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  1. The Best Fun Halloween Movies

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    Violence, gore and horror is not everybody’s cup of tea. Some people shriek at all the jump scares, cowering behind their blanket, only peeking out when they think the ghost has gone. However, even us scaredy-cats deserve to watch some fun Halloween films! These movies stray away from the terror and trepidation of a usual horror, and embrace the wacky, goofy, and completely eccentric parts of this spooky holiday instead!

     

    Cinebling Movie Review The Nightmare Before Christmas 

    The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

    Possibly one of the only movies that is both a Halloween and Christmas film at the same time – this animated adventure has all the usual spookiness we expect from a Tim Burton flick. Jack Skellington is the king of Halloween Town who uncovers the holiday of Christmas, and wants to celebrate it in his own, eerie way. Because it features a hybrid of holidays, The Nightmare Before Christmas is an acceptable film to watch all the way to the end of the year.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Practical Magic

    Practical Magic (1998)

    The perfect Halloween movie for a rom-com lover, Practical Magic is about sisterly bonds rather than spooky stories. Starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as sisters, who also happen to be witches. It’s not all double, double, toil and trouble – the sisters have to fight a family curse in order to fall in love. With Stevie Nicks headlining the soundtrack, Practical Magic has the cosiest autumnal atmosphere.


    Cinebling Movie Review Hotel Transylvania 

    Hotel Transylvania (2012)

    One of the best fun Halloween movies to watch if you’re in the company of children, Hotel Transylvania is an animated comedy film involving Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) and his teenage daughter (Selena Gomez) who run a hotel for monsters. That is until a bumbling human named Jonathan (Andy Samberg) accidentally stumbles upon this monstrous hotel, threatening to reveal this well-kept secret to the world. If this wasn’t enough for Drac, he also has to keep his daughter from falling in love with the human. Hotel Transylvania is a fun film for all ages, poking fun at many tropes and conventions of usual Halloween movies.


    Cinebling Movie Review Beetlejuice
     

    Beetlejuice (1988)

    A wacky, fantasy comedy that has cemented itself as a Halloween classic, Beetlejuice is another Tim Burton flick about a couple who have recently died and are tricked into releasing the dreaded Beetlejuice, played by Michael Keaton. Beetlejuice’s soundtrack also became a firm Halloween favourite after its release, with songs such as ‘Jump in the Line (Shake Senora)’ and ‘Day-o (Banana Boat Song)’ guaranteed to play at any Halloween party – with the dance moves to match!


     Cinebling Movie Review Young Frankenstein

    Young Frankenstein (1974)

    Young Frankenstein is guaranteed to make you howl with laughter, starring the brilliant Gene Wilder, it parodies famous horror films and turns their clichés upside down. The film centres on Wilder as the young Frankenstein, a descendant Mary Shelley’s famous protagonist, however he doesn’t learn from his ancestor’s mistakes. Shot entirely in black and white, Young Frankenstein has the atmosphere and ambience of a classic horror, but all the jokes too!

     
    Cinebling Movie Review Hocus Pocus

    Hocus Pocus (1993)

    This Disney cult classic is an amalgamation of fantasy, comedy and horror, but is suitable for the entire family. Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witches who have been resurrected on Halloween. Whilst the film didn’t make much of an impression in cinemas in 1993, this story of sorceresses became a Halloween cult classic after home video sales skyrocketed around October 31st each year. Now famed for its iconic outfits and glamorous malevolency, there might even be a Hocus Pocus sequel arriving on Disney+ in the future!


    Cinebling Movie Review Gremlins 

    Gremlins (1984)

    Gremlins, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, breathed life into a new genre of film. With parents unhappy about the amount of violence in each movie, Steven Spielberg suggested the answer of a ‘PG-13’ rating, which consequently created a new style of film aimed at teenagers. They were no longer resigned to ‘PG’ children’s films, longing for those ‘R’ rated flicks that they were too young to be allowed into. With just enough horror and violence for a 15-year-old, Gremlins is perfect for this list of Halloween films that aren’t too scary!  

     

    Let us know in the comments what your favourite fun Halloween film is!



    Caitlin Hall is a freelance writer who is currently studying for an English Literature degree at the University of York. A film enthusiast whose favourite film is Zodiac (2007), primarily because she loves Jake Gyllenhaal. More of her reviews can be found at https://caitsfilms.wordpress.com and her twitter account is @caitonfilm.

     Caitlin Hall Movie Reviewer Cinebling

  2. Welcome to the Family!

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    I wrote a blog post back in March about how being locked down in 2020 seemed kinda “basic”. That was partly because I’d been expecting hoverboards from 2015 (as Back To The Future promised!) so I had even higher hopes for 2020.

