Review: Sunset Boulevard

Review: Sunset Boulevard

Sat in the auditorium waiting for the show to start I had a sense of excitement and anticipation, like every time I go to the theatre, but this time it was different. Having never seen this show before with no sense of what it was about I was looking forward to finding out. And then the orchestra played the opening chords of the opening numer, the house lights went down and suddenly I was in another world.

Sunset Boulevard tells the story of a down on his luck writer named Joseph ‘Joe’ Gillis (played by Strictly’s Danny Mac) who befriends an old silent film star who is still under the illusion that she is a big deal called Norma Desmond (played by Ria Jones). The chemistry between these two stars on stage is evident and you can tell they’re good friends, which adds to the believability of these two central characters. The show is full of surprises, one of which being how well Danny Mac can sing – his almost angelic voice reflecting Joe’s naiveity as to how in over his head he truly is but doesn’t realise.

The live orchestra adds a nice touch to the overall atmosphere of the show and immerses the audience in the world of Hollywood in the 1940s/1950s. The staging is ingeniuous; with very few set pieces and projections of movie clips from the era in which the show is set, you almost forget that you’re in a theatre. The main centrepiece however is Ms Desmond’s magnificent staircase, which serves as the object that represents both Norma’s mansion on Sunset Boulevard, as well as the sound stages in the Hollywood world.

With the plot, which has many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, music, set pieces and the maginificent cast, a stand out of which being Adam Pearce who plays Norma’s long suffering Max with an outstanding singing voice, this show is spectacular. It’s unlike any musical I have ever seen before, it deals with deeper issues than just the fakeness of Hollywood, but it was still a very enjoyable show and I would absolutely see it again if the opportunity arose.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2: Twice the laughs!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2: Twice the laughs!

Today Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 was released in the UK and since the first instalment is my favourite Marvel film (sorry Avengers!) I just had to go see it as soon as I could! It was so worth it!

To begin with the opening credits are fantastic. Baby Groot dancing around to Mr Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra whilst the other four Guradians are fighting some sort of disgusting alien. Yeah I’m already hooked. And yes Baby Groot is as adorable as you’d hoped he would be! He stays that cute and adorable all the way through the movie and it is now my life goal to adopt Baby Groot.

The film itself is just as good as the first. There’s the usual mix of sassy comments and banter amongst the Guardians but that’s also mixed with several backstories to a couple of secondary characters, namely Nebula (played by the wonderful Karen Gillan) and Yondu (played by Michael Rooker). I loved hearing a little of their back stories as it helped me understand it more, having no previous knowledge of the Guardians other than the first film. I felt more sympathetic towards Nebula and loved Yondu even more (he’s one of my favourite characters from the films) and both add new dynamics to this film.

The effects of course were fantastic. You’d expect nothing less from a film that is set in space. The colours of the villain’s planet (Ego, Star-Lord’s dad, played by Kurt Russell) are fabulous and the final battle between the Guardians and Ego is visually stunning. Paired with that is the soundtrack, just as awesome as Volume 1. Once again I didn’t realise I knew some of the songs on the soundtrack but once they started playing I was singing along (in my head of course) and dancing in my seat! That’s the thing I love about the Guradians films; their soundtrack is so vintage it just puts a smile on your face as soon as you hear it. I also love that it features some songs that aren’t as well known as other songs from the 70s/80s as it can make you appreciate that band or song more.

Finally the acting in this film is bang on point. The main 5 are just as strong as ever, which I imagine made the other actors such as Russell, Gillan, Rooker and newcomer Pom Klementieff, bring their A-game. And it paid off. Klementieff in particular stands out for me as her character is so child-like you immediately feel protective of her without knowing anything about the character. I also wish I could feel people’s emotions just by touching them.

To summarise, Volume 2 is just as awesome as Volume 1, the Guardians still keep their same core personalities and Baby Groot is the real star of the movie because he’s adorable! I will definetly be going to see this movie again!

Beauty is the Word

Beauty is the Word

Today I saw the new and updated Beauty and the Beast. And I have to say it is a masterpiece!

