Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N

Last night I had the privilege of going to a press night at the new immersive experience from Marvel called the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Located just outside London’s Excel in a purpose built arena the experience is the ideal experience for any Marvel fan.

You are treated as new recruits of SHIELD as soon as you get there with the staff ushering you through the different rooms (although you can absolutely go at your own pace if you want to nerd out a bit longer than everyone else – like we did!). Agent Hill welcomes you to the training programme in the first room before the walls open up and you are taken through into the first of 4 exciting rooms, Tony Stark’s Workshop.

Greeted by a life-size Iron Man costume and closely followed by the Hulkbuster suit, Tony Stark’s Workshop sets the scene perfectly for the rest of the tour.

Moving through the experience you get to see Hulks fists, Captain America’s bike and shield, Thor’s hammer, Hawkeyes bow and arrow, War Machines suit and the remains of Ultron as well as much more. All wrapped up with a full size arc-reactor at the end. Costumes, activities and displays from all of the characters can also be found all the way through.

The final stage of the training is an I-phone powered game where you get placed in different teams to destroy Ultron (I was in Team Hawkeye, which I was very happy about!).

It’s a fantastic experience for any marvel fan and perfect for the whole family. With similarities to last years Star Wars Identities experience at the O2, there’s enough activities throughout to keep children entertained.

I had a couple of disappointments as a huge Marvel fan in that they missed out a few of the pivotal characters, Spider-Man and Dr Strange being the main ones. There’s also no mention of the Guardians of the Galaxy which was a shame.

From a personal perspective I was happy with how ‘Age of Ultron’ heavy the experience was as that’s my favourite film, however some people might find it strange that there’s not a huge mention of Infinity War or some of the other characters.

It’s a great experience and it’s a lot of fun, I had a great time trying to lift Mjolnir (turns out I’m not worthy) and sitting on Cap’s bike. Make sure you look out for the ants leading you to Ant-Mans suit.

The shop was ok, there’s a good green screen photo opportunity just as you enter it, but the whole shop could have done with a bit more variety – this is probably due to it not being officially open yet.

Overall I really enjoyed it and I think families will go crazy for it.

Stan would have loved it.

Excelsior.

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Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N

Wildlife

London Film Festival 2018

Wildlife tells the story of a family of three who have recently moved to a remote town in a bush fire-prone area of Montana. Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) looses his job at a local golf club and after his supporting wife trying to help him find a replacement job he leaves his family to work for the volunteer firemen to help protect their town from the ever growing bush fires. Jerry’s wife Jeanette (Carrie Mulligan) is left at home to raise their son and find a job to provide for them both. The news of her husbands departure sends her on a downward spiral of affairs, alcohol and deceit. Whilst all of this is happening around him Joe (Ed Oxenbould) is left to fend for himself, find a job, and is forced to grow up before his time.

This story of family, lies, affairs, depression and heartache is stunningly told through Paul Dano’s creative direction. There is a dominant sense of intrusion into the family home throughout the entire piece, with the use of still camera shots which allow the actors to move on and off the screen without looking like it’s a mistake. Dano also set up a shots so that we didn’t see the conversation happening but the reaction from the character concerned. Joe plays a big role in providing a constant emotion throughout as we see the majority of the action from his perspective, as a 14 year old kid he feels it’s his duty to sit back and watch his family fall apart in front of him but as time passes he then feels the instinct to become the parental figure in this car crash situation.

Dano is one of the most intelligent filmmakers in Hollywood at the moment, as seen in this film, his use of symbolism may not be subtle (as seen with the wildfire representing the family being naturally destroyed) but they are powerful and they leave the audience completely glued to the screen.

The performances throughout were perfect. Carrie Mulligan tells the story of a woman fighting against the expectations of a 1950’s housewife and dealing with a pre-midlife crisis so elegantly that she makes it look effortless. There are parts throughout the film where you empathise with what she’s dealing with but that soon turns into hatred for her as she continues with a sordid affair. Gyllenhaal’s character can, at times, come across as pathetic but once you remind yourself of the pride of men in the 1950’s your forced to sympathise with him, his love for his son is evident throughout and the delivered performance is utterly compelling. Pretty much perfect in all the films he’s performed in, Gyllenhaal proves his incomparable acting ability yet again.

