Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ben Is Back: Film Review

Ben Is Back: Film Review


Cast: Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Kathryn Newton, Courtney B Vance
Director: Peter Hedges
Ben Is Back: Film Review

A film of two halves, very much held together by a career best from Julia Roberts, Peter Hedges' addiction drama Ben Is Back treads some of the same furrows ploughed by Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet in Beautiful Boy.

Set one Christmas Eve in rural America, Hedges is Ben, who returns without warning from the rehab centre he's been attending. While his mother Holly (played with emotional range and tenacity by Roberts) is ecstatic at his return, the rest of his family is wary, borderline suspicious.

However, over the 24 hour period, both Ben's resolve and Holly's love are tested, stretched to beyond breaking point.

Ben Is Back is a solid drama, that starts in a very familiar place and treads a familiar route before segueing into a different kind of film.

Hedges and Roberts deliver powerhouse performances that don't rely on the showy antics that can usually populate such dramas. And while Roberts' Holly delivers a couple of rants against the system that has pushed the drugs, this slight misstep is forgiven in the overall tableaux of the rest of the film.

Equally, Hedges gives Ben an edge of uncertainty, a feeling of a soul teetering on the edge as various truth bombs are slowly and subtly dropped by the script. While his relationship with Holly skirts around one of a child wanting to reconnect with his family, the film's indelibly exciting and emotionally raw.
Ben Is Back: Film Review

Others get to flirt with this dramatic orbit too, but in the overall wash, Peter Hedges' script is about these two at the core - and consequently some of the later interactions with supporting players (notably Vance's husband Neil) feel less enticing as they could be, as they wallow in the underwritten and slightly cliched mire that's been created.

The second half of the film which switches from suburban angst to an examination of the druggy underbelly of Holly and Ben's home is an odd tonal lurch, feeling akin to Taken than anything else - and it also allows Hedges via Roberts to voice frustrations at drug laws and systems seemingly letting down the public. These moments derail the film and the intimate intentions of what transpires.

Ultimately though, Ben Is Back is a complex portrayal of a self-destructive relationship, an examination of the depths of love, and in Roberts, a sign that this actress continues to deliver a breadth that surprises and enthralls.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Hunter Killer: DVD Review

Hunter Killer: DVD Review


It's hard not to view Hunter Killer as the kind of film that wouldn't be out of place in the 1980s.
Hunter Killer: Film Review

A mix of submarine thriller, shoot-em-ups and improbable rescue, Hunter Killer's B-Movie vibe is one of solid, yet unspectacular fare that spools out almost like a game of submarine movie cliche bingo.

Butler is unconventional commander Glass, who's given the command of a ship after a US Sub goes AWOL tracking a Russian sub in foreign waters. Whilst initially, it's a rescue mission for the sub, thanks to a Russian coup, it soon filters out into a further rescue mission to save the Russian President (yes, echoes of the "Has Fallen" film series spring easily to mind).

But if this mission should fail, World War 3 could break out...

Hunter Killer: Film Review

Hunter Killer pulls the usual punches for the genre, though it's given a contemporary frisson with the Russians being the bad guys and the US facing off against them. In parts, it's the kind of film that US President Donald Trump could embrace in some ways.

To be honest though, Hunter Killer meshes Call of Duty, Lone Survivor, Has Fallen series and Hunt for Red October, and blends it all through a prism of army recruitment video. It's stock-standard fare that takes itself seriously, and ticks all the boxes.

Butler delivers his usual half-smirking performance, but there's an earnestness to his underwritten commander that's vaguely endearing. Nyqvist, in his final role, is utterly wasted, a sad farewell to a nuanced great.

The tension is largely missing throughout Hunter Killer, until a final act sequence brings together the inevitable consequences of everyone's actions and Marsh concentrates on delivering something solid, via repeated use of swirling cameras, cliches and military might.

Hunter Killer: Film Review

Sure, there's a case to say the Americans are painted in a positive light, and those damned Russians are tricky foreigners determined to powerplays over diplomacy, but Hunter Killer cares not for your sneering approach.

