Category Archives: Features

Fun movies articles, lists as long as your attention span, and opinions so big, you just have to comment on them.

5 Great Movie Grandparents!

Grandparents are brilliant for offering pearls of wisdom and supplying embarrassing moments – sometimes they’re even crude and inappropriate, but at the end of the day you can’t help but love them. Robert De Niro plays the rudest and crudest grandad in Dirty Grandpa, which comes to Blu-ray and DVD on May 23 and to celebrate the release of the film we take a look at our favourite grandparents in film.

Little Focker’s (2010)

This comedy stars Robert De Niro and Blythe Danner as grandparents to two toddlers. They turn up to stay with Greg Focker and their daughter, and once again Jack (De Niro) grows suspicious of his son in law. The twins celebrate their birthday with a party where the two start fighting and ends up with Jack having a heart attack. Happy Birthday!

Princess Diaries (2001)

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Imagine finding your long lost grandmother AND finding out she’s a queen all in one day. Mia is shocked to say the least in this classic comedy film starring Julie Andrews as Queen Clarisse. The two grow close as Mia learns how to behave like a princess, as she will one day inherit the throne. The queen makes an effort to spend time with Mia, so they go to the arcade together and eat hot dogs, which is very different from her usual royal behaviour!

The Proposal (2009)

This list would be incomplete without actress Betty White, renowned for being the coolest OAP going. She plays the dirty minded grandmother of Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), doing all the stereotypical things you would imagine a senior of her age to do; going to strip clubs, dancing in the woods to Lil Jon, and making sexual jokes.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Charlie Bucket is closest to his Grandpa Joe out of his four grandparents, who all share one bed in their little house. He’s the one who tells Charlie the stories about the chocolate factory, and miraculously jumps out of bed upon learning Charlie finds a golden ticket. They experience the amazing factory together, and Grandpa Joe helps Charlie stay grounded while Charlie teaches grandpa to be honest.

Dirty Grandpa (2016)

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The dirtiest grandpa of them all is played by the legendary Robert De Niro, who convinces his grandson to go on a road trip with him when he becomes widowed. His goal is to get with as many women as he can, much to the embarrassment of his grandson played by Zac Efron. He takes part in drinking games, singlehandedly takes down a gang and even pulls the girl of his dreams.


DIRTY GRANDPA IS OUT ON BLU-RAY AND DVD ON MAY 23

The Nice Guys Press Conference: Russell Crowe, Matt Bomer, Shane Black, and Joel Silver!

The glitz and glam of seventies LA had come to blistering rain of London last week as The Nice Guys came visiting on their worldwide press tour. Nestled in Mayfair and not a short walk away from Green Park, The Playboy Club played host – with an actual Bunny – to hordes of soaked press and the drier stars of the film as they ached to delve deeper into the underbelly of Shane Black’s latest romp.

In a room adorned with seventies aesthetic, including a cocktail bar where Russell Crowe, Matt Bomer, producer Joel Silver, and, of course, Shane Black were all propped up, the buzz over yet another successful crime film.

“For me, there is a sort of bone deep DNA to this kind of thing that steamed from raiding my father’s book shelf and finding all of this old-school tough guy material,” says Black who directs and writes The Nice Guys, a movie about a heavy and a PI teaming up to solve a seedy crime. “My writing partner Anthony Bagarozzi and I decided that there weren’t enough Private Eye movies and the idea sort of fell upwards over thirteen years until we had the right actors and it sort of magically came together.”


Though The Nice Guys only came together recently, Silver and Black (yet another great detective name) have been friends for a long time and worked together in the industry for the same amount. When Black turned around and said he wanted to do the project, Silver jumped on board. “It’s no easy thing,” ruminates Silver on the history they’ve shared. “We go back thirty years when he was a 20 years old writer from UCLA and wrote Lethal Weapon in ’86. We then made it in ’87, followed by Lethal Weapon, Predator, and The Last Boy Scout.  Then he went into a creative introspection which I wasn’t a part of. He came back and wrote The Nice Guys in 2001 and we tried to make it as a television series then as a mini-series. Black moved on to Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang then Iron Man 3 and that was one of those “get out of jail free” cards. He next said I want to make The Nice Guys.

