Sunday, 31 December 2017

Top Ten Films 2017

It's been a great year for cinema, so many good films. It was difficult to pick just ten to feature on this blog (you can check out my whole ranking of the year here...). Here we are though, my top ten films of 2017. Read on and enjoy.

10. The Big Sick

Finally a comedy worth paying for and a breath of fresh air in the Rom-Com genre. It's hilariously funny and beautifully sad, all at the same time. It's a beautiful film, based on the real life story of Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V Gordon; both proving themselves as great screenwriters and I hope they create more art together soon! Read my full review here.

9. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

It's not even the weirdest film on this list and that's saying something from a new Yorgos Lanthimos film. It's a bit of a thriller; keeping you on edge throughout the whole film, constantly second guessing every facial expression of every character. If Barry Keoghan doesn't get a supporting actor nomination this year I'd be shocked. Read my full review here.

8. War of the Planet of the Apes

This franchise gets overlooked by most but it really does seem to be doing something different in every aspect of blockbuster filmmaking; this third installment in the prequel/reboot trilogy was no different. It fully rounded off the story in a satisfying way, whilst giving us some of the most emotional moments in cinema this year... and it was about talking apes. Read my full review here.

7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

It tried to do something new with the franchise and in my eyes it succeeded. The film truly passed the torch tp the new characters whilst also delivering some of the saga's greatest moments yet. The performances are the best they've been and the stakes have never been higher. I can't wait to see where they take Star Wars next. Read my full review here.

6. The Florida Project

Caught this one late but it definitely left an impression on me and I haven't been able to shake it from my mind for the last month. It's probably one of the most beautiful looking films of the year, about one of the ugliest topics. It's got some amazing performances and will no doubt win big at this year's academy awards. I didn't write a full review but you can check out more of my thoughts on The Florida Project here.

5. Mudbound

Mudbound was the surprise of the year for me. It dropped on Netflix and was easily their best original film. I'm still trying to see it on the big screen (no luck in the UK...). It's a beautiful epic tale of war, racism and family; it has some of the most moving relationships depicted this year. Most people have Netflix now - so come on, see this one ASAP! Read my full review here.

4. Super Dark Times

I saw this one at a horror film festival in Lisbon and although from the trailer I knew I was probably going to like it, I didn't realise that it was a masterpiece in horror filmmaking. It looks like it could just be a feature version of Stranger Things; but it's not. It's more grounded and emotionally resonant with some of the most shocking turns in a film this year. Read my full review here.

3. Blade Runner 2049

I'm not a huge fan of the original Blade Runner but after learning the director behind 2049 was Denis Villeneuve I knew I had to watch this one in the cinema. I'm so happy I did because this film was a masterpiece in the Sci-Fi genre; it's deep philosophical musings against the backdrop of some of the most beautiful landscapes brought on screen ever - it just blew me away. It's long but it's worth it, this film was easily the best Sci-Fi film of the year. Read my full review here.

2. Raw

Definitely the weirdest film I've seen this year but it totally works. This French/Belgian horror/thriller film kept me gripped throughout and I didn't avert my eyes once - no matter how gruesome it got. I was just in awe at the sheer visuals and score going on. I can't praise this film highly enough, you've really got to see it for yourself, it was very close to being my number one film of the year. Check out my full review here.

1. Get Out

Jordan Peele's directorial debut is the film that sums up 2017 and it's awesome. It's a horror/thriller/comedy which acts as an extremely relevant social commentary. At one moment it scares you, at the next it has you in fits of laughter. It's probably the easiest film to show other people; I haven't met one person who hasn't enjoyed it. It's such a great watch - my number one film of the year, check out my full review here.

There you go guys, my favourite films of the year. Let me know yours in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Top Ten TV Shows 2017

It's that time of year again. Not going to lie, I haven't seen as much TV this year as I would have liked to and some shows that had the potential to be on this list haven't all been caught up with yet. So here are the top ten shows I've had time to watch this year. Read on and enjoy.