The stand out performance for me came from Oxenbould, he carried the entire production on his shoulders and did so with complete grace and prowess. He controlled Joe’s emotions perfectly without ever showing him giving in to the world that is currently crashing down around him. Flawless.

I loved this film, everything about it was effortlessly perfect. The styling was stunning, we usually see 50’s suburban America in a bright colourful light but throughout Wildlife we are shown it to be normal, not always happy and really quite drab in times. The script was calm and quiet without overpowering dialogue which allowed the cast to perform. I will be gutted if it doesn’t receive award recognition for performance and direction.

I highly recommend Wildlife to everyone, it’s an example of how great minds can make great films.

 

Wildlife

A Star is Born

***Contains minor spoilers***

A remake of the 1976 Barbra Streisand remake of the 1954 Judy Garland original, A Star is Born tells the story of a want-to-be singer rising to fame with the help of a famous country singer. Ally (Lady Gaga), a grafter who writes songs, is performing at a drag bar when Jackson (Bradley Cooper) stumbles into the bar in search of alcohol and to his surprise comes across Ally’s performance of La Vi en Rose.
Jackson takes Ally out for a drink, in a drug store’s car park, and she performs one of her songs for him. He instantly falls in love with her voice and takes it upon himself to aid her in making her a star. Thus…a star is born.

I had really high hopes for this film due to the hype that has been thrown around it, I also love country music so I thought it would be right up my street. Unfortunately it just didn’t tick all the boxes for me. I found the characters quite difficult to connect with and the storyline was too predictable.

I thought it was very well cast, Lady Gaga was brilliant in the role of Ally, however, I really didn’t like her character. At the start of the film she was head strong, tough and stood up to people who treated her badly. We see her battle with her awful manager, we see her deal with the every day stresses of living at home with her father and all his work colleagues and, for some unknown reason, we see her breakup with a boyfriend on the phone right at the start. On top of all of that we see her punch a policeman in the face so there’s no doubting she is a strong, independent female. So why when she suddenly has a burst of fame do we see her giving in to all the demands of her awful producer and getting pushed around by her drunk husband. I don’t buy that she would have changed her personality that much just because she was in love with him. That isn’t the Ally we are introduced to right at the beginning of the story.
So, although Lady Gaga was absolutely fantastic in the role (and we can’t deny she has a flawless voice) I just didn’t buy into her character. I thought she was weak willed and at times pathetic.

Bradley Cooper, as well as bringing this film to the screen in his director debut, leads this film incredibly. He was by far my favourite thing about it, although playing a stereotypically awful character, he absolutely smashed it. He performed with grace and prowess whilst making me physically cover my eyes at times because he was just so uncomfortable to watch…in a good way. Jack is a vulgar, ugly, nasty human being who’s one true love in life is his addiction to alcohol, drugs and music. We see so many sides of him throughout the film, he disregards his brother from his life, he abuses his wife and more so abuses himself. His health is declining as is his career and he blames everyone around him for this, including Ally.
Similar as with Ally, I didn’t like the character but in a different way, I believe you are supposed to empathise with Ally but I didn’t whereas Jack is just awful, he knows it, the writers know it and the audience agrees with it. He’s perfectly written.

Bradley Cooper did a stunning job at directing this film, I particularly loved the set up of the festival/concert scenes, it felt really personal and invasive with the characters on stage with the use of the backstage shots and close ups. And the live recordings of the songs worked perfectly.

My favourite part, by a long way, was the scene where he persuades Ally to join him onstage and they sing Shallows together. I love Lady Gaga’s delivery of the song, her charming querks make her really easy to watch and you truly believed that she was utterly terrified despite being seemingly confident. The chemistry between Ally and Jack is clear from the get go and this scene really was the peak for me. It all went downhill from there.

