A Compelling Love Story – Testament of Youth

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The film industry has been graced with a very large box full of actors, directors and so on over the past few years from Britain. It has now become so gracious that these British films are having more of a general release rather than just a limited, selected cinema release. The power of the Brits is so highly recognised, we’re dominating the box office with huge nominations in this year’s award season. Kicking off 2015 with the magical Theory of Everything, we’ve quickly received yet another grand performance in the form of a compelling, love story during the first world war.
Testament of Youth is a remembrance of youth and love based on the memoir of World War One by Vera Brittain, giving a more in-depth view of those not only left behind during the the war, but from a woman’s point of view. Alicia Vikander plays Vera, a strong, intelligent female lead who has overcome the struggles of sexism in that society to go to Oxford university and pursue a scholarship in literature. Falling in love with her brother’s best friend, who happens to be a dashingly handsome poet in the making, Roland Leighton (Kit Harington), life begins to fall apart as their youth is taken away from them when the war begins resulting in the men getting shipped off to the front leaving Vera behind. Unable to cope knowing her loved ones are out there serving in the war, she makes the decision to volunteer as a nurse giving her services to the war, keeping a close watch for any communications about her loved ones and experiencing the war from a new perspective.

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Vikander leads the pack with a solid, emotional performance highlighting every aspect of love, romance, distress and the feeling of being hopeless and lifeless but plucking up the courage to be the backbone and inspiration for her men to get home safely. Her physical presence in the more silent scenes is where her performance really hits you the most. It’s heart wrenching. Vikander and Harington’s on-screen chemistry truly portrayed the perfect love story, but in general the chemistry and performances from everyone including Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan, Dominic West, Emily Watson and Hayley Atwell, were delightful.

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The cinematography and locations chosen, especially in Yorkshire, were beautiful and helped to really capture the intensity and fear of not only the war, but that sense of emotion and personality of these characters during the war. Consolata Boyle did a more than superb job with the costume design adding even more character and dominance to the environment.
Outstanding performances, a perfect balance between romanticism and grief and the sheer brilliance of demonstrating the struggles of maturity when one’s youth has been stolen, this is not just a memoir, but is a testament of life itself. Testament of Youth is the perfect example of how far British film has come and where we stand now.

Star Ratings 4

The Nominations Are In! BAFTA 2015

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This morning we were graced with the all exciting BAFTA nominations announced by our very own Stephen Fry and a set of “Grand Canyon dimples” provided by Sam Claflin. This year’s noms in the main categories are so tight and solid, they’re currently racking my brain like an unsolved Rubik’s Cube. Leading the race, surprisingly is Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel with 11 nominations (currently standing at number 16 in my Top 20 best films of 2014 list) with the almighty Birdman and The Theory of Everything right behind with 10 nods, leaving The Imitation Game floating the boat at 9 nominations. Here is the list for the EE British Academy Film Awards 2015…

 

 

Leading Actress:
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Leading Actor:
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitations Game
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Ralph Fiennes, Grand Budapest Hotel

Supporting Actor:
Edward Norton
Ethan Hawke
J.K. Simmons
Mark Ruffalo
Steve Carell

Supporting Actress:
Emma Stone
Imelda Staunton
Keira Knightley
Rene Russo
Patricia Arquette

British Film:
’71
The Imitation Game
Paddington
Pride
The Theory of Everything
Under the Skin

Best Film:
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Animated Film:
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
The Lego Movie

Director:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Richard Linklater
Wes Anderson
James Marsh
Damien Chazelle

Original Screenplay:
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler
Whiplash

Adapted Screenplay:
American Sniper
Gone Girl
The Theory of Everything
Paddington
The Imitation Game

For the full lineup of nominations click here

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EMO’s Top 20 Films of 2014

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As the curtain closes on 2014 and we enter a new, exciting year of film, it’s about time I got going with a ‘Top 20 Films of 2014’ list. I honestly wanted to just keep it nice and simple with a top 10, however, after looking back at what my eyes had devoured over the past 365 days, I felt the need to give credit to those that not only impressed me, but what I really enjoyed. Whether it was due to the fact that a franchise had just begun or was coming to a close, or the grand old superhero summer flicks that dominated the box office sales, my top 20 consists of the big blockbusters, a few rom-coms (which definitly deserved a spot seeing as the best rom-coms came from the late 90’s/early 2000’s) and a few flicks which impressed me due to the fact that I had no clue what I was in for. Here’s my top 20…

20. Fury

19. A Walk Among The Tombstones

18. Begin Again

17. Divergent

16. The Grand Budapest Hotel

15. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

14. X-Men: Days of Future Past

13. About Last Night

12. That Awkward Moment

11. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Drum roll please for the Top 10!…

10. Chef

Chef

9. Interstellar

Interstellar

8. Nightcrawler

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7. Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys

6. The Fault in Our Stars

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5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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4. The Guest

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3. Guardians of The Galaxy

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2. Gone Girl

Gone girl

1. The Imitation Game

Imitation game

Comment below and tell us what’s your Top 10 Films of 2014 and what are your most anticipated films of 2015.

Happy New Year and may the odds be ever in your favour 😛

The Evil Within – Impressions (PS3)

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Forget about scares that will make you jump because The Evil Within is a combination of all the fears and dreadful sights that you always pray you’ll never have to experience. This isn’t Resident Evil, and it’s not for the light hearted.

