‘Beautiful Boy’ (2018) – Cambridge Film Festival Review

Tears, heartbreak, love – three occurring themes throughout Beautiful Boy that make this film so empowering and tear-jerking that it is one of the best films I have seen this year. Produced by Brad Pitt under his production company…

Tears, heartbreak, love – three occurring themes throughout Beautiful Boy that make this film so empowering and tear-jerking that it is one of the best films I have seen this year.

Produced by Brad Pitt under his production company, Plan B Entertainment, Steve Carrell (David) and Timothée Chalamet (Nic) star as the main characters. The film is based on the novel Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction. Carrell and Chalamet both play excellent parts as we see a father (Carrell) struggle with his relationship with his son (Chalamet) as he deals with a crippling drug addiction, starting from when he turned eighteen years old.

The film lasts two hours, seeing Nic tackling his drug addiction through a non-linear narrative, exposing us to how his addiction to drugs started and the struggle David goes through to get his son back. David is a freelance journalist, writing for magazines such as
Rolling Stone as we see in the film. He pitches an article idea to his boss which is personal to him, sharing the story of Nic and how he lost his son mentally through his use of drugs.

We go back and forth in time, seeing elements of both Nic and David’s lives that piece together the impact of Nic’s life and how he turned to the use of drugs such as crystal meth, weed and LSD. The non-linear narrative works amazingly as viewers are able to view the struggles that drug addicts go through: recovery, relapse and rehab. Through flashbacks from the past, we can see the struggles Nic repeatedly goes through in his attempt to stay clean.

I love the use of music in the film too. Music adds such an emotional impact to certain scenes throughout that really make viewers feel what the characters are going through.

I cannot recommend this film enough, it really opens your eyes to what struggles, pain and emotions drug users and their relatives go through on a day-to-day basis. All I can say is get your tissues at the ready! (Be prepared for seeing the use of needles a lot too.)

Written by Eliza Rawson

‘Life Itself’ (2018) – Cambridge Film Festival Review

In this drama multiple lives intertwine and spin around each other.  We see the story of two college sweethearts, the story of a couple struggling to support their child in Spain, the story of their children and how all their lives are connected…

In this drama multiple lives intertwine and spin around each other.  We see the story of two college sweethearts, the story of a couple struggling to support their child in Spain, the story of their children and how all their lives are connected by a single event. The multi generation levelled saga is beautifully told and supported by the music of Federico Jusid, and Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel my Love. This is Dan Fogelman’s second directorial and first big thing to come out after This Is Us. With a cast consisting of some of Hollywood’s finest e.g. Antonio Banderas and Olivia Wilde, this film has all the ingredients to be a crowd pleaser. The film finds a fine balance between happiness and sadness, and keeps surprising by taking away the characters you hold dear with a twist on their life story. The timeline is a little confusing at first but becomes clear when the film unfolds.

Halfway through the films 4 chapters and epilogue, it becomes clear that the narrative voice is the daughter to the children of the two couples we see struggling. This however does not interfere with the interest to learn more about the characters. Especially as the story of Will (Oscar Isaac) and Abby (Olivia Wilde) had more than half of the cinema in tears. The raw humour and joking ebbs away as Will Shoots himself and the story start to focus more on the Gonzalez family. As the story’s background changes to the idyllic olive farms in the countryside of Spain, it will once again start with a love story everyone romanticises, but this soon will start to crumble after a family holiday to New York. Javier and Isabel try to find a cure for their traumatised son, Rodrigo, and soon need to ask the help of rich landowner Vincent Saccione. Javier is a proud man and decides to leave his family so that Saccione can take care of his wife and son. They all meet one last time at the end of the film as Isabel falls ill.

The film had various bad reviews from acclaimed film critics but the public seem to have a different opinion on Twitter and outside the cinema. This film gives hope and happiness and then takes it away to build it up again but never disappoints.  

The Cambridge Film Festival runs from the 25th of October to the 1st of November in various places in Cambridge. For more information on the festival go to https://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk

Photo taken from https://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk

Cambridge 38th Film Festival – Life Itself

Director – Dan Fogelman

With – Olivia Wilde, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Isaac, Olivia Cook

Written by Merel Van Schooten

‘A Star is Born’ (2018) – Film Review

What an amazing performance by her, I have actually been left shook to my core and she deserves every award out there. A Star is Born is a remake of the 1976 version of the same…

 Let me just start this review by saying this: Give. Gaga. An. Oscar.

