Tag Archives: film premiere

The Great Gatsby – Review #film #filmreview

16 May

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An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Long Island-set novel, follows mid-Westerner Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) as he documents his lavish encounters with neighbour Jay Gatsby; who seems to have all the wealth and wonder in the world, but remains childishly unsatisfied without one thing, the woman he adores, Daisy (Carey Mulligan).

Following all the hype about the decadence of this film, fans of Baz Luhrmann’s work will not be disappointed with the spectacle that this film delivers in the first half at least. Taking the concept of the ‘roaring twenties’ to its literal extreme, as the film begins you are introduced to a booming New York full of promise, prosperity and parties! Intercutting re-purposed original footage with some of Luhrmann’s newly developed settings; the audience follows Nick Carraway as he discovers and becomes a part of this world. Slowly, through the eyes of Nick, we discover the main nouveau rich players in this story, starting with Nick’s cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton).Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 11.52.04

Upon entering this world, we are faced with an immense sense of overwhelming intensity, the editing is fast paced from one character to the other and at times you’ll feel breathless trying to keep up. You will find yourself trying to take in the scenery in front of your eyes and attempt to keep up with the storyline as well. This puts you straight in Nick’s shoes, a new world, new people and a whole new lifestyle.

Tom Buchanan is expertly played by Joel Edgerton, and is dominating in every scene, bringing a sense of rich, butch, manliness, which is neither Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 11.52.21endearing nor trustworthy. With him is Daisy, brought to life by Carey Mulligan, an interesting choice for the part, she makes a promising entrance making the character feel care free and wistful as we meet her – quite like a bubblegum princess – but as the film progresses ever so slightly fails to demonstrate the complexities and shallowness of the literary Daisy that fans of the book will have built in their minds. Alongside these characters is Jordan Baker (newcomer Elizabeth Debriki), Daisy’s best friend, this other than Gatsby is probably the best casting of the whole film – looking like a real product of the time and acting with the arrogance and elegance you would expect from a flapper socialite. Debriki carries herself in a scene-stealing manner that, like Edgerton, dominates any screen time she has.

Onto the main man, for a modern day Jay Gatsby, Leonardo Di Caprio is the best choice. Smart, mysterious, yet at times vulnerable with a buffoon like quality; the moment the actor raises a glass to the crescendo of music with a beaming smile at one of his lavish parties, you can only imagine teenage girls once again placing posters of this man up on their wall as teenagers of over fifteen years ago did with his last outing with Luhrmann.

Bringing all these characters together really does make one hell of a party, and if there’s one person who likes to put on a party bigger than Jay Gatsby, its Baz Luhrmann. This is what the audiences are most looking forward to out of his films, and if we’re honest, this is what the film is entirely sold on. Three scenes of stunning clothing, expensive jewelry, amazing choreography and stereotypical nods to the era that had it all. Once the audience is introduced to the world of Jay Gatsby’s parties, you really see the trademark Luhrmann come to life.

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 As much as this spectacle is what Luhrmann fans are craving, the novelty can only go so far. Part of the films downfall is its pressing focus on style. Sadly there is not enough substance to support it. Throughout the second half of the film, the parties dim down and you are left with the love triangle story. When you watch it unfold, you become more attuned to the flaws in the film.

Firstly, the extravagant sets that populate the initial part of the film feel more contrived and fake, as there are less people in the room. You find yourself feeling like you are watching a play, with purpose-built backgrounds and a very clear distinction between what is a real location set and what is constructed. Once you see this, you feel that there are more contrived elements to the film, everything is so detailed and so precise – particularly thinking back to the blocking of every character from extra to main – Looking back at Luhrmann’s other films, particularly Moulin Rouge, he managed to create a fake Paris that felt real, you could almost smell the stinking sewers of Montmartre and taste the champagne being poured into the glasses on screen, perhaps it was the limitations on technology that allowed him to be more artistically experimental and in this case as more has been offered to Luhrmann on a plate, it feels like he’s used it because he can and not because it’s right. Whatever the reason, with The Great Gatsby, something just doesn’t quite marry up – and this is similar to the issues that one may find with Joe Wrights Anna Karenina.