We started talking about it and Russell came on board which helped Ryan [Gosling] come on to the project because he wanted to work with Russell. Then we had a movie.”

It’s interesting that Gosling leapt into working with Crowe because their chemistry was key to helping develop the charm and hilarity of the film. “You can’t manufacture that, you really can’t,” says the jovial Crowe who is in high spirits for today’s press conference. The Australian Academy Award Winner triumphs as Healy, the punch first, ask later heavy who becomes partner’s with Gosling’s hysterical PI, “You have to be tuned into one another and no matter what improv or steps he takes, I’m actually with him because I’m listening to what he’s doing and anticipating what he’ll do next without making any assumptions. You have to be able to see what the other guy is doing and follow him.”

Notable in The Nice Guys is Ryan Gosling’s high-pitched scream that Crowe admires: “It freaks me out. That’s the best scream in a feature since Gene Wilder.”

Nestled next to Crowe is the man making them all scream in the movie – not like that ladies (though we all remember Magic Mike) is Matt Bomer as the villainous assassin John Boy. “It’s always fun to get to paint with different colours,” says Bomer who has starred in Glee, American Horror Story, and The Normal Heart for which he won an Emmy “I’m essentially a fanboy whose working with these people I admire. Joel and Shane are basically my childhood. I got to see two of my favourite actors create these symbiotic comedic performance where one doesn’t work without the other-”

“- Oh, I could’ve made it work without Ryan, mate” interrupts Crowe in his usual Australian twang and causes a ripple of laughter within the room as Bomer states that “every moment was a pleasure.”

The Nice Guys really flows due to this bromance and the improvisation between Crowe and Gosling as they bounced lines and humour off one another. Crowe says, We’re both very respectful of the script and will do it the way it reads. But also bring in ideas every day like ‘what if we move it like this or like that?’ As long as it works within the spirit we intended.”

After talking about with Crowe reuniting with Kim Basinger after L.A Confidential, the conversation turns back onto Crowe and Gosling’s more important and vital romance. Especially the moments that led to corpsing (ruining a scene with laughter.) “If you take the 26 years’ experience I’ve had making lead roles – 49 feature roles or whatever – I’d have corpsed less than I have done on a single day shooting The Nice Guys”

Pointing to the poster behind him of Ryan Gosling, who sadly couldn’t attend the press conference, Crowe laughs and says, “This little bastard makes me laugh and I suspect he was up every night coming up with ways to do so. He just has this natural comedic gift and he’s a funny bastard. I laughed all the time.”

“We blocked a bit of LA and it’s a simple shot,” continues Crowe about one such example of the Gosling natural humour and possibly the first of many. “We have to pull in, look at a billboard, and say a couple of lines of dialogue and then drive off. So we pull in and Ryan is not on script and jamming on this idea he has had in his head about German Spank Films. I can’t even get the idea out of my head because he’s going off on one in that pseudo German he does in the film, saying 25 words that sound like they should be shit and arsehole but aren’t real. Joel Silver –“ Crowe gestures to the orange clad man beside him – “is standing in the middle of the street screaming ‘I’ve got the whole goddamn strip blocked off. Not tonight guys! Not tonight!’

And he scurries behind monitors and I turn to Ryan and go ‘Are we going to follow the script?’

And he goes…’Nope’”

There’s a sea of laughter at the thought of a producer losing his hair over grown men causing mischief in car on set. Clearly, shooting The Nice Guys was a cascade of fun with two supposedly professional actors at the centre of it. However, the cast profess that Angourie Rice, who played Holly – the 13 year old daughter of Ryan Gosling’s Holland March -, was the professional. “She always came on set prepared and she has a very limited experience. Yet she has a fine intellect and a real enthusiasm for the craft. Ryan and Shane worked with her to get her to a place of ease and she really began to flower because of that,” enthuses Crowe about the star in the making.


