Ready Player One

After perusing through IMDb this morning whilst I was supposed to be doing college work (it still counts as research, right?) I made my first stop at my favourite (living) directors page and was completely taken aback by the amount of work this man has lined up. Steven Spielberg has been my favourite director/producer since I first found out what a director/producer was, his work has inspired me, and continues to do so every time I watch one of his masterpieces. Because, in his world, everything IS a masterpiece.

He has 18 producer jobs in the works, 5 of which he is directing himself. And although the hype seems to be focusing on the “Untitled Steven Spielberg Project” formally known as “Posts” being given an awards season release date, my heart and eyes are set on Ready Player One. I recently read the book, and it has shot straight to the position of my favourite book I’ve ever read (Harry Potter doesn’t count on that list, it has a list of its own, for obvious reasons). RPO follows the story of Wade, played in the film by Tye Sheridan who I adore and I had the honor of meeting at the X-Men Apocalypse premier, Wade lives the world we know, only different, it has been completely destroyed by the ever-marvellous human race, and now practically everyone lives within a VR video game called the Oasis. Wades mission is to complete a game set up by Oasis inventor James Halliday, played in the film by SIR Mark Rylance (anyone who knows me, can now see why I am so excited about this film). Completion of the game will result in Wade being a multi-millionaire, give him the chance to escape his horrible family life, and be free of the horrors of the modern world.
James Halliday is obsessed with 80’s pop culture, something I am also quite the fan of, and throughout the book there are constant references to films, books, music and comics that rose to fame in the 80’s.

As I was reading the book I couldn’t help but imagine seeing this incredible story, written by Ernest Cline, on the big screen.

I don’t doubt for a second that the 18 films that Spielberg is currently producing will be wonderful, incredible and as always masterpieces, but for me, the excitement lies in Ready Player One.

And so, the countdown begins.

351 days to go.

 

(also – read the book. do it.)

Ready Player One

20 films in to 2017

It’s now March 14th, I have just seen my 21st film of the year. Kong: Skull Island. I have actually been keeping a hand-written film diary which seemed like a great idea at the start of the year but apparently it means I write a lot less on here.

There’s already been some incredibly successful, high-budget, blockbusters this year that I have thoroughly enjoyed, things like; Logan, Passengers, Kong, The Great Wall (despite Matt Damons dodgy Irish accent, I still love him) and Hacksaw Ridge and we still have so many to come, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor: Ragnarok and Power Rangers to name a few. I have also just started hearing a bit more about the new Charlie Hunnam hit, The Lost City of Z, which at first I thought looked boring and ridiculous but actually after reading some reviews and watching some trailers for it I’m actually very interested in seeing this film. It looks like it could be something great.

I also followed all of the Oscar nominees like a hawk, I managed to see all the Best Picture contenders before the awards took place, my favourite from the day dot was Arrival, I also loved Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion and Hell or High Water. I was disappointed in Moonlight and Fences, which unfortunately Moonlight went on to win Best Picture, in my opinion it didn’t deserve it, it was a film made for all the wrong reason, political drivel that was made with one intention, to win the BP Award at the Oscars, props to them – they did what they set out to do. But I truly believe Hidden Figures should have won, it was a beautifully told important story. (I’m aware this is a controversial opinion, I don’t think I need to worry about the half a dozen people that actually read this blog, but it is my opinion and I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, I just didn’t like it.)

Aside from all of that, one of the films from this year that seems to have stuck with me from the first moment I watched it was Manchester by the Sea (again, controversial, I like it for the film and the talent, not the actors themselves). It was one of the most visually beautiful films, New England is such a beautiful place and it’s nice to see the scenic shots on the big screen. Casey Afflecks portrayal of a man dealing with guilt, grief and trauma is so compelling, you felt every single word he said and it was the first film, in a long time, that I actually managed to have some empathy for the characters. I am now currently reading the screenplay and have downloaded the soundtrack because I just can’t get enough of it. Kenny Lonergan is an absolute genius and his words are so soothing yet heartbreaking at the same time. I true visionary. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

So 2017 seems to be going off with a bang, we’re now into the third month of the year, second of the film year, and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year brings.

I am still working on my challenge to see every Oscar Best Picture winning film, I think I might have ticked a few more off the list since I last wrote. I watched Million Dollar Baby the other night and found it extremely dull. I’m surprised it won as much as it did, but that’s just me.

