Competition: Win A Copy Of ‘Journey’s End’ on DVD!

Courtesy of our friends at Lionsgate UK, we have a copy of Saul Dibb’s ‘Journey’s End‘ on DVD to give away! Earlier this year Fiona reviewed the film for us and couldn’t recommend it enough, so we’re excited to have the opportunity for you to win a copy!

To enter, simply make sure you’re following us on Twitter and retweet the following tweet.

Based on RC Sherriff’s play and novel of the same name Journey’s End is set in March 1918 as C-Company, led by a war-weary Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin) arrives in northern France to take its turn in the front-line trenches. Told that a German offensive is imminent Stanhope drowns his fears in whisky whilst the officers (Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham, Tom Sturridge) and their cook (Toby Jones) attempt to distract themselves in their dugout with talk of food and life before war. They are joined by Raleigh (Asa Butterfield), a young new officer fresh out of training excited about his first real posting, and a chance to serve under Stanhope. Raleigh’s naivety serves as a stark contrast to the other men’s impending fear as the tension rises and the attack draws ever closer.

With an all-star British cast featuring Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games franchise), Asa Butterfield (The Space Between Us), Toby Jones (Atomic Blonde) Tom Sturridge (Mary Shelley), Stephen Graham (Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool) and Paul Bettany (Captain America: Civil War).

Directed by Bafta Award® nominee Saul Dibb (The Duchess). Screenplay by Simon Reade (Private Peaceful). Produced by Guy de Beaujeu and Simon Reade. Based on the novel by R.C. Sheriff and Vernon Bartlett and the play by R.C. Sheriff.

Lionsgate UK presents ‘Journey’s End’ on Digital 1st June and Blu-ray & DVD 4th June, 2018

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Meet Pooh And The Gang In A Brand New Trailer For ‘Christopher Robin’

“In the heartwarming live action adventure Disney’s “Christopher Robin,” the young boy who shared countless adventures with his band of lovable stuffed animals in the Hundred Acre Wood is now grown up and living in London but he has lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin rediscover the joys of family life, the value of friendship and to appreciate the simple pleasures in life once again.”

Directed by: Marc Forster

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Jim Cummings, Toby Jones, Mark Gatiss, Peter Capaldi, Brad Garrett

Release Date: August 17th, 2018

Owen & Blue Team Up In Final ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Trailer

“It’s been four years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment.  Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles.

When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.  Owen is driven to find Blue, his lead raptor who’s still missing in the wild, and Claire has grown a respect for these creatures she now makes her mission.  Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.

With all of the wonder, adventure and thrills synonymous with one of the most popular and successful series in cinema history, this all-new motion-picture event sees the return of favourite characters and dinosaurs—along with new breeds more awe-inspiring and terrifying than ever before.  Welcome to ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’. ” 

Directed by: J. A. Bayona

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum, Toby Jones, BD Wong, Rafe Spall

Release Date: June 6th, 2018

Journey’s End

Year: 2018
Directed by: Saul Dibb
Starring: Sam Claflin, Paul Bettany, Asa Butterfield, Stephen Graham, Toby Jones

Written by Fiona Underhill

Based on the play by RC Sherriff, which will be familiar to many British school students, this film has just opened to a limited release in the US and I was lucky enough to find a showing of it. As someone who has taught WWI literature, I was keen to see what a new film adaptation of this beloved play would be like. When I heard about the cast; my interest was piqued further. Even though I am very  much the target audience for such a film, it still managed to exceed my expectations.

Sam Claflin stars as Captain Stanhope, who is dealing with the trauma of war by drinking through it. The ‘peace’ he has managed to find for himself in doing this is disrupted when an old school friend, the extremely green and naive Raleigh (Asa Butterfield) arrives and specifically requests to be assigned to Stanhope’s unit. Despite appearing to be about 15, Raleigh is an officer, so is bunked in extremely close quarters with the older, more experienced Osborne (Paul Bettany), Trotter (Stephen Graham) and Hibbert (Tom Sturridge). There, they are waited on by Mason (Toby Jones), who does what he can to turn the meagre rations into fine feasts for the officers. Almost the entire film takes place in this tiny officer’s bunk and the trench on the frontlines in 1918, giving the film a claustrophobic quality. The tedium combined with unbearable tension is skilfully conveyed by the production design and the acting, which is phenomenal.

