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Dead Good Performances

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Written By: Robb Sheppard (@RedBezzle)

For a good few months, there’s been a disturbance. It was difficult to put a finger on at first, but now it’s as clear as day. Whilst everyone was busy pissing and whinging about Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; their hackles being raised like an X-Wing from a swamp, it served as a stark reminder that it wasn’t always like this.

Many film fans’ necks were well and truly wound-out over the resurrection of Princess Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin’s characters in Rogue One, this writer included. But posthumous performances in the past were often revered and heralded like the final hurrah, with the director charged with carrying out the actor’s final wishes and preserving the actor’s reputation. So why all the hate now?

The primary difference of course, is that Peter Cushing had been dead for nigh on twenty years before his Grand Moff Tarkin reclaimed the Death Star. As a result, he had very little to say regarding the use of his image, and his uncanny appearance polarises opinion to say the least. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, on the other hand, reported that Carrie Fisher loved the eerie baby-faced version of herself, achieved via a body double and facial recognition mapping.

But this kind of tech wizardry has long been used to finish off a film when death comes-a-knockin’. It just seems a little easier to stomach. Example?

The Crow

It felt like a fitting homage to The Crow star Brandon Lee that his character could continue on to avenge the death of his wife. Thanks to CGI and with honourable mentions to face paint, long hair and stunt doubles, Lee himself was resurrected in parallel to his protagonist Eric Draven (geddit?!). A shotgun wound to the stomach was the official cause of Brandon Lee’s death when live rounds were fired instead of blanks.

The Crow (1994) soon secured its status as a cult classic, no doubt in part due to the macabre fascination with the death of its lead. His tragic death aligned him with figures such as Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix and Jimi Hendrix and the conspiracy theories only accelerated his myth. Similarly, Bruce Lee, Brandon’s father, died during the filming of Game of Death (1978) with many claiming alleged links to Chinese organised crime and/or a family curse. Officially, the recorded cause of death was an allergic reaction to a prescribed painkiller and his scenes in Game of Death were famously completed with the aid of some unconvincing cardboard cut-outs.

Sadly, both Bruce and Brandon Lee reached iconic status only after their death. Speaking of iconic…

The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus

Who’s your favourite Joker? It’s probably a two-horse race with Heath Ledger’s turn in The Dark Knight (2008) in the lead by a nose. The general consensus often seems to be that the Clown Prince of Crime was Heath Ledger’s final role. Of course, it’s his most memorable and arguably the most famous posthumous Oscar win (for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role) but in the minds of many, it’s also the role which drove him into an accidental overdose. Tales of him shutting himself away for days on end to get into the mind-set of The Joker mythologise the man behind the make-up, much like Brandon Lee and The Crow.

As the I’m Heath Ledger (2017) documentary revealed, Ledger was not some tortured artist a la Cobain at all, but instead a man who didn’t have enough time: a man who was constantly creating, trying to capture a moment and who always wanted more life. Perhaps he would have been proud then, that his untimely death made Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus even barmier than originally intended.

Tony (Ledger) is a mysterious straggler befriended by a sideshow troupe and falls in love with Dr Parnassus’ daughter. Once inside the Imaginarium – a mind-controlled world that is, frankly, trippin’ balls – Tony is instead depicted by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law in turn. Seeming like a show of respect and act of condolences, the place-holding actors gave the film an even more absurd, yet fitting edge. Just don’t ask me exactly what happens in it.

Fast and Furious 7

A main stay of the improbably successful film franchise, Paul Walker’s death nearly got Furious 7 parked indefinitely. The actor’s tragic death was all the more poignant due to its nature: Walker’s collision with a tree whilst in a Carrera GT could have been lifted from the script. Well, you know, if you throw in some wrecking balls, explosions and a submarine.

With half the movie already in the can, difficult decisions had to be made. Starting with the idea of Brian (Walker) and Dom (Vin Diesel) splitting and each taking their own road seemed like a fitting send-off idea and a fond farewell. The story was reverse-engineered from there.

Walker’s brothers,  Caleb and Andy were recruited to double for him, both physically and vocally whilst some deleted scene dialogue was chop-shopped to plug the gaps.

Not being a fan of the franchise didn’t detract from the emotional heft of that final scene. To  paint a picture of how beloved Paul Walker was, every once in a while I see a souped-up Corsa or a Fiat 500 zoom past, and for the briefest moment, you can spot a bumper sticker detailing his date of death and the line; “I  almost had you.”

