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Author: Liselotte Vanophem

Reviews

Review: Rocks

September 17, 2020
Rocks

That director Sarah Gavron has a love for female voices is proven by her Suffragette and Brick Lane. Now, she’s doing it again as she brings some new voices to our attention. Not only ‘new’ as in ‘voices we’ve never heard before’ but also ‘new’ as in ‘voices from first-time actors. Her Rocks is a beautiful and uplifting but also heartbreaking movie full of raw emotions.

When you have to go through a difficult time all on your own

Shola (Bukky Bakray), nickname Rocks, is a very vivid, creative, and full-of-life young woman who has a great time with her friends. Always cheerful, always getting into minor trouble, and always showing the world her make-up skills. On the outside, seems to be a typical teenager, but underneath her bubbly personality, there’s also sadness and pain. After her mother’s sudden departure, she needs to care for herself and her little brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu). Paying bills and getting food on the table becomes extremely difficult for Rocks, even with the little money her mum left her.

She’s doing her best: attending school, not getting into trouble anymore, and being there for her brother. There’s just one thing. She’s afraid of showing her emotions to her friends, and therefore, she has to face this massive burden alone. When this is starting to pressure her friendships, it’s all becoming too much for Rocks. Right when she thought she had seen the worst, people turn up on her doorstep, and they’re not coming to socialize.

The ensemble of Rocks
(Source: IMDb)

A first-class ensemble brings a lot of authenticity to this movie

During the Dublin International Film Festival, “Rocks” won the Best Ensemble award, and it’s that stunning ensemble that keeps this movie going. The performances of the overall cast are poignant, beautiful, and right from the heart. Because of the acting, you feel that you’re watching a real-life documentary instead of a movie. Every time Bakray appears on the screen, she will either make you laugh or cry.

Her performance is compelling and brings out that fighting spirit of “Rocks”. The on-screen chemistry between her and Kissiedu, who also deserves credit for his adorable and emotional performance, is such a wonderful one to see. The girls are all together in most scenes, but Bakray has the most time together with Kosar Ali, who’s playing the hip-hop loving Sumaya. Ali is such a delight to see, both her performance as the upbeat Sumaya and the more emotional young woman. However, again, congratulations to the entire cast of this movie!

There’s also a very high element of authenticity connected to this movie. The slang that the friends use, the secrets handshakes, and the entertaining classes are beautifully interwoven in the story. It feels like we’re back in school again. When seeing places like Rio Cinema and London’s landscape view, we’re out there on the streets, side-by-side with the girls. Also, the fact that every girl is different in her unique way is so refreshing to watch. No matter what class they’re from or which god they believe in, they’re friends who take each other for who they’re.

The wonderful cast of Rocks
(Source: IMDb)

A must-see gorgeous and moving film

Rocks was already part of film festivals such as the BFI London Film Festival and FilmBath Festival and is now getting a nationwide UK release. Not only because it proves that the film industry is slowly getting back up again but also because it will give you the chance to see this truth-full, emotional, and beautiful movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Rocks is released in the U.K. on the 18th of September

Rocks (Trailer)

Also Read: Underrated Movies: Ma

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Editorials, News

The Rise of Online Film Events: Will They Replace Physical Ones?

September 15, 2020

You have MCM London Comic Con twice a year, New York Comic-Con, and San Diego Comic-Con. Sadly, in 2020 we won’t have any of them due to the current climate. However, that doesn’t mean that Comic fans and international film companies can’t come together to enjoy the likes of Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and Black Widow. Like any other industry, the entertainment industry had to adapt the last few months and did that with a bang. Let’s discover what new ideas were created to bring fans, movies, and comics closer to each other.

10 Reasons to Look Forward to SDCC

Comic Cons in different online forms

The most significant change was, without a doubt, moving comic cons online. Ok, the usual meet and greets, autograph and photograph sessions weren’t possible, but thanks to Comic-Con@Home and DC FanDome, fans could still enjoy the newest trailers, exclusive footage, and panels. It might be less exclusive because everyone can access it, but that’s also the strength of online comic cons. We all know how expensive entry tickets can be, and so the fact that audiences can now access the content for free makes it so much easier for everyone around to world to see things they might never have seen otherwise. Still, we certainly can’t wait to see all the colourful, stunning, and one-of-a-kind cosplays, be in awe with other comic fans about upcoming releases and just feel that uplifting and exciting vibe.

Alongside those newfound events, a few platforms gained more fame because of the changing landscape. One of those was Twitch. For those of you who haven’t heard about Twitch, it’s a video live streaming service from Twitch Interactive, part of Amazon. At first, it focussed mostly on the live streaming of video games but also focused on music, film, and entertainment. Because of the cancellation of comic cons, organizers decided to this platform as their Q&A platform. Instead of hosting a panel in a packed room, they’re now just setting up a live-stream via Twitch. They get to interview the cast and crew of a film or television series from a distance, and fans worldwide can watch it wherever they’re from and submit their questions. To get that ‘exclusivity’ vibe, the live-stream isn’t available after the Q&A.

DC FanDome

Meet and greets with a twist

Standing in a long queue, waiting for hours, and then when you can finally meet the stars in person, it was worth it. Getting that euphoric feeling again won’t happen anytime soon (what a shame though), but there’s still a way with which fans and their favourite actors, directors, and producers can have a tête-à-tête. Just as back in the days, fans can buy meet and greet tickets, but instead of seeing the stars in real life, you get a Skype or Zoom invitation.

While the intimacy might get a little bit lost because of the virtual meet up instead of an in-person one, there’s also a positive thing regarding the online meet and greets. If you want to meet film cast during the comic cons, you wouldn’t only have to pay for the tickets, but if you come from outside the country, you also have to pay for the flight, accommodation, etc. Therefore it can become expensive and also not affordable for everyone. The online meet and greets, on the contrary, are much cheaper and can be bought all over the world. Although the intimacy level decreases slightly, there’s definitely still that feeling of excitement, anticipation, and wonder when that Zoom call in loading.

