IS WALKER STALKER CON ABUSING FAN CULTURE? | fivethreeninety

Last night, photo sales for Walker Stalker Con London went on sale. And it garnered interest for all the wrong reasons.
This year’s prices have risen by £20-£40, with each photo averaging around £100. Yes, that’s £100 for one photo with one actor at an event you’ve already paid £80 to get in to, and that’s not even considering travel and accommodation costs.
And it showed too: last year, photo ops were sold out for the majority of the main guests in less than ten minutes. This year, there’s tickets available for all guests bar the two big sellers Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan now, almost a full twenty four hours later.

Here’s a comparison of last year’s prices versus this year’s:

It’s extortionate. It is taking advantage of people wanting to meet those they admire, and it is wrong.

Before you state that these are the prices set by the actor’s agents and that there’s nothing one can do about that (which is the excuse FanFest have used themselves), these same guests are doing other cons for as little as £25.

Here’s a nice little table comparing the exact same guest’s photo opportunity prices from Wales Comic Con, held in December of this year and Walker Stalker Con, held in March next year.

Arguments could be made that it’s down to location: obviously London is a more expensive venue and is just generally a more expensive city to visit or live in. Still, Wales Comic Con will be attracting 10,000 people, compared to Walker Stalker Con’s 7000-9000.
But I think it’s the event, or the agents cashing in on an event where they a have guaranteed audience. If it’s the event planners, the agents should be taking a stand, and visa versa.
Next March will be the third WSC London I will be attending, and I personally have witnessed the increase in prices. In it’s first year in 2016, a photo op with the so called “Abraham’s Army”, consisting of three main cast actors cost £100 in total, and now that’s the price for one glossy print of you standing next to a singular person.
I enjoy conventions. I am all for paying to meet actors I love, who have taken time out of their busy schedules to come to what must be at times an overwhelming event for a day or two. These celebrity guests come from all over the world to gather and meet the people who support them. I think they deserve the money – it must be hugely demanding to be on form for days in a row meeting stranger after stranger who you mean so much to and trying to make it a worthwhile experience for them.
I also understand that prices have to be set higher for larger guests to limit numbers and not cause chaos. I have no issue with paying to meet them. It’s when the price is inflated so obviously year after year internally in one organisation that I have issues with.
Can the actors actually enjoy their weekends knowing this? Knowing that they are taking this much money from people who look up to them and respect them, and most likely will not have that money to throw around? These celebrity guests are the one with money, and can they be comfortable knowing that
Fans are the ones that make shows. Without them, shows would collapse and crumble – and I’m not being idealistic here, television series literally need the viewers in order to keep running the show. And with the Walking Dead, which is a show that has been running for almost eight years, these are really dedicated fans who want to interact with these actors who have become a part of their life.
Walker Stalker Con has always been an amazing time of year for me. It’s where I’ve made so many memories, been able to converse with actors I admire face to face, meet amazing friends I wouldn’t have met otherwise and have an absolute escape of a weekend into an environment where everyone has a common interest. It’s unlike anything else.
But organisers taking advantage of that is wrong. And if this extortion continues for it’s fourth year, then I won’t be going. Because I cannot justify paying a week’s wages to meet someone off television for two and a half seconds.


Celeb Photo Ops, Walker Stalker Con, FanFest or it’s creator James Frazier have yet to make official comments about this increase. I will update if/ when they do.



Price comparison from 2017-2018 by @HLMhannah

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21 SIGNS OF A GREAT FRIEND | fivethreeninety

It’s one of my best friend’s birthday’s today – happy 21st Ryan!!!

I usually celebrate my loved ones’ birthdays with a blog post writing about their favourite films, but in this case that didn’t seem enough. But, as always I do think a person’s favourite films say a lot about them, so I will list Ryan’s as a little h’orderve to what I’m actually going to write about for him:

Blade Runner
Interstellar
The Shining
E.T
Logan
Alice in Wonderland
2001: A Space Odyssey

 

I bet you’re starting to see why him and I get on so well.

 

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To give you more reasons, here’s 21 things I love about Ryan, for his 21st birthday.

 

one.
When I am sad he sends me photos of his dogs. And I mean 200 pictures.

two.
He has FIVE dogs.

three.
We are incapable of texting each other in lower case.

four.
Along with our friend Tom, we have a brilliant snapchat group.

five.
His family is FAB & his dad calls me Mazz.

six.
Because of him I have been introduced to even more friends (Lauren & Finn that means YOU)

seven.
We have almost the exact same taste in film & television.

eight.
We can spend hours watching conspiracy videos

nine.
He is a brilliant companion to get drunk & watch la la Land with.

ten.
We both have cinema passes so can watch whatever we like whenever

eleven.
He hypes up my blog all the time, and messages me when he’s read them to talk about them.

twelve.
He’s a screenwriter, I’m an actor – can I make it any more obvious.

thirteen.
He is a huge Disney fan.

fourteen.
When we visit the Disney store we play in the kids area even if it means getting stuck in the Micky Mouse House.

fifteen.
We are the perfect pair for causing mischief: I have stupid ideas, and he’s mad enough to make us both do them.

