Oscar Hopefuls 2020

The biggest award of the night if of course Best Picture. There is stiff competition this year with every film in the category gaining multiple nominations. I have not yet seen Joker, Parasite or 1917 so I am discounting those. My pick would be Little Women. It is a much needed film for women and everyone else. It is beautiful to watch, the script is powerful and the acting brought the well-loved and well-done characters a breath of fresh air. Performances were noticed due to the two nominations but sadly Greta Gerwig was not recognised for a project that she made happen. She wrote and directed it and put so much love and care into the story. This film moved me more than the other nominations and to see a film called Little Women with four female leads in a game that is usually about men is amazing. Many people say that equally between the genders has been achieved but as most of the nominations that are for both genders contain male nominees, this is not the case.

I was just chatting to someone and talking through who I would like to win the Oscar in each category and thought why not make it into a blog post? As the Oscars will be gracing our screens tomorrow and into the night for the UK audience, I am going to go through my favourites for this year. Hopefuls and Predictions are different: there are those you would like to win and those that probably will. I will not be doing any categories where I have only seen one film or zero as that is not fair.

The biggest award of the night is of course Best Picture. There is stiff competition this year with every film in the category gaining multiple nominations. I have not yet seen Joker, Parasite or 1917 so I am discounting those. My pick would be Little Women. It is a much needed film for women and for everyone. It is beautiful to watch, the script is powerful and the acting brought the well-loved and well-acted characters a breath of fresh air. Performances were noticed due to the two nominations but sadly Greta Gerwig was not recognised for a project that she made happen. She wrote and directed it and put so much love and care into the story. This film moved me more than the other nominations and to see a film called Little Women with four female leads in a game that is usually about men is amazing. Many people say that equality between the genders has been achieved but as most of the nominations that are for both genders contain male nominees, this is not the case.

If Little Women did not win, I would not mind Jojo Rabbit or Ford vs Ferrari as both were enjoyable with so much hard work being put into them.

Actor in a Leading Role is not a particularly diverse category this year with many familiar players from other award shows present. It is great that Antonio Banderas has been included as he has not been recognised elsewhere. My pick would be Jonathan Pryce as I feel his role was more a stretch as an actor than Driver or DiCaprio. His role as the Pope brought such emotion and depth to the story (The Two Popes). He has also never won before and is such a talented actor that it would be a great ending to his career.

Actress in a Leading Role also contains people that have been picked out in other areas and again not much diversity with the exception of Cynthia Erivo for her role as titular Harriet. Considering this is only her third film role in 2 years and she has been nominated for an Oscar, she has done remarkably well. I loved her performance and the film Harriet really stayed with me hours after watching. I am disappointed it has only been picked up for 2 nominations as the film was so powerful. My pick for Actress in a Leading Role would be Saoirse Ronan. This is her 4th nomination and she is only in her mid 20s. She brought such independence, power, spirit and strength to her role as Jo March in Little Women. I love her as an actress and I hope that this will be her year.

Actor in a Supporting Role is tricky as all of these actors are established Hollywood greats. Brad Pitt has won the SAG, BAFTA and Golden Globe for this role so if he won this one it would be the set. I think however that his performance was not as inspiring as others we have seen this year. Tom Hanks also another great actor has been nominated but as I have not seen his film I cannot comment. My Pick would be Anthony Hopkins for his role as former Pope Benedict. Like Jonathan Pryce, his role brought such emotion to the film and I am not surprised that they have both been nominated.

Actress in a Supporting Role again doesn’t have any diversity other than nationality: American, British and Australian nominees. I am glad there is no double nomination for Margot Robbie as there was at the BAFTAs. I think nominating the same person twice in the same category is too much. I am not very happy with Scarlett Johansson’s double nomination either but at least she had seminal roles in both films whereas as Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, Robbie barely had any lines. My pick would be Florence Pugh as this is her first nomination and she did an amazing job as Amy March in Little Women. She has only been acting on screen for 6 years and her progression to being nominated so early is amazing. Saoirse was also nominated early in her career so this could be the start for Florence.

For Animated Feature Film, I have only seen Klaus and Toy Story 4. Both very different films with different animation styles. My pick would be Toy Story 4 for nostalgia reasons. Watching the film, I felt a strong connection to my inner child and even shed a few tears near the end. Klaus was very moving and a beautiful story but it did not elicit the same response.

In the Cinematography category I have only seen two of the nominations and with both I did not particularly notice the cinematography. I would have to go with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as some of the shots were interesting whereas with the Irishman, nothing noteworthy springs to mind.

Costume Design is a strange category this year. There are a few nominations that confuse me such as Joker and The Irishman. The other three are worthy nominees and my pick would be Little Women due to the detail Jacqueline Durran put into each characters costume. I’ve heard Greta Gerwig explain all her choices and I think so much thought and care went into the costumes that it is a worthy winner.

Directing again is all male nominees which is so disappointing as there were some amazing female led films this year such as Little Women, Harriet, Blinded by the Light, Honey Boy, Queen and Slim and Breakthrough. Out of the selection I would pick Bong Joon Ho even though I have not seen Parasite due to the fact that is not a white man. All the other directors have been recognised many times in their career.

For Film Editing, most of the nominations surprised me as the editing again was not particularly noteworthy apart from Ford vs Ferrari which I think would be a worthy winner. The editing of the Les Mans scenes made the film feel exciting and really highlighted the achievement of Ken Miles.

For the Make Up and Hairstyling award, I would like Bombshell to win as the three main actresses and John Lithgow looked very much the part. I have only seen one other nominee, Judy and while Renée Zellweger was made to look like Judy Garland, I think the effect in Bombshell was more impressive.

For the Original Score, I would like Joker to win as Hildur Guðnadóttir is making waves for female composers but as I have not seen the film, my pick would be Little Women as the score added so much to the film and Alexandre Desplat is an amazing composer.

For Original Song, I am pleased that Rocketman – (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again is nominated and I wold love if this song wins as represents such a pinnacle moment in the film and Elton John’s life. Stand Up from Harriet is also a worthy nominee but I did’t think the song was the best element of the film.

For Production Design I would chose Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood or Jojo Rabbit as both had amazing design that really contributed to the film. The 60s vibes of Tarantino’s Hollywood spectacle were the best part of the film. Jojo Rabbit was also a historical setting but with a more satirical view of Germany in the war.

Sound Editing is a tricky category for me as I am not much of an expert on sound editing but I would like Ford vs Ferrari to win as the sound very much added to the adrenaline of the racing. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is also a worthy nominee as the sound is a big part of any Star Wars film.

Ad Astra would be my pick for Sound Mixing as I haven’t seen all the nominees but this film had beautiful sounds. The setting was also amazing but this is nominated for sound mixing not production design.

Visual Effects is a tie category for me as I think Avengers Endgame and The Lion King both had great visual effects. Avengers Endgame means more to me as a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Lion King looked amazing also but I prefer the 1994 original.

I would love if Greta Gerwig won Adapted Screenplay for Little Women as she has been snubbed in the Directing category. Her interpretation of Louisa May Alcott’s story was so different to other versions of the story. Starting with the girls when they were older was a great new idea. The lines were so strong and meant a lot to me as a woman. It was also relatable and funny in places.

My pick for Original Screenplay would be Knives Out as the script was very different to many of the films going around and a great take on the murder mystery film. I have seen this film twice and it was great to see all the hints and red herrings when you know the ending. Marriage Story was strong but didn’t impress me as much.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone enjoys the Oscars this year.

Robyn

Little Women

After hearing the announcement of the cast featuring Saoirse Ronan, Timotheé Chalamet, Laura Dern, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Meryl Streep I became very excited. The director Greta Gerwig is one of the only female directors to be nominated for an Oscar for Lady Bird. That was a film I also absolutely loved and it also starred Saoirse and Timotheé. As Laurie and Jo, the pair were just stunning. Every little movement and look heightened the possibility of a love story between the two.

This film really means a lot to me for a number of reasons so this review was always going to be a love letter to Little Women but after seeing the film yesterday, I was truly moved and surprised by the version I saw. This will contain spoilers as it has been out for a while so turn back now if you want to watch in the future although the story has been around for 150 years.

Years ago I tried to read the book of Little Women but gave up due to the complex language. However, after seeing the BBC adaptation at Christmas, a couple of years ago starring Maya Hawke, Kathryn Newton and Michael Gambon, I fell in love with the story. The strength in all of the sisters living in the times they did but managing to be such strong characters was something I really cherished. The fact that it was published in the 1860s in a time when women were not particularly valued as authors really shows the power of the little women.

After hearing the announcement of the cast featuring Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Meryl Streep I became very excited. The director Greta Gerwig is one of only a few female directors to be nominated for an Oscar for Lady Bird. That was a film I also absolutely loved and it also starred Saoirse and Timothée. As Laurie and Jo, the pair were just stunning. Every little movement and look heightened the possibility of a love story between the two.

The story of Little Women follows four sisters: Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth March in 1850s America. The Civil War is raging during their childhood with their father away fighting. They live in a modest house in Concord, Massachusetts with their mother, Marmee (Dern) and their maid, Hannah (Jayne Houdyshell). They are restricted by society at the time of how a woman should present herself and do with her life i.e. get married and have children. They often lament at being poor compared to their friends and others but are soon put in their place after helping out a local family with 5 young children living in one room.

Each sister has their own story, Jo is boyish and doesn’t want to marry. She loves writing and is constantly writing plays for her sisters to act in. Jo is also the main character of the story as it is mainly told from her perspective. Jo’s dream is to live in New York and become a novelist.

