Scandi-drama is a cause for excitement nowadays after the success of shows such as ‘The Killing’, ‘Borgen’ and ‘The Bridge’. So when a new show comes along, with Sweden’s trademark misty and mountainous landscapes, a plot full of missing children and a determined, but slightly disturbed female detective, we think we know what we’re going to be watching.

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Eva Thörnblad (Moa Gammel) is such a woman, who returns to her hometown to deal with her father’s estate after his death. She finds herself wrapped up in the disappearance of a young boy, a case she is convinced is connected to the similar disappearance of her daughter, Josephine, 7 years prior.

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At first it looks like we are dealing with some kind of government conspiracy, with a mysterious man going around blowing up things, the father of the kidnapped boy acting suspicious with his boss and a homeless woman who seems to know more than she’s letting on. But just as you think you know what direction this show is going in it takes a sharp turn into a completely different world. By the end of the first episode I realised I wasn’t watching the same show I thought I was.

With smoke enveloping the forest in many of the scenes, the stunning scenery alone is worth seeing. Adding on the plot which becomes increasingly compelling, with supernatural elements that aren’t as ‘in your face’ as other fairy-tale shows such as ‘Once Upon A Time’ or ‘Grimm’, it has become one of my favourite things to watch on TV. ‘Jordskott’ is a lot more subtle, and the fairy-tales are wonderfully Nordic (changelings, humans with tails, strange humanoid white river creatures – perhaps an alteration of the ‘water-horse?).

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My own interest into Nordic mythology and fairy-tales developed whilst playing the 2013 Swedish iOS game ‘Year Walk’, introducing plenty of almost forgotten creatures and traditions such as the Årsgång – the Year Walk itself. ‘Jordskott’ has very much the same kind of feel, often creepy and mysterious, with plenty of strange happenings that I can only hope don’t culminate into the ‘Lindelhof Effect’, named after the ‘Lost’ show-runner.

Not only do we have the supernatural element that makes this show so fascinating, but we also see corruption in the establishment, social loners and the struggles of the mentally challenged which only compliment the mythology in a modern world. With 5 more episodes to go we can only imagine where ‘Jordskott’ will go from here.

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Watch Jordskott on Wednesdays at 10pm, ITV Encore.

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Many people say that Film and Media Studies are ‘Mickey Mouse’ subjects. I thought of this when my friend, who was reading through my notes on The Graduate (1967) the other day, noticed the similarities between Film Studies and English Lit. You analyse, look for deeper meaning, write essays, talk about historical and economical context, and look at the technical aspects of how this particular piece was built. We look at critics and the industry as a whole. One step further, we do it ourselves. And Michael Gove and his ilk call it a ‘Mickey Mouse’ subject.

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Now let’s look at the irony of that; who owns Mickey Mouse? Well, that would be Disney. Disney is one of the world’s largest media and entertainment conglomerates, and it makes quite a bit of money. The hit animated musical Frozen (2013) made $1.274 billion alone. Disney deals with media networks – Pixar and Disney Animation Studios – as well as theme parks and resorts and television networks… and Mickey Mouse is it’s main symbol. So to say that a subject is ‘Mickey Mouse’ is just proof of the ignorance and lack of education some people have in these subjects.

Looking closer to home, it would be almost impossible to imagine Britain without it’s film and media industries. It’s doubtable that even the most prestigious of the Eton boys haven’t switched on the TV at least once, or enjoyed a good film. Our politicians require the media to get their messages and proposals across to the common people. We rave about our pride in the British Film Industry, and here we are, shooting ourselves in the foot by trying to take away an education in these subjects. It’s almost as if they don’t realise the work that goes into making that TV show they love so much.

