Golden Globe Awards (2017)

This is my fist film blog of the New Year, so as it was the 74th Golden Globes last night, I have decided to start the year off with a post on the best films of the previous year/those still yet to be released.

Below are the lists of the film/television winners and nominees from the award ceremony hosted last night, held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Of those I have seen, the winners are rightly so – and those I have not yet seen, I am extremely excited to!

Similarly, the hype surrounding this award ceremony has made me pumped for the Academy Awards that are to be held on the 26th of February 2017.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
‘Moonlight’: Winner
‘Hell or High Water’: Nominee
‘Lion’: Nominee
‘Manchester by the Sea’: Nominee
‘Hacksaw Ridge’: Nominee

 

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
‘La La Land’: Winner
’20th Century Women’: Nominee
‘Deadpool’: Nominee
‘Florence Foster Jenkins’: Nominee
‘Sing Street’: Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Isabelle Huppert (‘Elle’): Winner
Amy Adams (‘Arrival’): Nominee
Jessica Chastain (‘Miss Sloane’): Nominee
Ruth Negga (‘Loving’): Nominee
Natalie Portman (‘Jackie’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actor in Motion Picture – Drama
Casey Affleck (‘Manchester by the Sea’): Winner
Joel Edgerton (‘Loving’): Nominee
Andrew Garfield (‘Hacksaw Ridge’): Nominee
Viggo Mortensen (‘Captain Fantastic’): Nominee
Denzel Washington (‘Fences’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actress in Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Emma Stone (‘La La Land’): Winner
Annette Bening (’20th Century Women’): Nominee
Lily Collins (‘Rules Don’t Apply’): Nominee
Hailee Stenfield (‘The Edge of Seventeen’): Nominee
Meryl Streep (‘Florence Foster Jenkins’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Ryan Gosling (‘La La Land’): Winner
Colin Farrell (‘The Lobster’): Nominee
Hugh Grant (‘Florence Foster Jenkins’): Nominee
Jonah Hill (‘War Dogs’): Nominee
Ryan Reynolds (‘Deadpool’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Viola Davis (‘Fences’): Winner
Naomie Harris (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Nicole Kidman (‘Lion): Nominee
Octavia Spencer (‘Hidden Figures’): Nominee
Michelle Williams (‘Manchester by the Sea’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (‘Nocturnal Animals’): Winner
Mahershala Ali (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Jeff Bridges (‘Hell or High Water’): Nominee
Simon Helberg (‘Florence Foster Jenkins’): Nominee
Dev Patel (‘Lion’): Nominee

 

Best Director – Motion Picture
Damien Chazelle (‘La La Land’): Winner
Tom Ford (‘Nocturnal Animals’): Nominee
Mel Gibson (‘Hacksaw Ridge’): Nominee
Barry Jenkins (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Kenneth Lonergan (‘Manchester by the Sea’): Nominee

 

Best Screen Play – Motion Picture:
Damien Chazelle (‘La La Land’): Winner
Tom Ford (‘Nocturnal Animals’): Nominee
Barry Jenkins (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Kenneth Lonergan (‘Manchester by the Sea’): Nominee
Taylor Sheridan (‘Hell or High Water’): Nominee

 

Best Motion Picture – Animated
‘Zootopia’: Winner
‘Moana: Nominee
‘My Life As A Zucchini’: Nominee
‘Sing’: Nominee
‘Kubo and the Two Strings’: Nominee

 

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
‘Elle’ (France): Winner
‘Divines’ (France): Nominee
‘Neruda’ (Chile): Nominee
‘The Salesman’ (Iran, France): Nominee
‘Toni Erdamann’ (Germany): Nominee

 

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Justin Hurwitz (‘La La Land’): Winner
Nicholas Britell (‘Moonlight’): Nominee
Jóhann Jóhannsson (‘Arrival’): Nominee
Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka (‘Lion’): Nominee
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch (‘Hidden Figures’ (Nominee)

 

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
City of Stars – Justin Hurwitz (‘La La Land’): Winner
Can’t Stop the Feeling! (‘Trolls’): Nominee
Faith (‘Sing’): Nominee
Gold (‘Gold’): Nominee
How Far I’ll Go (‘Moanna’): Nominee

 

Best Television Series – Drama
‘The Crown’: Winner
‘Game of Thrones’: Nominee
‘Stranger Things’: Nominee
‘This is Us’: Nominee
‘Westworld’: Nominee

