Category Archives: Film & TV

Review The Incredibles 2 by Jonathan Evans

We are now in the renaissance of Superhero entertainment. Every blockbuster is a Superhero, on television, there’s plenty of choice of Superheroes from adult entertainment to kids animation. Many other toys and games as well, they are deeply embedded in our culture at this point. When the first Incredibles movie came out, it wasn’t amongst such heavy competition, when a Superhero movie came out in 2004 it had about one other Superhero movie to compete with as well as probably not another one coming out the year before or after that. Now, how does it distinguish itself from so many other movies of the same genre?

The movie picks up just about where the last one left, with some crazy supervillain, armed with a giant drill wreaking havoc on the city. The Incredibles launch into action, during the pursuit Superheros, are still illegal and the villain gets away, this doesn’t help their case. Fortunately, an enthusiastic fan of Superheroes is eager to bring them into the spotlight. He is Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) the head of a flashy technology company, he’s the face while his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) is the idea genius that relaxes behind the scenes.

When it comes to action sequences we need the same thing that’s required in a narrative arc. We need one character with a want and then a but so therefore and then a but again and so on and so forth until it is somehow resolved. Take for example our opening action scene where Mr. and Mrs. Incredible is chasing The Underminer. He has a huge drill and is sinking buildings and robbing a bank. They need to get inside so Mrs. Incredible turns into a trampoline for Mr. Incredible, but it goes underground making is difficult for him to hang on, he gets inside but then gets sucked into the large hose he’s using to suck up all the riches, therefore he must punch his way out of the vault and so on and so forth. Along with this, it must be shot clearly, usually with wide angle shots so we see all of the characters and get a sense of their surroundings, with a few extreme wide angle shots and close-ups so we gauge the bigger scenario and see the characters reaction so we emotionally connect with them. Being that this is animation the camera is allowed to smoothly move along with the characters in long, unbroken shots that would be nearly impossible in live action. Along with all of this, we have people with superpowers so its a case of utilizing their abilities for their situation or against eachother. Director Brad Bird and his team are simultaneously enthusiastic kids playing with their toys and sophisticated storytellers, efficiently utilizing and visualing the different elements at play.

The Parr family is still just the same as they were, only with a new situation to deal with. Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson) is eager to get back into crime-fighting but is detoured so now must deal with the struggle of raising his family, Mrs. Incredible/Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) is ever concerned for the family but also has a passion for crimefighting and makes the decision to commit to that and trust Bob. Violet (Sarah Vowell), the adolescent with the power to turn invisible and create forcefields, she the constantly questioning her parent’s decisions as well as going through her own personal troubles, she is also my favorite. Dash (Huck Milner, replacing Spencer Fox from the first movie) is the young energetic kid that acts on impulse, add superspeed to the mix and it’s a perfect analogy. Finally, there’s little baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) who in fact has multiple powers, from laser eyes, to teleport, to turning into a literal little devil.

Causing trouble this time is an entity that calls themselves the Screensaver. A plotter that wears a gas mask like mask and takes control over people through the screen using a hypnotic strobe effect. They believe the people have become lazy in this age of television and convenience, so they plan to flat out enslave them anyway. Like with Syndrome in the last movie it seems if you choose to don black and white for your costume, you are the villain.

Later in the movie, more Superheroes are introduced. The Incredibles costumes are mostly red with a sleek, minimal design to them to other heroes all have a unique silhouette and color scheme to their costume so they become instantly recognizable even if you squint your eyes. This is a sign of the clear visual storytelling that animation can allow. But it is peppered nicely with a few scenes that have a majority of the shot in black, adding a threatening nature to the mood and only allowing the bare essential information to be absorbed.

The heart of the first movie is still the heart in this one, family. The Superhero genre is about taking a common emotional problem and greatly escalating it through powers and extravagant situations. The Parr family is a like any other, they drive each other crazy, support one another and when an obstacle come they do what they can to hurdle it, like any family drama, they just have the added spice of powers and villains.

