Film Fatigue: Are you tired of the movie industry?

Coming out of a big blockbuster release (title held back for anonymity), an odd despondency fell over me. Unlike the rage induced conversations that made me foam at the mouth with Batman v Superman or the childlike glee that broiled inside me after Civil War, I felt – well – nothing. Likewise, the lead up to the film denoted nothing of interest and excitement, and I went purely out of obligation to the industry, to the audience, to myself.

This isn’t a one-time sensation (otherwise, why would it prompt an article?) I’ve noticed that quite a few films that I thought I’d enjoy offer nothing but a shrug and a completely neutral reaction which prompted a fear; was I losing my passion for film?

Of course, that sentiment is false. Ask me what I spoke about in my last five conversations, see what I’m listening too, and watch how fast I jump on any conversation about this year’s Green Room, Sing Street, or The Nice Guys and you’ll notice that the lack of passion isn’t the problem. I wholly want to submerge myself in the industry and promote fantastic films as well as making them, too.

But it got me thinking about the industry, and I can’t help but notice the ripple of this despondency across audiences and film obsessives alike. I’ve seen exhausted wannabe critics move on from the craft, directors give up the camera, and exhausted film fans missing out on months of great cinema. What is the cause of this? Are we all suffering from film fatigue?

It’s easy to point the finger of blame to the industry, especially mainstream products. Every film at the moments seems to be a reboot, a sequel, or a superhero film. Epic grand blockbusters have to have an established film base beforehand. Gone are the days of original grand films such as Ghostbusters, Independence Day, and Jurassic Park. Now we have their reboots, Ghostbusters, Independence Day: Resurgence, and Jurassic World. Our cinematic culture seems to be piggy-backing off those before-hand.

As well as this, comic book adaptations have over-saturated the film industry, with only few surpassing the usual garb. With Warner, Disney, and Fox all vying for supremacy over one another, so far in 2016, we’ve had four major superhero based movies and there are more to come.

Whilst this may not seem like a lot, these also demand focus through advertising and marketing. The pressure to constantly promote the river of clips, posters, and set-leaked images has become the exhausting norm for fans AND critics alike. It’s fair enough that companies want to keep us chattering about their upcoming releases, but social media is drowning in this need to be trending, sharing, and liking. And I’m part of the problem. As a relatively new website, working with press releases and flinging out clips into the Twittersphere is in my best interests; I gain more followers and views whilst also trying appease PR companies to give me a spot on their latest screening or press junket which, in turn, can help monetize my company.  Add the competition to be the first to cover the clip, the exhausting cycle of cinematic and press endeavours can strip away passion and chip at it.

It’s not just companies who propagate all of this. Audiences and film lovers are just as bad. Constantly taking to Facebook and Twitter to vent about a new release means companies have to meet the demand. Not only this but spilling into cinemas to watch Fast and Furious 8 over the likes of Sing Street means theatres and Hollywood have bent away from independent and original movies to focus on franchises because that’s where the money is.

Behaviour whilst watching films has also altered and become somewhat distressing. Many can no longer sit through a two hour film without checking their phones or messaging loved ones, people download or pirate their movies because of cinema prices (causing a Catch-22 situation, by the way, where cinema prices go up as a direct result) and many simply aren’t going out to the pictures as an event anymore. They see it as an overblown, overpriced, massive television screen and not the experience that it is; two hours to explore brand new and provocative worlds different from our own.

I am also aware that this may be my own worries and fears manifesting into doubt and insecurities (I’m also somewhat worried that this is the depression and anxieties talking.) As someone who lives in a world of film, it is natural to see the passion ebb into normalcy and the excitement become an average reaction. I work in cinema which means I am constantly watching films, whether at home or in the cinema. And yes, I love it. But like any good relationship, the lust fades into routine and it’s natural to feel scared that you’ve “lost it,” when you haven’t – it’s adapted and evolved.

So reader of this article therapy, have you been suffering from film fatigue? Then you aren’t alone. Fatigue with something you love is natural. And also nothing to be afraid of.

After taking a bit of a break from it all to align the thoughts in your head (read a book, go for a walk, put that Empire down for a day,) the only way to combat it is to seek alternate thrills in the industry. If you are sick of the mainstream then I can assure you the independent and cult films are out there. Support a local filmmaker or cinema. Find movies that lean towards your taste. Talk about the films you enjoyed to others.

And never, ever, feel bad for watching and talking your favourite repeatedly.

Film will always be our first love. We’ve just got to adapt, evolve, and help change it for the better.

The Nice Guys – “Question the Mermaids” Clip

If there is one film you have to watch this weekend, it’s The Nice Guys. Make sure you catch the brilliant noir comedy in cinemas because there hasn’t been a comedy quite like this one this year, and you’ll have a treat enjoying Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe’s chemistry.

