29th Feb2016

Oscar Winners (Film)

by timbaros

31ACDCA000000578-3453525-image-m-185_1456722619717Spotlight won Best Picture last night at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, handed out at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Mad Max: Fury Road came into the night with the second-most nominations — 10 — and won six trophies, twice as many Oscars as its closest rival. The Revenant, which had a leading 12 noms, and Spotlight were the only other films to win multiple awards, with three and two respectively.




It was quite an upset for Best Picture as it was expected The Revenant would win, especially after it’s director and star won in their respective categories: Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Leonardo DiCaprio. Mark Rylance went on to win Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies, beating the sentimental favorite Sylvester Stallone for Creed. Alicia Vikander swept up Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl in a category that looked Kate Winslet had is sown up for her role in Steve Jobs.

Here’s a complete list of the winners:

Best Picture

Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Best Actress

Brie Larson, Room

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Actress Brie Larson accepts the Best Actress award for 'Room' during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Best Directing

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant,

Best Original Song

“Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Best Original Score

The Hateful Eight
Ennio Morricone

Best Foreign Language Film

Son of Saul (Hungary)

Best Live Action Short Film
Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armtiage

Best Documentary Feature
Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees

Best Documentary Short Subject

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Best Supporting Actor

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies


Best Animated Feature Film

Inside Out
Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera

Best Animated Short Film

Bear Story
Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina
Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

Best Sound Mixing

Mad Max: Fury Road
Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
Mark Mangini and David White

Best Film Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
Margaret Sixel

Best Cinematography

The Revenant
Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road
Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin

Best Production Design

Mad Max: Fury Road
Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson

Best Costume Design

Mad Max: Fury Road
Jenny Beavan

Best Supporting Actress

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl


Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short
Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

Best Original Screenplay

Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy

26th Feb2016

Academy Award Predictions (Film)

by timbaros

OscarThere’s been the BAFTA’s, The Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, The Evening Standard British Film Awards, the London Film Critics Circle Awards AND the National Society of Film Critics (plus more!). But this Sunday is the granddaddy of them all – the Oscars. The nominations were more of a surprise this year because of the lack of nominations for minorities in the top categories. It’s an issue the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences must address, not just in the nominations process but in it’s membership as well.

There shouldn’t be too many surprises on Sunday night. Of the top six categories, there is one category that might be up for grabs – Best Supporting Actor. But the other five categories are predictable. So herewith are my predictions:

Best Picture:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Will Win: The Revenant. It won the BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture and has the most momentum going of any of the nominated films, and it’s a box office and critical hit. Spotlight is a distant second but it’s doubtful that the Academy will award Best Picture to a film about a scandal when they’re going through their own scandal. Should win: The Revenant. It’s a monumental film and a great achievement in filmmaking.

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio. He was excellent in The Revenant as the fur trapper who seeks revenge for the murder of his son. DiCaprio has been nominated four previous times, he’s due.
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio. Expect him to give the best speech of the night.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Last October Blanchett looked like a lock for her portrayal of a wealthy woman who woos a younger woman in Carol. Then Larson’s Room was released – it’s story of a mother held hostage and locked in a room with her young son. And Larson did give the best performance by any actress last year. What’s Lawrence doing here? Her Joy character (and acting) were over the top and not believable. Other actresses more deserving of the nomination include Carey Mulligan in Suffragette, Marion Cotillard in Macbeth and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl (where she received a questionable Best Supporting Actress nomination). Lawrence seems to be the darling of the Academy and is always nominated (perhaps she titillates the mostly older white men who make up most of the Academy members).
Will win: Brie Larson. She’s deservedly won the BAFTA and the Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress.
Should win: Brie Larson. Hands down.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

This category is up for grabs. While Stallone looks like a lock for his portrayal of an older and more wise Rocky Balboa in Creed, Rylance has just won the BAFTA for portraying a Russian spy in Bridge of Spies.
Will win: Sylvester Stallone. His win will not only be for his performance but also for his successful Hollywood career and for continuing the Rocky character. Expect him to give a very sentimental speech.
Should win: Jacob Tremblay in Room. Tremblay was absolutely superb as Larson’s son in Room – It was an amazing and extraordinary performance for a five year-old who happens to be in every scene of the movie. What’s even more shocking is that he was not even nominated. Add ‘not nominating little children for excellent performances’ to the Academy’s controversies list.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McADams, Spotlight

Alician Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Winslet was one of the best things in a film that was one of 2015’s biggest disappointments – critically and financially. Winslet plays the long suffering assistant to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and for this role she’s already won the Golden Globe and BAFTA. Vikander was great in Ex-Machina for which she should be nominated here. But she’s been relegated to Supporting Actress and the film isn’t even that great so she won’t win here. It would be nice to see Jennifer Jason Leigh win get it but The Hateful Eight was not a very loved film.
Will Win: Kate Winslet. This is her 7th nomination (having won Best Actress for The Reader in 2009), so what the heck, give her another one.
Should Win: Rooney Mara. Mara plays Blanchett’s younger love interest in a beautiful and graceful performance. However, Mara is in more scenes in Carol than Blanchette, so she really deserves to be in the Best Actress category, not this category.

Best Director

Adam McKay – The Big Short

George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson – Room

Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Oscar night will belong to The Revenant. None of the other directors stand a chance in this category. When Iñárritu wins on Sunday night, he will be the first director to win two years in a row (he won last year for Birdman).
Will win: Iñárritu. He’s just won the Director’s Guild Awards which is a strong indicator that he will win this category. He’s also won the BAFTA and Golden Globe.
Should win: Iñárritu. The Revenant is filmmaking at it’s finest.