Instead it charts a course through familiar and formulaic waters, with only one course in mind - but it comes close to sinking in 2018, when it potentially would have risen to the surface in the 1980s. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Wildlife: DVD Review

Wildlife: DVD Review


Paul Dano, best known for acting, turns his attention behind the lens in Wildlife - and does so to relatively spectacular singular effect.

Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal star as Jeanette and Jerry, a married couple who have moved to 1950s Montana to find work. Along with them is their son Joe (Ed Oxenbould, rapidly growing up on screen from his debut in Paper Planes).

After Jerry's fired from a job on a golfing course, he takes a job away from home tackling the mountain wildfire that's threatening the region - much to the dismay of his wife.

Wildlife: Film Review

As time continues with Jerry away, Jeanette begins to fall apart before rebuilding herself into a potential affair with Bill Camp's town rich guy. All of which happens under the nose of Joe...

With tricks such as close ups tackling reactions of people while conversations affecting them happen off screen and wide scenic shots, Dano's relatively adept at keeping the focus on the right places in Wildlife.

It's interesting that this rather rigorous approach lends the film a feeling of formality which is hard to shake, but also one which somewhat amps up the rather frosty and oppressive nature of proceedings and also exacerbates the horror with which Joe observes the breakdown and after effects.

It's relied on a little too often in some ways, but it is effective, anchored as it is by some sensitive performances from Mulligan and Oxenbould.

In a weird way, Oxenbould's coming of age story is one which is that of a boy thrust into the man of the house role. But equally, his role becomes that of surrogate disapproving spouse as his mother transitions from housewife to free spirited-about-to-make-a-mistake woman.

He grasps the mantle well and adds a level of maturity that belies his years.

Equally, Mulligan's turn as a wife who longs for more ("If you've got a better plan for me, then tell me - it'll be better than this" she frustratedly vents at one point) has a slow-burning power which takes time to manifest. As she heads towards an inevitable mistake, there's a feeling that Mulligan's giving her all in this small-town tale of self-destruction and social climbing.

Ultimately, Wildlife is at times a can't-tear-your-eyes away from the about-to-explode style viewing experience. It's a little stilted in places, though giving the thing a whole sheen of this ilk also helps to feed into the oppressive desire to break out.

Dano's delivered an impressive debut in Wildlife, an emotionless look behind the veneer of an implosion.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Ghost Stories: DVD Review

Ghost Stories: DVD Review


Based on the stage play of the same name, and should have been released last year for Hallowe'en, Ghost Stories' triptych of supernatural tales is nothing short of unsettling - even if some of the twists can be seen from far off, and the jump scares are a little heavy handed.
Ghost Stories: Film Review

Nyman plays psychic debunker Professor Phillip Goodman, whose world is turned upside down when he's contacted by long-presumed lost paranormal investigator and inspiration Charles Cameron.

Asked to investigate three cases of real ghost sightings, Goodman starts to look into them - but what he finds could change his world...

Steeped in an atmosphere of unease, Ghost Stories is actually unsettling fare which plays to some of the darker edges showcased in director Jeremy Dyson's other well-known TV project, The League of Gentlemen.

Ghost Stories: Film Review

The trio of tales benefit from some terrific build-up, but shy away from resolution within them, initially leading to a flat feeling and unkempt edges. It's best not to know what most are about to be frank, as it robs something of the suspense, but they're suitably long enough in their execution to ensure that, ending aside, the tension laid out is actually gripping (even if a lot of the onscreen action is shrouded in more dark than you've ever seen in an episode of The X-Files.)

Playing with the tropes of the genre, shifting expectations, and offering twists as tantalising bits come together or clues are dropped, Ghost Stories works well, even if its final resolution almost derails the entire house of cards.

Nyman's performance delivers an arc that takes in a kind of cock-sure foundation that gradually becomes unstable as the maudlin melancholy sets in. Drained of colour, the drab Britain which unfolds on screen adds greatly to the overall feeling, and the stories are helped by some wonderfully off-kilter character work from the likes of Whitehouse, Lawther and Freeman.

