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  • Cult Corner: Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010) | SquabbleBox.co.uk - Entertainment Under Attack
    to a head in the unforgettable climax which is one of the most riveting sequences in the entire Batman canon animated or otherwise Under the Red Hood does not waste a single frame efficiently using its 75 minute runtime and never losing momentum Added to this it manages to fit so much into its short duration without giving us the feeling that the film is rushing through its plot points which is a huge accomplishment However Nightwing inexplicably disappears in the second act and as a result he feels like a wasted opportunity Fortunately this is about the only aspect of the narrative which fails to gel for the rest Under the Red Hood is a home run Even though Under the Red Hood concerns itself with inner conflict and character drama it s first and foremost an action movie and it most definitely delivers in this respect Visually this movie is a beauty with superb battle sequences involving Batman Nightwing and the Red Hood The animators have outdone themselves delivering fluid unflinching fights which look spectacular Vietti should take charge of more of these projects as Under the Red Hood is perhaps the most stylish of all the DCU Animated Original Movies The attention to pacing and rhythm is above average not to mention the PG 13 rating allows for some dark content Parents should take note of the rating there are several on screen deaths and a fair amount of violence but it all fits in the context of this story Admittedly the animation still remains fairly basic with impressive broad strokes but only minor detail but it s not a big deal the use of shadows as well as the brilliant framing and fluidity of the animation compensates for this even if a higher budget might have facilitated a stronger motion picture As Batman Greenwood is no Kevin Conroy but he s definitely one of the best stars to have taken the role in recent years He s a firm and charismatic Bruce Wayne and a gruff but not incomprehensibly gravelly Batman Moreover Greenwood is committed to the role delivering a performance that doesn t sound like he s simply reading off cue cards But it s the casting of Ackles and Harris which allows Under the Red Hood to soar Ackles is excellent bringing pathos and smarm to the role of the Red Hood Likewise Harris is an exceptional Nightwing light hearted and charismatic Meanwhile DiMaggio also makes a positive impression as the Joker coming close to reaching Mark Hamill levels of brilliance Rounding out the main players is Jason Isaacs who is strong despite limited screen time as Ra s Al Ghul It s a sublime cast all round with not a single weak performer among them Batman Under the Red Hood stands as one of the best DC animated releases to date second only to the epic two part Batman The Dark Knight Returns It s an exceptional story that deserved to be told

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  • Cult Corner: Cloverfield (2008) | SquabbleBox.co.uk - Entertainment Under Attack
    on how to mix practical and digital effects to achieve a better looking final product and you could easily assume the movie costs four times the amount that it did Even if you don t appreciate this film s story the way they got the most for their money is an absolute masterclass of filmmaking This overall craftsmanship leads to some brilliant moments Perhaps the most famous is the decapitation of the Statue of Liberty a brilliant and iconic effect that still looks good to this day But there are other great scenes including a stalk through the subway system and a running shot right under the monster that really get the blood pumping There s even that sequence on the Brooklyn Bridge which is so great I ll post it below Cloverfield is a scary watch as well and I am perfectly happy to call it a horror picture both of the supernatural and realist kind I don t want to delve too much into calling this a movie about 9 11 or the War on Terror but it definitely has to be addressed And the film includes ideas like martial law and looting that are just as scary as the monster they face It s just another example of Reeves picture feeling very contemporary without shoving it down your throat ahem Diary of the Dead The movie doesn t hold back from putting its characters in horrible situations although I wouldn t describe the victims as brilliantly memorable they certainly go beyond the cliché of a group of annoying teens to a perfectly likable bunch of individuals A lot of the movie revolves around different romances between them but these never get in the way of the story They just act like normal twentysomethings and what a frightening situation the characters face What really adds another level to the film is just how horrible some of the death are and perversely always to the nicest characters This is a surprisingly bleak movie and as far away from the schmaltz of Roland Emmerich s Godzilla as you can get In the best possible way Cloverfield is a film of its time Different genres come together to make something memorable and those with even a causal interest in horror Found Footage or monster films will find an innovative exciting and emotional flick It marks the filmic birth of creators like Abrams now a hugely powerful figure who will go on to create Hollywood movies that tap into the current creative and cultural zeitgeist This my favourite monster mash of all time and one I am very much connected to It shows that it takes innovation to make the Found Footage conceit interesting again It isn t a concept that is fundamentally flawed or tired but one that needs to be pushed on to new heights Bring on the sequel Best Scene Up to this point there hasn t been any scares in the movie but this scene kicks off the