Gladiator

Would Oliver Reed’s comeback role have been treated with such reverence if he hadn’t died during filming? Gladiator (2000) saw the legendarily unruly actor return to prominence as Proximo, a slave trader, retired gladiator and now trainer. Art reflected life with a man reminiscing on his glory days, given one last chance and living vicariously through his new charge (Russell Crowe).

Director Ridley Scott had the opportunity to reshoot all of Reed’s scenes (this time at the insurer’s expense) but instead refused. A script rewrite (Proximo was originally Maximus’ final fight), shadowy asides and CGI carried Reed’s character through the rest of the film.

Of course, this is the complete antithesis of, say, Kevin Spacey, whose scenes for Scott’s All the Money in the World were famously completely reshot with the character recast. Not exactly posthumous, but Spacey is dead to us now. So same, same.

Which posthumous performances did you think were dead good? Let us know in the comments below.

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Features

All the UK Streaming Goodness Coming in November 2018

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Between the increasing number of streaming platforms in our lives, there’s far too much great entertainment being released day after day for any sane person to keep track of. 

There’s streaming giant Netflix, the curated offerings of MUBI, all the latest releases on NOW TV, and online video emporium Amazon Prime. There’s something for everyone, on demand, just waiting to be selected. What a time to be alive!

But that doesn’t help when you’re looking for something to wile away the evening with, so let us lighten the load and make your viewing choice that little bit easier with our weekly updated round-up of everything being added to your favourite platform.

Thursday, November 1st

PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION.

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
  • Bride Wars
  • Get Santa
  • Monte Carlo

Friday, November 2nd

  • Homecoming: Season 1
  • The Romanoffs: Season 1 (new episode)
  • You Were Never Really Here

Saturday, November 3rd

  • Blow
  • Jack the Giant Slayer
  • Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales
  • Swordfish

Sunday, November 4th

  • Big Momma’s House

Monday, November 5th

  • Note
  • Outlander: Season 4 (new episode)

Wednesday, November 7th

  • The Purge: Season 1 (new episode)

Thursday, November 8th

  • The Girl Next Door

Friday, November 9th

  • Patriot: Season 2
  • The Romanoffs: Season 1 (new episode)

Wednesday, November 14th

  • Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?

Friday, November 16th

  • Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams
  • The Gymkhana Files: Season 1
  • Mirzapur: Season 1
  • The Romanoffs: Season 1 (new episode)

 

Monday, November 5th

  • Pyaasa

Tuesday, November 6th

  • Wishing Well

Wednesday, November 7th

  • The Dead Nation

Friday, November 9th

  • 9 Fingers

Sunday, November 11th

  • Blue Black Permanent

Monday, November 12th

  • Kaagaz Ke Phool

Tuesday, November 13th

  • From its Mouth Came a River of High-End Residential Appliances

Wednesday, November 14th

  • The Criminal

Thursday, November 15th

  • The Servant

 

Thursday, November 1st

  • Angela’s Christmas
  • Calico Critters
  • Calico Critters: A Town of Dreams
  • Calico Critters: The Treasure of Calico Village
  • Children of Men
  • Crusoe
  • Dead Set
  • Deadly Expose
  • Edge of Fear
  • Expatriot
  • Follow This: Part 3
  • Hang ‘Em High
  • The Hooligan Factory
  • In a Valley of Violence
  • The Judgement: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Katt Williams: The Pimp Chronicles: Pt. 1
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • Malone
  • Our House
  • Robocop (1987)
  • Selma
  • Sleepwalker
  • Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
  • The Tigers of Scotland
  • The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin

Friday, November 2nd

  • Brainchild
  • Daybreakers
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • The Holiday Calendar
  • House of Cards: Season 6
  • The Other Side of the Wind
  • ReMastered (new episode)
  • They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead
  • Trolls: The Beat Goes On!: Season 4

Saturday, November 3rd

  • Allied
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Dynasty: Season 2 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season (new episode)

Sunday, November 4th

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj

  • 6th November
  • Black Lightning: Season 2 (new episode)
  • The Light Between Oceans
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (new episode)

Monday, November 5th

  • John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons
  • Oh My Ghost: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, November 6th

  • The Late Bloomer

Thursday, November 8th

  • The Judgement: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Neighbors
  • Riverdale: Season 2 (new episode)

