Film News: Dreamworks TROLLS

TrollsBeing born in the mid 1970’s it will come as no surprise to you if I say that one of my favourite toys when I was little were Trolls. These hard little plastic dolls with sticky up hair you could backcomb were brilliant. I still have a couple of them and every so often I put them by my computer to spur me on with work.

It was very exciting to hear that Dreamworks have turned their adventures into a film staring Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Gwen Stefani, Russell Brand, Ron Founts.

The film looks great, its bright and colourful and hopefully will bring a smile to everyones face. Have a look at the trailer:

The official blurb:

DreamWorks’ TROLLS is a hair-raising comedy filled with unbelievable adventure and incredible music.  Known for their crazy, colourful, and magical hair, Trolls are the happiest, most joyous creatures ever to burst into song. But their world of rainbows and cupcakes is changed forever, when their leader Poppy (Anna Kendrick,) must embark on a rescue mission that takes her far beyond the only world she’s ever known.

DreamWorks TROLLS is released in cinemas October 21 in 3D and 2D.

Film Review: Nine Lives

Nine LivesJunior film reviewer Fifi (7) went along to the Nine Lives screening with Being Mrs C and her daughter. She came out buzzing about the film and reckons its one of the funniest films she’s seen at the cinema.

Nine Lives is the story of a businessman (Kevin Spacey) who works really hard, when it comes to his daughters 11th birthday he decides to get her a cat (something she’s always wanted) from the pet shop. There is an accident and the businessman (Tom) and the cat swop bodies. Tom is now trapped inside a cat and only the cat whisperer can hear him. The film harks back to classic 1990’s rom-com with a few tiny nods to the present day. Jennifer Garner, Malina Weissman and Christopher Walkern star alongside Kevin Spacey.

Have a look at the trailer:

 

This film has an enormous amount of appeal for any child who owns a cat (such as Fifi). Indeed, I’d have to say that she thought it was fantastic before she’d even seen the film. She has been talking about it ever since and we’ve been told we all just have to go and see it and get the DVD when it comes out!

In terms of adult appeal i’ve been reliably informed that there is more than enough to make this a good choice as a family film. I’m all for this sort of film as a school summer holiday activity because I must admit I do get a little bit bored by children’s animations; if theres some ‘adult’ jokes and a sub plot which goes above the children’s heads (like this does) then that keeps me happy.

This summer has seen a crop of great movie choices and I have to say that over the past 9 years of reviewing family films this year sees some really stiff competition amongst what to watch this summer. From Fifi’s reaction this is another film you cant really go wrong with.

Nine Lives goes on general release in the UK on 5 August 2016. Runtime of 87 minutes. Universal Certificate.

Film Review: Pete’s Dragon

petes dragonWe were lucky enough to go along to the gala screening of Disney’s latest live action movie Pete’s Dragon. This is a  film that had slipped a bit under my radar, i’m not entirely sure why, it just had. However, as soon as the film started and I began to get flashbacks to my childhood. The original film was exactly within the genre of films I used to watch over and over again; Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, that kind of thing where there was a mixture of songs, animation and ‘jokey’ acting. However, I think I had blocked it out of my mind because from what I recall (although I haven’t seen it for 30 odd years) there was an element of sadness and the underlying story was a little bit traumatic for me compared to the other movies.

 

dragon balloon

Awesome balloon dragon!

This years update of Pete’s Dragon sees a slightly different scenario where Pete loses his parents in a car crash and ends up living in the woods with Elliot the dragon. Until that is, they get discovered. The film features Bryce Dallas Howard who plays a superb surrogate mum figure and Robert Redford as her dad alongside Oakes Fegley who does a brilliant job playing Pete. The dragon is clearly animated but in a wonderful way which somehow manages to sit unobtrusively in the film and there were moments where the dragon reminded me of the one in my all time favourite kids movie, The Neverending Story.

