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Phoebe Ollerearnshaw

Oscars 2018

The Oscars 2018: Our Predictions

As the 90th Academy Awards ceremony approaches, general murmurs of possible nomination candidates have begun to circulate within the entertainment community. The Oscars 2018 awards ceremony itself will take place on March 4, with the crème de la crème of film stars guaranteed to be in attendance. From January 5, members have been able to cast their votes online. Here, we offer our predictions and compile a list of worthy contenders for the Oscars 2018. Meanwhile, we’ll speculate which dark horses could throw a spanner in the works for the front-runners.

2017 has certainly been an interesting year for Hollywood—to put it lightly. With scandal plaguing the headlines, the spotlight has been solidly fixed on tinsel town and its residents. So what has this meant for film and cinema? Well, a great deal as it so happens. Numerous accounts of sexual misconduct that began with Harvey Weinstein have meant that topics of gender, inequality and power manipulation are top of the agenda. Since the first Academy Awards in 1929, only four women have ever been nominated for the Best Director Oscar: Lina Wertmuller for Seven Beauties (1975), Jane Campion for The Piano (1993), Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003) and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2010); Bigelow is the only female director to win. This translates to a ratio of one female to 88 male directors. We believe that women—in front of and behind the camera—will have more of an opportunity to prove themselves this award’s season (although it begs the question: why has it taken so long for such an alteration to occur?). A crop of female-led and female-centric films has burst onto the scene (and about time too), which could dramatically change the landscape of the Oscar Awards. With models of directorial excellence exhibiting such as Dee Rees’ Mudbound (2017), one could assume that the lists may appear different this year—or be confounded if they don’t.

Furthermore, the scathing criticisms surrounding the Oscars that emerged last year may return with a vengeance—the #OscarsSoWhite campaign springs to mind. In 2016, the Academy was condemned for the lack of ethnic diversity shown in their decision-making. Others have directed their blame at the film industry itself. According to The Guardian, “During this century, minority actors have secured only 15 percent of the top roles (as identified by billing, critical esteem and box-office takings).” But the sharp writing from Jordan Peele’s Get Out—set in ‘post-racial’ America—surely cannot be ignored this season, right?  What we can say without any hesitation is that the Oscars 2018 will be like no other.

 The unspoken rules of Oscar nomination

Over time, the Academy has revealed certain trends in their nomination picks—whether conscious or not. We have labeled these trends in decision-making as the ‘unspoken rules’.

  • Films released early in the year are often ignored or forgotten
  • Horror films are almost never nominated (according to IMDB, the last horror film to win an Oscar was The Wolfman in 2010)
  • Technical achievement is ranked higher than storytelling
  • First time directors don’t usually triumph
  • Those that were unjustly snubbed in the past stand a better chance of receiving a nomination in the future

 Our Oscars 2018 predictions

 The Sure Bets

  1. The Post (2017)
  2. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
  3. Dunkirk (2017)

I don’t think anybody could dispute that Dunkirk deserves a place at the nominee’s table; especially taking into consideration the meticulous shooting, awe-inspiring score and groundbreaking performances that were involved in bringing it to the screen. Both critics and home-viewers alike have hedged their bets and surmised that it will be nominated for Best Picture for the Oscars 2018 ceremony. The technical components alone make the film a masterpiece to behold and could well tip the scales in director Christopher Nolan’s favor. In the past, avid fans of Nolan have felt duped at the considerably low recognition the director has received. While Inception (2010) and Memento (2000) received Oscar nominations, it is astounding that this giant in modern-day cinema has never received a win. Perhaps Dunkirk will present a more palatable genre for the committee to swallow.

Others threatening the top spot include Steven Spielberg’s The Post, Greta Gerwig’s Ladybird and Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name. Spielberg has long been recognised as a man who knows how to tell a damn good story—The Post is no exception. While Spielberg’s ode to journalism plays out beautifully, the titan reputation of the director may in fact lead to his dismissal in order to make way for other directors. Meanwhile, Call Me by Your Name brings something completely new to the table. The coming-of-age love story sees a sensuality that is so very rarely projected onto the big screen. Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar, 2014) gives a truly remarkable presentation of the young protagonist, Elio; a naive and cosmopolitan character who struggles with his sexual identity. Surely this exceptional young talent will be in with a shot for Best Supporting Actor?

The dark horses

  1. Shape of Water (2017)
  2. Mudbound
  3. *Get Out (2017)—our top pick

While some films seem solidified in the nomination’s list, there are always a few surprises. These dark horses may just steal gold—they certainly have the clout for it. Shape of Water, is one such film to watch out for and may just sneak into the nominations list. Guillermo del Toro’s aesthetic is immediately recognizable in this tale of an unlikely relationship between the mute, Eliza (played by Sally Hawkins) and a sea creature who resides in the lab in which she works. Much like his dark fantasy, Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), del Toro weaves an imaginative story that is surprising and hopelessly romantic. The music subtly nods to that of the 60s era in which it is set, and the visual effects alone should certainly receive a large amount of credit.

