Category Archives: Film & TV

Review The Accountant by Jonathan Evans

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(5 / 5)

If history is any clue The Accountant shouldn’t work. This should just be an insultingly bland movie which serves to get the males excited which really dumb’s them down to a perverted sense of masculinity. However, this movie works, because of that simple little extra effort which has infused this stale premise into a gripping action movie.

We see a boy putting a puzzle together, is intensely focused on his task and keeps reciting Solomon Grundy, his parents are at a clinic for different children, this is Christian Wolff, he has autism and the doctor tells them that he needs to be handled with care and avoid intense scenery bombardment. But his father, a decorated war veteran, does not accept this, he knows the world is nothing but intense sensory bombardment, so instead in adapting the environment to Christian he adapted Christian to his environment. So begins his years of training with all the resources to become one of the most deadly men on the planet.

The boy grows into a man and he is (as the title suggests) an accountant. He is very good at what he does, deducing what is needed for his clients and working the rules to accommodate them. He gets hired by a big robotics company to go through everything to make sure their finances are secure before they go public. It’s fifteen years of intense complex finances so they doubt anyone is up to the task. In the company office clerk Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) offers him help but he is most comfortable in solitude. He gets to work processing all the years of intense data and writing it on his whiteboard and when that runs out uses the glass walls of the office.

Affleck is actually rather understated in terms of other performances. Usually there is an overemphasis on the quirks and behaviors that come with autism (Dustin Hoffman in Rainman for example), to be sure you can tell he is abnormal but not enough to be an obvious red flag. He can move about in society. He is very blunt an minimal with his dialog and clearly is repressing great frustration when people talk more than they need to. He’s also given his typical behavioral quirk of blowing on his fingers before starting any task.

Kendrick has typically been cast in comedy roles as the cute, spirited one in comedies. She could be out-of-place here in this movie about numbers and bullets. But she serves as a contrast to Wolff’s dry attitude and still plays to her strengths though she’s used as the fish-out-of-water.

J.K. Simmons plays Raymond King, one of the heads at an intelligent agency who seeks to know the facts about Wolff. Simmons is solid throughout this movie, but within it he gets a moments which he genuinely moved me, a scene alone which sums up everything about this character in one moment and could earn him an Oscar on that alone.

We also get our villain, played by Jon Bernthal, some kind of hired gun that is wiping out all the witnesses. He is the opposite of Wolff, very expressive and an energetic talker. So you know the two will meat eventually and because they each have their moments it’s a confrontation your actually anticipating it with excitement.

This movie, or these kinds of movies, for example Taken, The Equalizer and The Gunman I have always found very boring. They are the case of some character that is actually very poorly defined and can mow down roomful after roomful of opponents with little hesitation and the same stern expression. Furthermore all those previous movie I just mentioned have middle aged leads so it just seems like we have to sit through these actors working through they’re midlife-crisis. But this movie comes with so much more. Firstly we get into his past so we know why he’s like he is and how he got to be the best at his work, he is most happy when he solves number problems, wear a pocket protector. This isn’t interested in typical portrayals of a macho-man.

Typically with these types of movies there’s a big action scene at the end and what this usually means is that the movie has run out of story, but this one, even though it does indeed have and action scene in the last act, there is still plot. So many movies last an hour and thirty minutes and only have an hour worth of things to say then give up and resort to gunfire, this movie is two hours long and has a whole movies worth of plot. Such a shame that I have to emphasise how good that is.

There are a whole bunch of movies that are similar to these movie as it could have rather easily been anther one to fall by the wayside. But it has a story that requires the run-time to tell it, engaging performances, a character that has a back-story. The fact that it’s a good movie is enough but knowing that it could have been so stupid makes it a marvel.

Review Dr Strange by Jonathan Evans

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(4 / 5)

Doctor Strange is a movie that must stand out. It has Strange as in it’s title and the name of its main character. So there needs to be something about it that is unlike the other MARVEL movies, hell at this point, where we may be near the saturation point it needs to distinguish itself from all the other Superhero movies we now have.

What MARVEL now puts before us is a gamble. Just as big or maybe more so than what they did with Guardians of the Galaxy. The straightforward way of telling the superhero has almost run dry, so now they need to give us something new. Can they deliver a movie that captures the psychedelic imagery and mind-bending rules of this character and still make it accessible to audiences?

Our hero is the aforementioned mentioned Doctor Stephen Strange a shrewd, arrogant surgeon able to perform the most complicated operations with ease, he also comes with an encyclopedic knowledge of music. One day wile racing to a soiree in his sports car, believing he can do that and talk on his phone, crashes but survives, except his precious hands have been crushed. He can no longer perform surgeries, he could be a consultant but he cannot accept this and spends his fortune seeking out different treatments, to no avail. His quest eventually takes him to Kathmandu where he finds a new lease on life not in science but through magic.

