Category Archives: Spotlight

Generic love to throw the spotlight on an actor, actress, director, genre, year, theme, soundtrack, you name it! And occasionally we actually know what we’re talking about.

SPOTLIGHT: Fangs for the Memories – The Evolution of the Vampire.

Vampires.

Blood-suckers. The pale ones. The Undead. Leeches. Parasites. Bats. Shapeshifters.

Whatever you want to call them, the Vampire remains one of the most used (and mis-used) mythical creatures in existence. Thousands of films, books and comics have adapted them in so many different forms, that the word ‘Vampire’ now means a million different things.

The core definition of ‘Vampire’ still remains however. A creature that survives off another living thing’s essence – usually blood, or occasionally the soul or life force.

Whether such a thing really exists is doubtful – a Vampire is a creature of storybooks and folklore. However, there are people in the world (perhaps mentally disturbed) who consider themselves ‘Vampiric.’ People who dress in black, avoid daylight and drink teaspoons of each other’s blood. (Check this or this out if you don’t believe me.)

It’s a fanciful idea, and some people believe the existence of a blood-thirsty human based creature has a solid grounding. However, let us not dwell on whether or not we believe in real life Vampires, but forget that there may be a 0.00001% smidgeon of a chance they really exist, and focus on the ideology of the ‘Vampire’ – portrayed in literature and film.

There are very early Vampire films dating right back to 1913, but for the purpose of this article we’ll start at one of the earliest films that helped shaped our modern perception of the blood-suckers (you all know who I’m talking about.)

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT: Fangs for the Memories – The Evolution of the Vampire.

SPOTLIGHT: The Slasher Film Unmasked – An Exploration of the ‘Marmite’ Genre

Slasher Poker

Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger walk into a bar…

The slasher genre and its iconic anti-heroes almost became a bad joke towards the end of its golden era, with poorly constructed sequels and unnecessary, outlandish concepts to create a film all about the inventive ways a masked madman could pick off innocent young teenagers rather than plot or characterisation. But from the foundations of the genre to the height in its heyday, the slasher film became more than just a death-by-numbers picture. Though some would cash in on the concept with cheap thrills and spills, the iconic originals have longevity because of the creativity and the subtext beneath their seemingly simple concepts.

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT: The Slasher Film Unmasked – An Exploration of the ‘Marmite’ Genre

SPOTLIGHT: Se7en Reasons Why This Is The Best Thriller Ever Made

There have been many great thrillers over past few decades and everyone will have a their favourite. For me Se7en had everything from great director to cast to shock value. Below are Se7en (see what I did there) reasons why I think it is the best.

It was directed by David Fincher – Up and coming Fincher’s last big screen feature was Alien 3, in fact it was also his first as he’d spent his early work shooting video shorts and documentaries.

The film was shrouded with trouble from the moment he walked on set, from creative differences to script re-writes half way through shooting. To this day he’s never been happy with it, and despite a moderate haul at the box office many people feel it was a letdown to the franchise (personally it’s one of my guilty pleasures) after Ridley Scott and James Cameron’s Alien and Aliens had effectively been smash hits.

se7en fincher

If there was ever a film to put him back on the radar this was it, dark and pure evil, Fincher’s work is second to none capturing everything that you’d expect from a thriller. Much of course had to do with Andrew Kevin Walker’s tight script, but it’s still one of Fincher’s best films and in terms of this genre I don’t think anyone has come close to doing it better than this.

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT: Se7en Reasons Why This Is The Best Thriller Ever Made

SPOTLIGHT: Marooned – The Top 5 Movies Set on a Tropical Island

Welcome to Generic’s Spotlight feature, where we shine the spotlight for a fortnight on an actor, genre, theme, soundtrack, or anything else that takes our fancy – and truthfully, and however harshly, give our thoughts and opinions.

01.05.13 – 15.05.13

SPOTLIGHT: Marooned – The Top 5 Movies Set on a Tropical Island

There’s nothing more isolated than a blank bit of land way out to sea.