The story follows Detective Sebastian Castellanos, a detective called in to investigate a collection of terrible murders at a local mental hospital. From this the game take a quite calm approach gearing you up for what’s installed in this horrific peice of gaming. In terms of the story, it lacks quite a lot, especially with the main protagonist being quite boring, emotionless and more stiff than a plank of wood, however the environment and disgraceful enemies you have to endure makes up a lot for the negatives. Castellanos isn’t the character you have fun playing with as you do with say Leon Kennedy or Chris Redfield, but the creators have really made The Evil Within into a proper survival horror game.

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The story does go into a good direction but it does take a little while to do so. In terms of managing Castellanos, you barely get any ammo, your health is dreadful, your stamina is no where to be seen, your melee attack is like a punch in the wind so you barely have much to help you survive, but there’s always a way to get around surviving and that’s what makes this game so much fun. Yes it gets annoying at times because we’re so used to having the luxuries of a full clip of ammo in our guns however, it makes you appreciate stealthing and just running for your life when the opportunity arises. Being patient and cautious are two of the best traits you need to have in this game to help you survive.
Visually, the game gives this chilling and scary effect with the lighting, the shadows, the environment and even the fact that it’s filmed in widescreen with a grainy effect, picking out all of the gorey bloodshed that you encounter. The only issue that was found was the way the environment would essentially have to “load” sometimes. It will look all blurry and thencome into focus to pick out the detail. For a game that’s on the next gen consoles, this shouldn’t really be happening.
In all, it’s a great game and definitley takes the horror genre in gaming to the next level. A few hiccups here and there and a bunch of gracefully disgusting enemies and bosses to defeat that will make you feel un-easy at times. The loading times and auto-save spots also gets a little frustrating sometimes. Hopefully this is just a taster of what’s in-store for the next Resident Evil game.

 

 

 

Star Ratings 3

 

 

 

*NOTE – Visit my Twitter page @GreendotEmo for the competition tweet (ENDS: 20.12.14)

Innovative Nolan at His Best – Interstellar

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Christopher Nolan is well known for his imaginative, complex but worthy puzzles where he creates this new world and the only way we’ll be able to understand and appreciate his constant growth of wisdom is to actually sit down and engross ourselves into a film close to the 3 hour mark. Inception will always be the film that everyone refers back to when having a conversation about Nolan’s work because it was just that classy and mind bending, not to mention the outstanding cast. We do now on the other hand have a new contender.
Interstellar has been the most anticipated film this year, starting it’s campaign exactly a year ago from it’s release date. This is one film where the trailer doesn’t tell you enough so the only way you’re going to know what it’s all about is to simply cosy up in the cinema screening with a large bag of popcorn and a good sized beverage because it’s one hell of a ride.

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The story of Interstellar takes places on an earth we’ve never known. Crops are dying and turning into this brown dust that is just being blown around like a storm day in and day out so starvation is on the cards. After being summoned by what Murph (Mackenzie Foy and later played by Jesscia Chastain) believes is a ghost, Coop (Matthew McConaughey) aka Murph’s dad who is also a former NASA pilot, ends up at a restricted airbase where he is informed that the ‘Lazarus Project’ is in place to find a new habitat for the human race. Rekindling his old roots with his former boss Dr. Brand (Michael Caine) he accepts to pilot the mission with Brand’s daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway), a few engineers and 2 very intelligent robots TARS and CASE. Unfortunately for Coop, while he’s on the mission, the idea of relativity becomes a reality as time may be going by at a slow pace for him, but it’s actually going by in years, even decades on earth.
Nolan and his brother Jonathan had a field time exploring and playing around with black holes, wormholes, gravity, quantum physics and all of the above. Visually, Interstellar is stunning. The framing of each scene and the different angled shots were typical Nolan directing which makes him stand out. It’s quite like Michael Bay’s work. You know when it’s his movie. The shots in space and the audio to go with it really engrosses you into the film, making you feel what the characters are feeling, whether it’s cold, hot, empty, breathless. Every emotion is captured very well. Not to mention the silence that is present in space was perfectly pitched.

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It is a very emotional film, especially in the moments before Coop gets sent off to space but it does carry on throughout the film. McConaughey’s on-screen father/daughter relationship with Mackenzie Foy is so touching, it really pulls on those heart strings. From the moment she gets into trouble at school and Coop goes in for a parent/teacher conference, you know straight away she’s daddy’s little girl. Progressing into the film, there is a glimpse of an Armageddon moment where Liv Tyler speaks to Bruce Willis before he has to blow himself up to save humanity. It’s not as dramatic, but the whole talking to a screen is present and its very moving.
Now it wouldn’t be a Christopher Nolan film without having the legend himself, Hans Zimmer gracing us with his presence for the score. The score is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, the audio mixing wasn’t as gracious. Having this problem before with The Dark Knight Rises, certain scenes the score really overpowered the dialogue so it became a little difficult to hear what was being said. This was a little frustrating especially when you have an actor like McConaughey who is known for his very attractive deep southern twang and “mumble” as some call it. Hopefully his will be fixed when released on Blu-ray and DVD. Also whether this was to do with the make-up or final editing, McConaughey did happen to look very orange in certain scenes compared to everyone else.
Christopher Nolan is the master of taking you on a mind bending journey into the unknown and you always feel satisfied yet blown away with the result. Interstellar is Nolan’s most innovative story since Inception. It’s time he won the Best Director Oscar.

Star Ratings 4