Picture1

What an amazing performance by her, I have actually been left shook to my core and she deserves every award out there.

A Star is Born is a remake of the 1976 version of the same name. The film is based on Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), an alcoholic rock star, who falls in love with Ally (Lady Gaga), after stumbling upon her performing in a drag bar. He convinces her to perform with him on stage and her career takes off, as well as their whirlwind romance.

I had never seen the original version, so I really had no previous knowledge of what the film was about, but I have been looking forward to seeing it since it got announced and I had extremely high expectations for it. And it did not disappoint!

You get a behind the scenes look of what I can only guess the music industry is really like. Pushing artists to breaking points and making them change themselves as the label think they will sell more records. You see Ally changing from her authentic self, to this dancing pop star with bright orange hair – because the label said so. Spoiler alert: she finds her way back to herself.

To get a negative out of the way first, and there is only one negative. To me, the ending of the film was given away within the first 5 minutes. I noticed it, but my mum didn’t. So, to many, you may not even realise. But because to me, it was so obvious, I found myself not fully allowing myself to emerge myself in the film.

Other than this one thing I was amazed.

Picture12png

We are immediately positioned with Jack, and from the get-go, we want him to get better, to sober up and focus on himself. When he meets Ally, we think this is going to happen, but when she starts becoming successful herself he only gets worse.

Bradley Cooper has never really shocked me with his acting, to me he has always been a generic actor, nothing amazing. But this film has completely changed that for me and I have a new-found respect for him as an actor. Yet, Lady Gaga completely stole the film for me. It was her film and everyone else was just a secondary character. She really does outshine everyone else and stole every single scene she was in! Their on-screen connection is just amazing, and they are so believable as a couple, even if their relationship is kind of toxic. You are willing them to make it work, for them to both be happy and successful.

Picture10

This film really does take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, I was crying and then laughing, my heart broke and healed itself within the space of 2 hours (and then broke again). The songs are amazing and only add to my tears. I cannot wait for the full soundtrack to get released (on October 5th) because I have been listening to Shallow on repeat since they released it as a single and I need more! Also, who knew Bradley Cooper could sing? Because this is completely new to me.

I recommend this film to everyone, and I will 100% be seeing it again. Not only for Gaga but for the whole film itself. I have no doubt in my mind that when award season comes around, this film is going to win every single one.

Love, Jess

A Star is Born is out now! Watch the trailer below

Written by Jessica-Lucy Weal

Jess’ film blog can be found at: www.jessreviewsfilms.wordpress.com

MCU’S Black Panther & Representation

By Blessing Raimi – As there was a lot of anticipation and hype for the Black Panther film, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from Marvel Studios, unsure whether…

By Blessing Raimi

As there was a lot of anticipation and hype for the Black Panther film, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from Marvel Studios, unsure whether they would pull through or whether it would simply be a sloppy attempt that only did well in the box office because of the a-list actors involved and the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) brand tagged to the film. Being a fan of the MCU in general, I did enjoy many of the films produced so far but there were some I felt could be better executed though of course I still went to see them because of how interlinked the films were and the characters I enjoyed to see on screen. I enjoyed Civil War which introduced us to the character of T’Challa and was intrigued to find out more about him in the cinematic universe as of course he is based on the comics, but also on the creative and artistic license of the movie producers and writers.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the movie and appreciative of the effort put in when I went to see it. It was encouraging that the film did so well during its opening weekend which encouraged me further and it was nice to see how much it had already impacted a lot of people positively, I definitely saw this as a good sign to check out the film. I like how the film was so individual and unique but the producers were still able to interlink it with previous films within the MCU timeline and also give some hints towards the upcoming Infinity War film due to be out a few months afterwards.