 

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
‘Atlanta’: Winner
‘Black-ish’: Nominee
‘Mozart in the Jungle’: Nominee
‘Transparent’: Nominee
‘Veep’: Nominee

 

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’: Winner
‘American Crime’: Nominee
‘The Dresser: Nominee
‘The Night Manager’: Nominee
‘The Night Of’: Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Sarah Paulson (‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’): Winner
Riley Keough (‘The Girlfriend Experience’): Nominee
Charlotte Rampling (‘London Spy’): Nominee
Kerry Washington (‘Confirmation’): Nominee
Felicity Huffman (‘American Crime’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Tom Hiddleston (‘The Night Manager’): Winner
Riz Ahmed (‘The Night Of’): Nominee
Bryan Craston (‘All The Way’): Nominee
John Turturro (‘The Night Of’): Nominee
Courtney B. Vance (‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’)

 

Best Performance by an Actress in A Television Series – Drama
Claire Foy (‘The Crown’): Winner
Caitriona Balfe (‘Outlander’): Nominee
Keri Russell (‘The Americans’): Nominee
Winona Ryder (‘Stranger Things’): Nominee
Evan Rachel Wood (‘Westworld’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actor in A Television Series – Drama
Billy Bob Thornton (‘Goliath’): Winner
Rami Malek (‘Mr Robot’): Nominee
Bob Odenkirk (‘Better Call Saul’): Nominee
Matthew Rhys (‘The Americans’): Nominee
Live Schreiber (‘Ray Donovan’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Tracee Ellis Rosh (‘Black-ish’): Winner
Rachel Bloom (‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’): Nominee
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (‘Veep’): Nominee
Sarah Jessica Parker (‘Divorce’): Nominee
Issa Rae (‘Insecure’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Donald Glover (‘Atlanta’): Winner
Anthony Anderson (‘Black-ish’): Nominee
Gael García Bernal (‘Mozart in the Jungle’): Nominee
Nick Holte (‘Graves’): Nominee
Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Olivia Coleman (‘The Night Manager’): Winner
Lena Headey (‘Game of Thrones’): Nominee
Chrissy Metz (‘This is Us’): Nominee
Mandy Moore (‘This is Us’): Nominee
Thandie Newton (‘Westworld’): Nominee

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Hugh Laurie (‘The Night Manager’): Winner
Sterling K. Brown (‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’: Nominee
John Lithgow (‘The Crown’): Nominee
Christian Slater (‘Mr Robot’): Nominee
John Travolta (‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’): Nominee

 

Cecile B. DeMille Award
Meryl Streep: Recipient

 

 

 

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‘David Bowie: The Last Five Years’ (2017) – 6/10

david-bowie-picture

Last week, I watched ‘David Bowie: The Last Five Years’ (2017). This is a 2017 BBC television documentary created by the director Francis Whately, which was aired on the eve of the late, great singer David Bowie’s 70th birthday. Bowie had sadly died last year 3 days prior to this.

I watched this on a Saturday night, after having briefly watched some shitty singing reality shows whilst reading. I sat down with my mum with a brew, and tuned into this captivating documentary about this amazing musician.

David Bowie is one of the most influential musicians ever. Not only did he help pioneer musical genres (from the 1970s to present day), he pushed boundaries in contemporary art through his innovative music videos, campaigned for sexual equality and identity,  and inspired many. Bowie played a predominant role in British culture and (as mentioned above) sadly died last year due to cancer. This television film was composed of a mixture of old and new footage of David Bowie, the man behind the alter-ego of Iggy Star, and was a touching way to commemorate the ending of Bowie’s career and life.

The reason I liked this documentary so much was because it reminded me of a poignant obituary. This was composed of interviews from backing singers, accompanying musicians and producers giving anecdotes of their time with the singer, as well as touching insights about the musician’s life on the road and unseen live footage of Bowie’s final 5 years of his life.

The documentary was interspersed with acknowledgements of how Bowie had always wanted to be famous and his ambitions with regards to his career, which was ultimately twinged with sadness at the hindsight of him being deceased. For example, Bowie metaphorically described how living in the public eye was like living in a fishbowl. Similarly, Bowie described fame as a ‘luxuriant mental hospital’, and that ‘it’s great when you want to get tickets for a concer… but the rest of the time it’s a pain in the ass’. The documentary then went on to hint that Bowie had made a deal with the devil by seeking fame.

