Competition: Win A UV Digital Code For ‘Ready Player One’

Thanks to a generous donation from Chris, we have one UV digital code for Steven Spielberg’s latest hit, Ready Player One, to give away!

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is make sure you’re following us on Twitter and retweet the tweet below!

The competition is open to UK followers only and will close on the 17th August 2018. 

Advertisements

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

Decade Definers: 1980s – Birth Of The Action Hero

Written by Chris Gelderd

Like most things in life, it’s hard to pin-point the exact formation of something. A season. A movement. A trend. These things just seem to happen when every factor around it comes into alignment and all the signs point to go. Somethings just naturally work with the environment around them. The film industry also does this and has done for over 100 years

The 1980s saw the formation of many things that changed the industry forever. The emergence of special effects allowed film-makers to really let their imagination blossom. Risks were being taken across horror, sci-fi and comedy with franchises taking off left right and centre, content being pushed for teen audiences (the introduction of the US PG-13 rating for such an occasion) and talent was setting the bar high in their chosen genres, such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Jane Fonda and Eddie Murphy to name but a few.

Yet the 80s was a decade that discovered a new wave of acting and creative talent that changed the way we look at action movies and their heroes forever, and we can see that winning template is used in films today to cater to new generations.

The world needed heroes, and the right men – and women – came along at the right time to deliver. Not satisfied with your suave Brit Sir Roger Moore and his family friendly James Bond adventures, mature audiences wanted more. More action! More violence! More stars! More outrageous, exciting, balls-to-the-wall popcorn entertainment!

The studios listened. The creative talent put pen to paper. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 1980s and the birth of the action hero!

Ask any film fan to name 5 action stars and they will probably give the same names.  From just a rather small selection of big name stars throughout the 1980s, we certainly got a truckload of memorable and long-standing action films from them. Some spawned franchises that still are going strong today, others simply one off treasures. Either way, they helped shape a genre that inspired much of what we see today on the big (and small) screen.

Let’s take a look at some of the big names that came to be during the 1980s and how they helped shape the action movie itself.

1.jpg

Arnold Schwarzenegger

One man proved you didn’t need to be the next Charlton Heston of the acting world in order to make shockwaves across Hollywood and the world. Sometimes all you needed was a thick, inimitable European accent, muscles the size of watermelons and the passion to chase the American dream. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the ‘Austrian Oak’, did just that when he launched onto the scene during the 1980s with his imposing, unique frame as a bit player in cheaply produced movies before the studio execs took a risk and cast him in films where dialogue and plot were minimal, but action and iconography where high.

Arnie gave us 9 movies during the 1980s that became classics of the genre and his trademark style of witty one-liners, high violence, break-neck stunts and blending action into sci-fi, fantasy and comedy. From ‘Conan The Destroyer’ in 1982 that tested his boundaries for taking any role seriously and dishing out action in any form he was given, he soon was given movies such as ‘The Terminator’ in 1984, ‘Commando’ in 1985 and ‘Predator’ in 1987.

Each film was unique and different, letting Arnie win over fans and critics not with his acting, but with his ability to be an action hero across any genre who was tough talking, physically imposing and looked like a demi-God with his muscles and strong stance. He used any means at his disposal to eradicate bad guys – and sometimes good guys – and gave James Bond a run for his money with the one liners. Arnie became synonymous with action films and many of his 80s films stand strong today and shape franchise on the big and small screen in a career built on action that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

1.jpg

Sylvester Stallone

Stallone gave us two big ‘R’s throughout the 70s and 80s…and 90s and 00s, all things considered. Rocky Balboa was his character for sport and drama, but Rambo was his character for action and excitement. From 1982 to 1988 (and 2008, but we’re not here for that), Stallone carved a new niche for his action ability in the form of John Rambo, a traumatized Vietnam veteran.

After a debut in ‘First Blood’ that actually gave us a grounded action film that used drama, humanity and tension as its main driving points, it’s two sequels “First Blood Part II” and “Rambo III” threw humanity out the window (literally) and cranked up the chaos to 10.