sixteen.
He has brilliant survival instincts. In an interactive maze, he pushed me into a zombie in order to save himself. True friendship.

seventeen.
When I book spontaneous tickets to events with no planning beforehand, he lets me stay at his house.

eighteen.
And when I visit, he makes sure we visit the best places (museums, the VIP seats at the cinema, the dominoes with an eat in section…)

nineteen.
At cons he sneakily films me to make sure I have a photo of me talking to an actor I love that I didn’t get a photo op for

twenty.
We take selfies so good, that it distracts us from seeing Norman Reedus walk by two feet from where we’re stood. True story.

twenty one. 
When I was at WSC London on my own, feeling lonely and overwhelmed and meeting ryan in person for the first time, he immediately made me feel comfortable and brought out my outgoing side. That’s why he’s one of my absolute best friends, we immediately clicked and it honestly feels like we’ve known each other for years.

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So HAPPY BIRTHDAY RYAN!! It’s so silly that we clicked so instantly, and went from strangers on the internet to best friends who are planning a weekend of fun and road trips next week.

YOU’RE THE GREATEST!

Follow Ryan on twitter here.

BRILLIANT GIRLS ON SCREEN | fivethreeninety

Today is International Day of the Girl!! The best day of the year!!
It’s purpose is to raise awareness of issues facing girls internationally including education, nutrition, child marriage, and legal and medical rights – all of which cannot be ignored and action must be taken on them, because it’s a real problem.
Girls are incredible. They are raised in a world where they are demeaned, owned, stereotyped and dismissed. And yet, we come out brilliantly.

 

Here are my favourite brilliant girls from on screen:


Matilda
Mara Wilson
Matilda

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If there’s any one girl to start this list, it’s Matilda. She’s born into a family who cannot relate to her and therefore have no interest in her, and instead of letting this diminish her she learns to grow in her own way. She is a determined little girl with a brilliant sense of right and wrong and a passion for education, and she fights for not only her own freedom, but for that of who she loves – all before turning seven.

 

Olive Hooper
Abigail Breslin
Little Miss Sunshine

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Olive is a little girl with a dream that most tell her she is not worthy of pursuing, but does she let them stop her? No. Despite living in a mad family, she gets to achieve her dream and honour those she loves in what is probably the best ending to a film ever. Olive is the little ray of sunshine in this family filled with problems, and I love her for it.

 

Mija
Seo-Hyun Ahn
Okja

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This is an example of a girl whose simple actions cause a huge ripple effect on the world. She has one goal: to save her best friend, and her impact is massive enough that it causes the downfall of a celebrity, a product ten years in the making and a huge corporation. She is wise enough to recognise the bigger picture, but really she is just a young girl who doesn’t want to be separated so cruelly from her beloved companion, and it’s her determination that inspires the world.

 

Eleven
Millie Bobby Brown
Stranger Things

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This girl is quite extreme – she was bred to become an experiment and spent the first decade of her life in captivity being submitted to countless experiments. Despite never fully knowing of a life outside of what she was experiencing, Eleven escapes and finds friends and family of her own accord. Also she has badass superpowers.

 

Latika
Rubina Ali, Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar, Frieda Pinto
Slumdog Millionaire

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This is a little girl forced into a world she has no right to be put in. She was raised in the slums in absolute poverty, then taken into a life where she is used and abused by men running unimaginable businesses, beginning with begging and moving onto prostitution once she hits the first signs of puberty. Even once she seemingly escapes she is traded from one powerful man to another, and though after all this she would be expected to be scared and timid she decides to fight back and take control of her own life.

 

Gertie
Drew Barrymore
E.T the Extra-Terrestrial 

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Imagine being a three year old and your older brother brings home an alien. That’s what happens to a baby Drew Barrymore in this classic film – and what does she do about it? Give him a makeover, wig & all. She is fiercely passionate, smart and loyal in this mad adventure with her brothers, their friends and the government and that’s what makes her beyond great.

 

Rue
Amandla Stenberg
The Hunger Games

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Rue is another example of a girl thrown into a life she did not deserve, nor ask for. She’s selected at random to compete in a literal life or death challenge and however terrified she is, she remains peaceful and loving, right until the end.

 

Karen
Ramona Marquez
Outnumbered

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When I was fresh on Facebook aged thirteen, I had my religion on my profile listed as “Karen from Outnumbered“. And honestly, I don’t think my opinion has changed much. You see her grow up throughout the show’s run but she always remains the overly inquisitive, smart and brilliantly funny girl she was as a tiny five year old in the very first episode.

 

Madeline
Hatty Jones
Madeline

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I began with a girl who’s the titular character of her story, and so I’ll end with one too. Madeline is an ordinary little girl who is wise beyond her years. Orphaned and living in a tiny school for girls, she is adventurous, thoughtful, unafraid and wonderful. She is my favourite girl from any film, and the amount of adventures she has before hitting ten always enthralled me.

 

Girls are underestimated on a daily basis. And it’s little things like what they’re actually capable of being represented on the silver screen that are starting to change that mindset.

 

Happy Day of the Girl everyone.

 

Visit the official Day of the Girl website here.

