All posts by gloriadanielsmoss

Searching – Review

Screened at Sundance, thriller Searching presents a tense tale of a father searching for his daughter. A concept we are all familiar with and possibly one that’s been done to death, but director Aneesh Chaganty makes the decision to tell this story completely through the many faces of technology.

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Relying on technology to solely drive the narrative can be risky business. As technology has evolved, we have become so reliant on knowing exactly what’s going on, where people are, what they are doing; that watching a film that is simply screenshots of exactly that isn’t the escapism most of us are after when we enter the doors of a cinema. Although, as we sit and watch a computer soup up, facetime happenings and emails being looked at, it becomes eerily relaxing; cathartic even as we observe someone else doing all the clicking, typing and chatting to people you can’t really be bothered with. Although, Searching quickly reverts to the other end of the spectrum making the spectator somewhat sleepy despite a rather tense police investigation emerging.

After losing his wife, single father David (John Cho) takes good care of Margot, however some might argue he is a tad all consuming. With technology tracking our every move and the advantage of instant messaging or should we say hindrance, poor Margot’s whereabouts doesn’t go unnoticed for a second much to her and any young ladies annoyance. Except, every child lies to the parents once or twice don’t they? When Margot doesn’t come home, isn’t at school and no one can get hold of her this quickly turns into a full on missing persons exploration. With the award winning, perfect parent and detective Vik (Debra Messing) on the case, things unfold rapidly, but we along with David are left thinking there is something missing from this series of unfortunate events.

Despite trying to through us off with twists and turns as we trace every last digital move of Margot to figure out what has happened to her, the dialogue constantly reminds us of practically every avenue that has already been explored – constantly. This repetition, along with the same faces popping up on video chats and names texting, what could have been an incredibly engaging prospect turns into an average crime drama. If stripped back slightly, making us truly work for it, Searching would be been significantly more immersive for the audience, instead of offering everything up on a plate. John Cho as father David is thoroughly engaging, providing us with a convincing performance as the chilling realisation that he never really knew his daughter after all.

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Ultimately, what Searching achieves visually through technology is impressive. The narrative unfolds completely and utterly through screens, which is a concept used before but thankfully not one we are sick of yet. The suspense created is without a doubt warranted, albeit we were thrown many a curve ball and once the culprit is revealed, a sig and a roll of eyes is inevitable.

Whilst Searching represents a refreshing stance within filmmaking and indeed independent cinema, its repetitive nature takes its toll.


Searching is out in cinemas 31st August! 

Ant-Man and The Wasp – Review

I know what you’re thinking – do we really need another film where a miniature or indeed gigantic version of Paul Rudd is trying to help the universe in some way with his sheer charisma and dashing smile? The answer…yes, yes we really do.

If you are expecting a killer narrative with twists and turns and an epic resolution; Ant-Man and The Wasp doesn’t exactly embody such elements. Of course, there are loose ends to be tied up from Civil War and reference’s galore; but this is a film to sit back and truly absorb in all its hilarity.

By now we should all know what to expect when it comes to such a franchise and you will be pleased to know that even after three years on from the first installment of this miniscule superhero’s tale, Paul Rudd captures your heart and naturally, Hope’s (Evangeline Lilly). After having a minor blimp whilst trying to save the world with ‘Cap’, Captain America, poor Scott pays the price is under house arrest. Whilst creating possibly the best slide for this daughter one has ever seen passes the time, Hope and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) have been working on big plans to rescue the original Wasp, Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the deep, dark and dangerous Quantum Realm. Any sort of equilibrium Lang thought he had is abolished as we scream for joy when we see this man in a teeny-tiny car helping Hope track down the rest of the material they need in order to get her Mum back.

Call it coincidence, or bad timing – but the particular equipment they need to complete their machine is also being tracked down by someone else, ‘Ghost’. Enter Laurence Fishburne, Hank’s former colleague who has taken this woman, stuck between time and space under his wing, creating yet another rift between Dr.Hank and the universe it seems. Eva aka ‘Ghost’ (Hannah John-Kamen) isn’t your conventional ‘baddie’, offering a raw human element that the story line thrives off of, as she desperately tries to save herself fading away into the atmosphere.

