Amazing Concept, Disappointing Film: ‘Upside Down’ Could Have Been Great

I don’t normally write movie reviews… in fact, I don’t even really write book reviews, I just occasionally mention or rate books I like. But this week I had to make an exception, because I recently watched a film on Netflix that irked me, not because it was terrible (though I did find many aspects of it to be terrible) but because it could have been so good. It could have made it onto my favourite sci-fi films of all time list. Continue reading

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The Special Effects You Don’t See

Image: Barn from The Landing Short Film

Image from the short film The Landing

A fleet of space ships swoops into battle, a dragon flexes its wings, a superhero uses their incredible powers… in films and TV shows, these are the kind of scenes where you’re likely to comment on the amazing (or not so amazing) special effects. Their very nature, as things that don’t exist, will make you more inclined to scrutinise them, and decide whether you are impressed or unimpressed by how they have been brought to life on screen.

What we rarely notice are the copious special effects that re-create real things. Continue reading

Do You Ever Think of the Scriptwriter When Choosing a Film?

If you’re anything like me, when you are deciding which films you might like to see at the cinema or hire at home, the scriptwriter is not high on the list of things you factor in.

Perhaps you pay attention to the director, or you look at the actors, or maybe you just go on the premise or genre alone. Maybe you even factor in the studio (personally, I know I’ll watch anything Pixar brings out). Continue reading

Difference for Difference’s Sake

I spent half of the final year of my film degree working as a producer on one short film. For most of this time, I was convinced it was going to be great.

I first heard the story idea in the class pitching session, where a panel of tutors were deciding which six student films would get made that year. The soon-to-be writer-director of this particular film pitched his premise. It really grabbed me. And not just me—the panel were convinced too.  Continue reading