Watch This Space #3

Another weekend arrives and you’re looking for a new pick to stream at home. We’ve got you covered. The JUMPCUT team have selected a new batch of recommendations for you. Below you’ll find some classic films you never knew were hiding just under your streaming radars, some hit comedy finds, and more!

Select Classic Cinema on Streaming

Amazon Prime, Netflix US/UK

Classic film fans often bemoan the lack of older films on the most popular streaming sites, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. To a large extent, this is true – there certainly isn’t as wide a selection as there should be. Classic Hollywood fans usually turn to TCM, Mubi and Filmstruck to get their fix. Kanopy is another source for those with a US library card. However, for a small rental fee ($2 or $3), there is much to be found on Amazon. In the last week, I have watched Sabotage (Hitchcock, 1936), Jamaica Inn (Hitchcock, 1939), Gaslight (Dickinson, 1940), Suspicion (Hitchcock, 1941), Gaslight (Cukor, 1944), The Lady From Shanghai (Welles, 1947) and The Wrong Man (Hitchcock, 1956)

I have watched these seven films for about $20, which isn’t far off the price of one cinema ticket in LA. Filmstruck isn’t compatible with my laptop, which is why I have to turn to Amazon for my fix. These films contain performances by Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Rita Hayworth and Henry Fonda. It is certainly something to have these stunningly beautiful faces beamed into your bedroom or living room. My favourites of the films I watched in the last week were Sabotage, which contains many classic Hitch hallmarks, even in the mid-1930s and Suspicion, which went in an unexpected direction. Of the two incarnations of Gaslight, I think I preferred the perhaps lesser-known 1940 version. I also watched a 2014 version of Jamaica Inn, starring Jessica Brown-Findlay, which is very different to the 1939 version, showing you how variable adaptations of novels can be.

Anyway, if you have an interest in older films and want to fill in some gaps in your classic cinema knowledge, doing some searching on Amazon could yield more results than you might expect. It is certainly worth seeking out films you may have heard of but never got around to. I’ve now taken the number of Hitchcock films I’ve seen up to 20 and the completist in me appreciates this! If you end up watching one black and white film (if you don’t normally) as the result of this, it will have been worth it. Get in touch with us at JUMPCUT if you do!

— Fiona Underhill

 

Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011)

Amazon Prime UK

Before John Boyega made it the big time in a galaxy far, far away, he was just a kid from the south end of London fighting aliens. Written and directed by Joe Cornish (the guy who originally wrote Ant-Man with Edgar Wright before that all went wrong), Attack the Block is an absolute gem of British sci-fi. Take an alien invasion, put it on a council estate, and mix in a teenage gang stuck with fighting them, you have a damn great time.

Attack the Block has the role that catapulted Boyega to stardom, classic British humour, great performances from the likes of Nick Frost and the 13th Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker, and beautiful creature design. It’s the kind of film that really should’ve also put Joe Cornish on the map as the next superstar British director because it’s such a creative, funny, thrilling ride. In a phrase, Attack the Block is an irreverent, British version of The Raid, but with aliens. Go watch it now, bruv. Believe it.

–Rhys Bowen Jones

Crazy, Stupid, Love (Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, 2011)

Netflix UK/ Amazon Prime US

As the October bells ring across the world, so begins the tradition that dictates the month is solely dedicated to horror movies. Although, when you think about it, that can be a lot of harrowingly dark, grim filmmaking to watch over the course of 31 days, so I think it’s wise to, mayhaps, break up the watching schedule with some light-hearted viewings – I opted, in this regard, for Crazy Stupid Love.

The 2011 release has become a much-loved, regular watch for many filmgoers, casual and serious, around the globe. Directed by Glen Ficarra and John Requa, the film revolves around Cal (Steve Carrell) and the aftermath of his wife (Julianne Moore) requesting a divorce. In the midst of this downward spiral of drunken nights, he meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who takes him under his wing as some sort of twisted protege, and teaches him how to become a ladies man.

The script is delightfully lively and thrives off the natural strength of Carrell as a subtle but very effective performer, but most of all, Gosling in a hilariously deadpan role which shot him into comedic stardom. The pair’s clashing personalities are rife with chuckle-worthy moments, but at the film’s core, the message is wholesome – never give up on love, no matter what. Okay, back to demons, slashers and what not.