     

    I do think that it was the right thing to do, given the limited knowledge about the virus, and unfortunately, I think there’s still a long way to go before we’re free of it.

    Crying Emoji 

    The point of the blog back then was that even if we were locked down and isolated, at least we had cinema to keep us company. Yes, it’s not *quite* the same, but it’s a pretty great second. We can escape our lives for a few hours by watching a movie, and we can feel part of an online community as we share our thoughts on it afterwards.

     

    As well as watching movies, I love to read. My Dad is a huge reader, and I followed in his footsteps and read a ridiculous amount as a child. My Dad definitely reads more than I do these days, but I do make sure I fit a book in between movies.

     Buying In Book

    My latest book is Buying In, by Rob Walker. Buying In explores brands, how we connect with them, and why we buy from them. Maybe not as interesting to most people as a good novel, but as a small business owner, it’s something that intrigued me.

     

    I’ve only got a few chapters in, but some of what Rob said in the book got me thinking. Rob gives some great examples, but says that we buy from brands for two conflicting reasons.

    1. We want to express our individuality
    2. We want to feel like we belong

     

    Makes no sense, right?

     

    …well, not really.

     

    Humans have lived in communities for millions of years – we all want to belong. There’s safety in numbers, social benefits, skills available that we don’t possess… But that doesn’t mean we’re the same as everyone else. Conflict? It makes complete sense to me.

     Family

    But then, I’m a middle child: Not the oldest, not the youngest. Not the first girl, not the first boy. The middle one. I like to think that I argued with my brother and sister in equal measure when we were growing up (although I have a pretty great relationship with both of them now). We always made up. Why? Because we’re family. I belong to my family, and they belong to me.

     

    Like everyone, my siblings and I are our own people. We like some of the same stuff, other times we will wrinkle our faces and express our confusion at why our sibling is doing something crazy (this is me when anyone eats peanut butter).

     Peanut Butter

    Cinema is the same. We go and sit in the dark with strangers because that makes us feel like we belong. But we interpret and experience the film as individuals, through our own unique filters. We form our opinions of the magical moving pictures in front of us all on our own.

     

    We talk about movies and our taste in movies as individuals, but we talk to a community, that we belong to.

     

    Back in the olden times, before COVID-19, I used to sell jewellery at different stalls. Some were more craft/artisan focussed, some were more movie focussed. One of my favourite things about that was asking people “what’s your favourite movie?” and seeing their reaction. A lot of the time, it was similar to mine – “I have to pick just one?” but sometimes people would know exactly what their favourite was. Even then, their answers could surprise me. They could often give me a few solid reasons as to why their favourite movie was The Greatest Movie Of All Time.

     

    As long as we keep respecting each other’s opinions and talking about what makes our choice of movie great, we’ll have a fantastic community. We’ll be individuals and we’ll be part of something bigger than ourselves.

     

    Welcome to the family!

     

    The Cinema Family

  3. The Spookiest Film Set Curses

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    While there is a plethora of superstitions about the theatre stage, such as lighting a trio of candles whilst saying Macbeth, which will probably result in a painful death – or perhaps just a bad performance, film set superstitions are less common. Possibly because there is less chance for irreversible doom on a film set, as opposed to a live, judging audience, or maybe actors and film crews are just less gullible. That being said, there are certain films with strange occurrences and weird incidents that leave people to believe that these films might just be cursed!

     Cinebling Movie Review The Wizard of Oz

    The Wizard of Oz (1939)

    This fantasy musical that has shaped all of our collective childhoods is hiding some dark and twisted secrets beneath the yellow brick road. The makeup used on many actors was actually poisonous; The Tin Man’s aluminium paint hospitalised the first actor, Buddy Ebsen, nearly killing him, meaning the studio instead cast Jack Haley, who still suffered an eye infection because of the aluminium paste. The Wicked Witch of the West’s copper makeup also burned her face – the crew had to rush to wash off the burning makeup before it gave her a more severe injury! If you thought that was bad, many of the Flying Monkeys also were injured, the wires holding them up often snapping, as well as a stunt broom exploding, hospitalising the actor riding it. It wasn’t just the human actors that got hurt – someone even accidentally stepped on Toto! One explanation for this apparent curse could be that many of these stunts had not been tested before; clearly the majority of them were quite unsafe.

     Cinebling Movie Review Apocalypse Now

    Apocalypse Now (1979)

    With multiple different failings leading to expensive production costs, Apocalypse Now is said to be cursed. Deciding to film in the Philippines, which was plagued by bad weather and an uncooperative government, filming was a disaster the entire way through. Martin Sheen had a heart attack and Francis Ford Coppola, who had spent a lot of his own money on this sinking production, is reported to have suffered with suicidal thoughts. Despite its chaotic production, Apocalypse Now is regarded as a masterpiece in modern cinema, despite the gruelling work took to make it.