Friday, November 9th

  • Ali G Indahouse
  • An American Tail
  • BASEketball
  • Beat Bugs: Season 3
  • The Best of Me
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • King Kong (2005)
  • Made of Honor: Season 1
  • Outlaw King
  • The Perfect Man
  • La Reina del Flow
  • The Sinner
  • Spirit Riding Free: Season 7
  • Super Drags: Season 1
  • Treehouse Detectives
  • Waterworld
  • Westside: Season 1

Saturday, November 10th

  • Almost Christmas
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Dynasty: Season 2 (new episode)
  • Limitless
  • P.S. I Love You
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season (new episode)

Sunday, November 11th

  • Arrival
  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (new episode)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Monday, November 12th

  • Oh My Ghost: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, November 13th

  • Black Lightning: Season 2 (new episode)
  • Loudon Wainwright III: Surviving Twin
  • Warrior

Thursday, November 15th

  • Coach Carter
  • The Crew
  • The Judgement: Season 1 (new episode)
  • May the Devil take You
  • Red Riding Hood
  • Riverdale: Season 2 (new episode)
  • The Windsors

Friday, November 16th

  • 2 Guns
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  • Cam
  • Dogs: Season 1
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • The Kominsky Method
  • Narcos: Mexico
  • Ponysitters Club: Season 2
  • Prince of Peoria
  • The Princess Switch
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Season 1

Saturday, November 17th

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Dynasty: Season 2 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season (new episode)

Sunday, November 18th

  • Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj (new episode)

 

 

Friday, November 2nd

Three Billboards Day 04_118.dng

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Saturday, November 3rd

  • Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Sunday, November 4th

  • Honey: Rise Up and Dance

Monday, November 5th

  • Black Butterfly

Tuesday, November 6th

  • A Christmas Cruise

Wednesday, November 7th

  • The Nile Hilton Incident

Thursday, November 8th

  • Waiting for You

Friday, November 9th

  • Darkest Hour

Saturday, November 10th

  • Better Watch Out

Sunday, November 11th

  • Spinning Man

Monday, November 12th

  • Dark Crimes

Tuesday, November 13th

  • A Bramble House Christmas

Wednesday, November 14th

  • Let the Sunshine In

Thursday, November 15th

  • Stephanie

Friday, November 16th

  • Game Night

Saturday, November 17th

  • Mom and Dad

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to check back each week for a fresh round of new releases for the UK on streaming platforms Amazon Prime, MUBI, NOW TV, and Netflix.

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Features

The Four Most Underrated Casino Movies of all Time

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When it comes to cinematic representation, there’s little room for the casino industry to complain. With built-in glamour and drama and no shortage of cash on the line, casinos are ideal locations to base critical moments and, indeed, entire movies. 

From Casino Royale’s nail-biting poker scene to Ocean’s Eleven’s daring casino heist and Casino’s, well, casino, there are dozens of amazing movies utilising casinos as central plot devices. 

But what about those casino movies which never seem to quite get the recognition they deserve? We’re talking about the less high-profile pictures that deserve your time just as much as the big boys. 

In this guide, we’re going to share with you some of our very favourite underrated casino movies. Let’s go. 

Bugsy   

Las Vegas, today a gambling haven, was not long ago a deserted wasteland in the middle of one of America’s least habitable areas. Bugsy (1991), directed by Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Good Morning Vietnam), tackles that very subject and boasts a 80% overall score at https://www.metacritic.com/movie/bugsy.  

The film reveals how gangster Ben “Bugsy” Siegel effectively built the industry in Nevada by starting large-scale development in the Las Vegas Valley. It’s a beautifully acted, stylish and fascinating picture which features the talents of Warren Beatty, Harvey Keitel, Annette Bening and Ben Kingsley. 

[Source: Pixabay] 

The Cincinnati Kid 

Steve McQueen, that cinematic icon, lent his talents to over 40 movies and TV shows during his tragically short life, but few roles are as underrated as his turn as The Cincinnati Kid (1965). 

Starring as Eric Stoner, he was the Cincinnati Kid, a young poker player out to build a name for himself as the best around. How do you do that? Well, you beat the best player around – Lancey “The Man” Howard (Edward G. Robinson). 

What follows is pure drama, and shouldn’t be missed. 

Ocean’s 11 (1960) 

Overshadowed by its more recent remake, the original Ocean’s 11 deserves a critical reappraisal and is well worth a revisit. Originally thought of as little more than a vehicle for five members of the Rat Pack (Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joey Bishop), it remains a rollicking heist movie about big risks and big rewards. 