— Cameron Frew

 

Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)

Amazon Prime UK

As the only available film of Edgar Wright’s ‘Cornetto Trilogy’ on Amazon Prime UK, and the fact Halloween is just around the corner, now is the perfect time to revisit the horror-comedy cult classic. Featuring a host of British talent, including Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, and Kate Ashfield to name just some, this comedy not only offers up laughs, but also throws in some emotional gut-punches that still hurt no matter how many times you’ve seen the film. Filled with lots of little horror references for fans of the genre, this zom-rom-com has something for everyone and, most important of all, features the ‘Cornetto Trilogy’s signature fence jumping scene – something that never fails to get a laugh from me.

Head to the sofa, have a cup of tea, put your feet up, and watch Wright and co. do what they do best.

— Tom Sheffield

 

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Peter Sollett, 2008)

Netflix US/ Amazon Prime US/ iTunes US

When Norah (Kat Dennings) asks Nick (Michael Cera) to be her boyfriend for five minutes to mislead Trish (Alexis Dziena), she doesn’t realize this is the guy who’s been sending Trish post-breakup mixtapes. What ensues is a night of scavenger hunts, drunk friends, turkey sandwiches, and fluffy, young indie romance. Teenage me is swooning right now. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist found me just as I was discovering my real musical tastes. This film, completely harmless and carefree, carries one of the most infectious indie pop/rock soundtracks. Vampire Weekend, Bishop Allen, and Band of Horses follow you through the midnight hours as the group rush to find drunk friend Caroline (Ari Graynor) and make it to the secret rock band show on this New York night where the titular characters eventually fall in love.

Cera is fresh off the knockout success of Superbad and although you could argue he plays the same person in most roles, his Nick is the kind of emotional clutz that doesn’t seem overbearingly obnoxious and instead, makes a sweet pair with Dennings’ Norah. Before she became one half of the sitcom 2 Broke Girls, Dennings is the wallflower realist as Norah, who will gloriously throat punch someone if provoked. Flawed, sure. Need a charming indie rom com that isn’t 500 Days of Summer, then put this on.

— Jessica Peña


We hope you find what suits you this week. Don’t forget to let us know what you watch and tweet at us! Happy streaming!

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What Makes A Good Remake?

Written by Gillian Finklea

Like many movie purists, I used to despise the dreaded remake. As a believer in originality, I held out hope that we could do more than simply repeat the past. More than anything, it just seems like a waste to pay money to watch the exact same things that have already entertained me years before.

But now, I have learned to accept, and even enjoy movie remakes. Occasionally you get a delightful spin on a property you were never truly familiar with – such as ’21 Jump Street’ – or a modern twist on an old story like ‘You’ve Got Mail’. I’ve learned that remakes can be a welcome event or an unmitigated disaster, and now I’m able to look for signs as to how successful a remake is going to be.

21 JUMP STREET

Let’s use ’21 Jump Street’ as an example. The trailer for this movie was funny, light, and utilised two well-known actors. Compared to the trailer for the TV show, which takes itself very serious despite the outrageous plot, it seems like the two properties are barley related. The revitalised franchise doesn’t rely on similar plot lines or character relationships as foundations for the movie, instead it takes the general idea of undercover cops in high school and spins it out into a whole new world. We have one great cameo from the original television show, and then we don’t really think of it ever again. It is a remake that created its own universe and it’s certainly one worth exploring.

Psycho

Now let’s look at the opposite end of the remake spectrum — Gus Van Sant’s almost shot-for-shot remake of the classic Hitchcock masterpiece ‘Psycho’. For the first 20 seconds, the trailer makes it seem like you are going to get a movie from Norman Bates’ perspective which, while that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, would at least be an interesting take. But then the trailer starts showing very familiar and famous scenes – Marion in the shower and Arbogast running on the stairs. But what else are we to expect? This is a very specific movie with a very specific twist. We get excited to see those famous shots in the trailer because we briefly think that maybe this would be a chance to see more of the the psychological turmoil and expand the horror universe. However, when the movie came out it was literally the exact same as the film which came 40 years prior. The best parts were shown in the trailer and those parts were obviously better in the original.

junglebook

In order for a remake to work, it needs to be updated with its own sense of self and if possible, be better than the original. The trailer for the new ‘The Jungle Book’ movie appears to have its own ideas and themes, at least in the fact that it’s not animated and seems to take itself more serious than the Disney classic. It doesn’t completely rely on familiar songs and has an interesting enough cast that I think it may be a worthwhile remake.

ghostbusters2016

The new ‘Ghostbusters’ trailer however, has left me a little suspicious. Now, I have been a champion of the ‘Ghostbuster’ remake because I don’t think the original is some kind of Holy Grail never to be altered, and I trust Paul Feig with most things relating to comedy. However, that trailer was way too close to 1998 ‘Psycho’ territory. In the trailer there’s a ghost in the library, a funky car and even Slimer; all of which we’ve seen before. And while the actresses seem to have developed fun and interesting characters, the overall feeling is too similar to the original movie and that’s a problem. Remakes that don’t forge their own path are doomed to make viewers wonder why there needs to be a remake at all.

