The Rise Of… Lin Manuel-Miranda.

by Laura W 

Oh, Lin Manuel-Miranda. Mr. Manuel-Miranda. The man, a multiple Tony, Grammy, and Emmy winner, is quite literally a genius. From Hamilton (one of the biggest musicals, if not the biggest, of all time) and In The Heights, to being tapped to write the music for the upcoming Disney film Moana, to writing a song for some little film named Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and more.  His freestyling and improvisations are out of this world, and overall, Manuel-Miranda’s talent is just too much for this universe. Miranda is also one of the youngest recipients of The Pulitzer Prize (he’s only 36!). It doesn’t help he is also one of the biggest musical theatre nerds ever.

His most recent Broadway show, Hamilton, is sold out until the beginning of next year. The show itself broke Tony Awards history when it received 16 nominations, the most Tony nods in history. The question is, though, who is Lin-Manuel Miranda? Where does all this genius come from? Impressed yet? No? Keep reading.

Miranda was born, probably improvising, rapping and writing his way into the world, in Washington Heights, in January 1980. Even as a child, Miranda was creating and writing. It’s evident that the talent has been there from the get go.  During his time at Uni, he co-founded Freestyle Love Supreme, a hip hop comedy troupe. It was also during this time that he wrote the initial draft of In the Heights. It ran for several days in April 1999. Miranda would also direct, write and act in a range of numerous other shows at his Uni.

In the early ’00’s, Miranda, along with several others, started to fully work on Into the Heights, before officially coming to Broadway in ’08. The show would win several major awards, including a Best Musical Tony and and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album (Hamilton would win the same Grammy – pattern here, methinks?). Miranda left the show in ’09. It would transfer to London’s West End in 2015. Earlier this year, it was confirmed that the show would be turned into a film, one of Miranda’s big news stories for this year.

On top of all his theatre work, Miranda has appeared in numerous films and television shows, including House, How I Met Your Mother, The Sopranos and even Sesame Street. Films include The Odd Life of Timothy Green. At one point, he even worked with Stephen Sondheim to translate the lyrics of West Side Story into Spanish, so this version could be brought to life on stage. He also wrote the music and lyrics to the musical Bring It On.

Miranda officially confirmed earlier this month that he, in another exciting move, would be leaving Hamilton in July, not only to continue work on Disney’s Moana, but to prepare for his role in Mary Poppins Returns, alongside British actress Emily Blunt. The film will open Christmas Day, 2018. Miranda will play Jack, a lamplighter, a completely new character. It seems Miranda is becoming part of the Disney works, as he’s worked on Star Wars, Moana, and now this.

If he wins an Oscar for Moana or In The Heights, of which predictions are leaning towards, he will become the third person in history to receive the PEGOT (Pulitzer, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), after Marvin Hamlisch and Richard Rodgers. Miranda also received the Drama League Distinguished Performance Award in May of this year. Why is this special? The performer can only receive this once during their entire career.

It’s been success after success for Miranda. Need even more proof? Go look up Bigger, the opening number of the 2013 Tony’s. Miranda wrote the number, and it’s been hailed as one of the best opening numbers for the Tony’s ever. It would eventually win him an Emmy. He has truly outdone himself, from his shows to his huge amount of talent to even putting on Ham4Ham. He can only get bigger from here.


Outcast – “A Darkness Surrounds Him” Review

Guys, I’ve got a great and original story for you. In a small town in Southern rural America, a church loving community is plagued by their creepy children getting possessed by the devil. An outcast who has been practically shunned by the town is actually imbued with the gifts to stop the rise of demons through the kiddie conduits and helps save the day. There’s a lot of spooky scenes, bone-crunching horrors, and contorting fleshy bones as well as bugs, levitation, and a drawn out southern drawl.

Yep. That plot sounds like a lot of horror movies and yet television series Outcast attempts to capture that story. Starring Phillip Glennister and Patrick Fugit, Outcast revolves around the town of Rome which has been blighted with children and adults acting strangely. After his own abuse at the hands of his possessed mother and demons stalking him, Kyle has exiled himself away from society, much to the chagrin of his foster sister. When a young boy named Joshua begins to suffer from the same delusions and body contortions, Kyle becomes enlisted by the local parish to help the kid. But it seems the demonic spirit inside him has been pursuing Kyle for a long time and soon Kyle’s history is about to unfold…making his future terrifying.