LETS TALK MENTAL HEALTH

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day, and I honestly have to say I was blown away but how much attention it got on the news, social media and general discussion. In comparison to even last year’s same awareness day, the attention 2017’s gained was so much more and that felt truly wonderful.

One of the reasons why it’s been so much bigger is because people are talking about their mental health now. It’s breaking the taboo, and showing that it can happen to anyone. I’ve found it so reassuring to see so many people be honest about their own struggles, so that’s why I’m going to chip in a bit and talk you through some of the steps I’ve taken to improve my own mental health – which isn’t perfect. It is something I am making a conscious effort to work on and improve more, and I have made massive strides in the past year.

I think the biggest problem with people suffering with mental health issues is the stigma that it is not normal, that being anything less than happy is out of the ordinary and makes you different. That idea of being an outsider can fester into something bigger and scarier and make the whole problem so much worse.

I think an important thing to remember is that you don’t have to throw yourself in the deep end. Pace yourself and take your time in a way that’s comfortable to you – test the waters. For example, something I started pushing myself to do more was to be a bit more honest about how I was feeling. If a friend or colleague asked how I was when I was down, instead of suppressing my emotions and replying the usual “I’m fine, how are you?” that is so instinctive to all of us, I started responding with things like “I’m not doing so great today, but I’ll be okay”. You don’t have to delve into why, the vast majority of people can understand. And it’s amazing how instantly that weight can start lifting from your shoulders in teeny tiny little pieces.

It’s also a massive help for other people. Your influence can be massive, and in return can give you so much. If you’re honest about not feeling great, then more than likely you’ll discover that perhaps others aren’t feeling great, or that they can be truly wonderful and supportive. Being honest to yourself and others can spark a big ripple effect of awareness and have more people being more honest and supportive – just like how much more awareness this year’s Mental Health Day gained than last year’s.

It’s also worth noting that it isn’t so big and scary to seek professional help. Doctor’s can be amazing if you have the right ones, and will give you the option to trial things out like antidepressants or other things – you can try thigs and see if they’re right for you without making any commitments.

I will say that therapy is brilliant, but not so attainable at the moment. Under the NHS, there’s a long waiting list and even once you get through you may only receive a handful of sessions. In the past I’ve even been turned away from NHS partnered therapy because I wasn’t depressed enough, and told to return if I started getting suicidal. That’s infuriating, but is a reflection on the funding situation they’ve been put in and not how much they care. But, it is an option worth pursuing, as a lot of the time it can just be down to location.

I now pay for therapy, which is a hefty sum of money each worth but it does lift such a weight from my head. Therapy doesn’t solve problems, I find that it gives me clarity over the jumbling of thoughts in my head and has massively helped me in understanding myself. Understanding what you’re feeling is a huge step to feeling better, and without therapy it would have taken me longer to figure that out.

It’s also worth noting that you can allow yourself the time to find the right therapist: you won’t necessarily click or feel comfortable with each and every one, and some may have different techniques or approaches that may or may not suit you. The most important thing for you to remember is that you are doing this for you, and that there is no pressure or time scale for you to achieve anything more at this moment than simply taking the steps to find support, because that in itself is a massive achievement.

For those who simply cannot afford therapy (I am barely scraping by), don’t feel like you are a lost cause. Deciding you are going to take steps to improve is a big enough start – I spent a good few months taking little baby steps to improve before I even sought out therapy.

My favourite ways to calm an uneasy mind:

write lists.

One of the biggest things I struggle with is bundling everything up in my head till it feels overwhelming and like I have four million problems bashing around in my mind. But taking the time to list out things on your mind provides clarity, and can assure you that maybe there aren’t so many things to panic about.

take moments to breathe.

Its a big cliche, and a hard thing to admit you don’t want to do, but put your phone down and just chill with you for a moment. Start easy and look out the window on the bus instead of scrolling through Twitter, walk without your headphones in or make yourself dinner without the tv on in the background. You don’t have to do it all the time, but give yourself fifteen minutes to just chill with yourself a day and hopefully you’ll find it as therapeutic as I do.

take more time to yourself.

Do something that you actually want to do. Read a book you’ve had on your shelf for months, go for a walk, draw a picture, have a bath with a bath bomb and candles. Indulge yourself in youtime. You are worthy of being treated on a daily basis.

one step at a time.

Don’t feel like taking steps towards improving your mental health is some overwhelmingly huge thing. Take baby steps, like I said earlier. Something I find really helpful at times when I just want to lay in bed all day and be alone is my ‘just show up mindset’. It’s pretty self explanatory – if it’s work, school or an event you don’t feel totally up to, tell yourself to just show up, and that you can leave at any time you want. I often find that once I’m there, it’s not half as bad as I made it out to be in my head. And achieving a full day at the place can make you feel really good about yourself.

force yourself to note down good things.
I’ve recently downloaded Reflectly, an app where each evening you rank your day. Depending on what you rank, they ask you to name or explain some good things that happened to you; how you could have made the day better; and then ask a daily question. I really like it, and have found that it forces me to evaluate actually how good my day was – often I find that in hindsight, the day was better than I thought it was. If you don’t like the app, keep a note in your phone or in a notebook of nice things that happen in your daily life, and your achievements too. You’ll be surprised at how many you can list on a daily basis, and on those days where you can’t think of a single thing to add you can look back and see that there are a lot of lovely things in your life.
talk back.