Modern reunions

Because we weren’t able to come together, we reunited via Zoom meetings and Skype calls and so did the cast and crew of films and television series. There’s only one small difference. Their reunions could be attended by all the fans all over the world. One of the most entertaining ones was The Lord of the Rings one in which the likes of Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Andy Serkis, Viggo Mortensen, and Sean Bean participated. The fans didn’t only get insights on what happened when the cameras stopped rolling, but some scenes were acted out again.

One Zoom to Rule Them All (Reunited Apart)

Will online events replace the physical ones?

Right after the FanDome, it was announced that the event got 22 million views across 220 countries and territories. The fans aren’t only standing behind comic cons, but they make sure that the meet and greets sell out and that the online reunions get millions of views. Will online events keep on rising throughout the following years, and will they replace the physical ones or just go side-by-side? To be continued for sure.

Also Read: DC FanDome Recap

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Editorials

DC FanDome Shows Us many Exciting Films We Can Look Forward To!

August 30, 2020
DC FanDome

Sadly, there are no Comic Cons these days but there are still many ways in which comic fans can connect with each other and with directors, actors, and film crews. One of those was DC FanDome, a 24-hour event during we’ve got a glimpse of what the future will bring when it comes to the DC Superheroes. Now that we’ve all woken up from our comic coma, it’s time for us to share some new teasers and exciting releases.

Batman is more alive than ever

Due to the ongoing situation, the filming of The Batman had to come to a halt but that didn’t stop director Matthew Reeves from sharing the first look of his upcoming movie. We didn’t only get to see the first official poster but also a glimpse of Robert Pattinson in the Batsuit. While there was only 25% of the movie filmed before lockdown, the team also already provided us with a trailer. After looking at this action-packed, black-red, and compelling footage, we can hardly wait to see what’s up next! The filming of The Batman is expected to be resumed very soon and the movie itself is set to be released in the UK on the 1st of October 2021.

Ok, yes technically this news was announced right before the start of the online event but hey, it’s Batman news that no one saw coming. After portraying Bruce Wayne in movies such as Justice League and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck is putting on the Batsuit again. No, it’s not about his performance in Justice League: The Snyder Cut. No, we’re talking about Affleck’s appearance in The Flash from director Andy Muschietti. Apart from Affleck, only two other members of the cast are confirmed so far. One of them is Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash and Michael Keaton as… Batman/Bruce Wayne. Yes, both Affleck and Keaton are starring as Batman in one movie. Pretty sure that George Clooney and Christian Bale are eagerly waiting by their phone. There’s no confirmed release date yet, apart from 2022.

Wonder Woman is ready to light up our screens again!

It was in June 2017 that we say Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Patty Jenkins’ same-named movie and now the wait is (normally) almost over as we can expect the sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, on the 2nd of October. We’ve already seen thrilling footage, don’t get us started on that trailer feature the OMD remix, and during the DC FanDome, another trailer was released.

One in which we see Kristen Wiig’s villain Cheetah for the very first time. After starting as Barbara Minerva, Wiggs appears to transform into a human-cheetah hybrid when battling it out against Gadot’s character. Their battle dominates the new trailer which also suggests that the Wonder Woman: Year One graphic novel was the inspiration for this movie. Just as in the previous trailers, we see Steve Trevor having to deal with the ’80s fashion and technology. Check it out for yourself!

Justice League: The Snyder Cut is living up to its expectations

We’ve already mentioned the Justice League: The Snyder Cut and saying that people are expecting a lot of this movie is a massive understatement. Director Zack Snyder confirmed in May that his version of Justice League will see the light of day (Hallelujah!) and later on it was announced that the 4-hour long film will be released on HBO Max next year. Apart from making sure that every character gets more screen time, Snyder will probably also go for a score by Tom Holkenborg, who was replaced by Danny Elfman for the theatrical cut. There will also be some changes in the colours that are used and the aspect ratio as they will use the “1.66:1 aspect ratio”, known as the European Widescreen.

Welcome to the Squad!

We also got a first look of James Gunn his The Suicide Squad and based on the extended behind-the-scenes look that Gunn revealed himself, we’re up for a star-studded superhero movie! Many of the 2016 Suicide Squad film castmembers will return such as Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flag), and Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang) but there is also a bunch load of new names added to the impressive bill. Those include the likes of Idris Elba (Bloodsport), Alice Braga (Sul Soria), Nathan Fillion (T.D.K.), John Cena (Peacemaker), and Peter Capaldi (Thinker). Gunn’s brother Sean will also appear as Weasel. If everything goes according to plan, the movie will be released on the 6th of August 2021.

What’s next for DC FanDome?

When announcing the DC FanDome, it was nail-biting time for everyone involved because it was and is still a one-of-a-kind event. It seems that the gamble paid off for Warnes Bros. According to Variety, the DC FanDome event generated 22 million views across 220 countries, and because of that organisers are thinking about creating similar online events, alongside physical ones of course. It seems that filmmakers, comic books, and movie lovers will be united in more ways than before!

Also Read: Marvel VS DC: The Bitter Divide

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Editorials

What Does The Termination of Paramount Consent Decrees Mean For The Film Industry?

August 22, 2020
Cineworld

Two weeks ago, the film industry was shaken up again. The Paramount Consent Decrees were lifted by a U.S federal judge and this was a slap in the face of the film exhibitors. 2020 hasn’t been the best year for cinemas, to say the least. They needed to close for a long time because of COVID-19 and the (indefinite) postponement of the newest releases. Thanks to the Paramount Consent Decrees, there was still some hope. The decrees were put into place to stop film studios from block-booking and getting full ownership of theatre chains. It also prevented big distribution companies from turning the film industry into monopolistic trade practices. Now that those decrees are coming to an end, there might be much more intervention from major film companies. The question is: Will this be the beginning of the end for the film industry as we know it?

