Autism: A Curious Case of the Human Mind (2016)

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Autism: A Curious Case of the Human Mind (2016) – documentary film review

Autism: A Curious Case of the Human Mind (I can’t keep writing that every time so from now I’ll refer to it as ‘Autism’) is an hour long, British independent film made by a team of film students for an incredible £370 budget (take note James Cameron). In fact, after release, the documentary actually raised more for autism charities than the amount that was put into the film. Standing ovation.

So it’s currently doing the film festival rounds and the next planned screening for Autism is at the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival on May 11th, where – excitingly – it’s nominated for Best Documentary Feature (I’ve got my fingers crossed). Let’s learn more.

In an attempt to learn more about his brother’s condition, Tom Griffiths sets out to speak to people who experience autism in their day to…

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The Dark Tapes (2017) – Indie Movie Review

NOTE: The following review of The Dark Tapes (2017) will remain spoiler free, avoiding important plot points or twists in order for you to experience the movie how I did.

The Dark Tapes is an independent horror/sci-fi experience that swept the film festival circuit during 2016, reaping 61 wins and/or nominations from it’s 30 festival appearances. It’s a film that audiences through a series of different ‘tapes’ depicting gruesome events that transpired throughout 2015/2016 – tied back to an experiment-gone-wrong that took place back in 2007. Got that?

When The Dark Tapes begins, it burns slowly. From the discovery of a camera, two individuals then stumble upon a bloody experiment-esque setting, that looks to have had dropped into chaos at the some point. The footage found on the discovered camera is checked by the two bewildered characters, therefore throwing us into what happened on each tape and offering a grim insight into the events that had unfolded. I will admit this, when the film first began I did begin to have some doubts sink in. The first tape focuses on an experiment – which is returned to throughout, acting as the spine of this anthology – and the dialogue between the two characters performing these experiments seemed very expositional. It was necessary to explain what the experiment would entail, they were recording their experiment so this exposition did fit how the characters would deliver it, however the abundance of “scientific” terminology and experiment details went on for a little too long, almost causing me to lose interest in the story before it had the chance to properly begin.

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The Dark Tapes (2017)

Apart from this minor issue as the film was gearing up, I can thankfully say that my interest was retained and I did not write The Dark Tapes off. The slow burner approach separately applies to the rest of the tapes that are shown throughout the film – however these are executed much better, building up a tense, edge of your seat atmosphere that you begin to choke on until it climaxes and you are subjected to whatever each tape has in store for you (often being pretty gruesome or chilling, to say the least). The dialogue in general flows naturally throughout, plaudits to the actors and their direction for this. The vast majority of the performances through The Dark Tapes are good, strong performances that work brilliantly with the cinematography decisions to really draw you into the world that’s being presented on screen, feeling very real – and therefore achieving a very creepy, unnerving atmosphere – in the process. The performances of Cortney Palm and David Rountree in the second tape in particular are ones that made me forget that I was watching a film instead of actual found footage.

One of The Dark Tapes most valuable assets is director/writer Michael McQuown’s use of silence. It serves as an effective tool to build up tension and suspense in scenes, one scene in particular had me watching through my hands in anticipation for a character’s potential demise. It’s not the loud bangs or sudden noises you hear that make you on edge – it’s the eerie silences that you find yourself forgetting to breathe to that really do it. It’s this crippling appliance of silence, coupled with the natural dialogue and cinematography, that really absorbs you into these different scenarios. Throughout the film there is plenty of practical effects which are greatly appreciated, the gruesome events that occur make you wince as you watch it – but the film doesn’t rely on only this aspect alone to serve its audiences appetite, making those moments count as particular flashes during its intertwining tale that crosses in and out of many horror sub-genres.

The crafting of scenes bring about an unsettling caution, curiosity and suspense which in turn chills you to the bone and leaves you with a heavy, sinking in the pit of your stomach. As events unfold you find yourself not being able to do anything but watch, even as the rest of your body shudders.

One thing that pulled me out of the film on occasion was the distortion effect used throughout. I understand that this aesthetic choice works for a found footage film, however the effect was overused – taking me out of the experience and allowing me to notice occasional attempts to mask cuts to different takes, etc. Some of the CGI used throughout the film looks the part however there would also be occasional moments where it doesn’t look so particularly good either. Unfortunately, the demon entities which appears throughout lost their scare factor (for me, personally) once I heard their dialogue – but don’t worry, there isn’t much.