Netflix has been trying its damnedest to make its break with its first Oscar nomination, and before now, has failed to do so. But could this year finally see a breakthrough? Screenwriter and director Dee Rees’ latest screen adaption of Hillary Jordan’s novel, Mudbound (published in 2008), is starting to gain some traction. As the title suggests, Mudbound plants us right in the middle of the muck in the rural Mississippi delta. The film’s musical score by debut film composer Tamar-kali has received considerable praise for its authentic Southern tone and synchronization with the movie’s climactic scenes. The blues-tinged notes helps to make the story feel all the more soulful. What really gives Mudbound the dark horse status, in our book, is the phenomenal performance by superstar Mary J Blige. Rees was apparently so sure of her casting decision, that Blige was not even asked to audition. We think it was right on the money in sight of her memorable portrayal of Florence Jackson, matriarch of the Jackson family.

One of the most deliciously surprising movies released this year was Get Out. Not much could have prepared audiences for Peele’s darkly satirical social thriller. Get Out could well be the film to deviate from the Academy’s trend of overlooking the horror genre (although it encapsulates elements of several genres). If nominated, it would also contradict the Academy’s tendency to avoid first-time directors, with the film being Peele’s solo directorial debut. Rather than simply being a narrative filled with scare tactics, this clever deconstruction of society peeks under the genteel façade of American suburbia and reveals what ugliness lies beneath. Daniel Kaluuya’s gripping portrayal of the main character steals the show, which justly earned him a win for Best Actor at the Golden Globes. The performances of his costars Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford also add to the Stepford Wives-esque feel that the movie radiates. While racial alienation lies at the heart of the storyline, let’s not gloss over the genius way in which Peele decides to express this message. While it is uncertain whether Get Out will manage to win Best Director, Best Actor or Best Picture, it’s certainly got our vote.

The Overlooked

A few wondrous feats of cinema inevitably fall through the cracks when awards season comes around. Sometimes they didn’t manage to flourish at the box office or were simply outshined by more recent arrivals—but we believe they still deserve recognition. Stronger (2017) is one such example. The film is based on the true story of Jeff Bauman’s struggle to cope with the amputation of his legs after being wounded in the 2013 Boston marathon bombing. But Stronger massively deviates from the all-too-familiar formula of the “true story”: the ultra-Hollywoodized narrative where the protagonist triumphs over all obstacles unscathed, finishing with a life lesson for the spectator. Technically, the film does slot neatly into the group; however, David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, 2013) directs Bauman’s account in such a way that marks it head and shoulders above the other films within its category. There’s a real commitment to exhibiting Bauman’s perspective: his struggle with PTSD and his detachment from the hero status he earns himself. It seems highly unlikely that Stronger will make the cut on this occasion but it is worth a view for sure.

Are you excited for the Oscars 2018 awards? Give us your thoughts on our predictions—are they accurate?

Catch up on last year’s Oscar nominations: 2017 Oscar Nominations

Dating Apps Created by Women

Five Dating Apps Created by Women for Women

Apps have changed the face of dating and there seems to be no signs of them slowing down. Long gone are the days of courting a lady; instead, swiping yes or no seem to be the newest form of digital foreplay. While dating apps have made connecting to people far easier, they have received a lot of skepticism from both sexes—women, in particular. Women often feel harassed or tired of silly puns and cheesy one-liners spewed out to them by their matches. Another complaint is the lack of safety precautions. Instances of harassment are a common feature of virtual dating. The solution to this? Dating apps created by women—these outstanding dating apps have the answer (for the females at least). Take a look at our top 5 dating apps created by women for women.

Bumble

Possibly the most popular and well known of the eight apps, Bumble is specifically designed with women in mind. It works on a similar premise to most dating apps with location being integral to your matches. What makes it so unique is the method in which a couple will start chatting. A male can extend an invitation to speak with a female, but in order for any flirting to commence a female needs to accept beforehand. Whitney Wolfe, CEO and creator of Bumble and cofounder of the dating app Tinder, is an American entrepreneur. The app’s immense popularity and surge in their monthly base visitors gained Wolfe a place within Forbes 2017 30 Under 30, where they credit successful young pioneers for their work.

HER

HER’s objective is to unite members of the lesbian, bisexual and queer community of women. Their app involves free and paid features with differing perks and functions. But there is a lot more to HER than just dating, it also allows the user to make new friendship connections and read up on topical news. They even promote the sharing of LGBTQ events, providing app users with a well-rounded knowledge f how their identity group is being catered to in their local community. Robyn Exton, founder of HER, commented that “Dating for LGBTQ women used to be pretty tough. Trying to find a woman that hadn’t dated one of your friends was like trying to find a black diamond in Argos; very unlikely.” A prime example of a dating app created by women for women.

Coffee Meets Bagel

The Coffee Meets Bagel app is unlike Tinder, which uses fast-paced swiping software for a quick dating experience. Coffee Meets Bagel takes that concept and flips it on its head. Each day at noon the male users will be sent a selection of 21 matches, they can either like or pass on these. The app then curates the best potential matches for those who were liked, the girl can choose who they speak to out of the selection they receive. The more the app progresses, the more accurate the matches become. The app collates data and starts to track the significance of the users you like.

