* Prices may differ from that shown
First of all we should congratulate the North Koreans for keeping Seth Rogen out of our multiplexes. Nothing more irritating than the boorish bubble-permed slob doing fart and knob jokes all movie. But Sony Pictures woes aside it’s been another year of safe big budget comic book earners that has dominated the multiplexes.
It’s not been the best year on film for me and the loss of Blockbusters the Christmas before last has really curtailed my choice of movies and the quality and freshness I get to see. So this year the films I enjoyed the most are going to look dated so apologies for that. Hopefully I come up with something you haven’t seen and might want to check out. Now I have the new smart TV that scope change and I’m looking at going on demand. But apart from that it’s Film4 and the local library for rentals to feed my list.
It’s been another year dominated by the big comicbook blockbusters as studios increasingly put all their eggs in one basket and hope to make $500 million back from a $200 million action movie than risk making that $500 million from twenty different movies over the year. China and Asia are the target markets now and so big action movies in 3D are the way forward for studio heads wanting to keep their jobs and curtail pirating, the reason why there are so many 3D movies out there, and we have to pay that 3D Movie premier now. Here are the top 10 grosses of the year so far, a predicable list of comic book, Sci-Fi and Fantasy movies.
===The Top 10 World wide grosses of 2014===
1 Transformers: Age of Extinction --- $1,087.4 Million
2 Guardians of the Galaxy --- $772.5
3 Maleficent --- $757.8
4 X-Men: Days of Future Past --- $746.0
5 Captain America: The Winter Soldier --- $714.1
6 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 --- $709.0
7 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes --- $708.3
8 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1--- $674.3
9 Interstellar --- $649
10 How to Train Your Dragon 2 --- $618
The most pirated films of the year are more Oscar orientated in recent years as recession and the closure of Blockbusters had people from all walks of life illegally downloading. Once you have done it once and know one tells you off, or your internet isn’t slowed down because of, you keep doing it, a huge problem for the industry. I never steal as I know good film simply won’t be made in the future if we don’t put cash in the till. Some films I have watched this year I wish I hadn’t of paid for though but that’s movie watching for you. A phenomenon we are seeing now is people stealing movies that they perhaps didn’t want to pay the rental/download fee for because they are not quite sure about (Robocop), but still rent and buy the movies they are sure about, The Hunger Games movie, for example.
===Most Ripped Movies of the Year==
1“The Wolf of Wall Street”: 30.035 million
2. “Frozen”: 29.919 million
3. “RoboCop”*: 29.879 million
4. “Gravity”: 29.357 million
5. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
6. “Thor: The Dark World”: 25.749 million
7. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
8. “The Legend of Hercules”: 25.137 million
9. “X-Men: Days of Future Past”: 24.380 million
10. “12 Years a Slave”: 23.653 million
The cruelest list of the year is the one listing those big stars that returned the least amount of money in the cinema per dollar they are paid. This is normally won by Adam Sandler and he comfortably retained his title in 2014. Nobody can really work out what went wrong with this guy’s career and those leaked Sony emails show just how baffled the industry is they still make his movies. Johnny Depp in at two shows the man is getting too old for those heartthrob roles and reduced to parodying himself in comedies like Dark Shadows and Transcendence to keep paying the bills to meet his A-List status, self defeating as he ends up in lists like this that have the opposite effect on his career. With Oscar winners like Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Sandra Bullock also in the list you can see the changing of the guard is underway.
Top 10 Actor Hollywood flops of 2014
1. Adam Sandler
2. Johnny Depp
3. Ben Stiller
4. Ryan Reynolds
5. Tom Hanks
6. Will Ferrell
7. Channing Tatum
8. Denzel Washington
9. Sandra Bullock
10. Ben Affleck
=== The 2014 Oscar Winners===
The Dallas Buyers Club is the Oscar winner I haven’t seen (Mathew McConaughey, of all people, the surprise best actor winner) that I want to see but apart from that I have seen the others. 12-Years a Slave was too bloated, precious and one-sided to be a great move it thinks it is and won mostly because it’s that well crafted and acted guilt inducing ‘issues movie’. Cate Blanchet for Best Actress in Blue Jasmine was a good turn but not one of Woody Allen’s best films and quickly forgotten. Gravity was extremely overrated and like Avatar, more of a big screen special effects showing off than an enjoyable Oscar winning Sci-Fi movie. You all know about Frozen and still singing those bloody songs after suffering all those Christmas presents for the kids. ‘Her’, from Spike Jonze (Best Screenplay), proved the dullest Oscar winner of the year.
Guardians of the Galaxy sneaked up on everyone and the third highest grossing movie of the year, a sort of gentle giggle at the Sci-Fi genre in the 1970s and 80s when CGI wasn’t king and more character led. Its Serenity meets Stars Wars and good fun to be had and a film that likes to send itself up in what can be a very precious genre that rarely squeezes out the humor in those very tight Lycra suits.
‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ was the best one of the lot for me, why it featured in both the Top 10 grossing films of the year and the most pirated, as did the so-so X-Men :Days of Future Past. The Amazing Spiderman 2 was much better than the critics said and ideal for the kids, and Thor: The Dark World also great fun, another one the sniffy white middle-class and middle aged critics had a go at. Man of Steel re-launched Superman and this one looks like it had legs after the disastrous Superman Returns (2006). Brendan Routh has that teen appeal and this effort far more entertaining the way Spiderman is now.
Jennifer Lawrence had another massive year, especially with The Hunger Game trilogy all over the various film delivery platforms. She must bathe in money now. The hunger Games premiered on terrestrial TV just as the second film, Catching Fire, opened on DVD, the third film, Mockingjay, hitting the multiplexes in the autumn after the warm up act. ‘Catching Fire’ is a cracking sequel with the action equaling the plot and Lawrence magnetic tomboy appeal and, although less violent and visceral than film one, set up the final film nicely.
Tom Cruise had decent success with a return to form in the Sci-Fi genre with enjoyable time travel thriller Edge of Tomorrow and the some what underrated Oblivion. The shameless Transformers rip off, Pacific Rim, bought some brain matter to the robot clunking robot genre. Under the Skin was the most intelligent and haunting film in the genre as Hollywood sexpot Scarlett Johansson played an alien serial killer drifting around Scotland in a rusty Transit van killing young Scottish men, the quirk being mot of the guys were not actors and unaware they were being picked up by Scarlett Johansson, which worked incredibly well on screen. And yes they, and we, do get to see her naked. Elysium with Matt Damon had some good old fashioned ideas explored but didn’t quite punch it home.
Tom Cruise decided to bring to life Lee Childs multi million dollar selling Jack Reacher book series, playing the 6,4 off the grid crimebuster with great gusto. He did look a bit old on screen and certain a bit shorter. But he has signed up to two more Reacher films to compliment M.I.4 & M.I.5.
Pegg & Frost made it four hits in a row together with The Worlds End, the tale of four old six form friends having a reunion pub-crawl in their hometown of Letchworth. It’s in that familiar Pegg & Frost style of snappy jokes and rapid cutting and once again tackles naughty aliens on Earth, which they also did very well on with Paul.