The narrative may be not be masterful nor ground-breaking; but the originality and inventiveness here cannot go unnoticed. The wealth of supporting cast here, knew and old provided relief from the usual fast-paced, action sequences Marvel does to a T. From Scott’s daughter Cassie (Fortson), to the overly attached husband Paxton (Cannavale) the screen graces us with to the wonder of Pena, T.I and Dastmalchian as security firm leaders of aptly named X-Con security services that generally leave you speechless (in all the good ways). Douglas and Lily bring their own, but let’s face it – this is basically the Paul Rudd show and it’s brilliant.

With a car chase that possibly rivals the freeway sequence from Matrix Reloaded, a flashback scene that will have you laughing for days and Rudd’s smile winking at you this will without a doubt make you laugh at every turn and leave you wanting more. Expect glaring plot holes and clichéd to death dialogue albeit, Ant-man and The Wasp provides sheer entertainment to those deeply invested in the Marvel franchise and indeed those who simply want a dose of Rudd and boy do they get it.

And you sure as hell won’t forget Michael Pena’s curly locks anytime soon…and, for the love of Hello Kitty, avoid the truth serum at all costs!


Ant-Man and the Wasp is out  on  DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

Mirai – Review

From the story to the animation, of latest film from Japanese director, writer Mamoru Hosoda there is no doubt about it – Mirai will win your heart over. There is nothing quite like waiting for your next dose of magic in the beautifully distinctive form of Anime, and once again this simplistic, yet poignant tale hit’s the spot satisfying your every need (minus the infamous Miyazaki, of course).

It’s hard to swallow that not even one of Hayao Miyazaki’s works of wonder has ever been lucky enough to grace the presence of the prestigious film festival Cannes. Imagine getting that call and being the first Japanese animation to be screened there – one can only dream. Mirai deservingly makes the cut and hopefully paves the way for the likes of more to be recognised in such a tight knit industry.

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Any Ghibli fan is sure to love this one! It’s truly astonishing what can be done with such a humble concept that every older sibling goes through, one way or another. When younger sister Mirai darkens toddler Kun’s door, it would seem that his life as he knows it, is completely over, well it seems to be for his little man. Fed up of being ignored, not getting his own way and Mirai’s cries he luckily stumbles into a magical garden granting him the power to travel through time and meet his distant relatives from all walks of life.  With guidance from is older, yet younger sister from the future this becomes a history lesson of sorts in order to teach those young children to appreciate what they have and where they come from. A lesson most of us are accustomed to, with a profound sense of reality and tangibility told through innovative ideas.

With familiar tropes of his previous work, The Girl who Leapt Through Time; Hosoda brings magic and an escapism that is only achievable through such imagery and scope. Gorgeously animated with a dreamy pastel colour palette, juxtaposed to the bold, fiery tints of orange and black during the most important lesson of all Kun endures throughout the narrative. Whilst consumed with fantasy, the world we enter is full of realistic representations of nature. As we are watching snow falling through the eyes of our main character; the fluffy white droplets resemble that Christmassy feeling sending tingles of magic through your limbs and an urge for a Toffee-Nut Latte. Kun’s toddler tantrums and screaming outbursts are scarily accurate, with gesticulating purpose and facial expressions one would only expect from the wonder that is animation.

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With only a touch of lingering too long back in time; Mirai has an enchantingly touching message at its heart with bundles of laughter along the way. Spiritual aspects, delicately infused with the modern world and human trifles bring four year old Kun and his baby sister together.


Mirai hits selected theatres from 2nd November, 2018

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine – Review

First up – prepare for the internal battle you will have with your brain, desperately trying to persuade it to stop singing Beatles songs, over and over again after viewing ‘The Yellow Submarine’. There are certainly worse things to have stuck in one’s head than these glorious tunes; and this restored version of such an iconic animation still holds impeccably well against time.

Despite the oh so catchy songs burrowing their way into your cranium, still after 35 years, this remains one of the most innovate animations ever to emerge in the film industry. As a man asks a police officer, ‘Would you believe me if I told you I was being followed by a Yellow Submarine?’ we know we are in for an original and surreal narrative and boy do we get it.