I think what struck me most about this documentary was how autobiographical it was despite Bowie not actually having been alive when it was created (let alone aired). The documentary was like viewing a piece of Bowie’s personal life as laid out by himself… Some of the footage was so sentimental and personal, giving away details like the fact that Bowie had not performed since 2006, and told no one except those working on the album that he was creating anything – it was to be his first new album in a decade.

Similarly, through the images of Bowie interspersed with interviews from close colleagues and musical friends way, it was evident that not only was Bowie so inspirational because of the image he created, but was extremely conscious of the image he’d become (in terms of age, the way one matures, and obviously having to deal with a terminal disease). Similarly, it was extremely touching to see different bands, musicians and producers that Bowie performed with in his final years. It was like a scrap book. The director Wheatly also made ‘David Bowie: Five Year’s (2013), which I have yet to see but look forward to this.

This was very insightful. This was touching. This was nostalgic. This was sad. Bowie gave his all. He exposed himself musically and personally relentlessly, and gave his all to the alter ego he had created. This documentary reflected on what fame meant, and made me feel introspective about why we strive for fame, why we idealise celebrities, why we want everything out of these humans that we idealise. Bowie gave his all, and we took it. This documentary is a great cultural obituary for an absolute legend. Rest In Piece Bowie – you will be sorely missed.

‘Trolls’ (2016) – 6/10

I have been awake for hours. I don’t think I have ever been to the cinema this early. I had an early physio appointment and was trying to kill time before going shopping, so decided to go watch a Christmas showing of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993) at my local cinema. Unfortunately, I was there so early that I was not allowed to go into the screening without a child…. (something I have never heard of before). So instead of watching this, I waited and watched the next film scheduled, which was ‘Trolls’, and was pleasantly surprised.

‘Trolls’ is a new animation musical based on the dolls of the same name (created by Thomas Dam), in which small creatures with fantastic hair called “Trolls” live in a perpetual state of happiness, achieved by singing, dancing and hugging all day long. Large creatures called “Bergens” also exist, who are mean creatures that believe that they can never discover happiness unless they eat Trolls – and so hold an annual festival, called Trollstis, during which each Bergen consumes a Troll. However, the  Trolls, led by their King Peppy (Jeffrey Tambor), manage to escape from this through underground tunnels on the day that the Bergen crown Prince Gristle Jr. (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) was supposed to try first Troll. Consequently, the furious Bergen King Gristle Sr. (John Cleese) banishes his head Chef (Christine Baranski) who was in charge of the Troll preparation.

20 years later, the Troll King’s daughter, the extremely happy pink Troll Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick), throws a big party to celebrate the Trolls’ escape, despite the warnings of the grey grumpy Troll Branch (Justin Timberlake) that this will attract the Bergen. Branch’s fears are realised when the banished Chef hears the commotion and captures some of the Trolls. Poppy and a few others  manage to hide, but discovers that none of the other Trolls dare to venture to Bergen Town to rescue their friends. Consequently, Poppy, along with the reluctant help of Branch, has to save the captured Trolls – but are met by many obstacles/have to spread happiness along the way to overcome these (in spite of opposition from Branch).

From first glance, ‘Trolls’ has an extremely strong cast of both main characters and supporting roles, including; Russell Brand, Zooey Deschanel, James Cordon and Gwen Stafani (to name but a few). I read somewhere that Jason Schwartzman (known for his roles in numerous Wes Anderson films like ‘Rushmore’ (1998), and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ (2014)) was originally down for the main role of Branch, which would have been great, as he is one of my favourite actors. However, I must say that I really enjoyed Justin Timberlake’s performance. There is something about his voice that really suits animations… He also helped produce the music of this film, which is a plus, as the soundtrack is fantastic.

Anna Kendrick is also ok in this film. I’m not a massive fan of her… I did not like her in either ‘Pitch Perfect’ film, ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ (2016) or any of the ‘Twilight’ films (there is something annoying in every one of these characters that irritates me). I did, however, really like her in ‘The Accountant’ (2016), so am starting to warm to her. I am hoping that she will start playing more diverse, stronger roles as her career progresses. Her role as Poppy in ‘Trolls’ is really cute (and not over the top), so she captures this optimistic, happy character perfectly.