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Journalist Andrew Marr, called Media Studies ‘a trivial, minor field of research, spuriously created for jargon-spinners and academic make-weights.’ What he won’t realise (like most elitists who work in the media and are horrified at the idea of normal people studying it) is the amount of work that goes into Media Studies, and how difficult the subject really is. In order to succeed, you must be able to write. Really well. The Office of National Statistics 2013 report found that people who had a media degree had the second highest employment rate in all of the UK. Not only that, but the media is known to play a significant role in our modern society, and to remove a subject that provides so much for our economy from the national curriculum would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

Media studies alone is about engaging in the media world, theory and the way it’s produced. You have to be able to think critically, and be able to organise and manage a project – something most people struggle to do. It’s the same with Film Studies – in making a film there is a meticulous amount of planning, organising, dealing with people and technology in a way that most can’t. Creativity and critical thinking are appreciated in other subjects, so why not Film? And once again this subject is beneficial to our economy – the Department for Media, Culture and Sport found in early 2014 that the creative industries were worth £8 million per hour to the UK economy. It also found that over the last 3 years, employment within the creative industries has grown at 5 times the rate of the wider UK economy. Of course, that doesn’t solely mean film and media, but the music industry as well.

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It’s easy to look at the statistics and draw conclusions without considering the purely physical attraction of the media and film to our younger generations. When directors like Alfred Hitchcock go down in history as one of Britain’s greatest ever cultural successes, we can only wonder why creativity is stifled by our education. It’s likely the case that the pen pushers and bean counters don’t understand anything that can’t be tested easily, seeing coursework as an ‘easy’ option when in fact it’s the coursework that media students struggle with the most.

And finally, as a student who has spent the last week arguing the case that these subjects need to be taken more seriously, I hope that one day we have a government that appreciates what the creative industries do for our country, and encourage our education rather than trying to scrap it.

Fandango Groovers Movie Blog

AAvengers: Captain America: The Winter Soldier set the Avengers franchise in a new direction and Marvel announced phase Three schedule covering films up to 2019.marvel-avengers

B  – Boyhood: What could have been a gimmick turned out to be the best film of the year.boyhood poster

CNick Cave: 20,000 Days on Earth was neither documentary or a narrative film, but was one of the best movies of the year.20,000 Days on Earth

DDoug Liman: Edge of Tomorrow was the enigma of 2014.  The Doug Liman directed movie received solid reviews and great word of mouth but underperformed at the box-office.edge of tomorrow

EEgypt & Exodus: Gods and Kings – Ridley Scott’s biblical epic was released on Boxing Day in the UK and few weeks earlier in some countries.  The film has been banned in Egypt as the courtiers censors are unhappy with “historical inaccuracies”.Exodus Gods and Kings

FFincher…

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When the first series of Sherlock aired in 2010, I very much enjoyed it. Unfortunately, as time went on and fangirls erupted out of the depths of their Benedict Cumberbatch covered rooms, I started to enjoy it less. That doesn’t mean I still don’t enjoy it, but I think I enjoy it less. Elementary had the opposite effect on me. Where Sherlock had me enjoying it more at the beginning and then less as it went on (to the point where I will not actively seek out any new seasons, but will watch it if I happen to come across it), Elementary had me being very skeptical at first. I thought, ‘what is the point of recreating Sherlock Holmes in a modern world… again?’ I also thought that making Watson into a woman was a bit of a gimmick, an attempt to gain more viewers and pretend to be ‘innovative’. Here are some of the reasons I was wrong about Elementary.

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Elementary Watson (Lucy Liu), is a woman. Normally I would love a gender mix-up, but here I wondered how they were going to make it work. Watson and Sherlock are friends, very good friends, but I had an inkling that CBS would somehow make this into a romantic relationship. So far they haven’t, and from articles I’ve read the creators have no intention of doing it.

Why is she better than her Martin Freeman counterpart? Well, Watson in Sherlock has one main role: react to what Sherlock does. In the first season he was dignified with a backstory about being traumatised in Afghanistan as an army doctor, but since then we haven’t really heard much from that. His time in the army doesn’t affect him as a character, and although he is given a job outside of helping Holmes and a wife, his character is pretty 2 dimensional.

