Kiki’s Delivery Service – Review

Studio Ghibli have been one of the biggest animation studios of all time. The Japanese rival to Disney have been creating such phenomenal films and movies since they started in 1985, over thirty years ago. So in honour of that, they are releasing a whole new season to celebrate their movies!

Studio Ghibli Forever is a season of movies from the powerhouse studio including the likes of Spirited Away, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbour Totoro, and Kiki’s Delivery Service. The upcoming season will see these films and then some return.

Speaking of the spirtuous witch, Kiki’s Delivery Service returns to cinemas this weekend and it is certainly one of the best the studio have produced. No wait, perhaps one of the best animations of all time.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is about Kiki who is off on an adventure. Mandates require witches at the age of thirteen to spend a year completely independent in order to discover their power and their role in society. Heading off from her loving parents and her home, Kiki finds herself in the bustling town of Koriko. Insecure, she finds herself up against a few difficulties. Deciding that the only power that she is marginally good at is flying, she strikes up a great relationship with a baker and soon sets up her own delivery service. However, after meeting Tombo, a boy her age obsessed with aviation who has genuine respect for her, Kiki loses her powers. It is up to Kiki to rediscover herself and her place within the world.

Kiki’s Delivery Service was Ghibli’s first studio release since the pairing with Walt Disney. While some may find this a worrying aspect and attribute a lot of the cuddly cuteness to this relationship, it actually has no effect on Ghibli and famed Hayao Miyazaki’s ability to tell a beautiful story. It is highly simplistic, all about a witch and her supernatural powers, and in this essence, it really adds to the story. Though she may be able to fly and conjure potions, Kiki is a girl trying to grow and figure out exactly who she is.

A wonderful portrayal of a teenage girl that isn’t stereotypical or vapid. Instead, she is independent, towing a great line between balancing her own dreams and the relationship she has with Tombo. His entrance into her life does not become a final point, in fact, it detriments her. And the rest of the movie is Kiki’s struggle to regain her own control over her powers. It is a great message that, while not admittedly feminist, is Miyazaki’s celebration of reliance and inner strength in girls.

Add this to the excellent animation from the European-eqsue landscape of Koriko to the midnight flights that Kiki takes. This is a wholesome anime that is delightful on all levels will have you laughing and crying but all the while, smiling on Kiki’s journey. It is simple but it is the simplicity that makes Kiki appealing and relatable to everyone. It is simply magical.


Stealing Cars – Brand New Trailer!

There are a lot of movies out there that centre on crime. Sometimes, it’s a little bit more flashy but occasionally, a film will tackle the grit and consequence of a life outside of the law.

The same can be said for independent film Stealing Cars.

From executive producer Mark Wahlberg, the film revolves around a rebellious teenager who gets caught up with police for stealing cars. Sent to a juvenile prison, he inspires his cell mates to stand back and take control of their lives.

Similar to Starred Up (and lauded as the perfect companion) and the allusions to the aforementioned independent film are warranted. Starring Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, and Mike Epps, as well as Emory Cohen who takes the lead. There’s a brand new trailer, what do you think?


Morgan – Brand New Trailer!

Ridley Scott is back, baby. Well, sort of.

After a lack of fortuitous movies, Scott came bouncing back with the Academy Award nominated sci-fi thriller The Martian. But it looks he is teaming up with his son Luke on tantalising thriller Morgan.

The mysterious film revolves around a young woman who is found after an accident and is seemingly a childlike human. However, there is something more sinister going on.

Wah! Have you ever been so creeped out by a trailer that you don’t know what to do with yourself? That’s Morgan. Honestly, the music is so perturbing that it is still ringing in my head. I really hope they don’t go and reveal anything about Morgan though because that will ruin everything this film is relying on to watch.

I’m just…going to listening to some nice soothing music however.


East End Film Festival – 2016 Line-Up

The best film festival is back!

Yes, entering its 15th year, East End Film Festival have announced a brand new programme. Opening on the day the EU referendum is voted upon, this year’s programme will look at great British filmmaking as well as focusing on EU and beyond. In fact, screw it, it’s a

Opening Night Gala sees the world premiere of Alleycats that looks at the cutthroat world of illegal bike rising and stars Eleanor Tomlinson, John Hannah, and Jordan Stephens. The Closing Night Gala sees Gary Numan based documentary Android in La La Land screen that looks at the musicians move to from the UK to LA having dealt with Asperger’s Syndrome and depression.