The best part of this film, for me, is the animation. It’s amazing!!  I was so fastinated by this that I decided to read up on it after leaving the cinema, and discovered that this is the first film from DreamWorks animation since 1998. Considering this, I think they have done a great job. A large portion of this film is stop motion. I read an article that described the techniques used on this film, and discovered that the surroundings were made of felt and the ground of carpet, both of which, like the scrapbook effects, were actually cut and sewn. I really like this hand-made effect, as well as the fibre look, that this creates. I also read that one of the hardest features to capture, in terms of animation, is animating hair, which of course is a crucial element in ‘Trolls’ (as the Trolls use their hair as a superpower). Glitter is also tricky, as having to mirror the reflections of this (pardon the pun), is extremely hard and time consuming. Both directors (Walt Dohrn and Mike Mitchell)  began working in the art department, working on amazing stop motion pictures like Roald Dhal’s adaptation of ‘James and the Giant Peach’ (1996), and animations like the ‘Shrek’ films, so have more than enough experience behind them to have overcome and nailed such a daunting project. They also provide a number of the voices, including Cloud Guy (Walt Dohrn) – my favourite character.

As mentioned above, I think that the soundtrack is fantastic. I hate with a passion the auto-tuned style used, but loved the selection of covers and the original songs that were written for this film. Similarly, I like how the songs were used in this film. This is not a traditional musical, in that musical numbers are not buildt up to. Instead because music is so ingrained into the Trolls lifestyle, they use it as a way of communicating and expressing feelings. Consequently, large parts of the script are songs or parts of songs, and are sporadically sung – not introduced as big numbers that all the cast get involved with.

‘Trolls’ is a very uplifting, feel-good movie. The setting created is a very immersive world, and is beautifully animated with vivid colours, and I love that the film has a female protagonist. ‘Trolls’ definitely made me feel happy, and the humour was on point, I am just not sure it was the right time of year or time of day to watch it. It was a rather intense spectacle to be watching so early, and because of the large pallet of colours used, it is definitely more of a summer film. I was not a massive fan of the auto-tune used, but excused this by the strong cover and original songs in the film. In terms of the script I really liked it, but would have liked to have seen more or Cloud Guy. Other than that, if you like animations then you’ll love this.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015) -8/10

Recently, I bought ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ on DVD. I can’t remember the last time I bought a DVD. Ordinarily, I only buy DVDs of my favourite films, or when I need something to watch on a long journey and do not have internet access. Both of these reasons are why I purchased ‘Mad Max’. Firstly, as mentioned in a previous post, I have recently broken my laptop, so am limited with what I can watch. Secondly, other than ‘The Witch’ (2015), I think that ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ was probably my favourite film released that year. It had such an impact on me that I ended up watching this at the cinema 3 times. The only other film I did that with was probably ‘Deadpool’ (2016).

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is the fourth instalment of the ‘Mad Max’ franchise, and is set in a post-apocalyptic world (following a nuclear holocaust), in which the world has become a desert wasteland and civilisation has collapsed. Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is a survivor who is captured by the War Boys, the army of the War Lord Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), and taken to Joe’s Citadel. Max is designated as a universal blood donor, and is imprisoned and used as a “blood bag” for a sick War Boy called Nux (Nicholas Hoult). Meanwhile, Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), one of Joe’s lieutenants, is sent in her “War Rig” (an armoured truck) to collect gasoline. She instead drives off-route, with 5 of Joe’s wives (selected and imprisoned for breeding purposes) – taking them to the “Green Place” (a lush place run by women that she remembers from her youth) as a refuge. Joe heads his entire army in pursuit of Furiosa, calling on the aid of nearby armies, which Max gets caught up in.

I think that the main reason that this film had such an impact on me was because of the film’s strong cinematography. The manic effects that the shutter speed has on the action in the film is just amazing. It captures the erratic actions of the War Boys which, in turn, emphasises their unstable ideals and the post-apocalyptic world in which they exist. Similarly, the special effects of certain scenes show the War Boys’ nihilistic ideas about Valhalla (the afterlife that Immortan Joe promises his War Boys will live in once they have sacrificed themselves in war for him), which are portrayed through their fast-paced, unpredictable movements within the high speed car chases.