Ghost Stories: Film Review

Much like anthology series like Tales Of The Unexpected, Ghost Stories' apparent loose threads come together in ways that are easy to determine in hindsight.

Ultimately, this is perhaps one of the most psychologically perturbing and unsettling films of the year.

It's not a straight horror in many ways, and much like Hereditary's denouement proved polarising, Ghost Stories' portmanteau has a way of inveigling itself under your skin and unnverving you

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Juliet Naked: DVD Review

Juliet Naked: DVD Review


Crowd pleasing in extremis, the adaptation of Nick Hornby's Juliet, Naked is a charming film that leans on its screwball edges more than it should.

Chris O'Dowd, in a sly mix of both humour and pathos, stars as Duncan, a man obsessed with disappeared rocker Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke, looking like a Reality Bites reunion 20 years on). His long-suffering partner Annie (Rose Byrne) is nearing the end of her patience at his obsession which has seen their lives affected and put on hold.

When Duncan receives a hitherto-unknown copy of one of Crowe's beloved albums, Annie posts a less-than effusive review online - and is stunned to be contacted by Crowe himself. As their friendship grows from afar, things begin to change....

Juliet, Naked: NZIFF Review

Juliet, Naked is your typical spin on the usual Nick Hornby fare - a manchild forced to confront his ways and with music involved, it's the same story, just told differently.

And whilst it has an ending that suddenly appears as if an author's reached his page limit, what Juliet, Naked manages to do is carve a path to mainstream rom-com that's both commendable and comfortable at the same time.

Issues of regret, longed for family, teen obsessions and desires to rectify past mistakes all swirl together in one crowd-friendly mix that never once loses sight of a simple desire to entertain above all else.

Frivolous and flighty, and actually laugh-out-loud funny in places, Juliet, Naked's central trio add much to proceedings, with each capturing an element of the same lost coin; from Duncan's desire to hold true to what mattered when he was young, to Crowe's realisation of life lost, never to be regained to Annie's stuck in this life trajectory, there's much to hit an audience of a certain age.

Certainly, Hawke's never been better - an antithesis to the festival's earlier First Reformed, his Tucker Crowe is an extension of the slacker from Reality Bites, a musician now facing mortality and looking for one more chance even though he doesn't know it.

And while Juliet, Naked's desire to simply amuse and spin a nice romantic comedic yarn usually would be roundly mocked, (and deserves to be thanks to a trite unformed ending), what actually emerges is a rare commitment to mainstream fare, that's both pleasantly watchable and also richly resonant in the sum of its charming parts. 

Saturday, 26 January 2019

She Shears: DVD Review

She Shears: DVD Review


Director Jack Nicol's She Shears has ambitions.

But it seems primarily these ambitions are confined to presenting a story rather than digging a little deeper.

Entrenched in bucolic touches, She Shears takes a look at the sport of sheep shearing, an industry dominated by men back in the 80s and now seeing an increase in the number of women taking part.

In the 80s, it was 1 woman in 5000, now it's 1 in 40, so there's clearly been a sea change in righting the gender imbalance.

She Shears: NZIFF Review

Following five shearers, two of whom are established names - Emily Welch, and Jills Angus Burney -
She Shears is a pleasant doco that is graced by some stunning cinematography and slow mo shots of the work being done.

It takes a look at this quintet as they look to either enter the world of competitive sheep shearing (Hazel, Pagan and Catherine being the youngest and newest) and their drive and reasons to do so. It goes some way to give us their backstories on the Road To The Golden Shears competition held in Masterton with Pagan's history being the most intriguing thanks to the traditional sports underdog /hit by injury story.

However, it's potentially fair to say that perhaps She Shears should have narrowed its focus a little more on maybe three of these competitors as some have longer in the spotlight than others, and certainly, given the way the competition pans out, not everyone gets to where they want.

It's a frustration to be borne with She Shears - and certainly, the focus feels a little more like it could have done better to spotlight the problems of getting women into this industry.

