A triumph on a variety of levels, this staggeringly detailed stop-motion animation has a wonderfully deranged story packed with spirited characters. It also takes on some seriously important issues without ever getting heavy-handed about it. So while we're laughing at the astounding visual mayhem, there's plenty of depth to keep our brains spinning. And what the film has to say about communal paranoia is vitally important in today's world.
The story takes place a decade after a baby was kidnapped by the Boxtrolls, nighttime scavengers who prowl by night. Over the last 10 years, their legend has grown, and the people are now terrified of being eaten. So the red-hatted Snatcher (voiced by Ben Kingsley) and his sidekicks (Richard Ayoade, Nick Frost and Tracy Morgan) set a goal to exterminate the trolls in exchange for prestigious white hats, which will let them join Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) for his evening cheese-tasting events. Then Portley-Rind's daughter Winnie (Elle Fanning) spots a boy among the Boxtrolls, learning that Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is actually the kidnapped baby. And that Boxtrolls aren't actually villains at all. But can she get her father to pay attention to her for even a moment, so he can understand that Snatcher is the real bad guy?
Everything on-screen is in constant motion, with cluttered scenes that are a feast for the eyes. Action sequences are complicated and layered, drawing the eye all over the screen as the stakes grow higher with each scene. The mechanical climax feels like one step too far, but the filmmakers keep the focus tightly on the characters, each of whom has a bundle of quirks and obsessions that make them flawed and likeable. Even the nefarious Snatcher has a soft side, and Kingsley has a great time bringing out each aspect of the hilariously vile character, including his scene-stealing alter ego, the fabulous drag queen Madame Frou Frou.
Continue reading: The Boxtrolls Review
Channel 4 is throwing 4oD on the scrapheap.
Channel 4 has taken the relatively bold decision to scrap its online service '4oD' and will replace it with a new overhauled hub featuring all of the channel's digital content. 'All 4' will allow users to watch shows from Channel 4, E4, More 4 and Film4. The new service is expected to go live at the end of March 2015.
'Gogglebox' was a popular on-demand show for 4oD
Channel 4 launched its catch-up service 4oD in 2006 and has reportedly signed up 50% of 16 to 34-year-old's in the UK - which seems a little high. The broadcaster said its online revenues had tripled in the last five years and continues to grow.
Continue reading: Channel 4 Scraps '4oD' In Favour of New Service 'All 4'
Much of TV is now a geek's dream, we look at the shows loved by both geeks and the wider mainstream.
Geeks: once the deeply awkward and much-maligned members of society- ridiculed by Jocks and long stereotyped on TV and film as socially inept weaklings with a love of bow ties, thick-rimmed glasses and high-waisted slacks. But oh how things have changed. Ever since Adam Brody’s intensely loveable Seth Cohen appeared on screens in the mid noughties as the lonely, quick-witted, Death Cab For Cutie loving geek on The O.C, the tables have been well and truly turned. ‘Geek Chic’ prevails, the once laughable clothing choices of society’s most brainy and introverted have been re-appropriated by the masses. Everyone is falling over themselves to replicate a look that twenty years ago would have posited the wearer of such garments as a human punch-bag for meat-headed bullies.
Adam Brody has been credited with helping makes geeks cool through his O.C character Seth Cohen
In the world of TV, sci-fi shows such as Star Trek and Stargate are geek staples but the recent role reversal of geeks as the cultural vanguard posits fantastical shows that would have more likely been derided several years ago as universally acclaimed hits. Game Of Thrones is arguably the biggest TV show in the world whilst The Big Bang Theory, which maintains the long-held geek stereotypes has made veritable superstars of its cast. Here then, is a list of those geeky TV shows that we just can’t get enough of.
Continue reading: The Geek TV Shows We're Not Afraid To Love
Luxury Comedy is back and this time it’s even better.
Noel Fielding is back on E4 tonight (July 31st) bringing the second series of his ‘Luxury Comedy’ with ‘Tales from Painted Hawaii’. One half of The Mighty Boosh and Never Mind the Buzzcock’s team captain, Noel has never been one to go for the conventional laugh as 'Luxury Comedy’s' first series proved. But this time around he’s found a different way to present the weirdness and thankfully the results are just as hilarious.