10. Silicon Valley (Season 4)

Silicon Valley goes from strength to strength each season, the comedy is unlike anything else on TV at the moment. It has some brilliant people involved and I love how the storyline and characters evolve each season with new and hilarious scenarios. 

9. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 4)

After Iron Fist, The Defenders and Inhumans it might have seemed like Marvel had a bad year with TV but their original series Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been the gift that keeps on giving. Each third of the season had it's own great storyline, each better than the last, creating some very powerful moments for the team that loyal viewers have grown to love. I haven't caught up with the latest episodes yet but I am very much looking forward to!

8. Girls (Season 6)

In it's final season, Girls, subverted expectations like it always has. The characters are (slowly) starting to grow up and were all given a great send off, even if some of them were less showy than expected. I have loved this show from the beginning and although it's had its ups and downs, I am sad to see it go. 

7. Jane the Virgin (Season 3 & 4)

This result may have some recency biased as I have only just binge watched the two and bit seasons of this show. My girlfriend introduced me to it and I was unsure as to whether I would enjoy it or not but to be honest, I absolutely love it! I've never seen a show more comfortable with what it is and it is a joy to watch. 

6. Game of Thrones (Season 7)

The end is near for Game of Thrones and you can definitely feel the show speeding towards closure in the penultimate season. There was a lot of great stuff going on this season even if some elements did feel rushed. It's still unclear as to whether we'll see the end in 2018 or 2019 but either way, I'm excited to see how this epic closes. 

5. The Expanse (Season 2)

After a slow start with season one, The Expanse started to find its stride in season two. The characters feel like family now, the stakes are starting to stack up and the story has kicked into gear. It's great to see how faithful the show still is to the source material and if they continue doing so we'll be in for one hell of a season three.

4. Stranger Things (Season 2)

After a near perfect first season, I was a little worried that Stranger Things 2 might not have been able to recreate the magic. Thankfully I was wrong and this season brought back our favourite characters, developing them further and even bringing about new and hilarious duos. I love these characters and I can't wait to see what they get them to do next.

3. Halt and Catch Fire (Season 4)

2017 also saw us say goodbye to what I consider one of the best TV shows this decade, Halt and Catch Fire. Not a lot of people caught this one and once again I urge everyone to seek it out, it has some of the best characters created for television and each one of them was given closure in powerful and emotion ways. You really should have been watching this one.

2. The Handmaid's Tale (Season 1)

As the year got very political, so did the media content that was produced. It's probably just a coincidence that The Handmaid's Tale seemed to represent the Trump future we're all worried about, especially since it's based off of a book written in the 80's. This show was not just a brilliant and gripping story but it was also a great jumping point to kick off discussion about society in the present. And Elisabeth Moss is awesome.

1. American Gods (Season 1)

I was worried when I heard that American Gods was going to be adapted into a TV show, the book is crazy and I was unclear how it would translate to the medium. Well, it translates very well indeed with the series staying very faithful to the book as well as expanding upon even more ideas, giving fans of the book and newcomers both a sense of originality. It's unlike anything I've ever seen on TV before and it takes some very crazy and incredible turns as well as being a visual delight. I'm interested to see whether it can carry on the ultra high quality storytelling in the second season because it has unfortunately lost its show runners, hopefully it will top my list next year as well.

That's all for TV shows this year, be sure to check back soon for my top ten list of films. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