Muscles bulging as he waged war against the Vietnamese and Russians to save POWs and innocent people, Rambo became the invincible one-man army whom America and the world could count on.  Armed with  rocket launchers and sub-machine guns, bow and arrows and hunting knifes, Rambo proved Stallone could deliver the sort of story fuelled action audiences wanted, and it continued over his career with the likes ‘Tango & Cash’, ‘Demolition Man’ and ‘The Expendables’.

1.jpg

Bruce Willis

An interesting case study indeed when you look at it. Out of all the action heroes of the 80s, Willis looked least likely. He wasn’t imposing to look at, not intimidating to hear talk and his career launched in the 1984 US comedy drama TV show ‘Moonlighting’ and the 1987 comedy romance film ‘Blind Date’.

Fox produced a film based on a 1979 novel ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’, a sequel to the 1966 book ‘The Detective’, which was adapted into a 1968 film starring Frank Sinatra and allowed Sinatra to accept or decline to star in the new film. He declined. Arnold Schwarzenegger declined it as a sequel to ‘Commando’. Who was left to cast? Bruce Willis, obviously.

Now when you say the words ‘Die Hard’, it conjures up a film often agreed to be the greatest action film of the 1980s. A simple story about a New York cop saving hostages inside a skyscraper whilst taking down a small army of European terrorists was just what people wanted. Full of explosive action, snappy humour, a surprising world-weary and iconic portrayal by Willis of NYPD cop John McClane and a villain as dastardly and suave as them come in the guise of the late, great Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber.

‘Die Hard’ quickly became a template to base an action hero saving the day against the odds, and shaped the hero who could be an everyday cop in the wrong place at the wrong time, not just a muscle bound war hero or super soldier. It launched four sequels, video games and also Willis’s career into action orbit and also the greatest debate going in movies today – “Is Die Hard a Christmas film or not?”.

1.jpg

Sigourney Weaver

The 80s action market was a place for men. Women had little chance to show they could do as much damage as the guys sadly, but one woman took a role, built it up over a franchise and proved that with the right support, it wasn’t just the men who could kick ass and save the world…or galaxy.

Sigourney Weaver has her niche in drama and comedy, but her action debut came in a little known sci-fi film in the late 1970s called ‘Alien’ that had her go up and survive against a deadly alien being in space, where nobody could hear her or her ill-fated male crew scream. The role of Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley was a big boost to female talent at that time, and while Weaver continued her box-office draw in comedy with other classics such as ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Working Girl’, the 80s saw her return to the role of Ripley in 1986s ‘Aliens’.

This time, Weaver led a group of male supporting actors as space marines to return to and wipe out the colony of aliens and their queen to save the galaxy from extinction. Weaver gave just as good as she got in terms of attitude, action and ability. A fine actress of her generation, she carried over a humane side to her tough-talking and ass-kicking Ripley going up against the deadly aliens and held her own, much like John McClane in ‘Die Hard’, being an everyday person up against the odds but who handles weaponry and heavy machinery as easy as breathing. Weaver cemented a successful and iconic role in an already iconic franchise and is one of the few female actors to carve out a successful action hero over the years.

Now, sadly, I have to rein this piece in because I could go on exploring defining actors and their roles for many more pages, but you all have lives and I must let you get on with them.

I hope this small glimpse into what the 1980s gave us in terms of action resonates with you. A handful of international actors helped produced dozens of action films with the support of creative talent such as James Cameron and Joel Silver that would resonate for years to come and also help launch female talent in front of and behind the camera around the world. The 80s gave us simple pleasures without the need for extensive plots, complicated stories and bloated character development. The era is almost a golden age of simplicity and it’s that simplicity that makes it so easy to return to watch any action film of the time for nothing but entertainment and enjoyment.

