The Lion King – Teaser Trailer!

In my friendship group, I am known as the girl who doesn’t like The Lion King. Whilst this is a blatant lie, I do think The Lion King’s prominence in Disney culture is overrated. Just that.

And yet, even if I thought it were a glorious masterpiece, I’d still think this remake is unnecessary.

The film revolves around the young Simba as he rises to become King.

The problem with Disney remaking their films in CGI or Live Action is that it dilutes their core. As this is a shot-by-shot trailer, it feels like they aren’t adapting  to explore anything different – they are just doing it to make all the money.

Also – Beyonce Knowles-Carter? Like there are more Beyonces!

The Lion King is out in 2019!

London Korean Film Festival 2018: Old Love – Review

by Frankie Harlow

We all have those people that we have loved and lost over the years. Maybe you have fallen out, moved away or just lost contact with each other. I have someone who I was very close to throughout all of secondary school, who I lost contact with over the course of university. Every now and again I still think of them, maybe when I am doing something that was once a shared interest, and wonder what it would be like to see them again and talk about where we have ended up in life. Not meet in the ephemeral world of the internet and social media but meet in the cold light of day. What would I tell them and what would I edit to cast myself in the best light to them (and to myself)?

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Old Love, by Park Kiyong, follows Yoonhee and Jungsoo, a middle aged couple who dated 30 odd years ago and meet again by chance in the smoking area of Incheon Airport. Yoonhee is returning from Canada, where she now lives, to see her family and Jungsoo is dropping his daughter off to fly to Australia for school. They decide to meet up over the Lunar New Year holiday to catch up on what direction their lives have taken since they last saw each other. Over the course of the movie, the cracks in their facades start to show and reveal all the truths hiding behind the half truths they have been telling each other. The film builds the question of can you ever go back to a place, to a relationship or to a person and, even if you could, would you want to.
Park Kiyong has a history of making films that look at the complex relationships between men and women and how we all sometimes want to escape the lives that we don’t always feel like we have chosen but that have been coerced into by the world around us. Motel Cactus and Camels, his first two films, both look at this theme and Old Love feels like him coming back to old stomping grounds but with a new perspective due to growing older and reflecting on his own life.

Yoo Jungah and Kim Taehoon bring great sympathy to the two characters playing them as the real world flawed people that they are meant to be. At the Q and A after the screening, Park Kiyong mentioned that they did not have a script going into the filming of this. Instead they had the overarching storyline mapped out and he and the actors would meet in a cafe for an hour before filming each day and discuss what was being filmed that day and what was needed from each of the characters. This seems to work in the films favour, giving it a naturalistic tone that is matched by the cinematography. The lighting is subtle and natural to the different locations used in the film. There is very little soundtrack other than ambient sound which works well in a film that really feels like you are watching a documentary of someone’s everyday life.

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The period of filming was when the protests were going on in Korea against the then President who was facing calls to be impeached due to corruption charges. Though this was clearly not planned when the film was being planned, it fits in well with the feel of the film. There is a beautiful scene where Yoonhee is watching the protest and then standing amid the flow of people. There seems to be a great echo of the world turning around her and change happening while she is maybe trying to turn the clock back and go back to her past. It also truly shows the feeling that she then articulates later where she is both a guest in the country she now lives in and the country she was born in.

If I am honest this was not my favourite of all the films I saw at the LKFF and I am unlikely to run out in a mad bid to watch it again. There is however a beautiful stillness to this film with some stunning shots of the couple when they go into the mountains to visit a town they visited when they were younger. It also paints an honest picture on how time changes everything and how we lose the dreams of our youth and can find ourself in places we never meant to be, unsure how to get out of there.

Find out more about London Korean Film Festival 

The Christmas Chronicles – Review

Dear reader,

I am an audible film-watcher. A more of a reactionary, really. I gasp loudly, I flail, I grab the hands of my weary cohorts. I just love cinema and get ridiculously happy whenever something of great emotion or something epic and awesome happens on screen. Particularly if the film is a no-holds barred romp with gleeful adrenaline.

Annoying to some, embraced by many, this type of cinema-watching has always seen me through difficult times and many movies have given me…such joy.

The Christmas Chronicles is possibly the most excitable I have ever been in the screen.

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The Christmas Chronicles, aka The Sexy Father Christmas Film, revolves around the Pearce family. Following the death of father Doug, the previously obsessed family have dwindled in Yuletide cheer. Oldest Teddy has become a bit of a tearaway whilst the energetic Kate seems to be the only one trying to lift spirits. When on Christmas Eve, Kate decides to catch Santa in the act, the pair unwillingly undo the holiday and have to help bring it back before everyone stops caring in Christmas.