How to talk about this film? Especially right now while it’s new and people want to be kept in the dark about everything. I’m going to play things a bit differently today, to keep this review SPOILER FREE I am not going to talk about any plot, but instead just my experience of the film and the non-specific elements that worked and didn’t. I hope it doesn’t come across as too vague but you need to see this film without knowing anything prior because there are moments in The Last Jedi that you are only ever going to experience once.
There is nothing more exciting than experiencing a new Star Wars film, I’m a bit of cliché’, it was this franchise that kick started my obsession with film and storytelling leading me down the road I am on now; an aspiring screenwriter. There’s a lot of hype on my end when going into the cinema to see a new Star Wars film and there definitely was a lot of it last night when I went to the midnight screening. Because of this hype, expectations can sometimes be set too high, it is just a film after all, and history has proven it is difficult to make a Star Wars film that is going to please everyone. And this film is not going to please all fans. I will hold my hands up and say that for the first half of this film, I was enjoying it, but I was not blown away by it. It’s fast paced and action packed but it lacks an edge or an element of something to grip you, to make you feel you are truly watching something special, however this does change, most notably in the third act when every story, every character, every piece of set up begins to get paid off, and paid off, and paid off. And the pay offs are some of the best Star Wars moments in the franchise. I had to control my excitement in the cinema at times as I grinned from ear to ear, it elevates the film to something greater and surpasses expectations, both good and bad.
This is going to be a film that gets talked about a lot, there’s a lot of controversial decisions made for the sake of the story and characters that not every audience member will be on board for. Even I had my gripes with some though I am generally more forgiving since this franchise was built on crazy ideas and they should not be playing it safe as they try to make this something new. Talking of which, this film is not a carbon copy of The Empire Strikes Back like many, including myself feared, there are elements (it’s like poetry after all!) but I would say this film is part Empire, part Return and part its own off the walls, insane thing. There are parts that feel like Star Wars and parts that feel completely different, and not all those parts work, there is some disjointedness along the way but the overall product is very much its own film, it doesn’t even feel like a middle chapter with no beginning or no end, and I am so glad that Director Rian Johnson has been able to pull this off.

An incredible score, great cinematography and mostly awesome special effects are something to be expected from Star Wars now, but what blew me over this time were the performance’s from the cast, both new and old. This is very much a character based story and everybody gets their time to shine as layer upon layer is added to increase the richness of each, which in turns helps push the plot to new and interesting avenues. You’ll hear a lot of talk about Mark Hamil’s performance over the next few weeks, and rightfully so, but the real MVP’s for me were Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver as General Leia and Kylo Ren. Carrie Fisher didn’t blow me away in The Force Awakens so I was slightly worried about her having a larger role in The Last Jedi but I was not to be concerned, she was incredible, she acts her ass off and delivers some of the most amazing and soon to be iconic moments of the film/saga. Her passing last year was a very sad and painful time for a lot of fans but to see her play this character to the fullest and near stealing the show whilst doing so is an amazing tribute to her. And now on to Adam Driver, if you didn’t like his character in The Force Awakens (I still think he was the best thing about that film as well though…), get ready to have your mind changed as he plays the most interesting villain the franchise has ever had. He takes Kylo to new heights, adding so many dimensions to the character and really stealing everybody’s thunder whenever he’s on screen. Big blockbuster films need to take a page out of this films book when it comes to creating compelling and relatable villains. I don’t usually try and campaign for Oscars for pop culture films because it rarely ever happens (or deserved, which is usually the case), but his performance in this film is probably my favourite of any this year, he honestly blew me away and it would be a shame if he didn’t get any recognition for it.

Overall this film has a few problems but with a third act that pays off in such a satisfying way and whole host of characters developing in unique and interesting paths; this film is still a very, very good film. It’s a film about mistakes and becoming better because of them, something that could be said for the series as a whole and this film overall. Rian Johnson has made an amazing Star Wars film that’s packed with so much content that I’m happy we’re getting a two-year break before the next one just to process it all. And talking of processing, this film is definitely going to need a re-watch before any views of mine are fully solidified, there’s just too much going on to react to it all but upon a first watch, I am rating The Last Jedi a 4.5/5.

What did you think of episode 8? Better than Empire or worse than Clones? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 20 November 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

I’ve been waiting to see this one for a little while now and to start with, this is a great film to watch in the cinema, especially with a large crowd which, even after a few weeks of being out, my cinema had. As great a ride as it was, it wasn’t without its flaws.

