Pete’s Dragon – Brand New Trailer!

Now, I have to be honest here – I don’t like  the original Pete’s Dragon. Of all the movies in the Disney catalogue, it’s the one that irritates me most. The songs, the characters, the story – it was just a big pile of annoyance, wrapped in irritation, and marketed to children. But I’ll give kudos to Disney…

They’ve somehow manage to make Pete’s Dragon worse.

The film revolves around a boy who has lived in the woods for six years. Soon he is found by people and rescued, but along the way, they find he wasn’t completely alone in the woods and some fun is about to happen.

For some reason, they’ve stripped a lot of the colour and fun back from the story – considering that Pete’s Dragon was a spectacle of spectrum. The film also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, and Karl Urban – all cashing in their cheques.


The White King – Brand New Trailer!

We are all afraid of our governments right now. Whether you are waging war against Trump, willing Britain to stay in the EU, or actually getting killed by corruption and control, the world is in a tentative state. There are plenty of dystopian movies getting produced but The White King seems horrifically close to the bone.

The White King revolves around a 12 year old boy who is coming to terms with his father’s imprisonment by the totalitarian state. With secret police and venal dignitaries, Djata and his mother try to navigate through propaganda and government abuse, making them risk everything to reunite his family.

Starring Agyness Deyn and Jonathon Pryce, The White King is based on a Hungarian novel by Gyorgy Dragoman and looks to be a completely compelling political thriller. This is a stunning trailer and, hopefully if done well, it could be one of the more important films to date.


A Whole Lotta Spiel-berg: The Sugarland Express (1974)

Welcome back to our journey through the filmography of one of the world’s most iconic directors, Steven Spielberg. We kind of skipped ahead a little but now we’re back tracking to talk about his second feature film, The Sugarland Express.

Lou Jean Poplin (Goldie Hawn) breaks her husband Clovis (William Atherton) out of prison so the two can hit the road and retrieve their baby son. However, things don’t quite go to plan and pair find themselves kidnapping a police officer, and bringing him along for the ride while an army of police cars follow after them.

I was surprised to find out this sits at an impressive 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and won an award at the Cannes film festival…

Very surprising, because this is easily one of Spielberg’s worst films. Duel had its issues, but there was a lot to admire about it. This? Not so much. The performances are reasonably good, but nothing ever stands out, and John Williams’ score is pretty cool, plus there’s still a sense of inventiveness on Spielberg’s part. He’s still a young man making a name for himself in film at this point and you can tell he’s trying hard to make something great. Unfortunately, it’s just a massive bore.

For a road movie, it’s surprisingly slow; this is a frequent occurrence amongst Spielberg’s early films but the film moves at the pace of a fucking snail. Even in its action sequences are boring as all hell. The only thing that’s interesting about it is the early use of Spielberg tropes such as cartoons (He was a huge fan of Chuck Jones) and images seen in a side mirror. The story is never as emotionally investing as it should be, the performances aren’t convincing enough to engage you, the characters aren’t interesting enough to keep you going, and it really is just a very weak film.

That is, until the final 20 minutes.

I won’t spoil it, but the climax is most definitely better than everything that precedes it. At long last, a sense of danger comes in (effectively, at least); there’s a little shock, there’s a little excitement, and a touch of poignancy to its closing scenes. It really brings it home in this final chunk of film, and whilst it’s not enough to redeem the entire feature, it really deserves credit for that part alone.

The Sugarland Express does a great job of bringing it home, but the film itself just fails to hit the heights necessary for an entertaining and engaging road movie. Join us next time when Spielberg finally comes into his own as a craftsman and delivers the masterpiece that is Jaws.


The Violators – Review

The class divide in Britain is phenomenal and disheartening. You might have hoped that in the 21st century we’d be pass things like the super rich and the super poor. Stereotypes aside, where extreme levels of poverty and unemployment occur a kind of sub culture is born out of necessity. If you have not lived it, it is incredibly difficult to grasp and you often sound incredibly patronising when you try. It is no wonder frustration builds and things like the 2011 riots occur.

The Violators centres on two young girls from either end of this social spectrum. Shelly (played by new comer Lauren McQueen) lives in a council house with her two brothers. Resorting to stealing money from 2p machines and avoiding calls from social services, this is a family struggling financially and socially. On the other side of Chesire in a small, gated community we meet Rachael (Brogan Ellis), who offers second hand couture tops as charity, is apparently a shoe in for Cambridge and attends fencing lessons. Although this class divide between the two girls is overplayed at times (a prince and the pauper moment is evident when Shelly first walks through the gates and into Rachael’s home. She then promptly begins stealing anything of value) this in turn makes the mechanics of how their intertwined stories particularly masterful – the twists! Oh the twists.

The villain of the piece, Mikey (Stephen Lord) is detestable from the moment we meet him. From Shelly’s reaction to his supposed kindness, we quickly realise that he expects something unsavoury in return. The brief glimpses into Shelly’s abused childhood and her understanding that sexual favours can be used in exchange for goods and services adds to this underlying assumption and makes her fifteenth birthday seem all the more poignant. Her obvious disgust at being touched by this man mimics our own and any sexual advances are clearly portrayed as fundamentally wrong. The whole thing is sickening – as it should be – and very well played. Lord is convincingly slimy, and I mean that as a compliment.

What’s even more disturbing, and shows real talent on the young actress’ part, is you can see why she gives in to this lifestyle. Clearly in a desperate situation, craving independence and control, Shelly does whatever she can to protect herself and her family. She is simply striving for a better life, and in the end isn’t that what we’re all doing?

Throughout the course of the film we see Shelly as a reflection – in a window, in a mirror, in the surface of an arcade game. Beautifully shot, her intense smokey eyes (something I have been striving to achieve for years) look back at her as we do, and we are forced to reflect also. This and other points of symbolism are so seamless, it isn’t surprising that this movie was written by a novelist (aka Helen Walsh). But you may be surprised to hear that this is her first film! The Violators would be considered a success for an experienced director, let alone a new bod, so that in itself makes this film a particularly interesting watch.

New director, new actors, new point of view – The Violators is more than a complex story from an accomplished writer.


Independence Day: Resurgence – Brand New Clips!

OK Paramount. I’m right at the crux of being super excited for your release next week. You can stop releasing clips now. Because, frankly, enough is enough.
We don’t need any more clips to get us more hyped.

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.

Although I am somewhat excited for the release of Resurgence, I still can’t believe it comes out next week! So it’s a weird feeling, are you ready for the alien invasion?


Piper – Brand New Footage!

Its a tradition. Something that I believe a lot of films should do – play a short film before a feature. With Pixar and Disney, every upcoming film has a brand new teeny tiny film that tells an opulent story. Sometimes they are phenomenal and sometimes, they are just…he he…short of greatness.

The latest one is Piper.

The short film revolves around a sandpiper hatchling (awwww) who looks for food on the shoreline and has to square up against the scary waves in order to get a decent meal.

Looking realistic and so so so so so cute, Piper could be a welcome addition to Finding Dory.

What do you think?