15th Aug2017

Raindance Film Festival (Film)

by timbaros

20768037_10155650003862803_8328159887117642741_nThe 25th annual Raindance Film Festival announced its line-up this morning at London’s Vue Cinema in Leicester Square, and it includes world, international, European and UK premieres. The Festival will take place at the same cinema from September 20th – October 1st, 2017.

The UK Premiere of Atsuko Hirayanagi’s Oh Lucy! (USA), starring Josh Hartnett is the opening night film. The film is a drama-comedy and tells the story of Setsuko Kawashima, a lonely, chain-smoking office lady in Tokyo who is past her prime and adopts an American alter ego. The Festival’s Closing Night film will be announced later in the month.

Raindance received a record-breaking number of submissions this year from over 120 countries, the highest it has received to date and will screen over 200 projects – including features, shorts, WebFest, VR and music videos.

Jamie Campbell Bower (Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2), Raindance Jury Member, announced the line-up alongside Elliot Grove, Raindance Founder. Alongside Bower, this year’s competition films will be judged by a panel of industry members and film journalists including, including: Jack O’Connell (Money Monster, Unbroken), Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy), Christopher Eccleston (Thor, Dr Who), Ewen Bremner (Wonder Woman, Trainspotting), Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones series, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie).

To recognize the outstanding achievements of this year’s filmmakers, the jury will go through each of the Feature Films, selected for Official Competition, in the following categories; Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Performance. Films nominated in these categories include the international premiere of Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak’s feature debut, Maya Dardel (USA), starring Lena Olin and Rosanna Arquette, which tells the story of a famous writer, who states her intention to end her own life during an interview on NPR, and invites male writers to compete to become the executor of her estate; The Constitution (Croatia), directed by Rajko Grlic, follows four people who live in the same building but avoid each other due to differences in their assets, sexual habits, nationality and religion; Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s Mukoku (Japan), tells the story of a security guard, whose best days are behind, until a chance encounter changes everything.

Additional features in Official Competition include both narratives and documentaries vying for Best UK Film, Best Documentary and the coveted Discovery Award, which is given to Best Debut Film. Films nominated in these categories include; the World Premiere of In Another Life (UK), Jason Wingard’s directional debut, set against the backdrop of the Calais Jungle, where refugee Adnan battles to be reunited with his wife in the UK; The Family I Had (USA), directed by female co-directors Katie Green and Carlyle Rubin, is a documentary featuring a mother recalling how her teenage son shattered their idyllic family through one violent act; Children Of The Night (Italy / Belgium), Andrea De Sica, grandson of four times Academy Award winner, Vittoria De Sica, tells the story of Giulio, a seventeen-year old from a well-to-do family, who is sent to a remote boarding school the Alps, where iron-clad rules limit all contact with the outside. He makes friends with Edoardo, an oddball, and their friendship is sealed by frequent escapes at night, to a nightclub hidden in the forest.

Other noteworthy films playing at the festival include You Are Killing Me Susana (Mexico / Canada), by Robert Sneider, producer of Frida, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal, and tells the story of a Mexican native adapting to life in the USA; Heitor Dhalia’s On Yoga The Architecture Of Peace (Brazil / USA) is based on Michael O’Neill’s book of the same name, and tells the story of the 10 years the author spent photographing Yoga’s great masters; RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save The Planet? by David McIlvrid and Roger Williams, follows internationally celebrated river conservationist Mark Angelo on an around-the-world journey by river that uncovers the dark side of the fashion industry; Tom Gustafson’s Hello Again (USA) starring Rumer Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, is the film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical, it explores 10 fleeting love affairs across 10 periods of time in New York City history.

The LGBT strand will showcase legendary queer director Bruce LaBruce’s latest feature, The Misandrists (Germany), about a young man who unknowingly is taken in by members of the Female Liberation Army – a lesbian separatist stronghold; Becks (USA), co-directed by Daniel Powell and Rebecca Drysdale, starring Mena Suvari, sees a Brooklyn musician move back in with her Midwestern mother, after a crushing breakup with her girlfriend. As she navigates her hometown, playing for tip money in an old friend’s bar, an unexpected relationship unfolds; Travis Mathews’, Discreet (Germany) tells the story of an eccentric drifter who returns home and discovers his childhood abuser is still alive.

