Crypt – Coming Soon in 2017!

FrightFest showcases the best of new British horror and thriller films, whether it’s shorts, features and web series. This year was no different, as FrightFest 2017 saw the UK premiere of Crypt, a short film with a unique take on the horror and thriller genre.

Directed by Eitan Arrusi, Crypt tells the story of Jed and his team of rescue and salvage experts, who are called dig out the survivors following an underground explosion in London.

Below is a teaser video that premiered at FrightFest on 27th August which I urge you to watch and share.

This teaser had me hooked and intrigued; it’s full of suspense, it shocks and alludes to my favourite horror/thriller films. After three years living in London, I never once thought about what lay beyond and below the Underground system and this is why Crypt’s concept is absolutely fascinating and original. The tagline sums it up perfectly:

Beneath London is a world few ever get to see. Over 1000 miles of tunnels and rivers. The last place you’d want to be trapped… I know I certainly wouldn’t!

If you’d like to know more, check out and follow their social media pages:

Twitter / Instagram: @CryptTheFilm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Crypt-264505744063234/

 

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Marvel and DC News

San Diego Comic Con, one of the World’s biggest and renowned conventions, has dropped some major news this week, particularly in the world of Superheroes. Let’s sum up:

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Practically every single Marvel actor was at the comic con (with the exception of Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans) and it was a beautiful sight. They’re keeping most of Avengers: Infinity War under wraps for the moment but they released their new poster for it which look incredible! And there are rumours that teenage Groot appears a lot and will steal the show.

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Thor: Ragnarok‘s new trailer was dropped! Hulk is talking properly and it seems Bruce and Thor’s relationship is a true bromance. Even bigger news is that tiny clip we see in the trailer of Thor facing a new villain Surtur, the Fire Demon, voiced by Clancy Brown. And look at the beautiful poster for Ragnarok! This movie is potentially looking like one of Marvel’s greats!

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And on the subject of awesome new posters, check out Black Panther’s too!

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Ant-Man and the Wasp is coming to us in 2018. Paul Rudd has featured in two of the Marvel films so far, one his own title movie and the second in Civil War, where, let’s face it, he stole the show in that fight scene. We knew the moment we saw her and the suit in Ant-Man’s after credit clip that Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) will be the Wasp. But what about others? Michael Douglas as Hank Pym is back, but joining the team are Michelle Pfeiffer and, jumping ship from DC (or, ya know, playing for both sides), is Laurence Fishburne. Pfeiffer will be playing Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp and wife to Hank and mother to Hope. It’s unclear whether she’ll appear in flashback form or if she’ll be finding her way back from the subatomic realm to present day. Fishburne is coming in as Bill Foster who is a scientist who works alongside Pym and becomes Giant-Man. Also revealed was that they’re will be a character called Ghost in it, who originally is an Iron Man villain.

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Don’t forget that The Defenders is released on Netflix on the 18th August! Having seen all of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, I can safely say I’m extremely excited for this! Especially as Sigourney Weaver is the villain in this one, and we all know TV Marvel brings some excellent villains: Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Killgrave (David Tennant) were incredible, and even Cottonmouth and the Meachum’s were pretty strong too.

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Justice League is coming in November 2017 and here’s hoping they can stay on track this year after the brilliance of Wonder Woman. I’m incredibly excited but word on the street is that Ben Affleck doesn’t want to play Batman any more. Ben, what are you doing? And even worse is the rumour how they plan to replace him: Apparently Flash goes back in time and changes it so that Bruce and his mother die and stops the death of Bruce Wayne’s father. He then, in turn, becomes Batman… So it’ll be Robert Wayne, not Bruce Wayne. Huh?? Though, at San Diego Comic Con, Ben Affleck was defending himself “I love this character.” So maybe he’s regretting the comment now?

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A first look at Star Trek: Discovery was revealed, plus Marvel’s Inhumans! And don’t forget Star Wars Episode VIII at the end of the year too! Let’s just say, we can’t wait!

Interview with Niall Johnson, Emilia Fox and Singe Greene – Mum’s List (2016)

On 24th November I was lucky enough to be invited to the press junket of Mum’s List. Recently released in cinemas across the UK, Mum’s List is a British movie shot on location in Clevedon. Based on a true story, the film is about the Greene family who’s lives are altered when Kate is diagnosed with cancer. She prepares her family by leaving notes and messages, a sort of “To Do” list for after she’s gone.