What are the Paramount Consent Decrees?

Before finding out which impact the halt of these decrees has, let’s go back in time and get to know more about it. The Paramount Consent Decrees saw the light of day in 1948 and cut off big production companies from only showing their films in the cinemas that they purchased. They focussed particularly on the Big Five Studio, such as Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and RKO Pictures. While there was still some space for block-booking, it was very restricted as the block size was limited to only five films. The blind buying, buying films before seeing the movies beforehand, wasn’t allowed anymore and an administration board was founded to make sure that these requirements were enforced.

While the Paramount Consent Decrees was institutionalized in 1948, a lot of discussions happened before that. Right after the first draft was drawn up in 1942, the studios disagreed with it and didn’t fully comply with the decree. Therefore they proposed another plan called the “Unity Plan” with which companies could buy theatres and cinemas could still reject the films. This was obviously to the dislike of the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers and they came up with a lawsuit. Eventually, the United States Supreme Court chose in favour of the theatres in 1948.

After more than 72 years, this hard-won case is now coming to an end. It’s no surprise that when this news was announced the market value of major American players in the movie industry rose. AMC went up by 14.7%, Cinemark with +5.3%, Marcus with +6.57%, Imax by +3.3% and National CineMedia by +2.4%.

The Paramount Case

What does the termination of Paramount Consent Decrees mean for the film industry?

Lately, we’ve seen that delaying one movie has a massive impact on many different parties. The toppling of the Paramount Consent Decrees is no different. The biggest impact is without a doubt the one felt by the film exhibitors. While at first, they were still, to some degree, able to choose what they wanted to screen and on how many screens but now those terms can be fully dictated by the big production companies. This also impacts the kind of movies that will be shown in cinemas. The blockbusters will gain even more attention, theatre slots, and ‘screen time’ while independent films or films with a lower budget aren’t getting the possibilities they deserve.

It probably will also affect the diversity we see on screen. It might not be the biggest impact because we already see the A-list actors in most of the films but that percentage of big stars will rise even more. This will give upcoming talent almost no chance due to which the diversity of nominees for award ceremonies will decrease.

Other players in the film industry that feel the aftermath of this decision are the production and distribution companies. They now have the chance to buy cinema chains that will only screen their own produced movie. This results in companies trying to monopolize the movie landscape. One of the biggest examples is without a doubt that Amazon could be the possible buyer AMC Theatres, which also includes the Odeon chain in the UK. It’s just the question of whether or not they will go for it.

They probably won’t take that chance and we’ve seen the reason for that during the last few months without even noticing it. It’s because of the rise of streaming services such their Amazon Prime but also Diney+ and Netflix. Those services, which also are production and distribution companies at the same time, saw that people wanted to see their content on their platforms so why should they invest in theatres when they can use the money to improve their platforms and content.

What will the future hold for the cinema and theatre chains?

The future of cinema and theatre chains is so unpredictable. We’re just going to have to wait what impact COVID-19, the upcoming of new streaming services and the ending of the Paramount Decree have. To be continued that’s for sure.

Also Read: BAFTA: Steering Towards Greater Inclusion

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Editorials

Film Studios Weigh Up Their Options On VOD and Theatrical Releases

August 6, 2020
Disney's Mulan

Saying that the last few months have changed our lives completely would be a massive understatement. Not only when it comes to work and family life but also the way we watch movies. The subscriptions of Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ rose immensely due to the Coronavirus. Not only because we were still stuck at home more than usual but also because we weren’t able to go to the cinema. Now that the theatres are slowly opening again, we dare to set a foot inside the cinema. Even though new releases such as Make Up, Saint Frances, and Unhinged are really worth the watch, we’re not flocking to the cinemas as much as we should due to the lack of blockbusters. However, because people don’t go to the movies, major studios are delaying their releases. This is really the ‘chicken or the egg?’ dilemma.

Every Delayed Movie So Far

When will we see new releases?

If 2020 was like any other year, we would have been able to watch A Quiet Place Part II, Black Widow, and Wonder Woman 1984 already. However, sadly those releases (and many more) have been delayed. Covid-19 has an impact around the world and for major film companies, it’s difficult to pinpoint when they will be able to release their newest movies. They can’t keep on postponing releases but they also have to adapt to the current environment.

Well, it seems that Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros might have found a way to releases films in cinemas after all. First, they will release Tenet in the countries in which movie theatres are already open and delaying the release in cities that aren’t ready to open the doors of the cinemas yet. If everything goes as planned (which is absolutely no guarantee these days), we will see how this works out at the end of this month. Will this be the start of a new (temporary) film landscape or will major studio keep on delaying?

Release on VOD before the theatrical run?

Because of the closing of cinemas, many movies went to VOD straight away. Greyhound from Aaron Schneider and starring Tom Hanks was one of the major ones that skipped the cinemas entirely. Major companies see the potential of VOD releases but they also realize that the movie lovers are still willing to go to the cinemas once it’s safe. Films will always have a cinematic release but the theatrical window is now becoming shorter and shorter. There probably will be more films like Bill & Ted Face the Music which will be released in the cinema and on VOD on the same day.

This might also be the solution both major studios and film-goers are waiting for. Those who want to go to the cinema can go and those who prefer watching the movie at home can do that as well. At the same time, film companies can show their movie to the biggest audience possible.

Bill & Ted: Face The Music (Official Trailer)

The impact of delayed film productions

Not only the releases have been impacted by the Coronavirus but also the film productions. They had to be put on hold for a few months and while some of them are re-starting again, it will probably also mean that they will be released later than expected. The question remains whether they will be delayed because of the temporary halt or because the cinemas won’t be fully re-opened by then.

