The Big Lebowski – Brand New Trailer!

The Coen Brothers’ have been a cinematic staple since their first thriller Blood Simple. They vary their work – from the silly to the chilling, but none has captured an audience quite like The Big Lebowski. 

Returning the cinema once again, The Big Lebowski revolves around a eternally relaxed man named The Dude who gets caught up in a crazed conspiracy.

Cult film launched Jeff Bridges as a full-blown icon and has been quoted by nearly everyone. We’re excited, are you?

No?

Well, that’s just, like, your opinion man.


The Big Lebowski returns for it’s 20th Anniversary on 24th September! 

Funny Cow – Review

Comedy and drama go hand in hand. They are best friends, courting one another in a platonic affair as they twist through our lives. Situations are coveted by these emotions; genres of humanity that follow one after another and, sometimes, simultaneously. Laughter is often heard at funerals, tears often spent through jokes, and smiles can so easily be frowns.

The best comedy films and the best comics usually derive their humour from pain and anguish.  This is greatly showcased in the absolute poignant film Funny Cow.


Starring Maxine Peake in the titular role, the film revolves around a stand-up comic who, through a series of vignettes and television specials, goes over her life to an audience. Flitting back to her past, “Funny Cow” tackles the trauma of living with an abusive father, alcoholic mother, distant brother, and, later, an equally vile husband. Whilst stuck in this vicious cycle of mistreatment, the woman keeps her spirits up with a weird and courageous sense of humour, eventually learning to pull away from her humdrum and vicious life.

Also starring Paddy Considine and Tony Pitts (who also wrote film,) Funny Cow is  the ironically titled ode to lively personalities. You know those people, the one with sadness glinting in their eyes behind the smile, those who suffer with a smile, and those who chuckle in the face of adversity (literally at times). This is a movie that captures a person like a cinematic poem, the grit of living shaped into a beautiful big screen ballad. Pitts’ script is lucid, flowing from past and future like an infinite number 8 as Funny Cow bemuses on the steps that have made her. The movie is a journey; one character finding salvation within herself and wielding her personality like a sword, rather than a shield. This self-assured debut feature script for Pitts may not land all its punchlines but there is a palpable poignancy and an in-depth character study on a women battling against life yet confident she’ll have the first and the last laugh.


Maxine Peake is the very best person for the role. Despite the fact that Tony Pitts wrote it ten years ago, it seems as though he wrote it just for her. She gets the nuances of Funny Cow and her solace so well that she encompasses every grain of her life. From a crooked smile to a sly joke delivery, Peake is an astonishing anti-heroine who eschews the normalcy of society in order to find her own beat. She is so captivating to watch that you could very easily watch the film, however rancorous, and revisit it straight after.

There is one view point that her stage presence is merely a crux in her own head. That she has not actually made it but, to get through the worst of her life, she imagines herself in the glitz and glam of showbiz world, ruminating on the world that has crafted her. In that respect, Funny Cow does demand multiple viewings as you unpack this unfathomable character and her morose world. Director Adrian Shergold develops an intriguing movie that has the hues of the seventies (and then eighties) era and has brought a vibrant woman into a melancholy world. With the help of some impressive performances, a uniquely written script, and a beguiling story, Funny Cow may not hit you with a massive comedy routine, but you’ll laugh bitterly alongside the drama.


Funny Cow is available on Home Entertainment now!!

Ghost Stories – Review

Ghost stories…

We’ve been telling them since we first started grunting at one another. We certainly like to thrill and scare one another, recanting tale of utmost horror to make your fellow man and woman squirm. As we

For years, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson have been torturing audiences with their tense and  terrifying stage show Ghost Stories. Not content with soiling the pants of theatre-goers, the pair have adapted their story for the big screen.

And, boy, it does have the same effect on your trousers.

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Ghost Stories revolves around Professor Phillip Goodman who has made a name for himself as a famous supernatural debunker. When a hero of his winds gets in contact, he finds himself challenged by three perturbing stories of horror. Confronting the victims – a night-watchman, a student, and an accountant – Goodman finds himself pulled further into the dark elements of the world. But could there be something more sinister at play?

