Film Review: TOMMY’S HONOUR (UK 2016) ***

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

tommys_honour.jpgIn every generation, a torch passes from father to son. And that timeless dynamic is the beating heart of Tommy’s Honour – an intimate, powerfully moving tale of the real-life founders of the modern game of golf.

Director: Jason Connery
Writers: Pamela Marin, Kevin Cook
Stars: Ophelia Lovibond, Sam Neill, Jack Lowden

Review by Gilbert Seah
 
Where did golf originate? Not too many people know that the game originated from Scotland. TOMMY’S HONOUR celebrates both Scotland and golf, a film that is an eye-opener on golf as seen from the eyes of Tommy, a champion golfer with the humble beginnings of a
greens-keeper’s son/caddy.

TOMMY’S HONOUR is a 2016 historical drama, a proudly Scottish film depicting the lives and careers of, and the complex relationship between, the pioneering Scottish golfing champions Old Tom Morris and his son Young Tom Morris. The screenplay, written by Pamela Marin and Kevin Cook, is based on Cook’s 2007 book, Tommy’s Honour: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf’s Founding Father and Son It is a well known book in golfing circles as it won the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award as the best golf book of 2007’ It was also one of the five books that Sports Illustrated selected as the “Books of the Year” in 2007. One can expect high hope for the film adaptation.

The period piece is set in St Andrews, Scotland in 1866. Tommy Morris (Jack Lowden) is presented as an avid golfer like his legendary and pioneering father, Tom Morris (veteran actor/director Peter Mullan). “Old Tom” is greens-keeper for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, as well as the town’s club- and ball-maker. He is the two-time winner of the first major golf tournament, The Open Championship, which he founded in 1860. He also established golf’s standard of 18 holes per round. But Tommy is beginning to chafe at his father’s dictates, especially in the rapidly changing world they live in.

Father and son repeatedly clash over the unwritten rules of social class, and this culminates when Tommy marries his sweetheart Meg (Ophelia Lovibond), a woman of lower standing with a shameful secret in her past. But there is more in the story with a big father and son relationship makeup.

The film includes a few competitive golf tournaments. But TOMMY’S HONOUR is not specifically a sports film. It also serves as a biography of the Morris’s. The golf tournaments are well shot to capture the excitement of the game. The beauty of the Scottish landscape is also celebrated.

With Pamela Marin co-writing the script, the film contains a strong feminine perspective, despite golf being mostly a male sport. Meg who is shunned by the church for having a bastard child in the past is offered a second chance for happiness in the film. One of the film’s highlights is the mother/wife confrontation. Tommy’s resistance to the class structure is rendered more sympathetic with his true love for Meg.
The film has a good pace that builds dramatically towards its climax.

What initially seems like a commercial light comedy finally ends up tackling a few solid social issues.

The film ended up opening the 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival on 15 June 2016 as well as winning Best Feature Film at the 2016 British Academy Scotland Awards.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur8_04V9_4E

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
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Film Review: TANNA (Australia) ***

 

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

tanna.jpgSet on a remote Pacific island, covered in rain forest and dominated by an active volcano, this heartfelt story, enacted by the Yakel tribe, tells of a sister’s loyalty, a forbidden love affair and the pact between the old ways and the new.

Directors: Martin Butler, Bentley Dean
Writers: Martin Butler, John Collee
Stars: Mungau Dain, Marie Wawa, Marceline Rofit

Review by Gilbert Seah

 Tanna is the first film shot in the South Pacific nation of Vanuata, based on a true story that happened there in 1987 as interpreted by the Yakel tribe. Hardly a word of English is spoken in the film. The dialogue is totally in the tribal language which all the tribes in the story appear to be able to speak and communicate with each other with.
The film plays like a Romeo and Juliet story. The story centres on doomed, star-crossed lovers. There are two warring tribes but the lovers belong to the same tribe. The bride, Wawa (Marie Wawa) of the Yakel tribe is betrothed to the enemy Imedin tribe as a peace offering. But Wawa is in love with the grandson of the chief (Mungau Daen) and they have slept together already. The lovers escape to another part of the island. The chief (Chief Mikum Tainakou) of the Imedin tribe is furious and sends his men to find the lovers – to kill Daen the boy and bring Wawa back to be wed. Wawa’s father, Lingai (Lingai Kowia) also travels to find Wawa to bring her back and to warn Daen. And so the story goes.

