The 71st Annual BAFTA Awards (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) were held on Sunday evening 18th February at London's Royal Albert Hall, and hosted for the first time by film and television personality Joanna Lumley (taking over from Stephen Fry who enjoyed a twelve year period of tenure). Awards are given for best feature length film and documentary, and for those that make them happen both behind and in front of the camera, for any nationally screened across Great Britain throughout 2017. The winners and grinners, in case you missed it, are as given below, in the main categories :-
* Best Film : 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'.
* Outstanding British Film : 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'.
* Best Animated Film : 'Coco'.
* Best Documentary : 'I Am Not Your Negro'.
* Best Film Not In The English Language : 'The Handmaiden'.
* Best Director : Guillermo del Toro for 'The Shape of Water'.
* Best Actor in a Lead Role : Gary Oldman for 'The Darkest Hour' as Winston Churchill.
* Best Actress in a Lead Role : Frances McDormand for 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' as Mildred Hayes.
* Best Actor in a Support Role : Sam Rockwell for 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' as Jason Dixon.
* Best Actress in a Support Role : Alison Janney for 'I, Tonya' as LaVona Golden.
* Best Original Screenplay : Martin McDonagh for 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'
* Best Adapted Screenplay : James Ivory for 'Call Me By Your Name'.
* Best Cinematography : Roger Deakins for 'Blade Runner 2049'.
* Best Original Music : Alexander Desplat for 'The Shape of Water'.
* Best Production Design : 'The Shape of Water'.
* Best Costume Design : 'Phantom Thread'.
* Best Special Visual Effects : 'Blade Runner 2049'.
* The Rising Star Award : Daniel Kaluuya.
* The BAFTA Fellowship Award : Ridley Scott.
Turning attention then to the films of 2018, and specifically those released this coming week, we launch with a true story of a turn of the 20th Century haunted house, but this is no ordinary house and these are no ordinary hauntings. We then move on to time repeating itself like its 'Groundhog Hog Day' all over again, but this is a Sci-Fi thriller involving an air traffic controller, his girlfriend and a wrinkle in time. Next up is a Chilean Foreign Language offering about a transgender woman, her dead lover, and being ostracised by just about everyone who suspects she had a hand in his death. Then there is a black comedy action film about a friends weekly game night taking on more than a touch of realism when one gamer decides to Host a Murder! This is followed up with a feel good tale of a true blue Aussie and his love for all things barbecue, that leads him to an international barbecue show down to win back his reputation and his honour. We then wrap up with a New Zealand film about two girls in their last year at University - one maintaining the straight and narrow pathway of no boyfriends and no going out and the other charged with looking after her best friend so she doesn't succumb to temptation.
Whatever your taste in big screen film entertainment is this week - be it any of the six new release films as Previewed below, or those doing the rounds currently on general release and as Reviewed and Previewed in previous Blog Posts here at Odeon Online, you are here warmly invited to share your movie going thoughts, opinions and observations by leaving your relevant, succinct and appropriate views in the Comments section below this or any other Post. We'd love to hear from you, and in the meantime, enjoy your big screen Odeon experience during the week ahead.
'WINCHESTER' (Rated M) - this based on a true story supernatural horror film is Directed by the Australian Spierig brothers - Michael and Peter - whose previous credits include the excellent 2014 'Predestination'. The 'Winchester' in question here refers to one Sarah Winchester who was the widow and recipient of her late husbands fortune - William Wirt Winchester - the firearm magnate of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 43 in 1881. After his death, Sarah rose to notoriety for building the property in San Jose, California, that came to be known as the Winchester Mystery House - a Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion that was/is renowned for its size, its architectural curiosities, and its lack of any master building plan. Since its construction began in 1884, the property and mansion were claimed by many to be haunted by the ghosts of those killed with Winchester rifles. Under Sarah Winchester's day-to-day guidance, its 'from-the-ground-up' construction proceeded around the clock, by some accounts, without interruption, until her death in early September 1922, at which time work immediately ceased. The house today stands as a tourist attraction, is privately owned, and is a Californian registered historical landmark.
History lesson over and so to the film. Said to be the most haunted house in the world, the Winchester House sits on an isolated stretch of land that's about fifty miles outside of San Francisco on about 160 acres. Built by Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren starring in her first horror film in her illustrious forty+ year career) heiress to the Winchester fortune, it stands seven stories tall and contains some 160 rooms including forty bedrooms, two ballrooms as well as 47 fireplaces, over ten thousand panes of glass, seventeen chimneys, two basements and three elevators. To an outsider, it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman's madness. But Sarah is constructing a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters. The Winchester company is fearful for Sarah's state of mind and her ability to run the company so they engage Doctor Eric Prince (Jason Clarke) to assess Sarah's state of mind. What follows is a tale of things that go bump in the night, visions of nether worldly spirits, and sightings of ghouls & ghosts that is sure to make any turn of the century sceptic hide under the bed sheets. Also starring Sarah Snook, the film was made for a very modest US$3.5M, has so far recouped US$22M but has garnered generally lacklustre Reviews.
