COMPETITION: ‘Kin’ / Mogwai Merch Bundle

Thanks to our friends at Lionsgate UK, our latest competition is for a Kin / Mogwai Merch Bundle which includes:

  • Kin DVD
  • Kin Soundtrack CD by Mogwai
  • Signed Mogwai 12×12 alternative Kin LP artwork print

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To enter, simply be sure you’re following us on Twitter and retweet the below tweet:

14-year-old Eli (Myles Truitt) lives in Detroit with his father Hal (Dennis Quaid). On the eve of his estranged brother Jimmy’s (Jack Reynor) return from prison, Eli breaks into an abandoned building site, where he stumbles upon the aftermath of an intense shoot out and a mysterious otherworldly weapon hidden amongst the rubble…

Back at home, Jimmy’s arrival causes trouble for the family as he struggles to pay back local gangster Taylor (James Franco), the man who kept him alive inside. After a disastrous attempt to secure money ends in tragedy, Jimmy hits the road with Eli in tow. Chased by a criminal gang bent on revenge, it turns out that Eli’s weapon brings a much more dangerous set of pursuers, who may not be from this world. With an all-star cast and a stunning soundtrack from Mogwai, Kin blends sci-fi and action in a slick, stylish thriller about family, loss and corruption.

Starring Jack Reynor (Free Fire), Zoë Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road), Carrie Coon (Avengers: Infinity War), with Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow), and James Franco (127 Hours), and introducing newcomer Myles Truitt.

Directed by Jonathan & Josh Baker and based on their award-winning short film ‘BAG MAN’. Produced by Shawn Levy & Dan Cohen (Stranger Things), and Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther).

Kin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Mogwai.

Available now on Digital with DVD & Blu-ray 26 December

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BFI COMEDY GENIUS: Pineapple Express (2008)

Written by Thom Marsh

So, let me tell you a little about The Showroom; a simply delightful independent cinema in Sheffield, where you can get a large Vimto (that’s right, Vimto) and a large popcorn, and still have change from a tenner for the bus home. I mean, that alone is an experience in itself. Now, I must point out as a born and raised Sheffield lad I’ll always have a soft spot for our city’s independent venues, but the experience The Showroom provides is second to none. It may not have the largest screens in the world, and there are no cup holders for your Vimto, but it’s a real hub of culture, and its cosy theatres provide the most relaxed viewing experience you’ll ever have. It’s a venue I frequent regularly, for new releases, old classics and Q+A sessions – I caught a brilliant screening of Planet Of The Apes there just a couple of weeks ago as part of a philosophy season. I couldn’t think of any other cinema I’d rather find myself in for a season of ‘Comedy Genius’.

Which is exactly what I found myself doing on Tuesday evening as The Showroom kicked off the season with their first of four strands: “Stoner and Cult Comedy”. First up was a screening of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s cult hit, Pineapple Express, a film celebrating its 10th birthday this year. I’d love to call this film a classic, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. In an age where attitudes towards cannabis are relaxing, and the negative connotations often related to cannabis are slowly fading, this film really hasn’t aged well at all. In fact, whilst I’m at it, I just want to point out how much I hate the label “Stoner Comedy”. It immediately dictates what you’re going to see in the film; you’re gonna see some friends smoking cannabis, one or all of them is going to do or say something stupid and the “adventure” unravels from there. From Half Baked to Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies (which is set to close the stoner side of things at The Showroom on Saturday 10th November), I just find the entire genre relies far too heavily on negative stereotypes, and the worst thing is, it’s perpetrated by the cannabis smoking community itself.

James Franco said it best when he told Seth: “that’s why your films get nominated for Stoneys and mine get nominated for Oscars”. It’s true, although there are certainly outliers to this. Think Kevin Smith’s Clerks (and the sequel, for that matter). It may not be labelled as “stoner comedy” outright, but for me, is the epitome of what the sub-genre should aspire to be. These films should make us think deep psychological questions, like whether or not the guys working on the Death Star would have let personal politics come in to play when taking on the contract. What I mean to say is, we should expect more than lazy outdated stereotypes.