How does the future of film look like?

It will take a while before things turn back to ‘normal’. People not going to the movies because of no new films and major companies pushing back the releases because people aren’t going to the cinemas. It feels like we’re going in circles at the moment. Releasing films in certain territories based on the current situation or releasing them on VOD and in cinemas at the same time might be possible (temporary) solutions. There’s also an extra solution for people who are keen on returning to the cinemas but don’t go yet because of the lack of new movies. Support smaller films and independent venues because they need us now more than ever.

Also Read: Breaking The Theatrical Window

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Editorials

BAFTA: Steering Towards Greater Inclusion

July 27, 2020
BAFTA John Boyega

Inclusion, diversity, and equality have never been talk about in the film industry as much as during the last few months. Whether it was the much-needed equality between men and women or more diverse award nominees, many topics like that have been discussed lately. At the end of June, the Academy announced their 819 new members of which 36% were people of colour and 45% women. By doing so, they followed the example of BAFTA (British Academy of Film of Television Arts).

Earlier this year, BAFTA announced that it established a new steering group that will review the lack of diversity in some the categories during this year’s British Academy Film Awards. The group will take a look at the rules, processes, and conditions regarding the nominations and votings. This might be a massive step in the right direction but won’t it be too little too late?

Naomie Harris (credit: CNN)

BAFTA and its role in the film and television industry

BAFTA has been supporting the film and television industry right from the first ceremony in 1948. Throughout the years, they haven’t only supported film (British Academy Film Awards) but also television (British Academy Television Awards) and games (British Academy Games Awards). This makes BAFTA an important player in the entertainment industry. BAFTA praises itself as the world-leading independent arts charity which gives attention and support to the UK and international creative talent. Not only with handing out awards, but also by organising learning events, discussion, workshops, masterclasses, and lectures. This year, BAFTA announced that Krishnendu Majumdar will be as its new Chair. Majumdar is an Emmy-winning and BAFTA-nominated television producer and director and has been closely involved with BAFTA for 14 years.

Chiewtel Ejiofor (Credit: BAFTA Guru)

#BAFTASoWhite

The #BAFTASoWhite has been going on for a few years now. It started in 2017, the year during which La La Land was up for eleven awards. In both leading actors and leading actress categories, all the nominees were white. While the likes of Emily Blunt, Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, and Ryan Gosling were rightfully nominated because of amazing performances, BAFTA could have included Janelle Monáe and Naomi Harris, both for their stunning achievement in Moonlight, and Mahershala Ali and his wonderful acting in Hidden Figures. Moonlight from Barry Jenkins was nominated for Original Screenplay but Jenkins was left out in the Best Director category. The #BAFTASoWhite rose again this year after the announcement of the nominees for the 2020 ceremony and after Joaquin Phoenix and Prince William calling out the lack of diversity.

Joaquin Phoenix speech (Credit: BAFTA)

More inclusion because of the steering group?

With the new steering group, BAFTA wants to change the entertainment industry even more by reviewing policies and making the necessary changes. The steering group consists of BAFTA board and committee members, BAFTA staff, external industry figures, independent advisors, and leading diversity advocates and academics. They will take a closer look at elements such as the nominations and voting process, the role of distributors, the campaigning process, and the makeup of BAFTA’s membership. Issues such as diversity, under-represented groups, access, fairness, and unconscious bias will be talked about as well. The ultimate goal is to know which possible changes they can do to make from the entertainment industry a more diverse and inclusive one. While BAFTA mentioned that they will take into account the BAFTA Television, Television Craft, and Games Awards, they will mostly focus on the film awards.

The ‘chicken or the egg dilemma’ in film

When it comes to diversity and on-screen representation, there’s always the ‘chicken or the egg dilemma’. Is there simply a lack of black actors/directors getting opportunities or is it because black creatives don’t start a career in film because they think they won’t stand a chance? As mentioned before, BAFTA is always organising scholarships, lectures, and mentoring schemes. While these initiatives should be applauded, it shouldn’t be too hard to include more people of colour, people with disabilities, and women during the award ceremonies and the events especially when you look at international talent.

Andy Peters on Good Morning Britain (credit: ITV)

What could be done next?

While this new steering group is a massive step in the right direction, there’s still much more BAFTA and other organisers can do. Appointing under-represented people an important role within the organisations, and if the new steering group is a success, other big players in the entertainment industry should start similar groups as well.

Also Read: Lenny Henry Leads a Call For Change

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Editorials

My Favourite Actor: Octavia Spencer

July 15, 2020

‘Who’s your favourite actor?’. Even if you think of a name straight away, you might think of another one not so long after that and another one after that. It’s just an impossible question to answer. Every actor has hits and misses and their range can go from rom-coms to thrillers and everything in between. Many of them were awarded multiple awards. During the lockdown, we’ve re-watched way too many Oscar speeches (admit that you did too!) and one of those that always will get to us is the one from Octavia Spencer.

In 2012, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her superb role in The Help. After watching it over and over again, we’re still not sure who did she refer to when saying ‘Thank you, Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room’. Is she talking about the Oscar statue or Christian Bale who handed it to her? Anyway, one thing we’re sure off is that that Oscar was incredibly deserved. Not only because of that performance but also for her performances before and after that. That’s why we take a look at five of her best performances (and for once, we’re going to leave out The Help because we already know how stunning she was in that film).

