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Showing posts from February, 2017

Fences (2017)

Based on August Wilson's 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and adapted to screenplay before his death in 2005, Fences has been long in the waiting. There had been previous attempts adapt Fences to film (the rights were first purchased in 1987 with Eddie Murphy penciled in to star), but this had repeatedly been pushed back as Wilson remained adamant that it was directed by an African-American. Having directed twice before, and knowing the source material inside out from his Tony Award turn as the lead, Denzel Washington has taken the plunge and taken his place behind, as well as in front of the camera. With much of the stage cast reunited, including now Academy Award winner Viola Davis (also a Tony Award winner for the same role on stage) it is immediately apparent this has been made without a lot of love and respect for the original source material. Fences is a family drama in 1950s Pittsburgh, honing in on Troy Maxson (Washington), and his views on the world around him, parenth…

The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Having previously worked as animation co-director on The Lego Movie (2014) with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Chris McKay makes his directorial debut with it's follow up: The Lego Batman Movie.  When I was a kid, Lego surmounted to nothing more than a bucket of mismatched pieces I would build in to a rocket ship, dismantle, and repeat.  Nowadays, there are building block interpretations of popular films franchises, and then video game interpretations of those.  The Lego world seems to be taking over, and reaching out in to the film world itself.  Riding the wave of the hugely successful (and hugely brilliant), The Lego Movie, a film focussing on one of it's standout characters (Batman - voiced by Will Arnett) has quickly followed (and there will be Lego Ninjago Movie later in 2017 too).  I went to see The Lego Movie for my 5th 25th Birthday and was really impressed.  Much like everyone else I assumed it was a massive marketing ploy and was pleasantly surprised by the quick…

Films That Need a Sequel

The sequel. The idea of it hardly inspires confidence does it? You could end up with an Empire Strikes Back or a Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A Terminator 2: Judgement Day or a Speed 2: Cruise Control. The Dark Knight, or a Batman & Robin. We often get sequels it doesn’t seem anyone asked for (looking at you XXX: Return of Xander Cage), and yet there are some films where I’ve left the cinema desperate for more. Are great films better to be left alone untainted by a poor follow up, or is it worth the gamble. For different reasons, here are some great films I would love to see a follow up to.

Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The easiest one to pick on my list. I really enjoyed the original Swedish movie interpretations of Stieg Larsson’s ‘Millennium’ trilogy of novels. They were all made at the same time for TV, and I owned them all on DVD when they came out. It made a star of Noomi Rapace, and I’ve been a big fan of her work since in The Drop, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shado…

Hidden Figures (2017)

Theodore Melfi directs the story of the USA/Russia space race from the perspective of some of NASA’s key players, 3 African-American mathematician women. Hence the film's double meaning I had heard of neither of the women and I doubt I’m alone in that - #OscarsSoWhite movements aside, it’s great that their role is being told on the big screen for that very reason. Dorothy Vaughan was the first African-American woman to be given the role of supervisor at NASA, and Mary Jackson was their first black female engineer. It’s the story of Katherine Johnson that it centres on though: a NASA mathematician, Johnson calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury (among others), the United States’ first human spaceflight programme. The trailer looked like there was an interesting story to tell, but I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to watch it – although that may have something to do with Cineworld desperate to show that trailer before every film we caught last month. Thankfull…

Movies On TV You Can't Help But Watch

Much of my exposure to films came from whatever was on the TV. My brother and I would spend a couple of evenings a week at my Granny’s house after school and we would finger through the TV guide and circle films for her to record on VHS. Each week we would then sit down with a Wagon Wheel and watch whatever action-filled gore-fest we had picked the previous week (“Ooh, you two do watch some horrible stuff!”). I would also stumble across films myself, scrolling through the channels late at night. Sometimes I would come across a gem, and that was exactly how I first watched The Shining (1980) and Alien (1979). A lot of the time though it would utter rubbish. Without Netflix the pickings were pretty slim back then so I would have to make do with whatever film ITV2 were showing for the 46th night in a row.

Nowadays we don’t watch an awful lot of telly. If we’re not watching a DVD or Netflix, we will be working through a boxset (the latest Sherlock series was the first ‘live’ TV show …

Moonlight (2017)

In 2014 Richard Linklater released his labour of love, Boyhood.  Filmed sporadically between 2002 and 2013 the film told the story of Mason.  As the film took 11 years to make, they could track Ellar Coltrane (Mason) as he grew up, filming scenes at certain stages in his life.  It blew many away with it's brilliantly original method of telling that story, and the effortless nostalgia that came with it.  It currently holds a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a perfect 100/100 on Metacritic.  However, it's sprawling storytelling methods aside I think you were left with a story we have all seen a million times before, and it definitely didn't demand any repeat viewings.  It was an incredibly innovative and brave way to capture one particular coming of age story, but in Moonlight it's the story itself that is daringly original.  Both received Best Picture Academy Award nominations in their respective years, both have near identical scores in film critic consensus websites…