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The Manchurian Candidate

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It's interesting to think that one of the most influential and contentious cinematic spy thrillers of all time only came about due to the personal intervention of one of the greatest popular singers of all time. Released in 1962, The Manchurian Candidate started life as a novel by Richard Condon in 1959, telling the story of how a young US Army officer, Raymond Shaw, is kidnapped by a Sino-Soviet team during the Korean War along with his platoon and brainwashed into becoming a sleeper assassin.

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Coherence

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It was supposed to be a simple dinner party, four couples, a few bottles of wine, catching up with old friends, but the awkward conversation of bad career choices and misremembered shared histories are only the start of it. High above, Miller’s comet is passing overhead, a close passage to Earth lighting up the night sky, and the guests realise that not only do they no longer have service on their iPhones but that the screens have physically cracked. When the lights go out in the whole neighbourhood other than one house, they find themselves isolated and increasingly anxious.

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The Haunted Palace

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When is a Poe not a Poe? Released in 1963, The Haunted Palace was positioned by American International Pictures as the fifth in the series of successful adaptations directed by Roger Corman of the works of Edgar Allen Poe, but while the title is that of an 1839 Poe poem, the screenplay is principally drawn from H P Lovecraft's 1927 novella The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

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The Town That Dreaded Sundown

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It may have been John Carpenter's Hallowe'en in 1978 which is generally regarded as the film which brought the slasher horror subgenre to prominence but it was far from the first, with Bob Clark's Black Christmas appearing in 1974 ("The calls are coming from inside the house!") and The Town That Dreaded Sundown playing the drive-in movie lots of America in late 1976.

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Monsters: Dark Continent

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Released in 2010, Gareth Edward's Monsters was "the little film that could." His debut feature film, funded for less than $500,000, it toured the festival circuit to great acclaim, securing international release and taking Edwards to the director's chair for Godzilla then the first of the upcoming Star Wars spin off movies, as yet untitled. Though Edwards was not to be involved involved other than as executive producer, Monsters had its own spin off announced, initially titled Re-Entry then later renamed Dark Continent.

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Rabid

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“The Canadian film industry of the 1970s was… rudimentary,” recalls producer Ivan Reitman in one of the interviews accompanying Arrow's newly restored Blu-ray of Canadian writer/director David Cronenberg's 1977 feature Rabid. Released two years after his first major feature Shivers, that film had performed impressively but was labelled “pornographic, obscene, hideous” in an article in the influential magazine Saturday Night which led to problems as the film was taxpayer funded, though as Cronenberg observes sanguinely it was the only government invested project which actually paid back.

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Previews of Forthcoming Attractions: Or how I learned to stop worrying and accept the death of the Film Trailer

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We have recently had “Super Bowl Sunday,” and ignoring the actual sport side of it, the spectacle surrounding the event has become more of a cultural phenomenon than the game itself, and alongside the strategically placed adverts and the performance by the hot pop artist du jour, it is also the premiere spot for the biggest blockbusters of the forthcoming summer to show their trailers, targeting America's most captive audience of the year. But is the world of trailers over-saturated with the big studios flooding the market with so many teases, TV spots, sneak peeks and exclusive online scenes that it sometimes becomes pointless to watch the film itself? In today’s on-demand, 24/7 media and technologically literate world, is there anything of the actual film left to show at the cinema, and crucially, have all the surprises been spoiled?

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The Signal

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In a garish hotel room, Nicholas Eastman (Maleficent's Brenton Thwaites) receives a message from the individual who identifies himself as Nomad. Having already hacked into the systems of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where Nick, his girlfriend Hayley Peterson (The Quiet Ones' Olivia Cooke) and his best friend Jonah Breck (Super 8's Beau Knapp) are students and almost landing them the blame, Nick is determined to locate the true responsible party.

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Jodorowsky's Dune

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Like Lost in La Mancha to Terry Gilliam’s The Man who Killed Don Quixote (which ironically is in production again, fifteen years after original thwarted attempt), there are very few documentaries dedicated to films which didn’t actually get made, but maverick visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky is no ordinary filmmaker, nor was his proposed film version of Frank Herbert’s Dune, winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel, any ordinary film adaptation.

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The Comedy of Terrors

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It opens with a sombre funeral, but as soon as the mourners depart Waldo Trumbull (Vincent Price) and his assistant Felix Gillie (Peter Lorre) of Hinchley and Trumbull's Funeral Parlour fall into a madcap routine to retrieve the luxurious coffin for reuse, dumping the body in the bare hole and shovelling earth into the grave, an unexpected contrast to the usual fare associated with American International Pictures.

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Halo: Nightfall Trailer

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Halo nightfallContent Media is set to release the highly anticipated Halo: Nightfall as a VoD release on 17 March 2015. Set between the events of Halo 4 and the eagerly anticipated Halo 5: Guardians, Halo: Nightfall is the second full-length live-action feature for the Halo franchise.

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The Killing

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With most of Stanley Kubrick's thirteen feature films now available on Blu-ray, Arrow are plugging the last gap in the list by releasing two of his earliest, The Killing, a challenging heist movie from 1956 accompanied by the more conventional film noir Killer's Kiss from 1955. Both have been transferred from new high definition masters struck by MGM and the picture and sound quality is outstanding on both.

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