Casting Kurt Russell in the role of Father Christmas. (Alright, OK, Santa Claus) is an inspired choice. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s the choice that came before plot, director, and anyone else. One day an executive walked into a room (probably from watching The Hateful Eight,) slammed Russell’s latest headshot down on a wooden panelled table and screamed, “Kurt Russell as the big red man NOW!”

It pays off: Kurt Russell is definitely inhibits the role with a certain rambunctiousness and cocky air that makes him absolutely delightful to watch. In fact, he is so good as the character that every time he isn’t on the screen – for whatever reasons focusing on the children – he is absolutely missed. Russell is clearly having a wail of a time. This is not your cheery “ho ho ho” Father Christmas and neither is this your “Bad Santa” variety. Still a magical being who just wants to spread the joy, this Santa Claus has an edge but it’s fun, frivolous, and occasionally sarcastic. Every Christmas nod and line are so impeccably delivered that it’s hard not to fall in love with The Christmas Chronicles. Kurt Russell definitely owns the role, bringing glee for everyone.

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Judah Lewis as Teddy and Darby Camp as Kate are brilliant children actors. Though they cannot measure up to the sheer personality of Russell, they are delightful company on this thrilling ride with enough emotional arcs to keep you invested in their plight.

The Christmas Chronicles is the ultimate new Christmas film this year. Yes, it is jam-packed with cheesy sentimental moments and far-fetched plot points but it has spirit to boot. There are tonnes of sugar-addled elves to keep the little ones in check but may grate against the weary adult psyche (especially as they floss.) Yet this action-fuelled comedy-packed adventure will satisfy everyone.

The Christmas Chronicles hits Netflix on 22nd July
Check out this brand new featurette!

London Korean Film Festival 2018: This Charming Girl – Review

There is something to be said for films that focus on everyday life. There are no large explosions, dance numbers or gun fights. The couple might not end up together at the end, the protagonist doesn’t always win and life will continue on in the same way that it does for all of us. But, watching a film that focuses in on the minutea of an everyday life and the secret personal lives of its characters can sometimes be more suspenseful than any blockbuster. Waiting for the big reveal or the event that will somehow turn everything on its head, we come to the slow realisation that that is not going to happen and yet we cannot look away from the mirror that it holds up to our own lives.

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This Charming Girl is one such film. Released in 2004 by Lee Yoon-ki as his directorial debut, it is the first of his 7 films that focus on the everyday lives of their central characters. This Charming Girl follows the life of Jeong-hae, a twenty something postal worker whose life is filled with the monotonous repetition of the same tasks and an isolation that she seems to have chosen for herself. One day she rescues a kitten and, from this one small action, ripples are sent out into the rest of her life, seemingly making her question the course that her life is taking. Through her memories, that are shown to us as they surface in her mind, we see the events that have brought her to this moment and how they have shaped how she interacts with the world.

Lee Yoon-ki deals with his subject matter with a subtlety and deftness that you would not expect from a debut. His use of camera movement, positioning and length of shot gives an immediacy to the film that means, as a viewer, you cannot hide behind the detachment that you can sometimes feel towards film. Music is used sparingly and the silence heightens the actions of the lead by removing any distraction that can be provided by music and puts all the focus on the actions and words of the actors. It also adds to this feeling of being in the film as all of the soundtrack is the sounds that the characters would hear and is not an added layer providing cues of how you are to react to what you are seeing. Kim Ji-soo is mesmerising as Jeong-hae, playing her with a stillness and nuance that stops you from turning away from her throughout what is very nearly a one person show.

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While I had been aware of the movement to digital filming and the fact that now filming on film stock is worthy of mention, I had never really considered the effect that this had had on the actual viewing experience of a film. As soon as the film began, I was aware of the small scratches and dust particles that you get when projecting using film. Though the fact that I was aware of this might make it sound like it was distracting, it wasn’t. It added an organic layer of reality that would have been lost if it was a digital presentation. I know that this obviously wasn’t a consideration when it was filmed, but watching it now in the age of HD and hyper realism, there was something comforting and more realistic in its flaws that leant itself to the story more than if it was perfect.

