Summer, right? Long bright evenings, frisbee in the park, barbecues with friends….
Except… except, we know the British summer often has different ideas about what it’s supposed to be. Our North Atlantic maritime climate means we’re just as likely to be running for shelter or huddling under an umbrella!
Still, for the cinephiles among us this isn’t necessarily ever a bad thing, as we’ll trade a soggy park for a comfy cinema seat any day. As luck would have it, there’s a rich offering of new releases this summer to keep us entertained (and dry!)
Here’s the Top 10 we’re most excited about this ‘summer’.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – Marvel’s surprise hit from 2014 has spawned a laugh-out-loud hilarious and action-packed sequel which simultaneously manages to explore many deeper aspects of family rifts.
- Snatched – Allowing us not only to sneer at the naivety of the hapless American tourist totally unprepared for a South American vacation (let alone kidnapping), but first outing with 70’s screen idol Goldie Hawn, practically this century!
- Wonder Woman – Not Marvel, but DC this time comes up trumps with this surprisingly refreshing and female-friendly superhero movie which actually shows some hope for the DC comic universe being constructed to compete with Marvel’s string of hits. After the horrendous Batman vs Superman, this could be exactly what they, and we the audience hoped for!
- The Big Sick – Combining traditional family interracial tensions with love, heartache and serious illness. This drama is funny and heart wrenching at the same time. Fresh and worth checking out.
- Lady MacBeth – Katherine, played stunningly by Florence Pugh is trapped in a cold marriage. Rebellion and lust lead to murder and tragedy in one of the brightest slow burns of the summer.
- Atomic Blonde – Another powerful female leading character, also adopted from a comic book, but trading a magic lasso for knee-high boots and secret-agent ass-kicking. Charlize Theron stars as a British spy Lorraine Broughton whose love-interest is a beautiful French counterpart – how refreshing!
- A Ghost Story – One of the summer’s most provocative, thoughtful and SLOW films involves Casey Affleck with a sheet over his head as his character’s ghost haunts the house he once inhabited in life, as his partner moves out and moves on.
- Maudie – Ethan Hawke (we know, we know) puts in a promising performance as a miner in 1930’s Nova Scotia with Sally Hawkins as the arthritic housekeeper who hones her skills as an artists and becomes accepted and celebrated by the local community.
- Okja – Ever fallen in love with a pig? How about a genetically modified giant pig? This unclassifiable film from South Korean Bong Joon-ho is a delight through and through.
- Baby Driver – We’ve left the best (in our eyes) to last here. Edgar Wright takes a well-worn genre of the bank heist gang and turns it on its head with the downright coolest film of the summer, no competition. Just see it.
Not known for their serious reporting, the Daily Mash nevertheless may have hit on the real reason why this latest Tory government seems so determined to drive the country… and our publicly funded education system, off a cliff.
Do you think the following is a bit much like fiction imitating fact… or the other way around?
“THE Conservative party has confirmed it is opposed, on both a theoretical and practical level, to solving any of the problems faced by modern Britain.
Tory chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin admitted that serious issues facing housing, education, and social care could be solved, but that it would be wrong to do so.
He continued: “We could build houses, of course we could, but encouraging private development by offering tax breaks which will increase profits while not building houses is much more the Tory way.
“Likewise, instead of investing in education we’re making those sums available to anyone nominally running an academy while paying themselves an enormous salary and, via a company owned by their wife, annual consultants’ fees.
“What people fail to understand is that spending taxpayers’ money directly on issues which matter to taxpayers is repugnant and 1950s, even if it works.
“Far better to have faith in the free market to do it all for us. We may not live through it, but at least we’ll die pure.”
When fact and satire are almost indistinguishable, should we be worried? :S
The ‘so called experts’ of social media are calling it as such: whilst the Tories spent millions targeting ‘the youf’ with online ads, the stuff getting noticed was the content the youf themselves where making for each other, generally dissing the Tories.
Typically missing the point of the medium, a banner ad declaring that what the country really needs is Strong and Stable leadership is going to have an impossibly hard time competing with ANY of the following… (a worthy sample of the burst of digital creativity that made is laugh our way though this election.)
