Liebster Award Blog-a-thon 0 84

Liebster Award Blog-a-thon header

Luke Grima from Wanna Go To the Movies? has kindly passed this onto me and it looked like fun so I decided to go ahead and take part.

The rules for this award are as follows:

  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
  3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to
  4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
  5. Go to their page and tell them
  6. No tag backs.

11 Facts About Me:

  1. The Big Lebowski is my favourite film of all time, which I have watched over 100 times.
  2. I have a soft spot for films set primarily in one location e.g. Saw, Fermat’s Room, Exam etc.
  3. The city I’d most like to visit in the world is Seoul, South Korea.
  4. I am a teetotaler.
  5. My favourite music artists are Arcade Fire and Sigur Ros.
  6. I try my best to see every movie released, even if it means catching it on DVD/Blu-ray later on down the road.
  7. I am a huge TV watcher, some of my favourite shows include Lost, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Curb Your Enthusiasm, True Blood, The Sopranos and Dexter.
  8. I’m more likely to purchase a DVD/Blu-ray if it has a slipcase (not sure why…).
  9. I love making lists, move-related or otherwise.
  10. The last film I saw in cinemas was Brave (for the second time). Damn good.
  11. I honestly don’t mind remakes as long as they justify their existence. Most don’t.

11 questions from Luke:

1. Has your favourite director made a ‘dud’ film?

Yes. David Lynch made Dune in the early 1980s, the first and last big studio picture he would make, and as much as I am a fan of him I think the movie is terrible.

2. What was you first cinematic experience that you can remember and at what age?

The furthest back I can remember is Toy Story when I was about 5. As a result it still holds a special place for me.

3. What is your least favourite genre of films?

Have to be honest and say romantic comedies. Though there are many I love (usually non-traditional ones like Annie Hall and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), the plethora of safe, generic ones just bore me to tears.

4. How much money do you spend a month on films a month? This includes cinema, on demand, blu-rays, etc…

I used to spend a hell of a lot more than I do now. I can’t say exactly but it definitely exceeds £50; is that a lot?

5. What has been the worst film you’ve seen in 2012 so far?

There have been a few stinkers but Project X is probably the worst. Wretched, wretched film.

6. If you listen to them, whats your favourite film podcasts?

The ones I listen to on any sort of regular basis are Mark Kermode & Simon Mayo’s show on BBC Radio 5Live, the Mondo Movie podcast, the Row Three Cinecast and the Empire Podcast.

7. Who do you rate as a film critic?

Mark Kermode, Roger Ebert, Peter Bradshaw, James Berardinelli, Scott Weinberg and Kim Newman, to name but a few.

8. Do you read reviews before you see a film for the first time and does it affect your opinion?

Sometimes I like to quickly read over reviews in advance just to get a feel of the consensus but I generally leave the in-depth reading until after I’ve had a chance to see the film for myself. And no they don’t usually affect my opinion either way.

9. Who in your opinion is the future of cinema in terms of directors?

There are so many who I think will be legendary in 30-40 years time but Paul Thomas Anderson and Christopher Nolan come to mind first.

10. Whats your favourite Disney and Pixar film?

Disney – Aladdin, Pixar – Toy Story.

11. True or false, Michael Bay?

False. When he stops making Transformers movies that might change. Maybe…


11 questions from me:

  1. What is your favourite decade for film?
  2. Which Hollywood A-lister do you find most overrated/overpaid?
  3. Is there any movie from the ’80s you would want to a see a sequel to which hasn’t been made already? If so which one?
  4. Who’s the most overrated director and why?
  5. Where do you like to sit in the cinema e.g. middle, near the back, closest to the aisle?
  6. Do you like to read as much as you can about a film (and watch trailers etc) before seeing it or go in knowing as little as possible?
  7. What’s your favourite and least favourite Best Picture Oscar winner?
  8. Are there any types of movies you just flat-out won’t watch?
  9. Which book yet to be adapted into a movie do you think deserves it most?
  10. Which director and actor would you like to see work together some day?
  11. Has there been a genuinely good video game movie made thus far?


I haven’t quite chosen 11 but I ‘m now nominating and passing this on to the following people: Jaime Burchardt, Jandy Stone HardestyJason Coyle, David Neary, Tom Grater and Mike P Williams.


