Sunday, 31 December 2017


From everyone here at The Bearded Trio we would like to wish you all a Happy New Year.  I hope 2018 is the best year yet for all of you and full of Spielberg, Lucas and Williams magic.  Don't be yourself, be a better person than the year before.  As Steven Spielberg puts it:

"All of us every single year, we're a different person. I don't think we're the same person all our lives."

Don't be put off by negative people around you and their lost hope.  Be positive and think of the good things in life and hopefully it will reflect on to those who have lost a little bit of that sparkle.  Again quoting Steven Spielberg:

“I've always been very hopeful which I guess isn't strange coming from me. I don't want to call myself an optimist. I want to say that I've always been full of hope. I've never lost that. I have a lot of hope for this country and for the entire world."

Don't stop dreaming and believing in those dreams.  Don't be swayed by others who have lost their dreams, hopefully they will come back to them.  Spielberg tells us:

"You have many years ahead of you to create the dreams that we can't even imagine dreaming. You have done more for the collective unconscious of this planet than you will ever know."

If times get tough then don't look back, keep going.  Eventually you will come out the other side.  George Lucas tells us:

"You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plough right ahead."

"The secret is not to give up hope. It's very hard not to because if you're really doing something worthwhile I think you will be pushed to the brink of hopelessness before you come through the other side."

And at the end of the year if you feel you are a better person or a changed person then share your knowledge that brought you to this point.  Let others learn from your findings and discoveries.  Yoda tells Luke as he dies. He wants Luke to turn into a teacher and keep the culture of the Jedi alive and well. (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)

"Always pass on what you have learned."

We hope you all enjoy 2018 and it's full of magic.  If all else fails don't forget that there is always a John Williams soundtrack to listen to.  That never fails to put a smile on our faces.



Rob
@thebeardedtrio

The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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by Patrick & Paul Gibbs

It's 2017. Anyway, for a few more minutes it is. Come midnight it's gonna be 2018. A whole 'nother feelin'. The New Year. The future. Yeah, ole daddy Earth fixin' to start one more trip 'round the sun and everybody hopin' this ride 'round be a little more giddy, a little more gay. Yep, all over town champagne corks is a-poppin'.

As we look back at the year in film, it has been quite a strong, despite an overall lack luster summer.  We decided that we'd each pick our personal choice for the number one movie of 2017, followed by by our joint top ten list (which excludes our choices for the top spot. And yes, this is basically a cheap ploy to sneak in 12 films instead of 10, but as we said, it was a strong year.).

Paul's Top Pick:

Image Courtesy 20th Century Fox
THE POST
Steven Spielberg tells the riveting story of journalists from The Washington Post and The New York Times who published the infamous Pentagon Papers, which revealed shocking secrets and lies the American government had been keeping in regards to the war in Vietnam. Spielberg has gone on record that  it was important to him to tell this story of about the importance of a free press as an essential part of a democratic society now, due to it's relevance in today's political climate when "Freedom of Suppress" is all the rage. Meryl Streep gives a terrific performance in the role of Kay Graham, the owner of The Washington Post, and this is really the most feminist film Spielberg has made since "The Color Purple."

Patrick's Top Pick:

War For The Planet Of The Ape
Image Courtesy 20th Century Fox
The third chapter is traditionally dubbed the weakest in any trilogy, and in one this groundbreaking it really had its work cut out for it but to say that it lived up to my expectations is quite an understatement, and War For the Planet of the Apes is easily my choice for the best film of 2017. The story takes some dark and unexpected turns, and becomes very heavy at times, but never heavy handed, which is really quite an accomplishment considering some of the historical and geopolitical overtones.  As sad as it was to see this outstanding trilogy come to an end, it was such a satisfying and moving end that it leaves no room for complaints. I was emotionally exhausted by it, but at the same time enriched by the boldness and beauty of this groundbreaking cinematic triumph. - Patrick

To read our exclusive interview with actress Karin Konovoal (Maurice the Orangutan)Click Here

