Glasgow Film Festival

Photo taken by Mary Boag, GFF banners on Buchanan Street

It’s finally here! After months of preparation and thousands of creative submissions, the annual Glasgow Film Festival is now in full swing, and will run until Sunday the 26th of February.

Tickets are now on sale for all events across the city, most of which will take place in popular locations like the Glasgow Film Theatre, the Glasgow School of Art and the Centre for Contemporary Arts. With events ranging from movie screenings to workshops, there is something for everyone, but tickets are selling out fast so get yours now at the festival’s official website. > HERE.

As you may know from my previous blog posts I really enjoy going to the cinema, so I’m looking forward to attending a screening or two at the Film Festival. I think the cinema experience may feel more unique and exciting than going to my local Cineworld – plus the festival only comes around once a year!

The festival is mostly about sharing art from around the globe, but there is one award up for grabs! The Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award is decided by us – the people/public who attend the festival. I think this makes the award genuine and special.

“Voting slips are handed out at the start of all Audience Award-nominated screenings – simply cast your vote as you exit the cinema. The winner will be announced at the Closing Gala and online on Sunday 26 February.” – Glasgow Film Festival Official Website.

Let me know what your experience of the GFF has been like and what events you’re interested in this year!

Let’s talk about the Oscars

The count down begins. We are officially less than a month away from finding out who will take home gold from the 89th Academy Awards.

This years Oscar ceremony will take place on February 22 in The Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles, California. So in just a few weeks all of our favourite celebrities will  be getting dressed up and ready for the red carpet which is a huge fashion event in itself.

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GOT star Sophie Turner at 2016 Oscars – Photo from Sophie Turner’s Instagram page, @sophiet

Now onto the awards. There are 24 awards up for grabs, and ranging form Best Foreign Language film to best Makeup and Hairstyling it is obvious that the Oscars recognise how complex and difficult filmaking can be. Although all awards are equally important, some are hyped up more than others. Oscar winners of the Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress are a massive deal in the film industry and the winners of these categories soon become known worldwide – if they’re not already. Last year at the 2016 Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won Best Actor after previously being nominated 6 times. Could this be Ryan Gosling next month, or will Denzel Washington claim the prize?

Leonardo DiCaprio with his 2016 Oscar, photo taken from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Instagram page, @leonardodicaprio

The large number of popular household names nominated for awards this year is making it difficult for many of us to pick favourites. With names like Meryl Streep, Emma Stone and Natalie Portman in the same category it is nearly impossible to predict who the winners will be.

You can find the full list of categories and nominations at the official Oscars website.

To keep up to date with your favourite nominees I’d recommend following celebrities on social media and checking hashtags such as #Oscars2017 during the time of the event. Especially if you’re interested in finding out what an after party at the Oscars is like..

GOT star Emilia Clarke at Vanity Fair’s 2016 Oscars after party, picture taken from Emilia Clarke’s Instagram, @emilia_clarke

Moana

 

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Cinema ticket, photo taken by Mary Boag

The chicken lives!

Moving on from Tangled and Frozen, Moana is the latest Disney “princess” movie to hit our screens, though it’s important to note that unlike Anna and Elsa,  Moana is not a princess…

Moana is an adventurous teen living on a beautiful island called Motunui where her father is the chief and she is his heir. As she begins to take more responsibility around the island she’s shocked to suddenly find out that there are no fish left for the islanders to hunt and eat. While she attempts to find a new source of food for the island she discovers that the waters surrounding Motunui have been cursed.

Moana soon realises that the only way to stop the curse from spreading over the waters and ridding Motunui of its beauty, greenery and wildlife is for her to travel across the water to find a legendary demigod named Maui – voiced by Dwayne Johnson – who can help her put things right.

We follow Moana on an emotional and empowering oceanic journey while – in true Disney fashion – she finds herself and realises the importance of family, strength and ambition.

Despite this movie clearly being targeted at younger viewers, I see no reason why people of all ages wouldn’t enjoy it. Moana has a beautiful and uplifting soundtrack which fits perfectly with the stunning colours and animation we see throughout the entire film. One song, “Shiny“even plays tribute to late musical legend David Bowie.

Voiced by 16 year old Auli’i Cravalho, I’m sure many would agree that Moana is the perfect kind of Disney character for young children to look up to – and fortunately she doesn’t have a musical number anywhere near as annoying as Elsa’s.

You can watch the trailer for Moana here.

 

Love Actually

Love Actually on STV on Christmas Day, taken by Mary Boag

Aren’t you a bit young to be in love?

As we are well and truly into the holiday season I thought it would be a good idea to review Love Actually; a classic, festive film from 2003 that is aired on TV at least once every Christmas.

Those who have already seen and loved Love Actually will be surprised to find out that many people have never watched it, and those who haven’t seen it will be wondering what the fuss is all about.

Love Actually is a romantic British comedy/Christmas film. The story line is fairly complex as it looks at 9 different intertwining stories about love, some of which are completely heartbreaking while others are really funny, but once you get used to it – which you will – it’s really easy and enjoyable to watch. The range of stories makes the film really interesting and means that everyone watching can relate to it in one way or another – some main characters are the UK Prime minister, 12 year old Sam and an ageing pop star named Billy Mack.

