A closer look at… The Revenant

© 20th Century Fox, 2016.
© 20th Century Fox, 2016.

The Revenant is rated 15 for strong violence, bloody injury detail, strong language

Warning: Contains plot spoilers

The Scoop – Bleak, brutal and often beautiful, The Revenant makes for a gruelling cinema experience.

In the wilderness of nineteenth century America, fur-trapper Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) ekes out a living for himself and his half-Pawnee son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck). While their hunting party is on the run from hostile natives, Glass is badly wounded in a bear attack. Though Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) attempts to save him, unscrupulous Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) believes it’s best to just let Glass die.

As Glass teeters on the boundary between life and death, Fitzgerald does something unforgivable. And Glass will get revenge, even if it means clawing his way out of his own grave.

Continue reading A closer look at… The Revenant

A closer look at… Room

© Studiocanal, 2016.
© Studiocanal, 2016.

Room is rated 15 for strong language, abduction theme

Warning: Contains plot spoilers

The Scoop – At once delicate and deeply powerful, Room finds hope in the midst of unimaginable horrors.

Jack (Jacob Tremblay) is turning five. He’s excited to celebrate his birthday by making a cake with his beloved Ma (Brie Larson). Jack’s life is happy and colourful, filled with daydreams and imaginary friends. Jack’s world is the size of a single room.

But now he’s bigger, Ma wants him to know something. The world outside, the pretend world he thought only existed on TV, is real. And Ma is concocting a plan to escape the clutches of their captor, leaving Room behind forever.

Continue reading A closer look at… Room

Podiums, politics and parties: On loving and hating awards season

Awards season is upon us once again! In my continuing quest to reform my cynical ways, here are five reasons to love the whole thing. After this first bit.

5 Reasons to Hate Awards Season

  • It’s a stark reminder of the depressing lack of diversity in Hollywood.
Image credit: The Telegraph
Image credit: The Telegraph

Oscar night! Or, as I like to call it, ‘old white men give other old white men prizes, no surprises’ night. If you’re someone who cares even remotely about diversity and inclusion behind and in front of the camera, this time of year can mean a depressing parade of everything that’s wrong with the industry. From Seth McFarlane’s horrifyingly sexist hosting stint to the ‘whitest ever Oscars’ in 2015 and the just-as-white Oscars in 2016, from the treatment of actresses on the red carpet to Ricky Gervais’s bullying idea of what constitutes humour, awards season can feel like Hollywood’s most privileged players closing ranks with a sneer.

Continue reading Podiums, politics and parties: On loving and hating awards season

A closer look at…Slow West

Hey, it’s a new Film Blog feature!  I’ll now also be covering films which have recently been released on Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, or other popular on-demand services, or on DVD. This way, you can host a film club evening from the comfort of your own home, or catch up on hidden gems you might have missed the first time around.

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Slow West is rated 15 for strong violence. Available on DVD and Netflix.

Warning: Contains plot spoilers

The Scoop  An odd, atmospheric arthouse Western with a few surprises up its sleeve

Young Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has travelled all the way from Scotland to the American frontier to find the girl he loves: Rose (Caren Pistorius), who fled there with her father under shady circumstances. A helpless idealist in a country of hard, cynical men, Jay looks set to meet a violent end, and soon.

He is rescued by Silas (Michael Fassbender), who offers to protect him on his journey in exchange for money. But unbeknownst to Jay, Silas is hoping to kill Rose and her father and claim the bounty on their heads.

Continue reading A closer look at…Slow West

What does 2016 hold?

Here at Damaris Media, we’re passionate about film. We’ve partnered with film companies on so many exciting releases, and covered hundreds more on this blog, in all its incarnations.

But there’s still more to do.

As you may have noticed, 2015 was a year of change for us, and now we’re on a new journey. Moving forward, we’re recommitting ourselves to what we do best: enriching lives through the power of film.

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Some of the fantastic films we covered in 2015

Continue reading What does 2016 hold?

A closer look at… Joy

© 20th Century Fox, 2016.
© 20th Century Fox, 2016.

