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MM’s Favourite Films Of 2017 (Darryl Griffiths)

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2017. Timothee Chalamet and Tiffany Haddish helped to boost the sales of peaches and grapefruits, as Barry Keoghan staked his claim to be the new face of Heinz Spaghetti.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone immersed themselves in a City Of Stars, with Zac Efron and Zendaya looking to Rewrite The Stars.

In Ansel Elgort we found a Baby Driver. For Jennifer Lawrence however, she was merely driven up the wall by Javier Bardem.

All jokes aside, Annette Bening also uttered these words of wisdom.

‘Having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world’.

For me. Cinema has been as much about being entertained and escaping from reality, as it has been a form of catharsis. A wonderful art form that has continued to broaden my horizons. In an exceptionally difficult year, my selections have helped me laugh. To smile. To feel. Most importantly. To heal.

To all the terrific talents who were involved in these films. Thank you. X

Here are my Favourite Films Of 2017:

*IN ACCORDANCE TO 2017 UK RELEASE DATES*

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Thor: Ragnarok (Taika Waititi)

Beach Rats (Eliza Hittman)

Their Finest (Lone Scherfig)

Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool (Paul McGuigan)

Girls Trip (Malcolm D. Lee)

The Levelling (Hope Dickson Leach)

IT (Andres Muschetti)

20 – THE BIG SICK (Michael Showalter)

Inspired by his own real-life romance with screenwriter Emily V. Gordon. Kumail Nanjiani anchored a whip smart culture-clash rom-com, fighting for his big break in stand-up, whilst staving off staunch Muslim traditions through his romance with Zoe Kazan. In a year light on quality offerings within this well-worn genre. A big tick for The Big Sick.

19 – THE LOST CITY OF Z (James Gray)

Assured direction from James Gray coupled with gorgeous cinematography by Darius Khondji. ‘Z was an exquisite exploration of 1920’s Bolivia, as Charlie Hunnam’s renowned British explorer looked to uncover an ancient Amazonian city. A vigorous and absorbing throwback to the adventures we rarely see now in the modern era.

18 – MOTHER! (Darren Aronofsky)

Easily one of the most controversial and divisive offerings of the year. Yet you simply couldn’t take Darren Aronofsky’s latest at face value. The obsessive god-like figure of Javier Bardem’s writer clashing with Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Mother Nature’, building to an audacious third act that is tough to shake. A compelling journey.

17 – WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (Matt Reeves)

A mere reminder of the majestic motion-capture work of Mr Andy Serkis. This threequel was a soul-stirring conclusion to one of the great franchise revivals of recent years, instilling a desperation often associated with historical war dramas, underpinned by a stunning Michael Giacchino score.

16 – GET OUT (Jordan Peele)

Full of satirical bite about white privilege and the racial tensions that shamefully remains ingrained in the American landscape. Jordan Peele’s hypnotic (quite literally!) directorial debut exposes the horrors of such prejudice, whilst embracing the genre tropes to create an unnerving cinematic experience.

15 – THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker)

Upgrading from his trustee I Phone (Tangerine) to a sumptuous 35MM aesthetic. Sean Baker provided us with an achingly authentic deconstruction of the childhood fairytale outlook, grounded in the harsh realities of a primary coloured hotel run by a brilliant Willem Dafoe. Sublime.

14 – 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (Mike Mills)

A luscious labour of love of the 1970’s and his own mother, littered with fiercely intelligent performances from Annette Bening, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig. Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women was a tender and thoughtful tale of finding common ground within the generational gaps, that evoked vivid nostalgia without constantly pushing the button for cheap thrills.

13 – BABY DRIVER (Edgar Wright)

Inevitably tainted by the scandal of Spacey. But it can’t take away from the crisp choreography and craftsmanship on display by Edgar Wright here, as he navigates us through this exhilarating homage, set to a toe-tapping soundtrack. All the Cornettos to Ansel Elgort please!