In this I mean talk back to the voice in your head. The little one that tells you things are terrible, that maybe you aren’t good enough or that things might even be better off without you. Recognise that as an intrusive thought and say hey! I am good enough. Keep saying it until that little voice is diminished and you believe yourself.

I am by no means a professional, but I have found all of the above to be massively beneficial to me, so if I can pass that on to anyone else who may find the same thing then that would be amazing.

It is difficult to talk about my own personal mental health. But it is freeing at the same time. If you can, I would really suggest being more open about your own struggles, if you have them.

We need to end the facade that everyone is perfect, because the reality is that it’s that mindset which is causing problems. End the stigma. Be honest with yourself, and seek out support. And open up the conversation to other people.

Therapy:

Find a therapist in your local area

Online therapy 

Donate to mental health charities:

Mind

DEXTER | fivethreeninety

This weekend, after three years, I finally finished all eight seasons of Dexter. So today I’m going to have a chat with you about why I enjoyed it so much.

If you don’t know, the show follows a guy – Dexter, who to the world, is your average joe. By day, he’s a blood spatter analyst at Miami Metro Homicide with a loving sister on the force, and by night he’s actually a serial killer. But, a serial killer with a twist – he only kills bad guys. You with me?

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Raised from a young age by a father who understood their was no preventing his fate as a killer to follow a ‘code’ on which to live by to avoid imprisonment or trouble, Dexter is a character unlike any other. He’s played brilliantly by Michael C. Hall, who in the show’s seven year run received a Golden Globe, a Screen Actor’s Guild Award, a Saturn Award and more for his performance.

The rest of the cast is what evens this show out into the great thing it is. The almost co-lead is Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan, Dexter’s adoptive younger sister; a foul mouthed, aspirational cop with a determined personality and an adoration for her older brother. She is my absolute IDOL, and the profanities in my language have significantly increased since beginning watching the show. I truly think that she is one of the greatest television characters ever to have been written.

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Dexter is also almost constantly accompanied by the shadow of his dead father, Harry, the teacher of this code he now lives by. His presence is chilling, as he’s always the image Dexter has of him in his mind instead of his actual father, and he most definitely becomes something almost totally different from his father.

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Then there’s the team at Miami Metro Homicide: Angel Batista, Maria LeGuerta, Joey Quinn, Vince Masuka among others. I adore each and every one of them. They are such well rounded, fleshed out characters that are multi faceted and real. The show doesn’t even delve into the personal lives of some of these characters, yet still their personalities are so much more than colleagues.

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Obviously there’s a ton more characters that come and go throughout the seasons including some played by acting legends such as Jimmy Smits, John Lithgow, Julia Stiles, Yvonne Strahovski and even Charlotte Rampling. Honestly, sometimes it’s unbelievable how good a cast this show was capable of getting. 

Living this dual life ultimately leads Dexter into a lot of awkward situations for the titular character, which conveniently lead to big season arches of course. There’s a lot of debate from viewers regarding the rise and fall of the seasons but mostly everyone agrees that season four is undoubtably the greatest (and for good reason).

 

While I can acknowledge that some of these seasons are stronger than others, I never didn’t enjoy it, apart from one brief storyline at the tail end of season six. It has always enticed me, always kept me on the edge of my seat and more than occasionally, has me shouting at the television. The guest characters are brilliantly crafted; the twists and turns unexpected; the script witty in a dark way and the character development brilliant.

But most importantly, I have loved watching Dexter because I have watched it all with my mum. That’s why it’s taken us so long to complete – we’ve had to have coinciding schedules in order to watch it, which is becoming something of a rarity for us now. But it has been our little time together throughout the past year or two, in which we can both unwind from our hectic lives and watch this nice little show about a serial killer.

Dexter is on Netflix.

FILM REVIEW CATCH UP: THE BIG SICK, A GHOST STORY, LOGAN LUCKY & IT | fivethreeninety

In my absence at the end of summer, I missed a handful of film reviews that I felt like it was too late to write about on my return. But, I don’t want to not share them – so, I present to you; my film review catch up!

This isn’t everything – there is at least one that I’m saving to post on the DVD release date, but it’s a start. Until then… here we go:

The Big Sick
I bloody loved this. Really. It’s a film by Kumail Nanjiani & his wife Emily V. Gordon, telling the story of how they met: a time that was a bit tumultuous for them both. Sounds cheesy, but it’s so much more. For one, he’s Pakistani & she’s white: something his family will not approve of. He’s also trying to get his career in stand up comedy started, also to his parent’s disapproval. And then there’s also the fact that she’s ill that throws a bit of a spanner into the works.

As it’s told by the people who experienced it, it’s really beautiful and delicately dramatised to be an interesting film. Kumail playing his past self is excellent, and Zoe Kazan as Emily is one of her greatest roles. It’s Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as her parents that excel the film

In summary, it’s a romantic comedy that confronts cultures clashing, chasing goals, navigating new relationships and even racial tension. It’s smart, self aware and honest, whilst also being a genuinely heartwarming story. One of my favourites of 2017.