21 & 22 Jump Street purred through my DVD player in 2014 and 21 Jump Street the surprise comedy hit for me, Jonah Hill and Holly lug Channing Tatum having great comic chemistry, the way ‘The Other Guys’ worked with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. It’s a really funny adult comedy and two duffus cops going back to school, and then college in the sequel, offer so many comic opportunities, like ‘Clueless’ for blokes.
Emma’ Hermione Granger’ Watson tried to shake off the Harry Potter years with a more adult performance in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a rather familiar 1980s style American coming of age high school teen comedy. The Way Way Back also stood out, a rather funny teen coming of age comedy starring Sam Rockwell as the immature water park owner who takes a young kid under his arm in the summer holidays to give him more confidence and a whole lot of fun with his oddball friends. It’s a really uplifting light comedy treat with a cool soundtrack and excellent performances.
Beasts of the Southern Wild was probably the best Oscar winner of the year as a little black girl living in the impoverished but liberated bayou communities of the Mississippi has to prepare herself for her fathers death, global warming caused rising water levels and the less than understanding US government. Little Quvenzhané Wallis is amazing in the lead as the poetic and soulful 10-year-o;d Hushpuppy and a film that is strangely beautiful.
Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll, a dramatization of the life and death of Ian Dury, popped up on Film 4 and so I gave it ago, one not a huge fan of music biopic. Dury is played brilliantly by Andy Circus, one of the world’s biggest actors but rarely seen on screen, usually playing Gollam or some monster or another in a huge blockbuster, a character actor that has found his niche in life. But hear he gets to act and be seen and takes his chance, turning the life of a one hit wonder into something interesting and illuminating.
The Place Beyond the Pines saw Hollywood hottie Ryan Gosling flash his tats and pecs as he stakes his claim to be the next Steve McQueen, his piercing blue eyes and attitude making quite a few ladies knees tremble. Like ‘Drive’, its crime noir again as the cool and calculated fairground drifter makes ends meet by riding the wheel of death and robbing banks. It’s a slick crime flick with lots of sexy macho appeal.
The Selfish Giant was my favorite British film of the year as two underclass Sheffield schoolboys try their hand at the scrapping business. With copper and precious metals at an all time high price the two scallies go out to get copper anyway they can, which involves wagging school and a little bit asset stripping, thieving and a clip around the ear. It’s funny, dark, sweet and gritty and how people really live their lives in Cameron’s Britain.
RUSH, the biopic of James Hunt, was excellent stuff and one of those films that could have easily been stuffed up if it messed up the authenticity of the racing, tracks and the drivers. I thought they had when they cast one of the bulky Aussie Hemsworth boys but it worked out well and a surprisingly enjoyable and thrilling drama from Ron Howard.
The Scouting Book for Boys is a low budget atmospheric British film about two teenage friends growing up on a windy seaside caravan site that get closer as they get older. It goes off the rails a bit towards the end as the boy (Thomas Turgoose) becomes infatuated with the girl (Anna Riles) but kids do crazy things and another example of great young peoples acting and original writing in British film.
The Butler was briefly up for Oscars after the Mandela movie tanked but 12-Years A Slave washed it away as the superior black issue movie on offer. Forest Whitakers performance based on the real life butler Eugene Allen, who served 8 presidents over 30
Always a good year for foreign film as only the best ones are purchased by British TV channels and available to rent here. It’s never an easy sell so bargains to be had for BBC and Film4.
French drama ‘You Are My Son’ was a well acted character piece about making wine and the turbulent family dynamics around that fermenting metaphor whilst ‘I Killed My Mother’, also from France, skillfully explored that mother - son relationship that usually ends up in one hating the other. The young star, Xavier Dolan, not only cast him self but writes, directs and helped produce the film and a startling young talent to watch out for. French flick Rust & Bone was chasing Oscars in 2103 and a challenging film around women’s attraction to violent men.
Austrian made Cold War drama Barbara was a striking atmospheric piece as a young female doctor weighs up her options of fleeing to the West or to stay caring for repressed East Germans who really need her right now. He heart is torn between her handsome fellow doctor and her husband in the west, waiting with a new passport and suitcase in the fog to get her access to Denmark.
I didn’t watch that many horror film this year and so the Mexican cannibal film ‘We are What We Are’ one of the better ones. There are myths I Mexico City that some of the poorest families grow up eating road kill and human meat and it gets in their DNA. 200,000 people go missing every year in Mexico and it’s not always the drug cartels. Bloody, funny and creepy is the best way to describe this Mexican chiller lurking in the shadows behind the bins.
The film Free Men couldn’t be more topical right now and based around the true story of how the central Muslim mosque in Paris helped to hide Jews from the occupying Germans in the War, Islam surprisingly not picked on the Nazis. It stars the excellent Tahir Rahim of The Prophet fame and a good solid drama that explores that alliance.
Tomboy, also from France, is what it says on the, a gentle exploration of what it’s like to have a confused gender as a child. A prepubescent girl wants to be a boy and play war, have fights and hang with the boys on the local estate. But her middle-class parents are unaware of her pretence at being a boy when the family move to a new area in Paris and it all ends in tears.
On similar themes as Free Men, Monsieur Lahzar explores the deception of a male Muslim school teacher who talks up his qualifications and legal residency to get a job in a Marseille primary school after a terrible act occurred in the school. It’s a lovely little Oscar nominated film that unique explores that unique relationship between adult and child and how they are often second parents to small children and in need of cuddles they are no longer allowed to give.
The Salt of Life is been around a while but debuted on TV in 2014. It’s an Italian comedy about a newly retired chap that is not enjoying being the invisible house husband and spends his day being a lapdog to his free spending elderly mother and nagged by the misses and kids. Its one of those films that hangs on the lead performance and ….. is fantastic.
I enjoyed the first few Pedro Almodovar movies but got bored of his latest stuff, until The Skin I Live In’, a return to form for the Spanish director. Although yet another film about sexual confusion and transgender issues by the director this one is a whole lot more interesting and linear than the last one.
Romantics Anonymous is a delightful and traditional fluffy romantic French comedy about a young woman who falls in love with chocolate, especially creating it, and then falls in love with the boss at her chocolate factory. Two awkward soles they are and although sugary sweet you can help but like this films vintage Parisian style and performances. Girls will love this.
Elena is rather cold and sterile film from Russia, exploring the relationship between Russian émigré nurse Elena, who marries won of her patients, Pieter, and overtime succumbed by his oppressive control in the relationship. But she has family and when her son needs money to go to college to avoid a life of crime she decides to take drastic action when her ailing husband refuses to fund his study.
Potiche, from Italy, tells the light comic story of a middle aged trophy wife ( ) is simply fed up and bored with her life of being a domestic Goddess and seizes her chance to run the family firm when her husband is struck ill during a strike. She is so good at the job the shareholders move to keep her in post as the strike is resolved and the remaining family members are given more responsibility, flirting with the local union boss (Gerard Depardeui) in the process.
