What’s On – April 2020

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The dream isolation experience…

And now for something completely different…

As we all may know, most, if not all, cinemas in the U.K. are currently closed due to the recent outbreak of Covid-19. It’s a pretty dismal time for all of us, and many of us rely on films (particularly in an immersive cinematic setting) to get us through tough times, so it’s an extra bummer to not have our comfort zones available to us. Of course the most important thing at this time is everybody’s health, and to that end we are all housebound.

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Fantasy Island – Review

fantasty island

2 STARS

Director: Jeff Wadlow
Writers: Jeff Wadlow, Jillian Jacobs, Christopher Roach
Cast: Michael Peña, Lucy Hale, Maggie Q, Austin Stowell, Ryan Hansen, Jimmy O. Yang, Portia Doubleday, Michael Rooker, Parisa Fitz-Henley

Taking classic twentieth-century television shows and revamping them as twenty-first-century blockbusters is quite a common trend. From Charlie’s Angels and The A-Team to The Man From U.N.C.L.E and 21 Jump Street, we’re not short of revivals. Fantasy Island was a ‘70s show about guests coming to an island (either by paying a ton of money or winning a contest) to live out their fantasies. The show would span many different genres, and though Wadlow’s film version is specifically horror-based, it follows the main premise and similar characters to the TV show and adds in elements of other genres. Considering the show aired for a few years in the States, it’s fair to say it must have been rather popular for a time. Does this 2020 film version manage to capture its audience in the same way, or will it leave you fantasising about being somewhere, anywhere, else?

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Onward – Review

onward

4 STARS

Director: Dan Scanlon
Writers: Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin
Cast: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Mel Rodriguez

Kids movies always provide a chance to get across certain themes and lessons to youngsters that adults may find difficult to broach with them. Pixar and certainly Disney are no strangers to depicting such things in their films and guiding young viewers through experiences that life may one day throw at them. Onward is the two studios’ latest team-up, a fairy-tale with modern twists and characters that will be familiar to anyone who has every played Dungeons & Dragons or World of Warcraft and the like. It holds many of those said themes and lessons that children will encounter as they become more aware of themselves and the world around them. Do Disney/Pixar successfully navigate this world for kids, and adults, whilst providing something entertaining, or does it struggle to balance the two and create something worth a family’s time?

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The Invisible Man – Review

man

4 STARS

Director: Leigh Whannell
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman

Who doesn’t love a classic horror story? And who has ever done it better than Universal back in the days of black and white film? There have been multiple attempts ever since to recreate those movies, whether just in emulating tone or aesthetics, or in fully reinventing the stories for modern cinema. Based initially off of H.G. Wells’ novel of the same name and something of a reboot of the television series from the 1930s, The Invisible Man is a classic and well-known horror story, so well-known that if it’s to be retold, it’s best to find a new angle on it, which is exactly what writer/director Whannell has gone and done. Has he hit the horror nail on its head and successfully created something new and chilling, or, much like the titular character, is there nothing to see here?

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Emma. – Review

emma

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Director: Autumn de Wilde
Writer: Eleanor Catton
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Johnny Flynn, Bill Nighy, Mia Goth, Gemma Whelan, Josh O’Connor, Rupert Graves, Miranda Hart, Amber Anderson, Callum Turner

Another year, another classic novel getting yet another film adaptation. Jane Austen’s Emma has been adapted/based on for projects for the big and small screens a few times over the years, using period- and modern-day settings (Clueless, anyone?). It’s always been a popular story, but breathing new life into it can’t be the easiest of tasks. What may also make this project specifically more difficult is having a director known almost entirely for directing music videos and shorts and a writer with very little screenplay work behind her. But what do they also potentially have in their favour? The fact they’re women, essentially, and they’re telling a story orginally written by a woman about a woman. Is de Wilde’s adaptation of Emma worthy of applause, or will it leave you crying “ugh, as if!”?

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