Out of all the tapes, I would claim that “Cam Girls” was probably the weakest tape of the anthology, or at least the first half of it. The acting and dialogue during the first half of this tape did not hold up to its counterparts – but the practical effect work that draws my praises did partly come from this tape.Poster_Demon_small

Despite occasional blips, I really did find myself shaken by the first two thirds of The Dark Tapes. Unfortunately it is a film that drops slightly in it’s final third – the quality of the edit drops as the film desperately works to fit everything in and bring it round to a whole. It gradually became hindered by its own ambition because that’s what this film is at the end of the day, an ambitious piece of cinema. The Dark Tapes opted for an intelligent take on the found footage subgenre, trying to take it one step further. The flaws that this movie has are minor ones, little moments, but unfortunately are ones that build up and bring me out of the film and, in turn, water down it’s own sense of horror that it does such a good job of consistently building up. The ambition and vision behind The Dark Tapes is such an applaudable trait of the entire crew, however this sometimes also streams into making the overall story convoluted. This film might have proved to be more effective as a collection of short films rather than one whole piece. However I am confident that if you give these filmmakers, who are obviously very passionate fans of the horror genre, a slightly higher budget to iron out some issues that they’ve had to compromise with on special effects and editing, they are certainly capable of creating a twisted, suspenseful chiller of a horror movie. I look forward to seeing what comes of them next!

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I recommend giving The Dark Tapes a viewing at least once, you may just love it!

It is released on Video On-Demand platforms worldwide on April 18th, the film will also be available on Google Play, Vudu, ONDemand (Comcast- Xfinity, Time Warner, Cox, Bright House & more), Dish TV, Amazon, Vubiquity (Verizon Fios, Charter, Sudden Link, Media Com & more), Xbox, Playstation, Sling TV & Vimeo.

You can purchase The Dark Tapes on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-dark-tapes/id1212096983

 

 

Ryan Gosling’s Top 5 Acting Performances

It seems to be to almost no one’s surprise that Damien Chazelle’s La La Land has waltzed its way through this years awards season like a romantic, colourful, musical whirlwind. It swept up all 7 of the Golden Globes it was nominated for, collected another 5 honours at this years BAFTAs, and it seems to be on course to take over this year’s Academy Awards (garnering a joint-record 14 nominations). One of the main components of the modern-age musical’s success is the two performances of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, both  of whom have earned Oscar nominations as Sebastian and Mia respectively this year. It is the third motion picture that Gosling and Stone have collaborated on (the first being Crazy, Stupid, Love then followed by Gangster Squad), the success from each being evident through the chemistry they spark between each other on the screen.

In this article I am going to recommend my top 5 personal favourite Ryan Gosling performances to you to go and watch before you see La La Land, therefore excluding it from the list. However; if you have already seen it – which I’m guessing many have since it has already made almost $300m at the Box Office – please feel free to use this list as recommendations to further your experience of Mr Gosling on the big screen. It slightly disappoints me when I hear people label Ryan Gosling as an actor who can only seem to play himself, so I’ve tried to select a varying collection of his performances that hope to show the man’s acting range in better light.

5. Lars and the Real Girl (2007) – Craig Gillespie

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Our first performance on this list is in 2007’s Lars and the Real Girl. It is a tale of a shy young man named Lars (Ryan Gosling), who enters into a delusional mindset and falls in love with Bianca, a lifelike sex doll. The concept sounds silly, but Gosling manages to bring life to this inanimate character throughout the film. Acting opposite nobody Bianca in scenes where no magic should spark, he manages to evoke emotions from himself, the lifeless face of his partner and most importantly, the viewer. Lars and the Real Girl is a very heartwarming story that manages to showcase Gosling as much more than your traditional love interest.

You can watch the trailer here.

4. A Place Beyond the Pines (2012) – dir. Derek Cianfrance

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Ryan Gosling stars opposite his now-wife, Eva Mendes, in A Place Beyond the Pines.

 

A Place Beyond the Pines tells the story of three generations and sheds light on how people can be driven to a life of crime for different reasons. In this film Ryan Gosling portrays Luke Glanton, a motorcyclist who travels with a touring carnival. After he finds out that his former lover has recently given birth to his son, Luke takes to using his riding ability in order to rob a series of banks to try and provide for his new family and be there for his child – unlike his own father.