Created by The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman, the comic book adaptation isn’t the only one of its kind – what with the rambunctious, hilarious, and riveting series Preacher making its mark on Amazon Vide – Outcast struggles to indelibly make its mark as it teeters in tales already told before. We all know about crosses and holy water so much so that “the power of Christ compels you” becomes vitriol in our hangover routine. Nonetheless, Outcast does attempt to break free from the chains of clichés.

Plagued with a series of images that perturb the mind, including finger-biting goodness and bloody bits all over the walls, Outcast doesn’t hold back on its demonic images. Darkness Surrounds Him is blighted with these weird moments that help elevate the series away from the norm. The shadows that linger on the screen a little but too long and the distortions on the screen all make this a hair-rising television series.

What works best for Outcast is Gone Girl’s Patrick Fuget and you-know-who-he-is Phillip Glennister. The pair are phenomenal performers who are able to mask their fears with determination to dig into the truth whilst also keeping an emotional importance of the pair. Together, it’s undoubtedly going to be a fantastic show where all hell will break loose in the town of Rome. Outcast is good and has a lot of potential, particularly with Kyle’s history.

One thing is for sure, we are definitely going to see more spine-chilling images…

                    OUTCAST PREMIERES ON FOX AT 10pm TONIGHT!

The Hard Stop – Brand New Trailer!

Everyone remembers where they were when the 2011 riots happened. Especially if you lived in London. Shops were burnt, looted, and cars turned over. Thousands ran to the streets supposedly speaking about injustice and the provocation sent shockwaves through the community.

But what happened? Why? Because the unarmed Mark Duggan was killed.

The Hard Stop looks at the human beings behind the headlines and takes a look at the friends closest to Duggan – Marcus Knox and Kurtis Henville. The men try to get on with their lives and speak about the spark of discrimination that led to the flames of London. The movie also looks at Duggan, far away from the thug that police and media painted him.

The intricate documentary looks to be completely powerful and a must-see for everyone. Documentary’s like this shine light on people we brutalised in the media.


Breaking A Monster – Brand New Trailer

Music business is hard to get into. There are millions of bands world-wide so desperate to make it that they strive, struggle, and swing hard for success. However, when you find musicians with raw energy and epic talent, then you have to follow them – no matter how they are found. Unlocking the Truth is such a band and after their viral success, this latest documentary focuses on their rise in the music business.

If you haven’t heard of Unlocking the Truth, the band are three 7th graders from Brooklyn who performed in Times Square and were caught on camera – only to skyrocket ever since.

Selected in a bunch of festivals, Breaking a Monster’s film looks at these young teens facing adult consequences of the music industry whilst still keeping their hope, passion, and dreams.

This trailer makes it look incredible and life-affirming too.


The BFG – Brand New Featurette!

There are some magical movies out there that take you to worlds beyond your imagination. Worlds where you can run with fantasy, beasts, and creatures beyond. With the illusions of cinema making visual masterpieces of the world, this summer we are going to be taken to a massive, huge, gigantic world – The BFG world!

Based on a book by Roald Dahl, The BFG revolves around a world where Giants are child chomping beasts who gobble kids up in the night. Sophie, a bright young girl, has been trying to spy them but comes across something completely new – The Big Friendly Giant whose sole purpose is to give dreams to young’uns. Together, they enter the biggest adventure ever!

The softly spoken Mark Rylance has had the year of his life and that looks to continue as the sweet and tender giant. In this latest featurette, you see Rylance’s transformation and why Spielberg picked the Academy Award nominated actor.

One thing is for sure. The BFG is going to be a Big Deal this summer!


The Legend of Tarzan – Brand New Trailer!

Tarzan has had a lot of conceptions. Some good, some bad, some absolutely phenomenal (see: Disney’s Tarzan.) The story of the ape man who was raised in the heart of the jungle and falls in love with the first woman he sees (not as creepy as it sounds) has been populating our television and cinematic screens for a very long time.

Directed by Harry Potter’s David Yates, the film sees Tarzan (Alex Skarsgaard,) who has lived in London for ten years, forced back to the jungle when a mining company threatens his old way of life and family.

The Legend  of Tarzan looks too grimy and dark. What happened to movies nowadays? Because there was a time with opulent colour and daring escapades took charge of the cinema and now we’re so focused on making it too serious, leaving the family yarns to the cartoons. You can have natural balance but here, it seems stripped away and far too dark to be taken seriously.