In Elementary, Watson plays a bigger part in Sherlock’s life. She is his sober companion who keeps him from doing heroin, hired by his father and forced to accompany him on his investigations. Watson is then trained by Sherlock to become a consulting detective and eventually stops working as a sober companion for Sherlock to do it full time. She has her own talents that are useful to Sherlock during his investigations. They are good friends, like Holmes and Watson in Sherlock, but I find that their friendship is more believable, and both characters get something more out of the relationship. Not only that, but Watson also has her own little backstory. She was once a successful surgeon who lost a patient, and this affected her deeply. It continues to affect her throughout the course of the show, and gives her a motivation to become a sober companion – she sees it as an opportunity to help people in need. She is a strong character who makes progress and also has an obvious life outside of her work with Sherlock, family, friends and several dates we see her on.

 Minor Characters

What do we know about the minor characters in Sherlock? Well, they’re idiots, irritating, and just annoy Sherlock or get in his way. That’s it. Also, they don’t really have much for racial minorities as the cast is predominately white and very very British. I’m sure that would have been fine when Conan Doyle wrote the original short stories, but in modern society that isn’t exactly up to scratch. I know that the show is called Sherlock, but a little more exploration into anyone else wouldn’t go amiss.

Elementary excels in this area. Characters are more thoroughly explored, they actually play a role in the show (a role that is more than gawping in awe at Sherlock), and we see a variation of culture. Watson herself is Chinese-American. Detective Marcus Bell is an incredible interrogator, and although he is initially against getting help from Sherlock, he comes to appreciate his talents and progresses through the show as someone who we really like. Captain Tommy Gregson is also a good character, who genuinely likes Holmes and who Sherlock respects. Even the characters of Lestrade (who has his own funny ringtone on both Sherlock and Watson’s phone), Mycroft (who has a better story and reason for being estranged from Sherlock), and Ms Hudson (who – SPOILER ALERT – is a transvestite) are done better by Elementary than Sherlock.

Episodes

THERE ARE MORE OF THEM.

Sherlock has 3 episodes per season, thats 3 episodes every two years. Minus the approximate one episode per season that is ‘meh’ and incredibly forgettable and we have a single, 90 minute episode for every year to look forward to. Yes, they are pretty much feature length, but compared to the 24 episodes of 48 minutes per season we get from Elementary, it’s damned miserable. You may argue that the quality of Sherlock is a lot better, and that’s fine, but I kind of forget it after a while. Elementary gives me more time to invest in the characters, and something to look forward to weekly. It’s like the friend that you have a lot of fun with every couple of years who is absent otherwise, compared to the friend you enjoy yourself with every week. Who do you consider the better friend? (Yes, I just compared a TV show to having friends.) Every episode may not be TV gold, but it’s still a lot more fun to watch.

Also, it’s more reminiscent of the original short stories that Doyle wrote, little and lots. The best stories (in my opinion) were the ones that didn’t go on for too long and I believe that this applies to TV as well.

The Man Himself

Can someone pick Zoe's jaw off the ground please?

Sherlock Holmes.

Well, in Sherlock he doesn’t really change much as a character. He’s witty, sarcastic, and constantly complaining about the idiots he’s surrounded by (which makes for some good comedy). He’s pure genius and just knows things about people (illustrated by the neat little writing trick they do on the screen). I enjoyed Cumberbatch’s portrayal as Holmes, there’s no doubt about it. So why is it that I like Miller better? It may have something to do with the fact that Sherlock in Elementary isn’t a superhero. He takes time to figure stuff out, he gets things wrong, he needs help and consultation from others and also, it’s a job to him. He has some odd quirks like the way he wakes Watson up every morning when she’s living with him, the tortoise he owns, the way that he’s completely unsanitary… but he is also seen as some childish man on the autistic spectrum. He’s not a God. He takes his shirt off a lot. He has sex with women. He’s a person.

He needs Watson, not just as a friend but as a safety net. She stops him from doing drugs (a feature of his character that BBC’s Sherlock changed to simply smoking) and we have a reason for his descent into heroin and rehab – which we will come to later.

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I wouldn’t read on from this point if you have not gone beyond the Elementary season one episodes of ‘Risk Management’ (1×22) and ‘The Woman’ (1×23).