12 – LOGAN (James Mangold)

Seventeen years as the adamantium-clawed mutant. Back in March, it was finally time for Hugh Jackman to say goodbye to the character Wolverine and what a blistering finale we were provided. Intertwining western motifs with the R-rated blood-soaked thrills fans had been craving. Good luck replacing him Marvel with that new Fox deal…

11 – STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Rian Johnson)

Recently given the keys to a new trilogy. The pressure was certainly on Rian Johnson to build on the well-received efforts of J.J Abrams (The Force Awakens). Graceful in its tributes (Carrie Fisher’s General Leia). Compelling in its escalating conflict (Daisy Ridley’s Rey/Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren). ‘The Last Jedi was a scintillating and stacked instalment, that refused to play by the rules.

10 – LADY MACBETH (William Oldroyd)

Boasting a formidable performance by leading lady Florence Pugh, who clearly relished toying with the audience’s emotions as the titular character. William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth was an immense period drama, that was truly chilling in its calculation and subversion.

9 – GOOD TIME (Benny and Josh Safdie)

If ever there was a film that deserved a wider release in 2017. It was this pulsating offering from the Safdie Brothers, which unearthed an urgent and career-best performance from Robert Pattinson. An intoxicating neon-lit crime thriller, that thrives on chaos.

8 – BLADE RUNNER 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)

From the outset. I suspected the clinical approach of Denis Villeneuve would be a seamless fit for this world, initially built by Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford. So it proved. Serving us an astonishing continuation to its much-loved original from 1982, predominantly through a game Ryan Gosling, without dialling down its mesmerising dystopia and rich themes.

7 – MOONLIGHT (Barry Jenkins)

With an impeccable three-act structure, chronicling the stunning coming-of-age story of Chiron, taking a considered approach to coming out which was raw and resonant. Moonlight was a vital work from director Barry Jenkins and a shining example that less can often be so much more..

6 – DUNKIRK (Christopher Nolan)

Through Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan stripped away the narrative excess of his previous work, to create a lean and immersive ‘race-against-time’ war machine. Filled with nail-biting tension that is accentuated by an unrelenting Hans Zimmer score. Superior in the subtlety of its performances, with Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance worthy mentions. Magnificent.

5 – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Luca Guadagnino)

From the sun-kissed beauty of its gorgeous setting to the sizzling chemistry between Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer. All the way to a sublime double musical offering from Sufjan Stevens. Call Me By Your Name was a film that simply overflowed with beauty. If the central romance didn’t break your heart, Michael Stuhlbarg’s beautiful father to son speech likely did.

4 – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (Yorgos Lanthimos)

A frightening depiction of familial dysfunction, fused with the peculiar humour we’ve come to expect from its Greek director. Who knew a version of Ellie Goulding’s Burn could be so creepy!? ‘Sacred Deer was sensational, giving us an unforgettable softly-spoken menace in Barry Keoghan, as Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell wrestled with their consciences in riveting fashion.

3 – LA LA LAND (Damien Chazelle)

A feverish debut with ‘Whiplash’. It was a case of the ‘difficult second album’ for Damien Chazelle with La La Land. How he exceeded expectations. An irresistible tribute to the glittering Golden Age of Hollywood musicals, with a golden couple at its core in Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I could happily watch those ‘A Lovely Night/Planetarium’ dance sequences on repeat. Simply dazzling.

2 – A MONSTER CALLS (J.A Bayona)

An adaptation of the Patrick Ness novel, which i will now forever have a deep personal connection to and draw strength from. A Monster Calls may be a fantastical feast at first glance with its fondness for mythical watercolour tales. But it’s the skilful handling of a boy’s (Lewis MacDougall on outstanding form) struggle to grasp the extent of his mom’s (Felicity Jones) illness, that truly stays with you. Incredible.

1 – GOD’S OWN COUNTRY (Francis Lee)

The 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, it’s been fitting that there has been many superb LGBTQ cinematic offerings this year.

Yet Francis Lee’s rapturous romance, starring a stellar pairing in Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu stood tall above all. Lazily tagged as a ‘British Brokeback’, God’s Own Country was a bracing piece of cinema filled with an unwavering sense of hope and optimism, often found lacking in the queer cinema canon. It may begin in isolation, but how it takes your breath away in its open picturesque spaces. A fitting message for a society that suddenly seems obsessed with building fences and walls. My film of 2017.