All five talk of various levels of discrimination in among the support as well - and it's at this stage, the most intriguing and strongest element of the doco emerges that could have provided a sharp sting in a post MeToo world.

Certainly there's great disparity on display when the commentators of the Golden Shears markedly and pointedly refer to the male and female competitors in different terms. "Two little girls there" is the worst offender and points to some signs the entrenched sexism exists within - certainly, there's no diminutives levelled at the male competitors. It's a shame this narrative isn't expanded out, and Nicol's spotlight wasn't shined more at this, because it provides a stronger proposition to the film as it goes on. (And is mentioned by all five in their careers and how people view it).

That said, Nicol gives his doco a wondrously filmic approach in its shots of competition, with wool being flung in slow motion, shears guided around hindquarters and sweat dripping from competitors all looking glorious in slow mo and on the big screen. Nothing's been held back in ensuring the look of this generally pleasant piece is anything but top notch.

Ultimately, She Shears feels like a doco that slightly tracked down the wrong way for its focus. Granted, it gives the women competitors their time in the spotlight, and while narrowing that focus may have paid dividends, it does show that when it comes to showcasing and capturing the countryside, its animals and its people, Nicol has a sharp eye for what looks sensational on screen. 
 

Kingdom Hearts III: Gameplay Overview Trailer

Kingdom Hearts III: Gameplay Overview Trailer






BECOME A KEYBLADE MASTER WITH NEW
KINGDOM HEARTS III GAMEPLAY OVERVIEW VIDEO

New Gameplay Video Offers an In-Depth Look at Keyblades, Magic, Combat and More


SYDNEY, 25th January 2019 –  With today’s release of the gameplay overview video, KINGDOM HEARTS and Disney fans can find out everything they need to know to master the powerful Keyblades and help the light prevail against the darkness ahead of the launch of KINGDOM HEARTS III on 29th January.
As the Heartless invade the universe, players must prepare Sora and his friends to protect the Disney and Pixar worlds against darkness and unlock the mysterious power of the Keyblades, which only the strong of heart can wield. For the first time in the KINGDOM HEARTS series, the Keyblades have the ability to transform into different forms with powerful new abilities and dazzling attacks inspired by the characters and elements of each world.

Players can also learn how to use elemental magic for offensive and defensive purposes, such as creating ice slides and wind vortexes to navigate through the chaos in battle. Taking the form of classic Disney rides, players can utilize the power of the Attractions, or team up with Donald, Goofy and other legendary characters from Disney and Pixar worlds to turn the tides against the darkness.

The new footage also gives fans a glimpse of the Gummi Ship and how to augment its speed, shield, firepower, and design as they journey between worlds, as well as the various other activities they will encounter along the way, including a trip down memory lane with classic Kingdom mini-games inspired by 1980’s-era LCD games and iconic Disney animated shorts.

KINGDOM HEARTS III will be available for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One X on the 29thJanuary 2019. For more information, visit http://www.kingdomhearts.com/

Life is Strange 2: Episode 2 Out Now

Life is Strange 2: Episode 2 Out Now


LiS2_Full_logo
LIFE IS STRANGE 2 EPISODE 2 IS AVAILABLE NOW
The Second Episode is Entitled Rules in the All-New Five-Episode Season

SYDNEY, January 25th 2019 – SQUARE ENIX® is delighted to announce that Life is Strange™ 2 Episode 2: ‘Rules’, the next entry in the critically-acclaimed and award-winning franchise is available now.

The second episode in the all-new five-episode season of Life is Strange 2 from Square Enix External Studios and DONTNOD Entertainment, is out now on XBOX ONE®, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.

Episode 2: Rules reunites players with Sean and Daniel Diaz a few months after the events of the first episode, as the brothers are on the run from law enforcement following a tragic incident in Seattle and the manifestation of a strange supernatural power. The journey is long and the story of Life is Strange 2 takes place over the course of a year in-game, as they make their way across the USA in an effort to get to Mexico.

