Tuesday, 16 January 2018

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI - podcast review out now


Martin McDonagh returns with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a film that weaves themes of rape, racism and police brutality into a surprising funny flick, if darkly so. Starring Frances McDormand as a mother who loss her daughter under horrendous circumstances seven months previous, she decides the best way to get the police's and public's attention back on the case is by installing three billboards accusing the police of not caring about the case. This, of course, gets the community riled up. With a brilliant script and excellent characterisation, Three Billboards is a enjoyable movie about dark themes that doesn't attempt to emotionally manipulate.

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Monday, 15 January 2018

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI - podcast review out tomorrow


DVD Roundup: "I'll feast on your flesh as I feed on your fear" edition


Who'd of thought that one of the most successful films of last year would be a horror film? Well, its hardly surprising when its a Stephen King adaptation, and its one of his most popular books, and the film rides that popularist wave of nostalgia. While not the scariest film, and with maybe just a little bit too much 80s head-nods, It is still breath of fresh air within the horror cannon, and quite possibly the biggest highlight of last summer. Listen to our podcast review in the podcast review.



There's something so tiring about even reading the synopsis of American Assassin. Its such a standard formula of young buck taken under the wing of an older man, who have to save the world from terrorists. Just, eh... I'm sure its fine, it just sounds so boring.







Last years The Witch, A Ghost Story is one of those films that makes it look like a horror film, but its really not. Maybe eerie, maybe a bit freaky, but not scary in the way that It is trying to be scary. Following a couple who go through a terrible loss, the film has divided audiences, but there is an intriguing aspect to the film involving the omnipotent awesomeness of the universe, that still keeps me interested.





A satire looking into Zambian witchcraft, I Am Not a Witch focuses on an 8 year girl convicted of witchcraft and sent away to a desert camp. With hints of tragicomedy, magical realism and with the same cinematographer that worked on Embrace of the Serpent, I Am Not a Witch looks to be a fascinating watch.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

THE LEIGH SPENCE MOMENT: THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER


57. “Belief in yourself is what you lack. Attack, attack, and never look back.”

14/01/2018

Space at home is scarce, but if I am ever in the position to have a coffee table, two of the three coffee table books I would have, if that really is a genre, are the two song writing books by Stephen Sondheim, “Look, I Made a Hat,” and “Finishing the Hat.” The third would be “The Animator’s Survival Kit” by the Canadian-British animator Richard Williams, credited on the book for directing the animation for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” for which he won a special Academy Award, something only given out three times since 1989.

Without Williams, the suspension of disbelief required for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” simply would not have worked. Production on the file was moved from Los Angeles to London to accommodate Williams and his animators, still drawing by hand, combining Disney, Warner Bros., MGM and other characters in a way that seemed possible at that single moment, and would never work again – that Williams pulled it off at all is a miracle.

However, Williams’s magnum opus as an animator was never meant to have been a production made for someone else, or other productions like “Ziggy’s Gift,” “Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure” or the countless TV advertisements made by his company. Just like Orson Welles taking acting and voiceover jobs to make his films, Williams was using his money to produce a feature film of his own, inspired by the tales of Mullah Nasruddin.


“The Thief and the Cobbler,” variously titled “Nasrudin,” “Tin Tack,” “The Majestic Fool” and “Once…” during its near thirty-year gestation period, features, well, a thief, a cobbler (named “Tack”), a sultan, a princess, and a villain voiced by Vincent Price, Zigzag the Grand Vizier. The story is inconsequential, but one person wants to gain power, and the other person wins because of their inherent goodness. Anthony Quayle, Donald Pleasence, Kenneth Williams and Stanley Baxter also provided voices, but Tack and the thief say nothing, their reactions driving the plot like they were Charlie Chaplin and Jacques Tati. If anything, the characters and story exist to serve the gorgeous animation, both intricate and two-dimensional, inspired by Persian miniature paintings, while featuring hand-drawn geometric designs now routinely handed to computer programs to complete.

Sadly, “The Thief and the Cobbler,” again like some Orson Welles films, remains unfinished… well, it was finished, but not by Williams. The leverage of producing “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” led to a deal with Warner Bros. to complete the film, but what Williams had been producing at his own pace, rewriting and redrawing scenes as he wanted, now had other people depending upon it, and a deadline of 1991 to meet, leading to Williams being kicked off his pet project. For someone who insisted on animating every frame of the finished film – animation is usually produced “on twos” instead, to save time and money – the result was unfortunately inevitable.


With a completion bond being signed by Warner Bros. to ensure they had a finished film, and with the guarantors employing TV animation producer Fred Calvert to supervise production, Warner Bros. ultimately abandoned the film when they saw what was made, which was fifteen minutes short of a completed film. The guarantors replaced Williams with Calvert, to complete the film as quickly and cheaply as possible – the results were only released in South Africa and Australia as “The Princess and the Cobbler,” but was recut and released by Miramax – hmmm - as a “[Disney’s] Aladdin” rip-off titled “Arabian Knight,” with the originally silent Tack and thief now voiced by wise-cracking Matthew Broderick and Jonathan Winters. Remembering that this all began in 1964, “The Thief and the Cobbler” was finally seen in the UK, where it was made, when a DVD was released in 2012.

This film has been endlessly discussed, and a bootleg of Williams’ workprint is as responsible for preserving the film’s reputation as much as that of “Blade Runner,” although we will not see a director’s cut here – the workprint is now held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is subtitled by Williams as “A Moment in Time.” While our view of film, for the last fifty years, has been based on the guiding light of the “auteur,” it can be argued that animation requires too many people for this to be viable, unless you are on a very small scale, like Bill Plympton, or you afforded yourself an extraordinary amount of time – it does not appear to be possible any other way.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Pottersville (2017) Review

As I barely cling to life I decided to see what new flicks Netflix has to offer. Pottersville caught my eye because of it's awesome cast, boasting Michael Shannon, Ron Perlman, Judy Greer and the awesome Ian McShane.

The film follows Michael Shannon's character Maynard, a good hearted shop owner, who decides to go home early one day to surprise his wife. He finds his wife in a compromising position with one of his long time friends, finding them both dressed up in animal costumes because they're furries. Maynard leaves confused and upset and heads back to his store while swigging on the old moon shine. He decides it will be a good idea to also do some dress up. One thing leads to another and the people of Pottersville think they have the legendary Bigfoot in their woods.
This film is a strange one, especially with the addition of the furries, which is a surprisingly big part of the story. The rest of the story is very simple, and it parodies other movie scenes, like Jaws and It's a Wonderful Life among other things. The actors are enjoyable for their roles and Michael Shannon is great as the likeable shop keep looking to do what he thinks is best. 

This was a fun film, it doesn't do anything new but it's enjoyable for what it is. Final Rating 5/10: it's an average film with a top cast. Does nothing wrong with it's story, but does nothing out side the box or original. 

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

THE VAULT - podcast review out now


We are easing ourselves in 2018 by chilling out and watching some Netflix (plus, we're both ill). The Vault, directed by Dan Bush, sees a city bank robbed by feuding sisters Francesca Eastwood and Taryn Manning. However, the bank has less then expected money. Cue James Franco, the banks assistant manager, who tells them the real money is in the vault in the basement, but the only problem is that the basement is haunted! A interesting premise, but how many horror cliche's should you include in your movie?

Apologies for the minor amount of coughing in this podcast. As I stated, we're both ill. 

You can download this episode directly here.

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