Full of clichés and a constant attempt to make the audience cry, this film just didn’t do it for me. With a huge Oscar buzz around it I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it gets nominated for Best Lead Actor and Actress as well as Direction and Original Song. I’m still not entirely sure where I stand on re-makes getting Academy Awards so I’d be disappointed if it wins Best Picture. I don’t think it deserves it.

Well done to Bradley Cooper for a good first attempt.

I’d recommend it to most, A Star is Born – now showing at pretty much every cinema in the country.

 

A Star is Born

A Simple Favour

Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) has a perfectly comfortable life, she has a wonderful son, a beautiful house and a popular only Moms Vlog where she shows the world how to bake healthy snacks and fun arts and crafts for children to enjoy. On an average day whilst collecting her son from school Stephanie meets another Mum in the playground, Emily (Blake Lively). Their friendship flourishes when Stephanie is asked to collect Nicky, Emily’s son, from school one day. 4 days later Emily is no where to be seen. Her husband has no idea, her boss has no idea, no one has seen Emily. In what started out as a comfortable drama comedy the story takes twists and turns to keep the audience constantly guessing and turns into a gripping thriller.

As a whole I absolutely loved this film, I felt completely captivated by the entire production. The settings were incredible and the characters were fascinating. It takes some really dark turns and delves into plot points that I really would never have expected.

Constantly keeping you guessing and unsure who to trust and who you’re ever supposed to like, Pail Feig (Geeks & Freaks, The Heat, Sky) does a fantastic job with bringing this completely original story to life.

The cast were fantastic, such interesting choices for the two leads but so compelling to watch. Anna Kendrick was a complete stand out for me, she played the slightly crazed, overly perfect, deceitful best friend so perfectly. I was completely addicted to her throughout. Blake Lively was also fantastic.

The two kid actors playing their sons were brilliant, the young actor playing Nicky was perfectly on point. Brilliantly done.

A completely addictive script written by Jessica Sharzer adapted for screen from the original novel of the same name by Darcey Bell. The dialogue was perfectly executed and not over-used as can be a danger zone when creating dramas. It was full of witty lines which allowed the audience to enjoy this film, with all its dark themes, as a comedy.

I really loved it, absolutely brilliant and a strong female cast. I highly recommend.

You can see it in cinemas nation wide now.

A Simple Favour

SDCC 2018 – Highlights

Sadly, no, I wasn’t there. But hopefully one day I will be.

However, I’m going to briefly discuss my highlights from SDCC which I witnessed from the misery of my own home. Counting down from 5 – 1 I’ll discuss the posters and trailers released at Comic Con…starting with…

5. Aquaman

This poster is awful, too much going on, I’m bored just looking at it.

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I’d be as bold to say I am about 10% excited for this film. I’m going to be a bit uncouth when I say it’s because I enjoy the way Jason Mamoa looks, and that’s the only reason. No matter how hard I try, and how many chances I give DC they never seem to impress me and there’s no chance this will change my opinion. Anyone who knows anything about my opinions on films knows I start with the cast, the story comes next and then after that the execution of the story. If the cast is wrong, I won’t be interested. With Aquaman, and the whole DC Universe, the casting for the lead roles (Ben Affleck is exempt from this statement) has always been on point for physicality. Henry Cavill looks like Superman, Gal Gadot looks like Wonder Woman and to continue the trend Jason Mamoa looks like Aquaman which is great. But the supporting cast is always so incredibly weak and just stems from weird casting choices. Amber Heard is not a good actress (I know it’s brutal but it’s my blog so if you don’t like it then don’t read it.) I don’t like her as an actress, there’s absolutely no doubt that she is beautiful, but she can’t act. As we have seen in Magic Mike XXL and from the trailer of her upcoming film London Fields. I also have conflicted views of Nicole Kidman, she’s a fantastic performer no doubt but there’s something I find very hard to watch about her. I did love her in Big Little Lies and I think it gave her a chance to really act, but having her in Aquaman just seems bizarre?! Maybe it’s just me.

