Previews: Dark River Poster, Oceans 8, More!

Plenty in this pre-Christmas preview of coming events, including the new Dark River poster, Gringo, Oceans 8, and more…

Dark River Poster

Here is the new Dark River poster. The drama is about fraught relationship between a brother and a sister. Directed by Clio Bernard, the film stars Ruth Wilson, Mark Stanley, and Sean Bean. Dark River will be released in UK cinemas on 23rd February 2018.

Gringo Trailer

Gringo is a dark comedy about a businessman who finds himself at the mercy of colleagues and local drug lords in Mexico. The film features an all-star cast that includes David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, and Amanda Seyfried. Gringo is directed by Nash Edgerton (brother of Joel), and is set for release on UK screens on 9th March 2018.

Oceans 8 Trailer

Here is the first trailer for Oceans 8. The film features the same big heist set-up as its predecessors, albeit with a brand new cast. Sandra Bullock leads the star-studded cast, and is joined by Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, and Anne Hathaway. Oceans 8 is scheduled for release in June 2018.

Isle of Dogs Poster

Here is the newest poster for Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. The stop-motion animated film is about a boy who travels to an island of dogs to find his dog, Spots. The enviable voice cast includes Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Ken Watanabe, and Greta Gerwig. Isle of Dogs will be released in UK cinemas on 30th March 2017.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Trailer

The sequel to the hit 2008 film Mamma Mia! gets a belated sequel. The film is part sequel and part prequel as it focuses on current activity and well as telling the story of Donna when she was younger. Lily James plays the young Donna, and the cast of the original reprise their roles, including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will be released on 20th July 2018.

Previews: Game Night Trailer, The Post, More!

Lots of cinematic wonder in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Game Night trailer, The Post, Sherlock Gnomes, and more…

Game Night Trailer

Here is the new Game Night trailer. The film is about a group of friends who get together for a game night which becomes a murder mystery party. The film stars Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman, and Kyle Chandler. Game Night is scheduled for release in cinemas on 4th May 2018.

The Post Trailer

The trailer for The Post exudes quality. The film features a stellar cast and crew, and focuses on team behind the The Washington Post taking a stand for free speech during the Nixon administration. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film is written by Josh Singer and stars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, and Sarah Paulson. The Post is released in UK cinemas on 19th January 2018.

The Greatest Showman Poster

Here is one of the new posters for the upcoming The Greatest Showman. The musical is all about the spectacle, focusing on the ambition of P.T. Barnum. Hugh Jackman heads the cast, and is joined by Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, and Zendaya. Featuring music from the Oscar-winning Pasek and Paul (La La Land), The Greatest Showman hits UK screens on 1st January 2018.

Sherlock Gnomes Trailer

Sherlock Gnomes is a follow-up to 2011’s Gnomeo and Juliet. The film sees the couple arrive in London and enlist the help of the famous detective to find out who is kidnapping garden gnomes. The adventure comedy features the voices of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Johnny Depp, Maggie Smith, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Sherlock Gnomes is set for release next year.

The Commuter Image

Here is a new look at the upcoming action thriller The Commuter. The film stars Liam Neeson as an insurance salesman who is forced to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger before the train reaches its final stop. Neeson is joined by Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, and Sam Neill. The Commuter arrives in UK cinemas on 19th January 2018.

Film Review: Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins

Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins offers few surprises for those that have seen the trailer. The film is an entertaining comedy drama with great performances.

Heiress Florence Foster Jenkins is a long-time patron of the arts. She dreams of being an opera singer, not quite realising the limitations of her voice. Her husband St. Clair does his best to keep Florence in the dark, but she yearns to perform…

Based on the New York socialite with an inflated sense of talent, Florence Foster Jenkins could have been a mean or unforgiving portrayal. In director Stephen Frears capable hands, however, the subject is handled amiably. The film focuses on the title character’s later years, leading up to her performance at Carnegie Hall. Frears concentrates on the protagonist and those she was close to, rather than the performance itself.

Stephen Frears needed to tread a narrow line in creating the comedy derived from Florence’s vocal abilities, and not making the character into a clown. The director executes this well; the film is a warm portrait of an interesting and generous person. Similarly, her relationships are portrayed with depth and feeling. The film does not fall back on the trope of the gold-digging younger spouse.

Florence Foster Jenkins reflects the different aspects of its title character. Florence is not a pantomime dame. More serious elements of the protagonist are depicted with the requisite emotion. Frears colours his character with strength and weakness. The lead performance from Meryl Streep is as convincing as ever. Hugh Grant plays the toff as ever, although St Clair is more three dimensional than this. Simon Helberg is wonderfully expressive as Cosme. Costumes in the film are beguiling, and the music is great.