Marvel has had a shaky time with Thor, his films have been released to a mixed response but the characters are still very much beloved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Third time round the studio decided to hire Taika Waititi to direct Ragnarok, the brilliant New Zealander who directed films like What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. And Waititi definitely brought his humorous style of filmmaking with him. When a director as unique and original as Waititi comes along, you expect a different flavour of film and Ragnarok definitely feels like Waititi in the dialogue department. However, it doesn’t really do anything different with Marvel’s formula of storytelling, despite poking fun at it throughout.

There’s signs that Marvel are changing their ways; female characters aren’t love interests (and are allowed to be villains), Earth doesn’t have to play a significant role, the film has some weird and wacky design elements and the old cast is out for a new take on the god of thunder. However, the story is just another case of the big bad being bad and the hero needs to stop the big bad in the final act. There’s a lot of fun to be had in between the setup and the conclusion but ultimately this is another film that follows the basic tropes of what Marvel has already perfected many a time. Spider-Man: Homecoming looked to be the start of a different kind of Marvel film but ultimately we’ve gone a step backwards with Ragnarok. If I hadn’t enjoyed the comedy and characters so much then I might have disliked this one a lot more.

This film really does rest on its characters backs. Chris Hemsworth proving once again he’s a comic to be reckoned with, with his brilliant timing and almost Monty Python esque Thor. Tom Hiddleston kills it as Loki again although that was always to be expected. Cate Blanchett hams it up in a good way as Hela and although the villain is better than most of the bad guys Marvel has put on the big screen, she still didn’t feel iconic enough to be classed as a truly great antagonist. Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie was a very cool addition to the cast, she’s a drunk and a badass, it’s a fun combination. Mark Ruffalo returns with a more developed version of The Hulk and Jeff Goldblum essentially plays himself and it’s a much-welcomed addition to the franchise.

The middle act of the film is primarily set on the planet Sakaar, a junkyard planet with weird and wonderful characters and some odd and medieval cultures. This section of the film is the best, it’s a love letter to artist Jack Kirby and also features some great synth scores. This should have been the film in my opinion, with Hela maybe left to make an impact in the future and the crazy adventures of Thor, Hulk and Valkyrie the main show.

I feel like I’m criticising a film I enjoyed watching, so if nothing else, Thor: Ragnarok is a Saturday morning cartoon come to life complete with some cartoon-y CGI. It’s a fun ride, it’s got a lot of humour but the story just might feel a little familiar after sitting through seventeen entries in the franchise. Mix it up Marvel, we’re going to watch a film with your name on it either way. However, the characters endure and are a joy to watch together as well as being very funny. I’m rating Thor: Ragnarok a 3.5/5.

What did you think of the film, the best Thor of the bunch or the worst? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Kept in the dark, unsure of what is going on, the orchestral score running deep into the pit of your stomach before you’re caught off guard by a striking image, a beating heart (I think anyway, I don’t know anatomy) open in surgery, horrifying but beautiful at the same time. The opening scene of The Killing of a Sacred Deer gives you all you need to know about Yorgos Lanthimos’s new film.

I could end my review now, but I’ll try and put into words my experience of this film without spoiling the story, this is really one you want to go in to with a blank slate. The basic premise is ‘A Teenager’s attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family take an unexpected turn.’

If you saw The Lobster (and if you haven’t it’s on Netflix, you should see it) then you will know that Yorgos Lanthimos likes to make weird films and this one is no exception. The joy of this film is not knowing what’s going on and trying to figure out from every image and every small tick from the characters on screen, what on earth you’re actually watching. You’re left in the dark for a lot of it as it goes from surreal drama to a plot you might see in a Batman film before it’s tense and jaw clenching final act.

The cast of this film are incredible, the three mains being Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Barry Keoghan. Keoghan who was last seen in Dunkirk gets a lot more screen time here to show off his acting chops, I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of him after his performance in this film. Like I said before though, the whole cast is on top form, fully investing you in the characters, all relishing in Lanthimos’s dead pan style.