Of Gods and Men is a niche French movie about a group of Benedictine monks who decided to hang on in at the Monastery in the hills of French run Algeria as the Muslim extremist wage war on the authorities all around them. Should their conflicting faith stay to keep the mission alive or should they take the French governments advice and leg it? Its an intriguing battle of faiths as the beards come knocking at the gates to see where they both stand.
Battle of the Sexes explores the fascinating gender battle between in sports between Billy Jean King and ex US Tour and slam champion Bobby Riggs. The two played an infamous winner takes all, ‘are girls better than boys’ match in the 1970s and quite a story back in the day. King wanted a separate women’s tour and higher prize money for the girls and so equality in the game whilst Riggs was over 50 and a gambler, looking to pay of his debts with various publicity stunts. King knew that much but had to play the game when another notable female champion took up the offer and got stuffed by Riggs. This was now about pride and the future of feminism and women’s rights in America as the $100,000 games began.
Smash & Grab: The story of the Pink Panthers. Most of you have heard of the infamous jewel thieves and this is their story, the extremely secretive Eastern European gang that had over 100 members in its prime, explored in this edgy film. It’s unclear how much access the filmmakers really had to the gang but interesting and revealing all the same. The gang today has been reduced by good shared policing across Europe and internal squabbles and deaths but the film does expose that now familiar Balkan corruption across government and the police, the Serbian authorities allowing the gang to base themselves in their country just after the Balkan Wars, as long as they all got kickbacks.
Good Hair sees noisy black American comic Chris Rock look at why so many black women wear the weave, wig and extensions as they chase that western look. The natural afro look has so many salve connotations and simply not the done thing today. Ghetto girls on welfare will spend up to $2000 dollars a year on their hair and look as we explore the use of skin and hair bleaching creams and products, extremely taboo stuff in the community. Black actresses are expected to look lighter than they are and some promote skin lighteners. Although the film was done with brevity you could see what Rock was up to. What really riles black Africans is the multi billion dollar hair and skin bleaching industry has been taken over by Koreans and so no money in it for the black population.
The Great Hip hop Hoax was an extraordinary and little seen film about a couple of white middle-class lads from Dundee in Scotland who decide to pretend to be an American rap duo after failing badly as a Scottish rap duo in a big a talent competition in London. They were laughed off the stage with their broad jock rap and so set about creating a new identity, ‘Silibil n' Brains’. By hanging around the right places in London pretending to be US rappers they start to get taken seriously and promoted in clubs around the capital to decent crowds, soon ending up with a record deal and the next Eminem. After increasingly erratic behavior they push it too far and end up on TV shows, their mates in Dundee confused why they have faux American accidents and hanging at the Brits. This is a true story and the music industry did fall for it, showing how vacuous the business really is.
Warm Bodies was the only decent horror film I saw this year and certainly the most original horror for a while. It’s a clever concept where an intelligent teenage zombie is totally aware he is a zombie but unable to shake off the physical aspects of being a zombie, a real twist on the genre. Not only that but he falls for a hot human girl, who is not best pleased with the romantic attentions of a zombie, things beginning to happen in his zombie world because of. The last few humans live in top security compounds and the zombies munch any strays.
This is a funny, clever and enjoyably film and one not to miss if you are under the age of 18, tackling many of these teenage angst emotions. If you are over 18 you will enjoy it just as much, male or female. Now that’s how to write a screenplay!
===Some films I have finally seen that are good==
The horror film Slither (2008) has been around for a while and one I finally watched this year. Its pretty good stuff and although played out on familiar lines of an alien infestation coming to small town America it is genuinely funny and enjoys sending up the Stephen King cliché. Hollywood are pretty bad at the horror genre these days so a pleasing treat as the local sheriffs go to battle with the unruly blob monsters.
My Week with Marilyn is the sort of period drama I tend to ignore and so wait for it on TV, and even then um and are over it. But when I finally watched this it proved good viewing, a fictional take on Marilyn Monroe’s visit to England to make a film, where she enjoys the male company of a young assistant director (Eddie Redmayne) trying to make his way in the world. It’s always nice when these costume dramas turn out to be good.
The Box (2010) feels like a film version of one of those Twilight Zone shorts, a young suburban couple handed an ultimatum by a mysterious man in back. The door bell rings and on the step is a parcel, inside a box with a red button on top and a note. If they press the button they will get one million dollars but man they have never met will die somewhere. If they don’t press it then no money and no one dies and that’s the end of that.
Accepted (2003) is one that really slipped under the radar, a funny and sentimental revisit to the 1980s teen college comedy, with accompanying iconic soundtrack and familiar teen idol homage’s. I love those movies like Back to School and Breakfast Club and great to go back.
Hope that has helped you out a little bit guys…
===Results of Marvel DC Division ===
Guardians of the Galaxy 1 The Amazing Spiderman 2
X MEN 5 Superman 1
Captain America 2
I've been buying Total Film magazine for a while and have found it to be a great read and a good source of finding out amore about films and discovering films I wouldn't have otherwise come across.
The cost of £3.99 may seem offputting at first but personally I would rather spend that on this that on some other mags of a similar price which are just full of adverts! At least with this mag it is actually packed with articles and reviews and the only adverts that are in there are actually of some interest!
It comes out once per month and each issue contains plenty of reviews of upcoming films, including behind the scenes info and reviews with actors and directors, also there is a letters page (usually with a prize of a recent DVD for the star letter) and regular competitions. In addition to all the usual stuff you would expect it also reviews older films which are already out on DVD including some classics, there are also a few television, book and soundtrack reviews.
It is a good mixture of reviews, interviews and trivia and makes for a great read for any film fan.
It's always hard to choose the right magazine; some are so opinionated that you don't really get all the information you want. In some respect I'm talking about Total Film here, some articles are very opinionated and they only tend to publish stories about what they like, however on the other hand they do well to give in depth view, even if it is a little biased.
I remember buying my first copy because it had some free gift, I can't quite remember whether it was the issue with the film posters I still have up in my room, or the director's book that's sitting on my shelf. If they are to be praised, they never give out duff freebies! However that's not the reason to buy this magazine.
The reason why I do buy this magazine; opinionated articles aside, is because they always get a scoop on what's up and coming in the film industry. I don't tend to buy magazines to read about films that are soon to be hitting the big screen in the next month - that's what the internet is for! However, many times I've bought the magazine to find out what I can look forward to seeing in the next 6 - 12 months; trust me, they do well to scoop the big news!
Also they do cover stories on various actors and actresses, directors and producers. It's always good to know why a story was created, how hard it was to play a certain role, or what directors hope to be doing in the next year or two. This is an all rounded magazine which is what I like about it, in summary it's got; the latest scoop on up and coming films, general production news of films, actor/actress/director/producer profiles and interviews, reviews of films/DVD's, and a good freebie with almost every magazine. It's your sort of average film magazine with lots to get your teeth into.
