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The Tragedy of Macbeth | One Of The Best Adaptations Of Shakespeare’s Work

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Joel Coen’s first venture without his brother is the latest reincarnation of William Shakespeare’s classic play. The Scottish play was first performed 415 years ago and has since been adapted multiple times since its stage premiere in 1606 when King James ruled. Even the word “Macbeth” is strictly Taboo in theatres as it’s believed to bring bad luck or even disaster as according to folklore, the play’s history of bad luck began with its first perforce in 1606 when the actor scheduled to portray Lady Macbeth died suddenly, so Shakespeare himself was forced to replace him.

Then in another 17th-century production held in Amsterdam, the actor playing King Duncan was allegedly killed in front of the live audience when a real dagger was used instead of the stage prop during stabbing scenes.

The Tragedy of Macbeth tells the tale of a Scottish Lord convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.

Coen provides masterful direction along with a technical achievement in filmmaking with a level of artistry rarely achieved in films, and it’s certainly one of the best Shakespeare adaptations. Coen also covers ground that was formally walked upon by Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski and recently in 2015 Justin Kurzel. however, Coen surpasses them with his German expressionistic style which felt stark and severe as the noir aspects with the blades of light displayed onscreen by Coen and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel. It’s theatrical and cinematic all rolled into one as it’s shot in black-and-white with a 1:33:1 aspect ratio that harkens back to the end of the Silent picture era. The frame is a neatly pictured square that is also reminiscent of classic Hollywood and truly evoked the filmmaking style of that golden age.

The film drops us instantly into a realm that reveals in the eeriness, ethereal and otherworldly which showcases the text becoming a provocative backstabbing historical epic that carries along with manipulation, soaring anger, and ambition and prophecy that embeds itself throughout the film creating stages of madness in each sequence further showcasing the loudness of power and how it succumbs you.

Fog and smoke obscure this silvery landscape as lights cast harsh shadows and silhouettes. The sets are stark and minimal and fade into each transition from one scene to the next which felt similarly theatrical as if watching sets being moved and repositioned on a stage, in fact, the Macbeth was filmed entirely on sound stages which also provides a hybrid between film and theatre and ultimately gives the film a dreamlike and hypnotic quality.

Many of the sets were built in sections and put together whilst relying on beautiful matte paintings to fill in the environments, which is also feels like another throwback to the multi-plane ingenuity reminiscent of Citizen Kane.

The score by Carter Burwell also plays a part in this Shakespearean story as he delivers a genre-filled symphony that intertwines with the story as it serves the purpose of making the audience uncomfortable and essentially drives the story forward. He uses the dialogue himself as a melody.

The real component of what makes all the above work so remarkable is the cast, made up of an ensemble of incredible actors who’ve made their names both on stage and screen. Leading them are Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. They truly bring the best of both worlds here as they understand what works for the camera. Washington is magisterial in the title role, he brings a vocal flavour to the dialogue and he beautifully shows Macbeth losing his ways. Though he also gives Macbeth a quality of vulnerability as he grows more desperate in covering his tracks.

McDormand (who also produces) meanwhile brings an element of desperation to Lady Macbeth’s ambition, as she grasps for power that has long eluded her. She is his hard-edged conspirator- turned madwoman.

The casting of Washington and McDormand both in their sixties truly brings a sense of stifled ambition and a generational power grab. Both have a familiarity with Shakespeare as having done adaptations of his work before and it truly shows how powerful and award-winning their performances truly are.

Then there’s Kathryn Hunter who astonishingly plays all the three witches who prophesy Macbeth’s ascension and doom. A physical performance with limbs contorted as she shapeshifts with twisted movements using a deep, booming voice which is sinister as their nature and motivations are unknown. Hunter’s character is the first witch we meet and she brings this world of supernatural dark magic to life as she manifests her gaunt form into a trio of shrouded silhouettes. Hunter’s physicality and presence are utterly captivating.