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I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.

I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Top 5 Great Christmas Movies to Watch on NOW TV 0 147


It’s Christmas time and you know what that means – cramming in as many viewings of festive films as is humanly possible!

I’ve found Sky’s NOW TV Movies service to be a great source for this sort of thing, not only because of the great free trial ( 🙂 ) but also because they have a great selection, from stone cold classics to hidden gems that are well worth seeking out.

If you’re stuck for Christmas movies to watch and you wanna’ give the service a go, below I’ve rustled up a little top 5 list:

Elf (2003)


For years there had been many Christmas movies that got firmly into the festive spirit but then along came this absolute gem that features the festive spirit in human form. Will Ferrell gives one of his most memorable and hilarious performances as Buddy, a man raised in the company of elves who discovers his real father (James Caan) lives in New York and so sets off on adventure to reunite with him, causing havoc wherever he goes. Cheesy though it may be, it’s nevertheless an eminently quotable, joyously fun celebration of all things Christmas that’s simply a must-watch this time of year.

Bad Santa (2003)


If Elf is the absolute personification of Christmas then Bad Santa is the poisonous antidote for anyone who hates this season and everything for which it stands. Billy Bob Thornton is the hilarious obnoxious, foul-mouthed, child-hating Grinch who only chooses to dress up as a mall Santa in December so he can rob the stores at night with the help of his faithful dwarf “elf” sidekick Marcus (the incomparable Tony Cox). It’s not one for the easily offended but for those with a very dark, cynical sense of humour it’s an absolute hoot.

Die Hard (1988)


“Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…”

It doesn’t get much more classic than this action movie milestone starring Bruce Willis as NYPD Detective John McClane who finds himself up against a smart group of terrorists, led by the ruthless Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), at a Christmas Eve party in the Nakatomi Plaza building. Great set-pieces that are grounded in at least some sort of reality, a terrific hero in John McClane, some insanely quotable dialogue and an all-time great villain add to make for arguably the single greatest action movie ever made. Modern day action movies – the increasingly superfluous and ridiculous follow-ups included – could go back and learn a thing or two from this.

Trading Places (1983)


This sublime lifestyle-trading comedy from director John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, The Blues Brothers) centres on a wily street con artist (Eddie Murphy) and a snobbish business investor (Dan Aykroyd) who suddenly find themselves living each other’s lifestyles as part of a cynical bet between two callous millionaires. This was one of the films that helped make Eddie Murphy a megastar (it was his second feature after 48 Hrs.) and he’s one top form as the quick-witted, sarcastic Billy Ray Valentine. Aykroyd is equally great as the down-on-his luck Louis Winthorpe III in a film that explores racial and class stereotypes while never forgetting its primary purpose of making you laugh.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)


Christmas movies don’t always have to be warm, fuzzy and family-friendly as this jet black and hilarious crime comedy from the one and only Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3) goes to show. A pre-Iron Man/mega fame Robert Downey Jr. stars as Harry Lockhart, a thief-turned-actor who gets involved in all sorts of murder and kidnapping hijinks alongside private detective “Gay Perry” (Val Kilmer) in the not-so-jolly land of Hollywood. Like Bad Santa, this isn’t for the easily offended but it’s got an absolutely wonderful script chalk full of some of the best, most self-aware dialogue (often spoken directly to the audience via RDJ’s snarky narration) so far this century, poking fun at everything from movie star vanity to the tropes of Hollywood movies themselves.

That’s it for our list. What are your favourite Christmas movies? Remember, if you fancy watching any of the movies above make sure to sign up for NOW TV Movies!

Note: This was a paid sponsored post but was entirely written by me and of my own opinion.

Final Predictions For Star Wars: The Force Awakens 0 132


Note: This is article was written not having seen the film so it’s SPOILER FREE UNLESS EXPLICITLY STATED.

Well, it’s finally… almost here.

Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens premiered this week and will be widely released on Thursday in the UK and Friday in the U.S. Although there aren’t many early indications, the ones we’ve seen are positive. A host of prominent celebrities filed out of the premiere on Monday evening, and though they were generally wonderful about avoiding spoilers, the overall tone was hard to miss: they loved it. From Patton Oswalt to Rob Lowe, the lucky few who caught the early screening were positively gushing in vague tweets.