The next sister is Amy. She is younger than Jo and Meg and is annoyed at being treated as a baby all the time. For example, she is not allowed to go with Meg and Jo to a dance. She has aspirations of becoming an artist as she loves to paint. She is also cultured and is in ways the smartest sister. She is picked to go to Paris with Aunt March as she knows French and is a good companion.

The sister with perhaps more humble aspirations is Meg (Watson). We hear from Jo of her dreams to be an actress and Jo even suggests running away together but Meg corrects her that she wants to be a wife and live a quiet, happy life. Meg is the oldest sister and often goes to balls or dances which is required to hopefully meet an eligible rich man to marry.

The youngest and most fragile of the sisters is Beth (Eliza Scanlen). She is not interested in finding anyone and her biggest dream is for all of them to be together. She has skills at the piano and Mr Laurence (Chris Cooper) is taken to Beth and even gives her his grand piano. Beth is the kindest and least selfish sister. She even gets scarlet fever visiting the poor family when her sisters keep forgetting.

Laurie played by Timothée Chalamet is a character that interacts with every sister in a way. He lives next door to the March Family with his grandfather. From meeting Jo and Meg at a dance he is enamoured with Jo. She is bold and fierce and cares deeply. They become best friends but Jo never sees him that way. He becomes more relaxed and even angry when he meets Amy in Paris after being rejected by Jo. His nature is a caring one but has a temper that can match Amy’s. Not having any women in his life draws him to the March family and their business. There are many scenes where the sisters are all talking at once but understanding each other. Timothée and Saoirse have great chemistry from playing love interests in Lady Bird so it is not hard to imagine them together as Jo and Laurie which is needed as the audience need to believe in the potential of Jo and Laurie ending up together.

Marmee is a a character that encompasses all the sisters. Greta Gerwig said in an interview that a part of Marmee’s character went to each sister. Her anger at life to Jo, her caring nature to Beth, her desire to be a wife and mother to Meg and her boldness to Amy. Laura Dern is a very dynamic actress and I loved her portrayal of Marmee.

Meryl Streep was brilliant as Aunt March, her comic timing and straight talking brought an authority to Aunt March who acted as a role model to the girls especially Amy and Jo who often sat with their aunt. She never held back any thoughts which was unusual for a woman of the time and she also never married which was even more unusual. There’s a great part where Jo is trying to sell her novel to her publisher and he insists that if the main character is a woman she must be married or dead by the end. That was how society saw a woman’s place in that part of the world.

Greta’s interpretation of the story surprised me as it was not told traditionally. We started with the girls in their adulthood, Jo in New York, Meg married with children, Beth sick and Amy in Paris. The film then went back and forth between the glow of their childhood and the coldness of their adulthood. A few moments that really moved me were Beth’s death, Jo rejecting Laurie, Jo seeing her book ‘Little Women’ being printed, Meg getting married, Laurie finally choosing Amy and the ending where the sisters are all together at Aunt March’s house now turned into a school.

All of the actors were very good at their roles and two have been nominated for Oscars – Florence Pugh for her fierce and bold portrayal of Amy and Saoirse Ronan for her feisty and tempestuous role as Jo.

I think this film will become a classic in the days to come and a masterclass in how to take a well-known, well-portrayed tale and weave it into an emotional, dramatic performance that leaves you feeling like you have lived as a March sister in their house in Concord. Overall I give this film 5/5.

Bombshell

The catalyst of the film is when Gretchen meets with her lawyers to sue Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), the boss of Fox News for sexual assault. She claims that she was demoted for refusing to be with him sexually. When she decides to come forward publicly, more and more women come forward with stories about Roger and how he made them do awful things to progress their career. In the film, we see how Kayla is being groomed by Roger in her aim to be on TV. Megyn eventually admits to her own assault some 10 years previously. Although the majority of the assault claims focus on Ailes, other executives on the second floor also have allegations made against them.

I was privileged to see this film before the UK release date as I was abroad, in Turkey and the release date was much earlier. I thought I would post however on the UK release date to give potential watchers an idea of what the film entails.

I was not aware of this story before the film was announced but it only happened four years ago in 2016. I have heard of Fox News, the American news channel that broadcasts incorrect or speculative information. I had no idea of the size of this media giant with all of its news programmes and breakfast shows.

This scandal was right on the cusp of the #MeToo movement where many famous actors, sportspeople, finance workers and many other fields all came forward with stories of sexual abuse or assault. Bombshell is set in the lead up to the 2016 US Presidential Election. It is before the candidates have officially been announced so there isn’t necessarily a Trump v Clinton race going on but they are both present. The first major scandal of the film comes when Trump talks about Fox presenter Megyn Kelly on TV and refers to her menstruating as an excuse for her statements. This affects Megyn with Trump then tweeting harsh words about her. Even though this incident isn’t part of the main narrative it is certainly a warm up of what is to come.

The film focuses on three separate women working at Fox News. There is Gretchen (Nicole Kidman) who has just been demoted for trying to be more women-positive on her breakfast show. She was a top presenter transferred to a less popular show.

Megyn Kelly played by Charlize Theron is another of the main women. She goes on holiday for a week to avoid the controversy after the Trump incident. Her support or not openly dismissing the assaulter later in the film is make or break for conviction.

The third woman, Kayla ( Margot Robbie) is a researcher who has grown up watching Fox News. She wants to be on TV and starts meetings with the head of Fox News. Her relationship with fellow researcher and desk buddy, Jess (Kate McKinnon) is another sub plot. Even though they hook up after a night out, Kayla says she is not a lesbian. Jess also supports Clinton and wants her to be the Democratic candidate. Fox News is firmly a Republican station so she keeps that part of her identity hidden.

The catalyst of the film is when Gretchen meets with her lawyers to sue Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), the boss of Fox News for sexual assault. She claims that she was demoted for refusing to be with him sexually. When she decides to come forward publicly, more and more women come forward with stories about Roger and how he made them do awful things to progress their career. In the film, we see how Kayla is being groomed by Roger in her aim to be on TV. Megyn eventually admits to her own assault some 10 years previously. Although the majority of the assault claims focus on Ailes, other executives on the second floor also have allegations made against them.

It is shocking that this scandal took so long to come out but it is not so surprising seeing how Ailes and the others treat the female presenters. They all have to wear short, tight dresses showing cleavage and with Spanx to look as thin as possible. There is one scene in the wardrobe department where there are racks and racks of dresses in every colour and one woman in at least two layers of Spanx. Someone asks to wear trousers and they are told they aren’t allowed without permission from the second floor which is Ailes.

I thought this film was very powerful and eye-opening about what goes on behind closed doors. I was surprised that everything about Trump could be put in this film considering he is currently the President but I am glad it was included. The acting was also strong with Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie all at the top of their game. Charlize and Margot have also been nominated for various awards for their performances at the Globes, SAGs, BAFTAs and Oscars. Nicole also has a nod at the SAGs.

This sort of film is really important in today’s climate and even though the #MeToo movement has changed things, audiences need to understand what it was like and in some cases still is in this kind of cut-throat business. If you dared to speak up, you were fired. Many people couldn’t afford this so were forced into accepting assault.

Overall I think this film was very powerful and brought light to a situation I had no idea about. 4.5/5.

Golden Globes 2020 – What’s Worth Watching

I am going to review the nominations for this year’s Golden Globes that I have seen at least one film in that category. It is fair to only review the films that I have seen, to give an honest opinion. I am going to focus on the film nominations as I have not seen many of the television shows due to them only being available on US TV or streaming services that I am not subscribed to. The films that are highlighted are the winners.

I am going to review the nominations for this year’s Golden Globes that I have seen at least one film in that category. It is fair to only review the films that I have seen, to give an honest opinion. I am going to focus on the film nominations as I have not seen many of the television shows due to them only being available on US TV or streaming services that I am not subscribed to. The films that are highlighted are the winners.

Best Film – Drama

The Irishman – This film reminded me of the Godfather and Goodfellas, classic gangster films. This is not my sort of film but I did enjoy it despite the 3.5 hour run time. The world of the film was created very well and the ageing and de-ageing of the actors was interesting to see.

Marriage Story – A powerful story about an amicable couple dealing with separation and managing parenting whilst living on opposite coasts of the US. I enjoyed this film despite the brushing aside of the husband’s adultery.

The Two Popes – This film depicted a world I have experienced yet seeing it from the point of view of the Popes showed a different side to the religion. Delving into the back stories and seeing them as actual people added amazing depth to the story. Archival footage enhanced the reality of the film.

Best Actress in a Film – Drama

Renée Zellweger – Judy – I saw this film for my birthday last year and Renée’s performance as Judy Garland was outstanding. I loved the Wizard of Oz as a child and seeing what happened to her was emotional. A deserved win.

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story – A role that Scarlett hasn’t played for a while, I have recently seen her as Black Widow or in comedies but she was a standout in the film.

Charlize Theron – Bombshell – I recently saw this film and will be doing a separate review on my blog. I thought Charlize’s performance as Megyn Kelly was brilliant. She captured the essence of the character very well.

Best Actor in a Film – Drama

Christian Bale – Ford vs Ferrari (Le Mans ’66) – I loved this film and Christian’s performance as racing legend Ken Miles was captivating and his accent was accurate. He doesn’t normally do this sort of role but I think he should do more like it.

Adam Driver – Marriage Story – Having recently seen Adam in Star Wars, his performance in Marriage Story was a complete 180 degree turn. I thought he was great and opposite Scarlett made a convincing self-centred theatre director.

Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes – His performance as Pope Francis was inspired and I think his mannerisms and accent were accurate and he made Pope Francis into a 3D character rather than simply the figurehead of the Church.