The other actors are well cast and truly bring their skills to Shakespeare’s work. From Brendan Gleeson’s quietly prestigious King Duncan to Corey Hawkins’ Macduff, an antagonist fired by the youthful integrity and then vengeance. Carvel’s Banquo felt very sympathetic whilst Alex Hassell portrays the nobleman Ross with intrigue.

Overall every element of the Tragedy of Macbeth, from the hard, cold furniture to the swirling crows and drifting fog. The film truly gets to grips with the tales dark emotions as it’s one of the best adaptations of Shakespeare’s work I’ve seen recently.

FILM RATING

Animation

LUCK Review | A Magical and Inspiring Adventure!

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From Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation comes their first animated feature which premieres on AppleTV+ this Friday, August 5th. I adored this movie and was truly charmed as the story is something the whole family can get behind and will find it fun but also moving as the film shows how we perceive good luck but also how bad luck can lead to the best things that you never expected would happen in your lifetime.

“Luck” centres around the story of Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world. When she discovers the never-before-seen Land of Luck, Sam must unite with the magical creatures there to turn her luck around. Eva Noblezada provides the voice for Sam. When she ages out of foster care, Sam discovers the Land of Luck and embarks on a quest that could change her luck forever. And despite her bad luck and clumsiness and everything that goes wrong, Sam never lets anything get in her way.

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Simon Pegg voices Bob, a mischievous black cat from the Land of Luck. He’s all about number one, he’s a self-preservationist, so it’s all about him which makes him sound very selfish. However underneath he’s just trying to survive and once Sam, invariably enters his world she starts to penetrate that facade he has. The Captain, voiced by Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner Whoopi Goldberg, stands guard as the head of security. She sees Bob for what she thinks he is and that’s a black cat, she thinks they’re unlucky. Jane Fonda voices Babe the Dragon, the exuberant CEO of Good Luck and undisputed luckiest ancient being in all the land.

Throughout our world, we’ve become very superstitious and have long ascribed luck to little trinkets. In different cultures, we’ve had lucky pennies, four-leaf covers, horseshoes, dreamcatchers, Maneki Neko, ladybugs, etc. All of these are meant to bring luck and ward off bad luck so getting to see a whole world based on these two factors was incredible, especially in a stylistic world like the Land of Luck. A world that creates the moments in your life where everything goes right or wrong. This amazing colourful world is where all kinds of magical creatures work together to create Luck, the good and bad. Throughout Sam’s journey, she meets Leprechauns such as Gerry voiced by Colin O’Donoghue, bunnies in hazmat suits and a flamboyant unicorn names Jeff voiced by Flula Borg. They all work tirelessly every day to bring you those sweet fortunate moments.

Apple TV+.

But Luck isn’t complete without the bad luck which is made on the other side of this world. A team of goats, roots, and goblins work to make your day a little more frustrating. We’ve all had these moments of stepping in gum, losing your keys, and in my case spilling a hot cup of tea over a MacBook Pro. The world-building showcases a fine balance between good luck and bad luck, however, the tiniest amount of bad luck can shut down the Land of luck’s entire operation, which is totally thrown off by Sam’s arrival. Things are certainly about to get interesting.  Skydance Animation has truly created a world I’d love to visit. Production designer Fred Warter has given the Land of Luck its personality and colour pallet. The use of green for good luck and purple for bad luck is genius and those two colours truly complement each other as the use of colours in this film help amplify each sequence.

Apple TV+.

As the title suggests, Luck sees Sam trying her best to save this newly discovered world after she brings her unfortunate bad luck into this sacred space. Throughout the film, we discover why she’s in search of a lucky penny and ultimately Luck is an original story that’ll touch people’s hearts with its strong messages that give us hope. Luck isn’t so much about the trinkets and charms and what it means to be unlucky which I can say features some funny gags, it’s rather about love and finding your forever family.

Luck also taps into the reality of the foster care system and the emotionally tolling process that is adoption.