You might now be thinking, after I’ve just ripped the film to pieces, why it is featured in my SDCC 2018 Highlights post? well, because although I am not by any stretch of the imagination a DC fan, I enjoy being entertained. DC films are bad comic book films that don’t hold a patch on Marvel, but when me and my friend Neel (@_NeelsReelDeel) go and watch them, we have fun, mostly because we rip them apart, but we still have fun. So yeah, I probably will see Aquaman but no, I probably won’t enjoy it.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/387HZ-Wpgew

4. Shazam!

The poster doesn’t really give anything away except the title, but I like it, it’s simple and to the point. The trailer tells us everything we need to know at this point.

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Yep, from one DC film to another. But this one actually looks like it might be quite fun, I like the idea of DC finally not taking itself too seriously. Comedy meets comic book is slowly becoming a hybrid genre of it’s own thanks to the likes of Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy and Shazam! looks like it’ll fall perfectly into that category.

Featuring all the generic conventions of an origin story Shazam! looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun and a classic coming of age film. Zachary Levi will be portraying the title role of Shazam! who is the adult super hero that the lead character, Freddy Freeman, can turn into at the use of one magical word.

It looks funny, charming, light hearted and above all else, entertaining

Trailer: https://youtu.be/-oD7B7oiBtw

3. Godzilla: King of Monsters

The poster is okay, it doesn’t really look like a film poster, I think it looks more like the cover of a video game.

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Much like many other people I am completely sick of re-makes, re-runs, sequels, prequels etc. However, this one really did spark my fancy. I really enjoyed the 2014 Gareth Edwards Godzilla and because of that I am feeling the hype for King of Monsters. The first teaser trailer released features only Millie Bobby Brown trying to communicate with (as it seems) anyone who will listen. I thought the build up to the release of the trailer was perfect and the suspense was perfect. It seems to be taking a completely new direction compared to the Godzilla films we already know and I’m honestly really looking forward to it.
The official trailer was then dropped a couple of days later (I lost track of time this weekend, it was just film news after film news). I find teasers are a brilliant way to get me interested in a film, their short, to the point and leave you wanting more. More often than not I am then let down by the official trailer because they tell you too much (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom springs to mind), that was not at all the case for King of Monsters, we are introduced to the characters and shown some of the promising visuals but other than that, it’s all we’ve been given. And I loved it. It’s making me intrigued and excited to see the film.
Coming May 2019, Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farminga, Sally Hawkins and Kyle Chandler will be heading into cinemas to protect the world from the infamous Godzilla.

Teaser: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3741700/videoplayer/vi1254406937

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3741700/videoplayer/vi2143795993

2. Glass

I absolutely love this poster, I found myself staring at it for ages after it was dropped. It’s so clever and I love the use of colours.

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I’m guilty of not having done my research for this film as I have actually only seen Split, I’m yet to watch Unbreakable. I definitely will have seen it before January when we get the final installment of M. Night Shyamalan’s trilogy Glass. Does this trilogy even have a name? I’ll call it the “James-McAvoy-is-a-fantastic-actor-and-was-robbed-of-a-nomination” trilogy for now. Honestly, why didn’t any one in any awards academy pick up on him, I think it’s possibly some of the best acting I’ve ever seen (big claim, I know, I’m an enthusiast).

Anyway, Glass, it’s due to tell us the story of Samuel L Jackson’s mysterious character Mr. Glass after we’ve already been introduced to James McAvoy and Bruce Willis’ characters in the previous films. Featuring Sarah Paulson as a mental psychiatrist who’s aim is to investigate these particular people and find out more about them and their abilities.

I am excited about it, Split was fantastic. I only had one gripe about the trailer, there’s a line that Paulson’s character says about them “believing they’re superheroes” which I just thought was so out of context. After having seen Split I would never have used the word superhero to describe these films, it just seemed completely out of place. They’re human beings with intense abilities but in no way would they be conceived as super heroes. Maybe it’s just me and I’ve missed something vital in the plot?

If anything I’m excited to see James McAvoy in all his glory again and Shyamalan has a way of making films that shouldn’t work, work.