Joy is rated 12 for infrequent strong language

Warning: Contains plot spoilers

The Scoop –  Though not as riotously entertaining as David O. Russel’s best work, Joy nevertheless provides a great showcase for Jennifer Lawrence as a truly inspirational woman.

Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) was a creative, vivacious, high-achieving child. But somewhere along the line, life stole her spark. Her parents’ divorce, a failed marriage to Tony (Edgar Ramirez), caring for two children, trying to hold down a job, and managing the chaos that her mother (Virginia Madsen), father (Robert De Niro) and half-sister (Elisabeth Rohm) throw her way, have all caused Joy to sideline her own dreams.

Her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd) is determined to see Joy rise and take her place as matriarch and provider for the family. And when Joy hits on an ingenious design for a self-wringing mop, it could be the key to unleashing her buried potential.

Continue reading A closer look at… Joy

Awkward Christmas moments: On that family film dilemma

Image credit: mask.co.uk
Image credit: mask.co.uk

You know the dilemma. You’re sat in a stuffy room strewn with bloated relatives and discarded scraps of wrapping paper. The food has been consumed, the presents have been opened; the charades, if you’re into that kind of organised jollity, have been played. And it’s only four o’clock. To get you through until bedtime, you’re going to have to watch a film.

But how to choose? The likelihood is, you’ve got such a range of ages and/or tastes represented that you’re never going to please everyone. You’re faced with potential boredom and confusion at best, and with deep embarrassment at worst. What if you’re forced to sit through a sex scene with grandma in the room? What if your hard-of-hearing uncle insists on having you explain every plot development in Inception? What if your annoying little brother makes you listen to his running commentary about the back-story of each of the Avengers?

Watching films at Christmas is a total minefield. Here at Damaris headquarters (which we share with staff from Charity Office), we may not have the answers, but we can certainly offer a little solidarity.

Continue reading Awkward Christmas moments: On that family film dilemma

A closer look at… The Force Awakens

© Disney, 2015.
© Disney, 2015.

This is a level 2 guide, suitable for moderately experienced groups.  The Force Awakens is rated 12 for moderate violence, threat

Warning: Contains plot spoilers

The Scoop – An entertaining adventure which will please long-standing fans, and bring a new generation into the fold

Thirty years have passed since the events of Return of the Jedi, and the galaxy is under threat once again. Legendary Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has disappeared, and a power called the First Order has risen from the ashes of the fallen Galactic Empire. The Resistance, led by General Leia (Carrie Fisher), is attempting to fight back, sending out ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) on Luke’s trail.

Continue reading A closer look at… The Force Awakens

Footprints in beach sand: on ‘The Force Awakens’, and riding out the hype

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Image credit: nonfictiongaming.com

What are we all going to talk about after The Force Awakens has been released? This is surely a matter of international concern. Ever since the announcement in October 2012 that Disney had bought Lucasfilm and would be making more Star Wars, every media outlet in existence has wrung out every drop of speculation, obsessed over every detail, and mined every tangential topic. And now, in the days leading up to release, we have reached peak Star Wars.

The Force Awakens has – prior to anyone having actually seen it – been dubbed ‘the biggest film of all time.’ There have been pieces written about the significance of Han Solo’s blaster and the design of Kylo Ren’s mask. There is Star Wars ice cream. There are people getting married in the premiere queue, and astronauts watching the film in space.  This is the hype. There have been pieces asking whether The Force Awakens will live up to the hype  and pieces assuring us that it will indeed live up to the hype.  There have been pieces about how to avoid the film altogether.  And now, here I am, writing a piece about how too much is being written about Star Wars.

Continue reading Footprints in beach sand: on ‘The Force Awakens’, and riding out the hype

Film Blog preview: The Danish Girl

© Universal, 2015.
© Universal, 2015.

When’s it out? 1st January 2016

Who’s in it?  Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Ben Whishaw, Matthias Schoenaerts, Sebastian Koch

What’s the rating? 15, for sexualised scenes

Worth seeing? Yes, definitely

Watch out for… Issues around gender, sexuality, identity, and marriage. Key questions are what it means to be true to yourself, and how to love someone through times of change.

Continue reading Film Blog preview: The Danish Girl