dark Crystal…or the ambulance from Ice Cold in Alex…or Steve McQueen’s baseball glove from the Great Escape…Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

If money was no object and you could have whatever prop, costume, vehicle, from any movie what would you pick? Go ahead and click on the comments below and let me know.

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