Season of the Witch Review

Anybody lucky enough to have witnessed Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant last year will have been reintroduced to a wonderful thing lacking on the silver screen of late. That thing is Ridiculous Cage. Not for a second would we disparage old Nic as just a foolish performing monkey, the guy certainly can act (see Leaving Las Vegas,Adaptation and many more), but he does have a penchant for picking faintly laughable roles and running with them. In doing so he can turn annoying tosh into enjoyable tosh at the flick of a eyebrow via some Brian Blessed worthy larynx gymnastics. That he doesn’t is just one reason why Season of the Witch could already go down as one of the worst films of 2011.

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“I owe everything to George Bailey. Help him, dear Father”

Life, to state the bleeding obvious, isn’t like the movies. Sure you can replicate moments; a first kiss with a new love or paintballing, covered in mud playing Rambo. But realistically whatever your pursuits, everyday life can’t quite live up to our silver screen expectations.

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This Christmas, however you can play a bit-part in replicating the most beloved of all the Holiday films; It’s A Wonderful Life. If the opening words “I owe everything to George Bailey. Help him, dear Father” gets you welling up instantly then here’s a story for you. The Jimmy Stewart Museum celebrating the life and films of one of the greatest actors of all time may be set to close it’s doors due to lack of funding. They need your help to keep going.

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Album of the Year: Lonely Avenue by Nick Hornby and Ben Folds

While we are fundamentally a website for films, we at thisfilmison really just believe in good stories. Film may be our medium of choice but amongst our writers you’ll find those that champion novels, some who prefer TV and others still that like theatre. Music, however, is in all of our blood. And with that in mind we’d like to promote and pay respect to an album as cinematic as any other this year.

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With words from our very own Nick Hornby and music from America’s Ben Folds. Here are our thoughts on Lonely Avenue. Seek it out.

A Working Day
Appropriately it’s a sound similar to that of a typewriter tapping away that kickstarts the collaboration. A song for anyone struggling with the faith to put something out there, A Working Day, jumps from self-adulation to crippling self-doubt. Any aspiring writer with a hint of self knowledge, be it fiction or journalism, should chuckle at the lyric, “Some guy on the net thinks I suck and he should know. He’s got his own blog“.

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My Potter Vitriol: Or How I Learned to Keep Worrying And Still Hate Harry Potter

There are times as a writer when you know that with every word you type you’ll be making someone, somewhere very unhappy. Quite honestly this can be a lot of fun, especially when you set your sights on an entire fanbase. So without further ado, 5 of the best reasons to dislike Harry Potter.

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1) “But if you’d read the book first!”
The number one excuse to any Potter criticism of weak characterization, rushed scenes and a general feeling of boredom is that I should have previously sat down and churned my way through 7 novels at over 400 pages each. My response. Fuck You! Why should I have to do homework before I watch a movie? It wasn’t necessary for me to read Mein Kampf before appreciating Downfall. I didn’t need to move to New York, offer people lifts and hang around with child prostitutes to see that Taxi Driver is a work of art. A good film should speak for itself. Teach you something you didn’t know. Not demand prior reading.

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The Best Students In Film

“In England, at any rate, education provides no effect whatsoever. If it did it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and would probably lead to acts of violence in Grovesnor Square”. Oscar Wilde said that. In 1895. 115 years ago.

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It’s probably best not to applaud the small instances of smashing things up this week in the name of literacy, numeracy and the ability to dissect everything from frogs to movies, but to condemn the student protests as “deplorable” because a window was smashed and a bobby’s hat got knocked off seems a little on the reactionary front. Regardless of your standpoint that dick with a fire extinguisher is still a dick.

But let’s not tar all ‘yoot’ below the age of 21 as drug-crazed, morons with no purpose other than to kick off of a bit. Most of them, especially the one’s in movie-land, are pretty bloody wonderful.

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Easy A

High school. That time of your life when you were pigeon-holed like no other. Nerd, jock, tramp, frigid, loser, fattie, rat faced boy, whatever single block children, and occasionally teachers, could fit you into was where you stayed. Hollywood has mined this for years, adding to the cliches until every on-screen character is a stereotype of a stereotype. Thank heavens then for Easy A. The most refreshing look at the social life of teenagers in years, with the most likeable teen star since Say Anything.