The cinematography is crisp, clean and an awe to look at, pushed along with this loud orchestral score that’s terrifying to behold as it comes through when the tension is at breaking point. It reminded me of one of my other favourite films this year, Raw, with its horror nature mixed with the surreal. It’s a delight to watch even if it could have been a tad shorter but not all of these kinds of films are as easy to watch, be invested and lose yourself in it.

The Killing of a Scared Deer carries on the trend of great cinema in 2017, if you can take a bit of surreal with your film watching then go see this one in the cinema ASAP. I’m rating it a 4.5/5.

Have you seen it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Blade Runner 2049

I’ve returned from my travels and ready to do some more blogging! Today I’m going to review Blade Runner 2049 but I’m going to talk about the whole day I had dedicated to it. Yes, my friend and I decided to have a Blade Runner day and re-watch the original before going in to see its sequel.

The original Blade Runner is a weird film, it revolutionised the way films and culture in general envisioned the future but never actually did that well in the box office. It acquired a large cult following of fans with many heralding it as one of the greatest films ever made.

However, I don’t believe this to be the case. In fact, my first ever viewing of this film I thought it was quite boring, technically amazing but lacking in story and a compelling main character. Upon a re-watch, I found that I actually enjoyed it a lot more, I’ve matured in some of my tastes and developed an interest in philosophy within film but my initial gripes were still there. It’s a good film but maybe just a tad overrated. I originally wasn’t excited at the prospect of a sequel, well not until Denis Villeneuve and Ryan Gosling were attached as Director and main lead.

Villeneuve is one of the most interesting directors around at the moment, I’ve loved most of his films, especially Arrival, and teamed with his cinematographer Roger Deakins they are a cinematic force to be reckoned with. As shown again in 2049, which honestly might be one of the most beautiful looking films this year, if not the decade. Yes, I loved Blade Runner 2049. It amplified everything good about the original, took away everything bad and made an incredible sequel to a good film. I hope this film teaches Hollywood a lesson on how to make sequels.

There was so much depth to this film, the characters are three dimensional, compelling and you actually care for them. Gosling plays it down but the subtleties in his performance really take your breath away in the films more compassionate moments. Everybody in the cast is doing a great job and I was really taken aback by the performances of Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks who were unknown to me before this film.

The story moves along a lot more swiftly, still slow but a lot more engaging that you barely notice the two hour forty run time. The philosophical musings are still present and are the emotional core of the film, better articulated than the original and they branch off into a lot more territories. The main themes of the original are explored further and it really creates some great questions about what life is.

The world of Blade Runner is a place that is great to watch on the big screen, the dystopian smoky cities looming large, explored more this time as well as taking trips to more remote areas of this well envisioned universe. The cinematography of these places looks gorgeous and the loud and lingering score elevates this images to new heights, you really need to see this film on the big screen.

It’s really difficult to review this film without giving away spoilers, even the plot itself is better left unknown as it kicks off pretty fast and takes you on a wild ride of twists and turns. Just go see this film, if you like Sci-Fi that is taken seriously then this is one for you, it’s just a bonus that its presented to you by some of the best people working in the industry. I’m giving Blade Runner 2049 a 5/5. A serious contender for best film of the year. 

What did you think? Masterpiece or slow and boring? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Super Dark Times @ MOTELX Lisbon

I’m away at the moment travelling Southern Europe but that didn’t stop me from sniffing out a film festival during the trip. The film festival was MOTELX, a horror film festival based in Lisbon that was showing films while we were there. Lisbon is a beautiful city, so to not spend too much time in a dark room or annoying my girlfriend, we decided to only catch one film. That film was Super Dark Times. We saw the film in the Tivoli Theatre, a really cool old building that set a great atmosphere for this horror/thriller film.