LuLu

LuLu was created by Alexandra Chong as a solution to harsh dating rules. The app aims to create a safe environment for women, allowing them to remain anonymous until they feel comfortable revealing their full identity. It works in a similar way to Bumble, allowing women to make the first move with a message. What sets LuLu apart from the rest is its rating feature. The app allows you to rate exes and old acquaintances. This review covers sexual performance, hobbies, ambitions and appearance, giving a unique edge over its app opponents.

Siren

Susie Lee, CEO and cofounder of dating app Siren, disliked the swiping culture developing within the dating scene. Mindless and rather shallow use of apps is starting to make people neglect what really matters—an opinion greatly triumphed by Lee. She believed there were no genuine dating apps created by women for women—enter Siren. The app provides you with a daily question, intended to initiate thoughtful conversations that reveal more about the user’s personality. This is one of the more thoughtful apps on the market. Try to consider your answers carefully before publishing them; the pace of the app is decisively slower and more purposeful than others in the market. Lee set out to humanize the online dating scene. Durex proposed a partnership with Siren during one of their campaigns on technology and intimacy.

Further reading: Dating App Bumble is Opening its Own Bar

Louis C.K. Admits to Accusations of Sexual Misconduct

The latest celebrity to be “outed” for grossly inappropriate sexual behaviour is Louis C. K., the Emmy and Grammy award-winning comedian, producer, actor and director.

On November 10, he made a statement to the press admitting to all of the accusations of sexual misconduct made against him. This confession has followed an avalanche of revelations to hit the press recently on the topic.

In early October, Harvey Weinstein—infamous film producer and movie mogul—was accused of numerous counts of sexual harassment, assault and rape spanning three decades. The details of the abhorrent actions of the producer have shaken the industry to its very core. Rumours of manipulation and wrongdoing that have circulated for years have finally been substantiated—unveiling the dark reality behind the deceptive glimmer of “tinsel town”. The collapse of Weinstein’s career has had a catalytic effect, urging victims of other sexual predators within the industry to come forward. Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Piven and Oliver Stone are just a few of the names to be added to the list of shamed males. Each case has been met with varying consequences; mostly, the repercussions have been swift and visible.

Now, Louis C.K. is one of the latest celebrity figures to be dragged into the spotlight for sexual misconduct. In a report published by The New York Times on Friday, four women recounted their unsettling interactions with the Mexican-American comedian. The accusers experienced similar exchanges that included the same grotesque punch line, but in this case, nobody was laughing. One of the incidents occurred in 2002 at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Chicago. The comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov had landed their big break and were performing at the event. After the show, Louise C. K. suggested a seemingly cordial invitation to share a nightcap with the women. They were both appalled by the comedian’s request to take out his penis and his speedy removal of his clothes.

In an interview with The New York Times, Goodman described the encounter. “He proceeded to take all of his clothes off and get completely naked and started masturbating,” she said. Various other women have gone on the record, mirroring similar experiences of sexual misconduct and advances from the comedian. Each instance has involved Louis C. K. masturbating over the phone, undressing and masturbating in front of them or asking if he could masturbate in front of them.

A history of sexual misconduct ignored

Since The New York Time’s article was published, an increasing number of public figures have confirmed their long-standing knowledge of Louis C. K.’s tendencies. It appears that he has gained a notorious reputation through the years, especially within the comedic sphere. Even after gaining global acclaim, rumours of the performer’s behaviour persisted. This begs the question: If Louis C. K.’s misconduct and abuse of power was widely known, why was no action taken before? Claims are circulating that the comedy world closed ranks if anybody threatened to speak out about his behaviour.

Editor and TV writer, Nicole Silverberg, relayed her negative experience of tweeting about the comedian’s sexual misconduct. “I was told to delete a tweet I wrote about Louis C. K. abusing women before I applied to a high-profile comedy job because the people conducting the hiring process might not like it,” she remarked. Other figures have confirmed that their attempts to speak out about Louis C. K. had led to a career-threatening decision. In 2015, Jen Kirkman said on her popular podcast, I Seem Fun, “There’s a lockdown on talking about him.” Without naming Louis C. K. directly, many gathered that this conversation was in reference to him. “I’ve been told by people, ‘Well, then, say it then. Say it if it’s true.’ If I say it, my career is over.”

While Louis C. K. has admitted to accusations of sexual misconduct, many people are exceedingly unsatisfied by the mode of his address. In an open statement he said: “I want to address the stories told to The New York Times by five women named Abby, Rebecca, Dana, Julia who felt able to name themselves and one who did not.” He continued, “These stories are true.” Within his almost 500-word address, Louis C. K. went on to describe his attempt to validate his actions because he had asked for permission each time. He stated that he had discovered “too late” that his requests weren’t questions; they presented a terrible predicament for the women involved. “The power I had over these women is that they admired me and I wielded that power irresponsibly.”

In light of the accusations of sexual misconduct, the distributors of Louis C. K.’s latest film, I Love You, Daddy have announced that they will no longer distribute the blockbuster. But this isn’t the only consequence to come of the idolised comic’s actions. Netflix have also announced their decision to axe all plans for a stand-up special with the comic. FX Networks—who had previously aired his show Louie in 2015—have also broken ties with Louis C. K.

A new Hollywood?