It was a cold and rainy afternoon when I went into the cinema and it was a cold and rainy evening when I left. I did not leave the cinema ebullient or needing to find someone immediatly to discuss the film. I left, ignoring the weather, considering what I had just watched and contemplating on my own life decisions. It was a film that made me want to reflect and I look forward to watching the rest of the director’s catalogue, hoping to find at least a fraction of the awareness and focus that I saw in this film.

Find out more about London Korean Film Festival 

BAFTA Screenwriter’s Lectures 2018

Do you want to be a budding writer? Have you ever wanted to pen for film? Why not listen to the experts?

Created by BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Jeremy Brock, the Screenwrtiers’ Lecture Series celebrates nine years and is certainly bringing you it’s best yet. This series takes established filmmakers and talent to give insights from their careers, imparting wisdom on  The series is supported by JJ Charitable Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts

Writer of the brilliant Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Ol Parker will present on 3pm Friday. What We Do In the Shadows director and writer extraordinaire Taika Waititi presents on 3pm Saturday and is followed by Can You Ever Forgive Me? Screenwriter Nicole Holofcener at 6pm.

Sunday presents Roma and Gravity director and writer Alfonso Cuaron at 12pm, followed by Capernaum director and writer Nadine Labaki at 3pm.

The series concludes with First Reformed and Taxi Driver writer, Paul Schrader at 5.30pm

They will all take place at BAFTA Piccadilly!

Buy your tickets now! 

Sherlock Gnomes – Review

Have you ever admired an actors ability so much that you’ll watch anything they are in?

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For some reason, there is a gratification button that flashes read every time you remotely enjoy a thing and/or person, and it spirals you out of control. If you’ve never experienced this with an actor, think about a soap you love, a sport, perhaps, or simply something that you cannot get enough of.

For anyone who has had that obsessive need to shove everything an actor has ever done into your eyeballs, you’ll have had to sit through some utter dross because of this compulsion.

If you’ve bounced around this site or my space for vast periods of time, you’d have noticed that my particular actor is James McAvoy. And I’ll be damned if I don’t watch everything he’s ever been in. Ever.

Which is why, my friends, I sat through the garishly strained, deeply unnecessary, and overblown cash cow that is Sherlock Gnomes.

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Now, in spite of my want for a deeper and enriched understanding of cinema, I actually have a guilty pleasure for the original garden gnome based adventure Gnomeo & Juliet. It consisted of hilarious back-porch puns, some cheesy music, and Patrick Stewart as a Shakespeare statue. Sadly, these qualities aren’t transported alongside the Gnomes as they are ousted from their beloved garden and thrust into the hectic world of London. Whilst there, they are betrothed as the new rulers and have to bring the garden up to standards. With Juliet obsessed with getting this absolutely right, Gnomeo feels displaced and ignored. He’ll have to reconcile his feelings fast as the entirety of their friends are kidnapped. The only person who can solve this mystery is a dear-stalker wearing genius named…you guessed it…Sherlock Gnomes, alongside his long-suffering right-hand man Watson. Can the quartet solve the mysteries and hope to find the missing gnomes?

Look, it’s very easy to sit there and say “it’s meant for kids, stop being so critical.” Too easy, one might say. After all, Sherlock Gnomes has the right amount of sickly colours and mindless story-lines to entertain your children for however many minutes. That is until they get bored around the hour mark and start getting distracted again. You can easily just dismiss this film as a family friendly outing that we shouldn’t be looking at too seriously but, my lord, don’t our children deserve better?

Look at Moana, Coco, Kubo and the Two Strings, or Mary and the Witch’s Flower, these are just immensely popular films that attract swathes of people to watch because not only is the imagination impeccable but the storyline is clustered with characters and growth. They tell morals and stories, spiralling with imagination and vibrancy. With patronising in site, these movies are inventions – teaching children about adventure, spirit, and gusto. There is no wonder that Disney are monopolising the market when nearly every feature film they produce for the big screen is received with such fervent admiration. They layer their movies with magic, empathy, and understanding.

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Sadly, this isn’t the case for Sherlock Gnomes. The movie Sherlock Gnomes is unsightly mess of a film that runs amok with substandard puns and a severe butchering of what little allusions they have to classical literature characters. It feels phoned in and disgracefully made purely to line studio head pockets as families enter in drones. Oh, and, for Elton John to feel each pound of royalties as his songs are sandwiched awkwardly into the soundtrack as well as the dialogue. To make it worse, the film is deplorably dull and vacant of any heart. It’s a disappointing feature film that can’t even match the spirited and silly vibe of the first outing.

Sherlock Gnomes is out on DVD & Blu-Ray!