Black is equally as fervent about his young lead, “She is so guileless and so open. I’ve read a few reviews and they all mention her and I turned, saying ‘are you aware of the press you are getting?’ They all read ‘steals the movie’ and ‘only thing that’s good without question.’ She doesn’t even know how good she is. Such a wonderful innocent little girl.”

Working alongside big industry names must’ve been nerve-wracking but Silver states it was the guidance of Gosling in the audition process that helped Rice blossom. “He researched every performer himself and took time to find out about them. We had a whole day of auditions and she was the last one in!”

“Joel just touched upon Ryan’s work ethic there.” continues Russell, adoring more praise upon his co-star. “He made them comfortable in that situation.”

The experience with the young actors was different for Bomer. After all, he has to throw one supposedly through the window and threaten them with a gun. “They were consummate professionals,” stresses Bomer, locking eyes with me after I asked the question and I momentarily got lost in his blue-eyes. “It was the first thing I filmed and I wanted to aggregate with them, stressing that I was a parent and we were just playing pretend. They both starred at me very blankly like ‘so what?’ and were going ‘what is that all you got? Have you got another take in your?’ They really took me to school.”

“Although, it wasn’t so much a young girl but a tiny stunt person,” stresses Black.

“I didn’t want to give anything away!”


The Nice Guys is peppered with a whole lot of absurdity. Not to give anything away but there are surreal moments that are met with as much glee as the rapid quick fire jokes. Black stresses that no matter how weird the scenes were, if he could get Silver on board, then it would go in the film. “We have a similar sensibility and know how to make a successful film. My best financial…no, that’s not true… my best creative successes are when he comes along with me”

The Nice Guys is such a great film that could warrant sequels and even a series such as Silver mention. Black admits that he has toyed with the idea. “I liked them in this time-locked franchise and the sequel would be something in the eighties and an issues to do with that era.”

Whilst Crowe says “For some reason Ryan and I thought The Nice Guys: Mexican Detectives is hilarious. I can’t even say it without laughing…” which is true as he goes off giggling about the concept.

The franchise idea certainly would leave more room for improv and that electric chemistry we received off the pair in this raucous. “My biggest problem is trying not to crack up and ruin a take,” says Black though they all stress it leapt off from his script.

“When I talk about it,” Russell continues after alluding that Ryan Gosling thought his name was schmuck thanks to Joel’s bemusement at his antic. “It’s not manufactured from thin air. But Shane was very trusting with us and the ideas were always open.”

The spirits were high (though not flowing from the conferences fake bar) with the collective leaving us in laughter. Pouring out into the modern streets after being transported to the seventies for an hour, the buzz about The Nice Guys is high.
Did I mention we’re totally on Russell Crowe’s twitter?

Because we are…

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What a nice guy!
Watch the full press conference now!


THE NICE GUYS IS OUT 3rd JUNE
READ OUR REVIEW

Welcome to We Make Movies On Weekends!

Welcome to We Make Movies On Weekends – a brand new film hub to celebrate the industry with journalists, promoters, and filmmakers!

We want to talk about movies and make them too!

Launched from the success of Cookie N Screen and I’m With Geek, founder Sarah Cook developed her own company to live in the world she loves.

Not only do we cover the latest film press, reviews, and cinematic events but we also work with clients to make short films, promotional adverts, and more. All in order to keep us behind, in front, and in the general vicinity of a camera!

Join our community, live in our world of film, talk about movies, and make them too!

– Sarah Cook
We Make Movies On Weekends


The Best Of…Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac is one of the best actors of our generation. Alongside James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, you cannot fault his performance (though you can fault his film choices.) The actor has come bounding into our lives and solidified a place at the top of the shelf. His work in phenomenal independents to the biggest blockbusters is always met with the same passionate performance.

Funnily enough, the aforementioned McAvoy and Fassbender fight Isaac’s latest villain in X-Men: Apocalypse, which is out today. TO celebrate its release, we take a look at Oscar Isaac’s essential movies.


