Kurt Russell Is Santa Claus In The First Teaser Trailer For Netflix’s ‘The Christmas Chronicles’

“The Christmas Chronicles, a holiday adventure from producer Chris Columbus (“Home Alone”, “Harry Potter”) and director Clay Kaytis (“The Angry Birds Movie”), tells the story of sister and brother, Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy Pierce (Judah Lewis), whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about. After staking out Santa’s arrival, they sneak into his sleigh, cause it to crash and nearly derail Christmas. As their wild night unfolds, Kate and Teddy work together with Santa – as you’ve never seen him before – and his loyal Elves to save Christmas before it’s too late.”

Directed by: Clay Kaytis

Cast: Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, Judah Lewis

Release Date: November 22nd, 2018 (Netflix)

Watch This Space #2

Another Friday, another weekend ahead to fill with films! Over the past couple weeks the team have been watching a whole range of different films on various streaming platforms so they can recommend you some hidden gems, as well as films that totally deserve another watch.


Chronic (Michel Franco, 2015)

Netflix US

If you are in for a depressing watch, Chronic will be for you. Directed by Mexican director, Michel Franco, Chronic tells the story of David (Tim Roth) who is a top tier home care nurse for terminally ill patients. He develops close relationships with his patients, which on some occasions is a good thing, and on some not so much. Not to mention outside of his work, he deals with separate familial issues and personal ones, just as we all do. It premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and Franco ended up winning best screenplay for it at the festival as well. A truly heartbreaking and real view into the life of a man working with people at the end of their own.

Fernando Andrade

 

Crooked House (Gilles Paquet-Brenner, 2017)

Amazon Prime US

Featuring an all-star cast, this Agatha Christie adaptation is worth your time if you’re into beautiful houses and beautiful costumes. It stars Max Irons (Riot Club) as a private detective who is employed by an ex-girlfriend to investigate her wealthy grandfather’s death in the late 1940s English countryside. The cast includes Terence Stamp, Glenn Close, Christina Hendricks, Amanda Abbington and Gillian Anderson in a fabulous black bobbed wig and glamorous outfits. The plot gets increasingly ridiculous as it goes on and of course, everyone’s a suspect, but the titular Crooked House is a stunning turreted affair and the whole thing is a sumptuous feast for the eyes. Everyone involved is hamming it up to the nines, but it’s still more enjoyable than that horrendous Murder on the Orient Express film that we got last year. I would cheerfully be murdered by Hendricks or Anderson, especially in period costume, so allow them to seduce you too and check out this gorgeous film.

Fiona Underhill

 

Miss Sloane (John Madden, 2016)

Amazon Prime UK/ US

Have you accepted your lord and saviour Elizabeth Sloane? If you haven’t, that probably means you haven’t seen Miss Sloane yet. Jessica Chastain is Elizabeth Sloane, the most sought-after and formidable lobbyist in DC. When she decides to work for a group that are lobbying for stricter gun laws, the opposition will use any means to bring her down. Miss Sloane is stylish, tense and exciting. It’s got all the best bits of a political thriller and Jessica Chastain’s wardrobe is amazing. Elizabeth Sloane is that wonderful kind of character that is pretty unlikable due to the fact she uses people, but she’s also incredibly compelling due to being so smart; it’s like if lobbying was a chess game, she can see all the pieces and possible move and countermoves before her opponent makes them. I love the character, Jessica Chastain and the whole film, and can’t recommend Miss Sloane enough.

Elena Morgan

 

Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014)

Netflix UK/ US

Jake Gyllenhaal delivers yet another superb performance in Dan Gilroy’s dark crime thriller, Nightcrawler. Gyllenhaal plays Louis Bloom, a freelance journalist struggling to sell his photos to a major news channel. In order to beat the competition, Louis begins crossing moral borders to snap the best pictures, including tampering with crime scenes and sabotaging his competitors. Nightcrawler also stars Rene Russon, Riz Ahmed, and Bill Paxton and if you haven’t watched it yet, I really can’t recommend it enough.

Tom Sheffield

 

Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010)

Netflix US/ Amazon Prime US

Take the best notes of sharp horror, thrillers and curious storytelling and you’ll land on something peculiar. Such is the feel in Matt Reeves’ Let Me In, a remake of the Swedish Let The Right One In, where a bullied young boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) finds a friend and ally in a mysterious young girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) who lives in his building. Set in very dreary, cold, and ominous tones, the film gives us somewhat of a glee: the precious friendship that forms between the two main characters, set along the growing suspense of her vampiric identity. Moretz has a unique, devilishly pure presence and the film, although a bit slow-burn, is a fascinating flick for your thriller/vampire needs.