This year’s films directed by women include Leslie Ann Coles’ debut documentary Melody Makers (UK) which stars Melody Maker Magazine’s Chief Contributing Photographer, Barrie Wentzel, who tells the story of the rise and fall of the magazine, which marked the end of a style of rock ‘n’ roll journalism that no longer exists today; Barrage (Luxembourg) directed by Laura Schroeder, stars Academy Award nominee Isabelle Huppert, and her real life daughter Lolita Chammah, following the journey of Catherine (Chammah), who is returning to Luxembourg after ten years abroad, to catch up with her young daughter who has been brought up by Catherine’s mother (Huppert), and kidnaps her taking her on a road trip; City Of Joy (USA) is Madeline Gavin’s inspiring documentary following the first class of students at a remarkable leadership centre in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region often referred as “the worst place in the world to be a woman”.

Running between September 28 – October 1, the newly established virtual reality strand will feature the Raindance VRX Awards, VRX Summit, VRX Market and the VR Arcade. The brand new VRX awards will recognise pioneering virtual reality experiences in 10 categories: Best Interactive Narrative Experience, Best Mobile Interactive Experience, Best Cinematic Narrative Experience, Best Documentary Experience, Best Animation Experience, Best Music Experience, Best Branded Experience, Best Sensual Experience, Best Social Impact Experience and Best Sound Design Experience.

There is so so much more that Raindance will offer this year. All the information can be found on their website – Raindance.org.
Tickets go on sale on the website later today.

The Online Festival box office will be open from noon on August 15th, 2017, the cinema box office will be open from September, 20th 2017.

Festival tickets can be purchased through the Festival website:

Raindance Film Festival

Festival passes can be purchased through the Festival website: http://raindancefestival.org/register-now/

Press can apply for accreditation through the Festival website:

Press Accreditations

Industry can apply for accreditation through the Festival website:

Accreditations 2016

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10th Aug2017

Tom of Finland (Film)

by timbaros

LAURI TILKANENWe all know who Tom of Finland was, but not many people know the real life story of the man behind the sexy images – Touko Laaksonen. The new movie ‘Tom of Finland,’ tells us about his fascinating, and interesting life.

But it’s a bit of a shame because the film is not very exciting. It should have been given that this man is most famous for his drawings of muscular and very well-endowed men in various incriminating sexual positions, but this aspect of the film takes a bit of a backseat to the more biographical nature of his life. Laaksonen, (ably played by Finish actor Pekka Strang), was a decorated officer in WWII and fought in battles against the Nazis where he was face to face with the enemy, and which makes an indelible impression on him for life. After the war he returns home to live with his homophobic sister Kaijia (Jessica Grabowsky) and leads a very unexciting life working at an advertising agency. It’s only when he starts drawing men is when he starts feeling alive, more so because he starts to explore his sexuality in a place where it was illegal. Laaksonen then falls in love with the young lodger Veli (Lauri Tilkanen) him and his sister take in. This relationship instills confidence in Laaksonen and this is when his artistic talent starts to blossom.

Instead of getting sexier and more erotic, ‘Tom of Finland’ the film maintains its understated and muted tone. As Laaksonen’s work (who by now goes by the name Tom of Finland given to him by his Jewish publisher) becomes more well known around the world, he goes to Berlin and then is whisked away to Los Angeles at the behest of a rich gay patron (played by Seumas Sargent) where we get glances of men frolicking in a swimming pool but it’s not enough to warrant any sort of excitement in a film that should be releasing hormones right and left. Some of the supporting characters start getting sick but there’s no real mention of the words HIV or AIDS in the film and it’s this disease that hits his community hard, at a time when no one really knew how the virus was contracted. And with no timeline mentioned in the film it’s a bit difficult to know when these events took place to put the story into some sort of context.

Directed by Finnish Director Dome Karukoski and written by Aleksi Bardy, ‘Tom of Finland’ has, of course, a very Finnish feel to it (definitely foreign and a bit dull and grey), which may or may not have impacted the film’s lack of excitement and dramatic possibilities. But the cast are all very believable and Strang does a very good job of playing Laaksonen’s life over a span of 50 years (!!). But Laaksonen deserves a more fitting tribute. He was a seminal figure in gay culture, one of the most influential and celebrated figures of twentieth century gay culture, and ‘Tom of Finland’ the movie is not quite what I’d hoped it would be.

If you want real excitement, there is the Tom of Finland Organic Vodka to try – launched in the UK last month. Made in Finland from a blend of the finest organic wheat and rye with no added sugar, the vodka pays tribute to Tom of Finland through it’s smooth, spicy taste and flavor and it’s sexy packaging. The vodka was launched to coincide with the release of ‘Tom of Finland.’