There were many things which I loved about this film, not least that it reminded me of some of the best movies of my 1980’s childhood. They have captured the essence of what I imagined life to be like in America at that time, elements of what I remembered about the original film and weaved in a magical feeling of folklore and the preciousness of the wild. This isn’t a big hitting, all action movie, rather a gentle but epic roller coaster ride of emotions which I think is an antidote to many of today’s children’s movies which can feel over produced for thrills and laughs.

Have a look here:

I thought this was a lovely film which I’d very happily snuggle up with the husband and some popcorn and watch again. However, I have to say that the four year old found it a bit scary and the ‘sophisticated’ nine year old was a little bored by it. I think this is because he feeds himself an endless diet of ‘high reward’ action packed films. I must rectify this because this is the sort of movie which can make summer holiday memories. It is an engaging, thoughtful children’s film and I loved it. So I guess what i’m saying is, if you want to take the kids to a film and you’re a child of the 1980’s then pick this one as you’ll love it. I hope your children enjoy it too.

Bryce Dallas Howard

Bryce Dallas Howard introduces the film

Info and Synopsis

“PETE’S DRAGON”

UK Release date: 12 August, 2016

Genre:  Live Action

Rating: TBD

Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and Robert Redford

Director: David Lowery

Based on a story by: Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field

Producer: Jim Whitaker

A reimagining of Disney’s cherished family film, “Pete’s Dragon” is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliott, who just so happens to be a dragon. “Pete’s Dragon” stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Oakes Fegley (“This is Where I Leave You”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). The film, which is directed by David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”), is written by Lowery & Toby Halbrooks based on a story by Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field and produced by Jim Whitaker, p.g.a. (“The Finest Hours,” “Friday Night Lights”), with Barrie M. Osborne (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Great Gatsby”) serving as executive producer.

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliott. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliott seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon. Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” opens in UK cinemas on 12th August 2016.

Film Review: Swallows and Amazons

swallows and amazonsVery rarely a children’s film comes along which as an adult you love. This is one of those films.

Swallows and Amazons is one of my favourite children’s books and I must admit that I was slightly worried that the film would not do it justice. I didn’t need to worry, the film does justice to the book and manages that difficult feat that you find with some of these classic books in making it accessible to this generation of children.

The story tells us about a family who have a holiday in the Lake District. Their father a sailor is out at sea and they are alone with their mum. Resolved to have an adventure they take a small sailing boat out onto the lake to reach an island where they can camp. This is the stuff of dreams, I cant think of any children nowadays who would be allowed such a privilege. Their boat is called the Swallow and they meet some pirates (local children) called the Amazons. Together they end up embroiled in a spy drama. Its about friendship, sibling relationships, pulling together, coping with adversity and much more. For me it was about reliving my childhood dreams of adventure, for my own children it was about the relationships between the children.

Have a look at the trailer:

This is a beautifully directed, thoughtful film with an excellent script. The scenery of the lakes, alongside the carefully considered costume add to the overall feel. The adult stars  Rafe Spall, Andrew Scott and Kelly Macdonald perform their roles brilliantly, but the children are clearly the real stars of the film, especially little Roger who reminded myself and my husband of our third child. The dialogue between the children was spot on, so much so that the children came out remarking how they thought their conversations (and general dynamics) were very similar to our household.

Once in a while we go to a movie where all of us come out smiling and remarking how brilliant it was. This was one of those films. I want to go on holiday to the Lake District now and to be little and to sail a small boat to an island and camp. I guess we could do some of those things.

Swallows and Amazons Cast and crewWe were really fortunate to have the cast, writer, producer and director introduce the film for us. They clearly cared about making this film and how to correctly convey the essence of the book and you could see their pride. I can see why as they have produced what has to be one of the best films of the summer.

