The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Film Review #film #review #filmreview

13 Dec

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For anyone who is looking at the Hobbit posters that are plastering our walls, buses and underground stations, and wondering whether or not its worth your time (about 2.5 hours) and money to sit in a dark room throughout party season; I can categorically tell you it is!

Forget the first installment of the film franchise and all its appalling high frame rate filming and dull overly long set up plot lines, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a triumph! What was lost in the first film is the distinct transportation to another world (its pretty hard to get lost in a film when the clarity of the filming is so high you can see the prosthetics covering each characters faces) and more frighteningly a lack lustre sense of action and adventure. Luckily part two brightens up all our woes and keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 15.42.19

I know its always a good sign when I remember to check my watch and realize that its already over two hours through. I had been so preoccupied before hand with everything going on, I didn’t even think I stopped to take a breath let alone look at the time!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the continuation story of Bilbo Baggins the dwarves and Gandalf the Grey as they continue their journey to reclaim their rightful homeland Erebor, from the fire-breathing dragon that is Smaug. Unbeknown to the rest of the group, Bilbo is also in possession of a magical ring which gives him extraordinary powers and makes him a brave and valuable asset on this quest.

First and foremost the action is amazing. Whether it is a newly tweaked version of the 48fps or indeed the standard 24fps version, you will be dazzled by the intricacy and excitement of each action led sequence. One key highlight has to be the battle with giant spiders, which with added 3D gives them a new monstrous perception and will make you shudder out of reach in your cinema seat. Secondly, is the incredibly impressive river barrel sequence, with prancing elves killing Orcs with “endless” amounts of arrows, the logistical reality does not come into play in any way within this sequence as its 15 minutes of glory is truly breath taking.Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 15.42.54

Each character that we have seen in the first installment of the franchise becomes more developed in their own right in this film. Bilbo has an increased level of confidence thanks to his secret weapon, Gandalf goes off to fight his own battle against Sauron, and there is an interesting start of a love triangle between Killy (Dwarf), Tauriel (Elf) and Legolas (Elf) which is left hanging ready for the conclusion in the third film.

And finally, we get to Smaug – Benedict Cumberbatch is superbly cast as the greedy dragon resting in the Misty Mountain awoken by Bilbo. The detail that is used to create the dragon is some of the best out there, each scale is clear to see and the fire in Smaug’s belly prepares you for a visual feast of fire and gold.

To round up, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug brings Peter Jackson back to Tolkien’s original fantasy and his directing best. Fun for all the family, this film is THE go to film for the Christmas period and not one to miss.

4 Stars.

 

Who gets your vote? SAG Award Nominees – Full List #awardseason #film #tv #SAGAWARDS

11 Dec

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.22.36So its not even Christmas yet and the excitement for next year is building as of TODAY! Why you may ask, well, its because Awards Season is officially upon us (well almost). This afternoon the great and the good of the silver screen got announced as part of the nomination line up for the 2013 SAG Awards. Here they are….I’m thinking early front runners have to be 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle… who have you got your money on?

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE

“12 Years A Slave”
“American Hustle”
“August: Osage County”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years A Slave”
Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Forest Whitaker, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”
Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Daniel Bruhl, “Rush”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years A Slave”
James Gandolfini, “Enough Said”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years A Slave”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”
Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”

OUTSTANDING ACTION PERFORMANCE BY STUNT ENSEMBLE MOTION PICTURE

“All is Lost”
“Fast and Furious 6”
“Lone Survivor”
“Rush”
“The Wolverine”

TELEVISION

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES

“Boardwalk Empire”
“Breaking Bad”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“Homeland”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES

“30 Rock”
“Arrested Development”
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Modern Family”
“Veep”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire”
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story”
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Kerry Washington, “Scandal”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”
Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Tina Fey, “30 Rock”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”
Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
Jeremy Irons, “The Hollow Crown”
Rob Lowe, “Killing Kennedy”
Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Angela Bassett, “Betty and Corretta”
Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”
Holly Hunter, “Top of the Lake”
Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”
Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”

OUTSTANDING ACTION PERFORMANCE BY STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A TELEVISION SERIES

“Boardwalk Empire”
“Breaking Bad”
“Game of Thrones”
“Homeland”
“The Walking Dead”

She loves films and she likes to talk about them ALOT – so here’s her brand new showreel! #presenter #showreel #talent

5 Dec

Becks presenting 5

Hi folks,

Firstly as the year is drawing to a close, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone for all their support of both my presenting work and blog (s) this past year. Its been really exciting with even more opportunities to look forward to in 2014. I really have been a lucky old so and so!