When an old and wealthy woman confuses a young girl with her porn star niece Misty Mountains who suspiciously died the week before, a pair of private investigators find themselves embroiled in a ploy that puts their very lives in danger. Which is more disconcerting when March’s rambunctious young daughter tries to help solve with the mystery.

In this, we see March and Healey carrying a corpses with the latter clearly intoxicated and in distress. Asking where he’d been, March stated that he had to “ask the mermaids a question.” Whilst out of context this seems like a silly clip, it actually denotes the caper humour and surreal elements that are a part of Shane Black’s seventies romp.


Independence Day: Resurgence – “War” Clip

Huh. War….Yeaaaahhh.

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing?

Here is the second clip from the upcoming space caper, it seems War may be quite useful for intergalactic space invasions.

Independence Day: Resurgence is set twenty years after the events of the first film and humanity have armed themselves with the alien technology from before. Happily safe, it all goes wrong when BAMN aliens happen again.

Yeah, I still don’t know whether it’s going to be good or not so I’ll not hold my breath for excellence. That being said, not expecting much means I might be one of the few that’ll enjoy it.

Ironic, really.


The Hateful Eight – Review: A Change in the Air for Tarantino?

You can almost feel a change in the air when a Tarantino film is on the horizon.

With the landmark director taking a few years between each of his projects. the release of a film seems to set audiences’ senses buzzing. From his first release of (arguably) the greatest independent movie ever made Reservoir Dogs to his genre mash-up ‘Southern’ Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino knows how to intrigue his followers. Now following up the success that was Django, the director has gone back to the Old West for a story of guns, horses, bloodshed with added mystery.

The Hateful Eight follows the adventures of several characters whose stories intertwine when all become stranded by a storm. Locked inside the small confides of Minnie’s Haberdashery are a bounty hunter with a prisoner (Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh), a lone bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson),  a hangman (Tim Roth), an old Confederate (Bruce Dern), and a quiet Cowboy visiting relatives (Michael Madsen). With bounty to claim and tensions high, it becomes clear that someone is not there by accident and not who they claim to be.

The Western epic is the eighth film by the famed director. With every film that Tarantino releases it seems inevitable that a media storm of controversy will surround it; whether it is in regards to the violence and language used with in the film or this time disputes over the films distribution. The film also had the leaking of the screenplay to overcome which almost hindered filmmaking.

Like Tarantino’s full body of work , The Hateful Eight is filled with violence, bloody gore, harsh language, and the usual exploration of racial tension and gender inequality. If these are things that offend you then do not go to see a Tarantino film.

The film follows a simple concept and narrative. A group of strangers become trapped together and they (plus the audience) must figure out what their intentions are. This is Tarantino characters with an Agatha Christie mystery twist. The simplicity of the films concept is overshadowed by the director’s larger than life characters that deliver his usual razor sharp dialogue. From the groups ‘chance’ encounter suspicions are raised, the plot twists till the film’s final act.

It is safe to say that for long periods of time the narrative does not progress. That space, however, is filled with great dialogue and Tarantino’s usually charismatic, if morally ambiguous characters. This lack of solid progression does stunt the film and means it lacks the structure and momentum build of his previous works.

For his eighth cinematic outing Tarantino decided to film his Western on Ultra Panavision 70mm. Only the eleventh film to be fully filmed in this format. For the wide outdoor shots of the great outback the medium creates a beautiful and unbelievable view of the American landscape. The reminiscent aesthetic of old cowboy films of the past is really striking. Considering that so much of the film is set in the small inside of Minnie’s Haberdashery, however, it seems redundant for the entire film, though ambitious.

Usually Tarantino films are filled with both stand out songs and score but this film is different. Impressive scores accompany the beautiful cinematography in selected sequences but this film lacks the usual stand out songs audiences have become accustomed too. This puts the film more in the genre of Western perhaps but marks a change from his body of work.

For this film Tarantino has recast some of his best collaborators and added a few newbies, veterans Tim Roth, Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Walton Goggins are joined by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Channing Tatum.

As with all his previous Tarantino collaborations Samuel L. Jackson dominates the screen as Bounty Hunter Major Marquis Warren. His distrust of the Haberdashery’s inhabitants drives the plot forward and Jackson had arguably the most standout scenes. Jennifer Jason Leigh delivers a cold and shrewd performance as bounty prisoner Daisy Domergue. Despite the cold and violent treatment she receives, she remains a defiant and forceful screen presence. The film also showcases a small but understated performance from Channing Tatum.

The Hateful Eight is an enjoyable film. With the standard great characters, dialogue, visuals and twists of a Tarantino film but slightly lacking the thrust of his best work. Similar to Django Unchained, (which I bloody love), the overall drawback to this film is its running time. At just under three hours. it is long and the slow burn style of the narrative means parts feel unnecessary.

