controversial tagged posts

Shell-Praiser: A Defense of Ghost in the Shell

SPIRITED REIMAGINING

(Spoiler warning: key plot points from Ghost in the Shell 2017 revealed in this feature)

Mired in whitewashing accusations since 2015 when Scarlett Johansson was announced in the lead. Subject of sustained online fan fury. Mediocre US box office Paramount Studios acknowledged was partly due to this controversy.

Is now a good time to admit I’m a fan of this incarnation of Ghost in the Shell? A reason for this being because of how it addresses its own casting and the surrounding debate? Please give me time to outline the case for the defence.

From Masamune Shirow’s 1989 manga, to Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime, its 2004 sequel Innocence, the Solid State Society and Arise spin-offs, Ghost in the Shell is constantly evolving and reworking its themes.

Themes of identity flu...

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Must-See Films at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival

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When writing preview features for the London Film Festival it’s difficult to resist the numbers. Those big numbers representing how many films will show over the 12 day festival, how many countries are featured, how many cinemas films are hosting films. And crucially, which numbers in the calendar you should be blocking out.

That last one’s easy – Wednesday 5th to Sunday 16th October.

But, there is one figure this year of paramount importance. 60.

In 2016 the BFI London Film Festival marks its 60th anniversary. Maintaining the original brief of being a “festival of festivals” the LFF continues to bring to the UK movies which have wowed audiences at other festivals that year.

The opening film way back in 1957 was Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Throne of Blood...

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The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)

The-Human-Centipede-III---posterDirector: Tom Six

Writer: Tom Six

Cast: Dieter Laser, Laurence R. Harvey, Bree Olson, Eric Roberts, Akihiro Kitamura, Bill Hutchens, Tom Six

Cert: 18

Running time: 100mins

Year: 2015

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The lowdown: Six years after launching The Human Centipede onto the global stage, and four years after part II was banned in the UK before receiving a cut release, director Tom Six completes his trilogy. Dieter Laser, the mad scientist from the original, is here a prison warden, and Laurence R. Harvey, the psycho from the sequel, his hapless sidekick. Both are wracking their brains for a solution to an unruly prison population and find the cheeky solution staring them in the face, even if it’s likely to bum out the inmates...

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Freaks (1932)

Freaks---posterDirector: Tod Browning

Writer: Tod Robbins (original story)

Cast: Harry Earles, Daisy Earles, Olga Baclanova, Henry Victor, Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Daisy Hilton, Violet Hilton

Cert: 12

Running time: 64mins

Year: 1932

 

The lowdown: Originally banned in the UK for 30 years, Freaks is one of cinema’s most bizarre curate’s eggs. Progressive at the time for humanising its deformed cast, nonetheless it drew condemnation globally for putting real-life “freaks” onscreen. But, this may have reflected contemporary sensibilities of “good taste” – to modern eyes uncomfortable moments remain, but Freaks is a fascinating film.

Freaks---Harry-Earles,-Olga-Baclanova,-Henry-VictorFreaks---Daisy-Earles

The full verdict: The real monsters are the “big people”...

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The Interview (2014)

The-Interview---James-Franco,-Seth-Rogen,-posterDirector: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Writer: Dan Sterling

Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang

Cert: 15

Running time: 112mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: So, The Interview… Aka the most dangerous film of all-time or the movie with history’s best marketing campaign. The bottom line is, it is exactly what you’d expect from the This Is The End team – dumb, offensive, funny, scrappy and likeable. But it’s probably the spectacle of Kim Jong-un blubbing over Katy Perry as much comments about famine and concentration camps that got North Korea aiming its cyber-sights on Sony’s servers.

The-Interview---James-Franco,-Randall-Park,-laughingThe-Interview---James-Franco,-Seth-Rogen

The full verdict: Who’d have thought a 21st century reboot of Spies Like Us would cause so much bother? Particularly after Team America came and went with mere minor gru...

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Ender’s Game

Ender's Game Q&A - posterDirector: Gavin Hood

Writer: Gavin Hood

Cast: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley, Abigail Breslin, Jimmy Pinchak, Viola Davis

Cert: 12

Running time: 114mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: After almost three decades in development Hell, Orson Scott Card’s classic of young adult sci-fi finally arrives. And the reaction is a surprised phew, rather than disappointment at yet another unsatisfying blockbuster. Rising star Asa Butterfield makes a confident bid for early leading man status as troubled child genius Ender, recruited into a brutal space Academy to train for war against an alien race. Harrison Ford makes a welcome return to sci-fi as his gruff, Machiavellian commander...

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