The List

Image Courtesy Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures
Blade Runner 2029 
Director Denis Villeneuve delivered one the best sequels ever made, creating a film that is as thought provoking and visually sumptuous as the original. Ridley Scott has described Blade Runner as his most complete and personal film, and as such it may seem confusing that he chose to come back behind the lens for two mediocre Alien prequels, but not this one. But when one thinks further on his statements, Blade Runner was indeed personal and complete: it was Scott's masterpiece, and one of our pet peeves with the over usage of the terms in that by definition, an artist only gets one. And since a Blade Runner film can be nothing less than a masterpiece, it required a bold, visionary new director to make it a classic, and Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival) is easily one of the most interesting directors of his time. He gives us a new film from a new point of view, a mesmerizing and transcendent exploration of the nature of what it is to be human, to live, to kill, to die . . . and to live on.  

Coco 
Image Courtesy Walt Disney Pictures
Easily Pixar's best film since Inside Out, this one ranks among their all time best. It shows that for all of the current emphasis on sequels and playing it safe, they can still create a charming, sweet and visually marvellous tale that breaks the mold of everything you expect from a Disney animated film while still being everything you want from a Disney animated film.

Image Courtesy Warner Bros.
Dunkirk
This epic World War II story is every bit as spectacular, gripping and moving as it is relentlessly loud (we wonder if Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer like to drive around  Hollywood together in a pimped up lowrider with the bass turned up high enough to make every windshield on the street rattle.). But as much as this film is a technical marvel, there are some great performances as well (Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh in particular stand out), and the fact that we don't really get to know the characters is a deliberate and effective choice that makes it easy to believe and relate to each one. It's an a visceral and sometimes very emotional experience, perfectly executed by one of the very best in the business.

Image Courtesy A24
The Florida Project 
You might want to forgo the popcorn and just get a big bucket of zoloft for this movie. Director Sean Baker's heartbreaking drama looks at the lives of the poverty stricken residents of a dumpy motel within spitting distance of Walt Disney World, and contrasts their lives with the vacation paradise.  Willem Dafoe's quite possibly Oscar-winning turn as the motel manager provides the film with an emotional center, as well as the point of view of good people looking in from the outside and trying to help but who can ultimately only do so much. The children who dominate the film, lead by the adorable Brooklyn Prince as Moone, are phenomenal. And the ending, which was shot covertly on a iPhone inside the Magic Kingdom, is a classic moment film students will be watching for decades to come. Heart wrenching and unflinchingly real, this is one of the most accomplished and honest independent films we've ever seen.

Image Couresty A24
Lady Bird
We were never 17 year old girls at a Catholic School, but Greta Gerwig's "Lady Bird" is so charming, so sweetly sincere and utterly authentic that all you have to be relate to it on some level is alive. Saorisie Ronan is luminous in the title role of Christine MacPherson, a young girl who who has renamed herself "Lady Bird" as a way of seeking out her personal identity, much to the annoyance of her mother Marion, played by Laurie Metcalf. Lady Bird goes through the teenage rites of passage of first love, family struggles, school and deciding what to do with her life, but no description can do justice to just how beautiful and emotionally involving this film really is. Gerwig's next film is very high on our radar and everyone else's.

Logan
Image Courtesy 20th Century Fox
This was the swan song for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, one of the most iconic actor/character pairings in the history of comic book films, and it really gives the middle claw to anyone who felt that the franchise had nothing left to surprise us. James Mangold, who has always been a strong actor's director, has assembled a great cast, but Jackman and Patrick Stewart stand out, making the most of this chance to explore a new side to these characters. At times they very much bring to mind the complicated dynamic of Lear and Kent in King Lear. Logan's physical and emotional pain is palpable, and his world-weary demeanour is more tragic than comic, as Logan grows tired of his long life and finds himself wondering if any of it meant anything at all, until he meets young Lara, wonderfully portrayed by young Dafne Keen. As much a modern western as superhero film, Logan is unforgettable.