The film is truly an amazing story, one that works for Skydance Animation’s first feature but also Apple Tv’s first original feature film. Everything from character design to the environment is outstanding. The Land of Luck is so universal and relatable, Luck is totally random. You can’t control it, you can’t create it. The world mirrors our own but it has good luck at the top and bad luck at the bottom. They’re both opposite sides of the coin. The film was also made over Zoom and many of the actors did the voicework in their homes.

Ultimately this movie made me feel inspired, to never give up on myself, never give up on my dreams and just keep going as life can be hard sometimes but luckily it will turn around.

Apple TV+.

Are you ready to step into the Land of Luck? Thanks to Toikido for sending out the awesome merchandise for us to review!. My family absolutely adored the film and the toys. Our favourite character is Bob the cat voiced by Simon Pegg so we were excited to receive the deluxe interactive talking plush. Tia aged eight says “It’s so soft and cuddly”. Bob is delightfully curious and mischievous and is so self-obsessed that he comes with over twenty-five phrases. Press Bob’s left hind paw to hear Pegg’s vocals and phrases which include “Top of the morning to ya”, and “You flushed my penny down the toilet”.

Links to purchase these magical products are below!

You can also bring the world of Luck to life with the deluxe figures of Bob the black cat, Jeff the Unicorn, Lucky Pig, and Sam. It’s awesome to have my favourite characters as fun action figures as you’ll be able to play out scenes from the beautifully animated film.

The magical and adventurous animated film is helmed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Peggy Holmes (“The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning”), from an original screenplay written by Kiel Murray (“Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Cars 3,” “Cars”), Jon Aibel and Glenn Berger (“Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Trolls”). John Lasseter, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and David Eisenmann are producing for Skydance Animation.

“Luck” joins an expanding lineup of the Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation partnership, alongside upcoming titles such as the highly anticipated feature “Spellbound,” and the animated series “The Search for WondLa,” with several more feature films and television series to be announced. “Luck” follows the recent Apple/Skydance NAACP nomination for Outstanding Animated Short-Form and Annie Awards nomination for Best Music for “Blush,” written and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Joe Mateo (“Prep & Landing,” “Big Hero 6”), and composed by Hollywood Music in Media Award winner Joy Ngiaw (“Red,” “Fish Head”), now streaming on Apple TV+.

Luck” will be available in select cinemas and available on Apple TV+ this Friday, August 5th. 

FILM RATING
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Prehistoric Planet: Guide to these Cretaceous Creatures

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Life indeed does find a way.. as Apple TV+ showcases a documentary event that travels back 66 million years to a dominion when these extraordinary creatures roamed the lands, seas, and skies.  The wonders of our world are brought to life like never before. 

Dinosaurs continue to spark the imagination in all of us and with new updated scientific research and the latest imaging technology we are able to bring these titans to life. Throughout this five-night event, you’ll see a different terrain showcasing these creatures in extraordinary climates whether it’s the swooping sky, coastal depths, deep-sea, Icecaps, desolate desert, or fresh forests. What I’ve witnessed is that throughout each episode all dinosaurs of every kind are facing the one common thing which is the struggle to survive. 

Prehistoric Planet which is now streaming on Apple TV+ teams up with the BBC Studios Natural History Unit, the team behind many successful nature documentaries such as “Planet Earth” and The Moving Pictures Company’s visual effects team who’ve worked on Hollywood movies such as 2019’s “The Lion King”. this is all thanks to a great partnership between Mike Gunton, the BBC’s most senior natural history producer and Hollywood director Jon Favreau. Filming took place in real-world locations and the result is absolutely astonishing, as the scientifically accurate dinosaurs are brought to life and showcase behaviour in ways we’ve never seen before.

Prehistoric Planet is a feast for curious minds, it showcases one of the most exciting times in our world’s history which is a world populated by these extraordinary creatures. Some you may have never heard of but imagine flying reptiles the size of a giraffe soaring the skies, devil toads hopping around the marshlands and massive Dreadnoughtus march the desert. The series also brings to life many well-known dinosaurs such as Triceratops, Velociraptors, and Tyrannosaurus Rex, one of the many marvels during the dinosaur dynasty. 