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 11.45.50Alongside this, you feel so distracted by the set that the fundamental plot line gets lost, and where you would expect to feel real emotion towards the situation Jay and Daisy are in, and build dislike towards Daisy’s fickle nature, you just don’t care. There are tender moments, such as when they meet once again after five years, and this is where DiCaprio shines with relatable buffoonery and nervousness. But that is about it, suddenly there is a lacking of focus and complexity within the acting and you do feel like the actors are sadly moving around a room to hit their mark and deliver their lines, rather than providing a real rival performance to the Redford/Farrow Great Gatsby that people know and love. Perhaps a much simpler setting could have allowed time to focus on the real story at the heart, and provide a more complex character study, which those fans of the book will crave more.

Depending on what you’re looking forward to most within this film, you’ll either love The Great Gatsby for its decadence or loathe it for its lacking in substance. Whichever way you look at it, you’ll definitely be seeing something different to what is in the cinema at the moment. However, The Great Gatsby is another problematic product of too much hype in the build up and not enough clout in the end product. Fans of Luhrmann’s work will enjoy seeing him bring another film to the cinema screens, however may still feel he peaked at Moulin Rouge and has struggled to live up to that success ever since. But if there’s one thing you do take away and treasure forever from this film, it’s the incredible soundtrack, just like Baz intended; it’s the perfect accompaniment to any party.

3 Stars.

Here’s the latest from The Great Gatsby premiere at the Cannes Film Festival…

 

All is not what it seems – UFO review

20 Dec

 

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Nowadays, when you think of a low-budget British film, you’d normally associate the term with some form of Hackney based, gang culture film not too far from the likes of Kidulthood, or My Brother The Devil. That genre is slowly declining and new ambitious film-makers are stepping outside of that particular box to try their hand and something new, and sci-fi film UFO provides a refreshing break to that mold.

Director Dominic Burns brings to the big screen a small budget sci-fi movie with hints of Transformer-esq effects in this tale of human survival during an invasion of those not of our kind. The great thing about this film, and perhaps the misleading element from the poster is that the story is not directlyScreen Shot 2012-12-20 at 11.44.51 about ghoulish looking creatures from a universe far far away, but more about the reaction from humankind amidst tragedy, invasion, and imminent destruction.

To show a sample study of how the world may react, UFO focuses on a group of friends who, after a night out on the tiles awake to find that the end is nigh. Lead by Michael played by Sean Brosnan (the look and sound-a-like to his father Pierce) this small group of friends take under their wing Carrie (Bianca Bree – the not so look or sound alike to her father Jean Claude Van-Damme) who after a one night stand seems to have become Michael’s latest squeeze and an immediate addition to their circle of friends. The film follow’s how each of the characters react to the present situation and to each other at a time of crisis, and as the story unfolds, even within their close knit circle, things really aren’t all what they seem.

You have to commend this film for its bold storyline and yet intimate portrayal of its characters. This is a character study and not a Hollywood action film. The aliens are secondary in the plot, but you can understand the distributors point of view as to what marketing would be more likely to put bums on seats. Where the budget has been spent on the effects, you will see that they are well done, and carefully thought about, and not just a gimic to behold.

The director has also thought carefully about the portrayal of certain heightened sequences, such as the supermarket in Derby where the cast manage to break in through a side door to stock up on supplies before the rest of the public. In the same breath in which you think the characters would take as

The UFO premiere in Leicester Square

The UFO premiere in Leicester Square

they burst through the doors and quickly gathered what they needed, the audience follow them in what seems to be a ten minute tracking shot which never leaves their side. This helps keep the tension at an all time high as you seem to be in there, experiencing every moment with them.

In addition to this, the fight scenes are excellent, with one standout showdown between Michael and a police officer. Again, like the single tracking shot through the supermarket, you as an audience member get a sense of tension throughout this sequence, which in places almost verge on becoming ultra-violent. The choreography is commendable here and you definitely get the sense that this is a real fight, where the characters are getting naturally exhausted, and don’t just keep going for the sake of it. In a strange way, this section is probably the most natural bit of acting you will see throughout the film.