Image Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Shape Of Water
The term visionary when advertising films, and  if you see it on a trailer or a poster referring to a director it really just means "has more than 5 fans but no Oscar." But if anyone in Hollywood does deserve such  hyperbolic distinction, Guillermo Del Toro is toward the top of the list. The man behind such films as Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Crimson Peak and the gleefully silly but exquisitely made Pacific Rim make up a career that can be best summed up in one word: love. No one in Hollywood approaches his craft with more genuine, painstaking joy and a more loving hand than this quirky artist, and his latest film is a testimony of the power of love. The Shape of Water is a magical and beautiful tale of loneliness and longing, love and acceptance, nudity and gore, and all of the other intangibles that make life worth living. It's a true triumph, a modern day fairy tale with lots of heart .

Image Courtesy Lucasfilm Ltd.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The naysayers out there can't take away a bit of our excitement for this new chapter in the saga that dares to go in some pretty grown up directions while staying true to what made us all love this as children. It is truly a loving salute to everyone that grew up on Star Wars, whatever generation of fan they may be. Mark Hamill gives the performance of his career, and director Rian Johnson cements his place as a bold and interesting filmmaker and the prospect of his new trilogy is absolutely mouthwatering.

Image Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 
Writer, Director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) has crafted a taught and wickedly funny dark comedy/drama that will have you feeling a sharp pain in your side as you laugh and one in your heart as the anguish and pain of life's most unwelcome realities cut unexpectedly deep. The moments of overwhelming regret are especially powerful as McDonagh's script demonstrates the various ways in which we hurt each other and the disturbing truth that emotional wounds can be far harder to heal than physical ones. At the same time, it portrays that families that express anger, bitterness and selfishness more often than love will often feel that love with an overwhelming and immeasurable ferocity when put to the test. It's a highly Coenesque movie that still has a voice all its own, and we contend that the ending scene will one day be held up there is esteem with Casablanca, Unforgiven and yes, even Citizen Kane. 

Wonder Woman
Image Courtesy Warner Bros.
Patty Jenkins' film is a joyous achievement that was long overdue but couldn't have come at better time. Wonder Woman is a smart, thrilling, meaningful and often hilarious movie for all audiences that combines the epic feel of the best DC with the heart and humor of Marvel, and it aims to inspire a generation of girls and boys to look beyond stereotypes of heroism and strength, and make the rest of us remember our simple youthful ideals. 

Honorable Mentions: All The Money In The World, The Big SickColossal, Detroit, First They Killed My Father,  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Logan Lucky, Loving Vincent. Thor: Ragnarok.

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They are coming thick and fast.  John Williams soundtracks that is.  Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Post and now we're getting another one, well almost.  Yes, it's another Star Wars soundtrack.  John Williams will be composing the main theme for Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Variety broke the news during an interview with the composer.  Williams said: 

“The present plan is that I’m writing a theme for Han Solo, and John Powell is going to write the score, which he’ll do brilliantly,” Williams says.

"His assignment is something I’m very happy about,” Williams adds. “What I will do is offer this to John, and to [director] Ron Howard, and if all parties are happy with it, then I will be happy. … John [Powell] will complete the score. He will write all the rest of the themes and all of the other material, which I’m going to be very anxious to hear.”

Read more at Variety

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Saturday, 30 December 2017


If, like me you are a fan of the 70's and 80's then the idea of having a box full of retro goodness sent to you every month sounds like a fan-dabby-dozy idea.  Well, that is exactly what Time-Junkies do.  Every month for £22.99 you can get a box full of treasures from the decade of your choice.  There's a box for him and her and a choice from the 70's, 80's or 90's.

The good folks at Time Junkies were kind enough to send me a box and I couldn't wait to see what retro goodness was inside.


Opening the box you get a welcome message printed on the inside of the box promising plenty of nostalgia to come.


Even the packaging inside the box is retro.  The paper is actually from old 80's comics.

First items out of the box are full of cuteness.  A troll which my wife remembers with some fondness and a pencil topper with wobbly arms.


A Ladybird book is next and again a genuine one from the 80's.  Laserbeak's Fury featuring the classic Transformers.


One of the most iconic items of the 80's is a cassette tape and that's exactly what you get.  Phil Collins, No Jacket Required.  To complete the feel of the classic decade, tape isn't even rewound.  Shocking!