You can watch the trailer here.

3. Drive (2011) – dir. Nicolas Winding Refn

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The story of Drive focuses around a Hollywood stunt driver who uses his talents to moonlight as a getaway driver for hire. However, he begins to fall for Irene, the girl next door – played by Carey Mulligan. In an effort to help her and her son out, the scorpion decorated wheelman is dragged into something bigger as a heist goes disastrously wrong and he is forced to try and protect them both from a local mob boss.

Gosling’s first collaboration with director Nicolas Winding Refn proved itself worthy after it gained both critical and audience praise, not to mention a cult-following on top of that in the process. Surprisingly, the film was largely snubbed at the bigger award ceremonies off the festival circuit, only attaining one Oscar nomination (Best Sound Editing). This ultra-stylish, neo-noir tale shows Gosling at his most brutal, showcased through some terrific ultra-violence. It also shows his acting ability behind a character who thinks a lot more than he cares to speak or feel. This is not Ryan Gosling playing Ryan Gosling, this is Ryan Gosling encapsulating the mysterious figure of The Driver.

You can watch the trailer here.

2. The Nice Guys (2016) – dir. Shane Black

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Set in 197os Los Angeles, The Nice Guys is an original action-comedy neo-noir about two not-so-perfect Private Investigators who are searching for a young girl named Olivia and a missing adult film star named Misty Mountains. This is the film that officially cements Ryan Gosling as a genuine comic actor. His natural charisma, comedic timing and impressive physical comedy is brilliantly used in this crime caper to full effect. The comedy is heightened even further by the chemistry between him and fellow cast members Russell Crowe and the very impressive Angourie Rice.

The Nice Guys was terribly underappreciated last year, only just making back its money at the Box Office. Film fans complain about the lack of originality in the cinemas these days, then when something original shows up it is pushed aside by the latest blockbuster – a source of immense irritation to me. To put things into perspective, The Nice Guys was topped at the Box Office by The Angry Birds Movie. Am I confident of a sequel? No. Am I hopeful of a sequel? Yes, very hopeful as Holland March and Jackson Healy have proved to be quite the comedic gold together. We can only hope.

You can watch the trailer here.

1. Blue Valentine (2010) – dir. Derek Cianfrancebv_russo1_01

Blue Valentine… oh boy, where do I begin? If you had doubt about Ryan Gosling’s acting chops, look no further. The story follows two intercutting time periods, one depicting how a young Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) fell in love with each other, with the other based six years later showing the two trying to hold onto and desperately salvage their failing marriage.

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“One make-up look in particular is very reminiscent of De Niro in Raging Bull”

This film shows Ryan Gosling at his very best, although he did not receive an Oscar nomination for this performance. He embodies the role of Dean through a powerful set of emotions and make-up (one make-up look in particular very reminiscent of De Niro in Raging Bull). To prepare for this role, Gosling lived in the house they filmed in with Michelle Williams for a month along with the young actress who plays their daughter. During this time the group recreated and filmed hundreds of hours’ worth of home videos and memories such as birthdays and Christmas’ etc in order to develop a true family bond before filming. Michelle Williams received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in Blue Valentine, and both of these two talents return as nominees this year – Gosling for La La Land and Williams for the Boston-drama Manchester by the Sea.

You can watch the trailer here.

Agree with my list? Leave a comment and let me know what your favourite performances are from Ryan Gosling, and let me know your thoughts on his performance in this year’s La La Land. All reading and sharing of this article helps me out so if you decide to do so, thank you very much.

Finding Dory – TEG Movie Reviews

{Warning; This review may contain spoilers to Finding Dory}

This week there was a theatre full of children with their parents/grandparents ready to watch Finding Dory, the long awaited follow up to Pixar’s 2003 classic Finding Nemo… and then there was me and my girlfriend, two young adults sticking out like a sore thumb for some reason? We didn’t care. Now to be honest, I was rather surprised that us two seemed to be the only ones there from our age demographic because after all, who doesn’t love a good ol’ nostalgia trip back to the simpler times of our childhood?

Before I begin reviewing Finding Dory I would like to take a moment to acknowledge Pixar’s short film that was shown beforehand: “Piper”.