The characters were nuanced and well executed, various African cultures were well researched which was clearly shown through even the smallest details of the film and set. The cast truly was diverse and I feel this film is an example of what racial diversity and representation should look like. The characters shouldn’t just be there to tick a box and people working behind the scenes are just as important as those in front of the camera. If there is diversity behind the scenes with the production team, directors, costume department, to name a few; then there will be more accurate portrayal and more will be considered to make the story more authentic, real and relatable. I did like how there were a mixture of well known and up and coming actors as well, all of them having a chemistry and connection that was believable, as well as giving the audience the chance to see the talent of these new faces.

One character that I loved and connected with was Shuri, the teenage princess and sister of T’Challa the king of Wakanda portrayed by Letitia Wright. She is a child prodigy and the person in charge of overseeing the development of technology within the country, including making the Black Panther suits. She has an intricate knowledge of Vibranium and its uses and it was great to see a young black woman with her own agency and valued for her intelligence. She is hinted at being the most intelligent scientist in the world and it is great to see a black female character that can be related to that is in the forefront of the film shown in a positive light in Hollywood and in popular culture, Fans are even calling her the best Disney Princess, since Marvel Studios are under the Disney company and it is encouraging to see someone who can be a role model for young black fans, a character in which young black females can see themselves in. I feel another great example of this is the character of Finn in the recent Star Wars film, portrayed by John Boyega, which had a lasting impact of fans who were even encouraged to cosplay as the character and purchase action figures, seeing a mainstream character that finally looked like them in which they could connect with.

Even though Wakanda isn’t a real country, the producers did a great job of bringing in aspects of countries across Africa and it really did feel like a movie centred on and for an African audience. It was amazing to see the red carpet during the premiere of the film in different countries, celebrities turning out in their native attire which connected them with the film. South Africans were excited to see their native language within the film as well, impressed at the research and care taken by the production team to portray their culture appropriately and with sensitivity. I feel this is definitely a film that made a mark and will resonated with a lot of people and proves many wrong, as the public do want to see more diverse stories on screen and a superhero who is very culturally intertwined.

Image: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Sanjeev Bhaskar Announced as Host For Our Awards Ceremony

By Elle Haywood – Actor and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar joins a host of industry professionals for this year’s Watersprite International Film Festival on the…

By Elle Haywood

Actor and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar joins a host of industry professionals for this year’s Watersprite International Film Festival on the 23rd – 25th February 2018. The festival returns to Cambridge this month for its ninth consecutive year. Watersprite is an international film competition and festival that is based in Cambridge, UK, but attracts attention from all around the world. The festival continues to discover, showcase, and nurture emerging talent in the film industry, increasing its global reach of submissions and developing deeper and wider connections within the film industry. It has attracted speakers such as Eddie Redmayne, Olivia Colman, and Lenny Henry to talk at the annual festival.

Almost 2000 submissions from 95 countries about been sent since Watersprite’s inception. Nearly 400 submissions were received for this year’s Film Awards, and 50 nominees will be joining us at the Festival from locations as widespread as Brazil, Israel, all over Europe, the Philippines, and South Africa. The 2018 Festival weekend will include a packed schedule of screenings, talks, and workshops, led by leading professionals in the film and TV industry. All of these events are open to the public for free, giving access to the film industry to all.

Hilary Bevan Jones, Festival Chair and Former BAFTA Chairman says: 
“I am extremely proud to be Chair of Watersprite. The Festival has proved to be a beacon for the best of emerging filmmakers from across the globe, some of whom have never travelled before. An incredibly diverse and cultural mix of film students come together and celebrate in the beautiful city of Cambridge for a weekend packed with inspiration. This includes talks from world-class speakers, workshops, screenings and opportunities to forge new creative partnerships. The quality of films submitted over the years is truly outstanding. Through discovering and championing exceptional talent, Watersprite provides a springboard for the filmmakers of the future to excel in their field and move on from strength to strength.”

The festival’s award ceremony will be held at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, with the awards being supported by the likes of Pinewood Studios, Abby Road Studios, Decca Publishing, Cannes Film Festival, James Bond franchise, AWD 1958 and Watch That Man. With Red Arrows Studio support, the official Filmmaker & New Talent partner nominated filmmakers will be flown to the UK to attend the ceremony.

This is a perfect opportunity for students to get involved in a local film festival, a chance to get stuck into workshops and network with other creative individuals.

