INTERVIEW: Phil Clarke

Interview by Tom Sheffield

Here at JUMPCUT ONLINE we have been fortunate enough to interview a number of people who have worked in all different areas across the film industry. Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Phil Clarke, a screenwriter and script consultant who has worked in the film industry for the best part of 20 years. Phil has worked on films such as ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Star Wars’, and with the likes of Danny Boyle, Tim Burton, and George Lucas.

We wanted to talk to Phil about his time in the industry, learn some of his favourite aspects of the work he’s done and his current script consulting, and also see if he could share some helpful tips for any budding writers who may be reading this.


TS: Hi Phil, thank you taking time to talk to us. For those who may not be aware of your work, would you like to introduce yourself to our readers.

PC:  Would love to! I’m a freelance script consultant, a role I’ve been doing full-time for well over a decade now through my own company: PHILMSCRIBE.COM. This followed many years working in film on the sets and in the production offices of some major motion pictures, TV shows, music videos and commercials. I have also written for the screen – having a number of projects optioned –  and for the page, with several books published over the years.

TS: Can you remember what it was in particular that first piqued your interest in becoming a screenwriter?

PC: Honestly, I think it was a combination of things. Falling in love with visual storytelling through watching movies was a key factor. I have always enjoyed the physical process of writing. The look, shape, sound and meaning of words. Creative writing classes at school. Writing essays… This led to looking for jobs I wanted to do in the industry and writing was an obvious focus. This focus was further developed after being fortunate enough to work closely with established screenwriters: Chris Columbus, Steve Kloves etc. Reading about how Andrew Kevin Walker was working at Tower Records when he sold one of his first scripts. This gave me heart as I was working at Tower around the same time. And to quote the Mamet-written film ‘The Edge’, I thought “What one man can do, another can do.”

TS: What was the first film you worked on, and how did you find your first experience working on a film set?

PC: The first film I worked on was ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’ back in ’97. Was strange as not three months earlier I had taken my mum to see ‘Return of the Jedi: Special Edition’ at the cinema, having just been made redundant. I’d have laughed in your face if you’d told me I’d be working on the first prequel that summer. Must admit: back then it was hard not to be a wide-eyed fanboy. A lot of it was a blur. My first time on set was for a scene in the vast Theed Hangar with all the sleek, shiny Naboo starfighters lined up. It was surreal. I was in awe. It really did feel like I was in a galaxy far, far away!

TS: What’re your top 3 films you’ve worked on and what about them makes them top 3 material?

PC: Hmm… tough one. ‘Sleepy Hollow’ would probably have to be #1. It was the first film I was involved in from the very start on early pre-production to final wrap. And I wasn’t quite so starstruck so I could really take it all in and learn. I was the studio’s Production Liaison so I was able to see and understand how every department worked and even after my shift was over, I’d stay behind and observe on set. Not a bad education watching Tim Burton, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, Scott Rudin, Colleen Atwood and co work their magic.

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ is a very close second. By this time I was freelance crew, working for the AD (Assistant Director) department. And it wasn’t long before I then became Chris Columbus’ on-set PA. If I thought ‘Sleepy Hollow’ provided me the perfect film education, this role would change my thinking. On top of my set duties, I had the enviable job of accompanying Chris to all other departments. I would even get to watch the previous day’s rushes with him and the producers – not something afforded to many.

My third choice would be ‘Enigma’. While not my first film, this was my first ever screen credit. This allowed me to experience film-making on a comparatively smaller scale, especially after my time on ‘Star Wars’. I found myself in the hub of the film-making process: the Production Office. Getting to work with some legends of the British film-making scene on a film adaptation of Robert Harris’ period spy novel was a fantastic experience.

TS: Can you tell us how you got into the script consultant game? What do you find most enjoyable about reading other people’s screenplays?

PC: I started reading other people’s screenplays during my film crew days. Then this developed into reading in-house for several production companies before deciding to go it alone and open up to those – how should one put it? –  outside the inner circle. I felt I could provide more help to writers this way. Provide a more personal service. Talk to writers directly and get to the crux of a story. Also, I was enjoying this side of things. I discovered I didn’t just have a passion for it, I was actually pretty damn good (if I am allowed to blow my own trumpet!) It does take a certain skill-set to be a good script consultant.

What’s most enjoyable about reading scripts? Well, I count myself fortunate to get to read stories every day in all different genres. Something not to be sniffed at. But specifically regarding my role, I love being able to help writers. More often than not writers find themselves too close to their work and are unable to pinpoint what might be holding their script back from fulfilling its true potential. I get huge satisfaction from providing writers of all levels with guidance, objective insights, benefits of my experience, heuristic advice that allows them to discover how to improve their drafts so they stand a better chance of success.

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TS: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received in regards to your writing? 

PC: The best piece of advice was the simplest I’ve ever been given. It was while working as Chris Columbus’ on-set PA on the the first ‘Harry Potter’ film, which also coincided with my self-education in screenwriting. I was reading every book under the sun on the craft at that time. I remember finishing one of Syd Field’s many books on the subject where he pushes the importance of his 3-act story structure paradigm with accompanying plot points and pinches. And one day while walking back to set with Chris – writer of such movies as ‘Gremlins’ and ‘The Goonies’ – I asked him what he made of Field’s focus on this paradigm and he looked at me and said:

“Just write an entertaining story.”

This helped me to realise I shouldn’t get too bogged down on these kind of details. Screenwriters are storytellers first and foremost and I was running the risk of forgetting this. Newbie screenwriters often become dependent on these writing books as they tend to always suggest there is a formula one can follow. This is comforting for the greenhorn scribe groping away in the darkness, but every screenwriter should always keep in the forefront of their mind the fact they are telling a story and if it engages and entertains, then it’s working. Simple.

TS: What are 3 pieces of advice you’d give to any of our readers currently writing a screenplay? Are there any common mistakes they should avoid?

PC: Always happy to dish out some nuggets of educative gold. Though they’ll have to be rather broad as giving specific advice is best done in context on an individual’s script.

