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I Challenge You To A Dual…

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Written By: Robb Sheppard (@RedBezzle)

Anyone can act, right? It’s just basically lying. Actors regale the audience or the lens with said lie, whilst your Average Joe relays it to their ‘rents, their boss or their better half. Most lies though are highly addictive: a gateway drug; a downward spiral that begins with a buzz and ends with how to chase your metaphorical dragon.  

Whereas we inevitably get caught out, some actors are led to that ultimate opiate of the ego: the dual role. Whilst playing these multiple characters, some actors get caught out, whilst some thrive on the high. With that in mind, here are our modern dual roles, from the sublime to the shoddy.  

Sam Rockwell – Moon (2009)

When Sam Bell’s (Rockwell) three year contract on a lunar module nears its completion, he’s more than a little put out to find that his replacement looks all too familiar. Never mind Three Billboards…, why Rockwell didn’t win big for his performance(s) in Moon (oh yeah, ‘cos it’s Sci-Fi) is as confounding as the film’s plot.  

Director Duncan Jones uses time-honoured stage skills to create a clear distinction between his two leading characters. Sam Bell 1’s visually deteriorating health and growing frustration is juxtaposed with Sam Bell 2’s enthusiasm, drive and initial arrogance. It’s so effective that it’s hardly hyperbolic to say that the audience forgets they’re watching the same actor. 

Speaking of arrogance, Jones’ camera jiggery-pokery in the table tennis scene verges on explicit as each character approaches the net as if to say “Look, no strings!” Such showmanship in both filmmaking and performance stands Moon apart as arguably the finest dual role appearance in film. Let’s not let Mute sully its memory. 

Christian Bale – The Prestige (2006) 

The Prestige is an underrated gem of a Christopher Nolan movie, sandwiched between mysterious little thrillers like Memento and Insomnia and the graphic novel grandiose of The Dark KnightCleverly conjuring themes of revenge, assumed identities and misdirection, the film sadly shits the bed with the introduction of Fallon, the double of magician Alfred Borden (Bale). Not only sharing the stage with his double, Fallon shares Borden’s life and his loves (or at least, he tries to) unbeknownst to everyone else.  

So it’s a shame that the wardrobe department make Fallon look like a character from the Funny Face game off of the 80’s: false nose here, stick-on-beard there, big-ass hat on top. Nolan directs all of Fallon’s screen time with him preparing to leave the scene, sitting in the shadows or skulking in a doorway. It’s as if Nolan knows the timer’s running out and Fallon’s features are about to be forcibly thrown forward. Could Christian Bale, The Finest British Actor of his Generation™ not have been trusted to do more with the character? Because instead of misdirection, Fallon’s a distraction.  

Kyle MacLachlan – Twin PeaksThe Return (2017) 

Okay, there’s no way around it: the only thing more confusing that Twin Peaks, was Twin Peaks: The ReturnThere’s something about an H-Bomb, evil being manifested in the form of BOB, and the Black Lodge basically having an open house invitation. Maybe.  

What is obvious though, is that this is Kyle MacLachlin’s finest hour. Hardly known for his acting chops, the fan’s disappointment at the absence of his Agent Dale Cooper was offset by his turn as Dougie, a Cooper-in-a-waking-coma of sorts. Empathy-inducing, hapless as well as helpless, he was often the light relief in a very, very heavy show. 

At the opposite end of the scale was ‘Evil’ Dale Cooper, who’s seemingly possessed by the spirt of BOB. Maybe. With eyes as black as your hat and an obvious penchant for sunbeds, this is MacLachlin as he’s rarely seen: cold, cruel and calculating.  

Now let’s never talk of this again. 

James McAvoy – Split (2016) 

As nice as it is to have M. Knight Shyamalan back on form, he’s never been one to subscribe to the theory of ‘less is more’ and Split is less of a dual role than an actor’s audition reel. 2016’s tale of kidnapping, imprisonment and multiple personalities is as OTT as that person we all know who says, “Oh, I’m crazy, me!” before trying to get you dancing on the tables. In a Wetherspoons. 

James McAvoy has more costume changes than Katy Perry as he flips between any one of his twenty four (!) personalities, each more James McAvoy than the last. It’s as if Shyamalan was manufacturing a 90’s boyband called Scitso Frenic: “Okay, you’re Camp, you’re Skinhead, you’re Lispy, etc, etc.” Still, at least sitting through it means we get the Unbreakable sequel GlassResult. 

Tom Hardy – Legend (2015) 

What’s better than one Tom Hardy? You guessed it. Tom Hardy as The Krays. Stick glasses on one, give him a cigar, give the other one a cigarette and lower his voice a bit and…”Action!”  