     Cinebling Movie Review The Crow

    The Crow (1994)

    Whilst the events surrounding The Crow are more of a fatal error than a curse, they are still devastatingly tragic. Protagonist Eric Draven was played by Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, who was fatally shot whilst performing a scene, only a few days before they were set to finish filming. In the scene, the prop gun was supposed to be firing a blank, however the dummy round had not been removed. Brandon was taken to hospital where he later died during surgery. To make his death even more tragic, Lee was set to marry his fiancé, Eliza Hutton, in just a few weeks.

     Cinebling Movie Review The Passion of the Christ

    The Passion of the Christ (2004)

    With a film as controversial as The Passion of the Christ, it might not be surprising that there are rumours that this film is cursed, as Mel Gibson and his controversies are far from the most explosive thing about this film. Not just one, but two people on set of The Passion of the Christ were struck by lightning. The first was Jesus, actor Jim Caviezel, who also dislocated his shoulder whilst carrying the heavy crucifix, got hypothermia and nearly died, and even got flogged by accident, leaving him with a scar on his back. The second person to be struck by lightning on set was assistant director, Jon Mikalini, which was the second time he had been struck by lightning in his life. Unlucky, right!

     

    Atuk

    The script of Atuk was so cursed that it was never even made! Adapted from a novel, director Norman Jewison wanted John Belushi to play the lead role, who expressed an interest after reading the script. However, a few months later, he was found dead in his hotel room. Four years later, Atuk seemed set to be made, again, with Sam Kinison to play the lead. But, unhappy with the studio’s involvement, Kinison filed a lawsuit, and unfortunately died during these negotiations in a car crash. A decade after the initial production, in 1994, John Candy was approached to be the lead, however he died of a heart attack the same year. The final invite for the lead role went to Chris Farley, who was also immediately interested, but died a few months after reading the script. Whether it was because they believed the curse of the film script, or because they didn’t want to bother with the hassle of finding an actor for the lead role again, Atuk sits untouched for the next brave (or stupid) person to try and revive it.

     

    Let us know in the comments any other film set curses you have heard of!

     

    Caitlin Hall is a freelance writer who is currently studying for an English Literature degree at the University of York. A film enthusiast whose favourite film is Zodiac (2007), primarily because she loves Jake Gyllenhaal. More of her reviews can be found at https://caitsfilms.wordpress.com and her twitter account is @caitonfilm.

     

    Caitlin Hall Movie Reviewer Cinebling

  4. The Best Autumnal Movies

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    As the weather turns colder and the leaves begin to fall, the only thing any film lover wants to do is get snug and comfortable at home and watch some cosy autumnal movies! From warm, heart-warming tales that make you excited for when the leaves turn brown and start to fall, to scary stories that will make you scared to open the curtains at night, there are a huge variety of films and genres that perfectly sum up the feeling of autumn.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone    Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

    Whilst the entire Harry Potter franchise elicits an autumnal aura, the film where we first experience this world of wizardry is particularly cosy and wonderful. From trolls in the dungeon on Halloween, to a magical Christmas feast, and viewer can really get into the spirit of autumn against the backdrop of Hogwarts, in the snowy Scottish Highlands.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Dead Poets Society    Dead Poets Society (1989)

    Starring the wonderful Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society is an incredibly heart-warming tale of a group of boys at an elite boarding school who fall in love with literature after being inspired by their dedicated teacher. Set during autumn in the late 1950s, this award-winning film is bound to make you cry and smile; it is a touching depiction of the fall season in Vermont.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Clue    Clue (1985)

    This black comedy murder mystery movie is a perfect watch in the run up to Halloween. Clue mocks all the usual clichéd tropes and conventions of the mystery genre, and you can’t help but love its brilliant ensemble cast. This film will immediately make you want to play a game of Cluedo on a stormy autumn night!

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Little Women 2019    Little Women (2019)

    Little Women is one of the cosiest films you’ll ever watch! Directed by Greta Gerwig and featuring an all-star cast, including Saorise Ronan, Emma Watson, Meryl Streep and Laura Dern, Little Women is, at heart, a coming-of-age film surrounding the lives of four sisters, against a beautiful autumn backdrop over many years. No other film will have you wishing for snow as much as Little Women will!