There are many more stars out there I could have mentioned. I’ll leave you with a handful more here to explore in your own time as ones who also helped define the action decade:

  • Jackie Chan (‘Police Story’, ‘Project A’)
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme (‘Bloodsport’, ‘Kickboxer’)
  • Harrison Ford (‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’, ‘Blade Runner’)
  • Mel Gibson (‘Mad Max 2’, ‘Lethal Weapon’)
  • Chuck Norris (‘The Delta Force’, ‘Missing In Action’)
  • Kurt Russell (‘The Thing’, ‘Big Trouble In Little China’)

Yippie-ki-yay, mother f….

Decade Definers: 1980s – The Indiana Jones Trilogy

Written by Chris Gelderd

Fast forward 50 years to the year 2068 and let’s see how Hollywood and blockbuster movies are made. No film is every truly original. Everything from characters to plot devices to music and locations are influenced marginally by existing material that dates back half a decade or so before the release. From 2018, what will be influencing the future generations of Hollywood to create ground-breaking and genre defining work? Who knows.

But, for now, it’s the 1980s that is our focus for these current Decade Definers.

Looking back to one such inspiration that helped shape the adventure genre during and going forward from the 80s, we have to go back to the late 1800s, early 1920s and the 1960s. Take the literary works of Sir H. Rider Haggard and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, fuse this with the fun of James Bond films pre-1979 and then add the name of a pet Alaskan Malamute dog. Cook all this up in the minds of directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and you have the foundations for one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, cinematic adventure hero of all time.

Indiana Smith*, portrayed by Tom Selleck.**

*Soon changed to Indiana Jones after Smith was deemed to boring

**Soon re-cast with Harrison Ford after scheduling conflicts for ‘Magnum P.I’.

tumblr_oi7cheCruz1u58bayo2_500.gif

The man with the hat” burst onto cinema screens in 1981, kicking off a decade full of inventive, creative, entertaining, fun and pretty much iconic movies spanning many genres that set a template for others to follow. ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ (its original title before being re-branded with ‘Indiana Jones and the…’ prefixing it) was a loving homage to the Saturday morning serial adventures on television and B-movies that fuelled many a childhood before the dawn of computer games and multiplexes.

Director Steven Spielberg dared to take things back to basics film-making. His veteran cast and crew harnessed practical stunt-work over special effects, lovingly crafted models, authentic locations and props and an ol’ fashioned good v evil where the good guy is a dashing, rugged swashbuckling adventurer and the villains are the crux of ALL villainy in the guise of ruthless Nazis.

Harrison Ford, fresh from completing his second Star Wars film ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ in which he became a household name on the back of his smuggling scoundrel Han Solo was primed and ready to craft yet another hero for his playlist. But yet Ford avoided a carbon copy of Han Solo set in a galaxy not so far away. He portrayed Indiana Jones as a man rougher around the edges, more focused on his work than his ego and grounded in a reality where he felt pain, he bled and he was in greater danger than just flying pretend space-ships and avoiding pantomime bad guys with laser swords on fictional planets. Ford seemed to evolve into a real man’s man during the era – an American 007 for the early 1940s.

Following on from ‘Raiders…’ came ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom’ in 1984 and ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ in 1989. A real book-end of adventure films at the beginning, middle and end of the 80s.

tumblr_nucyppnn8N1ss6x6po5_r1_540.gif

‘Temple Of Doom’ was, and still stands, as a brave sequel. It retains the formula of what worked previously whilst having the courage to introduce new themes, characters and stories. Not a carbon copy of ‘Raiders…’ in the slightest, it gave us more iconic practical, genre defining action that strayed from the modern era such as a perilous rope-bridge spanning a huge canyon, a nauseating mine cart chase and enough voodoo, slavery and black-magic to force even the easiest going film censor to work for his money.

While not initially as successful as its family-friendly predecessor, ‘Temple Of Doom’ is a fun affair on one hand but more mature and dark on the other – a’la ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ of sequels – pushing us out of our comfort zone with Indiana Jones to explore new dangers and face new villains. It certainly was a bold move but stands strong as the middle of the ‘then’ trilogy.