 

A Ghost Story

This has grown on me more as time has passed. I do think that Rooney Mara was the highlight of this and therefore should have had more screentime, but this is a film that was an absolute pure expression of passion and filmmaking and that’s the reason why I can’t get it out of my head.

I’m really not sure what more I can say of it, except that it did grip me in a totally unusual way – it wasn’t a thriller, it wasn’t anything really. Just a quiet little experience that crawls into your head and won’t leave.

Even if I am against Casey Affleck being glorified for walking around in a sheet for the entire length of the film.

 

Logan Lucky

The highlight of this film is the actors, all of which play characters vastly different from what we usually see them as. Changing Tatum leads as a quiet, burley Dad with a limp and a plan; Adam Driver plays his quiet one armed brother; Riley Keough is their salon worker sister who’s a killer driver and Daniel Craig plays a crazy eccentric incarcerated bank robber.

It’s not much more than it suggests, which is a heist movie, but it is enjoyable in it’s slightly quirky nature and mostly due to it’s brilliant performances. It’s also not totally predictable, which was refreshing. It is pretty fun, and even a little heartwarming at times – worth a watch, in my books.

 

It

I do think I need to rewatch this film, because on first watch it was totally different to what I was expecting (and I wasn’t even sure what that was). Where I’m struggling is how to categorise it: not quite a horror, nor a comedy, nor a thriller. It does feel like a proper classic eighties movie, the like of E.T. or The Goonies: kids banding together for something greater than them.

The kids are the absolute highlight of this for me (Finn Wolfhard especially), with their one liners and incredible acting skills these actors better be going good places.

I do feel like It has a slow paced start, disjointed and unsure of where it’s starting, and also forces scare moments just to keep the theme running – but when all the kids do join, then it feels really fluid.

I’m aware that these are only little reviews, but what did you see any of these films this summer? What did you think? I’d be more than happy to chat about them in the comments below or on my twitter!

For now, that’s me caught up on film reviews.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIE LARSON | fivethreeninety

Hey! It’s Brie Larson’s birthday!!

She is one of my absolute favourite actresses, not only because of how insanely talented she is, but because of how wonderful she is outside of her performances.

 

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So, while I love her in 21 Jump Street, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Free Fire, Kong: Skull Island and especially Room; and have loved her since her tiny bitchy roles in Sleepover and 13 Going on 30, I’m going to list the reasons why she, as Brie Larson, is a hero of mine:
ONE.

She is an outspoken advocate for Black Lives Matter, feminist movements and the impeachment of Trump among many, many other things that a lot of celebrities chose to sit on rather than use their voice for.

 


TWO.

She slays every. single. red carpet

THREE.

She’ll soon be playing Captain Marvel, and in doing so adding the first female fronted film to the Marvel franchise, whilst also finally adding another female to Marvel’s measly line up.

FOUR.

Her treatment of and refusal to clap or smile for known abuser/ Oscar winner Casey Affleck was silently amazing.

FIVE.

Her relationship with her on screen son, Jacob Tremblay is straight up gorgeous.

SIX.

She used to be a singer (no, really).

SEVEN.

Her performance of Black Sheep in the film Scott Pilgrim vs the World makes it actually one of the best songs ever.

 

EIGHT.

She hugged every single survivor as they left the stage from performing a song at the Oscars with Lady Gaga about serving sexual abuse. Every single one.

 

I really want to be her best friend. She’s truly astonishing. If you don’t follow her on social media, you’re making a mistake: she’s @brielarson on everything and her Instagram is especially brilliant.

 
So happy birthday Brie Larson! I hope this time next I’m celebrating it with you. Until then, thank you for being a wonderful inspiration.

MOTHER! | fivethreeninety

That was absolutely fucking insane and I thought it was brilliant.
Mother! is the latest film from acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, of Black Swan fame and more. Mother! has been met with probably the biggest divide in opinions that I’ve seen in any film in years: even a marketing poster was made to demonstrate intensely some people have hated it, and others admired it.

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It was totally pure, raw filmmaking passion. I’m not sure I could even watch it again it’s such a concentrated, frenzy of a dosage. It’s beyond intense.

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I’m not sure how to even describe the plot of this film but I’ll give it a shot: a married couple living in a half-finished house slowly have their life upturned by a series of events that spiral off of each other. It sounds vague, but that’s it.

 

One thing is certain: this lead could not have gone to anyone but Jennifer Lawrence. If you had somehow forgotten that she is perhaps the best actress of our generation, this film will remind you like a slap in the face. We see her in a different light in this role as she’s not playing the heroine, or at least the strong-willed, brilliant woman we usually see her as. In Mother!, she’s quiet and meek, not weak per say but certainly naive, blinded by love, and ultimately, a victim.

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Javier Bardem is quietly terrifying in this role. Everything about him seems fine on the surface, but at the same time he is making every internal alarm bell ring like crazy inside your body. He’s a enticingly charming man, whose actions all seem perfectly harmless but cause a lot of damage – but controlled damage. He never seems to panic, because everything is his doing.

