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Archive for December 2017

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Paddington 2 Grabs Festive TV Slot

LONDON: Christmas has come earlier for the makers of Paddington 2 which has now grossed over £31m at the UK box office. StudioCanal sent us the supporting Christmas-themed TV slot.

Based on the best-selling children’s stories by Michael Bond the film is once again directed by BAFTA nominee Paul King, from a script by King and Simon Farnaby. The film is produced by multi award-winning David Heyman, producer of all the Harry Potters among other hits.

The sequel finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. He buys the perfect birthday present in the form of  a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief…

StudioCanal is Europe’s leader in production, right acquisition, distribution and international sales of feature films and TV series and has fully-financed recent box office hits Paddington, Shaun the Sheep and Non-Stop. Its 2018 slate includes The Commuter featuring Liam Neeson.

 

See the TV clip here...

 


 

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Spielberg's Ready Player One

 

Warner Bros. UK has revealed the official trailer for Steven Spielberg's pop culture odyssey, Ready Player One, based on the bestseller from Ernest Cline.

The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse.  Salvation comes in the form of OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance).  When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world.  When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.
 
Joining Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse, Mud), Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Bates Motel), Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One – A Star Wars Story, Bloodline) and T.J. Miller (Deadpool, Silicon Valley), with Simon Pegg (the Star Trek movies, the Mission: Impossible movies) and Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk) round out the cast.

Directed by Spielberg from a screenplay by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, Ready Player One was produced by Spielberg, Donald De Line, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Dan Farah; with Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris DeFaria and Bruce Berman as executive producers.

The film is slated for release worldwide beginning 30th March, 2018.

See the trailer:

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Lincoln In the Bardo - Man Booker Prize 2017

George Saunders is a confirmed maestro of the American short story. In Lincoln in the Bardo, his debut novel, he invites us into a book that conflates a (sort of) ghost story with Buddhist leanings in the historical setting of the American Civil War. By Sat Bal

The novel concerns the death of Abraham Lincoln's 11-year-old son Willie and the interplay between human and spiritual grieving. Saunders’ talent lies in building these disparate worlds such that we suspend belief and buy into his fiction. Thus we begin to accept the motivations of the spirits of Roger Bevins, Hans Vollman and the Reverend Everly Thomas, the principal narrators, whose observations take shape when young Willie dies and is interred in a crypt in their cemetery.

Buddhists see the ‘bardo’ as a spiritual holding point for human demise from which the onward fate of the spirit will be determined. Shades of Dante’s purgatory persist and, while the doom of the spirits feels laden, a hope surrounds the fate of Willie Lincoln. Partly this is because children are not meant to linger by their bodies in the cemetery and Bevins, Vollman and the Rev wish to speed Willie’s spirit on to a more promising destination. Indeed, the story unfurls over one single night.

Their own impedance to the afterlife sees them cast as grotesque mutations with Bevins’ body bearing multiple eyes and severed hands following his suicide. Yet these graphic deformities are attenuated by a narrative that tiptoes around death via euphemisms. A new vocabulary rises up here with a coffins labelled a “sick box” and “matterlightblooming" the flash that signals the next exit while the cemetery is a “hospital yard.”

The author cleverly uses the device of polyphony to introduce the many neighbours of this yard, their names signing off their comments. Sometimes one-liners, sometimes paragraphs, the comments vacillate from statement to conversation with the dialogue occasionally interrupted by a new spirit speaker - or several.

Although there’s an air of detachment with humans unable to see the spirits and the sense that the spirits talk only among themselves, cutting off the reader, the story isn’t without emotional tugs. This is best portrayed when Abraham Lincoln comes to grieve over his son’s body. Wille’s spirit is delighted to see his father arrive at his crypt yet mortally frustrated that his father is unaware of his presence:

Bursting out of the doorway, the lad took off running toward the man, look of joy on his face.

roger bevins iii

Which turned to consternation when the man failed to sweep him up in his arms as…must have been their custom.

the reverend everly thomas

The imagination and compassion that weave this novel together suggest that George Saunders should stick with the novel format and take a break from the short story.

 

Lincoln in the Bardo is published by Bloomsbury Hardback £18.99