If you didn't have cassette in the 80's then you most definitely had vinyl.  Walking into Woolworths to buy the latest single was a weekly occurrence for a lot of the teenagers.  Billy Joel is the 45 single in the box.  Check out that eye shadow.


Classic comics are next and we get Roy of the Rovers.  This was a comic based on football.  Not for me.  The classic 2000AD with Judge Dredd on the cover and finally a classic.  The Beano from 1983.  It even has someone's name written on the top meaning this very comic was reserved by the newsagent back in the day.


a set of Garbage Pail Kids cards are included with some wonderful artwork.


Topps trading cards.  There's something about that waxy feel to a sealed pack of Topps cards and the one in the box is Little Shop of Horrors.  I had to open them.  Inside were five immaculate stickers from 1986 and some gum.  Watch the video below and you'll see I eat it.  Big mistake.


Next is a classic VHS tape.  It's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  The front even advertises The Last Crusade at cinemas.  I was curious to see if the tape had been rewound.


I didn't spot the sticker saying "Retro Sweets Inside."  I opened it up and to my delight it was full of bubblegum, sherbert and other sweets.  The smell was smile inducing.


Finally there were a huge collection of Topps loose cards from the 70's and 80's.  This was my favourite part of the box.  Close Encounters, Jaws 2 and 3, Superman II and Back to the Future were all represented.


This is an amazing idea to pack a box with retro items, genuine ones at that.  The monthly subscription box industry is getting increasingly crowded so to do something original like this is a clever one.  I would genuinely look forward to receiving a box full of retro goodness each month especially if it's full of Topps trading cards.  Not eating the chewing gum again though.



www.time-junkies.com

Rob Wainfur
@thebeardedtrio

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Friday, 29 December 2017

the last jedi nasa iss

You haven't watched Star Wars until you've watched it in space.  Well for the majority of us that's never going to happen, unless Elon Musk pulls another future tech invention out of his electric, Mars-loving hat in the next few years.  Anyway for a lucky few astronauts on-board the International Space Station they were fortunate enough to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi while orbiting the Earth at 17,150 miles per hour.  Now the Force is definitely with them.

NASA astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei tweeted a picture of himself and his space colleagues settling down to movie night.  Lets be honest I doubt this has Dolby Atmos sound and 3D 4K but who cares when you're watching Star Wars from here?





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The new webseries Cinemonkeys.


The Beareded Trio recomends Cinemonkeys , a unique new webseries from the Brothers Gibbs, our resident film critics:

WATCH "CINEMONKEYS" ON YOUTUBE!

Cinemonkeys is a comedy movie review series about Sprockets and Zoom, two super-intelligent apes who escaped from a top secret lab and have gone on the run as fugitive film critics, stopping every week to review the latest releases as they evade their pursuers. Imagine a mix of Mystery Science Theater 300, Siskel & Ebert, and some crazy stuff you've never seen before. Get serious reviews and goofy comedy in the same place.

In the premiere episode, My Favorite Year, Sprocket and Zoom pick the Best Films of 2017.  Fans will find the actual Bearded Trio well represented.

Enjoy Cinemonkeys! Tell your friends! Share it! "Like: the facebook page! Embrace it. Experience what it feels like to fall in love with monkey puppets all over again.









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Thursday, 28 December 2017


The BBC have published this short video interview with the IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond.  In the interview he admits when he took over, he tried to sell the new technology far too hard.  He also reveals Steven Spielberg's response when he asked him to produce his movie for IMAX.