Benedict Cumberbatch soured to a lot of peoples favourite actors list when he debut as the star of Sherlock. Since then he has amassed a very wide range of roles under his belt. This role requires him to capture the transformation of an arrogant, ego inflated, controlling man and have him broken and rebuild himself in a whole new way. He also sounds like Hugh Laurie in House (though that may just be me).

For his supporting characters we have Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, the part of Stephens ordinary life and his grounding force for humility and kindness. When the training begins we are given The Ancient One played by Tilda Swinton, the mentor character, Swinton is an entity like no other, you really do buy her as a character out of this world or at least not of the norm, able to take the most obscene mystical mumbo-jumbo dialog and roll it off the tongue. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Mordo, another but more experienced sorcerer. Ejiofor is an amazing talent and he does indeed have moments to shine in this movie but he really deserves a part where he’s given a fully fleshed-out character that will bring out his amazing talent. Benedict Wong plays… Wong (no really) another sorcerer, head librarian and the classic non-smiling straight-man.

In terms of the layout of the plot this is still what you will have come to expect from most Superhero movies, especially from MARVEL. But what keeps them fresh and able to continue their winning streak is that they perfect the formula, adding the necessary alterations when needed and still giving us something unique. Doctor Strange has been a character that has flourished in its visuals, this movie shows us colours and transitions like we’ve never seen before, there is a scene where Stephen literally has an outer body experience and we get so many visuals that they may have used them all up, but they continue to give us them. This movie is a the psychedelic one of the MARVEL movies. If you enjoy that, then you will find yourself at home in the other worlds this movie takes you to.

Like any fictional world there needs to be rules to establish the way things work and so the audience can understand it. The sorcerers cast spells by abandoning the previously established limitations of time and space, they need to unlock their minds so the normal rules will bend to them. However some acts put too much of a strain on them so they use tools, which allows them to focus their abilities and easily conjure the spells they need to.

Dr Strange doesn’t, and never really has existed in the same realm as The Avengers. His place is a smaller, more neish corner of this universe. He exists within dreams and nightmares, the worlds unseen, but just as important.

The visual inspiration for the movie is very clear. With having a cityscape fold they have obviously taken inspiration from Inception, however that images was taken from a Man With a Movie Camera. But also when we go inside a building it resembles the morphing effect in Dark City.

But what does this matter? Truth is it doesn’t because they use it for their means and make it more complex and intense. But there is also the running theme of the breaking glass, like his hands, his should and his perception of reality, this movie is about the breaking of the this layers we have in life.

In this movie is a chase scene like nothing else I’ve seen in movies (and I’ve seen a lot). It seems straightforward with two people working together to try and get to a portal and they have pursuers. But the pursuers and shift the landscape. They change the angel of the whole city, then bend the buildings and warp the architecture. Eventually the whole things taken on the a shifting rubix cube seen through a kaleidoscope.

Going way back to his first run in the comics Doctor Strange was a character that wasn’t the most powerful but he was smart, strategic and committed to defeating his enemies. Our climax in this movie is not one where two beings hit each-other with lights and sound until the other is knocked out, it is one where what has comes before playing into the end strategy. This is where our hero out-thinks the threat instead of out punches him, a refreshing and important take on to show to the masses in Superheroes.

This movie shows what MARVEL still has. Even with nearly twenty movies under their belt at this point and so many characters used they still have things to show us and different angles and views to take in this genre.

Review Akira by Jonathan Evans

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(5 / 5)

There is a name that is known to every manga and/or anime enthusiast worth their salt and that is Akira. The reason for this is probably (among its many other attributes) that it is a prime example of what Anime has to offer. Vast, elaborate backgrounds, a unique tale of science fiction, inspiring as well as grotesque images and characters that dwell into the depraved as well as the noble. American animation has primarily been for children or for the family, Disney would never attempt anything like this. We will never get anything this complex, this disturbing or well funded and executed.

As a country Japan knows the devastating impact of nuclear warfare. In the fifties it channeled that into the giant monster Godzilla which then birthed the entire Kaiju genre. Then Katsuhiro Otomo began a monster of a manga in 1982 and finished it in 1990, turning in a tale of almost five thousand pages of art. This movie came out in 1988. This is a streamlined telling of the tale that Otomo told but it is more about the visuals and the experiences that it offers than anything else.