Jessica Peña

 

Before Sunrise (Richard Linklater, 1995)

Amazon Prime UK/ US

Today’s idea of a blossoming love affair is so boring. Not that the relationships aren’t fulfilling, or that the couple’s don’t utterly adore each other, but there’s not much of a story in, say, the swift right flick of your thumb, as is the case for some. Linklater’s first film in the widely (and rightly) acclaimed Before series is a wistful, heartfelt letter to the kind of fantastical brief encounter that not only you’d probably only dream of, but has also been lost in the revolution of technology and communication.

As the film opens and moves down an everyday train carriage, gently honing in on Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy), there’s already a keen intrigue in the air. But from Jesse’s first act of courage, actually speaking to her, you know a fuse has been lit. It’s only as the pair begin unravelling each other’s personalities, talking about nothing and everything as they freely wander the gorgeous streets of Vienna, the sparks grow bigger and brighter. This is a story of true, pure love, and as they fall deeper, so will you.

Cameron Frew


 

We hope you enjoyed our first bunch of recommendations! If you do watch anything we’ve recommended this week, be sure to let us know on Twitter – @JUMPCUT_ONLINE

Like Father

Year: 2018
Directed by: Lauren Miller
Starring: Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer, Seth Rogen

WRITTEN BY COREY HUGHES

Actor-turned-director Lauren Miller, notably known for her comedic roles in Superbad and Sausage Party, makes her feature-length debut with the Netflix backed drama Like Father, a take on the ‘estranged father’ sub-genre that shouldn’t be confused with Father of the Year; another Netflix original film that is, shall we say, an insult to cinema.

Like Father tells the story of Rachel (Kristen Bell), who is introduced in the opening scene taking a business call in her wedding dress. It’s her wedding day, her future husband stands at the altar awaiting his bride; looking worried as she’s later than expected. Unbeknownst to Rachel, her estranged father sits in the crowd on her big day, learning about his daughter for the first time as her boss officiates her wedding – telling stories about Rachel’s character. But when Rachel’s phone slips out of her dress and falls to the ground, her husband leaves her stranded at the altar; frustrated at his fiancé’s life-intruding work ethic. As she spots her long-lost father in the crowd, Rachel’s day can’t seem to get much worse…

At the film’s most warming and tender scene, Rachel and Harry spend a night drinking Manhattan’s and discussing theoretical principles on how to eat pizza on a park bench in the hope of rejuvenating their fractured relationship. Sadly for Rachel, drunken decisions lead to the pair waking up sore-headed on a cruise across the Caribbean; both stranded at sea and forced to rekindle the extinguished flame that is their relationship.

The strongest aspect of Miller’s debut is her encouraging depiction of Rachel, a strong-willed woman in an esteemed position at an advertising firm in New York; a positive role model for all female viewers. Yet that also leads to the main problem of the movie, in the way that Miller obliviously contradicts her achievement in bringing a headstrong, independent woman to the fore by promoting her relentless work-ethic as a discouraging trait; a trait that leads her to being the butt of a bad joke between her fellow cruise attendees. There’s an argument that Rachel’s constant phone-checking is a metaphor (albeit on-the-nose) for our obsession with digital media consumption, but when this message is being banged over our heads for the entire duration of the movie, it undermines the sincerity of bringing a successful female protagonist to the centre of the narrative.

Even if you disassociate the politics from the story, the film also fails on a tonal level. Miller has a hard time juggling between the heavy melodrama of childhood trauma and the comedic levity, the latter relying on cliched humour such as fat people falling and awkward first encounters for laughs. The comedy isn’t that funny, and the more dramatic moments fail to penetrate beneath the surface; as if the movie wants to be more of a Caribbean cruise commercial rather than an emotionally provocative comedic drama about estranged parenthood.

Ultimately, Like Father adds to Netlfix’s collection of unspectacular and forgettable flicks. There’s nothing new to be seen here, but I have faith that debutant Miller has much more to show in her career.

COREY’S RATING:

2-5

Netflix Release New Trailer For ‘The Land of Steady Habits’

“Feeling trapped in the stifling, wealthy enclave of Westport, Connecticut, Anders Hill (Ben Mendelsohn) retires from his job in finance and leaves his wife (Edie Falco) in the hopes that it will renew his lust for life. However, he’s quickly faced with the startling reality of his choices; he spends his days looking for things to decorate his empty shelves, sleeping with strangers and feeling terribly lost.”

Directed by: Nicole Holofcener

Cast: Natalie Gold, Ben Mendelsohn, Connie Britton

Release Date: September 14th, 2018 (Netflix)

Chilling New Trailer For Netflix’s ‘Hold The Dark’ Released

“A gripping psychological thriller unfolds in the treacherous Alaskan wilderness when a retired wolf expert is summoned to investigate a child’s disappearance.”