Sam Claflin was in two of my favourite films of last year – ‘Their Finest’ (his second collaboration with director Lone Scherfig after the excellent ‘Riot Club’) and ‘My Cousin Rachel’ and he is quickly becoming an actor who can be relied upon to give interesting and layered performances. Asa Butterfield has been a child/teen actor around for some time now; in the underrated ‘Hugo’ (one of my favourite Scorcese films) and in the unfairly overlooked ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ (Burton’s 2016 film). He is perfectly cast here as Raleigh, looking like he’s just been plucked from his boarding school dorm and dropped into the hell of war; completely unprepared for what he’s about to face. Having only really seen Bettany in red make-up and a tight-fitting silver suit for the last few years (as Vision in the MCU), it is refreshing to see him getting to stretch his acting muscles again. He is sublime here, in what could be a boring, ‘good guy’ role. Osborne is the only thing keeping Stanhope from spiralling off the rails completely – his stillness centres and his steadiness grounds Stanhope, tethering him to the reality of leading his men. Stephen Graham is absolutely the best (along with Vicky McClure and Joe Gilgun) that British acting has to offer the world at the moment. Some highlights from the prolific actor are ‘Taboo’, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and the ‘This is England’ film and TV series and he is insanely good in each one. Trotter is the only working class man in the officer’s bunk and his cheery demeanour is in stark contrast to Hibbert, who is suffering from shell-shock and on the verge of deserting.

Raleigh’s arrival on the frontlines is particularly worrying for Stanhope because his ‘sweetheart’ is Raleigh’s older sister Margaret. He is paranoid that she will get wind of what war has done to him and that he is a shell of his former self. It is slightly laughable that Claflin is supposed to be 3 years older than Butterfield (when the age-gap is in fact nearly 10 years). However, the physical contrast between the two works well to amplify the gulf between them; Raleigh is fresh-faced and Stanhope is broken. The film does an incredible job of portraying the everyday reality of war (admittedly mainly from the officers’ perspective). Their lives revolve around food, tea (even if it’s a bit oniony), cigarettes (or Osborne’s beloved pipe) and for Stanhope: whiskey. They spend their days waiting for their orders – when will they have to go on a raid, or will this finally be the day that the Germans attack? Despite his rank, Captain Stanhope has no control over the fate that will befall his men, he can only try to prepare them as best he can. As with any artwork about the First World War, futility is always going to be a main theme; something keenly felt by Hibbert. What is the point in doing anything when you are all going to die anyway and your death will have served no purpose? It is impossible not to experience anything to do with WWI and not come away feeling sick and angry about it. It goes without saying that the ending of ‘Journey’s End’ is devastating. It could end no other way.

I hope that as many people as possible in the US seek this film out on its limited release (I believe that is has pretty much left UK cinemas now). There is no doubt in mind that this film will be used widely in history and English lessons in the UK and they are fortunate to have such a good film as an educational tool. I was expecting to be interested in this movie, but not to be blown away on the level that I was. This is the film of the year so far for me and I urge you to find a way to watch it.

Fiona’s Rating: 9/10

Say Hello To Winnie The Pooh in Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’ Teaser Trailer

“In the heartwarming live action adventure “Disney’s Christopher Robin,” the young boy who embarked on countless adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with his band of spirited and lovable stuffed animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.

Christopher Robin is stuck in a job where he is overworked, underpaid and facing an uncertain future. He has a family of his own, but his work has become his life, leaving little time for his wife and daughter, and he has all but forgotten his idyllic childhood spent with a simple-minded, honey-loving stuffed bear and his friends. But when he is reunited with Winnie the Pooh, now tattered and soiled from years of hugs and play, a spark is rekindled, and he is reminded of the endless days of childlike wonder and make believe that defined his youth, when doing nothing could be considered something. Following an unfortunate mishap with Christopher Robin’s briefcase, Pooh and the rest of the gang including Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger, step out of the forest and into London to return the crucial possessions…because best friends will always be there for you.”
Directed by: Marc Forster
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Jim Cummings, Chris O’Dowd, Nick Mohammed, Brad Garrett, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Toby Jones, and Mark Gatiss
Release Date: August 17th, 2018

It’s Time To Return to Isla Nublar In First ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Trailer

“It’s been four years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles.

