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  1. Best Original Songs in Films

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    There are certain movies that are made infinitely better by their fantastic soundtrack. The Academy Awards even introduced a category for this very reason in 1934, and we have been serenaded by brilliant musical scores ever since. Here are six iconic movies, and their most famous songs; each are fine independently, but work impeccably together.


    Cinebling Movie Review The Graduate
     

    The Graduate (1967) – Mrs Robinson

    Written by Paul Simon and performed by American folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, “Mrs Robinson” was one of a number of Simon & Garfunkel songs that featured on the soundtrack for The Graduate. It is said that Simon had been working on a song called ‘Mrs Roosevelt’, but it had never gone anywhere. So, when asked to write another song for the movie, he changed Roosevelt to Robinson and the rest is history! The song features as no. 6 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years… 100 Songs list.


    Cinebling Movie Review Rocky III
     

    Rocky III (1982) – Eye of the Tiger

    The perfect song to throw some punches to, it’s no surprise that Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” was written for a film in the Rocky franchise. Sylvester Stallone wanted Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” in the movie, but unable to acquire the rights to use it, he had to figure something else out. So, Stallone went to a rather unknown rock band at the time, Survivor, and asked them to make something similar, and “Eye of the Tiger” was born. It ended up spending six weeks at the top of the Billboard Top 100 chart.


    Cinebling Movie Review Titanic
     

    Titanic (1997) – My Heart Will Go On

    Despite being such an iconic song in the world of cinema, it initially seems as though no one wanted this song to be made! The music was composed by James Horner, originally meant to be used during an instrumental. When adding vocals, although director James Cameron did not want such a song within the film, and only conceded because he thought he should have a theme song. Celine Dion did not want to sing it, as she had already appeared on the soundtrack of Beauty and the Beast. Luckily, all parties were convinced in the end, as the song, as well as the film, ended up being a massive hit, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy for Record of the Year.


    Cinebling Movie Review Saturday Night Fever
     

    Saturday Night Fever (1977) – Stayin’ Alive

    The entire soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever is pure disco heaven (or hell for some), but “Stayin’ Alive” is one of the most iconic hits from the seventies. This was the second of what was to become six consecutive number-one singles for the Bee Gees. Perhaps something the Bee Gees did not anticipate was the song’s use in medical training, providing the perfect rhythm for chest compressions per minute during CPR.


    Cinebling Movie Review The Lion King
     

    The Lion King (1994) – Can You Feel the Love Tonight

    1995 was a great year for Elton John, as he won a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It perfectly fits this Hamlet-inspired animal family drama, one of Disney’s most famous animated movies, The Lion King. Elton John also composed “Circle of Life”, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata” for the film.


    Cinebling Movie Review The Breakfast Club
     

    The Breakfast Club (1985) – Don’t You (Forget About Me)

    One of the most iconic songs of the eighties, the song was written by the composers of The Breakfast Club, as they were both fans of the band Simple Minds, who rejected the song initially. When they eventually conceded, they believed it wouldn’t go anywhere, and the movie would flop. Of course, they were wrong, and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” ended up as one of Simple Minds’ most popular songs, and The Breakfast Club as an instant teen classic.

     

    Let us know in the comments what your favourite original song from a 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. Favourite Films Set in Winter

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    As we approach the cold winter months, there is nothing better to do than to sit inside and watch a movie, staying cosy as you watch the snow fall outside. Of course, if this during a time of local or national lockdown, you may not have a choice in the matter. Plus, if you are someone who refuses to watch Christmas movies until well into December, these general winter-themed films are a perfect in between.  



    Cinebling Movie Review Fargo 


    Fargo (1996)

    Fargo is a parody crime drama in true Coen Brothers fashion, starring Frances McDormand. In the cold Minnesota winter, Jerry Lundegard has landed in a spot of financial trouble, and he hires two criminals to kidnap his wife so her rich father pays the ransom. However, as with all Coen Brothers’ films, things don’t go according to plan. Three people turn up dead and pregnant police office, Marge Gunderson, is on the case. Nearly every scene in this film is covered in blankets of snow, making it fantastic to watch in the dead of winter.