Best Foreign Language Film

Embrace of the Serpent


Son of Saul


A War

Hungarian drama film Son of Saul, directed by László Nemes, is a powerful film that follows a day-and-a-half in the life of a man in an Auschwitz concentration camp, and it will win. It’s a brutal, amazing and extremely unforgettable film experience. Son of Saul deserves to be in the Best Picture category – it packs more of a emotional punch and the will to live more than The Revenant.

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out


Straight Outta Compton

It’s got to be Spotlight for this one. Tom McCarthy has won both the BAFTA and Writers Guild Award (shared with Josh Singer) for a script that’s quick, tense, important, and real

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short



The Martian


This category is a hard one to call. The Big Short, Brooklyn, The Martian and Room are all up for Best Picture, so this leaves Carol out of the running. I would give it to The Big Short because of it’s unique telling of the 2008 financial collapse, and like Spotlight, it’s won the BAFTA and the Writers Guild Awards.

Films that were entirely shut out but deserved at least one nomination, in my opinion, include: Suffragette, Macbeth, In the Heart of the Sea, Tangerine and Sherpa.

The 88th Annual Academy Awards will be shown live on television here in the UK on Sunday night/Monday morning on Sky Movies at 1:30 a.m. For those of you who are unable to stay up all night to watch the show, an Oscar highlights show will air on Monday night at 10:00 p.m. on Sky Living.

26th Feb2016

Triple 9 (Film)

by timbaros

triple9_1200x513Triple 9 is the police officer code for the death of a policeman. It’s also the name of a new film about corruption in the police department.

Taking place in Atlanta, and with an all-star cast, ‘Triple 9’ focuses on several characters, but it’s Chris Allen’s (Casey Affleck) story. He’s been moved from a zone 2 position (crossing guard) to that of a police detective, serving under his uncle Sergeant Detective Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson). But amongst the rest of Allen’s squad are police officers who don’t exactly follow the rules, some of them in fact break them. And the ones that break them are being blackmailed by the Russian Mafia, led by Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet looking extremely unrecognizable). Vlaslov has several of the police officers in the palm of her hand and in her pocket, including Michael Belmont (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Marcus Atwood (Anthony Mackie). She’s also kidnapped Atwood’s young son born to him by his Russian ex-wife to prove to him that he better finish one last job for her. In an explosive start to the film, Belmont, along with Atwood and Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul) and others pull off a daring heist in an Atlanta downtown bank. It’s a heist that goes smoothly until one of the bags full of money explodes with colored powder, exposing the men on a highway where they have to hijack another car to get away. Meanwhile, local Mexican gangs aren’t too pleased to see the police in their neighborhoods, and the gangs will do whatever it takes to get the cops off their streets. Led by Pinto (Luis Da Silva), his gang deals drugs and kills cops full time. But Detective Allen, who has a wife and young baby at home, doesn’t know that he’s being set up in order for the corrupt cops to pull off the final heist in the Department of Homeland Security’s vault under Vlaslov’s orders. It’s a heist where Allen realizes police corruption is too close to home.

Tripple 9 is not for the faint at heart. It’s full of severed heads, shootouts, brutal arrests and lots and lots of violence. We see the story through Aflleck’s eyes – a young naive cop caught up in a world he knows nothing about. The star-studded cast all work hard to make Matt Cook’s script as real as possible. Most memorable is Winslet who plays the Russian boss – very cold and calculating who won’t even think twice about killing one of her own. Her Russian accent is very good but starts lilting into English near the end of the film. Director John Hillcoat (who gave us the masterpiece ’The Road) keeps the action coming at us right and left throughout the film, but it’s the predictable ending that doesn’t quite make this film as good as it should’ve been.

24th Feb2016

War of the Worlds (Theatre)

by timbaros
A scene from The War Of The Worlds by Jeff Wayne @ Dominion Theatre (Opening 17-02-16) ©Tristram Kenton 02/16 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550  Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

A scene from The War Of The Worlds by Jeff Wayne @ Dominion Theatre
(Opening 17-02-16)
©Tristram Kenton 02/16
(3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

London’s Dominion Theatre has been invaded by aliens causing massive destruction with people fleeing for their lives.

Well, on stage that is, not out on the streets. It’s the newest production of ‘War of the Worlds’, previously shown at the O2 in 2014 to much greater and better effect. In the smaller confines that is West End theatre, ‘War of the Worlds’ and it’s aliens, the village and the villagers are all munched together on the small stage. It’s presented as a multimedia experience with a good portion of the show on video screens hanging above and in the back of the stage. Also on the stage is the man himself, composer Jeff Wayne, with his very large 22 piece orchestra, split into two sections. And then we have our narrator – Liam Neeson – whose image pops up (or down in the case of his video screen coming down from rafters) every few minutes explaining to the audience what is happening.

Billed as ‘Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds,’ the show took close to 40 years to reach the West End, and we are graced with the presence Wayne conducting. It’s his music to the famous H.G. Wells dark victorian tale about earth being invaded by aliens that is the highlight of the show. So for two and one half hours, the audience is meant to be immersed, spellbound and scared of what’s taking place on stage, but they’re not.

