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Last Build Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2018 11:56:16 +0000


Darkest Hour, Black Panther and The Commuter: 3 Differing Films with one VERY important Message about Hopeful Heroism

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 23:27:21 +0000

DARKEST HOUR! THE COMMUTER! BLACK PANTHER! Three VERY Different Films. ONE binding Message: Do what is asked of you; BE THE BEST you can possibly be (and then the bigger picture politics will take care of itself?)… If this sounds like a BIT of a stretch? Well, perhaps it is. What can three movies of differing demographic and antipathetic genre possibly have in common? Well, all three feature pivotal use of trains in decisive moments. Each film relishes its geography: be it claustrophobic commuter carriage on a train; critical cabinet of war or sci-fi African Utopia. All have outstanding casts, excelling at their craft and supporting both ensemble spirits and genuinely compelling credentials of a leading actor. And I may touch on those merits and others again. But it’s at once about so much more, politically and philosophically. And in a way? Something more focused and simple in the magic of movie motifs. HEROISM. That unexpected, yet unavoidable call to action that reveals the extraordinary in singularly brave people. Movies have a duty to, occasionally foster a sense of HOPE, too. HEROES = HOPE. And all three films here: DARKEST HOUR, THE COMMUTER and BLACK PANTHER engender just such feelings. It’s a beautiful, inspirational return to the values on which cinema is founded and through which the medium will be sustained for generations to come. Starting with DARKEST HOUR: it’s been marketed / thought of as a kind of biopic /war film? Truth is: it’s a personal, intimate character study that just happens to find itself against a backdrop of an advancing world war 2. The result is possibly the most measured portrait on film of Churchill I have seen (among many, from Robert Hardy to John Lithgow). This does NOT play to the ‘he was perfect’ brigade of fans (sometimes, sadly composed of gangsters, pseudo-intellectuals and wannabe next PMs with a sense of entitlement). But neither do we get some ghastly revisionism (a trend of late that focuses almost solely on Churchill’s faults, failings and misappropriated poster image for a misguided extreme right wing, mostly c/o an extremely extremist left). No. This is not iconoclasm. Winston is the hero in the titular ‘Darkest Hour’. But he is portrayed as an almost reluctant one in his own narrative. THAT is the balance of the film’s tone; somehow honouring Churchill’s humanity (flaws included) without doing any disservice to his genuinely historic, moral achievement and legendary legacy in leading Britain against the evils of Nazism. The film addresses the man’s mistakes, head on. A streak of wanton petulance and hedonism is ‘there’ as is the reputation for some military misfires and colonial misadventures. The difference is that those flaws somehow BECOME the very propulsion for Churchill to rise up and confront a far greater concern in the evils of Nazism. He accepts his flaws, faces those and weaponises the drawbacks in service of a country that had no option but all out war against a menace whose sole goal was world domination, via extinction of its enemies. Winston’s domestic opposition thereby become the weaker, appeasing, hesitant enemies of moral action, albeit unwittingly perhaps and despite what might have been otherwise perfectly laudable aims to avoid war. So, DARKEST HOUR does indeed give us a portrait of a tarnished man, but also an inescapably heroic one. This is a Churchill that applies his assets (oratory, experience, iron will, charisma, warm warrior wit married to cold calculation) to cancel his weaknesses; rallying a nation to do the impossible. He is not explicitly seeking adventure or adulation but has reached the right stage to embrace those with a maturity, clarity, focus and finally, an empirical measure of success. Winston’s one (nb speculative / possibly fictitious?) tremor of doubt is cancelled by a moment in the movie that does take artistic licence. He meets a bunch of strangers on the Underground who inspire him to soldier on. One forgives such leaps and[...]

Tom Cruise! Han Solo! Avengers! Dinosaurs! SKYSCRAPERS! It’s the SUPERBOWL trailers season.