For a start the prologue is updated and adds a little more information about the personality of the Prince (Dan Stevens) so we understand a little more about why the curse was placed on him in the first place. In fact the whole story is updated: we find out what happened to Belle’s mother, we see a bit more of LeFou (Gaston’s sidekick) and a lot more of Belle’s relationship with her father.

Emma_Watson_Cannes_2013 The choice of cast is spot on! Emma Watson is radiant as Belle, having been involved in the planning and creating a modern heroine in 17th Century France she creates a heroine that shows young girls you don’t need on a man to save you, a woman can only count on herself (and perhaps her daddy :)). Dan Stevens is a brilliant as the Beast and Luke Evans is the perfect self-centred villain we all love to hate, Gaston. Josh Gad though stole the show for me as LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick. His perfect comedic timing and brilliance is just what the part called for, especially as he is Disney’s first openly gay character (about damn time!).

The music though of course was fantastic. I loved the mix of old and new songs, really brought the story into the 21st century. My favourite new song is the Beast’s solo (spoiler coming!) once he sends Belle home to her father. However my favourite song and scene is still Beauty and the Beast during the ballroom scene. It’s just asperfect with Emma Thompson singing it as Angela Lansbury did in the 1991 version. The scene is so pure and simple that it allows us all a break from the exceptional special effects used in the film (which I could bang on about forever but I won’t).

31030554835_0a32d752bd_bI could also talk about the controversies surrounding the film but I won’t do that either because the film doesn’t deserve it. It deserves to be talked about as a beautiful piece of art, little girls of a new generation will now hopefully aspire to be like Belle rather than a Kardashian. I urge you all to go and see this amazing, beautiful and just perfect film as I think it could be one of the best films this year.

Sausage Party:A Party of Innuendo

Sausage Party:A Party of Innuendo

Hi guys!

First of sorry for not posting for a while, life once again got in the way! Since I last wrote my review of The BFG, I’ve see Finding Dory and been to the theatre to see That’s Entertainment (a show celebrating the music from old style movie musicals) and Chicago (new favourite musical!). But if you haven’t already guessed, this review is all about Sausage Party, so lets get started!

The story of Sausage Party is all about an everyday sausage named Frank (voiced by Seth Rogen) disovering the truth about the “Great Beyond”, the land that all food goes to once they leave the supermarket. Whilst the animation makes it look like its a kid film its most definetly not, with the film being filled with sexual innuendo and political undertones throughout. It’s really surreal and weird and odd,however saying that its hilarious.

Los Angeles Premiere of "Funny People"
Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen is perfect as the hero of Frank, as are the rest of the cast as their respective characters, but its Rogen as Frank that holds it all together. In an odd way I almost started feeling sympathy for the food in the movie, which I never thought I would. But what I really love about this film is the positive messages I think are portrayed under all the sexual jokes. For example the lesbian taco who has a crush on Frank’s girlfriend, Brenda (whose a bun, obviously). In my opinion not only is it funny, that a taco could ever be with a bun, but also it shows that we should embrace who we are and accept people’s sexuality.

The main draw and jokes from this film though comes from all the sexual innuendo which happens pretty much every 5 seconds. (okay maybe a slight exaggeration but there is a lot of innuendo). They are funny however there were a few occasions where even I began to feel uncomfortable at the amount of innuendos and references and I’m 20 years old. I’d heard most of the innuendos said in real life anyway, so maybe it was just the fact that it was food that they were being applied to that made me feel uncomfortable, particularly as some scenes are a little graphic (end scene I’m talking to you!), or at least they would be if it had in fact been acted out by actual humans rather than animated food products.

Overall this is definitely a film aimed at the students or anyone with a dirty sense of humor and it is a funny film. If you want to see this film I’d recommend it, but go with someone you’re comfortable talking about sex with, a group of friends perhaps, as it can get uncomfortable at times. I saw it with my boyfriend and even I was getting uncomfortable and embarrassed whilst watching it with him. Just remember not to take the film too seriously and you’ll enjoy it!

20160131_111753So to summarise, Sausage Party is brilliantly funny and dirty in equal measures and I recommend you see it!