Hollywood’s landscape now appears to be shifting dramatically as a result of the brave sources that have spoken out. Since the first allegations of sexual misconduct and assault began several weeks ago, the topic has remained at the forefront of social interest. It has even sparked the #MeToo movement on social media that has been used to highlight the extent of global sexual misconduct. While the major focus is on female victims, male accounts of sexual harassment are also coming to light.

Those who had tried to uncover Louise C. K.’s secrets previously have shown contempt for the system. “Hollywood is only woke when it’s politically convenient”, comedian and journalist, Megan Koester, commented. “I feel disdain for the fact that people only started giving a sh*t about decades of allegations once women’s victimhood started trending. While I appreciate the fact that things are changing, I fear for the longevity of it,” she added.

Further reading: Quentin Tarantino on Harvey Weinstein: “I Wish I had Taken Responsibility”

Gun control

Do Millennials Trust Trump with Gun Control?

Last month’s shooting in Las Vegas has reignited the familiar debate: Is US gun control stringent enough?

On the night of October 1, a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 music festival on the Las Vegas Strip, Nevada. The incident, that left 54 people dead and another 546 injured, has now been confirmed as the most fatal mass shooting in American history. This tragic turn of events has once again fueled a fire in those wishing to enforce stricter gun laws. It has also brought the issue of bump fire stocks—stock of semi-automatic weapons that mimic the firing capabilities of automatic weapons—back into focus.

Of all the murders in the US in 2012, 60 percent were by firearm compared with 31 percent in Canada, 18.2 percent in Australia, and just 10 percent in the UK. According to Politifact, the annual death toll from gunfire in the US between 1968 and 2011 eclipses all wars ever fought by the country. For the statistics visit politifact.com.

Gun control is a notoriously divisive issue in the US, particularly because the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment has always been at the heart of America’s gun control debate, since its ratification there have been arguments to its precise meaning. One interpretation is that the “well-regulated militia” clause refers only to official militia carrying guns legally. An opposing viewpoint believes that the amendment gives all citizens the right to own guns, to protect themselves in the face of danger. President Donald Trump is a firm advocate of the latter reading. Since being elected into the White House, he has signed a bill into law rolling back the Obama-era regulation of gun purchases to those with mental illnesses.

Recent figures released by the FBI show gun homicides have risen 32 percent between 2014 and 2016, which has triggered many people to insist that changes be made. A recent survey conducted by ABODO questioned 1,000 of their users about gun regulation and the government’s tactics to curb violence. This investigation focused on the millennial standpoint—the generation that will inherit such policies in decades to come. The results were poignant, yet not wholly surprising.

When asked the question: “Does the US have a problem with mass shootings?” the answers were as follows—80.15 percent said “Yes”, 12.88 percent said “Not more than any other country” and 6.97 percent thought “No, the media over reports them”.  The survey goes on to unearth that 77.96 percent of the millennials tested thought that guns were too easy to purchase. When faced with the query, “Should private citizens be able to own AR-15s?” 62.1 percent of millennials said “No citizen needs a military grade weapon”, with an extra 26.86 percent stating that “Maybe, but there should be a lot more screening and mandated safety courses”. Millennial respondents also favored increased regulation with 60.04 percent stating that they believed gun violence would decrease if guns were monitored more stringently.

The same group of participants was then questioned about the Trump administration and whether they were believe they are equipped to handle the gun control debate. The results were eye opening. ABODO’s results were split into three categories: all respondents, gun owners and those who didn’t own a gun. One would perhaps have thought that gun-owners would view the topic in a different light to those that do not own a firearm. In fact, all categories showed a majority leaning towards “No”. All respondents: 74.33 percent “No”; gun-owners: 52.6 percent “No” and those who don’t own guns: 79.1 percent said “No”.

Currently, the future of gun law in America seems uncertain—only time will tell. What is certain is the millennial opinion on Trump’s competency to tackle gun legislation. To the question: Do millennials trust Trump with gun control? The answer is a resounding NO!

Do you think gun control is an issue in the US? We would like to hear from you.

Further reading: Trump’s Paris Climate Deal Catastrophe 

The Handmaid’s Tale Wins Best Drama at the 2017 Emmys

The Handmaid’s Tale won Best Drama at the 2017 Emmys on September 17, making history. This marks the first time a streaming drama has won such an award with Hulu being its producer.

Winning five of the prestigious awards in total, it was a clean sweep for the daring and heart-wrenching drama. Elisabeth Moss humbly accepted the prize for Best Actress alongside her co-star Ann Dowd, who earned the honor of Best Supporting Actress. Moss used her acceptance speech to thank her mother: “You are brave and strong and smart. You have taught me that you can be kind and a f*****g badass.”

Hulu’s shrewd adaption of Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed 1985 novel immediately drew speculation upon its release. Each episode brought with it dispute and passionate conversation, with social platforms erupting after each one had aired. It therefore comes as no surprise that the gritty plot and tense visuals made a lasting impression on viewers.

The story follows June Osbourne, or Offred as she now must be referred, a handmaid whose sole purpose in life is to bear children for barren aristocrats. The Handmaid’s Tale is a bleak look at humankind and the lengths some will go to preserve its existence. Hulu’s choice of actors and actresses could well be the key to their success. Whilst managing to capture Offred’s inner monologue, Moss depicted her struggles and occasional triumphs masterfully throughout the series. The messages of feminism and female resilience within the story have never felt so poignant nor so relevant as they are today. During times of political turmoil, such stories are clearly important to viewers.