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Following the rich tradition of placing a classic novel in the school yard (see also; Emma turned into Clueless and Taming of the Shrew becoming 10 Things I Hate About You) Easy A takes its inspiration from The Scarlett Pimpernel. Overheard in the bathroom placating her best-friend by falsely confessing to losing her V-plates, Olive becomes infamous as the new school slut. Instead of rolling over and playing dead until the rumour mill runs out of seed, Olive sees how far she can push the lie, assuming the mantle of UberSkank. Her motive; to monitor how her peers react. And react they do.

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Saw 3D and What If…Other Films Had Too Many Sequels

Preceding the first Million Pound Drop, the Davina McCall hosted quiz show where unfortunate members of the British public are baited with actual, cold, hard cash, only to have their hopes and dreams literally fall away in front of them, whilst we folks at home chuckle heartily at their misfortune, was a trailer question asking, “Which horror film has had the most sequels?

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The options were as follows…
A)Nightmare On Elm Street
B)Halloween
C)Friday the 13th
D)Saw

If you’d have answered, D) Saw, you’d now be staring at a large hole in the ground, the end of your relationship, widespread ridicule from your peers and a possible nervous breakdown.

More to the point though, how many bloody sequels does one film need?

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What If Your Favourite Films Had Their Budgets Slashed?

Depending on your political preference and/or apathy, yesterday’s governmental spending review was either;
a) Necessary, fair and will bring Britain back from the brink (nice alliteration Georgie),
b) Too fast, too deep (creepily sexual Alan) and likely to make Britain resemble Pottersville from ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’,
or
c) Just another part in the never-ending cycle of politics where one party gets a chance to mess things up for a bit until everyone gets bored and votes in the other lot. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The Cuts Will Be This Big
“The Cuts Will Be THIS Big”

Forgive us our cynicism, as we here at ThisFilmIsON attempt to make light of the fact that close to 1,000,000 of our fellow Britons face redundancy and let’s instead take a wry look at how our favourite films would look with a hairy giant axe-wound in them. No you grow up.

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The Social Network

The Social Network is about many, many things. The fact that it’s about many, many things is one of the reasons why it’s quite possibly the best, certainly the canniest, film of the the year. But the first thing that The Social Network draws your attention to is ‘giving credit where credit is due’. So to Peter Travers, Rolling Stone magazines film reviewer, congratulations for being spot on when describing the movie as ‘defining the last decade’.

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From the second The White Stripes kicks in over the opening credits to the closing shot of a ‘boy’ hitting refresh on his computer, the previous ten years of existence come flooding back to anyone born post 1980. That this is achieved by two (almost) 50 year old’s (Fincher and Sorkin) is just one of The Social Network’s remarkable achievements.

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The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin and The Five Scripts Ever Aspiring Writer Needs To Have Read

“Did you hear the one about the blonde who was so dumb she slept with the screenwriter…”

As industry jokes go, that one is top of the pile. It proves quite succinctly that the life of a screenwriter is not a happy one. With so many amateur writers submitting literally thousands of scripts every day, an aspiring writer may never get theirs read. If it is read and doesn’t meet all the criteria needed by about page 10, it will almost certainly be binned. If it isn’t binned but completely read through and liked, but doesn’t fit in with the current climate it won’t be bought. If it is bought, it still may never get made. If it is made it’s quite likely that other writers will be drafted in to re-write. If the re-write leaves any of your original characters and themes remaining and the film is a success, finally the credit will go to… the directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, best boys, grips, frankly anyone but you.

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Unless of course you’re Aaron Sorkin. With the exception of Charlie Kaufman (although he, like many writers, has chosen to direct his latest projects) Sorkin is a ‘name’ in screenwriting terms. Now The West Wing creators script for The Social Network is gaining as much praise as David Fincher’s direction, being hyperbolied, as “smart and canny”, “absorbing and nuanced” and that it “boasts enough great dialogue to fuel a half dozen Oscar-bait movies”. He’s the closest thing to a screenwriter as celebrity as you can get.

Yet regardless of fame, wealth or respect if you were the screenwriter of one the films listed below, creator of one of the following characters or even conjuror of just one line of dialogue in the preceeding cinematic delights, nothing would compare to that honour, that knowledge that you, above anyone else, were the true creator.

Still wouldn’t help you get laid though.

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