The movie opens on a vast city-space that is Tokyo in 1988, then pans up to show an explosion, wiping out all. This triggers World War III. Then we cut to 2019 (so close now) and we are now in the new Neo-Tokyo, a city set to host the Olympics. Within this city are the bright, colorful lights of signs, and vehicle headlights, but they are contrasted by the blacks of the sky and the buildings themselves. And within this location motorcycle gangs race, beat and kill over nothing really. This is the city of Blade Runner, that is populated with the drug taking, violent youth of A Clockwork Orange sprinkled with a little doomsday mentality of the Mad Max movies. Whether these were a part of Otomo’s influence while crafting the story or not does not matter. All those stories hit on essential prophecies and fears that mankind will find itself in.

The leader of one of the gang’s is a boy named Kaneda, who sports a bright red jacket with a powered motorcycle to match. His best friend Tetsuo wants to ride his bike, but Kaneda says he cant handle it, so he gets on his and the other members ride off to beat on another gang. While they are doing this a riot is breaking out and there is a man who has been shot and is leading a boy though the street.

During the time of conception and release Japan was going through a major problem with it youth. They were indeed running wild and the economy was on the verge of collapse. Great pieces of art reflect the problems of the world at the time of their creation, b the themes are eternal, youths running amok, an unsteady economy and the dangerous places science can lead us are problems that will always come-up again and again.

The man who was shot then dies because of the riot and the child wanders off. His path then crosses with Kaneda and Tetsuo. Tetsuo crashes his bike right into him and gets injured, the boy is unaffected and we then see him clearly. Young in body but his skin is wrinkled.Suddenly military helicopters descend taking the wrinkled child and Tetsuo.

The image of seeing children but with old wrinkled skin is a striking one. Like much of the ins and outs of the movie it goes unexplained. We know it’s linked to their abilities but that’s as far as it goes. It could be viewed as the terrible hybrid of the generations. Youth that is burdened by the centuries of traditions and expectations. Or another interpretation is that the children have been given powers and with that comes responsibilities but they are unable to deal with it because of their age. Movies don’t necessarily have to give you all the information. They are the art of show don’t tell after all. Part of the fun and what makes people want to come back to re-watch a movie are the things that go-bye unsaid, if we got the full package on the first viewing then there would be no need to return. But a truly great movie has layers that you are able to peel back after repeated viewings.

Many details of the plot go by us without ever really getting fully explained. But this works because we see it from the position of the teenagers, who are equally bewildered and only marginally grasp the immense scope of their situation. Kaneda is not a truly well defined character, he is headstrong, enjoys simple (though very illegal) things, though if he were truly complete that would be a detriment to the movie. A world this vast, with so many themes and images doesn’t need the inclusion of even more layers. We just need someone who’s defined enough and that reacts to their situation with enough believe-ability that the audience can put themselves in their shoes. For simple stories we require deep characters, for crazy complex stories we need simple characters.

Traditionally in Japanese animation, the feature is animated and then the actors are brought in to put their voices over the animation. This movie was handled differently. It was done like Disney does theirs, wear the actors record first and then the animation is matched to their performance. Something that would probably go over the heads of regular viewers but for those with know this medium a little more they’ll see more shape and form to the lip-syncing.

Before this Otomo had only been an Anime director for two segments in two other feature films. He had done plenty of manga work and it seemed like that would be his medium to stay with. But when the opportunity to adapt his manga work into a fully fleshed-out movie he took it and with that changed the industry forever. He already came with such mastery of sound design, cinematography and movement of camera. True he was not alone in making the movie and was probably given some experts to help realize his vision. But this is technically his first movie and it is such a strong debut.

Probably the most obvious great aspect about the movie is it’s magnificent animation production. This world is alive, from the characters in the foreground to the civilians in the background, the a close-up where you can read a character inner thoughts, to a building crumbling. It is an immense spectacle that has been envisioned and then drawn again, again and again to create the illusion of movement. With animation everything costs money, every piece of movement is a new frame and that means that it cost money. There are ways to get more out of little. Like having a static, but striking image that draws your eye for longer with it’s simple execution. But there are rarely anything on-screen that is still in Akira. Not every single thing in the frame is moving at the same time but there is always something moving and that cannot be faked or done cheap. The money and effort shows with each frame.

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But beyond your eyes Akira also stirs your ears. Everything from the sound of motorcycle revving its engine, it’s tires screeching across the road, a pipe whacking someones brains out, a helicopter smashing into a building and every piece of glass shattering on the pavement. And the musical score by Tsutomu Ohashi itself, which mixes the modern techno that the youths would listen to and the ancient mantra reciting melodies that continue to blend the the two generations together. Just like Apocalypse Now this is the most cinematic experience you can find. Everything from the grand image on-screen to the sound that will fill the theater (or your living room).

Tetsuo then awakes in a bedroom. As he lays in bed he sees tiny little toys move across his bed and then onto his pillow. he goes to grab them but nothing is in his hand, then the whole room shakes and every inanimate object converges on one spot forming one giant, demented, Frankenstein’esque teddy bear. Growing larger than the room and tearing it apart.