With just a few trees, coconuts, and maybe some wild animals, it can be a pretty lonely place. Or it can be the making of your dreams, as you build yourself a house, create a life with a fellow ship-wrecked friend, and have a whale of a time.

Due to being such a great hub for potential tales of adventure, cabin-fever and survival, many films have taken advantage of small islands as great film sets.

I already had these 5 in mind for this Spotlight, but while doing my research I came across hundreds that I didn’t know existed.

So here’s my top 5 favourites of all time, that I’ve seen so far.

Swallows and Amazons (1974)

It’s 1929, and four children are on an exceptionally dull holiday to the Lake District with their mother. Instead of playing rubbish board games or increasingly irritating rounds of ‘I Spy,’ they sail over to a small island in their boat ‘Swallow’ and set up camp for a few days.

Ah, the days where you can package your kids off to god knows where and not worry!

Shortly after, it becomes apparent that another 2 girls who sail the ‘Amazon’ have already claimed the island of theirs, and a battle of wits, bravery and skill ensues between the two clans.

Filmed on location in the Lake District, this island is abundant with greenery and wildlife, yet still feels far removed from the rest of the world, creating a mini paradise for a group of children to enjoy.

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT: Marooned – The Top 5 Movies Set on a Tropical Island

SPOTLIGHT: 8 Warning Signs That A Movie Will Be Terrible

Welcome to Generic’s Spotlight feature, where we shine the spotlight for a fortnight on an actor, genre, theme, soundtrack, or anything else that takes our fancy – and truthfully, and however harshly, give our thoughts and opinions.

17.04.13 – 01.05.13

SPOTLIGHT: 8 warning signs that a movie will be terrible

Can you tell whether a movie’s going to be awful without even watching it? The clues are there, if you know where to look…

No one sets out to make a terrible movie. Not even Michael Bay. In the long, collaborative process of filmmaking, everyone’s trying to pull together in the hope that, once all the scenes have been shot and edited into a coherent sequence, the results of all their efforts will be rewarded with critical acclaim, audience approval and an influx of lovely cash.

Take a careful look over the history of cinema, though, and it’s clear that there are certain things you should most definitely avoid as a filmmaker. To this end, we’ve dug deep through the movie archives to come up with eight signs that your movie is doomed to critical or financial failure…

1. It features a character dressed in a rabbit or bear costume

I’ve yet to discover whose idea it was to have Nic Cage bumbling around a remote island while wearing a bear suit in the ill-advised remake of The Wicker Man, but it’s one of the more bizarre sights in an already extremely strange film. At any rate, Cage’s bear suit marks the moment where what is surely intended as a suspenseful, eerie horror thriller descends into the environs of unintentional comedy for good.

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT: 8 Warning Signs That A Movie Will Be Terrible

SPOTLIGHT ON: ‘The Twilight Saga’ – Irritating Phenomena and Vampire Erections.

Welcome to Generic’s Spotlight feature, where we shine the spotlight for a fortnight on an actor, genre, theme, soundtrack, or anything else that takes our fancy – and truthfully, and however harshly, give our thoughts and opinions.

03.04.13 – 17.03.13

SPOTLIGHT ON: ‘THE TWILIGHT SAGA‘ 

Woah there. Don’t run away quite yet.

The Twilight Saga – the series that’s taken teenage girls (and quite a few adults) by storm. The phenomenon that filled the desolate gap between the final Harry Potter and the launch of 50 Shades of Grey.

Phenomenon it was, but was it good?

Well, almost every girl between the ages of 12 and 19 seemed to think so. Merchandise was spilling out of every high street shop like there was no tomorrow – everything from a Jacob Mug to drink from, to toilet roll so you could wipe your butt with Edward Cullen’s face. That suddenly seems quite appealing actually.

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT ON: ‘The Twilight Saga’ – Irritating Phenomena and Vampire Erections.