What’s happening on stage is a mess. While Wayne and his orchestra are in excellent form, the narration, the story and the action do not live up to the hype. Neeson’s screen image goes up and down up and down so many times that it became very very annoying to a point dreading his next appearance. And his narration is a bit hard to understand and hear because of his accent with the noise and chaos taking place on stage. His job is to tell the story, but we can also see the story happening right before our very eyes. And it’s in front of our very eyes where we see the cast running aimlessly back and forth on stage, falling, getting back up, frightened by the aliens (on the video screens no less), and lots of flames. They, and us, are pummelled with flashing lights and high pitched sounds meant to hark the arrival of the aliens. Then an actual mechanical alien walks on to the stage, looking like an extremely large piece of shiny metal with legs – it’s not scary at all. It actually looks unrealistic and silly. And we don’t get to know the characters. David Essex is the star draw who plays The Voice of Humanity, while Daniel Beddingfield pops in to sing a nice song every now and then. But “The Way of the Worlds’ is a show that’s all over the place and I was very disappointed because I was expecting to be immersed, spellbound and scared. Unfortunately, I was none of them.

21st Feb2016

Freeheld (Film)

by timbaros


A dying female police officer struggles to get her benefits passed on to her female domestic partner in the new film ‘Freeheld.’

Starring Oscar Winner Julianne Moore (last year’s ‘Still Alice’), Moore plays the real-life Laurel Hester, an Ocean County New Jersey police detective who is diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 48. But before she was diagnosed with cancer, she meets Stacie Leigh Andree (Ellen Page – ‘Juno’ and ‘Inception’), on a Lesbian volleyball team. Andree is 19 years younger than Hester, but they’re both smitten with each other, enough so that they decide to move in together, in a house that’s purchased by Hester.

But Hester is not out at work, and she continues to tell her police partner Dane Wells (Michael Shannon) that Andree is her roommate. It takes a bit of time, and courage, for Hester to confirm to Wells what he’s always suspected – that Hester is a Lesbian. It’s not long after that when Hester is diagnosed with rapidly spreading lung cancer. Hester is given a bad prognosis, especially after the cancer spreads to her brain, so she knows that she’s going to die. Her wish is to leave her benefits to Andree, but she’s told that this is not allowed for same-sex domestic partners. She appeals to the county legislators (a/k/a freeholders) for them to allow her pension to be passed to Andree, but the all-male panel of five refuse to do so. Although New Jersey counties have the option to extend pension benefits to domestic partners, the Ocean County Freeholders do not do this for her. Enter gay lawyer and activist Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell – trying to ante up an Oscar nomination in a very campy role), the chair of Garden State Equality – a powerful gay activist lobbying group – who, along with many other activists, protests to the freeholders to allow Hester’s benefits to pass to Andree. It’s a fight that they’re not going to give up, but Hester’s clock is running out.

‘Freeheld,’ named as such because of the freeholders, is based on the 2007 documentary of the same name. It’s a documentary that told the same story as the current movie, but features Andree and the rest of the people that knew and worked with Hester, and includes the local media discussing the case. Why make a movie of an excellent documentary that already exists? The documentary was made by Cynthia Wade, who is listed as a producer on this film – and directed by relatively unknown Peter Sollett and written by Ron Nyswaner. Why put such an important movie into these two film novices hands? ‘Freeheld’ doesn’t quite work as a movie. While the acting by the female leads and Shannon are very good, it’s Carrell who’s way over the top as the activist gay lawyer. He’s a gay cartoon character come to life! Also, we’ve already recently seen Moore dying in her last film – ‘Still Alice’ – so it’s puzzling why she would follow up that with this movie where she’s dying again. It appears that the filmmakers were gunning for Oscar nominations by making this film with it’s timely subject matter, but at best it’s a mediocre film that’s marred down by a poor cookie cutter script and direction that’s not very realistic with scenes that appear to be staged. It’s an important story to tell but best to rent the 2007 documentary instead.

21st Feb2016

How to be Single (Film)

by timbaros

13168H2BS.DNGCapitalizing on Valentines weekend, ‘How to be Single’ is out for those who are single, and not so single.

‘How to be Single’ is basically a ‘Sex and the City (SITC)’ ripoff. We have four women navigate the trials and tribulations of being single in Manhattan, and their encounters with various men. FIrst off there’s girl next door Alice (Dakota Johnson – Fifty Shades of Grey – playing the Charlotte character from SITC – very pretty and very nice). She decides to take a break from longtime boyfriend Josh (Nicholas Braun) and head to New York City where her big sister Meg (Leslie Mann) lives. Alice arrives in the big apple newly unattached. She also starts a new job as a paralegal in a downtown law firm where free-spirited wild and crazy Robin (Rebel Wilson) works. Robin shows Alice around the office, including the rooms where not to have sex with co-workers. Robin (the Samantha from SITC) is an expert at being single, and she wants to share her single life, and New York City’s singles party culture, with Alice. Robin is a party hard, one-night stand kind of gal and she literally teaches Alice how to be single. The aforementioned Meg (a dead ringer for Miranda from SITC) is a successful career woman who has it all but neglects to have a personal life. Even though she’s an obstetrician, she’s very uncomfortable being around children. Then finally there’s Lucy (Alison Brie), whose determined to find the perfect man. Sociable and pretty Lucy (Carrie from SITC) has created an algorithm to find a man online in the most efficient and practical manner. She’s always on her computer not realizing that the perfect man could be right behind her. So we’ve got four women navigating Manhattan’s singles scene – just as in ‘Sex in the City.’