First up I’m going to repeat Chris’ advice to me some twenty years ago as it’s THAT important.  Never lose sight of the fact that your job is to write an entertaining story. This may seem a rather obvious statement, but you wouldn’t believe how many scripts I read that fail to entertain. Many writers get bogged down in other details; paradigms, scene structure, character arcs etc etc. Now all these elements are important, but if your focus is always on telling an engaging story, then you’re not going to go too far wrong.

Nugget #2: Don’t rush your script purely to meet a particular script contest deadline. Far too many writers fixate on a particular competition and end up submitting a poor draft. I always advise my clients to COMPLETE, then COMPETE. These contests are annual so there is always the following year. And if that’s too long to wait, submit it to one of the many other quality comps that run at other times of the year so it allows you the time to ensure your script is truly ready. And of course this advice extends to submitting to production companies. Make sure your script is pure gold before you even think about letting the powers-that-be see it. First impressions count and are never forgotten.

And my third and final nugget: Don’t be precious about your writing. If you’re lucky enough that you get your script sold and put into production, then this advice is key. Know that you’re giving your script up for adoption. To multiple parents! And they’ll make all sorts of changes. This is because film-making is a collaborative endeavour. Selling your idea is your goal. Do this and you’ve succeeded. So write with this intention. The same advice applies when dealing with people who are trying to help such as a script consultant. Be open to advice. You don’t need to take it, but if you’ve got yourself a practiced, skilled, knowledgeable one, then the likelihood is that their feedback is only going to improve your work.

And as for those common mistakes, where to start? The majority of screenplays I read, especially from those who are rather new to the craft, tend to feature the same flaws. Here are three that come to mind:

A large number of scripts I read make the mistake of not being a clear-enough story, lacking in a distinct reason for existence. The story ends up being one big shrug. It’s as if the writer doesn’t know why they are writing this particular tale. It’s essential to know what your story is truly about. You have to ask yourself: why this story above all others? It’s as if a writer thinks producers and companies are just twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do but wait for you to finish your script. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a highly competitive market. I’ve heard there are as many as a million scripts written each year. Certainly wouldn’t surprise me. So your spec script has to be F***ING BRILLIANT. (Excuse the language, but I felt it necessary!) It needs to hit all the right notes, be bulletproof or you’re running the risk of it being passed on and being resigned to the Recycle Bin.

Many make the mistake of choosing the easy option, the first thought. This tends to result in a predictable, over-familiar, hackneyed piece. Spec scripts need to bring something new, something fresh. Be inventive, creative.

Many scripts I read lack any clear, coherent theme. Or the writer ends up being too heavy-handed with their message. And then the script ends up sounding preachy. The best writers express their moral vision gradually, subtly and in distinct story-pertinent ways.

I’ll rattle some off quick-fire now: Protagonists aren’t fascinating enough or have no clear story goal. The scenes have little or no conflict. The script has too much dialogue or too much action. Poor formatting. A lack of attention to spelling and grammar.

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TS: As well as your screenwriting and script consulting, you’re also a published author. Is there anything in particular about true crime stories that makes you want to write about them?

PC: Not particularly. I was commissioned to write those titles. An author for hire.  But I did find I got really into the subject matter, grim and grisly as it was. I have always been fascinated by human behaviour; I think most good writers are. And researching and writing about serial killers certainly allows you to see the extreme end of that.

TS: With all the reading you must do every day, do you have any activities or hobbies you like to do in your downtime that doesn’t involve reading?

PC: Absolutely. And it’s imperative to get some balance to all that sitting and reading. I’ve always been a very active guy. If I have one thing I love as much as film, it’s football. I’m in my forties now but I still try and play as much as I can. In fact, I love most ball sports. Tennis, squash etc. I also go running regularly. There’s some gorgeous countryside around where I live and I have a number of different running routes I like to hit. I also go on a walking holiday at least once a year somewhere in the UK. This summer I’m returning to the Lakes and Dales to do some rambling.

TS: Do you have any screenplays or books in the works at the minute you can tell us about?

PC: Most of my time is taken up with the consulting, as you can imagine. But I’m always developing my own projects whenever I can. Being a private person, I tend to keep my cards fairly close to my chest (so being interviewed like this doesn’t come naturally!) I’m developing two thrillers, one with a time-travel bent, the other involving sport. That’s about all I want to say about them at this stage. I’d also like to return to stories for the page too. There are a few non-fiction titles I have itching away at the back of my brain that I am sure will insist upon being written at some point in the future.

TS: Our final, and probably most important question today – we know you must get asked what you favourite films are a lot, but we’d really like to know is… does pineapple belong on pizza?

PC: It can, yes, but there are caveats. So the Hawaiian – ham & pineapple – works. I’ve done extensive research on this – but I would balk at having pineapple on, say, a Meat Feast. That just feels wrong on a number of levels. It’s all about the combination. The ingredients need to complement one another. And some just don’t go together. I mean, can you imagine an Anchovy and Pineapple pizza?! (One could draw some clear parallels between this pizza topping query and screenwriting if one looked deep enough…)

TS: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Phil. We wish you the best of luck for future projects.

PC: Been an undiluted pleasure. If any of your readers wish to contact me and discuss their work and how I might be able to help them, then please let them know they can contact me anytime in a variety of ways.

Website // Twitter  // Instagram //  Facebook

You can also sign up for Phil’s mailing list to receive more tips, news, and special offers! philmscribe.com button 1.0

 

 

 

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Watch This Space: September 4th – 10th

Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

IT: The highly anticipated ‘IT’, the second Stephen King adaptation to grace our cinemas this year, is released on Thursday! It’s been 27 years since we last saw Pennywise on screen, but this time he looks like he’ll really be inducing nightmares. We’ll have our review up early next week.

Patti Cake$: Last week we posted up our review of Geremy Jasper’s first feature length directorial effort. Sarah calls it “a delightful, uplifting comedy drama with a killer soundtrack“. Don’t let this one fly under your radar! 

