This is the official title, and title card for the forthcoming DC Comics film produced by Warner Brothers. Previously known as Batman vs. Superman, Dawn of Justice confirms what we’ve all been secretly telling ourselves – this is basically Justice League. With the introduction of [at least] two other Justice League characters in this film alone aside from the two mentioned in the title (ie. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman & Ray Fisher’s Cyborg) it may as well be.
Is Warner Brothers attempting to cut too many corners as they try to build up their own version of the uber-successful Avengers, jamming too much into this second film in their franchise? Perhaps. But we won’t see how well this’ll work out until it’s upon us. I’m only slightly worried.
Personally I’m very excited. I’ve wanted to see Batman and Superman in a film since… well definitely before they teased it in…
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Usually I’m not a major fan of overly-frequently played adverts on TV, whether they are advertising an upcoming TV show or not. However, for the past I-don’t-know-how-many months, I have been challenged with an anomaly. Whether I’d been watching the latest episode of True Detective, or catching up on Mad Men, or, as of recent weeks, keeping up with the current season of Game of Thrones, SkyAtlantic never gave up when it came to sparking my interest further and further with teaser after teaser for the new Showtime horror-drama, Penny Dreadful. And you know when you just have a good feeling about something even before you’ve experienced it? Well that’s the feeling I had ever since I caught my first glimpse of the initial promos. Now that I’ve seen the first episode, I’m happy to say that that feeling turned out to be no less than a good call.
This stylishly sinister drama about the blurred line between the world we know and the dark realm located just around that dimly-lit corner that most of us would dare not go in a million years, boasts it’s fair share of notable acting talent. With Eva Green, Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton leading the way in what, so far, looks like it could very soon become a new addition to my list of weekly rituals, I definitely don’t think it would be in your best interest to give this series a miss. That’s if first impressions are anything to go by. If they in fact do happen to double as a good omen, and if you don’t mind watching a show that “contains scenes of horror, strong, bloody violence and scenes of a sexual nature” then I strongly urge all those of you in search of ‘good television’ to join me along with Vanessa Ives, Sir Malcolm Murray and Ethan Chandler (as well as one or two familiar faces) in the fight against the horrors that lie in the shadows. Or at least give the first episode a try and see what you think of it… THEN join me along with the aforementioned trio in the fight against the horrors that lie in the shadows. Unless you live in the US and you’re already following the show – in that case, you’d already be two-episodes-or-something ahead of UK viewers… If you fall under that category, then you’ve gotten a head start on your imaginary quest and this post is essentially nothing more than old news that you probably stopped reading shortly after you got past the title.
Nevertheless, to those of you living in the UK, you can catch the official UK premiere on SkyAtlantic tomorrow, May 20th at 9pm, or you can watch the first episode on demand NOW.
For those of you who haven’t seen it already (and, I guess, also for those of you who have seen it but have decided you want to watch it again), here’s the new 3-minute trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi film, Interstellar, that emerged about a day ago. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain.
All I can say is, I’m looking forward to it.
“Le vent se lève! Il faut tenter de vivre!”
About a month and a half ago I published my very first post on this blog. A post in which I spoke about my very first Hayao Miyazaki experience. Well now I dedicate this post to Hayao Miyazaki’s very last film. A film I was lucky enough to see on the big screen on Sunday, May 11th; two days after it’s much anticipated UK release.
For those who have yet to be initiated into the world of Studio Ghibli, it is a world-class animation studio that happens to be responsible for not only some of the most breathtaking Japanese animated features ever made, but some of the most affecting and crucial pieces of animated cinema to date. From ‘Princess Mononoke’ to ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ to ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’… And Hayao Miyazaki is none other than the co-founder and probably the most well-known name of those associated with the critically acclaimed studio, as he has been the creator of many if not most of it’s most adored films.
THE WIND RISES (2013)
Written & Directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky)
Japanese Cast: Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Mansai Nomura, Mirai Shida.
English Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Stanley Tucci, Mae Whitman.
The Wind Rises tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, a story loosely based on the life of the great Japanese plane designer of the same name; a story that takes us on a journey right up in the clouds; a journey filled with dreams, love and tragedy in this final animated tale by the director of Spirited Away.
Jiro’s dream of becoming an accomplished plane designer sparks at a young age when he is inspired in a dream by famous Italian aircraft designer, Gianni Caproni. From that moment, his life goes in only one direction: Up.