“Piper” is a story that follows a little sandpiper bird’s journey into independence and self efficiency from childhood – concentrating on the bridge between leaving the care of your parents to go out on your own two feet and survive, a story that is very relatable to me and many others who are about to leave home for University or the work world. We are blessed with an absolutely gorgeous animation style as the story teaches us all about the importance of independence, not being afraid to fail and try again on your own, even though the love and support of your family will always be near by. It’s cute, it’s heartwarming and set you up ready for the main film ahead. Kudos to that animation team!

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Piper is a gorgeous short film that quickly teaches it’s audience a heartwarming life lesson.

Now to the main event, did Finding Dory live up to expectation or is it a stain on a classic from an entire generation’s childhood? I can happily say it is not the latter.

Now Pixar have always had a pretty good track record for films (let’s ignore Cars 2) and have always set the standard when it comes to animation. Nothing changes in Finding Dory as the animation is beautiful, clean and really uses a set of good, varied colour palettes to really absorb you into these different environments, despite most of it being set underwater.

Despite being released 13 years after Finding Nemo, the film is actually set just one year after the events of the first film and pursues Dory’s backstory and her journey to rediscover the family she lost years earlier. It goes after your heartstrings straight from the get-go and continues to constantly pursue a tear or two throughout, but Pixar manage to do this whilst also keeping the film consistently funny and that’s the beauty of their films. They juggle your emotions so your laughter can be halted by a loss that makes you cry before the characters on screen share a moment that can warm your heart for a lifetime. It’s a rare thing…

I was pleasantly surprised by the new characters introduced onto this new adventure – including some such as; Hank, an Octopus who lost one of his arms to a child years before (so is now a Septopus), Destiny, a near sighted whale shark who taught Dory how to speak whale (legendary for that trait alone) and Bailey, a melodramatic beluga whale who is convinced his biological echolocation skills just don’t work.

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Ty Burrell’s Bailey proved to be a welcome addition to the Pixar universe.

All the characters add their own chemistry, personalities and comedy to the story and I found myself especially laughing at Ty Burrell’s Bailey into the final act of the film. As well as their likable traits, it’s these characters weaknesses and fears that also add to you warming towards them. Pixar doesn’t shy away from deeper topics, from Dory’s short term memory loss to how they touch upon the fact that Hank suffers from PTSD after his clash with a child years earlier, which is a rather surprising element to include in a children’s film.

One thing that a lot scriptwriters do that can ruin a film is always writing the characters an easy way around a conflict, never have them face any significant challenges and therefore make the story a lot less entertaining for the audience. The writers for Finding Dory were not afraid to challenge it’s characters, every single time you think something is finally going to go their way something almost directly opposite happens and as a result, the story kept me pretty interested throughout it’s entirety.

Although I do tip my hat at its writers for not being scared to challenge our favourite animated fish, this also contributed to one of my few criticisms of the movie. Whilst adventurous like it’s predecessor, Finding Dory’s ever evolving adventure sometimes got to a point where I felt pulled out of the story and didn’t care as much as I did during Finding Nemo. Now, I do understand that this is a Pixar film about talking fish, it’s allowed to “out there” obviously however Finding Nemo managed to be this great, daunting adventure across the deep blue whilst feeling kind of grounded and it made you worry a little bit more about it’s characters. I personally felt that this film lost a little bit of that magic and it became so “out there” that I got drawn out of the story and knew that the characters would turn out okay.

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Both baby Dory and her older self (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) won everyone’s hearts.

The story of how Dory lost her family and came across Marlin and Nemo is told through a series of flashbacks. I don’t personally mind flashbacks in stories however I did begin to feel a bit tired of the amount of flashbacks Dory was getting throughout the film, especially during the final half of the film when the main story is focused on the here and now. They could’ve worked to fit more information into less, as they did begin to take away from the film by the end. My last slight complaint with this film was the jokes about Dory’s short term memory loss, I just found there to be an occasional  oversaturation of unfunny memory jokes at times throughout, however it may be argued that the irritating feeling was intentional by the filmmaker as that was what the characters interacting with Dory were feeling about her condition.

Overall, Finding Dory was a genuinely fun film to watch. It did a good job at not staining its beloved predecessor, appeals to a massive age demographic and sends out strong and positive messages about family and self acceptance. Judging on my girlfriend’s reaction to the majority of the film too, I think it’s safe to say that baby Dory more than qualifies as “cute”. I’m rating Finding Dory:

7.5 out of 10!