What’s next? I’m not sure, the dreaded remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is being released world wide on Friday so maybe I’ll drag myself kicking and screaming to see that at some point and I want to see Ben Wheatleys Free Fire once that’s released, see if it’s any better and less pretentious than High Rise. But until then, I’ll just stay sat on the sofa working my way through my ever-growing DVD collection.

MTFBWY

20 films in to 2017

Yes, I finally watched Trainspotting

It’s only taken me like, 10 years since I first heard about this film to get round to watching it. It’s been sat on my DVD shelf for the last 2 gathering dust. I’ve actually been putting it off for ages because I don’t like films about drugs, but, it’s a classing, a cult favourite and as a media/film student I felt like it was something that had to be ticked off the list.

As anyone who knows me will be aware, I’m not the biggest Danny Boyle fan although I agreed with the Academy when he was awarded the gold statue for Slumdog Millionaire, because I absolutely loved that film.

Trainspotting, where do I even start? Everyone knows it, even if you haven’t seen it, you know it, you can picture that awful photo of a very underweight Ewan McGreggor and you just know it’s not going to be the easiest watch. No, I didn’t like the narrative, the script lacked umph, but the shooting techniques used were beautiful and the cast were completely perfect. I love Kelly McDonald to the moon and back, and seeing her in this completely different role to what I’m used to was great.

I’m still a bit, unsure of what I think about the film as a whole, but technically it was perfect and I am very glad I’ve finally got round to watching it… I won’t be rushing to Cineworld tomorrow to catch T2.

I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. It is what it is and that’s that.

 

Yes, I finally watched Trainspotting

2017 …so far

Yep, as always, I’ve left it ages since writing here but I guess that’s mostly because I don’t think anyone reads it haha! So what’s the point?

2017 has begun with a bang for me in the film world, I’m loving almost everything I see at the cinema at the moment. That time of year is here again, awards season, I live for this period of the film calendar! There’s so much to be excited about and so much I’ve already enjoyed.

My top film for 2016 was Arrival, the script, the acting, the production design, the direction, the narrative was all phenomenal. I loved love loved it. And having Jeremy Renner to look at for the duration of the film was also a nice treat. I really do love that man! I was luck enough to get a glimpse of him and Amy Adams at the Arrival premiere back during the BFI Film Festival here in London. Another highlight of the last 6 months for me, unfortunately I didn’t get to view any films at the festival but I went to a lot of the red carpet events and it was so much fun! I saw some real idols and had the chance to be involved in the celebration of the industry I know and love so much. It was great!

So back to the present, 2017, what a year so far and we’re only 31 days in! I am keeping a handwritten journal of all the films I’ve seen at the cinema this year so I can have a final headcount of how many I watch because I have no idea how many I watched last year and I would be so interested. I’m looking forward to looking back over it this time next year to reminisce on some of the films I’d forgotten about.

So, I’ve seen 6 of the 9 best picture nominations for this years Academy Awards. Arrival being the highlight but, saying that, I’ve loved them all. La La Land is beautiful and wonderful and deserves all the recognition it gets, it’s so exciting to see the old art form from the Golden Age back on the big screen where it belongs. Emma Stone is a sure win for the leading actress category. Hacksaw Ridge, although a tough watch, a very tough watch, I really did love it. I have a lot of love for war films anyway and Andrew Garfields performance was great. He’s really growing into a serious actor. It’s very exciting to see. Manchester by the Sea, I really don’t know how I can put into words how much I loved this film. Casey Affleck is just incomprehensible, his performance was chilling yet beautiful, cold yet so warming, hard to watch yet addictive. I don’t know how else to say it, I really don’t. I can see him picking up the golden man on February 28th. Lion, also amazing, held together wonderfully by Dev Patel and his wonderful youngerself Sunny Pawar, a brilliant young actor who we can only expect great things from in the future. It was a beautifully heartwarming true story and I really loved it. (I’ve said that a lot so far, I told you, I have loved everything so far this year!)
So what have I got left? Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Fences. All award favourites so far this year and I’m really looking forward to seeing them all. Bring it on!

On a personal note, I have set myself the task (with my best friend, whom I will be attending the BAFTA red carpet with in 12 days!) to watch every film that’s ever won the “Best Picture” gong at the Academy Awards, it’s a heck of a challenge with 89 films to watch, one a year since 1928. I have watched 18, so I have quite a way to go. But I will start a new thread and keep you all (ha ha) updated with my progress.

So, until then, I bid thee a farewell.

May the force be with you, always.