Alice dates a series of men, including single dad David (Damon Wayan’s Jr.), though he’s not quite open with her about his past as he should be. Lucy doesn’t realize that the perfect man for her is Tom (Anders Holm), who owns the downstairs bar in her apartment building where she uses the wifi because she can’t get a signal in her apartment. And then Meg accidentally meets receptionist Ken (Jake Lacy) after she has decided to have a baby and attempts to hide her pregnancy from him (If you remember in SITC, high-flying lawyer Miranda falls in love with a bartender). But there’s nothing really laugh out loud funny at any of these women’s relationships, they’re actually quite tame, and normal. And it’s supposed to be party girl Robin to provide the laughs but there aren’t that many. For Robin it’s all about bars and parties where the boys buy the drinks. And in a cringe-worthy moment she shares a sauna with Alice where we find out what her drink number is (the number of drinks you have with a man that means you’re definitely going to have sex with him) – 27; 24 if she’s by herself. And in the sauna Robin comments on Alice’s private parts – telling her “is that Tom Hanks from Castaway?.” Robin says that the thing about being single is that you should cherish it. ‘How to be Single’ doesn’t really show us that there’s much to cherish being single, as three of the four women are constantly on the lookout for a other half. And what’s the point of going to see a movie that should be celebrating being single but instead is lamenting being single. Best to watch an old ’Sex in the City’ rerun or one the two films – there’s more laughs in those than in this movie.

17th Feb2016

Deadpool (Film)

by timbaros

deadpool-gallery-03Ryan Reynolds is Wade Wilson, and he’s also the Marvel comics character Deadpool.

Billed as an antihero superhero, ‘Deadpool’ is also a man (and perhaps a machine?) who takes on the bad guys and who is also out for revenge for an incident that disfigured him years ago. Reynolds, who played the same character in the 2009 Marvel movie ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ is really thoroughly enjoying himself being the lead hero in his own movie. ‘Deadpool’ is not an action movie per se like all the other Marvel movies, it’s also a comedy that attempts, really hard, to be funny. And it doesn’t succeed. It doesn’t help that Wilson/Deadpool breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience what is happening, what is going to happen, why it’s happening, and the background on the happening. It’s a device that never works in any film, especially in a film where all the viewer wants to see is action and excitement and not to hear a voice over it.

‘Deadpool’ does deliver lots of slam bam action in the opening scene where Deadpool is chased by thugs driving cars on a highway where he is practically cornered by dozens of them, being hit by tons of bullets but never dying. Then we get what should’ve been the movie; Wilson’s meeting and falling in love with female escort Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin). She’s beautiful and crazy about Wilson. They move in together and start sharing a life until Wilson is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Yes, ‘Deadpool’ the movie starts to get very deep. He stupidly leaves Vanessa to go for some experimental treatments which leaves him with a horribly scared face. This is when, and why, he becomes masked man ‘Deadpool’ with healing superpowers.

Lots of silly scenes and jokes come right at us back and forth and right and left, with the help of Deadpool’s good friend (and bar owner) Weasel (T.J. Miller) who maintains a blackboard at the bar with updated odds on when Wilson will die. Huh? Anyway, as in all superhero films, there’s going to a huge showdown between the good guys (our Deadpool) with his mates Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) and mega monster machine Ajax (Ed Skrein) and the bad guys (in this case bad girl Angel Dust (Gina Carano)) where Deadpool attempts to free Vanessa who’s been kidnapped by Angel Dust. But it’s Deadpool who continues with the jokes (he tells Angel Dust “You’re going to do a superhero landing, wait for it” and of course she does). Directed by Tim Miller, whose making his directorial debut (!!!), ‘Deadpool’ might be best for the 15-year old movie brigade who will probably laugh at the jokes that aren’t that funny. The rest of us might marvel (and stare) at Reynolds several nudes scenes. Hey, whatever sells tickets!

16th Feb2016

Zoolander 2 (Film)

by timbaros

Do not go see this movie. It’s not funny. It’s so bad that you’ll kick yourself for spending money, and time, seeing it.

Zoolander 2 is everything the original Zoolander film wasn’t. A take off on the fashion world and it’s fashionistas and models, the original 2001 film Zoolander was funny because it parodied the world it was celebrating. And it showcased Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson as male models in a cutthroat industry was just what America needed a few weeks after 9/11. It was a box office success. Fifteen years later and we get reintroduced to the two male models and it’s a reintroduction of the worse kind.

The plot, and the jokes, go downhill from the start. The film begins with Justin Beiber (!!) being chased through the streets of Rome by a masked gunman, who eventually kills him, but not before takes several selfies with a “Blue Steel” pout on his face. It’s a look that’s been captured on the faces of other celebrities who have recently been killed. So it’s up to interpol detective Melanie Valentina (Penelope Cruz) to investigate these murders. She remembers that look from years ago – it was the look that male models Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) were most famous for. So she tracks them down. Zoolander is grieving the horrible death of his wife (Christine Taylor) who was killed in the collapse of their building built in the shape of books and called the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff. He’s in wintry Northern New Jersey (looking like the alps), living all alone in a cabin. Hansel, meanwhile, is living in the sand dunes of Malibu, in a relationship with an orgy. Yes, he called them the orgy and it consists of 11 people, both men and women, old and young, a goat, and also Keifer Sutherland. And they all happen to be pregnant, by Hansel. But luckily for both Zoolander and Hansel Billy Zane comes knocking at their doors with an invitation by Rome-based fashion queen Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) to come to Rome to perhaps become hot again. Valentina ends up recruiting the men to infiltrate the bizarre and unusual fashion world to help put a stop to the murders. Zoolander gets reunited with his son Cyrus Arnold in Rome. Cyrus happens to be in a boarding school because Zoolander couldn’t cope taking care of him after his wife died. But Zoolander is disappointed because Arnold is fat and not good looking. The plot thickens (?) because supposedly Cyrus is embedded with the Fountain of Youth and Derek’s rival Jacobim Mugatu (Will Ferrell) wants it and will do whatever it takes to get it. Throw in cameos by lots of famous people including Sting as a priest, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and in a really overly stupid scene Susan Boyle. ‘Zoolander 2’ comes to a crashing end (and you will be happy when it does) when all the world’s most famous fashionistas converge on in a castle outside Rome to perform a secret ritual on Cyrus to extract the fountain of youth from him. Attending this ritual is Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs, Alexander and Very Wang (no relation), Valentino (!!) and Anna Wintour (all playing themselves, with most of them with lines to speak)! It’s one ending that couldn’t be more stupid than the rest of the film, but it is.