Go support the film by going to see it in the cinema and casting your own decisions on it. If you’ve already seen it, what did you think? Let me know.

Thomas E. Griffiths

The Shallows – (Spoiler Free) TEG Movie Reviews

 

Today I went to watch Blake Lively in The Shallows, a film that has managed to make more than five times its $17 million production budget at the box office, and is still viciously on the rise. Now, I don’t normally have good experiences with “shark films” because most of the films we encounter today focusing around the sealife predators tend to be disastrous B-movies that are just looking to make a quick buck with very little craft or effort put in, however I’m happy to say that The Shallows is NOT one of them movies.

I will be quick to stress that The Shallows is also not Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster Jaws either, the competition that every single shark film will undeniably face, but it is good watch and here’s why…

Director Jaume Collet-Serra makes great use of the scenery of Australia’s Lord Howe Island with stunning shots of the beach, surfing and long, brooding drone shots over the (not so) deep blue where the shark lurks beneath – the film has a style to it that doesn’t fight to be seen but can be subtly felt enough so you appreciate it. Matching the scenic beauty is the story’s leading lady Blake Lively, whose performance in this really shows off her acting chops. I will admit that I was caught off guard here slightly because I don’t think I have watched any of her previous work, but I know I will surely keep an eye out for her future projects after this. When you have a film that is set in basically one singular location for the entire film, you really need strong performances to keep the audience entertained and the Shallows can be thankful to Blake Lively for delivering that.

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Blake Lively proves to have what it takes to carry a feature length isolated film on her own.

It was nice to see a protagonist these days (like Indiana Jones back in the original trilogy of films) actually suffering injuries and having to overcome difficult obstacles throughout a film as they come along instead of being able to just achieve anything they conveniently need to do so, and with this I felt that there was good creative ideas implemented into quite a lot of stand offs with the Great White too. Lively’s Nancy Adams shows brains, matched with courage, throughout and it’s a good job she does too because the slightest slip up can prove to be the end for her. Her injuries made me wince from time-to-time and these injuries, that can prove to be incapacitating at times, are what made me care about how her story ends against the predators circling her, and a befriended seagull with a broken wing, on the rocks.

When stand offs with the shark occur, after she’s developed one of many different plans, the tension builds and works very strongly throughout the second act. It builds well but doesn’t seem to rely on it’s soundtrack to do so, but silence instead. You gather the human vs nature aspect that the film explores and begin to feel a few more steps down from the top of the food chain us humans are used to.

Although I enjoyed this film it doesn’t come without it’s flaws of course…

We pick up bits and pieces as to what has sent Nancy to where she is through photographs, text messages and facetime calls to her phone throughout the first act of the film. I personally felt that this was a slightly lazy way to set up her back story and overall made me not feel for any of her connection to her family, I also felt no connection to her family as we had not seen her with them before the films events took place. If they were searching for extra running time, that would have been a good place to find it. I did care for Nancy, but it was because she was a fighter and also proved to be the underdog in the situation – not because of some paper thin backstory that had no real emotional weight behind it. Her father’s performance was also painful to watch and completely sucked me out of the film for the brief moments he was on facetime chat to Nancy. large_6vuxwCfBejPfUjMxrPgk0ANmVFq

You could feel that they were struggling to extend the running time of the already 86 minutes film during the first act as it seemed to drag harshly, however once we make it into act 2 everything picks up pace and it becomes more about her battle for survival against nature and less about her family, thank god.

Despite the fairly expositional first act, the only other problem that bugged me with The Shallows is how towards the final quarter of the film, the menacing shark loses it’s sense of realism drastically and ultimately becomes not that intimidating. It may have been the fact we saw to much of the beast? Maybe it was the CGI? I can’t quite put my finger on it but the tension and fear felt throughout the second act diminishes (to an extent) at the part with it should have been at it’s most intense.

Overall, I really found myself enjoying The Shallows. It has a great leading lady in Blake Lively and I became genuinely invested in how outcome throughout the film due to how much danger she is presented with. It holds a few pacing issues and lacks that main emotional drive behind the character back home, however the story is focused on Nancy and her survival in the situation at the beach so it doesn’t take away from the film too much. I’m rating The Shallows:

7 out of 10!

Go support the film by going to see it in the cinema and casting your own decisions on it. If you’ve already seen it, what did you think? Let me know.