Best Film – Musical or Comedy

Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood – I don’t think of this film as a musical or comedy and I’m not a big fan of Tarantino. I liked the setting of the film but I thought the ending was too violent in true Tarantino style and Margot Robbie wasn’t utilised enough.

Knives Out – An amazing, detailed murder mystery with top quality acting. This film was one of my top of 2019 and hopefully I will be seeing it again soon. I think this film deserved to win although I don’t think I would call it a comedy either.

Rocketman – Another amazing film depicting the life of Elton John. The songs were amazing as well as the acting. I had no idea of the pain and hardship that Elton went through and I would now call myself an Elton John fan. Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother was a standout.

Dolemite is My Name – An unusual choice for best film. I saw this recently and after initially dismissing it, I stuck with it and actually really enjoyed it. When Dolemite started to make a film with his friends and some UCLA students is when I started to get into it. I loved that it told Rudy Ray Moore’s true story.

Best Actress in a Film – Musical or Comedy

Ana De Armas – Knives Out – Her role as Harlan Thrombey’s nurse was some of the best acting in the film and I think Ana De Armas is going to be a really big name. I look forward to seeing her win big in the future.

Best Actor in a Film – Musical or Comedy

Taron Egerton – Rocketman – The best performance of his career. Taron and Elton have a very special bond which shines through in Taron’s portrayal of Elton. Their appearance is more similar than I realised when they acted together in the second Kingsman film. I am very glad that Taron won.

Daniel Craig – Knives Out – A role we don’t usually see Daniel play but he brought a real authority and prowess to the detective. It was jolting at first to hear his Southern drawl but I have seen him with this accent in Logan Lucky.

Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood – I would say this was a comeback role for Leo and he did very well. These days he appears to lend his name to only projects he feels passionate about, choosing to focus most of his energies on his environmental work.

Eddie Murphy – Dolemite is My Name – One of the best of his career, Eddie’s performance was dramatic, funny, easy to empathise with and echoes something of his own personality. He portrayed the characters emotional highs and lows very well.

Best Supporting Actor in a Film

Brad Pitt – Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood – Brad’s perfromance was the best of the film in my opinion. His relaxed and jaded character reminded me of Brad at his best. Another comeback role in this film.

Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes – I have not seen many films where Hopkins plays the lead character. At this stage in his career, he is usually a side character. Seeing him in this role was a change for me and I thought he did well.

Al Pacino – The Irishman – Another comeback role for Al and one that echoes the great roles he has acted in. The ferocity and ruthlessness he brought to Jimmy Hoffa made the gangster come to life.

Joe Pesci – The Irishman – I haven’t seen Joe in many films due to him only having 6 roles in the last 20 years. The films I recognise him from are Home Alone 1 & 2. I thought he was very good as he has not done much acting in over two decades.

Best Score – Film

Marriage Story – I must admit I didn’t take note of the score while watching this film but as the film as a whole was exciting and emotional, the score probably enhanced this.

Best Director

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood – I am not a big fan of Tarantino as a director but I think he has done well with this film. The world he created in the film echoed the spirit of 60s Hollywood.

Martin Scorsese – The Irishman – Scorsese always directs big spectacles and isn’t afraid of a long run time. His handling of the film was very good and I am not surprised he was nominated.

Best Song – Film

I’m Gonna Love Me Again – Rocketman – This song was sung by Elton John and Taron Egerton. I think it sums up the tone of the film, learning to love yourself and I think it is one of my favourite songs from the film.

Beautiful Ghosts – Cats – Possibly the only good thing about this confusing, mind-altering film, this song written by Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber is hauntingly lovely. I don’t think it was featured in the film enough as a character sang perhaps one or two verses.

Into the Unknown – Frozen II – I quite enjoyed this film, a worthy sequel and there were some funny adult innuendos. This song was very powerful and was featured in a key moment of the film.

Spirit – The Lion King – I was not enamoured with this CGI remake of the children’s classic and nodded off a little during the part of the film that Spirit was in. Listening to it again now, I am glad it wasn’t a winner. I am not a big fan of Beyoncé anyway but I don’t think the song was as powerful as the others nominated.

Best Supporting Actress in a Film

Laura Dern – Marriage Story – Laura Dern’s role as Nicole’s lawyer, Nora Fanshaw was one of the best of her career. It is not a role I have seen Laura typically play but I thought she was one of the best characters in the film. Her win was well deserved.

Margot Robbie – Bombshell – In interviews, Margot has said that she is only playing roles that are empowering to women so when I saw her as Kayla, a fictional victim in the Roger Ailes Fox News Scandal, I was perplexed. I then considered how important it is to show this story and that only by showing the scandal, that the story can get out. Her role was very good and her character became more complex as the film progressed.

Best Film – Animated

Frozen II – I saw this with some friends as part of a society I am involved in at university. I wasn’t expecting too much from it as a children’s film but it was actually a fun watch with Kristoff’s boy band song as a personal highlight. The songs from the first film are more catchy but I liked the plot of this one better.

The Lion King – I prefer the original 1994 animation but the CGI in this film was amazing. Very life-like. The director, Jon Favreau included a real shot at the beginning of the sun rise to see if anyone would notice. I think if I watched this film when I am more awake and there isn’t a small child in the same row talking the whole way through, I might enjoy it more.

Toy Story 4 – It is unusual that a third sequel of a film still holds the magic but in this instance it does. The story was perfect for those who have grown up with the franchise and the toys were all still the same. I even shed a tear or two at the end. A worthy nominee.

Best Screenplay – Film

Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood – I didn’t find the screenplay particularly inspiring. The set decoration and costumes to me were the best part of the film and not the script. Margot didn’t really have any lines and nothing has stuck with me. I would say that the other nominees deserved to win more.

The Irishman – A well-written script that provided a good base for the actors. I liked the way it was told as a flashback, cutting to an elderly Robert De Niro telling his life history. Explanations were well told and the language was rich and detailed.

The Two Popes – Wonderfully colourful, revisiting Pope Francis’ past was a clever way to help the audience sympathise with him and I enjoyed the story.

Marriage Story – An emotional roller coaster of a film, showing how divorce can change a family. Arguments were particularly vicious and the way everyone spoke to each other showed the tone of their character. I would say the script was one of the best parts of the film.

Lion King – How does the new CGI film match up to the original… and the musical on the West End

Hello readers,

I know I haven’t been very active recently but holidays and such things have kept me busy and I haven’t been going to the cinema as much. Anyway, I have had this post in the works for a month now and thought I would finally write it while Lion King is still relevant.

If you’re a Lion King fan you probably will have seen the new version by now but I thought I would compare it to the original and the musical which I was lucky enough to see at the West End last winter.

Old vs. New

The Lion King (1994)
Lion King 1994 Poster
James Earl Jones and JD McCrary in The Lion King (2019)
Lion King 2019 Poster

For many people the original 1994 Lion King is a classic and well-loved childhood film. I have seen this film a handful of times as both child and adult and I agree that it is one of Disney’s best from that era. The Elton John soundtrack; the voice acting; the classic animation style and the fact that it’s set in the plains of Africa with no human characters, not something that was common in Disney or any animation at the time. To anthropomorphise a pride of lions, hyenas and a warthog and give them very real human emotions and relationships could be considered a risky move but one that Disney pulled off.

It ended up grossing $968m at the box office and won two Academy Awards, another rarity for a children’s animation.

After the success of the first film, the new CGI version of 2019 had a lot to live up to. For me, the original will always be number one as that’s the one I grew up with along with many others and the animation style is dated enough to remind me of days gone by and how far cinema has come. Needless to say I did enjoy the new one. I thought the CGI was great and it made it all much more real. You could really believe that these animals could talk and interact with each other whereas the cartoon was relying more on imagination and artistic license.

I also loved the new twists such as the new song Spirit and elaboration on some scenes. To most people who perhaps saw the original film 20 years ago, the films will appear almost identical but having recently watched the older version I can see the subtle changes. Obviously nothing was changed too much as the original plot, characters and songs are what make the film enjoyable and popular but an identical replica would not draw the crowds. I must admit I did find myself dropping off asleep for a couple of minutes but whether I was just tired or the film didn’t keep me as enraptured as it should have is by the by. I saw the film a week or so after it was released and the screening was pretty full so clearly it was popular.

One small fact that I learned from the internet is there is one real shot in the film that is not CGI created. It is the sun rising over the trees at the very beginning just as Circle of Life is starting. Jon Favreau, the director, said he wanted to put it in to see if anyone would notice. I knew it was coming but couldn’t distinguish real from computer generated. To date, the film has grossed $1.5bn and is now the seventh biggest grossing of all time. If you compare the totals to the original Lion King which when adjusted for inflation grossed $1.6bn it’s about on par and is still in cinemas so could surpass.

Award ceremonies are yet to happen for 2019 Lion King but I’m sure there will be some nominations in there somewhere.

New vs. Musical

JD McCrary in The Lion King (2019)
Simba in Lion King 2019
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The Lion King Musical Poster

Last November, I went to the West End to see the production of The Lion King. It was set up by a Disney film society I am part of at university and I must admit I had not desires previously to see it but when the trip was mentioned I thought it would make for a fun evening.

All my expectations were thrown out the door as soon as the musical began. I wasn’t sure how people were going to portray the animals, maybe just suggested with face paint or masks, but the Africa headdresses and elaborate puppets brought a creative and imaginative spark to the story. The songs and dances were performed using stage mechanics along with talented dancers and singers. It was definitely not your typical musical but it needed to be to show the story.

Some highlights for me included Circle of Life where Pride Rock rose from the stage and Hakuna Matata, a song I always enjoy. Our seats were quite far back but I could still see everything and get the full effect of the show. It was so different from the film that I was not comparing them in my head at all. I loved this interpretation and can now see why so many people flock to see it.