Florence Foster Jenkins is predictable, but good writing, directing and performances mean that this is not a deterrent. Unlike Florence herself, the film hits all the right notes.

Previews: Captain America: Civil War Posters, and more!

Plenty of blockbusters in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including Captain America: Civil War posters, X-Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day: Resurgence and more…

Captain America: Civil War Posters

Captain America: Civil War poster

Are you #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan? These new Captain America: Civil War posters highlight the division in the Avengers. Captain America: Civil War is as much a follow-up to Avengers: Age of Ultron as it is to 2014’s superlative Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. and a host of other Marvel stars, Captain America: Civil War hits UK screens on 29th April 2016.

Captain America: Civil War Iron Man

Welcome To Me Trailer

Welcome To Me is about a lottery winner who decides to spend her winnings on creating her own talkshow. Kristen Wiig stars at the winner inspired by Oprah Winfrey, and the film also stars James Marsden, Wes Bentley and Joan Cusack. Welcome To Me will be released in cinemas and on Sky Store on 25th March 2016.

 

X-Men: Apocalypse Poster

X-Men: Apocalypse Poster

Michael Fassbender’s Magneto leads the four horsemen of the apocalypse in this new poster for X-Men: Apocalypse. The film sees the return of familiar characters from previous instalment as well as new additions played by Oscar Isaac, Sophie Turner and others. X-Men: Apocalypse blasts onto UK screens on 18th May 2016.

Florence Foster Jenkins Trailer

Florence Foster Jenkins star Meryl Streep as the New York heiress. She has a desire to sing, but her voice does not live up to her concert-hall aspirations. Also starring Hugh Grant, the film is directed by Stephen Frears. Florence Foster Jenkins is released in cinemas on 6th May 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children First Look

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

Well this looks mildly terrifying. Here is one of the first images released from Tim Burton’s upcoming Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Based on the bestselling novel, the film stars Eva Green, Allison Janney, and Samuel L. Jackson. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will be released in UK cinemas in Autumn 2016.

Demolition Trailer

Demolition is about a successful investment banker who struggles to cope after the tragic death of his wife. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper. Directed by Dallas Buyers Club helmer Jean-Marc Valleé, Demolition hits UK cinemas on 29th April 2016.

Independence Day: Resurgence Poster

IDR Poster

Here is a new poster for the delayed sequel Independence Day: Resurgence. The film is set twenty years after the original, and sees the return of director Roland Emmerich and cast members Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Vivica A. Fox. Independence Day: Resurgence launches on UK screens on 23rd June 2016.

Suffragette Press Conference

Suffragette - BFI London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival opens this evening with Suffragette. Director Sarah Gavron, screenwriter Abi Morgan, and stars Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep were in London to talk about the film, gender equality, and the film industry…

On bringing the Suffragette movement to the big screen…

Abi Morgan: Film does take time. However, I think when a film is fronted not by one, but by an ensemble of women, and they are not being funny, it’s hard. And it’s not romantic, it’s hard. I think that became a huge obstacle, but we have an incredible group of producers and I think of them all as feminists. It has taken both men and women to bring this project to the screen.

On Suffragette‘s protagonist…

Sarah Gavron: What we were interested in was the story of ordinary women. No platform, no entitlement – working class women who were so often at the vanguard of change but rarely get talked about. There were these extraordinary accounts, so contemporary feeling. We thought to follow that woman would make it connect with audiences all over the world today.

Meryl Streep: I think the great achievement of this film is that it is not about women of a certain class, like Emmeline Pankhurst who worked as an abolitionist, as a pro-labour supporter for the rights of working people – men and women. It’s about a working girl. That’s part of why we can enter the film so easily and so empathetically. Carey plays this young laundress who looks like us.

On the contemporary resonance of Suffragette…

Carey Mulligan: What I always loved about this film is that it didn’t feel like a documentary about a time, it felt like a film about today. I always felt its resonance of where we are. It’s a film to mark the achievement of what these women did, what they gave to us, but also to mark where we are in the world. We still live in a society that is sexist, and that goes throughout our history.

Meryl Streep: There is no such thing as ‘women’s history’, there’s history that women have been shut out of. I knew a great deal about the suffragette movement in the United States, but I didn’t know about it here. And I also didn’t know the condition of women here in 1913. I didn’t know that the marriage age was twelve – that was shocking to me. I didn’t know that once a woman was married, she had no further claim to not only here name, but any property she brought to the marriage. Her own children were not hers; she had no say, really, in how they were raised or where they were educated, if they were educated. Or if the twelve year-old was basically sold to be married off. I didn’t know those things. To be it’s recent history because my grandmother was alive then, had a couple of children, and was not deemed capable of voting. I’m passionate about it – it feels recent.