Like the special effects of this film, the vivid colours of this piece help to create this immersive, surreal apocalyptic world. I read somewhere that the director (George Miller, who directed the previous 3 ‘Mad Max’ films) wanted this movie to be released in black and white. He then planned to release a special edition of this for cinema release, but again, this dream was not realised. Although this would have been great to see, I think it would have detracted something from the film that was eventually released. I think that the colours used in the final film emphasised the starkness of the desert wasteland that the movie was set in. This, in turn, enhanced the intense emotions of the characters, as well as the surreal, post-apocalyptic characters (like Immortan Joe). This horrific War Lord comes alive in this world created by these saturated colours.

After watching this film, I researched how well this film had done in terms of critical acclaim/awards it had received (as I was vaguely aware that this film had done well at the Oscars). Although ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ did not win an Academy Award for ‘best picture’ at the 2016 Oscars’, it did win the most awards of that year. These included Oscars for the following;

  • film editing
  • sound mixing
  • costume design
  • sound editing
  • production design
  • makeup and hairstyling

The above are all the strongest composites of ‘Mad Max’, and are what make this film one of my favourites of 2015. I agree that it should not have necessarily won best film (although for me, I do not think that ‘The Revenant’ (2015), which did win that year, was worthy of an Oscar either – but that opinion is for another blog…) This is because I am aware that broadly speaking, not many people would have appreciated the plot of ‘Mad Max’ (as essentially, this is based around an intense, high-speed car chase). Nonetheless, the film’s strong points (the editing, sound, production design and costumes) won big, and rightly so.

Now, I said that the film was just an ‘intense, high speed car chase’. In broad strokes, this is exactly what this movie is. However, I do not want to diminish this film in any way. Sure the plot of the film is actually rather simple (involving an escape and pursuit), but the protagonist is not actually the suspected lead character of the movie. The protagonist of this film is not actually Max, but is instead Charlize Theron’s character Imperator Furoisa (which is something that I was not anticipating). She is fantastic, and this film is where I fell in love with Theron. She is such a badass fighter, yet has an endearing side to her (in her need to escape and save others). I also like the bond that Furoisa and Max strike between themselves. Actually, I like how all the characters within this film interact. Although the plot runs seamlessly with little dialogue, the character development in this film is effective, as you can easily identify and connect with the characters through their journeys and back stories.

I recently read another interesting article on the production of this film (I was that taken aback by the look of its production that I wanted to know how it was created), which stated that this ‘Mad Max’ instalment had a 10 year delay in productions, as the team struggled finding the funds and location in which to make this movie. I am kind of glad that it took them this long to bring us this instalment of the ‘Mad Max’ franchise, as the location/intricate sets, productions and costumes are what makes this film. The same article stated that this film had to have 150 cars specifically built for it (not only to give it their authentic, unique apocalyptic-look, but also to enable the crew to film these intense scenes) – which blew my mind. This proves that time, patience and expertise are essential for film making (and that CGI/throwing large sums of money at a film is not always what is needed, time and vigorous decision-making is also required).

The main reason I liked ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ was the visual and audio aspects of this film. I personally think that the plot is gripping in spite of its simplicity (as it is essentially a prolonged car chase). However, the strong acting establishes great character development in spite of a lack of dialogue. Similarly, I liked that Max was not the protagonist (despite the film being named after him), and that the main focus is on Furiosa trying to rescue 5 women (most of whom are models first and foremost, so their acting is not as strong – but are, nonetheless buoyed by the strong leading actors around them/fast-paced scenes). The world Miller creates is such a devastatingly post-apocalyptic spectacle, and is an absolute masterpiece. In my eyes, visually the film is like a surrealist piece of art, set to a destructively amazing soundtrack. If you’re interested in plot solely, then this film is probably not for you. However, if you (like me) are more interested in a fuller scope of cinematography (like how films are edited, the sound mixing and things like that) then you will love this film.

 

 

‘Elf’ (2003) – 9/10


I rewatched Elf the other day, so decided to review this as I have not had chance to watch many new films (I broke my laptop and am too busy to go to the cinema – you’ve got to love the holidays).

I want to start off by saying that this is not just my favourite Christmas film, it is my favourite film period!! So I might be biased with my review (so take heed)!