The first three quarters of Ghost Stories plays out in an eerie toe-curling manner. As your heart races, and whatever piece of clothing you use to shield yourself from any horror on the screen will edge further and further up your face with each second that passes. There is some superb pacing at the beginning. Long drawn out moments, mounted tension, and fake-out frights that keep you on the edge of your seat (or buried in your partners shoulder.) Utlising the greenery and natural strangeness of the British countryside that has gifted us some outstanding classic films (An American Werewolf in London, for example,) Ghost Stories has a classic story-telling vibe to it that stalks most of the movie.  There are enough fearful times here to appease hardcore horror fans.

as the stories are told. Despite some predictable corners, the creepiness crawls down your The acting is on point: Andy Nyman leads the crowd with a guy who flits between disbelieving and unravelling the truth and conveys this with enough of a gun-ho attitude that you want to follow him in these stories. Leading the three tales are Paul Whitehouse, Martin Freeman, and Alex Lawther who bring different components to their parts of the film. Whitehouse as the stoic working class night-watchman spooked by the goings on in an abandoned warehouse. Alex Lawther is absolutely terrific, contorting his expressions so much that you feel for him but also there’s this sinister component happening within him.

Side Bar: I would just like to say that I’m here for everything Martin Freeman does, ever. But can someone please cast him as a dark, evil, sinister character? I believe that is something he would excel a after seeing snippets of an antagonist here.

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And then it all falls apart. The problem is looping them together. The snippets come without a great conclusion and that’s disappointing. It feels we left all three stories half-way through their tales and that lack of completion. It’s disappointing because the movie is going so well up until a certain point where it flips into a hellish nightmare ride that neither feels scary nor succinct.

Ghost Stories is great but disappointing and it’s transfer from stage to screen has missed vital horror story-telling in favour of trying to appease everyone with a satisfying conclusion. See, here’s the thing, sometimes the inexplicable and the un-explainable are very fine and chilling components without trying to nicely tie them into a bow. Whilst I’ll admit it is at first, very clever, the finale is ultimately lacklustre as though.


Ghost Stories is out 6th March 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Review

There is a terminology in writing that is snuffed out pretty early in education. When you are at a school, it is a fearsome word that automatically causes retching and gritted teeth from scholars and academics. A frightful word that demeans your work, denoting your incompetence to pick up a hefty thesaurus and to choose a better synonym.  The word is “nice” and it is scorned across the English society as a swear; a piece of language overused and underdeveloped.

Occasionally, however, the word “nice” is applicable. It is denotes fluffy and just, lovely stuff, that makes you smile somewhat and feel warm somewhat and doesn’t really rock your world. Just nice. Pleasant. Florals in spring, Sunday roasts, and your Nana’s perfume. Nice.

Nice isn’t necessary bad and neither is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is just plain nice.

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (a title that, ever since I learned to say without fumbling over my words, I’ll quite enjoyably trot out, especially because it helps meet my word count,) is based on a book by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. The film revolves around author Juliet who, under the guise of a grumpy old man, has become a popular writer. Stumped on what to write next, Juliet is pleasantly surprised when a letter arrives inviting her to the island of Guernsey to become part of the…well…The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society that developed during the German occupation. When Juliet arrives, she finds herself overwhelmed by characters as well as the dark secrets that they are hiding.

Mike Newell has created lovely movie. There is no denying it. And it is always fascinating to hear about the occupation of Guernsey, a part of World War 2 seeming missing from our regular education. Straddling the line between war and rebuilding, there is a flurry of some poignancy here that is somewhat substituted for a love triangle. The rolling hills of Dorset do depict a beautiful Guernsey yet the opulence and era-induced visuals overwhelm more interesting tales.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, despite the focus being Elizabeth’s journey of discovery and under-covering mystery, seems placated and without the rawness needed to make the film completely captivating.

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Lily James is so good at making you smile and traipsing through Juliet’s emotional responses that you are invested the minute you see her on the screen. She is a formidable lead that traipses through this spirited story with a lot of gusto and heart, transforming with the new family and group that she melts into. That being said, Juliet’s character seems separate from the true anguish and there is a better story with Jessica Brown Findlay’s Elizabeth. And furthermore, Katherine Parkinson’s off-kilter Isola is the best and most layered person here, ruminating with isolation and loneliness yet gifted with precise and clever comic timing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are threads of anguish here; The woman who fell in love with the enemy, a mother who lost everyone she loved due to the war, another who has been abandoned by love, and the men sent off to die for no reason. There’s destruction straddling the edge of this film and skimming the toes of paddlers in shallow streams. The film is a good movie but it’s not filled with the depth needed to be a great one. It’s lacking of power doesn’t make the film a bad one, it just makes it a nice one.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is out 26th August

Tully – Review

by Charlotte Harrison

J.M Barrie wrote that ‘All children, except one, grow up.’

The one exception he was describing was obviously Peter Pan, a child who chose to remain mischievous and free-spirited whilst the rest of us grow up. I’ve thought about that line a lot since watching Tully – did we chose to grow up? Were we forced to grow up? And what exactly does ‘grow up’ actually mean?

