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Interstellar

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Already a divisive director, Interstellar might be Christopher Nolan’s most contentious film yet, partly because of the demanding complexity of its script and its intimate yet epic scale but also because of flaws throughout that make it an occasionally less than smooth ride to the stars which requires faith from the viewer that he will pull the strands together in the final act. Some may feel he failed in this task, while others will disagree and see it as a successful balanced whole.

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Filmed in Supermarionation

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Film stars age; that is the nature of things. Even though their great works remain unchanged, celluloid portraits kept in the attic which may look better to modern eyes through restoration efforts, they only serve as evidence of how the flesh has decayed down through the years. Even the best preserved cannot hold back the wrinkles indefinitely, yet Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, of unspecified age (one should never ask a Lady!) upon her television debut in September 1965, remains utterly unchanged almost half a century later.

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The Machine

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A favourite of Hollywood since the days of the HAL 9000 in 2001 A Space Odyssey and Colossus of The Forbin Project, the boundaries and blurring of lines between human and artificial intelligence and the conflict arising between those disparate yet linked entities has been explored more recently in Transcendence and more successfully in Battlestar Galactica and Caprica, but with strong notes of Blade Runner and Nineteen Eighty-Four in his debut feature film, Welsh born writer/director Caradog W James brings the issues  closer to home with The Machine which stands its ground in sterling British form.

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The Pact II

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In the manner of the Ourorboros, the snake which consumes itself, perhaps more than any other film genre it is horror which suffers from that most pervasive Hollywood horror of its own: the unnecessary sequel. Marked by an intelligent script and confident performances, The Pact was an unexpected surprise of 2012, a film where the supernatural aspects served as the window dressing of a more conventional serial killer thriller, the hunt for the assailant known as Judas.

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Horns

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One of the most prolific writers of modern times, the works of Stephen King have become a film genre among themselves, his diverse styles breeding a veritable catalogue of adaptations, sequels and spinoffs. From the cinematic classics of Carrie (Brian De Palma, 1976), The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980) and Christine (John Carpenter, 1983), all based on major horror novels to the more mainstream Stand By Me (Rob Reiner, 1986) and The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994), both drawn from short stories in the collection Different Seasons through to the sequels to The Lawnmower Man, Sometimes They Come Back and the unending harvest of Children of the Corn, it seems every available work has been filmed, sometimes multiple times, so why has it taken so long for the Joe Hill, King’s son, a writer of similar style and content, to reach the silver screen?

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The Babadook

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Is this real life or is this just fantasy? For Amelia, her life has been a living nightmare since the rainy day her husband Oskar drove her to the hospital, heavily pregnant with their first child and entering labour. The car skidded and overturned; Amelia and the baby survived, Oskar did not. A widow with a child, she has struggled to cope, existing rather than living, raising Samuel alone and locking all Oskar’s belongings in the basement, his clothes, his photographs, his violin, consigning him to a past which can never be revisited.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer - reaction

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Few would deny that the approach has been anything other than Marvellous, a strategy a decade in the planning and execution which has seen ten linked films released already, most recently the barnstorming performance of the only outlier, Guardians of the Galaxy, leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the second most successful movie franchise of all time with an estimated cumulative $7.1 billion, though the release of the eleventh film, direct sequel to the most successful individual film in the sequence with a $1.5 billion global haul, is sure to take that total far past Harry Potter's cumulative $7.7 billion.

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The Editor

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A most distinct subgenre of horror, the Italian giallo films often looked beyond the hot passions of the Mediterranean to American pulp thriller novels and Hollywood for inspiration, combining the elements of mystery and suspense of directors such as Alfred Hitchcock with a distinctly homegrown enthusiasm for graphic violence and bloody death caught between the gloriously coloured lights of the victims’ public lives and deep shadows of the killer’s soul.

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ABCs of Death 2

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The concept of the first volume of The ABCs of Death was simple: an invitation extended to filmmakers the world over to submit a short film based around an assigned letter and the theme of death to be included in an anthology with twenty five other directors. With a variation in quality as extreme as some of the inclusions, some directors used the international platform to get themselves talked about not for the quality of their work but by how shocking they could be, a tiresomely juvenile “look at me!” approach which only served to distract from the genuinely innovative creations around them.

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Exists

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Some call it Bigfoot, some call it the Sasquatch, and in other parts of the world similar legends persist, the Yowie of Australia, the Yeren of Mongolia, the Yeti of the Himalayas, a primitive man-ape which inhabits the few remaining sparsely populated forested wildernesses which hold out against suburban encroachment. Coming to public attention in the Americas through the fifties, it was in the seventies that cinema began to take notice, from The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) to Snowbeast (1977), with a different approach in Harry and the Hendersons (1987) and most recently in Willow Creek (2013).

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Constantine

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It’s not been an easy life for John Constantine. A cynical chain-smoking working class magician and occult detective decades before Harry Dresden made it trendy, his greatest misfortune may be that for many the world over, despite having guested in other comics before his own title Hellblazer debuted in 1988, he is best known to many as the inspiration behind the 2005 film Constantine where Keanu Reeves was inconceivably placed in the title role contrary to anything which could be regarded as appropriate or good sense.

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Alastair Reynolds – Revelations from beyond the Aquila Rift

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With twelve major novels published since his 2000 debut Revelation Space, shortlisted for both the BSFA and Arthur C Clarke awards, alongside a plethora of short stories and novellas, former astronomer Alastair Reynolds is not only of the most prolific and significant of modern science fiction writers but also one of the most approachable. Attending the Edinburgh International Science Festival to participate in fellow astronomer and novelist Pippa Goldschmidt's event What Scientists Read on April 17th, he was sat with Geek Chocolate for a long chat over coffee and cake to talk about his career, his novels, his future work, the current frontiers of astronomy and a few teases about the forthcoming concluding volume of the Poseidon’s Children trilogy, due 2015.

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