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Fantastic Mr Fox    Fantastic Mr Fox (2009)

    If you aren’t already enticed in by the idea of George Clooney voice acting as a charming, suave fox, then perhaps the delightful, whimsical stop-motion animation style of Wes Anderson will be what really seals the deal. Fantastic Mr Fox is a wonderful movie for an audience of any age, with its warm colour palette igniting an autumnal aura throughout the entire film.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Matilda    Matilda (1996)

    Nothing screams autumn like some unexplained magical occurrences, and Matilda is just the film for that! From cackling at Danny DeVito’s misfortunes as Harry Wormwood, to cowering in fear at Pam Farris as the dreaded Miss Trunchball and falling in love with Embeth Davidtz as the kind Miss Honey, Matilda offers an entire cast of unforgettable characters.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Knives OUt    Knives Out (2019)

    Director Rian Johnson takes a unique spin on the murder mystery ‘whodunit’ trope, making Knives Out an incredibly refreshing film in an overcrowded genre. Starring Daniel Craig as the mysterious detective Benoit Blanc,is another movie acclaimed for its brilliant ensemble cast. Perhaps the best thing about Knives Out is the variety of sweaters worn throughout, with many articles written after the film’s release about how great Chris Evans looks in a knitted sweater.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Corpse Bride    Corpse Bride (2005)

    No autumnal movie list is complete without a classic Tim Burton gothic horror. Similar to Fantastic Mr Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride is also a stop-motion animated fantasy, but with more of a spooky edge. Starring the King and Queen of spooky flicks – Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, Corpse Bride is an iconic addition to Tim Burton’s spine-chilling filmography.

     

    Let us know in the comments what your favourite autumnal movie is!

     

    Caitlin Hall Movie Reviewer Cinebling

     

     

    Caitlin Hall is a freelance writer who is currently studying for an English Literature degree at the University of York. A film enthusiast whose favourite film is Zodiac (2007), primarily because she loves Jake Gyllenhaal. More of her reviews can be found at https://caitsfilms.wordpress.com and her twitter account is @caitonfilm.

  5. The New Mutants

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    Cinebling Movie Review The New Mutants

     

    WARNING: This reviewer is not a consumer of comic books. Any inconsistencies with the comics will not be addressed here. It only reflects the film as a standalone work.

    I’d expect that when The New Mutants first got ‘stuck in development hell’ no one would ever have expected that the movie would end up being released during a global pandemic (which puts me in mind of Monty Python and Sliding Doors – “Nobody expects the coronavirus!” Anyway…) Originally slated for release in April 2018, it has survived reshoots, mergers, script changes to accommodate studios and other films from the same story world being released.

    So, what is it about? Well, it ‘does what it says on the tin’ which is deal with five mutants who are coming to grips with their newly-manifested powers. As with the Spider-Man films, a mutation that manifests during puberty is an excellent allegory for how teenagers feel. Everything is changing, and they’re trying to find their place in the world.

    However, the place that the New Mutants end up is a place not fit for anyone to inhabit for too long, and while there is time spent exploring themselves, the New Mutants wise up to this quickly enough. The filmmakers described the film as ‘a haunted-house movie with a bunch of hormonal teenagers’, and while that certainly covers a lot of ground, there is also a second sinister force at play, which is not paranormal in any way.

    The filming location was a psychiatric hospital that was over 150 years old, which hadn’t been used for around 50 years. The cast and crew have hinted at strange goings on. While I couldn’t say I felt that the film was a horror, there was definitely enough of a sinister atmosphere to provide an edge.

    A criticism levelled at the film is that it’s quite insular for a superhero movie. However, I felt like that was the whole point of the movie – the teenagers have been extracted from the world to allow them to investigate themselves before they face the world. That’s certainly something I would have snapped up when I was a teenager! The movie works through fears, traumas and anxieties, while also managing to deal with wider threats.

    Interestingly, what stuck with me was the isolated nature of the movie, and perhaps that’s one reason it’s not being appreciated so much – we’ve all had enough of lockdown. I found it quite appropriate for 2020 that the main characters were confined due to forces beyond their control. This is effectively teenage mutants in lockdown, and gosh, I hope no one outside this movie has had to deal with this level of carnage!

    Each Mutant has a very different power. Although it has been criticised, I love the idea that a teenager that suddenly discovers they can fly isn’t then instantly amazing at it. Ironically, I think the people saying how bad that is are probably the same people that would complain if someone picked up a musical instrument and could instantly play at an excellent standard. (That’s movie magic for you!).

    The film retains some genuine X-Men touches, not least the fact that it is the last film to list Stan Lee as Executive Producer. It’s a good popcorn movie for a Saturday night, and at a mere 94 minutes your bottom will thank you that it didn’t fall asleep!

    Overall Rating: Not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely worth a look!

    Check it out on IMDB here.