Bridget Jones’s Baby – Brand New Trailer!

There is something amiss in this trailer for the latest outing of our rambunctious heroine. Something I can’t quite put my fingers on. The latest outing sees Bridget, well, having a baby but it could be one of two suitors including her old flame Mark Darcy.

Why am I untrusting?

Maybe it’s because it has been many years since we’ve seen Renee Zellweger’s conception of the Helen Fielding character. Maybe it’s because we didn’t really need the book and, therefore, we didn’t need the film.

Maybe it’s the dead eyes coming from the poster and the strained jokes that seem somewhat phoney in the trailer.

Whatever it is, this sequel is somewhat unsettling.

That being said Emma Thompson is still a Queen.


East End Film Festival: Jackrabbit – Review

by Jamie Garwood 

Directed by Carleton Ranney and co-written by the director along with Dustin Douglas, this film premiering at the East End Film Festival on 29th June stars Josh Caras (Simon) and Ian Christopher Noel (Max) as two young protagonists in a future America, wrecked by an apocalypse.

Set in the future after an event called the ‘reset’, survivors live in fear of overlords who oversee them through CCTV and track them down if they waiver, infusing a society full of fear and paranoia. This overwhelming loss of freedom leads to a high rate of teenage suicide, and the death of a mutual friend, Eric,  brings Simon and Max together along with a mysterious hard drive which may provide an answer to bringing down their fascistic dictators.

The ‘reset’ has made the land dormant, a hive of inactivity and has pushed technology backwards. Our survivors are left with analogue technology from the 1980s, floppy discs and Panasonic computers abound which brings a nostalgic tinge to the events – similar to Computer Chess – and harking back to classics like War Games.

The camera work in this film is striking mixing between following the actors through CCTV or instead using an omnipresent camera which floats through scenes as if you are intruding upon a private conversation. This sort of camera calls to mind the work of John Carpenter and this is further enhanced by the electronic score full of doom and dread in its synth sound produced by MGMT’s Will Berman.

In this day and age of stifling CGI on films that are bigger than the screens themselves, when we have battle royales between comic super heroes, it is refreshing to see a science-fiction film that is lo-fi in its production. Some of the most renowned sci-fi films have that low budget feel from Silent Running to George Lucas’ THX-1138.

The film harks back to films of desolation and fear such as The Omega Man, a country riven by self-destruction and a community trying to rebuild. The currency in the film is called Bit, a descendant no doubt of BitCoin prompting that everything has value but not much worth. Yet their is an inherent fear of technology which dominated Terminator 2: Judgment Day, whilst one character says ‘technology brings stability’ the fear that technology and artificial intelligence, a real hot bed of conversation lately in scientific circles is central to this narrative. This is in stark contrast to a film like Her, where technology does not merely bring stability, it brings control.

Coolly directed by Ranney who looks like a young talent to watch he brings a sense of naturalism to a futuristic story-line and is helped by a good pair of performances by Caras and Noel.


Independence Day: Resurgence – Review #2

(There may be spoilers here.)

Independence Day: Resurgence feels like Gus Van Sant’s almost shot for shot remake of Psycho: It looks okay but you leave the cinema asking why they bothered. In clever exposition we find out that before the aliens were destroyed in Independence Day, they sent out a distress signal, calling the hive to assist them. Twenty years later we learn that the world is at peace for the first time and are utilising alien technology for hovercrafts and other cool peace-loving stuff. There’s even a female president. At the first sign of the resurgence of the aliens, Earth blows them out of the sky.

It’s worth comparing it to other long-interim reboots. Jurassic World played Jurassic Park references for laughs and nostalgia. Resurgence simply recreates entire scenes from the first outing. Heroic President Whitman speeches. Towards the end of the film, a woman runs up to her man along the same stretch of desert as before.  Parentless families driving to safety. Shooting through assumedly bullet-proof isolation chambers to stop the alien’s communication via strangling a good guy. On a note, this film plays (accidental?) homage to Jurassic Park too. It’s all the same entity as the first outing 20 years ago though.