In this time of many other superheroes, the original Incredibles still stands as a slick, punchy action adventure movie with a lot of heart and maturity. But through its unique visual style and interpretation of the Superhero genre is unique among its peers, the sequel is exactly the same.

(4 / 5)

Boa Review 

The opening short revolves around food and the emotional connection we develop with it. It is allegorical and has beautiful texturing with the many different types of food is puts before us. You will most likely be hungry while watching it. Though I do believe the ending will have children more confused and asking questions that immediately understand.

(3 / 5)

Jonathan Evans

Review of “The Bookshop” by Roger Barrington

 

(4.5 / 5)

“The Bookshop” directed by Catalan feminist auteur Isabel Coixet, is a faithful adaptation of British writer Penelope Fitzgerald’s 1978 Booker Prize nominated novel.

Set in a small Suffolk coastal town in 1959, as with all Fitzgerald’s novels, it is drawn from her own experience, as she worked in a bookshop in that country for a time in the 1950’s.

The plot is about awfully nice Florence Green, (Emily Mortimer) as a widowed middle-aged woman who decides to open up a secondhand bookshop in fictionalised Hardborough and concerns her battle with the local bigwigs General and Mrs  Gamart who want to convert the property into an Arts Centre. Also encountering opposition due to small-town small mindedness and ignorant philistinism she garners support from recluse Edmund Brundish, (Bill Nighy) and 13-year old Christine, whom she employs as her assistant. Into the mix comes loquacious rakish BBC man Milo North who Christine perceptively recognises is not a nice man.

The tension arises out of the burgeoning friendship that develops between our heroine and Brundish in opposition to the Machiavellian ruthfulness of the appalling Gamarts.

Isabel Coixet is a multi-award winning Catalan director, who first came to my notice with the superb, “My Life without me”. (2003). She continues to make highly acclaimed film, “Elergy” (2008) and “Endless Night” (2015) and a dominant theme throughout her dozen or so other feature movies is that the central character is a woman who takes control of her life.

Emily Mortimer is ideally cast as Florence Green, the brave and pioneering but vulnerable woman who doesn’t look for confrontation, but will take it on if she has to.

 

Bill Nighy who plays her ally Edmund Brundish is in usual scene-stealing form. Has there been a British actor since Denholm Elliott ho constantly manages to achieve this? All the best scenes in the film feature him.

 

 

American Patricia Clarkson is a regular feature in Coixet’s films and this is their third collaboration. This underrated actress manages the clipped British accent nicely and subtly provides us with a nasty determined character who is determined to get her way within the small community she resides in, as she always does.

 

Thirteen-year old actress, (at the time of filming), Honor Kneafsey as bookshop assistant Christine provides a mature performance of the precocious but charming adolescent. A couple of years on, she is already a veteran of nineteen films and looks a rare talent, even though her middle class speaking voice seems a little out of sorts with Christine’s working class antecedents.

 

Coixet’s Suffolk doesn’t look authentic. In fact, exterior shots were filmed on location in Northern Ireland, whilst interior sets were in Spain.

However, this isn’t really a problem, as Suffolk isn’t key to the story. As I mentioned earlier, it is where author Penelope Fitzgerald resided for a time in the 1950’s whilst she worked in a secondhand bookshop. But the location could be anywhere, and not only in the UK, where closed communities exist.

“The Bookshop” is a story about courage and determination. We  learn late into the film that during WW1, Edmund was an aviator, so he is the ideal person to recognise Florence’s qualities. By contrast, General Gamart, (Reg Wilson) a veteran of the same conflict but who served in The Suffolk Regiment, comes across as the worst kind of army officer of this period, who stoops to levels of deceit to cowardly succumb to his wife’s demands.

This film is also about small town bigotry, in terms of it’s consolidated opposition to a person who doesn’t conform to their small minded way of thinking. If you are brought up in a small town or village, you may appreciate what I am writing.

The time setting of the book and film is significant. The last year of the 1950’s, a period when Britain was coming to grips with the austerity of and aftermath of  WW2, marks a time with the 1960’s, just around the corner,  a decade that transformed society. Also, Arts Centres, that sprung up after 1945, were becoming the trendy venues of the 1960’s and 1970’s, thereby marking a total contrast to the traditional British secondhand bookshop – an institution that in our era of online bookselling and e-books is slowly succumbing to its eventual inevitable demise.