This point was made multiple times during the Emmys—jabs at America’s current political structure were made at every opportunity. Setting the tone of the evening, host Stephen Colbert, goaded, “Unlike the presidency, Emmys go to the winner of the popular vote”, which was met with laughter and applause. Ted Cruz and other political figures were in the firing line, but the main source of condemnation was president Donald Trump.

Not only was the evening a triumph for the cast of The Handmaid’s Tale and its writers, it was also an opportunity to praise the story’s conceiver—Margaret Atwood. Atwood received the most adoring roar of cheers and praise as she entered the stage to join the series’ cast. “One take-away would be ‘never believe it can never happen here’, which was one of the premises I used for the book,” Atwood explained in a speech during the awards. “Nothing went into the book that people hadn’t done at some point in time, in some place,” she emphasised. Atwood’s words were meaningful and affecting, much like her compelling tale.

Other winners of the 2017 Emmys included Riz Ahmed for The Night Of (2016), Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern for Big Little Lies (2017) and Charlie Brooker for his role in writing the limited TV series, Black Mirror (2016).

You might also enjoy: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk: Predictions, Budgets and Possible Spoilers

New Reports on the James Bond Series

New reports on the James Bond series have revealed that the latest film will be released on 8 November 2019. Producers have confirmed that—as usual—the latest spy flick will first be made available to UK audiences, shortly followed by the US and the rest of the world.

While this release date is an exciting revelation, the other juicy details are being kept strictly close to the chest. What we do know is that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade will direct the currently untitled film. The two British screenwriters co-wrote the previous six films in the saga—from The World Is Not Enough (1999) to Spectre (2015). Sam Mendes, director of Skyfall (2012) and Spectre, commented on his decision to step down from the James Bond series: “It was an incredible adventure, I loved every second of it, but I think it’s time for somebody else”, he remarked.

But the real question on everybody’s lips is this: will Daniel Craig return for an action-packed finale? Will he permit this final flourish to round off a wholly dazzling performance as James Bond? Reports are conflicted. While some sources aren’t entirely willing to specify, entertainment website Page Six has stated outright that Craig will be back for the upcoming installment. After saying he would rather “slash my wrists” than do another, it seems the star may have had a change of heart. Page Six were quoted saying that the producer of the franchise, Barbara Broccoli, “just about persuaded Daniel Craig to do one more Bond movie.” Likewise, reports from The New York Times cited two sources that were close to the production team, confirming that Craig’s agreement was a “done deal”.

Rumours of Tom Hiddleston being next in line have also been quashed after Broccoli made clear her dislike for the actor filling the role. Apparently, she views Hiddleston as “a bit too smug and not tough enough to play James Bond”. Many have deduced that Hiddleston’s dramatic romance with Taylor Swift may also have sealed his fate, possibly leading to the wrong kind of media attention.

Other alleged candidates for the role of 007 upon Craig’s exit include: Idris Elba, Jamie Bell and Tom Hardy. While replacement plans may need to be put on hold, we are still left to ponder who will fill the rather large shoes of Craig once he hangs up his holster.

Other new reports on the James Bond series divulge that there are plans to reunite the Oscar-winning Skyfall singer, Adele, for the opening theme music once again. If it is anything compared to the hauntingly beautiful notes she offered for Skyfall, this will be a winning decision.

There will be a staggering four years between Spectre and the latest member of the saga—based upon the last films’ praise, this new movie in the James Bond series will be worth the wait.

You might also enjoy: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk: Predictions, Budgets and Possible Spoilers

Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk: Predictions, Budgets and Possible Spoilers

For the super fans that have adored Christopher Nolan’s work from the get-go, the first inklings of Dunkirk (July 2017) were received with open arms. Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is set to relate the true story of Operation Dynamo; a treacherous mission that demanded the rescue of 400,000 allied troops. These men were cornered by Nazi soldiers at the beaches and harbor of Dunkirk, France, with little hope of survival. The film is to be told from three perspectives of soldiers—from the land, sea and sky.

The Dark Knight trilogy (2005-2012), Inception (2010) and the more recent sci-fi thriller Interstellar (2014), solidified Christopher Nolan as a truly exceptional filmmaker—with each motion picture resulting in a blockbuster hit. His global success has gained him a place at the metaphorical elite director’s table, sat beside the likes of other greats such as Stephen Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Alfred Hitchcock. Merely the mention of his name in association with a film title has become an indication of quality to both film devotees and casual cinema-goers alike.

Larger-than-life

Christopher Nolan is known widely amongst cinephiles as a man who never does things by halves; so fittingly, he has been given a tremendous budget to work with to create this larger-than-life blockbuster. As a screenwriter and director, he has proven time and again that his pictures can cause a frenzy at the box office and make big bucks—over $4.2 billion at the global box office to be precise. In light of this, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that Warner Bros Studios has spared no expense in funding his newest and, undoubtedly, most ambitious project to date. Rumors have emerged that Nolan has spent $5 million to procure a vintage Nazi warplane (which he apparently proceeded to wreck for the film’s sake).