The vodka is available now from select retailers including Gerry’s Wines and Spirits in Soho, London for an RRP of £32.50/50cl. I’ve tried it and it is superb.

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27th Jul2017

The Big Sick (Film)

by timbaros

Kumail Nanjiani as "Kumail" and Zoe Kazan as "Emily" in THE BIG SICK. Photo by Sarah Shatz.

An unusual romance blossoms between a Muslim comedian and a white American woman in the new light-hearted comedy “The Big Sick.”

The not funny title is completely intentional because halfway through the film Emily (Zoe Kazan) gets really sick and falls into a coma. But before this we see the beginnings of a romance (and the breakup) between her and aspiring comedian Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani). Even though they come from two totally different backgrounds, they fall head over heals with each other after Zoe heckles him at one of his shows. But it’s when Zoe is diagnosed with a mystery illness, and after they break up, that Kumail decides that he really wants to be with Zoe, but he’s got to share her hospital room with her parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, who are both excellent). Meeting her parents for the first time in the hospital tests him and his love for Zoe, but it’s also her parents who have to do some soul searching themselves because they are not quite yet able to accept a Muslim man as their only daughter’s boyfriend. And to make matters worse for Kumail, his family insists he marry a Muslim girl with his mom constantly inviting single Muslim women over for dinner and tells Kumail that ’they happen to be in the neighborhood.’ Kumail has lots of dilemmas in his life.

“The Big Sick” is the true life story of Kumail and his real life wife (Emily V. Gordon), who had become very sick when they were dating, and this is where the story of this film comes from (they co-wrote the script together). Directed by Michael Shwalter, “The Big Sick” is a very funny and light hearted comedy that will tug at your heartstrings. And it’s Nanjiani (from television’s “Silicon Valley”) who lays his heart out and lets us in on his real life relationship that has now been turned into a very good romantic comedy.

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25th Jul2017

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (Film)

by timbaros

captain-underpants-sq1300_s840_f243_RGB_FIN_rgbA cheeky children’s series of novels has now been turned into a gleeful and silly animated film. It’s “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.”

Yes, in case you weren’t aware of this popular children’s book series by Dav Pilkey, it has our superhero fighting crime wearing a cape and his white underpants – Y fronts. But he’s actually the creation (and from the imagination) of George (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch), 4th grade friends and next door neighbors. They are king of the pranks at their elementary school so it’s no surprise that when principal Benjamin Krupp (Ed Helms) threatens to separate them, they, through their self-created comic book, and after one unfortunate prank that goes wrong, turns Mr. Krupp into Captain Underpants! But the boys want to keep Mr. Krupp in his superhero kit so he doesn’t turn back into the mean principal who is going to separate them. But they can’t keep him wandering around town in his underpants all the time. They also have to deal with the nerd inventor prodigy Melvin (Jordan Peele) as well as the new mad science teacher Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll), who is up to his own evil plans.

For the little boy in you (and that would be boys who will sure find this animated film funny, as it’s pretty much that kind of humor), but the rest of us will shake our heads at the silliness of it all.

If this is the first (as per the name of the movie) in a series of more Captain Underpants movies, I’m not too sure it’s going to be a good thing.

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20th Jul2017

Scribe (Film)

by timbaros

1364759-francois-cluzet-plonge-film-espionnageAn unemployed accountant takes a job that puts him in the middle of a political conspiracy in the new film “Scribe.”

“Scribe (La mécanique de l’ombre)” is a timely taut French thriller that builds it’s suspense in events that lead up to a political election. François Cluzet is Duval, a recovering alcoholic who takes a job as a transcriber that is literally offered to him with no questions asked. He is tasked with typing telephone conversations from tapes that are numbered and left for him in a non-descript flat where he is all alone. He is told by his boss Clément (Denis Podalydés) to keep to himself, to remain unnoticed, and to not smoke in the flat. He is supposed to open the curtains when he arrives at 9 a.m. and to close them when he leaves at 6 p.m. But as the days go on and the conversations on the tapes he transcribes become all too realistic and downright criminal, it’s clear to Duval that the organisation he is working for is somehow involved in trying to manipulate the upcoming election. After a high profile figure is murdered, the conversation of which is on one of the tapes, it’s just a matter of time before Duval gets caught up in the conspiracy, and a murder,
and eventually his life is in danger by the very organization that employs him.