It didn’t pass me by, that I was watching this film at Chapter, an arts centre in Cardiff. I pondered whether I had to give one thing up – secondhand bookshops or arts centres, which choice would I make, coming down in favour of the former. A difficult decision because i love both, but books have always featured strongly in my life. I have always lived in places where books take over the place. Even in the modest flat I live in now, I have upwards of two and a half thousand books. I will never be able to read all of them before I, (hopefully), gain admittance to that great library in the sky, but that doesn’t stop my sense of anticipation when I enter a secondhand bookshop to explore its contents. “You are never alone in a bookshop” is the closing line of this film, and if you feel as I do, then you will identify closely with this.

The satisfying climax works perfectly, but I don’t wish to give the game away by saying more here.

This film will divide the majority of viewers, into those who love it, and those who loathe it. The start is a little sluggish, but if you accept what it is trying to achieve on its own terms, then you will find this an utterly absorbing and memorable film.

Country: U.K., Spain, Germany

Language: English

Running time: 113 minutes

Certificate: PG

Continue reading Review of “The Bookshop” by Roger Barrington

Review Skyscraper by Jonathan Evans

(2 / 5)

 

Skyscraper knows that its concept is pretty darn impractical and plays it as big and overdramatic as it can. It goes for the swooping cinematography and punchy orchestral moments to heighten it.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, it’s premise is about a man named Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) inside a super high tech building, mercenaries invade said building, with his loved ones inside, forcing him to take down one bad guy at a time and navigate the building inside and out. Yes, it is like Die Hard. Though only in premise, the action set-pieces and other moments of the movie are different. Die Hard is the gritty grounded version of this scenario while Skyscraper is the bonkers, living cartoon.

But time for some more detail. Our first shot is looking up to the sky and seeing a crescent moon, we then move down to a house and then pull back to see it is surrounded by police cars, there is a hostage situation inside. They decide to send in the special forces, they surround the house, bust in and surround the husband that is about to murder his family, but he is holding his son! The leader Will Sawyer talks him down but he has a bomb strapped to him and detonates it. This kills the family and severely injures Will, only really causing the loss of half his left leg. The nurse that treats him is a woman named Sarah (Neve Campbell).

Ten years later Will and Sarah are married and have two children, they are now in Hong Kong for Will’s possible new job of being head of security for The Pearl. The tallest skyscraper ever built. It is a modern, vertical city that will become one of the great tourist attractions. If only the boss didnt make enemies who are now setting the building on fire and storing it with machine guns.

Being that this is Dwayne Johnson and in the opening, he survived taking a bomb just about to the face we don’t really feel to jeopardy in the situation. We know he’ll survive the movie and isn’t going to lose super bad. So this is a movie with only the illusion of stakes. All movies have the illusion of stakes but you understand my meaning.

Not much of the action is about gunfights less fighting and shootouts more like retrieving. Something needs to be turned off/on or there’s a race to get someplace. Dwayne Johnson is a big muscular man and he has punched out plenty of bad guys in his career and will probably go on to punch more. But for here, it is more about setting up the situation and navigating through it. I like this, it shows an action hero be more strategic and resourceful.

The lead is charismatic, he represents an amputee which is very uncommon so that deserves credit, the script implants things and pays them off later and there’s an appropriate amount of self-awareness to this crazed situation. But this is not a good movie, it’s just too dumb at times and there are not enough refreshing bits in between for an honest recommendation. But it could have been so much worse and less memorable so kudos for that!

Jonathan Evans

 

Review “The Young Karl Marx” at Chapter Cinema 1 by Roger Barrington

Directed by Raoul Peck August Diehl as Karl Marx Stefan Konarske as Friedrich Engels

 

 

 

 

 

(4 / 5)

 

This year marks the the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Karl Mark, and to mark it, Haitian director Raoul Peck has made a film to commemorate this auspicious event.

