Previews: Halloween Poster, The Happy Prince, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, which include the brand new Halloween poster, Hereditary, The Happy Prince, and more…

Halloween Poster

Here is the new poster for the upcoming Halloween. Forty years since the original Halloween film, and twenty since Jamie Lee Curtis reprised her famous role in Halloween H20, Michael Myers is back once more. Curtis is joined by Judy Greer and Will Patton, and the film is directed by David Gordon Green (Your Highness, Stronger). With John Carpenter among the Executive Producer, Halloween hits the big screen on 19th October 2018.

Hereditary Trailer

Above is the new trailer for Hereditary. The upcoming horror is about a family who reveal something sinister about their ancestry when the matriarch of the clan passes away. Hereditary stars Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne, and is the feature debut from writer-director Ari Aster. The film is set for release on 15th June 2018.

The Happy Prince Trailer

The Happy Prince is written, directed, and stars Rupert Everett. The film is his directorial debut. Everett stars as Oscar Wilde, portraying the writer in his final years. The film also stars Colin Firth and Emily Watson. The Happy Prince will be released in UK cinemas on 15th June 2018.

Life of the Party Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for Life of the Party. The comedy stars Melissa McCarthy as a newly divorced mum who decides to go back to college. The film is directed by McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone, and penned by the couple. Also starring Gillian Jacobs and Maya Rudolph, Life of the Party will be released in UK cinemas on 11th May 2018.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer

Above is the last trailer for the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The sequel sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles from 2015’s Jurassic World. Jeff Goldblum also reprises his role from the franchise. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom launches onto UK screens on 6th June 2018.

Film Review: Testament of Youth

Testament of Youth

Director James Kent’s Testament of Youth is a competent historical drama that expresses the horrors of World War I, albeit in a poetic fashion.

Vera Brittain is determined to go to Oxford along with her brother and his friends, even though her father is against it. Vera’s plans are thrown into chaos, however, with the outbreak of the First World War…

Based on Vera Brittain’s memoirs, Testament of Youth is a solid account of the First World War on the educated upper middle classes. Seen through the prism of Vera and her loved ones, the devastation of this conflict is laid bare by director Kent. The film depicts the impact the war had not only on those who saw fighting, but on their loved ones and families. Testament of Youth really hones in on the effect of losing loved ones.

As a protagonist, Vera is wilful and determined, but not necessarily immediately likeable. As the film progresses, however, the audience will feel more empathy for her. The narrative is aptly woven, with sufficient character development for all the main players. Characters in Testament of Youth are certainly believable.

The film makes the most of the landscape. This scenes are beautifully shot, and feed into the poetry that is intwined in the picture. The preoccupation with poetry gives Testament of Youth a romantic feel which sits in contrast with the brutality of war. The film plays on this contrast, creating an abrasion between the violence of the frontline and  the pleasantry of the youngsters’ upbringings.

Alicia Vikander delivers a mostly understated but effective performance as Vera. Elsewhere, Emily Watson and Colin Morgan standout in a decent cast. Testament of Youth is an attentively crafted picture, which gives pause to thought.

Testament of Youth is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2014.

Film Review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Director Brian Percival’s cinematic adaptation of The Book Thief is engaging and entertaining. The film delivers a captivating tale with a rich historical context.

Young Liesel is sent to live with a foster family in Germany during World War II. Whilst there, Liesel discovers a love of reading that will transform the lives of those around her…

The Book Thief is a successful drama thanks to its strong writing. The main characters in the film are well developed, relationships appear natural, and situations are believable. The use and choice of narrator is an extremely effective tool in framing The Book Thief as a story, and serving as a reminder of the vulnerability of the characters.

With a child protagonist, The Book Thief counterbalances youthful discovery with a very real and harrowing period of history. The World War II setting is absolutely essential to the narrative. There are aspects of the film that are rather dark, reflecting the time and actuality of the historical setting. Michael Petroni’s adaptation of Marcus Zusak’s novel does not shy away from revealing the horrors of war or the insidiousness the Nazi regime. Yet at the same time there is a positive story of a young girl finding friendship in dark times and discovering a passion that shapes her life.

For viewers that have not read the book, Brian Percival’s film is furnished with a sense of trepidation. This is partly due to the choice of narrator reminding the audience of the ephemeral nature of existence. However, it is also thanks to the dangerousness of the setting that viewers will be concerned about the fate of the protagonists. The beauty of The Book Thief is that it compels its audience to care.

Performances in the film are great, with Sophie Nélisse strong as Liesel. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson are well cast as Liesel’s foster parent. Some special effects are a little inauthentic, but thankfully these are not used too often.