About 10 years ago, there was really only one UK film magazine - Empire. Although I bought the odd issue, I always found its style a little pretentious. Then Future Publishing launched Total Film. I bought my first copy around issue 6 and immediately knew I'd found the film magazine for me.
The reason Total Film is so good is that you genuinely get the impression that they are a bunch of ordinary people who like films, writing about films. If a film is good, they will say so; if it's a stinking piece of garbage, they won't be afraid to say that either. It's like having a chat about films with your mates. Their reviews are honest, unpretentious, informative and written in the sort of language that the average cinema-goer uses, with little or no techy speak.
Of course, it probably helps that Total Film's tastes closely match my own and are very eclectic. They will happily give a rave review to a dumb film with hundreds of explosions and no plot as they are will to a great, but obscure cinematic work in Swahili. The bottom line is: if it's a good film, Total Film will say so, regardless of where it's from or who's in it. And if Total Film say it's good, the chances are I will enjoy it. In the whole time I have been reading the magazine, I can only think of 3 films which they have rated and I have slated. When you think of how many of their reviews I must have read in that time, that's a pretty good record.
As well as their good, honest reviews, Total Film also have some excellent features. Indeed, these are often better than the reviews. There are the ubiquitous interviews with stars and directors, which are interesting enough, but where Total Film really outshines its rivals is in some of its dafter features. In the past for example, it's had articles aiming to settle that perennial playground argument of who would win in a fight between (say) RoboCop and Rambo, or a recent issue had an article called "The Movies Made Me Do It" looking at instances where criminals have blamed their actions on films.
Yes, Total Film has a sense of humour and its not afraid to use it. This makes it far more entertaining and readable than some other mags which take themselves way too seriously. There's a small section called "Is it bollocks?" which looks at some unlikely thing that has happened in a film and then rings up an expert t to ask them is it possible. There's the one question interview, where pompous, verbose stars are asked a single question and not given the chance to jabber away. Finally, best of all, there's the Rod Hilton's Abridged Script, which takes a film each month and boils it down to its basics with hilarious results! It's this sense of levity, of poking fun at the industry whilst still retaining affection for it which makes Total Film such a joy to read. Sure, other magazines also have a sense of humour, but Total Film applies it constantly.
The magazine does have a few downsides, though. As the film journalism world doesn't offer many career opportunities, you often find a significant amount of cross-over between Empire and Total Film journalists. This seems to happen every few months with writers swapping between the two and this can have an impact on the magazine. If a journalist is used to writing a certain style (the more serious Empire style for example), it can take them a little while to adapt to the new style of the magazine and this can impact on the overall quality of the magazine.
Secondly, as the line between film and other media becomes increasingly blurred, Total Film is paying giving greater magazine space to things like books, film soundtracks or computer games (often not even based on films). Personally, I buy a film magazine because I want to read about films, nothing else. In fairness, the total proportion of space devoted to these areas is only small (around 5-10 pages each issue), so if you skip them (as I often do), you're not missing out a great deal. However, if increasing amounts of pages start to be dedicated to these areas, I might be a little more concerned.
As its grown older, Total Film has also drifted away a little from its original concept. Early issues made great play of getting its readers involved. There were regular features like "The 50 Best Action Films" where TF named 49 of them and the allowed the readers to vote for number 50; or polls where everyone could vote for their favourite sporting films and then TF would collate the results in a table. As the magazine has gone on, these features have become fewer and fewer - TF now tells you what is good and bad and gives little chance for its readers to get involved, other than through the letters page. This is a step backwards in my opinion as it reduces that sense of "sharing" in the magazine. It's a strange decision - most media is becoming more inclusive, and it's something which TF perhaps need to consider reintroducing.
A minor complaint is that Total Film carries a phenomenal amount of adverts for a certain type of mobile phone service (you know, those promising you can speak live with Luscious Lucy). Most mags have them these days, as they're obviously big payers, but TF seems to have more than most - often as many 4-5 pages. This can make it a little embarrassing and attract some strange looks if you're reading the magazine in public.
And finally, a final concern: in recent months, Total Film has had a re-design -always something which strikes fear into the heart of loyal, long-standing readers. It still retains many of the strengths outlined in this review, but some are slowly starting to ebb away, which is a concern as it is becoming more tabloid and sensational in its approach, which is not a direction I want it to go in.
Still, overall, Total Film is an excellent magazine. For less than four quid a month, it's very good value for money (particularly as most issues have some form of free gift) and provides a good few hours worth of reading. If you're fed up with the slightly ponderous style of Empire, give TF a whirl. Not everyone will appreciate its more light-hearted approach, but if you like your film mags with a sense of humour, TF is hard to beat!
© SWSt 2008
I figured I should write a review on the magazine I had been reading for the past few years (since 2001) but have now quit.
My history and experience
The magazine first caught my attention in 2001 when I saw The Lord Of The Rings on the cover. Bored that afternoon with nothing to do I bought the magazine and started reading it. Immediately hooked, the magazine stayed informative and entertaining until the penultimate pages (the ultimate pages were porn ads) where I put the mag down, satisfied that I had learned everything that was going on in the industry that month.
Over the next few years I continued to read it, learning more and more, being the first to find that Sean Bean would be the villain in National Treasure or The Hobbit was being optioned to be made into a film or Bill & Ted III was being made... Wait a minute, that didn't happen! Yes, in the world of Total Film Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter were reprising their roles as Bill Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan AKA WILD STALLYNS!!!! *Cue air guitar music* with Laurence Fishburne cameoing as God and Ozzy Osbourne coming along for the ride. Pity that never happened...
Yes, Total Film brings out facts but in its earlier days mixed it with fiction to the point that you would only take what they said with a grain of salt... very different to Empire where you believed what they said no matter how idiotic the concept. Today, though, Total Film has a new section called Buzz that thankfully puts rumours down in its own section and restores some dignity to the mag.
So the years progressed and the magazine became more and more expensive, going up from £2.90 to £3.70. But as the prices increased so did the pages, becoming more fleshed out and intriguing so that you felt that it was worth the price you paid. Total Film was now a major rival with Empire.
But perhaps that was a bad thing for Total Film was now at the peak of its popularity with buyers, myself included, lapping up everything they had to say and loving them for their free posters they used to give.
Total Film felt it was invincible and started to have more fun with its words, making fun of everybody and publishing the most pathetic letters in their mags (which meant that people who wrote 20 silly words received prizes but those who had genuinely interesting things to say had their words deleted by the staff). Along with that their forum was moved and made bigger (and better).
Now I must say a little about the forum: At that time run by the lovely Liz Hawkins its administrators were two men(?) who were not part of the Total Film staff but simply film fans who loved the magazine. One was a fan who loved all film, one was a cinephile who snubbed almost everything. The two worked together and helped build a small community where users acted courteously towards each other and were always interested in what everyone had to say. But that's not a good thing.