When many of us think of Marx, (and I count myself among them), we have some abstract idea of a granite type entity, largely due to his tomb at Highgate Cemetery or his enormous and unfinished Magnus Opus, “Das Kapital”. Unfinished because Marx believed that the subject matter was in a permanent state of evolution. This film introduces us to the human side of Marx.

We are introduced to Marx’s family – his wife Jenny von Westphalen, (Vicky Krieps),  who came from an aristocratic Prussian family, and gave everything up to be with Marx and support his political and philosophical agendas.

In contrast, Friedrich Engels was the son of a wealthy Manchester textile manufacturer, and witnessed the hardships of the workers at first hand. which he wrote about in “The Condition of the Working Class in England” (1845), a work that Marx greatly admired. Engels had a lifelong romantic relationship with Mary Burns, (  Hannah Steele), of which little is known, other than she probably introduced Engels to inside information about the suffering of the working class on which he wrote about.

The two couples juxtaposed represent a kind of counterbalance when you take into consideration their backgrounds. Marx and his family live in poverty, finding it difficult to stay in one country for a length of time due to his radical political ideas.

There is,unavoidably, quite a lot of political and philosophical dialogue in this film. The stunning opening scene which shows a group of peasants, anxiously gathering up dead wood from the forest ground, before being the recipients of a baton charged hussars patrol, leads to a voiceover on Marx’s ideas about class struggles. “To gather green wood, one must rip it violently from the living tree. Yet gathering dead wood removes nothing from the property. Only what is already separated is removed from the property. Despite this essential difference, you call both acts theft and punish them as such. Montesquieu names two kinds of corruption: One when the people do not observe the laws. The other when the laws corrupt them. You have erased the difference between theft and gathering. But you are wrong to believe it is in your interest. The people see the punishment, but not the crime. And, as they do not see a crime…when they are punished, you should fear them, for they will take revenge.”

Marx fiery personality shows him to be an inspiring orator but intellectual bully and in contrast to the more gentler Wilhelm Weitling, the tailor/political activist who as ultimately edged out of The League of the Just, the political Utopian organisation that reorganised into the Communist League under Marx and Emngel’s influence.

In a way, the film is a buddy movie between Marx and Engels. It shows that Marx couldn’t have advanced into the powerhouse he is today without Engel’s assistance – especially his financial help.

 

 

The period covered is relatively small, from 1843 to 1848, when Marx and Engels published what is believed by many to be the most influential literary work of the nineteenth century – “The Communist Manifesto”. It’s immortal first line, ” A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies”.

Karl Marx is vividly brought to life by German actor, August Diehl and his countryman Stefan Konarske portrays Engels as a quieter, more sensitive but equally determined brother in arms. Good support is provided by Luxembourg actress Vicky Krieps as Jenny and British actress Hannah Steele as Mary.

Director  Raoul Peck, working with a pan-European cast and crew, manages to make the film look more lavish than it should do, and the sincerity of the work is unquestionable. You can’t help to be inspired by the energy and commitment shown by these young radicals of a century and a half ago, and it made me wonder whether we will see their like again in the future. Everything today seems so anodyne and people are afraid to speak their minds either due to retribution or fear of political correctness. So nothing much changes and the beneficiaries of this maintenance of the status quo is the bourgeoisie that should remind us that the class struggle is still present and as vital now as it was during Marx and Engels time.

“The Young Karl Marx” is an earnest didactic film, that has enough human interest within it to make it accessible and enjoyable to many cinema-goers.

I shall finish off by quoting Wilhelm Weitling in a line taken directly from the film. “Critique devours everything that exists. And when nothing is left, it devours itself”. On that note, I had better end.

Country: France, Germany Gelgium

Language: German, French, English with English subtitles where needed.

Duration: 118 minutes

It plays at Chapter in Cardiff until 5th July.

https://www.chapter.org/young-karl-marx-ctba

Roger Barrington

 

 

 

Review “Jeune Femme” aka “Montparnasse Bienvenue” watched at Chapter Cinema 1 by Roger Barrington

Directed by Léonor Serraille Laetitia Dosch as Paula

 

 

 

 

 

(4.5 / 5)

 

Leonor Serraille’s terrific debut film, “Jeune Femme” also known as “Montparnasse Bienvenue” was shown at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Camera D’Or award for best first feature.