Super Dark Times feels like it could be categorised into the Stand By Me, E.T and the Stranger Things genre of media. A throwback to the eighties, though it doesn’t wear its inspirations on its sleeve as other recent nostalgic throwbacks have. The film follows a group of friends who find themselves in a dilemma after an accident leaves one of them dead. Young, dumb and scared the remaining friends decide to hide the body and pretend nothing has happened. There’s more to the film than this but it’s better to go into the film blind, as it takes many different routes along the way to its climax. The young cast is made of unknowns (to me anyway) but all are great actors in the making, with excellent chemistry they carry the film along with ease, the main players being Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Max Talisman and Sawyer Barth.

It’s more of a thriller than a horror film but it also has a lot of teenage angst boiling beneath its surface, making it a great coming of age film as well. It mixes it up a lot, funny, scary, broody and romantic. It mainly takes places from the mindset of one of the friends, Zach, the camera even inhabiting his dreams as he tries to make sense of himself, his friends, his love life and the dead friend he’s covering up. It’s slightly slow in places but allows the audience to breathe and take in the events and enjoy the beautiful cinematography as it broods over a grey and misty in town in America.

I was really taken aback by this one. I really enjoyed it; I had a feeling I might but I didn’t know I would love it so much. I felt it perfectly captured the troubled mind of a teenager, whether through literal actions or dream sequences and it helped me get invested in the characters and their outcomes. When the more ‘horror’ elements come in, its tense and they do scare you because the film has earnt it. It’s a really incredible film for a debut feature from Kevin Phillips and one of my favourites of the year. I’m rating Super Dark Times a 5/5.

I would definitely go back to Lisbon and I would also love to head back to MOTELX when it’s back on; they obviously pick a great selection of films for their festival. I believe the film itself comes out on VOD later this month. I highly recommend it!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Quick Reviews #19

I thought it was time for another round of quick reviews, mainly for films I have seen in this year that I never got around to giving full reviews to. Not that this makes them bad, at least one of these is more than likely to make my top ten this year… Read on and enjoy!

Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky is a confident and well-made heist film that plays out with a bunch of characters you wouldn’t usually associate with the genre. It makes a for a low stakes but very funny film, where all threads are tightly woven and come together in a satisfying way in the end. The cast are all great, especially Danial Craig, who plays a role unlike any we’ve seen before, it’s genuinely great seeing him do something completely different to Bond. Also, get ready for the best Game of Thrones joke in a film yet…


Wow, this film lives up to its name! Such nail-biting and visceral experience. It was hard to watch at times but I did not want to avert my eyes from the gorgeous horror that was happening on screen. It was a strangely moving experience that stuck with me for the next few days. A unique coming of age film, unlike anything I’ve seen before, surrealist yet still approachable with a lot of subtext, the obvious ones being sexuality, social norms and femininity, with many more I’m looking forward to reading into. It won’t be for everyone but is an experience of a film that’s very inspiring. An incredible work of art. 

Death Note

Everybody is going on about how bad this film is, and if I had ever seen/read the source material I would probably be upset that it had be turned into a whitewashed, Americanised, one hour forty film - but I haven’t and I kind of enjoyed it. It’s a goofy premise with cheesy characters but it keeps you engaged and I got a kick out of it’s over the top nature and hammy acting. It’s not amazing, the style gets in the way of the substance and the very fast pacing can get in the way of emotional moments, it really could have done with slowing down every now and then to let me readjust. Apart from that, it was fine and it was fun, I understand if you were a fan of the material and hate it though.

Baby Driver

Edgar Wright is back after what feels like way too long! Baby Driver brings the action, the charm, the comedy and the romance as it blasts onto the big screen. It’s a visceral experience as Wright’s camera flair follows the action in an upbeat and unique way, completely choreographed to a kick ass soundtrack, with a dash of Tarantino and Scorsese in the mix. This film is as creative in its premise as it is in its approach, it’s so good to see this style of filmmaking where the camera is being used just as much as the incredible performances are to tell a story. This film is a lot of fun and deserves to be seen in the cinema. My only criticism is the lack of female characters, there’s really only two and they work mainly as extensions of the males they’re coupled with. Apart from that though, great film!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Pursuit in the Finals

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen that one of my scripts The Pursuit made it to the finals of the Stage 32 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Screenwriting Contest. The winners were announced last night and although I didn't make the top two, I was extremely happy to have made it this far.

The Pursuit was a script I wrote for my final production assignment at Falmouth University back in 2015. Since then it has gone through a few tweaks and changes, placing in the ScreenCraft Sci-fi contest semi-finals that same year and even getting read by a couple of producers. Over the past couple years I've made the odd change here and there but have been mostly working on newer and (hopefully) better scripts. However, earlier this year I saw that Stage 32, a great site for creative minded people, had an opening for submissions for their Sci-Fi & Fantasy Contest, and with a Sci-Fi script under my belt, I thought why not. So now here we are, the furthest I've placed in a competition yet and I am extremely grateful to have gotten so far. The Pursuit needs a few more action scenes and less talking to spice things up but apart from that it seems to be going down nicely with its readers.

So I thought today I would share the first five pages of The Pursuit with you (something I thought I had already done but apparently not!). The logline goes like this:

'Born onto a mission to explore the stars, Lily only dreams of going home to Earth. What was once an impossible dream becomes suddenly more achievable when the ship regains a lost connection with Earth, and Lily becomes friends with a lonely technician named Bry on the other end.'

And the first five pages go like this: 
So there you have it, the first five pages of The Pursuit, the first feature script I wrote. I'm pretty happy with how it's evolved and with it placing so highly in this recent competition makes me think that it could do with some extra attention in the near future with the hope that one day it might win a competition. Wouldn't that be something. 

Congratulations to the winner of the competition Ben Gross with his script The Ladies' Guide to Hacking. You can check out his logline as well as the loglines from all the finalists here. 

If you're a producer/director reading this and want to see more, drop me a message!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The Big Sick

I wasn’t looking at dedicating a whole post to The Big Sick but after what I saw the other night and the lack of people in the cinema watching with me, I wanted to give this film some love.

The Big Sick is based on the real-life courtship of Kumnail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, dealing with their cultural differences and an illness that leaves Emily in a coma for a large portion of the film. Kumail plays himself in the film, whereas Emily is played by Zoe Kazan and her parents, who Kumail begins to bond with throughout her illness are played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. Everybody is wonderful in their roles and bring a lot of love to a film that is probably one of the most heartfelt films I’ve seen this year and definitely the funniest.

There are belly laugh moments but for the most parts it’s just chuckles at some of the wit and comic timing that makes this film a blast to watch. Kumail has proved himself to be a brilliant comic and actor before, but I think this might be him at his best. Obviously, his personal connection to the film helped but he had this special kind of magic that has you laughing and crying at the same time.

It’s not a massively sad film but it still is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster - juggling love, family connections and cultural differences - making a unique rom-com unlike any I have seen before. It’s not flash, it’s not a technical achievement but flies on story alone, and boy is it one hell of a story. This story would have been relevant and moving whether it was personal or not; it really grips you in and doesn’t let go.

The characters are very relatable, I could see a lot of myself in Kumail even with obvious cultural differences. There’s one scene in particular where he’s trying to show Emily a film and keeps watching her to see her reactions and make sure she’s watching it ‘properly’. At this moment, my girlfriend leant over and said “That’s so you!” as she sat beside me to watch yet another film she had never heard of, seen advertised or had any interest in seeing. Luckily, she enjoyed this one though! And I would be surprised to find anybody who didn’t, which makes it such a shame that we were one of two couples in the cinema.

So this week, when your deciding what to do - go see The Big Sick. It’s one of the best films of the year, you will leave the cinema with a big smile on your face and tear in your eye. It’s beautiful and I’m giving it a rating of 5/5

Have you seen it yet? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Dunkirk & War for the Planet of the Apes

Well this past weekend was pretty awesome one for film. I saw both War for the Planet of the Apes and Dunkirk, and instead of dedicating a post to just one of them, I decided to review both. Read on to find out what I thought. 


