Archive for November, 2013

Man Utd vs West Brom – United Crash To Shock 2-1 Defeat

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Manchester United crashed to their worst start to a Premier League season since 1989 with a shock defeat against West Brom at Old Trafford.

Second half goals from Morgan Amalfitano and Saido Berahino either side of a sumptuous Wayne Rooney freekick condemned the defending champions to their second consecutive league loss.

The Red Devils started the brighter of the two and had the Baggies hemmed into their own half in the early exchanges, with Javier Hernandez and Nani looking threatening.

The latter almost created an opening midway through the first half after floating a cross in toward Rooney, who saw the ball drift past him out of play.

West Brom weren’t without their chances either, and were happy to operate on the counter attack for large swathes of the first half.

Stephane Sessegnon came the closest for the away side when he flashed a header across the face of goal on the half hour mark, after Berahino saw a header of his own drift wide.

But the best chance of the first half was created by Anderson, who, 10 minutes before the interval, latched onto the end of Shinji Kagawa’s cross before powering a header against the crossbar.

The Brazilian reacted quickly when the ball bounced back into play, but saw his miscued rebound sky over the bar.

With the game still deadlocked at the interval, West Brom gradually grew in confidence and their swashbuckling counter attacking paid dividends early in the second half.

Amalfitano first collected the ball on the halfway line, waltzed past Michael Carrick, nutmegged Rio Ferdinand and chipped past David de Gea when through one-on-one with 53 minutes played.

But the lead lasted just three minutes after Phil Jones was first hauled down outside the penalty area before Rooney saw his freekick float into the bottom corner of Boaz Myhill’s goal.

The Baggies were more than holding their own at this point and were perhaps unfortunate to only be level when Jonas Olsson hit the bar.

The visitors were well on top after Rooney’s strike and Berahino finally restored his side’s lead on the 66 minute mark.

The 20-year-old let loose a sublime long-ranged strike from the edge of the area that nestled in the corner of de Gea’s net to stun Old Trafford.

There was still time for late drama however as United stepped up pressure, and thought they had levelled late on when substitute Marouane Fellaini converted Nani’s cross.

But the referee correctly blew for offside as the Baggies held on to only their second win of the season.

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Spurs 1-1 Chelsea: 5 Things We Learned


Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea played out an entertaining and feisty affair at White Hart Lane on Saturday afternoon, as old friends Andre Villas-Boas’ and Jose Mourinho’s sides shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

It was Spurs who took the lead in the 19th minute, when Christian Eriksen broke free and found Roberto Soldado who, in turn, found Gylfi Sigurdsson – the Icelandic midfielder battled his way through to score his third Premier League goal of the season.

Chelsea equalised in the second half when, in the 65th minute, Juan Mata – on as a substitute – curled a free kick in to the box, which John Terry met with a glancing header which left Hugo Lloris standing.

Fernando Torres was sent off in the 81st minute for a second bookable offence, but Chelsea held out for the draw which, in the end, was a fair reflection of the match.

Click “next” below to see five things we learned from Chelsea’s visit to White Hart Lane…

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The Wicker Man: The Final Cut Review

the wicker man

The Wicker Man; not the Nicolas Cage comedy, but rather the original 1973 classic that probably has the most famous ending in horror movie history, has been restored and will soon receive a cinema and blu-ray release.

Anyone who doesn’t know, the film follows Sargeant Howie (Edward Woodward) who travels to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. When the islanders are less than forthcoming about the missing girl, Howie discovers that the disappearance might be linked with the island’s failing crops and they are going to use her as a sacrifice to the Pagan gods of fatality. Co-starring Britt Ekland and Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle, The Wicker Man is a frantic clash between one man’s Christian beliefs and an Island full of Pagan worshipers.

To celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary, this restored version has been labeled as ‘The Final Cut’ by director Robin Hardy and crucially establishes that the events take place over a 72 hours and an earlier appearance by Lord Summerisle. Compared to the version you might be used to, ‘The final Cut’ is a far more intense experience.

edward woodward the wicker man

While the clarification in the final cut, that the events on the Scottish island take place over 72 hours, is a subtle but effective change, it’s the earlier introduction of Lord Summerisle that will be a highlight of this version. It makes much more sense that we get a teaser of Lord Summerisle earlier in the film, especially as he a pivotal character that instigates the downfall of Howie. The only problem with the scene is the drop in print quality from the rest of the film. But that is only a small niggle and doesn’t remove you from the drama unfolding in the scene.