'2:22' (Rated M) - here we have a thriller Directed by Australian Paul Currie that saw its cinematic release in the US back last June 2017 at a budgeted cost of US$3.5M pulling in a domestic gross Stateside of just US$422, making it the lowest grossing theatrically released film in 2017. The storyline here tells of two planes that almost collide in the skies above JFK International Airport after a blinding flash of light paralyses air traffic controller Dylan Branson (Michiel Huisman) for a few seconds at exactly 2:22pm. Suspended from his job, Dylan starts to notice a recurrence of sounds and events in his life at exactly the same time every day. With each passing day, the flash that hit Dylan at JFK begins to reveal itself as ripples in time, and an underlying pattern soon unfolds, drawing him into New York's Grand Central Station daily at 2:22pm. Now drawn into a complex relationship with a woman, Sarah (Teresa Palmer), Dylan must figure out a way to break the power of the past and take control of time itself. Also starring John Waters and Kerry Armstrong.
'A FANTASTIC WOMAN' (Rated M) - Premiering at the Berlin Film Festival back in February 2017 where it was in competition for the Golden Bear for Best Film, but walked away with the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay, it is also in competition for Best Foreign Language Film at this years upcoming Academy Awards. This universally acclaimed Chilean film is Directed, Co-Produced and Co-Written by Sebastian Lelio and tells of Marina (Daniela Vega) and Orlando (Francisco Reyes) who are in love and planning for their future together. Marina is a young waitress and aspiring singer. Orlando is thirty years her senior and owns a printing company. After celebrating Marina's birthday one evening, Orlando falls seriously ill and dies shortly afterwards upon arrival at the hospital. Instead of being able to mourn her lover, suddenly Marina is treated with suspicion by Orlando's family, the Doctor's, and the Police who don't trust her and believe that she may have been involved in Orlando's death somehow. Marina is however, transgender, and is looked down upon by Orlando's family as a perversion, and so now she must also battle against these prejudices for the right to be herself.
'GAME NIGHT' (Rated MA15+) - this black comedy action film is Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein and is about a bunch of couples who meet regularly once a week for a night of fun and frivolity - their game night. On one such night Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie's (Rachel McAdams) weekly game night moves up a dimension when Max's brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) arranges a murder mystery party complete with fake crims and officers of the law. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it's all supposed to be part of the game, right? As the competitors set out to solve the case, they begin to realise that the game nor Brooks are what they appear to be. The friends soon find themselves in over their heads as each new twist leads to another unexpected turn over the course of one chaotic evening. Also starring Jesse Plemmons, Michael C. Hall, Jeffrey Wright and Danny Huston.
'THE BBQ' (Rated PG) - Directed, Co-Produced and Co-Written by Aussie Stephen Amis, this Australian comedy offering sees true blue loveable Aussie suburban rogue everyman Dazza (Shane Jacobsen) who has a passion for the barbecue, give his neighbours an accidental dose of food poisoning at his regular Saturday barbie. With his reputation and dignity at risk, Dazza seeks to make amends by enlisting the support of a head strong and opinionated Scottish Chef known as 'The Butcher' (Magda Szubanski) that ultimately sees him entering an international barbecuing competition, where he comes face to face with some of the world best barbecue Chef's. With a guest appearance by Australian/French celebrity chef and co-host of the popular television series 'My Kitchen Rules' Manu Feildel as Dazza's barbecuing rival Andre Mont Blanc, this should get the tastebuds watering a you drool over some barbecue food porn.
'HIBISCUS AND RUTHLESS' (Rated PG) - Samoan Writer and Director Stallone Valaoga-Ioasa here offers us a comedy set in Auckland, New Zealand about two childhood friends who are both in their final year at University. The story focuses on Hibiscus (Suivai Autagavaia) as she struggles to complete her Engineering degree without any distractions. Her demanding and overbearing mother (Lafitaga Mafaufau) commands that there shall be no going out and no boyfriends and that her final year of study and her exams are the singular most important thing in her life and her focus on that needs to be her top priority. As guys start to come on strong to Hibiscus and her attention is drawn to their advances, Hibiscus enlists the support and guidance of her good friend Ruth (Anna-Maree Thomas) to keep her focused.
With six new release films this week to tempt you out to your local Odeon, remember to share your movie going thoughts with your other like minded cinephiles afterwards here at Odeon Online, and meanwhile, I'll see you sometime somewhere in the week ahead at your local Odeon.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-