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  • Cult Corner: Prince of Darkness (1987) | SquabbleBox.co.uk - Entertainment Under Attack
    Maybe he s anti god bringing darkness instead of light Essentially everything in the world around us has its opposite such as hot versus cold up versus down good versus evil hope versus despair and it s the same with humanity itself which has creative versus destructive personalities and actions The universal mind Professor Birack mentions could be considered an entity that has immense power and influence with its opposite also possessing immense power and influence too except with the intention to create negative outcomes upon those it enacts its will For those who might be concerned that the religious aspects of Prince of Darkness are preachy or an attempt in some way to convert people it s definitely not a propaganda piece One of the themes of the film includes truth and lies since what religion has preached over the years turns out to be a lie that was then sold to those who wanted to hear it The actual truth has been a secret that can be denied to the world no longer Jesus is mentioned but is revealed to have been from a human like race and not actually human as the bible preaches The book that Lisa is translating explains all of this and it makes for a very intriguing element of the film My favourite moment of her translation is when she has become possessed and types on the computer screen You will not be saved by the holy ghost You will not be saved by the god Plutonium In fact YOU WILL NOT BE SAVED A great quote by Carpenter which ties into what this film is about and is an excellent way of describing evil in many horror films is from the 2002 documentary Masters of Horror If you imagine we re all sitting around a campfire in the old days and the medicine man is standing there and we re a tribe and he says Let me tell you where the evil is It s out there beyond the darkness it s the others it s the other tribe it s the beast in the woods That s the evil that s one story the evil from outside Same situation we re in a circle around a campfire the medicine man the holy man stands up and says I ll tell you where evil is it s right in here it s in our human hearts it s in us That s evil on the inside Halloween was partly an exploration of that evil within our hearts personified by Michael Myers Films like Night of the Living Dead 1968 are about a force of evil in the form of the undead monsters on the outside wanting to get in and films like The Evil Dead 1981 are about a malevolent presence that want to get inside the characters themselves therefore being about possession Prince of Darkness is like a combination of these films because you have the evil influence of the green

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  • Cult Corner: Cube (1997) | SquabbleBox.co.uk - Entertainment Under Attack
    yet This last theory does seem pretty specific but given a warped state of mind and a little nudge there is at least some merit to it even if it is superficial The nudge comes in the form of a sound a faint mechanical whirring that can be heard off in the distance It is low and menacing and could very well be the cue of approaching creatures much in the same way as the noise Kayako makes in The Grudge In reality however it is the sound of turning gears as the rooms shift and rearrange like a giant Rubik s But within a fear addled mind you really start to wonder Another aspect of the movie that is well handled is the production design especially for a move that cost a mere 365 000 The patterns on the walls of each room are in the shape of circuit boards and each cube is outfitted with a different but equally striking color such as red green or blue The doors that lead into the other rooms have an interesting design as well A bar is turned to unlock each one and then the door is pulled out of a small vent that connects the rooms together accompanied by a whoosh of uncompressed air It s a seemingly small thing but in a movie that never goes beyond the one set it feels a lot more substantial The little details show care in the design and are appreciated as a result Also because the filmmakers only had once cube to use for all of them which was small and confined the passage of time is also taken into account within the execution of the movie That is to say there are many scenes of cubes that are either unoccupied or easily navigated and voiceovers are layered above the footage as characters converse and give general thoughts on their situation It is handled in a way that elicits thoughts of people trapped in a desert with the sandy dunes and endless cycles of walking towards a seemingly nonexistent destination under intense and even hallucinogenic heat being the most familiar and common comparison The movie does a great job of conveying both the physical and psychological degradation of each character throughout these sequences In that the movie is ultimately a character study How do different people in society cope when thrown into a situation together I ve spent the majority of my school years in special education classrooms so I ve experienced firsthand people like Kazan who have a very high functioning form of autism They have various ticks can be very loud and are freaked out or captivated by seemingly random things The movie does a very respectful job in portraying this and so too does actor Andrew Miller Another thing the movie does well is to show just how impatient or uncaring people can be depending on who they are The thin shrill of Kazan the gentle urging of Holloway