Octavia Spencer with her Academy Award in 2012
Octavia Spencer with her Academy Award in 2012.
Picture by Keystone USA-Zuma / Rex Features

Snowpiercer

Way before Bong Joon Ho ruled the award race with his Parasite, he blew everyone away with his Snowpiercer. Ok, the opinions about this movie go from stunning 10/10 to a mere 1/10. However, they’re sure about one thing: the great acting. While we see strong performances from Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, and Tilda Swinton, the one that touches the audience the most is the one from Spencer. Her Tanya is a mother who goes through an emotional rollercoaster to get her child back. Because of the human and touching aspects, this performance is the most relatable of all, especially because of the sci-fi vibe of the movie. She brings warmth and grief, hope and despair, and the expected and unexpected all together in one performance. A great example of the emotional range she can portray. 

Snowpiercer (Official Trailer)

Hidden Figures

When you put Spencer together with Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe, you know what you’re going to get. Fireworks, dazzling acting, and an amazing movie. If you add the inspiring real-life story of female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race, you know it will be a to-watch movie. Spencer portrays Dorothy Vaughn, one of the female masterminds behind the Project Mercury, and with that, she offers the world one of her best roles. She literary and figuratively brings Henson and Monáe together with an emotional, energetic, and on-point performance. Until Hidden Figures, Spencer only got the chance to shine in a more supporting role. With this powerhouse lead performance, she incredibly showed us that she can carry a film all the way through.

Hidden Figures (Official Trailer)

The Shape of Water

A desperate but loving mother in Snowpiercer, a smart and headstrong mathematician in Hidden Figures and now a wonderful friend, co-worker, and interpreter in The Shape of Water. While Sally Hawkins is the heart and the soul of this movie as Elisa Esposito, Spencer gives the most amazing support. Just as any performance, Spencer and her Zelda Fuller are put right into the action, and this time it’s in a fantasy world. While everyone around Esposito seems to become hurt and everything is about to fall into pieces, Fuller provides the much-needed pause and the time to think things through. Spencer provides a lot of emotions, relatability, and cleverness to this movie with her exuberant performance. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she mentioned that the role was written for her and she didn’t disappoint at all. No wonder she was nominated for an Oscar for this performance as well.

The Shape of Water (Official Trailer)

Gifted

Ok, if you’re not into a romantic drama, then you might skip this part. However, before you do that, let us convince you that Gifted is a movie you need to see. On one hand, you have the tremendous Chris Evans, on the other, you have the bright, shiny, and amazingly talented star called McKenna Grace. Right in the middle, you will find Spencer. An established and esteemed actor combined with female emotions and delicacy. While her Roberta Taylor was a more supporting role, Spencer made sure that she was presented on the screen strongly, emotionally, and captivatingly. She gives such a fun and heart-warming performance and add the feel-good vibe the movie needs. While this is a drama, it never feels tough and hard to watch. If you want to let some sunshine into your world, then you should put on Gifted.

Gifted (Official Trailer)

Luce

If there’s one film in which both upcoming and stunning talent come together with well-admired and accomplished talent, then it’s Luce from director Julius Onah. Kelvin Harrison Jr., who portrays the intellectual, loving, and popular student, makes the film industry aware of his talent with a massive bang. He knows how to bring different characteristics to the screen. From the happy and confident student to the more shady and unpredictable young man. Casting director Jessica Kelly did an incredible job by putting Spencer in front of him. As usual, her performance is very nuanced. You will get a glimpse of the love and admiration her character, Harriet Wilsoncan, can give but also Wilsoncan’s mysterious and wicked side. Whether or not you’ve foreseen the ending of the movie, it will still come to a shock to you thanks to Spencer her performance.

Luce (Official Trailer)

What’s your favourite Octavia Spencer performance?

Also Read: How Film Changed Me: On Reese Witherspoon

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Editorials

Let’s Celebrate Film: Five Movies With a Special Birthday in 2020

July 3, 2020
The Social Network

That the release of ‘Tenet’ has caused a lot of online discussions became very clear during the last few weeks and months. While the original release date has been postponed, we will still get out ‘Christopher Nolan’ fix because of the re-screenings of Inception. The film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. However, Inception isn’t the only movie whose birthday it is this year. Therefore we would like to line-up five movies that have a reason to celebrate and that also deserve to be screened again on the screen while we await new releases (and after that too).

Hallway Fight Scene, Inception (Credit: Warner Bros.)

The Social Network

On the 1st of October, The Social Network will be ten years old and that’s something we have to celebrate big time. While October is still a few months away, there’s nothing wrong with premature celebrations. The drama about the life of Mark Zuckerberg was being brought to the screen by director David Fincher and actors such as Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake. It wasn’t only the audience that fell in love with this movie but also the film critics were easily convinced that The Social Network was a gem. That’s why this movie was awarded three Oscars, four Golden Globes, and three BAFTAs. Such an awarded and loved film should return to the big screen this year.

The Social Network (Credit: Columbia Pictures / Sony)

The King’s Speech

 The King’s Speech is ten years old, just like The Social Network. Director Tom Hooper and writer David Seidler brought King George VI back to life. It wasn’t only about his impromptu ascension to the throne but also about his relationship with the speech therapist who helped him. At first, the role of King George VI was written with Paul Bettany in mind but he declined. After that, Firth was cast and his performance was so captivating, on-point, and emotional that he won the Academy Award for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role”. Alongside that Oscar, the movie won three Academy Awards. For David Seidler, the evening was even more special as he became the oldest person to win the award for “Best Original Screenplay”. We can’t wait to see that touching “I have a voice” scene in cinemas again.

The King’s Speech (Credit: Momentum Pictures)

Pride & Prejudice

This year, we will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the romantic drama Pride & Prejudice. This movie is based on the same-named novel by Jane Austen and is about Elizabeth Bennet and her Mr. Darcy. Saying that director Joe Wright and casting director Jina Jay did a great job would be a massive understatement. The cast includes strong women such as Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Talulah Riley, and Jena Malone. The audience praised this movie as “the most diverting film”, “Simply unmissable” and “Absolutely Perfect” and the critics predicted a bright future for Wright. They awarded him with awards such as the one for “Most Promising Newcomer”, “Best New Filmmaker” and “British Director of the Year”. The critics were right about that as Wright sat in the director’s chair for films as Darkest Hour and Atonement. Want to experience how it all began for Wright? Then you should watch Pride & Prejudice when it will be screened again.