The titles is a little incongruous in either of its two version. At 31, Paula, the heroine of the story is hardly a young girl. Montparnasse Bienvenue is the name of one of the busiest Metro stations in the Paris underground where a number of lines converge. However, nothing of note in the film happens here.

Maybe “Jeune Girl” is a reflection of Paula’s sometimes immature actions. And Montparnasse Bienvenue(Montparnasse Welcome (you) can be considered ironic, because there is little in terms of cinematography that is particularly welcoming in this film. In fact, for a film made in Paris, the director manages to make it look like any other inner city, with its functionality and ugliness. This represents Paula’s impression of the French capital which she dislikes. “I think Paris is a city that doesn’t like people” .  Or possibly, “Montparnasse Bienvenue” with its confusing convergence of metro lines represents how complicated are everyday life is in the 21st century.

The film starts in a ferocious manner where we see Paula headbutting an apartment door in response to her requests for entry being disregarded.

Having injured her head, she attends hospital, and in a rare lengthy scene, we learn that she was trying to gain entry into her lover of ten year’s flat who has obviously wanted to end the relationship. Returning after this event to the flat she notices her ex-lover’s cat and decides to catnap it. Clutching this white furry ball to her chest, we witness Paula’s attempt to rebuild her life and the encounters she has along the way.

 

In a way, it is an anti-existential film. For Paula lives in the moment paying total disregard for consequences of her actions. Seeking a place to lay her head, (and the cat’s), she calls upon a friend who is prepared to put her up. However, the heavily pregnant friend makes a cutting remark about the cat, prompting Paula to ask whether she thinks she will make a fit mother. So, she and cat get promptly kicked out.

There is a very clever scene at Montparnasse Cemetery, where Paula finds an open tomb to shelter her cat from the rain. I don’t think it is a coincidence that at this cemetery you have buried John-Paul Sarte and his lover Simone de Beauvoir, probably the two greatest existentialists of the twentieth century. So living in the moment, she finds an open tomb a useful place to satisfy her needs at that time, whereas Sarte and de Beauvoir were useless remains – a remnant of the past.

She meets a girl who mistakes her for an old friend due to Paula’s heterochromia iridis – different coloured eyes. Excited by this, the girl takes her home to stay but Paula doesn’t think to tell her that in fact she wasn’t that friend, and this is only learned later on.

 

 

Looking for work, she takes on a job as a home help and childminder for a dance company director. At first, the little girl is serious and guarded, so with Paula being her inimitable self, it almost seems like role reversal. But gradually  the girl takes to Paula and they establish a relationship which appears to open up a new world for the strictly brought up child. Whether the reason is that the mother is jealous of Paula’s easygoing relationship with her daughter, or something else, she decides to look for a replacement.

Paula also takes a ship in a Knicker Bar section of a department store. It is only a temporary job, (but that isn’t going to phase Paula). and she takes to it well. She establishes a friendly relationship with an Afro French security guard for the mall whether the store is located. He is a steady guy who you think might act as a rudder for Paula’s spontaneous lifestyle.

Eventually we are introduced to Paula’s ex Joachim, (Grégoire Monsaingeon), who is a professor and intellectual, in contrast to Paula, who by her own admission states that she is not very clever. Joachim is older than Paula and it would seem that she may be attracted to older men due to her father being missing in her life. Joachim  now wants to get back together with Paula, and this desire is intensified when he learns that Paula is pregnant with his child. He comes across as being a supercilious and condescending man who comes close to sexually assaulting Paula when she turns down his advances.

Paula is estranged from her mother – we don’t know the reason other than her mother complains that she is always leaving. She literally pushes her away and when Paula breaks into her mother’s home, there is a poignant scene when she is clinging on to the banister with both arms and legs as her mother tries to push her out.  However, there does seem to be some acceptance after this on the part of the mother, but we don’t know how long this will last.