‘Elf’ (2003) is a film about a baby, living in an orphanage, who accidentally gets taken to the North Pole by Santa Claus when he slips into Santa’s bag trying to attain a Christmas present. Consequently, an elderly elf adopts the baby, names him Buddy (Will Ferrell) and takes care of him as if he is his own. Buddy grows up believing he is an elf, but one day overhears a couple of elfs saying that Buddy is in fact a human (which explains his drastic difference in size to them, as well as his perceived clumsiness), and so decides to travel to New York in order to find his biological father, a business man named Walter Hobbs (James Cann).

The reason I like this film so much is because it has every factor I like/hope to see in a film. Firstly, it is a Christmas film. For some reason, I love Christmas films. I do not necessarily love Christmas the day itself, but rather I love the build up and anticipation of it. I love the ‘magic’ of Christmas that is captured in Christmas songs and movies. The excitement, the nostalgia and the ‘spirit’ that these films and songs somehow magically capture is just beautiful/evokes emotions in me that make me love this time of year. ‘Elf’ nails this. It obviously features Santa (Edward Anser), a toy store  (Gimbels), features a singing duet (between Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel), and stars an Elf (Will Ferell) – but it also features a Christmas message (‘the best way to spread holiday cheer is singing loud for all to hear’), and of course spreads the importance of family.

Secondly, I think the plot is genius. It’s a simple story, but is told from the perspective of a story within a story. The film is narrated by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart), who recounts Buddy’s story up until present day. I won’t give much away about this (for those who have not seen the film), but it is very cute how the plot is tied up. It is simple yet effective (and not too cheesy).

Thirdly, I like the animation in this film. The film mainly relies on forced perspective (to make it look like Will Ferrell is massive in comprison to the ‘elves’ he works with in the North Pole), but it also has stop motion, which works perfectly. The dynamic between real life and this style of animation works really well (which is mainly down to the sets used/the entire mis-en-scene of the film). The emergence of actors with animation is seemless.

Finally, the cast is strong, as is the directing, editing and script – which makes ‘Elf’ such a stand-out film for me. This film has some of my favourite actors involved, and they are all hilarous. I love Will Ferrell. Everything I have seen him in  (apart from maybe ‘Bewitched’ (2005)) has been excellent. I really like comedy films, and his style of humour – this dry/slapstick style – is right up my street. I also like Zooey Deschanel (who plays a similar cute role in films like ‘Yes Man’ (2008) and ‘500 Days of Summer’ (2009)),  James Cann (who played Sonny in ‘The Godfather’ trilogy), Peter Dinklage (who plays just as a commanding role as when he plays Tyrion in ‘Game of Thrones’), Mary Steenburgen (who features alongside her husband Ted Danson in one of my favourite American sitcoms ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’), and Jon Favreau (who also directs this) – to name but a few… All these actors execute the script brilliantly (which is written by David Berenbaum, and full of sublime one-liners), which is set against a feel-good score (composed by John Debney), that neatly ties up all the great aspects of this movie.

This is my favourite film. I can watch it repeatedly anytime of year. It is my favourite genre of film (a Christmas rom-com), has my favourite style of humour (a ridiculous hybrid on slap-stick) and is edited together brilliantly. The cast is strong, and the sets, animation and overall cinematography makes this film timeless/it has fared well!! I think it’s one of the best ‘modern’ Christmas films. I once did not get a job at a cinema for saying this was my favourite film (as most people there named art-house/blockbuster films as theirs) – but maintain that this is still my favourite. It’s so simple yet well crafted. I read somewhere that Will Ferrell turned down $29million to do a sequel , and rightly so. This is timeless and should be kept as it is! A must see, family feel-good Christmas film starring Will Ferrell dressed as an Elf – what more could you ask for?

‘Deadpool 2’ – Teaser Review

Deadpool 2

Release date:
12th January 2018

Directed by:
David Leitch

Written by:
Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza, Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick

Genre:
Action/superhero film

Cast:
– Ryan Reynolds
Synopsis:
This is the sequel to the 2016 film ‘Deadpool’, a superhero film in which Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a former Special Forces operative, develops cancer, takes experimental treatment to try and overcome this, but instead develops accelerated healing powers when an  evil scientist Ajax (Ed Skrein) tortures and disfigures him. The rogue experiment leaves Wade with accelerated healing powers and so he develops the alter ego of Deadpool. With help from 2 X-Men mutant allies called Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Deadpool uses his new skills to hunt down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Sadly, this teaser gives nothing away about the sequel for this film, other than the superhero Cable will probably be featured (especially as this character is referenced in the post-credits of ‘Deadpool’).