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Together the couple make a bizarre and brilliant pair to watch. It’s no accident that their age difference is a visual representation and constant reminder of the power dynamic between the two. She is always the one coming to him, he never comes to her.

There’s also a supporting cast of Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Brian Gleeson and Domhnall Gleeson, the latter of which actually impressed me the most. In an all star line up like this, it’s obvious the actors will be brilliant but I do think Domhnall pushed it to another level in his short moments of screen time. I also really like the casting of real life brothers Brian and Domhnall playing the brothers in the film, and I don’t have to comment of Michelle for you to know she’s phenomenal.

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The story is very much like a frog being slowly boiled in a pot of water. Nothing is enough to make the lead character stand up to what’s happening properly until it’s too late, and chaos has already ensued.
Darren described his writing process of five days as like a “fever dream” and that’s exactly what watching it is like. It’s utterly mad, spirals and spirals out of control. He also said that the exclamation point in the title is a representation of the last thirty minutes of the film, and he really is not joking with that one. The biblical themes are obvious, but I won’t go into them for sake of spoilers – but we all know the bible isn’t all fun and games and hugs and cuddles.

The cinematography by Matthew Libatique is indescribably intense. Almost every single shot follows Lawrence, through long sequences and spinning shots so everything is seen from her exact focus and viewpoint. To begin with, this reals almost romantic; watching her renovate the house is peaceful; then as the story grows more and more chaotic is becomes frantic and anxiety inducing.

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The costumes are pretty stripped back and basic, with little references here and there (i.e Lawrence’s constantly bare feet). It’s often pure, simple and clean cut clothes for the wife paired against rough materials and fabrics that are more thrown together for the husband. And can someone please put me in touch with the wig maker/ styler because that super long one for Jennifer Lawrence was stunning.

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And all of this is set against a backdrop of a literal blank canvas – a house being repaired. It’s gorgeous set design, as the entire film is told from inside the house. The house is almost another character itself, and you grow to know it perhaps better than some of the characters. A lot of that is due to us seeing it through Lawrence’s character’s eyes, and to her the house is her whole purpose.

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All in all, I didn’t love it, and I don’t think it’s the best film that’s ever been made. But it do believe that it is a demonstration of pure passion and expression and that is why it captured me so intensely.

My tips: go into this film blind. Don’t expect anything; a genre, a three part act, a connection to the characters or anything else. This film is something you experience, which is a cliché I don’t really like using but in this case it’s the only true thing to say. You have to sit there and experience it, and then leave. And maybe go and pray a bit.

Mark Kermode, film critic for The Observer says it best: “It’s a delirious, disgraceful experience – just make sure you give it space to breathe.”

Mother! is in cinemas now.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE |fivethreeninety

My sister, originally a fan of the first Kingsman film before me, saw the sequel before me as well. Her reaction upon leaving the cinema was:

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I was apprehensive – the first film was absolutely brilliant, mostly because it came out nowhere and was presented without any expectations. Sequels are always risky, but way more so when it is stemming from such an original first film, and it can be a really tricky feat to pull off.

The film picks up in more or less the same place the first ended: with Roxy and Eggsy as new Kingsman agents living the dream as spies. However, when all Kingsman locations are targeted and destroyed. The surviving team has no other choice than to follow their ‘Doomsday’ protocol, which leads to them traveling to America to meet their US counterpart, the Statesmen. Whilst there, a new worldwide threat leads them to work together.

With all the main cast returning, more incredible and iconic ones joining and direction from the same director as the first film, Matthew Vaughn, it is promising on paper. And believe me, it lives up to the high standard of the original.

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Taron Egerton returns in lead as Eggsy, the unlikely talent of the Kingsman agency. As always he is brilliant, but he maybe shows even more of a tender side in this one. He’s evolved and matured with his new role, as well as with a relationship and the loss of his mentor. He’s retained his unique personality that makes the protagonist we know and love, but has also taken on more responsibilities and really has transformed into a full on, proper agent.

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He’s aided by Merlin, the beloved Kingsman agent who’s basically behind it all. He manages trainee agents, technology, tracking and is forever the man at the computer in the ear of the agent out on the field. I completely and utterly love him, his quiet determination and his commitment to his role and his colleagues. In the absence of Harry, Merlin becomes Eggsy’s mentor in a way without either of them acknowledging or even realising it. Of course, Mark Strong is amazing, and the Kingsman films would not be the same without his presence.

It’s no spoiler – Harry Hart is back. The first film saw him shot in the head by villain Valentine and killed. So to discover that he was back did make me… honestly, roll my eyes a bit. These days killing characters off doesn’t have so much of an impact, because half the time they come back. Case in point: Sherlock, Spock, Gandalf, and don’t even get me started on Supernatural characters. It’s lost it’s power. However, this resurrection is actually pretty decent and well explained, without being ridiculous.
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Obviously a bullet to the brain will do some damage. Colin Firth plays two characters in this film; Harry as we know and love, and Harry damaged and recovering, unaware of who he truly is. Colin Firth is heartbreaking in the latter role, lost in a world he isn’t aware he is lost in.