Along the way, the director provides some social comment. At the knicker bar where Paula works, each girl has to be dress uniformly and provide a branded look in their personal appearance. Therefore they walk around the store like mindless clones. During a lunch break when she is talking to her friend, Ousmane, the security guy, she is reminded in her ear-piece that breaks are for only 30 minutes not 35, reminding us of the “Big Brother” environment that often plagues the modern workplace. Ousmane has a degree in economics but is working in security. Maybe this is down to his ethnic origin.

 

 

The film is a triumph for Laetitia Dosch as Paula. She is in every scene of the movie and gives a totally uninhibited and honest portrayal of a woman who just gets on with her life and deals with problematic situations as they arise without guarding against them.

Through the skill of director   Léonor Serraille, we view the movie in the moment also. It is very unusual in that way – it immerses you into Paula’s lifestyle which typifies modern living – especially in the great metropoles of the world. I’m tempted to say that it is a film about alienation and isolation – there is an early references to Barentsburg, a settlement on the Norwegian island of Svalbard, (formerly Spitzbergen) and located north of the Artic Circle. You can’t get much more isolated than that.  Alienation and isolation are a factor, but I think  this film is more a testament of Paula’s ability to overcome her difficulties and it leaves a surprisingly uplifting effect on you.

This movie won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you like offbeat comedy-drama, in the classic French New Wave style, then I can recommend it unreservedly.

“Jeune Femme” has finished its short run at Chapter Cinema 1, but can still be found at selected locations in the U.K.

County: France

Language: French with English subtitles

Duration: 97 minutes

Cert. 15 for mild nudity and occasional strong language and sexual threat.

 

Roger Barrington

 

 

 

 

Review Ocean’s 8 by Jonathan Evans

(3 / 5)

When Debbie Ocean is describing her new plan for a heist to her colleague she says that she doesn’t want to rob a bank simply because that is boring. This describes her character as well as the Ocean’s movies as a whole, a simple heist in a location we all know and have seen before isn’t what these movies were conceived for. They are needlessly complicated and ambitious because that is simply more interesting and attractive.

Said job is getting into a special event and getting a one hundred and fifty million dollar necklace to be worn by a movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) who is hosting the event, stealing the necklace, sell it off and make a profit. Again, just robbing a bank would be so much more simple but also less interesting.

But let’s backtrack. We open with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) being released from prison and mourning the loss of her brother (who may or may not really be dead), she instantly has a job in mind. She gets in contact with her old buddy Lou (Cate Blanchette), she is enticed and agrees.

In order to pull off the job, a team needs to be assembled, each with a specific set of skills. There’s Amita (Mindy Kaling), an expert in jewellery cutting. Tammy (Sarah Paulson) who is all about shipping hot items. Constance (Awkwafina), a fast-talking, fast hand card player. Nine Ball (Rhianna), a codename for an offbeat hacker. Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), a washed-up fashion designer. Each of them has a purpose to serve and fills in certain character type within the movie.

With movies about plans, a certain chunk of the movie is about explaining the plan to both the team and the audience about how it’s supposed to go. Then it is put into action and either something goes dramatically wrong, something shakes it up, or it only seems to have gone wrong but really it all went off without a hitch. There wouldn’t be much suspense if all went smoothly, at some point, there has to be a piece that isn’t going as they intended.

Director and writer Gary Ross brings a sharp, smooth mentality to the choreography of the camera movement. It slickly moves through the sets and with the cameras and with mostly long takes with a few snappy closeups. This is the way to shoot a movie like this, the characters are confident and talk fast, you want the language of the camera to reflect the well thought out and choreographed nature. If it was handheld and shaky then it would give a rocky, chaotic feel it, which would be a mistake.

You don’t need to see the other Ocean’s movies to enjoy this one. There is a certain amount of emphasis on Debbies brother and if you are at least aware that there are other Ocen’s movies then you’ll get it but seeing them is not mandatory. I myself have only ever seen the first movie (Ocean’s 11) and found this movie stood on its own merits fine.