Balibo (2009)

Portraying a real life character is always such a difficult task. The terrible story of East Timor and its struggle for independence, as well as the Australian journalists who lost their lives trying to uncover the truth should be done with sensitivity. Oscar Isaac had a trickier role to portray: The pivotal and integral activist Jose Ramos-Horta who would later become president of the country. Able to tackle the weighty and visceral elements of the real life figure, he intricately weaves determination to succeed over their oppressors.

The scene where he is confronted with a field of bodies will haunt you.

 

Drive (2011)


Nicolas Winding Refn’s poetic noir thriller is very much Ryan Gosling’s film. The stoic and brooding Driver with no name is a slick, daring, and often brooding “protagonist” that gripped us in a frenzy of superb film making. Oscar Isaac, however, strides into the film and promptly steals the scenes he is in. Playing Standard, the ex-con husband of our Driver’s love interest, he is a slightly menacing and desperate neighbour who struggles to keep clean after he is released from jail. Isaac plays him well enough to feel somewhat sympathy and the actor allows a chilling wave of intensity to flow not far from the surface.

 

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

For many, their introduction into the nuanced talents of Oscar Isaac came in the soulful and utterly compelling Coen Brother’s movie – Inside Llewyn Davis. Starring as the titular character, Isaac portrays a gruff folk singer who bounces from performance to performance and house to house barely scraping by. Resentful and bitter, in hands of any other actor, Llewyn would be an unlikeable oaf. But with Oscar Isaac, he enthuses the struggle, the pain, and the ache of trying but failing at every turn. Layering the character with emotion, he’s able to showcase his inner-turmoil that is hidden underneath the sarcasm and failings. Only a gifted performer could make a simpering artist, who curses the world and his friends at the same time, into a multi-faceted and earnest character.

 

A Most Violent Year (2014)

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac have been bosom buddies since they first attend Juillard and the chemistry between them is clear in J. C. Chandor’s work about a businessman plagued by corruption and the police. As Abel Morales, Isaac heightens his levity with a redolent intensity that enhances the viewing experience. Addled with desperation as he is met with horrid situation after horrid situation, the film is made triumphant by Isaac’s understanding of every character he meets – complexities and all.  Even away from the crime and police pressure, Isaac gifts Morales with a revered yet penetrating stature that stands tall in many scenes.

Ex Machina (2015)

oscar isaac ex machina alex garland

Ex Machina is one of the best films of last year. No, scratch that. It’s one of the best films of all time. The layered structure of Alex Garland’s work allows the thrilling to meet the intellectual as two men and a robot collide in a battle of the wits. Unfolding twists and turns that slowly boil the tension, the film is an exquisite meld of themes and technological resonance. Isaac plays Nathan, the genius who creates an AI named Ava and the might of Nathan’s brain vanity is apparent in Isaac’s performance. As is the petulance, alcoholism, and general inflated ego that makes him a terrifying antagonist. Why? Because he is a prime example of men who can’t get what they want and chose nefarious methods to gain control.

Honourable Mention: He is the only good thing from Sucker Punch, he croons an amazing song for 10 Years,  and, of course, he’s Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens but I’m assuming that everyone on God’s Green Earth (or Jakku’s Red Desert) have seen the latest Star Wars movie.

Ooooo…there’s also The Two Faces of January! He’s pretty sweet in that! Damn, it’s hard to write about Oscar Isaac in just five entries….

What are your favourites?


X-MEN: APOCALYPSE IS OUT IN CINEMAS NOW!
READ OUR REVIEW!

5 Amazing Moments of Creed

One of the most surprising films of this year was Ryan Coolger’s Creed. After all, aren’t we a little sick of our favourite movies getting yet another exhausting adaptation on the big screen?

Especially Rocky because we’ve been knocked out by the franchise so excessively, we’re almost like the shuffling has-been boxer himself!