The BFG Review

The BFG Review

Hi everyone!

Been a while since I’ve done a film review (taken me a while to find time to get to the cinema) but I think I’ve chosen a pretty good time to start reviewing again! Friday 22nd July marked the released of the highly anticipated remake of the classic Roald Dahl’s The BFG in UK cinemas, and I was lucky enough to go along on opening day to see it. And as a bonus for you wonderful readers, I also have a few thoughts from my youngest sister (she’s 11) on the film too!

As someone who had loved the animated adaptation that came out in the 1980’s (no I am not that old) I decided to go into this new adaption, directed by Steven Speilberg, with an open mind, after all, it already looked like it would take a completely different direction from the 1980’s adaptation. I wasn’t disappointed, from the first scene I was mesmerised and hardly took my eyes off the screen, only occasionally to note my sister’s reactions to the film, and as the film progressed I got swept along in the magic of dream catching and Giant Country.

ruby barnhillNewcomer Ruby Barnhill was perfect as Sophie, the little girl who gets snatched by the BFG in the middle of the night and taken to Giant Country and helps BFG to overcome his fear of the other giants. She has the most expressive eyes of any young actor I have ever seen, a skill in acting that most actors could only dream of, and that is what sells her performance. Whilst there were a few occasions within the film where it felt like she was over-pronouncing her lines a little bit, that will fade in time. It must have been hard to act mainly against a greenscreen but she makes it look easy. I hope to see more of her in the future.

The story did slow sometimes, there were a few occasions where scenes should have been a little bit shorter and plot points that weren’t developed and needn’t have been there as they didn’t have any impact on the main plot. For instance, the red jacket that Sophie finds in the BFG’s scraps we later learn belonged to a little boy whom the BFG snatched just like he did Sophie, except this little boy doesn’t have the happy ending Sophie does. In my opinion they didn’t need this sub-plot as it didn’t add a lot to the main story other than it gave Sophie an extra piece of clothing to wear.

As most of the film is CGI animated it would be remiss of me not to talk about the effects in the film. Of course I can’t mention all of them however I will mention the ones that stand out most for me. To start with the snozzcumbers (the disgusting vegetable that the BFG eats) looked absolutely disgusting and vile, defining every single horrible detail on the big screen. Put me off my food that night! Second, the animation of the dreams in Dream Country where BFG catches the dreams he blows into children’s windows. The colours and the way they moved, it was incredibly magical and made me feel like a little girl again. The dreams even seemed to have their own personalities in the way that they avoided capture which brought a huge smile to my face. This scene in the film is possibly one of my favourite scenes of the entire film.

Third, the animation of the BFG himself. It never ceases to amaze me how far technology has come in recent years, so much so the BFG looked so realistic, able to see every line on his face, every hair on his head. And not forgetting, just how much they managed to make him look like Mark Rylance, the actor who lends his voice to the most friendly giant in history, and who did the motion capture work so that they could make the BFG move as realistically as possible. His gentle voice is what makes you want the BFG to succeed and beat the other giants and be able to live happily. Rylance is the most perfect Big Friendly Giant you could possibly get.

My little sister loved this film, having read the book and listened to the audiobook, she was looking forward to the release of this film and she didn’t stop smiling all the way through! She loved all the scenes towards the end of the fil involving BFG and Sophie at the Palace with the Queen, played by the brilliant Penelope Wilton. These were some of my favourite scenes too; there is so much hilarity squeezed into this short section of the film, from the makeshift table and chairs they make for the BFG, to the amount of eggs and toast the chefs make just for BFG! Penelope Wilton is great as the Queen, who just accepts that this is happening and rolls with it, just like us British have been brought up to be like!

mark rylance
Mark Ryalnce at the UK Premiere of The BFG

That’s all for now, hopefully I’ll be able to get to the cinemas next week to see Finding Dory! Right now though I’m off for a glass of Froggscottle!

The Movie Experience

The Movie Experience

Hi guys

So I haven’t written a post for a while and haven’t had a chance to go see any new films as I’ve been super busy! However there has been something I’ve noticed lately that is really bugging me.  Now what I’m going to say and discuss isn’t aimed at anyone in particular, I’m not having a go at anyone who does it, this is just me expressing my thoughts and opinions.