So when you see a trailer for a remake and get an instant rush of nostalgia, take a pause. If the trailer just conjures up reminders of the previous movie or lifts from scenes beat-by-beat, you are probably destined for a disappointing trip down memory lane.

Watch This Space: May 11 – May 17

Welcome to our newest feature – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

As most of you are well aware, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ opens this weekend. Charlize Theron has a buzz cut, Tom Hardy dons a mask AGAIN and George Miller is back to his weird and wonderful best after the happiest of ‘Happy Feet’ to bring us dystopian chaos of the most explosive and action-packed variety.

For most, a trip to the cinema this weekend will provide a very clear fork in the road; you either go for an abundance of gore and violence, or warm up your vocal chords and sing at the top of your voice with ‘Pitch Perfect 2’. Luckily for us, we love both, so we get double the fun this weekend.

ON TELEVISION

Monday 23:05 GMT: There are very few directors with such a legendary status as that of Alfred Hitchcock, whose diverse and unusual body of work boasts numerous classics. One of the most disturbing of these films is arguably ‘The Birds’ which you can catch over at Film4.

Tuesday 23:40 GMT: Denzel Washington is now 60 years old, and still an absolute badass. See him at his most formidable and dangerous best, with a hint of emotion in the 2004 great ‘Man On Fire’, again on Film4.

Thursday 22:00 GMT: Every week, there are plenty of war films we could recommend to you. As fantastic as it is, ‘The Great Escape’ is on TV every Sunday, without fail. So let More4 show you a different perspective to the war with Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Basterds’.

Saturday 21:20 GMT: Comedy creations don’t come much better than Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge. A timeless character who has improved with age. BBC2 brings us ‘Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa’, the feature length follow up that we so desperately needed. 

Sunday 15:00 GMT: The weekend is nearly over, so spend a couple of hours with the family and watch everyone’s favourite wild child, Lindsay Lohan, before she turned bad. ‘Parent Trap’ is delightful afternoon viewing on Channel 4.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

If election week has left you feeling militant, and ready to revolt, instead of setting a couple of bins on fire and engaging in a bit of casual looting, why not fight the man with some anti-establishment viewing:

A Clockwork Orange: Stanley Kubrick delivers a masterpiece in cinema history, with lead character Alex running around trying to defile pretty much everything in sight – so you don’t have to. The ultimate social menace.

Taxi Driver: Robert De Niro’s chilling monologues will say everything you wish you could. And just when you’re feeling disillusioned and frustrated, remember “we’re all fucked”.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: If you were old enough to vote, you probably don’t have to ask the parents for a sick day. Ferris did and look how much fun he had. So either way, run from the doldrums of normal life and have a crazy day.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Samuel James

Scarface Set For Remake

Universal Studios are surging forward with their plans to remake the classic gangster flick ‘Scarface’. The project has now signed up ‘Straight Outta Compton’ writer Jonathan Herman to pen the script. Herman is also working on the remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’. The iconic ‘Scarface’ of 1983, starring Al Pacino, depicts the story of Tony Montana on his rise to infamy as a drug-dealing mob boss. The new version however, will be set in present day Los Angeles and director Pablo Larrain promised a “new and original” outlook.

Should the legendary film be left in peace? There are many who will be against the idea of a modern day ‘Scarface’, unfortunately it’s very unlikely that any of those people sit in the seats that matter at Universal HQ.

 

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes

‘Strangers’ project in motion

Exciting news from film world today, as Gone Girl star Ben Affleck is set to team up once again with director David Fincher, this time to recreate Alfred Hithcock’s 1951 film ‘Strangers On A Train’. At present, the project is simply titled ‘Strangers’, with alterations to the script planned in order to modernise the story. The release date for this film is expected to come somewhere between Affleck’s work on ‘Live By Night’ (2016) and the first ‘Justice League’ movie (2017). Read more here.