Now comparing the musical with the new film is tricky as they are different mediums with different budgets and boundaries but I think I liked the power and emotion of the songs on stage more than the film’s versions. Seeing an actual person singing and pouring their heart into the scene is different from seeing a CGI lion do the same. However, I think the setting and plot flowed better in the film as the musical left some things open to interpretation. One hilarious moment that you can only do on stage was when Zazu is singing ‘Let it Go’ and Scar tells him to be quiet. Zazu from the film would have no idea about Frozen or any film for that matter. There were a few fourth wall breaks which added an unexpected comedy element to the dark and dramatic tale.

I couldn’t pick one above the other as they are both amazing in different ways so if you are a fan of musicals or Lion King, I recommend seeing for yourself.

Hopefully I will be getting to the cinema more this summer so will have more films to write about.

Films I have enjoyed in the last month or so: Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw; Apollo 13; The Gambler; Fun with Dick and Jane; Death at a Funeral (2007); The Adjustment Bureau; As Good as It Gets; American Made and All the Money in the World.

TV shows I would recommend: Forever (only one series but worth it); 13 Reasons Why Series 3 (up to episode 10 and gripped); Good Omens (Dad loved the book, amazing show and I am now reading the book); This Way Up (Aisling Bea is amazing); GameFace Series 2 (Roisin Conaty, likewise); GLOW Series 3 (amazing).

Happy Watching,

Robyn

My Top Actors and Actresses This Year // February 2019

Instead of a film review I thought I would talk about the brilliant portrayals I’ve seen by different actors and actresses in the cinema this year.

Hello readers,

Instead of a film review I thought I would talk about the brilliant portrayals I’ve seen by different actors and actresses in the cinema this year. I know it’s only February but there have been some stellar performances. I have seen some great performances in older films but I wanted to concentrate on newer films.

Actresses

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Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart in Mary Queen of Scots

This female driven historical drama led by Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart and Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I was powerful and emotional. Mary’s story of love and loss really pulled at my emotions and even though I knew that in the past, women had basically no rights, I expected more for two British Queens. Saoirse played Mary as a strong queen who also loved motherhood and being the head of the army. She showed her loss greatly and suffered with noble quality. A particularly heart breaking scene to watch was the murder of David Rizzio, Mary’s friend. He was struck by many of her noblemen with her husband delivering the reluctant final blow. The birth of her child, James I was also a great scene by Saoirse. Saoirse Ronan is an amazing actress who has been nominated for three Oscars. Other roles, I have loved Saoirse in are Lady Bird and Brooklyn.

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Emma Stone as Abigail in The Favourite

Emma’s performance reminded me of the goofiness and fun personality she has in real life but when Abigail starts to sabotage Sarah and become Queen Anne’s lady in waiting, there’s a manipulative, possessive undertone that I hadn’t seen her play before. Normally, Emma plays the fun, smart, down to earth type of character but Abigail was a side to her I had not seen before. Every little smirk and look to other characters and the camera showed what her character was thinking and feeling and her funny faces made me laugh. She definitely deserves her Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.

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Tessa Thompson as Detroit in Sorry to Bother You

Tessa is a versatile actress who I have seen in Thor: Ragnarok and Annihilation before but in Sorry to Bother You she was electric. As an artist and protester, her character Detroit is not afraid to speak her mind in the capitalist US, the film has created. Detroit supports Cassius but when he starts to become more of a corporate stooge she quickly leaves him alone as she puts her own morals and beliefs before her relationship. The scene that stood out to me for its boldness and bravery was her live performance stunt at her art gallery. Detroit is dressed in a sort of bikini made of black gloves and she lets people throw pigs blood and old mobile phones at her. To stand there, wearing barely anything and having things thrown at you was a bold choice for the actress. Many people would not have been dedicated enough to do that on camera. The way she carried herself and never apologised for anything was a great character trait for a woman in any film but especially this one where the working man or woman was forced into working for capitalist pigs such as Steve Lift, played by Armie Hammer. Overall a fantastic performance and I can’t wait to see what Tessa does next.

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Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns

To resurrect such an iconic character is a brave and certainly risky endeavour for any actress but to Emily Blunt the role of Mary Poppins just fitted. I loved the Julie Andrews version as a child so I had high expectations for this film and it certainly delivered. Emily looked the part of Mary Poppins and had the mannerisms and voice down pat. She was reminiscent of Julie Andrew’s Mary Poppins but definitely put her own spin on it. Every wink and look she did was carefully coordinated. Emily is also a fantastic dancer and singer which are essential skills for this Disney character. My favourite performances were ‘A Cover is Not the Book’ which Emily sang with Lin-Manuel Miranda and some CGI animals. Having to act with characters that aren’t there is a tricky feat but this musical number made it look natural. I also liked ‘Trip a Little Light Fantastic’ which had a great dance routine. Emily has taken a few serious roles in recent years with The Girl on the Train and A Quiet Place so it was great to see her in a lighter part.

Actors

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Steve Carell in Beautiful Boy

I’m a Steve Carell fan from his comedy work on The Office and in films such as Get Smart and Crazy Stupid Love but he has been doing some great drama performances in recent years and David Sheff in Beautiful Boy was one of the best of his career. Playing the father of a drug addict is no easy role but Steve managed it beautifully. Every time Nic played by Timothée Chalamet let his family and his father down, you could see in Steve’s eyes that his character was gradually becoming more tired and upset over his son’s actions. David tried so hard time and time again to help his son get off drugs even going so far as trying cocaine himself to see what was so good about it. He also has his wife and two other children to look after and his job. Steve showed David’s struggles really well. I think that Steve is a great dramatic actor. I also recently saw him in Vice and his character was dramatic in a political, ballsy way, not taking no for an answer. Very different from his character in Beautiful Boy. I hope that Steve keeps playing dramatic roles in the future.

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Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody

As a massive Queen fan, I was always going to high expectations for this film but Rami Malek’s transformation into Freddie Mercury was the thing that completely sold it to me. The songs and other cast were also amazing, particularly the other members of Queen but Rami’s performance made me fall in love with Queen and Freddie all over again. Rami’s movements and voice, singing and talking sounded so much like the original. I have been a fan of the music of Queen for years but I wasn’t aware of the struggles and hardships Freddie went through just to be himself. I never knew that he was with a woman before he met Jim or his fallout with Queen. His use of drugs to try and regulate his symptoms of AIDs was quite emotional to watch. His stand out scenes for me were the interview where he is high and all the journalists want to know about is his private life and of course the climax, the Live Aid performance. He is well deserving of his Oscar nomination and his Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Awards.

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Lakeith Stanfield in Sorry to Bother You

In a film set in an alternate reality, an important part to keep the audience understanding the plot is the interactions of the characters and how they behave. Lakeith was great in this role because he kept me on track in the different reality and I related to his story of wanting to succeed and make people proud of him. Lakeith’s character, Cassius Greene becomes a telemarketer and rises to the top using his ‘white voice’. Cassius becomes a power caller and leaves his friends behind but you can see by his expressions that he isn’t happy to do it. He is motivated by pride and the need to be successful and be able to provide for his uncle. In the end, he did the right thing which is what makes him the hero of the tale. One of my favourite parts was when Cassius would call people up and in the film, they plonked his desk right next to the customer. It showed that telemarketers can feel like they are right there in your home. I am excited to see what roles Lakeith takes on next.

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Christian Bale in Vice

Many people are aware that Christian Bale is a very method actor but for his role as Dick Cheney, he is virtually unrecognisable as you can see from the photo above. I completely believed that he was Dick Cheney and it was interesting to see his journey from being a loser to the Vice President of the most powerful nation on the planet. When Dick starts working for Donald Rumsfeld, he is quiet and helpful but as he starts moving up the ranks, he becomes more outspoken and controlling. As Vice President, he managed to negotiate with George W. Bush and control most of the President’s responsibilities. The scenes showing 9/11 were when Dick Cheney was at his most ferocious. Christian completely became this character and his gradual build up into the most powerful man in the world was an amazing process. I also recently watched the Big Short by the same director as Vice and Christian’s character in that film was so far from Dick Cheney it is hard to think of them as a the same actor.

Happy Watching

Robyn 🙂

What I have been watching this January // 2019

Hello readers,

Another post for me in the same month is rare I know but as I am still on university holidays, I thought I would write about what I’ve been watching this year. I have had quite a lot of spare time so I have been watching many TV series and films. Not everything listed below came out this year. Hope everyone is having a good 2019 so far!

I will start with the films that I have seen.

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol 2011

I watched this at home a few days ago and as a lover of the latest film I had high expectations. They were certainly met. The dynamics between the main cast: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner really gave the film the human spark it needed to not be a mindless action thriller. There were amazing stunts and cool gadgets – the magnetic suit for one, stunning locations and spine-tingling suspense. I would definitely watch again and I will be watching the earlier films in the Mission: Impossible franchise. 5/5.

Cast:

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, an IMF spy, constantly on the run and never out of danger.

Simon Pegg as Benji Dunn, the funny computer genius who has just passed field training.

Paula Patton as Jane, a colleague who is out for revenge.

Jeremy Renner as Brandt, an analyst who gets caught up in Hunt’s mission.

Léa Seydoux as Moreau, an assassin looking to trade documents for diamonds

Mary Poppins Returns 2018

I was quite late to the party with this one but I managed to see it last week at the cinema. This film appear to have sparked a controversy as while some people were disappointed with the outcome, it has been nominated for four Golden Globes and three BAFTAs. I, however, really enjoyed it. I have seen the first one but not for a while so it wasn’t fresh in my mind but the overall feeling of this film is updated yet similar to the original. The songs and sets are different and the characters have grown up but Mary Poppins is still there to save the day. The animated scenes were inspired by but didn’t copy the original. The film gave me a heartwarming feeling. Great bit of fun for all the family. 5/5.

