Ron Howard Confirmed As Director Of Han Solo Project 

After the recent shock departure of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Star Wars spin off Han Solo project, there were rumours which quickly sprouted of Ron Howard taking over. Well, it seems in a rare twist a rumour turned out to be true! The director of Rush and Apollo 13 has been announced as the replacement director, taking over for the next few weeks of shooting as well as the films planned reshoots, scheduled for later this year. 

Ron, who has been previously rumoured for Phantom Menace, will be working for the next 3 weeks, ensuring it’s steered in the right direction. It’s unclear what credit Lord and Miller will receive if any who allegedly had several disagreements with producer Kathleen Kennedy. 

Lucasfilm moved quickly to find a replacement due to the fact that they are not changing the scheduled release date. Shooting is due to resume on July 10th, giving the crew time to take stock of the situation. Kennedy said, “At Lucasfilm we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began 40 years ago. With that in mind we’re thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitels Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew and the absolute commitment to make a great movie.”

It was announced that Lord and Miller left the project due to creative differences. Hearsay from the set says that the directing duo were not happy with the control Kennedy had over the creativity of the project. It’s been rumoured that they didn’t have as much control as they would have liked and also butted heads with writer and Star Wars veteran Jon Kasdan. 

With the movie taking a break until next month, they’ll have to work fast to have it finished on time. Let’s hope this doesn’t have an affect on production.

Starring Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, the movie is to be set around the early days of the Millennium Falcon pilot as a smuggler. It also stars Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, Michael K. Williams and Emilia Clarke. The project is still slated for release on May 25th, 2018.

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Feasting From Films. Chef: Garlic Pasta

Recently my lady friend (hello Lizzie) had the idea of combining my love of food and film into regular blog posts. Essentially the concept is to cook/bake dishes seen in movies, see how easy they are to make and how they taste. Lucky for me, I enjoy cooking however Lizzie is much better at it than I am so she took the reins on what is hopefully the first of many food related film blog posts.

The idea sprung to Lizzie’s mind after were watched the Jon Favreau flick, Chef who stars and directs this food lovers movie. (If you’ve not seen it, I suggest that before viewing it that you eat something extra tasty. Food envy is the worst.) Favreau stars as Carl Casper, a frustrated chef, caged by the menu he has to serve night after night as well as his unrelenting boss, Dustin Hoffman.

Once upon a time he was being hailed as one of the most exciting things in the restaurant business but is now reduced to a bog standard cook. This leads to a pretty bad review from a well-known food critic and the meltdown to end all meltdowns. Unfortunately for Casper, this is the digital age where everyday people can photograph and film at the push of a button which leads to him becoming a viral star. He quits and soon after he’s convinced to start a food truck which quickly gains popularity.

Before all of this, the pre-meltdown portion of the film if you will, he cooks garlic pasta (full name is Pasta Aglio e Olio) for Scarlett Johansson who loves it! Who wouldn’t? It looks so good that I’m pretty sure I could smell it. Maybe it was the garlic bread I was eating at the time but I doubt that. Anyway, here’s the ingredients and method for the garlic pasta.

For the original recipe, take a look here.

Ingredients (Serves 2 people)

  • Large handful of spaghetti
  • 8 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • 150 ml extra virgin oil
  • 1 tablespoon of chili flakes
  • 60g Parmesan, grated
  • Handful of diced parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Find the Chef soundtrack and press play
  2. Boil some water in a saucepan, add salt and then place the spaghetti in until cooked, usually around 10 minutes or so
  3. Whilst this is cooking, heat up the oil in a separate frying pan on a gentle heat and then add in the garlic, ensuring that you stir it every minute so that it doesn’t burn
  4. Once the garlic is golden brown, remove from the heat, drain the spaghetti and leave on the side until you’re ready to mix
  5. Add the chili flakes to the garlic and oil, then stir, making sure it is well mixed
  6. Turn the volume up for God’s sake! I can’t hear the sexy salsa sounds of Chef over all that frying and mixing!
  7. Add the spaghetti in and toss/stir until it is completely coated in garlic/chili oil (I’m drooling, I want it again!)
  8. Add in the parsley and parmesan and again stir well
  9. Squeeze in the lemon juice, ensuring it is drizzled all over the spaghetti
  10. Season with salt and pepper to your own taste
  11. ENJOY!

It’s a surprisingly simple recipe which (minus chopping the garlic thinly) didn’t take that long. It’s perfect and filling by itself, however I’d recommend that you serve it with a salad if anything. I added in extra parmesan as I was eating, because of the heat and this also improved the taste overall.

We used more than a tablespoon of chili flakes and it was a bit too much, however you can probably take the heat better than me. Here are a few images during the cooking  process. Excuse the quality, my camera thinks it’s from the 90s.

Keep an eye out on my blog for monthly movie recipes from all sorts of films and if you have any ideas you’d like me to try out, let me know.

 

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Lord and Miller Fired From Han Solo Project 

It’s been announced that Phil Lord and Chris Miller have left the Han Solo project after clashing several times with producer Kathleen Kennedy. The pair left on Tuesday after they were not being given the freedom to run their own production of the Star Wars spin off movie.

In a released statement, Lord and Miller have said, “Unfortunatemy, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. We normally aren’t fans of the phrase ‘creative differences’ but for once this clichè is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew.”

Lord and Miller also butted heads with writer and producer Larry Kasdan, who has been part of Star Wars ever since Empire Strikes Back. It’s claimed that he was never a fan of the pair’s directing style.

Kennedy said, “Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who assembled an incredible cast and crew but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film and we’ve decided to part ways.”

With a few weeks still left to shoot, plus reshoots planned for later on, the Han Solo movie needs a new director. Ron Howard has been rumoured but nothing is being confirmed as of yet.

Starring Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, the movie is to be set around the early days of the Millennium Falcon pilot as a smuggler. It also stars Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, Michael K. Williams and Emilia Clarke. The project is still slated for release on May 25th, 2018.

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A Ghost Story, review

Having a mainstream actor on screen whose face you only see for around 20 minutes during a 90 minute film sounds pretty jarring. Then when you mix that with the fact that his face is obscured by a white sheet as he plays a ghost of his former self, it’s borderline ludicrous. It’s a film that shouldn’t work, that shouldn’t make you feel, that you should be laughing at. However, thanks to the embracing performances, lingering camera shots and sparing use of dialogue, this is a film that makes you think about love, loss, acceptance and grief in a profoundly deep and moving way.

It’s no spoiler to say that around 10 minutes into the film, Casey Affleck’s character dies, leaving Rooney Mara to grieve. It cuts to Mara looking at Affleck’s body covered in a white sheet in a hospital. A long and looming shot of the room after Mara leaves shows Affleck’s ghost get up and walk around, eye holes have already been provided. From here he walks around the hospital and eventually makes his way back to their home where he is unable to leave. His interactions are only with that of another entity next door. The way the camera looks at a room, or a person, it’s examining all after affects of death and how it much it hits you.

He looks over the bereft Mara as she slowly begins to move on and live her life, up until the moment she leaves. It’s soon after we realise that he’s stuck in this house for some reason. The film only briefly slips into poltergeist territory when a Mexican family moves into the house and he disrupts their home. During a significant course of time, different people are shown to be living here, inhabiting what Affleck clearly still feels is his space.

There are consistent leering shots, all of which appear to be looking to a person in greater detail than we see. One in particular sticks with you in which Rooney Mara sits Whilst at the same time asking yourself, what kind of pie is that? Is it chocolate? Is it pumpkin? Maybe it’s savoury? How many takes did Rooney have to do? How many pie did she eat? WHAT FLAVOUR IS THE PIE?

The pair are never named in the film, they are never given a chance to address each other in such a way but their relationship transcends words and becomes more complex through gestures, looks and movements. It becomes a comment on how love and loss can both be expressed in similar ways; with looks and not words, with gestures, with unshared thoughts.

With it’s subtle and haunting score, nuanced performances and steering mostly clear of the paranormal route, this is a haunting experience that will stay with you for a long time.

4 out of 5.

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Black Panther trailer: Best Bits

Ordinarily there would be a warning of a trailer, a teaser for a teaser if you will. However lately Marvel have been subverting this stupidity, first with Thor: Ragnarok where the first look dropped without any prior knowledge and now, just this weekend, we got to see a glimpse of what Black Panther will look like. My god! What a trailer! It’s a very un-Marvel looking trailer with Ryan Coogler taking the directors seat.

We are taken on quite a journey, essentially on a tour of Wakanda. We had a very brief glimpse of it in Civl War where Bucky went back on ice and the Black Panther statue was revealed. The trailer has confirmed that this is a nation with vast wealth after seeing the city landscapes, it’s weapons and technology.

In the trailer we see a huge range of the cast which starts with Andy Serkis talking to Martin Freeman in an unknown location about the African nation. Then we see Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in a gun battle, showing his superb agility. These fight scenes are going to be something very different.

We then delve deep into Wakanda and see Michael B. Jordan training and battling against a tribe, with him is Daniel Kaluuya. It looks as of Jordan has been taken prisoner and Kaluuya is a guard however I’m just guessing!

The trailer shows what appears to be an internal uprising as well as forces coming into Wakanda to take over from T’Challa who has become King after his father’s death. Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker and Danai Gurira all make fleeting appearances however they will have much bigger roles than the trailer suggests.

Out in February 2018, Black Panther is the 18th MCU movie and it’s directed by Ryan Coogler.

Step into the spotlight.


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Bushwick, review

Dave Bautista gives a brutal and emotional performance, packing several punches throughout this sub-par thought provoking film about a modern day civil war taking place in the New York suburb of Bushwick.

We are introduced to the town via an overhead shot through helicopters patrolling the air above, it’s an almost calming influence before being thrown head first into the chaos below. Lucy (Brittany Snow) arrives at the ordinarily quiet town and becomes caught up in the gunfire, explosions and fires. Running away from the violence, still confused she encounters two men who briefly trap her before Stoop (Bautista) rescues her with a brutal attack. Still in shock, Lucy is full of questions, however neither knows what is really going on.

The pair team up, desperately trying to get somewhere safe, encountering people in similar situations as well as having to fight against the militia several times over. During these scenes, the camera rarely stops moving, whether it’s following characters up some stairs, through a doorway, on a bike. It’s an almost seemingly continuous shot, with two cuts, separating the film into a three act structure. It’s a technique which works out well as it is consistently introducing new characters and problems to solve.

There are continuity errors, as well as low levels of attention to detail and it’s lack of knowing where it wants to go at times. This can be said of the characters too who, at one point, make their way up to the roof of a school just to head back down almost immediately. A couple of times, when a character is supposed to have died, you could very clearly see them breathing and, at one point, blink. It’s errors like these, as well a miscast Angelic Zambrana as Lucy’s sister, which is where the film doesn’t quite live up to its brilliant start.

The film certainly knows what it is, a messy no holds barred brutal action film, with its heart firmly at the centre. It’s superb central performances, incredible camera work and the use of sound (gunfights and explosions often happen to the side but are equally violent as those you see in front of you) can all be credited to the directors Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott who have done an amazing job one the action with a small budget. However, whilst it’s certainly an enjoyable watch, it isn’t a memorable one.

3 out of 5.

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Jimmy Kimmel To Host The Oscars Again

He was a farely leftfield choice to begin with but once he got onto that stage he knocked the Oscars out of the park. After doing such an amazing job this year (minus that very odd tour bus prank), Jimmy Kimmel is set to host the biggest movie awards show once again in 2018. His return is one few saw coming but it seems most are happy with.

For the 90th Academy Awards, who knows what he’ll have in-store but with this year’s smart and sharp opening monologue, poking fun at Hollywood’s elite, as well as adding in his own brand of comedy with Mean Tweets and his consistent piss taking of Matt Damon off stage, it’s sure to be equally entertaining. 

Jimmy will be the 23rd presenter who has hosted the Oscars more than once, joining a list which includes Bob Hope, Ellen DeGeneres, Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Sinatra, Jon Stewart and many more.

The 90th Academy Awards takes place on Sunday 4th March and I will be live tweeting them as always. But maybe not live Instagramming…

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Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes Of Apollo, review

When you think of NASA, the images that come to mind include hurtling into outer space, the moon landing and countless launches from Houston. Images of several men in a large room full of computers and a lot of data isn’t quite what you’d think of as an American hero. It’s this perception that director David Fairhead is looking to change, he knows that it’s those you don’t see behind the scenes who deserve to reap the benefits of these extraordinary achievements. Fairhead is telling the story of the men who stay on the ground, all having a huge part to play before, during and after each Apollo mission.

The film goes through, in chronological order, the events of several Apollo missions, culminating with Apollo 13, the infamous mission which was later made into a film by Ron Howard. What is shown are clips from what can be called “behind the scenes” which is within the control room. The men who were in constant contact with the astronauts to ensure their safety was never compromised and that they could solve all problems by keeping in touch. During a certain section, we see how the errors during a mission helped those on the ground to create even safer protocols and procedures for the future. It shows the pressure that they were under to ensure these astronauts made it home safe.

The movie also explores the space race between America and the Russian’s Sputnik. The two countries were trying to be the first to get into space, which ultimately ends with the Russians winning. It’s a factor which plays into the film’s narrative in a way that almost makes you sympathise for the Americans who clearly made a valiant attempt at being first. It’s this which spurs them on to land on the moon, an achievement which has defined the Apollo missions.

Fairhead has created a documentary which shows the way things were and how those are still relevant today. The level of detail he has gone into from the old footage, to the interviews and the actually Apollo missions is astounding and fascinating. The handling of it’s complicated details isn’t dumbed down, however it’s presented in a way that makes you understand the enormity of each mission and all that needs to be achieved before they’ve even launched. He has shown that you can be a hero whether you’re up in the air or down on the ground.

You can see what David Fairhead had to say in my interview with him here.

4 out of 5.

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Industry Interview: David Fairhead

David Fairhead has created an incredible film about the unsung heroes of the Apollo missions. Those behind the scenes whose stories have never been told before are featured in Fairhead’s documentary, Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo. Here’s what he had to say about directing his first ever feature length documentary.

Where did you come up with the idea to cover such a fascinating subject?

It came originally from Rick Houston, the author of ‘Go Flight – The Unsung Heroes of Mission Control’. He was in contact with Keith Haviland and Gareth Dodds (who I had worked with on Last Man on the Moon) and that’s how the project came about.

Were you interested in NASA and space flight from an early age?

Yes I was! I was aged 6 when Neil and Buzz walked on the Moon, and I remember vividly watching it on TV in Hong Kong, where we lived at the time.

Was it a difficult process to obtain the old NASA recordings including both video and audio?

Yes and no! As Film Editor I have worked on a lot of films and TV programmes about the Apollo missions, and have access to a lot of this material through those productions. I also have good contacts with the people who run the Apollo Flight Journal, and was able to get hold of a lot of the audio through them (although it’s also on Archive.org). However, budget cuts at NASA have meant that the film material not as easy to get hold of as it once was.

Did you ever want to expand on just one of the missions instead of using several missions for the film?

No, because to get a real sense of the way the team operated we needed to show how they dealt with a number of different scenarios. However, when we were editing the film, the first cut of just the Apollo 13 sequence was well over an hour, so it was tempting to think the film could just have been about that!

Whilst this is a story of unsung heroes, did you ever want to include an interview with Buzz Aldrin? I noticed he was mentioned at one point

In the nicest possible way, I think it’s impossible to describe Buzz as an unsung hero! No, he was never on our list of people we wanted to talk to, and in fact we hadn’t originally intended to speak to any astronauts, as we wanted the flight controllers to take centre stage. However, we had the opportunity to talk to Gene Cernan, and his comments about mission control were so good we decided that perhaps we should include a couple more (Jim Lovell and Charlie Duke) whose recollections would help flesh out the story.

This is a story of American bravery however footage from the Russian Sputnik was used, do you feel this added weight to the story you were telling?

The rivalry with the Soviet Union is what ultimately led to the Moon landings, and their part in the story can’t be ignored. When Sputnik was launched it really shocked the Western world – the US in particular – and acted as the catalyst for the space programme. So we included it in the film not to add weight, but instead to show what prompted JFK to issue the challenge to America ‘to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth’.

Did you ever feel you needed to interview those from Russia in addition to those at NASA?

It would have been fascinating to go to Russia and talk to their controllers, and at one stage we did consider having a much bigger role for the Apollo-Soyuz mission. However, there’s only so much that can be included in a film, and the costs of taking a film crew out to Russia would have been too great! Next time perhaps!

Were there any other stories you found whilst working on this documentary?

There were many, many stories that the controllers shared with us – about what inspired them, about the early days at NASA, about the training etc etc. It was all fascinating, but once again the constraints on length and time meant that not all of it could end up in the film – it would have been about 12 hours long!

This being your first feature length documentary, did you learn anything about the process?

It’s my first ‘feature doc’ as Director, but not the first I’ve worked on. I’ve been a Film Editor for over 30 years, and I’ve cut numerous films – many of them about the Space Programme. It’s always a challenge to tell a story without using commentary, and so when we were filming the interviews, I knew I had to get enough material to help construct the narrative. So what was really great about being director was that I actually got to meet all the contributors and ask them the questions we needed. So that was something I’d never previously been able to do – and I really enjoyed the process.

Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo is available on demand from the 14th April from iTunes.

Check out my review of Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo here.

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Get Out, review

Creating a horror these days is tough thing to do due to audiences becoming desensitised by violence after seeing it several times over. Being a master of this genre is equally tricky as it takes risks, originality and wit, all the key tools which Jordan Peele possesses. Better known as one half of comedy duo Key & Peele, he seems an unlikely candidate to create what is one of the most original horror movies of all time. Peele has been praised several times for his intensely terrifying film, Get Out, his directorial debut which he also wrote.

Image result for get out

Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris Washington, a successful photographer who is African-American and has been seeing a Caucasian girl for five months called Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). The pair are visiting her parents, played superbly by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener, for the weekend which happens to coincide with a big annual party they throw for their esteemed guests. During his time at the Armitage’s home, Chris’s encounters with the entirely black staff are strange. They have an almost robotic look within their smiling faces and cold gaze, almost as if they are looking right through you. Throughout the film, there is a certain unnerving sense.

During the party sequence, each guest approaches Chris to poke and prod his existence in a slightly odd however seemingly friendly way. It’s an uncomfortable and interestingly humorous sequence which pushes the plot forward. It moves along at a perfect pace especially with its interjected moments of comedy gold from Milton Howery’s airport police officer Rod Williams who brings some big moments.

The film’s comment on liberal racism is prominent throughout, hinting at it now and then and occasionally throwing it in your face along with some gruesome horror and dark comedy. It’s consistently surprising but not in a typical horror movie way, there are rarely any moments of peace and quiet that are interrupted by a bang. The fear, intensity and thrills come more from the mood throughout the film, which you feel from the moment you enter the country house. Peele has crafted a movie which shows how smart a horror movie can be, whilst creating scenes that are intense, thrilling and funny all at once. It’s one hell of a talent to have.

4 out of 5.

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