I had the absolute pleasure to meet and interview director Niall Johnson, leading actress Emilia Fox, who plays Kate Greene, and author of the book, and Kate’s husband, St John (Singe) Greene.

All three were a joy to talk to and gave real insight into the movie and the filmmaking process. Niall spoke on how the story came to be a movie such as this and his background with the Greene family. Emilia told me of the huge responsibility yet honour it was to play Kate Greene, (and how the West Country accent is a tricky one to master!) And for young people, like myself, trying to break into the film industry, they both give some advice!

Afterwards, I met with Singe and he told me more about his family, the boys Reef and Finn, and how the filmmaking experience affected them.

Even after the interview with Singe was over, I mentioned that he knew my dad from back home. We had a quick chat about him and then he told me to give him a big hug and tell him I love him “acres and acres.” Even through all the press days and premieres, Singe continues to spread Kate’s inspirational, positive message and his families’ story.

I’m so lucky and grateful to have met all three. And we could all strive to be more like Kate.

Mum’s List (2016) review and interview with Niall Johnson, Emilia Fox and Singe Greene

Although its subject matter is familiar territory in film, Mum’s List is unique in the sense that the story itself is unique and true. Adapted from St John (Singe) Greene’s autobiographical book of the same name, the story focuses on Singe (Rafe Spall) and wife Kate (Emilia Fox), who was diagnosed with cancer only a few years after their young son’s battle with the disease. But Kate prepares by compiling a collection of notes and life lessons for her family after she’s gone. Just hearing the synopsis can have audiences dabbing their eyes, but Mum’s List is a whole lot more than just a tear-jerker.

Director Niall Johnson’s true story drama is so understated and realist that it felt like, at times, I was watching a home filmed video. The story is personal to him: “I knew Kate in the last eighteen months of her life, so I knew the story way before the book. Movies were moving in on the story and Singe said “why don’t you do it?” I thought I was a bit too close and movies can mess things up. But as Singe and Rachel Murphy were writing the book I realised they were helping me find my way through what it was about the story that would make a hundred minute film. It was in Kate’s list. The book follows Singe of course, but the movie had to follow Kate.”

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Johnson glides us through the story, using the narrative to naturally flow back and forth from present day to past moments and memories. This enables an audience to grasp what kind of person Kate was and show that she’s not just defined by her illness. Brilliantly played by Emilia Fox, Kate is a loving mother, wife and friend, and has an incredible zest for life. “It was a huge responsibility being asked to play Kate, but a huge honour as well. I relied very heavily on Singe himself to talk me through every scene in the film. We sat in the pub and talked for a couple of hours and cried for a couple of hours.”

Emilia breathes life to Kate, and brings an element of subtlety, leaving out the melodrama. Similarly, Rafe Spall plays Singe with the same subtlety and he very much pulls us through the movie. Both actors give genuine, heartfelt performances and carry the film through it’s absolutely devastating and upsetting scenes.

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Being from Bristol and having a lot of family in the West, seeing Mum’s List filmed on location in Clevedon was incredibly exciting for me and is something that the film really takes pride in and Singe Greene definitely does too. “I really wanted it to be a British movie. I’m very proud of where I live and I hope we put it right on the map.” The scenery shots slotted into the movie are truly stunning and picturesque like from a postcard, all thanks to Director of Photography Eden Bolter, who’s recently been nominated for BAFTA’s 2016 Breakthrough Brit award.

Mum’s List, as a whole, is very understated, pulling away from Hollywood melodrama. Despite it’s subject matter, the film oozes positivity; everything down to the production design is bright and shining to reflect Kate’s personality even when she was ill. Mum’s List is a cruel and frank reminder that life is too short, so love too much and care too much. Its a heartbreaking watch at times, but altogether an uplifting, positive journey.

Mum’s List is in cinemas now!

mumslist-njef Full interview will be posted soon!

Civil War – Predictions and Speculations

Today is a good old-fashioned speculation post. With Captain America: Civil War right around the corner, it’s looking like the biggest Marvel film ever in terms of cast, plot and marketing scheme, (which I didn’t think was even possible after Avengers 2). The reason for this post, is from overhearing a few conversations and it seems many people are “betting” on which character(s) is going to die. Harsh yes, but I’d like to join the discussion so, here are my thoughts… (Warning: Potential spoilers if you haven’t seen the other movies!)

Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier: 

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Bucky, or the Winter Soldier, has only just redeemed himself and become a “good guy.” He’s not yet fully established in this universe and there is a big reason why he can’t die at the start of his Marvel career. Also, the only person who would be upset at this point is Cap who seems to go to great lengths to protect his man. There is more to see of this character.

Hawkeye:

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Hawkeye is ranking top of the polls right now from what I’ve heard. But here is why I don’t think he can or should die: he is the only member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or any superhero movie, to have a functional family. This character came into his own in Avengers: Age of Ultron and it would be heart breaking if he died, which is the reaction Marvel crave, so perhaps it would make sense. Hawkeye’s appeared in enough movies after all. But again, he is the only Marvel Superhero to have a working, FUNCTIONAL family. Audiences often need characters to set good examples particularly in times of stress, war and economic trouble (cinema is practically propaganda, but sometimes in a kind of nice nurturing way). Being a cool guy and having a FUNCTIONAL family sets a good example to audiences, enforcing that marriage still works and isn’t dying off, that a career and kids can still happen, that people can have both. Marvel struck the balance right with this guy. Hawkeye, or Agent Barton, counteracts the bad examples of Tony Stark’s play boy life, Scott Lang’s criminal lifestyle or Peter Quill’s lack of commitment to anything/anyone (even though these hero’s do “clean up their act”). All this aside, Hawkeye is an underdog type character and I think he’s great, so I hope he’s here to stay.

Scarlet Witch or Ant Man or Falcon or Vision:

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Marvel would be idiotic to kill off any of these characters. They are not established enough yet. Scarlet Witch’s brother Quicksilver was killed off pretty quickly granted, but, next to Black Widow and until Captain Marvel and The Wasp join, she is the only female hero in this franchise (I exclude Gamora as she isn’t part of this timeline yet). Also, she has the potential to be the strongest Avenger! Ant Man has a sequel scheduled so he’s sticking around. Vision plays host to the mind stone that is in his head, so he needs to be kept on until the Infinity Wars. The most expendable here is Falcon, but Marvel will then fall under scrutiny for a lack of diversity if he’s killed off. Plus, he’s friggin’ awesome.

Black Widow:

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Black Widow is also high ranking, next to Hawkeye. Natasha has been in many many movies after all and is still a secondary character. But with the introduction of Spider-Man and Black Panther, two more male superheroes, and Marvel shying away from giving her her own movie, it will be one huge kick in the face and will further anger/alienate audiences if she is killed off. We NEED Black Widow.

Spider-Man or Black Panther:

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Don’t be silly, they haven’t even made their debut yet. And I can’t wait to see them in action!

War Machine:

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Rhodey has been in it from the very beginning of the MCU in Iron Man (remember Terrence Howard?), so he’s been in enough movies that he could be killed off. He was shown to be unconscious in the trailer, but I’m sure it’s a classic misdirect on Marvel’s part. Being initiated into the new Avengers team has added weight to the character, so I don’t think they would get rid of him yet. We also have the lack of diversity problem that we have with Falcon. Plus, I don’t believe people will care too much if he was killed off… or I won’t… I’m sorry, I can’t stand Don Cheadle and his new characterisation since replacing Terrence Howard. Overall, I think he could outlive Iron Man…

Captain America or Iron Man:

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The two protagonists, almost joint leaders of the Avengers, but now the leaders of their own sides locked in a Civil War. It’s no spoiler that both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans’ contracts are coming to an end. The impact needed here, the heart break, the tears and the crushing pain of losing a much loved character… I believe it will be either Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. Or both. So just prepare yourselves.

OVERALL VERDICT: Brace yourself for a devastating loss in Iron Man or Captain America’s deaths. But of course, I could be completely wrong.

What do you guys think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

M x

Matt Charman Q+A: Bridge of Spies (2015)

So Wednesday 6th April saw me sat in a Q+A session with the incredible Matt Charman, screenwriter of Bridge of Spies. He was a fascinating bloke to say the least, particularly interesting to me as I love writing and have always considered screenwriting a potential career path for me.

Matt Charman’s advice to early writers, or to any writers, is to “write what you want to see.” And as writers, we should be able to tell anecdotes and stories well. I myself am sometimes eloquently fascinating or sometimes lose absolutely all social skills and bore everybody to sleep with my life stories, however this will force me to practice! His work ethic too is incredibly impressive; writing on one project from 7am-1pm, then writing on another project from 1.30pm-7pm. If you want to write, just keep at it!