The west has mostly moved on from the strict religious confinements that would have been so important to people’s lives in 1973, therefore the religion theme that is central n the film, might not have the impact it would have had on audiences when they first saw the film. But looking at the mess religion has made of the Middle East, the clash between Christianity and Paganism in The Wicker Man can easily be related to that modern day conflict. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that Howie is a man with strong Christian beliefs that make him a character from a different time.

Some may find it hard to relate to Howie’s disgust when he sees the island folk partake in their night-time love action. The way Howie walks around judging any hint of sexual deviancy makes him stand out as much as the people he is offended by. You think that he would have had a hard time coping in a sexual liberated world, where hardcore porn is available freely with a few clicks on a computer.

The folk music and musical numbers might seem odd to people who are used to screams and clich horror orchestrals to set the tone, but even now there is no better way to highlight the creepiness of the island. The famous sexy naked, song and dance number by Britt Ekland is still bizarre and fitting as it has always been.

29 - CORRECT SIZE - The wicker Man

Folk music, nudity, sex and religious sacrifice, Empire magazine labeled The Wicker man as the best British horror movie ever made, and it is.

The blu-ray comes out in October and is full of features that should please any Wicker Man enthusiast (look out for our review and interview with Robin Hardy) but until then. you owe it to yourself to experience it on the cinema screen.

The Wicker Man is released in cinemas on the 27th September. The blu-ray is out 14th October.

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4 Reasons Why Dexter Finale Satisfies

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And so the saga of Dexter Morgan, at least on television’s Showtime network, has come to its expected and controversial end. As is the case with the most “end of series finales,” the audience becomes divided in reaction; both at the same time captivated & polarized, but also outraged at what has just taken place.

Most of the internet and bloggers and columnists are all buzzing with just how disappointing the Dexter finale turned out to be; but this article is not one of those discussions. Instead I engage you all to rethink what you’ve witnessed, and take a closer look at how Dexter Morgan’s tale wrapped up, and why it all was not really that surprising in the end.

4. The Final Season: Another Slow Burn, But Rightfully Serving Its Purpose

Dexter S8

These final few seasons of Dexter Morgan and the Miami Metro saga had been relatively slow, and for the most part, fairly un-moving. Aside from LaGuerta finally realizing who Dexter Morgan really is, last season was really a wash. And this final season was really more of the same, all of us wondering if he would ever get caught after what happened in that shipping container at last season’s end and if his sister would turn him in for all he had done.

But honestly, over time the show became about so much more than IF Dexter would ever get caught. Certainly we were all intrigued early on, so many years ago, sitting with baited breath and waiting for that moment when James Doakes would catch Dexter and reveal his secret to the world. What would his co-workers think? What would Deb think? These questions were the foundation early on in the show, but as time went on, the focus shifted, unknowingly to many viewers. It instead became all about the journey Dexter was on, trying to sort through his inner turmoil and quell his dark passenger… and become something more.

And so this final season of Dexter was actually quite masterful in bringing us to that endgame. With the early reveal that Dr. Vogel was actually someone from Dexter’s early childhood and instrumental in Harry’s development of his son, as an audience we were actually given the opportunity to take that journey of rediscovery with Dexter. He had found someone, someone who was essentially his family, long after Harry was gone. Dr. Vogel gave Dexter new insight into his past, into his early relationship with Harry, and into his lifelong development for who he had become.

But over the years Dexter had actually developed the ability to love, or what he considered love, a type of empathy really, and something a true killer should never be able to do. And so the return of Hannah McKay for the final season helped us see Dexter finally become something more than a person trying to keep his demons at bay. By the time we arrived at the series finale, Dex was committed to starting new, having fully realized, for the very first time, that he could possibly move on from who he was, and become something more. He wanted Harrison to have a mother figure in his life, and Dexter himself was forcibly ready to move on and begin again, away from Miami and the past he had created.

The final season of Dexter finally tied together these different facets of the overall story, and by the end of the season we witnessed everything come to fruition: with Dexter becoming more than a person with the desire to kill, who was finally putting his dark passenger to rest and committing to his own happiness…that is, until the final moments of the finale.

But why Hannah McKay, and why now, at the end of the show…

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10 Unlikely (But Wonderful) Relationships That Spawned In Movies

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The world of movies has produced some wonderful relationships over the years, due to great storylines and fantastic on-screen chemistry between the actors and characters in question.

However, not all of those relationships were very likely or predictable – and that’s often what makes them so poignant and beautiful.

Whether it’s due to a gap in age or the characters in question coming from completely different backgrounds, some of the best on-screen relationships have spawned between characters you would never have otherwise thought to put together.