EEFF’s new commission looks at Oscar nominated 1968 classic Pas De Deux which will be accompanied by live music and dance as well as a drone score by Luke Abbott. The festival also celebrates refugee’s in the Day of the Refuge, which will look at the refugee debate with thought provoking screenings whilst The Macabre Masonic Masquerade will screen Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil whilst also having a ballroom filled with a grim cabaret, circus, and cinema! 40 Years of Punk celebrates – well – forty years of punk and Genesis Cinema joins forces with EEFF to produce a series of films exploring the crime genre.

Of the British Film Highlights, Love is Thicker than Water directed by Emily Harris and Ate De Jong that is a sensitive London love story having it’s Word Premiere. The European Premiere of Native is an East End-shot sci-fi starring Sherlock’s Rupert Graves. Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe’s story of troubled siblings called The Darkest Universe staring Joe Thomas and Simon Bird from The Inbetweeners also screens whilst Dexter Fletcher stars in A Punter’s Paradise.

Also in celebration is British Documentary’s which include Tales From The Two Puddings to look at Stratford’s iconic Broadway Venue whilst London Overground looks at Andrew Kotting and Iain Sinclair travelling the London line’s by foot. As part of EEFF’s Day of Refuge, Ketermaya look at the hope and resilience of a Lebanese refugee camp.

Internationally, there are a whole heap of movies coming out Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s The Hollow Point has it’s London premiere and stars Ian McShane and Patrick Wilson whilst Robert Pattinson stars in The Childhood of a Leader which is also getting its London Premiere.  Dystopian Turkish thriller Frenzy is getting a screening whilst We are The Flesh is a meat based fairy-tale. French film As I Open My Eyes looks at the Arab Spring and the Tunis music scene whilst The Lure looks at cabaret stars and mermaids.

International Documentary’s include Sonia Kennebeck’s National Bird about drone warfare whilst Sonita follows an Afghan refugee living in Iran. Strike a Pose looks at the male dancers in Madonna’s famed Vogue music video whilst Transit Havana follows three Cubans awaiting gender realignment.

Taking to cinemas such as Genesis, Rio, and Picturehouse, East End Film Festival has once us again titillated and intrigued! One of the few festivals to actually strive for cinematic perfection.



When Marnie Was There – Review

It appears even the western world has become familiar with Miyazaki’s cutesy characters, enduring stories and magical universes – and quite rightly so. When such a Studio as Ghibli decides to branch out and focus on something a tad more human, the likes of Only Yesterday (1991) and My Neighbours the Yamadas (1999) spring to mind, it can take a minute or two to adjust. Yet, adjust rather quickly we will to Arrietty (2010) director, Hiramasa Yonebayashi who skillfully paves the way with a poignant and full of heart tale with an Eastern take on Joan G. Robinson’s novel, When Marnie was There.

First penned in 1967, Yonebayashi brings this British tale to rural Japan, where chronic asthma sufferer and somewhat of a troubled 12 year old tomboy Anna is sent to stay with relatives in the hope of replacing the smog of Tokyo with clean air. With nothing but heightened emotions and fits of misunderstanding, this adolescent becomes bewitched by an abandoned mansion which quickly leads to an infatuated with the elegant, yet disobedient Marnie who seems to resides there. The concept of imaginary friends is well and truly ingrained into every culture. Here in Marnie, there is a fine line between the mind playing tricks on you and the saddening truth of Anna’s current state.

Dazzling animation fronts this friendship fueled narrative. The studio’s hand drawn and intricate approach to the art enhances this story so much more than if it were live action, which adds to this simple, yet deeply meaningful message that resides at the centre of Marnie.  This is nothing other than a powerful female friendship and take from it what you will, it’s beautiful, it’s real and it’s meaningful however it is meant to translate. At time this is unbelievably enchanting and the fact that this is done on human interaction only illustrates just how darn good they are at getting their point across. The film tackles the everyday struggles of teenage girls and the harsh truths that most young girls will utterly deny whilst  still embracing the person you truly are and realising what the world has in store. But, just as Anna discovers, things will eventually stop spinning so fast.  For something that was written in the late 60’s, this certainly transfers on screen and every teenage girl is sure to connect with the expressive Anna on some plane.