I’m a big fan of Nolan but wasn’t overly excited for his latest project, nothing against war films but they don’t usually do it for me unless they have Star in the title. This one blew me away though, a tightly executed film that felt like the third act of a film stretched into an hour and forty minutes from three different perspectives.

As soon as the film starts you know what you’re in for, the great score once again composed by Hans Zimmer moving the action along, creating enormous amounts of tension from the unseen threat and pumping in tonnes of emotion, heart and most importantly hope.

There’s mixture of great characters in here with a vast cast of excellent performers giving it their all. Mark Rylance was the heart of the film, Tom Hardy was the hero and newcomer Fionn Whitehead is the audience’s way in. And being Christopher Nolan the story is cut into a slightly more complex than it should be narrative that transcends time, sometimes distracting from the story as you try to figure where each scene places. A small criticism in a film that is largely incredible.

The sound was booming and there wasn’t a peep in my cinema that brought in a wide variety of audiences young and old, it was something to be admired. I don’t know how it will play in the States but over here in the UK the cinema was packed and it was quite an experience to see it on the big screen. There was one scene in particular, where a boat is sunk after being torpedoed, that made me think instantly of my Great Grandad that died in WW2 in a similar fashion, it was hard to watch but also something that will and has already stayed with me.

I think that’s what this film gets right, although mostly bloodless, the horrors of war are shown in a completely different way and the desperation and psychological elements engage the audience and make you think long and hard about what the soldiers had to go through. The only thing I could think of that was as good as portraying this was Spielberg’s Band of Brother TV series.

Was this Nolan’s best film? No, but it was still another great addition to filmography. It’s an experience that grabs you by throat and never lets you. It may be his most compact film but it’s still trying too hard to be complex, which is strange considering the story alone is legendary enough to behold on the big screen. It is still done in masterful form, incredibly shot, a flawless mix of live action and CGI, an experience to watch on the big screen, go watch it now. I’m rating Dunkirk a 4.5/5.

War for the Planet of the Apes

The reboot Apes films have always been good but then they kind of drop off the ‘pop culture’ radar after each film. It’s weird considering they are so widely beloved but also good because I was not expecting what I just saw…

War of the Planet of the Apes is a masterpiece in blockbuster franchise filmmaking. It’s a grim and dark film that twists and turns, it’s heavily subtitled and deeply political, how did this film get greenlit and how did this film only get a 12A/PG13 rating? Don’t get me wrong I’m glad it did, I didn’t expect what I saw in this film, each trope was subverted and every moment you thought you knew what was happening it would go the opposite way. The moral dynamics that made Dawn so engaging are back but they are done so much better and the fights seems a lot more personal and emotional, something that was lacking from the last one.

The film is so personal to Caesar’s journey and it’s intricately woven with his mirror image antagonist played excellently by Woody Harrelson. War is kind of misleading with its title, there is action and it is cool but the war is more inner turmoil than external and it’s so well realised and beautiful. Even the big ‘war’ scenes are slowed down for the personal fight and moments between one or two characters.

The cinematography and score is excellent and just to top it off the effects are insane. Like actually photo-realistic insane. It’s got to be seen to be believed but I actually felt like I could reach out and touch each character, I’ve never seen anything like it. If it doesn’t win the Oscar for best special effects next year then it will be a crime, this is the best CGI I have ever seen.

This is a fitting possible ‘conclusion’ to the Apes reboot prequel trilogy and this film really is the icing on the cake, if I was to make any criticism it would be the lack of female characters, but that aside War delivers, firing on all cylinders. The Batman is in good hands of director Matt Reeves who has shown with this film he knows how to handle characters, morality and big themes seriously and with depth and emotion. I’m rating this film a 5/5.

Yes, don't shoot me, I enjoyed War over Dunkirk but only just by a little amount...

What did you think of the films, has this been the best month for film in 2017 so far? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!