The slow pace and stunted narrative means The Hateful Eight is on the lower end of the directors work, yet still a worthy film that still denoted a change in the air for the audience.


Warcraft: The Beginning – Review

The parade of the video game adaptations marches ever onward, with the third addition this year out in cinemas today. Warcraft takes on Blizzard’s ever popular franchise and adapts one of its novels to the big screen, looking at the rise of the Orcish Horde, and the humans response to their invasion.

The film is headed by a truly fantastic cast, Travis Fimmel takes on the role of protagonist Lothar, one of the King’s knights who is doing everything he can to uncover where the Orcs are coming from as well as trying to stop them before they destroy the world, and Toby Kebbel steps into the shoes of his counterpart Durotan, an Orcish leader trying to find a better land for his tribe and family. Filling out the rest of the cast include the likes of Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga as the King and Queen, Robert Kazinsky as Orgrim (Durotan’s second in command) and Paula Patton as Garona, a half-orc who is attempting to find her place int he world.

With such a wealth of acting talent, it’s such a shame that the film itself fails to be anything more than formulaic and predictable. In trying to show both sides to the story, there isn’t enough time to flesh out either side, leaving rather flat, stereotypical characters. Whilst there are moments spent trying to make the Orcs seem less war-like, it ultimately leads to confusion when you can hardly remember what was said the last time, or whether it was mindless platitudes that make things seem more profound, but falls apart when looked at too closely. The film was adapted from two separate novels, each one portraying one side of the story, and one can’t help but feel that the film itself would maybe have worked better if the two stories had been split as well to spend more time with each of the characters.

Whilst the story is a let down, the visuals are something to behold. Despite swimming in the same Orange and Teal colour correction as numerous other films out there, the beauty of the settings is incredible, and the special effects used by the post-production houses for the magic spells is even better. On top of all that, the CGI Orcs are lovingly rendered, and appear to be wholly unique, the motion-capture technology helping convey the emotions and movements that lets them fit in seamlessly with their surroundings. It’s not enough to save the film, but it certainly pulls it from the pile of failure to give it a chance to stand on its own legs.

Ultimately, Warcraft is not a film that will define the fantasy genre in the way that Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter did. It’s a shame to see such a talented cast and director wasted on middling fare, but I daresay it will garner enough of a following from fans of the games to warrant a sequel which can hopefully address some of these problems. There’s nothing wrong with this movie, but that doesn’t mean to say there’s plenty of right within its frames.


Moonwalkers – DVD and Blu-Ray Review

Since the end of Harry Potter, both Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have had a lucrative career and have had some acclaimed movies or television series under their wand holsters. Rupert Grint, the third in the trio, has a somewhat limited range with a few independent films and an Ed Sheeran video in his post-Hogwarts career as well as owning his very own ice cream van. Nice.

Fair play to the young actor for not following set rules in his post franchise days and for picking different movies to continue his acting prominence.

And Moonwalkers is the film to definitely prove that his movie outings are weird, unusual, and utter brilliant.

Moonwalkers has the destiny to be a cult film if enough audience members witness the lunacy first hand. The antics on screen will surely be whispered throughout the circles that viewers may walk in and the DVD release today may accrue more folks bellowing, “Hey man, you’ve got to see this!”

That’s because the plot and the cinematic craziness that explodes on the screen has to be seen with your eyes, man. Doused in colourful sixties aesthetic, the blossoming spectrum plays host to hilarious hi-jinks that is almost a homage to the crime capers of the era. It’s almost as though director Antoine Bardou-Jacquet laced craft services with the most potent LSD and let his performers relish in the script and beautiful trip they were about to go down.

Basically, the plot revolves around an unstable CIA agent named Kidman (played by Ron Perlman in the most Perlman-y role ever.) The US Government are a little afraid that the moon-landing isn’t going to work and send Kidman to track down acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick in England. There he comes across band manager Jonny (Rupert Grint) who says he knows Kubrick which is a big massive lie – Kubrick is actually his flatmate Leon (Robert Sheehan). Going along with for the ride, Kidman and the pair try to pull off the biggest con of all time, or they’ll all be killed.

Sheehan and Grint team up yet again since their stirring efforts in Cherrybomb and delight once more with this hoopla of a film whilst Ron Perlman’s “holy shit, what have I let myself in for” performance is deserving of a multitude of praise. The movie is, indeed, a fantastic collection of actors doing mighty fine work despite the absurdity on the screen. Set to the most excellent sixties soundtrack, Moonwalkers is an infusion of people putting their bloody all in to the movie and the result is fantastically bizarre.

There are times that Moonwalkers trails off, as with most adventitious movies, the struggle to keep the wacky plotline going means there are moments of dullness.  And a lot of folk will be put off by the craziness but don’t be deteered by the insanity on the screen. It actually works and that is helped by the chemistry between Perlman, Rupert Grint, and Robert Sheehan.