Tag Archives: George Clooney

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.

Luxury Junket – The art of not having to stand in the rain…

20 Dec

So at the moment I’m referred to as “red carpet girl” a name I’m not turning my nose up to, in any capacity, but during my time on the red carpet I’ve met more than enough people who stand side by side with me, pushing and shoving to get that one question from an A-List star. On reflection, all thirty to forty of us have been waiting  in the freezing cold for this moment and as the line is longer and you realise you’re at the far end of it, sometimes at the very bleak times, for a minute or so, we all struggling to see the amazing position that despite the cold we are currently in.

I mean who really gets to say that their job is to speak to celebrities day in day out? From up and coming stars such as Lucas Pittaway – over night sensation of Snowtown – through to George Clooney – about as A-List as you can get. I have to say I’ve got a good job, no wait a minute, I’ve got a great job. I am not ever really that star struck anymore, but for my own amusement I now have an ‘up close camera test’ in my mind, to see which stars I think are beautiful on screen but not so much in real life you know, to make sure that they are real people too, not just beautifully airbrushed aspirational fantasies.

However the reason for this post is simple. I’m always looking to up my game, learn more about this business we call show and well, let you lot know my findings. So here’s what I found out last week. A very kind producer friend of mine invited me along to the Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol junket. Tom Cruise it wasn’t – Notting Hill it was, as I sat in the corridors of Claridges just like if you were about to be sent into the headmaster and jokes started being subtly bounded around stating that one may be from Horse and Hound (how many times has that been said – yes well, I’m a rookie so I’m allowed to say it!). Thankfully this is a much nicer process. I may have been privy to a lucky day, but these junkets worked like clockwork and the interviewees were delightful, from Simon Pegg, through to Brad Bird (oh yes the  director of Krusty the Clown – I know!) each of the film stars looked as if this was the first interview of the day (even though it was second to last) and for five minutes – not one question – you could actually have a decent in depth conversation with them, which I have to say is what I completely relished in at the London Film Festival. The Film Maker Teas, for example showcased all the up and coming talent and like this interview below, with Lucas Pittaway I managed to speak in some depth with a star in the making.

So with this, it’s no surprise that these bloggers, journalists, producers do not wish to partake in red carpet gigs anymore, and now that I’ve had a taste of this luxury, it would be nice to balance it up every once in a while. But from all my endeavours over the last few months, its easier said than done to get through the door. So if anyone want’s to give me a chance to do it – oh and I will do a very good job – then that would make a lovely Xmas present! : )

Thanks for reading! x

BFI London Film Festival – Two doses of Gorgeous George – The Ides of March and The Decendents

21 Oct

I would have been annoyed if George Clooney did a John C Reilly and didn’t turn up to a festival which showcased not one but two

of his films, but luckily he didn’t disappoint. In fact, he over delivered. Having rushed from the screening of  the Clooney directed film The Ides of March to the press conference, I was so happy to find we weren’t only having a press conference with the man himself but also the incredibly talented Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood. However, I seem to have been the only member of the press attending who noticed that this Oscar winner and Indie darling were also in the room as the rest of the audience seemed (if they managed to get a question in – which I unfortunately did not get the chance to) to only be able to direct their questions to Gorgeous George. One particularly cringe moment was (apart from the double question asking George’s view on the Irish upcoming elections – please we’re here to talk film!!) when a member of the press clearly forgot the other actors names and addressed these Hollywood heavyweights as ‘members of the panel’ As Steve McQueen put it – SHAME!! These actions mirrored those in the film 360 and had an effect on the rest of us as Philip Seymour Hoffman was so annoyed that he was hardly addressed in this press conference that he flew in especially for, that he refused to do any press on the red carpet later that evening – well done journo!

Anyway – Back to the films, lets start with the big one – The Ides of March

The Ides of March

A political thriller – not something that I would normally be desperate to see in the cinema – more of a DVD movie for me. However I have to say that this film is going to be a keeper, I’m glad I saw it on the big screen as I could watch it intently without distraction and it’s probably a type of film with the ‘stay appeal’ which means its most likely going to end up on people’s DVD shelves for years to come as a ‘go-to’ movie. I really enjoyed this, lead by the sickening talented Ryan Gosling, the awards buzz which surrounds this film is very much earned. Its smart, sassy, intelligent and has a brilliant level of humour which comes just at the right time to break up scenes containing strong dramatic tension. Its cast is a goldmine of talent: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei – you know you’re onto a winner when you’ve got them on board.

The film looks at the inner working of a campaign. The media minds and the politics behind the politics – is nice guy Mike Morris (Clooney) really that nice? Can Gosling be bought out by the opposing side? And what does loyalty in this situation really mean. It’s a game of chess expertly directed by Clooney (who sees his twilight years behind the camera rather in front) who has offered to the table a feast of top class acting, engaging dialogue and a story full of game players and no winners. It for me brings the resurgence of great political films back to the silver screen – proving that we may have had a thirty year gap of missing good films of this subject, but with a film like The Ides of March, it was most definitely worth the wait.

The Descendents

I like Hawaii. I like the idea of it, that it represents happiness and people throwing their cares away as they play lazy on the beach as the sun shines brightly above them. As we see from Alexander Payne’s (About Schmidt, Sideways) offering, he immediately focuses on the non tourist/commercial view of Hawaii and what its like to be living there – in the real world. This glimpse is not the main focus, in fact this story is one of family George Clooney’s character’s family, and the few days they take to come to terms with the untimely death of his wife following a boating accident. I think this film will divide audiences depending on your own personal experiences with grief, and handling such situations.