Rounding the decade out in ‘89, ‘The Last Crusade’ returned Indiana Jones and his audience back to familiar ground. The Nazis were back. The globe-trotting was back. The myths were back. The original cast were back. It was a comfort blanket, 8 years on from where it all began, except this time, Spielberg brought along one of the inspirations for the ride – James Bond himself, Sir Sean Connery, as Henry Jones Snr, Indy’s cantankerous father. After Spielberg lost out on the chance to direct Roger Moore as 007 in 1981’s ‘For Your Eyes Only’, it was only a matter of time before he had his chance in an “alternate universe” kind of way. Sean Connery’s 007 was a base for the creation of Indiana Jones, so what better way to have the man himself involved.

tumblr_orrist8FkE1r05bkco3_540.gif

This pairing of Ford and Connery is one of the most beloved relationships in cinema thanks to their natural chemistry and mature performances that test their patience and tolerance, all the while cemented with a heart-warming love and developing appreciation for estranged father and son. Couple this with the award-winning mix of sun-kissed European, American and African locations, a stellar support cast and daring action, stunt-work and intrigue, ‘The Last Crusade’ proved that Indiana Jones brought a fresh look to the adventure genre in the 1980s that would resonate for decades and generations to come.

Everything about the trilogy felt and looked real. It was a breath of fresh air to audiences who wanted to escape the influx of science fiction or brutal horrors or macho action. They were, in essence, family friendly adventures that traversed the globe in search of mythical, fantastical artefacts from the past with adrenalin-fuelled stunt-work and action; all set around likeable characters and dastardly villains. Importantly, they were all set during crucial points in world history would be very familiar to audiences, allowing them to connect in some way to the story.

From a trademark opening sequence that was a love letter to the B-movies to often tense and chilling, (sometimes face-melting) climaxes blending fact and fantasy, Spielberg and Ford never gave you chance to catch your breath or be complacent from the start – the thrill ride was non-stop for each outing and it was created with such passion that it was impossible to falter, regardless of how strong, different or controversial the story was.

tumblr_o4uubcAQH01s7xfipo7_500.gif

And it wasn’t just the visual side of things, but also the audible. Composer John Williams, who already had a back catalogue of scores to his name such as ‘Jaws’, ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Superman’, gave us yet another soundtrack that speaks volumes without any need for dialogue. The triumphant, rousing and exciting score that accompanied Indiana Jones on his travels blended sweeping romance, eerie occult, uplifting joy, paternal mischief and a general sense of adventure that is so simple in execution, but never fails to swell the listener’s heart with its sense of pride, passion and power.

So timeless (ironically set over approximately 6 years in real time) was this trilogy of films that 19 years later in 2008 a fourth film was released – ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull’ blending old and new techniques for a new generation of fans, whilst catering to what we loved from the original trilogy. While reception and expectation was not quite met, it still proved that for that sense of simple adventure and daring heroism, Indiana Jones is the man who still delivers.

Countless comic book adaptations, novels, computer games, toys and a host of other merchandise followed showing that the love for Indy never dwindled, and that love and will soon be heightened again with a 5th film planned, uniting Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford once more for an expected release date of 2020.

If the 80s proved adventure has a name, then that name is Indiana Jones.

 tumblr_on0zzeWkvq1qdhps7o8_r3_500.gif

 

 

The Post

Year: 2018
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk

Written by Chris Gelderd

For every ‘Ready Player One’, you have ‘The Post’. Director Steven Spielberg next two directorial efforts into 2018 following 2016’s ‘BFG’ include a political thriller and science-fiction fantasy. Both rely on source material, but one will include generous CGI, dazzling action and a pulse-pounding soundtrack to really blow the mind. The other relies on history, tension, engrossing acting and a grounded look at politics that transcends decades. ‘The Post’ is the latter and, in my opinion, shows when Spielberg currently is at his best delivering these kind of movies.

