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Wizard Radio Media - BFI London Film Festival 2016

60th BFI London Film Festival: Trolls Review

60th BFI London Film Festival: Trolls Review

The team behind Trolls have a solid track record – with films such as Shrek and Madagascar, you can’t help but feel that DreamWorks finally have a franchise which can threaten the Minions.

A highly-recognisable voice cast, Trolls follows Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) as they go on a quest to save their troll friends from the Bergens, a civilisation who believe that happiness only comes from eating trolls.

As far as animated films go, Trolls is highly recognisable – but, unlike others, the feel-good factor plays in its favour and it knows its audience. The fun-loving, singing, dancing and hugging trolls are less annoying and more relatable than their Despicable counter-parts and, whilst it’s still predictable, the plot has many more twists and is much more original than most recent animated films.

The film also includes covers of songs recognisable for the whole family – such as Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence, Lionel Richie’s Hello amongst others. And, as difficult as it is to remember the connection, Justin Timberlake’s original Can’t Stop The Feeling feels right at home at the end of the film.

Trolls doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has the potential to become a franchise. Feel-good, doesn’t take itself too seriously and all together: FUN.

60th BFI London Film Festival: American Honey Review

60th BFI London Film Festival: American Honey Review

The last time the world was gathered to the cinema to watch a ‘study into people living’, Richard Linklater and his team swooped up awards internationally. Andrea Arnold’s new film doesn’t quite get away with the three hour running time.

American Honey follows Star (played by Sasha Lane), a teenage girl with nothing (and we mean NOTHING) to lose, who joins Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and his make-shift team of magazines salesmen to try to get their taste of the American dream – whilst getting caught up in the world of hard parting, law bending and young love.

The above synopsis makes it sound like there is a lot to American Honey, but that would be false. Simply put: A girl runs away, joins a group of teenagers trying to make money and falls in love with a boy, somewhat controversially. That sounds fitting for a 90 minute film, but puts question marks on the 163 minute run time.

It’s a fascinating film, and the first two hours go by very quickly as you’re taken on a journey around the Midwest with young people who are genuinely trying to survive on their own. However, constantly waiting for the moment for the frame to widen and the movie to turn a corner – and it never quite happens.

Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf perform excellently (LaBeouf hasn’t pulled off a poor performance in recent times) – but that’s as deep as character development goes. The other 15 cast members are simply a setting and a prop, and the audience are expected to be fascinated by young love for three hours.

As a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary the film works well. It feels highly realistic, and for the most part, it is fascinating. With more plot and character development it…

60th BFI London Film Festival: The Levelling Review

60th BFI London Film Festival: The Levelling Review

Having spent the morning watching J.A Bayona’s new film centred on a mother suffering with cancer (A Monster Calls), then watching a film about someone’s brother who has shot himself probably wasn’t the smartest idea…

The Levelling follows Clover Catto (Ellie Kendrick) who, upon discovering her younger brother’s death, must return to her family farm and face the man she hasn’t spoken to it years: her father Aubrey.

Clover quickly discovers that her home is very different from what she remembers – the remnants of her brother’s death, as well as the impacts of a devastating flood, and the increasingly run-down farm leaves to Clover trying to find out, once and for all: What drove Charlie to take his own life?

A truly fascinating study of life following death, director Hope Dickson Leach and star Ellie Kendrick are the perfect double-act at uncovering raw emotion. One could mistake The Levelling as a high-budget documentary it feels so real.

It shocks, without going too far, and is artistic where it needs to be. However, at the core, The Levelling acts as a fascinating look as to the lengths people will go to keep family together, and how that can drive them away.