Logan Lucky: Another film we reviewed last week,  Soderbergh’s ‘Logan Lucky’ hit cinemas at the end of last month and you’d be a fool to miss this one. With Adam Driver, Channing Tatum, and Daniel Craig delivering the charm and laughs, we think this is a must-see this month. 

On TV

Monday

Star Trek (1979): This 1979 sci-fi feature film debut for the crew of the USS Enterprise was made out of an un-used TV pilot. So with ready made costumes, sets and props, a film was green lit to rival ‘Star Wars’ and prove that Trekkies weren’t out of the space film race yet! This isn’t the easiest of watches, I warn you. It’s very slow, very of it’s time and very un-eventful. BUT it paved the way for twelve sequels, multiple new TV shows and a fan base to rival that of the Jedi. With the cast of the original 60s show back, you’re in good company, but don’t expect anything to knock your socks off JUST yet in the early voyages of Captain James T Kirk. Beam up on SyFy at 9pm

Unbreakable (2000): Still the best Shyamalan movie (in my humble opinion of course), ‘Unbreakable’ is also one of the most unassuming “superhero” films as well, with fascinating characters and an interesting narrative. With standout performances from Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis, and with the recently announced sequel to ‘Unbreakable’ in the pipeline, what better time to watch it than right now…or this week at least!

 

Tuesday 

Gladiator (2000): The 2000 film that came from nowhere proved to be one of Hollywood’s biggest gambles – a genre that was pretty much dead in the water, leading actor Russell Crowe who was yet to break the big time and a story set in ancient history. ‘Gladiator’ did what it set out to do; redefine the historical epic, shine a light on a forgotten and fascinating culture and showcase top acting and crew talent for a thrilling, rousing and dramatic story of a Roman general who became a slave, who became a gladiator who then defied an Empire. It is quality film-making and it’s all presented in such a bombastic way that it hasn’t been bettered since and given us more swords and sandal epics than we deserve. Be entertained on Film4 at 9pm

Blades of Glory (2007): In 2007, Will Ferrell tried his hand at figure skating. If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. What it also is, though, is a frequently funny romp that gives us some hilarious set-pieces, a brilliantly silly chase scene, and some surprisingly well thought out skating routines. Keep and eye out for the scene-stealing Will Arnett and Amy Poehler as the Van Waldenberg siblings, but the real stars are Will Ferrell (as funny as he’s ever been) and Jon Heder (the straight man to Ferrell’s joker who still has a fair few great lines of his own) as the two polar opposites are forced to work together. Witness the hilarity on Comedy Central at 9pm

Wednesday

Godzilla (1998): Roland Emmerich unleashes the Japanese created sumo-lizard in New York City, carrying the tag line “Size Does Matter” in perfect 90’s fashion. Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno give chase to the monster along with a group of baffled scientists and military personnel with plenty of comic relief. Buildings will shake if you forget the fish at 9pm on Sony Channel.

V for Vendetta (2005):  The year is 2028. The United Kingdom is a fascist police state, with political opponents, Jews, Muslims, atheists, immigrants, homosexuals and other “undesirables” executed. Hugo Weaving is the mysterious V, an anarchist and freedom fighter, wearing the infamous Guy Fawkes mask. Natalie Portman is Evey, a young woman who is recruited into V’s revolution. ‘V for Vendetta’ is THE dystopian political thriller to watch. And has never felt more ‘on the nose’ than in our current political climate. Be sure to join the revolution on SyFy at 9pm

Thursday

Kick-Ass 2 (2013): The follow up to the excellent ‘Kick-Ass’, about a young man called Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who puts on a mask to become Kick-Ass, an adequate crime-fighter. Chloe Grace Moretz reprises her role as the fowl-mouthed ultra-violent Hit Girl, with added Jim Carrey as Colonel Stars and Stripes. Throw in a new villain in Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and a supporting cast of loveable misfits, and Kick-Ass 2 is a fun grounded comic book movie that subverts expectations. Film4 at 11:25pm is the place to be. 

Friday

Resident Evil (2002): Up for a solid horror movie on a Friday night? Then look no further than Paul W.S. Anderson’s ‘Resident Evil’, the adaptation to the terrifying video-game series that scared millions. Whilst critics mostly panned the movie for its video-game aesthetic, it’s by far the best entry to the 7-film franchise. Catch Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez in the film that kick started the franchise at 10pm on 5*

Trainspotting (1995): Danny Boyle’s magnus opus ‘Trainspotting’, a masterclass of filmmaking that’ll have you immersed for its entirety. Follow Renton and his gang into the Edinburgh drug scene and all the grotesque imagery that comes with it, and with terrific performances from an incredible ensemble cast, this is a must see. You can catch this cult classic on Film4 at 1am.

This is England (2006): One of the best British films of the 21st century, This is England introduced the world to some exemplary world-class actors; Vicky McClure, Joe Gilgun and Stephen Graham among them. It is a hard-hitting and a difficult watch at times, but Midlands-based writer/director Shane Meadows always undercuts the drama with humour as well. This film tracks the ‘rise’ of a gang of skinheads in the 1980s, covering the music and fashion, as well as the much darker neo-Nazi side. Of course, this subject is unfortunately relevant today. If you do tune in to watch this film for the first time, I also highly recommend the TV series that followed. The acting is astonishing and heart-breaking. Catch the film on Film4 at 9pm

Hiding Online / In Our Collection

The Expendables 3 (2014): This is a fair entry into the series, but nowhere near as enjoyable as the second, and a very mediocre offering saved by seeing so many familiar faces clearly having a blast on screen. Ignore the youngsters if you can and just wait for the pay-off. With a cast including the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Terry Crewes and more, you know the bang for your buck you’re gonna get! But it’s a little more…family friendly this time, which is a shame.  If you enjoy this, I urge you to revisit the second film from 2012 which, to me, is the stand-out of this current trilogy.