When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Owen is driven to find Blue, his lead raptor who’s still missing in the wild, and Claire has grown a respect for these creatures she now makes her mission. Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.”

Direct By: J.A. Boyana

Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, BD Wong, Toby Jones

Release Date: June 8th 2018

Sam Claflin Leads C-Company Into The Trenches In First Trailer For ‘Journey’s End’

“March, 1918. C-company arrives to take its turn in the front-line trenches in northern France led by the war-weary Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin). A German offensive is imminent, and the officers (Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham Tom Sturridge) and their cook (Toby Jones) distract themselves in their dugout with talk of food and their past lives. Stanhope, meanwhile, soaks his fear in whisky, unable to deal with his dread of the inevitable. A young new officer, Raleigh (Asa Butterfield), has just arrived, fresh out of training and abuzz with the excitement of his first real posting – not least because he is to serve under Stanhope, his former school house monitor and the object of his sister’s affections. Each man is trapped, the days ticking by, the tension rising and the attack drawing ever closer…”

Directed by: Saul Dibb
Cast: Sam Claflin, Asa Butterfield, Toby Jones, Tom Sturridge, Stephen Graham, Paul Bettany
Release Date: 2nd February 2018

 

The Snowman

Year: 2017
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Chloë Sevigny, J.K. Simmons, Val Kilmer, Toby Jones

Written by Corey Hughes

After a 6-year directorial break since ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 2011, Tomas Alfredson returns to the director seat for the woeful adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s best-selling Scandi-noir murder mystery ‘The Snowman’, the fifth entry to the Oslo Sequence series of books starring Harry Hole.

Following a series of missing persons and murders in Oslo, acclaimed detective and loose-cannon Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) and newcomer Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), with their own personal intentions, hunt the aptly named Snowman down; a serial killer who leaves a snowman in his wake.

Fassbender, whilst trying his outmost to provide a plausible performance, fails to play the inner-tormented, broken man with the same gravitas that he brought to the table in similar roles in ‘Shame’ and ‘Hunger’; an unfortunate addition to a string of bad decisions from the immensely talented actor. The performances from the rest of the cast are moderate at best – Kilmer; an odd casting choice whose dialogue appears to have been dubbed in post production, Ferguson; who is unconvincing in filling the boots of the strong-willed Bratt, and J.K. Simmons; who provides a caricature-esque performance as the grotesque and completely unsympathetic Arve Støp.

Keeping within touching distance with Nesbø’s novel, Alfredson brings to the table experience from working on ‘Let The Right One In‘ by showing the goriness of the Snowman’s murders in their most truthful, explicit and uncensored form. The murders are set against the backdrop of Dione Beebe’s swooning cinematography, a successful depiction of bringing the cold, snow-engulfed Oslo to life, but in the grand scheme of things he is merely disguising what is ultimately a bleak, unforgettable experience.

There have been reports surfacing that during the editing process, Alfredson and editor Thelma Schoonmaker came to the realisation that chunks of the plot were missing, resulting in last-minute reshoots. Such disorganisation not only shows Alfredson’s lackadaisical approach in adapting the novel to the big screen, but also accounts for ‘The Snowman’s’ directionless nature; focusing on things that are insignificant whilst quickly glossing over things that are instrumental to the plot, an oddity that Schoonmaker is far from accustomed to from her partnership with Martin Scorsese (who was supposed to direct this mess before Alfredson stepped in).

Disregarding the inclusion of intricate, overlapping subplots evident in Nesbø’s novel, screenwriters Hossein Amini and Peter Staughan provide an unfaithful translation of the source material. Condensing a layered, 400-page novel to a mere 2-hour film is difficult but undoubtedly achievable, yet Amini and Staughan seem to struggle with adapting Nesbø’s multiple plots into a conceivable screenplay. The film cuts out a catalogue of important moments from the novel, which ultimately results in each character having the most minimal amount of depth and motivation possible. You aren’t given any reason to care about the characters, or the situations they find themselves in, an extreme flaw for any murder-mystery story.