The power takes a central position in Episode 2, as Daniel is slowly coming to terms with his supernatural abilities. The brothers must attempt to find the balance between practicing Daniel’s control of his power, while also hiding his abilities from a world that won’t understand. Guiding them is a set of rules they’ve set for themselves: Never in public. Never talk about it. Run from danger.

Can Daniel truly hide the truth from the people around them, or will the temptation to explore the immense power within him be too much? Will he break the rules in a time of need?

“One of the main themes in Life is Strange 2 is coming-of-age, and the rules you sometimes have to follow, or break, when you’re on the run like Sean and Daniel is. In this episode, the power will be a very interesting element the brothers will have to deal with. It allows us to create compelling situations that will evolve the relationship between the two brothers. We can’t wait for the players to discover the new environments and characters the brothers will meet in this episode.” said Michel Koch and Raoul Barbet, Co-Creators and Directors of Life is Strange 2. “And of course, we are really happy to give the players the chance to meet Chris again, our beloved lead character in The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. We strongly advise the fans to play this game before playing Episode 2, as the experience will be more enjoyable. Also, it’s free!”

Previously featured in the The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit, a 100% free narrative adventure demo on XBOX ONE, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC, Captain Spirit returns in Episode 2 of Life is Strange 2. Seeking shelter from the winter cold, Sean and Daniel encounter next-door neighbour Chris Eriksen and come face to face with his superhero alter ego, Captain Spirit. Episode 2 takes into account players’ save games, and certain actions taken in The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit will have repercussions in Episode 2.

“The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a highlight in our portfolio. We’re all very fond of Chris and his story and we’re excited to bring him back in Episode 2” said Jon Brooke, Co-Head of Studio at Square Enix External Studios. “Episode 2 of Life is Strange 2 is a pivotal moment for this story, and the season will only become even more intense from here.”
Tune in here to find the latest updates from the Life is Strange 2 developer blog: http://lifeisstrange-blog.tumblr.com/

RESIDENT EVIL 2 AVAILABLE ACROSS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

RESIDENT EVIL 2 AVAILABLE ACROSS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND








RESIDENT EVIL 2 AVAILABLE ACROSS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND TODAY

AUS, Sydney – Jan. 25, 2019 – Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today announced the hotly anticipated reimagining of the horror classic Resident Evil 2 is now available in Australia and New Zealand. This retelling of the survival horror masterpiece was built from top to bottom using Capcom’s proprietary RE Engine, delivering breathtakingly realistic visuals, chilling sound design, an over-the-shoulder perspective, and modernized controls. This 2019 release offers a deeply immersive and terrifying account of the Raccoon City outbreak through the eyes of two of the franchise’s most beloved characters. Resident Evil 2 is available for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and Steam.

Originally released in 1998 on the PlayStation® console, Resident Evil 2 is one of the most revered entries in the Resident Evil series, which has amassed nearly 85 million units sold worldwide to date. The original game embodied the grisly action, suspenseful exploration and puzzle-solving gameplay that set a standard for survival horror games. In Resident Evil 2, players join rookie police officer Leon S. Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield as they travel to Raccoon City to investigate the mysterious events taking place, only to find themselves trapped in a zombie nightmare from which they must escape. Their collective experiences piece together a comprehensive story revealing the reprehensible actions of Umbrella Corporation, which has thrown Raccoon City into a chaos of zombies and horrifically mutated monsters.

Once players complete Leon and Claire’s campaigns, they can unlock additional game modes offering a whole new perspective of the events unravelling in Raccoon City through the eyes of an Umbrella Corporation operative HUNK and a piece of tofu with a knife, in 4thSurvivor and Tofu mode, respectively. If players choose to restart their adventures as Leon and/or Claire from the beginning of the game, they will be rewarded with the option to tackle a more challenging version of the main campaign with deeper story elements and content. For added variety, additional costumes for Leon and Claire can also be unlocked or purchased.

In addition to the standard edition of Resident Evil 2, the Deluxe Edition includes the full game plus the downloadable Extra DLC pack, which includes five character costumes (two for Leon and three for Claire), the Albert Model: Samurai Edge weapon, and the retro soundtrack players can choose to enable as an option during gameplay. Physical copies of the Deluxe Edition will also include a reverse box cover featuring Claire.