SPOILERS

Irene Adler is, in almost every adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, the one single woman he could ever love. She’s intelligent, quick and a perfect match for Sherlock. In Sherlock she is a dominatrix who is in possession of some incriminating photos that he must retrieve. She has a short connection with Moriarty but nothing incredibly significant. Moriarty himself is a strange, giggling psychopath of a man who runs a criminal network and almost outwits Holmes. He is Holme’s nemesis, he’s obsessed with him, and the BBC followed quite close to the original short stories in having Holmes kill himself whilst bringing down Moriarty… and then come back after having fallen (or pretended to fall) from a great height. It’s fun, but it’s nothing especially innovative from the Sherlock team.

The big plot twist of Elementary’s first season is that Irene Adler (who is supposedly dead at the hands of Moriarty, and the reason Holmes descended into drug use) is not actually dead at all. Nor is she Irene Adler. She is Jamie Moriarty (played by Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer), responsible for over 40 murders and more than just a little bit evil. She played Sherlock in order to see if he was any threat to her criminal activities, and then faked her own death when she decided he wasn’t. This gender swap I love, because the idea of a crime lord who isn’t some beefy man and the fact that she isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty when she needs to do something herself is, in my opinion, awesome.

I love evil women, they tend to be my favourite characters, especially when they have some redeeming qualities that mean I am able to defend them from others who watch the show. She has a daughter, she loves Sherlock, she’s smart and a great artist. Yes, she’s evil for the sake of being evil but who wants to know if she became a criminal after some harrowing backstory or whatever. To me, she’s more convincing as a Big Bad than Jim Moriarty, and Sherlock’s obsession with her has more of a base. Why is he obsessed with her? Because he was in love with her.

Conclusions

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It’s perfectly acceptable to like Sherlock, and it’s perfectly acceptable to like Elementary. If you really want to, like both! I do, but Elementary has just pipped it to the post for me.

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I am an aspiring, young, female film maker. I am also a Creative Writing student and do a lot of writing in my spare time. Despite the slow decay of the gender boundaries, the film and television business is a very difficult one to make it in as a girl. Because of this difficulty I often look for role models in women who have become successful and well known for their work.

Enter: Lena Dunham.

Not only is she a producer and director, but she’s also just recently released her book Not That Kind of Girl, which I immediately requested for my birthday and finished within a week. She’s not stick thin, she’s not Hollywood ‘beautiful’, and yet she’s one of the only cast members in Girls who gets naked frequently. Why? Because she’s comfortable with her body and doesn’t really care about giving the audience what they want to see. She gives them something real.

But her undressing on screen isn’t objectifying to women, nor is it degrading. If anything, it’s a triumph. Anyone who reads her book of memoirs and personal essays will know the struggles she faced as a child and young adult over her appearance, her weight, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive-disorders. She tries to diet, and fails. She dates several first-class assholes and manages to move on and find someone who appreciates her for who she is. She makes friends who just suddenly turn around and tell her they can’t hang out any more. Every kid had dealt with some of these issues at one point in their lives. Lena Dunham overcomes everything that is thrown at her and is now a household name. This book inspired me a lot, because before reading this I didn’t know what I could possibly write in a personal essay that would be interesting. Now I realise that you don’t need to have been trapped in the boot of a car for 24 hours, nor do you need to have been in a hostage situation in order to write something that people would enjoy reading. It’s okay to write about something simple, because someone, somewhere, is going to understand what you’re talking about.

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I wouldn’t have even considered reading Not That Kind of Girl if it wasn’t for the other, ‘girl-central’ piece of work in her life – quite literally Girls. It’s yet another relatable oeuvre of Lena Dunham’s, but only if you understand what it’s like to struggle in knowing where you are going in life and how you’re going to get where you want to be… If you even know where you want to be. If someone asks me where I see myself in ten, or even five years time, I haven’t a clue. I don’t even know what country I will be in and quite frankly, it’s terrifying. Girls starts with Lena’s character, Hannah, being told by her parents that they aren’t going to support her financially anymore. She’s a writer who’s trying to make it in the world, but doesn’t have a paying job. She lives with her best friend Marnie and pretty much floats through life. This show is about making mistakes. It’s about quitting jobs when you shouldn’t just because you get frustrated, it’s about picking the wrong boyfriends and about trying not to mess everything up.