Although I enjoyed the film – it has some brilliant humour which will get you laughing till you cry – having gone through quite a similar situation in my own life, I found the characters slightly ridiculous, farcical and unemotional. Next to me in the cinema was my colleague Rosanna, who also went through similar circumstances, but unlike myself, dealt with her situation in the same manner as the family in the film, so found it hilarious and incredibly touching and moving. Two very different opinions, neither of which criticised the mechanics of the film, its well written, clever, well cast and entertaining. The content however may leave audiences divided in terms of how they view the story and how sympathetic they feel towards the characters and situation.

So there you have it folks – two very different films which will appeal to two very different audiences. Both very much worth a watch and proving that at the ‘tender age’ of 5o, Mr Clooney both on and off-screen still has the charisma and charm to keep him at the top of his game for many years to come.

Day 1 – BFI London Film Festival – Review 360 – Opening Night Film

12 Oct

So here we are, the start of the 55th London Film Festival and boy was it an early start. Queuing from 8:45 this morning were bloggers, journos and film buffs posing as accredited members of the press. What were we all waiting for? Well, its billed as a headliner film featuring Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins and captained by City of God director Fernando Meirelles.

So apart from being one of the most difficult films to find the trailer for, what is it all about? Well, to me, as the opening film of the Festival, I was expecting it to be somewhat explosive, however was a little bit de-flated as the movie progressed. In a nutshell, its a story of worldwide interconnectivity and a story of temptation, romance and friendship, demonstrating how one persons actions can interlink and affect another persons life. I know, heavy for 9am on a Wednesday morning. For the opening of a film festival as large as the London one, I would have expected something demonstrating the cream of the crop of what the UK had to offer, quite like they did last year with Never Let Me Go, however here it seems more like they chose to go with a more diverse international picking which perhaps honours a collection of talent from our European brothers and sisters (actors and actresses).

Dont get me wrong, the performances were good, well timed, and engaging, however it may be the structure and Peter Morgan’s script which was slightly lacking in parts. The length of the film overall was that little bit too long and sadly the climactic ending was not as dramatic as I had hoped, however the cinematography and whirlwind tour of various different destinations were well represented. The biggest problem I had however, was that it was one of those films that just plodded along rather than captivate its audience. I personally am not a huge fan of ensemble pieces which don’t have lead characters to help carry the film, and this film didn’t change my mind. Sadly, there wasn’t enough in-depth character understanding and I yearned for more information as I was walking out of the screening. The heavyweight names – Hopkins, Weisz, Law are not something to sell the film on, they are small parts in a larger machine, plus none of them are due to turn up tonight so if you’re camping out to see the big, well known stars, you’d be better off holding on for the George Clooney films next week. So for those who are fans of a slow moving, uneventful film this might be just the choice for you, but unfortunately it really wasn’t for me.

So my advice would be, not to avoid it completely – its not bad, its just not for everyone – but don’t rush and give up a good evening for this film if its sunny. If you’re a Fernando Merielles fan, stick to City of God and The Constant Gardener – and if you’re fans of the well known Russian and Slovakian actors in the film – you may just enjoy it.

However I don’t want to leave this all doom and gloom, it really is personal preference on this one, however the rest of the festival is hosting some very exciting talent on the big screen – next week looks like the big week for more highly anticipated films and tomorrow we’ve got a couple of indie successes premiering (Like Crazy, 50/50) so stay tuned for this and again, not all films are to everyone’s taste but there are so many coming up over the next couple of weeks that its definitely worth a train fare and cinema ticket to be part of this wonderful event.

Until tomorrow….


Film Friday Back On the Radio for the Autumn and Winter Season…

29 Sep

So for those of you who know my origins of film presenting, it started by working for a small but mighty internet radio station called Ridge Radio (www.ridgeradio.co.uk). The wonderful thing about this station is that they give me a dedicated two hour slot to talk to not only the local community of listeners but anyone listening worldwide about my one true passion…Film!

So every Friday I can be found at Ridge Radio HQ taking you through the highs and lows of the film industry from the UK to Hollywood and from the weird to the wonderful. Following a short break to Africa, I’m now back and tomorrow is my first show of the Autumn season, and what better way to kick off my Autumn/Winter shows with a look at the highly anticipated London Film Festival.

This week I’ll be kicking off the show with my usual Hollywood Hot Gossip – featuring news on The Lone Ranger, Paradise Lost (an epic poem – should really be a book!), The Shining and The BFG – yes as you can see, the studios are hotting up for book adaptations!

Following on from this I’ll be taking you through the ultimate film fan’s guide to the London Film Festival, then my top ten picks of what films to see – there’s so many to choose from!!

Moving into the second part of my show, as George Clooney has a couple of films coming out at this years festival and is (fingers crossed) attending it, I thought I’d take you back in time exactly ten years and visit one of his films featuring star studded cast of actors, Oceans Eleven (2001). This is my Retro Review and features ‘nine things you never knew…’ about this movie.

Finally, due to my fantastic partnership with the Everyman Cinema, those of you who have been on my blog before will have seen my written review of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and if you tune in you’ll hear me talking through it as well.

All this, some great music from the movies and its happening LIVE tomorrow 1-3pm (GMT) and you can tune in on http://www.ridgeradio.co.uk

Love Film, Be There.