Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) just wants to be left alone to blow smoke rings and eat a healthy six meals a day. What he doesn’t want is a flood of dwarves raiding his larder and a wizard telling him to be more like his younger, adventurous self. Despite this, less than twenty four hours after Gandalf (Ian McKellen) scratches a mysterious symbol into his newly painted door, Bilbo is off, without a handkerchief, on a quest to help the dwarves reclaim their home from the grips of a dragon.

That is the basic plot of The Hobbit (book). The Hobbit (film) is still essentially this at heart, but, much like a real heart, whilst integral in keeping something alive, only makes up a small part of the bigger picture. The original book was penned with children in mind, and is therefore less dark in terms of content and a whole lot more twee than its sequel. It is also significantly shorter.

So, keeping in mind that you could pretty much use The Hobbit as a bookmark for The Lord of the Rings, it is interesting then that it is also going to be split into three instalments at around three hours each. Continue reading

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WARNING: Contains a spoiler if you haven’t read Ghost Story yet.

For years now my friends have been bugging me to get into The Dresden Files. I didn’t know what they were, other than a long series of books. They told me it was a fantasy series and I assumed from the title that it was some kind of weird Nazi/Tolkein crossover. Not exactly my cup of tea.

Then, at the start of this year I wound up having to make a long drive and decided to grab a couple of the audiobooks, read by James Marsters. I was hooked from the minute he said “detective wizard.”

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The Walt Disney crew have been up and down the animation ladder for a few years now (the underrated Princess and the Frog, the ‘only ok’ Tangled and the ‘did anyone even bother?’ Winnie the Pooh) and their latest outing – which has actually been in and out of development since the 80s (!) – is a surprising delight, and I found myself laughing without irony or guilt and being genuinely moved by characters I cared about. In Wreck-It Ralph, Disney had a rare injection of intelligence that may or may not have to do with their poaching of some Pixar talent, but nonetheless it is very welcome in my heart.

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If you have Twitter and a whole lot of film-related opinions you should definitely share them with us. We want to get a cross section of tweets about whatever movie you are watching, whether it is something that came out today, or Troll 2. Especially if it is Troll 2.

We’re looking for reviews, one liners, facts, puns, but most importantly your thoughts. Some will go up on the site and on our Twitter page. So procrastinet, or may life withhold all future orange mocha frappechinos. Do it. Do it. #SDCfilms

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Tim Burton returns to the short film he made in 1984, with feature length claymation fable, Frankenweenie. It’s family friendly Frankenstein, as a science genius boy resurrects his dog after it gets tragically killed. There is the fight between science and rationality and good and bad and life and death, and in the end it’s really sweet.

OK. So I’m going to start with the good… Continue reading

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If you want to see good things happening to Ray Liotta, then this is not the film for you. However, if you want to see an offbeat dark comedy looking at American politics, economics and bureaucracy framed in the context of a mob killing, then Killing them Softly is time well spent.

It’s 2008 and in the weeks leading up to Obama’s election. There is a recession on, and it’s hitting everyone hard –  including the mob. So, when Markie Trattman’s (Liotta) illegal poker game is held up for the second time, everyone assumes that once again, he is the one responsible. The family calls in Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt), hitman and cynic, to investigate, but more importantly, clean up.

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What if you felt a bit weird about yourself, like you were drifting on another plane to everyone else and there was no one to tether you down, would you jump at the chance to find that tether, or would you seek out the person and drift off together? This was what I got out of the surprisingly sweet Safety Not Guaranteed, which on the outside deals with people making fun of a crazy person but is actually about a chronic need to belong.

Time travel stories are always a little naff. They are one of those things like buddy comedies that have been done to death over the years. Luckily, someone decided to add a new dimension to the time travel mould – the psyche behind the traveller. Mark Duplass is the weirdo in the bush, Kenneth, who puts an ad in the newspaper seeking a partner for time travel (“Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed.”) and Jake Johnson is a reporter, Geoff, with his interns Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni), investigating the seemingly humorous story. As things progress, we realise things are not as they seem. Continue reading

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