I was so pleasantly surprised to see Princess Tilde return, and as a main character (sort of) too! Hanna Alström has a brilliant comic timing as well as a warming tender side to her that we perhaps didn’t see in her small role in the first film. Alström also excellently walks the line between Swedish royalty and an ordinary woman living in London with her boyfriend. I really love the exploration of her character and I’m so happy she wasn’t just forgotten.

The Statesman – Kingsman’s American cousins! What I really love about this film is how much they hammed up the patriotism. Their weapons are disguised as baseball bats and balls; their code names different alcohols and their life saving parachutes? You guessed it: massive American flags.

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Tequila is the first agent we meet over at their whisky brewing headquarters, and has Channing Tatum take the role of a slightly crude, deep southern man who’s good with a gun. Though his character is great, I’m not sure why Tequila is the leading American agent across all the film promotion as he is most definitely not the one with the most significant part or most screen time. It’s probably because Channing Tatum is such a spice.

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Ginger Ale is the Statesman’s version of Merlin. She’s the whiz behind all the equipment and information, yet in contrast to Merlin, pines for field work. Halle Berry is really wonderful in this role, making Ginger a multi-faceted, sweet, smart, intimidating and lovable character, as well as a hell of a role model.
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The third and final Statesman is Pedro Pascal’s Whisky, a lasso slinging agent with an amount of sass equal to his charm. He’s a bit rude and forward, in the way American’s are stereotypically perceived by us Brits, but he is so, so cool.

They’re all lead by Champ (short for Champagne), played by Jeff Bridges (who again, is barely in it).

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But, who else could play the leader of a slightly red-necked spy organisation than Jeff Bridges?

And the villains…

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Samuel L. Jackson’s Valentine truly meets his match with Julianne Moore’s Poppy Adams. She is brilliant, and I mean really, really brilliant. Her super sweet, gimicky evil is totally horrifying, and watching her smile on whilst getting her followers to complete atrocities is really unnerving, mostly just because of how cool you’re finding her. Poppy has an absolute fixation with the aesthetic of the fifties, and has devoted her life to her hundreds of billions of dollars empire. Julianne Moore said that she based her characterisation of Poppy on Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor performance in the Superman movies from the 1970s – which really tells you a lot about her character.

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Also surprising – Charlie’s back. A rejected Kingsman applicant from the first film, he’s your classic emasculated boy who can’t accept his failures and just wants revenge, and so he pulls a totally predictable move and joins the other side. The last time we saw him he was at Valentine’s party where supposedly, everyone died. But he’s back, and with a bionic arm too.

This did make me raise my brows a bit – this makes the second film in a row where the lead villain’s second in command is an amputee. I’m not trying to be overly politically correct here, or pick at points, but I just couldn’t ignore it. It’s not the fact that these people with missing limbs have cool gadgets and weapons to replace them that do give them loads of joy, it’s that in order to be deemed appropriately evil they had to be physically disfigured in some way.

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There’s also a small role with Bruce Greenwood as the President of the United States – and a nasty one at that, which surely can’t be coincidental with the real America’s current state of affairs. Emily Watson also appears as his Chief of Staff, also known as my new hero.

Now: Elton John. Obviously I had seen in all the press promotion and posters that he had a role in this film and I was absolutely befuddled on what I could even entail.

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I won’t give anything away because I think the brilliance of his role is that all of it is just so completely surprisingly and hilarious and not what you would expect at all. I will say that I think is the best thing he’s ever done in his career and he should be cast in every film from now onwards.

I won’t do an in memoriam section and name who, but there are a lot of character losses in this sequel. While I do understand that this is a spy agency who trains its members to die for the cause, it is tiring and frankly emotionally draining to have all these characters lost and then the story quickly moved on. In all honesty, some of the characters were done wrong with these moves – characters with tons of potential and possibility that were written off sometimes unceremoniously.

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Onto the actual story and writing for this sequel. Vaughn’s in the writing chair again, partnered with acclaimed screenwriter Jane Goldman, who also worked the first film.

I’ve heard people criticise The Golden Circle for it’s slow start, but I’m not sure I agree. They really were not messing around with diving headfirst right back into the Kingsman world, with the film opening on an almost immediate car chase through the streets of London with fist fights, gadgets, epic music and stunts shown in slow motion in the first two minutes alone. I thought that although it was kind of done without explanation, it was exactly what the film needed to be welcomed back with a bang.

One scene that does stick out in a bad way perhaps is one between Eggsy and villain Charlie’s girlfriend, as they seduce each other at a music festival. It was an uncomfortable scene intentionally – even Egerton bowed out of shooting it, with Delevigne’s husband taking over. Slight spoiler here, but basically in order to track someone, Statesmen technology requires their spies to insert a tracking device into the targets body. In this film the sexual act was more than consensual, but doing it with an ulterior motive (despite how hesitant Eggsy even was) is a little bit… not nice. I know that sex scenes are kind of a big part of spy movies (thanks James Bond), but I think that’s a bit outdated now. Surely there’s another way to place a tracker? They are advanced spies after all.