Something that helps keep the film entertaining throughout is the number of well known faces we see on screen; Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Andrew Lincon, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson and Claudia Schiffer are only a few examples of the great actors and actresses with starring roles in Love Actually.

I’m sure we are all aware that there is and endless amount of Christmas films out there but Love Actually really is worth watching, after all it wasn’t voted the nation’s favourite Christmas movie by the Radio Times for nothing.

Thanks for reading! You can watch the trailer for Love Actually here, and it is available to buy on DVD and iTunes.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Cinema ticket, photo taken by Mary Boag

So you’re the guy with the case full of monsters, huh?

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set around 90 years ago in the world of Harry Potter – although well before his time. The film focuses on the main character, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his suitcase of magical creatures. Unlike the Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts is set entirely in America, mostly New York City – where magical creatures are completely forbidden. So when Newt’s creatures begin to escape he finds himself and his fellow wizards in a lot of danger. Continue reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Lucy

 

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Photo taken by Mary Boag, Lucy available on Netflix

 

“We humans are more concerned with having than being.”

If you appreciate Scarlett Johansson even slightly as much as I do then you will love this film. Lucy was released in 2014 and is regrettably one of those films that I never bothered to watch until now; despite being told many good things about it since it’s release.

The film follows the journey of the main character Lucy, who is forced into carrying a bag of ‘CPH4’ drugs inside her stomach as part of an illegal drug experiment led by the villain of the story, Mr.Jang. Meanwhile, Morgan Freeman who plays a professor educates us that humans only use 10% of their brain. We then find out that the drugs in Lucy’s body are helping her access more parts of her brain. We see changes in her abilities as she accesses 20%, then 40% and so on.. When she meets with Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) we realise she will no longer be able to exist as a human once she reaches 100%.

The film is described as an action, sci-fi thriller, which it definitely is. It only takes a couple of minutes for the story to suddenly get dramatic and exciting, which pretty much lasts throughout the entire film.

Lucy is such an empowering character. She is so cool – to put it simply. Scarlett Johansson does an amazing job of playing such a fierce and powerful woman, even though she is only capable of acting like this because of the drugs it is still fascinating to watch.

I’ve seen many reviews harshly hating on ‘Lucy‘ because it has been proven that humans actually can and do access more than 10% of their brain, but I think this argument to rate the film poorly is so silly. Since when do films like this need to be realistic to be enjoyable? Transformers, the Avengers and basically all superhero films are unrealistic but they’re still worth watching.

There wasn’t much about the film that I didn’t like, although it can be very graphic and violent in some scenes which I should warn you about.

One of my favourite scenes is very near the end: we see Lucy sitting in the middle of Times Square, New York and then watch as she travels back in time sitting in the same spot, we see the transformation of New York city from where it all began as she travels from current day all the way back to the age of the dinosaurs..But is she really time traveling? Or is she living through the memories of all the data she has consumed?.. I urge you to watch it and see what you think, as I’d say this part of the film alone is worth a watch – it’s that good.

Thanks for reading! You can watch the trailer for Lucy here, and remember it is available on Netflix and DVD.

A Street Cat Named Bob

photo-29-11-2016-21-50-40A Street Cat Named Bob

I understand that not everyone reading this will be a cat lover, but don’t let that put you off. The story is really about James, a recovering drug addict and busker living on the streets of London – until his support worker, Val finds him a place to stay. It doesn’t take long before James finds an uninvited guest in his new home, Bob – a confident, ginger Tabby cat – who climbs through his kitchen window during the night and then never leaves.

James makes several attempts to find Bob’s original owner and return him but luckily is unsuccessful. While doing this he befriends Betty, a neighbour and animal rights activist who volunteers at a local vet; which comes in handy. From here on we watch their relationship grow and it becomes clear that the pair belong together.

Throughout the film, James struggles with his drug addiction – his road to recovery is the main plot of the story. He jeopardises his relationship with Betty by not telling her he has been involved with drugs. His dad’s new family don’t want him in their life due to his addiction, and he nearly loses his home by failing to keep up with the recovery program. Things seriously begin to change when Baz, an old friend James met while living on the streets tragically dies due to an overdose. This helps James realise he desperately wants to get clean and live a good life.

The film captures drugs in a very realistic way which I like because it helps us understand the story better than if they were to sugarcoat the issue. It shows us the harsh reality of homelessness and drug addiction and teaches us that people in James’ situation need help. Not everyone is lucky enough to be saved by a character like Bob, so it is important for films to raise awareness of these topics.

Although A Street Cat Named Bob was not a hugely popular film internationally, I still found it important to feature it on my blog as it brings awareness to many issues which are often overlooked in today’s society. I recommend this film to everyone reading – and especially to cat lovers because Bob (played by the real Bob) is so cute.

The official trailer for A Street Cat Named Bob can be watched here.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on twitter for updates on when my next review will be posted: @marysmoviesblog