When the film opens, the audience is immersed in a fairy tale land. It is interesting to see the customs and living practised in another country. The film works like a fairy tale just like African films made of their tribes such as the excellent 2004 film, MOOLAADE by Ousmane Sembène. The people are clothed with straw skirts and mostly topless. The children play unfamiliar games. The people live in strange-looking huts and they speak in a different language. Unfamiliar sights are displayed on screen – like a big black sow with piglets sucking from her nipples.

Directors Butler and Dean love to use the smoking volcanoes in their film – both as a metaphor and for its landscape beauty.

Though the story is set in a different land, the human problems encountered are not different. Love is once again restricted by social culture. The lovers are unable to show their love for one another in public. Wawa is forced to decide between the fate of her tribe and her personal desire for happiness.

The directors choose to tell their story from two points of view, from Wawa and from her younger sister Selin (Marceline Rofit). Selin is the prepubescent younger sister of Wawa who though still playing childish games like hide-and seek is aware of what is going on. She eventually helps her sister by aiding her tribe find Wawa and Daen. The audience sees as a result, how Wawa’s decision will affect the lives of Selin and the later generations.

The directors were reported to have spent 7 months living with the Yakel tribe to understand the tribal customs and to capture them accurately on the screen.

TANNA works as the perfect combination of an ageless romantic story of true love set in a fresh never seen before setting.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di2cHkHrPwg

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
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Film Review: BAD RAP (USA 2017) ***

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

bad_rapFour Asian-American rappers run into tough obstacles as they try to make it big in Hip Hop, a genre rooted in black culture.

Director: Salima Koroma
Stars: Awkwafina, David Lee, Richard Lee

Review by Gilbert Seah

 Asian hip-hop is what director Salima Koroma’s odd but occasionally insightful documentary is all about. In this review, hip-hop music and rap music is considered to be the same, as is considered so by the majority.

Rap has got quite the bad rap so far. Of all the music out there, Rap is known for its use of foul language, use of images of violence, sex and guns. It is everything parents do not want their children to listen to. And with reason. Rappers talk shit half the time with the word shit coming out in almost every few sentences. If the word shit or other vulgar four letter words are not heard, the word ‘like’ is used. Poor grammar and mis-spelling is common. The subjects in this film are not like the subjects of other documentaries like CITIZENFOUR where the subjects are often people (Edward Snowden in this case) who have changed the world for good. So, one has to hand it to director Koroma for capturing the energy of these young Asian rappers and creating a film that is an absorbing watch.

The film follows the origin of hip-hop. Hip-hop culture has transcended many racial and cultural boundaries after its founding in the ’70s by African-American and Latino youth in the South Bronx. Since then, rappers have emerged as legitimate pop culture stars around the world and hip-hop’s global movement has become increasingly more diverse. Yet the face of rap in America remains primarily black, brown, and white. This film looks at Asian rappers.

BAD RAP follows the lives and careers of four Asian-American rappers trying to break into a world that often treats them as outsiders. Energetic too, are the dynamic live performance footage and revealing interviews.
The four rappers on display are Dumbfounded, Awkwafina (a female), Rekstozzy and Lyricks.

Koroma shows a side of the rapper seldom seen. Lyricks is revealed as a filial son, helping out in his parents very hot steam cleaning factory. He acknowledges his parents who work very hard for him. And Rick goes to church. His mother on interview, talking about her son forms the film’s most amusing segment.

The film’s dose of brilliance comes when the video of each of the 4 rappers are played to 4 different promoters to judge their reactions. It is here that the audience sees more to rap – as the experts voice their opinions on each song and performer.

Also partly in view for a shooter span is the Chinese rapper Jin the MC. Jin is the most charismatic of the Asian rappers on display and one wonders why Koroma did not give him more screen time. His video “Learn Chinese”, a big hit is funny and unforgettable.

Koroma’s film concludes neatly with a look at the 4 rappers 2 years after their interviews – showing where each of them are, and with them talking about how they have grown.