I also heard a rumor that he may have featured other characters from his past films in Glass? Who knows if that’s true. But wouldn’t it be interesting if “I see dead people” sneaked in there somewhere.

Trailer: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6823368/videoplayer/vi2496051993


1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald

A beautiful poster, perfect theming, doesn’t give anything away other than the cast and has a real magical feel to it.

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Of course this is going to be my number 1 highlight from SDCC 2018. I think I’ve watched the trailer about 5 times already. 

The Fantastic Beasts films will never fill the hole of Harry Potter but they’re close. There’s so much within the new trailer for FB2 that gets me excited for it, starting off with the new Wizarding World logo. I was only thinking it was about time Warner Bros. came up with a name for the Potter-verse and The Wizarding World just seems perfectly appropriate. 

There’s no secrets as to the cast for the second installment of these films but that’s ok because I don’t think the fans would have expected anything other than what we’ve been given. Johnny Depp is obviously back as Gelert Grindlewald, Eddie Redmayne is reprising the role of Newt Scamander and we’re introduced to Jude Law’s rendition of the late great Albus Dumbledore. One thing I am most excited for is the return of Ezra Miller’s character, Credence Clearwater who we were led to believe has either died or disappeared at the end of the first film, he’s an interesting character who has room for a lot of character development. 

We get a scene of a flashback from Newt at Hogwarts in a Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson with Dumbledore as his professor, this has caused a few questions from Potter fans around the world because according to the books Dumbledore was a professor of Transfiguration, so what is he doing teaching a Defense Against the Dark Arts class? I personally am not that worried about it, but we’ll see how much it effects the film, if it’s just for one scene then I can get over it. 

After watching the trailer a few times and picking it apart I have been able to see two of the converted Deathly Hallows, there’s a close up of the Elder Wand and there’s a shot of a disembodied hand which implies the cloak of invisibility is somewhat involved. 

My absolute favourite thing about this clever trailer is how little of the plot is revealed, okay so we’ve got all the characters, there’s clear locations of Paris and London but we don’t actually know what is going to happen. And that creates the excitement desired from a film trailer. 

I cannot wait. 

Trailer: https://youtu.be/1y0hRocB9sM

Overall, SDCC 2018 sounds like it was a roaring success and one day I’ll be able to write one of these posts after having actually been there myself. 

I’ve included a few photos of my favourite cosplays from SDCC 2018 just to implement my love for cosplaying without babbling on about it any more. 

SDCC 2018 – Highlights

**SPOILERS** The Maze Runner: Death Cure

The time is finally upon us, the end is high, so long hermano….

I was lucky enough to get into the UK Fan Screening of The Death Cure in Vue, Leicester Square last night. The Maze Runner series of books, written by James Dashner, are my favourite series of books (not including Harry Potter because…come on?) has been made into a series of films and has finally come to its end….unless Wes Ball decides to make the other two books…hint hint, PLEASE!

I was concerned about this film at first because of how badly the Scorch Trials reflected the book, they just made all these strange decisions and completely changed the whole story, like not mentioning that Thomas and Theresa have telepathic powers.
HOWEVER, I am working on the whole “see the film as something separate” thing and I think I achieved that mind set throughout Death Cure. Yes, there are a lot of changes to the book, for example why “nose man” is leading the rebellion when in the Scorch Trials BOOK he is crawling around the sewers trying to steal peoples noses…like why make such a dramatic change to the book? But still, they kept Gally in it, whom I adore (played by the incomparable Will Poulter) and they still killed off Newt, ok it’s super heartbreaking but it’s a good part of the story.

We’ve seen Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends make their way through and complete the Maze Trials. We’ve seen them loose some friends along the way and conquered the Scorch Trials and we find them at the start of the Death Cure fighting back against the capitalistic co-operation WCKD by taking down a high speed train in the middle of the Scorch to free their friend.
The film opens with this high intensity scene which pretty much set the tone for the rest of the film, the action is non-stop with a lot of scenes involving “cranks”, the zombie type characters that have been affected by the life threatening illness known as The Flare – the cranks have improved visually since The Scorch Trials, they’re repulsive in The Death Cure.
The main characters are tide together with a strong friendship bond which grows and grows throughout the film ending in one devastating scene which I’m glad they kept in from the book.