And who created this dribble? The blames lies entirely on Ben Stiller. He directed, co-produced and co-wrote it (along with Justin Theroux – Jennifer Aniston’s husband). They wanted to create a sort of Da Vinci Code idea based on the fountain of youth but it just doesn’t work. It’s huge disappointment from the man who gave us ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.’ I wonder if all the huge stars who participated in this film realized it was going to be this bad. Though Benedict Cumberbatch is delicious as omnisexual supermodel All and Cruz is way too sexy for her own good. Filmed entirely in Rome on a $50 million budget, Zoolander 2 is a right mess and I recommend that you give this movie a miss, and tell all your friends to do so as well.

15th Feb2016

BAFTA Winners announced (Film)

by timbaros

5760At tonight’s EE British Academy Film Awards ‘The Revenant’ was named Best Film with Alejandro G. Iñárritu winning Director and Leonardo DiCaprio receiving the award for Leading Actor while Emmanuel Lubezki won for Cinematography.

The Awards were hosted for an eleventh year by Stephen Fry and held at London’s Royal Opera House. In a ceremony that reflected an outstanding year of filmmaking, 12 further features received BAFTA awards. Here’s the complete list of winners:


THE BIG SHORT Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt
BRIDGE OF SPIES Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt, Steven Spielberg
CAROL Elizabeth Karlsen, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley
THE REVENANT Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Arnon Milchan, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon
SPOTLIGHT Steve Golin, Blye Pagon Faust, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

45 YEARS Andrew Haigh, Tristan Goligher
AMY Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees
BROOKLYN John Crowley, Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey, Nick Hornby
THE DANISH GIRL Tom Hooper, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Anne Harrison, Gail Mutrux, Lucinda Coxon
EX MACHINA Alex Garland, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich
THE LOBSTER Yorgos Lanthimos, Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Efthimis Filippou

ALEX GARLAND (Director) Ex Machina
DEBBIE TUCKER GREEN (Writer/Director) Second Coming
NAJI ABU NOWAR (Writer/Director) RUPERT LLOYD (Producer) Theeb
SEAN MCALLISTER (Director/Producer), ELHUM SHAKERIFAR (Producer) A Syrian Love Story
STEPHEN FINGLETON (Writer/Director) The Survivalist

THE ASSASSIN Hou Hsiao-Hsien
THEEB Naji Abu Nowar
TIMBUKTU Abderrahmane Sissako
WILD TALES Damián Szifron

AMY Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees
CARTEL LAND Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin
HE NAMED ME MALALA Davis Guggenheim, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald
LISTEN TO ME MARLON Stevan Riley, John Battsek, George Chignell, R.J. Cutler
SHERPA Jennifer Peedom, Bridget Ikin, John Smithson

INSIDE OUT Pete Docter
MINIONS Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
BRIDGE OF SPIES Steven Spielberg
CAROL Todd Haynes
THE MARTIAN Ridley Scott
THE REVENANT Alejandro G. Iñárritu

BRIDGE OF SPIES Matthew Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
EX MACHINA Alex Garland
THE HATEFUL EIGHT Quentin Tarantino
INSIDE OUT Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve
SPOTLIGHT Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

THE BIG SHORT Adam McKay, Charles Randolph
BROOKLYN Nick Hornby
CAROL Phyllis Nagy
ROOM Emma Donoghue
STEVE JOBS Aaron Sorkin

MATT DAMON The Martian

MAGGIE SMITH The Lady in the Van

IDRIS ELBA Beasts of No Nation
MARK RYLANCE Bridge of Spies


THE REVENANT Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto
SICARIO Jóhann Jóhannsson
BRIDGE OF SPIES Janusz Kamiński
CAROL Ed Lachman
THE REVENANT Emmanuel Lubezki
SICARIO Roger Deakins

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Margaret Sixel
THE MARTIAN Pietro Scalia
THE REVENANT Stephen Mirrione

BRIDGE OF SPIES Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich
CAROL Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Colin Gibson, Lisa Thompson
THE MARTIAN Arthur Max, Celia Bobak
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Rick Carter, Darren Gilford, Lee Sandales

BROOKLYN Odile Dicks-Mireaux
CAROL Sandy Powell

BROOKLYN Morna Ferguson, Lorraine Glynn
CAROL Jerry DeCarlo, Patricia Regan, Morag Ross
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin
THE REVENANT Sian Grigg, Duncan Jarman, Robert Pandini

BRIDGE OF SPIES Drew Kunin, Richard Hymns, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Scott Hecker, Chris Jenkins, Mark Mangini, Ben Osmo, Gregg Rudloff, David White
THE MARTIAN Paul Massey, Mac Ruth, Oliver Tarney, Mark Taylor
THE REVENANT Lon Bender, Chris Duesterdiek, Martin Hernandez, Frank A. Montaño, Jon Taylor, Randy Thom
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS David Acord, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Matthew Wood, Stuart Wilson