‘The Snowman’, with so many acclaimed names attached to its production, with even Martin Scorsese as an executive producer, is a gargantuan disappointment. Use your price for admission towards Nesbø’s novel instead. You’ll thank me later.

Corey’s Rating: 4.0 out of 10

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Watch This Space: August 28th – September 3rd

This week we’re excited to re-launch our weekly feature – Watch This Space. Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

Rough Night: This female-led comedy finally released in the UK last Friday, with most territories getting it in June and July. You can read Fiona’s review here, in which she calls it “an enjoyable night at the cinema“.

Logan Lucky: Can Jimmy Logan shake his family’s bad luck and pull off a $14 million heist? Corey shares his thought’s in a brand new review coming later today. We’ll update this article with a link when it’s up.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (3D Special): Arnie is back! ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ has been digitally enhanced and for one day only will be screening in 3D in cinemas across the UK. The film originally released in cinemas in 1991 and is back for old fans and new to enjoy on the big screen. We’ll have a special review up later this week!

On TV

Monday

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994): Tune in to this British rom-com classic from the 90s for sharp-scripted silliness from Richard Curtis. Yes – the film is centred around bumbling, floppy-haired Hugh Grant, but it’s the eccentric ensemble that make this film both hilarious and heartfelt. If you’ve not seen it before, where have you been? If you have seen it before – cheer yourself up by surrounding yourself with a familiar group of friends and letting it wash over you like a warm bath. Tune into this classic on Film4 at 9pm. 

Footloose (1984): Kick off those Sunday shoes and go crazy for this 80s classic with a toe-tapping soundtrack and some eye-watering fashion choices. Kevin Bacon makes an appealing central character, backed up by a supporting cast that includes early Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Penn. John Lithgow is the standout as the preacher who has declared a Southern town to be a “no-dance” zone and if you think the rebellious teenagers are going to take that lying down, then you’re mistaken! Brighten up your life with this cheesy feel-good caper. 5Star thinks you’ll love it so much that they’re playing it twice, the first beginning at 7pm, and the second straight after at 8:20pm.

Tuesday 

Shaun of the Dead (2004):  Edgar Wright’s debut feature and first entry to his Cornetto trilogy – ‘Shaun of the Dead’, stars the hilarious duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. ‘Shaun’ simultaneously pays homage to and parodies the ‘of the Dead’ films from the late George A. Romero in a way that is both exciting and easy on the eye. It’s truly a must-see, and you can catch it on ITV2 at 9:00pm.

Snakes on a Plane (2006): Samuel L. Jackson says enough is enough, he’s had it with the “MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE”.. Need I say more? Okay, I will.. David R. Ellis’ ‘Snakes on a Plane’ gained considerable hype before the film released in cinemas 11 years ago, and despite how quickly that hype died down once it hit cinemas, I challenge you to find anyone who doesn’t know THAT line from the film. You can swear your heart out with Jackson from 9pm on Sky1.

Wednesday

About Time (2013): Combining a romantic comedy with some light science-fiction may be a somewhat bizarre mix, but Richard Curtis’ ‘About Time’ is, for my money, one of the finest romcoms of the last decade. With winning performances from the whole cast, a great sense of humour, bags full of heart, and a very fun time travel twist, it’s hard not to fall in love with the film from the very first scene. Fair warning though, Domnhall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams will ruin your base expectations of boyfriends and girlfriends for life. You can catch ‘About Time’ on Film4 at 6:40pm

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): This undervalued and overlooked origin story within the MCU has suffered from being overshadowed by its sequels, particularly ‘The Winter Soldier’. In my opinion, The First Avenger is the superior film. With its World War Two setting, Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter and some great CGI (the wimpyfying of Chris Evans is fantastic) – ‘The First Avenger’ is one of the highlights of the MCU. If the rumours about the upcoming Infinity War are true, perhaps you should take the chance now to remind yourself of Cap’s shining greatness before shizz gets real dark. The action begins 9pm on Film4! 

