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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Bohemian Rhapsody – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Bryan Singer/Dexter Fletcher
Cast: Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, Joseph Mazello, Ben Hardy, Lucy Boynton, Aiden Gillen, Tom Hollander, Allen Leech, Mike Myers

If you’re ever asked to name one of the best rock bands the world has ever seen, many bands will likely come to mind. Chances are though that the one band that would be mentioned more than any other would be Queen. Formed in 1970, the original four-piece group was made up of lead singer Freddie Mercury, lead guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon. Over the next fifteen years they stormed the charts worldwide with their progressive rock and unique style. But their success was not without its hardships. Becoming one of the world’s most popular rock bands, not just then but even still today, is not something easily come by, meaning there must be some kind of story worth putting on the big screen. Has Bohemian Rhapsody done the band, particularly Freddie, justice, or will another one bite the dust?

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Halloween (2018) – Review

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2 STARS

Director: David Gordon Green
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Haluk Bilginer, Jefferson Hall, Rhian Rees

Forty years ago we were introduced to one of horror’s most formidable antagonists: Michael Myers. Created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, his first appearance in 1978’s Halloween struck a chord at the time for his apparently unfeeling approach to his victims. One victim who lived to tell the tale, the now-legendary Laurie Strode, became a heroine of sorts, fighting her way out of the ordeal that was laid upon her by just-as-legendary Michael. Four decades and nine opinion-splitting movies later (check out a run-down of all previous ten here) we come to the latest showdown in Michael and Laurie’s story. After all this time, does Michael still have what it takes to terrify an audience? Is Laurie still as badass as ever? Is the story that surrounds them stronger than previous poor attempts?

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First Man – Review

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4 STARS

Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Ciarán Hinds, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Olivia Hamilton

Biographical films (‘biopics’), whilst informative, can often be misleading. The need for studios to impose the importance of entertainment on filmmakers generally leads to taking dramatic license, sometimes hugely, sometimes in small ways, and creating something that is indeed entertaining (hopefully) but often too digressive from true events. First Man covers the life of American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, from 1961 to 1969, the latter being the year of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Considering it’s based on a biography that was written with Armstrong’s blessing and the film itself was approved by Armstrong’s two sons, has Damien Chazelle been successful in his commitment to making First Man as close to the real deal as possible, both scientifically and personally, whilst keeping it entertaining, or is it a failed mission?

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