    Cinebling Movie Review I Tonya
     

    I, Tonya (2017)

    Starring Margot Robbie as the infamous Tonya Harding, it details the story leading up to the attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, and what happened after. Whether you know anything about figure skating or not, I, Tonya is a fascinating watch. Because it revolves around the Winter Olympics, this Academy Award nominated picture is a brilliant end of the year watch.


    Cinebling Movie Review The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe
     

    The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

    This fantasy series helped shape a lot of our collective childhoods, whether you watched the movies or read the books. However, the image of Tilda Swinton as the frightful White Witch is what sticks in our mind when we think of a film relating to winter. Set during WWII, The Chronicles of Narnia is a great movie to watch with family as the colder months start to arrive.


    Cinebling Movie Review The Shining

     

    The Shining (1980)

    This Stanley Kubrick flick is not one for the faint-hearted – especially if you’re living in an isolated hotel! Starring Jack Nicholson, in one of his most iconic roles, as an off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel, cut off from the rest of society in the cold, snowy Rocky Mountains. Of course, strange occurrences manifest in the hotel, leading to the famous scenes of the spooky twins, and Jack Torrance swinging an axe and shouting, “Here’s Johnny!”


    Cinebling Movie Review Groundhog Day
     

    Groundhog Day (1993)

    Groundhog Day might not be the best film to watch during lockdown, especially if you feel as though you’re living the same day over again. On the other hand, this Harold Ramis film is a perfect wintery comedy, with Bill Murray getting caught in a blizzard day, after day, after day. You might not want to listen to Sonny & Cher’s ‘I Got You Babe’ ever again after watching this film, but that’s up to you.


    Cinebling Movie Review Trading Places
     

    Trading Places (1983)

    Starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, who come from very different parts of society, but end up somehow trading places with each other. Despite being set during Christmas and New Year, Trading Places is not particularly a festive film, but rather a wacky comedy to cheer up anyone experiencing the winter blues. Said to have rekindle Hollywood’s love for the screwball comedy, Trading Places kickstarted many of the main cast’s acting careers, as well as highlighting the comedic talents of Eddie Murphy.


    Cinebling Movie Review Bridget Jones Diary
     

    Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

    A cult film for any British single lady, Bridget Jones has become one of the nation’s favourite fictional icons, spawning another two films where we follow this sarcastic, hopeless romantic of a protagonist. Bridget Jones’s Diary may have even popularised the ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ trend, owing to Mark Darcy’s green monstrosity with a massive reindeer on the front. Although, perhaps the most memorable scene is Bridget running through the snowy streets of London with bare legs – we don’t think we’ll be imitating her this winter.

     

    Leave us a comment letting us know what your favourite wintery film 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.

  3. Awesome Movies with Plot Twists

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    This feels a slightly strange blog to write, as I don't do spoilers, so it's more a list of movies with plot twists that I highly recommend you watch.

    I've added the logline and genre from IMDB to give you a little bit of an idea of what it's about, but, as ever, no spoilers!

    Let me know what you think and if you've seen any of these!

    Awesome movies with plot twists (in alphabetical order)

    Cinebling Movie Review Arrival

    Arrival (2016)
    Drama/Mystery/Sci-fi

    A linguist works with the military to communicate with alien lifeforms after twelve mysterious spacecrafts appear around the world.

    Cinebling Movie Review Black Swan

    Black Swan (2011)
    Drama/Thriller

    A committed dancer struggles to maintain her sanity after winning the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake".

    Cinebling Movie Review Les Diaboliques

    Les Diaboliques (1955)
    Crime/Drama/Horror

    The wife and mistress of a loathed school principal plan to murder him with what they believe is the perfect alibi.

    Cinebling Movie Review Fight Club

    Fight Club (1999)
    Drama

    An insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soapmaker form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.

    Cinebling Movie Review Memento

    Memento (2000)
    Mystery/Thriller

    A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife's murderer.

    Cinebling Movie Review The Others

    The Others (2001)
    Horror/Mystery/Thriller

    A woman who lives in her darkened old family house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that the home is haunted.