The first full trailer for Dunkirk aired back in December, making us all wriggle with excitement. Upon seeing the purposefully stark cinematography and the air of impending horror that laced the five-minute montage, it became clear that this is not a film to be missed.

While obvious comparisons can be drawn between his more recent films and Dunkirk, it feels as though an essence of his earlier work has seeped into this new WWII epic. Hans Zimmer, who skillfully conducted the music for several of his previous movies, will again grace us with his emotive compositions. Likewise, Christopher Nolan’s love for using IMAX cameras will feature once again in this movie. The Dark Knight was the first feature film to use IMAX cameras to shoot selected scenes, and Nolan has employed them ever since. The company’s 15perf 65m film cameras are being hailed as some of the best in the world in terms of clarity and high resolution, giving his audiences a more visceral experience.

Tactical perspectives

Analyzing the full-length trailer of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk in more detail, there appears to be a focus on character perspectives. From frightened soldiers cowering for cover to avoid overhead Nazi airplane fire, to young boys solemnly queuing to join the boats astride their floating dead comrades. Each shot decisively places the audience in a position where they can share the viewpoint of the characters. This is a classic signature of Christopher Nolan’s storytelling. In some of his earlier films like Memento (2000) and The Prestige (2006), he uses the art of subjectivity to manipulate the audience and distort the storyline. In relation to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, he has made it clear that he uses point-of-view shots to highlight a characters will to survive. We are provided with their current situation rather than a back story. In an interview with thestar.com Christopher Nolan stated: “It’s the most human movie I’ve ever made because it’s about the desire for survival. We wanted to tackle that and make what I refer to as a very present tense narrative where you’re in the moment with the characters.”

When questioned by French Magazine Premiere, Christopher Nolan also remarked: “I did not want to go through the dialogue to tell the story of my characters. The problem is not who they are, who they pretend to be or where they come from. The only question I was interested in was: Will they get out of it?” Christopher Nolan has insisted on several occasions that the film is “not a war film […] it’s a survival story”.

The sheer scale of the film is enhanced with tactical shooting to make viewers feel minor, as if we are only a tiny dot against the immeasurable chaos of war. In the trailer we briefly follow behind the silhouette of a young fighter as he looks out onto the beach and we share his astonishment as we scan over the sea of men gathered there.

Aside from aesthetics, speculations are mounting on the subject of how this particular film will be received. Christopher Nolan’s key demographic in the past has ranged from teens to middle-aged adults, and has sometimes seen less enthusiasm with older crowds. Perhaps the 1940s historical action film genre will draw in a more mixed crowd on this occasion. Another point to consider: although the events of Dunkirk are an integral part of British history, many are wondering if it will strike the same emotional chord with young American audiences.

An unexpected face

Another controversial choice was that of casting—more specifically, the casting of One Direction superstar Harry Styles. Styles is joined by a gaggle of prestigious cast members such as Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphy. While Styles isn’t one of the lead characters, his appearance in the film credits has really divided critics. From Styles’ perspective, debuting your acting career with a Christopher Nolan film really isn’t a bad day’s work. But some are worried that the heartthrob may detract from the film’s potent messages. Others have foretold that he may show a surprising knack for the whole acting malarkey, and that this could mark the beginning of a successful film career for him. There is a distinctive moment within the trailer that shows Styles struggling to keep his head above the water in a dramatic struggle against the tide. Could this mean the possible demise of his character? Would teenage girls across the globe be able to bear the heartache? Only time will tell.

Whether you are a Christopher Nolan fan or not, it’s undeniable that the large budget, thoughtful cinematography and epic battle scenes will make Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk a key contender come awards season. Now all that’s left is to wait with anticipation for the film to show in cinemas. Stay tuned for our detailed movie review upon release—watch this space!

Are you excited for the release of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk? We’d like to read your comments on the subject.

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3D Cinema: Yea or Nay?

Film fans and casual film-enjoyers alike are all faced with the same decision when they reach the ticket booth: 3D cinema; yea or nay?

I don’t know about you, but I hold the opinion that 3D cinema viewing is becoming a little tiresome. Before the release of James Cameron’s Avatar back in 2009, the concept of 3D cinema was dead and buried. Its revival accompanied Cameron’s purposefully shot motion picture, which employed stereoscopic shooting that presented a breakthrough in cinematic technology.

What a leap from the medium’s archaic origin in the 1890s, when William Friese-Greene filed for a patent of a 3D film process. The first 3D film, which premiered at The Ambassador Hotel, was called The Power of Love (1922). Anaglyph glasses were produced to accompany it—anybody young enough to live during the 80s will remember these awkward specs with differing colored lenses. However, since Cameron’s revolution of the 3D experience, cinemas across the globe haven’t been able to get enough of it.

While I can’t fault Cameron’s flawless blockbuster, Avatar, which worked beautifully alongside the intentional 3D effects—I can’t help but wonder, has 3D cinema had its day? And what proportion of the public really enjoys the experience? This is precisely what I intend to investigate.

You are more likely to find the hidden door to Narnia than you are finding an IMAX cinema that has a ‘without 3D’ possibility.”

