André Gower and Ryan Lambert talk The Monster Squad

André Gower and Ryan Lambert

Ever since those fateful Easter weekend screenings of The Monster Squad at Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, in 2006, André Gower and Ryan Lambert – who played Sean and Rudy, respectively – have had plenty to do. Coming directly from a 17-day tour that encompassed visiting 17 Alamo Drafthouse theaters across America, their efforts have finally brought them to the cinematic oasis that is the Prince Charles Cinema in London, England.

Continue reading “André Gower and Ryan Lambert talk The Monster Squad”

Advertisements

Review: Molly’s Game

MG

It is safe to say that Aaron Sorkin is one of the best screenwriters working today, a status he has deservedly earned thanks to excellent writing credits including the award-winning scripts for The West Wing, Steve Jobs and The Social Network. While Molly’s Game continues Sorkin’s current trend of writing scripts concerning the lives of real people, the film also marks his first time directing.

Continue reading “Review: Molly’s Game”

Review: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji

As Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson continues his vendetta against iconic elements of 90’s pop culture, no property appears to be safe. Having already tormented cinemagoers with the painful Baywatch film earlier this year, it is therefore understandable that many have expressed their concerns about his involvement with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Being not quite a sequel and not quite a reboot either, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle seeks to show us the inside of the Jumanji board game, which has now become a video game, a change that only spurred further outrage from fans of the 1995 original.

Continue reading “Review: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”

Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

TLJ

When The Force Awakens was released in 2015, it was met with overwhelmingly favorable reviews, just as the fans for the most part seemed thoroughly pleased by the continuation of the beloved saga. The cause for the success was largely attributed to J.J. Abrams having managed to bring the franchise back to its roots in terms of tone and atmosphere, just as many of the new additions to the cast were also commended for being highly compelling. However, with a change of director and the untimely death of the inimitable Carrie Fisher, people have been wondering where director Rian Johnson would take the saga, as the ominous episode title The Last Jedi and the secretive marketing campaign seemed to suggest that the latest installment would be a much darker outing than its predecessor.

Continue reading “Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

In The Room: The Francos talk The Disaster Artist

When you walk past the Prince Charles Cinema in the heart of London’s West End, you may notice that the marquee above the entrance has a small, permanent sign that boasts that this is the home of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Like a miniature version of his infamous Los Angeles billboard, Wiseau eerily glares down on passersby, but Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero can also be witnessed in person at this location, as they visit the cinema at frequent intervals. Here, Wiseau and Sestero introduce the film that brought them cult fame, take questions from the crowd – albeit Wiseau rarely answers any – and throw footballs back and forth to fans in the Leicester Square side street outside the cinema.

As a result, the cinema has become particularly famous for the wild energy that fills it when The Room audiences let loose with endless, heckling roars and a monsoon of spoons – mostly plastic ones, however, cinema manager Paul Vickery does recall a few unfortunate incidents involving metal spoons – which requires the staff to take swift action to get it all cleaned up before the next flock of cult film fans fill the room for yet another of the frequently sold out screenings.

This has clearly not escaped James Franco, as he and his brother Dave take the stage after a special preview screening of their new film The Disaster Artist has just finished to a standing ovation from the sold out screen.

Continue reading “In The Room: The Francos talk The Disaster Artist”

Review: Justice League

justice-league-9769x5877-cyborg-the-flash-batman-wonder-woman-aquaman-10569

Not only has establishing the DC Extended Universe proved to be an arduous task with the numerous flops threatening to be a deadly counterweight to the one big hit the current film franchise managed to land with Wonder Woman this summer, the production of Justice League itself has also been tumultuous, to say the least. When Zack Snyder decided to step down from Justice League due to the tragic loss of his daughter, Joss Whedon stepped in to cover for Snyder, helming a substantial amount of re-shoots. Among DC fans, concerns understandably grew that Warner Bros. were simply trying to imitate the Marvel formula by bringing in the director of The Avengers, but while it is for better and most definitely also worse easy to see which elements Whedon has been in charge of, Justice League overwhelmingly comes across as the vision of a Snyder who has reined in his preference for angsty bleakness and muted colors and instead attempted to create a more vibrant film with more of a comic book feel than his previous DCEU offerings.

Continue reading “Review: Justice League”

Review: Paddington 2

P2

In 2014, the first film about Michael Bond’s lovable, jam-obsessed bear managed to impress both audiences and critics alike with its sincere charm and heartwarming themes. As everyone knows, a sequel rarely lives up to the original, and it was therefore understandable that many would have low expectations when settling into their seats for the bear’s second set of adventures in London. However, for those who have already had the opportunity to see Paddington 2, the general consensus is thankfully that the sequel not only lives up to its predecessor, it does, in fact, also surpass it.

From the beginning of the film, director Paul King continues in the same playful, slapstick vein of the first film. Ben Whishaw also continues to prove that he is the perfect choice to voice the eponymous bear, and all the recurring characters are as welcome a sight as they should be. However, once we have been reminded of the things that made the first film so enjoyable, the main storyline comes into full effect, and it is at this point that Paddington 2 truly reveals itself as something very special.

Much like the first film succeeded due to the sincerity of its charming narrative – which  prevented it from falling victim to relying on the kind of schmaltz so often overused in family films to provoke a response – the greatest strength of Paddington 2 is that very same sincerity of the original. Without relying on emotional manipulation, the sequel is brimming with warmth thanks to the combined efforts of the talent both behind and in front of the camera being committed to competently bringing the essence of the endearing source material to life.

As previously mentioned, one is once again thankful that Colin Firth volunteered to step down to allow Ben Whishaw portray the Peruvian furball, however, another standout is Hugh Grant in the role of a self-obsessed, has-been actor. Stating that Grant is superb at portraying a failed actor may sound like a snarky dig, but the enthusiasm with which he portrays this character only attests to his talent and wit. Brendan Gleeson also has great fun portraying the initially intimidating Knuckles McGinty, however, the entire ensemble of prisoners during the films lengthy time spent in jail make this portion of the film so engaging that it is rather unsurprising that it has earned Paddington 2 the nickname The Pawshank Redemption.

Aside from its unadultered Paddington-esque qualities causing equally amusing and charming set pieces and character arcs, the moment our furry protagonist lands himself in jail is also where the technical aspects of the film truly shine. While the film as a whole is brightly colored comfort food for the eyes, the prison sequences are on another level; with visuals reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, the craftsmanship applied showcases the kind of stunningly beautiful work that elevates a film when set decoration, cinematography and color grading all come together perfectly.

The family film has always been an incredibly tricky genre to master, as achieving a balance that ensures a film can engage and entertain across all ages for the duration of its runtime is an ungrateful task. With more misses than hits in this genre not only in general but also in recent memory, Paddington 2 is therefore a remarkable feat as it manages to tick all the boxes, both in terms of technical aspects and narrative strength. And I am not ashamed to admit that the film is so utterly charming and compelling that I would frankly feel inclined to take Paddington’s example and give anyone who disagrees a very hard stare indeed.

Verdict: 10 out of 10.