Pride & Prejudice (Credit: Focus Features)

Chicken Run

Ok, honestly it might not be one of the biggest classic but when it was announced that Chicken Run would get a sequel, people were incredibly excited about that. It’s exactly twenty years since Rocky, Babs and Ginger made their animated appearance. It’s still waiting on confirmation whether original cast members such as Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, and Imelda Staunton will lend their voice again. Not sure either if we will be able to see Chicken Run 2 on the big screen as the movie is picked up by Netflix. However, during the last few years, many Netflix films such as The Irishman, The King, and Marriage Story were screened in cinemas. We hope that the Chicken Run sequel will get that same treatment. In any case, we can’t wait to re-watch the original film from 2000 on the big screen if possible.

Chicken Run (Credit: Dreamworks)

Goodfellas

30 years! Yep, that’s how long ago Goodfellas was released. It was the first collaboration between Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Joe Pesci and it’s probably one of those movies that everyone saw. Thanks to the talent both behind and in front of the screen, you are part of the life of mobster Henry Hill. 146 minutes, you will be surrounded by the intriguing world of the Italian-American crime syndicate and you will get to know more about Hill, his relationship with his wife Karen, and the bond with his mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito. With more than 43 wins and 38 nominations behind its name, Goodfellas is one of those films that needs be screened in cinemas again.

GoodFellas (Credit: Warner Bros)

Which film(s) do you want to see on the big screen again?

Also Read: 30 Years On: The Godfather Part 3

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Editorials

Why We Need To Support Independent Cinemas Now More Than Ever

June 10, 2020
Cinema

It’s been already more than two months since we’ve set foot in a cinema and it feels like an eternity. For the cinema lovers, there might be light at the end of the very dark tunnel as the lockdown is being eased little by little. According to the latest news, the 4th of July would the day cinemas could re-open their doors. While it seems that the multiplex cinemas will be able to open on that day (if still permitted by then), the more independent cinemas might not be as is shown by the recent survey from the Independent Cinema Office (ICO).

Social distancing rule

It’s understandable that the big cinemas want to be ready for a July opening because of the possible release of ‘Tenet’ and ‘Mulan’. Many big chains will likely follow the strategy of Vue which includes giving families the possibility to isolate their seats from others, mandatory online booking, staggering screening times, and enhanced cleaning. This is to make sure that the social distance rule is upheld. Well, it’s exactly that rule that prevents smaller independent cinemas from being able to open their doors in July as well. According to 41% of the venues, they won’t be able to let the audience back in when social distancing measures are still in place. The main reasons for that are the practicalities of the venue and the need for large audience numbers to survive financially.

There are still 59% who think they might be able to open even with social distancing. The most important steps they would undertake is the placement of hand sanitiser stations (91%), face masks for staff (83%) and gloves for staff (80%). However, implementing social distancing rules in cinemas can’t go on forever as it would only work for approximately three months it seems. Why? Because of a 20% increase in costs (additional staffing, PPE and additional cleaning, etc.) and the 50% loss in capacity.

Graph by the Independent Cinema Office
Source: The Independent Cinema Office

Not opening before September

However, even with social distancing, it seems that we will have to wait until the end of the summer to visit independent cinemas. While some venues think they may open in July or August, the majority expect to re-open in September. According to 14% of the respondents, they sadly won’t open until 2021, in the hope that social distancing will be a thing from the past.

It’s no surprise that independent cinemas want to wait until social distancing rules are (almost) non-existent and until the spread is under control. “As a small community cinema run largely with the support of volunteers we have to put the welfare of all those involved first. Social distancing will be difficult to achieve and is unlikely to provide confidence for staff volunteers and audiences to return in the short term.” is a reaction of one of the 497 independent cinema workers (amongst of which were CEOs, directors, and managers) that participated in this survey.

Graph by the Independent Cinema Office
Source: The Independent Cinema Office

Many difficult months ahead

Saying that the upcoming months will be a challenge for the independent cinema is such an understatement. The last few weeks have already proven difficult and the future doesn’t look any brighter (yet). According to the survey, the biggest concerns are the practicalities of reopening with social distancing measures (no surprise there) and the audience’s confidence levels and lack of admissions. In the IOC report was stated that “audience confidence for our elderly demographic is going to be extremely challenging to regain. I fear that it would be better for our long term sustainability if we were to remain dark and furloughed until the need for social distancing is no longer required.

Graph by the Independent Cinema Office
Source: The Independent Cinema Office

How to support independent cinema?

Sadly, we won’t be able to return to independent cinemas soon. However, there are many ways to support them. The majority of the respondents thinks that help from government is much needed and that reduced distributor terms would also help them to survive during and after this pandemic. An extension of the furlough scheme until the end of 2020 and a scheme for PPE would also be extremely helpful.

The audience itself can also play a big part in the survival of independent cinemas. First of all, there’s the UK Cinemas Fund that’s been created by MUBI, the online streaming service, and film distributor. The campaign aims to raise £100,000 to help support independent cinemas and film festivals across the UK, so every penny is vital in the survival of the film industry in the UK. There are also many cinemas for which you can buy memberships and e-vouchers to support them. One thing is for sure: Independent cinemas need our support so that they can come out of this pandemic ready to open and stronger than ever.

Also Read: UK Government Allows Film & TV Productions To Restart Filming, But How Practical Are Their Guidelines?

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Editorials

Breaking The Theatrical Window: What Does Disney & Universal’s Decision Mean For Future Cinema Releases?