Men in Black (1997): Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones star as the relentless duo assigned to “Protect Earth from the Scum of the Universe.” Slick and comical with timeless entertainment and notorious Sci-Fi creatures, director Barry Sonnenfeld delivers an instant classic with charming wit and suave action built around a plethora of cool-as-they-get gadgets. Head over to Netflix and keep a hold of your memories.

 

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Chris Gelderd, Jo Craig, Corey Hughes, Sarah Buddery, Sasha Hornby, Fiona Underhill, and Rhys Bowen Jones

Fox Searchlight Pictures Serves Up First Trailer For ‘Battle Of The Sexes’

Synopsis: “The electrifying 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as ‘The Battle of the Sexes’ and became the most watched televised sports event of all time.  The match caught the zeitgeist and sparked a global conversation on gender equality, spurring on the feminist movement. 

Trapped in the media glare, King and Riggs were on opposites sides of a binary argument, but off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. With a supportive husband urging her to fight the Establishment for equal pay, the fiercely private King was also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, while Riggs gambled his legacy and reputation in a bid to relive the glories of his past.

Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis courts and animated the discussions between men and women in bedrooms and boardrooms around the world.”

I’ll admit, I had no idea about the real ‘Battle of the Sexes’, and to be honest I’d never heard of Bobby Riggs or Billie Jean King before today.  Having said that, this trailer has definitely piqued my interest… So much so I’ve spent the last half hour reading about the pair and this historic tennis match. 

Emma Stone and Steve Carell most definitely look the part in this first trailer! Carell’s latest, more dramatic, roles have been a nice change from his previous comedic and often ridiculously dumbed down characters. Not that I don’t enjoy those roles, it’s just this recent change in the characters he plays has served him well so far, and he’s brilliant in films such as ‘The Big Short’ and ‘Fox Catcher’.  

Husband and wife directing team, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, are at the helm for this historic tennis match, which also stars Bill Pullman, Sarah Silverman, and Alan Cumming.

‘Battle of the Sexes’ swings into UK cinemas November 24th

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Watch This Space: November 9 – 15

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Here in the UK, we finally get to see what could be one of the best films of the year. Whilst critics are loving ‘Steve Jobs’, box-office figures are surprisingly low and personally, we cannot fathom why. With Danny Boyle at the helm, Aaron Sorkin behind the script and Michael Fassbender in the lead role, this biopic of the late Apple founder should be a great watch.

ON THE TV

Monday 21:00 GMT: Want to watch four friends getting extremely wasted the night before a wedding and then enjoy the hijinks that ensue the day after without the headache? ITV have got your back. I feel like everything that needs to be said about ‘The Hangover’ has probably already been said, so all we can say is WATCH IT! Here’s our review in case you needed any more persuasion.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: JumpCut UK favourite (and arguably the best actress around right now), Jessica Chastain, stars in the critically acclaimed ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ on Film4. From the director of ‘The Hurt Locker’, Kathryn Bigelow, comes another intense look at the war on terror.

Thursday 21:00 GMT: Although it isn’t very memorable, ‘Iron Man 2’ is always an enjoyable watch. It may not be the greatest Marvel movie, or even the best in the ‘Iron-Man’ series, but it’s worth a watch for Mickey Rourke’s Russian accent alone. It’s Film4 to the rescue once again, making sure you have a super Thursday night.

Saturday 11:00 GMT: Hayao Miyazaki is the go-to-guy when it comes to anime films, and is world renowned for his work with the Studio Ghibli animation company. Among his finest works is the magical, family-friendly ‘My Neighbour Totoro’, which you can catch on Film4. This film has become a cult favourite since its release in 1988, and sits at #127 in the IMDb all time top 250, which should tell you just how brilliant this Saturday morning flick will be. 

Sunday 21:30 GMT: BBC3 may be changing, but hopefully its desire to promote modern British realism will never fade. This Sunday, take a look into the dangerous world of teenage life in London with ‘Kidulthood’, starring the likes of Noel Clarke, Jaime Winstone and Nicholas Hoult.

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.

Her: This is a movie that you really need to get behind. If you’re weirded out by the idea of a human man dating his O.S. (Operating System), then this might not be the film for you. If you can get past the unique plot, ‘Her’ is actually a really good film and an experience like no other. It may be weird, but normal is overrated and I think everybody should try to watch it at least once. DB

Boyhood: When I first heard about this film I gave it a lot of hell; I trolled it, essentially. But when I eventually watched it, I instantly fell in love with it. There isn’t much that actually happens, per se, in ‘Boyhood’, but it’s more about the journey and watching this boy transform into a man. It’s a really cool concept and one that only director, Richard Linklater could pull off. Interesting factoid, Linklater spent 12 years making this six-time Academy Award nominated film. Here’s our review if you want to know more. DB

Titanic: Do you like boats? What about Leonardo DiCaprio? What about Leonardo DiCaprio on a boat? Well then, you’ll probably like ‘Titanic’. Jokes aside, ‘Titanic’ is a truly great movie. Don’t believe me? This James Cameron romantic-drama won a whopping 11 Academy Awards, and still remains the second highest grossing film of all time, 17 years after its release. Impressive, right? DB

Donnie Darko: I honestly don’t know where to start with this film. ‘Donnie Darko’ is my all-time favourite film (I even have a tattoo of the devilish rabbit on my arm). Director Richard Kelly has barely done anything since this 2001 cult hit, but if I was him I would be more than happy with my work. A young Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the titular character, a messed up teen with schizophrenia and an imaginary friend in the form of a giant bunny rabbit who can travel through time. Sounds ridiculous, but this is one of the most engaging, thought-provoking and enigmatic films you will ever see, and it even has a fantastic soundtrack to boot; a must watch for fans of the psychological-thriller genre. JLB

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Dalton Brown

Watch This Space: October 26 – November 1

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection. This week, it’s all about spooks and scares, as we celebrate Hallowe’en!

