Cats – Review

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Director: Tom Hooper
Writers: Tom Hooper, Lee Hall
Cast: Francesca Hayward, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Robbie Fairchild, Laurie Davidson, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Jason Derulo, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift

There has been much debate since the introduction and extensive use of CGI in movies, mainly surrounding audiences’ ability to suspend their disbelief if the graphics used to make something look ‘real’ doesn’t work, putting a whole new meaning to the ‘uncanny valley’ hypothesis. This controversy however has never, and will never, stop filmmakers from making use of this cheap alternative to prosthetics, animation, puppetry and machinery, for better or worse. Without CGI, we wouldn’t have this movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical Cats, one of the most successful shows, on both sides of the Atlantic, of all time. But, despite its success, Cats has still had its critics, and the movie has been no different in that respect. Is it really quite as bad as the vast majority of critics and audiences have reported it to be, or do the cats deserve a break?

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2020 BAFTA Nominees & Winners

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With the Golden Globes and the official start of the film awards season firmly out of the way, the next big awards on the calendar are the British Academy Film (and Television) Awards. It seems the disappointment of zero female directors being nominated in the Best Director category of the Globes has been mirrored in the BAFTA nominations, with the likes of Greta Gerwig, Marielle Heller and Lorene Scafaria missing out on arguably well-deserved nominations. We do however see a lot of praise for films helmed or co-helmed by women, such as For Sama, The Farewell and Frozen 2 (with Gerwig at least picking up a nomination for her incredible screenplay adaptation of Little Women).

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What’s On – January 2020

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And, just like that, it’s 2020! We’ve got a lot of exciting movies to look forward to this year, including the next steps in the MCU, with Black Widow in May and The Eternals in November; the DCEU’s Wonder Woman 1984, the sequel to Wonder Woman, arguably their best release to date, in June; Disney’s live-action Mulan in March; and Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond in No Time to Die in April. That’s just to name a small few. For now, we’ve got some good stuff to look forward to in January, along with the Golden Globe awards to round off the past year of film on the 5th of the month (in the early hours of the 6th in the UK – see a full list of this year’s nominees here). But for now, let’s take a look at what’s in store for us this month…

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Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker – Review

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Director: JJ Abrams
Writers: JJ Abrams, Chris Terrio
Cast: Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Naomi Ackie, Joonas Suotamo, Lupita Nyong’o, Kelly Marie Tran, Keri Russell, Ian McDiarmid

Forty-two years. That’s how long it’s been since Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope landed and changed sci-fi cinema, and many people’s lives, forever. And now, the saga has come to an end (supposedly), with its ninth and final (maybe) instalment out in cinemas everywhere. From light-hearted viewers to hardcore Star Wars nuts, The Rise of Skywalker (RoS) has been anticipated by fans all over the world. It’s a lot of pressure for any filmmaker to manage, and after Rian Johnson declined to continue co-writing/directorial duties after The Last Jedi (TLJ), citing a need for downtime between projects (fair play to him), it’s The Force Awakens’ (TFA) co-writer/director JJ Abrams who returns to take on this mammoth task. It would be one thing to scrutinise this film under a mega-fan’s microscope (let’s not go there), but how does the film stand up as the culmination to such a huge franchise? Was it worth forty years of lightsaber duels and some questionable storylines, or do we need yet more closure?

N.B. The following review is SPOILER-FREE for Rise of Skywalker, but not necessarily for The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi.

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Little Women – Review

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5 STARS

Director: Greta Gerwig
Writer: Greta Gerwig
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Tracy Letts, Louis Garrel

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is one of those classic novels that has proven so popular and thought-provoking since its creation that it’s been adapted numerous times, for both stage and screen. At first it may seem like there’s only so much you can do time and again with the same material, prompting concerns of repetition and monotony, but as time passes and society moves on (for better or worse), the themes contained within Alcott’s writing do not change, remaining as relevant as they ever did. As feminism, a decades-old movement, continues to rise and situate itself firmly in our daily conversations, so does the meaning of Little Women and the prominence of the female protagonists, their seemingly insignificant lives and thoughts becoming ever-more important and meaningful. Does Gerwig’s adaptation remain faithful to its source while providing a commentary on the current societal climate, or are we looking at just another disappointing book-to-film money-spinner?

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