The rest of the movie consists of Tetsuo getting out of the facility and then coming to grips with his new powers. He begins to get very painful headaches which he subdues with pills. His power grows and the children and he himself keep hearing one name repeated again and again “Akira.” During this time Kaneda teams up with freedom fighters of some kind to free Tetsuo and expose the government. However Tetsuo has never been the leader before and now has the powers of a god and absolute power corrupts absolutely. He has all the power in the world and he puts on a red cape perfectly displaying his juvenile mindset.

Kaneda realizes his friend is beyond all help and reasoning and he must end him. The two meet in the place of unfulfilled ambition, the unfinished Olympic stadium, where so much was promised and so much riding on. Now the drugs have worn off and he has full access to his power but no control, and becomes a giant, monstrous amalgamation of flesh and machine. Like the little toys he saw and now amassed too much power beyond his control and is simple destruction now.

Akira is one of the pinnacles of anime because you would never get this from anywhere else. It’s pot runs on a minimal capacity, only giving you enough to get truly invested in and lets the world and characters envelop you the rest of the way. The rest is brought to life with images and sounds that paint a canvas of a country that both wants to head to a new age but is also restrained by centuries of history and tradition that leaves it’s youths confused and angry.

Review ‘King Lear’ RSC Live by Danielle O’Shea

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(4 / 5)

King Lear follows the story of a king who loses power to two of his daughters after banishing his other, his realisation of the wrongs he has committed and his eventual fall into madness and wisdom. It is a timeless story of family, loyalty, how power corrupts and the definition of insanity.

Doran’s interpretation of a Shakespearean classic is ambitious from its minimalist setting to its total reframing of some of Shakespeare’s most iconic villains. As stated in his pre-show interview, Doran saw the play as more political and as a discussion of the human condition. This is evident when he sacrifices some of the family dynamic to give these themes more support; this can be seen when he portrays the characters as ideas rather than as complex individuals.

A talented cast all shone through in this production but particularly Nia Gwynne, as Goneril, who portrayed the character as far more sympathetic than any other performance has. Along with this, the live streaming of the event allowed for quick and easy access as well as the inclusion of events such as the interval feature on the costume design for the feature which reflected the lavish lifestyle and transitions that the characters go through stunningly.

All together a dazzling interpretation of a classic reimagined for such political climates as ours. However, in the first half there is a particular imbalance of light and dark as the attempts at humour often seem out of place but order is restored in the second half leading to a dramatic and satisfying finale. This seemed to be the perfect introduction to such an old and intricate tale.

RSC Live: King Lear

Vue Cinema, Swansea

12th October 2016

Author: William Shakespeare

Director: Gregory Doran

Design: Niki Turner (Theatre Design), Tim Mitchell (Sound Design), Jonathon Ruddick (Sound Design)

Technical: Hannah Miller (Casting), Carl Root (Production Manager), Ed Parry (Costume Supervisor)

Cast: Anthony Sher, Nia Gwynne, Kelly Williams, Natalie Simpson, David Troughton, Oliver Johnstone, Paapa Essiedu, Antony Troughton

Producer: John Wyver (For Live from Stratford-Upon-Avon), Zoe Donegan (Creative Team)

Running Time: 3hrs and 30 mins

Danielle O’Shea

The 25th British Academy Cymru Awards by Emily Garside

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British Academy Cymru Awards, Special Award recipient Terry Jones with Michael Palin, © Jonathan Hordle/BAFTA

On Sunday 2nd October 2016 BAFTA Cymru celebrated once again the best of Welsh film and television talent. From documentary makers, to actors, directors and make up and special effects, the spectrum of filmmaking talent in Wales and around the world was celebrated. Thanks to alterations in the eligibility criteria, works by Welsh artists outside of Wales are now eligible, which means from Downton Abbey to Hinterland and everything in between the awards honoured the talented work from and in Wales.

On the red carpet for this year’s awards Host Huw Stevens stopped by to discuss the awards before heading inside to prepare. After a brief chat about the earlier excitement of Cardiff’s Half Marathon (he watched at home in his pants) he was keen to share his excitement for the awards. Emphasising how important it was to showcase Welsh talent in the capitol city, and just how much talent Wales had to show, Stevens also noted that he got ‘the best deal’ because he got to read out a lot of the nominations.

