The Danish Girl – Power in simplicity

Beautiful. Spine tingling. Insightful. Uplifting. Heartbreaking. Just some of the words I would use to describe The Danish Girl. Now, I don’t normally preach about what films people “have to watch” because, what gives me the authority to assume that my opinion is higher than yours? Frankly, it’s not. But having said that, I really do think this an important film that everyone should, at very least, consider watching. It’s one of those films where it just shows how powerful cinema can be, and how it can reach so many people. Especially with a film as slick as this one. Everything it did, it did to a colossal standard.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

The casting, first and foremost, was simply magical. Eddie Redmayne gave a spellbinding performance, as Einar slowly succumbed to Lili, treating the story with care and great emotion. Though for many, the issues presented in The Danish Girl are not ones that are easily relatable, Redmayne made that easier by giving Lili a voice, a face, a humanity.

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Film Calendar 2016

As we welcomed in the new year with fireworks, bubbly, and those odd people we call ‘family’, there was something I realised looking forward to the year ahead. This year is going to be an expensive one. But expensive in one particular area: the cinema.

There are some incredible films to look forward to this year, and I can see that cinema trips will be frequent on account of the sheer number of exciting films set for release in 2016, though my bank account probably won’t thank me for that. And while there’s such a hype about the film calendar this year, I thought I’d dedicate a post to my top films of the year, the ones I’m most excited for.

**SPOILER FREE POST** (I mean, duh)

My homemade categories consist of: Superheroes, Sci-fi & Fantasy, Disney & Animation, and Sequels.

Superheroes

  1. Captain America: Civil WarSeeing as the Cap is my favourite Marvel superhero, naturally this one’s top of the list, but even without that little bias this film looks like another epic box office hit. There seems to be a trend at the moment in cinema about epic-ness and world-defining narratives, but the audiences are loving it, and I’m afraid I’m no exception. Particularly exciting about this film, is the dynamic between Captain America and Iron Man that we see in the trailer: while we know they don’t get on all that well at the best of times, here they are actually pitted against each other. This film is certain to divide opinion, and probably the internet too.
  2. X-Men: ApocalypseFirst things first, Sophie Turner Sophie Turner SOPHIE TURNER. As you can probably tell, I’m a Thrones fan, and quite excited about seeing the young Miss Turner in the role of Jean Grey, and that’s the first thing that hits in the trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse (props to the promo team). This is another film that looks epic and high stakes, and I’m wondering where this fits on the X-Men timeline after Days of Future Past. I’ll be interested to see what they do with this one, particularly where Charles Xavier’s hair and the antagonist (who remains somewhat of a mystery) are concerned.
  3. DeadpoolA superhero film with a difference. This is the superhero for the older audience, the first of his kind in the Marvel franchise. Interesting, I hear you say. Indeed it is. But from what the trailer shows us, it looks like he’s going to be a fantastic new hero to add to the Marvel cinematic universe. Also, notably for Game of Thrones fans, Ed Skrein has the role of Ajax in Deadpool – possibly the reason for his sudden departure from the show after a measly 3 episodes in the role of Daario Naharis (if you even remember him at all); he did say that he left the show to follow a path into film, so maybe this is it.
  4. Ones to watch. Other noteworthy Superhero films for the year include: Doctor Strange, which is national treasure Cumberbatch’s next gig; DC’s Suicide Squad which is creating A LOT of hype; and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice which promises to be a great crowd-pleaser, provided everyone can accept Ben Affleck as the Bat after Christian Bale’s ownership of the role in the recent films. Is it too soon? Perhaps. A final thing worth noting here is the edition of Wonder Woman and the promise of a female-led film of her own next year. My bets are that Marvel will feel the need to follow suit for fear of criticism. After all, everyone’s been crying out for a Black Widow film for a while now. What DID happen in Budapest…?

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The Good Dinosaur – Hits the spot

Pixar’s latest feature The Good Dinosaur hit UK cinemas on 27th November, and I had the great pleasure of viewing it yesterday (yes I know I’m nearly 2 weeks after the initial release, but a student has work to do believe it or not).