So did the Meme cause the biggest political upset since… well… last year?
You decide if the following would have swayed YOUR vote! (If it needed swaying.)
The US midTerm elections are 18 months away, and as long as nuclear war doesn’t break out before then, then just like you, we’ll continue biting nails and praying that the Donald continues to be at least partially contained…
In the meantime, we can highly recommend healthy doses of cinematic diversions to relieve the tension…. As if by perfectly-timed magic (or the fact that some gems take longer to come to our notice) the Guardian newspaper went and and quizzed some of the UK’s funniest and finest living comedians for THEIR nominations of great comedic masterpieces.
Luckily, the inclusion of Borat, Best in Show and Life of Brian make up for a noticeable lack of Withnail and I. Any Best Of List worth reading wouldn’t be complete without someone feeling unrecognised and ending up having an argument about it.
There are almost too many gems here to count. So, let’s laugh ourselves to November 2018, it’ll beat crying.
The Game to Movie Curse may have been a supernatural jinx on any attempt to turn a video game into a feature film… OR maybe it was just the result of game-to-movie productions never stopping to pick up a STORY along the way. In either case, from Mario Bros to Assassin’s Creed via Angry Birds, the genre is littered with less than critically acclaimed cinematic outings. (despite Resident Evil delighting Zombie fans everywhere…)
This recent Onion piece offers us light-hearted insight into how some screenwriters must struggle with the next Game Adaptation request
The Avengers have been Movie GOLD for Marvel Films (owed by Content Behemoth Disney), and has provided the proof of concept of the Endless Series Universe, the idea that sequels in a successful series can run practically forever.
Not only has this worked amazingly so far for Marvel with its IronMan, Avengers, Thor and Captain America streams of major blockbusters, but has also inspired studios to repeat the formula most notably with the Star Wars universe (now 8 films and counting, with a new mega-release planned for every year from now until… well, forever.
One wannabe contender in the movie universe game which has so far experienced a shaky start with this strategy is DC Comics, Marvel’s big rival. With Superman and Batman as two of the best known characters in movieland – success is practically a foregone conclusion, right?
Well, it might have been until Zack Snyder was recruited for 2016’s bleak and messy Batman v Superman which was critically panned although a Box Office success, just. The opening gambit of the ‘Justice League’ universe set a dark and difficult direction for this series… and opened the door for the following mockery, faithfully reprinted here from the Onion:
DC Executive Worried Batgirl Script Not Interesting Enough To Be Movie, 3 More Movies, 2028 Reboot And 4 More Movies
BURBANK, CA—While giving creative notes on the screenplay in a Friday meeting, DC Comics president Geoff Johns reportedly said he was concerned that a recent draft of the Batgirl: Origins script was not compelling enough to support a movie, three more movies, a 2028 reboot, and four additional movies. “Frankly, I just don’t see this having the legs to carry a feature film, a follow-up trilogy, a video game franchise, and then another prequel trilogy,” Johns said, adding that while the script’s first act “definitely works,” he worried the narrative would drag when stretched to a full 90-minute runtime, several more 90-minute runtimes, and a dozen more 50-minute runtimes as part of the Netflix tie-in series. “I’m just worried this starts running out of steam well before the end of the movie, the comic book adaptation, and the standalone spinoff movies telling the Huntress’s backstory. If a narrative can’t even sustain a single movie and a Lego set, let alone more than one syndicated animated series, maybe it needs some heavy revisions.” At press time, DC executives had decided to ask for a total rewrite after concluding villain Killer Moth was not an interesting enough antagonist to hold people’s interest for two hours and the length of several Six Flags roller coasters.
As the new US administration ricochets from ignorant via cruel to appalling, one group of entertainers are suddenly charged as never before to hold power to account and through the use of satire, standup and surgically delivered soliloquy, sound the alarm bells and also add perspective to what’s going on.