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 22:22:08 +0000

TUESDAY TRAILER TIME! C/O SUPERBOWL. From Mission: Tom Cruise to Jurassic Skyscrapers; it’s the Best of those SUPERBOWL Trailers. That annual tradition. Yep. That one.      So: you will have seen pretty much all of these already. What can we add? Nothing much that a thousand other movie news sites and ‘blogs’ or youtubers have not already dissected, shared, pontificated and pronounced over and so on. But we can try. Well, ‘I’ can. AND I can maybe make up some stuff. Maybe. Here we go.. TOM CRUISE: SKYFALLOUT   Looks fascinating. Agent Tom Cruise (played by Henry Cavill, code-names: ‘Big Butch moustache’, ‘Magnum IP’ and ‘Superman’) is on the run from a sinister cult with designs on world domination.   Yet again however, and inexplicably, Tom Cruise (trademark) is also at war with HIS OWN ORGANISATION: IMF. So he runs, really fast. DOES LOTS OF HIS OWN STUNTS. Seriously though: a BIT self reverential and referential? This is NOT  a series so much as a sequence of films with an IP attached to Tom Cruise, doing stunts. So doing the whole ‘how long can a man wait before he..’ etc or ‘this time it is personal’ just calls out the slightly disposable nature of character and plot here. But the visuals, atmospherics, editing, location and cast? Second to none. This is a mission I think we will all accept. Go for it, Tom! The sheer committed professionalism he exhibits always make his work worth a watch. Best trailer this year.     HARRISON FORD: AN ALDEN SOLO STORY Han Solo tells us all how tough and street he is. Look, mate: you’re NOT that tough. You’re a middle class wally in the galaxy who got lucky in a Cantina when he met a Jedi and a kid. You probably lived with space Mom and Dad, just like Luke did. But women like you. That’s something. So you will get to score with the Princess. You just conned everyone into thinking you’re a bad man. Gangsters hate you and want you dead and dropping Jabba’s name in town just makes you look like a bit of a dick. Or something LIKE that? No? Ok. But that’s the problem. Everyone had a backstory in their mind for Han Solo. Hence the amount of  advance hatred for the imminent SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, with entire clans of people who claim to love the Star Wars brand, seemingly baying for this film’s blood? Well: they just got trolled/owned/silenced. Because this IS a pretty good trailer. Is this formulaic: yep. Is it how I pictured young Han? No. But Alden Ehrenreich is a good fit for the part, no question. This is NOT a cut and paste impression of Harrison Ford. It is instead an original approximation of the CHARACTER of Han Solo, whilst nodding towards what Harrison Ford defined. Subtle yet critical distinction. Bodes well. It’s also visually stunning and looks upbeat and romantic and funny: with director RON HOWARD somehow capturing the essence of Star Wars. There were even some nods I thought to AMERICAN GRAFFITI? Dash of the Abrams Calvinverse STAR TREK, too?  Might be just me. Oh and Donald Glover looks cool as Lando (a future spin off? you bet!). We actually got TWO trailers in effect here. One teaser for the teaser and then a..teaser but oddly, it’s the former that works better. Less is more. Something DISNEY simply don’t..’get’? 😉 Quibbles aside though: this does look like summer fun at its best. Might even work BETTER than LAST JEDI in uniting fans and casual viewers in something resembling FUN?! And if that still does not float your star cruiser? Well THIS just in: GAME OF THRONES showrunners are now going to launch their own series of Star Wars films. Expect Titties of the Old Republic? More to..come..on that one soon.   FALLEN JURASSIC KINGDOM: THE LOST WORLD I have very little to add here. Why? Because Universal Pictures have not added much. There is a VERY promising teaser image at the start which is pure horror /atmospheric and recalls the originals [...]

PolitFlix 14: Thomas Crown’s Current Affairs: Dave Bond and James Murphy talk Gentleman Thieves, Last Jedis and the Politics of Friends

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 04:38:35 +0000

PolitFlix 14: Lovable Rogues. Gentleman Thieves. And some seriously cool and charismatic characters. Dave Bond! James Murphy! Steve McQueen! Pierce Brosnan! Mel Gibson! Val Kilmer! Welcome! We are looking at the idea of a gentleman thief and whether there can ever be a truly ‘victimless crime’ both on film and in life. Films in question: THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1968) THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR (1999) MAVERICK (1994) THE SAINT (1997) We also ponder whether the tv show, FRIENDS, was in in any way remotely homophobic /racist/sexist in undertone. Oh and we assess the merits of a little known arthouse film called THE LAST JEDI 😉 So: Grab a brew; put feet up; relax and engage those windmills of your mind (click link below and listen). Thanks so much!   PolitFlix will return in the British Legends ep: Robin Hood and King Arthur Post Script Show Notes: James Murphy is Editor in Chief at Movie Viral. When he isn’t busied with mergers and acquisitions? Hobbies include flying Glider Planes and planning heists for kicks. Dave Bond is an international man of mystery, services available to the highest bidder for high stakes gambling games. Also, he is Host at Do You Expect us To Talk The Thomas Crown Affair has two versions. First, 1968’s split screen style fest, starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Directed by Norman Jewison, the film is famous largely for moments such as THAT chess scene. And THAT theme tune (Windmills of your Mind).  The premise was also inventive: the very idea of a man robbing banks, for kicks. McQueen was on top form here, displaying the kind of leading man charisma, charm and sheer coolness that reflected his off-screen exploits as a real life racing driving daredevil action man. Pierce Brosnan decides to take a bold step and remake the film on being crowned as James Bond. His version is released in 1999, directed by John McTiernan and co-stars Rene Russo. It is less distinctive in style than the original but more rewarding in substance, sporting a love story one can believe and a more psychologically profound exploration of why a man would dabble in theft for fun. The Brosnan iteration is notably more explicit in its sex scenes, but far softer in that Crown is not planning robberies here with any real force. The final heist scene is classic in its imagery and use of the Nina Simone song, Sinnerman, now overused, everywhere. The look, aura and style of the film were copied in their own right with everything from soap opera to adverts echoing its beats for a while around 2000-7 or so. Michael B Jordan has a new take on Crown in mind and possible pre-production is on the horizon. Maverick  is a 1994 film version of a beloved television serial. Starring Mel Gibson and directed by Richard Donner, it traded off the Lethal Weapon brand whilst aiming for something softer and more comedic. The Saint is a 1997 techno/spy thriller, starring Val Kilmer and directed by Phillip Noyce. Intended as the first in a franchise, the film under-performed and was therefore not followed by sequels. But the film is not without merits, even as a historical curiosity. FRIENDS  was a comedy series that everyone quoted, talked about and arguably lived through from the 1990s through the early 2000s. It is now on NetFlix UK and there have been complaints that its humour is a tad on the homophobic /sexist side. But we contest that, whilst citing its far bigger problem with an excessive corporate branding / status anxiety feeding. THE LAST JEDI is the 8th episode of the space based saga and the first to be accused of a ‘social justice warrior’ angle. Once again: we contest any notions of the film having an agenda, though acknowledge that it is a very different kind of Star Wars experience, hence the division among the fans.. Just Remember: There is no such thing as a ‘victimless crime’: even if you pull it off in style and fun in an escapist Hollywood fantasy 😉   