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy' is back, this time in a coffee shop
When ‘Luxury Comedy’ debuted on E4 in 2012 the reaction from viewers and critics was mixed. Some just really didn't get Fielding’s eccentric mix of characters and off-beat jokes, while others simply dismayed that “it wasn't the Mighty Boosh!”, as if it had ever intended to be. But for those who did appreciate Fielding’s first solo effort, a whole new world full of colours and characters had been opened up to them, just like in Mighty Boosh’s earliest days.
Eggs is a young boy living in the dairy loving, wealthy town of Cheesbridge. He was adopted as a baby and is a perfectly ordinary boy - apart from the fact that he was brought up in a sewer by an unusual group of foster parents. The Boxtrolls are underground creatures feared throughout the town as sinister and dangerous monsters, but in truth they are remarkably kind and so shy that they spend most of their time hiding in the boxes they wear as shells and venturing out at night so that they don't bump into the Cheesebridge residents. All they wish to do is collect discarded rubbish and turn it into incredible machines. Unfortunately, despite their harmlessness, a vicious exterminator named Archibald Snatcher is after their heads when the town's council insists on their removal. Eggs must help save his family, but first he's got to start behaving like a regular boy.
Continue: The Boxtrolls - International Trailer
We'll always remember the 'IT Crowd' even if its left our screens for good
In 2006 'The I.T Crowd' welcomed us into the basement of Reynholm Industries to meet Moss, Roy and Jen and make sure we’d ‘tried switching it on and off again' first. The successful Channel 4 comedy brought us four series of laughs and ridiculous scenarios before bidding us goodbye with a special episode late last year. Entitled, ‘The Internet Is Coming’, its just picked up four BAFTA nominations, including one for best sitcom, giving a fitting tribute to one of the decades funniest and unique sitcoms.
Richard Ayoade played Maurice Moss in the 'IT Crowd'
Created by Graham Linehan, one half of the duo that gave us 'Father Ted', the 'IT Crowd' delved in to the world of computer nerdom, celebrating it in a way that British television had never seen before. Set in the IT department of Reynholm Industries, confined to the building’s basement, Jen, played by Katherine Parkinson served as our guide into the world of computers and the internet, even though she didn't know what IT stood for. Jen was faced with the role of being relationship manager to Moss and Roy, the socially inept IT technicians who would fix any computer problem in their own time and if they could be bothered. The two best friends, played by Richard Ayoade and Chris O’Dowd were bonded together by their love of computer games and all things geeky and also the fact that no one else could really put up with them.
Continue reading: After BAFTA Nominations, We Remember 'The I.T Crowd'
The BAFTA TV Awards 2014 nominations have been announced - is your favourite show in there somewhere?
The nominations have been announced for this year's BAFTA TV Awards, which will be held on Sunday 18th May. After an outstanding year in television, this year's awards will make for gripping viewing with nominations covering all categories of TV talent. Channel 4's comedy series, The IT Crowd, leads the way with four nominations alongside the broadcaster's chilling crime drama, Southcliffe, according to BAFTA.
Actor Richard Ayoade & Comedy 'The IT Crowd' Could Clean Up At The 2014 TV BAFTAs.
The IT Crowd dominates the best performance in a comedy categories as Richard Ayoade and Chris O'Dowd are each nominated whilst their co-star Katherine Parkinson has been nominated for best female in a comedy and the show's final episode is up for best sitcom.
After his acclaimed drama Submarine, actor-turned-filmmaker Richard Ayoade applies his considerable visual skills to this striking blackly comical adaptation of Dostoevsky's novella. Bristling with wit and snappy details, the film's style overwhelms its emotional core, leaving us unable to feel the punch of this odyssey about a young man wrestling with his own identity.
Jesse Eisenberg stars as Simon, a loner who's still anonymous at work after seven years in his desk job. Secretly in love with the copy girl Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), he watches her through a telescope from his flat and digs through her rubbish. Then just as he's assigned to mentor the surly teen daughter (Yasmin Paige) of his manager (Wallace Shawn), James meets new employee Simon (also Eisenberg), a mirror image of himself who is far more confident, fun-loving and, yes, popular with everyone in the office.