The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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Wednesday, 27 December 2017

All The Money In The World

Starring Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer, Romain Duris, Timothy Hutton and Definitely Not Kevin Spacey
Screenplay by David Scarpa
Based on the book by John Pearson
Driected by Ridley Scott


Out of Four
 

Reviewed by Paul & Patrick Gibbs

Ridley Scott's All The Money in The World is unique in the fact that its claim to fame is all about who who isn't in it: After two-time Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey was disgraced in a sexual assault/harassment scandal, Scott raced to replace him in the already quickly made film with screen great Christopher Plummer, with only nine weeks to go until the scheduled release. That he managed to do this at all is impressive enough; that Scott and Plummer both managed to do Oscar-quality work in the process speaks to why the two 80-something artists have managed to stay near the top of their respective fields for decades.
"I could play Frank Underwood, you know."
Courtesy Sony Pictures

 Plummer plays oil magnate J. Paul Getty, the original billionaire and one-time richest man in the world (in fact, at his time Getty was the richest man the world had ever seen, and he managed to do it without ever stooping to reality TV.)  However, Getty's vast fortune came at the expense of his personal relationships, including with his son, J. Paul Getty II (Andrew Buchan). When the adult Getty II is persuaded by his wife Gail (Michelle Williams) to ask his estranged father for a job, the old man suddenly decides he wants his family in his life, and takes a particular liking to his young grandson, J. Paul Getty III (during this section of the film it's impossible not to be grateful Spacey is no longer playing the the old man.).

Flash forward a few years to 1973, and and the 16 year old Getty III (called Paul by his family and now played by Charlie Plummer, no releation to Christopher) is kidnapped while vacationing in Italy and held for a $17 million ransom. Getty the First refuses to pay a cent, reasoning A: If he pays the ransom all 14 of his grandchildren will get kidnapped, and B: He's a greedy, soulless S.O.B. and Hell is too good for him (we may have made up one of those.). But what he will do is pay for his own personal security specialist, ex-government agent Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to investigate and find Paul. This pairs Chase and Gail in a struggle against not only the kidnappers, but against the elder Getty, who has more up his sleeve than it seems.

The performances are great across the board, with the always dependable Williams ably carrying the the film with a tough buy vulnerable turn as the terrified but determined mother, and Wahlberg reminding us how good he can be with really good material. But Plummer easily has the juiciest role, and he gives it everything he's got, making Getty alternately charismatic, repugnant, ruthless, and even occasionally showing us a streak of humanity, as he does actually seem to love his grandson (or at least as close as he can come to love.). It's a performance that ranks with the best of his career, and he's easily deserving of an Oscar nomination.  While Spacey had to wear old age makeup for the role, Scott has to rely on make up and CGI trickery to de-age Plumber for a few scenes, and it works as well as that sort of thing can. But while, despite the scandal, Spacey remains a great actor, it's hard to imagine anyone else nailing this role the way Plummer does.

Scott and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski take full advantage of the Italian locations, creating a sense of style and atmosphere that some times invites comparison to Copploa's Godfather movies in an entirely good way. The tension and drama of the situation are palpable throughout, despite the outcome of the incident being a matter of historical record

Ridley Scott bounces back from the disappointment of this summer's so-so Alien: Covenant to regain much of the career momentum he achieved with The Martian. He's used his considerable skill to overcome a setback that would have destroyed most productions, and in the process added another great movie to his filmography.


Pictured: Not Christopher Plummer.
(Image Courtesy Sony Pictures)


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Tuesday, 26 December 2017


THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
Starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Rebecca Ferguson,
Zendaya, Keala Settle, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely 
Story by Jenny Bicks
Screenplay by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon
Directed by Michael Gracey













Reviewed by Patrick Gibbs

 Out of Four

In the mid '90's, we got two opposite extremes of of the "true story movie: Disney's Pocahontas was  a briskly entertaining, magical film that was a pure delight from start to finish and had a great message, but bared about as much resemblance to history as McDonalds does to haute cuisine. Lawrence Kasdan's Wyatt Earp was a long, slow. drawn out epic that told the closest thing we'll probably ever get to the real story of its title figure on the big screen, but it left many wondering why this man's story deserved to be told.  At the time, there was no question in my mind that I preferred Pocahontas, and I still refuse to apologize for my love of that film, but the distortion of history does bother me a lot more now than it did then, and conversely, my appreciation for the dark and unflinching mythbusting character study of Wyatt Earp has grown over time. It dared to take a larger than life name synonymous with heroism and show us the deeply flawed man behind it.  
Another film is perhaps more on point: Newsies was neither a hit nor critically praised at the time, but it has been embraced as a classic by a generation who were caught up by its great songs, lovable characters and triumph of the human spirit story. The fact that n real life the young paper characters didn't actually win their strike until they were very old men didn't concern them then, or now, but it's always bothered me that this "you can accomplish anything if you stick together" and "don't be hassled by the man" inspirational story had to flat out make up a happy ending.