ANT-MAN Jake Morrison, Greg Steele, Dan Sudick, Alex Wuttke
EX MACHINA Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris, Andrew Whitehurst
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Andrew Jackson, Dan Oliver, Tom Wood, Andy Williams
THE MARTIAN Chris Lawrence, Tim Ledbury, Richard Stammers, Steven Warner
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Chris Corbould, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan

EDMOND Nina Gantz, Emilie Jouffroy
MANOMAN Simon Cartwright, Kamilla Kristiane Hodol
PROLOGUE Richard Williams, Imogen Sutton
ELEPHANT Nick Helm, Alex Moody, Esther Smith
MINING POEMS OR ODES Callum Rice, Jack Cocker
OPERATOR Caroline Bartleet, Rebecca Morgan
OVER Jörn Threlfall, Jeremy Bannister
SAMUEL-613 Billy Lumby, Cheyenne Conway

THE EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)

13th Feb2016

Regression (DVD)

by timbaros

A detective investigates the case of a young woman who accuses her father of a crime, a crime where there might be more going on, in the psychological drama ‘Regression.’

Ethan Hawke stars as Detective Bruce Kenner and Emma Watson plays Angela Gray. Gray makes a confession to Reverend Beaumont (Lothaire Bluteau) that her father has abused her. Kenner is brought in to investigate, and once he does it takes him into a world that involves Satanic Ritual Abuse. ‘Regression’ was actually inspired by a wave of events that occurred in the U.S. during the 1980’s; events that involved the occult that destroyed families, caused chaos, and panic, and led to several people being imprisoned.

Set in a small community in the Midwest in the 1990’s, Kenner discovers that Angela’s father (David Dencik) is an alcoholic, that her mother died when she was very young, and that her alcoholic grandmother, whose also an alcoholic and very eccentric, is somehow linked to a local satanic cult. It’s up to Kenner to investigate Angela’s accusations while piecing together her troubled family background and at the same time dealing with his own nightmares and demons.

‘Regression’ literally mean going back, and that’s what Kenner attempts to do with Angela’s past. ‘Regression’ is structured like a crime story where there is no proof of the crime that was committed, unfortunately it also has a plot that doesn’t make much sense and some scenes that are laughable when not intended to be, and a couple characters who don’t fit into the story. The cast is a strong one; Hawke coming off the highly successful ‘Boyhood’ while Watson is one of the hottest young actresses around, but between them they can’t save this film.

Director and writer Alejandro Amenabar, who gave us the bone-chilling 2001 film ‘The Others’ with Nicole Kidman, doesn’t quite make us believe the events being told in this movie, and has a long way to go before he can top ‘The Others.’

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13th Feb2016

Life (DVD)

by timbaros

HZF_uexF8QrZYnDZcSa-WdNUBu8pYTVlXM5HAij5in4,VniSXrFWzOgU9j_7VfteG73hh4ITPq7KEpC0V1WykJI,qER7NTxGLmoqLqUSs4RE-Xo_xYRjRiw08xfVDNmQOJwThere’s a famous photograph of James Dean in Times Square taken by Dennis Stock. It is now a movie called ‘Life.’

The photo, taken in 1955, shows James Dean, cigarette in his mouth, head tilted towards the ground, the billboards of Times Square in the background, dark clouds overhead, made the cover of Life Magazine. It also made Stock’s career.

So ‘Life’ the movie is all about that photograph, and the events leading up to, and after, that photograph was taken. It’s also a buddy movie: one man on the cusp of celebrity, another man trying to capture him while struggling make it as a photographer and to also spend time with his young son, with an un-cooperative ex-wife. Stock (Robert Pattison) is tasked with an assignment: to do a photo essay on an unknown actor. So he’s introduced to James Dean (Dane DeHaan) at a party, where he’s also introduced to a young Natalie Wood (Lauren Gallagher). Dean in on the cusp of fame – his first film – East of Eden – was yet to be released. So Dean agrees to have Stock follow him around to get some shots. The first are rejected by his editor – who wants to see hazy shots of an unknown actor boozing it up in a club with Eartha Kitt (Kelly McCreary). Stock thinks about taking another job, this one in Japan, but he decides to stay in New York and gets back together again with Dean, and on the spur of the moment that famous Times Square photograph is taken. Not to end there, ‘Life’ takes us with Dean and Stock to Dean’s hometown in Indiana. There is where Dean feels most at home, and comfortable; with family, aunt and uncle and Grandma and nephew (his mother died when he was nine and his father sent him to Indiana to live with them). More famous photographs are taken there; Dean with his nephew, Dean on the farm, Dean in the kitchen; these photos would become part of the Life Magazine photo essay. And that’s the movie.

As you can second guess, there’s not much of a story to build on. ‘Life’ is not only about the photographs, it’s also about the relationship between these two men and especially the trust Stock builds with Dean. But ‘Life’ is boring, with stale dialogue, and with acting that is quite lifeless. Pattison is fine as Stock, but DeHaan, even though he has hair that looks identical to Dean’s, just doesn’t bring the right energy and sparkle that we can presume Dean had. Ben Kingsley, however, is excellent as Jack Warner – the man who guided Dean’s career. And while the period details (clothes, cars, hairstyles) are fine, it’s the story that is not a very exciting one and is not enough to warrant a 110-minute film. Director Anton Corbijn just doesn’t bring any ‘Life’ to this movie.

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06th Feb2016

Janis: Little Girl Blue (Film)

by timbaros
5th April 1969:  Rock singer Janis Joplin (1943 - 1970).  (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

5th April 1969: Rock singer Janis Joplin (1943 – 1970). (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Using interviews with childhood friends, former band members, celebrities and her brother and sister, Oscar nominated filmmaker Amy J. Berg has written and directed a documentary that puts together the pieces of Joplin’s life, and how she became who she was and why she did the drugs that would eventually kill her.