Situated in the midst of World War II, this film sets it’s sights on the sky right from the get-go, much like it’s central character, Jiro. The life of Jiro Horikoshi that is depicted in The Wind Rises is built on themes of Determination, and Hard Work.. among other values that Miyazaki is known to include in many of his films, such as Family, Loss, the thoughtless destruction caused by War, and a relentless Belief in oneself as well as the imperfect nature of the human race to be better. Jiro encounters a number of interesting characters along the way, some who end up impacting his life in ways he could never have predicted. And we as an audience are right there with him every step.
Even though I wouldn’t put this film in a list comprised of my Top 3 Miyazaki features, it is certainly one of the most inspiring pieces from his collection, and, even more certainly, an impressive and unforgettable way in which to mark the end of a legacy that will live on for as long as human beings have eyes and ears.
It also seems like a very personal statement from the writer/director/animator. Jiro’s life is the life of an artist; the life of someone who deals in turning dreams into reality. And much like every great artist, he finds inspiration in those who have dreamt before him. In his case, it is Caproni – The man with the moustache. Miyazaki – the other man with the moustache – tells this story with such an unmoving level of respect and passion that we are forced to believe in every word; every emotion that these characters feel – characters that drive the story forward masterfully. I watched the film in Japanese with subtitles so I can’t really comment on the performances of the English-speaking cast, however, even if you can’t understand the language, authenticity is a quality that is universally recognised. And the performances of the Japanese cast were brilliant.
There are moments in this film that are truly saddening, but wouldn’t be if not for the voice actors. When you can feel a character’s heart bleeding just by the way they utter each word, you know the actor is doing something right.
But overall, the utmost praise goes to the film’s sole creator: Hayao Miyazaki. A man whose career we can now look back on and recognise as one of the most impressive filmographies in cinema history. I can confidently say he has never made a bad film. That’s my opinion anyway.. If you haven’t seen many or any of the films he has directed, here’s a list of them so you can watch them and decide for yourself:
The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Castle in the Sky (1986)
My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Princess Mononoke (1997) (My indisputable favourite of his, and one of my favourite films on the planet)
Spirited Away (2001)
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
(And finally..) The Wind Rises (2013)
I will end this review with a rating for the film: 4.5 out of 5.
Definitely worth watching if you like animated films, or not-animated films, or planes, or Japanese cinema in general. However it has had quite a limited release in some places, so depending on where you live, it might be easier to just wait for it’s DVD/Blu-ray release and rent it, or buy it.
“Airplanes are beautiful, cursed dreams, waiting for the sky to swallow them up.”
Side-tracking from what I’d originally planned to post about tonight, I watched Short Term 12 earlier this week, and again today, and eventually decided that I couldn’t not write something about it.
Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12 is a film that is laced with carefully written characters and painfully authentic performances by an undoubtedly promising bunch of young actors. This heart-warming piece of indie cinema takes you on a truly engrossing tour inside the workings of a short-term residential facility for troubled teens, and through the eyes of Grace (Brie Larson) we witness not only the problems that these kids are faced with; are ridden with, but we experience the futile attempts of a young woman trying to convince herself and everyone else that she is any more psychologically or emotionally stable than those she spends the majority of her time trying to help.
As young as some of these actors are, they seem to find no problem in proving that they can play with the big boys, exhibiting the kind of performances that many actors twice their age couldn’t pull off on their best day. I mean, some of the stars that definitely shone brightest in my opinion include Kaitlyn Denver who plays self-destructive teenager, Jayden, Keith Stanfield who plays Marcus, a 17-year-old boy trying to come to terms with his last days at the facility before he has to leave, and of course, the leading lady, Brie Larson hands down. Every single second that each of these three were on screen, it felt like they belonged there, if that makes sense… They and their characters were one in the same for the entire 96 minutes that the movie spanned. Every word, every laugh, every tear, every violent outburst – they bore the full weight of their roles and didn’t let up for a second.
However, ultimately, the overall ‘feel’ that Cretton created was what I believe pulled every aspect of the film together. The naturalistic but subtly muted glow of the sun in many of the scenes set both inside and outside the facility added a noticeable warmness to the screen even as some of the most harrowing sequences were taking place. Usually, I wouldn’t have mentioned such a technique as being anything even close to ‘original’, especially in the case of an ‘indie flick’, but in terms of lighting and the overall tone of Short Term 12, I feel like the director manages to hone some kind of unexplainable balance between Jason Reitman’s Juno or Young Adult and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master (when I say ‘tone’, I’m kinda leaning closer towards ‘mood’ rather than subject matter – I obviously don’t mean subject matter.. But yeah.. if that makes any more sense.. I dunno). But anyway, maybe that’s just me, as I know I just mentioned two very different directors and two very different kinds of films.. But hey, this is my blog so these are my thoughts. Any similar or different thoughts are more than welcome in the ‘comments’ section below however.