Personal grievance; There are two strong female characters in the series and they both have their time to shine in The Death Cure – Theresa (Kaya Scodelario) who is seen as Thomas’ love interest and the main female character and Brenda (Rose Salazar) who is a close friend of Thomas’ throughout the second two films. Brenda is by far my favourite character and it bothers me how much Theresa is marketed as the female hero when actually she’s a traitor and just an all round awful person who annoys me a lot. But that’s just my little vent about the characters, no reflection on the actual film.

I would highly recommend this series of films to anyone that is into the whole young adult fiction thing, such as The Hunger Games and Divergent. It’s my favourite out of those series (the books, not the films) although in close competition with The Hunger Games.
The Death Cure is full of heart and great performances from some amazing young actors, special shout out to Thomas Brody Sangster who has come along way from being the little boy in Love Actually, he makes a great crank.

Just remember one thing; WCKD….is not so good.

**SPOILERS** The Maze Runner: Death Cure

My top 10 (…12) of 2017

As it’s New Year and everyone is all about making the resolutions I figured I should set myself a few realistic ones for 2018. First of all I really need to work harder at this blog, I really love writing about films and talking about films, I’m always that person at events that seems to somehow turn the conversation on to “what did you think of Star Wars?” so I really should embrace my blog more. Not to mention I use it to get press passes and then fail to actually publish any of the stuff I write about the events. So that ends NOW. I am going to set myself the challenge of at least 2 posts a month, talking about either films I see in the cinema, film events I attend or just old favourites I watch at home. Please bare in mind, Santa did very well this year by bringing me the new blu-ray box sets of the MCU phases 1 and 2. So there will be a lot of Marvel heavy content in the posts.
My other resolutions (besides attempting to get a tattoo) are going to be to find a job I love and stick at it, find a new house and most of all GRADUATE! I am so close to the end of 5 years of film studies (with a lengthy gap after the first two) that I cannot wait to say goodbye to education and get on with working on a proper career.

So, the finish of 2017 on my blog I am going to do a brief breakdown of my top 10 films of the year, now this is likely to either change or be extended when I look back over my film journal. But this is just a spontaneous blog post as my parents are having a New Years Eve party that I’ve managed to escape by saying I have “uni work” to do….

So my top 5 films of the first half of the year (Jan 1st – June 2nd) year:

1 – La La Land – It doesn’t feel possible that La La Land was released this year, it feels like a lifetime ago. How could I possible have a post about the best films of 2017 without a mention to this film. Musicals are a huge part of my life so for a film like this to be brought to the big screen and get the recognition is deserved meant that the world still has time for musicals. I don’t necessarily agree with everyone that says its as good as the musicals of the golden age, but it sure is a modern homage to them. It’s a shame it didn’t win the Oscar, I don’t know if it deserved to win it but I definitely would have given it to La La Land over Moonlight.

2 – Manchester by the Sea – Anyone who knows me, knows how much I adore Casey Affleck and this is not the only film starring him that is going to make it on to my top 10 (see “second half of the year”). I have a real issue with connection to my emotions, not just when watching films but also in every day life, I have a slight reputation of being the girl that can’t cry. There is one scene in Manchester by the Sea where Lee Chandler has to deal with the realisation of a heartbreaking situation whilst taking full responsibility for it and Afflecks performance is utterly compelling. He made me feel like I’ve never felt before whilst watching a film – a well deserved Oscar. Kenny Lonergans script and directing effort is both beautiful and effortless. If I could have chosen the winner for best film at this years Academy Awards it would have been this film. I just love it.

