Ready Player One

Year: 2018
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance

Written by Jo Craig

During the eighties and nineties, standing before a chunky black mirror — fingers and thumbs strategically placed over buttons — was the norm for the vintage gamer. Saturday nights resembled the ‘Stranger Things’ arcade scene and the blind belief of beating an anonymous high score was initiated by one on-screen statement: “Player One, Ready!”

Encasing this nostalgia within a fictional epic was Sci-Fi writer Ernest Cline back in 2011, praised for his tale of friendship and pop culture explosion inside novel ‘Ready Player One’. Arriving seven years later — amidst a flurry of disco era revival in TV and film — marks the thirty-third release from the BFG of directors, Steven Spielberg. As predicted, it’s a spectacle not to be missed.

Masterful in filming thrilling adventures and creating memorable companionships, ‘The King of Entertainment’ was undeniably the man to bring Cline’s vision to life. Quoted as being his third most difficult movie to shoot behind ‘Jaws’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’, Spielberg has roared a geek war cry and we have come running.

The complexity of RP1’s world of pure imagination was always going to be a high level endeavour to visually reconstruct. For Spielberg (who is no stranger to tackling Science fiction), transitioning a story largely set in a virtual reality interface demanded attention to detail and creative trust in effects team Industrial Light and Magic. Shot in Panavision, our first trip down the technicolour rabbit hole — where a rush of mass media characters are live, active and driven by civilians of the year 2045 — is nothing short of an eye-widening wonderland.

The OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation) is a limitless, retro universe and in outline, provides real-world outcast, Tye Sheridan’s Wade Watts, a platform to enter Anorak’s Quest — a competition designed by the late OASIS inventor James Halliday (Rylance) — and win full control of the multi-user program. Watts’ VR avatar Parzival is rock star cool — sporting hypnotic locks with a sleeveless, denim jacket — and introduces the OASIS’ main attraction: Being somebody/something else. In addition to escapism, themes of friendship, innocence and courage give a gooey centre to this technological gobstopper and equips a diligent plot with a solid, emotive core.

A level balance is constant between reality and fantasy, guiding you back to the grounded motifs after gawking too long at the ‘Gears of War’ styled gunfight surrounding The Iron Giant’s PvP battle against Mechagodzilla. Frontrunners Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke avoid scrutiny by being their charming selves, proving — along with Mark Rylance’s quirky Halliday and Ben Mendelsohn’s deceitful businessman Sorrento — that Spielberg’s casting is meticulous and loyal to the source material.

As awesome as it is watching central Gunter (Easter egg hunter) Art3mis (Cooke) annihilate Sorrento’s (Mendelsohn) army of Sixers by use of a Lancer assault rifle with a chainsaw bayonet, viewers unfamiliar with Cline’s material will be forgiven for missing plot details in the thick of ocular overload. While 3D IMAX might be a component too far for our motion sickness threshold, Spielberg enhances our first-person experience of virtual reality gaming by altering Cline’s Halliday challenges to accommodate a more visually acceptable result on screen. Left unaltered and we might have had to watch Parzival play hours of competitive Joust.

Weaving through a plethora of movie references (including a whole sequence dedicated toThe Shining’), gaming-inspired escape plans and equilibrium-altering camera movements, Spielberg — working closely with writer Zak Penn and Cline — stack several elements and every Easter egg imaginable into a cyberspace treasure hunt on steroids, without letting any eggs fall out of the basket. In simpler terms, it’s an adrenaline-pumping, good versus evil race to the finish line, complete with a down memory lane Alan Silvestri score blended with an 80’s classics soundtrack.

‘Ready Player One’ is a geekgasm that incidentally excites us for Marvel’s behemoth later this month, achieving $53 million coins on its four day debut at the Easter weekend box office. After Warner Bros. pushed forward RP1’s premiere from December – to avoid clashing with ‘The Last Jedi’ — fans of lightsabers, video games and cheeky superheroes will be grateful for the release date staggering, precluding the possibility of geeky heart-failure. Ultimately, one of 2018’s most anticipated productions does not disappoint, nor purge Ernest Cline’s concept of its defining qualities. Instead, Sir Steven — God of euphoric adventure — deserves one thunderous high-five for letting us break free from the mundane and witness a magical journey too colossal for the real world.

Jo’s Rating: 9 / 10

Fiona’s March Round-Up

Written by Fiona Underhill

While the UK enjoys the quality of Oscar-nominated films such as ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Lady Bird’ in the first few months of the year, the first quarter can be something of a barren wasteland in US cinemas. We did get ‘Paddington 2’ in January and of course, there has been ‘Black Panther’, but other than that, there have been slim pickings to choose from. But, like buses, they can all suddenly come along at once and I’ve seen 5 films in the last week that have greatly improved my year in film. Below is a round-up of my movie-watching month, which has ranged in quality, but certainly hasn’t been boring!