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Ceremony host Huw Stephens arrives on the red carpet.© Jonathan Hordle/BAFTA

As Stevens headed inside to get ready for the show, other guest and nominees began to arrive. The Get the Chance Team got to chat to a lot of the arrivals, and find out just who they were excited to see nominated (and possibly win). Early to arrive were BBC Newsreader husband and wife team Lucy and Rhodri Owen, who talked about the range of real quality drama that they enjoy from Wales including the ever popular Hinterland/Y Gwyll. We also chatted to Torchwood stars Gareth David Lloyd and Eve Myles, there to present awards. Later a fantastic arose opportunity to talk to Yu-Fai Suen, the managing director of Pinewood Studios, who talked enthusiastically about all the talent available in Wales, both in front and behind the camera-and hinted of some big opportunities for the future of filmmaking in Wales!

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Eve Myles signs autographs for fans on the red carpet.© Polly Thomas/BAFTA

There was also chance to catch up with nominees on the Red Carpet, with best actor nominees Aneurin Barnard and Richard Harrington, both talking about the great opportunity to celebrate work done in Wales presented. A longer, more personal chat with Tim Rhys Evans-best known as musical director of Only Men Aloud- talked about the more powerful side of the awards, in raising awareness for issues within the drama and documentaries produced. Rhys-Evans was part of a brave documentary that followed his struggles with mental health, and he talked passionately about both the film’s power as a talking point and opportunity for people to begin to end the stigma around mental illness. He noted in particular, that the chance to talk to press once again about the film having been nominated, was another opportunity to continue talking about mental health, and hope that having used the film to talk about his own experience others would do the same and get help when they need it. And as much as this night was about celebrating the talent of those involved in film, Tim Rhys-Evans’ brave documentary is a reminder that there is also often a broader impact to the work made.

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Tim Rhys Evans collects the Single Documentary Award for Tim Rhys Evans – All in the Mind.© Jonathan Hordle/BAFTA

In watching the awards ceremony, itself, it is clear there is powerful drama and documentary made in Wales, alongside wonderfully entertaining work. Tim Rhys Evans – All in the Mind went on to win two awards, one for Madoc Roberts for editing, and one to the production team for Best Single Documentary. Roberts thanked Tim Rhys Evans and said ‘What a thing to do to help others’ while Rhys Evans in accepting the award with the team commented it seemed odd to receive an award for ‘a particularly shitty time in my life’ but went on to say that as statistically a quarter of the audience tonight would be affected by mental illness, that we should continue to keep talking and end the stigma.

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Lowri Morgan and Ffion Dafis with Rondo Production Team winners of Live Outside Broadcast Award for Cor Cymru: Y Rownd Derfynol.© Polly Thomas/BAFTA

Elsewhere in the factual categories Wales’ musical side was reflected in the factual categories with Les Miserables Y Daith i’r Llwyfan in the Entertainment Programme category and Côr Cymru – y Rownd Derfynol in the Live Outside Broadcast category. And Factual Series was won by Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie given to Siobhan Logue, which she dedicated to ‘All the misfits out there’.

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Lee Haven Jones winner of Director: Fiction for 35 Diwrnod Apollo, Cwmni Boom Cymru. © Polly Thomas/BAFTA

In drama the directing award-a competitive category spanning drama made inside and outside Wales, and featuring an episode of ITV powerhouse Downton Abbey- was picked up by Lee Haven Jones for 35 Diwrnod – Apollo. Deservedly for a masterful piece of drama, and a career that is going from strength to strength, Haven Jones lamented that his Mother was going to kill him for not bringing her for the second time, and dedicated the award to his partner Adam who he ‘Moans with a lot, but also dreams with’ Elsewhere in Drama, best actor winner Mark Lewis Adams for Stanley in Yr Ymadawiad thanked both his co-stars and the hair and makeup team for helping him to create and inhabit his character every day, and dedicated the award to his wife. Meanwhile best actress winner Mali Harris for DI Mared Rhys in Y Gwyll/Hinterland thanked the show for the opportunity to ‘Play cops and bad guys’ for ten months of the year.

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Robert Pugh with Mali Harris winner of Actress Award for Dl Mared Rhys in Y Gwyll/Hinterland – Hinterland Films 2Ltd/Fiction Factory/BBC Wales/S4C. © Polly Thomas/BAFTA

The special awards for this 25th anniversary were particularly poignant. The Sian Phillips award being given, for the first time to a makeup artist, Sian Grigg. And was awarded by the namesake herself, Sian Phillips, who declared the award ‘from one Sian to another’. The special presentation was accompanied by video messages from Ioan Gruffoad and Leonardo DiCaprio, who both worked closely with Grigg over the years. Girgg dedicated her award to her Mother, also a makeup artist, for being her inspiration.