SPOTLIGHT ON: The ‘Saw’ franchise

Welcome to Generic’s Spotlight feature, where we shine the spotlight for a fortnight on an actor, genre, theme, soundtrack, or anything else that takes our fancy – and truthfully, and however harshly, give our thoughts and opinions.

20.03.13 – 03.04.13

SPOTLIGHT ON: THE ‘SAW’ FRANCHISE

To understand the Saw series, all you have to do is look at the production company’s logo. Before each film, the words “Twisted Pictures” are ensnared by coils of nasty-looking barbed wire. Then they are impaled by a metal spike. Then the metal spike is rotated, tightening the wire and gouging deep scars in the poor letters. In less than ten seconds, this animation encapsulates the series’s infamous modus operandi: horrible pain is inflicted with low-tech tools, and we’re forced to watch. Twisted. Continue reading SPOTLIGHT ON: The ‘Saw’ franchise

SPOTLIGHT ON: Walt Disney

Welcome to Generic’s Spotlight feature, where we shine the spotlight for one week on an actor, genre, theme, soundtrack, or anything else that takes our fancy – and truthfully, and however harshly, give our thoughts and opinions.

Week Three – 06.03.13 – 13.03.13

SPOTLIGHT ON: WALT DISNEY

Name: Walter Elias Disney

Origin: Chicago

Age: Deceased (1901-1966)

Profession: Director, Producer, Co-Founder of Disney, Voice Actor, Screenwriter, Philanthropist.

How do I begin to introduce Walt Disney?

Luckily, in this day and age his films are a legacy and he’s one of the most established households names there’s ever been. Imagine trying to sum up what he’s done for us and our children – it would be impossible.

Let’s just leave it at this: Walt Disney was an amazing man, with an amazing mind.

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT ON: Walt Disney

SPOTLIGHT ON: Robert Rodriguez

Welcome to Generic’s Spotlight feature, where we shine the spotlight for one week on an actor, genre, theme, soundtrack, or anything else that takes our fancy – and truthfully, and however harshly, give our thoughts and opinions.

Week Two – 27.02.13 – 06.03.13

SPOTLIGHT ON: ROBERT RODRIGUEZ

robert rodriguezName: Robert Anthony Rodriguez

Origin: San Antonio, Texas

Age: 44

Profession: Director

It’s a Friday night at around 11pm. The year is 1998. I’m 12 years old. The benefit of it being the end of a school week is that I can stay up late without the worry of having to get up early for school the next day. So I climb into bed and stick the telly on. This being the pre-digital age I only had a few channels to choose from, so whatever happened to be being broadcast was what I was going to watch. After channel-hopping for a bit I eventually settled for BBC 2, and a film which was just starting that I had never heard of, but I thought I’d give it a go.

As the film starts we’re treated to a shot of a car speeding down an American desert highway, with a rather unusual ‘x-ray’ view into the boot of the car where we see a woman tied up and gagged. It was this shot that made me realise that this film would be something a bit different, certainly from what I had seen before in my limited years. As the film continues, the first half of the film feels like your run of the mill hostage movie, following two criminals on the run who take a family hostage and flee to Mexico, where they seek temporary refuge in a seedy bar for bikers and truckers, and then HOLY SH*T!!!! The film, of course, was From Dusk Till Dawn (1996).

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT ON: Robert Rodriguez

SPOTLIGHT ON: Robin Williams

Welcome to Generic’s Spotlight feature, where we shine the spotlight for one week on an actor, genre, theme, soundtrack, or anything else that takes our fancy – and truthfully, and however harshly, give our thoughts and opinions.

Week One – 20.02.13 – 27.03.13

SPOTLIGHT ON: ROBIN WILLIAMS

Name: Robin McLaurin Williams

Origin: Chicago, Illinois

Age: 62

Profession: Acting

It’s safe to say that Robin Williams has had an absolute firecracker of a career. The guy that’s known for having a permanent smile on his face, even when he’s frowning. The “I don’t take life too seriously” guy. His ability to be able to light up any film, even the most depressing, with his cheerful nature is one that’s impossible to imitate.

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT ON: Robin Williams