 

If you are like me, by the end of a 3D movie your eyes will be raw from the constant attempt to focus them for the entirety of the feature. While 3D cinema boasts of enhancing cinematic features—flying debris looks as though it’s hurtling towards you and spherical objects look even more spherical—I always find the image to be blurry. Being a self-proclaimed cinephile, the resolution of the image is a key factor in my experience. 3D was developed in the hope that it would create an immersive reality for spectators; making them feel a part of the action. Personally, I believe that if the film has been carefully choreographed with thoughtful storytelling, lighting, action and cinematography, I will be well and truly immersed. Certainly no need for blurred objects to fly at my face for that to be achieved.

Not wishing to discredit the art of 3D cinema completely, I believe it can work effectively but there is a time and place for it. If the effects are used in a way that doesn’t allow it to detract from the storyline, but rather enhance it, then these are the films that use it successfully. Unfortunately, 3D cinema has started to apply itself to more unconventional genres like romcoms and horrors. These are not naturally set up for 3D viewing. Horrors in particular are conventionally shot with a dark palette; combined with dark 3D glasses, it can cause a terribly dull visual ordeal. To save money, various low-budget projects have decided to convert their material to 3D post-production. This results in a shoddily made motion picture, that doesn’t align with the objectives of 3D. In an interview with Business Insider, Sean O’Connell, movie content director for Cinema Blend commented that, “if and when you are going to use 3D, you have to plan your shots differently. Applying 3D to already-filmed material rarely helps. You are forcing a square peg into a round hole, essentially.” Likewise, the Guardian reported that “film-makers are beginning to turn against studios that authorise cheap post-production conversions in the hope of achieving a short-term financial return.”

One of my biggest complaints is that 2D options have become far and few between since 3D’s late surge. You are more likely to find the hidden door to Narnia than you are finding an IMAX cinema that has a “without 3D” possibility. However, mine is one lowly opinion—what really matters is what everybody else thinks. A social group that is known to dislike the 3D cinema frenzy is those with prescribed glasses. They are faced with the unfortunate decision; “do I go for glasses on glasses?” Or “do I choose impaired vision with only the 3D glasses?” Neither are enjoyable options; the latter meaning reduced quality and the first causing discomfort.

But glasses-wearers aren’t alone; those working within the industry have been indicating negative feelings towards 3D cinema for a while now. The Film Industry Survey 2014 tested the results of 1,235 film industry professionals with the question: Do you agree with the statement “A film is more enjoyable in 3D than in 2D”? The survey found that only 1 percent of those working on films over $1 million believed that a film is more enjoyable in 3D than in 2D. The industry sector that enjoyed 3D the most was marketing; although their results still showed 79 percent against and 21 percent for.

The steadily growing grumble of the public appears to be finally reaching the ears of critics. Earlier this year, TV giants Samsung, LG and Sony halted production of their 3D TV sets. Each confirmed that there was a lack of enthusiasm and demand within the market. “Based on current market trends we decided not to support 3D for our 2017 models,” stated one of Sony’s representatives. Instead, each of these companies will be investing in improvements to their high dynamic range (HDR). While this relates to disengagement with 3D home entertainment, it may also indicate the possibility that cinemas will eventually follow suit in phasing it out.

What are your views—3D cinema: yea or nay? Do you think it’s here to stay or is it a fad that is soon to pass? We want to hear your views!

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Best Campaigns Championing Women

Best Campaigns Championing Women

The last few decades have seen a huge shift in the position that women hold within society. While general perceptions have gradually moved away from the idea that females shouldn’t have equal rights, discrimination still lingers. Across the world, various organizations have focused their efforts on subverting gender bias—we share with you some of the best campaigns championing women.

One of the most prominent debates within Western society revolves around the workplace; women are receiving unequal pay and less encouragement to fulfil certain roles. According to the National Women’s Law Center, the average woman will earn $430,480 less than the average man over a 40-year work period. Likewise, there is a growing upset that women’s perspectives are being misrepresented within the media: through sexualization or by simply being ignored completely. Other areas across the globe face even more sinister penalties for women and young girls. A number of provinces in Africa still implement Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), also known as female circumcision. Often, young girls are forced against their will to have the procedure as a form of social acceptance and to improve their marriage credentials. Similar practices across the globe like honor killings and restrictions to education prove that female suffering and prejudice still exist and need to be confronted.

June 14 marks the anniversary of the death of Emmeline Pankhurst, the infamous political activist and leader of the British Suffragette movement. Pankhurst’s struggle for the female vote solidified her position as a beacon of strength for women everywhere. In light of this, it seems only fitting that we delve into our investigation—looking at prominent projects that are championing women and that seek to destabilize gender imbalance.

P&G

The consumer goods corporation, Procter & Gamble (P&G), ran a campaign to promote less gender stereotyping. Their #WeSeeEqual movement was released earlier this year and involved a film depicting men, women, boys and girls of all ages, in situations that would usually be construed as gender-specific. Instead, they flip the ideology that certain hobbies, careers and sports should be assigned the label of “male” or “female”. In the film, young girls are depicted showing off their martial arts skills and participating in science experiments—championing women in any role. The footage is accompanied with various taglines including, “Science doesn’t care who studies it,” “Households don’t care who heads them” and “Equal pay doesn’t care who demands it.”