Cast:

Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins, the magical nanny returning to the Banks’.

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, the lamp lighter who joins in on the fun.

Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks, he’s all grown up and struggling with finances.

Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks, she rallies for women’s rights.

Pixie Davies as Anabel Banks, the most responsible Banks child.

Nathanael Saleh as John Banks, the sensible one.

Joel Dawson as Georgie Banks, he likes to wander off and fly kites.

Julie Walters as Ellen, the housekeeper and cook.

Meryl Streep as Cousin Topsy, who can everything but not on a second Wednesday.

Colin Firth as Mr Wilkins, chairman of the bank who is determined to repossess the Banks’ house.

Finding Your Feet 2018

This heartwarming comedy will tug at your heart strings and put a smile on your face. Sandra discovers her husbands affair and runs to her sister’s council flat in London. By finding her long forgotten love of dance again and meeting Biv’s fun friends, Sandra gets a new burst of life and reconnects with her sister. I particularly liked the sequences in Rome and Biv’s eccentric zest for life. It also shows to me that older actors can still make a great entertaining film and younger leads aren’t always necessary.

Cast:

Imelda Staunton as Sandra, whose husband has been having a secret affair for years. She lived in a big house in Surrey but moves in with her sister at the beginning.

Celia Imrie as Biv, a woman who lives every day like it’s her last. She swims in cold water pools, does weekly dance classes, goes on dates and buys her stuff from the charity shop.

Timothy Spall as Charlie who lives on a canal boat and takes a shine to Sandra.

Joanna Lumley as Jackie a fellow dancer and a lawyer, she knows how to have fun.

David Hayman as Ted who lives next to Charlie on the canal. He’s Charlie’s best friend and is always there for support.

Overboard 2018

A hilarious comedy about a woman taking revenge a bit too far. Kate is working multiple jobs to put herself through nursing school and support her three daughters. After a billionaire playboy throws her off his luxury yacht, she uses him for her own gain. Leo, himself falls off the yacht and wakes up with no memory. Kate convinces him that she is his wife and takes him home. She makes him do manual labour and earn money until she can pass her upcoming exam. Full of heart and funny scenes this film was a delight to watch. The only slight downside was as most of the characters were fluent in Spanish they spoke it frequently with no subtitles. It didn’t impede too much on understanding the main plot though. 5/5.

Cast:

Anna Faris as Kate, a wannabe nurse struggling to balance work, studying and looking after her children.

Eugenio Derbez as Leo, a selfish billionaire who becomes a doting husband after her gets amnesia.

Eva Longoria as Theresa, Kate’s friend who is in on the act and helps her keep it up.

Mel Rodriguez as Bobby, Theresa’s husband, he lets Leo work for his building company.

John Hannah as Colin, Leo’s chef and employer on the yacht.

Roma 2018

I’m going to start by saying that I didn’t really enjoy or understand this film but seeing as it won two Golden Globes, some people must appreciate it. The film set in Mexico in 1970 is telling the story of Cleo, a domestic servant and the family she works for. It is in black and white and while this does give the film some atmosphere, I think that the film didn’t have a strong enough setting, dialogue or plot. There were also a lot of long shots such as the beginning and many unexplained events. The acting was okay but I didn’t really connect with the characters enough to care about what happened to them. The family appeared to care for Cleo at some points but still treated her like just a servant. Confusing. 2/5.

Cast:

Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, the domestic worker who works for Sofia and her children.

Marina de Travia as Sofia, the lady of the house and the mother of 4 children.

Fernando Grediaga as Antonio, the husband and father who works as a doctor and is away a lot of the time.

Verónica García as Teresa, Sofia’s mother who helped out the family.

Attack the Block 2011

I really liked this action comedy. It is set in and around a block of flats in South London. A gang of teenagers find a strange creature and kill it. It turns out to a an alien and the rest of the fleet descend on the block. Sam, a nurse teams up with the gang and they defend their home. They also have to avoid angry rival gang members and keep little wannabees out of the way. Featuring appearances from Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker and John Boyega, this award winning film is definitely worth a watch. 4/5.

Cast:

John Boyega as Moses, the gang’s leader who is just trying to survive childhood.

Jodie Whittaker as Sam, a nurse who gets sucked in to defending the block

Alex Esmail as Pest, the token white guy in the gang and the first to be injured.

Leeon James as Jerome, Moses right hand man

Luke Treadaway as Brewis, a rich boy who is the wrong place at the wrong time.

Nick Frost as Ron, a drug dealer with his own weed room.

I have also been loving many TV shows, most of them are Netflix Originals.

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Series 3 2019

This third and final series is the climax to A Series of Unfortunate Events. I really liked the film that was made but this series really does justice to the books. It uses two episodes for each book. Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire have been on the run from the evil Count Olaf since their parents died in a mysterious fire. They have discovered that their parents were in an organisation V.F.D but they don’t have all the answers yet. Can they ever escape from Count Olaf’s grasp? What is in the sugar bowl? What is V.F.D? Could one of their parents still be alive? Find out if you dare in series three. I really loved the series. The acting is superb and the story is very well thought out. It definitely does the books justice. 5/5.

Cast:

Malina Weissman as Violet Baudelaire, the oldest sibling and an inventor. She always ties her hair up with a ribbon when she has an idea.

Louis Hynes as Klaus Baudelaire, the middle sibling and the researcher. He has read many books and his extensive knowledge comes in handy.

Presley Smith as Sunny Baudelaire, the youngest sibling, a toddler who likes to bite things and often comes to the right answer before her siblings.

Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket, the narrator of the Baudelaire’s tale. He has pieced together the story for us to watch unfold.

Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf, an actor who travels with his troupe and is desperate to get his hands on the Baudelaire’s fortune.

Lucy Punch as Esmé Squalor, the forth most important financial advisor and Count Olaf’s girlfriend. She travels with Olaf in hopes of finding the sugar bowl. She wears ridiculous ‘in’ outfits.

Kitana Turnbull as Carmelita Spats, a spoiled little girl who loves performing and travels with Esmé and Count Olaf as their ‘daughter’. She hates the Baudelaires and calls everyone ‘cake-sniffer’.

Alison Williams as Kit Snicket, the sister to Jacques and Lemony. She has been trying to help the Baudelaires.

COMEDIANS of the world: UK: Ellie Taylor 2019

I watched Ellie Taylor’s special and really enjoyed it. She talked a lot about marriage and impending motherhood but in a very funny way and many of her opinions. She is one of my favourite comedians and it’s great to see her representing the UK in this series. There are many different comedians from around the world in this collection.

The Good Place Series 3: Episode 10 and 11 2019

Since the series has come back from it’s mid series break, it has taken many turns. The four humans, Michael and Janet finally got to the Good Place but they only reached the mail room. They have to work out what to do next. Eleanor and Chidi talk about the events of episode nine and Michael is concerned about the points system. The next episode takes place in IHOP but I don’t want to give too much away. It’s hilarious as always whilst teaching about philosophy and what makes a good person.

Cast:

Kristen Bell as Eleanor, the shrimp loving Arizona trash bag with a thing for mailmen.

William Jackson Harper as Chidi, a philosophy teacher who struggles with choices and gets nervous stomach aches.

Jameela Jamil as Tahani, a rich self entitled party hostess who only does charity for her own gain and grew up in her sister’s shadow.

Manny Jacinto as Jason, a Jacksonville Jaguars fan who has been in many dance crews and doesn’t have much brain power but a lot of heart.

Ted Danson as Michael, a demon who enjoyed torturing the four humans but is now working with them to get to the Good Place. He loves human quirks.

D’Arcy Carden as Janet, a human search engine with powers to get you anything you want. She has been rebooted so many times, she is starting to behave like a human.

Sex Education 2019

This series is filthy, dramatic, funny, quirky, relatable and entertaining. Set in a rural part of England, Sex Education tells the story of Otis Milburn, a 16 year old who wanted to be that person in the corner. His mother is a sex therapist and after one piece of great advice to the school bully, Otis and scary Maeve Wiley set up a sex clinic for the students of Moordale High. People start coming to Otis with all sorts of problems. Otis is also trying to be a teenager and sort through his own issues with sex and relationships. He is helped by his best friend Eric who is constantly pushing Otis out of his comfort zone. Otis’ mother, Jean is an overbearing, involved mother with a vibrant sex life. I loved this series and watched it all in two days. Very graphic so definitely for over 18s. It has been watched by 40 million Netflix users this month. 5/5.

Cast:

Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn, unlicensed therapist navigating being a teenager and dealing with his embarrassing mother.

Emma Mackey as Maeve Wiley, she has a bad reputation, is very smart and is always broke.

Ncuti Gatwa as Eric, Otis’ best friend who is out and proud but struggles with his father accepting him and his outrageous outfits.

Gillian Anderson as Jean Milburn, sex therapist and single mother, Jean worries about her son and doesn’t do boyfriends

Connor Swindells as Adam Groff, the headmaster’s son. He doesn’t care about school and prefers to bully the student body. His father is constantly disappointed in him.

Aimee Lou Wood as Aimee, one of the Untouchables who struggles with their endless rules, she always has a boyfriend and is friends with Maeve.

Kedar Williams-Stirling as Jackson, the head boy and competitive swimmer. He has a lot of pressure from his mum to do well and needs plenty of advice about girls.

Alistair Petrie as Mr Groff, Moordale’s headmaster and Adam’s dad. He knows how to deal out the punishments and does not let up for anyone, even his own son.