It’s interesting to watch this with my Dad in the room. (Also it’s a terrible idea, I had no clue how many sex scenes there were going to be when I put this on for the first time.) Despite the awkwardness, I do find that it’s fascinating how people of different genders and generations react to this show. My Dad is a pretty liberal guy. He’s a feminist, he votes for the Green Party, he hates authority and the Conservatives, and he taught Creative Writing, Film and Media courses. I wasn’t embarrassed to have him as a teacher, and the people in my class thought he was cool. But… he just doesn’t like Girls. I, on the other hand, love it. That’s probably because (even though I myself would like to think I’m not like any of these characters) I do know quite a few people who mirror the girls in the show.

I know someone who will stand and sing to an audience, even at the most cringe-worthy time.

I know someone who takes herself too seriously and couldn’t ever admit to being wrong.

I know someone who wears bohemian clothes and couldn’t care less about where she’s going.

I know someone who is beyond bubbly, but also naive and irritating at times.

As society changes, so do the ‘characters’ in hip and down-to-earth shows. Right now, those people apply, because they represent the young people of today who are just thrown out into the world, after having taken courses in a very specific subject, and then can’t find any job that has those requirements. We’re called irresponsible and lazy and stupid and told that things were much better in the past generation. But then again, those people’s parents probably told them that too.

So, Lena Dunham is a great role model as far as I’m concerned. I’m not going to go around and do the things she did in her book, nor am I going to follow the examples of the characters in Girls. (Although I am quite proud to have spewed a few Jessa-like insults in my time) But I will take inspiration in her conquering of a very male driven industry. I hope she keeps on making films/Tv and writing, because I’d like to see what she comes up with next.

Things to look out for:

Tiny Furniture (2010): An independent comedy-drama written by, directed by, and starring Lena Dunham. It stars her sister and mother as those roles and Jemima Kirke who will later go on to play my favourite Girls character. It’s about a girl who returns home from a liberal arts college with a film studies degree and follows her struggle to find who she is and what she’s going to do. (You see many parallels with her characters in Girls, but this focuses more on a single moment in time whereas Girls follows her over a longer period.)

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” (2014): A collection of personal essays that detail different aspects of her life. A good read and also very insightful, highlighting the best bits, but mostly the low bits. Her willingness to put in some not-very-dignified moments is refreshing and make it easy to have a rapport with her.

Delusional Downtown Divas (2009): An internet television show that is kind of like Girls on drugs. It’s about three young women who were raised in the art world of New York and try to establish their place in it. It’s very weird, and I’m not sure if I enjoyed it all that much, but it is good if you want to see how she progressed from internet TV to winning Golden Globes.

Oracle of Film

Who is the best character of 2014? It is a question that has been bandied around for decades (well, since 2014… halfway through 201… at the start of the month), and finally, maybe, we might just have some answers for you. Like all of the major challenges in my life, I ran running and screaming for the WordPress family to do my homework for me and got them to write you some answers. Hell, one of them might even be coherent. So, without further ado, let’s investigate the answers.

Wait, I forgot some ado. There will be no Question of the Month next month, because it is Christmas and I assume you have more important things to do than have me pester you with annoying questions. So, I guess I will email you all in 2015 for the next jam-packed Question of the Month (Best character of 2015?). Oh, and…

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The Good, the Bad and the Average

Toy StoryDisney just can’t keep themselves out of the headlines at the moment. On top of announcing that Star Wars: Episode VII will be titled ‘The Force Awakens’, studio boss Bob Iger had confirmed that the Toy Story characters will be brought out of storage mode for a fourth installment of the beloved franchise. The film is currently scheduled for release on June 16th 2017, with Pixar honcho John Lasseter also confirmed as director.