Whilst parts of this article may feel like an attack aimed at Seth Rogen’s work, I assure you it’s not. In fact, the 2011 film 50/50, starring Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is absolutely fantastic and shows cannabis use in a more positive light. All in all, I feel if I’d have been asked to write this ten years ago, I’d have written a gushing article about how funny and “with the times” it was – 5 stars, no doubt. However, as a fully matured adult (no one can prove otherwise), I’d have to give it a 2.5, maybe a 3. If I was really high watching it.

Nonetheless, it was a fantastic evening and a fitting celebration for a film which remains solid entertainment. I’ll be covering the rest of this strand of the comedy season, with Friday next up on Saturday 3rd November (yep, Friday on Saturday), followed by Dazed and Confused (Wednesday 7th November) and Harold and Kumar on Saturday 10th November.  

For more information, and details of the various workshops and Q+A sessions ongoing throughout the comedy season, click here.

LFF 2018: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Year: 2018
Directed by: Joel & Ethan Coen
Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson,

Written by Dave Curtis

Have you ever wondered how many ideas rattle around the inside of Joel and Ethan Coens head? The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is the end product of some of those ideas they could no longer contain. This Netiflx produced film has every thing you love and hate from the brothers, fantastic characters, a host of famous names, snappy smart dialogue, beautiful cinematography and strong bloody violence.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is an anthology of short stories set in the old west. It was once destined for the small screen as a TV series but luckily it has been given the big screen treatment, the landscapes alone deserved it. The film starts with a shot of a book, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. A hand appears and turns the front cover to reveal the first chapter which is accompanied by a carefully drawn picture from the upcoming story. With it is a small section of dialogue, teasing what is about to happen. This happens every time a story ends and a new chapter begins.

First up is Buster Scruggs himself, played by Coen Brothers regular Tim Blake Nelson. First seen riding his horse (named Dan) playing a guitar and singing at the top of his voice. He might come across as fun time cowboy but really he is a crack shot, deadly as he is polite. This chapter is classic Coen Bros. Funny and violent. A full film of just Buster Scruggs would have been all we needed. It is a fun and blistering first 30 minutes, if only The Ballad of Buster Scruggs could maintain that level.

James Franco as a bumbling bank robber in the second short story gets the best line and biggest laugh in the whole film. Over the next few short stories there are a collection of more serious and darker tales. Don’t worry the usual humour is sprinkled about. There is Liam Neeson as a travelling entertainer of sorts. Tom Waits searching for gold. Zoe Karzan who joins a wagon train to search for a new life in Oregon. Brendan Gleeson (sorry no beard) and others in stagecoach journey. In all this the movie takes a slight dip. Each story is different in appearance and tone. The transition between story could have been worked out better. Maybe using a reoccurring character or location would have smoothed it out (but what do I know, the Coen Brothers are masters and definitely know better than me). Apparently this is the longest film the two brothers have made and in some places it does feel that way.

If its one thing that the Coen Brothers do well is Westerns and stunning landscapes. Cinematographer Bruno Delhonnel here working with Joel and Ethan for the second time (The first being ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’) captures the mood and feel for each little story perfectly.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs may not be the Coen Brothers best film, but a bad film for them is still better than most films released today. The problem is when it’s good it is really good and that reflects on some on the slower stories. A strong start and beautiful cinematography enriched by a score by Carter Burwell tides this film together. The cast are just the icing that brings it all together. Tim Blake Nelson is the films VIP.

 

Dave’s Verdict:

3-5

Netflix Release First Trailer For Coen Brothers’ ‘The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs’

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a six-part Western anthology film, a series of tales about the American frontier told through the unique and incomparable voice of Joel and Ethan Coen. Each chapter tells a distinct story about the American West.”

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Cast: Tim Blake Nelson , James Franco, Liam Neeson, David Krumholtz, Brendan Gleeson

Release Date: November 16th (Netflix)

The Disaster Artist

Year: 2017
Directed by: James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron. 