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  • Cult Corner: The Batman/Superman Movie: World's Finest (1996) | SquabbleBox.co.uk - Entertainment Under Attack
    It is a dynamic the World s Finest comics exploited for decades and the pair s begrudging partnership led a series from 1941 to 1986 No matter what you might think about each character and more than enough people dislike Superman there s something undeniably cool about seeing DC s flagship heroes sharing the screen Like Avengers Assemble this animated film is therefore a tale about superheroes putting aside their differences and working together Luthor and Joker s scheme feels more like the B plot and rightfully so The rivalry between the two leads is the most fun to watch Anyone who s ever read a Batman or Superman comic will smirk at the way Bruce makes the moves on Miss Lane Kent s priceless jealousy is only magnified when he uses his X ray vision to take a peek under Batman s cowl The Dark Knight s revenge for this breach of trust is one of the most badass things he s ever done in a cartoon see below Eventually the pair begin to trust each other s instincts and turn their attention to the threat at hand If writers Rich Fogel Steven Gerber and Stan Berkowitz take great relish in contrasting their heroes then they are just as interested in charting the relationship between their villains I don t need to say anything else about this iteration of The Joker that I haven t said elsewhere since you know Hamill makes the most of it The screenwriters mine a great deal of humour from this madman colliding with Lex Luthor s steely business sense If there s anything the bald mastermind hates its people wasting his time and money Brown who some of you may remember from The Shawshank Redemption 1994 and Starship Troopers 1997 has always been one of my favourite actors to tackle the role and Luthor s exasperation here is funny stuff Taking the compare and contrast style to its absolute limits there s also an amusing parallel between the clumsy Harley Quinn and Luthor s driver assistant Mercy Graves House s Lisa Edelstein Their catfight is glorious and one of the unexpected highlights Despite the presentation s brief 65 minutes director Toshihiko Masuda still manages to include that all important action My favourite sequence would be Batman and Superman s combined attempts to take down Luthor s deadly robots but there s also the OTT finale in which The Joker begins fire bombing Metropolis Considering this is essentially the third episode in a TV series the explosion heavy finish is all the more impressive The pair get to flex their gadgets and muscles frequently ensuring that sub plots such as Bruce and Lois romance are pushed to the sidelines It s not like they d ever end up together anyway Ultimately The Batman Superman Movie is a well executed bit of family entertainment that should get more DC fans to give Superman The Animated Series a chance If nothing else it proves that the

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  • Cult Corner: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) | SquabbleBox.co.uk - Entertainment Under Attack
    could have been mishandled by lesser writers but it only serves to remind us that Batman is human I especially like the early scene of him spying on Andrea in a restaurant from an adjacent skyscraper there s something so mournful about seeing a Dark Knight perched on a ledge in the pouring rain thinking about what might have been This an ideal excuse to flashback to his early experiments as a crime fighter One of the film s best sequences is his first attempt to take down some thugs long before he became Batman Decked out in a balaclava and black jacket he fails to inspire fear in their hearts and even comes close to death As the film charts his relationship with Andrea it also maps his journey toward the Bat Naturally it is the heartbreak of Andrea s departure that ultimately gives him the push he needed Structurally Mask of the Phantasm is pretty much perfect always upping the stakes The Phantasm is an elusive adversary who is beautifully contrasted with our hero Batman might not kill his marks but he goes after the same people If there is a flaw to be found here it would be that the Phantasm s identity is all too obvious It s therefore wise that the filmmakers decided to incorporate The Joker Showing up halfway through the agent of chaos effectively steals the picture Devilish violent and prepared to go out in a blaze of glory The Joker more than pushes the limits of the film s PG rating The finale in which the Andrea Phantasm and Joker storylines converge is greater than anything in the live action films up to that point We feel like Batman has something to lose These events wouldn t mean a thing if it wasn t for the fine characterisation on display and the whole ensemble is given great material including regulars Alfred Efrem Zimbalist Jr the valiant Commissioner Gordon Bob Hastings and Animated Series favourite Detective Bullock Robert Costanzo The supporting cast is well utilised and never feel forced into the narrative We get to see Alfred s conflicted feelings toward his boss s activities and Gordon s disbelief over Batman s apparent guilt The latter is expressed best in a sequence where the Dark Knight is cornered by the Gotham PD at a construction site The secondary characters might not have much screen time but Timm and Radomski make the most of their obligatory inclusions The voice cast is truly phenomenal led by the talented Conroy and Delany Conroy IS Batman to a whole generation of comic book fans and it s always disheartening to see an animated adaptation without his vocal talents He brings a subtle change in pitch between each persona and makes the graphic novel style dialogue seem natural Conroy is certainly more comfortable in his Bat delivery than Christian Bale As Andrea Delany manages to convey sex appeal and mystery effortlessly It s hardly surprising that the creative