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Gringo

(starring David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton & Thandie Newton)

‘Gringo’ stars Oyelowo as a businessman working for his friend (Edgerton) and his colleague (Theron) at a pharmaceutical company. The three of them go to Mexico on a business trip, which unbeknownst to Oyelowo is connected to the drug trade. There Oyelowo gets embroiled with drug dealers, traffickers, kingpins and mercenaries (including another great turn from Sharlto Copley) while trying to stay alive and ahead of the law. Although amusing at times, ‘Gringo’ has big tonal problems and inconsistencies. Theron is playing an unlikeable, edgy character, demonstrated by her saying things like “fat people are so funny” and Newton’s character is handled offensively at the end. Great cast, but disappointing execution.

Verdict: 4/10

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A Wrinkle in Time

(starring Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon & Mindy Kaling)

Despite its critical reception, I really enjoyed ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and crucially, so did my 8 year old (the target audience of this film). An adaptation of a beloved children’s book, we follow Meg Murry (Reid) on an adventure across space and time. With stunning visual effects and incredible costume, hair and make-up design; this film was a feast for the eyes. It also featured an emotional story, with two children on a quest to find their missing father and I struggled to hold it together towards the end. Featuring some astounding performances from the child/teen actors, I really loved this film and recommend it to families during the spring/Easter holidays.

Verdict: 8/10

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The Hurricane Heist

(starring Toby Kebell, Maggie Grace & Ryan Kwanten)

Last year’s ‘Geostorm’ spoiled us in terms of trashy disaster movies (a genre which I adore), but ‘Hurricane Heist’ is possibly even better, if you can believe it. Everything you need to know is right there in the title: it’s about a heist that takes place during a hurricane. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Verdict: 10/10

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Flower

(starring Zoey Deutch, Kathryn Hahn and Adam Scott)

‘Flower’ follows Erica (Zoey Deutch) a troubled 17 year old girl who spends her time giving blowjobs to men and then blackmailing them for money so she can try to bail her father out of prison. Her world is disrupted when her step-brother Luke (who she has never met) leaves rehab and moves in with her. Luke accuses a local man Will (Adam Scott) of having abused him while he was his teacher, so Erica and her friends set out to avenge him with some vigilante justice. Despite a strong cast, led by another winning performance from Zoey Deutch, this film was a little problematic, with unlikeable characters and will end up proving rather forgettable. I’m frankly getting a little tired of teen girl characters being written and directed by men.

Verdict: 6/10

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Final Portrait

(starring Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer & Tony Shalhoub)

The release date for this film has been all over the shop, but it’s now on UK Netflix and I managed to find one cinema showing it in LA. Directed by Stanley Tucci, it follows the sculptor and artist Giacometti (Rush) as he struggles to paint a portrait of his friend/muse James Lord (Hammer). And that is it – the whole plot. Frankly, the only thing that got me through this film was the long, lingering close-ups of Hammer’s face. One for die-hard fans only, I would suggest.

Verdict:  4/10

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Oh Lucy!

(starring Shinobu Terajima, Josh Hartnett, Kaho Minami & Shiloi Kutsuna)

This film follows Setsuko (a sublime performance by Terajima), an unusual woman who does not view her job or relationships in the same way as her contemporaries. Her niece Mika (Kutsuna) persuades her to take English lessons from John (Hartnett), but then he abruptly leaves for LA, taking Mika with him. Setsuko and her sister Ayako (Minami) set out to track them down and end up on an adventurous road trip of sorts. I absolutely adored this film from director Atsuko Hirayanagi and appreciated the creation of a fully-realised, complex and unique woman as the protagonist. Seek this out – you won’t regret it.

Verdict: 9/10

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Thoroughbreds

(starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Cooke & Anton Yelchin)

‘Thoroughbreds’ focuses on childhood friends Lily (Taylor-Joy) and Amanda (Cooke), who have grown apart but are forced together when Amanda’s mother pays Lily to tutor her daughter. Set in the ultra-privileged world of private school Connecticut kids, this is an insight into a rarefied world. Lily and Amanda plot to kill Lily’s step-father with the help of local drug dealer Tim (one of Yelchin’s last roles). I appreciated the score and some of the camerawork in this film and the central performances are fantastic. Again, it’s a little difficult to fully engage with a film where everyone is terrible, but it’s stylishly done.