“Scribe” has all the ingredients of being a great political thriller in the same vein as “The Manchurian Candidate” and 2006’s Oscar wining German film “The Lives of Others.” Director Thomas Kruithof superbly builds the tension while at the same time not giving too much away during the film until it’s explosive ending. This film is well worth a watch.

“Scribe” is in cinemas and on demand from 21st July

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15th Jul2017

Cars 3 (Film)

by timbaros

NEXT-GEN TAKES THE LEAD — Jackson Storm (voice of Armie Hammer), a frontrunner in the next generation of racers, posts speeds that even Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) hasn’t seen. “Cars 3” is in theaters June 16, 2017. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
Lighting McQueen is back in the latest instalment of Disney’s Cars movie franchise.

If you remember him from “Cars” and “Cars 2,” Lightning McQueen is a racing car whose red exterior and very likeable and loveable interior melts children and adults hearts alike. But in “Cars 3,” the world is changing and Lightning McQueen (voiced by Luke Wilson) can’t keep up with the new mangled fangled super fast highly technologically-advanced new cars now racing, and this includes the shiny and cocky Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). So what should Lighting McQueen do, retire? No way! After a nasty car accident in a race, McQueen is sent to Radiator Springs to recover from the crash, and from there he joins a new racing facility so that he can up his game to compete with the new cars. There he meets Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), a feisty female personal trainer who whips cars back into racing shape. Ramirez also had hopes of being a championship race car but she gave these dreams up years ago. But McQueen has to follow her instructions and at the same time he has to convince his owner Sterling (Nathan Fillion) that he can and will win his next race, for if he doesn’t, then he will give up racing altogether and just stick to endorsements. With McQueen getting into tip top shape, and Cruz’s confidence picking up and raising hopes of her going back to racing, it all boils down to the big race where McQueen has to show what he’s now made of, all thanks to Cruz.

As in “Cars” and “Cars 2,” “Cars 3” is an entertaining movie that provides us with excellent animation and a story where we route not just for Lightning McQueen but for Cruz as well – a minority female character with an inspiring storyline – a rarity in animation films. Expect Disney to have another big hit on their hands with this film as it appeals to both children and adults alike, and perhaps expect “Cars 4” to come our way in a few years time.

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19th Jun2017

Rock Dog (Film)

by timbaros

0300RAD_0140_master_v025.l.0246 0300RAD_0140_master_v025_l_0246A young dog from the Tibetan mountains heads to the big city to pursue his dream of being a rock star in the new and fun animated film Rock Dog.

Bodi (Luke Wilson) lives with his father in a tiny village high up on Snow Mountain. His father Khampa (J.K. Simmons) is a leader of the village, and it’s him who is in charge of a motley gang of sheep guards who protect the village from the dastardly, and hungry, wolves who are constantly trying to attack them. Then one day a plane drops a box into the village, and it’s Bodi who is there to investigate it’s contents. In it is a radio which Bodi turns on and instantly he’s in love with the music of a musician by the name of Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard). Bodi tries to copy the sounds of Scattergood by piecing together items found in the village to make a guitar – and Bodi thinks he’s found his calling! After an incident which causes havoc on the village, it is agreed that Bodi should be given a chance to head to the bright lights of the big city so that he can further explore his passion for music and his admiration for Scattergood. But once Bodi leaves the mountain, he is followed by two of the wolves who plan to kidnap him and use him as bait in order to take control of Snow Mountain. But in the big city Bodi meets fellow music and Scattergood enthusiasts in a place called Rock and Roll Park, it’s where Scattergood began his career. It’s not too long before Bodi comes face to face with Scattergood, but he also comes face to face with the wolves, who, at the behest of their leader Linnux (Lewis Black), vows to kidnap Bodi and do whatever it takes to take control of Snow Mountain.

This Chinese-American production is a simple tale of someone from a small village out to seek fame and fortune and explore his passion in the big city, themes most of us can relate to. But Bodi has more than a sense of adventure, he’s got charm and curiosity and a wit about him that should make this film appeal to both children and grownups alike. This film has been a flop, both in the U.S., with a measly gross of $20 million versus a budget of $60 million, and in China, where it has only earned $5.7 million (the film, though not explicitly mentioned, takes place in China). But in my opinion, it’s a great tale told very well with animation that’s passable and an excellently-voiced cast (even Matt Dillon pops up as a yak). It’s a cute story with cute characters – Rock Dog Rocks!