So when it was announced that Ryan Coolger was doing yet another movie revolving around silky shorts and red padded fists (oo-er,) it was another round of frustration as we paced the ring, trying to score a win.

But for those who had watched Fruitvale Station, however, and had seen Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan’s work, faith that this was going to be an intricate, emotional, and powerful piece of cinema peeled itself out from the floor and threw a few punches for good measure. (By the way. Fruitvale Station on Netflix. I’d watch it repeatedly).

The end result was a brand new sporting drama that honoured the past and carved something new for future fans. Creed even earned an Oscar nomination and many furious people felt it should’ve received more (myself included.)

So to celebrate the home entertainment release of Creed, here’s five of our favourite moments from the boxing drama!

Warning: There will be spoilers here.

Tessa Thompson’s singing.

Coming from Dear White People and Selma, Tessa Thompson is a young actress who has already accomplished acting finesse and surely has a stellar career ahead of her. As Bianca, and in the hands of another director, her character could’ve easily been a side-lined girlfriend who cries all the time. Instead, Thompson becomes her own character – a partially deaf singer who is sings, performs, and writes as much as she can before her hearing envitably goes. And when you first see her perform, it’s transfixing – a haunting redolent performance that we all have the same face as Adonis:

Utter admiration.

Rocky’s Cancer Montage

One of the biggest shocks of Creed was the infliction of Rocky. The shuffling, gurning boxer who was teaching Adonis the ropes was diagnosed with cancer but after seeing Adrian succumb to the disease, he decides to throw in the towel and except his fate.

No. Seriously. Anyway, after a pep talk with Adonis, Rocky decides to do what he does best and fight. In a fantastically emotional montage, the pair decide to kick cancer in the arse and it’s an endearing part of the film!

The Run

It wouldn’t be a Rocky movie if it didn’t have the epitomes run in it. Made famous by the first film in which Rocky (wonderfully homaged at the end of this film, by the way,) Creed does its own style power jog as Adonis marches through the rundown streets of Philadelphia, accompanied by cheering children on bikes. Set to the impressive score and filled with such amazing hope, determination, and courage, you couldn’t help but be filled with glorious feelings that toppled out of your eyes.

The Match

What works so well for Rocky, the first film, is that he doesn’t win. The same can be said for Creed as he faces off his biggest challenge yet – the criminal and powerful fighter “Pretty” Ricky Conlan. Spoiler alert: He doesn’t win but he does earn the respect of the boxing community after giving it his all and proving himself, rising from an amateur fighter into a professional one. The scene is very indicative of Coogler’s direction, splicing gripping energy and utmost emotion.

Michael B. Jordan

Everything that Michael B. Jordan touches turns to gold. And don’t worry, we’ve completely ignored Fantastic Four and That Awkward Moment because after watching those turd blossom features, we obliterated our memories with alcoholic beverages. Anyway, regardless of the bad movies, Jordan is always – well – fantastic in them and here as Adonis, he manages to be stellar. The young performer tackles the emotional weight, the physical heft, and the rambunctious nature of his titular character with such ease that his charm effervesces. Simply amazing, Jordan should’ve been nominated for an award here.


Creed is available on Blu-ray™, DVD and Limited Edition Steelbook from May 16th.

Creed by Numbers – Fact Sheet!

1          Enduring legend.

1          New legacy.

         Oscar nominations earned by Sylvester Stallone for his 1976 breakout film Rocky – Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay – making him just the 3rd person in Academy history to be nominated for both the same year, after Charles Chaplin and Orson Welles.

2          Films on which Creed director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan have collaborated, the first being Coogler’s award-winning 2013 drama Fruitvale Station.

2          Fierce opponents who became close friends  – Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed – a connection that is reawakened when Adonis Johnson (Jordan), the son Apollo never knew, convinces Rocky to stand in his corner as he fights for his own identity as a boxer.