Because this year has been so fruitful, I’ve met and worked with some amazing people, its that time again where I need to update my showreel and let you all see the fun work I’ve been doing on your TV and computer screens.

As always, if you know someone who might benefit from using me as a presenter or a Film Critic, then please do put them in touch. All my details are on the ‘About Me’ page.

There are plenty more reviews to come, including The Hobbit (yes geek excitement is boiling), Anchorman 2 (stay classy) and of course everything that is heading to the bright lights of awards season! So please do keep following this blog, keep sharing my reviews, following me on Twitter and I’ll keep the film information coming right to your door/computer screen!

But for now, here it is in all its glory… my brand spanking new showreel!

 

 

What to watch this week – #TheHungerGames #CatchingFire #film #movie #entertainment #cinema

27 Nov

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 16.37.24If you had any worries or concerns that Director Gary Ross’s successor would be turning this sequel into a Twilight esq format, where each film has its own unique stamp per director, and the lead character looks more and more bizarre as the films progress, then fear not, as The Hunger Games – Catching Fire  continues the franchise brilliantly.

In the second installment of the hugely popular film adaptation, Tribute victors of the 74th Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. As a result, President Snow decides to hold the 75th Hunger Games in which all previous victors will once again fight against each other.

If you have been a fan of the books and then watched the first film, you may have felt a little short changed in terms of the detail throughout the Games section itself. Catering to a 12a audience, the first installment of this franchise lacked some of the more graphic scenes of violence throughout, and replaced this with clever jump cuts and edits to keep the action flowing. I for one, was one of those people, and felt slightly underwhelmed when walking out of that original viewing.Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 16.40.18

However, this second film seems to have found its feet much more – realizing that there is a large share in terms of older audience members, it quite purposefully takes more risks. There is a whipping scene involving Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) the shooting of an old man who dares to acknowledge the revolution, and a very unceremonious punch to the face for Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). Although these are all wincing to the eye, they are a refreshing progression for the film, and as the film tackles more grown up subject matter, you very much feel like you’re watching a much more grown up film.Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 16.37.46

Once again the lead characters are portrayed well. Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen is brooding and thoughtful, more of the relationship between herself and Hemsworths Gale is explored, and Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta Mellark has realized that he must suppress his feelings in order to play the game and put on a great show. There is also an influx of new cast members (all the other Tributes get killed off in the previous film – in the style of a less brutal Battle Royale!) and one of the biggest surprises of this is Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair. With a flawless American accent, a smile to melt a lot of hearts in the female share of the audience, this British actor will probably use this character to cement his place in the Hollywood heart throb elite – Robert Pattinson better watch out!

Out with the old and in with the new is the way this second running of the film works, the style has been cleverly matched by Director Francis Lawrence to its predecessor and not a minute of filming is wasted. Even if you’re coming to the movie having loved the book, its truthful approach to what is written will be a welcome relief, and it may even hold some surprises for you too. Plenty of action for everyone, some eye candy for both boys and girls, and a very enjoyable film to watch. You will not be disappointed!

4 Stars

Still out at the cinema and worth seeing Drinking Buddies @DBmovie @oliviawilde @MrJakeJohnson @AnnaKendrick47 #film #movie #review #LFF

15 Nov

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Drinking Buddies is set in and around the working and running of a brewery, where Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are co-workers. She’s in a relationship with a wealthy older man (Ron Livingston) and his fiancé (Anna Kendrick) is keen to get their wedding plans moving along. Their friendship is very strong and they have a lot of similar interests, such as the beer they produce and they both share similar playful senses of humour. Their lifestyles revolve around drinking with their co-workers, and for the audience its hard to know whether or not what they share is friendship or something that little bit more.  Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 15.27.20

The film is directed and produced by Joe Swanberg and is an honest and real depiction of friendships and relationships amongst late twenty-somethings. There is sexual tension, tomboyish playfulness and blurred lines around the line drawn between men and women who just enjoy each other’s company. The drama you witness within Drinking Buddies feels real and void of any “film like” over- dramatization; no dramatic realization that one person is with the wrong partner, and no overly thought out inner battles over whether or not each character should be with one another. Some would say it is exactly how you or I would deal with the various situations that present themselves – sit on them until absolutely necessary then apologize profusely! – With the right balance of humour, relatable trials and tribulations of modern day relationships and that awkward feeling where you’re pretty sure there’s underlying sexual tension between you and a friend – this film manages to capture issues that often burden the general public more than anything and yet depict it in such an enjoyable way.

Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson are incredibly believable as the lead characters who share this surface based brother/sister /best friend style friendship; and a lot of this is to do with the heavily improvised scenes which not only make the audience feel like they’re catching a glimpse through the keyhole of a group of peoples lives but also help you to dispel any potential distaste towards Wildes beautiful and likeable girl next door persona. You can understand why Luke likes Kate, she’s one of the boys, and is always the one up for some fun. What you do question within this film is why there isn’t any suspicion or doubt from each of their characters other halves. Their tactile approaches to each other can be a little hard to swallow sometimes and yet you’re still routing to see if they eventually take the brave step to cross that all important line.Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 15.27.36

What these characters represent is often the realistic approach to potentially something better suited to ones self. Its clear to the audience that Luke and Kate would be perfect for each other, yet they never dare to do anything more than think about it. You will leave this film questioning whether or not there are regrets about someone or something that you have had the opportunity to pursue in days gone by, and having taken the safer option, maybe regretted after.

What the director manages to do with Drinking Buddies, is give its audience a glimpse into the days of the lives of people not so different to you and I, everyday jobs and simple pleasures that we all have, essentially, life is a simple construct and sometimes its not really worth the complication. With this in mind Swanberg delivers a film that is fun to watch, quirky in its own right and most importantly get you thinking. Its style is simple and poignant, so wont be everyone’s cup of tea, not much happens throughout, but what does happen manages to get you routing for those you’re watching, laughing at similarities that you most likely will see in yourself, and leaving hopefully with a smile on your face.

Drinking Buddies is still out in selected cinemas, so catch it if you can.

4 Stars

Brand new poster and trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s #NOAH #russellcrowe #film #filmposter #movie

14 Nov

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Yes you should be super excited for this… we’ve heard all about these actors mucking around on an oversized boat with a bunch of animals, but as the marketing machine kicks into gear, we finally have something to get excited about. Here it is, the very first look at what the Director of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream has in store for us… I can only hope that it will blow our minds!!!!

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins and Logan Lerman.

Will keep you posted on further updates soon.

What did you watch at the weekend? It really should have been this! #Gravity

11 Nov

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In space no one can hear you scream, or cry or even contact you…worst case scenario right? Well that’s what Sandra Bullock found in the electrifying Gravity which premiered at the London Film Festival and is now on general release. From its outset, the film follows a very simple storyline, however Director Alfonso Cuaron manages to create something truly magical with the use of brand new technology, which took four and a half years to perfect, and shoot, and boy was it worth it!

The story follows Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) who is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. On a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalski completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiralling out into the blackness.Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 10.56.37

From the moment the film starts, as an audience member you feel like you’re out there with them. My advice if you’re planning on catching a showing, is that it would be best to definitely sit as close to the screen as possible, or even better, catch it in IMAX format so you can feel completely absorbed, which makes the cinematic experience even more powerful. The genius element behind Gravity is that every movement feels weightless, and the camera panning is so seamless its like there is a crew out in space with them at all times. Cuaron most definitely has thought of every detail, and although the performances (particularly Sandra Bullock) are brilliant, it’s not the powerful acting that you walk away from feeling captivated by, it’s the thought of…how did they film that? To be honest, if I hadn’t have dug a little detail for clarification, and you told me it was shot in space, judging by the quality I’d be inclined to believe you – yes readers, Gravity is that good!

The 3D element is used in a subtle yet powerful way. The odd bits of debris that come hurtling towards you are not over used, but timed perfectly, as by that point, you’re probably on your second or third anxiety attack! With the 3D element, the depth in which Cuaron demonstrates space is amplified, and helps to make you feel claustrophobic in ironically the most open space in the universe, yet again proving that every element of this film has been plotted and explored extensively.Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 10.58.43

It’s with little doubt that Sandra Bullock should lead the way at awards season, her performance, or should I say for the majority solo performance, is commanding, compassionate and determined. Her dance skills also came into play with demonstrating weightlessness within the various space capsules she eventually finds herself in, and judging by the way she pulls them off, that would have taken months of preparation and provides beautiful shots. On the other hand, George Clooney plays a brilliant supporting role as a cool and calm mentor to the rookie throughout.