On September 30, 1970, Joplin gave an interview to journalist Howard Smith, an interview that took place just a few days before her death, who asked her why she sings. Her response was: “I get to experience a lot of feelings. You get to feel things in your imagination that aren’t even true. That’s why I like music. It’s creative and creates feelings.” Other snippets of this interview are interspersed in the documentary, where she discusses her life. “Little Girl Blue” also uses Joplins’ actual letters to her family where she expresses lots of hope, and doubts, about her life, even when she was at the pinnacle of her career.

I’m not old enough to remember Joplin. My memories of her involve watching Bette Midler’s astonishing performance in ‘The Rose’ as a Janis Joplin-like character who goes through a series of men and drugs. And ‘The Rose’ was loosely based on Joplin’s life.

Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1943. While growing up, she admits to never actually fitting in at school. A childhood friend says that it was a really good town to grow up in, but Joplin never thought so. She was always a rebel, always looked different to the other kids, sort of like a beatnick. And she was voted ‘ugliest man’ in college. She got kicked out of the school choir for not following directions. And while she was younger she never actually thought that she would get older.


But Janis knew she loved to sing, and while in college she knew her voice was special. It was in 1962 in a club in Austin, Texas where she first got up on stage and sang. The following year would see her go to California and her life would never be the same. “A lot freer and you can do what you want to do,” Joplin says of California. But she was in conflict with herself all the time, and started shooting up with fellow musicians. Her drug habit got so bad that all of her friends chipped in to send her back home. But she made a return to San Francisco and hooked up with the Big Brother Holding Company (BBHC) and never looked back. And Joplin was becoming a star – with her Otis Redding-like voice, hanging out with other celebrities including Andy Warhol. Members of BBHC speak of the time they shared with Joplin, the highs and the lows.

A turning point in BBHC was their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Joplin wore gold bell bottom pants, and received a standing ovation, including from Momma Cass who was in the audience. Footage of this performance is in the documentary, and it is riveting. Joplin would find herself on the cover of Newsday shortly thereafter.

Now newly signed to a high profile record deal with Colombia, BBHC’s album Cheap Thrillswent gold in three days. Footage of Joplin and the band in the studio shows Joplin in great form and taking charge during the recordings. The band during this time lived both in San Francisco and in the famous Chelsea Hotel in New York City. Joplin would also often appear on the Dick Cavett television show, with Cavett reminiscing about the interviews and how he can’t remember if they had sex or not.

But Joplin was becoming a bigger star than her band, and soon enough she left them to form her own band. She was still living the rock-n-roll lifestyle – planes, fur coats, and drugs, lots of drugs. The pressure for her to succeed was huge and she was carrying around all this weight. Ultimately, she didn’t know how to manage her new band. But their world tour was a triumph, but it was not enough for Joplin. She was always jealous of the band members who always had women waiting for them after the show to go back home with, but she never had anyone. She made love on stage, and off stage she said that “all you’re left with yourself.” It was her performance at the groundbreaking Woodstock festival in 1969 where there were further signs of drug trouble. She clearly looked out of it, and band members say that she was in the toilet shooting up heroin before her performance.

She tried to kick her drug and alcohol habit by going to Brazil in early 1970. There she met a man who she fell in love with, and they went back to San Francisco together, but he eventually left her after witnessing her shooting drugs. Joplin also attended her 10th high school reunion where actual interviews show her dazed and confused. It’s a wonder no one at that time seemed to do anything about her drug problem, not even the people closest to her.

Joplin died in a Hollywood Hotel on Oct. 4, 1970. She had just finished recording her album Pearl, which would go on to sell 4 million copies and produce her biggest hit “Me and Bobby McGee.”After the funeral, her mother is seen reading letters from fans extolling how Joplin was “the mother of the blues;” it’s poignant and touching. Testimonials from Juliette Lewis, Melissa Etheridge and others discuss their feelings towards Joplin. ‘Little Girl Blue’ tells the story of a singer all of us have heard about but have never actually seen her sing. Janis: Little Girl Bluelets you witness this firsthand. It’s an excellent documentary with amazing footage of interviews and of the woman herself, in good times, and bad times.

Janis: Little Girl Blue is now playing in select UK cinemas

06th Feb2016

Everest (DVD)

by timbaros

EverestIn 1996, dozens of people tried to get to the top of Mount Everest. Some succeeded, and some died trying. The gripping and realistic ‘Everest’ recounts, in dramatic fashion, this event.

There were quite a few expeditions on Mount Everest in May 1996, and they all had one goal, to get themselves, and their clients (who paid $65,000 eacg), to the top of Mount Everest, and it was up to the expedition leaders to make this happen. Rob Hall was the leader for Adventure Consultants, and he happened to have Jon Krakauer on his team (journalist Krakauer, who was on an assignment for Outside magazine, would go on to write ‘Into Thin Air’ – a book about the disastrous events that took place on the mountain during this climb ). Hall was also responsible for 7 other clients. The Mountain Madness expedition was led by Scott Fischer, who also had 8 clients, including Sandy Hill Pittman, a very wealthy New York Socialite who was, at the time, the wife of Robert Pittman, the founder of MTV. In addition to the clients, several sherpas (local people who are hired by the expedition companies to carry supplies and food up the mountain, and to fix the ropes and ladders to make it easier and quicker for the clients to get up – practically getting everything in place for the climb) were part of the teams as well. Of course most of Hall’s and Fischer’s clients were not professional mountain climbers, they climbed mountains as more of a hobby, and expected to reach the top of Mount Everest because of the huge amount of money they paid. One of Hall’s clients was a postman (Doug Hansen). Another was a doctor from Texas (Beck Weathers). Also on Hall’s team was Yasuko Namba, a Japanese woman who had climbed six of the Seven Summits. And Hall and Fischer knew that it was good for their businesses to have their clients actually make it to the top. So along with these two expeditions groups, other groups of people trying to climb the mountain at the same time were from South Africa, France, Tibet, and 13 members of a Taiwanese team.


