The Greatest Showman

Greatest Showman Poster

“This is me” That’s the rallying cry and heartfelt message at the core of The Greatest Showman and their big show piece number – an Academy award winning original song. It might be more fitting than it first appears too as The Greatest Showman is a film which has defied the odds and has in the face of a number of initially poor critical reviews, has formed itself a loyal and forceful fanbase which has seen the film surpass its original release to keep itself in cinemas worldwide for sing-a-long showings. This film has proven as defiant as its cast of characters.

Loosely following the story of P.T. Barnum and the creation of the famous circus that bore his name. The Greatest Showman is a musical extravaganza built on the idea of big dreams, and the ones that can come true if you believe hard enough. Rising from nothing to everything based on the strength of his dreams, Jackman’s Barnum is an all singing, all dancing philanthropic capitalist. He assembles a collection of people to whom society has been cruelest, used to being hidden away and feared as freaks, he brings them into the foreground, humanising them in the process. The film revels in telling this story with its brand of infectious schmaltz.

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Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread Poster1950s London, an elite fashion house and an intriguing relationship between a famous dressmaker and his latest paramour. This is the set up to the latest Paul Thomas Anderson film and what has been announced as the final film in the illustrious career of its leading man, Daniel Day-Lewis. Given the latter fact, as well as this marking a re-connection of the director/actor collaborators behind the award winning There Will Be Blood (2007), it’s understandable why there has been such anticipation and discussion of this film from its announcement to its release. On paper, it’s a critic’s dream, and thankfully, it’s every bit the intriguing, slowly unwinding, delicately crafted film that could have been expected. Continue reading

Lady Bird

Lady Bird Poster“Lady Bird is a gift. I give it to myself.” So we learn how Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson came by her quirky moniker. She is just an ordinary, idealistic teenager, dreaming of escaping the limits of her hometown Sacramento, California to explore her education in New York. A debut film from the mind of Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird allows us to share in a collective reminiscence of adolescence and the idealism and escapist mind of youth. It’s an outstanding debut and has subsequently been garnering a lot of awards attention, and filled as it is, with some of the best and most interesting young acting talents working currently, it’s perhaps unsurprising. But is it worthy of the hype that it’s built up? Continue reading

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour Poster“We shall fight on the beaches… We will never surrender.” We’ve heard this famous speech many a time in our lifetimes, and a few times in cinemas already this year too; we heard it in Jonathan Teplitzky’s biopic Churchill, we heard them again in Dunkirk and we’ve heard them once more in another Best Picture candidate, The Darkest Hour. There seems to have been an abundance of films featuring Winston Churchill released in the past 12 months, and all focusing in on the same fascinating period of history where Britain teetered on the brink of losing the Second World War. In the enigmatic hands of Gary Oldman, in something of a magnum opus role, Churchill has rarely proved quite as engaging, and with Joe Wright – the director of wartime saga, Atonement – at the helm, it would seem a strong candidate has been formed for multiple awards. Can it fulfil the ambition of the project though, and does it add any fresh mythos to the legend of the man. Continue reading

The Post

The Post PosterIt wouldn’t be a vintage awards year without the presence of some familiar names. In the year when the Academy Awards celebrates its 90th anniversary, it’s only fitting that one of its Best Picture nominees is directed by arguably the biggest name in filmmaking, Steven Spielberg, and starring multiple Academy Award winners Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. That film is The Post, and it follows a tradition in cinema for taking on and re-telling the fascinating stories from the world of journalism. Following on from Spotlight’s success in 2015, and being set in the era of All The President’s Men (1976), it finds itself in illustrious cinematic company. Continue reading

Get Out

Get Out Poster 2

“Gripping, scary, witty and timely.” So reads one tagline to Jordan Peele’s remarkably unique 2017 horror, Get Out, and as 5 word reviews go, it’s pretty accurate in its summation. Get Out is a very fresh take on the horror movie, paying homage to genre classics and conventions and blending them with comedy, and dark social satire. The result is a thoroughly modern horror film with a social commentary to make – much as George A. Romero in his 1978 horror classic The Dawn of the Dead. With the rise of gore horror and otherwise unimaginative and staid genre films, it’s refreshing to view a genuinely smart horror film. Jordan Peele is interested in more than just jump scares, and instead directs a film that can take on social issues whilst framed by its wider horror narrative.

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The Shape of Water

Shape of Water PosterA mute woman working at a government research facility falls in love with an aquatic man/creature being held there for scientific study. It’s not a classic romantic film narrative (unless perhaps you’re discussing it against Splash) and yet what Guillermo Del Toro has created with this narrative is a film of genuine beauty. Grown up fairytales are something that Del Toro has always held a unique vision for and his creation of otherworldly characters is a rare gift, a gift that brings this film a lead character that is visceral, tangible and more importantly believable. The Shape of Water is a remarkably heartfelt and beautiful love story and a fascinating contender for the Best Picture award at this year’s Academy Awards. Continue reading