Going on Holiday this Season? Try our Fictional Countries Passports!

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 16:20:36 +0000

CHRISTMAS GETAWAYS TO FICTIONAL LOCATIONS WITH MOVIE-VIRAL! Turkey! Family! Bad Television! If those are not for you, then you may wish to escape to a fantastical landscape that does not exist. And thanks to problems such as Brexit and international climate change WILL still need a PASSPORT. And so, here it is: a list of passports for those locations that other sites simply cannot reach. ‘Enjoy’ 😉 THE GAME OF THRONES GETAWAY. (If you fancy some ‘snow’ 😉 PREFER TO PODRACE AND DRINK AT A CANTINA? Try Tatooine!  COME INTO THE CLOSET: The Dawn Treader can take you to Narnia! CREATURE OF HOBBIT? No problem, take ONE holiday to BIND them ALL!  ENJOY VISITING CASTLES? Get ‘high’ This Christmas..;)  ESCAPE THOSE JUSTICE LEAGUE BOX OFFICE FIGURES: Visit KRYPTON!  WIN ALL THOSE CHRISTMAS GAMES..And..never go hungry..;)  These fictional countries (brought to you by Budget Direct Travel Insurance) were dreamt up to stage some of the most dramatic stories of our time. They are also home to some of our favourite characters, who, with these passports, are now free to travel and see the world, just like us. DISCLAIMER: This article and the images contained are not endorsed, authorised or sponsored by the copyright/trademark owners of any of the images used. The visuals used in the creation of the passports are stock photography and stock images. In cases where stock imagery wasn’t available, we worked with images labelled for reuse.

The Last Jedi Box Office Predictions

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 15:38:22 +0000

Doing the Math’ on the Last Jedi  The Last Jedi appears to be breaking all kinds of box office records in its opening. All good. So here are some stats we prepared just BEFORE the movie was launched. Be interesting to compare stats at a later date. The Last Jedi is the latest instalment in the epic Star Wars series. In fact it’s the 12th (counting EWOKS 1 and 2 and CLONE WARS!) in the series and already many people are suggesting, it could be the best. Star Wars has captured the imagination of millions of people around the world since it first hit the screens way back in 1999 and it has long since been a global phenomenon. The Last Jedi is the second film of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following on from The Force Awakens, and it’s expected to be a box office hit.   The Last Jedi really picks up from where The Force Awakens left us. Rey is trying to get Luke, who has turned into a recluse, to join back up with the Resistance. Up in space, the Rebellion is left trying to scrape together their army in a sort of last stand against the mighty First Order and their Supreme Leader Snoke. There are some hugely impressive special effects along the way that include the eagerly anticipated light sabre battles, over the film’s hefty 152 minute running time. As ever, the latest Star Wars film is extremely likely to take the world by storm. These movies have become so big and popular that even leading betting sites such as Unibet are running markets on its potential success. As things stand, The Last Jedi is an odds on certainty to achieve a global gross revenue of at least $1 Billion, and it’s also possible that it could even reach double that too. Some are suggesting that it could go close to actually breaking the worldwide gross revenue record that is currently held by Avatar too. The film seems destined to be a hit and one can certainly see why. First if all the franchise itself is hugely successful. It has constantly delivered hit after hit, and The Last Jedi is no different. It’s a film that really gets you close to the Skywalkers, and along with that there’s plenty of action over its two and a half hours running time; that looks great thanks to the expert skills of director and writer Rian Johnson. The film not only looks great with some really explosive action scenes, important close up moments and top shots; but it sounds superb too. It’s a film that immediately draws in the viewer and does well in the sense that it keeps them immersed for the full length of the feature, rather than losing them half way through. It’s definitely another tick in the box for the Star Wars franchise and likely to be given 5 star reviews by most. The Last Jedi will be a box office hit as expected, and it will go on to gross in excess of $1 billion worldwide; potentially even $2 billion. The final Star Wars sequel trilogy instalment, Episode IX, is already in development and with its release expected around this time next year; it’s highly likely to be just as successful as the previous two in the trilogy at least. Check out The Last Jedi and we’d love to hear you were satisfied thoroughly! Even if all film is subjective: there is much of merit in this mighty movie no doubt.