Features

Venice, Cannes, London, Wherever: Film Festival Tips

A film festival veteran, Rehna Azim gives her tips on how to survive at film festivals wherever you are in the world.

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I suppose I can be called a film festival veteran now. I’ve covered enough of them over the best part of a decade to be able to pass some, hopefully, useful tips on to those who might find themselves at one of the many film festivals that seem to spring up every 15 minutes. There’s a festival for everyone and pretty much everything. A fan of Korean cinema? You’ll find a festival in London. Sci-fi freak? Horror fanboy/girl? Gay, lesbian? Woman over 40? Someone somewhere will be running a festival of films you’ll love. Even towns you weren’t sure had a cinema seem to have a festival going on.

The biggies in Europe of course are Cannes and Berlin with London coming up in recent years. San Sebastien is growing in stature and there’s Ghent, Locarno, Edinburgh and many more. Wherever it is and whatever crowd it’s for, festivals are big business and popular. So here’s how to make the most of them:

Make sure your stomach is full and your bladder empty. The bigger the festival, the longer the queues and the more uncomfortable you’ll feel as you line up with a cast of hundreds to watch the latest gem from that Bulgarian auteur you thought only you loved. A film festival will draw a cine literate crowd that will fight you to the death for the last seat in the house. (At Cannes earlier this year, journalists almost came to fisticuffs in the huge, sprawling line that waited to catch the pearls of wisdom that fell from Christopher Nolan’s lips). A couple of years ago there was an angry stamping of feet as La La Land was, inexplicably, put on a small screen that couldn’t possibly accommodate all those who wanted to see it. At Venice earlier this month the lines stretched out perilously close to the canals. So you see, if you’re serious about festivaling, like a Boy Scout, you always have to be prepared. You simply can’t take the chance of popping away for 10 minutes to grab a quick burger or spend a penny. Go before you come, as it were. Carry a snack with you in your bag (trust me, even that festering flapjack at the bottom will seem enticing when you’re starving during a 3 hour long Ingmaar Bergman retrospective. Keep a small bottle of water with you at all times, not least to avoid the headaches that dehydration can cause.

Sacrifice glamour for comfort. Unless you’re going to a red carpet premiere, wear sensible shoes you can run between venues in. Layer your clothing. It doesn’t matter which city or country you’re in, you will either be too hot or too cold in whatever you wear. Taking something off or putting it on will be the best way to deal with whatever weather comes your way. I speak as someone who has been caught in sudden, monsoon level thunderstorms in both Venice and Cannes on brilliantly hot days when I was swanning around in skimpy summer dresses.

Film Festival Movie Marker

Plan your festival days. Screening times often overlap or just outright clash. Check the programme in advance, decide what you absolutely must see and what is a ‘if I have the time’ choice. Once you’ve made your choices, schedule your days accordingly. Those covering the festival for media outlets have to factor in interviews, talks and red carpet coverage as well as time to do the write-ups. It may seem like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs (did anyone’s grandmother actually ever do that) but sometimes the simplest, most obvious tips are the most helpful. I’ve known the super organised to create elaborate flow charts for their daily schedule but a simple list in a notebook will suffice.

Always keep a note pad and camera with you. Whether both are on your latest model phone or you have the old fashioned type, you will need them. Film festivals are exciting. Celebrities are swanning around everywhere, funny, interesting, record-able things are happening all the time and you will invariably meet people you want to stay in touch with. Writing a number or email address on the back of a receipt may seem a good idea at the time but you’ll never copy it out ‘properly’ into an address book. Most likely you’ll throw the receipt away when you’re next cleaning out your bag then spend hours rummaging through it later looking for the number of that nice agent/producer/actor/attractive person you met over drinks and really want to meet again. Network, make contacts, make friends. Festivals are fun!

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New entertainment platform CHILI launches in the UK

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Are you scrolling through the TV guide, trying to decide what to watch on your first night in for weeks, only to change your mind for the fourth time? Sounds tragically familiar, which is why I am very pleased to announce that European entertainment company CHILI have big plans for film and TV fans in the UK.