Mikael Persbrandt as Jakob, a plummer that is fixing Jean’s bathroom.

Friends from College – Series 2 2019

The second series in this hilarious comedy drama about six 40 year olds who have been friends since college. Set in New York City, the series concentrates on their relationships with others and each other. In the last series, a lot of drama went down and the gang is still recovering. Max and Felix are engaged now, Lisa and Ethan and separating, Sam and her husband are in trouble, Nick is finally dating someone his own age and Marianne is still living her carefree life. I love this series and the second series definitely delivered on the drama and comedy. A stellar cast, this series is amazing. 5/5.

Cast:

Keegan-Michael Key as Ethan, a young adult author who is desperate to know if his wife, Lisa wants a divorce or not after his affair was revealed.

Fred Savage as Max, a publisher who works closely with Ethan and is engaged to his long term boyfriend, Felix.

Nat Faxon as Nick, a player who only went out with girls in their 20s. He finds a woman his own age but can’t let go of Lisa who has been crushing on for 20 years.

Annie Parisse as Sam, a working mother who is the most successful of the group. She is having trouble with her husband, Jon after her affair with Ethan was revealed.

Jae Suh Park as Marianne, a carefree actress with nothing to tie her down apart from her daredevil on again off again boyfriend.

Cobie Smulders as Lisa, a lawyer who disappears after sleeping with Nick and reappears with a new boyfriend a year later

Billy Eichner as Felix, a doctor who is so done with the drama from Max’s friends.

Lost in Space 2018

This show has been out for a while but I watched the last few episodes in the series this year. I started it months ago but have been watching it sporadically. It’s about the Robinsons who leave Earth for a better future but crash land on a strange planet. They have to work together with others that land there to get back to the mother ship. There are alien robots, lying doctors, brave engineers and daring escape attempts. There is a lot of family drama involved and problem solving. The last episodes were the best for me as the middle of the series dipped from the great opening but still enjoyable. It’s different from the original series and the 1998 film. 4/5.

Cast:

Maxwell Jenkins as Will Robinson, the youngest and bravest. He manages to befriend a robot.

Taylor Russell as Judy Robinson, the doctor and the eldest, she takes risks to protect her patients and her family.

Mina Sundwall as Penny Robinson as the engineer who likes to do her own thing and bend the rules.

Molly Parker as Maureen, the mother and a rocket scientist. She designed their ship, the Jupiter and lied to get her son on board.

Toby Stephens as John, the father and a soldier. He was absent for most of the kid’s childhood and is trying to make up for it.

Ignacio Serricchio as Don West, an electrical engineer who doesn’t have a family so is always up for danger.

Parker Posey as Dr Smith, a survivor who is determined to reach the new world. She manipulates people to get what she wants.

Les Miserables 2018/9

An adaptation of the beloved book, this series is not a musical, but a drama. Only three episodes have aired but I am really enjoying Les Misérables so far. It tells the story of many different characters, a prisoner, a police chief, a factory worker, a little girl, two swindlers. It illustrates the gap between the rich and the poor in the early 1800s in Paris. The acting is excellent and I can’t wait to see what happens. 5/5.

Main Cast from first 3 episodes :

Lily Collins as Fantine, a factory worker trying to feed herself and her child

Dominic West as Jean Valjean, a prisoner who got 19 years for a loaf of bread. He goes from one place to another, escaping his past.

David Oyelowo as Javert, a governor turned police chief, hunting Valjean for his crimes.

Adeel Akhtar as Thenardier, a pub owner who brags about being in the war. He cheats people from their money.

Olivia Colman as Madame Thenardier, a mother who cares for her own children only. Gets as much money as she can from anyone who comes her way.

Thank you for reading!

Happy Watching

Robyn 🙂

Who I think should have won at the Golden Globes 2019

Hello readers,

For my first post of 2019, I’m sharing my personal opinions on who should have won at the Golden Globes this year. There were some unexpected winners and losers for me so I thought I would discuss these and what I thought of some of the films that won. I’m only going to talk about categories in which I have seen at least 3 of the films.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Best Motion Picture – Drama

I was very excited about this film as I am a long time fan of Freddie Mercury and Queen. The film certainly didn’t disappoint and it is one of my favourite films of the year. I found out more about one of my favourite bands and the hardships and joy they experienced in the early days of their success. I’m also really pleased for the cast as they all worked really hard on the film and press tour. I follow them on Instagram and the posts they make featuring each other have really kept the spirit of the film alive.

The category this year had 3 films featuring black actors which is historic in itself as awards ceremonies in Hollywood have been accused of unfair treatment in previous years. The fact that Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman and If Beale Street Could Talk were nominated is a big step towards racial equality. I have seen both Black Panther at the cinema and the Cannes Film Festival in May and BlacKkKlansman at the cinema back in September. Both films were amazing and would have been worthy winners of this award. A Star is Born was one of my best films of the year and it’s one award was disappointing but in this category I think it faced tough competition.

Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody – Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Rami Malek was the perfect Freddie Mercury in this film and got Freddie’s movements and mannerisms down to a T. I loved him as the lead singer of Queen and his performance brought the film to amazing heights. I also admire Malek for his roles in Need for Speed and the Night at the Museum franchise.

Bradley Cooper did an amazing job in A Star is Born as I have mentioned in a previous post and John David Washington as Ron Stallworth was powerful and iconic. Ron Stallworth becomes the first black cop in Colorado Springs and he engineers an infiltration into a branch of the Ku Klux Klan. The film by Spike Lee had a lot of powerful imagery and showed how awful and traumatising racism has been and continues to be. I have not seen At Eternity’s Gate or Boy Erased but Willem Dafoe and Lucas Hedges are both worthy nominees.

Alfonso Cuarón for Roma – Best Director – Motion Picture

I personally did not enjoy this film. It didn’t have enough plot or dialogue to follow to be able to empathise or relate to the characters. It was a pretty film to look at but as a drama it did nothing for me. I was disappointed with this winner and I thought the other nominees were more deserving.

Spike Lee and Bradley Cooper both did great jobs with their films and I would have preferred if one of them had won. I love Bradley Cooper as an actor and to be nominated for his directorial debut is a credit to his talents. Spike Lee knows how to tell a powerful tale and this was evident in BlacKkKlansman. Some of the dialogue and events really stuck with me. I haven’t seen Green Book or Vice so I don’t know how good the directing is.

Justin Hurwitz for First Man – Best Original Score – Motion Picture

The score for First Man really enhanced the breathtaking images of the film. When Neil Armstrong is going into space at the beginning the score helped me feel as though I was in the rocket with him. I think this score and composer are worthy winners in a tough category. Marco Beltrami did an amazing job with A Quiet Place, a film with minimal dialogue but the score creates great tension and suspense. I was on the edge of my seat for most of this film. Alexandre Desplat also did an amazing job with Isle of Dogs; another great film of 2018. Directed by Wes Anderson and told as an animation with Japanese and English dialogue, Isle of Dogs was a lovely story about the love between an owner and their dog. Like the Quiet Place, the score for Isle of Dogs helped enhance the story and build tension.

Black Panther’s score was also award worthy and it’s amazing to see a Marvel film nominated for so many awards at the Globes. Ludwig Göransson did a brilliant job and paired with the soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar, the sound is one of the major factors that has made Black Panther one of the best films in recent years. I have not yet seen Mary Poppins Returns but have heard wonderful things about the film.

Shallow from A Star is Born – Best Original Song – Motion Picture

I think this song really deserved to win. It’s a powerful song and sung by Lady Gaga in the film, it tells the story and feelings of her character, Ally perfectly. Bradley Cooper also sings the song very well but I think it is Lady Gaga that truly owns it. I have listened to on repeat for months and it still moves me and empowers me at the same time. The sheer power of Lady Gaga’s voice singing it in A Star is Born gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it in the film. I’m glad that A Star is Born won in this category.

It did have tough competition though as I think every song in this category was award worthy. All the Stars by Kendrick Lamar and SZA from Black Panther has a great beat that is perfect for the film and Girl in the Movies from Dumplin’ by Dolly Parton is a great theme song for the film. It’s uplifting in the same way as the message in the film. I have just listened to Requiem for A Private War and it was a beautiful song but I haven’t seen the film that it was written for. Revelation from Boy Erased is another powerful song that would have been a worthy winner.

The Americans – Best Television Series – Drama

I haven’t watched the recent seasons of The Americans but I have seen it before and I think it’s a good show but this year there were more worthy winners. I think that Bodyguard or Killing Eve should have won. I enjoyed both these series and think they were great television dramas. Bodyguard about the British Home Secretary having an affair with her personal bodyguard. It seem fairly simple but there is so much more to this drama. Plenty of action and romance and the last episode is one of the most intense pieces of television I have ever seen. Killing Eve had more of a cat and mouse element with Eve who works for MI6 trying to track down a female assassin all over Europe. It was a great female lead drama and the drama was more long played than in Bodyguard. Great plot twists and acting. I haven’t seen Pose or Homecoming but I have heard great things.

Rachel Brosnahan for The Marvelous Mrs Maisel – Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

I think that Rachel Brosnahan is an amazing actress and this is the role that she is born to play. I can’t see anyone else even attempting to play Mrs Maisel. I love this show and have seen both seasons. It is about an upper class Jewish woman in New York City. At the beginning of the show, Mrs Maisel’s husband leaves her for his secretary and to cope she turns to stand up comedy. It is set in the late 1950s when women were not very well received in comedy. The whole cast of the show are amazing and I would highly recommend watching it.