Finding ourselves in the hinder years of Johnny Carson, David Letterman and John Stewart, their successors have been propelled into tumultuous times, and have developed some brilliant routines and formats to help us stay informed, but also, just as we need it as never before… to laugh.
Here are our top five sources of political and social satire for this moment… To help keep us resisting and laughing together.
This stalwart of the Late Night world somehow never quite rivalled Jon Stewart’s pole position on his daily Show, but breaking out in 2005, he honed his own act in the pseudo-rightwing satirical Colbert Report. Incarnated now as his dry, lightning-quick and razor-sharp self on The Late Show, we’re watching a comedian and writer at the height of his wit.
The previous NYC-sided half of the Trans-Atlantic genius comedy Podcast ‘The Bugle’ with Andy Zaltsman, Brummie Oliver has recently hit career gold with his own HBO series ‘Last Week Tonight’. Setting his own tone by NOT being afraid of attempting 17 minute monologues on such hilarious subjects as Net Neutrality or Child Welfare are what make John authentic, concerned AND enjoyable watchable, all at once
Like the other ex-members of Spinal Tap (as Derek Smalls, just in case…), Shearer has gone on to created his own special flavours of comedy excellence, voicing many of the funniest Simpsons characters (Burns, Flanders, Smithers, Skinner and Reverend Lovejoy!) and hosting his seminal Radioshow now Podcast ‘Le Show’ every week for over 33 years. Apologies of the Week, News of the Warm and Karzai Talk are a few of the many highlights Harry has been delighting andscaring the crap out of listeners with the Truth for decades..
Following in the footsteps of the great man himself, any successor was going to be up against it on The Daily Show. Noah has in many ways lucked out with Trump, in his native South Africa has had to deal with the autocratic tendencies on an arseholic scale with Jacob Zuma for years. So, he comes prequalified to know what the US is in for, but also as a black South African, with a deep cultural heritage of such things… how to resist.
Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor (Pod Save America hosts)
These four ex-Obama administration friends have trailblazed the podcasting comedy landscape since January of this year with their cutting critiques of the new Idiot-in-Chief and his ramshackle crew of chaos seekers. ‘Pod Save America’ seems very fluid at 2 months old, but is only going good places with its experts’ views of what’s going on. Yes, we still like experts’ views.
On television and in films, American and British education appear to be very different. With contrasting images of Mean Girls’ social hierarchy and Hogwarts students feasting in great halls, you may wonder what the differences between American and British education actually are. Here are a few of the most common ways UK schools are at odds with our friends’ across the pond.
1 – Term Time
American students receive an average of about ten to twelve weeks of Summer holidays! Schools can let out any time between May and June and generally recommence at the beginning of September. While British students typically get only six weeks of Summer holidays, they do receive more in term breaks. Most schools in the UK offer half-term in October, February and May and are more likely to offer students longer, two-week holidays at Easter and Christmas compared with American schools.
2 – Dress to Impress
While many private schools in the US require students to don uniforms, state (or public as they’re known across the pond) schools normally have dress-codes but no formal uniform. This is one of the biggest physical differences between British and American schools seeing as most UK institutions, whether state or private, require uniforms. Brits also appear to have a general consensus of school uniforms with many schools asking students to wear a tie; shirt; jumper and blazer, differing only in colour from one another.
3 – The Magic School Bus
While students across the UK may have school-arranged transportation, London lacks school buses. Whether hopping on the tube, grabbing a bus or braving rush-hour traffic with parents, most students in the capital find their own way to get to school. At the end of the day, it’s only too common to see migrating groups of students chat in their uniforms while navigating the London Underground.
In the USA, whether you live rurally or in a big city, every public school student is entitled to a ride to and from school every single day.
4 – What’s the Plan?
The National Curriculum is enforced at every UK school meaning that students at different schools more or less all follow the same lesson plans. Although needing to adhere to national and state education requirements, American teachers are granted more freedom when it comes to creating their curriculums. This however has a tendency to create a national education bias that is uneven and favours students who’ve gained private and more liberal educations.
While UK students face both O-Level and A-Level exams, American students only take national exams in their final years of schooling. This results in British students tending to be far more familiar and experienced when it comes to standardised testing.
