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MSN Movies Blog: The Big Picture

MSN Movies Blog: The Big Picture has written 44 posts for Periferica

Spidey 4: The Odds

· Robert Pattinson (Twilight) – 9/4

· Michael Cera (Superbad) – 11/4

· Zac Efron (High School Musical) – 6/1

· Taylor Lautner (Twilight) – 7/1

· Shia Labeouf (Transformers) – 8/1

· Jake Gyllenhaal – 8/1

· Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott) – 10/1

· James McEvoy (The Last King of Scotland) – 10/1

· Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) – 12/1

· All Next Spiderman Prices here – http://www.888sport.com/bet?action=go_oc_grp&type_id=5301&oc_grp_id=103402

Personally I might give Jake Gyllenhaal better odds, but otherwise I think these odds are about right, assuming they don’t bring on an unknown in the vein of Brandon Routh. Odds come courtesy of 888sport.com, where you can actually bet on these!

Fabulous new Sex And The City 2 Poster

Says it all really doesn’t it?

SATC 2 will be bigger, glitzier and glam beyond belief. From the box-office perspective, the original certainly wasn’t broke and they’re not fixing it.


Like the artwork? Check out more one-sheets in our rundown of the best movie posters of 2009.

What’s In The Box?

Guest blogger Jon Crocker

Special delivery! Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly’s new mystery thriller The Box is about, well, a mysterious box. What’s in the box? A red button. You push it: someone dies, you get a million dollars. Great idea. But boxes – and their secret contents – have been a long, lovely tradition over a century of movies. Often, they’re what Hitchcock called a “McGuffin”, just a meaningless ‘whatsit’ that drives the story forwards. But sometimes, their dark secrets hold the key to the entire film. So let’s round up cinema’s greatest What’s In The Box? movies. Warning: here be (some) spoilers…


1. Se7en

“What’s in the box??” howls Brad Pitt’s anguished detective. “What’s in the baaaaaahhhx???” Perhap the ultimate WITB? movie and an absolutely killer ending to David Fincher’s magnificent seven-sins thriller. As Morgan Freeman looks on helplessly, Kevin Spacey’s psychotic mastermind stares down Pitt’s gun barrel and delivers the horrific finishing move to his deadly game. Just before Pitt cracks, look out for the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it flash-cut to the contents of the brown cardboard box that’s just been delivered. Envy + wrath = harshness.

2. Raiders Of The Lost Ark

“Keep your eyes shut!!” As Indy and Marion squeeze their peepers, those foolish Nazis prise open the Ark of the Covenant – famed to grant unlimited power to the army who wields it –and all hell breaks loose. Literally. A beautiful white she-ghost wisps into the air… before immediately turning into a demon. Laser beams blast holes through the German soldiers. Nazi sadist Toht screams like a little girl. Then a plume of flame melts his face clean off. Then his head explodes. Lesson learned, yes?

3. Kiss Me Deadly

Greatest hardcore noir ever made and the daddy of classic WITB? movies. Attempting to discover who murdered a beautiful hitchhiker, private dick Mike Hammer unwittingly stumbles on a strange box containing what’s basically an atomic-bomb metaphor. At the terrifying climax, dumb brawd Gaby Rodgers finally lifts the lid and promptly erupts in flames. As a screaming, strobing apocalyptic force roars out of the box, the entire house explodes and sends Hammer and his other (non-flambeed) gal fleeing into the sea. The End. Ouch…

4. Pulp Fiction

Urban movie-myths don’t come much bigger than this baby. The hypnotic, glowing contents of the briefcase that slick-suited hitmen Jules and Vince are sent to retrieve in Tarantino’s movie are often said to be the soul of their boss Marcellus Wallace. Why? The combination code to the briefcase is 666 and the scar on Marcellus’ neck is where his soul was scooped out. Wrong, says QT: “It’s whatever the viewer wants it to be…” In reality? An orange light-bulb, actually.

5. Night Must Fall

One of the Coen brothers’ favourite movies. In fact, it’s Ethan Coen’s favourite movie of all time. No, we hadn’t heard of it either. “It’s got Albert Finney in it,” explains Coen. “A good movie. Best ever. He keeps an old lady’s head in a hat box.” Well, that’s basically the gist. This Brit ‘60s thriller sees Finney as a working-class psychopath who plays ‘funny games’ with a wealthy widow while sleeping with her daughter and maid. Naughty boy.

6. Barton Fink

Yes, it’s the Coens again. Shock-haired John Turturro is the ‘40s Jewish playwright suffering from mad-crazy writer’s block in a seedy hotel room. Someone leaves a cardboard box in his room. What’s in it? We’re not sure. But the flies seem to like it. And, this being a Coen movie, Turturro never plucks up the guts to open it. Smart move, we’re saying. Ever noticed how many times people in the movie talk about heads? Chances are, it’s not an early Christmas pressie.