This movie seeks to entertain by doing things a little grander and with more pizazz. It reinvents nothing and accomplishes nothing to great feats. But there is talent in front and behind the camera and both gel well enough to warrant a watch for fun’s sake.

 

Preview Decolonising Environmentalism by Yasmin Begum 

In a fitting location near the banks of the river Taff, the groundbreaking “Decolonising Environmentalism” will be taking place in one of Wales’ most diverse and multicultural communities, Grangetown. It’s a film screening of Thank You For the Rain, Q+A discussion and a community meal with invited speakers organised and programmed by gentle/radical headed by local artist Rabab Ghazoul.

Thank You For the Rain is a multi-award winning film directed by Julie Dar. Kisilu, a Kenyan farmer, records and documents the experiences his life, community and his family- and the effect that climate change is happening on their lives. A chance meeting between the director and Kisilu changes a few things: but you’ll have to watch and find out what happens.

 

Decolonisation isn’t something typically discussed in every day Wales and neither is environmentalism. In fact, we focus on equality, and diversity: but decolonisation remains a little-uttered word in Wales until gentle/radical’s recent innovative work such as the frequent (and well frequented) Imagination Forums. It’s definitely a radical event its vision in that it’s radically different to anything anyone’s ever done before, and it’s this radical vision that has been met with success in the nation’s capital.

 

Environmentalism and decolonisation have huge impacts and implications in Wales- just look at the recent conversation on the tidal lagoon in Swansea, the legacies of post-industrialisation or the environmental racism of gentrification in Cardiff city (and beyond). gentle/radical’s work has grown to accommodate a need in the city for diverse and innovative programming for Cardiff city as it so rapidly grows. It’s the second people’s symposium following the phenomenally successful “Death of Distance” that saw Amrit Wilson and others discuss the legacies of the Balfour Declaration and the Partition India.

 

Gentle/radical will be bringing Joshua Virasami from Black Lives Matter, Sakina Sheikh from Platform London, Suzanne Dhaliwal from UK Tar Sands Network, Asad Rehman from War on Want to explore the connections between topics such as environmentalism, race, power and colonialism.

 

The event will be taking place at the Shree Kutchi Leva Patel Samaj Cardiff in Grangetown this Saturday 1st July 2018. Tickets are £15 for fully waged people, £10 for partially waged people, £5 for unemployed people and they’re likely to sell out before the weekend. Tickets are free for asylum seekers. Book your tickets here

 

Review Hereditary by Jonathan Evans

“I was watching Poltergeist last month, I got a question. Why don’t white people just leave when there’s a ghost in the house?”

-Eddie Murphy

(1 / 5)

This isn’t the main problem, but it is one of the many that plagues Hereditary.

Horror is a medium that at it’s best reveals our deepest insecurities and troubles as people. This movie means nothing and simply seeks to gross and horrify us with, the images and sounds it slaps us with.

We open with a house and inside it is a family that is preparing for a funeral. It is the grandmother who has died and the mother, Annie, is dreading the ordeal. Meanwhile on the side is her daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) that keeps to herself, draws in her sketchbook and makes a clicking noise with her mouth. The son Peter is a pretty normal, apathetic teenager. We learn that Annie’s mother was very nice at all during her life and won’t be missed now she’s passed. But just because she’s passed doesn’t she’s done tormenting her daughter and grandchild and all sorts of strange things start happening from here on.

You get to a point where you’ve seen enough movies to have an understanding of typical genre movies. In comedy, you tell when there will be a misunderstanding or a bit of slapstick. Horror is one where you know if there is blank space on the screen then something will move or jump out, or when there will be a build-up to something and nothing will happen only for the character to take a breath and that is when the thing goes boo! This movie is guilty of being predictable. I could tell how the scenes were going to play as soon as they started.

For some of it you don’t know where it’s going then you don’t care because all it’s doing is stitching one gross-out, disturbing moment with the next to give you a tapestry of horror. It doesn’t, it’s just annoying.