Written by Sarah Buddery

The concept for ‘The Disaster Artist’ isn’t exactly the easiest to explain, especially to those with no prior knowledge of the source material which inspired it, the best bad movie of all time, ‘The Room’. I count myself as one of the millions of diehard fans of ‘The Room’, being as vocal as I can be about how much I love it at every given opportunity. The short story is ‘The Disaster Artist’ is a film based on the book of the same name written by Greg Sestero, who starred in the “the ‘Citizen Kane of bad movies”, ‘The Room’, and who knows the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau better than anyone; Wiseau of course being the producer, director and star of ‘The Room’, brought to life in this film by James Franco.

Complicated spiel aside, it is worth mentioning that it is impossible to tackle this review without talking at least a little bit about what ‘The Room’ means to me; I am after all, the person who with all sincerity had this film higher than ‘The Last Jedi’ in terms of most anticipated!

The very fact that this film exists is a miracle. Considering ‘The Room’ made approximately $1800 on its opening weekend, and had it not been for the rabid group of fans who turned it into a genuine cult hit, it would’ve faded into nothingness. In many ways this feels like the culmination of everything Wiseau had wanted when he made his film. That money Tommy spent on keeping it in theatres long enough to qualify for the Academy Awards, might finally be about to pay off, in the weirdest, most wonderfully meta way possible; rather fitting for the incomparable Wiseau.

Pinpointing the moment in which ‘The Room’ went from woeful obscurity to genuine cult phenomenon isn’t easy, and it’s overwhelming popularity will undoubtedly baffle many. In fact, the reviews on Letterboxd are almost entirely an equal split between 1 stars and 5 stars, and I don’t doubt ‘The Disaster Artist’ will be divisive, although perhaps not so extreme.

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As the most biased person in the world, ‘The Disaster Artist’ is an absolute masterpiece; captivating and hilarious in the most unexpected of ways, and with a warmth and honesty that was not anticipated. Arguably as divisive a person as the man he is portraying, James Franco is the perfect person for this film, both in playing Tommy and in mirroring the “triple threat” of actor/producer/director. In real life, Franco’s recent films and projects have been experimental, and generally not too critically well-received. He is a man who plays by his own rules, and this is everything that Wiseau embodies as well.

The fact that Franco’s performance as Tommy is a thing of total and complete perfection, is really just the icing on the cake. The way Franco entirely disappears into the character is astonishing to watch; nailing Wiseau’s untraceable accent, and especially his monotone laugh, the transformation is eerily accurate. Whilst aided by some prosthetics, the physical transformation is just incredible; everything down to Tommy’s slightly squinted left eye is completely perfect. As someone who has met Tommy (an experience in itself!), the only person who could’ve been more Tommy, is Tommy himself and this is a real testament to Franco’s performance. What he manages in this film is nothing short of remarkable and it would be an incredibly unjust world if he didn’t see some awards attention.

Whilst he might not be in the conversation to receive the same accolades, Dave Franco also deserves praise for his performance as Greg Sestero; Tommy’s co-star in ‘The Room’, best friend, and of course the author of the ‘Disaster Artist’ book. He might not be the most physically accurate Greg Sestero, but he has the “babyface” charm and the undeniable chemistry with Wiseau that is essential for making the central relationship work. Undoubtedly helped by being brothers in real life, the pair light up the screen together and are a total joy to watch. Having read (and obsessed over) Greg’s book, some adjustments have been made, but the strongest theme from the book is more than evident in the film. At its core, this is a story about friendship, about aiming big, and striving to achieve your goals no matter how many people tell you “no”, and ‘The Disaster Artist’ manages to put this across in a way that is as charming as it is hilarious.  