    Cinebling Movie Review Oldboy

    Oldboy (2004)
    Action/Drama/Mystery

    After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

    Cinebling Movie Review Soylent Green

    Soylent Green (1973)
    Crime/Mystery/Sci-Fi

    In the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a big company CEO.

    Cinebling Movie Review Shutter Island

    Shutter Island (2010)
    Mystery/Thriller

    In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.

    Cinebling Movie Review The Usual Suspects

    The Usual Suspects (1995)
    Crime/Mystery/Thriller

    A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.

  4. The Best Netflix Originals

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    With the Covid-19 pandemic still going on indefinitely, and cinemas across the globe seemingly shut for the foreseeable future, film fans have had to discover new releases elsewhere. Luckily, with the rise of streaming services in the past decade, we don’t have to leave our homes in order to satiate our movie needs. Here are a few of Netflix’s own releases, with films from different genres, to keep us entertained until movie theatres open once again.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Marriage Story

    Marriage Story
    (2019) – Drama

    Starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story follows the breakdown of a marriage, having to find a way to settle their divorce across the country, as well as caring for their son. This Noah Baumbach directed film was dominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Outlaw King

    Outlaw King
    (2018) – Historical

    For any history lover, Outlaw King is the film for them, and for any lover of Scotland, Outlaw King is also the film for them. Chris Pine is Robert the Bruce, Scottish King who rises against the rule of English King Edward I, and leads Scotland in their First War of Scottish Independence.

    For anyone with an interest in more recent history, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is one of Netflix’s newest releases, and was set to have a traditional theatrical release, but was sold to the streaming service due to the ongoing pandemic. During the 1968 riots at the Democratic National Convention, the film follows the trial of a group of anti-war protesters who have been charged with starting the riots.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Bright

    Bright (2017) – Action 

    Starring Will Smith, as LAPD officer Daryl Ward, Bright is an urban fantasy action film where humans live alongside other creatures, such as orcs and elves. Magic even exists in this world, although illegal, and Daryl has to protect a magic wand from evil creatures, aided by his partner – the first ever orc officer. Bright is Netflix’s own amalgamation of Bad Boys and The Lord of the Rings and would be an easy watch for anyone looking for some action in their day.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Bird Box

    Bird Box
    (2018) – Horror

    Bird Box was the film everybody was talking about when it started streaming on Netflix in 2018. Starring Sandra Bullock as the non-maternal and self-centred Malorie, who has to protect two children against something evil. Killing anything that looks at the creature, Malorie and these children have to traverse the world blindfolded, untrusting of anyone who crosses their path. Bird Box will leave you perched at the end of your seat, and possibly afraid to look out of the window for a few days.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review To All The Boys

    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
    (2018) – Romance

    To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a teen romance film, based on the novel of the same name by Jenny Han. It was the movie that introduced many teen girls to their newest heartthrob – Noah Centineo. It centres around teenager, Lara Jean, who enjoys writing love letters to all her past crushes. However, when these letters are sent out to their corresponding recipients, Lara gets much more than she bargained for. If you’re looking for a charming romance film that will brighten your day, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the one to watch! Another popular Netflix teen rom com is The Kissing Booth (2018).

     

    Cinebling Movie Review The Ballard of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
    (2018) – Western

    Buster Scruggs is western that is aware of itself, in the way that any film by the Coen brothers can be. Like many of their other films, it unites parody with comedy and violence, all while out in the Wild West. It features six separate stories and stars James Franco, Brendan Gleeson and Liam Neeson and will leave you glad that you never will have to meet a cowboy in your lifetime.

     

    Cinebling Movie Review Murder Mystery

    Murder Mystery
    (2019) – Comedy

    With a movie starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, you can probably guess what you’re getting yourself into. Crazy, wacky, silly, and a little bit preposterous, Murder Mystery is, you guessed it – a murder mystery! Sandler and Aniston play unassuming husband and wife, who bump into billionaire Charles Cavendish, and get invited on his family’s luxury yacht. All is not as it seems, when people suddenly start turning up dead, and the married couple have to avoid being suspected of murder.

     

    Leave us a comment letting us know your favourite Netflix release.