A sweeping palette of bright, vibrant rainbow colours emerge with pride alongside Picasso, Dali-esque beings or characters so to speak make the perfect pair in creating a feast of the eyes – and with the songs, a sensory party is sure to be had. Weird and wonderful creatures appear, as well as nightmare-ish beings you would only hope to see in the deepest darkest crevices of your mind bounce and tumble along to dreamy music adopting a narrative that is both bizarre and fascinating.

Accompanying Captain Fred in his Yellow Submarine, The Beatles zoom off to Pepperland to save it from ‘The Blue Meanies’ aka the bad guys. Alongside the voices of the Beatles, the four men we all know so well, oh no wait it isn’t actually them? What kind of madness is this? By the by, the chosen voice actors for the caricatures here do a marvellous job of tricking us into believing we are listening to Paul, John, Ringo and George. The film leads us on an adventure that is hard to forget and truly one that everyone should experience.

The animation itself may seem rigid, raw around the edges; certainly not like the flowing Pixar or Ghibli we have now all become accustomed. Albeit, there is still something so clever, so fascinating that it is sheer delight in watching. Of course, this may seem dated, the drawings themselves and the said concept – yet they have done a masterful job as cleaning this one up. The 60’s pop-art and cartoon imagery remains truly unique. Borrowing tropes from virtually every surrealism artist you can think of, to original Mickey Mouse all the way to the psychedelic nature of Carroll’s down the rabbit hole upside world, this may be visually appealing to children yet the parents are sure to gain more from watching. The jokes and puns are fabulously funny, leaving you with a big smile on your face as the credits role.

Above all else the imagination that it took to come up with this is sheer genius. Just as these 4 wise men once said ‘All you need is love’, the overall message here is love indeed, conquers all. In such dark times as these, every single one of us should remember that!


Catch The Yellow Submarine across Picturehouses!

Murder on the Orient Express – Review

Oh Branagh…Professor Lockhart, Benedick and now the fabulous mustache donning Hercule Poirot in this lavish Agatha Christie infused murder mystery. From directing, acting and writing this man’s talent has no end; playing incredible homage to the source material, Murder on the Orient Express has a true ‘whodunit’ classic feel about it.

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Poirot, the world’s most famous detective desperately wants to take a break but it seems the universe won’t grant him his wish. Being called on a case imminently he hitches a ride on the Orient Express with help from friend and charmer Bouc (Tom Bateman) in the hope to rejuvenate on the train until his expertise is required after finding ‘gangster’ Ratchett (Depp) stabbed to death in his cabin.

As the film transforms into a big game of Cluedo minus the candlestick, it’s impossible to refrain from connecting the dots. You suspect everyone and for a split second you even suspect the two fluffy dogs permanently attached to Princess Dragomiroff (Dench), although which one was it? After an unexpected avalanche, these strangers are stranded on a mountain with a murderer on the loose which means only one thing – Poirot needs to solve this case and quickly.

This outstanding cast of such big names work seamlessly on screen together. From the fresh new blood of Daisy Ridley, the familiar face of Depp and Cruz all the way to the queen herself, Dench, everyone above, over and in between mark their territory. Consequently, having such a wealth of actors on screen together it’s hard to devote time to all of them. Successfully providing us with enough backstory to go on for the most part but disappointingly so Olivia Coleman as Dench’s dog groomer was severely under used. This BAFTA winning actress barely has any lines and most of them are in German. Not to mention the list of other actors plastered over posters who are barely in this. Nevertheless, Branagh approaches this role with Peculiarity, eccentricity and OCD in a somewhat Cumberbatch fashion, albeit Branagh owns this, just as Batch owns Sherlock. The man is deliciously funny throughout, so much so that even if you take away the absurd facial hair he would have been just as hilarious.

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Just as he manipulates his version of Poirot, Branagh twists and turns this universe subsequently borrowed from Christie with beyond fluid directing utilising CGI in the best possible manner. The stand-out beautifully flowing scene of our characters embarking upon their journey is sure to make you sigh at all its glory. There’s no escaping how dialogue heavy this especially considering its near 2 hours running time, yet the luxurious steam train setting provides solid ammunition to keep one’s mind on solving the puzzle. Moments of seat shuffling may occur but perhaps that’s just down to the eagerness of wanting to find out who killed Captain Jack, erm Ratchett.

