It’s payday! Everyone jump for joy, we made it through January and evaded the dreaded January Blues for another year! Huzzah! 2016 is well under way and the work is picking up and rolling in for Blueprint. We have a few exciting new contracts that we’ve been securing this week (you’ll here all about it in due time) but until then, catch up with what we’ve been up to below! Plus as always, you get to read our amazing selection of insightful film & TV reviews (Because Dave and Mikaela seem to have personal missions to watch all the things ever made).
What’s Happening at Blueprint HQ?
‘Ware’ has Chris been this week? Chris been filming and editing a series of training films for Simons, who are completing the build of a new facility for GlaxoSmithKlien in Ware, Hertfordshire. (Yep that’s right, comedy gold) It’s been a bit of a crazy week with travel and last min changes to schedules etc but flexibility is his middle name…
Darren has been a busy bee continuing the development on a new Chinese-English production in collaboration with Shooting Fish Theatre company. The project is being funded by National Heritage Lottery and this week Darren has been in a workshop with the China Britain Expo and Shanghai theatre academy on Beijing Opera at the Queen Elizabeth Hall II.
Mikaela and Dave have been budgeting and planning for our upcoming series of filmmaking courses and workshops in London, in collaboration with Blueprint: Film Foundation. The project will see us offering a range of free masterclasses for young people across Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Dave and Mikaela have been busy testing out their writing skills to bring in funding for the project.
What We’ve Watched
I saw this at a Lincoln Film Society screening. Set in Spain in the 1980, this sees two city detectives sent out to the styx to investigate the rapes and murders of a handful of teenage girls. It’s incredibly atmospheric, with some fantastic cinematography (including the best use of aerial drone photography I think I’ve ever seen) and a dark and twisted narrative. It might take a second viewing to fully grasp the final unveiling of the killer as it seemed a bit random, but I enjoyed following the trail to get there nonetheless.
The Assassin (Dave)
This was an odd one. On one hand it’s a very slow and sparse film and I found the story hard to follow as there’s no hand holding for the audience and much of the narrative-driving action occurs off-screen. On the other hand, I found it strangely compelling in a slow, almost calming manor. It isn’t an action packed martial arts extravaganza as the title and subject matter might suggest, but there are some brief flashes of violence that are beautifully handled. The big selling point is the look of the film though. It’s stunningly beautiful, but in a surprisingly restrained way. I was expecting extravagant House of Flying Daggers style cinematography, but this is gorgeous in a more restrained and meticulously composed way. The DOP often shoots through materials or candlelight, giving the film a hazy look, mirroring the view of the titular assassin who watches her possible victims from the shadows or the rafters. It’s not just a bunch of pretty pictures though. Once you get your head around the plot (which isn’t vastly complicated, just confusingly presented) there are some interesting conflicts in play and the conclusion is fairly surprising (if unsatisfying to action fans). So it’s not a film for everyone and I’m not even sure if I really liked it, but something about it kept me transfixed and thinking about the film long after the credits rolled.
It’s a decent film, well directed and performed etc. but it’s still just a Rocky movie so moves through all the same plot cliches to its inevitable conclusion. That said, I did get into it and was (inwardly) cheering Michael B. Jordan on at the end. I just find the underdog sports movie format cheesy so struggle to rate any too highly. On the Rocky scale though it’s the strongest of the sequels in my opinion (although it’s been a while since I’ve seen most of them). On a side note, to give Sylvester Stallone an Oscar nomination and ignore Michael B. Jordan is pretty ridiculous. Stallone is good, but this is Jordan’s film and he really sells it.
I really wanted to like this, I had pretty low expectations because I hadn’t heard great things but I went in with a open mind hoping to be pleasantly surprised. At first I was. I liked the characters, I loved Tom Hardy, I thought the style was gorgeous and the opening was enticing and well paced. But they seemed to want to tell so much of the Cray’s story that it just dragged and dragged. 50 minutes from the end I had totally lost interest and by the time the film came to it’s rather anti-climatic close, I had found more interesting things to do (my monthly online Tesco food shop).
Fargo – Season Two (Mikaela)
I enjoyed this just as much as season 1. It was more watchable than the first season – a little more upbeat and entertaining, but perhaps as a result a little less clever. The characters were less intricate and absorbing – apart from Kirsten Dunst who absolutely floored me. I really don’t like Kirsten Dunst but this has turned me into a fully fledged fan. Loved her performance. Not so sure about the weird mystery alien sub-plot.