Thomas E. Griffiths

 

 

A Valuable Lesson We Can Learn From Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was undeniably the one of, if not the most, exhilarating and entertaining pop stars of the 20th century. He was an entertainer who amazed audiences everywhere with his dance and music – talent that transcended all race, gender, age and religion. One who used his astounding fame and fortune to help make the world a better place, donating over $300 million to charities during his lifetime.  He was always one who constantly strived for greatness and to take his craft to the next level, cementing himself in pop culture history along the way.

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Michael Jackson – The King of Pop has a seemingly endless amount of influence on today’s popular culture.

How did Michael Jackson break away from his peers to become the star that shines brighter than everyone else? Whose work has managed to stand the test of time, continue to make and break records whilst also still recruiting generation after generation of admirers? He had a tactic to develop his craft, one that has proven to work time and time again.

“Believe in yourself. Study the greats and become greater” – Michael Jackson

Study the greats and become greater. James Brown, Fred Astaire, Charlie Chaplin, Sammy Davis Jr… these are just some of history’s greatest performers of whom Michael Jackson studied over and over since he was a child. He would learn their craft, absorb as much information about their passion and craft as he could and then use that information to shape his own talents into something truly unique. MJ indulged in all sorts of creative endeavours – film, art, music, poetry, dance, fashion… whilst he would study these he managed to develop himself, his performance, his art.. into his own style, one that has influenced countless generations after him.

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Beyonce at 2016’s Super Bowl: modeling an outfit echoing MJ’s 1993 Super Bowl outfit.

If you blatantly copy somebody, that isn’t impressive, that’s stealing. However if you take influences from multiple sources and create your own thing, like Jackson did… that’s art. The magical footwork, the stage presence, the music… MJ took all of this in bites from the artists before him and moulded them into his own work. He ended up with his own style of dance that captivated the world, he created his own signature fashion that still echoes today in outfits worn by some of the world’s biggest pop stars. Michael Jackson would simply look at what came before him, take out the bad parts, absorb the good parts and on top of that say to himself “now how can I go one step further than they did and make it even better?”.

You can see this approach taken by many content creators today. Michael Jackson is one of the greats that this generation will be studying, along with the generations after us. Content creators will learn from his hits and misses and try to use it to develop their own craft and careers. If we are lucky enough to receive somebody else who is even HALF as good at absorbing the craft of those before them, turning the technique and passion something individual whilst managing to retain what made it great to begin with… we have a lot to look forward too.

RIP Michael Jackson. Long live the king.

 

My Top 5 Most Anticipated Films For The Rest Of 2016

We are now almost three-quarters of the way through 2016! However even though we’ve already had our fair share of good films (and unfortunately the bad too), we still have plenty to look forward too this year! I’ve taken the liberty to list the five films coming out in cinemas in the final quarter of 2016 that I’m personally most looking forward – maybe some of my choices will peak your interest? Let’s see.

5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Directed by Gareth Edwards – In Theatres: December 16th (UK)

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Rogue One will be the first of the Star Wars Anthology films.

Disney’s first Star Wars Anthology movie will be focusing shortly before George Lucas’ beloved 1977 sci-fi epic, covering our the Rebel alliance managed to retrieve the plans for the Galactic Empire’s new superweapon.

As a Star Wars fan, naturally I am going to be excited for this film. Along with amazing looking sets and costumes, Gareth Edwards’ second studio outing is looking to bring us a new insight into the Star Wars universe, actually making a Star Wars film feel like a war movie. The official trailer that was recently released (you can watch it here) has ignited the hype that Disney was hoping for and I believe it will be more than enough to satisfy our Star Wars cravings until next year’s Star Wars Episode VIII!

4. The Accountant

Directed by Gavin O’Connor – In Theatres: November 4th (UK)

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The Accountant is a film that had largely gone underneath my radar until recently and when I had finally seen it’s two trailers (you can see the most recent one here)… I was impressed with what I saw. Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman won the majority of audiences this year despite Batman vs Superman not quite doing so, and he looks to be moving on with another impressive performance in this film. He’ll be acting alongside Jon Bernthal and Anna Kendrick, and after seeing Bernthal’s exquisite portrayal of The Punisher in Netflix’s Daredevil series – the hype grows larger.