One thing’s for sure though: This is not a film you should by any means miss out on. There are moments in Short Term 12 that will make you cry, as well as moments that will make you laugh, or even simply smile with so much pride anyone’d think these kids were your own flesh and blood. It boasts a well-constructed script that encourages an entire spectrum of emotions – from sympathy, to joy, to sheer engagement. Brie Larson’s best performance to date, supported by unforgettable acting by young stars, Denver and Stanfield.
OK I wasn’t going to rate the film, but now I figure I might as well since this is the closest thing to a review I’ve ever written.
So from me, Short Term 12 gets an easy 5/5 on account of the memorable characters, the fervour-ridden performances and the wonderfully-crafted script, along with it’s vague yet beautiful tone.
So.. picking up where I left off on Friday, I’m just gonna speed through the final events of my trip on the French Riviera before I move onto other, more local news… And speaking of speed: on our way from Monaco-Ville to Monte Carlo, we got to drive on a part of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit (I say “part” because the rest of it was closed or something). That was pretty cool..
Also speaking of speed, let’s speed on over to the heart of Monte Carlo – the home of it’s famous casino and the extremely grand, extremely luxurious establishment that is the Hotel de Paris – aka the ‘Cars’ segment of this post…
THE CARS OF MONTE CARLO
As I briefly hinted in Part One, the cars in Monte Carlo are on a completely different wavelength to the classic models I saw while I was in Cuba. But I think I’ll just go ahead and let these vehicles speak for themselves…
Let’s start with a few Ferraris..
Then there was a Bentley..
…And parked opposite one of the many Rolls-Royces was THIS beauty..
…But that’s enough about that. I’m gonna wrap this up quickly so we can move onto the portion of this post that isn’t an excerpt from TravelPlus Magazine..
However, I did forget to mention that I visited other places further inland, such as Antibes, Grasse, and Saint-Paul-de-Vence. But I’ve been ill and tired as I’ve been typing these posts so I haven’t had the time or energy to add all that in. But anyway, after we were done seeing the sights in the land of the ultra-rich & famous (Monaco), we drove back to our hotel in Nice before our final day away from home. A final day spent by/on the beach, people-watching, photo-taking, eating, sleeping and me trying to decipher a French copy of Attack On Titan Volume 1 that I decided to purchase even with my limited knowledge of the French language. I got sucked into a comic book store near my hotel and after five minutes I knew I wasn’t leaving empty-handed.
Luckily I happen to be currently learning French, and I’m proud to say I’m not completely useless at this point, so in theory after a couple more months I should be able to read the whole thing… In theory… But it’s no big deal – I’ve seen the first season of the anime (the anime is awesome) so it’s not like I don’t already know what happens in the first book. I do plan on following the manga though (once I stop being a penniless failure). I know I have a lot of catching up to do – even more now with recent beginning of Levi’s spin-off series.
…I did intend on covering more than I have so far in this post, but now I’m thinking it’d probably make more sense to dedicate a completely separate post to the thing that probably took up about 70% of my time last month: SCREENWRITING (another reason being the fact that I’m watching a Ghibli film while I’m writing this and I’m finding it kinda difficult to focus on this).
I might also chuck in some stuff about the time I spent in Middlesbrough and Newcastle last week.
So keep an eye out for Part Three (most probably the final part of these “catch-up” posts).
After that, expect less talk about my boring life and more talk about the things I love; the things that my life pretty much revolves around, e.g. Film, Film, Comics, Film, Anime and Film.
It’s been about a month since I last posted anything, and for that I blame no one but myself… Just kidding. I don’t blame myself either. These things just happen. April was a busy month for me, that’s really the only reason there is. But I figured I owed it to everyone of you, who actually take time out of your day to read what I write, to catch you up on all the things that sucked up more-or-less every minute of my time last month (I say all this as if I have a truck-load of followers and I didn’t only just start blogging in the final few days of March this year). However, since I’m not one for typing up an endless body of words for you to pretend to read before you make a start on your daily dose of movie-watching and zombie-killing, I’m gonna split this up into parts – maybe two or three, considering the fact that I plan to keep each part pretty short. And as you probably gathered from the title, this is Part One…
The busyness really began when I went away to Nice for the first weekend of April. The cool, blue coast.. The Frenchness of it all… And the best part is I got to visit Cannes and Monaco while I was over there, among others. Some of the things I saw were truly out of this world. Just to see the French Riviera alone is an experience in itself. Just to be there… But of course, I took my camera with me, so photos were taken. Many, many photos.