But the weather gods were not smiling on Hall and Fischer and their clients during this climb. And this is the story that ‘Everest’ the film successfully and gloomily brings to life. We are introduced to the teams six weeks prior to the start of their expedition. Hall (played by Jason Clarke) is from New Zealand who leaves his pregnant wife (Keira Knightley) behind to go to work. Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the adventurer with a laid back attitude. Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) says goodbye to his wife (Robin Wright) in Texas to try to accomplish the almost impossible task of getting to the top of Mount Everest. Doug Hansen (John Hawkes) meets up with the gang in Nepal, as does Sandy Hill Pittman (Vanessa Kirby), which is the starting point for all expeditions. It is in Nepal where the teams get to know each other and bond, but it’s when they get to base camp that the adventure, and danger, begins. Base Camp is already at such a high altitude (17,600 feet), that climbers need to be acclimatized so their bodies can get used to the high altitude. It’s also where the operations for the expeditions take place, led by Helen Wilton (Emily Watson). ‘Everest’ takes us with them on the journey of these teams climbing the mountain. But first they need to navigate the Khumbu ice fall, soaring ice towers and crevasses so deep that there really is no bottom. Camp I and Camp II are where the teams stop to rest, perhaps spending a few days here. But it’s the Lhotse Face that is one of the most challenging bits on the mountain. It’s a 3,600 foot wall of ice that they have to climb to reach Camp III, an altitude where most climbers need to use bottled oxygen just to breath. But it’s above 26,000 feet, right below Camp IV, which is called “The Death Zone” because it’s where humans cannot survive for long. If climbers have survived as high up as Camp IV, then it’s full throttle ahead to reach the summit, usually at midnight so that the teams can reach it before noon, that if they survive the heavy gusts of wind, and the Hillary Step, a 40-foot tower of ice and rock on an exposed part of the mountain that becomes a human traffic jam for people getting to the top, as well as coming back down. But it’s the climb back down that is hardest. The climbers are exhausted, some suffering from high altitude conditions, but it’s the lucky ones who can make it down on their own, and it’s these people who have to decide whether to save the almost dead or leave them behind to save their own lives. As recounted in ‘Everest’, Hall and Fischer’s teams encountered a major storm on their way down, but it was not the only mistake that took place on that climb. Besides too many people on the mountain, Hall took Hansen up to top way past the agreed time. And the search for them cost another climber his life. Fischer was not in the best of shape as he was climbing to the top, and had a much harder time going down. And a storm overtook the climbers, which turned out to be unexpected and deathly. And it’s reenacted in ‘Everest’ to extreme detail; high winds, blowing snow, climbers struggling just to survive, dead bodies littered here and there, and almost blacked-outconditions. ‘Everest’ also recounts Weather’s struggle for survival, Hall’s loyalty to his client, and the operations team realizing that there is nothing they can do for the people trapped on the mountain.

‘Everest’ successfully, and grippingly, tells the story of the people who survived the mountain that fateful year. And while there have been a few books and one television movie made about this event, ‘Everest’ is based on the book by Weathers ( Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest (2000)), recollections from some of the survivors, as well as satellite phone conversations between the climbers, their families, and base camp. And the actors who portray the real life characters are superb. Josh Brolin has his best role in years as Weathers, a man who amazingly was left for dead on the mountain but somehow survived. Jason Clarke as Rob Hall is excellent – he’s determined to get his clients to the top and at the same time determined to get back home to see the birth of his first baby. Emily Watson as Wilton, the base camp operations coordinator, is concerned, and then doomed, after she realizes that a few lives have been lost on the mountain. And John Hawkes as postman Hansen gives us a portrait of a man who wants to be there but is not experienced in any way to climb the mountain. Luckily Knightley’s role is not on the mountain (can you actually see her playing someone who is climbing Mount Everest?), she plays Hall’s wife back at home, and there’s nothing she can do to help him. Gyllenhaal’s role as Fischer is relegated to a few scenes, mostly up on the mountain – he’s far from being the star of the movie. Director Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns, Contraband), working from a script by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy, takes us with the teams on their journey, and it looks all too realistic. While there are lots of characters to keep track of (the all important Sherpas are virtually ignored), especially when they are all wrapped up – it’s a bit hard to tell who is how, ‘Everest’ brings to the big screen the real life 1996 Mount Everest disaster. Eight people eventually died during this expedition. ‘Everest’ was shot at a high elevation on the trek to Everest in Nepal, in the Italian Alps and at Cinecitta Studios in Rome, and Pinewood Studios in the UK. It can be experienced in IMAX 3D as well as standard 3D and 2D. ‘Everest’ is a true epic adventure that will take your breathe away.

‘Everest’ is now available to buy on DVD.

Everest [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright
Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

Like new condition. Comes with original artwork. Shipped direct from the UK. All discs 100% QA checked for read errors before dispatch. DVD case may show some signs of previous use. Disc may have some minor light surface scratches which will not affect pl
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