     

     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. Gunpowder, Treason and Me

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    Wondering if you have an excuse for watching so many horror movies now Halloween has passed? Don’t worry – I have the perfect excuse!

    Bonfire

    I like to think of Halloween and bonfire night a little bit like Christmas and New Years. You can still build up to Halloween, but just because you've eaten all the sweeties that doesn't mean that things are over!

    As proud as we Brits are of our country and it’s various historical sites, we also seem to like to blow them up on a pretty regular basis – at least in movies! (See list below).


    Many people know that I was born and raised in Yorkshire. You might also know that Guy Fawkes was also born and raised in Yorkshire.

    Don’t know who Guy Fawkes is? No worries, many people outside Yorkshire don’t.

    Before Halloween became so popular over here, we had Mischief Night.  I don’t really remember getting up to anything too mischievous, but my Dad used to tell us stories of his childhood in the 50s that involved firecrackers and bull roars. Bull roars were small fires that were lit under drainpipes, which were then sucked up the drainpipes, making an unearthly roar. Plastic drainpipes soon put an end to that prank!

    But back to Guy Fawkes – he was born in York back in 1570. He was raised in Yorkshire, but travelled fairly extensively for those times, serving in the Spanish army. While in the army, he met a fellow disgruntled English Catholic, and in 1604 he joined a small group who were plotting to kill King James. 

    King James was Protestant, and was also King James VI of Scotland, so his rule was already controversial. (The Church of England was still fairly new, having been established by King Henry VIII in 1534).

    The original plan was to dig a tunnel under the houses of parliament. Although it was on the same site as the current houses, it was an older building. The current houses weren’t finished until 1860.

    Back in the 1600s, the King was still very involved in running the country, and attended the houses of parliament to do so. (The first Prime Minister was established in the 1720s, and many powers were delegated at this time.) The plan was to dig a tunnel into the Houses of Parliament, and load gunpowder beneath, but they found that they could rent a basement was rented beneath the House of Lords - much more convenient! The gunpowder was installed there ready for the right time.

    Fawkes was found out on during the early hours of the 5th of November, and stayed loyal to his cause (something the King is said to have admired). He was hung and quartered, a gruesome end, which saw his body parts scattered across the country as a warning to others.

    King James decreed that the 5th of November should be a celebration that the plot was not successful. Supporters of the King lit bonfires to honour the King, and celebrate.

    The Yorkshire tradition is to create a ‘Guy’ and to then burn him on the bonfire, although this isn’t what happened. It is said that St Peters School, in York, have always refused to burn a Guy, as this is where Guy Fawkes was educated.

    For sometime, there used to be the ask of a 'penny for the Guy'. It's thought that this started in order to pay for the fireworks that would accompany the bonfire that night. Apparently a favourite prank on Mischief Night would be to light the next gang or villages bonfire a night early - cheeky!

    fireworks

    We also have the delicious tradition of Parkin – a cake made with oats and treacle - and bonfire toffee, which is thick treacle toffee. I don't know why these came to be associated with Bonfire Night, but they're so delicious I don't mind!


    As a rebellious middle child, and given the modern approach to politics and politicians, it may seem tempting to revive Guy’s plan, but it’s probably not a good idea (neither is joking about it, sorry Officer!). Although you wouldn’t meet Guy’s fate, you would end up at Her Majesty’s Pleasure – in prison, with no release date!

    As proof of how seriously this is still taken, when the King or Queen attends parliament now, the cellars beneath the Houses of Parliament are still searched to this very day. 

    Here are some suggestions for what to watch - but generally as long as there's an explosion or two, or a plot, or maybe something gruesome in memory of Guy Fawkes, I think you're good!

     

    Bonfire Night – recommended Films:

     

    • V for Vendetta
    • The Wicker Man

     

    Films with great fireworks in:

     

    • Adventureland
    • LotR: The Fellowship of the Ring
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    • The Great Gatsby
    • Revenge of the Pink Panther

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Films that destroy London:

     

    • The Mummy
    • Thor: The Dark World
    • Skyfall
    • London Has Fallen

     

    What are you going to be watching this bonfire night?