Coming soon, free additional content titled “The Ghost Survivors,” will be available for Resident Evil 2. This content explores ‘what if’ scenarios around victims of the Raccoon City outbreak and what happens if they survive the events of the main game. Turn the clock back a little, and challenge the fate that awaits a U.S.S. agent, the daughter of the mayor, and a gun shop owner.

The Making of Metro Exodus - Episode Two

The Making of Metro Exodus - Episode Two




THE MAKING OF METRO EXODUS
EPISODE TWO

The second episode in this three-part documentary series exploring the origins of the team behind the Metro videogame series is out now

Deep Silver and 4A Games today released Part Two of The Making of Metro Exodus – a three-part documentary series filmed on location in Kiev and Malta at 4A Games’ two studios as they put the finishing touches on the upcoming Metro Exodus.

Featuring interviews with key personnel at 4A Games, archive footage and photos, and never-seen-before materials from the 5-year development of Metro Exodus from the earliest concept stage, this series takes fans to the heart of the creative process behind 4A Games’ most ambitious project to date.

In Episode Two, we learn about the powerful 4A Engine - the studio’s cutting-edge in-house tech - and the incredible attention to detail that goes into creating Metro’s distinctive weapons.

Episode Three follows in February - be the first to be notified by subscribing to our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/metrovideogame; or by registering at MetroTheGame.com, following us on Twitter and Instagram @MetroVideoGame or on Facebook at Facebook.com/MetroVideoGame.

Metro Exodus will release on 15th February 2019, on Xbox One, the all-in one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PlayStation® 4 computer entertainment system and PC.

MORE ABOUT METRO EXODUS

The year is 2036.
A quarter-century after a nuclear war devastated the earth, a few thousand survivors still cling to existence beneath the ruins of Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro.

They have struggled against the poisoned elements, fought mutated beasts and paranormal horrors, and suffered the flames of civil war.

But now, as Artyom, you must flee the Metro and lead a band of Spartan Rangers on an incredible, continent-spanning journey across post-apocalyptic Russia in search of a new life in the East.

Metro Exodus is an epic, story-driven first-person shooter from 4A Games that blends deadly combat and stealth with exploration and survival horror in one of the most immersive game worlds ever created.

Explore the Russian wilderness across vast, non-linear levels and follow a thrilling story-line that spans an entire year through spring, summer and autumn to the depths of nuclear winter.

Inspired by the novels of Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro Exodus continues Artyom’s story in the greatest Metro adventure yet.

  • Embark on an incredible journey - board the Aurora, a heavily modified steam locomotive, and join a handful of survivors as they search for a new life in the East
  • Experience Sandbox Survival - a gripping story links together classic Metro gameplay with new huge, non-linear levels
  • A beautiful, hostile world - discover the post-apocalyptic Russian wilderness, brought to life with stunning day/night cycles and dynamic weather
  • Deadly combat and stealth – scavenge and craft in the field to customise your arsenal of hand-made weaponry, and engage human and mutant foes in thrilling tactical combat
  • Your choices determine your comrades’ fate - not all your companions will survive the journey; your decisions have consequence in a gripping storyline that offers massive re-playability
  • The ultimate in atmosphere and immersion - a flickering candle in the darkness, a ragged gasp as your gasmask frosts over, the howl of a mutant on the night wind - Metro will immerse and terrify you like no other game…


Overwatch Year of the Pig – Now Live!

Overwatch Year of the Pig – Now Live!


A picture containing table, indoor, cake

Description automatically generated
Overwatch Year of the Pig – Now Live!
  
Ring in the Year of the Pig in true Overwatch style from now until 19 February

Collect hundreds of Lunar New Year themed seasonal cosmetic items, enjoy a festive Capture-the-Flag version of Busan, and welcome the return of our previous Lunar New Year themed maps: Ayutthaya and Lijiang Tower.