May 28, 2020
Movie Posters

A few weeks ago, the film industry was turned upside down due to shocking announcements. AMC Theatres mentioned that they would ban Universal Studios films in America and later it was also announced that Odeon and Cineworld would do the same in the UK. The reason? Universal Studios released Trolls World Tour, which broke digital sales records, directly on “premium” video on demand. After seeing the success of the release they have decided to release more films either directly to Video on Demand or drastically reduce the time movies go from the cinemas to home entertainment platforms. Because of the lockdown, many production companies need to come up with new ways to release their movies and as the audience spends more time indoors, major companies are responding to an increase in Video-on-Demand and streaming platforms subscriptions. They’re sending films now straight to streaming platforms instead of postponing the theatrical release.

While this might be a good solution for now because of the closure of the cinemas, this might not be positive for cinema chains in the long run. If this method seems to be successful for the production companies, then Universal Studios will certainly not be the last production company to “break the theatrical window”. The question remains: will breaking the theatrical window and the success of streaming platforms be the end of cinema-going as we know it?

Industry Adaptation and renegotiating the Cinema Theatrical Window | Vamonos Creative

What is the theatrical window?

Some people jump the first chance they get to watch movies on the big screen while others prefer to watch the new blockbusters from the comfort of their home. Well, in normal circumstances, the cinema-goers would have access to movies three months before others as the theatrical window is three months. However, that time between the end of the cinematic run of a movie and the moment that it will available via digital platforms and video-on-demand platforms has become smaller over the years. One of the reasons is because major companies want to make up for the loss they have to overcome due to the decline in DVD-sales. The other reason is the one we all have to deal with at the moment: The coronavirus.

Impact of COVID-19 on the film industry

That the coronavirus epidemic has had a major impact on film didn’t only become clear because of the postponing of releases, the movie-making itself but also the way movies are shown to the audience now. As mentioned before, people rely on films, even more, these days. Whether it’s to entertain their children, have a nice time with their partner or just to relax, movies are present in every household. This is being proven by the fact that Disney + has now 54.5 million subscribers worldwide since November and the amount of new Netflix subscribers in the globally during the lockdown was more than 15.8 million, double the number forecast. It comes as no surprise that recent movies like The Invisible Man (Universal), Bloodshot (Sony and Columbia Pictures), The Way Back (Warner Bros.), and Onward (Disney) were released almost immediately after the forced termination of their theatrical run.

How will COVID-19 shape the future of the film industry? | The A.V Club

Why would Universal & Disney consider breaking the theatrical window?

Why would big production companies such as Universal Pictures and Disney break the theatrical window? Well, that answer is plain and simple: Money. Due to the lockdown, companies aren’t able to show their movies in the cinema, and instead of pushing them back, they decide to release them anyway. People already liked watching movies from their home, maybe because of the price, the fact that they don’t have to deal with popcorn eating strangers and now even more so with the fact that they can watch movies without having to go outside and put themselves in unnecessary danger, due to the virus.

It might be a while before cinemas are back up and running as usual and before the audience flocks back to the “dark room” to immerse into the stunning movies the industry has to offer. Whether the theatrical window will stay smaller than the usual three months, even when everything is back to normal, is something that we can’t predict.

The future of film releases

Movies will always be a part of society, whether you will see them on the big screen or a smaller one. Production and distribution companies and cinema chains must work together to bring films to the biggest audience possible. On one side, the theatrical window still needs to remain as big as possible. The cinema chains won’t survive if production companies make that window smaller or just skip the cinema entirely. However, cinemas will also have to keep in mind that, despite the smaller window, people still want to watch movies on the big screen so banning movies of certain companies isn’t the right attitude either. There will always be a thirst for watching movies in the cinema and there will always be people who prefer to watch it in their own home with friends and family so why not work together and give both audiences what they want?

New Upcoming Movies 2020 & 2021 | MovieGasm

Also Read: How Coronavirus Has Affected The Film Industry

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Editorials

The Most Important Cinema In The World To Me: Prince Charles Cinema

May 25, 2020

Just a small-town girl livin’ in a lonely world

Many of us have the dream to see the world and to move to another city and so did this small-town girl who was living in Belgium. The dream became a reality at the end of 2016 when I moved to London. An entirely different world welcomed me with open arms, bright lights, and a diverse, entertaining, and mind-blowing culture. Film has always been a passion of mine and moving to London just heightened that love even more. It didn’t take long before I found my local cinema which was one of the big chains. Day in, day out, I was being emerged by stunning, captivating, and glamorous movies.

While the brand-new blockbusters caught my eye instantly, there was also the thirst for seeing more independent or older films that became a classic in their own way. Luckily for me, it didn’t take long before discovering a small, unique and incredible cosy cinema right in the heart of London: The Prince Charles Cinema.

The Home of Cult Film, Prince Charles Cinema
The Home of Cult Film, Prince Charles Cinema

From a tiny theatre to an awesome cinema in the West End

Where now The Prince Charles Cinema is, the site was a theatre back in 1962. After supporting the performing arts for many years, it became a cinema, but maybe not the one you would expect. Knowing that the cinema back then hosted the UK’s longest theatrical runs of “Emmanuelle” and “Caligula”, you can only imagine what kind of cinema it must have been. However, in 1991, the foundations for The Prince Charles Cinema were laid and the rest is cinema history. They describe themselves as one of the most popular independent cinemas in the UK and when attending a screening in The Prince Charles Cinema, it’s not hard to understand why they deserve that title.

From films shot on 35mm to 70mm presentations and from cult classics to the most recent movies. Don’t forget the sing-a-longs or the all-nighters! Yep, The Prince Charles Cinema has it all. 

