10 Great Modern Films Shot in Academy Ratio / BFI

With his quixotic adventure film Jauja, starring Viggo Mortensen, Lisandro Alonso is the latest filmmaker to ditch the conventional wide-screen format in order to resurrect the squarer ‘Academy’ ratio of earlier times. He’s in good company…

Martin Scorsese’s deft, tautological epithet, “cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out”, typically orbits discussions of subject matter or setting, camera placement or lighting. What’s perhaps considered less of a variable are the actual dimensions of the image: its aspect ratio, or ratio of the width of an image to its height.

Cinema’s early days were straightforward. A 35mm celluloid frame was four perforations high, creating an industry standard ratio of 4:3, or 1:1.33, often shortened to 1:33. When synchronised sound arrived in 1929, dimensions expanded slightly to allow for the optical soundtrack strip, creating a 1:37 aspect ratio. Both of these were folded into one official image size, known as the Academy ratio. Read more

Bruno Wizard: The Lone Star / Dazed & Confused

With his life on film and his work in Selfridges, the fiercely independent punk artist and iconoclast tells us why he’s still not selling out

Text Leigh Singer
Photography Anna Stokland

If you’re one of the select few who know Bruno Wizard, chances are you’d call him a punk. You might remember hearing him back in the movement’s 1970s heyday, fronting bands The Rejects and later The Homosexuals in London’s first official punk venue, The Roxy, in support of bands like The Damned, Wire and X-Ray Spex: the anarchic lyrics, clattering three-chord riffs and performances that made up in sheer visceral energy what they lacked in musicianship.

If you really know Bruno Wizard, though, you’d know “punk” is a label he has consciously rejected almost from the outset. “I felt I’d already had my revolution hijacked in the 60s by the establishment having control of the means of production, distribution and media,” he says. “It took about four years to happen to my generation. So when punk came around, they had learned from the last time and what I call ‘establishment punk’ got co-opted after, what, six months? I was outside of that.” Read more

10 Great Comedies of the 21st Century

10 Great Comedies of the 21st Century

As the LOCO London Comedy Film Festival rolls in to blow away the January blues once again, we decided it was time to take stock of some of the 21st century’s finest, funniest achievements in film comedy.

Let’s face it, in dark, dreary January, everyone needs a good laugh. LOCO, the London Comedy Film Festival now in its fourth year, was specifically designed to combat the winter blues, serving up an array of new and classic shorts and features across the capital. Along with its world premieres, and the opening night UK premiere of Lost in Karastan, this year’s LOCO theme is social class – a smart choice in a general election year – which means the likes of vintage Ealing comedies Passport to Pimlico (1949) and Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) and more modern classics such as Local Hero (1983) and Life Is Sweet (1990) back on the big screen.

And LOCO isn’t just about watching movies; it plays an active role in providing training and ideas for funding for the next generation of comic filmmakers. Its highly popular Kickstart Your Comedy Career course at BFI Southbank offers a great way to motivate and connect people – just the way the best comedies do. Read more

Vocal Heroes: The 25 Best Voice Only Movie Performances / IGN

Among all the raves for Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s been a lot of love for an actor we don’t even see: Bradley Cooper, voice of scene-stealing mutant raccoon Rocket (Vin Diesel’s Groot is great too, but he does utter only four words). Casting is key in all movie roles. And for non-physical parts, relying solely on the actor’s voice to convey everything they can offer the character, maybe even more so. Even a thesp as great as Colin Firth recently got replaced as the voice of Paddington in the upcoming film by new Bond ‘Q’ Ben Whishaw, when the filmmakers realised Firth sounded “too mature” for a young Peruvian bear who ends up in London (curiously arriving with a cut-glass English accent to boot). Read more

Expendables 3: Introducing the Young Guns

“Our stories by and large have been pretty much told. So now we have to branch out and investigate other people’s lives. There’s only so many times you can go to that well and you’re like, ‘I’m sick of the taste of this water. Give me something fresh. A new spring.’”

Woah. When Sylvester Stallone, star of six Rocky movies and four Rambos tells you it might be time to start a movie series over, you listen carefully. Is Stallone seriously considering retiring himself and his aging action cohorts from their very own franchise? Even the latest Expendables 3 ‘Roll Call’ trailer tags it as ‘One Last Ride’. Time to say goodbye to Arnie and Sly? Read more

Stallone Wants Nicholson and Eastwood for the Expendables

When The Expendables 3 cast additions were announced, they were mighty impressive: Ford (Han Solo/Indiana Jones), Gibson (Mad Max/Braveheart), Banderas (Desperado/Zorro) et al. All guys with a proven action track record and therefore kind of obvious, if total fantasy, candidates to sign up.

But what if along with these stars, you’d had Jack Nicholson? Read more

The Expendables 3 Set Visit

Interviewing movie stars is, by and large, not that intimidating. Micro-managed one-on-ones in plush surroundings, the talent slickly styled and on their best behaviour. Faced with neverending conveyor belts of press, it’s the actors who might get jittery.

Sitting three feet across from Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Antonio Banderas and Randy Couture, fresh off the set in full combat gear, all staring impassively as you formulate a question is another deal altogether.

“You’re lucky to be in this room,” Stallone growls at IGN. “You’re in the presence of greatness, kid.” These are The Expendables. You’re merely, well, expendable. Small ‘e’. Read more

Fast and Furious: The Joy of Six

“Anything that reaches a sixth version,” declares actor Luke Evans on the set of the new Fast & Furious instalment, “has to be doing something right.” Hmm. Really? Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country? Decent, but hardly bold new Trekkie territory. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare? Only for fans mourning Elm Street’s depreciation. Police Academy, Halloween, Saw… 6, 6, 6 – truly the number of the beast. Read more

The Greatest Movie Star Comebacks

Well, he did say, “I’ll be baaack.” After a decade or so running California (into the ground, critics might say), Arnold Schwarzenegger has re-traded politics for the real snake pit of cynical PR and double-dealing, the movie business. Ahead of ‘The Governator’s return in new action flick The Last Stand, we train the IGN telescope on the best – and worst – attempts of once-bright stars to shine again. Read more

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