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Welcome to my first film column, which will feature news, reviews and previews with a heavy focus on goings-on in Lancaster. I’m a first(ish) year studying psychology. My favourite film of 2014 was Paddington and I am absolutely convinced that Seven Pounds is the worst movie ever shown in cinemas.
It was an almost surreal end to 2014 for film fans. After North Korea’s cyber attack on Sony, in supposed retaliation against The Interview, a film which depicts an attempted assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, a whole host of controversies emerged. From a political viewpoint I’m sure this is fascinating, but even more exciting was the fallout for the film itself and the leaks of Sony emails. As a result of the hack we heard how Idris Elba is tipped to be the next Bond, how Mark Zuckerberg tried to shut down The Social Network, about Kanye West’s desire to make a feature length film (I’ve never wanted anything more in my life), the plans for a re-boot of the Ghostbusters franchise, and how even Sony themselves are sick of Adam Sandler. By far the best part was reading how Chaning Tatum celebrated the success of 22 Jump Street; in a beautifully articulate email, he was quoted as saying “SECOND OF ALLLL TIMMMMME BEEEOTCH!!!! “ before typing the word “HA” over 250 times. Eloquent.
And of course we had to deal with people bang on about “freedom of speech” as if The Interview not being shown was equivalent to the worst excesses of the Soviet Union. Coincidentally, given the involvement of Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen, I was also considering my own cyber attack on Sony to ensure The Interview didn’t get released. For fear of the U.S. taking out my internet connection, and as a result my Netflix account, I decided against it.
Will 2015 live up to the excitement of 2014? From a film point of view you can expect franchises and sequels to typically dominate mainstream cinema in 2015: Jurrasic World, Mockingjay – Part 2, Taken 3, Fast and Furious 7, Terminator 5, the first instalment of the now Disney owned Star Wars series and a new James Bond film will all no doubt pull in large crowds due to the success of their predecessors. But it’s Avengers: Age of Ultron that could easily become the highest grossing film of all time due to the unbelievable performance of the first one – this and Ant-Man should help Marvel studios continue their strive towards world domination. Personally I expect Suffragette to be the pick of the bunch of British films in 2015. Sarah Gevron and Abi Morgan reunite to direct and write respectively after their remarkable 2007 release Brick Lane (a film as noted for the backlash it provoked from Bangladesh communities in the UK as it was for its undervalued cinematic qualities) to tell the story of the leaders of the British suffragette movement. Expect a faithful and engrossing rendition of this incredible story; Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Whishaw will no doubt deliver superb performances.
New at the Dukes
In 2015 the Dukes is adding a new strand to their cinema. Called DukesDocs, viewers are being offered the opportunity to see some unique and fascinating documentaries from across the world. Earlier this month, they also screened Still The Enemy Within, a documentary about the miners strikes in the 1980’s, as well as Touba which chronicles the Grand Magaal pilgrimage of more than a million Sufi Muslims to the holy city of Touba in Senegal. Both of these films will be featured in my next column.
At the end of this month, the Dukes is screening Night Will Fall which offers to be one of the most fascinating films available to see this year. When Nazi Germany fell in 1945, allied soldiers and journalists were given an insight into the atrocities committed in the concentration camps. Sidney Bernstein attempted to create a documentary to forever record the brutality of the Nazi world. However despite involvement from Richard Crossman and Alfred Hitchcock, the film was shelved. Night Will Fall tells the story of this project using historic footage and never before seen interviews. For history buffs and film lovers alike this is an unbelievably exciting film, offering an insight into both the horrors of Nazi Germany and into the film making process of the 1940’s, right in the middle of the golden era of cinema.
These are just the first offerings of what promises to be an incredibly exciting new part of the Dukes cinema, so keep an eye out for the new releases.
This year on Campus
For Tolkien fans Take 2 Cinema is offering everyone the chance to tick off something which belongs on everyone’s bucket list: watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in one sitting. Taking place on Valentine’s Day this is a fantastic way for couples to discern whether they’re right for each other or not. If your partner is unwilling to sit through all three films with you, it’s time to start asking questions about how much further you can take the relationship. Take 2 remains the best option for seeing the year’s big releases for a huge knock down price, so make sure you don’t get to the end of the year without visiting.
2015 is another exciting year for Lancaster University’s Film Production (LUFP) with 6 film projects scheduled for release at the LEAF festival in third term. These include:
A World Without
“In her struggle to create emotive photography, student Anna becomes locked in a battle of emotions as she attempts to rid herself of obsessive ex, Jack. The failings of their relationship is juxtaposed against Ryan and June, a happy couple, until something inexplicable takes a hold of them. Four people begin a search for emotion, unaware of forces controlling their lives, plunging them into A World Without”
“Dale, the pessimistic and lethargic loner, is 20 today.
Dale, the popular and charismatic extrovert, is also 20 today.
One room. Two very different celebrations.”
All That Remains
“A routine therapy session takes a hostile turn when a soldier is forced to confront his past…”
“The lives of three students become intertwined as a series of unanticipated events and chance encounters unfold; ‘Sundown’ is a touching and meaningful exploration of the choices and mistakes we make, and the unforeseen twists of fate that dictate the course of our lives.”
“Troubled by the loss of his girlfriend and a fractured relationship with his father, James sinks deeper and deeper into a whirlpool of guilt and remorse…”
Release dates haven’t been confirmed but expect to see all the films before this academic year is out.
What: NT Live: Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic pirate story is brought to live on the stage and then shown on a screen. Starrting Arthur Darvill and a host of talented performers, this is a must-see. When: Thursday, Week 2 – 7pm Where: The Dukes
What: Riot Club. Two first-year students at Oxford University join a secret society and learn that their reputations can be made or destroyed over the course of one evening. This didn’t get the best reviews, but any opportunity to see Max Irons is one you should definitely take. When: Thursday and Friday, Week 2 – 7:30pm Where: Take 2 Cinema
What: Grease Sing-Along. Go along and sing along to some of the greatest songs in musical history. When: Friday, Week 3 – 7:30pm Where: Take 2 Cinema
What: A Most Violent Year. In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city’s history. Directed and written by J.C. Chandor. When: Released Friday, week 3 Where: Vue, Lancaster
What: Testament of Youth. A poignant adaptation of Vera Brittain’s bestselling memoirs, exploring her life during World War One. Directed by James Kent and starring Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones, Pompeii), Alicia Vikanders (A Royal Affair, The Fifth Estate), and Emily Watson (War Horse, The Book Thief). Alicia Vikanders has a huge year ahead as she stars in 6 major releases, so make sure you see her in this. When: Saturday, Week 3 – 8:30pm Where: The Dukes