Will BAD RAP will turn the most skeptical critics into believers?
BAD RAP is available on VOD on all major platforms May 23rd. Warning: Lots of could language and graphic content!

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ROfSpDfa70

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

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LGBT Inside Out Festival: THE HANNAS (DIE HANNAS) (Germany 2016)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

the_hannasANNA and HANS belong together; all their friends simply call them the HANNAS: a well-balanced long-term couple in their sleepy thirties united by a cooking obsession.

Director: Julia C. Kaiser
Writer: Julia C. Kaiser
Stars: Julia Becker, Tim Blochwitz, Till Butterbach

Review by Gilbert Seah

The Hannas are Hans and Anna, a long married couple who have been together so long that they are basically the same person. Friends refer to them as THE HANNAS rather than calling them by their individual names.

But there is trouble in paradise as each falls victim to cheating on each other, Anna for Kim (a lesbian relationship) while Hans for Nicola. Nicola is later revealed to be Kim’s sister. There are more twists in the relationship of the 4, revealed as the film progresses.

Everything in this story turns out too well than in real life. Hans and Anna are too forgiving and loving, and in real life it doesn’t happen that others will give up everything for someone who is already married. The film has a more feminine point of view being directed by a woman, such as more emphasis on Anna than on Hans.

Anna is shown at work as a massage therapist while little or nothing is shown of Hans at work. The film has a good start but eventually Kaiser’s quirky film tends to be more annoying (like her characters) than funny.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzuIHmyYTU8
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Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

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LGBT Inside Out Festival: HOOKED (USA 2017

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival: http://www.wildsound.ca

hooked.jpgDirector: Max Emerson
Writer: Max Emerson
Stars: Jared Sandler, Katie McClellan, Conor Donnally

Review by Gilbert Seah

In the United States, 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. (In Toronto, the estimate is anywhere from 20 to 40 percent.)

Max Emerson’s crowd funded film HOOKED as in Hookers) aim at two goals. The first is to make a relevant film on the subject and the second to reach out to people for funds to help the LGBT homeless.

His film has the subject of an 18-year old hustler called Jack. Jack and his boyfriend Tom are an item, close and very much in love with each other. Otherwise, Jack is impulsive and explosive with few redeeming qualities.

A married man, Matt who has not come out of the closet takes Jack from NYC to Miami with the intention of helping him. The trouble with this well intentioned but terrible film is that it is laden with cliches such as Matt’s unforgiving wife to his unfunny priest offering ridiculous advice.

At worst, Emerson’s film is preachy to the point of annoying with the the story leading to a predictable climax when the film ends asking unashamedly for donations. Every male in the film appears to have hard and beautiful bodies, a fact so terribly false, in the real world.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfLodk5fH7w

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Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
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Happy Birthday: Sean Gunn

Sean Gunn Picture

Sean Gunn (I)


Is a 1996 graduate of DePaul University’s prestigious acting program where he earned his BFA in Acting.

The character “Gunn” on the TV series Angel (1999) was named such after Angel (1999) creator Joss Whedon worked with both Sean and his brother James Gunn.

Former roommate of fellow DePaul classmate Judy Greer

Brother of Brian Gunn, James Gunn, Patrick Gunn and Matt Gunn.

Interview with Cinematographer Trent Opaloch (Captain America: Civil War)

Matthew Toffolo's Summary

Trent Opaloch is easily the most talented and sought after cinematographers in the world today. He has DP’d for director Neil Blomkamp  on “District 9”, “Elysium”, and “Chappie”,  and director’s Anthony & Joe Russo on “Captain America: Winter Soldier”, and the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War”. It was an honor to sit down with him to chat about his career and the art of cinematography.

trentopolooch.jpgMathew Toffolo: You first worked with director Neil Blomkamp on the short films “Tempbot” and “Yellow”. How did you two meet? What makes your director/DP relationship so successful?

Trent Opaloch: I met Neill shooting low budget music videos. We shot a handful of videos & short films while I was working at Clairmont (camera rental house) & he had just left a vfx house here in Vancouver.

He used to do all his own vfx work back then so it was really interesting to…

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