The forum was a small community for a reason. The members of that magazine who belonged to the old forum (which included me) knew each other well enough to get along in the new one as did a few members who joined earlier, but sadly that meant that some users felt that their words were more important than others and so they downright bashed any new member who had a thing or two to say about movies. This meant that many members left the forum to join others. I myself had made many friends there (both old existing members and new ones) and when I saw one administrator (who I to this day believe was between the ages of 17 to 20) breaking his own rules and attacking a user I and other members stood up for him.
But I'll talk about what happened later.
So which year are now at? Oh yes, 2005.
The magazine looked great, it probably even smelled great, and its issues were more rich and informative than ever before. Every aspect of film productions were mentioned and interviews were given with all the main players on the set of the film. But the magazine somehow didn't go in-depth with them and simply was used as a way of promoting the film. Yes, that is true, that's what magazines do, but unlike Sight & Sound or Empire, Total Film was beginning to resemble Heat magazine with its lavish poems of love towards the celebrities and no getting down and dirty into the truth of it all, making a hellish production seem like a walk in the clouds. It's reviews also grew more and more outlandish, giving positive reviews to universally panned films and spoiling movies for the masses (28 Weeks Later gave two HUGE pictures of one of the biggest twists in the film). It also didn't want to appear like it loved everything so gave lame excuses for why it gave 4 stars and not 5; Zodiac, for example, lost a star because its camera shots were too perfectly composed.
If Stanley Kubrick had made it, the film would have gotten 5.
My respect for the mag had dropped drastically and no matter what freebies they gave, from DVDs featuring movie trailers to more posters, many customers decided to stop buying the magazine. But I stood on, hoping that this was just a bad patch in a great decade.
Then it happened. The realization. The truth. This magazine may be writing its reviews based on what it gets from the studios. Why else does the magazine promote everything Eli Roth does, always talking about his upcoming projects as if he's the next Scorsese of our generation. Always giving him rave reviews for the worst of his work, always praising what others condemn, giving Hostel: Part II 4 stars when every other mag gives him 1 (even fans of the genre hated the movie). Their love for this man put me off so much that I have now quit reading the mag.
And now back to the forum:
Before I go on, let me just say that the opinions of the administrators and members in no way reflect Total Film's beliefs, and what I say is based on my own personal experiences.
So we stood up for the member. And this administrator turned his horns on me, attacking me in every post no matter what was written. It could have been a stated fact in the press and I still would have been insulted (the usual attacks were that I knew nothing of film or had no taste in movies simply because I felt that Kingdom Of Heaven was an underrated picture).
I no longer went to the forum to enjoy a conversation about film with other filmlovers; I now went there to defend my words against an administrator who broke his own rules, who harrassed me every day like a bully who had found its prey.
But in those dark days there was one good one. This came last Summer at the time that I was at my peak of message boards (by the way that was only a phase; today I have life, work, and relationships which take time out of the lesser points of life) and was the administrator of another messageboard that houses over 7000 members (the members who were brutally attacked by this administrator, whether it be because they liked a film he loathed or defended another user's opinion to like that film, joined this forum when they asked me if I was part of anything else). At that time Ms. Hawkins wanted to break the record for: Most users online on their forum. I had a friend with me that day (who I had introduced to this forum) and together we went to the site and logged on to increase the numbers. The record sadly wasn't broken (in fact one of the administrators wasn't on at the time) but the admin whose eye was fixed squarely on me immediately created a thread making the horrendous accusation that my friend and I were the same person. Forced to defend myself for the rest of the day (and thankfully other members believed my words) it finally ended with the administrator withdrawing his horrible remarks, my friend quitting the boards, and the other administrator sending me a private message giving me a reluctant apology for all the trouble they had caused.
VICTORY! I screamed like Kevin Dillon's character in Entourage.
But that was not to last.
For 6 months later the admins would have their revenge. After yet more horrendous posts attacking me I finally stood up for myself, unafraid of this person's position. He could have been the President of Futurenet (the publication company) but that does not give him the right to abuse his rights as an admin.
I said what I thought of him, what he did, how I felt, everything...
And the next day I could not log on. Was I banned? No. Apparently one of my pieces of info was changed (I'm guessing password or e-mail address) and this could only have been done by the admins.
So I asked my friend if I could use his account? He kindly agreed and I sent a message to the nicer of the two admins. No reply to it. So I posted on the forum that I was using my friend's account and couldn't log onto mine. The administrator then replied to my message telling me that it would be sorted out immediately and I could go online.
THAT WAS A LIE.
For the very next day my friend's account was banned. And I still could not log on.
Those two admins finally removed their scapegoat, but what goes around comes around and after so many members who have joined their forum have realized that it is a close-knit village where new people are not welcome, I am sure that they will realize their mistakes and make the forum a better place.
Do I regret ever joining it? No. I made friends there who knew so much about film and whose opinions I truly respect. I had my good times in the forum too talking about the hot Summer and the beautiful days. And perhaps me being shut out of their community was a blessing for I would no longer have to be insulted in that forum and could go out and resume my life, going to exotic locations, seeing the most breathtaking films, and seeing them with the most breathtking women. So no, perhaps it does have a happy ending. :-)
The Total Film mag is divided into the following sections:
Past: Good letters that had interesting questions, some fun polls, and were always a good read.
Present: Most of them are stupid with the occasional interesting one.
Arguably the best part of the mag, the news is always interesting to read with fun facts and trivia and great anecdotes to mention at work. It also features some good movie stills.
I've already mentioned them as I have mentioned:
The Buzz: AKA Rumours
We then have features on upcoming movies which is a simple promotion for the film, followed by DVD reviews (amazing how a magazine can rate a movie 5 stars, find that the public hated it, and then give it 1 star when its time to review the DVD) and lastly, US DVD, replicas and porno ads.
It also however features the fabulous Abridged Script, arguably the best part of the mag. Hilarious spoofs of new releases, it's always great to see someone rip the script apart. Do read it after you've seen the film of course, unless you like laughing at things you don't understand or read spoilers.
By the way you don't need the mag to read the abridged script, you can read it right here:
Lastly we have the website itself, which sadly posts rumors as facts only to the next day quickly retract their statements (this had happened quite a few times hence why I mention it). But it is also a great way of promoting the mag, the truthful news are always interesting, you can read their reviews online, and you even get links to the newest trailers on the web. A fantastic job, then, with every aspect of it apart from the forum.
Summary: A great magazine that has peaked and is now dragging itself to the end, Total Film's best parts can now easily be found on the web. Let's hope it picks up before people stop subscribing.
As a big movie watcher, I suppose it was always likely that I would start reading about films as well as going to see them at the cinema. I'd always avoided such things on the basis that a) magazines are overpriced marketing exercises and b) I couldn't see the point of reading all about them. But over the last year or so, I've found myself compelled to read reviews, previews and conjecture that will help me decide whether I need to see a film or not.
It's quite addictive, I have to say. In the film industry, hype seems to be all important these days, so when my expectations are built up to epic proportions, I now want to know whether I'm going to be disappointed or not. Scoop pictures, sneak previews and gossip still hold little interest for me, but as one outlandish project is announced after, I do find myself drawn into the conjecture. This is how I started buying Total Film.