7. Hellraiser

Sort of like a Rubrik’s Cube. Only not. This ornate puzzle box is actually the ‘Lament Configuration’ – a dimensional doorway to hell itself. Say hello to the Cenobites, a trio of S&M demons who sling a bunch of hooked chains into you that tear your flesh to ribbons. “You solved the box, we came,” drawls lead nasty Pinhead. “Now you must come with us, taste our pleasures.” Did we mention that the greatest pain is their greatest pleasure? Oh dear…

8. Mulholland Drive

David Lynch’s movie is like one big puzzle box. Things get seriously weird when Betty (Naomi Watts) discovers a strange blue box that matches a strange blue key owned by her friend Rita (Laura Haring). Rita turns her back for a second. And Betty has vanished. So Rita unlocks the box… opens it and… the room is empty. What’s in the box? The rest of Lynch’s mind-melting movie. Both Betty and Rita reappear as completely different characters. Go figure.

The Twilight Saga: Too Much Too Soon?

By guest blogger Lucy Mapstone

If you’re a die-hard fan of the Twilight Saga, you might be aware there was a fan party last night for the new film, New Moon, which included appearances from Robert Pattinson (for the sake of this blog, I’ll call him R-Patz), Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner and the director Chris Weitz. They sauntered along the red carpet, surrounded by hardcore fans (one came all the way over from Spain…) and got up on stage to answer questions from Radio One’s Nick Grimshaw.


Fans who managed to make it inside the event (including myself) were also treated to some live music from the bands, The Magic Numbers and Band of Skulls. It was a fine event, with red mood lighting and smoke-machines everywhere, just to add an appropriate vampire touch to the inside of the Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park, London.

The stars of New Moon were asked questions about the movie, and also about their personal lives. However, it was difficult for them to get a word in edgewise due to the thousand or so young girls screaming ‘TAYLOR WE LOVE YOU’ and ‘TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF’. One girl even shouted for R-Patz to go to bed with her.

As I sit here today, with a slight case of tinnitus (hearing teenage girls screaming for R-Patz and Taylor Lautner for three hours can have that affect) I can’t help but wonder if the whole Twilight ‘thing’ is becoming a little too much. Part of me wonders if it is snowballing too quickly. I can almost taste the backlash coming. New Moon, the second installment of the Twilight Saga, hasn’t even been released, but you wouldn’t be alone in thinking that it had. Never before has an impending movie release generated so much excitement from the female youth. Girls were wandering around the event in excited huddles, R-Patz and Taylor’s faces emblazoned across their T-shirts. Outside, on the red carpet, international fans were holding up posters, magazines and books to be signed by the three main cast members (who, by the way, admitted they would like some peace and quiet away from the Twilight madness. Can’t blame them really.)


Twilight is actually a decent film, and I’m not just saying that from a female/fan perspective. I can be objective here. It has a genuine atmosphere, a wonderful portrayal of teenage angst, fine actors and hot vampire action. However, if you are not part of the largely female fan-base, you will probably be put off ever watching it, or any of the sequels. It smacks of the Harry Potter phenomenon, where people avidly started to hate it just because it was so popular, and refused to watch it on that basis. It’s a real shame; the books are well-written for the particular audience, and the films are pure indulgence and a real pleasure to watch.

New Moon looks set to blow its predecessor out of the water, and yet while it may smash box office records next weekend (and I predict it will) there will be a substantial amount of critics and film-lovers who will slate it purely because of the immense popularity and hoards of girls who write fan-fiction and obsess over the possibility of a relationship with a vampire (or a werewolf, depending on what side you’re on.) ‘Fangs’ a lot fan-girls – you might have ruined the credibility of one of the greatest vampire movies of all time.

And your next Bond villain is…



Not really. But isn’t he perfect for it?! Sinister scowl, seven foot tall, hairy like a gorilla…?! Perfect. It’s not like his boxing career is taking off. The man has a future!

Real life Harry Browns – Pensioners fight back!

In Sir Michael Caine’s latest film he plays Harry Brown, a modest law-abiding citizen who lives alone on a depressed housing estate, he also happens to be an ex-marine. After the murder of his best friend he decides to take action and, in a bid to clean up the run-down estate where he lives, becomes a vigilante taking the law into his own hands.

To celebrate the release of Harry Brown, in cinemas 11th November, we’re going to look at some real life Harry Brown who, at a mature age, have still managed to dispense their own brand of justice.

What a choke:


Name: Mr Michalski

Age: 101

Mr Michalski was targeted by a thief who had befriended him and offered to help with some building work on his house. Whilst there he was caught trying to steal £300 from his wallet instead of fixing the roof. The thief, 54 years his junior was held in a bear hug until he could no longer breath and eventually gave up a fight .

"I was afraid I was going to suffocate him, so I let go. He was free. He ran down the steps and I wasn’t able to chase and he escaped."