5 – Brain Food
While both American and British school lunches are dependant on the school itself, the attitude towards food differs enormously. Most UK schools do not allow students to consume food or sugary beverages in class while it is perfectly common to see students across the US chow down on a bag of Cheetos and a red bull in homeroom.
British school canteens usually also offer a wider variety of food options on a day to day basis while American cafeterias only offer students one or two choices a day, although milk is almost always on the menu.
6 – Outside the Classroom
Although both US and UK students can take advantage of extra-curricular activities, Americans have the British beat when it comes to the options available. With huge sports teams, pep-rallies and on-campus driver’s ed, American schools have everything that would keep a student to stay past the last bell.
Whilst it’s debatable which country offers better education, clearly both the American and British systems have a lot to offer students.
The efforts and sacrifice that go into filmmaking are what make it great, and can also inadvertently make it hilarious. These memes below share the lighter-side of what makes filmmaking so simultaneously challenging and satisfying.
1. Client Brief Vs Client Budget
2. How not to treat your Camera
3. … or your tripod
4. Get used to an Irregular Diet
5. … and working for ‘Exposure’
6. GoPro 1960
7. Using what you got (when you don’t have a child at hand)
8. Be decisive about that Final Cut
9. … as long as you didn’t build your editing suite like this
10. In the end, be prepared to learn from your mistakes!
When most people think about visual effects in films, their minds jump to the big blockbusters produced by companies like Marvel, Lionsgate and Lucas Films. The films and often franchises that are known for their stellar effects are generally huge commercial successes and sit in cinemas for weeks after their initial release. However, visual effects are not just for action flicks and many believe that the best use of Visual Effects (VFX) technology is when it’s barely noticeable. Visual effects can add value and setting to scenes as well as help increase production quality on low-budget or independent films.
By incorporating visual effects into a film, many makers are able to add elements to the shot itself. For many filmmakers, budget and scheduling becomes an issue when shooting on location. It’s often impossible to control the conditions we shoot in. Any on-location director has suffered weather that’s completely indifferent to what the shoot is trying to capture, and this will affect not only the narrative but also continuity. With elements like snow and rain, visual effects often save the day when hiring equipment is too expensive or a change in the forecast affects the desired outcome of your shoot.
VFX can help add elements and features to locations which better represent a director’s vision, for example with the use of a green screen. A long loved secret of the film industry, green screens are not only used in both commercial and independent cinema but also for television commercials and the ever growing creative community of YouTube. Whether you’re using a green screen to create an otherworldly landscape or to give a stationary car the illusion of movement, a visual effect supervisor can help add value to what is otherwise a far poorer shot.
Besides being able to add elements to a shot, visual effects can also help eliminate mistakes made during filming. Whether it’s a boom mic that shouldn’t be in frame or a lamp that throws off a period narrative, visual effects can help remove any imperfections and film mistakes in post-production.
Visual effects can therefore be flashy and grandiose or subtle and barely noticeable both in large and low budget films. 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story shocked viewers by digitally manipulating the appearances of two actors to resemble the late Peter Cushing as well as Carrie Fisher as a young Princess Leia. It was a subtle and almost unnoticeable use of visual effects in a franchise that has been Oscar-nominated repeatedly for Best Visual Effects. Similarly, lower budget films like 2012’s Chronicle, a found footage sci-fi superhero film, work with seamless visual effects that mirror those of large-scale action films without being too flashy.
While indie films like District 9 manage to snag Oscars from blockbuster films for their detailed and in-your-face VFX, many big commercial films use visual effects in an additional, subtle way. You can bet that almost every film you’ve seen in the last decade has used visual effects, whether you may have picked up on them or not. Often VFX supervisors are brought on simply to adjust the temperature of a shot or eliminate the elbow of a crew member that was inadvertently captured. Visual effects are no longer just for Hollywood heavy hitters and digital technology is now available to filmmaking productions of every size. So, ANY production that needs them can take advantage of the benefits VFX bring.