CJW_0686

With thanks to Will Tilbrook

Image Credit: Watersprite Film Festival

Work Experience Diary: Being a Student Film Critic

By Ben Jones – What was the highlight of 2017 for you? For me, it was becoming a student writer for Take One, an online film magazine and the partner publication…

By Ben Jones 

What was the highlight of 2017 for you? For me, it was becoming a student writer for Take One, an online film magazine and the partner publication for the Cambridge Film Festival. I love (and also study) films and hope to one-day write as a job, so this was a perfect combination of my passions. This opportunity was made available for me through the university, and next year may be offered to some of you! So here’s what you could expect from the experience, and how I personally felt about it all.

In case you never knew before, the Cambridge Film Festival takes place mostly at the Arts Picturehouse in town (though some films are screened at other venues or in the mobile cinema!). They debut brand new, pre-release films, as well as re-screenings of classic films. My friend was emailed by one of her tutors, with the opportunity to be a student reviewer at the festival. She also asked for anybody else she knew who’d like to get involved, and she very kindly thought of me (You may get involved this way, or you may be emailed directly!).

However, I was concerned that this would get in the way of my studies, so I got into direct contact with the tutor. She assured me that this was a very low-pressure position, and she was right; throughout the experience, the editor was very flexible with deadlines and workloads, and in the end, she didn’t even need to be. You’d be surprised by how quick it is to write a review, once you get the hang of it!

Once I’d signed on, the next step was for all of us to have a meeting with the editor. We met in this secretive room, tucked away in the Picturehouse – it felt very professional! Then she assigned us all duties, asking us what our interests were; for example, some of us were more interested in managing the festival’s social media than in writing reviews, so they got to be in charge of the official Twitter account. As for us reviewers, we had two jobs before the festival even began – firstly, she recommended we do a practice review for her, on any film of our choice that was currently in cinemas. This felt more like a treat than a job!

The second pre-festival job was to look at the online programme and send her a top 10 list of the films we’d most like to review. I don’t know if anybody else necessarily came up with 10, but as a fan of lists, I had no trouble. One entry on my list was a compilation of short films. The editor was so pleased with my interest that she asked me to write a preview instead. This means I was emailed private links to all of the films so that my reviews were published before they were shown at the festival. This would hopefully generate extra interest for these wonderful shorts, all of which were directed and/or written by women; it was an honour to preview them!

Finally, it was time actually to attend the festival and review the films. In the end, I got to see seven movies for free, six of which I then reviewed. This felt fantastic, but I thought it was important never to forget why I was there. Every reviewer probably has their own method, but my tactic was to write notes on my phone AFTER every film. During the film, I allowed myself to be absorbed in the story but kept an eye out for specific positives (and negatives). Then, when the film was over, I would sit in the lobby of the cinema and write out my pros and cons in bullet points. After my twenty-minute walk home (giving my thoughts and feelings time to sink in), I went over those bullet points again, in case I had already changed my mind on anything.

It was usually the next morning that I would write the review, always aiming for around 500 words. I would read it aloud to myself a few times, to make sure it sounded right. Then I’d send that first draft to the editor, asking if any significant improvements needed to be made. It was surprisingly often that the first draft would be published! But one thing I learned and improved on, in regards to an early review, was to avoid merely listing positive adjectives. Don’t just say a film was beautiful or funny; describe specific scenes! You may be worried about spoilers, but so long as you don’t specify in too much detail, you should be fine.

The real treat of this whole experience was seeing those reviews published, whether it was online or in the physical magazines distributed at the festival. Seeing my words in official review articles was surreal, and seeing my name attached to them, though this may sound silly, made me feel very proud.

If you have any inclination to be a writer, and if you love films, then I would thoroughly recommend seizing this opportunity if it comes your way. If you’re lucky, like me, then the editor may even ask you to stay on and write more reviews after the festival’s over! I know what I’m now looking forward to in 2018!

Two of the Cambridge Film Festival Team Members working at the Delegates Desk. As Take One interns, we even had our own official lanyard for the event! 