"Impossible comes true, it's taking over you . . ."
(Image Courtesy 20th Century Fox)
This all brings us to The Greatest Showman, and the story of Phineas Taylor Barnum, a larger than life figure whose life, personality and accomplishments were truly remarkable, and our cultural image of who he was, and what he did, is generally either overly lauded or vilified. He never actually said "There's a sucker born every minute", so we owe him an apology for that. On the other hand, he did lease a blind and almost completely paralyzed slave woman (despite the fact that slavery was illegal in the New York at the time) whom he used as his first attraction and when she died, sold tickets to the autopsy, so at best we're talking about VERY small apology.

The Greatest Showman does little to nothing to explore the many facets of this very complicated man, settling instead for a an unabashedly cheesy feel good piece that is a showcase for Hugh Jackman the Broadway dynamo. And that's not entirely a bad choice. It makes for a very entertaining film full of catchy tunes, strong performances (including some of the best singing to hit a major movie musical in a very long time) and a timely message about acceptance and diversity, and its a movie the whole family can enjoy together. But it's also a very rose colored portrayal of a man who wasa  shameless opportunist, user and racist despite being a dedicated Unionist later on, and it not only romanticizes him a great deal, but it takes major liberties with other figures that aren't doing them any favors (In real life, Barnum began exhibiting his bearded lady (real name Annie Jones) when she was 9 months old as “The Infant Esau.” He enlisted Charles Stratton, or “General Tom Thumb” when he was 4, as opposed to 22 as portrayed in the filmAnd I would not be displeased if there is a way the estate of the great humanitarian Jenny Lind can sue outright for turning her into a petty jilted lover.) .

Barnum gives his daughter a birthday present.
(Image Courtesy 20th Century Fox)
The film begins with Barnum as a child, the son of a New York City tailor, Philo Barnum (Will Swenson, who never sings or barely speaks in the film, but still manages to fair better than he did in The Singles Ward.). The elder Barnum, and his son Phineas, are viciously mistreated by their clientele, but it is during one of these tailoring sessions that the younger Barnum first meets a young girl named Charity, whom he instantly falls for. The two become fast friends, and in the course of the ensuing production number the scene jumps forward to when Phineas is now a strapping young man of 50 (between the make-up, aging extremely well and sheer acting prowess, Jackman easily passes himself off as younger than he really is, but pretending to buy him as 20 something requires a strong suspension of disbelief that brings to mind Kevin Costner in the early section of Wyatt Earp, though the fact that this film takes place so far out of reality anyway makes it easier to swallow.) Charity's parents want nothing to do with the young upstart, who isn't good enough for their daughter (now played by Michelle Williams), but she leaves with him anyway, and they go off to make it on their own, and within a year they have two lovely daughter around 7 and 10 years old (ok, it's a little more than a year, I guess.). Phineas the dreamer is quite despondent that he has been unable to bring success and stability to the family, and yet they are perfectly happy the way things are.

Barnum concocts a plan to create a Museum of Oddities, and cons his way into getting a bank loan.
The business isn't catching on, until his daughter convince him that he needs to bring more "life" to it. Barnum's response is to seek out strange and usual people ("freaks") such as a Bearded Lady, a diminutive man, "The Heaviest Man in the World", and a brother/sister acrobat act.