But the real highlight of the seasonal event is the skins! This year, unlock new legendary skins like Lü Bu Reaper, Guan Yu Reinhardt, Zhuge Liang Zenyatta, Hong Gildong Tracer, Zhang Fei Torbjorn and Huang Zhong Hanzo. Don’t forget to collect epic skins Sanye Orisa and General Brigitte!

Friday, 25 January 2019

McKellen: Playing The Part: DVD Review


McKellen: Playing The Part: DVD Review


The doco about Sir Ian McKellen reflecting on his life for the large part feels like a biography masquerading in parts as an autobiography.

Amiably put together by Stevenson and culled from some 14 hours of interviews, it's anchored by an early line from McKellen himself talking about his public appearance - "what side of Ian McKellen am I going to present?"

That's not to say that Stevenson's mix of archive footage of some superlative McKellen performances and the mellifluous tones of McKellen himself telling his story along with his ruminations don't combine to make a watchable piece.

In fact, in parts, it's the very opposite as McKellen lets you in on his life, his career trajectory and his activism - it's very much an intimate audience with McKellen that feels like an audiobook getting a select reading to a select few.

McKellen: Playing The Part: Film Review

McKellen says he's best at playing show off parts by his own admission midway through the film, and it feels like a lot of his life has been a struggle, mixing career desires with who he was / is - but it's rare for McKellen: Playing the Part to really give you a major insight into the man himself, other than the barebones of his life story.

However, the break through comes maybe 7 minutes before the end of the film, where McKellen's asked what he thinks about.

It's here visibly that the mask drops, and we get an idea of what the man actually is - "Death..every day - I think about it; how it may come about," is a rare moment of candid unguarded pretension that speaks to the universal human condition.

And it's in this one singular moment that much of McKellen: Playing the Part is shown for what it could have been. Maudlin and melancholy in its final moments, with audio footage of McKellen weeping behind closed doors after the end of Waiting for Godot, the true person arises phoenix-life from the public persona. Coupled with comments about lack of family, lack of children and spending a "most enjoyable evening" planning his own funeral, McKellen's charm and charisma is laid bare in the most mortal of ways.

Ultimately, McKellen: Playing the Part is a perfectly passable documentary, a nice armchair telling of one ultimate thespian's rise to prominence, and whose humbling in the face of the universe makes him even more relatable.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

FAR CRY NEW DAWN - STORY TRAILER

 FAR CRY NEW DAWN - STORY TRAILER



FAR CRY NEW DAWN – STORY TRAILER

Face off against the ruthless highwaymen and their leaders the Twins as you fight to survive in a dangerous post-apocalyptic frontier. Form unexpected alliances, build a deadly arsenal of makeshift weapons and gear using the remnants of the old world to survive against all new threats.

To watch the story trailer please click image below

Far Cry New Dawn will be available on PS4, Xbox One and PC on February 15th, 2019.
For more information about Far Cry New Dawn, please visit farcry.com and follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/farcry and on Twitter at twitter.com/farcrygame or hashtag #FarCryNewDawn.

The Mule: Film Review

The Mule: Film Review


Cast: Clint Eastwood, Dianne Wiest, Andy Garcia, Michael Pena
Director: Clint Eastwood

Eastwood's back and this time, he's looking somewhat worse for wear.

Walking with a stoop, and a hunch, shuffling along, the 88-year-old proffers his take on the New York Times' piece,  "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year-Old Drug Mule."

Eastwood is Earl Stone, a horticulturist whose specialty is lillies. But his time on the farm tending to the flowers which bloom and die in one day has come at a cost - estranged from his family for choosing work over them, his world is empty when his farm is foreclosed.
The Mule: Film Review

Offered a chance to make some money when desperation hits, the curmudgeonly Earl takes up the chance to transport some goods for the Mexican cartel, thanks to his clean record, and lack of criminal history.

But unbeknownst to Stone, the DEA is pulling together a case against the cartels - and his involvement sets him on a collision course with an agent (Cooper) keen to close the group down.

The Mule is a reflective piece, aimed at provoking viewers into thinking about their own propensity for work over family.