No further details have yet been revealed, however the idea was conceived by the usual suspects of the Pixar brain trust, with Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich and Pete Docter all having a hand in the idea. The group have collectively assigned Rashida Jones and Will McCormack to pen the script.

“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us,” Lasseter revealed in a statement. “We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up…

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“We never really die.”

Firstly, I saw this French science fiction film in a French cinema with voice dubbing for any of the English spoken scenes.. into French. I couldn’t really tell when people were supposed to be speaking English or when they were speaking French, so bear with.

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Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is a woman who is accidentally brought into a drug ring where she is stuffed (literally) full of drugs, CPH4, and sent on her way by a Korean mob. After being beaten viciously by one of the mob the drugs are released into her system and she starts to develop powers beyond normal human capacity. Along the way of getting revenge on her captors, who then in turn start to seek her out, she contacts Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) in order to recruit his help in saving her from her own expanding mental capacity which will eventually cause her own destruction.

Okay, so there’s no doubt this film is pretty. The special effects are nice to look at, especially on a big screen, all the wiggly coloured lines and light and stuff. That was great. Also, the fact that it was kind of an interesting twist on the Superhero movie genre was good. This could have easily been a good backstory for a strong female Superhero who I would have loved to kick some more butt, but unfortunately the ending of the film kind of put a stop to any other films that could have been added on to add to the character. Lucy had some cool, albeit pretty non-specific powers.

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Now for the negatives. When I came out of the cinema I turned to the people I was with and said ‘All special effects and no real plot or character development’. It’s pretty much blasphemy to criticise a Luc Besson film where I’m from in France because they all see him as some kind of cinematic genius… So I was surprised when they agreed with me. I would have liked to have seen a little bit more character development from Lucy at the beginning of the film, so that we felt more empathy and rooted for her a little more. The lack of character development in the rest of the film was fine because that was the point; as she progressed she became less and less human, but the problem was I didn’t root for her to defeat the bad guys and complete her quest in the first place. I just kind of felt neutral.

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The idea wasn’t original (Transcendence, Limitless), but that wasn’t really the problem for me… It was the fact that Besson was trying to make it a lot more intelligent than it really was. The plot became a little bit blurred and Lucy’s intentions for getting to Professor Norman were lost to me at first. There were a lot of scenes and clips of nature that I saw as unnecessary. Towards the end of the film Lucy travels back and meets the first female, also called Lucy, because.. uh.. well, we’re not really sure. Why not.

A bunch of special effects didn’t really add or explain anything to the film and I came out of the cinema thinking that Besson may have intended to have some kind of underlying message in the film (Save the whales, be nice to you’re fellow humans, that kind of thing), although I had absolutely no idea what that message was supposed to be.

Verdict: 2.5/5. I wasn’t adverse to it, nor do I have any kind of hatred towards this film. The acting was great, special effects were pretty… but meh. It could have been better. It tries to be smarter than it is.

“Life doesn’t give you bumpers.”

I went to see this in the cinema a couple of weeks ago, having heard great things about the movie shot over 12 years of one single boy’s life, and the concept intrigued me. Richard Linklater wrote, directed, and co-produced a movie that did not disappoint.

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In 2002, a young Ellar Coltrane was cast to play Mason Jr., a six year old who we follow through to the age of 18 when he goes off to college, seeing how his life changes and his experiences and the way he sees the world. We also see other members of his family develop; his older sister Samantha (played by Linklater’s daughter Lorelei Linklater), his father Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke) and, in my opinion, the most heartbreaking character his mother, Olivia, played stunningly by Patricia Arquette. The film follows these characters as they move from small-town Texas to Houston, to San Marcos, through a series of new homes, new step-fathers and bad relationships.