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16th Jun2017

Destination Unknown (Film)

by timbaros

Ed Mosberg wearing the Tallit in Birkenau whilst listening to the HatikvaTwelve Holocaust survivors tell their moving stories in the excellent documentary “Destination Unknown.”

These survivors tell, in vivid detail, the horrors they suffered in the concentration camps during WWII. These men and women were lucky enough to have lived through, and survived, the suffering and the horrors in the Treblinka, Mauthausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. They tell about losing their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, and how, now 70 years after the liberation of the camps, they are still haunted by the memories. We get to meet Ed Mosberg, who was 13 years old when the war started, and who lost all of his family, and how, 70 years later, him and his wife, who is in a wheelchair, visit Mauthausen Camp for the first time since they were liberated, with Ed wearing a prisoner’s outfit. His wife bittersweetly tells him that he never really left the concentration camp. Then there is Polish Eli Zborowski, who survived the war by being hidden by a local family, and Stanley Goglover, who had to remove his Auschwitz tattoo to completely erase the memories of his time in the concentration camps. Roman Ferber speaks in perfect english as he remembers when he was three years old that all of a sudden his Polish nanny disappeared only because she was not allowed to work for a Jewish family. The memorable story of couple Victor and Regina Lewis, who knew each other before the war and who, after the war, being the only members of their families to survive, ended up reconnecting and eventually getting married. Plus some of the lucky survivors who ended up on Schindler’s list and who thus were not sent to the camps get to tell their harrowing tales. “Destination Unknown” just doesn’t concentrate on death, the documentary also highlights these people’s amazing lives after the war, how they got married, had kids and even grandchildren, and how they created their own families after the horrible horrible crimes against humanity that took place under Adolph Hitler’s short but devastating regime.

“Destination Unkown,’ completed in 2016, uses rare unseen archive footage from the war, as well as the participant’s own home video footage, to tell their individual stories of fear, hope, survival and courage. After 14 years of tracking down and talking to survivors, Producer Llion Roberts, along with Director and Editor Claire Ferguson, have made a documentary that is both memorable and still necessary, with an incredible and moving soundtrack. Sure there have been dozens and dozens of books, films and documentaries on this subject, but it’s a subject matter that still needs to be told for each survivor has their own story to tell, unique, frightening, courageous, and just as important, perhaps even more so, than anything in the news today.

“DESTINATION UNKNOWN” is in cinemas 16 June

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12th Jun2017

Norman (Film)

by timbaros

1Richard Gere is excellent as always as a man who is desperate to do a deal but can’t seem to get a break in the new film Norman.

Gere is Norman Oppenheimer, a New York hustler who appears to be living a life of lies – he’s doesn’t appear to have a place to live, he spends most of his time at a church that could possibly be a homeless shelter, and talks about a daughter who may or may not exist. But he sees his fortunes possibly change upon a chance encounter with an up and coming politician. Then One day, after attending a conference, he sees Israeli politician Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), Norman ingratiates himself with him by buying him an expensive pair of shoes, shoes that Norman probably can’t afford to pay for, but he does (though luckily for him Eshel refuses to get a suit as well). Three years later, as Norman still struggles to get one of his deals done, Eshel becomes the Israeli Prime Minister, so Norman realizes that this could be his big chance to get into the big leagues. But what turns out to be a friendly relationship between Norman and the Prime Minister turns into nothing as Eshel sees Norman’s desperate attempts to be close to him a liability, which leaves Norman basically back to where he began – a fixer with nothing to fix.

Gere does a nice turn as the ageing New York Norman who never quite seemed to have been much of a success in life. He plays Norman with such believability, desperateness, and a bit of wit that it’s hard not to fall for him a bit. The film’s subtitle – The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer – pretty sums up this film – but it’s Gere, who was excellent as a homeless man in 2014’s Time Out of Mind – who shines and makes this film worth a watch.

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10th Jun2017

Berlin Syndrome (Film)

by timbaros

berlin-syndrome-07A young Australian woman visiting Berlin meets who she thinks is a perfect man but then he turns out to be too good to be true.