Much like ‘Bridge Of Spies’, ‘Munich’ and even ‘Lincoln’, this is a story with politics at the heart of it. Regardless of who or what is at the frontline of the story, it’s the looming and often unseen presence of the White House or the government in question that keeps the plot moving. With the Vietnam war as the catalyst (cue the tick box iconography of a 60s rock soundtrack, low-flying helicopters and jungle ambushes), this isn’t war film on foreign soil however – it’s a war film between the free press and the government fought in American offices and homes with printing presses, telephones and secret papers used as weapons.

At just under 2hrs, don’t expect this to jump back and forth between the Vietnam war, even if this is the root of everything. We have a few minutes at the opening, and then we are jetted back to Washington D.C for the real fight. The atmosphere is brilliant, and the sights and sounds of the early 70s look near perfect to someone young enough not to around in that decade. Everything from the press offices, the cars, the clothing and décor seems spot on and creates a perfect setting for the story. Shirt sleeves rolled up, cigarette smoke hangs in every room and a real sense of hustle and bustle that was the backbone to how the press operated under pressure.

But this is Meryl Steep and Tom Hanks’ film. While Academy Award nominated Streep delivers her role as Katherine Graham as a steadily simmering woman who fights so hard to keep her demeanour professional at all times, never letting her shell crack in front of others, I feel Hanks was over-looked also for his role as Ben Bradlee.

There is something so engrossing about Hanks in any role, and you just automatically invest in him and from the chain smoking, over-confident editor-in-chief we meet at first, he retains this but shows so much passion, drive and fight in wanting to do what is just and right that you really admire him and his team, and you cheer for him; you want him to push harder, to succeed at all costs. Streep and Hanks are the stellar actors of their generation and play off each other perfectly, and make a truly winning partnership.

With a supporting cast including Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood, Alison Brie and Tracy Lets, it’s a wide pool of talent who are character actors and need nothing more than a strong script to create a great deal of underlying tension and drama from something that is so simple when you read it on paper – no pun intended.

There are moments when the talking gets a little TOO talky, but it’s never boring or complicated to follow, and there is a strong narrative that cranks the tension up gradually every 10 minutes or so. Something happens. Someone appears. It’s little moments that build on everything else to make the bigger picture even bigger, and the outcome even more important. It has hidden messages that can be linked to the current Donald Trump administration without being a glaring “Trump Bashing” exercise, and yet never dwells on too much politics to turn you off. This is about working men and women, faced with choices that could either liberate the American people or put them all in prison – what do you do when faced with a choice like that?

You can smell the ink during a wonderfully simple moment where we witness what goes on in the printing room from creating the font stamps manually and the paper as it rolls off. Talk about a history lesson – this is how it was before the digital age, and my respect for everyone in that era increased 100% after Spielberg shows us how it was done. Plus, a nice cheeky foreshadowing of the scandal yet to come – Watergate.

‘The Post’ is a slow burning but well-paced political thriller, using every tool in the Spielberg arsenal from diegetic noise, contrasting shading, tight camera shots, stellar actors and a veteran crew without all the political conversations and jargon to deliver a relevant look at the hidden war fought on American soil that changed the free world.

As Alison Brie’s character beautifully reminds us: the press was to serve the governed, not the governors.

CHRIS’ RATING: 9 / 10

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

JUMPCUT’s Favourites: Jaws

Year: 1975
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

Written by Sarah Buddery

People: What’s the film you’ll never get tired of watching? 
Me: Jaws. 
People: What’s the one film you would choose to watch for the rest of your life?
Me: Jaws.
People: What’s your favourite fi…
Me: JAWS OKAY. 

It is pretty much a guarantee that any positive film question such as those above, my answer will be ‘Jaws’. My love for this film knows no end, and whilst for many their favourite film may be one they first saw when they were young or when it first came out, due to my younger years and that I came into my obsession for film quite late, I did in fact only watch ‘Jaws’ for the first time about 5 years ago.