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Sian Phillips with Sian Grigg winner of Sian Phillips award. © Polly Thomas/BAFTA

The Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television award was given to Terry Jones. This celebration was, it’s fair to say, tinged a little by sadness with the news that Jones has been diagnosed with a form of dementia, and is suffering its effects, including a loss of communication skills. Accompanied to the ceremony by friend and fellow Monty Python star Michael Palin-who led the tribute to him-and his son, Terry was still able to come on stage and accept his award. And in true Terry Jones style, despite not being able to communicate through speech, he still conveyed his feelings perfectly, waving down the standing ovation and putting the BAFTA to his face to wear like a mask.

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Bill Jones and Terry JonesTerry Jones, BAFTA Cymru Awards, Ceremony, Cardiff, Wales, UK – 02 Oct 2016. © Jonathan Hordle/BAFTA

Clearly happy to be there, and supported by a dear friend and family it was still an opportunity to celebrate his achievements. Despite this, when his son made a short speech, and struggled to hold back his emotions, it was a difficult and touching moment for everyone. But to see Terry Jones, clearly thrilled to be honoured in his home nation, for all his achievements over the years, was a truly fitting end to the 25th Anniversary BAFTA Cymru celebrations.

Time Credit earn & spend by Gemma Treharne-Foose, Community Critic for ‘Get the Chance’ Wales

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When I joined the ‘Get the Chance’ team (reviewing live theatre and performance as a network of ‘community critics’), I wasn’t fully aware I’d be getting Spice Time Credits in return and quite surprised to receive them! I had some previous awareness that Time Credits were something people got ‘out there in the community’ – perhaps for doing voluntary work at a local community project or initiative. I had no idea you could actually receive time credits for writing and reviewing live theatre. I hadn’t thought of myself as ‘volunteering my time’ as I already kind of felt like I had won the lottery doing something I loved doing anyway. If you are part of a wider conversation, helping to increase accessibility and creating more knowledge and awareness of the arts for all – you too are a volunteer, an ambassador and a cheerleader. You’re using your skills and strengths to break down barriers and act as a bridge between theatres and non-traditional or possibly first time theatre goers and I’m really glad that Spice recognises this.

The great thing about Spice is that they are a form of currency: a way of trading your time to get a sort of ‘passport’ to do the things you love. If money is an issue, this doesn’t matter, you can use time credits for anything from local leisure services to high-brow theatre. They can travel with you – I’m off to London on the Megabus next week. I may decide to spend the time credits I earned writing about Welsh theatre to take in a show at the Barbican with my hubby. I’m on a budget weekend, but I won’t let that stop me! Time Credits makes this possible and they’re recognised all over the UK, which is great! So far I have used my time credits to spend an afternoon with my daughter jumping and running wild at ‘Jump’ play centre in Llanishen and I’ve spent several lovely afternoons watching family movies in Chapter Arts Centre with my husband and little girl Lili. Writing about theatre may be ‘my thing’, but I love sharing the time credits with my family for fun (cheap!) afternoons out. They were really handy in the holidays when money was getting tight! Chapter Arts Centre is wonderful when it comes to booking tickets, very family friendly and relaxed. I also like the fact that there’s no in-your face aggressive marketing of overpriced snacks (Which can push your average cinema outings up to £50 or more for some families). Chapter even has a ‘no munching’ rule. You’re there for the movies and good vibes anyway, not stuffing your face full of crisps and chocolate (plus if you really need a feed: use the lovely Chapter cafe!). Quite a few times over the last few months, my family and I have driven to Chapter, parked for free, used our time credits to pay for a family movie then taken a walk in the park afterwards. You don’t need to spend big money to make memories, but it helps if you have a few time credits in your pocket!

http://www.justaddspice.org/get-involved/get-started-with-time-credits

Review Sausage Party by Jonathan Evans

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(3 / 5)

So you watched the trailer for Sausage Party and thought that it was anything more that an adult, animated movie telling jokes about the horrors of being the consumed then you would have probably made the safe bet. However you would have lost. Sausage Party actually has quite a bit of with and sophistication. Yes this movie with food products with mouths and large eyes that swear actually has a few things to say about different beings from different walks of life and consumerism.

We open in a supermarket where the food is sentient and awakes every morning to be taken to The Great Beyond. Whenever they’re picked up they rejoice for they will now be in the company of the gods. On one shelf one pack of sausages is next to a pack of buns and one sausage Frank (Seth Rogen) longs to joins his girlfriend bun Brenda (Kristen Wiig). It isn’t until one jar of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) is returned where it would seem that the Great Beyond might not be so great. While they’re all in a cart on they’re way out Honey Mustard kills himself, which leads to other items falling out. So now begins their quest to get back to their shelf and also discover the true intentions of their gods.

Just like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs this takes its subject of food and consumer products and does just about everything it can with it. To how one type of products interact with others to having some serve and parallels for real world people. One of the reasons this is able to tell so many more jokes is its not bound by the limitations of being a children’s movie, this can address alcohol, drugs and sex and it makes use of all its resources.

