Feature Presentation: American Sniper – The Problem with “Based on a true story” (or The Responsibility of Fact vs. Fiction in the Media & Film)

American-Sniper

The timing and release of American Sniper comes at a rather sensitive time, with recent terrorist events in Canada, Sydney and Paris, as well as the ongoing problems in Nigeria, Syria and its surrounding regions. We’re living in a era where terrorist acts by Islamic extremists are reported daily in the mainstream media, and governments across the world are on high-level alerts, awaiting the next imminent attack.

Unfortunately, we are also living in a world where outlets like Fox News broadcast dross and flat-out lies, such as one of Britain’s largest cities being a “Muslim-only” area. A world where Rupert Murdoch, an utter stain on the human race, tweets nonsense such as how all “Moslems”[sic] should be taking responsibility for “their growing jihadist cancer” (?!). And don’t even get me started on Donald Trump, and his apparent high IQ. While trash media and idiots with too much money continue to broadcast “ALL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS!!!”, there is a responsibility amongst others to supply a more balanced and level account of things.

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Review in Brief: 2014

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So, another year has passed, and many a weekend was spent in the confines of a cinema screen, getting more and more frustrated with peoples increased usage of mobiles phones during screenings. You do realise to the person behind you that it’s like someone turning on a torch?! If you can’t make it through a film without seeing how many people liked the photo you posted of your lunch, you shouldn’t be allowed out…

*deep breaths*

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Goodnight sweet Genie: Robin Williams 1951-2014

Robin

It’s very rare that I’m moved to write something like this in the wake of a “celebrity” death. In this era of social media I find it’s all too easy to offer insincere condolences to someone who you probably never met, and you probably weren’t actually that much of a fan of anyway. However, current culture dictates that you should be seen, in the very open realm of the internet, mourning someone – whether sincere or not – that others genuinely held dear.

In the case of Robin Williams though, it feels different. It feels real – and it is genuine. Because even though this guy, this actor – this comedy GENIUS – wasn’t known to most of us personally, he was known to us through the films he made. Whether it was sat in front of a screen as a family, watching Hook, Jumanji, Aladdin or Mrs. Doutbfire. Or as a Film Studies student, learning to appreciate the brilliance of Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting. Even through commercial flops like Toys… this is someone who has made many of us laugh, and at points had us in tears – both through joy and sorrow.

There’s not a lot to say, and certainly nothing that others haven’t said better already, but we really have lost a true talent today. I can’t remember when exactly I fell in love with film, but if you were to ask me when I first fell in love with comedy? It was the first time I saw Robin Williams on the big screen.

Remember, no matter how dark things get, there are people everywhere in this world who are there to help: friends, loved ones, strangers. You are never truly alone. Depression is a horrible, dark, devastating thing. The fact that depression drove someone, who brought so much joy to so many of us, to take their own life, makes this death so much bitter. Sadly, it will not be the last talented life lost to this terrible illness.

Thank you for everything, Robin. I hope you’re at peace.

The Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
CALM: Helpline for men at risk of suicide, or wishing to talk to someone – 0800 585 85 85
HOPELineUK: For young people up to the age of 35, 0800 068 41 41
Saneline: 08457 67 80 00
Mindinfoline: 0300 123 3393

Review: Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas-Buyers-Club

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée

Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn

What’s It About: After contracting HIV, Ron Woodruff, a homophobic rodeo rider, electrician and hustler, looks past drugs available to him in the US, amid concerns they’re doing more damage than good. After finding alternatives in Mexico and Japan, he begins to sell to other HIV sufferers.

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So this is the new year…

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So, it’s the middle of February and I’ve not blogged since last October. I really don’t know how this has happened, and it would be way too easy for me to blame it on a work project that’s overrun by 3 months – but let’s blame it on that anyway.

When I started this blog last year it was meant to act as outlet to keep me ticking over creatively, away from some of the more commercial work I was doing in my full-time design job. It was also meant to be a platform for my very opinionated self to justify the amount of hours I spend in dark rooms, with strangers, by actually reviewing the films I end up watching. Regardless of whether or not people see the reviews, it’s been a good thing for me, and for those that have actively commented or been positive, thank you – it makes it more worthwhile.

What’s transpired is that, generally, I can get a poster based on themes within the film done pretty quickly. The part where I actually have to use words to describe what I actually felt about a film, well, that’s where things start to slow down, 4 months go by, and nothing gets posted. Part of that probably comes down to the fact that I’m not very good at reviewing things, as I’ve always said. But most of it comes from trying not be the opinionated guy I’ve mentioned, aiming to be more open minded, unbiased, and in some way, more mature or adult in the way I approach cinema. Well, that’s not working.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be changing the way I review films. The aim is to keep them shorter, less professional and more emotional. I want them to be more reflective of how I am in my everyday life, when I talk about films with colleagues and friends. So they’ll be blunt, honest, and probably have an air of “If you don’t agree with me, you’re wrong” about them. I can hear you all saying “Wow, this guy is dick!”. You might be half right. BUT, American Hustle wasn’t as great as everyone is saying, and Christian Bale was the only thing about it worthy of an award. Yeah, not even Jennifer Lawrence was the best thing about it!

So there we go! Let’s see how I get on, and hopefully I’ll be back to having weekly posts from next week. Would you believe me if I told you they’ll be a review of Dallas Buyer’s Club dropping in the next 12 hours?

Mark

Shelved: Elysium

Elysium

So, things have been slow around here recently. As usual, I’ll blame my full-time job. And while it might seem like I’m not doing anything, a lot of the time I’ll have designed a poster for a review, too much time passes, and it’s too late to post.

With that in mind, here’s the poster that got shelved for Elysium. What I’m aiming to do in these situations is hold out until the DVD and Blu-Ray release comes around, and roll out the review then. So hold tight, as Elysium will get the review I intended to give it.

Review: Filth

Filth

Discalimer: I’ve not read Irvine Welsh’s novel, Filth. But as with all cinema with well-read source material, it should be able to exist within its own realm, successfully, as a respective piece of art. So, bear in mind, this review comes from someone whose opinion is based solely of the piece of celluloid presented on the big screen…

Director: Jon S. Baird

Actors: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, John Sessions, Imogen Poots, Jim Broadbent, Carole Robertson

What’s It About: A corrupt / junky / alcoholic / bigot police detective is one case away from a promotion, and getting his estranged family back – providing he can successfully damage the chances of his colleagues making the cut. We join Detective Sergeant Bruce ‘Robbo’ Robertson on a drink, drug and jizz filled December, stumbling his way through the streets of Edinburgh, as well through his darkest thoughts. Best to lay off the drugs whilst watching this one…

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