"How's it hangin'?"
(Image Courtesy 20th Century Fox)

Stung by vicious reviews of the show he is putting onin  his museum, Barnum attempts to bring a touch of class to it by enlisting the aid of successful theatrical producer, Phillip Carlysle (Zac Efron), who initially balks at the idea but smells too much potential for profit (as well as a show that people actually want to see, as opposed to his dour plays.). Now that he has his team assembled, it's time for P.T. Barnum to put on the greatest show. Jackman couldn't get any better in the musical numbers, really giving it everything he's got and having the benefit of not having to go outside his vocal range like his did in Les Misérables. It's a thrilling performance to watch, though the character frankly is quite underdeveloped (especially in the middle section of the film.). Efron makes a welcome bounce back after the disastrous Baywatch, and gets to play a more likable character (which is made easier by the fact that Carlysle never existed.). Rebecca Fergusson finally gets a chance to impress people again after one disappointing follow up to Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation after another, this time by wowing us with her pipes (which would be even more impressive if it was actually her voice, but it's still better than her dull turn in Life), and every time Michelle Williams appears in any film she leaves you thinking "Why isn't she in everything?" Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming) is utterly charming as the young acrobat and love interest for Efron, and the whole movie is stolen by Keala Settle as Annie The Bearded Lady, who gets the most memorable song, "This Is Me."

Unfortunately,  the numbers sometimes feels too  heavy on choreography (and stock choreography at that), and the desire to make a full blown musical with so many songs really leaves little time for storytelling. So many details are glossed over that it can be quite maddening (we see animals, including a rather silly scene involving Barnum riding an elephant, but never learn anything about how they were obtained or kept, which is also a calculated move to gloss over more unflattering aspects of Barnum). Director Michael Gracey does fine with his debut film, especially because he has seasoned cinematographer Seamus MacGarvey (The Hours, Anna Karennina and The Avengers) to make him look good, but he is definitely missing a sense of pollish. Some numbers look better than others, and it time he seems to really be struggling to make things visually interesting and trying a bit too hard (the romantic number  "Rewrite the Stars" is a bit too frenetic, though  red it us due for the only major attempt at being innovative.). Gracey lacks the inspired quality of a Damien Chaz Elle or Rob Marshall, or even the sickness of Joel Schumacher, (at least when it comes to shot composition.). This may seem harsh, and I wouldn't say the film is badly directed. It just didn't soar.

The Greatest Showman is a crowd pleaser that will have plenty of fans, and may actually be more popular with the musical theatre crowd than  La La Land (which I though was far superior but was definitely geared more to cinephiles, and there's no doubt the singing here is stronger), but if you leave the film thinking it is truly great, I dare you to study up just a little on the real Barnum and feel entirely good about the glowing portrayal of a great man, champion of the downtrodden and (in the end) great father and husband we see here. He certainly wasn't without his strengths and his contributions to the world of entertainment go far beyond what we even see in the film, but he's more deserving of a biopic along the lines of The Aviator, and love for this movie really requires an ability to be totally at ease with separating it from the real story. All of that being said, I'm listening to the stirring soundtrack even as a type, so however you feel about the movie, it's likely that I can't entirely disagree with you.
    
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Monday, 25 December 2017

MOLLY'S GAME
Starring Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, 
Michael Cera, Chris O'Dowd, Bill Camp
Based on the book by Molly Bloom
Written for the Screen and Directed by Aaron Sorkin














Reviewed by Patrick & Paul Gibbs

 Out of four


The story of Molly Bloom is a story about resilience in the face of obstacles. It's also a story about stubbornness, pride, fragile egos, scheming and money. In short, it has almost everything that writer Aaron Sorkin would need to create a film that fits his signature brand of very clever (sometimes too clever) dialogue and character study set against a colorful backdrop. 

Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) preparing for a downhill run.
(Image Courtesy STX Films)
Bloom (playe here by Jessica Chastain) was charged in April of 2013 with running a high-stakes poker game that originated out of the Viper Room in Los Angeles and attracted wealthy individuals, sports figures and Hollywood celebrities, and just may have also attracted the attention of the Russian mob (Fake news! Sad.). Tobey Maguire was said to be instrumental in getting the game started, and other celebrities who were said to frequent the games included Leonadro DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Alex Rodriguez and Macaulay Culkin.