The Prince Charles Cinema
The Prince Charles Cinema (credit: Time Out)

Only two screens but thousands of memories

Like most of the independent cinemas, The Prince Charles Cinema offers multiple types of memberships. You can either go for an annual membership (£10) or a lifetime membership (£60). You get discounts on tickets and snacks and there are even films you get to see for £1. When I discovered The Prince Charles Cinema for the first time, I decided to go for an annual membership. London is already expensive enough and I wasn’t sure how many times I would use the membership, especially because I have another for one of the bigger cinema chains already. But boy, was I wrong for not going for a lifetime membership?!

Whether it was seeing the great chemistry between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, falling in love with Christian Slater in True Romance or being astonished by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale dazzling performances in The Prestige, it was all a marvellous experience. Even that massive headache from all the spinning in Inception was worth it! It didn’t take long before that annual membership turned into a lifetime one.

The most memorable evening at the Prince Charles Cinema was one that happened very recently during the screening of The Room. Yep, the movie from writer/director/actor Tommy Wiseau. After seeing The Disaster Artist a few years ago, it was time to check out the real deal. Wiseau visiting The Prince Charles Cinema, a full house, and plastic spoons at hand. Yep, it became an evening I will never forget, even more so because I ended up in a Salsa club in Soho with fellow cinemagoers after that.

Tommy Wiseau presenting a screening of “The Room”

They will be back and so will I!

At the moment, The Prince Charles Cinema is closed but the “We’ll be back” banner gives me hope that the days of movies, excitement, having a great time, and meeting up with friends aren’t gone completely. I hope that I will be able to walk through the doors of The Prince Charles Cinema soon, sit back in one of those chair, and (re-)discover the great movies this wonderful cinema has to offer.

To find out more about The Prince Charles Cinema (and to buy memberships) visit their website here.

The Prince Charles Cinema (Credit: Alamy)

Also Read: The Most Important Cinema In The World (To Me)

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Editorials

What Happens To Your Brain When Watching A Horror Movie?

May 4, 2020
Us Movie Jordan Peele

Whether it’s the classics such as The Shining or The Excorcist or more recent horror films such as Us and The Invisible Man, they all have a pull and push effect on us. There are moments we look away from the screen with fear and disgust but seconds later, we’re drawn to the picture with excitement and joy. Yep, there’s definitely a love/hate relationship between the audience and horror. It should come as no surprise then that this so intriguing situation was researched by Front Psychol, the peer-reviewed open-access academic journal that focusses on Psychology. According to their “(Why) Do You Like Scary Movies? A Review of the Empirical Research on Psychological Responses to Horror Films” there are many factors that have an impact on our brain while watching a horror movie which can explain our love for horror.

Why Certain Brains Love Horror Movies (USA Today)

The psychological element

There are many different descriptions of ‘horror’ but they all agree on the same: it’s a genre that makes people shiver and shudder and that it’s both frightening and fascinating at the same time. According to the study from Front Psychol, horror is also the only fiction genre that’s specifically created to inflict fear consistently. If that’s done excellently then this has the right impact on our brains. It makes us want to look away, closing our eyes, stopping with breathing for a moment or screaming your lungs out. Alongside those elements, there’s also the increasing amount of (temporary) anxiety, disgust, and fear.

That anxiety and fear is the most common reaction to horror but according to some studies, such as the one from Ballon and Leszcz (“Horror films: tales to master terror or shapers of trauma?”) and Bozzuto (“Cinematic neurosis following “The Exorcist”. Report of four cases.”), exposure to horror films can also lead to an increase of stress and distress. These can come in the forms of insomnia, excitability, hyperactivity, irritability, disturbed sleep, and decreased appetite. However, luckily for us, those symptoms don’t last very long. In their study, Front Psychol mentioned that the panic and fear that was evoked by the horror have no significant long-term consequences on the mental and physical state of the audience.

The screeching sound

The feelings of fear and anxiety aren’t only created by the stunning visual or intriguing dialogue but also (and mostly) because of the sound and audio. The musical score is always from vital importance but for a horror movie that significance increase immensely. Normally we wouldn’t jump out of our seat when hearing an owl, a cat, or a phone ringing but when these happenings occur in a horror movie, they have a completely different impact. They’re specially designed to create fear and suspense. According to Front Psychol, nothing can beat the so-called “jump scare. A loud bang after a long moment of silence seems to be able to do the trick as “jump scare” is the most used and successful sound effect in a horror movie. Yes, think about a strange figure pop-up out of nowhere or a sudden reflection in the mirror that shouldn’t be there.

When it comes to audio in a horror movie, the music and soundtrack are equally as important as the sound effect you hear. We all know that music has an undeniable emotional impact on the viewer. In a horror movie, the sound is designed to be troublesome, to create tension, and to raise a vibe of negativity on the screen. This increases the level of fear and unpleasantness even more.

How Sound Effects For Horror Movies Are Made (Insider)

Why do we like horror so much?

Suspense and resolution of suspense are the two main components of horror and those are the ones the audience reacts to the most. When it comes to suspense, this mostly means the build-up of tensions, the increasing level of threat, or reaching a potential climax. It’s also exactly that suspense that makes from the horror such a lovable genre as the feeling of suspense is something we undeniably enjoy. No matter how gruesome the images are. According to Front Psychol, enjoyment must come from a ‘degree of negative effect built up during exposure to the horror film and from the positive effect/reaction that results from the resolution of the threat’.

What’s next for horror movies?

Well, pretty sure that horror films aren’t going anywhere any time soon and that’s not so bad at all. Hopefully, we will be able to enjoy upcoming movies such as A Quiet Place Part II, Last Night in Soho and Candyman and if in the meantime, you want your fix of horror films, then Shudder will do the trick beautifully (or should we say ‘horrifically’).

Candyman (Official Trailer)

Also Read: The Greatest Horror Villain of Each Decade

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