The third element, which helps viewers truly absorb this film, is the sound design. It’s very rare that the audio elements can affect one in a way quite like this, but from the outset Glenn Freemantle’s inventive sound mix. From the opening credits the design is so over powering you feel it rattle in your chest only to then be faced with the vast universe and silence – its mind blowing how deeply this affects you from the outset, but very much sets the scene in a way never really been seen or heard before.Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 10.59.40

So its not a question of whether or not you should bother to see Gravity or not, its more a question of how best to see it. The film has had the nod of authenticity from Buzz Aldrin and hailed as the greatest space movie ever made by James Cameron, so if you need clarification as to whether or not this is worth spending your hard earned cash on, then those testimonies should hopefully be enough. Undoubtedly there will be some sort of meteor storm around the Oscars and general award season and it will be very hard to find a competitor to pip Cuaron and his team to the awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Cinematography and Sound.

5 Stars.

XMen – Days of Future Past – New Stills #film #xmen #exclusive

6 Nov

We may have to wait until 2014 for the film to come out, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of time for some teasing from the studios. Here we go with some hot off the press character posters.

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And if you can’t wait to find out what’s in store, here’s a quick synopsis for you…

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from “X-Men: First Class,” in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

 

 

Get ready San Diego…Anchorman is back and they’re taking over! #film #posters #anchorman2

5 Nov

tear offs.psd

Christmas will most definitely get that little bit classier now that Anchorman 2 is due for release on the 20th December.

To get you all super excited for Ron and the gangs return, here are some most excellent character posters for you to enjoy!

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Here’s what you can also expect from the upcoming movie…

With the 70’s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), returns to the news desk in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” Also back for more are Ron’s co- anchor and wife, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), weather man Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), man on the street Brian Fontana (Paul Rudd) and sports guy Champ Kind (David Koechner) – All of whom won’t make it easy to stay classy…while taking the nation’s first 24-hour news channel by storm.

Stay Classy!

Halle Berry takes the worst call of her life in #TheCall #film #review #movie

18 Sep

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 09.09.47A gripping thrill rollercoaster of a ride, The Call is an interesting insight into the world of the Los Angeles 911 emergency services.

Starring Oscar winner Halle Berry as Jordan Turner a veteran 911 operator, we watch her journey as she takes a life altering call from a teenage girl played by Little Miss Sunshine herself Abigail Breslin. Not only does this call mean Jordan has to try and guide this girl to safety, she also has to confront a killer from her past and overcome her fears.Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 09.09.37Cut back and forth between the abduction and ‘The Hive’ (the department for 911 emergency assistants who work away like busy bees) the audience are taken on a tense ride and education as to what it really means to be a 911 operator. Making judgments between protocol and human instinct is a fine line in lifesaving situations, as we see through this film. Halle Berry is back to her finest in the majority of this film, as she showcases a mix of emotions that make the audience empathise with the difficult job she is faced with. Just like her character we understand the stress of the job and the natural (probably female) instincts that she has when faced with a child being abducted, and the consequences that lie ahead should Jordan as the operator put a foot wrong.

We also see a fantastic performance from Abigail Breslin as the victim. We follow her day as a normal girl shopping in a mall with her friend, and then once left alone, gets drugged, abducted and thrown in the trunk of a car by her kidnapper. The most tense and exciting part of the film is the interaction between the victim and Jordan. From the trunk she manages to make a 911 call which initially goes through to a rookie who finds herself way out of her depth and then gets passed on to Jordan. From this point on, you as the audience find out some really clever tricks to try and get yourself rescued from a kidnapping, using everything you can find to discover where you are travelling to, what the car looks like and most importantly anything you can do to pop open that trunk and jump out.

Breslin shows here that she has matured from a child to young adult actor seamlessly. Matching Halle Berry’s ranges of emotions, you watch her go from despair to sheer determination to get herself out of this situation alive. It’s this that makes the first three quarters of this film so engaging to watch…Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 09.10.03

…And then, sadly, in the last fifteen minutes or so, the film takes a tumble, so prepare yourself for this. After an hour and fifteen minutes of an intense, edge of your seat adrenalin filled thrill ride of a film, The Call sadly falls into the depths of B-Movie status and takes a route so completely left field of the original plot its not only difficult to watch, its also totally disappointing. It’s a shame that the film leaves you with such a sour taste at the end, it had so much promise, but there is still the opportunity to remember the immense film you had watched just before this semi-car crash.

Regardless of it’s ending, The Call is still very much worth a watch. For the majority, it’s an intelligent, intense and exciting film with great performances.

The Call hits cinemas on the 20th September 2013.

3 Stars.