CHILI is a subscription-free entertainment platform that has launched in the UK after it’s recent success in Italy, racking up 1.6 million registered users since launching in 2012. Backed by the studios we all know and love, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Viacom, Sony Pictures, and 20th Century Fox, the on-demand service offers an array of content available at the click of the button.

What makes this different from say, Netflix or Amazon? The website offers a huge range of films and TV shows, from foreign art house to big screen blockbusters – as well as being a one-stop show for cinema; there is a newshub to give you the low-down on all film and TV news, you can purchase physical movies, merchandise and tickets to the cinema all in one place. Founder and chief executive Giorgio Tacchia describes CHILI as an entertainment hub; with customers discovering a new movie or TV show that they love and then browsing the merchandise to see what’s in store. From Star Wars Lego sets to beautiful concept art books, there really is something for everyone.

The platform is also filled with new premieres, including Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, Marvel Studios’ Avengers Infinity War and Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon. Customers can choose the quality they want their digital purchase, or choose to order a Blu-Ray or DVD instead.

My favourite section is the ‘highlights’ page which tailors content around your preferences and also offers flash sales and offers of the week. And with your first film on them? That’s an offer I can’t refuse.

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Our weekly updated UK streaming listings for September 2018

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Between the increasing number of streaming platforms in our lives, there’s far too much great entertainment being released day after day for any sane person to keep track of. 

There’s streaming giant Netflix, the curated offerings of MUBI, all the latest releases on NOW TV, and online video emporium Amazon Prime. There’s something for everyone, on demand, just waiting to be selected. What a time to be alive!

But that doesn’t help when you’re looking for something to wile away the evening with, so let us lighten the load and make your viewing choice that little bit easier with our weekly updated round-up of everything being added to your favourite platform.

Saturday, September 1st

  • After the Sunset
  • Appaloosa
  • Birth
  • Cellular
  • Final Destination 3
  • Harold & Kumar Escape
  • Highwaymen
  • The Last Mimzy
  • Lost in Translation
  • The Man
  • Mr. Woodstock
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Pride and Glory
  • Rendition
  • Semi-Pro
  • Shoot Em Up
  • Silk

Sunday, September 2nd

  • The Green Inferno
  • The Way Back

Monday, September 3rd

  • Molly’s Game
  • Mr. Mercedes: Season 2 (new episode)

Thursday, September 6th

  • Pistorius

Monday, September 10th

  • Mr. Mercedes: Season 2 (new episode)

Friday, September 14th

  • Forever: Season 1

Monday, September 17th

  • Mr. Mercedes: Season 2 (new episode)
  • The Post
  • Suicide Squad

Wednesday, September 19th

  • The Commuter

Saturday, September 22nd

  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Get Smart
  • The Lake House
  • Lolita
  • Mortal Kombat
  • North by Northwest
  • Payback
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • Soylent Green
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  • The Towering Inferno

Sunday, September 23rd

  • Early Man

 

Wednesday, September 5th

  • Boro in the Box

Thursday, September 6th

  • Living Still Life

Friday, September 7th

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Saturday, September 8th

  • The Pleasure of Being Robbed

Sunday, September 9th

  • Tiny Furniture

Monday, September 10th

  • Went the Day Well?

Tuesday, September 11th

  • Champagne Charlie

Wednesday, September 12th

  • The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

Thursday, September 13th

  • Disorder

Friday, September 14th

  • The Wild Boys

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Eros Plus Massacre

Wednesday, September 19th

  • Street Life

Thursday, September 20th

  • Tonsler Park

Sunday, September 23rd

  • The Things of Life

 

 

Saturday, September 1st

  • The Bletchley Circle: Season 1 
  • The Bletchley Circle: Season 2
  • Born to Be Blue
  • Gangs of New York
  • Gone
  • Killing Gunther
  • La Catedral del Mar
  • Legally Blondes
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas
  • Marvel’s Iron Man
  • Marvel’s Iron Man 2
  • Marvel’s Iron Man 3
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Monkey Twins
  • Moonstruck
  • The Mummy
  • The Mummy Returns
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
  • The Purge: Election Year
  • RoboCop 2
  • Saw VI
  • Sisters