It was the start of a great love affair though, and since then I’ve attended every single big-screen showing of ‘Jaws’ I can get to, and most recently paid extortionate amounts of money to see it with a live orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I’ll have a ten slide PowerPoint presentation prepared for every retort – the shark looks fake, it isn’t scary, etc. etc. – and will defend it until my dying day.

‘Jaws’ represents everything that is great about cinema and can be credited with changing cinema as we know it. Being only the second feature film directed by now-legendary, and multi-award-winning Steven Spielberg, ‘Jaws’ ushered in the age of the blockbuster, paving the way for ‘Star Wars’ and the big summer blockbuster releases that followed, right up to the present day. Seeing ‘Jaws’ was an event, there were lines around the block, the praise spreading like the ripples in the sea as cinema-goers urged their friends, “You HAVE to see this film!”.

So what is so great about ‘Jaws’? The magic of ‘Jaws’ lies in its simplicity. At its heart, it is a story of survival, of humankind’s varying reactions to a shadowy threat which sets to supplant their comfortable way of life. The three main characters of Brody, Quint, and Hooper represent the different ways in which people react, and each has a different perspective despite their united goal of capturing the shark. Brody is the law man, duty bound to protect the inhabitants of Amity Island, whilst also trying to look after his family, and seek the acceptance of the locals because he is not an “Islander”. Quint is a hunter, seeking out the shark as a prize. He is experienced undoubtedly, but also arrogant and cocky, the capturing of the shark simply being another trophy he can adorn his walls with. Hooper is a man of science, an academic, fascinated with sharks and with a deep love and respect for them. Whilst unspoken, there is an obvious inner turmoil for this character, caught in the middle between the mounting pressure to capture the shark, and his own appreciation and respect for the creatures.

I’ve very deliberately chosen to focus on the characters first rather than perhaps the more obvious elements of the film, because the core of this film is a character study, each of the main trio having identifiable traits and because of their performances, it is near impossible to imagine anyone else playing those characters – which is all the makings of a classic really.

Of course, arguably the most iconic thing about ‘Jaws’ is the score. The menacing simplicity of John Williams score is crucial in creating the atmosphere of fear and dread, and has become totally iconic, striking fear in the hearts of everyone who happened to dip a toe in the water afterwards. The score has to do more heavy lifting than most as well. The famously temperamental mechanical shark – affectionately known as “Bruce” – caused all kinds of headaches in filming, so in the absence of the monster itself, the score is the shark. So many horror films could learn from ‘Jaws’ in this sense; the visual absence of the thing itself, yet the presence of the ominous score is enough to create fear. It is what we don’t see that scares us the most, and this is something so incredibly wonderful.

‘Jaws’ is the perfect film. Of course I am unbelievably biased in this, but packed with iconic lines, memorable moments, and with one of the all-time greatest cinematic trios and villain, ‘Jaws’ stands the test of time and still goes down as one of the very, very best.

Streep And Hanks Expose A Government Cover Up In The First Trailer For Spielberg’s ‘The Post’

“A thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee , as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers – and their very freedom – to help bring long-buried truths to light.”

Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Alison Brie, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk
Release Date: 19th January 2018

John Cena Joins ‘Bumblebee’ Spin-Off Which Arrives December 2018

Production on the first spin-off from the ‘Transformers’ franchise, ‘Bumblebee’, began today and THR have exclusively revealed that John Cena will play the lead role, alongside Hailee Steinfeld. Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) is directing this spin-off, with Michael Bay attached as a producer and Steven Spielberg signed on as an executive producer.

The only details we know of the film so far are as follows:

“‘Bumblebee’ will be set in 1987, where we find Bumblebee refuged in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken.  When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.”

Other confirmed members of the cast include Pamela Adlon, Gracie Dzienny, Abby Quinn, Ricardo Hoys, and Jason Drucker.

We now also know that Bumblebee will go toe-to-toe with ‘Aquaman’ in cinemas, as both release on the 21st December 2018.