IN THE CINEMA

It’s seemed like an eternity since the cinematic release date for ‘Spectre’ was announced, but the time is finally here! James Bond’s return to the big screen promises to be fantastic. Cast and crew have all claimed that this is the most ambitious Bond film of all time, in terms of scale and stunts. This may also be the final time that Daniel Craig will be starring as Britain’s best suave, super-spy, so we’re hoping this will be a fitting end to arguably the best Bond era there has ever been.

ON THE TV

Seeing as though it’s Hallowe’en this week (and given the fact that this is an awful week for films on television), we’ve decided to give you a run down of the best spooky films on offer on the 31st.

16:55 GMT: They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. They’re altogether ooky. The Addams Family! At least that’s all I needed to get in the mood to watch this one! Watch the playful, family friendly, ‘The Addams Family’ on Film4 this afternoon.

18:00 GMT: Simply a classic in the genre of all things ghoulish, ‘Ghostbusters’ is a must watch this Hallowe’en on Comedy Central. It will make for some pleasant family afternoon viewing before the really scary stuff starts later on at night. So make the most of it whilst you can!

21:00 GMT: One of many adaptations of Bram Stoker’s famous fictional vampire, but 1992’s ‘Dracula’ is regarded by many as one of the best. Starring Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves under the direction of Francis Ford Coppola, this star studded adaptation hits all the right notes for a spooky night in. Tune in to Film4 for this classic horror/romance.

22:00 GMT: Undoubtedly one of the “big three”, ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ is more than a match for the ‘Halloween’ and ‘Friday the 13th’ franchises, in definitively classic Halloween Horror movies, with plenty of sequels out of which to make a malicious movie marathon. Don’t miss Freddy Kruger at his filthiest on Dave and make sure to tuck in the covers extra tight! A near-perfect Halloween weekend picture.

22:25 GMT: Drew Goddard’s ‘The Cabin In The Woods’ is a film which has really divided audiences down the years. Some praise the originality, whilst others call it completely ridiculous and nonsensical. It’s a film that certainly ticks the boxes in terms of scares, gore and monsters but the plot is pretty far fetched. If you can open up your imagination and get involved in the narrative, head to Channel 5 tonight and get behind the sofa!

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.

Creep: Not the Radiohead documentary we’ve all been craving. Instead, a delightfully dark, found-footage thriller, starring the terrific two man duet of Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice. When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day shoot in a remote mountain town, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems. A tremendously unnerving indie picture, that debuted out of 2014’s SXSW Film Festival, ‘Creep’ is a must-watch for anybody who likes Duplass’ work, and is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Phantom Of The Opera: The 2004 film adaption of the masterpiece musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and French Novel, Le Fantôme de l’Opéra. A tremendous box-office success, ‘Phantom Of The Opera’, is delightfully mysterious, spooky, and musically inclined. Although panned by critics, this horror drama, directed by Joel Schumacher, is entertaining nonetheless for fans of the classic tale. Catch Gerard Butler in his best pre-spartan role, and dwell in the fantastic sets, magnificent costumes, great art direction, and imaginative camera work that will immerse you in such a dangerous time!

The Purge: You know the annoying guy in your office who’s always bragging about how great life is? Or the jerk that cuts you off in traffic with a stupid smirking face? Well, it’s time for payback. Release your vicious angst and vengeful thoughts with this horrifyingly wicked, mischievously original concept – for 24 hours, once every year, there is no law. Find out how truly terrifying it can be when there is no way to protect yourself and your family with this underrated hit.

Slumdog Millionaire: Danny Boyle’s new biopic, ‘Steve Jobs’, premiered in London this week, to a widely warm reception, with it already being tipped for academy awards. One of Boyle’s most celebrated films, by audiences and critics alike, was the 2008 smash hit, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. If you’re done with frights and trick or treaters, this winner of 8 Academy Awards, is perfect. The film follows Jamal (Dev Patel), who is arrested under suspicion of cheating his way to a fortune on India’s favourite game show, Who Wants to Be A Millionaire. The film takes you on a journey through every walk of life across India, from the grand palaces and the Taj Mahal to the criminal undergrounds where human traffickers rule the cities. This moving and breathtaking film is an absolute must see if you haven’t already.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Nick Deal and Patrick Alexander.

Oscars 2016: Best Picture Predictions

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes

The approach of the winter months doesn’t just mean it’s time to go shopping for a new coat, because with the cold weather and shorter days comes a growing desire for people to discuss The Oscars. It may be more than four months until the 88th Academy Awards, but that doesn’t stop anyone speculating as to who the winners and losers will be on the big night. To be honest, I’ve been guessing since this year’s ceremony ended, and whilst guesses are all we have for now, The Academy certainly have a distinct pattern to their choices, hence the term “Oscar bait”. Here are the films that are likely to make the cut and be nominated in the Best Picture category.

And the nominees are…

Sicario
Arguably, this intense thriller from Denis Villeneuve (who directed the fantastic Prisoners) is the film which started the ball rolling with all this Oscars buzz. As one of the few films in this list that has actually been released in cinemas, I can offer my personal opinion of ‘Sicario’, and if it was up to me, this would be the winner. Whilst myself, and many others, love this gritty crime flick though, it’s unlikely that ‘Sicario’ will go further than a nomination.

Steve Jobs
Nothing gets The Academy’s attention like a biopic, and with the late founder of Apple taking centre stage in this Danny Boyle production, ‘Steve Jobs’ is about as relevant as they come. A fantastic cast, led by the very talented Michael Fassbender, and Academy favourite Kate Winslet in support, ‘Steve Jobs’ has been garnering praise from early viewings and could be the frontrunner for the Best Picture award.

Suffragette
If there’s anything The Academy loves more than a biopic, it’s controversy. A cast boasting some of the best actresses around – including Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter – should boost ‘Suffragette’ and allow the feminist movement to be represented next February. It also helps that various stars, including Meryl Streep herself, voiced their concerns over the lack of opportunities and equality for women at this year’s ceremony.

