Monthly Archives November 2014

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Reaction

Star Wars trailer reaction - X-wing fighters

Back in 2001 a Star Wars: Episode II trailer momentarily set the still infant internet ablaze. Here was a Star Wars trailer that promised The Phantom Menace was merely a misstep. It had drama, excitement; an awareness of what made Star Wars great. It had Gabriel Byrne looking conflicted, it had a squad of Boba Fetts, it had Christopher Walken with Man Who Fell To Earth eyes.

It of course wasn’t real. That mock trailer now seems very quaint and our gullibility part ignorance of what fans were doing out there in cyberspace and part willingness to believe that the next Star Wars instalment was going to be good.

Jump thirteen years. On Friday 28th November 2014, something rather special happened...

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What We Do In The Shadows

What We Do In The Shadows - posterDirector: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi

Writer: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi

Cast: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Ben Fransham

Cert: 15

Running time: 86mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Just when the mockumentary format seemed to gasp its last, this comedy gem provides a big old transfusion of grade-A claret. A loose plot has a documentary film crew following four centuries old vampyr through various misadventures house-sharing in modern day New Zealand. Imaginative, witty, gory and a cult classic in the making, it’s fang-tastic fun – and you can take that to the blood bank.

What We Do In The Shadows - Taika Waititi, bloody bathroomWhat We Do In The Shadows - Jemaine Clement, bow, arrow

The full verdict: Vampires may be good at sucking billions in babysitting money off gullible teenage girls, but when it comes to the funny they usually reside in the comedy...

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Blu-Ray Review: Spirited Away

Spirited Away - Blu-ray cover artDirector: Hayao Miyazaki

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki

Cast: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki

Cert: PG

Running time: 124mins

Year: 2001

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The lowdown: Still the only anime movie to win (and have been nominated for) the Best Animated Feature Oscar, Spirited Away has lost none of its power to surprise and charm in the years since it was released. Telling the story of Chihiro, a young girl trapped in a fantastical realm working in a bathhouse for the Gods, it is a treasure trove of rich visuals and fairy tale storytelling, and a delight from beginning to majestic end.

Spirited Away - Chihiro, flowersSpirited Away - Chihiro, No Face

The full verdict: Watching Spirited Away an astonishing thirteen years after initial release, three things hit you.

Protagonist Chihiro would now be 23 years old...

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Leviathan (2014)

Leviathan - posterDirector: Andrey Zvyangintsev

Writer: Andrey Zvyangintsev, Oleg Negin

Cast: Aleksey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Roman Madyanov, Sergey Pokhodaev

Cert: 15

Running time: 140mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Best Film at the 2014 London Film Festival. Best Screenplay at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Best International Film the Munich Film Festival. And almost guaranteed a Best Foreign Film nomination at the 2015 Oscars. Leviathan crashes onto screens riding a wave of critical and festival acclaim. All of it thoroughly deserved, Andrey Zvyangintsev’s tale of one man being crushed by the forces of the Russian state being a film of remarkable power and humanity.

Leviathan - Alexey Serebryakov, Elena LyadovaLeviathan - whale skeleton

The full verdict: Early on in Leviathan a municipal government judge reads aloud court verdicts on local mech...

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