You must go and see this film, you wont be disappointed its simply brilliant. You can see it in cinemas from August 19th

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Film Review: The BFG

I date many of the things I remember in my childhood by the Steven Spielberg film which was out at the cinema at the time. My sister loved ET and I remember her being in reception at school whilst I was learning to read. She got an ET keyring after seeing the movie and we both cried about ET going home. Raiders of the Lost Ark made archaeology seem glamorous and perhaps influenced my future career as an archaeologist. Twister was at the cinema when I was at uni and so on. So you can imagine how exciting it was to be invited along to the UK premiere of The BFG.

cof

The photo above shows us sitting by the tree from Giant Country. The whole of Leicester Square was transformed into Giant Country and it was absolutely magical. That wasn’t all the children were thrilled to meet Lindsay from Blue Peter who told us that they were covering the premiere on the programme so do watch out for that!

The BFG is one of my favourite Roald Dahl books, I’ve written a lot on this blog about how brilliant his books are. Not least because you can read them and enjoy them as much as an adult as you  can as a child. Its basically the story of orphan Sophie ( loosely based on Sophie Bfg1Dahl the authors grand-daughter) and her dreamlike adventures with a Big Friendly Giant. If you’ve read it you wont need me to say anymore, if you haven’t – well- I wouldn’t want to spoil it.

The film features Mark Rylance as The Giant, a role which he performs superbly and Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. They both give brilliant performances and the mix of animation and live action does work surprisingly well. There are some real visual treats and an epic music score. We all loved the fact that Sophie had a northern accent, a treat since we had assumed she would be American.

Have  a look below and check out the Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/BFGMovie/


However, as much as I’d love to say that we really, really, really loved the movie, it was just a little too long. It seemed a little bit like a series of scenes threaded together and I found myself counting down the plot points from the book. Now, that said, I read the book many years ago and my 9 year old happens to be reading it at the moment. He tells me that it isn’t quite the same story as the book in places- inevitable- but I guess this could be a bit disappointing for big fans (I’d have to read the book to check though).

From what I recall, The BFG was quite a multilayered book and is actually really quite dark, even sinister in places. The brilliance of the books is that they are just that little bit un-nerving. I think this is where the movie goes wrong, because it all feels a little bit Hollywood and magical. Its a beautiful looking movie and there is a fairytale ending. It just didn’t feel quite like the book felt when I recall reading it, or how my 9 year old feels reading it at the moment.

Overall, we enjoyed the movie. It isn’t a bad movie, it works in lots of ways and is a good film. I suspect its just not for hardcore Dahl fans and more for Spielberg fans. To be honest I’m wondering if i’ve finally grown out of Spielberg. The kids liked it, I suspect they wouldn’t put it at the top of their list of this summers recommended cinema viewing but it wont be at the bottom. A firm 3.5/5 from us.

Synopsis

From the imaginations of two of the world’s greatest storytellers, Roald Dahl and Steven Spielberg, THE BFG tells the extraordinary tale of a young girl named Sophie (played by British newcomer Ruby Barnhill) and the Big Friendly Giant (played by Oscar Winner Mark Rylance) who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. Together they embark on a marvellous and buckswashling adventure filled with snozzcumbers, dream jars, frobscottle and even the Queen! The mismatched pair form an unlikely friendship that will inspire enormous bravery in the BFG and give Sophie a taste of the family she dreams of.

Directed by three-time Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, the film reunites the director with his Oscar-nominated collaborator on “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” Melissa Mathison, who adapted the childrens author’s timeless adventure for the big screen. “The BFG” is produced by Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer with Kathleen Kennedy, John Madden, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Michael Siegel serving as executive producers.

The film stars three-time Tony Award®, two-time Olivier Award, BAFTA and Oscar® winner Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant; Penelope Wilton as the Queen; Comedians Jemaine Clement and Bill Hader as Fleshlumpeater and Bloodbottler; Rebecca Hall as Mary, the Queen’s handmaid; Rafe Spall as Mr. Tibbs, the Queen’s butler; and introduces newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie.

The story was first published in 1982 and has been enchanting readers of all ages ever since. Dahl’s books, which also include “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Matilda” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” are currently available in 58 languages and have sold over 200 million copies worldwide.

The BFG will visit cinemas across the UK & Ireland from July 22nd, 2016.