Retail Therapy

Retail Therapy is a one act comedy play which tells the story of a corner shop set in Yorkshire, showcased at Ye Olde Rose and Crown in Walthamstow as part of the Undisposables ‘New Voices’ season.
Throughout the piece we are introduced to the staff members and some of their regular customers through the cleverly written script by one of the shows leading actress’, Hannah Whyman. 

The piece features a clever and innovative script using wit to aid the comedy and keep the whole performance at a watchable pace. I’m not usually a fan of sit-com style comedy but for me this was just the right amount of crude, slapstick and nonsensical to make it enjoyable for the whole audience. 

The performances were fantastic, the timing throughout was perfect and given that it was performed in an intimate setting the cast didn’t overact and the expressions on their faces and the comedic skills they were using were on point. With a cast of only 5 people and much more characters than that, they did a fantastic job of quick changes and sudden accent changes that it didn’t effect the piece at all.

I was very impressed with this production, particularly with the writing – I thought the script was perfect. 

Amazing job done by all, they should all be very proud. Looking forward to seeing what else The Undisposables have got up their talented sleeves.

Directed by: Caspian Cunningham
Written by: Hannah Whyman
Starring: Hannah Whyman, Francene Turner, Caspian Cunningham, Jamie Terry and Richard David Law. 

 

 

 

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Retail Therapy

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

Knights of the Rose

Knights of the Rose tells a story of royalty, betrayal, love and hate set during the Shakespearean age. Entwined with an impressive soundtrack of hits from the likes of Bon Jovi, Meatloaf, Bonnie Tyler and many more.

Prince Gawain is the head of the army and it is therefor his job to fight for crown and country and protect the pride and honour of his father and family.

The story opens at the end of a Great War with Prince Gawain and his battalion are returning home to their wives, girlfriends and families.

Princess Helen, Gawains young sister, awaits the arrival of her true love, Hugo, to be greeted by him vowing never to fight again if she takes his hand in marriage.

After an attack on the King by a rival settlement, Avalon, Hugo is called forward by fellow soldier Palamon.

Palamon also bids for the Princess’s heart and therefor persuades Hugo to fight in hope that he will fall and Princess Helen will be his and he shall one day be King.

Full of twists and turns and love and hate, Knights of the Rose is the perfect combination of heart and humour.

Although containing a bit of cheesy dancing and a lot of unnecessary ‘clicking’ this new musical had its crowd well and truly entertained.

The cast were faultless, some incredible voices; Adam Pearce’s bass tone never fails to impress (having previously seen him in Les Miserables and Sunset Boulevard …safe to say I’m a big fan!).

All cleverly carried by the stories narrator and brilliant performer, Ruben van Keer.

Side note: I also really loved the horses! Fantastic use of lighting and props all the way through.

I highly recommend this new musical full of heart and familiar songs.

Well done to the entire company!

Knights of the Rose

Eugenius!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

An easy 5 Star!

Soon to make it’s return to London’s The Other Palace theatre, after a sell-out run earlier this year, is Eugenius! The Musical. A vibrant, upbeat musical about a boy named Eugene who dreams of writing comic books and telling stories about his beloved Tough Man. After getting scouted in a high school competition, Eugene is flown to Hollywood to turn Tough Man’s origin story into a blockbuster movie.
Eugene gets swept up in the excitement of Hollywood and ends up getting pushed around by his not-so friendly producer, Lex.
In a bid to help Eugene, his best friends Janey and Feris fly to Hollywood to be “tough, but fair” and save him from making a huge mistake.

Whilst all of this is happening, a parallel story of Tough Man’s evil twin brother, Evil Lord Hector, is taking place. He has flown to Earth from his home planet of Itsaballoon to track down Tough Man and kill him!

The two stories cross paths in this hilariously uplifting musical, full of courage, friendship and above all genius!

Chris Wilkins and Ben Adams bring this show to life with it’s bonkers characters, witty dialogue and fantastic songs. Full of brilliant catch phrases, 80’s sci-fi references and a theme song you’ll be singing forever. I for one am very excited for this brilliant show to be making a well deserved comeback. With a few returning faces to the cast (the likes of Dan Buckley, Laura Baldwin and Scott Paige) and a whole array of new talents (Rob Houchen, Neil McDermott and Alex Bourne among others).

This show reminds everyone in the audience that no matter how hard something may seem, if you are willing to work for it and give it your all, you have the ability to achieve it. As Eugene and his friends remind us throughout the show; don’t shoot for the stars…shoot higher!

Eugenius! The Musical will return to The Other Palace on September 1st 2018.

Eugenius!

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.

Gidzilla.png

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.

Glass.png

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

McQueen

Documentaries are a genre of film that I wouldn’t ever consider myself a fan of. Not to say I don’t enjoy them – the two I have watched in the last few days, I have loved them both. It just takes a particular topic for me to get invested.

I don’t actually know what drew me to wanting to see McQueen, maybe it was because I’d read good reviews. Or maybe it was simply because I liked the fact that I knew who he was (let’s face it, fashion really isn’t my thing).

Whatever the reason is and whatever it was that made me decide to see it, I’m glad I did.

The film tells the story of Lee Alexander McQueen but it delves so much deeper than just that. Yes, he was an outstanding fashion designer and succeeded to great heights at a ridiculously young age, but this documentary tells us so much more about Lee. The human being behind the lavish designs.

It starts by telling us how he began in the fashion world and the producers did a great job at getting some of his past co-workers and employers to feature in the film. He found fashion at an age when he wouldn’t have known what he wanted, he just needed a job and it came in the form of an apprenticeship in Saville Row.

Within only a few years of this first venture he became founder of his own line, McQueen, holding vibrant shows and creating stunning collections. To then go on and (with a group of his closest friends) became creative director of Givanchi in Paris and soon enough becoming head designer of Gucci. He was a man of many talents and managed to retain his own personal style throughout his career becoming, quite simply, a visionary.

The film is built upon this outstanding human being as well as his career. Friends, family, colleagues, models and admirers discuss their love and gratitude for him. His friends moving statements about the kind of person he was are warming and at times funny and charming.

The whole production design of the film is as stunning as the content. With the astounding graphics of the skulls which defined him as a designer leading the documentary through the story and the constant reflections of his personal life, the pace is perfect and the film is fascinating.

One thing I love particularly about documentaries like this is how much I learn from them. I know they’re designed to inform but I always feel enlightened by the subject and I am so glad I was drawn to this one.

I highly recommend it, even to people who are not interested in the sheer madness of the fashion industry, but purely for the incredibly mastery of the filmmaking.

Fantastic film.

McQueen