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Star Wars Episode VIII Title Revealed – The Last Jedi

Let the speculation begin as it has finally been announced that the title of Star Wars Episode VIII is indeed, The Last Jedi.

What exactly does this mean!? Obviously the names on the tip of everyone’s tongues are Luke, Rey and Kylo Ren. Will there be another death in the Skywalker family? Is Rey in fact a Skywalker? Will Kylo Ren be the last Skywalker? Who knows at this point, but it’s super hard not to believe that there will be some sort of a death, especially since the new Star Wars logo is red.

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Directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars – The Last Jedi is released in cinemas December 15, 2017.

Twilight for Adults – Fifty Shades of Grey

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Fifty Shades of Grey has to be one of if not, the most hotly anticipated films of 2015. With a Valentines weekend release date, whether the film was bad or not, their campaign and release date alone would have made enough money to go ahead and redeem themselves with a sequel/trilogy. Without having read the book and going by hearsay on how dirty and explicit the book is but also terribly executed through bad writing, one could only expect the film to be just as bad resulting in just a dirty old porno on the big screen. With this in mind, a lot of those who thought that have come out disappointed, but those looking beyond that point of dirt and explicitly, you’ll actually find a really good film.
Based on a Twilight fan fiction, Fifty Shades of Grey introduces you to Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a literature student, who conveniently happens to be a virgin, who’s life is changed when she meets billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) who essentially has a dirty little secret.
Bella and Edward’s Twilight stench is written all over Christian and Ana. It’s very familiar, sometimes a little too familiar but this is mostly at the beginning of the film where they meet and can’t keep their eyes off of each other. But even certain scenarios that happen are too similar to Twilight such as her friend José who seems like the Jacob Black kind of character, Ana being saved by Christian from getting hit by a car, and the plain fact that he can’t help but to be around Ana, quite like how Edward couldn’t stay away from Bella. Given the circumstances, Edward’s reasons seemed a bit more legit than Christian’s but you just have to deal with it. Christian is very straight forward like Edward, he doesn’t really say much and has the same sort of painful facial expression. He’s also adopted. Ana is the vulnerable girl who is in love but is very inquisitive and wants to be with this man of mystery. So essentially this whole story is a more grown up version of Twilight.

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After getting all of that out of the way and really stripping the film down, Johnson’s Ana is a very a strong female lead. Entertainment wise, she has a repertoire of great one liners and comebacks which will make you giggle in agreement. Ana does display some control, even though she becomes his “submissive”. Her projections of vulnerability and solid resistance is very compelling and done so well. She doesn’t give in too easily nor straight away and builds her own compromises with Christians requests. He may be the “Dominant” but it’s to her terms. You really get to see this through one of the best scenes in the film where she has a “meeting” with Mr Grey to discuss the contract to their relationship and to object to certain activities. The on screen chemistry is just simply perfect there. She’s also the character for the audience, seeing Christian and the whole romance/relationship through her eyes, ultimately probing about his past and why he is the way he is. We want to know as much as she does. She also demonstrates how powerful the word “no” can be.

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Dornan’s Christian as mentioned before is very inexpressive, quite cold and very straight forward, but given the circumstances, it’s acceptable. It’s when he begins to open up to Ana in ways he specifically explains in the beginning that he doesn’t engage in, his character starts to break in and this is done in a very subtle way, giving the film a bit of a balance. The awkward attempt of calling Ana “baby” is definitely one of Dornan’s high points and it’s Ana’s inquisitive nature and ability to rebel is what attracts Christian, not just her submission. What really gets to you is his eyes. That’s the main point of contact, communication and wonder, through Dornan’s eyes.

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Easing into the film’s main point of focus, the sexual boundaries of pain and pleasure, it’s actually not as bad and explicit as expected. It takes about a good 30 – 40 minutes into the film before anything actually happens and it’s not a lot either. It’s done in a very tasteful and erotic way building the intensity without the need for a bunch of full frontals and weird pornographic angles and moans. Although the shots mostly focus on Johnson, Dornan’s dominance was dominant enough to keep the audience engaged with his actions rather than the camera straying down south. These principles also applied to the infamous Red Room of Pain.
To top it all off, the costume designs worked so well for each character especially Christian Grey and we’re graced with a really seductive yet awesome soundtrack featuring The Rolling Stones, Ellie Goulding, Beyoncé, Awolnation, Annie Lennox, Danny Elfman and much more. It’s such a pleasing soundtrack to listen to and really suits the film.
All in all, it was better than expected, cleaner than expected and more enjoyable than expected. Slick, tasteful, witty and seductive, Twi-hards eat your heart out.

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The Oscar 2015 Nominations Are In!

 

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This year’s Oscar nominations were announced earlier today by the Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, actor Chris Pine and directors JJ Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron in a 2 part broadcast for the first time ever, revealing the nominations in all 24 categories. Leading the noms are Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel which both have 9 nods whilst the Brits have been nominated in the major categories.

The Hollywood ceremony will be held on Sunday 22nd February. Here are your nominees…

 

Best Picture:

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

 

Best Actor:

Steve Carell,  Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton, Birdman

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

 

Best Actress:

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon, Wild

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Robert Duvall, The Judge

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

Edward Norton, Birdman

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

JK Simmons, Whiplash

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

Laura Dern, Wild

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

Emma Stone, Birdman

Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

 

Best Cinematography:

Birdman

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ida

Mr Turner

Unbroken

 

Best Director:

Alejandro G Inarritu, Birdman

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

American Sniper

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

 

Best Original Screenplay:

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Nightcrawler

 

Best Animated Feature Film:

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

 

For the full lineup of nominations click here

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.

TESTAMENT 2

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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