Reactions:
As this is just a teaser trailer, little can be deduced from this about ‘Deadpool 2’, other than the superhero Cable is more than likely going to make their screen debut. It is also rumoured that Domino (another superhero from this multiverse) is rumoured to be making a  screen debut. Additionally, Wade’s partner Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin) might be returning, along with Wade’s sidekick Weasel (T.J Miller).

I have read a couple of articles regarding this film, so can pass a little judgement on this. Firstly, the original ‘Deadpool’ director, Tim Miller, has pulled out of productions for creative differences with Ryan Reynolds (essentially that Miller wanted a mega-budget superhero film, whereas Reynolds wanted an inexpensive raunchy movie, like the first). I feel that if they’re going to make another movie (which I personally don’t think they should), they should stick to a similar style to that which they’ve made before. The reason I feel that they should not make a sequel is that the bar is raised so high from the first film that I worry they won’t be able to meet expectations with a sequel. The humour and fight scenes are on point with the first film, and I worry that they won’t be able to replicate this, and that if they do, it will just be a generic duplication.

Secondly, I read that ‘Deadpool’ took a decade to make, but according to IMDB, the sequel was announced 3 days before the original was released. This shows how successful the movie was. I read that it’s the most successful X-Men movie made, but (as mentioned above) hope that it does not get caught up in its own success and create a never ending series of movies that repeat jokes and undermine the original.

That being said, I do not know much about comic books or superheroes (I am new to this but am keen to learn), but am aware that Cable (the son of an X-Men) stars alongside Deadpool/he often plays the straight man to Deadpool’s antics. I am also aware that Venessa (Deadpool’s girlfriend) has mutant tendencies, and is better known as Copycat (which ‘Deadpool 2’ has the potential to explore). These characters, like the Deadpool plot itself, are part of a bigger X-Men multiverse, so this film has he potential for greatness. Deadpool’s pre-existing humour and style has so much potential too, especially as the  original poked fun at superhero movies, so no doubt the sequel will – which is my kind of superhero film.

‘Dunkirk’ – Trailer Review

Dunkirk

Release date:
21st July 2017

Written and Directed by:
Christopher Nolan

Genre:
Action/war film

Cast:
– Tom Hardy
– Cillian Murphy
– Mark Rylance
– Kenneth Branagh
– James D’Arcy
– Fionn Whitehead
-Harry Styles

Synopsis:
This film is based on the WWII Battle of Dunkirk, in which 400,000 British and Allied troops are surrounded on the beaches of Dunkirk in France by German troops.

Reactions:
Earlier this week, the trailer for the new Christopher Nolan film ‘Dunkirk’ was released. This is the new war film documenting the Battle of Dunkirk, an important battle of the Second World War which took place on the beaches of Dunkirk in France between the Allies and Germany. This was the defence and evacuation of British and Allied forces in Europe between the 26th of May and 4th of June 1940.

I must say that I am not that well read up on the background of this film. From first glance, this looks like it has the potential to be a fantastic WWII film. It looks gritty and full of suspense, like a war film should be. It has a sombre feel to it, and could hopefully get across the message of the historic story of Dunkirk in a tasteful way.

The main character (played by Fionn Whitehead) is a relative newcomer to the film business. In spite of this, the rest of the cast is that strong that they will no doubt buoy his performance if he does not deliver (which I am sure he will). Similarly, Christopher Nolan is such an experienced director (with films like ‘The Dark Knight’ (2009) and ‘Interstellar’ (2014) under his belt), so is more than capable of handling such a daunting subject as The Battle of Dunkirk, let alone a war film.

I am really looking forward to seeing ‘Dunkirk’. I like war films (if they focus on the history and gripping scenes, rather than focusing predominantly on the emotion in an overwhelming way that overshadows anything else). I like most of the actors in this film (Tom Hardy is such a strong, diverse actor, as is Cillian Murphy), and the director Christopher Nolan has a flare that makes me consider him to be one of my favourites – both of which will undoubtedly get the story across in a concise yet dramatic way. It will be interesting to see how Harry Styles plays his role. I hope that the focus does not fall completely on him (being a One Direction member) when it comes to this film, as it has so much potential to be a classic war film.