Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

And so the age of the superhero movies dominating the box office continues, and 2016 begins with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Probably the most anticipated movie for a long time, purely because of it’s title and because two of the most iconic fictional characters and superheroes history will ever see are going to fight each other!

Superman (Henry Cavill) is seen as a controversial figure in Metropolis after the events seen in Man of Steel, and while there are many in the world who see him as a superhero or a God, there are many others who view him as an extreme threat. Bruce Wayne or Batman (Ben Affleck) falls into the latter, having witnessed the destruction and death caused by Superman fighting General Zod in Man of Steel. As a result, he vows to use his power and resources to stop the danger that is Superman.

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Straight away, I observed and listened when a lot of people gave it bad reputation, mainly due to the fact it wasn’t Marvel and the fact DC is known for not being on top form (but reminder, that neither is Marvel.. remember Iron Man 3?) But does that mean because it’s DC it’s already set out to fail before even entering the cinema? Of course, Batman V Superman had it’s flaws. To start with, we had some poor, cliché dialogue constantly surfacing, to the point I was rolling my eyes numerous occasions. Secondly, I think always will find scenes with Superman a bit lacklustre, leaning almost towards snooze-worthy. Unfortunately his powers and gentlemanly characterisation is no longer captivating audiences. Since we can utilise our VFX and SFX much more effectively nowadays, we can create a less conventional hero with more unique powers and be able to do them justice, for example newcomers Ant-Man, Jessica Jones or even non-humans Rocket and Groot! And thirdly, I will also never be convinced on the casting of Amy Adams as Louis Lane.

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However, despite this, the movie itself was not cliché and surprised in being unconventional. Firstly, I adored the opening; it was provocative, artful and a fresh way to introduce our new Bruce Wayne, without giving him another dragged out origin story. And I was completely intrigued by Ben Affleck’s Batman. If this is the Batman we are staying with for now, I’m really excited for what’s to come. I’ll be honest and say the scenes that stood out for me included Batman/Bruce Wayne, particularly Bruce’s visions and scenes with Wonder Woman (the incredible, enchanting Gal Gadot). Shout out to Jeremy Irons too as Alfred, but who is now a mega hybrid of butler father-figure Alfred and tech genius Lucius Fox.

Batman V Superman is unlike any of the superhero movies I’ve seen so far because it is visually engaging. The cinematography is excellent and it’s post production colour grading makes it look even darker than The Dark Knight Trilogy, but equally as coarse and urbanised. The action sequences, like Man of Steel, are fast and warped, which brings my boyfriend hope they’ll finally be able to create a credible live action Dragon Ball Z movie also, as the fighting, movement and pacing of the final fight scene against Doomsday is resonant of the anime.

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My only other quibble is there is not enough interaction between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent and I would have definitely liked to have seen more. However, when they do come together without the capes and masks, it’s one of the most intense, well written scenes of the movie.

Overall, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was anything but dull in my opinion. No, it’s not Marvel but this is because it’s DC, and I commend it for not jumping on it’s band wagon. It had a few issues, but otherwise I found it a well crafted film that was thoroughly enjoyable; well shot, decent script with decent acting and a kick ass fight scene that featured three of the most iconic comic book heroes – what more can you want? And with it’s book ended opening and conclusion, and thanks to those awesome “teasers” shown to us by Wonder Woman, we can only assume there is more to come!

M x

(Also I’m totally psyched too that Bruce Wayne’s mother is called Martha and that Clark Kent’s mother is also called Martha!)

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Inside Obama’s White House (2016)

On Monday 14th March I had the privilege of being at BAFTA’s lovely comfy seating about to watch a preview of Inside Obama’s White House (BBC 2 on Tuesday’s at 9pm). As an audience, we were invited to enjoy episode 2, Obamacare. The screening was followed by a Q+A with series producer Norma Percy, executive producers Paul Mitchell and Brian Lapping, and director/producer of episode 2 Sarah Wallis. And enjoy it I did!