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Each character has their own arc, and an arc like no other as the characters age with the actors and the actors use their own life experiences at that time to fuel their character. Ethan Hawke shows as his character goes from a young, smoking, swearing, irresponsible failed musician who lives in a dank and tiny apartment to a responsible father-of-three with a new wife and new stable job, finally becoming the father he should have been all along. Samantha goes from a bratty child who shows off her school grades and always insults her brother’s intelligence, to a teenager who is embarrassed by her mother and brother and lives in her own little bubble until she leaves home and goes to college, where she creates a tighter bond with her little brother. Then comes Patricia Arquette playing Olivia, who starts out as a single mother taking classes in college with hopes and dreams, who goes through a series of bad husbands who abuse and mistreat her character, although she remains strong and a good mother to her children, until she becomes the broken character we see in her last scene, crying at the table as her son leaves for college, disappointed in life and saying: “I just wish it could have been better.”

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Finally, Mason Jr., the boy that it is all about. As the years pass we see him grow, going from a pleasant and inquisitive little boy to a self-conscious kid who grows his hair long, to a teenager with piercings who drinks and experiments with drugs and gets girls, to an aspiring photographer with an intelligent yet negative outlook on life until he finally goes to college and we see, as we reflect on how he has changed in the film, that he has grown up.

Watching these characters change through a couple of weeks of filming a year for 12 years is really something. It’s not the same experience as seeing different actors with vaguely familiar features playing different ages, it feels more real, more genuine, and you connect much more to the characters because you feel that yes, you have indeed watched them develop. The random time jumps give us an individual taste of what it is like for Mason to be that age, and the fact that they are unannounced illustrates just how fleeting childhood is, that we have no control over our ageing process and things just happen the way they do.

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Boyhood carries you along a journey of childhood, growing up, and emotional change, and I couldn’t help but notice the warm and fuzzy feeling in my stomach as I left the cinema, the satisfaction I felt for having seen this film. This film is real art of cinema, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone, because everyone has grown up and everyone should connect with at least part of Mason’s ‘Boyhood’.

Verdict: 5 / 5 stars, incredible story, excellent acting (even from the very young Ellar Coltrane) and something that really must be experienced.

I’m not exactly the biggest gamer in the world; I’ve never played GTA or COD or any of those things and the last game I remember playing is Mario Kart against my nine year old cousin. I’m proud to say that I did not lose that one. Even though I don’t tend to focus my time on looking up the latest games, one game that is soon to be released has caught my eye.Alien-Isolation-Screenshot-Xenomorph-Closeup

Anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a huge Alien fan (read my Alien 1979 review here) and I became very excited at the prospect of a game based on Ridley Scott’s original.. and not a complete failure like Aliens: Colonial Marines. I immediately found myself looking Alien: Isolation up and geeking out to the point that some of my friends were very worried about me. Why am I so excited for this game to come out? (And for me to convince one of my friends to buy it so I can camp out at their house for a couple of days?) Here are some reasons why:

You get to play as Ripley’s daughterAlien-Isolation-Ripley

 

Amanda Ripley was only vaguely mentioned in a deleted scene from Aliens where Ripley discovers her daughter is dead. This scene was later put into the Director’s Cut and created a perfect character for Creative Assembly to play around with, and she already has ties to the original franchise by being the daughter of Ellen Ripley. Awesome.

It looks like the 1979 movie

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApjNlaPNZtE

The ship looks like the same kind of ship as the Nostromo, the tech looks like the 1970’s science fiction tech they would come up with (including a very clunky tracker device) and the detail looks fantastic. You just have to watch the trailer above to see how great it looks.

It looks scary

If there was one thing Alien was great at, it was building up tension slowly using sounds and music to put your nerves on edge as you wait for the next scary thing to happen. It seems to be the case that Alien: Isolation is mimicking this horror technique, and having watched several reaction videos, it seems to be working.

Ripley’s back

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Not just Amanda Ripley, but Ellen Ripley too. Sigourney Weaver is back voicing her iconic character in two extra missions that you get for free with pre-order DLC. Other cast members who are back voicing their characters include Tom Skerritt (Dallas) and Yaphet Kotto (Parker). You find yourself back on the Nostromo for two missions: Crew Expendable and Last Survivor. Take a look at the trailer for the special missions here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVnxmsz967w