Total Film, published every four weeks, is one of the market leaders, up there with Empire and Premiere. Of the three, Total Film is my favourite because it feels more accessible than the other two. I enjoy the sense of humour exhibited amply by the writing team and simply find the features that I require easier to locate and absorb. It's a glossy little affair, with plenty of pictures and captions to keep me both entertained and absorbed. It also avoids the trap of taking itself too seriously. Empire, for example, is committed to being the "best movie mag on the planet" but a comparison between the two is something like Coronation Street versus Eastenders - both similarly pitched intellectually, but whilst one is having a laugh, the other one is intense about being, well, intense. At around 150/160 pages each issue, Total Film is pretty good value for money at £3.50. There are the usual subscription deals - free DVDs, save 25% etc - but I've never bothered.
Total Film has recently restructured itself slightly in an attempt, as far as I can see, to capitalise on the features people want first - or are more likely to browse when lifting off the shelf in WhSmith. The hype section, named Access, has moved to the front of the magazine and is a blatant attempt to draw readers into its bold, colourful splashes of scenes from forthcoming films. These days, particularly when in competition with the Internet, it seems to be an essential requirement to get the "first scoop" pictures on forthcoming releases and Total Film is a tough competitor. It's all blockbuster stuff - Star Wars, Batman and Harry Potter were long hyped in this section before a cinema release date was even confirmed. Access is essentially the "trailer" equivalent of the cinema - snippets and tasters to whet your appetite for the biggest, most blockbusting releases on their way. It's borderline "nerd" territory, with all the editors seeming to salivate over news of the new Spiderman film or who will direct Xmen 3 but if you're into that kind of thing, Total Film is a "must read".
Rough Cut provides more than titbits but is still essentially a gossip column. There are slightly more in depth interviews and or features about things that are up and coming, but you also have the benefit of articles about big events (like the Oscars or the Cannes festival) plus a few spacefillers. I've never really seen the point of "The Abridge Script" - a regular feature that seeks to condense the script from a well known film into two columns. Like, why?
If a section could be described as "useful" then, for me, it would be the New Films. Reviews of a variety of lengths and depths can be found here, but this is where you go if you want to read a review of the latest cinema releases. Normally, the review will be featured a few weeks before or just on the release of the film but sometimes the publishing schedule seems to catch them out. A full review of the Revenge of the Sith wasn't published until the Summer 2005 (June) issue despite the film having already been out for the best part of a month. Arguably, you would have expected the magazine to feature the film right on or just before the release - a problem that they blame on studio scheduling patterns. This is a problem compensated better by Empire who feature reviews online inbetween publications - something Total Film could consider if they were really desperate.
In terms of the quality of reviews, they're pretty spot on - I would generally only be able to attempt to emulate the style and structure because the authors have struck the perfect balance of wit, information and opinion and they never give anything away. Total Film is guaranteed to be "spoiler-free". Film of the Month is always a dubious title, if only because their film of the month isn't always their favourite film on release. Work that one out! The best part of the reviews in Total Film, however, is the "predicted interest curve" - a graphical representation of the running time showing whether they were Thrilled, Entertained, Nodding Off or ZZZZZ - how useful is that? Only a film that stays in the first two categories will get me to the cinema but sadly only a few of the films reviewed each month have this feature. Come on Total Fillm - do it for them all! Another reason that I generally stick with Total Film is that I tend to agree with what they think - though some dubious recommendations have been made. The editorial team STILL refuse to back down from their four-star rating of Star Wars Episode One and everyone knows that film was crap.
After the reviews and then the charts, the main features start - a topical selection of on-set features of new films, interviews with actors/directors and historical reviews of a certain actor or director's work. Although they're well presented and put together, these things hold only a limited interest for me, purely because what famous people think or say doesn't really bother me. I do, however, love the chart features, which include a themed run down of the top 40 or 50 "somethings" - musicians in films, best scraps, best screen deaths and best villains have all cropped up. Normally, number 50 is left for the public to decide and each letters page will be a deluge of nominations for the previous issue's number 50. Things are getting really nerdy now, right?
Lounge is a sub-section of the magazine devoted to the latest DVD releases. It's a strange section given that normally the film review will be different to that originally published in the magazine. Information on the extra features can be sparse and almost an afterthought proving that films are still why people buy DVDs - not features. Float or Flush is a hilarious appraisal of the latest horror releases - most of which get flushed straight down the toilet and rightfully so. For the ultimate in nerdiness try "Answer Me" - a monthly featurette with questions from readers about who played the chief Ewok and other such information. It's essential reading.
Things I like?
Quality of writing - always entertaining and easy to pick up and put down.
Variety of news - always get the latest gossip.
Advertisements are at least related to the subject matter and don't dominate the whole magazine.
And the Predicted Interest Curve - nerd-movie man and his nerd-mates now argue over their relative curve after the latest screening of a new film. Sheesh.
Things I don't like?
Free gifts - I'm not 12, so a poster of Batman does little for me.
Advertorials - reviews dressed up like reviews when in fact the studio paid for them.
Masculinity - Total Film clearly believes its entire audience is male, heterosexual and gagging for Jessica Alba. Try and bear in mind some of us are gay or female - I'm not averse to totty, you just need to recalibrate the tottometer.
The mark of a good magazine is how many times it gets read. Every issue of Total Film gets read over and over again - I'm surprised that the print hasn't come off some of the pages now. I'm, like, totally addicted to this magazine!
Let me admit something. Something that will probably get me expelled from this dear site. I've never bought a copy of the magazine I'm about to review. Therefore, I can never really have consumed it. Fortunately, there are higher goals in this world. So, having not spent £3.00 on this delightful glossy monthly, I will promptly review it. Total Film is a truly great magazine. That is said up front, just in the hope that either my name will be printed on some testimonial page, or the nice people who publish it will send me a lifetime subscription as long as I keep this sort of thing up. But seriously, it is a great magazine. Everybody loves films, right? Even people who don't really go to movies love movies. And Total Film is brimming with movies. Lots of lovely movies. And interviews with celebrities. Some of them even seem like nice, normal people. Okay, so, with a few exceptions, I wouldn't want most of them over for a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, but it's nice to see celebrities treated relatively normally. Just as a science magazine would treat a scientist or a sports magazine would treat a sportsman. Total Film have the usual sort of thing you expect from a modern, hip magazine. Lots of nice features, articles and all the silly bits they pay typewriter manacled hacks like me to write while under the command of some pie-faced journalistic dominatrix with a penchant for non-matching socks and novelty Christmas singles to cough up. In the edition I have beside me, they have a lovely picture of Spiderman on the front cover. Okay, well, it's not Spiderman - there is no such thing - but it's pretty all the same. And inside, they make some wonderful jibes about Hulk Hogan's movie career (the highlight of which is either Mr. Nanny or Suburban Commando). They are also tastefully cynical about movies. Let me explain. Go to any cinema in Britain (or look on the web) and when the tr
ailers come on, just think about the idea. Many times it sucks. I mean, take a look at the trailer for The Day After Tommorow. Yes, it's a box office success. But that doesn't mean it doesn't suck. Look at the new Thunderbirds Are Go movie that's being touted in the cinemas (or at least it was when I saw the delightfully excellent Harry Potter Trois last night). That's going to suck. It'll be succesful, but it'll suck. How do you know? Gut feeling. And the reviewers for this mag seem to have a very similar gut feeling as mine on a lot of the movies. Hollywood is an evil place. Not, as the moralists would say, because it's full of pornographers and people who say things that just aren't acceptable in polite company. But because they make things that suck and inflict them on our culture. Magazines like TF have a great job to play - to play Devil's Advocate towards sucky ideas. And they do it wonderfully. Minimal celebrity worship, a healthy cynical attitude towards the film industry and a love for great films. All that adds up to a decent magazine. Whether it's worth £3 or not is dependent on two things. First of all, whether or not you like IMDb. I love IMDb, and am fairly sure that a film magazine is redundant for my tastes (I just don't go to that many movies). And second of all, how much you love movies. If you love movies more than I do - which isn't difficult - you'll probably enjoy this mag. If you love movies as much as I do, you'll enjoy this mag when somebody gives you a free copy. Which, if the publishers are wise, they'll be doing about now.