I didn’t really know what to expect from this film – I hadn’t seen much in the way of promotion other than a trailer preceding Inside Out at cinemas in the summer, which managed not to give much away – so I was almost going in blind … and sometimes that can be the best way to watch a new film, with little or no expectations.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

The Good Dinosaur follows the story of a young Apatosaurus named Arlo in a world where the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs never hit Earth, and they lived on. Arlo’s journey takes him across a land unknown to him, where he faces his fears and learns the value of selflessness, and makes an unlikely friend along the way in Spot (hence the title … see I was trying to be clever there), a human.

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The Man in the High Castle – The promise of great drama

I saw a trailer for The Man in the High Castle at the cinema and immediately wanted to start watching the show: the idea I thought was original, and the fact that a film could be so powerful was something I found quite interesting. After seeing the trailer, the question of “what if?” revolved in my head. It is set in America, in an alternative future where the Nazis won the Second World War, and our protagonist Juliana discovers a film which shows the account of history we know, which (obviously) poses a threat to the control the Nazis have over the nation.

**SPOILER FREE POST**

Yesterday I watched The New World, the first episode (which are all available on Amazon), and I can safely say that I will be continuing to watch the series to its end. It’s a fairly strong start to the series, supplanting the audience in the middle of the world we know, but which is so unrecognisable – shots of Times Square covered in Swastikas. It introduces numerous characters without fully explaining the connections between them or even who they are, adding further to the sense of intrigue that the show permeates.

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Attrition: The First Act of Penance – The new fantasy superpower

There’s a new player in fantasy fiction, and it’s going straight into the big leagues.

Of course, that’s my personal opinion, but as a lover of fantasy I can highly recommend S.G. Night’s Attrition as a shining example of fantasy at its best. I’ll give you a basic run-down, shall I?

The story takes place in the world of Io, which has been suffering under the oppression of the Demonic Dominion for over a century. The demons exiled the elves, all but enslaved the humans, and almost completely wiped out the Majiski battle-mages…almost. Racath Thanjel is one of those Majiski, now living in the shadows as an assassin, and fighting against the demons, but the assassins’ leader seems to be keeping more secrets than the demons themselves. Racath is plunged into the fight and forced to choose his destiny. Can he become the saviour Io needs, or are the demons to great a force to overcome?

**SPOILER FREE POST**

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A Song of Ice and Fire – Lady Stoneheart

First things first: definitely DO NOT read this post if you have not read both parts of A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, because this includes major spoilers. And I would advise not reading this if you’ve ONLY watched the TV show of Game of Thrones – this one’s for book readers only unless you want spoilers – but you need to have seen the TV show to the end, or at least know what happens in the season 5 finale. You have been warned.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

Well now that’s out of the way, the epilogue of A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold has caused much intrigue. I actually thought it was interesting that there WAS an epilogue in this book, as the first two volumes didn’t have one. And things picked up again when we met what appeared to be Lady Catelyn Stark reincarnated. She was described as being damaged (for want of a better word) by water from the river, and the wounds she had inflicted on her own face were present, as well as a large gash from where her throat had been slit.

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The Inheritance Cycle – Top 3 most memorable moments

Now, when I say “Eragon” most people probably think of the not-so-brilliant film of 2006, but there’s much more to Eragon than that. Eragon is the first of four books in The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (followed by Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance), a series that I would highly recommend. The Inheritance Cycle was responsible for igniting my love of fantasy: dragons, magic, elves, dwarves, languages, and beautifully written … what’s not to love?

Not only were these books an absolute joy to read, they were so immersive and magical that I became really emotionally invested in the story and the characters. If you have read them, perhaps you can relate to these ‘most memorable moments’ from the Cycle. If you haven’t read them, I suggest that you do (granted they look a little intimidating in size, but they are well worth it!) and then maybe come back and read the memorable moments after.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

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