Review: White Reindeer

In 2011 director Zach Clark began a Kickstarter campaign to finance his fourth feature film. Within 52 days, the campaign reached its goal of $33,500, and White Reindeer was born.

Written, directed and produced by Clark, White Reindeer tells the story of Suzanne Barrington, an estate agent living in Washington with her husband. As Christmas is approaching, Suzanne arrives home one evening to find her husband brutally murdered, and her life turned upside down. Suzanne faces more heartache when she discovers a secret about her husband’s life that he had kept hidden.

The format that many Christmas films follow, showing misery turning into happiness through the joy of Christmas, is not the message of White Reindeer. In fact, it is the opposite, with Suzanne’s misery coming out at Christmas, her favourite time of the year. White Reindeer is very much a non-traditional Christmas film.

Although it has a relatively short run time of 82 minutes, the many extended scenes of Suzanne simply crying or staring across the room can make the film feel like it lasted a lot longer. Indeed, it may seem that White Reindeer doesn’t have much to offer in the way of drama or plot, but it certainly does contain one factor which can be underrated in film nowadays: originality.

Although White Reindeer is a film about a woman coming to terms with her grief, there are several humorous moments within this dark comedy, perfectly coupled with the emotions of Suzanne being shown throughout. Even though we are seeing the grief from Suzanne’s point of view, it is very often in the film that the viewer feels like they are watching Suzanne trying to cope with her grief from a distance. We are close to the character, yet we can’t always tell what she is feeling. The journey of grief that Suzanne takes is interwoven with a range of interesting characters from strippers to wife swappers.

Anna Margaret Hollyman holds the film almost completely on her own as the grieving Suzanne, and enjoyably, the film resists an ending in keeping with standard Christmas fare. White Reindeer is perfect viewing for anyone seeking out an original dark comedy this festive season.

White Reindeer will be released on DVD on 24th November 2014.

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First ‘Cinderella’ trailer from Disney arrives in style

The first full length trailer for Disney’s upcoming live-action version of Cinderella has finally hit the web.

The trailer, at just less than 3 minutes long, shows us a range of characters, and many similarities to the animated version of Cinderella from Disney in 1950.

Downton Abbey actress Lily James stars in the lead role as Cinderella, whilst Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden plays Prince Charming.

In the trailer, we also see Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine, Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother and Hayley Atwell as Cinderella’s mother.

Directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh, the screenplay has been written by Chris Weitz and Aline Brosh McKenna.

The supporting cast includes Sir Derek Jacobi as The King, Stellan Skarsgård as the Grand Duke and Ben Chaplin as Cinderella’s father.

Cinderella is one of several remakes currently taking place at Disney, with live-action versions of The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast and Dumbo also in production.

In addition, Disney are also making a sequel to 2010s Alice in Wonderland from Tim Burton, and recently released Maleficent with Angelina Jolie, telling the story of Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent went on to become the second highest grossing film of 2014. With their success so far, it seems that Disney can only move steadily forward with their upcoming live-action remakes.

Cinderella will be released on 3rd April 2015 in the UK.

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Happy Birthday, Richard Burton!

The actor would have been 89 years old today.

Happy Birthday to Richard Burton!

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New ‘Paddington’ trailer arrives with a voice

The international trailer for Paddington has arrived this week, and for the first time, gives us the voice of Paddington Bear from actor Ben Whishaw.

The live action film, from the children’s books by Michael Bond, tells the story of a Peruvian Bear who arrives at Paddington station, with a love for marmalade.

After being taken in by Mr. and Mrs. Brown, played by Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, and given the name Paddington, he must avoid the clutches of an evil taxidermist, played by Nicole Kidman.

Paddington also stars Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters and the current Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi, in supporting roles.

Colin Firth was originally cast to provide the voice of Paddington Bear, but after it was decided that his voice didn’t match the role, he was replaced by Ben Whishaw.

Paddington has been written and directed by Paul King, currently known for his TV work, including directing the BBC comedy series The Mighty Boosh and Come Fly With Me.

The producer, David Heyman, also served as producer on all eight films in the Harry Potter series.

Paddington, distributed by StudioCanal, will be released on 28th November 2014 in the UK.

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“Let Me Tell You About Winds”

Katharine and László are sitting together in the car, seemingly alone in the world, far away from anyone else.

Katharine trails her fingers along the glass window, as the wind howls outside.

“Let me tell you about winds.” László says.

As he continues to talk, with his right arm resting behind her head, she occasionally turns towards him, without making eye contact. She smiles, and turns back to look out of the window.

She raises her hand towards her forehead, resting it gently beside her golden hair. Still smiling, she turns her head towards him again.

László gently raises his arm at the elbow, and delicately trails his fingers along the side of her golden hair, ever so carefully sweeping it back above her ear. Slowly she lowers her hand, and her smile fades.

Katharine’s breathing becomes deeper. László has never touched her before, and her heart is beating faster and faster by the second.

She raises her arm, and once more she trails her finger along the window as he strokes her hair; his fingers barley touching her.

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‘Dad’s Army’ feature film cast announced

With the news that a film based on the classic BBC sitcom Dad’s Army is being made, the question of casting has become the centre of attention.

With the cast list finally announced, it appears that the Dad’s Army film will feature a host of well known British actors and actresses.

The BBC sitcom, which ran from 1968 to 1977, gave us 80 episodes and a film in 1971 featuring the original cast. The show was written by comedy partners David Croft and Jimmy Perry, and is now considered a classic.

Set during the Second World War, Dad’s Army follows a group of well-meaning but inept men in the Home Guard, working to protect England from the threat of invasion.

The cast of Dad’s Army includes:

Toby Jones as Captain George Mainwaring (originally played by Arthur Lowe)

Bill Nighy as Sergeant Arthur Wilson (originally played by John Le Mesurier)

Sir Tom Courtenay as Corporal Jack Jones (originally played by Clive Dunn)

Bill Paterson as Private James Frazer (originally played by John Laurie)

Sir Michael Gambon as Private Charles Godfrey (originally played by Arnold Ridley)

Blake Harrison as Private Frank Pike (originally played by Ian Lavender)

Danny Mays as Private Joe Walker (originally played by James Beck)

There is also a role for Catherine Zeta-Jones as a journalist sent to report on the Home Guard, and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss will also feature in the film.

Dad’s Army will be directed by Oliver Parker, who has previously directed St. Trinian’s and Johnny English Reborn. The screenplay has been written by Hamish McColl, who wrote 2007s Mr. Bean’s Holiday.

Filming is currently taking place in Yorkshire. Dad’s Army is due for release in 2015.

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Something There

Adam was unusually nervous. Nerves were not an emotion that Adam felt often. He spent most of his time feeling anger and upset.

He looked across the room. A single rose that he had was wilting. He looked at it for a second, and turned away.

He cared for Belle, more than anything. Adam had been so used to keeping his emotions to himself, how could he show his love?

He began to get dressed, and spotted himself in the mirror. He quickly turned away at the sight of his reflection. He was embarrassed to even look at himself.

Adam stepped towards the door, and remained still for a few seconds. He looked down at the staircase, lost in his own thoughts. He eventually moved forward, and began to walk.

Adam and Belle were standing face to face. They both smiled.

*          *          *

They headed outside, towards the balcony. Adam nervously looked away for a second, before turning back to Belle.

He took her by the hand; “Belle, are you happy here with me?”

“Yes.” Belle replied.

Adam smiled, as Belle lowered her head, and turned away to look towards the night sky. He looked anxious again;

“What is it?”

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