Inside Obama’s White House is a four part series concentrating on important moments of Obama’s presidency: economy, healthcare, foreign policy etc. It reminded me of how Sir David Frost’s four interviews with President Richard Nixon focused on similar topics: foreign policy, Cambodia and Watergate. After the screening and watching episode 1 ‘100 Days’ last week, I quickly realised we were in similar territory, and if these documentaries continue as they mean to go on, they could be as historically influential and poignant as the Nixon interviews were.

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What strikes me straight away about this documentary is the level of access the production team were able to receive, which in itself is extremely impressive! This included an interview with the President himself, which was the hardest part according to Series Producer Norma Perry- they were only allowed 40 minutes with him, amounting to a strict 10 minutes covering each topic.

With America in the world’s eye right now because of the presidential campaigns, the elections and Donald Trump being Donald Trump, there are a lot of political based documentaries and dramas crawling onto our screens e.g. Race for the White House, Scandal, House of Cards etc. But we live in a time where documentaries are popular and becoming more and more successful, particularly those that document and focus on America’s society. Most recently and famously Making a Murderer, a Netflix 10-part documentary series focusing on wrongly incarcerated sex offender Steven Avery, who, after his release, went on to also be the primary suspect in a murder case and tried to prove his innocence. Similarly, Inside Obama’s White House also has underlying subtlety about it; it highlights America’s society and all that is wrong with it’s political system.

Many believe, including the American gentleman who spoke up at the Q+A screening, that the election of Barack Obama marked the real end of the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. It was a turning point, that America had progressed and matured in terms of discrimination and was setting an example to other nations. He was to take over from President Bush who left the country knee deep in the war on terror and facing the worst economic crisis for decades. Episode 1, 100 Days, focuses on how Obama desperately tried to steer America out of the inevitable; the new Great Depression. Episode 2, Obamacare, focuses on how the President tries to fight for a healthcare reform, so that it is fairer and more favourable to all, as everyone has a right to healthcare. The tone of the series is factual, yet the edit includes moments where Obama is dismissed by many Americans. His political endeavours aside, the bottom line is, his years in office were difficult as he was still discriminated against for being a black man.

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It’s with Obamacare we really see how the edit is used to include moments where Obama is undermined every chance given, particularly by the Republican party. They throw everything at him to stop this reform, yet we can see how determined and optimistic Obama is and gives it everything he has to make the reform happen, benefiting hundreds of thousands of Americans. Yet, it’s a bitter sweet victory. With the elections coming up, there is a chance a Republican could gain office. The options are looking like Donald Trump (shivers) or Ted Cruz (shivers), who are both supporters of the Tea Party protesting to undo the reform and Obama’s hard work.

All political talk aside, Inside Obama’s White House is powerful and definitely one to watch. As well as hard-hitting and enthralling, it also has a humorous tone, to reflect Obama’s nature that he is an easy-going man at heart. A favourite moment of mine is the recollection Frank Lutz has when Obama spotlights him during a talk at a Republican event: “if the President points you out and says your name, the only thing you do is try not to faint!”

Inside Obama’s White House was described as a “privilege” at BAFTA, which is correct. As a filmmaker, you only dream to document the most powerful man in the world, therefore this series was a privilege to create, and we as an audience are privileged to have a chance to witness these events and interviews in an intimate manner. The documentary is honest and true to Obama and his years in office and will join many in preserving America’s history. It’s absolutely fascinating and, indeed, a privilege to watch.

M x

Back to Blogging – The Circus

Hi all,

So I’ve been completely out of the loop with blogging the past few months, all because of a little short film called ‘The Circus.’ Well little, to be honest, is an understatement. Featuring a big top circus tent, trapeze artists and acrobats, insane makeup by Penelope Gwen (@pennold) and steampunk costumes, ‘The Circus’ is the most ambitious film I have produced so far, and was super fun to work on!

Here are some sneaky screenshots…

Check us out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecircusfilm/?fref=ts

Twitter / Instagram: @thecircusfilm

Now I’m back and ready to blog again with new film/TV reviews, musings and potential guest bloggers too!

M x

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