Bridge Of Spies
The man responsible for classics such as ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Jaws’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’, Steven Spielberg, is back, and has teamed up with legendary actor, Tom Hanks, for this cold war drama. Both of these men are probably sick of the sight of these trophies, but it is very likely that this winning recipe will earn them a few more nominations to add to their resumé.

The Revenant
One man who certainly wouldn’t mind getting hold of a golden statuette is Leonardo DiCaprio, and whilst we’re sure Tom Hanks could just lend him one for the weekend, we don’t think that would quite be the same. By hooking up with Tom Hardy, and last year’s big winner Alejandro González Iñárritu (director of Birdman), Leo may well have given  himself his best chance yet at grabbing a personal award and leading his film to glory. Could Iñárritu win back-to-back Best Picture awards?

Joy
Another winning team come together once again, to bring us ‘Joy’ this Christmas. Director David O Russell, who has received nominations for his last three films (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle), joins forces with Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, and familiar faces Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, in what could be a perfectly crafted, Oscar-bait picture. Whilst unlikely to win the top gong, it would be a surprise to see this one snubbed.

The Lobster
The film festival circuit isn’t just a fun way to spend your summer, it’s actually a breeding ground for hot productions hoping to catch the eye of The Academy. Pretty much every year there will be one or two films that thrive in the quirky world of film festivals and make it to the big stage for The Oscars. With an interesting plot, big name stars in Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell, and plenty of hype from critics, ‘The Lobster’ could well crawl its way into the Best Picture category.

Carol
The big success story from the film festival circuit however, is undoubtedly ‘Carol’. This film, which sees Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara embark on a complicated lesbian relationship, has been lauded by critics all summer and will continue to be praised all the way through winter as it arrives in mainstream cinema theatres. It’s an outside shot, but this low-key, artistic offering could well beat the big names and steal the top prize next February.

So, with ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ unlikely to get the nod from The Academy, in favour of something more stylistically brilliant (they don’t know what they’re missing), my money is on ‘Carol’ and ‘Steve Jobs’ to fight this one out.

Oscars 2016: Best Picture Predictions

Written by Chris Winterbottom

It may be early, but with awards season kicking off, I thought I would share my tips for who will be nominated at the 2016 Academy Awards, which will be held on the 28th February. Last year’s winner of the award for Best Picture, ‘Birdman’, was part of an eight-strong group vying for that prestigious gold statuette, but the category can have up to ten films nominated. With that in mind, I’m predicting a nine horse race, considering the amount of interesting films still to be released before the big night.

And the nominees are…

Steve Jobs

After making the hugely enjoyable ‘Trance’, Danny Boyle is back to courting the big awards with this biopic of the Apple genius Steve Jobs. Michael Fassbender plays the titular character and with supporting actors in Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels, early reviews have suggested this is the one to watch. Personally, I am looking forward to this immensely; Danny Boyle is one of my favourite filmmakers and with a script penned by Aaron Sorkin, whose other works include the wonderful ‘The Social Network’, this film looks set to be a huge success both financially and critically.

Suffragette

This recent release has seen much of its acclaim directed towards the acting performances; I am sure Carey Mulligan in particular will at least be nominated for Best Actress at the awards ceremony next February. I haven’t seen the film, but with Jennifer Lawrence’s recent essay on sexism in Hollywood, and the regular calls of discontent at the amount of roles for women and the pay they receive when they come along, I feel the Academy will include the film in the Best Picture category to acknowledge female filmmakers’ cries for equality, regardless of its quality.

Sicario

This Denis Villeneuve film is one of my favourites of the year so far. Currently, I would like ‘Sicario’ to win the award for Best Picture, but I haven’t seen the majority of the other potential nominees so it is too early to put fully commit. That said, the film is a brilliant piece of visceral, shocking and tense filmmaking. There may be nominations for its cast too, particularly for Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro, and Roger Deakins is sure to win the Best Cinematography award for the first time. For now, ‘Sicario’ is an outsider, but we shall see what will happen in the coming months.

Inside Out

This may prove a controversial choice to some, considering no animated film has ever won Best Picture, but the amount of positive reviews for this Disney-Pixar effort may sway Academy voters. This is another film which I am yet to see, and I have to say that it is one of my big film regrets this year. I suspect that ‘Inside Out’ is the animated film most likely to pick up the Best Picture gong in February, but it still remains a big outsider. However, it was not so long ago that the majestic ‘Toy Story 3’ picked up the nomination for Best Picture, with ‘Up’ achieving this feat the year before.

Bridge Of Spies

Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and The Cold War? I’m predicting this film will receive the most nominations of all at the 2016 Academy Awards. But I feel this movie will pull an ‘American Hustle’ – receive the most nominations, including Best Picture, but then fail to win anything. Whilst it has a chance in the Best Costume and Best Make Up categories, and maybe some of the technical categories, I just don’t feel like the ‘Bridge Of Spies’ campaign will gain enough momentum.

The Hateful Eight

Tarantino’s last two films, ‘Inglourious Basterds’ (I know it’s spelled wrong) and ‘Django Unchained’ both received Best Picture nominations, and I am certain his latest effort will deliver him another. The film’s official release date is the 8th January 2016 in the USA, which would have made this ineligible, but with a limited release on Christmas Day, I’m confident that ‘The Hateful Eight’ will be nominated. The release date is telling; films with a release date around January and February here in the UK are often the big contenders when it comes to awards. I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be Tarantino’s most financially successful film, even surpassing ‘Django Unchained’, but like his previous couple of movies, I don’t think it’ll win the Best Picture award.

The Revenant

Will Leonardo Di Caprio finally win the elusive Oscar for Best Actor? Many seem to think it’ll be his year, but I think the great man will have to wait at least another year. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu enjoyed big success at last year’s ceremony with ‘Birdman’, but I think he will receive something of a muted backlash for ‘The Revenant’, at least in terms of its critical reaction. However, The Academy love Inarritu and because of this, I believe the film will be competing for the Best Picture award. More likely though, I think we could see Emmanuel Lubezki pick up another statue for his cinematography work. For those that have seen the trailer, it already looks to be a visually stunning film.