Due to changes in Earth’s gravity, visually, narrow city road escapes become more impressive, and the green screen work is light years ahead. Drawing on musical cues from the first film, the score is wonderful. Having Sela Ward as the first female president is welcomed, though a shame she is replaced early in the film. Vale Captain Steve Hiller. Dr Jazmine Hiller undergoes a great career switcheroo. Place your orders for ex-Rabbi Julius Levinson’s best-selling book “How I Saved the World”. The low-key romantic relationship between Dr Okun and Dr Isaacs is sweet.

The plethora of extraneous characters borders on the ludicrous. Nobody cares about President Whitman’s future son-in-law’s best mate. Comedy foil character, Floyd (thank you IMDB), plays the chaperone no one requested and his stalking of the Central African (country not specified) warlord is irritating. A stroke of genius is the plot line that the Central African nations had been fighting a ground war against the aliens for years after the first film. The value the Central African nations had in understanding alien language and fighting vulnerabilities is underplayed here, and would have been a more interesting focus for a sequel.

Nobody goes in expecting this film to win screen-writing awards. It is a popcorn no-frills mindless action flick. A fun genre, but the problem is that it feels old with new technology. This film breaks no new ground and you have literally seen it before. If they get to make a third film, please don’t follow the set-up at the end of this film (yawn). Count me in for a guerrilla alien war set in Central Africa with hover-crafts


Pottermore: Get sorted at Wizarding house of Illvermorny

There is lots to be excited for about the upcoming release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I mean. It’s brand new Harry Potter, y’all. For anyone who felt the heart crushing sorrow, like a Dementor’s kiss, when Harry finally bid farewell to Hogwarts and all its hijinks,

Not satisfied with leaving the wizarding world there, J.K. Rowling has helped cultivate play The Cursed Child and upcoming the aforementioned prequel adventure. She has even titillated us more than a Ridikulous spell ever could be producing more writing on the ever immersive website Pottermore.

Yes, not only are there more tales about America’s wizarding world and what’s more, you can get sorted into a house at the Stateside school Illvermorny!

How cool is that?

Let us know what your house is!


The Fundamentals of Caring – Review

If there’s one thing in films that will never lose it’s appeal, it’s comedic actors taking on serious roles; for decades, audiences have lapped up the idea that someone so funny could pull off a deep, meaningful role and no matter how many times we see it, we’re still endlessly impressed. This time, Paul Rudd is taking a step away from his usual antics to play a writer with a dark past in The Fundamentals of Caring.

Ben (Rudd) is a writer who’s avoiding his own divorce and struggling to accept fatalities of the past. Looking for a new perspective on life, he takes a care giving course and is assigned to look after Trevor (Craig Roberts), a sarky yet cynical teenager who suffers duchenne muscular dystrophy and has never lived a life outside of his own house. The pair form a weird connection, and before long, they find themselves on a road trip and their ability to cope is tested.

Now, it’s not fair to say that Paul Rudd has never taken on anything dramatic, with films like Romeo + Juliet and The Perks of Being a Wallflower under his belt. But one quick glance at his long and impressive filmography will tell you that he is first and foremost a comedian. His performance in this film isn’t a total departure from that, as he has plenty of scenes that are frankly hilarious, but this is something much deeper and much more damaged than he’s ever tried before, and he absolutely nails it. Ben’s pain and regret is a prominent theme in the film and Rudd conveys it all perfectly. His chemistry with Roberts is also stunning; they compliment each other in the best way, they make each other funnier, there’s an understanding between them and it’s largely what drives the film forward.

The Fundamentals of Caring is an oddly feel good film; all of it’s humour, it’s twists and turns, and it’s inspirational moments come together nicely to make for an enriching experience. However, a lot of time, it wants to throttle you emotionally, and in some cases it does. I won’t spoil it, but there is a very important part of Ben’s past that could have very easily been spoon fed to us through boring, ex-positional dialogue that would undermine the seriousness of it, yet it keeps everything vague and reveals all to us through flashbacks at the perfect times. This is by far the best thing about the film, which sadly never reaches any other emotional heights in the same way.

There are other story lines going on, some you don’t realise until much later, that feel a little soulless and add nothing to the film.