Verdict: 7.5/10

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Gemini

(starring Lola Kirke, Zoe Kravitz & John Cho)

‘Gemini’ is another film that seems to have had its release date majorly delayed because I first saw trailers for this over a year ago. An LA-set neo-noir (a genre that is very much up my street) focusing on the relationship between a celebrity, Heather (Kravitz) and her assistant, Jill (Lola Kirke), this is a mystery-thriller that is sure to intrigue. When Heather is murdered, Jill is immediately under suspicion and is pursued by Detective Edward Ahn (Cho), so she sets out to clear her name. The central performance by Kirke is incredible, but unfortunately there was not enough Cho for me. There is a delicious slice of black humour that runs through this film and it is a slightly ridiculous, but fun watch.

Verdict: 7.5/10

 Don’t forget to check out Fiona’s full reviews for Love, Simon and Journey’s End

Step Into The Oasis In Brand New ‘Ready Player One’ Trailer

“The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.”

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Tye Sheridan, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J Miller, Simon Pegg, Olivia Cooke, Hanna John-Kamen, Mark Rylance

Release Date: March 30th 2018

‘Ready Player One’ Trailer Released At SDCC

Kicking off this year’s Warner Bros. presentation in Hall H was Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’

The film stars Tye Sheridan, Ben Mendelsohn, Olivia Cooke, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, T.J Miller, and Hannah John-Kamen.

Developing….

“From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon. The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday. When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.”

 

The JumpCut UK Film Awards 2015: The Nominees

After weeks of agonising over the films of 2015, our esteemed panel have finally submitted their picks for the first annual JumpCut UK Film Awards. The votes have been counted and the nominees are…


actors
Best Support Actress
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Kristen Stewart (Clouds Of Sils Maria)
Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Best Support Actor
Benicio del Toro (Sicario)
Idris Elba (Beasts Of No Nation)
JK Simmons (Whiplash)
Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
Best Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emily Blunt (Sicario)
Olivia Cooke (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Best Lead Actor
Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation)
Jason Segel (The End Of The Tour)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Miles Teller (Whiplash)
Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress
Abraham Attah
Alicia Vikander
Daisy Ridley
O’Shea Jackson Jr
Taron Egerton
Worst Acting Performance
Adam Sandler (Pixels)
Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys)
Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
Johnny Depp (Mortdecai)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World)

 

technical

Best Director
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Best Original Story
Ex Machina
Inside Out
The Gift
The Lobster
Whiplash
Best Adaptation
American Sniper
Macbeth
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Steve Jobs
The Martian
Best Cinematography
American Sniper
Macbeth
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian

 

Best Editing
Birdman
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Whiplash
Best Soundtrack/Score
Dope
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Whiplash
Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

genre

Best Action Film
American Sniper
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
Best Comedy Film
Inside Out
Spy
The Lobster
The Night Before
Trainwreck
Best Drama Film
Carol
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Straight Outta Compton
Whiplash
White God
Best Horror Film
Crimson Peak
Insidious: Chapter 3
It Follows
The Gift
Best Sci-Fi Film
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Martian

 

Best Documentary, Foreign, Indie or Short Film
Cobain: Montage Of Heck
The End Of The Tour
Kung Fury
The Lobster
World Of Tomorrow
Worst Sequel/Reboot
Fantastic Four
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Taken 3
Terminator Genisys
Vacation
Worst Film
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
Pan
Paul Blart 2
Pixels
Vacation
Best Film
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Sicario
The Martian
Whiplash

miscellaneous

The “Guilty Pleasure” Award
American Ultra
Focus
San Andreas
Ted 2
The Interview

 

 

 

 



So there you have it – 24 categories with lots of films and individuals to celebrate. We will be opening up the voting to the public for the following categories: Best Breakthrough Actor/Actress, Worst Film and Best Trailer, and you can cast your vote here (voting closes 31st December). The rest of the categories will be decided by the JumpCut UK team, our official partners and a handful of expert guests, with all the winners announced on our special YouTube Awards Show at the end of January. 

Gugu Mbatha-Raw Rumoured For Star Wars Role

You may be focussing all your attention on ‘The Force Awakens’ right now, and we can’t blame you. With all the hype surrounding J.J Abrams’ addition to the franchise, it’s quite possible you will have missed the news that ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ has reportedly landed on a leading lady. 

After previous frontrunners for the role, Tatiana Maslany and Olivia Cooke signed onto other projects which would clash with filming for Rian Johnson’s ‘Star Wars’ effort, it has emerged that Gugu Mbatha-Raw has all but signed on the dotted line. After appearing in sci-fi flop ‘Jupiter Ascending’, we’re sure Mbatha-Raw would relish the chance to star opposite Benicio del Toro in this iconic series.

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes