New Images for Mary Poppins Returns 

There are a lot of nervous people when it comes to the Mary Poppins sequel, it holds a special place in so many people’s hearts and rightly so. Mary Poppins was an instant classic, it’s at the top of a lot of people’s favourite films list and it stars Julie Andrews. Now, whilst you can’t out “Julie” Julie Andrews, the casting of Emily Blunt is sheer perfection. She has the eloquent English look, sound and demeanour. I’m looking forward to seeing her take on this classical character, although I feel I need to watch the 1964 original again. It’s been a while and frankly I can’t remember much of it.

The story of Mary Poppins Returns is set during depression-era London where the now grown up Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael’s three children are visited by Mary Poppins after a personal loss. Her visit comes at a time when the family needs her help to rediscover happiness and joy in their lives. The film is directed by Rob Marshall whose previous credits include Into the Woods, Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides and Chicago. Along with Blunt, it also stars Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dick Van Dyke, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Angela Lansbury. It’s due for release during Christmas in 2018, so we’ve got a while to wait still! In the meantime here are a few images, one official and others sneakily taken on set. 

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Classic Cinema: Singin’ in the Rain, review

When it comes to musicals, there are fewer greater or more popular than Singin’ in the Rain. It’s regularly in people’s top 10 films of all time and considered the greatest musical ever. The movie portrays so much fun and energy among its ensemble cast whilst telling the story of how a studio struggled to transition from the silent movie era to the talkies. As a classic film from a time which doesn’t seem to exist any more, this is a timeless classic which should be on all movie lovers to watch list.

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Gene Kelly plays Hollywood heartthrob Don Lockwood who we first see giving his life story to a showbiz reporter for all of his doting fans to hear all of whom are waiting just outside of the premier for his latest film. During his career things start to change with the death of silent cinema after the introduction of sound. At the same time, he meets the feisty and charming Kathy Selden, wonderfully portrayed by Debbie Reynolds in a role which saw the actress permanently elevated to legendary status. Her sassy comebacks, refusal of his flirtatious ways and unwillingness to give up on her dreams makes her the perfect role model. The addition of Cosmo Brown, played effortlessly (even the dancing looks easy but you know it’s not!) by Donald O’Connor, these are the three true stars of the film.

Between the three of them, they concoct a plan to save their movie which, due to poor dialogue and sound issues, received some pretty harsh initial reactions during previews. However their movie also comes under threat from the lead female actress Lina Lamont, played by Jean Hagen, who requires acting and elocution lessons just to make it through her first non-silent movie. She consistently steals each scene that shes in, particularly during a lesson of hers. All I will say is “And I can’t stand him!”. Comedy perfection.

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Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, the film is a beautiful cocktail of music, singing, dancing, comedy and love. The timing of each joke is fine tuned to perfection, the musical numbers sound and look stunning and the love shared between the characters feels genuine and heartfelt. Singin’ in the Rain has a spark like no other, a truly magical experience on the big screen as well as the small. It’ll have you singing inside and out, whether it’s raining or not.

5 out of 5.

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The best 5 scenes from Scream, by Wes Craven

This week we lost a true master of horror, Wes Craven. The man who has given us so many memorable movies, quotes, scenes and characters unfortunately passed away on Sunday. A true talent who understood what it was to scare people, he could get into the mindset of his characters as well as the audience to scare the shit out of them! The pure brilliance behind the likes of The Nightmare on Elm Street was proof that this man knew what he was doing with this genre. Later on he used this knowledge in Scream, the 1996 film that has since spawned three sequels and a TV show.

Whilst it may not be everyone’s favourite horror film, I love it! It’s a guessing game until the almost end, I think it’s obvious who the killers are. Craven plays on other films be essentially taking the piss out of them. Throwing in references to his own films, having a speech about the rules which will help you successfully survive a horror movie, stereotypical  events (the girl running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door) all of which made Scream a great movie to watch and parody that you could take seriously, with this film he turned the genre on its head and poked fun at it. Because of this it’s one of my all time favourite horror films and here are my top five scenes.

1. Opening sequence

It’s truly a brutal way to begin the film. We have one teenage girl, Casey, at home alone who receives a call, and whilst they are playful at first, things take a turn for the worst. Her boyfriend Steve has been kidnapped and is currently strapped to a chair in her back garden, whilst she her attempts to save his life go downhill. In the end, he’s left with his insides on the outside whilst the parents of the girl find her hanging from a tree. A really horrific way to begin a film and it perfectly sets up the rest. One thought I had about this scene recently is that the parents come home to find their house filled with smoke and teenage daughter dead. Traumatic to say the least, they have even found Steve’s body yet, poor bastards! Check out the first five minutes here, I couldn’t find a clip of the entire thing unfortunately.

2. Tatum’s death

A tough female supporting character is always handy as she’ll provide some sassy comments, not giving a fuck attitude and will be resilient to the killer’s attempts to make her the next victim. At least, for a short while anyway. Tatum bit the dust when she had no where left to run besides the cat flap in the electric garage door. At first, after being cut by Ghostface, she throws bottles in defence and even knocks him down. It’s at this fatal moment, when things take a turn for the stupid. Tatum jumps down into the tiny cat flap door, get’s stuck and the killer very simply activating the garage door, so she gets sliced right at the top. The reason I’ve added this one in is because of how she died, mostly through desperation and stupidity. She starts off so well by defending herself with what ever she finds, knocks him over then tries to escape in the most ludicrous way possible instead of calling out to your friends who are on the other side of the door! Dammit! Anyway, it’s also an original death and no one knows she’s dead, besides the killer of course, for quite sometime.

3. Rules about horror films

Randy is the film fan within a horror film. The man who will know everything you need to know about surviving a horror film. A nice nod to the audience whilst mocking all horror movies at the same time. It’s a dam good scene where the geek is the centre of attention whilst at a party, just before the final couple of scenes. As he lists the rules, you’ll notice that the movie goes out of its way to break every single one of them, yet another way Craven mocked the genre in the best way possible. Check out the scene below.

4. The reveal of the killers

*SPOILER ALERT* Billy Loomis and Stu Macher reveal themselves to be the killers and it’s no entirely surprising. Billy was accused of being the killer earlier in the film when he was found with a mobile phone and Stu is bat-shit fucking crazy! Funny but he did exhibit all of the stereotypical killer attributes including talking about how to gut someone, actively defending himself and just being a little off, enough to assume that something wasn’t quite right. Something was quite wrong in fact, what with him killing people and all! And why did Stu do this? Down the peer pressure, really?! Billy’s reasons were clear cut. He reveals that he’s the one who killed Sidney’s mother a year ago because of an affair she has with his father causing Billy’s mum to abandon him. It’s almost heart breaking but then you remember he’s gone around the town, killing innocent people! Not the best way to chalk up sympathy. In the end, it’s this reveal that’s the most shocking (well, my final best scene from Scream is also shocking, in its own way.) due to the history of what has happened. Very well done!

5. Stu’s death

He’s a character with several screws lose, doesn’t always say the right thing at the right time and constantly goes out of his way to make others laugh. He’s such a great character which is why it was actually a shame that he had to die. Of course he had to die, being one of the orchestrators of the events the occurred in Woodsboro. His death happens when Sidney knocks him on the floor, smashes a vase on the back of his head, he’s almost out cold when she pushes the TV on his head, electrocuting him to death. With smoke coming out of the back of the TV, Stu lies there, with his time in this franchise coming to a shocking end. Superb.

There are a couple of things I want to note about this film, namely the references to other movies and one particular (almost) mention of a famous TV character:

  • Fred the janitor is played by Wes Craven and is the spitting image of Freddy Krueger, minus the blades on his gloves.
  • Linda Blair, the girl from The Exorcist, plays an obnoxious bitch of a reporter, demanding to get a story out of Sidney.
  • Henry Winkler, who played the Principal of the school, is most famous for play Arthur “Fonze” Fonzarelli in Happy Days and his first name in Scream? Arthur. Nicely done Wes, very nicely done.

Thank you for the nightmares Wes Craven, you gave us so much to scream about.

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The secret of cinema.

The way we watch films has changed and it continues to change. Initially there was the multiplex, then the independent cinemas starting rising for independent film makers everywhere. Now there is something newer, something that many would have heard of and been to but also something that hasn’t reached it’s peak just yet. However, that day is coming. It’s the rise of the alternative screenings. For those of you utterly bewildered and confused by this concept, companies such as Film 4, Future Cinema and Beas of Bloomsbury all screening popular and cult films in either extraordinary places or by setting the scene of the film to give you the feel of authenticity. The film of being part of the action, being there when the drama unfolds, riding along in the cars during an over the top chase scene. There is also the chance to see recreations of scenes from the films, live performances from actors as well as singing and dancing, all part of the package from Secret Cinema and Future Cinema.

Bugsy Malone performance

The creation of these screenings has given all types of cinema goers the chance to watch some of their favourite films in different ways, the rise of everything interactive has caused a wave of these screenings popping up everywhere, some at a steep price but not all. Whilst Secret Cinema charges £35 for the pleasure of their company, you get your moneys worth not only having the film kept a secret until screening, but also having actors performing parts from the films, having the sets in front of you for you to admire and getting involved yourself. Please see the photo of the lovely gentleman below who was hoisted on stage in a ballerina’s outfit and danced around for several onlookers to enjoy!

 They aren’t all like that though. There is also something for the person just looking                                                                                          to enjoy a film in a different location, there is Beas of Bloomsbury which offers vintage films in their warehouse-esque setting for £5. You can purchase hot dogs, beers, wine, sweets, popcorn and all sorts to make the night a more enjoyable and fatty one! And let’s be honest, a fatty night is a good night! One similar to this is Film4 who do their own outdoor summer screenings which, assuming the weather holds out, is a fantastic joy. With summer night of London, the glow of a brilliant film such as Scarface in front of you and the just being outside to watch something is a great feeling. The screenings happen each summer for around 2 weeks and there  is always something you’ll want to see. A quote that depicts the feeling of these screenings is “Watching a movie under the stars in Somerset House’s beautiful courtyard on a balmy summer evening is a near-perfect LonA foamy Bugsy Malonedon experience” says Time Out.

Without a doubt, all three and several more outdoor and rooftop screenings are immense fun and offer you an alternative to the typical bar / club scene which London is so famous for. But for those of you who want a change, take a look at the links at the bottom and feel inspired!

Links:

Film 4 screenings at Somerset House

Beas of Bloomsbury

Secret Cinema

Rooftop Club

Time Out’s outdoor screenings