Thoughts of a Tom Hardy sandwich aside, Legend is more notable for its technical accomplishments than its compelling story-telling, with that fight scene remaining an impressive and seamless piece of filmmaking. It’s just that once the novelty wears off, having Tom Hardy working on two different styles of barely audible mumbling just feels a tad…unnecessary. Call it old school, but give me Spandau Ballet any day. 

Kermit the Frog – Muppets Most Wanted (2014) 

A reverse dual role if you will, Constantine (the world’s most evil frog) gets Kermit banged up so he can use The Muppet’s tour as cover for a jewel heist. It’s obvious to everyone except The Muppets that Kermit and Constantine have performed the old switcheroo.  

Constantine’s Borat-esque accent goes largely undetected, his beauty-mole pokes out from beneath his concealer and his phobia of heights renders him incapable of performing the iconic “It’s The Muppet Show” introduction. But still, Constantine’s imitation of Kermit is all part of the fun. It’s just a shame that Muppets Most Wanted is a pale imitation of The Muppets (2011). 

And with that, there’s ours. Now, which are yours? Let us know your favourites or your least favourites in the comments below. 

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Everything Amazon Prime, Netflix, MUBI, and Now TV’s got coming for October 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.

Monday, October 1st

  • The Elf
  • Four Christmases
  • Halloween: Resurrection
  • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
  • Halloweeen H20: 20 Years Later
  • Lights Out
  • Runaway Jury
  • Scream 2
  • Scream 3
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

Thursday, October 4th

  • The Mercy
  • Runner Runner

Friday, October 5th

  • 16 Blocks
  • Alexander
  • Black Beauty
  • Every Which Way But Loose
  • Final Destination
  • Get Carter
  • The Man in the High Castle: Season 3
  • Seven Bridges for Seven Brothers

Monday, October 8th

  • Attack the Block
  • Chloe
  • Dog Pound
  • Donkey Punch
  • The Ghost Writer
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Kill List
  • Larry Crowne
  • Last Night
  • The Losers
  • Spread
  • Submarine
  • Tyrannosaur
  • Vicky Christina Barcelona
  • War Dogs

Wednesday, October 10th

  • Status Update

Friday, October 12th

  • The Conjuring  
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Project X
  • The Romanoffs: Season 1
  • What Ever Happened to Baby Jane
  • The Witches 
  • Wrath of the Titans

Tuesday, October 16th

  • Crowhurst

Wednesday, October 17th

  • Notting Hill

Friday, October 19th

  • The Blind Side
  • Clash of the Titans
  • Dolphin Tale
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Lore: Season 2

Tuesday, October 23rd

  • Midnight Sun

Friday, October 26th

  • All the President’s Men
  • Best in Show
  • The Campaign
  • Crazy Stupid Love
  • Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
  • Fool’s Gold
  • Gravity
  • The Hangover Part III

 

Tuesday, October 2nd

  • 1428
  • Manhunter

Wednesday, October 3rd

  • Mothers

Thursday, October 4th

  • Quality Control

Friday, October 5th

  • Inspector Bellamy

Saturday, October 6th

  • A Girl Cut in Two

Sunday, October 7th

  • Pontypool

Wednesday, October 10th

  • Tape

Thursday, October 11th

  • Cinnamon

Friday, October 12th

  • The Bridesmaid

Saturday, October 13th

  • The Swindle

Sunday, October 14th

  • Line of Demarcation

Monday, October 15th

  • Season of the Witch

Wednesday, October 17th

  • Ears, Nose and Throat

Thursday, October 18th

  • Three Quarters

Saturday, October 20th

  • ’Til Madness Do Us Part

Sunday, October 21st

  • Shivers

Monday, October 22nd

  • Episode of the Sea

Wednesday, October 24th

Outcast of the Islands (1952)
Directed by Carol Reed
Shown from left: Ralph Richardson, Trevor Howard

  • Outcast of the Islands

Thursday, October 25th

  • Spicebush

Saturday, October 27th

  • Kill List

 

Monday, October 1st

  • The Big Bang Theory: Season 11
  • Brad’s Status
  • Fishtail
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • I Spit on Your Grave
  • Paranormal: White Noise
  • Platoon
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • La Doña: Season 1
  • Life as We Know it
  • The Mask You Live In
  • Thelma & Louise
  • The Titan
  • Trash
  • A Witches’ Ball

Tuesday, October 2nd

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Joe Rogan: Strange Times
  • MeatEater: Season 7
  • RED 2

