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Halloween Hampers... Win a 5-DVD Horror Collection

Can you feel a chill even though the Sun's out? Halloween's just around the corner, which means it's time to watch horror movies. To help you set the mood with spine-tingling thrills, Ster-Kinekor have put together five horror movies featured below.

Visit our Facebook fan page and enter our Facebook competition for your chance to win 1 of 2 horror movie hampers! All you have to do is tell us, which one looks the scariest... take a closer look here.

3 Casino-themed Film Characters that You’re Unlikely to Forget in a Hurry

Gambling films first hit our screens when Western films featured them so heavily. However, it wasn't until Steve McQueen starred in the iconic Cincinnati Kid back in 1965 that they really make a mark on the film industry. From then on, Hollywood produced a steady stream of films showcasing the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas casinos.

The more mainstream, big budget films brought us the likes of James Bond, the English secret agent who often threw down huge wagers against his villainous counterparts. There was also the suave Danny Ocean in the Ocean’s trilogy played by George Clooney. But who are 3 of the most memorable characters that appeared in some of the lower budget films over the years? Read on to find out…

1. Lester “Worm” Murphy (Ed Norton, Rounders)

Rounders has turned into somewhat of a cult classic over the years. The film starring Matt Damon, John Malkovich and Famke Janssen also featured the enigmatic Ed Norton as Worm. For the most part, Worm was the unreliable gambling addict who had just been released from prison. The story sees Worm drag his friend Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) back into the underworld of poker, run by the notorious KGB.

Norton's flair for playing the unpredictable has got him to where he is today, and, as Worm, he's at his very best. Worm is the friend that you want to help but you know you really shouldn't. And Mike certainly finds out the hard way in Rounders.

2. Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg, The Gambler)

It could be argued that Wahlberg didn’t get the credit he deserved for playing the hapless, Jim Bennett in The Gambler. It was a chance for Wahlberg to showcase his versatility as an actor that we seldom see. With this role he plays a failing English professor who is relying on his wealthy mother to get him out of trouble after lending countless amounts of money from loan sharks due to his insatiable lust for high stakes gambling.

If you haven’t seen the movie, ignore some of the harsh reviews – it's worth a watch for Wahlberg’s performance alone.

3. Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci, Casino)

Okay, so we cheated a little bit including a character from Casino, but how could you construct a list and leave out Nicky Santoro played by the untouchable-at-the-time, Joe Pesci. The beauty of this was Santoro's psychotic nature – his inability to control his feelings when anyone disrespected him even in the slightest. It will forever go down as Pesci's most memorable performance and for that reason alone; he couldn’t be missed off this list.

With films now more accessible than ever, many are looking to watch their favorite genres via new streaming platforms such as Netflix, where shows can be ported straight to iPads and iPhones or even the latest Androids. The accessibility is boundless now, and popular films are being showcased in the strangest of ways. Cosplayers actively dress up as various DC and Marvel characters, while films like Jurassic Park and Terminator are celebrated through Slots on Spin Genie and other virtual casino portals, and frankly the list goes on when it comes to commemorating the art of film-making

The film industry has never been stronger, and its commercial reach has never been so vast. You've read our list above, so make sure you jog your memory by reliving the wonders of Worm, Nicky Santoro and Jim Bennett onscreen when you next get some free time.

The Triggerfish Story Lab Explained...

Triggerfish, the animation studio that brought us Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, have teamed up with The Department of Trade and Industry and The Walt Disney Company to unveil The Story Lab. The basic idea is that Triggerfish will be investing R44 million into The Story Lab over the next three years to give Africa's most talented storytellers and filmmakers the opportunity to develop their film and TV series screenplays into fully-fledged productions.

Shortlisted storytellers will take part in two weeks of workshops by leading Hollywood script consultants, Karl Iglesias and Pilar Alessandra. The selected Story Lab participants will also receive two weeks of mentoring at Disney's headquarters in Burbank, California and work alongside Triggerfish's network of mentors. For more information, visit triggerfish.co.za.

Hot New Trailers - July 2015

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
October 2015 (United Kingdom)

Supposedly the sixth and final installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise, The Ghost Dimension also happens to be the first film in the series to be shot in 3D. Hopefully though, first time director, Gregory Plotkin does not use 3D as a gimmick, and keeps the horror in line with previous films. Very little is known about The Ghost Dimension's storyline, except for the fact that a series of video tapes are found by the Fleeges family, as they move into a new house. It may be a Horror movie trope, but based on the debut trailer below it's no less frightening.

Best Bit: Can't say as we only managed to get through the first minute.

Final Girl
August 2015 (United States)

My, how Little Miss Sunshine has changed. Final Girl sees Oscar-nominated actress Abigail Breslin take on a far more different role than in her formative years. The basic premise of the film is revenge, as Breslin's character Veronica is trained to eliminate a group of young men that target, hunt and eventually kill young women for sport. Posing as a victim, Veronica turns the tables on her attackers, and dishes out some sweet justice. The film's not just about human hunting in the woods, as we also see glimpses from Veronica's past as she's trained by the mysterious mentor (Wes Bentley).

Best Bit: The awe-inspiring training montage at 0:45. 