The Book Thief is a wonderful story which is likely to absorb viewers throughout.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of cinematic delights, including the latest trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a clip from The Book Thief and more…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Here is the latest trailer for Captain America: The Winter Solider. The film sees the return of Chris Evans in the title role, plus Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is due for UK release on 28th March 2014.

The Book Thief

Based on the best-selling book by Markus Zusak, The Book Thief stars Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. The above clip is from the story, which is set during World War II. The Book Thief is released on 31st January 2014.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Anchorman 2 poster

Following the release of the latest trailer for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, here is the new poster for the film. The film seems to be pushing the 1980s setting, which is never a bad thing. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues hits UK screens on 20th December 2013.


Thriller Non-Stop stars Liam Neeson as an Air Marshall in a very perilous position. The trailer reads like Speed on a plane. Non-Stop is due for release on 28th February 2014.

American Hustler

Christian Bale is barely recognisable in American Hustler. It’s like the 1970s threw up all over David O. Russell’s film. Also starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustler hits screens on 20th December in the West End and 3rd January 2014 nationwide.

The Butler

Lee Daniels’ The Butler is just brimming with stars. Led by Forest Whitaker, the film also stars Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Mariah Carey and many others. The Butler is released in the UK on 15th November 2013.

Film Review: Oranges and Sunshine

Oranges and Sunshine is an emotional drama that deals sensitively with real events. It can be difficult to portray such recent events in a cinematic context, but for the most part director Jim Loach handles this well.

Nottingham social worker Margaret Humphreys is approached after work one day by a woman claiming she was sent from the UK to Australia as a child. As Margaret begins to investigate the case, she finds out that the problem was more widespread than anyone could imagine. Her investigations take her to Australia, as she tries to piece together exactly what occurred decades before…

Despite the sheer scale of the child migration schemes, which ran up until 1967, Oranges and Sunshine concentrates on a very personal story. Rather than portraying the scope of events, the film focuses on Margaret Humphreys. Screenwriter Rona Munro weaves the narrative around Humphreys, encompassing the social worker’s family life as well as the lives of those she helps. Oranges and Sunshine concentrates on a handful of characters, presumably representative of some of the wide range of stories out there.

Although the film begins detailing facts about the case, it becomes more of a emotional drama than a historical one. The failure of Oranges and Sunshine is this shift half way through. The film leaves behind the facts and historical detail to concentrate on the emotional toll on Humphreys, her family, and those affected by the forced migration. The film perhaps would have been stronger if the factual grounding had been retained throughout.

At times it feels as if the film is actively eliciting an emotional response from viewers. For example, the intertwining of various stories of similar abuse from different men indicates that audiences should feel sympathy and outrage. However, the actual events themselves are harrowing enough that Jim Loach’s employment of these devices add little power themselves.

The cinematography in Oranges and Sunshine is excellent in the way it highlights the strong contrast between Australia and the north of England. Some of the Australian scenery is idyllic, contradicting effortlessly with the stories of abuse that occurred.

Emily Watson is superb as Margaret Humphreys. Much of the action is viewed through her eyes, and Watson portrays the emotional burden carried by the character well. Hugo Weaving is utterly believable as Jack, while Richard Dillane is solid as Margaret’s husband Merv.

As a film about Margaret Humphreys, Oranges and Sunshine works well. It is a pity that the film did not feature more of the detail of events, as it is certainly a story worth telling.

Film Review: Cemetery Junction

After Ricky Gervais’ last co-written, co-directed and co-stared feature, The Invention of Lying, you would be forgiven for being a little skeptical about this latest offering. However, Cemetery Junction is an enjoyable picture, combining an adequate amount of laughs with a genuine emotional depth.

Freddie Taylor is the son of a factory worker, living in the dead-end town Cemetery Junction in the early 1970s. Wishing to make more of his life, Freddie thinks working for a big insurance company will help achieve his goal of leaving his old life behind. But things rarely work out as simple as this…

Christian Cooke is bright as the protagonist Freddie; his blossoming friendship with Julie (played by Felicity Jones) is a delight to watch. Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan are all believable in their roles. The star turn, however, is delivered by Emily Watson, who gives an understated yet strong performance as Mrs Kendrick.

The relationship between Freddie and his friends Bruce and Stork seems very natural. The film is well written; the dialogue and circumstances appear very believable. Gervais and Merchant have succeeded in producing a well-crafted drama with a sufficient amount of comic relief. Aesthetically, the film seems authentic with its depiction of a small British town in the 1970s; the soundtrack is bursting with hits of that decade.

Ricky Gervais has a role in Cemetery Junction, but given his reputation for playing very similar characters, it is thankfully small. Overall, the film should strike a chord with audiences all too familiar with the small-town mentality; the theme is broad enough to be identifiable where ever in the world you watch it.