Hail, Caesar!

The Coen Brothers are back with ‘Hail, Caesar!’, a musical-comedy satirising Hollywood. The film has a 1950’s setting, during Hollywood’s golden era, and features a fantastic cast including Scarlett Johansson. This film will be the main competition for Danny Boyle’s ‘Steve Jobs’. It will certainly challenge in terms of the technical awards, like Best Editing, but in my opinion the film will most likely pick the Best Director(s) award. The Coen Brothers are no strangers to award nominations, after the receiving a whole spate of them for ‘No Country For Old Men’, ‘True Grit’ and ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’.

The Danish Girl

I am a big admirer of Tom Hooper, particularly for his work on the underrated ‘The Damned United’. But his rise to the top, in terms of British filmmakers, has come off the back of ‘The Kings Speech’ and ‘Les Miserables’. You only have to look at the poster for this movie to know that this is an unashamed, Oscar-bait project. I don’t feel like this will be much of a success at the Oscars in February, but having said that I didn’t think ‘Gravity’ would either. Sometimes there are surprises, and I am sure Redmayne will receive another Best Actor nomination for his defiant, cross-dressing role, but my gut instinct is that the film will slip under the radar somewhat.

So there you have it – my predictions for the Best Picture category. Of course, this list may well be wrong and even if it is, it does not necessarily represent the year’s best films. I often find that The Academy is completely wrong in its choices; like Christopher Nolan being ignored twice, for ‘Inception’ and ‘Interstellar’. We are talking about an awards ceremony which snubbed ‘Citizen Kane’, after all. But there is no getting around the fact that the Oscars are the most prestigious of awards ceremonies, and I think in 2016 we will see Danny Boyle and his film ‘Steve Jobs’ be the triumphant victor.

Watch This Space: September 14 – 20

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Although it’s been released outside of the UK, and not received the best of reviews, we still think that ‘Aloha’ could be worth a trip to the cinema if you like your rom-coms. Starring Bradley Cooper as a military contractor who is stuck in the classic problem of having two women in his life. Alongside Cooper, we have Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and John Krasinski and it’s hard to not be impressed by that cast.

Even more impressive though, is the cast for ‘Everest’, which boasts the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley and Josh Brolin. The trailers for this epic look pretty intense and harrowing, as we follow an expedition to the peak of Mount Everest, with disastrous results. Quite the contrast to the sunny skies Bradley Cooper and company will be enjoying, this endurance thriller may not be one for the faint-hearted but promises to be a spectacular visual experience.

ON THE TV

Monday 22:40 GMT: If you’ve enjoyed a double helping of Tom Hardy in his latest film ‘Legend’, you’ll be pleased to know that Film4 are showing ‘Bronson’ to get your week off to a smashing start. There may only be one Tom Hardy in this one, but his portrayal of Charles Bronson is more than enough, we promise.

Tuesday 23:05 GMT: Quentin Tarantino’s directing career is coming to an end after the much-anticipated ‘Hateful Eight’, so why not celebrate his career by watching one of his finest contributions to the world of cinema on Film4. ‘Inglorious Basterds’ follows Lieutenant Aldo Raine and his bunch of not-so-merry men as they plan a Nazi assassination in war torn France, 1944. Expect your typical, Tarantino spectacle of violence and dark comedy.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: You may know Chris Hemsworth better for his role as Thor in the Avengers series, but the blonde brute’s most critically-acclaimed performance is most definitely his portrayal of legendary F1 driver James Hunt in ‘Rush’. Catch the fast-paced biopic on Film4.

Friday 21:00 GMT: E4 is bringing you the definition of Friday night television this week, in the form of alien flick ‘Independence Day’ – one of those films that is such easy watching, no matter how many times you’ve seen it before. Explosions, drama and the odd laugh thrown in too, sit back and see in the weekend in style.

Sunday 17:45 GMT: Brad Pitt is all over WatchThisSpace this week. This time, we urge you to settle down on Sunday evening and enjoy his performance in ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’ on Film4. Pitt stars opposite Cate Blanchett, as a man who ages backwards, whilst trying desperately to reconnect with the love of his life.

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.

Inception: Want more Tom Hardy? Okay, fine! It’s the man of the moment’s birthday on Tuesday, and we’ve pretty much exhausted all of his greatest roles in the past few weeks. One we haven’t covered though, is his more reserved and charming performance in Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller ‘Inception’. In a stellar cast, Hardy still stands out as Eames – the cheeky forger who can take the form of anyone you want him to. Celebrate Mr. Hardy’s birthday with one of the best films of recent years, but don’t ponder the mysteries of Nolan’s multi-storey dream world too hard or you may end up with a bigger hangover than the birthday boy himself.

Se7en: David Fincher was recently announced as the director for the up and coming second installment of the Millennium Trilogy books – ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire.” Why not revisit one of Fincher’s previous works in ‘Se7en’; a film that has become a classic since it’s release back in 1995. Featuring one of cinemas finest and strangest villains in John Doe (Kevin Spacey), follow Somerset and Mills (Freeman & that man Pitt, again) as they hunt down the infamous serial killer, who seems to have a certain signature, when it comes to his murders.

The Beach: Danny Boyle confirmed last week that all systems are go on a ‘Trainspotting’ sequel, with the majority of the original cast signed on for the follow up. We would like to draw your attention to another of Boyle’s masterpieces, this time starring a young Leonardo DiCaprio filled with wanderlust, who finds himself in a near-perfect paradise. Or so he thinks! For some strange reason, this film has divided opinions since its release in 2000, but we absolutely love it and think you will too!