Ayoade designs the film like a drab variation on Terry Gilliam's Brazil (and more recently The Zero Theorem), with that same claustrophobic sense of overcrowded anonymity and Kaflaesque bureaucracy. It's not particularly original, but it is fun to watch, especially on a big screen where we can take in the detailed sets and costumes, as well as a steady procession of amusing cameos from the likes of Chris O'Dowd and Submarine stars Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine, Noah Taylor and Craig Roberts. All of this adds to the general chaos of Simon's life, as well as his deep urban angst. But we're too distracted to properly sympathise with him.
Continue reading: The Double Review
Simon is a timid, uncharismatic and largely forgettable man who doesn't seem to be getting anywhere in life. He is rarely acknowledge at work and is a stranger to all his colleagues, his mother is disappointed in his lacklustre life and to top it all off, the woman he loves, Hannah, remains firmly indifferent to his existence. With his future hanging in the balance as he fails to make an impression on anybody, his life is further thrust into oblivion with the arrival of his doppelganger and complete opposite, James - who is newly employed at Simon's work. Unlike Simon, James captivates everyone he meets and is destined for success - even Hannah has his attention as he rapidly takes over Simon's life. With everybody else totally ignorant of the creepy resemblance, Simon is forced to snatch his life back by any means possible.
Continue: The Double - Clip
The fun-filled trailer gives us a good look at those 'Boxtrolls'.
The trailer for the latest film to come from Laika, Phil Knight's Hillsboro animation studio, has hit the web. ‘Boxtrolls’ tells the story of a group of goblins that live underground, feeding off grubs and various bugs, and using boxes to appear greater than the sum of their parts.
He's not a boxtroll, but he sort of is, is Eggs
The trailer gives us a further look at the beautifully crafted, almost dickensian world that the talented guys at Laika have created. The fantastical setting is intriguing as soon as we see the cobbled roof tiles, and becomes even riper for exploring the further we go down, even below the street, where those adorable (yet thoroughly disgusting) Boxtrolls.
Continue reading: Hidden Below The Streets Are The 'Boxtrolls' [Trailer + Pictures]
The Boxtrolls are odd underground creatures that wear cardboard boxes as if they were shells. Shy and wary of the unforgiving world around them, they take to the streets at night to recycle rubbish from dustbins and store it in their homes below the streets of Cheesebridge; a town fixated with money and smelly cheese and who are less than welcoming to their sewer dwelling neighbours, who they believe to be enormous insidious menaces. That couldn't be further than the truth when it comes to the Boxtrolls; there is simply nothing menacing about them, so when they find themselves being pursued by a ruthless exterminator by the name of Archibald Snatcher, all they want to do is make sure they are well hidden. They have a protector, however, named Eggs - a young boy who the Boxtrolls adopted as a baby - and he's about to show them just how brave they can be in the face of danger.
Continue: The Boxtrolls Trailer
Simon is one of those sorts of people who can never seem to make an impression on anybody. His work colleagues barely know his name, his love interest Hannah remains stoically uninterested and his mother is unsupportive and, quite frankly, thinks he's rather strange. Already in danger of letting his life slowly slip from his grasp, things start to get dark when a new employee joins Simon at work. James is the spitting image of Simon in every way from the hair and clothes to the voice and smile; however, the very obvious difference is that James is brimming with confidence with a magnetic charisma that charms everyone he meets. Simon appears to be the only person who notices his resemblance - a frustrating prospect when Hannah starts to become extremely interested in James. Simon simply can't let this imposter infiltrate his world - but just how far will he go to stop him?
Continue: The Double Trailer
Simon is already running the risk of seeing his life crash and burn around him, with his reticent personality forcing away any love interests (or even friends), attracting much disappointment from his mother and losing him support in his career, but things are about to go further downhill very soon. A new employee named James has taken up a position at his workplace but, to Simon's horror, he looks and sounds identical to him - only with a more extroverted disposition and captivating character. Simon's too afraid to try and change things in his life, feeling comfortable (if a little depressed) with remaining in the shadows, but when James starts to take over everything he holds most dear, he is forced to try. But can he battle his demons while remaining sane at the same time?
Continue: The Double - 2 Snakes Clip