Directed by: Jeremy Saulnier

Cast: Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, Riley Keough

Release Date: September 28th, 2018 (Netflix)

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Year: 2018
Directed by: Susan Johnson
Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish

Written by Abbie Eales

I used to hate rom-coms as a teenager. The trite categorisation of all human life into tribes; ‘the jock’, ‘the nerd’ etc. drove me mad. John Hughes fabulous 1985 hit The Breakfast Club was an incredible teen film and perfectly of it’s time, but it’s many,  many imitators sucked, with the same formula  becoming very tiresome over the last 30 years.  Girls only got the guy after they made themselves pretty and men with feelings were portrayed as weak and needy. Thankfully that tired, old, formula of ‘pretty white girl falls for pretty white boy, boy is unattainable, girl gets makeover’ is long dead and instead we have charming gems like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Now, yes, all the characters in Susan Johnson’s film ARE pretty. And yes, they do all live in beautiful houses and live lives where money appears to be no object, but we do at least have a slight move to a more nuanced and realistic view of the world and individuality.

Based on Jenny Han’s successful young adult romantic novel, Sofia Alvarez and Susan Johnson bring a wonderfully female-centric and fun view of the life of a teenage girl to the screen.

16 year old Lara-Jean Song Covey (a thoroughly relatable performance by Lana Condor) is a girl who has retreated into a world of fantasy, a world shaped by her love of romance novels. Sharing her house with her two sisters and her gynaecologist father, she’d rather be at home fantasising about a life should could have than be out living it. Her romantic fantasies get transferred to paper as she tries to exorcise her feelings for her various crushes by writing them intense love letters, which she keeps hidden in a box given to her by her late mother. Following her elder sister Margot’s (a somewhat miscast Janel Parrish- I don’t buy her as a teenager for one second) departure to College in Scotland the five intense letters find their way to the objects of Lara-Jean’s affection, including to Margot’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. However where in traditional rom-com land a convoluted plot about girls falling out, boys getting the girl and some kind of final dance happening, instead (without giving too much away) we are given a really sweet love story about complicated characters.

There are no ‘jocks’ or ‘nerds’ in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Sure, some characters play sport and some love fashion, but this is a slightly more rounded view of the world without ‘good’ or ‘bad’ people, just human beings making sometimes ill-thought-through decisions.

Lara-Jean’s Korean heritage is not something which defines her character. There are references to kombucha and Korean yoghurt drinks (good old Yakult) but it’s not ever painted as an issue. She just IS half-Korean.

Similarly letter-recipient Peter Kavinsky (the charming Noah Centineo) plays sports, but he’s not just a jock. He’s far more layered, which makes for a far more interesting story.

A third wheel appears in the love story: social media. Lara-Jean begins to replace one fantasy land with another as she starts to play out an alternate fake life online. The use of social media is well played throughout and manages not to feel clumsy and an integral part of the plot.

Despite the charm and likeability of Peter Kavinsky this is an assuredly female-centric story. We follow Lara-Jean’s trials and tribulations as she begins to work out who she is.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is everything you’d hope for in a teen rom-com in 2018. It’s fun, comforting and will give you a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s the teen film John Hughes would have made, had he been making films today.

Abbie’s Rating:

4

 

Flavors of Youth

Year: 2018
Directed by: Haoling Li, Yoshitaka Takeuch, Xiaoxing Yi
Cast: Taito Ban, Dorothy Elias-Fahn, Matt Fowler, Dorothy Elias-Fahn

Written by Hunter Williams

After devoting two films to the emotional agony of young love — specifically, an enrapturing story of how time changes people but not love — the tragic series continues with Haoling Li and Yoshitaka Takeuch’s directorial debut Flavors of Youth after Takeuch operated as chief 3D animation artist on Your Name and special effects artist on 5 Centimeters Per Second. But curiously, instead of focusing on the romance alone, the film recounts three different stories of youth set in different cities of china, similar to that of 5 Centimeters per Second.

In the first chapter, “The Rice Noodles,” (take a drink every time “rice noodles” is said in the film) we’re introduced to Xiao Ming, whose nostalgic retelling of eating rice noodles helps him come to terms with the death of his Grandma and who he’s yet to become. The noodles were an integral part of his everyday life: watching his school crush walk home from school, bonding with his grandma and what it means to be happy. But it’s only in the softly animated town he once called home where he can learn how the past informs our future, even in the smallest of ways. In Xiao’s case, it was rice noodles.

Where one of the strengths of the first chapter was reconciling the past and present, chapter two, “A Little Fashion Show,” grapples with the anxiety of the future. Two sisters, one a fashion model and the other an aspiring fashion designer, persist in the aftermath of their father’s death. Unfortunately, the pressure of performing well in competition under the fashion industry threatens not only their way of life but also their relationship. It’s a heartfelt depiction of youth in a world that forgets the old, and especially the dead. And while it’s borderline cliché in its attempt to subvert beauty, it always feels genuine in execution.