Suffragette Press Conference

On women in film criticism…

Meryl Streep: In our business, part of it is driven by buzz. I was always thinking ‘what makes buzz? What controls that?’. So I went deep, deep, deep into Rotten Tomatoes and I counted how the contributors – critics and bloggers, and there is a very strict criteria that allows you to be a blogger, critic or something [on the site]. Of those people who are allowed to rate on the ‘Tomato-meter’, there are 168 women. And I thought ‘that’s absolutely fantastic’. If there were 168 men, it would be balanced. If there were 268 men it would be unfair but I would be used to it. Actually there are 760 men who weigh in on the Tomato-meter. I submit to you that men and women are not the same. They like different things. Sometimes they like the same thing, but sometimes their tastes diverge.

If the Tomato-meter is slighted so completely to one set of tastes, that drives box office in the United States. Absolutely. So who are these critics and bloggers? I went on the site of the New York Film Critics. They have 37 men and two women. Then I went on all of the sites of the different critics circles. The word isn’t disheartening, it’s infuriating because people accept this as received wisdom – ‘this is just the way it is’. You can take every single issue of female rights in the world and examine it under the same rubric because it isn’t fair. We need inclusion Rotten Tomatoes, this year it needs to be equal. Half and half.

Film Review: Suffragette

Suffragette

Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette is a by-the-numbers historical drama. Whilst the subject matter is ripe for cinematic adaptation, Suffragette fails to offer something truly memorable…

Maud Watts is a regular working-class women in 1910s London, with a husband and son. Reluctant at first, Maud is encouraged by friends to join the Suffragette movement, which has begun a campaign of civil disobedience…

Abi Morgan’s screenplay for Suffragette chooses an everywoman for its focus. Rather than heavily featuring the better-known characters of the movement, the film concentrates on Maud; very much an ordinary and relatable character. The protagonist is certainly accessible, and moves the film away from biopic leanings.

The film is as much about the journey of Maud as it is about the women’s right to vote movement in Britain. She acts as a conduit for the audience to experience key events in this  period, functioning almost as a guide. Suffragette is likely to educate audiences who do not know much about the movement, almost like a beginner’s guide.

Suffragette has the unshakeable feeling of a historical drama. Sarah Gavin’s film hits all the notes. Different aspects of the period are represented as the film progresses, the struggles depicted aim for the audience’s heartstrings, and the score veers from appropriately somber to soaring when necessary. The main issue with the film is that it does nothing to elevate itself above the status of run-of-the-mill historical drama. Suffragette is perfectly competent without offering any ingenuity.

The cast and crew seem likely to pick up nominations in the awards season. Carey Mulligan delivers a convincing performance as Maud. She receives good support from Anne-Marie Duff, whilst Meryl Streep good as ever in a small role. Costumes and sets have an air of authenticity to them.

Suffragette will engage and educate its audience, and is an important film for this reason. Those expecting something exceptional might be disappointed.

London Film Festival 2015 Preview

The BFI London Film Festival 2015 commences this Wednesday, with a total of 238 fiction and documentary features being screened, including 16 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, 40 European Premieres and 11 Archive films. The festival opens with the European premiere of Suffragette, starring Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan. Here are some of the films to catch at the London Film Festival 2015…

Trumbo

TRUMBO

Bryan Cranston plays Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood screenwriter who was blacklisted after refusing to testify in the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. A must-see for fans of films about the film industry, Trumbo is a biopic set in Hollywood’s Golden Age. The film also stars Diane Lane, Helen Mirren and Louis C.K.

The Witch

Taking place in a pre-Salem Witch Trials New England, The Witch is about a family who believe a supernatural force is at work. The Witch is the first feature directed by Robert Eggers, who won the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in January this year. The film is nominated for the Sutherland Award for first feature at the London Film Festival 2015.

Beasts of No Nation

BEASTS OF NO NATION

Netflix’s foray into film distribution comes in the form of the powerful Beasts of No Nation. The film is directed by Cary Fukunaga, based on his screenplay about a young boy who is forced to join a group of soldiers in Africa. Starring Idris Elba, the film received critical acclaim at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year.

Steve Jobs

The London Film Festival 2015 hosts the European premiere of Steve Jobs as its closing gala. Based behind the scenes at three product launches, the film has envious credentials. Directed by Danny Boyle and scripted by Aaron Sorkin, the film stars Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen.

The BFI London Film Festival 2015 takes place between 7th-18th October. For full listings and more information, see here.