Wednesday, October 3rd

  • Angela’s Christmas
  • Operation Finale

Friday, October 5th

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman
  • Big Mouth: Season 2
  • Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie
  • Dancing Queen: Season 1
  • Elite: Season 1
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Hannibal
  • The Land Before Time
  • Little Things: Season 2
  • Malevolent
  • Priest
  • Private Life
  • Red Dragon
  • The Rise of the Phoenixes: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Super Monsters: Season 2
  • YG Future Strategy Office

Sunday, October 7th

  • The Girl on the Train

Monday, October 8th

  • Chesapeake Shores: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Mo Amer: The Vagabond
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tuesday, October 9th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Hickok
  • Ronald
  • Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 4
  • Twilight
  • The Twilight Saga: New Moon
  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

Wednesday, October 10th

  • 22 July

Thursday, October 11th

  • Riverdale: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Salt Fat Acid Heat
  • Saw: The Final Chapter

Friday, October 12th

  • Apostle
  • The Boss Baby: Back in Business: Season 2
  • The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell
  • Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil
  • Feminists: What Were They Thinking?
  • Fightworld: Season 1
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • The Haunting of Hill House: Season 1
  • ReMastered: Season 1 (new episode)
  • The Rise of the Phoenixes: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Tarzan and Jane: Season 2

Saturday, October 13th

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Dynasty: Season 2 (new episode)
  • Nocturnal Animals

Sunday, October 14th

  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, October 15th

  • Chesapeake Shores: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Contagion
  • The Goonies
  • Octonauts: Season 1
  • Octonauts: Season 2
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of the Commandments

Tuesday, October 16th

  • Black Lightning: Season 2 (new episode)
  • Looking Glass
  • The Prince & Me
  • Ron White: If You Quit Listening, I’ll Shut Up

Wednesday, October 17th

  • Along Came Polly
  • American Pie Presents: Beta House

Thursday, October 18th

  • The Last Days of Mars
  • Riverdale: Season 3 (new episode)

Friday, October 19th

  • Accidentally in Love: Season 1
  • Ask the Doctor: Season 1
  • Best.Worst.Weekend.Ever.
  • Daredevil: Season 3
  • Derren Brown: Sacrifice
  • Gnome Alone
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Haunted: Season 1
  • Hip-Hop Evolution: Season 2
  • Illang: The Wolf Brigade
  • Making a Murderer: Part 2
  • Miss Representation
  • The Night Comes for Us
  • The Rise of Phoenixes: Season 1 (new episode)

Saturday, October 20th

  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 4 (new episode)

Sunday, October 21st

  • Superbad
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, October 22nd

  • Chesapeake Shores: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Louis Theroux: Dark States – Murder in Milwaukee

Tuesday, October 23rd

  • Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh
  • Black Lightning: Season 2 (new episode)

Thursday, October 25th

  • Den of Thieves
  • Great News: Season 2
  • Riverdale: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Ronnie Coleman: The King

Friday, October 26th

THE GOOD PLACE — “The Snowplow” Episode 304 — Pictured: (l-r) Manny Jacinto as Jason Mendoza, William Jackson Harper as Chidi — (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

  • Been So Long
  • Castlevania: Season 2
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season 1
  • Dovlatov
  • The Good Place: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Jefe
  • The Rise of Phoenixes: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Shirkers
  • Terrorism Close Calls: Season 1

 

 Monday, October 1st

  • Lowlife

Tuesday, October 2nd

  • Social Animals

Wednesday, October 3rd

  • April’s Daughter

Thursday, October 4th

  • House of Willow Street

Friday, October 5th

  • Downsizing

Saturday, October 6th

  • Dear Dictator

Sunday, October 7th

  • Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Monday, October 8th

  • Permission

Tuesday, October 9th

  • Screamers

Wednesday, October 10th

  • Two Lottery Tickets

Thursday, October 11th

  • Habit

Friday, October 12th

  • Black Panther

Saturday, October 13th

  • Zombillénium

Sunday, October 14th

  • A Little Something for Your Birthday

Monday, October 15th

  • Room for Rent

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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Venice, Cannes, London, Wherever: Film Festival Tips

A film festival veteran, Rehna Azim gives her tips on how to survive at film festivals wherever you are in the world.

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Film Festival Tips Movie Marker

I suppose I can be called a film festival veteran now. I’ve covered enough of them over the best part of a decade to be able to pass some, hopefully, useful tips on to those who might find themselves at one of the many film festivals that seem to spring up every 15 minutes. There’s a festival for everyone and pretty much everything. A fan of Korean cinema? You’ll find a festival in London. Sci-fi freak? Horror fanboy/girl? Gay, lesbian? Woman over 40? Someone somewhere will be running a festival of films you’ll love. Even towns you weren’t sure had a cinema seem to have a festival going on.