Some may instantly disregard this due to its seemingly slow delivery and overly emotional dialogue; yet this only accentuates how our natural surroundings can aid in eliminating the problems the universe throws us. Even if the many dream-like sequences are placed to throw us off course, this is not a scary ghost story, and what we have here is a clever child’s film that adults will undoubtedly gain more from. The crazy and terribly stereotypical Oiwas bring much needed comic relief, offering us chortles of laughter when we, along with Anna, greatly need them. A nice twist leaves you feeling warm and glowing, desperately trying to fight back a few tears as the credits roll. An altogether rather downbeat tale of a girl who simply can’t find her place in the world that carefully offers messages of concern, but also offers much joy and copious amounts of hope simultaneously.

This isn’t as awe consuming as the various Miyazaki adventures we have witnessed over the years. Marnie takes a much more delicate form and reaches out to us humans in an unexplainable manner. Every emotion flies through you, just as Marnie flies through the depressed Anna. The sad and unbearable thought that this may be the Studio’s final production makes this all the more hard hitting – a high note to end on, that’s for certain. Sheer wonderment consumes you with every bite of this one.

A curious thing it is, that Ghibli, no matter what they touch, always manage to tug on every sentiment possible and does so with utter ease – a mystery, it seems, that is better left kept a secret.


Preacher “Pilot” Review

With superheroes dominating the silver screen, it’s often easy to forget that there is so much more to graphic novels than the men and women in spandex and superpowers. The Walking Dead has spent seven seasons flying the flag for grittier, more adult stories, but it might just have to move over, because Preacher is here to deliver a new sermon to the masses!

Preacher, a graphic novel by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, is a story about a Texan preacher inhabited by a spirit, who sets out on a journey to discover the answers behind its origin. Of course, that’s barely scratching the surface of this fantastic series of comic books, but if I were to tell you more, I might just spoil the plot of Seth Rogen’s TV adaptation by the same name.

There’s no other way to say this, Preacher is utterly fantastic. So much so that I wish I could leave this review right here and let you watch it to uncover its majesty, but I’m obligated to at least attempt to explain why it has got me iso excited, so sit back, relax and we’ll see where this goes.

First of all, let’s discuss the actors and characters. Playing the titular Preacher, Jesse Custer, is Dominic Cooper (History Boys, Agent Carter). His portrayal of a borderline alcoholic, holy man with a shady past is fantastic as he broods over his lack of faith and his troubles with some of the more loudmouthed members of his parish. His accent is also incredibly convincing, carrying the southern twang, albeit a twang that conveys many sinister undertones as the episode progresses. Contrasting that somewhat is Joseph Gilgun (This is England, Pride) as the much more happy-go-lucky Irishman Cassidy.

His introduction sees him imbibing numerous illicit substances on an airplane before jumping out using only an umbrella as a parachute. It’s with him that we’ll likely see some of the most sinfully dark humour of the show and Gilgun pulls it off with aplomb. Finally, rounding out the trinity of main characters is Ruth Negga (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Warcraft) as Tulip O’Hare. Her introductory sequence sees her fashioning a bazooka out of old tin cans and moonshine before using it against a pursuing group of armed men. It’s also implied that she and Jesse have a history. There are plenty more characters that are introduced throughout the episode, including “Arseface,” a teenager with a face that does rather look like a backside, as well as two shady-looking gentlemen who are following the holy spirit across the globe and, eventually, to our protagonists doorstep.

The Pilot episode of Preacher is utterly phenomenal, with plenty of chuckles throughout, as well as a couple of absolutely astounding fight sequences. Fans of the original graphic novels will certainly not be disappointed with how Rogen and co. have brought this world to life. Though they may be a little upset that certain events in the early books have yet to occur, there’s always hope for next week’s episode, provided it can keep up the pace.

Seriously, go watch the show RIGHT NOW!