Thursday

Superman (1978): You’ll believe a man can fly all over again. Richard Donnor directs the original comic-book adaptation- 1978’s ‘Superman: The Movie’. In a time before the superhero genre churned out by the book, CGI dazzling and star-studded movies year after year, travel back to more innocent, more family-friendly era with Christopher Reeve as the greatest Man Of Steel ever. A soaring soundtrack by John Williams and a wonderful cast and story help bring Superman to life in one of the most iconic, original and memorable super-hero films you all need to see. You’ll want to switch to ITV4 at 4pm to see Reeve’s in action! 

Predator (1987): You can see how great Arnold Schwarzenegger is as an action and comedy star when you remember one year after shooting up the jungle in ‘Predator’, he was playing simple-minded Julius opposite Danny DeVito in ‘Twins’. But I digress. No family-friendly comedy here. It’s just balls to the wall action and suspense to the highest level when Arnie and his tobacco chewing, machine gun toting, foul-mouthed squad turn from hunter to hunted, going up against the alien life-form known as The Predator. With direction from John McTiernan, special effects from Stan Winston and support from the likes of Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura and the late Sonny Landham, this is classic Schwarzenegger – when you’ve finished watching, don’t forget to “GET TO THE CHOPPA!”. Get in on the action on Film4 starting at 10:45pm

Friday

Inception (2010): This one is a no brainer… It’s on TV this week, therefore you need to watch it! Christopher Nolan assembles an impressive cast, which includes the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Marion Cotillard, and if that line-up alone doesn’t sell it then you’re still in for a treat. Nolan keeps your full attention for the entirety of the film’s 2 and a half hour runtime, as we venture from dream to dream and watch DiCaprio and his team attempt to plant an idea in the mind of a CEO by using their dream-sharing technology. 

Role Models (2010): Having recently watched this film again, I can whole-heartily say that this film is still as funny as it was 7 years ago. Paul Rudd and Sean William-Scott are sentenced to community service and are sent to ‘Sturdy Wings’, an organisation that pairs children with adults to help build friendships. Rudd and Scott meet their matches when paired with Augie (a LARPing geek) and Ronnie (a foul-mouthed youngster), and hilarity ensues. The fun takes place over on 5Star at 11:15pm.

Hiding Online / In Our Collection

Kill Bill – Vol I and II (2003, 2004): Do yourself a favour and watch Tarantino’s masterpieces, featuring one of cinema’s greatest creations – Uma Thurman’s The Bride. The first is the all-action, kung fu heavy whirlwind featuring mind-blowing set pieces such as the House of Blue Leaves. The second is a different beast, exploring The Bride’s relationship with the titular Bill, a tour de force by David Carradine. Choosing which is better out of the two is a Sophie’s Choice for me. Do yourself a favour and watch both. Both films arrive on Netflix September 1st

Dead Poets Society (1989): O Captain My Captain. A tender central performance by Robin Williams can get a little schmaltzy at times, but this coming-of-age poetic film is worth your time for some classic lines and heart-warming scenes. The ensemble cast of High School students is a “who’s who” of current film and TV, Ethan Hawke, House’s Robert Sean Leonard and The Good Wife’s Josh Charles all got their breakthroughs here. As an English teacher, I have to say I aspire to the level of inspiration William’s Mr Keating brings to his lessons in literature and life. ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ will arrive on Netflix September 1st. 

Bronson (2008): Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylistic masterpiece, ‘Bronson’, is a biopic that explores the anarchic life of notorious British criminal Charles Bronson, played emphatically by the sublime Tom Hardy. Whilst it might not be everybody’s cup of tea, I can’t recommend it enough. Give it a go if you think you’re hard enough.

Deep Blue Sea (1999): Whilst no other shark movie can really hold a candle to the mighty ‘Jaws’, ‘Deep Blue Sea’ is one of the better ones out there. It’s ludicrous of course, but that is exactly what you should expect and want out of a movie about harvesting the brains of DNA-altered sharks to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. It has Samuel L. Jackson, terrible CGI sharks and plenty of gruesome deaths, what more could you want really?! ‘Deep Blue Sea’ is heading to Netlfix on Friday! 

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Fiona Underhill, Chris Gelderd, Sarah Buddery, Rhys Bowen Jones, and Corey Hughes.