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The Making of Black Panther

Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream American comics when he debuted in the 1966 issue of The Fantastic Four and is the alter ego of T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, a mythical and technologically advanced African country. Today the Black Panther movie has had a four-day opening weekend of $200 million one of the best ever for Marvel, it is predicted to comfortably reach the $900m mark after a worldwide release, more than 50 years after he first appeared. Originally a film version of the comic starring Wesley Snipes was scheduled as early as 1992, however, despite several attempts, a script never came to fruition, with further attempts to get the production of the ground never materialising. The comic was so popular amongst the young black population that it would really only be a matter of time before the film would become a reality. As cast members…

The Greatest Showman and his Troupe of Misfits

The Greatest Showman as presented by Hugh Jackman is the perfect antidote to January. Based on the life of P.T Barnum and his travelling circus, fizzling with colour, musical numbers that really only Hugh Jackman can deliver in his razzmatazz style and passion. We meet Barnum, orphaned at a young age rise above his adverse poverty to marry his childhood sweetheart and establish his circus company become very wealthy and rise up in society well to an extent. Despite his success, he isn’t fully accepted into the higher echelons of New York society and so his inner shortcoming is the desire to be seen as respectable and not just a well-oiled machine exploiting the “Freaks” that he has gathered and puts on display. Although of course, the Hollywood twist on this circus is opportunity and equality for all, unlikely to be the case in real life, but nevertheless a worthy…

Lady Bird & Diaries in Rehearsal

So we already know at this point that Lady Bird is the best-reviewed film of all time. But as a quick recap, it is a film about Christine an ambitious, bright and awkward, teenager, finding her way in life – a coming of age story in it’s most classic form, with great performances from Sairose Ronan and directed by Greta Gerwig. There’s a great deal written about the film already, but I was really struck by what an approachable and open person Greta came across as at a recent Q &A at Women in Film & TV (WFTV) at the Curzon Mayfair her understanding of the actor, story and the world she has brought us into is evident from the onset.  Greta recalled how as a teenager growing up she was asked to keep her diaries a secret so no one could see them, she immediately points out how it’s interesting that…

Guillermo’s Latest Monster in “The Shape of Water”

“Monsters are evangelical creatures for me. When I was a kid, monsters made me feel that I could fit somewhere, even if it was… an imaginary place where the grotesque and the abnormal were celebrated and accepted.” – Guillermo Del Toro. We enter the boring and mundane existence of Elisa (Hawkins) a voiceless orphan who communicates through sign language and is scraping together a living working as a cleaner in a top-secret government laboratory, where a range of dubious experiments are run. Elisa continues with her day to day routine until a suspicious delivery arrives and is housed in the chamber that she is responsible for cleaning.  The “delivery” is an unusual sea monster being studied by the FBI that Elisa fall’s in love with.  The film’s message of a  mute woman who falls for a captured sea monster is a tribute to outsiders of all kinds — a message that…

Blade Runner: Shooting “Tears in the Rain”

As Blade Runner 2049 is released and before watching the next instalment I wanted to revisit this scene once again, which counts amongst one of the most iconic moment’s in cinematic history and that still stands the test of time. In a recent interview, Rutger Hauer discussed how the scene “Tears in Rain” came together to conclude the film and his character Roy’s journey. The collaborative environment that Ridley Scott created enabled performer’s to bring more input to the character’s and in this case the dialogue. Rutger was looking for what Roy felt and his experience of the world where he was being hunted for being an android, a place that eventually leaves him isolated and alone by the end of the movie. “Spirit, heart and soul” for the androids final moment’s was what he wanted,  Ridley agreed to take on whatever “you can add complexity, wickedness” as long he liked it, Rutger…

Columbus: Architecture and Love in a Modern Age

When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Indiana – a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. It is here that Jin also strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library. Their friendship leads to  Jin and Casey exploring both the town and their conflicted emotions: Jin’s estranged relationship with his father, and Casey’s reluctance to leave Columbus and her mother. Whilst Casey shares her passion for the local architecture and the solace that she finds in the sometimes misplaced works of arts that are part of the landscape, hidden amongst petrol stations,  malls and hospitals. Casey shows Jin the restorative power that architecture has had on her life,  whilst helping her manage her dysfunctional relationship with her mother during her upbringing. This,…

Abdul Kareem: Love and Monarchy

Abdul Kareem, Munshi, secretary and “loving son” to Queen Victoria is the subject of the film”Victoria and Albert”, little is known about the Queen’s final companion before her death, except perhaps the royal household’s discomfort at their closeness. Abdul Kareem was born near Jhansi in British India, the son of a hospital assistant. In 1887, Victoria’s Golden Jubilee year, he was one of two Indians selected to become servants to the Queen Victoria, who came to like him a great deal and gave him the title of “Munshi”, an Urdu word often translated as “clerk” or “teacher”. According to Abdul Kareem’s biographer Sushila Anand, Queen Victoria’s own letters testify that “her discussions with the Munshi were wide-ranging—philosophical, political and practical. Both head and heart were engaged. There is no doubt that Queen Victoria found in Abdul Kareem a connection with the world that was fascinatingly alien, and a confidant who…

The Social Horror Genre – Get Out

“Get Out” is a paranoid thriller that like the best conspiracy thrillers,  disturbs the audience with its expert use of unsettling images and situations throughout that fill you with horror. The film starts out like a classic comedy-drama, in the vain of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, in which a young African-American man meets his Caucasian girlfriend’s parents for the first time. But the boyfriend, Chris, notices something strange about all the black people he encounters in the idyllic community and learns of the more sinister designs the family have in mind for him. Financed by Blumhouse, it was exactly the kind of off-beat, a zeitgeist-hitting film that could be spun into a horror hit—provided it could be made cheaply. The company keeps budgets low by offering deferred payments, hence taking bigger creative gambles with stories that may never get made as Jorden Peel identifies himself. “You want to hear a cool story? The…

Gyllenhaal: 9 Stories

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a 27-year-old man who loses both his legs in the 2013 bombing on Boylston Street in the film “Stronger”.  Gyllenhaal is said to have delivered an incredibly powerful performance which in test screenings with amputees received overwhelmingly positive feedback. It’s also the first project from Nine Stories, Gyllenhaal’s production company which he launched with producer Riva Marker with whom he is developing a range of projects bringing together the best of Indie film talent out there right now. So what’s on ‘Nine Stories’ upcoming slate their aims and ambitions. Gyllenhaal has two goals in mind. “One is to find the material I can do as an actor. And also, it’s to champion the filmmakers we love.” He notes that whenever he’s not appearing in a project, he’ll be more involved behind the camera only. ‘Nine Stories’ slate is a mix of sizes and genres, the company just…

Designing De Niro

De Niro’s use of biblical text for inspiration to create Max Cady for Scorsese’s 1991 classic “Cape Fear”, provides not only the iconic film imagery we are now familiar with but also an insight into his character’s state of mind, class and ambitions. Already well documented is the length to which some actors go in order to inhabit and become character’s in film and theatre from gaining and losing weight, time spent studying their character and their worlds and so on. In Cape Fear, we already know of De Niro getting a dentist to grind down his teeth for the film, however, here’s more detail from his diaries that shed further light into the creation of Max Cady the anti-hero who mesmerises us all in the film. The research materials from the De Niro’s diaries reveal how he used the bible as a reference source, in particular,  biblical influence on…