TOTAL FILM Price £3.00 Monthly Current subscription offer: 12 issues for £24 Subscribe by Direct Debit and get Pulp Fiction collectors edition DVD free (probably expired by now -check before subscribing) I am a die hard movie fan, and by that I don't just mean that I enjoy watching Bruce Willis running up and down skyscrapers/airports/New York, but that I love films, especially good ones. Being a generally very busy person, however I don't have the time, or indeed the money to go and see every film that comes out and so I turn to my favourite guide, Total Film It has quite simply got the reviews that most accurately describe all the good and bad points of a film and also relate the film to other films in it's genre. Aside from the usual text of the review there are two other features that I find especially useful 1) See this if you liked.... Where the reviewer lists three films that bear a relation to the film under review.. 2) Predicted interest curve... Which categorises how interested you are likely to be at all stages of the movie from 'Thrilled' to 'Zzzzzzz'. These are a really good laugh and are sometimes employed to very humorous effect ( e.g. the Spiderman predicted interest curve looked like a web!) The overall rating comes in the familiar out of 5 stars system.... But this is not all..... Total Film doesn't just contain reviews oh no there are articles such as -Celebrity Interviews -The Story behind the making of... -DVD and Film Book reviews -Soundtrack reviews -A Quiz -Rough Cut - this deals with movies in the making and rumours, celebrity news, box office charts, a reader Q&A section -Blockbuster Previews -The Abridged Script - their backpage feature where a famous film is put through the grinder of abridgement in a humorous way. This section is usually quite cynical but
good for a few giggles. The sheer volume as well as the content is also impressive. In the October 2002 issue there are 170pages of which only 40 were ads ( almost all film related ads too) leaving 130 pages of content. Some people will chant 'Empire' at this review and maybe a few years ago I would have done too, but in my opinion Empire has gone down the tubes a bit while Total Film keeps getting better and better. Empire seems to sell out when reviewing big movies rather than being honest (did anyone really think Attack of the Clones deserved 5 stars as i got in Empire, btw Total Film gave it 3 I think), and for a guy on a budget with little time to spare honest reviewing wins out every day!
I have been with total film since its first issue and I still love it and subscribe to it. If you like your films and can never decide which to go and see or rent then this is the magazine for you. It is very easy to read, I have never disagreed with any of the reviews and as such have been to see a few films that I wouldn't have normally and really enjoyed them after reading about them in the magazine. There are easy to find sections for the latest movie reviews, DVD and video releases all giving you a easy to read review that isn't too long winded but never missing anything you would like to know either. If you don't want to read a review they all have a great 4 line summary at the bottom with an overall rating which is easy and quick and straight to the point. They also have smaller sections reviewing computer games and hardware (teles, DVD players etc.) all very useful. The magazine has also got a less serious side to it with a great news and gossip section. They always have some great interviews each month with top movie celebs including actors and directors etc. They have the usual comps and free gifts that other mags have but the best part is the subscription option. If you subscribe you get each months mag delivered to your door at a significantly reduced price and usually before it's out in the shops. In summary if you want to know about the latest films and don't like things being taked too seriously then this is the monthly mag for you.
Introduction ~~ Total Film and Empire are probably the two most popular and widely available film magazines in England. Empire has been going the longest, (for as long as I can remember) and Total Film has been now going several years. Both magazines include cinema reviews, videos to rent and buy, DVD’s, information on up-and-coming films and interviews with actors, directors, etc. I usually buy Total Film but have bought Empire a few times and still tend to buy it if there’s nothing good on Total Film. The Reviews ~~ Well considering you buy these mags to find out what to see at the flicks or to decide what film to rent or buy this bit is very important. I cannot really say which magazine has better reviews as all of the reviews are wrote by different people. Most of the reviews in the two magazines are high quality and useful but some are just full of irrelevant drivel. And some of the top members on Dooyoo’s film reviews are easily better than reviews in these two magazines. What I think makes Total Film win on reviews is that they still include lots of detail on less well-known and unusual films. Empire tends to only devote one or two paragraphs to these less well-known films and purely concentrates on Hollywood blockbusters. Value for money ~~ Both magazines contain roughly 150 pages and unfortunately both have lots of adverts. Total Film costs £2.90 and Empire costs £3. So not much difference in price but I would certainly say Total Film is better value for money as it frequently includes a freebie. Though if its just reviews your after both mags are bad value for money when you can get high quality and accurate reviews on a huge variety of films on Dooyoo. Other bits about the magazine ~~ I personally prefer the layout and style of Empire though I suppose it’s a matter of personal opinion really. Empire is plainer and simpler and it is easier to be able to just pick up Emp
ire anywhere inside and start reading. With Total Film you have to rely more on the contents. One thing I like about Total Film is their coverage on unknown filmmakers and unknown films. And they include lots of information and advice for budding wanabee film directors. Even if your not considering making a film this section still makes good reading. Both mags interview big, well-known famous faces – British and American stars. Total Film also reviews film websites, film hardware, videogames and film related books. Empire also reviews all of these except videogames. Quite useful really getting reviews on all of those as well as films. Subscribing ~~ Like all magazines Total Film and Empire are desperate to get subscribers. Both do this by offering very competitive subscription rates. At the moment though if your looking at subscribing to one of the two, Empire will give you the best deal. Subscribing to Empire will give you a £1 off ticket at ABC and Odeon cinemas and U571 on DVD or video for free. Just a shame really that U571 was totally inaccurate and based entirely on lies. Though that’s totally irrelevant… Overall ~~ Both magazines are good but if you are thinking of buying one of the two I would recommend you buy Total Film. Though as I said earlier if its just reviews you want your frankly wasting your time with Dooyoo and loads of other reviews all over the net. However if your bored and need something to read I strongly recommend both, there’s quite a lot in them and there’s lots in to interest anyone remotely interested in films. Thanks for reading
I have been buying Total Film magazine since day one. I remember it well; I walked into a WH Smiths in a small town called Droitwich Spa when I noticed a mag with Mel Gibson's face plastered all over it and a big sticker saying ONLY £1 (Normal price £2.50). That was Feb 1997, I've been buying it ever since. It is now £3 and still well worth the money. I was a real collector of this magazine, always keeping each mag in pristine condition. I remember not letting my dad cut out a voucher for Jurassic Park because it would mean defacing the mag. I gave this up when Total Film decided one month they would bring out the magazine advertising X-men with four different covers. Bastards! I knew not buying all four would mean my collection would be incomplete, so now I can’t be bothered. Over the years Total Film has given away loads of freebies on the front of its magazines ranging from film scripts, posters, cinema tickets, music cds, and film trailer cds. It’s always nice to have something free; it’s a pity these extras are few and far between these days. The magazine itself is brilliant; I very rarely disagree with any of the reviews. The magazine reviews films at the cinema, DVDs (region 1 and 2), videos to rent and buy, hardware, books, soundtracks, and multimedia, each with its own recommendations. All the top cinema releases get a predicted interest curve that shows the best and worst parts of the movie. There is also a film of the month (This month it is Shrek). Total film magazine makes interesting reading for the average film buff; I regularly read the mag from start to finish. The reader’s letters are usually funny; RoughCuts is very interesting with movie news, pre-production, rumours, film charts and loads more. There are lots of interviews and features with people in movies that are out right now, and Reel Screen, which is all about filmmaking. I nearly forgot the most important par
t of the magazine, the film quiz, which is great, but recently started putting a spot the difference as the first question. WHY? I recommend this magazine to everyone who likes film. Go buy it now and write me a comment on your thoughts.