Here it is. Lately I have seen a lot of people watching the latest film releases, in particular the long anticipated Finding Dory, in the comfort of their own home rather than going to the cinema to see it. Granted Finding Dory hasn’t been released in the UK yet, which is why it’s bugging me so much; as someone who always tries to see new films within the first or second week or release so I can write reviews on it, I feel like there is little point when everyone seems to be streaming it at home before it is released. I also feel a little sad about it, because they’re doing themselves out of the whole “Movie Experience”.

The”Movie Experience” is, for me, one of the most exciting experiences people can have in life. I know there are some aspects to going to the cinema that aren’t so good, ticket prices and how expensive it is to buy snacks for example, however when you’re actually in the screening, it is amazing. The colour and the sound engulfs you and you get swept up in the movie itself (provided the movie itself is great of course). And then the atmosphere you get when you’re surrounded by other people who wanted to see the same film as you; regardless of what your interests are outside that screening, your interest in the film is one thing that unites you. You cry, laugh, scream together. And in my opinion that makes the experience better, makes the ticket prices worth while. Sitting at home you don’t get any of that. You don’t get the full effect of the movie, and surely that’s what a trip is all about, the effect watching the film has on you.

Watching a film at the cinema is what all the people who worked on the film in the first place wanted. By spending a small amount of money to go an appreciate their hard work properly makes all of their hard work worth it, and I’m not just talking about the actors and directors. I’m talking about the casting directors, costume designers, researchers, catering staff. Everyone whose name comes up in the end credits, so many names that it would be impossible to read them all, no matter how small their role in making the film, they all played their part and they deserve to have it viewed in the proper setting. There’s time to watch it at home after the DVD release, but for the film release, if you can, you should definetly go to the cinema.

My First Theatre Review!

Hi everyone!

As the title suggests this is my first ever theatre review so please be nice if you have any feedback 😛

Last night I went to a one off performance of a production called Zip Zap Boing! It was part of a event called the Takeover which basically hands the theatre over to up and coming young writers, directors and actors which I think is a great idea! The set was pretty simple; a few stacks of chairs, a bench and a table, but seeing as how the plot revolves around a youth theatre group it makes sense to have as few props as possible.

The play began and from the way the characters entered the stage, without saying a word, you could tell what their personalities were like. From sensible to quiet, dramatic to mean, there was a nice range of personality traits that reflect the type of people who attend youth theatre groups. As someone who has previously attended a youth theatre group, I found the whole plot and characters to stir up feelings of nostalgia of my own experiences and made me miss the whole acting experience. As the plot progressed it was focussing less on the actual rehersal that the group were supposed to be doing and more on the personal dramas of the young people within the group. I think what made it most believable is that you could relate to each of the characters being portrayed by the young cast members; whether you saw a part of you in one of them, or you were reminded of someone you knew. For example the character I identified most with was the “sensible” character, the one who kept trying to get the group to focus on rehersals as that used to be the role I took up if our drama teacher was late or left us to rehearse without supervision.

The cast themselves I feel did an excellent job. For most of them this probably would have been their first performance on this scale so they did a brilliant job to not let their nerves get the better of them. There were times of course where they got a little tongue-tied however the recovered incredibly well. They all worked well together to put on this short 45 minute performance and you can tell they get on like a house on fire behind the scenes which is always lovely to see. Of course they wouldn’t have been able to do a great job if the script wasn’t very good, so I would like to congratulate the writers as they managed to capture the escense of a youth theatre group perfectly in their words, and also well done to the director as without their direction the performance could have been so flat and boring.

The performance made me feel nostalgic, it made me laugh. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was but I think that just goes to show how important it is to invest in the theatre stars of the future; not just the actors but also the writers, directors, casting directors and everyone else who works extremely hard behind the scenes to make all theatre performances great! If you ever have the chance to support youth theatre performances I urge you to do so as I think you may be pleasantly surprised by what you go to see.