Granny gives it some stick:


Name: Gwyneth Davies

Age: 86

Gwyneth Davies gave a burglar more than he bargained for. The 86-year-old attacked him with her metal crutch and held him prisoner until police arrived. The 20 year old was left whimpering and according to Gwyneth “pretended to cry.” She managed to take down the intruder even after recently suffering from broken ribs, a fractured hip and double pneumonia.

When police arrived at the scene they asked if she was OK, she replied: “You’re asking the wrong one.”

Granddad takes a gamble:


Name: Ron Kennedy

Age: 77

Ron Kennedy was in his local shop buying his lottery ticket when a thief attacked the shop assistant and tried to grab all the money out the till. The brave pensioner lifted his walking stick and gave the thief two whacks around the head. "I heard the lady screaming and saw him leaning over with his hands in the till. I went straight over and gave him two good wallops. Ron’s act of bravery was caught on CCT, unfortunately the thief managed to escape but, was later caught and then jailed for four years.

Brushed Off:


Name: Ann Withers

Age: 55

When two thugs tried to rob a local store in Weston Super Mare, 55 year Ann Withers decided she’d had enough. In an act of rage she got hold of a plastic broom, on sale in the shop, and fought off the thugs, one of which was carrying a hammer. ”I was livid because I’m the type of person who can’t stand people like that.”

Knife one Frank:


Name: Frank Corti

Age: 72

After a row over noise with his neighbour, Frank Corti was forced to defend himself. Gregory McCalium had been up all night drinking and decided to force his way into to Frank’s home. He then attacked Mr. Corti with a Knife, little did he know though that Mr.Corti was an ex boxer. He managed to dodge the blade and then hit McCalium twice in the face, in an effort to protect his wife and himself.

“I was scared when he first threw the knife, but most people would have acted in the same way.”

By Tom Botting

Movies: Graph-ed

The magic of the movies means little to some.

There’s a certain personality type out there, particularly on the internet, that enjoys taking works of art and turning them into cold hard numbers, graphs and diagrams. These are the people who count the number of f-words used in Scarface in order to produce a chart of the most profane movies.

But, meaningless as all this is, you have to admire their work sometimes.

Behold a graph showing characters in major movie franchises. The diagram charts exactly when certain characters spend are with each other, producing a “time map” of the film’s plot. This must have taken a long time to come up with!

Click the pic to check out the full-size chart… if you’re into this sort of thing…

Greengrass and Damon: You know it makes sense!

Stunning new Green Zone trailer today. MSN is th only place you’ll find it. The Bourne star/director duo of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass returns.

Halo fans get together

We need more interesting independent movies like this.

British Halo fans are clubbing together to make a movie!

Set in the halo universe, it’ll have a budget of £30,000 – peanuts for a sci-fi project – but the passion of the fans alone (you know – the ones queuing up outsiude stores when the games come out) might just see it become a masterpiece.

Of course, this isn’t THE HALO MOVIE, which will come out in a couple of years. But it’s fascinating to see what the power of fanhood can achieve.

It’s well worth keeping an eye on this site where the halo project’s progress will be charted.


Friends Reunited (And Others…)

Apologies for the blog-silence that’s occurred over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been away attempting to climb a mountain and I’ve been acclimatising gradually since getting back!

By way of an apology, I thought I’d round up some note-worthy news items that have occurred in my absence.

The Friends Movie is happening

As reported in The Daily Mail a couple of days ago, the Friends sextet have signed on the dotted line and will be making the oh-so-painfully-inevitable Friends movie. No doubt inspired by the astronomical success of the Sex And The City movie, Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and the other one will be in cinemas by 2011. A massive mistake? It sounds like it. Don’t forget the canned-laughter sitcom style of the movie will be tough to translate over to the big screen – a problem that SATC didn’t have. My other concern is why they’re doing it! It’ll obviously make a shed-load of cash but do they really need it?! Weren’t they all paid countless millions for the latter Friends series? Has Matt LeBlanc’s career gone THAT badly?

Oh well. It’s happening. I’ll have to learn to live with it!



A Thomas The Tank Engine Movie is coming!

I know I just criticised the Friends project for trying to jam a TV-only kind of format onto the big screen; and Thomas will be very different from the kids’ show I loved throughout my years as a tot, including a voice for the titular tank engine. But, seriously, how cool is this!?


Another inevitable adaptation: He-Man

When I was around 9, my parents decided to buy some chickens. My sisters and I were allowed to name one each. Mine, despite the fact that it was obviously female, was called He-Man! I did not care that it was a lady and I would not budge on the issue! The chicken was called He-Man for the entirety of its life and that was the way it was.

I feel this serves as a measure of my childhood love for He-Man. And I’m not alone. This one was only a matter of time. Sony have bought the rights. I’m thinking Dolph Lundgren might be a good outside shot for the title part!