It would seem that the products themselves do not require to consume. They just seem to have their existence. Perhaps they will die when they go past their expiration date? Do any of their manufacturers know that they regularly create sentient being and send them off to their deaths? Such questions are honestly superfluous.

This is not a very good looking movie. This was clearly made with a limited budget, Nearly all the food looks shiny and like plastic. Obvious really, because this is a movie with a very limited audience. Few people would want to see a movie about food swearing constantly and animated no less.

As smart as the movie is it is still overt. Really, really overt. What they have the characters talk about and have serve as their parallels are obvious and not very subtle but they are still addressing the cause and effects of their subject matter. If there’s an example to point to it would be the South Park movie (or south park in general)

Though it is by no means subtle and quite crude it is still addressing big problems in society and has fully thought-out the perspective on food products (even just consumable products). The audience for this movie will indeed be a sausage party, mostly males, but if anyone goes to this movie and gets a little more nutrition in their diet than they were expecting it will have been worth it.

https://youtu.be/9VoNgLnjzVg

The BAFTA Cymru Nominations Party

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All photographs Mission Photographic

I’m so grateful I got an invite,
To attend an evening at the BAFTA Cymru party,
The quality of refreshments had a delicious aroma
The drinks, exhaled a cheerful persona
The nominees as well as the attendees
Were great to speak too, and everyone was a stunner
Dressed to kill, formally dressed to fit the bill
High heels, suits, boots and ties.
The sensation of the champagne, got you mesmerised
The room was filtered with amazing lights
Flashing shots, projected from the HD camera
The photographer, was annoyed by my friend’s eager
To look back on every picture
Connections of different energies, filtered the room.
Networking to get correct links, could have been done, all night long.
Anyone not in a group, could Just tag along
The feeling of togetherness, felt strong
Was great to be in a sensational mode
And be part of the 2016 BAFTA awards.

Tanica King

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With this year’s BAFTA Cymru celebration just over a week away, Thursday 22nd September saw BAFTA Cymru gather nominees, press and other industry guests, to celebrate this year’s nominees and announce a couple of special awards.

Guests at this year’s party included; BAFTA Cymru Nominees Party Guests in attendance included Actress nominees Amanda Mealing, Catherine Ayers and Mali Harries; Actor Mark Lewis Jones; Directors Lee Haven Jones (35 Diwrnod) and Molly Anna Woods (Swansea Sparkle, A Transgender Story); Presenter Will Millard; Sherlock designer Arwel Wyn Jones; Just Jim actor/director/writer Craig Roberts.

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Actress Nominees Mali Harries, Amanda Mealing and Catherine Ayers

Hosted by the Sherman Theatre the party was a chance for fellow nominee to mingle informally and catch up on their work (and no doubt a bit of gossip!). The event itself was relaxed and welcoming and felt like a great way to lead up to next week’s more formal event. The Sherman foyer provided a great venue to allow guests to mingle while giving a great backdrop to the formal announcements. Catering by Spiro’s, including some delicious brownie canapes accompanied drinks provided by Tattinger and Beer provided by Tomos a Lilford, meant that guests were treated extremely well. Nominees were also presented with their gift bags after the party which included an array of Welsh-sourced gifts, including Penderyn Whiskey.

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Actor nominee Mark Lewis Jones with his Nominees Bag

The party also provided an opportunity to announce the two special awards for this year’s BAFTA Cymru, the Sian Phillips Award, and the Outstanding Contribution award.

The first of the special award announcements was the Sian Phillips Award, sponsored by Ken Picton Salons. This year’s award goes to makeup artist Sian Grigg. The Oscar nominated Make Up artist, who has worked on films such as Titanic and The Aviator, as well as last year’s Oscar winning The Revenant, will be the first make-up artist to receive this award. Previous winners of the Sian Phillips award include director Euros Lyn, writer Russell T Davies and actors Michael Sheen, Rhys Ifans and Ruth Jones.

This year’s Special award for Outstanding contribution to film and television (Sponsored by Sony) was announced-in a speech featuring some of his best lines- as going to Terry Jones. The writer, actor and director, of course famed for his part in Monty Python. Born in Colwyn Bay, he went on after worldwide success with Python, to write and direct for film and television, including ‘Ripping Yarns’ with fellow Python Michael Palin, and numerous children’s programmes. Later in his career Jones also followed his passion for history, and wrote and directed many documentaries, many focusing on Medieval History, one of his many passions. Affectionately regarded by fans and colleagues alike, it was a bittersweet announcement as on Friday it was also revealed that Jones has been diagnosed with a form of dementia that affects his ability to communicate. However, as a representative for Jones commented; “Terry is proud and honoured to be recognised in this way and is looking forward to the celebrations.”

