Humanity has long endured a difficult relationship with nature. It’s a coexistence that has oft been tackled by literature and film alike: that desire for conquest and struggle for omnipotent domination, so perfectly epitomised by Caspar David Friedrich’s romanticist painting: The Wander Above a Sea of Fog, that has driven many an explorer to madness, their sanity a sacrifice to their ambition. From Livingstone to Scott, all have found the natural world to be a fearsome opponent.
Less well known than those Boys’ Own heroes is Lt. Col. Percival Harrison Fawcett, the subject of David Grann’s article, and later published biography, The Lost City of Z, now brought to the big screen by director James Grey. Between 1906 and 1925, Fawcett, portrayed in 2017 by Charlie Hunnam, undertook seven expeditions to South America, spending the most of those years in search of an ancient civilisation, proposed to have been long since lost within the jungles of Bolivia, akin to Hiram Bingham’s 1911 rediscovery of Machu Picchu in Peru.
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The X-Men franchise is like a box of melted chocolates, you never know what mutation you’re going to get. It is indeed a series that’s provided some serious ups and downs. For every popping candy/caramel barrel combination (Days of Future Past – deliriously good) they’ve pulled out a chocolate blob that’s lost its raisin (Apocalypse – you know, fine but it’s kind of missing the point). Therefore, it’s with an air of caution that one approaches Logan, Hugh Jackman’s last stand as the Wolverine after an impressive seventeen years. Jackman’s been an ever-solid presence since his first appearance in Bryan Singer’s X-Men, but up to now his standalone spin-offs have, frankly, been a bit of let down. Thankfully, Logan finally hits the mark. X marks the spot, if you will…
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Right from its establishing image, Elle shocks.
That the rape of the film’s protagonist, Michèle (Isabelle Huppert), is heard before seen – and in such a way that it could yet be consensual – addresses straight from the top the themes of complicity that will prove so directly challenging throughout the film. That this opening audio gasps over the name of its director, Paul Verhoeven, is equally telling.
The man who brought the world Basic Instinct is back after a decade’s hiatus with a bang.
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Moonlight is a bold move by Medicine for Melancholy director, Barry Jenkins. Adopting an unrealised, semi-autobiographical, 2003 drama project by Tarell Alvin McCraney – In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue – as his inspiration, Jenkins’ film is a rejection of the hard line, socio-realist aesthetic, synonymous with depictions usually granted to similarly located films. Bringing to the production his own experiences as a child in Miami, Moonlight sees its director take the sun-kissed cinematography of Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s City of God, and infuse the picture with a beautifully Rococo, pastel palette. The effect jars perfectly. Grit and grime are painted in pinks, blues and greens which serve to express the visceral tension underlying this society within ‘the sunshine state’. The title is apt; what setting could better connote the fine line of romance and danger than one against moonlight?
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Three hundred years on from Silence and Andrew Garfield is still being persecuted for his religious beliefs. He is even still wrestling with his conscience and contemplating his relationship with God: ‘I pray to God and I like to think he hears me, it ain’t a conversation’. Indeed, one scene sees the army send in his fiancé, channelling Liam Neeson, to convince him to give in: ‘It’s pride and stubbornness – don’t confuse your will with the Lord’s’. No, this isn’t Silence 2: Still No Word from the Man Upstairs, this is Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge.
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Don’t deny it! When Warner Bros. green lit The Lego Movie back in 2011 you sneered. It may have been only the slightest sneer, the twitch of an eyebrow say, but your first thought was: ‘seriously?!’ Yes, on paper it sounded like the most horrendously capitalist commercialised marketing vehicle since Pixar announced Cars 3 and E.T. turned out to be a massive fan of Reece’s Pieces. They even went and announced a relatively little known TV sitcom star as the lead. Hardly wattage… But you were wrong. Nay, we were wrong. Back in 2014 The Lego Movie was glorious. It was…well, awesome! And that ‘little known TV sitcom star’? Only one of today’s biggest blockbusters in the business, Chris Pratt! Mind, any fan of Parks and Recreation could’ve sung his praises years ago.
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‘Each McDonald’s burger has two pickles, a pinch of onions and a precise shot of ketchup and mustard’. It’s consistency and uniformity that define the fast food industry, you always know what you’re going to get for your money. Taking a similar ethos and methodology as its driving force, The Founder, latest from the Weinstein Company, runs with a conventional plot adding to its consistency a smattering more flavour than you might expect.
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