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

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

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  much 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

X-Men: Apocalypse

This is a slightly different review, as well as going to see the film on opening night I went to the red carpet of the European Fan Screening at the Southbank BFI IMAX on Monday 9th May.

We arrived at the BFI at approx 7am to collect wristbands as we had been informed to do by the BFI staff the day before. We were in line for about an hour and then managed to get good numbers (64-70). They were only giving out up to 200 numbers so we were very happy with those.
After getting the wristbands we all decided to go home to sleep and shower before returning at 12 to get into the pens (I know, we sound like animals)
We luckily got to the front barriers and with bags of food and drink in tow the wait began. We waited for about 5 hours before the stars started to arrive and the heavens opened. We got soaked. The carpet was no longer a beautiful shade of blue but a wet, dirty mess. I felt sorry for the stars tottering around in 6 inch stilettos.  (Although I didn’t really)

The event itself was alright, it was amazing seeing some of my favourite actors; the likes of James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and Oscar Isaac. But the absolute highlight for me was meeting Tye Sheridan, he is one of the best under 20’s actors around at the moment and I managed to get my copy of Jeff Nicholls Mud signed by him which he seemed very flattered by.
Aside from being nearly crushed by the crazy sellers behind us we had a really great day. We got to see some of our favourites and I managed to get a few autographs.
Thanks to the BFI for a great event.

As for the film itself, it was absolutely phenomenal. Better than Days of Futures Past but not quite as good as First Class.
The casting was perfect, I loved Oscar Isaac in a villainous role. He’s a very talented actor.
I think one of the best things that has been brought to the MCU is Evan Peters’ Quicksilver. He is such a funny, witty, likeable character who’s back story develops more and more with each film.
The audience loves him and again Brian Singers direction included a brilliant slow motion sequence where Quicksilver manages to save just about all the students in the school.
For me Tye Sheridan was the best newcomer to the series and of course McAvoy and Fassbender work so perfectly together.
Very very impressed. I loved it.

X-Men: Apocalypse

The Jungle Book

Jon Favreau is slowly becoming one of my favourite directors, his latest film The Jungle Book has convinced me even more. There were absolutely no faults whatsoever with the production of this film, the visuals were completely stunning, to the point where I had to remind myself that Kaa was not a real giant snake. The cinematography from Bill Pope was so clever, the way the camera followed the characters and caught every single emotion was genius.
The casting was probably 99% accurate for me, I have to admit (and this is hopefully going to be the only time I will ever say this) I didn’t like Idris Elba. I think for the character in question, Sher Khan, needed a much more menacing voice, he needed to be intimidating and passionate but also with a hint of crazy and unfortunately, for me, I think Idris’ voice is too smooth and velvety for that particular role.
I really loved all the other characters, I think Bagera is my favourite, Sir Ben Kingsley did a wonderful job in capturing the wisdom and age that comes with that character. Also, King Louis was fabulous, I loved the size they made him, I think that helped with making him seem like the secondary villain, which is how he is supposed to be. Christopher Walken was fantastic. The only thing I didn’t like about that particular scene was when he burst into song, yes ok I get that the audience wanted to hear the original songs from the original film which is fine (I too wanted to hear some links to the animated classic) however, I feel when the song started it took away from the seriousness of the scene and made it too comical which didn’t seem to flow. I think that song should have been kept for the credits to add a bit of comic relief to the end of the film.
I did, however, love when Baloo and Mowgli sang The Bare Necessities, that was beautiful and warming and funny, just like Baloo’s character.
Neel Sethi played a fantastic Mowgli, his childish behaviour and rawness was so clear and enjoyable to watch.

For me the absolute highlight of the film, what made it as perfect as it was, was the soundtrack. The music was absolutely stunning and the closing scene, when Mowgli is running like a man, not a wolf, has one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard.

(Oh – and the wolf cubs are reaaaaaally cute!)

Overall I absolutely loved the film, when the opening credits started I felt myself becoming slightly nervous because I have been anticipating the release of this film for a really long time and I was pleasantly surprised. Disney have done it again, and no matter how much people (myself included) moan about the constant stream of live action remakes, they never fail to impress.
I can’t wait for many more to come!

Thank you Disney for doing what you do best.

The Jungle Book

Deadpool

I honestly don’t think I can find anything bad to say about this film. As far as super-hero (or, maybe not “hero”) movies go this one is right up there with the best of the best. Its ability to not take anything too seriously, including itself, is just hilarious and works so perfectly.

At many points throughout the film, Wade Wilson makes jabs at the Marvel studio with a direct hit at all the previous X-Men films. The fourth wall is completely broken down and it’s just beautifully done, not too insulting but insulting enough. Oh I do have to add in here that Colossus is featured and for some unknown reason (maybe because of the original comic books, I wouldn’t know, I haven’t read them) he has developed a very thick Russian accent. Not the Colossus we know and love from the original X-Men trilogy.

In film I have never been a fan of the diary format, when the lead character spends most of the film either talking to the character or using a voice over – I usually think it dumbs down the film and is a writers way out of telling a complicated story, however in this film it just works, I’m not sure why or how they’ve managed it, but it works.

As far as I am aware, Ryan Reynolds had a lot to do with the making of this film and it’s taken a few years for the ball to start rolling on production, and I am so glad he pushed and pushed as hard as he did. You could feel his passion in the character, it makes up for the unsuccessful attempt at Deadpool in that one X-Men film we do not speak of.

It was brilliant, I loved it.

But please, it really should be an 18 certificate, I would not want a 15 year old seeing the first 20 minutes.

Deadpool