 

3 – Hidden Figures – Another worthy Oscar contender, it’s unsuprising that my top 5 films of the first half of the year consist mostly of Oscar nominees because the competition was unbelievably strong. A shout out aswell to Haksaw Ridge which so nearly made the cut, another stunning film.
Hidden Figures for me was everything I wanted to see from an Oscar nominated film, it has an exciting story which centres around some incredible characters and touches on some very important topics. It carries the entire film with controversial issues without making it heavy-going and depressing to watch. It’s an uplifting possitive effort to educate people about real events that took place. The leading performances from Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae are a match made in heaven – three performances that deserve to be celebrated.

4  – Logan – I wasn’t going to compile this list without at least one Marvel film featured and this year it just had to be Logan. I firmly believe Hugh Jackman deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance and finally the super-hero genre would get the recognition it deserves. Jackman had to say goodbye to his beloved Logan/Wolverine in this epic finale to his 9 film run within the X-Men series. Although being a part of that huge franchise Logan really does stand on it’s own two feet as a powerful film with its brilliant story line and powerhouse performances. A long with its amazing lead performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, the supporting cast also deserve some praise; Stephen Merchant, an unlikely choice for a superhero film, was absolutely fantastic and Dafne Keens debut was perfect as the role of Laura, Logans unknown daughter. A fantastic cast overall.
I was also lucky enough to see it as Logan Noir – an entire black and white edit of the film at the famous Prince Charles Cinema in London over the summer, it was the perfect film to see stripped back to black and white.

5 – Their Finest – Although to some people this might have been a forgettable film, it was one of the few films I gave 5 stars to this year. The film tells the story of a female film maker who has been appointed to make propaganda films during World War II. Filled with laughter and heartbreak this film really meant something to me, the story of Catrin Cole (played wonderfully by Gemma Arterton) is one of bravery and creativity and is incredibly moving. I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t already seen it, I really did love it. Who wouldn’t love a film starring Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy and Gemma Arterton?

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Ok, this isn’t going to make it on to the top 5 of the start of the year, because it’s not by any means the best of the series BUT it does deserve a mention. After the fall of ‘On Stranger Tides’ Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg pulled the franchise back perfectly with ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ (or ‘Salazars Revenge’ here in the UK) with the use of classic Pirates humour and a fantastic new cast, with the return of a few favourites. The Pirates series of films will always hold a special place in my life and I firmly believe “the more Pirates films, the better”.

And my top 5 (which has turned into my top 7) films of the last 6 months (June 3rd – Dec 31st) of the year:

6 – A Ghost Story – The second of Casey Afflecks films to make my list. The story of C, an introvert composer who has a sentimental attachment to the house that him and his wife live in. Killed tragically in a car accident at the start of the film, C returns to the house as a ghost to watch over his wife. One his wife has moved on and decides to leave the house behind C is left behind with the house and stays there whilst other families come and go.
It’s an absolutely stunning film that leaves you racking your brains to understand the movement of time. Two incredible leading performances from Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.

7 – My Life as a Courgette – It’s surprising that there’s an animated film on my list that isn’t a Disney or Disney/Pixar film but really I couldn’t not feature this one. My Life as a Courgette is a story set in rural France about a young boy called Courgette whos parents both pass away and he moves to an orphanage. Its a beautiful story told through the use of stop motion animation which I am a huge fan of. The colours and production design is stunning. I watched it with the British dub but I hope to see it in the original language soon.
I look forward to seeing it, hopefully, get a best animated feature nomination at the Oscars which is definitely deserves.

8 – War for the Planet of the Apes – I wasn’t sure if this would make the cut but the more I think about it the more I remember parts of it which I absolutely loved. One of my favourite things to see on screen is Woody Harrelson playing a villain and one of my favourite performances from him is in Out of the Furnace (2013) where he played one of the best on screen villains I’ve ever seen. His performance in the final installment of the Apes trilogy is brutal, he comes across as a true villain with self righteous intentions.
The new Planet of the Apes trilogy has showcased some of the greatest special effects ever seen on screen and that is mostly down to the outstanding performance from Andy Serkis in the lead role of Ceaser the ape. Throughout the trilogy we’re told the heartbreaking story of Ceaser and his tribe and this film just adds to that heartbreak but told in a beautiful way that, although the story is far-fetched, it somehow seems relevant.

