X-Men: Days Of Future Past Review

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So, I went to go see the new X-Men film the other day, and as is the expected course of events, I’m due to review it. But in the spirit of originality, I thought I’d make this review a little different. When I thought back to my tepid feelings towards this film upon entering, and my outright enthusiasm for it at exit, I realised that the old me was missing some vital appreciation of Wolverine and co.

I got hold of Ellen Page, who’s going by the name ‘Kitty Pryde’ of late. She agreed that by harnessing my regenerative genes, she could send me back in time to four weeks ago, thus allowing me to discuss the film with myself – to see how my pre and post opinions differ on the topic of Bryan Singer’s latest mutant mash-up. Savvy? Good. Here goes. [Cue Huey Lewis and The News]

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10 Satisfying Moments In Films From 2013

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Satisfaction is a hard thing to come by. In fact she is such a slippery mistress that even rock God Mick Jagger struggled to tame her. So it is a rare and wonderful treat then, when a film envelops us with that warm energising feeling which so often comes with fulfilment.

The year of 2013 was a mixed bag when it came to such moments. Many films came and went, with little worth admiring, but every so often there arose a few absolutely cracking films. Some movies were preordained as wonderful, whilst others came way out of left field. Either way they all left us giddy with appreciation; yelling at the screen, “thank you!”
Here is a list of 10 scenes that fell into that category. Oh, and as you might expect;
spoiler alert!

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Review: Captain Phillips

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What can be said about Captain Phillips? Well, for a start, it’s directed by Paul Greengrass; the man behind gut-punch 9/11 docu-drama United 93. It stars every man’s favourite every man, Tom Hanks, and it is based on a true story. One so high profile, I’d wager that 90% of those who watch the film will already know the ending. So how on Earth, even with such widely chronicled details of the event, does Captain Phillips manage to remain so bloody tense and stressful until the final credits!?

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Review: Prometheus

I think the more I have pondered on Prometheus, my attitude towards it has altered slightly. But I still maintain that there is no coincidence that Lost was all about great set-ups with incomplete finishes – clearly the writers of this film have a lot to answer for. Regardless of this, here is my original review from two weeks ago.

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DVD Review: Rafi Pitts Collection – A Felini For Our Day

Who is Rafi Pitts? That is what I asked myself before watching this box set. I am now ashamed to admit it, but id never heard of this filmmaker, and for that I should be shot.

The more educated and refined folks at Artificial Eye are releasing a three DVD set to celebrate the works of Pitts and the long awaited arrival of 12-year-old drama, Sanam. The box set includes Sanam, It’s Winter and “The Hunter” – all of which are reviewed below. So read on and then see for yourself: the wonder of Rafi Pitts.
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Work In Progress: If Hollywood Did Family Home Evening

To the reader. The following post is a work in progress. I had an idea to write a post about family home evening, and make it film related. This is my first, unfiltered, unedited attempt at harnessing that idea. Please read it with that in mind, and, of course, feel free to make comments and suggestions. Many thanks, and i hope you enjoy….

Somewhere in the world this Monday, there is a family gathered together in joyous harmony. The mum and dad are blissful, the kids even more so. Immaculate side partings, perfect white teeth and cinnamon tans all around; this cardboard cut out model is the nuclear family of Mormonism. For the rest of us mere mortals, its tantrums and tone deaf hymns; a chaotic mess, that is scarcely functional. This is family home evening.

Latter-Day Saint church authorities swear by the staple Monday night carnival that is FHE, and encourage it to “discuss gospel principles, [enjoy] recreation, work projects, skits…games, refreshments…” and, most hideously antiquated, my personal favourite, “songs around the piano.” [Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, July 1992]

One thing I love about FHE is that it really shouldn’t work. Yet by some miracle of twisted logic, some cosmic or celestial irony, it can be some of the best times spent as kinfolk. It’s my opinion that the sum of a family’s parts is their shared interaction in a FHE. The things they say, the decisions they make, the activities they choose, all add up to reflect the family as a unit; their ‘collective personality’ as it were. Which got me thinking, what if Hollywood used FHE as a plot device; a way of portraying dynamics?

I have created a list of ten famous film families, and how I think they would be depicted in their respective films holding a family home evening. It is part geek in-joking and part creative writing. For the purposes of this list, you have to pretend that these characters would be LDS, or at least au fait with the LDS tradition of FHE. The types of characters that they are, and the course of their depiction would stand: this is just an exploration of what would potentially happen if these characters were existent beyond the confines of their portrayal. So allow me to muse on their family dynamics, as explored through the catalyst of that Monday night cavalcade, family home evening.

Note: This list is by no means exhaustive, and many of you may think of stronger or more mainstream families. I have tried to get a mixture of ‘go to’ names, and some not-so-well-known. But feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments section below.

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The ‘Jaws’ Of My Dreams: Fantasy Film-making

I had, what is potentially, one of the geekiest dreams of my life the other night. I dreamed an entire remake of Jaws, with Robert Downey Jr cast as Martin Brody. It was a very unique and enjoyable experience. For some reason, my subconscious decided that the remake would have the feel of an M.Night Shyamalan film; deafeningly quiet and openly sparse. The oddest thing of all was that despite the limitless ability my mind has to create a near perfect shark, it still chose prosthetic; clearly a sign that the traditionalist within me refuses to embrace CG over practical effects. Although there were moments of familiarity, my Jaws had a distinctly different feel to the actual Jaws. It had a darker tone, there was less comedy and the three man bro-mance was a lot more strained.

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Shoe Box Classics #3 – The Beaver

Every list has to have an outcast – the film which divides. There are a few films out there which I often refer my friends to when they are becoming fledgling cinephiles. There are the regular choices (the Blade Runners, The Eternsal Sunshines, The Being John Malkovichs) But recently I have realised that there is a minuet gap between film curiosity and film fandom. There is a catalogue of ‘gateway’ cinema that will either make or break an up and coming film enthusiast; films such as Lars and the Real Girl, United 93, Grano Torino, and also my 3rd entry to the Shoe Box Classics series – The Beaver. Now The Beaver has become something of a marmite for critics. Some praise it up, whilst many poo-poo its ‘feeble’ attempts at reviving the careers of its director and lead actor. For me, The Beaver is a real leap for classic independent American cinema. It sits comfortably in the cannon of films such as Thomas McCarthy’s Win Win and Christopher Nolan’s Memento. Films that prove outsider entertainment does not always have to be amateur or lacking in odes to classical cinema. And although the ink is barely dry on The Beaver’s promotional material (only recently has it finished theatrical release worldwide), I think a classic is a classic regardless of how new or old it is. The Beaver is destined to sink into obscurity. But for me, it will always be the sort of film id happily lend out to friends tweaking for something different. This is what makes a Shoe Box Classic.

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