Affleck’s character, Christian Wolff, is a mathematical savant who accounts finances for the world’s largest and most dangerous criminals in a secret life. Things such as when we see/hear how his senses react differently to the world when Anna Kendrick is asking him a question and Affleck’s line “I have difficulty socialising with other people, even though I want to”, seem to suggest Affleck’s character may have Asperger’s syndrome, a condition upon the autistic spectrum. This is also suggested with other things in the first trailer such as his doctor discussing his obsessive personality and how he has a small picture list of different emotions underneath the mirror – in order to help him develop a better understanding of reading people’s emotions.

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You can watch The Accountant’s first trailer here

I look forward to seeing this film along with seeing them apply such a complex condition as Asperger’s syndrome to its protagonist.

3. Hacksaw Ridge

Directed by Mel Gibson – In Theatres: November

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I talk in more depth about Andrew Garfield a little later on in this article, I’m really pleased with the choices he’s made with his career since the ill-fated Amazing Spider-Man movies. The trailer for this film looks great, it completely caught me off guard when I came across it the other week and I’m confident I may be heading to see this in the cinema come November.

2. Free Fire

Directed by Ben Wheatley – In Theatres: 2016 (date unconfirmed)

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Boston, 1978. A meeting between two gangs in a deserted warehouse descends into a shootout and a game of survival. When I seen Cillian Murphy and Brie Larson on the cast for Ben Wheatley’s next cinematic endeavour I was definitely interested – then I also noticed that Martin Scorsese was an executive producer on the project and I was sold.

This film is on the list – however it’s on here out of faint hope. I haven’t seen a trailer for Free Fire yet, although it is due to be released later this year. Ben Wheatley is steadily making his way up the directing ladder, not to mention that Murphy and Larson definitely have the acting chops to make this film something special – I also love Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in the BBC’s 1920s Crime series Peaky Blinders. 

1. Silence

Directed by Martin Scorsese – In Theatres: November or December

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A passion project of his, Martin Scorsese has been trying to adapt Silence to the big screen since 1991. A story of two Jesuit priests travelling through 17th Century Japan facing violence and persecution as they search for their mentor.

This is my most anticipated film for the closing months of 2016 as it will be my first time seeing a Martin Scorsese film in the cinema (I just missed out on being old enough to see The Wolf of Wall Street, damn it). With a cast including Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, it’s set to be a refreshing outing for Scorsese. I obviously don’t need to be selling Liam Neeson, whose acting credits speak for themselves. But Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, who has recently shot to a new level of fame due to his role in the new Star Wars trilogy, are exciting prospects under Scorsese. Andrew Garfield looks to be distancing himself from his brief spell as Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man and really becoming a considerable name for more serious roles. He was good in last year’s 99 Homes with Michael Shannon and also looks promising in the recently released trailer for Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. I look forward to seeing what he can do under Scorsese’s direction.


Honourable Mentions

Here are some that failed to make my list but are worthy of a mention.

Imperium

Directed by Daniel Ragussis – In Theatres: September 16th (UK)

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A massive change of direction for Daniel Radcliffe and I really hopes it pays off for him. I never thought I’d be seeing him as an undercover neo-nazi anytime soon. Check out the trailer here.

Sully

Directed by Clint Eastwood – In Theatres: September 9th

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Although Clint Eastwood’s last few directorial efforts haven’t completely woo’d audiences (I personally enjoyed American Sniper, however I was horribly disappointed in Jersey Boys), I’m excited to see his latest: a film depicting the event of Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landing a plane in the New York’s Hudson River, and the resulting investigation seeking out to ruin him that followed. Tom Hanks will always have a place in my heart – not to mention how he’ll always have that immense acting talent of his too.

The Infiltrator

Directed by Brad Furman – In Theatres: September 16th (UK)

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I have a good habit of enjoying Crime-Drama’s about the cocaine-fuelled 1970/80s. Netflix’s Narcos is a great example of this. So when I read that Bryan Cranston was going to be leading the line against the Colombian drug cartel, along with kingpin Pablo Escobar, I was excited!

An actor who can jump between comedy and bone chilling serious roles, it’s nice to see Bryan Cranston finally getting more opportunity to lead on the big screen. I look forward to seeing him playing the other side of the legal coin as Federal Agent Robert Mazur in this, hopefully this isn’t another Black Mass and leaves me horribly disappointed… but I have faith in this one.

What do you think? Do you agree or am I missing some gems? Let me know!