Of course, with the likes of https://games.paddypower.com/c/daily-jackpots offering jackpots of over £300k on games such as slots and roulette, you’d sooner head there than plan the heist of the century these days. Anyone got a time machine? It’d save those boys an awful lot of effort.  

Owning Mahowny 

Based on a true story, Owning Mahowny (2003) discovers what happens when you give a man with a gambling problem access to millions of dollars. Full information about the film can be found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0285861/ 

Bank employee Dan Mahowny (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) syphons off money from accounts at his bank to feed his habit, spurred on by sleazy casino boss Victor (John Hurt), as his life begins to spiral out of control. It’s a beautifully pitched film with a reliably stunning performance by the dearly missed Phillip Seymour Hoffman. 

And there we have it! Four casino movies which run the emotional gamut. Perhaps that’s the timeless appeal of casinos as a setting, that under one roof you can have thousands of stories, each as fascinating as the next. Think we’ve missed your favourite underrated casino movie? Comment below!  

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Features

6 Great Smartphone Apps for the Film Fan 

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While on the set of Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola once said that the prevalence of video would make it possible for everyone to be a filmmaker. He was almost right. It took a little longer than he anticipated but now, thanks to the digital revolution, everyone with a smartphone is a potential filmmaker ready to make the next big independent hit. 

But smartphones haven’t just allowed film fans to make movies but to enjoy them in more immersive ways, bringing a multimedia environment to the way we experience cinema. Here, we take a look at six must-see apps for the film fan. 


L’Odéon“ (CC BY-SA 2.0) by achassignon 

Trailers (for iPhone) 

For iPhone users who want to keep up to date with the latest movies hitting our cinema screens, there are few apps as useful as Apple’s Trailers. All available in high-definition and searchable in various ways such as genre, box office and user ratings, the app is a perfect place to start planning your future movie viewing. 

Pinnacle Studio Pro (for iPhone) 

Here’s an app for budding Steven Spielbergs. Pinnacle Studio Pro for iPhone is feature-loaded for creating films through your smartphone. You can arrange and rearrange the clips you’ve selected with a simple-to-use interface that includes functionality like titles and transition effects. You can add your choice of music too as well as do fancy stuff like slow-mo. 

DC Legends: Battle For Justice (for Android) 

Video games based on movies give us the chance to immerse ourselves inside the characters we have come to cherish. DC Legends: Battle for Justice is the stand out free game for Android users who love the world of Batman, Superman and DC Comics, as featured on https://www.androidauthority.com/best-batman-games-android-811074/. A character collecting game, you can choose to play in story mode or against other players online. Alternatively, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is the game to have for both Android and Apple users, while popular casino-style entertainment based on these characters such as The Dark Knight Rises digital slot machine from Playtech, which you can play at Betfair at https://casino.betfair.com/c/slots, offers further excitement as you pit your wits against Gotham City’s villains. 

Scene It (iPhone and Android) 

Test your movie knowledge with the smartphone version of the popular board game, Scene It. It is omnipresent – from its DVD and card game beginnings to Xbox and PlayStation versions and even a Facebook-based adaptation – Scene It gives movie buffs the chance to test their knowledge in front of friends and family. 

Movie Vault (for Android and iPhone) 

Available on https://movie-vault-classic-films.soft112.com/, Movie Vault is the app for buffs wanting to sample classic and difficult-to-source old films that, in some cases, are available here for the first time in a digital medium. The charming interface – wooden shelves lined with a catalogue of authentic box art – allows you to stream films you’ve probably never seen before. Some are sourced from old VHS tapes and weathered celluloid, so it’s not the same as watching pristine high definition on Netflix. Still, Movie Vault opens up a world of interesting world cinema to fans who want to extend the cinema experience beyond the latest Hollywood blockbuster. 

RunPee (iPhone & Android) 

Okay, for true film buffs, there’s never a good time to take a bathroom break because you’re going to miss some of the drama. But if you’ve really got to go when in the cinema, RunPee tells you when the best moments to take a toilet break are, and fills you in on any plot points you might miss. 

 

Cinema in South Beach, Miami“ (CC BY 2.0) by hellostanley 

From keeping you entertained with films you might never have seen before, to prepping you for new movies, giving you the opportunity to make your own, and testing your knowledge, for film fans, these are the handy apps to keep on your smartphone. 

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