With that in mind, here are ten very unlikely relationships that have spawned in movies…

10. Kevin McCallister & The Pigeon Lady (Home Alone 2: Lost In New York)

Home Alone Pigeon Lady

In Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Kevin McCallister boards the wrong plane as he and his family were due to fly to Miami for Christmas and ends up in New York by himself.

When Kevin first encounters the pigeon lady whilst wandering in Central Park, he sees her as a terrifying figure. Covered in and surrounded by pigeons, she looks like something from a horror movie.

However, he apologises for his initial reaction and the two talk.

He gets to know her and, when Kevin suggests that they go somewhere warmer, they go to a concert in a loft above Carnegie Hall and talk further.

The pigeon lady tells Kevin about what her life used to be like. She had a job, a home and a family, but everything went wrong. She had wanted children, but the man she loved fell out of love with her and broke her heart. Whenever the chance to be loved came along again, she ran away from it, stopped trusting people and dealt with it by taking care of the pigeons in Central Park. This led to her current homeless situation.

Kevin relates to her when she tells him that people ignore her when they see her and would prefer it if she wasn’t part of their city – he says that he refers to himself as the “pigeon” of his household because he’s the youngest. The pigeon lady nods in agreement and says that everyone fights for position and wants to be seen and heard, which implies that she had probably grown up in a similar family.

Before leaving, Kevin promises to be her friend if she needs one and she smiles. He later returns and presents her with one of the two turtle doves given to him in a toy store, symbolising that they will be friends forever.

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9 Essential Franchise Characters Who Completely Missed One (And Only One) Installment


For a franchise to succeed, more so than a pre-existing fanbase, good special effects or good plot after the second instalment (although that final one is as important as it is rare), it needs strong, memorable characters. An iconic image for the poster and someone who the audience can immediately cheer for/boo at is the real key to success. There’s exceptions to this rule – Riddick has kept scraping along despite having an inherently despicable hero at its centre – but for the most part it’s here where the likes of Battleship fail.

Which is why it’s crazy when the latest in a series with a well set up cast neglects to include one of the fan favourites. Here are nine such characters who left the franchise for one entry, but swiftly came back for whatever reason (and it’s not always as simple as you think).

Normally when I’m doing a list I tend to be pretty loose in my choices – if I can vaguely justify and entries inclusion it’ll feature – but today I’m following an exact rule. These must be characters who make appearances in every other film in the series, so returned straight after their missed episode.

Potential Future Entry: Jason Bourne – The Bourne Legacy


I’m futureproofing this article here in the hope that one day Matt Damon will return to his superstar franchise as plot required amnesiac Jason Bourne. The Bourne Legacy was a serviceable entry in the spy franchise (I don’t hold the others as highly as many others so its weaknesses were lessened), but Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross was instantly forgettable. The return of Jason is the only way the franchise can go forward, making the continued development of the Damon-less Bourne 5 a rather flat prospect.

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Fantasy Football Tips: 5 Expensive Misfits You Must Sell Immediately

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We are on to Week 7 already and all the leagues are taking shape as gaps start to appear between teams fighting to top their respective leagues.

It is no different in our very own league with a cluster of teams led by Michael O’Sullivan currently are in contention of winning the WhatCulture league for the 2013/14 season.

Further down the League in say around 247th place, teams haven’t quite got off to the flying start that they’d dreamt of when choosing their teams in anticipation of the new season.

Part of the problem that a player may have encountered are certain players have let your team down massively and are holding you back from accruing a bigger total and shooting up their leagues in a flash.

But, there is no need to panic as you just need to carefully analyse the big hitters and see whether they have lived up to their billing and repaid the faith you had in them.

As for those who have flopped massively, we name and shame some of the bigger culprits as we count down 5 Expensive Misfits You Must Sell Immediately

5. Juan Mata- 9.6million

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Media Image Ltd

From the orchestrator of most of what was good about Chelsea last season, he has somewhat become a peripheral figure in this.

Undoubtedly, with the change of manager, would come new ideas and fresh thinking with regards to personnel, tactics and training.

So, with that in mind, it has appeared as if Mata, strangely in many people’s eyes, isn’t needed with such regularity (only playing 167 out of a possible 540) by Mourinho as he was by previous incumbents.

The Spaniard contributed his first assist to the cause, setting up John Terry from his free kick

Overall, Chelsea sit in 4th place with 11 points and ahead of the midweek clash with Steaua Bucharest, he walked out of a press conference after being incessantly questioned over squad selection.

In this instance, Kevin De Bruyne was the player in question, but that could’ve easily been Mata.

All this points to is uncertainty over who can become permanent fixtures in the Blues’ midfield.

Maybe Mata can’t hold this place down and 9.6million spent by 4.6% of the playing population is better spent elsewhere

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