GLOW is an amazing series about female wrestlers in the 1980s and Alison Brie does a great performance as Ruth. I love this show and have seen both series and I cannot wait for the next season. Kristen Bell is also great as Eleanor Shellstrop in the Good Place, a comedy about going to the afterlife. The show while being up to date on pop culture also helps the audience to understand concepts of philosophy and make sense of what happens to us after death. I was really glad that Kristen Bell was nominated. Will & Grace and Murphy Brown are shows that I haven’t seen but have heard good things about.

I would also like to give a special mention to Ben Whishaw who won the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture made for Television. His role as Norman Scott in A Very English Scandal was great and he was worthy of the award. I have however not seen any other nominations in his category so it wouldn’t be fair to say he is the best, not having anything to compare it to. I watched all of A Very English Scandal last night and it was such a powerful and almost unbelievable true story. It tells the tale of Norman Scott having a gay affair with powerful politician Jeremy Thorpe in the 1960s and then being targeted for murder by Thorpe. Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe was also great and a role we rarely see him play, the bad guy.

I know I only gave my opinions on a few of the categories but I didn’t feel it was right to judge categories in which I hadn’t seen more than 3 of the nominations.

I hope to write on many new and different topics in 2019.

Keep Watching,

Robyn

Cannes Film Festival 2018: My Experience

Hello readers,

Today I will talking about my time at the Cannes Film Festival a few weeks ago. It was an honour and a pleasure to go and my friends and I had a marvellous experience.

We all had the Cannes Cinephiles passes which didn’t let us in to many films but I managed to see a dozen or so, some of which I will be reviewing below as well as the festival as a whole.

Cannes Film Festival:

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The festival itself was a amazing experience. Luckily we had great weather until the last two days where it rained very hard and I didn’t have an umbrella. The promenade where the festival was held was easy to navigate and there were many souvenir shops and kiosks selling reasonably priced food. The atmosphere was really lively and many people just came to walk around or hang out on the beach, soaking in the sun. Everyone I encountered was really friendly and helpful and I met some really interesting people in the film industry. The bars and food places were very expensive so we tended to eat in our apartment but the places we did go were very good quality.

The buildings and theatres where the films were screened are very spacious and great places to watch films. The Grand Theatre Lumiere was the biggest theatre and where the most prestigious films and premieres were held. I was lucky enough to go to a few films in this theatre and it was breathtaking. The Salle Buñuel was also a lovely 400 seat theatre where I saw other films.

If you ever get a chance as a filmmaker to go to Cannes Film Festival I would highly recommend it. The only downside was the fact that my pass didn’t let me in to as much as I thought it would when I applied to go.

I give the Cannes Film Festival as a whole 4/5.

Le Grand Bain (Sink or Swim):

One of my favourite films, I saw this film in the Grand Theatre Lumiere and it was really touching. It was about a man struggling with depression in his 40s and trying not to disappoint his wife and kids. On a whim he joins a male synchronised swim team and finds a reason to live again. Although there are some tough themes in this film such as mental illness, there are many comedy elements and I left the film feeling uplifted. Essentially, it’s about working as a team and finding joy in unexpected places.

It is in French but I didn’t find it too hard to follow along with the subtitles. The director, Gilles Lellouche, who is also an actor, had a great style and really focused on the back stories of all the characters which made me sympathise with them more.

The main cast are Mathieu Amalric (Barbara, Tournée) who plays the protagonist, Bertrand; Jean-Hugues Anglade (Betty Blue, Nikita); Leïla Bekhti (Paris, je t’aime; A Prophet); Guillaume Canet (The Beach, Rock’n Roll); Virginie Efira (Elle, Victoria); Philippe Katerine (The Truth About Charlie, Opium).

I give Le Grand Bain 5/5.

Leto:

Leto (2018)

This film that I also saw in the Grand Theatre Lumiere had a very different feel from Le Grand Bain but I really enjoyed it. It was also the first film I saw at the festival. The story depicted 1980s rock bands in Russia, based on the wife of a successful musician. It was shown in black and white which really enhanced the sad points of the film.

Communism at the time didn’t allow people to play rock music so the bands played at a club set up by the main character, Mayk (pronounced ‘Mike’). The audience was small compared to rock bands of the time in Europe and America but they were all enjoying the shows enthusiastically.

The director, Kirill Serebrennikov, used lots of close ups and at some points had a camera crew filming the band and their entourage. The only colour shots were footage of the camera.

The music of the film really helped tell the story, and the titular song written by the real Viktor Tsoy, Leto was my favourite.

The characters listened to American and European rock such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Blondie. The songs the bands played on stage were great rock music and showed the emotions of the characters.

This was also one of my favourite films and as a fan of 80s rock music it really appealed to me. Even if you aren’t a fan of this genre of music, the story alone is full of emotion and tells the age old tale of love and loss.

The main stars are Teo Yoo (Equals, Day Night Day Night) as Viktor Tsoy, a young musician being coached by Mayk; Irina Starshenbaum (Attraction, Ice) as Natasha whose memoirs the film was based upon and Roman Bilyk in his first acting role as Mayk.

I give Leto 5/5

The House that Jack Built:

This film is one of the most disturbing films I have ever. seen It is about five incidents committed by a serial killer with OCD. A big draw for the film is Uma Thurman but she only has a minor role. The serial killer Jack, played by Matt Dillon, has an obsession with killing that he doesn’t want to stop. The film shows many horrific and terrifying scenes in close and graphic detail so definitely only watch if you are over 18 and have a strong stomach for horror. Despite the shocking and twisted scenes depicted in the film, at it’s core, it showed an emotionally unavailable man, trying to build a house and who cannot form any relationships whatsoever.

The cinematography was very well done with beautiful countryside shots interspersed with the more disturbing images. The director, Lars Von Trier, who had a seven year ban from Cannes for jokingly declaring himself a Nazi, has an impressive body of work and has won many prizes at Cannes in the past. When I saw the film at its premiere, as soon as he walked in, he had a standing ovation. The film also received a ten minute standing ovation and sparked a mass walkout by at least 100 people.

The acting in the film was outstanding, especially Matt Dillon. I don’t think I will be able to watch him in anything else without seeing him as the serial killer.

The main cast were Matt Dillon (There’s Something About Mary, Crash); Bruno Ganz (Downfall, Wings of Desire); Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill: Vol.1 and 2); Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road, American Honey).

I give The House that Jack Built 3/5

Fahrenheit 451:

I saw this film at it’s midnight premiere and I was lucky enough to see the stars as they walked into the theatre, five feet away from me.

I enjoyed this film and stayed awake until two am watching it, when in some day time films I fell asleep. It played like a young adult adaptation and is a remake of a film based on a popular 1950s book by Ray Bradbury.

It portrays the idea that knowledge is dangerous and all books must be burned. Firemen work to destroy all books and punish those harbouring them. One fireman, Montag working his way to General, begins questioning why he’s burning books after he meets an influential woman.

My only issue with the film was the ending and as I don’t want to spoil it, I will not say why. The cast were good and I liked the graphics and story but there was something missing. I have not seen the original film but a friend said it was one of her favourite films.

The cast of Fahrenheit 451 are Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) as the hero, Montag; Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water, Midnight Special) as his boss; Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond, Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Clarisse, who shows Montag a new way of living.

I give Fahrenheit 451 a rating of 4/5.

 

Jane Fonda in Five Acts:

This documentary moved me and it was really entertaining. I  like Jane Fonda as an actress and I knew she was an activist in the 1960s and 1970s but I didn’t realise the extent of her life.

The documentary was about two hours long and split into five acts – Henry (her father), Roger (her first husband), Tom (her second husband), Ted (her third husband) and Jane. It told of her beginnings as Henry Fonda’s daughter and her mother’s mental health issues through her three husbands, notable film roles such as Barbarella (1968), Klute (1971), On Golden Pond (1981), her activism and controversy around her. It concludes with her return to acting in 2005 and her unmarried life. Many people from her life, including 2 of her husbands, Paula Weinstein, Robert Redford and Lily Tomlin give their thoughts and opinions about Jane.

It was a very emotional documentary and I cried when it revealed that her mother committed suicide in a mental institution. Now, knowing about Jane Fonda’s whole life, I respect her much more as an actress and human being. I think she is a role model to her own and every generation.

I was also very pleased when Jane Fonda herself made an appearance along with the director Susan Lacy. Jane gave a great speech about being proud of yourself and standing up for others.

I give Jane Fonda in Five Acts 5/5.

Driving Miss Daisy:

Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

Driving Miss Daisy is a timeless classic from 1989 and was played in the Cannes Classics section. I had never seen it before and I really enjoyed. It had a lovely ending and was a really enjoyable film. I didn’t fall asleep in this one either!

The story tells of a friendship between an old Jewish woman and her black driver set in the South of the US. It starts in the 1950s and spans 25 years. It started as an Off-Broadway play but was adapted to an Academy Award Winning film. The film was nominated for ten Oscars and won four of them – Best Picture, Best Actress – Jessica Tandy, Best Makeup and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The film deals with many themes; racism, ageing, Judaism and anti-semitism, class and many others.

The film stars Jessica Tandy (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, *batteries not included) as Miss Daisy, Morgan Freeman (Se7en, Invictus), who starred in the original play in the same role as Hoke, Miss Daisy’s driver and friend; Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters) as Miss Daisy’s well-meaning son.

I really enjoyed this film and would definitely recommend giving it a watch.

I give Driving Miss Daisy 5/5

Black Panther:

Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Isaach De Bankolé, Martin Freeman, Michael B. Jordan, Andy Serkis, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, Daniel Kaluuya, and Letitia Wright in Black Panther (2018)

This film was screened on the beach with an introduction by the director, Ryan Coogler. I am a massive Marvel fan so I had already seen the film when it came out this February. It was great to watch it again and amazing to see Ryan Coogler in person.

