Mandy – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Panos Cosmatos
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough, Linus Roache, Richard Brake, Bill Duke, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouéré, Line Pillet, Clément Baronnet

When you know Nicolas Cage is appearing in a film, you also know that, for better or worse, you are in for a treat. Mandy has enjoyed some festival-circuit success this year and has been praised overall by critics, so it looks like it would lean towards the more enjoyable end of the treat spectrum. Having been initially released (in a limited run in a few cinemas) around Halloween also gave it that extra boost of being a horror/thriller with an arty twist, something a bit different from your classic John Carpenter or modern James Wan. With its 80s-influenced soundtrack, cinematography and general B-movie vibe, is it worth sitting down to watch of a dark winter’s eve, or is this just another Nic Cage-fronted vehicle with no actual wheels for support?

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What’s On – December 2018

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December seems pretty quiet for movies this year. There is certainly a distinct lack of Christmas-based films (not counting the re-release of Elf, and probably a number of other Christmas classics that will enjoy a one-off screening or short runs in cinemas). That’s probably ok though, as we are swamped with classics that are festive must-haves every year anyway. In the meantime, there are some releases that have been gathering word-of-mouth momentum in recent months that are finally here for our enjoyment. As always, and for the final time this year, I’ve picked out a top three that are likely to peak your interest (depending on your genre palette), and for the first time ever I’m adding a non-English language film as a separate suggestion from the top three (an additon I’m hoping to add in every month from now on). Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – Review

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3 STARS

Director: David Yates
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Zoë Kravitz, Ezra Miller, Claudia Kim, Callum Turner, William Nadylam

Although Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the final instalment in the cinematic Potterverse (for the time being), was released seven years ago, the fandom and thirst for more from the Wizarding World has far from died down. In 2001 (the same year Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, the first instalment, was released), author J.K. Rowling released a spin-off book called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, all about the magical creatures that exist in that universe. In 2016 the film bearing the same name was released, its story based on some of the creatures that feature in the book and the adventures of its fictitious author, Newt Scamander, set 70 years prior to Harry’s own adventures. The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second film of a proposed five, adding more to the story and growing ever-deeper, much like the world of Potter did. Is it the sequel fans have been waiting for, or does it leave much to be desired? (*Insert Mirror of Erised joke here*.)

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The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Review

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3 STARS

Director: Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston
Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Eugenio Derbez, Richard E. Grant, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Sweet, Ellie Bamber, Omid Djalili, Jack Whitehall, Morgan Freeman

The Nutcracker is probably most famous in its musical suite and balletic form, choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov and featuring one of the most famous scores in classical music history by Tchaikovsky, including the well-known (and arguably over-used) Danse de la Fée-Dragée (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy) and Grand ballabile (Waltz of the Flowers). There have been many other musical, film, television and book adaptations and interpretations over the years, particularly around December as Christmas approaches, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is Disney’s latest take on the fairytale. Considering the spectacle and the grandeur that the trailer promises, does Disney’s take offer everything audiences would expect of a Nutcracker story, or is it lacking the nuts?

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What’s On – November 2018

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As Christmas approaches (yes, already) we’re starting to see some festive films make their way into cinemas (The Grinch, The Nutcracker, Nativity Rocks!). Surprisingly we’ve also got a few horrors and thrillers, films that may have been better coming out last month in time for Halloween (Overlord, Suspiria, Hell Fest, Anna and the Apocalypse). On top of this we’ve also got some films whose marketing has been quite in-your-face over the past month or two and are expected to gather some serious audiences (Ralph Breaks the Internet, Creed IIThe Girl in the Spider’s Web, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald). But just to throw caution to the wind, I’ve picked out three films that will potentially be worth your time in the coming month that may not get the real attention from the mainstream that they likely deserve.

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