It would be easy to make Tommy a figure for mockery and ridicule, but the film manages to capture that naivety that makes him so genuinely endearing, which ensures we’re almost constantly laughing with him and not at him. It is admirable also that the film doesn’t shy away from the complicated facets of Tommy’s personality. In a film where there is obvious and genuine admiration for the source material, it would have been natural to place him on some kind of pedestal, but whilst Tommy does come off well in the end, it equally doesn’t hide from the crazy and downright outrageous behaviour, and the notoriety Wiseau gained from his cast and crew in the disastrous filming of ‘The Room’.

Of course, it would be a catastrophic failure if this film wasn’t also totally hilarious, but the laughs come thick, fast and consistently, particularly as the film shifts into the actual making of ‘The Room’. The painstakingly accurate recreations of its well-loved scenes and moments are especially entertaining, and it is also in these moments that the supporting cast really shine. Seth Rogen and Paul Scheer are particularly excellent as the suffering crew members dealing with Tommy, and Zac Efron arguably steals the entire show as bit-part Chris R.

The phenomenon of ‘The Room’ might still be a mystery to many, and whilst ‘The Disaster Artist’ probably won’t change that viewpoint, it is still the most perfect and unexpected surprise in this unbelievable Hollywood fairytale. This is in so many ways everything that Tommy had wanted. He was the man with the big dreams, who made a terrible movie, which then captured the hearts of millions and was deemed a story incredible enough to become its own book and subsequent movie. Now genuinely poised for awards success, and with Wiseau and Sestero slowly becoming household names, the dream is coming true. The power of ‘The Room’ lives on, against all odds, and the story of a film considered a masterpiece of bad-filmmaking, is a masterpiece all on its own.

Oh hai Oscars.

SARAH’S RATING: 10/10

(and be sure to check out Sarah’s review of Tommy and Greg’s latest film ‘Best F(r)iends‘)

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‘Gotham Awards 2017’ Winners List

The 2017 Gotham Independent Film Awards took place last night, with ‘Call Me By Your Name’ walking away with the biggest award of the night for ‘Best Feature’ and Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out‘ walked away with 3 awards, including the ‘Audience Award’ and ‘Breakthrough Director’.

Going into the awards, ‘Get Out’ had the highest amount of nominations with a total of 4, followed by 3 nominations for Greta Gerwigs acclaimed directorial debut, ‘Lady Bird‘. ‘I, Tonya’, ‘The Florida Project’, and ‘Good Times’ also had multiple nominations, including ‘Best Feature’ with ‘Get Out’, and the winner, ‘Call Me By Your Name’.

The full list of winners: 

Audience Award: Get Out
Best Actor: James Franco – The Disaster Artist
Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird
Best Documentary: Strong Island
Best Feature: Call Me By Your Name
Best Screenplay: Get Out
Breakthrough Actor: Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award: Jordan Peele – Get Out
Breakthrough Series – Long Form: Atlanta
Breakthrough Series – Short Form: The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes

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Witness The Birth Of ‘The Room’ In The First Trailer For ‘The Disaster Artist’

“Based on Greg Sestero’s best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult-classic disasterpiece The Room (“The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made”). THE DISASTER ARTIST, starring James Franco, Dave Franco, and Seth Rogen. In Theaters December 1.”

Directed By: James Franco
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Zac Efron, Bryan Cranston, Adam Scott, Kristen Bell, Kate Upton, Alison Brie
Release Date: December 1st 2017

James Franco’s Role In Alien: Covenant Revealed

This week 20th Century Fox gathered members of the press to give some sneak peaks into their future releases. The press were shown the ‘War For The Planet Of The Apes’ trailer before it was released today, as well as a 40 minute preview of the highly anticipated 2017 Wolverine solo outing, ‘Logan’. 

A 15 minute preview and the first trailer for the next instalment of the ‘Alien’ franchise, ‘Alien: Convenant’, was also shown and the general feedback the internet has been receiving, from those lucky enough to attend the event, is that this film is the ‘Alien’ film fans have been waiting for.

Alien  focused news site, AvP Galaxy, exclusively revealed Franco’s role in the film on their website and also revealed that Franco will be playing the character Branson, Captain of the Covenant ship and husband of Katherine Waterson’s character, Daniels.  