It's also one which advocates for Earl Stone, his dubiously racist views and his approach to life.

Yet Eastwood gives the old man something of a relatable edge, and in the latter stages of the film, he delivers a degree of pathos to the man realising he couldn't have bought more time, even if he'd tried.

It's a hard ask in the back portion of the film, because the family are more broadstrokes characters early on, rather than deeply immersive ones that you know he'll orbit. Thankfully scenes with Eastwood and Wiest have a depth that's tangible, and are blessed with a humanity that's hard to ignore.
The Mule: Film Review

Eastwood wallows in the stubborn - whether it's railing against the internet, calling people Negroes when helping them, or mocking a Mexican cartel member by comparing him to a Nazi. Regardless of whether you buy into the racist furore in some quarters, there's no denying that Stone is a product of his time, and Eastwood has no difficulty breathing life into the old dog.

Make no mistake, this is no classic cat and mouse chase; there's a more genial gentle edge to the pace, something akin to Redford's The Old Man and The Gun from late last year.

It mutes the message it wants to deliver, and never quite ups the ante in terms of pace, being as fraily presented as Earl Stone himself .

Sure, there's a poignancy here to be had, and maybe some of it comes from how Eastwood looks, but thanks to thinly-etched edges, it never quite scales the heights you would expect this wistful drug trip to take.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

2019 Oscar nominations

2019 Oscar nominations


The 2019 Oscar nominations aka the 91st Academy Awards have been announced this morning.

Below is a full list of the nominations, including details of the 10 nominations for Roma and The Favourite and the proof Bradley Cooper was snubbed for A Star is Born.

A Star Is Born 
and Vice also were dominant in the 2019 Oscar nominations, earning eight apiece, followed by Black Panther with seven, BlacKkKlansman with six and Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book with five each.
Meanwhile, in the directing category, Spike Lee earned his first-ever best directing Oscar nom for BlacKkKlansman, while A Star Is Born director Bradley Cooper was among the snubs, though he did earn a best acting nomination. Lee will vie with Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Adam McKay (Vice) and Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War) for the honor of best director at the 2019 Oscars.
The Oscar nominations announcement took place at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, with Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross hosting.
2019 Oscar nominations

Here is the full list of 2019 Oscar nominations:
Best Picture:
“Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”
“Vice”
Lead Actor:
Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
Lead Actress:
Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Supporting Actor:
Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”
Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”
Director:
Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”
Animated Feature:
“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
Animated Short:
“Animal Behaviour,” Alison Snowden, David Fine
“Bao,” Domee Shi
“Late Afternoon,” Louise Bagnall
“One Small Step,” Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
“Weekends,” Trevor Jimenez
Adapted Screenplay:

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen , Ethan Coen
“BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
“A Star Is Born,” Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Original Screenplay:
“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
“First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
“Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice,” Adam McKay
Cinematography:
“Cold War,” Lukasz Zal
“The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan
“Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón“A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique
Best Documentary Feature:
“Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
“Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
“Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
“RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen
Best Documentary Short Subject:
“Black Sheep,” Ed Perkins
“End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
“Lifeboat,” Skye Fitzgerald
“A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry
“Period. End of Sentence.,” Rayka Zehtabchi
Best Live Action Short Film: 
“Detainment,” Vincent Lambe
“Fauve,” Jeremy Comte
“Marguerite,” Marianne Farley
“Mother,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
“Skin,” Guy Nattiv
Best Foreign Language Film:
“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
“Roma” (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)
Film Editing:
“BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman
“Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito
“The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
“Vice,” Hank Corwin
Sound Editing:
“Black Panther,” Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst
“First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“A Quiet Place,” Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
“Roma,” Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay
Sound Mixing:
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”
Production Design:

“Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler
“First Man,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
“The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
“Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim
“Roma,” Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez

Original Score:
“BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard
“Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell
“Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
Original Song:
“All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
“I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
Makeup and Hair:
“Border”
“Mary Queen of Scots”
“Vice”
Costume Design:
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
“Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter
“The Favourite,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne
Visual Effects:
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story”