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To round off the special nominations, John Rhys-Davies, who couldn’t be in attendance due to filming commitments, had a special video message to nominees which elicited applause from the audience. You can listen to it here (via BAFTA Cymru’s twitter)

https://twitter.com/BAFTACymru/status/779345305644965888

The BAFTA Cymru 2016 awards will be the 25th Anniversary of the awards, and speaking to Rebecca Hardy (Awards Manager for BAFTA Cymru) at the party, it’s set to be a spectacular and fun event. Members of the public can also join in the celebration of Welsh Film and Television talent, with tickets available from the St David’s Hall Website (http://www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk/whats-on/british-academy-cymru-awards-2016/). For those who can’t attend, members of the Get the Chance team will be in attendance again, and reporting from the Red Carpet on social media, and here on the website for a full report after the event.

Dr Emily Garside 

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It is a marvellous thing to walk along a red carpet into the Sherman Theatre foyer of an autumn evening.

A darkly turned out group of hopefuls raising glasses of champagne and beer, scoffing canapés and chatting loudly. Little groups buzzing amongst themselves waiting for something to happen. I find the beer stand and learn about the joys of owning a micro brewery with Tomos a Lilford with a half of Gaucho in my hand.

Now, at this point I realise that I do not know anyone here. I am relying on introductions and on commentary from the comperes on the stand.

Terry Jones gets a mention, as does Sian Grigg. Very well-deserved wrth gars. On reflection I would have like to have known more about the other nominees.  I have a lovely time. I meet other critics and share stories. I enjoy delicious snacks professionally served and the beer is very good. I am assured that the Taittinger is good too.

BAFTA Cymru Awards 2nd October, 2016

St. David’s Hall
Cardiff

http://www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk/whats-on/british-academy-cymru-awards-2016/

Helen Joy

Review Kubo and the Two Strings by Jonathan Evans

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(5 / 5)

 

As our main character tells us at the start of the movie “Blink and you might miss something.” If you do blink you will miss one of the frames that have been conceived, crafted and filmed through intelligence, love and enthusiasm from the people at Laika. Kubo is a film that’s the whole package, it has color, laughs, visuals, tears and action.

Kubo is a child that lives on a mountains edge with his mother that suffers from a damaged memory. During the day he goes down to the village where he plays his shamisen which manipulates the paper into origami to tell his stories, the main story is about the great warrior Hanzo and his legendary three pieces of armour, however he never finishes his tales. He must return home before night so that his evil aunts and grandfather will never find them.

So naturally that’s exactly what happens. His aunts (Rooney Mara) are the first to arrive and before they can take him, his mother performs a spells that takes him far away. He wakes to find a white, talking baboon sitting by him telling him they have to move. She is simply named Monkey (Charlize Theron), they move across the icy mountain and through non-forced exposition and fun banter now understand that Kubo must retrieve the three pieces of the armour. While traveling Kubo then meets a large creature that looks like a man, but encased in black armour that resembles a beetle so he is named Beetle (Mathew McConaughey). He knows that he was a samurai warrior, but was cursed and is in the form he is in now and only has pieces of who he was. But he still has his skill’s as a warrior and his memory’s have a connection to Kubo’s father so he joins them on their journey.

But beyond the cuteness and likability of its characters is also the talented script-writing. Where everything has a point and comes back in the end. Having funny jokes is good, but its real talent when you can take those jokes and make them seeds for future character reveals and important plot points where you are able to tell that your with the professionals that earn they’re paycheck.

Laika as a studio is both recent and unique. They started in 2009 and have now produced four feature films, all stop motion. They are all family films but not light ones, no there films have had very dark shadows and monsters with claws and teeth. They are more like the movies of Don Bluth, where they understand you need to teach children about the stakes in life and give them entertainment that challenges as well as makes them laugh.

Probably the reason there is so many good things in this movie is because with stop motion literally nothing happens by accident. Everything from an expression, to a piece of hair moving has to be be manipulated by an animator. So everything that is not necessary and would save on hours upon hours of work is worked out and what is left is the spectacular and the necessary.

The way death is handled in this movie is permanent. There are real stakes and it makes everything so much sadder. This may be obvious but in children’s movies death has always been diluted, characters are either not really dead or they’re death is not total, as in they can come back or still be talked to as a ghost. Here there is a clear line of the living and the dead, this movie takes it on itself to tell children about death and not sugar-coat it.

If you know anything about the rigorous effort that goes into animation at all then you will appreciated nearly every second of this movie in some way. If you care for literally well-crafted stories then you’ll be satisfied. If you demand some more heartfelt messages that will nourish as well as entertain our children then this movie shall fill it.