September 2015 (United Kingdom)

A Mexican term for "Hitman", Sicario is a gritty film about an FBI agent (Emily Blunt) who leads a drugs task force from her native United States into the far more volatile Mexico City. Being a novice to the country, Blunt and her FBI team enlist the help of a local consultant (Benicio del Toro) to assist them. Without giving too much away, things turn sour over the border and Blunt's character, Kate Macer quickly finds herself way in over her head. Joining Blunt and del Toro in Sicario is acting heavyweight Josh Brolin, which means we can expect strong performances all around for this one.

Best Bit: When all hell breaks lose at 1:20.

Kung Fu Panda 3
March 2016 (United Kingdom)

Jack Black is back as the martial arts loving, and equally lovable, Po for Kung Fu Panda 3. While the Dreamworks-produced film only arrives in March 2016, the first trailer found its way online earlier this week. Joining Po are the usual suspects, with the Furious Five and Shifu, along with Po's long last father, voiced by Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame. As for whom the big bad in this film will be, little is known, with the trailer showing a rather odd exchange between Po and his father Li. If the exchange between the two is anything to go by, the apple has not fallen far from the tree.

Best Bit: Po's unusual Kung Fu style early on.

Daddy's Home
December 2015 (United States)

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg first joined up for the underrated and funny The Other Guys back in 2010. This year sees them become adversaries in Daddy's Home, as Ferrell and Wahlberg compete in a game of "oneupmanship" for the affections of two young kids. The kids by the way happens to belong to Wahlberg's character's former wife, who is now dating Ferrell's character in the film. We've often seen films portray things from the kids or ex-husband's perspectives, but Daddy's Home should offer a hilarious take on the new stepdad's point of view.

Best Bit: Ferrell realising he's outgunned at 0:49.

November 2015 (United States)

Our good old friend Charlie Brown is finally returning to the big screen in The Peanuts Movie, and as expected, he's not exactly loving life. Along with Charlie Brown are fan favourites like Peppermint Patty, Lucy, Linus and of course Snoopy. The gang seem to be at it again, dealing with the boredom that winter often deals, by getting up to all manner of shenanigans. Charlie Brown is also coming to grips with love, and trying to win the affections of the new girl that just moved in. Arriving in November this year, The Peanuts Movie will be a welcome bit of nostalgia for the holidays.

Best Bit: Anything involving Snoopy. 

Dark Places

Following the success of Gone Girl, it only made sense for more of Gillian Flynn's work to be adapted for the silver screen. First up is Dark Places, starring Charlize Theron as the survivor of a Kansas-based mass murder. Initially an orphan after the killings, she is now an adult struggling for a bit of anonymity. Instead she is found by a group of former cops, detectives and investigators called the Kill Club, who try to solve cold cases. Just like Gone Girl, nothing is quite what it seems in this intense thriller, which should make quite an interesting trip to the movies when its release date is officially announced.

Best Bit: Meeting the Kill Club at 1:00.

This article first appeared at Techsmart.co.za.

Hot New Trailers - June 2015

Point Break
December in the States

In the age of GoPro footage of guys base jumping off cliffs and amazing wingsuit flights around the Alps, how much appeal will an action movie featuring extreme sports hold? Granted, it's not just any movie, rather the remake of the 1991 Keanu Reeves classic Point Break. This one features a lot more than surfing, and sees our daring protagonist played by Aussie Luke Bracey (Home and Away, The November Man). The remake looks like enough fun to give it a shot.

Best bit: Rocking out at 2:32.

Cop Car

Finding an abandoned cop car in a field and taking it for a joy ride? It sounds like a dream come true for any young boy. However, realising that it belongs to a deranged sheriff intent on hiding his secrets, well that is the stuff of nightmares. Starring Kevin Bacon as the car-less cop, the trailer soon becomes far more gruesome than its carefree start.

Best bit: The radio message at 1:08 that establishes that this is not a kids movie.

Pawn Sacrifice

The story of the rise and fall of chess grandmaster Bobby Fisher is a very alluring one and certainly ripe for the big screen. Pawn Sacrifice sees an increasingly more frenzied Fisher (skilfully portrayed by Tobey Maguire) facing the Russian world champ Boris Spassky (Liev Schreiber), in what was one of the milder (in terms of body count) dramas of the Cold War. Director Edward Zwick is no stranger to intense dramas, having managed Legends of the Fall and Blood Diamond.

Best bit: Fischer going for a quiet stroll down the beach at 1:46.

October in the States

Thank heavens for small mercies they say, so a shout-out for not having to see Johnny Depp star as Blackbeard in Pan, another retelling of the classic story of Neverland. Instead, Peter Pan’s arch enemy is played by Wolverine, but whether Jackman’s portrayal will top De Niro's in 1991's Hook remains to be seen.

Best bit: Blackbeard’s entrance at 0:47.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
September in the States

It's a good time to be a young adult interested in dystopian, post-apocalyptic science fiction these days. With plenty movies available, such as The Hunger Games series, Divergent (also Insurgent) and The Host, the new trailer for The Scorch Trials, the next in the Maze Runner series, has now also seen the light of day. While part of the mystery might have been solved, our heroes are confronted with even more to discover, also having to deal with an outside world where basic service delivery has been fazed out.

Best bit: The kids seeing The Scorch for the first time at 1:22.

This article first appeared at Techsmart.co.za.

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