Took some time to peruse through the celebrity hand-prints in Cannes and saw a whole bunch of cool names that had me fanboying for days. From Quentin Tarantino to stars like Luc Besson, Sylvester Stallone, Julie Andrews, Tim Burton and more. Here are just a couple of those I was especially happy to see:
I also caught a glimpse of this wall mural as we were driving through the city:
…Then after Cannes came Monaco… Monaco is another world.
After respectfully driving past the hairpin curve where Princess Grace had her tragic car accident back in ’82, and the expensive-looking villas and houses just before the border…
…and after parking in the under-sea-level car-park below the city, we were immediately hit by the glow of the candy-coloured streets of Monaco…
The entire Principauté de Monaco – well, what I got to see of it’s entirety – is stunning. It’s no wonder why only the extremely rich own properties there. Well worth visiting. Everywhere you look is a good view, and that is no exaggeration. Also, it’s tiny, so it doesn’t take long at all to get around.
In light of the reality that I am currently suffering from the worst cold I’ve had since the unutterable winter of ’08, and that I planned to keep this post as short as possible, I’m gonna continue my account of my weekend on the French Riviera (as well as all the other events of April) in the next post, which I will probably type & publish tomorrow. Or some time in the next few days. But most likely tomorrow. It will hopefully be more interesting and little more entertaining because, if I’m lucky, I won’t have to be blowing my nose every four words and my eyes won’t be watering so much that I can’t see my computer screen.
Seriously though. Since Monday I’ve been partially blinded for minutes at a time by spontaneous eye-watering. Like, what the hell.
But at least it’s just a cold, right.
Anyway. Stay tuned, at least until tomorrow night, when I’ll be posting about the rest of my trip – from Monte Carlo back to Nice. There will be cars. However, they will be very much different from those I saw while I was in Cuba.
And I might also throw in some news regarding the screenplay that I currently have in the works (which took up A LOT of my time in April).
Hope you’re not dead from boredom just yet, because after this three-part episode of My Life in Words and Pictures (no Helen Mirren intended), I plan to spend this month of May talking mainly, if not all, about F.I.L.M. (which stands for nothing. It’s not an acronym. I just thought it would add emphasis). So expect some ‘thoughts on films’, maybe a review here and there, a tribute to one of the many directors I look up to, or maybe even another ‘Film Firsts’ post. Who knows?… I certainly don’t. But all you have to do to find out is not die for the next four weeks and keep paying your internet bills (or figure out your neighbour’s WiFi password).
So last night I finally got around to seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier as an enjoyable way to end an equally as enjoyable Mother’s Day.
— It would be kinda weird to call this a review, ’cause it isn’t really a traditional review… It’s more of an.. almost-review. I don’t plan on writing that much – mostly because I’m so tired I could be a car (apparently I’m also too tired to be even remotely funny) – but this post is basically me talking about what I thought of the film, but not with any intention of reaching a ‘final evaluation’ of the new Captain America instalment per se. And not with any intention of writing anything ridiculously long. I just had to write something about it because it was so awesome. So, so awesome. —
This post would’ve come sooner but I had an AC (Camera Assistant) job all day today and I had to wake up at like 5am this morning so writing this at half past midnight last night would have been asking my body for something it just couldn’t give me. Alas, here I am, writing.. after a painfully long day of essentially being a Cameraman’s bitch. But it’s all for the work-experience, and to be honest, if I had the choice between being an AC for a few days during my gap year before I head off to uni and not being an AC for a few days during my gap year before I head off to uni, I’d pick the former every time. Plus he’s really not a bad guy, and I’m learning a lot, so I’m not complaining.
Anyway… Back to this movie we were talking about…
If you asked me back in 2011, when the first film came out, if I thought a sequel would be good if they made one, I’d probably have said, “it’ll probably be another ‘decent’ Marvel blockbuster with a ‘decent’ script, some ‘pretty cool’ action sequences, some equally as cool special effects and some ‘pretty good’ directing much like the case with ‘The First Avenger’. But I wouldn’t say it’s a film I’m really looking forward to”… Well I was hypothetically WRONG. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is THE best Marvel movieverse release I have seen yet without a doubt!
Seriously though.. *tricycle-kid-from-The-Incredibles voice* that movie was totally wicked!
This movie had everything I want and enjoy in a good action blockbuster. First things first, the writing was significantly better than a lot of the other Marvel films that have come out so far. The story was a hell of a lot more interesting in The Winter Soldier than it’s predecessor – there’s no way I could call this one “slow”. In fact, I thought the pacing was pretty on point. But the thing that wowed me the most was the action sequences. They were so well choreographed, so well shot and so damn awesome! Every single fight scene was what someone who was actually writing an actual film review, and not an almost-review like this one, would most probably call “a visual feast”.