But enough about expectations and early impressions. Pretty much everyone who’s interested in Star Wars is hoping for (and in many cases expecting) a genuine triumph from J.J. Abrams. What many of us are more curious about isn’t whether or not this will be a good film, but rather who and what we’re about to see on screen. Who’s the main protagonist? Where is Luke Skywalker hiding in all the posters and trailers? Is there a new Sith lord? Will any older characters make surprise reappearances?

These are the questions that have been been keeping Star Wars fans up at night throughout most of 2015. And just for fun before the film finally reaches the cinema, here’s one last round of predictions to ponder.

Chewbacca Will Not Die


Naturally there’s been a great deal of ridiculously detailed analysis of the trailers for The Force Awakens, and one of the most popular theories to come out of it all is that we’ve been shown hints that Chewbacca will die in the new film. The case is certainly compelling when you’re looking at things clip-by-clip with the theory in front of you… but then again, J.J. Abrams has gone out of his way to express that the trailers are hardly showing us anything of consequence. And rest assured, this is a director with enough attention to detail to know exactly what dedicated fans will make of footage. Thus, any rumour coming entirely out of trailer footage is hard to take too seriously. Plus, while Abrams likely wouldn’t be too shy to kill an old hero or two, offing Chewbacca just seems cruel.

Rey Will Be The Jedi Hero


Be warned: there’s a very slight spoiler included in this theory, and it’s related to how much each of the main characters actually has to do with the film. More specifically, LA Times writer Steven Zeitchik saw fit to tweet out his own “list of cast prominence.” In that list (again, spoiler alert), Zeitchik listed Daisy Ridley (who plays Rey) as the most prominent cast member, which suggests she’s the main character we’re looking for. We do see Finn (John Boyega) wielding a lightsaber in the trailers, but there’s always a chance Rey takes the lead as the “main” Jedi, so to speak.

Yoda, Obi-Wan, & Anakin Will Appear


A while back, before the cast of The Force Awakens was announced and we learned for sure that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher would be reprising their roles, odds were posted as to which characters would appear in Episode VII. The main focus was on Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia, but at the time, odds were also offered for the likes of Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin Skywalker. And now, on the eve of the film’s release, all three of them seem almost suspiciously forgotten. Abrams is considered something of a master of misdirection. With all the focus on the three main characters of the original trilogy returning, as well as all the exciting new elements, these three vital characters have been dismissed. Don’t be shocked if they show up in some sort of vision similar to what Luke witnessed at the end of Return Of The Jedi.

Han Will Kill Captain Phasma


With all the focus on mysterious new villain Kylo Ren, the bizarre super-Stormtrooper Captain Phasma (portrayed by Gwendoline Christie, who famously plays Brienne of Tarth on Game Of Thrones) is flying under the radar. The character has been described as “Boba Fett-like,” however, which indicates she could become a fan favourite. She could also become a disposable sub-villain, though. We all know Han Solo had serious beef with Boba Fett, and frankly it’s more realistic for Han to take on someone like this than, say, a Sith warrior. Fans will be hoping for some kind of great Han triumph, and offing the character who’s expected to be similar to his old nemesis seems fitting.

Snoke Will Be A Sensation


There are a ton of rumours floating around regarding Supreme Leader Snoke, a behind-the-scenes Sith lord who’s been lurking around the Star Wars saga from the beginning. One incredibly fun theory even suggests that Jar Jar Binks was Snoke all along, and frankly it’s so convincing that there’s the tiniest chance this is really the case. But it’s still extraordinarily unlikely. What we do know is that Andy Serkis (who jokingly confirmed the rumour) is depicting Supreme Leader Snoke through motion capture. And when Serkis jumps into a motion capture suit, majestic things tend to happen. This is the same guy who brought the likes of Smeagol (Lord of the Rings and Caesar (the newer Planet Of The Apes films) to life. Simply put, he doesn’t mess around. Even if he has only a minimal role in Episode VII, expect Snoke to steal any scene he’s in.

That about does it for a final round of theories. Oh, and Luke hasn’t gone to the dark side—it’s just too hard to believe. Right? Right!?