Better Watch Out – Review

Everything involved in Better Watch Out lives in a strange place. From genre and tone, to its characters and script, this film seems to constantly hop between two states and, as a result, never truly finds its way.

To its core, Better Watch Out is a home invasion film. 17-year-old Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) is spending the night babysitting 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller) when suddenly they realise they might not be the only ones in the house.

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What follows is a mash-up between Scream and Home Alone which has neither the horror of the former or the joy of the latter, but plenty of visual references to both. Unfortunately Better Watch Out doesn’t really care about any of its characters, instead reducing them to poorly motivated, over-the-top caricatures which I ended up not caring about either and finding them placed somewhere in between the mildly-boring-to-shut-the-hell-up scale. It also doesn’t help that the majority of these characters are meant to be underaged, therefore some of the situations they are put in are unsettling at best.

That being said, Olivia DeJonge delivers a good performance, but it’s a case of doing the best she can with what she’s given.

In the end, Better Watch Out had me spend more time tearing my hair apart with frustration than covering my eyes with fear.


Better Watch Out is out in cinemas now 

Golden Globe Awards – Nominations 2017!

Yes, award seasons is well and truly here for us to tear and take apart, rallying behind our

Perhaps one of the most controversial is the Golden Globes, due to the separation of  Comedy and Drama. And now we have the nominations, we can finally dig into the intricacies of the awards.

For a start, Get Out is considered a Comedy. Whilst we know it’s mainly because they can actually give it an away against the likes of The Shape of Water or Call Me By Your Name, it is contentious at best. It’s especially bitter because Jordan Peele is bereft of a Director nod/

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Speaking of which. Some of the best received films of the year have been helmed by women and BAME filmmakers. Where the fuck are the nods for Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird? Patty Jenkins’ for Wonder Woman? The list of Blease, no, thank you.

As someone pointed out on Twitter, The Greatest Showman has more nominations than Get Out which is disappointing seeing as Get Out is most people’s film of the year!

Regardless, there are some great nods here including Sally Hawkins, Frances McDormmand, Daniel Kaluuya, and Sam Rockwell. Seeing Shape of Water lead the nominations, this  could be the year for Del Toro. Also, Loving Vincent is nominated for Best Animation which is great news!

Here are the list of nominations:

Best Motion Picture, Drama

Call Me by Your Name
Dunkirk
The Post
The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

The Disaster Artist
Get Out
The Greatest Showman
I, Tonya
Lady Bird

Best Director, Motion Picture

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Ridley Scott, “All the Money in the World”
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep, The Post
Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Tom Hanks, The Post
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel Esq.

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture

Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, The Post
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game

Best Original Score, Motion Picture

Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
John Williams, The Post
Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk

Best Original Song, Motion Picture

“Home” — Ferdinand
“Mighty “River” — Mudbound
“Remember Me” — Coco
“The Star” — The Star
“This is Me” — The Greatest Showman

Best Motion Picture, Animated

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent


Golden Globes airs 7th January! 

The Muppet Christmas Carol – 25th Anniversary!

I don’t need to tell you the story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol; there’s about a million and a half different versions of the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his trans formative Christmas Eve, but one stands above them all. It’s not George C. Scott, it’s not Alastair Simm, and it’s not Jim Carrey. It’s the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational (Ed: this isn’t a word but it should be) version out there.

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The first Muppet’s film made following Jim Henson’s death, The Muppet Christmas Carol  is far and away one of the best Christmas films of all time, and while it’s a tough title to compete for, it’s arguably the best Muppet film too. I had never actually seen the film when I was young, but actually became familiar with it by performing it; in Year 9, my school put on a production of A Christmas Carol, using the script and music from this adaptation. I played a young Scrooge, visibly aching on stage as Belle sang the famously removed “When Love is Gone” – I won an award for cheesiest performance. Still my greatest accomplishment – As well as filling for one of the bookkeepers, getting to sing “Heatwave! This is my island in the sun!” and whilst the experience of it remains one of my all time favourites, I didn’t quite understand it at the time. I eventually settled down to watch it, and discovered what could only be described as pure elation; the music, the comedy, the festivity and the warm feelings of comfort and joy were unparalleled by any other holiday film I’d seen. It’s now become a yearly tradition for my sister and I to watch it on Christmas Eve, to truly plunge ourselves into the spirit.

But why is it the best adaptation of them all? I mean, it’s almost definitely the least faithful to the source material – Well I haven’t read it, so maybe there is singing rats and vegetables – but it offers the most perfect balance of light and dark. A Christmas Carol is famously a brooding story of a bitter man forced to confront the moments in which his life took a turn for the worse, and despite the change that comes at the end, it’s still a harrowing tale. The brilliant thing about Muppets is that at no point is that ever lost; the scenes in which Michael Caine – who is beautiful in this film, but we’ll get to that – is forced to watch his childhood and face the ramifications of his actions are truly haunting. And yet, this doesn’t prevent the film from reaching unbelievable heights of love and hilarity. The jokes are so sharp, that same Muppet wit that has never not been funny, and the songs by Paul Williams are just wonderful. Lyrically brilliant and toe-tappingly wonderful, with Thankful Heart being a personal favourite.