OK so all we can see thats new in Total Film is the headers for the Contents page and Roughcuts-well I can at least-if anyone else knows of more let me know as I'll probably go right past them!!!. But this should'nt take us away form the fact that Total Film is by far the most superior film mag in the country, after beeing in the states for a year I really did miss out on Total Film and was pleased to see it when I got back, I mean it's got everything a film fan needs-news reviews and previews, lawsuits!!, fantastic interviews with not just stars and directors but also writers, producers and (maybe one day) a gaffer! The reviewers are all mostly unbiased and review pretty much everything thats due for release unlike some rivals who just review the big films of the month, the DVD section too offers much info which being a DVD owner I like to know whats what on the discs i'm buying before getting them and realising theres no features on it!!!! but more importantly I agree with their reviews 9 out of 10 times so I pretty much know what to expect when I go to the cinema. The Independants Day section give us a real insight to indie flicks and what to be looking for in the comming monthes. The freebies and specials that we get every now and again are well worth while aswell-espially when they're things like CD-ROMs and DVD'd although i've yet to look at the new disc this month:( TotalFilm just gives me a reason to go into WH Smiths once a month as its all i look forward to in te magazine biz-quite sad really is'nt it!!!!! PS if any wants my 2for 1 UCI pass give us a shout on ICQ as ther'es no UCI's by me!!!!
I started buying total film when it was at Issue No. 14, its now at Issue 54, so it must have done something right to keep me buying them right? Right! From the first time I bought it, i've always found it to be very funny, even the reviews always have a touch of humor in them, although remaining appropriately serious at the same time. And to the reviews; I have always found them to be unbiased, funny whilst serious at the same time, and always and opinion I can trust. In fact I know trust the reviews so much on Total Film, that even if i've never seen the film they are reviewing or never heard of it and they give it a good rating and i'm interested in it, i'll buy it such is my confidence that it will be good because Total Film said so. And they haven't failed me yet. Asides from just reviews, they have a "Rough Cut" section showing all the rumors, upcoming films etc. A preview section with about a page on each film in production. A Letter's page, where readers get to write their views etc. Interviews with stars, DVD reviews, Videos To buy reviews, Videos To rent reviews, Book Reviews, Soundtrack Reviews, Quizzes! There really is a lot in the magazine, good value for money as also sometimes they give away free things such as posters or CDs. A magazine I would recommend as the best film magazine out, if you don't sunscribe to it already, then do it!
Total Film is now one of the largest and most popular film review magazines in circulation within the UK. When I first discovered it a couple of years ago it was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale market. They were prepared to be totally honest, objective and impartial with the reviews and didn’t pander to film distributors or promoters in any way. I have now been a subscriber to Total Film for over two years. I receive my monthly edition courtesy of the postman arriving on my doormat more or less at the same time the magazine hits the newsagent’s shelves. They have various subscription offers on from time to time. My last renewal set me back £20 for the coming year. Subscriptions now cost £25 yearly, which is a saving of £9.60 on the cover price (£2.80 per issue). Total Film is produced by Future Publishing (who are also responsible for the spin-off Total DVD - a more inferior spin off). If like me you love films then this is an essential monthly purchase. The magazine has developed over the years to include cinema, video and DVD film releases and reviews. Basically it is a film addict’s handbook, with a comprehensive review section each month covering every film on release or due for release. Where Total Film beats the competition is on the style, layout and presentation of the magazine. It is eye catching and easy to read. The typefaces used are large enough to read comfortably without having to squint and they don’t over utilise exclamation marks as some other magazines are prone to do. A typical Total Film magazine will include the following elements: - Reader’s letters; - Latest movie news and Behind the scenes rumours; - Pre-Production News; - Actor/Actress/Director profiles; - Major film features and reviews; - Interviews; - New Cinema Release review section; - New Video Release review section (to rent and buy); - New DVD Release rev
iew section; - Reviews of movie related books and music soundtracks; - Spotlight on independent filmmakers; - Movie quizzes. For example, in the December 2000 issue they have an interview with Richard Attenborough, profiles on Uma Thurman and Joaquin Phoenix, and a feature on Quentin Tarantino (where has he been recently??). Occasionally they throw in gifts such as posters (I always bin them), screenplay books (good but rare) and music CDs (best movie theme tunes etc …). The December issue had another collection of posters so they went straight into the bin. Someone must like them but not me I’m afraid. The monthly issue normally hits the shops in the last couple of days of the calendar month, so the January edition will be out anytime now. If you love films and you haven’t read this magazine before then I highly recommend that you try out Total Film. In my opinion it is far superior to others out there right now (are you listening Empire?).
Total Film published by Future has information on up and coming films as well as ones just out at the cinema, or just out to rent/buy. Total Film also sometimes looks at films from a certain year, which is useful. What lets Total Film down is that it has fewer freebies than Empire; with Empire there are quite often freebies. Freebies with Total Film are rare. The website for total film is also very disappointing. Total Films rival Empire beats Total Film on the website, but you don't pay for the website so you can't really moan.