Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Driving Mum - Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

 


The journey of self-discovery, acceptance, adventure and ridding one’s self of the past comes in all shapes, sizes and lengths. Usually, a physical journey accompanies those on a spiritual one too. The death of a loved one is often a trigger and can lead to difficult truths, realisations, resentment and most painfully, regret. The Icelandic/Estonian co production of Driving Mum contains all of the above, filmed solemnly in black and white, journeying from the West to the South of Iceland. This story of grief is at times, funny and heart-warming and have you ponder events in your past, just like Jon and his dead mother in the back seat.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Emily

 

The world of the Bronte siblings has been depicted on screen before, usually in the straight forward way a biopic is presented. Focusing on their early lives briefly, then on to their writing and ultimately their success. But while all the Bronte siblings feature here, it is Emily who takes centre stage. More often than not, she has been portrayed as the sickly shy recluse with the wild imagination that created one of the most famous novels in British history. But in Frances O’Connor’s directing debut, Emily Bronte, she is wilful, adventurous in her own way and passionate beyond recognition, even in the restrictive life she is forced to lead. Emily brings a completely new and fantastic view of the author and her work.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Is Aslan on the move?

 


The Chronicles of Narnia were my fantasy realm for years. Although I would proudly say that The Lord of the Rings are my favourite films now, but before December 2001, Narnia was my Middle Earth. I loved the books, loved the BBC adaptations of old, I used to the rent them on VHS from the library all the time. I couldn’t imagine the stories I grew up with being spun out on the big screen but when the years of fantasy ruling the box office were in power, it was inevitable that C.S Lewis’ series would eventually be adapted. It's quite surprising how long it took for the books to be adapted and given the blockbuster treatment but when they were, Hollywood decided to start with the most well-known book, ignoring the actual first in the story. But thankfully in storytelling terms, at least cinematic ones, to have the prequel later on, makes sense. The Magician’s Nephew, the first book will hopefully see its day on the big screen. The BBC TV series also never included this strange tale involving other worlds and the actual creation of Narnia. 

When Disney took up the helm, releasing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2005, the stories literally came to life and were surprisingly loyal to the book, with added CGI flare of course. Shot in New Zealand and with WETA working their magic, it felt that fantasy stories were continuing to dominate the box office. This continued with Prince Caspian in 2008 and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010. But due to a contract expiring, the long awaited follow up, The Silver Chair, was never made. Although there was traction right up until 2018, Netflix announced their plan to adapt the book in their entirety that same year, so The Silver Chair was abandoned. 

Since the big announcement from Netflix in 2018, there have been a few more rumours circulating. Matthew Alrich, co-writer of Coco has joined the project as ‘creative architect’, whatever that means. Then more recently, that Greta Gerwig will direct 2 films in the franchise. With this new news, it feels that there is hope that the project will still go ahead.

Over the past 4 years, there has been plenty of speculation as to how the books will be adapted, whether they will be made in order or follow a similar pattern to the Disney films (which skipped two films). But there is a safe bet that all 7 books will be made into films. Netflix has also stated they want to create a Narnia universe, like Game of Thrones. Whether this means new stories (hope not) or they are referring to the prequel story, as it technically is, The Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy, which does not heavily feature any of the characters in the other books.

I embraced the Disney films, even though I’ll always love the BBC series from my childhood. I was disappointed that not all the films were made, especially as Will Poulter was cast as the perfect Eustace Scrubb. But at least one of my favourite books in the series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was adapted. I’ve been waiting over 30 years to see The Magician’s Nephew though, my other favourite and I’m really hoping Netflix don’t let me down.

All I hope for is that they stick to the source material, no modern-day versions please, that would be dire and kill the entire series. Keep to the time periods the books are set in and the characters as described. It’s a fantasy series so go crazy in the fantasy parts of the stories not those set in ‘the real world’. If they need pointers on how to adapt a series well, just look to A Series of Unfortunate Events. Yes, they added a few bits but the makers stuck to the books, the characters and kept the essence and atmosphere of the source material. Yes, this was TV but the format worked for the stories. Narnia works better as films. But you can see what I’m trying to say. Stick to the source material and embellish smaller parts that will not ruin it all.

With such a rich tapestry to work from and so many great characters across the books, there is a lot of potential. Of course, there are going to those obvious religious undertones and allegories galore that might not appeal to everyone (at secondary school we were actually taught the books in RE (religious education) and we read the books in primary school). But at heart the books are fantasy that can be enjoyed by all. Fingers crossed Netflix gets them made!

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a femme fatale


As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a femme fatale. Being drawn to characters that oozed charisma, an air of cruelty and maintaining their femineity, these women where the ones to watch out for. Seen as tempting and a ‘good time’ at first, they lead (mainly) men astray and to their ultimate demise. The femme fatale very rarely got away with her destructive behaviour, usually by being caught out, set up or killed off. Sometimes this character was on a long leash, being held by a man but mostly, she worked for herself and her own selfish gain. But even at the end of all things, she looked amazing and you can’t help but admire her for trying and commend her for succeeding, even if she doesn’t ultimately win.

Born out of film noir, gritty crimes thrillers of the 30s, 40s and 50s, the femme fatale took many shapes. On occasion the femme fatale was always the ‘evil’ women, she could someone who was desperate to get out of a bad situation or someone who comes across as the stereotype and her motives justified. But any shape she took, she was always filled with mystique. The air of mystery and savage streak was why you wanted to be her. She had power, she had a plan and could get what she wanted. But usually by the end of the story, she’s seen as a mad crazy bitch. Thankfully Neo Noir femme fatales are given more depth and reasoning behind their choices and they can get away with much more than the previous femme fatales.

Wanting to be that confident woman that’s able to walk into a room and either steal the scene or slink away mysteriously into the shadows as you please is the ultimate fantasy and goal, besides getting away almost anything. The ability to embody a femme fatale is something I always wanted. The femme fatale is never painted as the hero, maybe the anti-hero if she’s given the chance, but that hasn’t been a dream of mine. I don’t want to be the outright star, but be that someone a younger me would look at and think, ‘wow, she’s so cool’. The femme fatale is admired, even if she’s the villain and that comes with an automatic admiration. There is something so damn cool about not being the ‘good’ one. The femme fatale walks on the outside of life and doesn’t let anyone make her think otherwise.

Friday, 21 October 2022

Call Jane - BFI London Film Festival


In Chicago, 1968, content housewife Joy is happily married with a teenage daughter when she finds out that her latest pregnancy is endangering her life. The only way to keep Joy alive is to have an abortion which the all-male board of the hospital deny her. Desperate, she tries to have an abortion illegally but instead happens on a notice that says ‘Pregnant and don’t want to be? Call Jane’. After having the procedure done safely, Joy is drawn to the group of activists who seek to help as many women as possible. But as abortion is still illegal, Joy understands and takes the risks, becoming an integral part of the organisation.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Hilma

 

The story follows the artistic career and spiritual awakening of Hilma af Klint as she tries to make sense of the world when her beloved younger sister dies tragically. Young af Klint is admitted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and meets a group of like-minded artists who also share her interests and beliefs in the spiritual world. They found a collective called ‘The Five’ that creates art inspired by the spiritual world and aim to create and build a temple for the work, but the art world isn’t quite ready to welcome or understand these new ideas.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.