This Sporting Life: With the Rugby World Cup kicking off this week, we’re trying to get into the spirit of things here at JumpCut UK. As a result, we’re going to suggest a rugby themed film for you to dig out this week, but one that you may not have heard of before. ‘This Sporting Life’ is a British realist film from 1963, starring the late, great Richard Harris, and follows the story of a young miner-turned-rugby player as he struggles to ascertain a balance in his life between the aggressive sport and his domestic bliss, as the two begin to intertwine.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal

You may have noticed that this week’s edition of WatchThisSpace is kinda male dominated. But before anyone berates us for discrimination, let us explain. If you head to our Twitter account @jumpcutUK this week, you will find our latest Twitter poll, which is aimed at deciding on the best female performance of the last 5 years (2010-2015). We thought it would strike a nice balance then, to focus on the guys on this side of our work. Never fear ladies, next month we have a special women’s edition of WatchThisSpace to celebrate the release of ‘Suffragette’.

Watch This Space: September 7 – 13

Welcome to your weekly go-to film guide – WatchThisSpace – where we recommend what to watch in the cinema and on the television, and remind you of those brilliant films hiding in your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

Following the success of ‘Maze Runner’ last year, this week sees the release of its sequel, ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’. The plot continues with Dylan O’Brian returning as Thomas, the reluctant leader of his band of grizzled Teens. Set in a dystopian future, our protagonists face the new horror of navigating the Scorch, a vast, desolate landscape filled with perils. Directed by Wes Ball and featuring Kaya Scodelario and Aiden Gillen, this movie should see a good return after the surprising success of its predecessor.

Also released this week is ‘Legend’, the story of the infamous Kray twins and their fractious relationship as they terrorise London and rule the criminal underworld of the 1950’s and 1960’s, until their incarceration in 1969. Both brothers are portrayed by the ever malleable Tom Hardy in what promises to be an award-nominated double performance. Check out our review for more.

The new Movie carrying the “written and directed by Woody Allen” tagline is ‘Irrational Man’, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a Philosophy professor encountering an existential crisis which may lead to murder. With Emma Stone also featuring in a supporting role, the talent involved here looks set to throw another film full of deep character study and dark humour our way.

ON TELEVISION

Monday 23:00 GMT: Danny Boyle has brought us so many great films over the years, but arguably, none compare to his 1996 classic ‘Trainspotting’. At almost 20 years old, this iconic Brit flick is such a part of cinema history that we absolutely insist you stay up and catch it on Film4.

Wednesday 21:00 GMT: If you couldn’t stomach Monday night’s hard-hitting option, this may be more up your street. Starring Will Ferrel and John C. Reilly, ‘Step Brothers’ is one of our favourite comedies here at JumpCut UK. Watch middle-aged men act like children on Comedy Central, and try not to laugh so hard that you fall off your dinosaur (if you get it, you get it).

Thursday 22:50 GMT: Whilst the world is absorbed with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman, you could escape all that and watch erm…enjoy ‘Watchmen’ on Film4. They aren’t the most popular heroes, but this dark, violent comic-book adaptation is a severely underrated addition to the superhero genre.

Saturday 16:45 GMT: Travel back in time this weekend – in more ways than one – and join Marty McFly for the 1985 classic ‘Back To The Future’ on ITV. Gather the whole family and enjoy a fun, fantastical ride in the DeLorean. 

Saturday 21:00 GMT: If, like us, you love a good Brit flick, we have two for you this week. Alongside Danny Boyle, Shane Meadows is another master of the gritty, realist trade and Film4 is showing his most famous work, ‘This Is England’ this Saturday night. Alternatively, head to BBC3 15 minutes later for the uber-intense ‘Jarhead’ starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx.

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.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984): After the very sad news last week that my favourite horror director, Wes Craven, had passed away, I wanted to celebrate his iconic career by watching my most cherished horror movie of all time. Set in suburbian America, this superbly crafted twist on the unstoppable, stalker format saw the killer (a burned faced and perfectly cast Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger) terrorise and murder a group of frightened teens from within their nightmares. Starring Heather Lagenkamp and a very young Johnny Depp in his first ever acting role, this movie raised the bar for the horror genre, and many films that followed owe an awful lot to the work of Wes Craven. With a cruel sense of humour, genuinely frightening set pieces and perfectly haunting soundtrack, 31 years have done nothing to quash the fear this movie will instill in you. Just try not to fall asleep straight after!

R.I.P Wes Craven 1939-2015

La Haine: Casting a great villain is often imperative to a movie’s success. Luckily, the latest installment in the ‘Bourne’ franchise has found theirs, in the form of French actor Vincent Cassel. The very talented Monsieur Cassel, who you will recognise as the repugnant dance choreographer in ‘Black Swan’, first broke onto the scene back in 1995 with his role in the critically-acclaimed, intensely violent French flick ‘La Haine’. Follow Vinz (Cassel) and his two young comrades as they navigate their way through the French suburbs after a heated riot, and get a taste of what we can expect with the untitled ‘Bourne 5’ next year.

Zombieland: ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ has just hit the small screen and how better to celebrate than by watching this sleeper hit of 2009. Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone, the story sees a zombie-ravaged, post-apocalyptic world and the relationships between a small group of survivors. Beautifully written and genuinely funny, we see our heroes desperately trying not to become food for the undead, whilst seeking the sanctuary of a theme park. Featuring a hilarious and self-aware performance by Harrelson, as well as the perfectly neurotic Eisenberg, the movie also has one of the best cameos ever and possibly THE greatest opening credits scene.

Kick-Ass: So, all the kids are back at school. Some of you might have, what, a couple of weeks until you return to university? Or…you could scrap all that, quit education and just become a superhero? From the fantastic Matthew Vaugn (director of ‘Kingsman’ and ‘Layer Cake’) comes this epic, alternative hero who will inspire you to drop it all, throw on the first piece of spandex you can find and take to the streets. The titular hero doesn’t quite have the muscle and skills of your everyday comic-book hero, but he more than makes up for that in courage. ‘Kick-Ass’ is entertaining and funny, whilst delivering a healthy portion of violence and action – if you haven’t seen this before, get ready to be very pleasantly surprised.

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and special guest Chris Murphy. Get more from Chris by checking out his Twitter activity here.