In the recent years, we have gotten some original voices and experiences in horror movies. Like, Don’t Breathe, Mother!, Get Out, A Cure for Wellness, A Quiet Place, Unsane and The Babadook. All of these movies tap into a core fear that individuals feel or the problem of people as a whole and have a whole vision. These movies will be remembered, this one will be forgotten.

It is easy to overlook the acting when the concept doesn’t work or the writing is garbage. But this movie does have actors that genuinely good performances. Toni Collette as Annie truly and clearly conveys terror across her face, I believe she is scared in these situations. Likewise, Alex Wolff has to be a few things over the course of the movie and does them all well. What a shame that these talented people and all their effort go into a big pile of garbage like this.

 

This movie is not boring, it is however frustrating. Frustrating in how it uses the most simple, stupidest tolls to scare you, when it doesn’t, it just goes boo! Frustrating that all these actors and crew had to waste their time on a rotten project. Horror is a brilliant genre that can reveal things about ourselves, not this, it’s just a waste.

 

Review Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom by Jonathan Evans

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom works by being a true blockbuster and tapping into what makes them great watches. Simple and engaging characters that move from one set-piece to the next. Along the way we see wild images and feel a gamut of emotions and leave feeling satisfied.

(5 / 5)

I enjoyed the first Jurassic World movie enough but found there were many pointless elements, plot points that didn’t make any sense and some wasted potential. It did, however, make a lot of money so a sequel was inevitable. But they announced that J.A. Boyegar was taking over the reins as director. From his Gothic horror movie of The Orphanage to Disaster movie The Impossible and the best movie of last year with A Monster Calls he has quickly built-up a reputation as one of the top filmmaking talents. His movies cut deep into human emotions, whether they be fear, endurance or dealing with reality they are emotionally driven. He adapts himself to using some similar shots that we know from this established franchise (one particularly iconic helicopter shot) and more chatty and joky characters and has made something him and is part of a franchise.

Now for the synopsis. Jurassic Park was meant to be a park where they brought Dinosaurs back from extinction and the people could experience them. This was obviously a bad idea but lent itself to a great scenario so they did it anyway. It went badly. The Dinosaurs got free and now run the island, that is the current situation, but the volcano at the center of the island is about to erupt which will wipe out all the Dinosaurs. Some say they should be saved because they are living creatures others say they can never be controlled and are man-made so be left to their fate. A special group is financing a rescue of two of each species and they recruit Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) from the last movie to assist, she then brings in Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) also from the last movie because of his expertise and connection with Blue the Raptor.

From here on the movie strings together set-piece to set-piece and thematic elements into a whole. It isn’t at the non-relenting passe of Mad Max: Fury Road but it is brink and with a bountiful serving of variations. There are suspenseful moments of having to sneak around, chases, and confined situations of claustrophobia.

There seems to be a resurgence, since the release of The Force Awakens, of using practical effects and prosthetics again and I am so happy to see it. C.G.I. is a wonderful tool but it is not the answer to all, practical effects give weight and believability to the creatures. C.G.I. ages very quickly and a real, well textured and painted model or puppet won’t. As well as that it gives the actors something to genuinely act with.

There is an understanding that Dinosaurs are the biggest predators that ever walked the Earth and to be around one that eats meat, is one of the most dangerous things you can do. It is quickly established with the dread the characters talk about them, the fear that flashes on their faces and a few selective devourings of characters. Even the herbivores are so large that if you get in their way, you will be flattened.

When development of a movie begins there is what is called “Concept Art” these are pieces of art that seeks to give a feel for the tone and mood of the movie and give the filmmakers something to work towards visually. They are usually expressive and quite beautiful. Through the movie, you can see moments in which were clearly taken from a piece of illustrated art and are some truly beautiful and haunting moments of cinema.

Thematically the movie is focused on the original movies concept as well as going further to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (she even gets a cameo in the movie in the form of a painting) and that is the responsibility of creation.

This movie is a reminder of what a great experience you can have sitting in the seat of a theater and seeing the images on the big screen and hearing the loud sounds all around you. It respects the original material and boldly pushes it forward and will have you in awe and tremble in fear of Dinosaurs.

Jonathan Evans