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However, despite all the Muppets and musical numbers, the heart of this film is the central performance by Michael Caine; the first ever lead role in a Muppet film not to be Kermit, Caine famously played the role as seriously as he could, without ever acknowledging the presence of puppets or models, and it pays off wonderfully. Most if not all of the other films feature the human co-stars being very chummy with The Muppets and sticking to their level of performance, and while this has never been a bad thing, Caine’s decision to play the character straight is what sets this apart from the rest of the franchise. It legitimises it’s place as a great adaptation with this performance and avoids being the standard Muppet fair. Caine’s Scrooge is cold and cruel, then bitter and remorseful, and finally, exhilarated and reborn. A perfect performance from start to finish.

Christmas is a time for comfort and happiness, and The Muppet Christmas Carol offers it in spades. It’s up there with the best of them, and it always will be. Make sure you check it out with those closest to you this Christmas. Because, you know, wherever you find love…


Happy 25th Anniversary The Muppet Christmas Carol! 

Shot Caller – Brand New Trailer!

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is so underrated; he is consistently among the best and most engaging actors in Game of Thrones, and it’s nice to see him gaining a presence in feature films. It’s usually a supporting role, but now Coster-Waldau is taking the lead in crime thriller Shot Caller.

Jacob Harlon (Coster-Waldau), a successful financier, is sent to jail after a drink driving accident. In order to survive the cutthroat prison environment, he joins the Ayran Brotherhood prison gang. Upon release, Harlon is a changed man, and must placate his no-nonsense parole agent, and an LA County sheriff, at the same time as repaying the debt to the gang who looked after him inside, who want him to arrange an illegal arms deal. He has to comply if he wants to keep his family safe from vengeance.

Shot Caller looks fantastic; gritty, brutal, and exhilarating, it offers everything a prison thriller should. It felt like this trailer showed off a little too much, but astonishingly, in just this two minute preview, Coster-Waldau is riveting. Joining him is another of today’s best actors, Jon Bernthal, offering up an antagonistic performance. Shot Caller looks a gritty treat this festive season.

 


Shot Caller screens 15th December! 

 

British Independent Film Awards – Winners 2017!

The British Independent Film Awards is the film event of the year. You have your Oscars and your BAFTAs but if you love your cinema raw, passionate, and greatly made, then the BIFAs are for you. Now we finally have the winners, and it is good.

God’s Own Country walked away with the biggest prize of Best British Independent Film. Alongside scooping up the gong, it also won awards for Josh O’Connor (Best Actor,) Francis Lee (Best Debut Screenwriter,) and Best Sound.  Lady Macbeth scooped up the most awards with Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Francis Pugh,) Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, and Most Promising Newcomer for Naomi Ackie.

I Am Not A Witch scooped up awards for Direction and Debut whilst Simon Russell Beale won Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Death of Stalin. Best Documentary goes to Almost Heaven whilst Fish Story wins Best British Short!

Jordan Peele looks to be on a role this award season as Get Out scoops up Best International Independent Film. Hopefully, it smells Oscars.

Here are the full list of winners: 

Best British Independent FilmGod’s Own Country 

Best Screenplay – Alice Birch, Lady Macbeth

Best Director  – Rungano Nyoni, I Am Not A Witch 

Best British ShortFish Story 

Best Actor – Josh O’Connor, God’s Own Country

Best Actress – Florence Pugh, Lady Macbeth 


Best Supporting Actor – Simon Russell Beale, The Death of Stalin 

Best Supporting Actress – Patricia Clarkson, The Party 

Most Promising Newcomer – Naomi Ackie, God’s Own Country

The Discovery Award In Another Life 

The Douglas Hickox Award (Debut Director) – Rungano Nyani, I Am Not A Witch 

Debut Screenwriter – Francis Lee, God’s Own Country

Best DocumentaryAlmost Heaven 

Breakthrough Producer – Emily Morgan, I Am Not A Witch

Best International Independent Film Get Out


Best Casting – Sarah Crowe, The Death of Stalin 

Best Cinematography – Ari Wegney, Lady Macbeth 

Best Costume Design – Holly Waddington, Lady Macbeth 

Best Editing – Jon Gregory, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Make-Up & Hair Design – Nicole Stafford, The Death of Stalin 

Best Music – Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

Best Production Design – Cristina Casali, The Death of Stalin 

Best Sound – Anna Bertmark, God’s Own Country 

Best Effects – Nick Allder & Ben White

Variety Award – Gary Oldman

Richard Harris Award – Vanessa Redgrave


Congratulation to all the BIFA winners!