9 – Dunkirk – Obviously Christopher Nolans’ World War II epic was going to make the list, in fact this is my number 1 film of the year. I find it hard to describe things like this that I love so much without just saying “it’s amazing, it’s brilliant, it’s perfect” but really this film is all of those things. From the intensely thrilling sound design with the use of a ticking clock to build the tension throughout the film to the painfully silent dialogue. One of my favourite things about it is the use of time, almost as it’s very own character, you’re thrown around all different time sequences as the film goes on, each character has it’s own timeline which crosses over with the other characters. It’s fascinating and genius, Christopher Nolan is a visionary and I for one am so excited to see what he comes up with next.
One of the things, that I always comment on, is the casting. I (along with a lot of people) was very unsure of the use of Harry Styles, former boyband member, in a film such as Dunkirk, but actually he surprised me and his character was so interesting. I think he actually did a great job. Mark Rylance was the screen stealer for me though, his calm exterior and typically British character made him relatable and interesting to watch. The rest of the cast were also fantastic, newcomer Fionn Whitehead and Tom Glynn-Carney were both brilliant as were the greats Kenneth Brannagh, James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy.
I can’t say enough good things about this masterpiece.

10 – Three Billboards (outside Ebbing, Missouri) – The summer of 2017 brought some really exciting new films into my life, mostly because I was lucky enough to get a press pass for the BFI London Film Festival which meant endless new films from all sorts of fascinating filmmakers, Malcolm McDonagh is one of them. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri was one I wasn’t sure about before going to see it, it was the closing film of the festival for press pass holders and for that reason I didn’t want to miss it. I was utterly blown away.
A heartbreaking story about a mother (Francis McDormand) who’s daughter was raped and killed, but the local police department lead by the respected Chief of Police (Woody Harrelson) did nothing to find the culprit. She takes extreme measures by leaving controversial messages for the police department to draw attention to there mistakes.
The script is compelling, a darkly comedic film full of whit and charm a long with an incredibly powerful monologue from McDormands character, Mildred.
I can’t recommend this film enough to everyone I talk to about it, it’s stunning and is likely to receive multiple well deserved Oscar nominations.

11 – Call Me By Your Name – Another film I wasn’t sure about before going to see it however, I absolutely loved it. A stunning love story between two unexpected companions who fall in love over a summer spent in the beautiful backdrop of the Italian Riviera. Two stand out performances from the leads Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet both tell their own personal stories with truth and honesty. I don’t want to say too much as it’s a fairy new film and I know a lot of people may not have seen it yet, but it really is stunning and worthy of a watch. Fingers crossed for some best actor nominations.

12 – The Greatest Showman – Start the year with a musical and end the year with a musical. That’s how I roll. The Greatest Showman tells the illustrious story of the founder of the great travelling circus, P. T. Barnum. Hugh Jackman appears to have made my list twice, a long with Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson.
The Greatest Showman is a musical theatre spectacular, if you don’t enjoy films where the characters are half way through a conversation and dramatically burst into song then this isn’t for you. But if you enjoy spectacular dance routines, unbelievable costumes, love stories, music, animals and just all round great entertainment then this is your film. It’s fabulous, really, truly, fabulous and what a great way to go out of the year. With a bang.

So that’s it! My top 10 (…12) of 2017. I have loved going to the cinema as much as I have (82 times to be precise) and attending multiple premieres, festivals, conventions and special screenings. Lets see if we can make the round 100 in 2018. Bring it on.

 

Films I am looking forward to on 2018:
– The Posts
– Ready Player One
– Maze Runner: The Death Cure
– Black Panther
– Avengers: Infinity War
– Early Man
– Sherlock Gnomes
– The Incredibles 2
– Coco
– The Crimes of Grindlewald
– Solo: A Star Wars Story
– Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
– A Wrinkle in Time
– Mary Poppins Returns
– Wreck it Ralph 2
– Isle of Dogs
– Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

And I’m sure there will be many, many more!

My top 10 (…12) of 2017