In the new movie Berlin Syndrome, Is it a game or is it a nightmare? When Clare (Teresa Palmer) meets Andi (Max Riernelt) by chance on a Berlin street, she can’t resist his charms and good looks. She was planning on going to Dresden the next day but instead she changes her plans to go out on a date with him. The date turns into a one-night stand, at Andi’s flat, in an isolated building in the middle of nowhere that’s typically Berlin . The next day, as Andi goes to his teaching job, Clare wakes up and realizes she can’t get out of his flat as the front door and the windows are locked. She’s not too concerned about it because she assumes that Andi just forgot to leave her the key. He comes home from work and they spend the night in Andi’s flat having a romantic dinner, and Clare can’t resist spending another night there. When Andi does leave the key for her the next morning, Clare attempts to open the front door are futile – it’s actually locked from the outside. It’s at this point that Clare starts to panic. She breaks one of the living room windows only to discover it’s double glazed and can’t break the second window. And it’s only a matter of time until Andi comes home from work that their relationship takes a turn from a romantic one to a one fraught with panic, danger and suspense for Clare as she does not know what’s going to happen next. Minutes turn into hours which turn into days and Clare is fraught with more terror as she does not know what Andi has in store for her.

Berlin Syndrome is almost two hours long, but it’s a film that will make your heart beat a bit faster, and will keep you holding your breathe – it’s that suspenseful. Director Cate Shortland has given us a woman’s survival story, that, while the finale is a bit predictable and silly, starts out pure and innocent but then turns into a nightmare. It’ll make you have second thoughts the next time a guy invites you back to his place.

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05th Jun2017

After the Storm (Film)

by timbaros

image003There’s a typhoon heading towards Tokyo while the lives of several of it’s citizens go on as normal in the new film After the Storm.

But Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) and his mother Yoshiko (Kirin Kiki) are really not too happy the way their lives turned out. Ryota (played by Abe Hiroshi), divorced with one son, wrote one hit book decades ago but now works in a detective agency spying on cheating letharios. Yoshiko lives alone in a housing complex. Her husband has recently passed away but she still can’t come to terms with the fact that he was pretty much a bum. Both Ryota and Yoshiko appear to have wanted more out of life but they’ve got accept where they are and what they have. And Ryota has to accept the fact that his ex-wife Kyoko (Maki Yoko) is dating a man who Ryota is worried will became a father figure to his son Shingo (Yoshizawa Taiyo). But with the 24th typhoon of the year on it’s way, Kyota as usual spends his one day of the month with Shingo, and at night they end up at Yoshiko’s apartment where Kyoko goes to pick him up. But as the typhoon has already hit land, it brings the whole family under one roof to discuss, yell, ponder and contemplate the relationships they now have with each other.

After the Storm is a thought provoking film. While nothing really happens, it’s the relationship these people have with each other that you will inevitably compare to your own. And at 117 minutes, it’s a bit long, but the acting and the story are crisp and original, and ultimately it’s worth watching.

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04th Jun2017

Wonder Woman (Film)

by timbaros

WONDER WOMAN

First seen in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (as well as on television in the 1970’s), in Wonder Woman we finally have our first real female action hero. The film, appropriately titled Wonder Woman, is out now and it’s good, very good!

It’s two hours and 21 minutes of action, drama, and adventure as Gail Gadot plays Wonder Woman, a demi-god created by Zeus and raised by Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) who fights evil with her special powers (including her bracelets). Wonder Woman is the continuation of the character created in Dawn of Justice – who in the civilian world was known as Diana Prince. She lives in the land of Amazonia where it’s women-only and where she is Princess Diana of Themyscira. In this film she is accompanied all the way through with Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. He is a WWI United States Army Air Service fighter pilot who crashes off the coast of Themyscira, where Wonder Woman grew up and was taught to fight by her fellow Amazonians. She ends up going with Trevor to find Ares, the god of War, in the hopes that killing him will stop the war. But it’s the evil Doctor Isabel Maru (Elena Anaya) who has created a deathly chemical that will ensure quick death to those who are exposed to it, so Wonder Woman has several battles to fight in her quest for world peace.

Diana and Steve’s adventure and mission takes them to London and then into Europe and to the front trenches, where Wonder Woman (an hour and 22 minutes into the film) finally sheds her clothes and lets loose in the infamous Wonder Woman outfit. And it’s spectacular fight scenes that will leave you gasping for air until the very last few scenes when Wonder Woman comes face to face with pure evil.