For one of them, it relies very heavily on a cliche that we’ve seen a million times in coming of age films that just isn’t handled very well, and for another one, it’s just sort of comes out of nowhere and is over almost immediately. It’s as if this film is obsessed with making sure every single character gets their story, regardless of whether or not it’s done well. There’s a character in the film named Peaches, a pregnant woman whose car breaks down and joins the gang on their trip, and whilst she plays a crucial part to Ben’s storyline, the film itself could easily do without her. She’s not particularly interesting, or funny, or even worth caring about for the most part; she exists solely to fill this role later on in the film which could have very easily been filled by a nameless character. It just feels entirely tacked on.

This is a film that seems so much better in it’s first half than it actually is; for the most part, it feels very profound, very meaningful and very enjoyable, but once you’ve finished it, it’s actually kind of forgettable. If it was maybe just a bit tighter, and focused more on Ben and Trevor’s relationship (which as it stands, it does a very good job of) and eliminates some of the aforementioned stories that weren’t needed, and maybe just a bit more of an emotional punch than it does, it could easily be a remarkable film.

For now, The Fundamentals of Caring is a good enough film that makes for a great feel good experience, and perfectly demonstrates the dramatic and comedic talents of it’s two leads,. However, it aims too high and doesn’t quite reach it’s mark, leaving a lot to be desired.


East End Film Festival: God’s Acre – Review

My boyfriend and I live in a three bedroom house with private garden, separate dining room, two bathrooms and a loft conversion. The rent is incredibly reasonable and our landlords are genuinely caring and helpful. You might even say they are like parents to us! You might even say it’s my parent’s house! It is my parent’s house. They are in the bedroom next to ours. I still get told off if I don’t do the washing up or if I use up all the hot water. Which is entirely fair I might add! For I am the wrong side of twenty-five, still living at home. With my boyfriend. And our two chinchillas. And our parrot. I am very lucky for their continued hospitality.

I would be even luckier if getting a property wasn’t so fucking hard. Am I right?? Because I know I am not a minority here. Getting on that ladder is near impossible these days, and renting has it’s own host of problems. My boyfriend and I watch Grand Designs, salivating at the chance to buy a hovel and do it up right. Live the dream etc etc. Home sweet home.

But this dream rarely becomes reality and a man’s castle can also become his prison. God’s Acre is described as a horror movie and, the scary thing is, a lot of the horror is far too real. Minus the murders, I can totally relate to Malcolm’s situation. Stuck in a sort of limbo, he is trapped physically and mentally. The hole seems too deep, so you just try to hide from the issue. For Malcolm (played by Matthew Jure), this escalates further. Agoraphobia develops. Drinking becomes routine. Paranoia and insomnia add weight to his fears. Anxiety prevents him from tackling that never ending to do list. I mean, where do you start? Just after this drink.

Throughout the film, Malcolm refers back to the recession as the root of his problems. The collapse of the property market, resulting in being left with a derelict house in a bad neighbourhood – it is a paradox that this property is at once his only hope for escape and the very place he is trying to escape from. As we watch, however, we realise that all this is masking a much greater problem. His psychological wellbeing becomes more and more questionable and he becomes a paradox himself. The victim and the villain. It is complex and far reaching. There is no clear happy ending to hope for. Which is lucky because…spoilers.

The filming mimics a lot of Malcolm’s mental state. The scenes are mostly dark to reflect his depressed state. Where rare instances of light are used, it is when Malcolm believes he is acting with clarity or gaining some momentum in his life. There isn’t a clear timeline to follow; time is sped up, slowed down and illustrated often using flash-forwards or flashbacks. The story rapidly changes from dream to reality, making us question whether what we are being shown is real. If you have ever suffered from anxiety or panic, parts of this hit uncomfortably close to home. It is an excellent portrayal of a deteriorating mental well-being. J.P. Davidson’s experience as an editor really allows him to showcase his talent in this, his directional debut.

Other characters seem recognise Malcolm isn’t healthy, but none of them takes it seriously until it’s too late. The police literally write him off as a ‘nut job’. His only so-called friend adds to the immense pressure he feels. Only the nurse next door seems to realise that this is a man who needs help, but even she is too little, too late. Malcolm is haunted by the ghosts that lurk in his walls – perhaps if someone had taken him seriously, he could have been saved. Home sweet home.