Murder on the Orient Express is undoubtedly a breath of fresh air in amongst regurgitated horrors and action flicks, this is sure to get your Sherlock senses tingling and a chortle in your throat. Ultimately, this is a one hit wonder. Once the big reveal takes place, there leaves little room for the desire of a repeat viewing, no matter how impressive the tash is. Whether you have read the novel or seen the 70’s adaptations, welcome Branagh’s flare with suspecting eyes and let this extravagant tale consume you. Now – if you could just straighten your tie Sir that would be great!


Murder on the Orient Express is out in cinemas today

 

 

Thor: Ragnarok – Review

Thor, with short hair? What is this madness?

It almost felt like the world imploded in itself for a split second and mourned for this man’s golden locks; yet don’t let that put you off, THOR: Ragnarok is sheer hammer smashing entertainment that is sure to impress.  As an imprisoned Thor, suspended from the ceiling narrates his story to a corpse in a terribly satirical fashion, from the first frame, we know we are in for a treat. Tiaka Waititi who previously gave us the gem that is Hunt for the Wilderpeople brings to light a Marvel tale with an ideal equilibrium between hard core comic references and a healthy dose of all things funny.

After defeating the fiery beast Surtur, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) journeys home to a slightly different Asgard than he remembers. With his fabulously vindictive brother, (spoiler alert!) Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – running the show, theatre productions and all the boat is well and truly rocked when he learns his father has been banished to earth. Just to add the cherry on top, the two are told they have a sister, Hela whose sole purpose is to destroy their home wiping all Asgardian’s from the galaxy. Fast forward a few punches and a rainbow road; Thor finds himself in a brutal gladiator contest against the Hulk, who let’s just say isn’t that pleased to see him – ‘Hulk smash’. Forming a new group aptly named the ‘Revengers’, the old friend’s team up to escape the incredibly eccentric Grandmaster and save Asgard.

At one stage this seemed to be dangling dangerously close to the realm of Guardians of the Galaxy;  adopting such comedic tropes that were established there but working just as seamlessly. By depriving us of a terribly in-depth storyline, resulting in brilliantly constructed dialogue and enough laughs to last the week, this gives us our daily dose of champions taking on the bad guys without trying to make it into something it isn’t. The relationships explored here, both old and new are quickly established, allowing the welcome female addition to the pack, Valkyrie,  to integrate seamlessly. In fact, after viewing you will find yourself torn between what’s more enjoyable to watch, Thor and his puppy Hulk dynamic or the ever deepening sibling rivalry of Thor and Loki – trying to pin point a favourite line gag will simply invite giggles to ones thoughts.

Korg (made of rocks, just in case you didn’t realise) voiced by Waititi himself is a guinea a minute and if any of you fancy getting out of here, he can help that with. Cate Blanchett taps into her ring desiring Galadriel whilst adopting the role of evil temptress Hela with an outfit and headgear  to match with absolute ease.  Jeff Goldblum is wickedly dressed as the peculiar (in the best ways possible) Grandmaster giving the population of The Capital in Panem a run for their money, alongside Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) absolutely rocking her in her half inebriated warrior-like tendencies.

After many a film simply exhausted such themes, Taika Waititi reignites your love for the Superhero genre through perfectly timed sketches and a flare of madness which resonates so well throughout this cast. This has well and truly broken the mould; that stagnant water that the majority of the superhero genre has seemed to float in for a while now has finally been cleansed. What we have here is something fresh that ingenuously interweaves plot intricacies from across the franchise that are sure to have fans cheering, whilst those who aren’t familiar with every finite detail can fully immerse themselves and still have a bloody good time.  Above all else, this (narrowly) avoids a horrendously clichéd cheesy kiss between the main man and a new found female – praise the Lord of Thunder – erm the God of Thunder, apologies. Not to say the chemistry isn’t there, because boy is it (perhaps it’s the short hair?).

The amount of giggles escaping your mouth is insane, Thor is a raucous and hilarious superhero flick.


Thor: Ragnarok is released in cinemas on Tuesday 24th Oct!