Around the one-hour mark, once the healing from previous stories has finished, Flavors of Youth closes with a finale akin to the best moments of 5 Centimeters Per Second. Chapter Three, “Love in Shanghai,” perhaps the best due to the familiarity with the tragic romance, recounts the childhood of a young architect whose long-lost love has slipped away through time. The soft, nostalgic animation turns glossy and sharp, rendering the past as a forgotten corner of the mind that slowly reveals itself the more young Xiao explores his feelings. What’s found is the kind of love that admittedly only works in the movies, but it still hits just as hard. Xiao, whether he rekindles his past relationship, demonstrates the open heart of not only its producer, CoMix Wave Films, but also the directors who are hopefully on their way to making something even better.

Hunter’s Rating

3-5

 

 

INTERVIEW: Kevin L. Johnson

Interviewed by Jakob Lewis Barnes

Our first #SundaySpotlight for August is Jakob’s interview with Ozark star Kevin L. Johnson, who plays Sam Dermody in the Netflix show. Johnson talks about his career, Hollywood horror stories, working with Jason Bateman, and confirms whether or not he will be returning for season 2!

 


 

JLB: First of all Kevin, would you like to introduce yourself to our audience?

KLJ: Sure thing! Hi everyone! I’m Kevin. I live in Atlanta, GA. I grew up in Lake Wylie, SC and I went to Clemson University. 

JLB: Tell me about your journey to becoming an actor? Is acting something that’s always been in your blood, a lifelong ambition?

KLJ: I fell in love with acting in college.  I wanted to try something different and break out of my shell.  Auditioned for my first play. I didn’t get cast but I did do tech work because I was very interested in seeing how things worked.  I signed up for classes in college and I got cast in the big musical of the year.  After I graduated from college, I moved to Charlotte, NC and got headshots done, signed up for classes and got my first agent.  

JLB: Every performer has an audition horror story, right? So what’s your worst experience in an audition?

KLJ: I would have to say I was auditioning for a movie a year or so ago.  I asked the casting directors who would be my reader for my eyeline etc.  One of the casting directors did not take that very well and said “First off, we’re not readers we’re casting directors.” Obviously I didn’t mean it the way he thought but he took it as an insult.  So a little tip, never “call” a casting director a “reader” 

JLB: Most people will recognise you as Sam Dermody, from the Netflix hit series Ozark – which is bloody fantastic – but how did this part come about?

KLJ: Thanks! I got an audition from my agent back in 2016.  I saw the breakdown for the character: affable, real estate agent in the Ozarks who loves his dog.  I thought “Wow! This is right up my wheelhouse” So, I felt good about audition but then I heard they were going with someone older.  On my way to another audition, I got a call from my agent and he said “They want to book your for Sam in Ozark” The rest is history!

JLB: I’ve seen a lot of interaction between the cast and crew from Ozark on social media, and it seems like you all got on really well. What was the atmosphere like when you guys were shooting?

KLJ: Everybody is great! We all support each other on and off set! For some of us, it’s the biggest role we’ve booked.  It’s been great to see all the success for everyone from the top down!

JLB: Jason Bateman, who we all primarily associate with being a comedy actor, took on directorial duties for much of season 1. How was he to work with as a director?

KLJ: Jason was great! He didn’t direct me in any episodes for season 2 but he was my first director in season 1.  He has a great eye for acting.  He’s good at letting the actor do what the actor is there to do but he also has a vision.  So it’s no surprise he was nominated for Best Director at the Emmy’s this year.

JLB: With season 2 just around the corner, what can fans expect from this next instalment? And will we see Sam Dermody returning to our screens?

KLJ: I will be back!  As for season 2 I can’t give anything away BUT I will say that season 2 is going to be even more intense then the first.  Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

JLB: What else does Kevin Johnson have in the pipeline for the future? Where do you hope to be in 5 years time, say?

KLJ: I have some possible projects coming up down the pipeline but nothing that I can divulge…yet.  In 5 years I would like to be a working on a show as a series regular and supporting/lead in films.  I have made great strides since I started around 10 years ago.  It’s all about pushing forward and telling yourself that every “no” is closer to a “yes”  Winning the room (casting director) is something you always strive for.  

JLB: Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring actors and actresses out there who are hoping to break in to the industry?

KLJ: Yes! Brian Cranston is a great actor and has great advice.  When you go into an audition you’re not going in there to GET a job you’re going in there to DO a job.  If you have that mindset then you’ll go far!

JLB: And finally, the big question. Pineapple on a pizza – where do you stand on this heated debate?

KLJ: Love pineapple on pizza! Sweet with savory count me in! 

 


 

Thank you again to Kevin for agreeing to be interviewed, and we look forward to seeing more of him in the future!