Gadot is spectacular as Wonder Woman. To hell with male action heroes – there’s now a woman who can take anything that comes her way and she sure nails it. Pine makes a fine side kick, but it’s about time it’s all about the woman. Let’s hope this character becomes a franchise – no more Superman but more Wonder Woman! Director Patty Jenkins brings a new twist and a nice feminine touch to the DC Comics Extended Universe by directing a film that’s smashingly good and is great summer movie fare. Long live Wonder Woman!

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02nd Jun2017

Sundance Film Festival London (Film)

by timbaros
Beatriz at Dinner

Beatriz at Dinner

Sundance Film Festival Colorado comes to London this weekend and features a lineup of 14 films that were shown at the festival in Colorado earlier this year. This year’s festival will take place from June 1 – 4 at Central London’s gorgeous Picturehouse Central. Here’s a small selection of what’s on offer:

The opening night film is Beatriz at Dinner where Selma Hayek plays Beatriz, a poor Mexican-American holistic practitioneer who finds herself at a wealthy client’s dinner party. Also starring John Lithgow and Choe Sevigny.

The Big Sick is a rom-com about a Pakistani-American man and his white American girlfriend who negotiate family interferences in their relationship. With Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano.

There are two films at the festival that take place in New York’s Brooklyn neighborhoods. In Crown Heights, one man is wrongly convicted of murder in this true-life miscarriage of justice. Crown Heights was the Audience Award Winner at the January Sundance festival. Bushwick deals with a woman (Brittany Snow) who steps out of the subway to discover her neighborhood is under seige from militia forces.

Recent Best Actor winner Casey Affleck plays a ghost who was recently deceased and returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his wife, played Rooney Mara.

The unusual Bitch stars Marianna Palka who plays an unhappy housewife and mother who, when she snaps, turns int a vicious dog. A bit strange and unusual….

Woody Harrelson is Wilson, a middle aged man who lives alone with his dog who is on a mission to track down his ex-wife only to discover that he has a teenage daughter.

The documentary Dina, winner of the Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize is an unconventional love story about two autistic adults while Icarus takes an investigative look at doping in sports. And also scheduled into the program is a surprise film on Friday night.

Short films will also be played at the festival, and include Come Swim, the directorial debut of Kirsten Stewart, and Tough, about a mother-daughter misunderstanding. There will also be events during the weekend, including several of the directors and stars will be attending post screening Q&A’s. One of the highlights should be a discussion called Independent Film Trumps Reality where movie makers discuss movies in the current political climate.

To buy tickets to any of the screenings and events, please go to picturehouses.com/sundance. Festival passes as well individual screening tickets are sold.

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27th May2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge

by timbaros

"PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES"..The villainous Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) pursues Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he searches for the trident used by Poseidon..Ph: Film Frame..©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Johnny Depp is back, for a fifth time, as Jack Sparrow in the new installment of Disney’s very successful franchise Pirates of the Caribbean. This one is called Salazar’s Revenge (also known as Dead Men Tell no Tales).

Was there a need for a fourth sequel to the original, titled The Curse of the Black Pearl? In my opinion, no. It’s not that this film is not very good, it’s just that Depp’s Sparrow is starting to get a bit boring, eccentric, and at the very most unnecessary to the plot.

In this sequel, Sparrow is pursued by an old nemesis, Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem). And it’s practically Bardem as Salazar who steals the movie. His Salazar, physically half there, half not there, is one of the most exciting movie characters in recent times. He’s scary and ugly, speaks with a dark, deep voice, and is in a word fascinating. Salazar blames Sparrow for his downfall, so it’s race between him and Sparrow to find the Trident of Poseidon – Salazar wants to use it’s power to destroy all the pirates in the world while of course Sparrow spends his time in a race with Salazar to get this powerful tool.

In the meantime, we are introduced to two new characters (perhaps to inject this film franchise with fresh faces): Kaya Scodelario is Carina, an astronomer, while Brenton Thwaites is very good as Henry, the son of the characters of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley from a previous film.

Salazar’s Revenge is dark, very dark, and it includes memorable scenes including the Devil’s Triangle (where Salazar and his evil gang do their dirty deeds) and stunning special effects. But It’s Bardem who carries, and excels, in this movie. Perhaps in the next sequel they can completely leave out Sparrow and focus more on Salazar. Sparrow’s character has become a bit dull and unnecessary, so it’s time to either leave him out completely and focus on new characters or end the franchise for good. No doubt this film will make a lot of money for Disney – but this franchise with Depp is starting to become a tale Dead (or alive) men don’t want to tell.

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