Unfortunately the problems that do arise in the film, are not anything to do with its ambition or technical ability, it’s with the performances. The beginning of the film seems like a warm up until the actors can really settle into their roles and even then, you just don’t quite believe them. Bianca Bree is the most natural in delivery and reaction, you believe her in most instances, and for a leading lady in this case, less really is more. Sean Brosnan allows you to forget that he served in the army at a high level as he loses the assertiveness of a commanding officer until he is provoked for a fight scene or the like, and his imbalance is somewhat problematic. However,

Director Dominic Burns and me at the UFO premiere

Director Dominic Burns and me at the UFO premiere

sadly it is the support cast that for me let this film down. The drunken scene at the beginning lacks maturity in its performance, and feels contrived and over acted plus the difference between relatively new on-screen actors and seasoned professionals such as Sean Pertwee and Jean Claude Van Damme becomes very apparent when their cameos appear on-screen and in an instant steal the show.

However, that being said, its great that a film maker like Dominic Burns is taking chances on unknowns and mixing them in with more experienced performers. I’m sure the actors will watch and learn from their performances here, and go on to do bigger and better things, and I’m a great believer in British film nurturing new talent in all shapes and forms.

So if you are planning on watching UFO when it hits selected cinema. Enjoy it for what it is, an ambitious project from an ambitious film-maker who has created something away from the expected low-budget British film genre and pushed the boundaries of budget and technical ability. For all its faults, it’s an enjoyable, engaging film, commendable on a number of different levels.

 

Moment in the spotlight for Channel 5 News….

15 Nov

Well what a difference a day makes…

As I walked past the Twihards in Leicester Square, penned up in their camping gear like cattle, my mind wasn’t on RPatz’s twinkly diamond vampire face or KStew’s newly acquired red contact lenses… it was on what makes this phenomenon so big and would I be able to chat about it concisely and coherently.

Why was I so nervous? Well, they may have been strolling down the red carpet that evening, but yesterday morning I was preparing to make my screen debut for none other than the brilliant Channel 5 News. What a difference a day makes, on Tuesday I was sat at my desk with a hot cup of coco when the phone rang with 5 News asking if I’d like to be a film critic discussing this films’ success and future. Absobloominglootly!!!

So in the space of 24 hours I was hot footing it to Leicester Square ready for my close up and as soon as I get the link I’ll share it with you all. What a coup! Very humbled to be asked, and hopefully its the start of more great things to come. In the mean time, here are a couple of shots of me on the programme.

Thanks for all your support and reading my little blog x

 

Kicking off a busy week with…THE SWEENEY

4 Sep

Its a good job its warm outside this week…as its choca-block with premieres and big film announcements, and why not kick it off with one of its most star-studded. The Sweeney crashed into the Vue Leicester Square last night to the sound of a siren or two and a massive reception from fans. For those who may be too young to remember the John Thaw and Dennis Waterman original can be safely brought up to 2012 with this high action chaser centred around our wonderful city of London. It hits cinemas next week and to if you cant wait that long, then check out my interviews with the cast and crew!

Enjoy!

Supporting new talent at the Ill Manors Premiere

31 May

 

So on a gorgeous sunny day in London (despite the odd cloud and patch of rain!) Britains best and brightest new talents head straight to London’s newly refurbed Leicester Square to support one of our biggest talents in music and now film. Ben Drew A.K.A Plan B, brought his labour of love for the last three years to the masses with a hard hitting complex story of East End London, in Ill Manors.

Utilizing the talents of well known and respected new British talent such as Riz Ahmed, Drew and his team also opened the door unknown, raw and talented actors with only a couple of credits to their name. This is a refreshing site to see and is one of the reasons more well known stars of the silver screen and the music world came to support him. Here’s a few of them that I managed to catch up with… enjoy!

The fab Ed Sheeran

Wild Bill Director and British treasure Dexter Fletcher

Broadwalk Empire and This is England star (and one of my favourite actors…) Stephen Graham

Star of the film Riz Ahmed

Great British Export Aml Ameen talking Red Tails and Harrys Law

The man himself…Mr Ben Drew!

Thanks for watching and reading! x