The biggies in Europe of course are Cannes and Berlin with London coming up in recent years. San Sebastien is growing in stature and there’s Ghent, Locarno, Edinburgh and many more. Wherever it is and whatever crowd it’s for, festivals are big business and popular. So here’s how to make the most of them:

Make sure your stomach is full and your bladder empty. The bigger the festival, the longer the queues and the more uncomfortable you’ll feel as you line up with a cast of hundreds to watch the latest gem from that Bulgarian auteur you thought only you loved. A film festival will draw a cine literate crowd that will fight you to the death for the last seat in the house. (At Cannes earlier this year, journalists almost came to fisticuffs in the huge, sprawling line that waited to catch the pearls of wisdom that fell from Christopher Nolan’s lips). A couple of years ago there was an angry stamping of feet as La La Land was, inexplicably, put on a small screen that couldn’t possibly accommodate all those who wanted to see it. At Venice earlier this month the lines stretched out perilously close to the canals. So you see, if you’re serious about festivaling, like a Boy Scout, you always have to be prepared. You simply can’t take the chance of popping away for 10 minutes to grab a quick burger or spend a penny. Go before you come, as it were. Carry a snack with you in your bag (trust me, even that festering flapjack at the bottom will seem enticing when you’re starving during a 3 hour long Ingmaar Bergman retrospective. Keep a small bottle of water with you at all times, not least to avoid the headaches that dehydration can cause.

Sacrifice glamour for comfort. Unless you’re going to a red carpet premiere, wear sensible shoes you can run between venues in. Layer your clothing. It doesn’t matter which city or country you’re in, you will either be too hot or too cold in whatever you wear. Taking something off or putting it on will be the best way to deal with whatever weather comes your way. I speak as someone who has been caught in sudden, monsoon level thunderstorms in both Venice and Cannes on brilliantly hot days when I was swanning around in skimpy summer dresses.

Film Festival Movie Marker

Plan your festival days. Screening times often overlap or just outright clash. Check the programme in advance, decide what you absolutely must see and what is a ‘if I have the time’ choice. Once you’ve made your choices, schedule your days accordingly. Those covering the festival for media outlets have to factor in interviews, talks and red carpet coverage as well as time to do the write-ups. It may seem like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs (did anyone’s grandmother actually ever do that) but sometimes the simplest, most obvious tips are the most helpful. I’ve known the super organised to create elaborate flow charts for their daily schedule but a simple list in a notebook will suffice.

Always keep a note pad and camera with you. Whether both are on your latest model phone or you have the old fashioned type, you will need them. Film festivals are exciting. Celebrities are swanning around everywhere, funny, interesting, record-able things are happening all the time and you will invariably meet people you want to stay in touch with. Writing a number or email address on the back of a receipt may seem a good idea at the time but you’ll never copy it out ‘properly’ into an address book. Most likely you’ll throw the receipt away when you’re next cleaning out your bag then spend hours rummaging through it later looking for the number of that nice agent/producer/actor/attractive person you met over drinks and really want to meet again. Network, make contacts, make friends. Festivals are fun!

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New entertainment platform CHILI launches in the UK

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Are you scrolling through the TV guide, trying to decide what to watch on your first night in for weeks, only to change your mind for the fourth time? Sounds tragically familiar, which is why I am very pleased to announce that European entertainment company CHILI have big plans for film and TV fans in the UK.

CHILI is a subscription-free entertainment platform that has launched in the UK after it’s recent success in Italy, racking up 1.6 million registered users since launching in 2012. Backed by the studios we all know and love, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Viacom, Sony Pictures, and 20th Century Fox, the on-demand service offers an array of content available at the click of the button.

What makes this different from say, Netflix or Amazon? The website offers a huge range of films and TV shows, from foreign art house to big screen blockbusters – as well as being a one-stop show for cinema; there is a newshub to give you the low-down on all film and TV news, you can purchase physical movies, merchandise and tickets to the cinema all in one place. Founder and chief executive Giorgio Tacchia describes CHILI as an entertainment hub; with customers discovering a new movie or TV show that they love and then browsing the merchandise to see what’s in store. From Star Wars Lego sets to beautiful concept art books, there really is something for everyone.

The platform is also filled with new premieres, including Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, Marvel Studios’ Avengers Infinity War and Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon. Customers can choose the quality they want their digital purchase, or choose to order a Blu-Ray or DVD instead.

My favourite section is the ‘highlights’ page which tailors content around your preferences and also offers flash sales and offers of the week. And with your first film on them? That’s an offer I can’t refuse.

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