For one thing ‘grow up’ doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with ‘know what you’re doing’ or ‘have your shit together’. We’re gifted this label of ‘grown up’ and that’s it, isn’t it? We spend our childhoods waiting until we reach adulthood when it’s all sorted.

Do you remember the first time it hit you that, actually, not a single person knows what they are doing? Nobody has it together; we’re just very good at pretending. The actual moment you become a ‘grown up’ is when you realise that parents are actually ‘grown up’ children.

Now that’s a real mindbender of a revelation.

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That leads us rather nicely to Tully itself; a film which feels the most honest portrayal of motherhood that cinema has brought us in a long time. It’s characters feel very true-to-life, almost painfully so…

Marlo (Charlize Theron) is a mother of two, soon to be mother of three. Life is stressful enough and her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) isn’t the most hands-on of dads. Worried that Marlo will fall into another bout of postpartum depression, her brother Craig (Mark Duplass) gifts her with the appointment of a night nanny. A night nanny takes over the household at night, looking after the new-born and helping out with the running of the house. It’s an extravagance that Marlo is hesitant to accept but greatly appreciates once she does so. Marlo quickly forms a unique and deep-bond with Tully (Mackenzie Davis), a young woman who is truly thoughtful and just a little bit odd…

The end result is a film that works very well, almost surprisingly so; it lingers after watching due to the heartfelt sweetness at its core. That’s because it feels so very true to life – they’re no delusions here about what motherhood can be like. It’s no-holes barred, often to an uncomfortable extent. Marlo isn’t a ‘grown-up’, she doesn’t really feel like one and feels completely inadequate at handling the life she has been given. She simply doesn’t feel good enough; a honest truth that feels truly refreshing to watch. How many other films reflect the imposter syndrome so many of us experience? How many other films actually make our imposter syndrome worse by showcasing an impossible reality that leads to our setting impossible expectations of ourselves?

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Theron is simply fantastic in the lead role, affecting and touching as a mother on the brink. She’s immensely believable and as deeply flawed as the rest of us throughout, at times truly heart-breaking to watch when we’re helplessly watching her unravel. She has our empathy from the outset; albeit to the extent that those uncertain about having children may feel slightly more resolute about that decision…

Davis as Tully is the film’s MVP in a role that could have been just another Manic Pixie Dream Girl in the hands of another actress. Tully is a charming and vivacious free spirit; more individual oddball than quirky. Her arrival shifts the film tonally from a good-but-not-quite-great drama into something sparky, magical and slightly transcendent. Her rapport with Theron is joyous to watch, less buddy-movie and more a profoundly moving bond of two women at very different points within their lives. Diablo Cody’s dialogue is crisp, moving and multi-layered. Even the most mundane seeming bits of throwaway lines have a lingering profundity. The exchanges between Marlo and Tully have a breezy believably yet prompt revelatory reflection about the identity, image and self-definition.

Being a ‘grown up’ may not be as simple, easy or stable as we thought it might be. But we don’t have to do it alone.


Tully is out on DVD & Blu-Ray 27th August 

Nappily Ever After Trailer

Any woman will tell you that our hair is a big deal. Linked so tightly to the concept of femininity, it is something most women use as a way of expressing themselves. For Black women, our hair (yes the chick writing this has an Afro) is even more closely linked to our identity and sadly our natural hair is still something many women struggle with. Portrayed in media as unattractive, unprofessional and something that can literally hold us back. Many women with Afro hair feel the overwhelming pressure to change their appearance to a more euro-centric look. In the new Netflix original movie Nappily Ever After, we meet a woman whose lifelong struggle with her own hair, finally gets the better of her.

Nappily Ever After introduces us to Violet Jones, a woman who has always aimed to be perfect. From a young age she began to ‘fix’ her hair and strived for constant perfection. When the night she believes her boyfriend is going to propose to her ends differently, Violent begins to lose her usual level of control. One night, she does the unthinkable while drunk and cuts off her hair. Now without her long hair to hide behind Violent must look at the emphasis she places on her hair and really learn to just be herself.

The film is based on the best selling book by Trisha R. Thomas of the same name. The film is another example of Netflix creating more diverse content and with a cast that includes Ernie Hudson, Lynn Whitfield, Ricky Whittle and Lyriq Bent. With the movement for Black women to embrace their natural hair at an all time high, the film will be a welcomed and relevant story to many. To those not in the curl club, just watch for the cute female empowerment feels.

The film will be released on Netflix this September.