For anyone who hasn’t seen Black Panther, it tells the origin story of the comic book hero Black Panther. T’Challa is crowned as the King of Wakanda, a fictional African country that has hidden from the world, after the death of his father, King T’Chaka in a previous Marvel film – Captain America: Civil War (2016). He tackles villain Ulysses Klaue and an American soldier, Erik Killmonger, who turns out not to be who we think he is.

The film is told in typical comic book adaptation way with a good vs. evil vibe but it was also thoroughly enjoyable and a big change for Hollywood as it was the first film to have a budget of over $100 million and feature a predominately black cast. It featured humour especially from Shuri, T’Challa’s tech wiz sister; drama, action, plot twists and some great fight and car chase sequences. The CGI was also breathtaking especially when the real Wakanda is revealed.

The film stars many great Hollywood actors and actresses: Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up, Marshall) as T’Challa/Black Panther; Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Fantastic Four) as Killmonger; Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Nakia, T’Challa’s ex-girlfriend and undercover spy; Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead, The Visitor) as T’Challa’s bodyguard and friend, Okoye; Letitia Wright (Black Mirror, The Commuter) as Shuri; Winston Duke (Person of Interest, Avengers: Infinity War) as M’Baku, a rival leader of another tribe in Wakanda.

Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock) as Everett Ross, a government agent who joins the fight to help old friend, T’Challa; Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Sicario) W’Kabi, T’Challa’s friend and Okoye’s love interest; Angela Bassett (Strange Days, Olympus Has Fallen) as Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother; Sterling K. Brown (This is Us, Army Wives) as N’Jobu, T’Challa’s uncle; Forest Whitaker ( The Last King of Scotland, Rogue One) as Zuri, T’Challa’s adviser and Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) as Ulysses Klaue.

I think Black Panther is one of the best Marvel films and I give it 5/5.

Bergman: A Year in a Life:

Bergman: A Year in a Life (2018)

This documentary narrated and directed by Jane Magnusson (Cupcake, The Swimsuit Issue) tells of Ingmar Bergman’s life in the year 1957, the most chaotic of his career. Bergman is a revolutionary Swedish writer-director whose films are masterpieces, telling stories of the human condition. He has been nominated for nine Oscars and won the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1971. His many films include: Summer with Monika(1953), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Seventh Seal (1957) (which I saw at Cannes), Persona (1966), Hour of the Wolf (1968), Scenes from a Marriage (1974) and Fanny and Alexander (1982).

The documentary featured archive footage of Bergman on talk shows and photos from 1957. Many people were interviewed for the documentary including Lena Endre, Thorsten Flinck, Elliott Gould, Barbra Streisand, Liv Ullman and Lars Von Trier.

Bergman’s story was very interesting but also tragic. He suffered very painful stomach ulcers his whole life and mental illness which he was often hospitalised for. In recuperation, he wrote many of his films.

I had heard of Bergman before Cannes but this documentary introduced me to his life and I would really like to watch more of his films.

I give Bergman: A Year in a Life 5/5.

Awards:

Grand Prix – BlacKkKlansman

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From what I have heard of this film, it deserved to win the Grand Prix. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see it but I have seen the trailer and it features some excellent actors and actresses.

Palme d’Or – Shoplifters

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I didn’t see this film either but my friends did and said it was their favourite film. The director, Hirokazu Koreeda is known for his films: Nobody Knows (2004), Still Walking (2008), Like Father, Like Son (2013) and The Third Murder (2017).

What I wish I had seen:

BlacKkKlansman:

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

This film directed by Spike Lee (Malcolm X) and produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out) tells the story of an African-American police officer infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan and managed to become the head of the local chapter.

It stars John David Washington (Malcolm X, Monster) as police officer, Ron Stallworth; Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Logan Lucky) as Flip Zimmerman; Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3, That ’70s Show) as David Duke; Laura Harrier (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Last Five Years) as  Patrice and Alec Baldwin (The Departed, It’s Complicated) as Actor.

As it won the Grand Prix this year, I think I will be seeing it in cinemas.

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word:

Pope Francis in Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (2018)

This documentary on the Pope sounds really interesting especially as it directed by the legend Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire; Paris, Texas).

I did queue for this film but it filled up before I got a seat.

Ryan Coogler and Christopher Nolan masterclass

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Image result for christopher nolan cannes 2018

I am disappointed that I missed these. My friends went to the Ryan Coogler masterclass and said it was really interesting. They were both very popular.

Solo: A Star Wars Story:

Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Donald Glover, Alden Ehrenreich, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Emilia Clarke, and Joonas Suotamo in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

I am not a big Star Wars but I wanted to see this. It tells the Han Solo origin story, however it was screened after we left the festival.

It stars Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!, Stoker) as Han Solo; Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, Now You See Me) as Beckett; Emilia Clarke (Me Before You, Game of Thrones) as Qi’ra; Donald Glover (Atlanta, Community) as Lando Calrissian; Thandie Newton (Westworld, 2012) as Val; Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag, Crashing) as L3-37 and Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Journey’s End) as Dryden Vos.

It appears to be very popular and I may see it in the cinema.

Thanks for reading this long and overdue post.

Happy Watching

Robyn 🙂

LGBT films are becoming more widely accepted among audiences

Hello readers,

Sorry that this is my first post in many weeks. I was on holiday at Easter so I didn’t go to the cinema that much and I have been very busy with finals at university, but I have now finished for the summer.

So let’s begin with a question:

Why are LGBT films becoming more widely accepted among audiences?

Recently, Hollywood and other film industries have been green lighting more LGBT themed films for wider releases. Audiences have wanted them for decades and whilst there have been some great LGBT films in recent years such as Blue is the Warmest Colour, Brokeback Mountain, I feel that in the last couple of years, more films and TV shows have been featuring LGBT characters and I want to explore why.

As Hollywood is the biggest and most widely broadcast film industry, I thought I would start there. In the USA, homosexuality was legalised in 2003 in all 50 states but this did not spark a sudden movement in the big production companies such as Paramount and Universal.

What helped kick-start changes was the legalisation of gay marriage in 2015. Personally, I think that this is what drove the movement forward in the American Film Industry.

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Legalisation of gay marriage in 2015, USA

There is a higher demand for films featuring these themes as worldwide acceptance is becoming more wide spread. Here are some popular LGBT films:

Carol (2015)

A film about the love between an older and a younger woman in the 1950s. It’s set in Manhattan, New York and as it was illegal for anyone to be gay, the two have a complicated relationship. The film received many awards nominations at the Oscars (six), the Golden Globes (five) and the BAFTAs (nine). It also competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Cate Blanchett, who is the President of the Jury for Cannes 2018 starred and her love interest was Rooney Mara, both accomplished actresses. It has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and other glowing reviews. The film did moderately well at the box office also grossing $12.7 million domestically and $27.6 million worldwide. I think this film shows that audiences want LGBT films and will honour them with awards and great reviews.

Grandma (2015)

This film doesn’t have LGBT issues at its core but instead focuses on the relationship between a teenager and her lesbian grandmother. The girl is pregnant and needs money for an abortion. Her grandma, still grieving the death of her partner, helps her do this. Other relationships portrayed are between the girl and the father of her child, the grandmother and a man she almost married and the girl’s mother. This sweet film portrays being gay as a normal part of life. It was set in modern day so there were no secret relationships here. I have seen this film and really enjoyed it. The titular ‘Grandma’ is played by Lily Tomlin who is amazing in the role.

There have also been some other great LGBT films since then. One of my personal favourites from last year was Call Me By Your Name. I have talked about it many times on this blog so if you have read my other posts, you know of my love for the film.

It is a beautiful tale of two guys, Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. Even though it only made $16 million in the US Box Office, it had four Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Some audiences feel like it was robbed of nominations for Best Director and Best Supporting Actor and it only won Best Adapted Screenplay – James Ivory, who is, in fact, gay. The fact that this film was even nominated for four Oscars is a step in the right direction for Hollywood becoming more accepting of LGBT themes.

A Fantastic Woman (2017)

The film featuring a trans lead which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film was a step towards trans equality. Hollywood has become more accepting of homosexuality in recent times but trans equality is only just becoming accepted.

Moonlight (2016)

The tale of two black gay men living in LA which won Best Picture was really the first of its kind. It was a beautifully made film and explored many issues with drug abuse, adolescent violence and grief. It also won two other Oscars and was nominated for eight in total.

Recently I saw Love, Simon which inspired this post as it is the first big studio film with a main character who is gay.

This film played like a typical coming-of-age high school film but with a gay character leading it. It had all the typical plot points of a high school film but with the character of Simon falling for an anonymous guy instead of a girl.

TV series are also becoming more diverse, two of my favourites in particular are listed below:

Brooklyn 99

This comedy show about a Brooklyn cop precinct has a very diverse cast, one of the best on TV today. It features a black gay man as the captain, two Latina detectives, one now a sergeant, another is bi and another black sergeant. There are straight white males and one female but the diversity of this show is wonderful. The cast are all great in their roles and it is one of my favourite shows.

Sense8

This show about 8  people from around the world being telepathically connected features a trans character, a gay Latino guy, a black guy, a black lesbian and two Asian women. The cast are also very good in their roles. The show also features two straight white guys and one straight white woman. It is very good and I would highly recommend a watch. It does feature a lot of nudity though.

I hope you enjoyed this post and my first foray into a different kind of post. I will carry on doing film reviews but I also want to write about topics that matter to me like LGBT rights.

I will be posting an Infinity War review in a couple of weeks as I want to talk spoilers!

Happy Watching,

Robyn 🙂