3          High-level professional boxers whom Jordan faced in the ring to authentically portray Adonis’s trajectory as a fighter:  Liverpool’s ABA heavyweight champion Anthony Bellew as “Pretty” Ricky Conlan; Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward as Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler; and Philadelphia’s own Gabriel Rosado as Leo “The Lion” Sporino.

4          Onscreen boxing matches choreographed by stunt coordinator Clayton Barber in close collaboration with Coogler – and with invaluable input from screen fight veteran and boxing expert Stallone – each of which tells a distinct story within Adonis’s trajectory as a fighter.

4½       Minutes in which the intensity of Adonis’s fight against Leo “The Lion” Sporino is captured in a continuous single-camera take (a “oner”) – requiring tight coordination between Coogler, the actors, Barber and cinematographer Maryse Alberti to pull off.

±5        Age – or, as far back as Coogler can remember – when he watched the first of many Rocky films with his father Ira, who had his own personal connection to the saga.

6          Rocky films released across 30 years – Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985) and Rocky Balboa (2006) – all six written by Stallone, who directed all but two, with Rocky director John W. Avildsen returning to direct Rocky V.

7          Days Jordan and Rosado spent blocking and rehearsing Barber’s intense fight choreography to attain the precision needed for the Johnson/Sporino match.  Steadicam operator Ben Semanoff took boxing lessons to meet the challenge of continuous filming while weaving between the two performers.

10        Oscars for which Rocky was nominated, with the film taking Best Picture; Richard Halsey and Scott Conrad winning for Best Film Editing; and John G. Avildsen winning Best Director at the 1977 Academy Awards ceremony.

10        Months during which Jordan rigorously trained and followed a pro athlete’s diet to attain the skills, physique and mindset of Adonis Johnson and believably perform in the ring against real life pro boxers.

13        Takes to capture the breathtaking Johnson/Sporino fight sequence in a single unbroken shot, with the 11th take ultimately ending up on screen.

15        Brutal rounds Rocky lasted in the ring with world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed in the original Rocky, ultimately losing the fight but winning a victory for underdogs everywhere.

±15      Days actor and musical artist Tessa Thompson spent working with Ludwig Göransson, the film’s Swedish-born composer, along with a number of guest artists, to collaborate on the songs performed in the film by her character, the singer/songwriter Bianca.

21        Tracks on Göransson’s dynamic score for Creed, which combines symphonic elements with modern production and beats, infused with interpolations of “Gonna Fly Now,” Bill Conti and Carol Connors’s Oscar-nominated Original Song from Rocky.

27        Age at which Coogler pitched a skeptical Stallone on his idea to tell a new story from the Rocky mythology that would explore Rocky’s relationship with Apollo’s forgotten son; it would take two years of work and a leap of faith by Stallone for the filmmaker to realize his vision for Creed on the streets of Rocky’s home city of Philadelphia.

30        Age at which Sylvester Stallone, determined to make Rocky his way, turned down a lucrative offer for the rights to his screenplay, inspiring producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff to take a chance on the young actor/writer in the title role he would make iconic.

72        Stone steps at the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where the legendary training sequence in Rocky was captured guerilla-style by Steadicam pioneer Garrett Brown, who filmed while racing up the steps with Stallone before anyone could stop them.

2006    Year Sylvester Stallone gave his own emotional goodbye to the iconic character he created and embodied across three decades with his acclaimed 2006 film, Rocky Balboa.

2012    Year Coogler, fresh out of film school, made his debut film, Fruitvale Station, on a shoestring budget across 20 days of principal photography in his native Oakland, California.

2013    Year Fruitvale Station swept the top prizes at the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, and went on to resonate with critics and audiences alike, opening the door for Coogler to realize his vision for Creed.

2015    Year Coogler assembled the cast and crew in Philadelphia, PA, to film on location at iconic landmarks from the Rocky saga and explore different parts of the city to shape a new legacy with Creed.

2016    Date that audiences across UK can experience Creed, from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with New Line Cinema, when the film opens in cinemas everywhere.


Creed is available on Blu-ray™, DVD and Limited Edition Steelbook from May 16th.