Sunday, September 2nd

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, September 3rd

  • The Debt Collector
  • Power: Season 5 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, September 4th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)

Wednesday, September 5th

  • The Hundred-Foot Journey

Thursday, September 6th

  • I Kill Giants
  • Inferno
  • Suits: Season 8 (new episode)

Tuesday, August 7th

  • Atypical: Season 2
  • Cable Girls: Season 3
  • City of Joy
  • Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 2
  • The Most Assassinated Woman in the World
  • Next Gen
  • Shooter: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Sierra Burgess is a Loser
  • Stretch Armstrong & The Flex Fighters: Season 2

Saturday, September 8th

  • American Horror Story: Cult (new episode)

Sunday, September 9th

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Wynonna Earp: Season 2

Monday, September 10th

  • Power: Season 5 (new episode)
  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, September 11th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • Daniel Sloss: Live Shows
  • Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
  • The Resistance Banker
  • The Square

Wednesday, September 12th

  • Burn After Reading
  • Call the Midwife: Season 6
  • Jane
  • On My Skin
  • Rex

Thursday, September 13th

  • Life Happens
  • Nowhere Boys: Two Moons Rising
  • Suits: Season 8 (new episode)

Friday, September 14th

  • American Vandal: Season 2
  • The Angel
  • Bleach
  • Boca Juniors Confidential
  • BoJack Horseman: Season 5
  • Car Masters: Rust to Riches
  • The Dragon Prince
  • Ingobernable: Season 2
  • The Land of Steady Habits
  • Last Hope
  • Shooter: Season 3 (new episode)
  • Super Monsters Monster Party: Songs

Saturday, September 15th

  • American Horror Story: Cult (new episode)
  • Cabins in the Wild, with Dick Strawbridge: Season 1
  • The Hangover
  • How to Live Mortgage Free, with Sarah Beeny: Season 1
  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)
  • Queens vs. Kings: Season 1
  • Three Wives, One Husband: Season 1

Sunday, September 16th

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

Monday, September 17th

  • A Taiwanese Tale of Two Cities: Season 1 (new episode)

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Better Call Saul: Season 4 (new episode)
  • D.L. Hughley: Contrarian

Wednesday, September 19th

  • Julieta

Thursday, September 20th

  • American Honey
  • Suits: Season 8 (new episode)

Friday, September 21st

  • Battlefish
  • Dragon Pilot: Hisone & Masotan
  • The Good Cop: Season 1
  • Hilda
  • Maniac
  • Nappily Ever After
  • Norsemen: Season 2
  • Quincy
  • Rafinha Bastos: Ultimate

Saturday, September 22nd

  • American Horror Story: Cult (new episode)
  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

Sunday, September 23rd

  • Mr. Sunshine: Season 1 (new episode)

 

 

Saturday, September 1st

  • Braven

Sunday, September 2nd

  • The Little Hours

Monday, September 3rd

  • Guardians of the Tomb

Tuesday, September 4th

  • Chronically Metropolitan

Wednesday, September 5th

  • The Mimic

Thursday, September 6th

  • Singularity

Tuesday, August 7th

  • Final Score

Saturday, September 8th

  • The Disaster Artist

Sunday, September 9th

  • The Ballad of Lefty Brown

Monday, September 10th

  • Psych: The Movie

Tuesday, September 11th

  • Never Steady, Never Still

Wednesday, September 12th

  • Hatred

Thursday, September 13th

  • My Friend Dahmer

Friday, September 14th

  • Murder on the Orient Express

Saturday, September 15th

  • Oddsockeaters

Sunday, September 16th

  • The Forgiven

Monday, September 17th

  • Devil’s Gate

Tuesday, September 18th

  • Affairs of State

Wednesday, September 19th

  • Wings of Eagles

Friday, September 21st

  • All the Money in the World

That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to check back each week for a fresh round of new releases for the UK on streaming platforms Amazon Prime, MUBI, NOW TV, and Netflix.

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