The idea for Bridge of Spies came from footnote in a book, according to Charlan, about JFK and his administration, where JFK sent a man named James Donovan, an insurance lawyer, to negotiate in Cuba with Castro directly to return American hostages during JFK’s “Bay of Pigs” period. The footnote told Charlan that James Donovan was an insurance lawyer who was known for negotiating in East Berlin in the Rudolf Abel case. His mind was whirling; who is this James Donovan that the American government put all their faith in- twice?

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I wrote a short review on Bridge of Spies a while back in November after I had watched the film, but never published it. So here we go:

Three reasons I thought I’d like this film. First, because it is directed by Steven Spielberg- you’ve got an above average film right there already. Secondly, because it’s based on a true story of America in the 1950s – which I am completely fascinated with. And thirdly… It starred Tom Hanks. An amazing man and a fantastic actor, class A, the best- I love Tom Hanks. But what did concern me was that this film could end up being another boring Lincoln. But how wrong I was!

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union captures U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after shooting down his U-2 spy plane. The only hope of freedom is New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks), recruited by a CIA operative to negotiate his release. Donovan boards a plane to Berlin, hoping to win the young man’s freedom through a prisoner exchange. If all goes well, the Russians would get Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), the convicted spy who Donovan defended in court.

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Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are a reliable combination. And with a killer script by Matt Charman, and Mark Rylance’s support, this film is an engaging, captivating watch. I wasn’t surprised either to see the Coen Brothers being the co-writers on this (alongside Charman), as some of the dialogue and the mood the Coens create in their films was ever present. Mark Rylance (who won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards), is incredible, there are no words (and adding to this review now, he seriously deserved the Oscar, he’s a wonderful actor).

A politically driven film, and topical at it’s time of release with recent terrorist attacks, our society living in fear and world leaders doing what is easy and not right, Bridge of Spies also portrays a society living in fear, but a character like Donovan addresses the opposite; do what is right and not what is easy. Overall, Bridge of Spies is a wonderful film, thoroughly enjoyable and even my American friend grew emotional stating “this film has made me so proud to be an American.” Like 50s America, forever living in fear of the Atom Bomb, we shouldn’t live in fear either as life just goes on and, like Mark Rylance’s Rudolf Abel asks, “would it help?”

M x

Heath Ledger (1979-2008)

Heathcliff Andrew Ledger would be 37 years old today.

At 14 years old, I had a lot going on at home and I used films as an escape from this. Being absorbed in another’s world with another person’s life to focus on allowed me to escape mine. Each film, different from the last, was beautiful and unique. I adored watching all sorts of genres from Hollywood blockbusters to world cinema to old classics. At that point, I hadn’t decided I wanted to become a filmmaker.

A family friend of mine understood, and one day, she brought round Brokeback Mountain. Having heard the film’s name through award ceremonies, I knew the film but had no clue what it was about. I didn’t research the film beforehand or even read the blurb of the DVD, I just slotted it into my portable DVD player in my room and watched.

Maybe it was because of what was happening in my own life that made it so emotional and poignant? But one thing’s for certain, Brokeback Mountain is the most perfect film I’ve seen and I watched right to the end through Gustavo Santaolalla’s The Wings, Willie Nelson’s He Was a Friend of Mine and Rufus Wainwright’s The Maker Makes. I couldn’t stop crying, and never have I cried so much at a film since. It was the oddest experience. And Heath Ledger’s performance brought this on, I can’t even explain it. He shone brightest in an already shining film, conveying through Ennis Del Mar the injustice and painful reality of living a difficult life, in a difficult time and this resonated strongly with me.

After Brokeback Mountain, I desperately wanted to not just watch these films in my bedroom on my little portable DVD player late at night anymore. Instead, I sought to create them. To move and inspire someone just as Ang Lee’s masterpiece had and to discover or even meet acting revelations like Heath Ledger himself. But, alas, the announcement of his death came shortly after.

Without his initial influence, I wouldn’t be pursuing a career as a filmmaker. Heath Ledger helped me find my passion, helped me to concentrate on something else other than my life and he helped me imagine a potential future for myself. Even now I can quote the film, write a University academic essay on Brokeback Mountain and often I refer back to Heath Ledger’s work. He was my role model, a symbol of where I wanted to reach one day. I owe him a lot.

Heath Ledger was the greatest actor my generation has ever known: an incredible talent and a special person. He was taken too young, but to quote Ennis: “if you can’t fix it, you gotta stand it.” Happy birthday dude, and thanks for everything. M x

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