IMG_5953

Image Credit: Elle Haywood

‘Molly’s Game’ (2017) – Film Review

By Bethany Mattocks – I went and saw Molly’s Game as part of E4’s Slackers Club and if you’re a student and haven’t signed up you really should! If you’re a student, you can…

By Bethany Mattocks

I went and saw Molly’s Game as part of E4’s Slackers Club and if you’re a student and haven’t signed up you really should! If you’re a student, you can sign up to Channel 4’s film club, where you can see one film for free every month (usually an early release), and as an added bonus, the Cambridge Slacker’s Club is held at the Arts Picturehouse.

Molly Bloom is a nearly Olympic skier, until she has a spine problem and in qualifiers trips and falls. She then becomes a problem child, and starts working for a poker game runner and eventually starts running her own games. Two years later after she has stopped the games she gets arrested for running them so the story follows the fight from her to stay out of prison showing flashbacks of how the games developed as she got bigger in the poker world.

mg 2

There are so many big names in this film from Idris Elba and Michael Cera to Chris O’ Dowd. Yet they’re not used as some sort of ploy to get you to watch the movie, it just seems like a coincidence. This is usually a sign of a great film when the cast is all equal in talent and the storyline independently holds itself up.

You would think that watching a film about a top gambler being caught means you wouldn’t be hit hard by the story; yet you can really connect with Molly as the plot develops. You see how she got into the situation she is in now, how her life goes so quickly from helping at a little game to owning one of the biggest, and her drug dependence due to insomnia. She tries so hard to keep the game legal and help all her customers who eventually betray her. Still when she is able to avoid jail she says loyal to her players not to want to hurt their families, she refuses to give over confidential information to reduce her sentence and refuses a bigger book deal as it would involve exposing people despite the fact she has nothing left. One could even argue this makes her half decent. What also makes this film great is that it actually happened, and is always fascinating to see the retelling of a true story on the big screen. 

I personally thought this film was exceedingly good, and would thoroughly recommend it. 

Image Credits: STXfilms

Top Christmas Movies To Get You In The Spirit!

The end of term is here, and it is time to get cosy with family and friends for the week and take a small break from university work! Here are some…

The end of term is here, and it is time to get cosy with family and friends for the week and take a small break from university work! Here are some suggestions about which Christmas films you should get stuck into this year to bring about your festive feelings.

  • The Nativity (2009) 

This will definitely get you in that Christmas mood if you’re lacking a bit this year. It follows Paul Maddens who after breaking up with his girlfriend at Christmas hates the season. Thankfully his crazy teaching assistant and class help to love it once more. Through somehow the town thinking Hollywood are coming to view their play and the mad adventures that follow by the end you’ll definitely be decking the halls. Watch out for Bob and his mad break dancing moves!

  • Love Actually (2003) 

Following multiple Christmas stories sounds like a difficult task for a film but somehow Richard Curtis does it with ease. Love Actually follows a Prime Minister falling for his assistant, a child falling for a girl in his class learning the drums just to play in a song with her, a couple that have a mad family life with temptation from an office assistant, someone who is trying to write a book who falls for his house keeper, a guy who has fallen for his best friends wife, a guy who goes away for Christmas for lust, and many more not forgetting Rowan Atkinson taking f o r e v e r to gift wrap a present. Watch out for Hugh Grant’s scene dancing to Jump by Girls Aloud and Bill Nigh on a show telling kids to do drugs. However, there is a nice theme to this movie despite everybody’s crazy lives in the run up to Christmas it illustrates that Love actually is all around.

love
  • Die Hard (1988) 

What’s more Christmassy than Bruce Willis fighting bad guys at a Christmas party? Die Hard follows a cop going to visit his wife for Christmas when some German villains, featuring Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, take over her works Christmas party and John McClain is the only one who can save them. It includes some crazy classic scenes of John in the air vents and shooting yelling ‘Ho!, Ho!, Ho!’

  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) 

If this angry green man doesn’t get you in the spirit I’m not sure what will! This film follows the Grinch who hates everyone he lives on the top of a hill with his dog and avoids Whoville down below. That’s until he gets the idea to steal Christmas from them. The film unfolds with the Grinch making a little friend and learning to love Christmas again, truly hilarious and heartwarming.

  • Jingle All The Way (1996) 

Arnold Schwarzenegger is your guy if you want to begin your countdown. In this film he promises his child to get the most popular toy of the season unknowing that this would be the hardest task he has ever taken on.

  • Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2 (1992) 

Okay these films have a weird theme of Kevin McAllister (and Alex in the 3rd) being left home alone A LOT which is great parenting skills! However, he is a smart kid and despite the burglars trying to take his house his slick tricks will not let them. He learns how to live alone and appreciate Christmas more, but not to put aftershave on after shaving …. This is an utter christmas classic! Watch the third of these also to see Alex in the same way but NOT the fourth as it ruins them all!

kevin
  • The Holiday (2006)

The Holiday is personally one of my favourite Christmas movies. It follows two women (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet) who are fed up of their homes and want to escape for Christmas. Amanda is an American movie trailer producer who has just found out her boyfriend has been cheating on her and Iris is and English newspaper reporter hopelessly in love with her boss who she has just found out is engaged. They find each other online and decide to house swap for the season. Amanda falls for Iris’s brother and Iris makes friends with her new neighbour and a guy who works for Amanda. The film goes through the holiday season showing the girls different adventures in finding love, it’s a feel-good cheesy film at its best. Watch out for Cameron Diaz living the dream of singing Mr Brightside at the top of her lungs.

  • Elf (2003) 

Elf is about Buddy the Elf who finds out his human identity and so goes to New York to find his father. On the way he spreads his intense excitement for Christmas to everyone he meets and teaches the stuck up business world of Manhattan a thing or two about festive cheer.

Hopefully after marathoning all these you’ll be ready for Christmas if not put on some Christmas tunes, decorate your tree and eat your advent calendar chocolate until you are!!

By Bethany Mattocks

14 December 2017

Image References:

‘Russia 1917: Countdown to Revolution’ (2017) – Documentary Review

By Bethany Mattocks – It’s the centenary of the Russian Revolution this year and so it’s a good time to learn about this important event in history…

By Bethany Mattocks

It’s the centenary of the Russian Revolution this year and so it’s a good time to learn about this important event in history!

This is a documentary that has a countdown to the Russian Revolution showing events day by day until the revolution occurs in October 1917. It explains why the revolution happened and why this is important. The revolution was very important it showed how the people could take power and get what they wanted. It showed a big change in history and affects how the world is today.

This documentary explains the Russian Revolution in a simple yet informative way so even if you have no previous knowledge of Russia you can understand it. It explains the key figures: Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Kerensky and more using historians to get in-depth profiles on them. Also, because of the use of many different historians, it offers many points of view and you do not get bored of hearing the same voice constantly.

I also love all the use of film to depict historical reconstructions as it really illustrates what is being said and makes the documentary incredibly fascinating as it is trying to represent a previous event in history to a contemporary audience.

This year in my studies at university this year I have taken a module about Russia and therefore I find this interesting to see to support the knowledge that I already have, however even if I was not a History student I would be interested. It is amazing how Lenin and the Bolshevik gained the support of the majority of the population and were able to spread his message of creating a Socialist Russia. The people wanted a change after living in such bad conditions, there was mass famine and many lives had been lost in the war. After the Tsar is forced to abdicate there is a Provisional Government created which fails to answer any of the people’s many questions and so when Lenin comes along and establishes himself as a leader the people follow with the hope of change.

Watch this documentary on BBC IPlayer because it is important to learn about our history and understand just why things have happened to prevent the same mistakes being committed.

Revolutionaries3o

Image Credit: Lenin Image
Image Credit: Countdown to Revolution Image: British Broadcasting Corporation

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (1993) – Film Review

By Bethany Mattocks – November is a prime time to watch this movie because of the is it a Halloween film or Christmas film debate. Therefore, if you watch it in-between the two…

By Bethany Mattocks

November is a prime time to watch this movie because of the is it a Halloween film or Christmas film debate. Therefore, if you watch it in-between the two then you can’t go wrong!

Tim Burton brings yet another creepy, yet cool, film through the story follows Jack Skellington, [Danny Elfman] the King of Halloween Town who is tired of Halloween being the same every year, unlike his town who still loves the celebrations. Sally the ragdoll girl [Catherine O’Hara] is the only one who notices and their relationship develops from there through bonding over people misunderstanding them, she just wants to escape her house and Dr Finkelstein and he wants to escape his duties. He finds Christmas Town and forms a plan to bring Christmas to Halloween Town but the people don’t really understand and kidnap “Sandy Claws” and it all goes downhill from there!