Molly arrives at work with the infamous "poor people bagels."
(Image Courtesy STX Films)
But Bloom started off in a very different competitive atmosphere, that of Olympic moguls skiing.  The film chronicles her life altering accident at the Olympic Trials trials in Deer Valley, Utah. When her hopes at an Olympic career are dashed, she decides to go to law school, but in the meantime begins working as a personal assistant to a real estate agent named Dean Keith (Jeremy Strong), who introduces her to the world of underground high stakes poker. When Molly starts making a killing off of helping Keith run these games despite his tendency to lose, he tries to cut her out, and learns the hard way not to cross Molly Bloom, as the game quickly becomes hers with the assistance of a Hollywood star identified only as "Player X" in the film (the role is played by Michael Cera, which is easily the least believable part of the film as no one is going to buy Michael Cera as a movie star.).

Jessica Chastain enjoys a Sorkin speech.
(Image Courtesy STX Films)
Sorkin holds a lot of winning cards in his cast, especially the Queen (Chastain) and the King (Idris Elba in a terrific turn as Molly's lawyer), but his ace in the hole is Kevin Costner as Molly's psychologist father, Larry Bloom. This is Costner's best performance in a very long time, ranking among the strongest of his career, and he deserves to be getting serious Oscar buzz, and it's great to see him on screen with his Dances with Wolves discovery Graham Greene again, even if they are literally on opposite ends of a courtroom the entire time and never speak a word to each other. Still, as good as Costner is, it's important to recognize that having Chastain to play off of is an important part of that, and it's hard to overstate her ability to carry a film on her shoulders. She has lit the screen on fire with far less interesting characters than this one, and it's really a testament to what a great year it has been for women in leading roles that she is not likely to walk away with a gold statuette for her efforts.

The script is typical Sorkin, nothing more and nothing less. The fact that real life conversations are never nearly as vivid and structured as they are in a Sorkin script is always going to both his greatest strength and greatest weakness, but his verbal thrust and parry is often more entertaining than the best Yen Wo Ping choreography. Sorkin also struggles a little with convincing us why Ebla's character would want to take this case, and you may find yourself with some nagging questions the next day, but it all splays well enough.Molly's Game doesn't reach the level of greatness of Moneyball, but it is more than enough to please his many fans, and as first time directing effort, it's impressively skillful, even if the pacing lags a little on occasion.

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"You don't know the power" is what blares out during this rather impressive light show featuring Star Wars.  To be honest, with all those lights on I would be pretty happy not knowing the power usage here.  This has to be seen to be believed.  It's not just lights but video footage embedded into the light show.

Impressive...Most Impressive.

This 2017 Star Wars light show is located in downtown San Antonio, Texas at Dignowity Park and runs nightly from 6pm to 10pm until New Years.




The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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Saturday, 23 December 2017

dick cavett steven spielberg

A classic clip showing a beard-less looking Steven Spielberg talking to American talk show host, Dick Cavett.  It's 1981 so the movie being promoted is Raiders of the Lost Ark but there's a huge range of topics covered in this 55 minute video.



The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

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Just a reminder that if you've not listened to the wonderful soundtrack to Star Wars: The Last Jedi by John Williams then head over to Youtube where you can listen to the whole soundtrack for free.  Disney Music have uploaded all the tracks for you to enjoy.  Not a bad Christmas present.



Star Wars: The Last Jedi in theatres now! Get tickets here: http://www.fandango.com

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is available here: Download: http://disneymusic.co/SWJediDL AmazonMP3: http://disneymusic.co/JediAZ Streaming: http://disneymusic.co/TheLastJediWS Barnes & Noble: http://disneymusic.co/TLJBarnes Target: http://disneymusic.co/TLJTarget Follow Disney Music: Facebook: http://facebook.com/disneymusic Instagram: http://instagram.com/disneymusic Twitter: http://instagram.com/disneymusic Follow Star Wars: Facebook: http://facebook.com/starwars Instagram: http://instagram.com/starwars Twitter: http://twitter.com/starwars

The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

THE BEARDED TRIO ON FACEBOOK
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THE BEARDED TRIO ON GOOGLE+
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CLICK HERE FOR FACTS ON STEVEN SPIELBERG
CLICK HERE FOR FACTS ON GEORGE LUCAS
CLICK HERE FOR FACTS ON JOHN WILLIAMS

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