However, I must not forget to mention the joy and surprise I felt when a certain couple of new characters from the comics were introduced – one in particular made me so much more excited for future Avenger-related movies. I may be a DC guy at heart but boy am I excited (actually for various reasons, recently I’ve only been able to keep up with my Image Comics titles, i.e. Saga and Fatale, but that is a topic for another day).
…I’d be lying if I said I had any energy left in me to go into any more detail than I have so far about The Winter Soldier, so I’m just gonna stop here.
One thing that I always find myself thinking is that if I had the money, I would probably end up travelling all the time. I wouldn’t just live in England. I’d live everywhere. I’d go everywhere!
The great thing about this world is the fact that nowhere is the same. The different cultures, the different people… I see brand new characters everywhere I go. And what excites me even more about the world is that I haven’t even scratched the surface. I’ve been to a few different countries; different cities; different places in the 19 and a 1/2 years that I’ve been alive and the different ways of living; of being that I’ve witnessed already just makes me hungry to see more.
Some of the countries I’ve been to so far include Cuba, Spain, Tunisia, America (Connecticut, New York) and Jamaica (Mostly because that’s where my family’s from). And ever since I got my camera, I haven’t been to anywhere new without it.
So far the most photogenic country I’ve been to has to be Cuba. Everywhere I visited looked great on camera. The streets, the buildings, the people, the animals, the trees, the rocky sea sides, the beach… The colours were unbelievably vibrant everywhere you looked and everything, living and inanimate, just glimmered with character.
Not to mention the cars! Oh man, the cars… So many classics from the 50s and 60s. I mean, I know there are a bunch of political reasons for why they haven’t imported many newer models, but honestly, these vehicles were so cool, and they contribute such a huge amount of personality and colour to the land as a whole. The only other places I’ve seen cars like these have been in photographs, documentaries and movies. But I’m not gonna get into talking about the political or social state of Cuba. Partly because I know embarrassingly little about the political or social state of Cuba to begin with. Well, I know some… but not enough to feel confident discussing it in a blog post.
I will say this: Cuba is a beautiful country, and if you’ve ever wondered if it was worth taking a trip there and seeing it for yourself, I whole-heartedly recommend it. All the Cuban natives I met were extremely warm and interesting, and they seemed happy enough to make a point about. And so chilled – a lot like the people of Jamaica (I guess it’s a Caribbean thing).
But I guess this is merely the point of view of a tourist – when you visit a new country for a week, or two weeks, or two months to eventually return to the place where you live, most of the time you only really get to dance on the surface of that country. However, the benefit of that is you get to look at the country as if it were a painting; you’re in that place as much as you’re ‘in’ a film or a song. It becomes an artistic experience – one which you can only interpret from a detached viewpoint, no matter how much you try to immerse yourself into the culture and it’s unfamiliar customs. As long as the experience is temporary, those customs will always be unfamiliar. But the experience is priceless nonetheless.
Anyway, here are just some of the photos I took of the cars I saw while in Cuba:
Eventually I plan to see so much more of the world than I have so far. I’m not really sure if all those places I visited when I was too young to remember actually count, so I will make an effort to re-see those places too, e.g. Canada, Paris. And I only spent a weekend in Switzerland so I definitely have to go back there. But one day I will see more than the east coast of the USA and I really badly want to travel around Asia to places like Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Thailand etc. As well as Australia, and Iceland and South Africa… Got a couple of friends from Brazil too so that’s another one to add to the list… But I’m going to Nice in the south of France for a few days next weekend so that’s a start…
But basically everywhere. I want to go everywhere.
And when I get past this awkward episode in my life, I will.
I guess the point of this post is that I want to make known my belief that we will all, one day, come to a point in our lives where all we have is the memories of the lives that we lived; the experiences we had – good and bad; the people; the places… And the magic thing about having a camera in those priceless moments is that we are given the chance to document those moments; to have those moments last for as long as we are alive to remember them. We look at a photo and one of those priceless moments are instantly brought from the past to the present and we are able to feel what we felt in a time when we were more able to do. So do everything. See everything. Go everywhere. Be the person you want to be for as long as you can. And if you own a camera, never leave it at home.
Also, go ahead and share with me the different kinds of places you’ve been to in your life so far; What you’ve done; Any photo-worthy moments that you never want to forget; Links to similar blogs that you’ve written; Any comments on what I’ve said in this post. I’m all ears! …or.. eyes… and fingers..
For now, here’s one last picture from my Cuba collection:
*ALL PHOTOS ARE MY OWN*
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