‘Take Two’ review: 2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts

Oscar short films often get overlooked amidst the hype of Best Picture etc, so for your consideration, in the first of what hopefully will become a regular segment, Amy Peterson and Diana Nakelski – known collectively as Take 2 – bring us a blow-by-blow account of the shorts at the Academy Awards this year.

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Diana:  I have never understood why short films do not get much exposure in the US.  Short film-makers have 2 to 30 minutes to tell a story that is poignant and memorable.  It requires a high attention to detail, focus, and personal sacrifice to pull this off.  Often, these storytellers are young, visionary filmmakers working outside the scope of a major production company.  The resulting work can sometimes be raw, and simultaneously refreshing.  Continue reading

The Lion King Live Action: 5 things we know so far…

OMG! I CAN’T EVEN. THIS IS EVERYTHING. So it’s official, The Lion King is getting a live action remake – and Hollywood Hegemony is here to confirm everything you need to know about this amazing cinematic re-imagining. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY, #amIright? So in honour of the various Buzzfeed-type sites currently pandering to the swarm of salivating millennials already congregating outside Vue in anticipation, here’s a listicle – since that’s all you people seem to understand – telling you all about it.

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Simba and Donald Glover. Can’t even tell them apart. Perfect casting.

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Undead Rebirth: “Train to Busan” & “The Girl with All the Gifts” belatedly reviewed

There is something truly apocalyptic in the air. A fearful isolationist politics grips the UK as it seeks to quarantine itself from dangerous of Outsiders, while in the United States, a walking punchline has become President as American liberals have found to their cost that you can’t just laugh a Nazi off the ballot. The Right across Europe is on the rise, with neo-fascists projected to fair well in polls in France, Germany and the Netherlands, my new home. Never in my lifetime (I was born at the end of 1990, so the Cold War was literally ending) has the end of days felt so near – and in a strange way so welcome. With 2017 playing out like a cadaverous Reaganite tribute act, if there were hypothetically a zombie pandemic tomorrow, what would my interests be in preventing it? It’s the perfect time for a rebirth of a genre which had stagnated badly over the past two years.

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I find your lack of plot disturbing: A belated review of Rogue One

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Stormtroopers holidaying in Anaheim, CA.

It could be said that Rogue One was one of the most disappointing releases of 2016. I won’t be saying that though, because I wasn’t stupid enough to be roped in by the hype – it was never going to be anything but a sad piece of fan-fellatio; a blend of bright colours and loud noises that did the barest-fucking-minimum in adding to the Star Wars story, while maximising box office performance.  To be honest, I wasn’t going to even bother with this – I missed most of 2016 doing my film festival, and was going to do a catch-up post – but it turns out in my absence most of you have developed the most repulsive of diseases; brand loyalty. It’s like you spent too much on plastic Stormtrooper gear to admit to yourselves this was a bad mis-step. Continue reading

Horror Cuts: The Whole Trilogy (Plus Extras)

It’s the first Halloween in 4 years I haven’t released a new film – and while that fills me with a deep sadness, we can still enjoy the good times we had, right?
So, make the most of your Monday-night Halloween, put your feet up, ignore the ringing at the door, the thumping of eggs on glass, and the… unnerving feeling of being watched… and enjoy the WHOLE Horror Cuts trilogy along with the 2 “special features” I produced after. Enjoy. Or at least, try not to scream too loud. -JB

Dead Labour and Dark Shadows (2012)

Dawn of the Red (2013)

Witches and Bitches (2014)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (2014)

The Wretched of the Earth (2015)

Norwich Radical Film Festival presents: “The Red Umbrella Diaries”

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For the first time, the Norwich Radical Film Festival is proud to present a new release as part of it’s monthly screening series. This is an East Anglian première of a radical new film that gives a voice to people often ignored by society; sex-workers. It has been short-listed at festivals New York, Portland and London – and we are proud to bring it to Norwich’s Forum Auditorium on the 18th of May at 7pm.

“The Red Umbrella Diaries” is a feature documentary directed by David Kornfield that tells the personal stories of seven diverse New Yorkers who work in different sectors of the sex trade and come together to tell their tales on stage at Joes Pub. The story-lines explore the question: what happens if people ignored by the mainstream media take control of their own stories, and how they are presented to the world?

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The best and worst films of 2015… that I didn’t review

Jeez. 2015 was a stinker. Mostly, it was a year racked with cinematic let-downs – as a long list of franchises made big budget returns to the screen only to disappoint. Like going through the motions with a former lover, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Terminator, the James Bond franchise all reused their same stale old tricks while sadly tarnishing the memories of a pristine and exciting affair from long ago. And yes, I appreciate Star Wars 7 wasn’t an utter disaster. But really, can you look me in the eye and tell me it worked as a standalone film? If this were the first one you saw, would you be queueing outside Odeon in the bleak December cold waiting for tickets to its sequel? I doubt it. Anyway, I digress – Star Wars was not really interesting enough on either end of the scale to register on this list. The rules are the same as last year, “definitive best and worst lists are so impossibly selective, and rely on a reviewer seeing literally everything in order to be credible. This is not that.” So here goes, the best 3 and worst 3 I never reviewed – and one of each that I did. Let’s make the best of what was a disappointment of a year, and hope that surely in 2016, things can only get better.

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