The chief brand officer for P&G, Marc Pritchard, commented, “We realized that because we are a leading company of brands, we can use our voice to express our point of view about gender equality.” Tackling gender bias and stereotyping is “something P&G has been doing in a very genuine way for years, but this is wrapping it up into the corporate value system that I think will also inspire other brands in the house,” added Jim Winters, president of advertising agency Badger & Winters, who worked closely with P&G to create the campaign.

Watch P&G’s short film, here:

Getty Images

In concurrence with P&G’s campaign championing women, recent reports showed that Getty Images is to organise its first female sports photographer summer internship to promote diversity within the sports photography industry—a paid position in their London offices. The internship starts July 2017 and holds the objective of diversifying an industry that has arguably always been dominated by males. The successful female candidate will appear at high-profile events, giving them an exclusive window into the world of sports photography and the opportunity to learn from top talents within the industry. Ken Mainardis, vice president of sports imagery at Getty, remarked, “It is our hope that by actively supporting emerging female talent in the sports photography business we will contribute to a richer and more diverse representation of sports in general, which includes the more realistic representation of sporting women and female-led sports in imagery.”

7 Sisters Project

Another one of the best campaigns championing women in today’s society is the 7 Sisters Project. Founded by mother and daughter duo Marilyn and Marisa Fezza, the scheme aims to encourage young girls to promote social change. In our exclusive interview with Marilyn and Marisa, they shared their perspectives on gender bias and the benefits of championing women’s views. The co-founders highlighted various issues facing women today, ranging from body shaming to restricted reproductive rights. Their forums are specifically dedicated to connecting college-age girls, providing them with a safe platform to discuss important topical issues. Also, their live summits unite college students in a communal venue, providing a platform from which female voices can be heard. “We put the girls sitting in the audience right up on center stage and hand them the mic. Their voices matter,” says Marisa. These discussion panels are then shared through social channels online in the hope that they will reach far and wide, spreading messages of unity and tolerance.

On the 7 Sisters Project, Marilyn expressed that their mission was to create “a positive, aspirational community that speaks to girls of all cultures, beliefs and appearances. Our community redefines beauty and strength, making it cool for women to be powerful and self-aware.” In our discussion, both mother and daughter made it clear that they feel women are socially overlooked and disillusioned. “In the media especially, women are often portrayed as less intelligent and are highly sexualized,” Marisa said. “Many women feel ‘less than’ and rightly so. They earn less, they are treated as property in many countries and they are often the victims of all types of violence. We need to get more women in positions of leadership,” Marilyn added. Aside from conducting 7 Sisters Clubs at schools, the two role models intend to branch out to bigger cities with wider audiences, whilst still focusing on small communities.

CITTA

Other charitable projects have focused their attention on under-developed countries. Michael Daube, the founder of CITTA—a non-profit charity aiming to hoist the education and economy in struggling countries—has recently aimed his campaign at helping women. His recent work in Jaisalmer in India has seen him working closely with the royal family there, to boost the skill set of the women living in the region. The emphasis of the project is to allow women in the state to receive a better education, in both academic and practical skills like weaving and embroidery. This, in turn, will give them the freedom of independence. In a response to questions over Twitter, Michael Daube commented on the sobering thought that “Women seem to always be on the lower end of the totem pole in most societies. Just look at the wage inequalities of women in Hollywood doing the same work; can you imagine Afghanistan?”

What do you think about our top picks for the best campaigns championing women? Are there any schemes within your community that provide women with a voice? Leave us your comments below.

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Blink 182's Latest Video Strikes a Touching Chord

Blink 182’s latest video strikes a touching chord and we love it! The track, Home Is Such a Lonely Place, has left Blink’s fans rejoicing in the light of its reminiscent tones. The video itself is a montage of home movies laid over the mellow track. Bassist Mark Hoppus commented, “The video for ‘Home is Such a Lonely Place’ was probably the easiest we’ve ever filmed,” adding that “all we had to do was be ourselves at home with our family and friends, as we prepared to leave for tour.” Blink 182’s latest video may not be one of their liveliest head-bangers, but its beat has a perfect chilled summer vibe.

The song featured in their latest album California, which was released back in 2016; the first to be released after a five-year hiatus. California received a mixed reception from critics; Rolling Stone magazine commended the band’s decision to replace Tom Delonge with Matt Skiba within the band dynamic, commenting that “[the album shows] endearing signs of growth and even wisdom.” On the flipside, other critics weren’t so kind; The Guardian named it a “bloated and unwieldy return.” Last month, Blink 182 released a deluxe version of the album with a total of 28 songs—11 of which are new.

Regardless of mixed responses to their album, the band’s resurrection has led to their nomination for the artist of the year award at this year’s Alternative Press Music Awards. Blink 182 is set for a busy year of tours and co-headlining a number of acts with Linkin Park this summer. Blink 182’s latest video is a reminder that this old punk band really does have range; hopefully this will shine through in their upcoming tour.

Tour Dates:
July 28: Blinkin Park—Citi Field, New York
July 30: Blinkin Park—Hershey Park Stadium, Pennsylvania
August 4: Lollapalooza—Grant Park, Chicago

Check out their new video and tell us what you think—is it a summer winner, or do you prefer their original tracks?

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