We can expect the trailer for Covenant to be released online before the year is out, and if it’s the same trailer that was shown to the press then we are in for some gut-busting Xenomorph action! 

The official synopsis for Alien: Covenant is:

“The crew of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but it is actually a dark, dangerous world, whose sole inhabitant is the synthetic David, survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.”

Written by Tom Sheffield

Movies That Taught Me Valuable Lessons

Written by Dalton Brown

I had originally planned to make a list of films which inspired me in some way, or changed the way I look at movies in general. However, whilst making the list, I found that I wasn’t enjoying myself as much I probably should have been. Now, I’m still making a list of sorts, but I’m doing it in a non-traditional way; rather fitting for a list which credits the films that have changed my life in some way. This list is more specifically about some of the movies that taught me valuable life lessons and movies that taught me to look at things differently; to be more open-minded. So without further ado, let us begin.


spring breakers

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always that big a movie fan. Even more surprising, that all changed when I saw ‘Spring Breakers’ (2012); that’s the one that changed how I look at movies. It also got me into the arthouse/independent genre of film. Now, ‘Spring Breakers’ is pretty much what the title would suggest – a group of girls go on spring break. Then they get in to some trouble and that’s when they meet James Franco’s character, Alien; otherwise known as one of the best characters ever put on screen, in my opinion. Anyway, he helps them out of trouble only to get them into more trouble. And that is the plot in a nutshell. 

The reason why I love ‘Spring Breakers’ as much as I do is because of Alien, honestly. Plus, there’s a lot of nostalgia tied to that film for me as well. To describe the way this film changed my perspective on film in general is not an easy task, and I’m honestly not exactly sure. I just remember seeing it for the first time and being floored by just how amazing it was. The “OFF” switch in the movie section of my mind suddenly tripped to the “ON” position and the rest is history. From that moment on, I was aware that movies are more than just mindless fun, they’re art.


 

Under-the-Skin1

Following in the same vein as ‘Spring Breakers’ is the creepy sci-fi flick ‘Under the Skin’ (2013), starring Scarlett Johansson. This is another film that made me realise that movies are indeed art, and also how unimportant dialogue is, showing me the value of visual storytelling. Lastly, ‘Under The Skin’ taught me the importance of having an imagination, and I cannot thank this crazy film enough for that.


inside-out

Switching gears here, and breaking in to the more recent past, Disney’s ‘Inside Out’ (2015) impacted me way more than I thought it would. Ironically, this clever animated film made me want to give up reviewing movies altogether, because I didn’t want to scrutinise ‘Inside Out’ as much as I do with most other movies; I just wanted to enjoy it for what it was. Since then, I have learned how to figuratively “turn my brain off” with some movies, and I am perfectly fine with that. Some movies are meant to be enjoyed, not analysed.


500 days of summer

With just a couple more films to go, the beautifully tragic ‘500 Days of Summer’ (2009) taught me to never give up. It also taught me that the person you’re with should make you happy, and if it becomes a struggle, then maybe they’re not the person for you. It also taught me that rom-coms can indeed be good (I know this is technically a film about a lack of romance, but non-rom-com doesn’t sound as catchy).


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Lastly, there’s ‘Office Space’ (1999). After watching ‘Office Space’, I just wanted to be Ron Livingston’s character, Peter. So I did just that. I became more relaxed and I started doing what made me happy. I’ve felt better than ever since I’ve made that change, so I owe a huge debt to this sardonic comedy movie.


This list could go on forever, but I’ll stop here. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what the point of this list is to those of you reading it, as this is a very personal list. But the more I think about it, the more I think that the point of movies is that they affect everyone in a different way. Movies are more important than they might seem to be on the surface; every movie, even the worst of the worst, has something to teach us.

What movies have affected your life and inspired or taught you something? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter @JumpCutUK or speak to Dalton directly @judgmentalnerd