2017 …so far

Inferno

I’ve just watched Inferno, the third instalment of the Ron Howard film trilogy based on the Dan Brown series of books. The story of Inferno follows another puzzle filled adventure for Professor Robert Langdon as he tries to figure out why there are signs of the inevitable Dantes Inferno.
The film is full of twists and turns and clues that lead Langdon to eventually figure out why he is having so many hallucinations and what they mean.

Inferno stars the flawless Tom Hanks in the lead role with a very strong support cast lead by Felicity Jones who portrays the role of Langdons wing-woman, Dr. Sienna Brooks, incredibly well. The film is directed by the great Ron Howard who had found a real niche in these films and does the great works of Dan Brown real justice.

I really enjoyed it, I think it held on to a really gripping story well without straying too much from the core plot points. It also gives the audience a beautiful portrayal of Florence, Venice and Israel with some stunning locations and an insight to the history of these beautiful cities.

Very good, worth a watch and a truly compelling story.

Inferno

Swiss Army Man

Oh my, i really don’t know where to start with this film. I have actually just re-written that first sentence like 10 times because I just don’t know what to say.

Swiss Army Man follows the story of Hank, played incredibly well by Paul Dano, a young man who is stranded on a dessert island close to taking his own life due to loneliness and hunger. As his last few minutes flash before his eyes a dead body washes up on the shore and he stops to look and check him out. He notices the body has severe flatulent issues and therefore decides to use him as a….dare I say it….speed boat.
At this point we are watching Paul Dano ride Daniel Radcliffe across the sea with the power of bodily wind.

Yes, really.

So I’m not going to tell you much more of the story because I really can’t go into too ┬ámuch detail without filling this article with spoilers. However, I will say this, it’s weird, beautiful, crazy, addictive and above all, fantastic.
I genuinely came out of the cinema with no idea what I had just witnessed and if I even liked it, because anyone who knows me, knows I don’t handle “weird” very well. But this one, I just can’t stop thinking about it. And for an hour or so after we came out of the cinema me and my friend were trying to work out what the narrative even was? Did it all happen? Or was Hank insane? Had he imagined it all? Did Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) even exist? It’s a real question mark and I am so so glad I have seen it. My whole outlook on the world of motion picture has changed thanks to this film.

Some real highlights for me were the screenplay was incredible, so beautifully written. Paul Dano was great but we can finally see Daniel Radcliffe as a great actor, he has talent and this film really shows it. And I can also see some award nominations coming its way.

If you haven’t already, go and see it, just because it’s so weird! Haha!

Also….it’s good to be back.

Swiss Army Man

The Departed

It’s hard to believe it’s 10 years since this masterpiece came into our lives, it is what I believe to be one of the greatest films of the last decade. It is so beautifully written with such a captivating narrative. The casting is 100% on point; as always Leonardo DiCaprio is perfect, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, even Alec Baldwin, who I usually think of as a bit of a joke actor, create a compelling team of characters that truly bring this film to life.

Even before the title comes onto the screen we have already learnt so much about the story, who we should trust and who we hate, the goodies against the baddies. Yet, somehow, after learning all that in the first 8-9 minutes we are completely engrossed by the story and where it’s going to go.

The cinematography helps ass to the perfection of this film, smooth, long panning shots make each and every second so much more addictive. As for the editing I think of it as one huge montage, the inclusion of the continuous soundtrack makes the story feel fast paced. Each individual narrative has a different style to the score which helps the viewer relate to the characters and sets the tone of the scene.
I love to see a film that is solely dependent on the progression of the characters, everything about this film is because of the characters and without the insane amount of talent the characters would be nothing.

It’s also clever how people, like myself, who don’t know much about the setting of this film, mafia, Boston, Irish heritage, instantly know what’s going on and what it must have been like around that area when these things were happening.

Towards the end of the film evening is moving quite calmly, then all of a sudden Martin Sheen’s characters dead body falls off the roof of a building and then BAM the drama intensifies and that’s when it gets better and better right up to the closing credits.

I think my favourite moment in the film is the completely silent scene between Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio when they’re on either end of the police phones. They’re just there, on the screen, with the phones to their ears and staring straight ahead. So much happens in those few seconds of silence that words would have killed it. It is that moment that Leo’s character, Billy, suddenly works everything out and we, as the audience, work out that aside from all the murder and the crime and the police the actual whole point of this film and the story is the relationship between these two characters. They don’t meet each other officially until the last quarter of the film, this moment on the phone is the first time they have contact and somehow, the whole film revolves around how they effect each other.

That’s the beauty of the simplicity of this piece of art.

 

The Departed