I love how this is a Christmas and Halloween movie as it’s the worst when you feel you can’t watch a film more than one time of year and feel like there’s some sort of bad luck involved if you watch it at the wrong time. With this film, I feel it can be watched any time of year with the combination of seasons involved. It even involves Easter when they kidnap the Easter bunny by accident! Truly a whole year-round film!

One of the best features of this film is the use of music, ‘What’s This’ and ‘This Halloween’ is among the best, absolute classics for Halloween lovers and have had countless covers, for example, Fall Out Boy did an amazing cover of ‘What’s This’ in 2006 as did Panic! At The Disco of ‘This is Halloween’. ‘Jack’s Lament’ is another one of my favourite songs mostly because of the scene on the hill in front of the moon, it looks so pretty! Plus, the line where he takes off his head to pretend to be Shakespearean holding his head in his hand is hilarious!

The characters in this film are so cool! Not only because of the amazing Claymation but the sassiness of the Oogie Boogie man [Ken Page] and the mayor with the turning head depending on his emotions are great, there’s such a range of monsters in Halloween town it puts the classic going as a cat for Halloween to shame!

The film is a Claymation and so would’ve taken a very, very long time to film; it baffles me all the work that must have gone into it but it was very worth it becoming a classic to date! It took a group of around 100 people three years to make the movie and for one second of film up to 12 stop-motion moves had to be made!

So, see this film if you haven’t already but if you have, watch it again it’s prime time!

NBC FI

‘The Battle of the Sexes’ (2017) – Film Review

By Ben Jones – The modern political climate is an interesting one, to say the least. On the one hand, our current society is the most advanced and progressive it’s ever been…

By Ben Jones

The modern political climate is an interesting one, to say the least. On the one hand, our current society is the most advanced and progressive it’s ever been. Yet when we turn on the news, it can often feel that we’re moving backwards. A film like BATTLE OF THE SEXES reminds us how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go, whilst also being just a jolly good time at the cinema.

In the early 1970s, Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) was the US number-one female tennis player, but the prize money she was expected to win was only an eighth of the male players’ prize. As an act of defiance, King and her fellow female players quit the Association of Tennis Professionals. But King faces distraction from her flirtatious hairdresser (Andrea Riseborough).

Meanwhile, ex-champion player Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) is struggling with a gambling addiction that threatens to break apart his marriage. Instead of trying to give it up, Riggs comes up with a bet that will get him back in the public eye; a match between him and King, to prove which gender is the best at tennis.

The way the film takes the personal lives of these two characters, and runs their stories parallel alongside the central plot, is not groundbreaking, but brilliant nonetheless. Even if you know how the final match turns out, you don’t know which result would be best for their respective private struggles. That adds a whole new layer of drama to the already-infamous story, making the whole thing more cinematic.

The script is excellently funny, particularly for Carell (whose character can’t even resist playing cards in a therapy session regarding his gambling). There are also some really sweet, tender moments, particularly for Stone and Riseborough, whose relationship feels genuine and very sensual. The direction is often beautiful, including a wonderful shot of King’s husband in a hotel corridor. He’s just received some bad news; in silhouette, backlit by the hallway lights, you can see his belly moving up and down, his breathing quickening from shock. It’s a simple touch, probably done in countless films before, but it’s very effectively done.

Perhaps the most amazing thing is the cast. On top of Stone, Carell and Riseborough, the film co-stars Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming and Natalie Morales, and features cameos from Fred Armisen, Chris Parnell and John C. McGinley. Normally, a stuffed cast like that suggests the filmmakers were more focussed on star-power than storytelling. On the contrary, everyone on screen is giving one of their strongest performances to date. The only one who could be accused of phoning it in is Cumming, whose gay costume designer is camp and clichéd to the extreme. But it’s Alan Cumming. All of his lines, even shots of him when he’s not saying anything, are the biggest laughs of the film.