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  • Cult Corner: Star Trek: First Contact (1996) | SquabbleBox.co.uk - Entertainment Under Attack
    fantastic The practical make up effects and spooky performances make them feel like a formidable unstoppable and genuinely alien threat They raise the film up so much and make it much more terrifying than say Malcolm McDowell with a big weapon ahem The make up appliances for the crew slowly being transformed into Borg still look fantastic too and land smack bang in the nightmare visions of the uncanny valley This is in perfect contrast to Zefram Cochrane James Cromwell the first man to meet aliens He provides some much needed warmth and light to the film as well as throwing in an extra problem in his ill refusal to face the future I still think there are some problems For a lot of the running time there is never enough emotion to signify that the world is under threat that the crew are being turned into inhuman monsters and that they get to travel back in time to meet the first people who greeted Vulcans It is treated like any standard mission I do appreciate that these are trained soldiers but the lack of grief dissipates some of the tension In many ways these characters are so far ahead in the future and so used to terrifying things that they have become otherworldly to us Just look at the scene where Picard walks through the Enterprise with Lily Alfre Woodard a character from the past and see how she reacts It s a shame they didn t play around with the similarities between the Federation crew s stoicism and the Borg This problem is solved in the last thirty minutes when the Enterprise is at risk and the characters do start to crack in the last half an hour or so we see the emotions that director Jonathan Frakes Riker himself should have pumped into proceedings from the start First Contact really comes into its own in the last section and the fact that it was unintelligible at the beginning is soon forgotten The plot is both packed with information and moves very slowly It could have done with ramping up its action scenes and letting the characters breathe more because there are some genuinely interesting scenarios going on here which play spectacularly well They deserved more time than they are given Though its not perfect First Contact is a pretty tight piece of science fiction It could do with another half hour at the start to really develop the characters and the setting as well as feeding my need for an emotional connection It s fascinating to see it twenty years later in terms of how the franchise has changed Also the movie doesn t quite reach the epic nature needed to totally make it the definitive film of the television series but it s a glimpse into a world of sci fi films that is already gone First Contact has more than enough going for it to deserve a place in Star Trek history Those without any

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  • Cult Corner: Christine (1983) | SquabbleBox.co.uk - Entertainment Under Attack
    hard to sympathise with Arnie and the real pain comes from the way Christine slowly turns him into a monster Seriously he spends more time with the car than he does with Leigh and we get the impression that Carpenter is more interested in this strange screen love affair than the main hook of a sadistic car mowing people down It gives this particular film a singular energy The cast are our way into the bonkers proceedings and commit 100 to the material Gordon is ideally suited to the geeky Arnie and he maps the character s gradual development from put upon nerd to unwitting killer as well as can be expected He also shines against Stockwell who plays a jock against type as a good natured hero and the one true person we can root for Their friendship wields some unexpected scenes of real drama especially when Dennis is forced to turn on his long time pal But the young stars are naturally overshadowed by the veterans with the great Harry Dean Stanton doing a lot with very little as a detective and Prosky outright stealing the show as Darnell He s foul mouthed ill tempered and absolutely a walking corpse just waiting for his moment with relish The fine ensemble makes a batshit synopsis almost credible As for Carpenter he was a natural at this point in his career having already directed Assault on Precinct 13 Halloween Escape from New York and The Thing Christine isn t as impressive as any of those efforts but is nevertheless a beautifully made movie There are a few memorable sequences including the one where Christine tries to suffocate poor Leigh at a drive in doused by pounding rain or when the car having been destroyed by Buddy and his miscreants rebuilds itself before Arnie s eyes Though it s obvious how the latter effect was achieved it is still a moment pulled off with real cinematic craftsmanship Christine is an unremarkable effort in the broad strokes but it absolutely goes for broke with its premise pulling off scene after scene without making you guffaw at the ridiculousness of it all That s really something Over three decades later Carpenter s adaptation remains surprisingly watchable and there s little doubt that it does Stephen King s work justice You shouldn t speed out to see it but in the pile of King adaptations it sits comfortably in the middle ground between great and What the fuck did I just watch If you want something different to old slashers next Halloween you could do worse than give Christine a spin Best Scene Admit it every man wants a car like Christine Useless Trivia Via IMDb Stephen King s popularity was such at the time that the film went into production before the book was even published The license plate of Christine reads begins with CQB which is an acronym for Close Quarters Battle According to screenwriter Bill Phillips on the DVD Documentary the

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