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Other than that, I think the film is successful at moving along at a fairly good pace, though I think some situations have quick answers that are then moved on from at an almost whiplash speed. One thing that seems unanimous is that the final act is undeniably explosive, and I almost guarantee you will have the biggest grin on your face. I was in a pretty packed screening of the film and I don’t think there was one person in the audience who didn’t crack up at at least one thing which is an excellent sign of a good movie. With it’s signature quirky and sometimes crude sense of humour, the sequel certainly doesn’t lose the edge of the franchise.

I would love to talk about the movie’s addressing of drug use and legalisation, but then this will no longer be a review and go off on a whole new subject. For now, know that I think it’s brilliant that it was a core subject matter and that opposing opinions presented in the film regarding it are really important for people to see.

Quick note on the costumes by Arianne Phillips, who is undeniably the Queen of Hollywood film costuming. She manages to create such distinct styles that demonstrate the personalities of each character so seamlessly (little pun there) and I can never get enough of her work. The stand outs from this film have to be Eggsy’s orange jacket and Poppy’s yellow gingham two piece. In fact, I want every piece of Poppy’s wardrobe to be in my own.

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George Richmond returns as cinematographer, and for good reason, because I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. Kingsman has created such a distinct way of storytelling, with a lot of that down to the way it’s shot.

As with the last film, the stunts are incredible. For as much as possible, the cast performs their own stunts, with Egerton even performing that jump above the taxi as seen in the trailer. This is especially evident in the fight sequences, which are filmed from peculiar angles with the best moves being shown in slow motion to really emphasis just how cool they are.

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One of the reasons these fight scenes work so well is that they’re paired with a killer soundtrack. With the themes and location of this movie there’s a load of brilliant American classics: Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver; Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) by Elton John; Raining in My Heart by Buddy Holly; Don’t Leave Me This Way by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes to name but a few. But I think the highlight for me might be Let’s Go Crazy by Prince – because obviously.

 

Overall, despite the little nitpicky things, this film is a worthy successor of the first. It maintains the fresh and exciting style that made the first so enjoyable whilst expanding on storylines, characters and weapon.

It’s not totally perfect, but it’s a hell of an enjoyable experience. I loved it.

 

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is in cinemas now.

BFI IMAX PROP STORE AUCTION | fivethreeninety

From September 7th of this year; props, costumes and memorabilia from every film from Mrs Doubtfire to Top Gun have been living under the same roof at London’s BFI IMAX cinema in Waterloo. It’s all on display there in preparation for an upcoming auction of the pieces, which are all expected to sell for thousands.

It’s free for all, and no need for booking either – so if you’re a movie fan who can get to London, there’s no excuse not to catch it.

Of course, I could not live with myself if I didn’t stop by in it’s short run, so I went up on Thursday to check it out with my Mum. And we had a GREAT time.

The entrance sets the scene well as you’re greeted by the vast family portrait from Scarface, complete with bullet holes. And it only gets better.

Here’s my favourite pieces from the exhibition:

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King George’s (Colin Firth) Broadcast Speech Microphone from The King’s Speech
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King George’s Speech from The King’s Speech

 

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The cursed Aztec Gold from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

 

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C-3PO’S Special Effects Head from The Empire Strikes Back

 

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A Make-Up test bust for Jim Carrey’s iconic portrayal of The Grinch

 

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Mrs Doubtfire’s wig and prosthetic stand

 

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A main cast autographed helmet from the set of Saving Private Ryan

 

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Bruce Willis’ Die Hard get up

 

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Matt Damon’s NASA spacesuit from The Martian

 

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A clapperboard from Edward Scissorhands
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Buddy’s costume from Elf

 

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Samuel L. Jackson’s iconic wallet from Pulp Fiction

 

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Captain Malcom Reynold’s space pirate costume from Firefly

 

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Maverick’s Top Gun uniform

 

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Marty McFly’s fading family photo from Back to the Future, and his self lacing Nike’s from Back to the Future 2

 

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Bill Murray as Venkman’s costume from Ghostbusters

 

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Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s costumes from Shaun of the Dead

Which is a BIG deal for me.

And last but not least…

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Jack Nicholson’s jacket from The Shining

Which, as it turns out, is great for taking selfies in the back of.

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It’s really mad to think that all these little individual items have become something so much bigger because of how beloved the films have become.

Some of the items are expected to sell for one or two hundred pounds, and others hundreds of thousands. And those are just the estimates – that Bad Motherfucker wallet is estimated at twenty to thirty thousand already but will most likely go for way more.

It’s nice actually. In a world as mad as this, it’s nice that people are so passionate about films that they want to collect tiny little pieces of them. And we owe it all to Debbie Reynolds really, as if it wasn’t for her film studios would still be throwing away or simply reusing their props despite their icon status. Reynolds saw that opportunity and turned it around, and now movie memorabilia auctions make huge headlines.

As for me, due to my little old wage I won’t be joining in this year’s auction. I’ll have to wait a good few years for that, but I really hope the day does come because I would just adore to have some of these items under my roof.

The actual auction will be taking place on Tuesday 26th September, and will be live-streamed online for viewers to watch. Until then, the exhibition is open every day from 10am at Waterloo’s IMAX.