This genre – if you could call it a genre – of feel-good comedy-dramas, based on true stories of social justice, is tremendously successful. Films like THE FULL MONTY (1997) or PRIDE (2014) have been pleasing crowds (and bringing them to tears) for decades. On the downside, there isn’t a specifically unique selling point to set BATTLE OF THE SEXES aside from those films. It follows the formula to a T. On the upside, it might be one of the finest executions of the formula so far.

Also, if you are a little tight on money – why not consider becoming an Arts Picturehouse Member? It’s discounted for students and has so many great perks! Plus the cinema also hosts the C4 Slackers Club which also includes free tickets occasionally to new films which haven’t been released yet. Find out more here.

Image Credit:  Cloud Eight FilmsDecibel FilmsFox Searchlight Pictures 

ARU Student Films at the Arts Picturehouse 

By Kiana Rad – First of all I’d like to start by saying a massive congratulations to all the Anglia Ruskin Film and Media students for their great efforts in their final projects last year…

By Kiana Rad

First of all I’d like to start by saying a massive congratulations to all the Anglia Ruskin Film and Media students for their great efforts in their final projects last year. There was a fantastic range of creative and thoughtful pieces throughout all the year groups with captivating themes such as ‘portrayal’ where second-year students such as myself were asked to create a short film based around an inspirational or fascinating person in their lives.

On the 21st September from 10am you can get the chance to see a selected 14 short films from our students at the Arts Picturehouse in town. This programme is free as a part of our Welcome Week here at ARU so gather your friends and support our university’s talented young filmmakers. The films will be screening in screen 3 from 10am onwards and the names and filmmakers screening on the day are:

Chapter One – Simon Poggi
Telegames – Alex Fryer and James Mearns
Solitude Within Multitude – Catarina Rodrigues and Daniela Florez
Heart-Shaped Box – Lee Renwick and Charlie Bassett
Reach – Joshua Vallely
Head in the Clouds – Jacob Wong
Iconic Film Scenes – Ben Crisp
The Wild – Elliott Skilton
Penguin – Demi Goodwin
Living Through War – Kiana Rad
True Colours- Sharmin Yousuf and Gloria Sylviana
Helen – Fraser White
Nous – Anna Kyriazidou
Low Battery – Harry Pull, Tom Goodridge and Matt Cairns

We hope to see you there!

Image Credit: Arts Picturehouse Cambridge

Calling All ARU Filmmakers! Submissions For the Annual Watersprite Film Festival Are Now Open

By Elle Haywood – Are you a budding student filmmaker and believe that your work is award-worthy? The Cambridge-based Watersprite Film Festival is calling for students across the globe…

By Elle Haywood

Are you a budding student filmmaker and believe that your work is award-worthy? The Cambridge-based Watersprite Film Festival is calling for students across the globe to enter their work into the 8th international competition.  This has helped initiate so many careers for young filmmakers and start to assert themselves in the industry. It has also attracted speakers such as Eddie Redmayne, Olivia Colman, and Lenny Henry to chat with students at the festival.

The submission entry is open until 15th October 2017 – so you have plenty of time to add finishing touches and perfect your work.  In the past, there have been over 300 submissions from 40 countries, with those numbers looking to expand next year. The festival’s philosophy is that:

‘Talented, budding filmmakers should be rewarded for their hard work, no matter where in the world they are. For that reason, if an entrant’s film is nominated for an award, they will be flown over to Cambridge, UK – for free – to attend the Award’s Ceremony held at the Watersprite Film Festival in February 2018.’

So if any of you at ARU feel that your work could be worthy – why not submit it and see where the competition may take you! The competition is open to all films under 20 minutes in length and created by students.  The awards range from original film scores to animation, and even the prestigious Filmmaker of the Future Award – a film that tries to make a difference in the world. The winner is then invited to participate in a producers workshop at the Cannes Film Festival. Last year’s nominee of the FFA, Pietro Novello, says:

‘To all of you in the same position, I’d like to say, believe in yourself, first of all, that’s the first thing, and take advantage of the great opportunities that are out there for us young filmmakers, Watersprite is definitely one of these.’

So if those words have given you a burst of inspiration, head over to the Watersprite website for more information, and get your entry submitted.

Good luck to all those who enter!