Transporting back 66 million years ago brings with it a combination of real and imaginary as Prehistoric Planet is a wildlife documentary that features the dramatic elements of struggle, conflict, life and death. The heart of the docu-series and what I witnessed is that you get a front-row seat to the greatest show on Earth set in the land of the dinosaurs. 

Prehistoric Planet is something spectacular and is populated by these magnificent prehistoric creatures. It’s a big breakthrough into understanding their behaviour, their anatomy, and their appearance, it’s truly something that must be believed to be seen. 

What kind of animals were they? what did they look like? and how did they live?. These are the questions that scientific research can now finally answer not just about Tyrannosaurus Rex but the other species that lived alongside it. And with dozens of dinosaurs featured throughout the five episodes, I’d like to tell you more about Prehistoric Planet’s new stars and some of my favourites.

DEINOCHEIRUS

Deinocheirus, with its feathered body and duck bill, the eight-ton creature wades through the Asian wetlands. first named in 1970, originally scientists only had a pair of arm bones with big, long claws. In 2014 new evidence revealed that Deinocheirus had a unique, large hump on its back supported by its back bones. Name meaning “terrible hand” Deinocheirus was a large omnivorous theropod. 

CARNOTAURUS

Carnotaurus meaning “carnivorous bull” is another large theropod. It’s known for its hollow bones and three-toed limbs and was discovered by Argentinian palaeontologist Joes Bonaparte in 1984. Their thick muscular neck and distinct horns sticking out of its eyes help identify the this creature which can get up to twenty-six feet in length which makes it a formidable predator. However Prehistoric Planet showcases these creatures in a whole new way as we witness a touching display as a Carnotaurus male puts on a courtship performance with only the smallest of arms, does he succeed in wowing the female well you’ll just have to tune into this epic five night event. 

MONONYKUS

Mononykus meaning “single claw” was a small theropod, measuring just around one metre in length. With long thin legs, shaggy featuring and small specialised forearms used for foraging. Mononykus also was very nimble which is very useful in the open desert plains. This desert expert patrols the vast lands to find enough food. As mentioned the long thin legs help to keep the body cool whilst its features form a shield protected it from the suns rays. super sense facial discs make her hypersensitive to sound which gives the Mononykus a mental map. Another skill this remarkable creature has is a flexible lounge, twice the length of her head as she uses her single claw to break into the tree bark and feast on termites. 

BARBARIDACTYLUS PTEROSAURS

Barbaridactylus Pterosaurs is a nyctosaurid pterosaur, a kind usually associated with coastal areas and hunting for fish. Originally discovered in Morocco, it uses its sixteen foot wingspan to swoop down and dive into oceans, snatching any fish swimming close to the surface. Meaning of name comes from the Barbary Coast of North Africa. 

NANUQSAURUS

Nanuqsaurus meaning “polar bear lizard`’ was built for life in the polar north regions,It was first described and named in 2014. This species is also related to Tyrannosaurus rex, however its about half the length as this Tyrannosaur grew to around six metres in length. They displayed powerful predatory skills. 

CORYTHORAPTOR

Corythoraptor meaning “crested thief” is an oviraptor newly discovered in 2017. Its part of a group of crested, toothless, and feathered dinosaurs that are equipped with parrot-like heads, this omnivore is similar to that of a  cassowary a relation also to the emu. Corythoraptor’s can reach approximately five feet tall as they had long legs and were very much likely to be fast runners. 

Prehistoric Planet will truly stand the test of time as this Revolutionary series documents the riveting journey each species goes through, which is thanks to new scientific research such as Phylogenetic bracketing. This technique looks to see where animals sit on the evolutionary tree of life and also seeing what creatures were alongside them, for instance a Tyrannosaurus has crocodilians on one side of the spectrum and the other you have modern birds. This helps understand the behaviours of each species and  their fossil records. 

Prehistoric Planet on Apple TV+ truly is a big breakthrough in showing what the world these dinosaurs lived in was like and the series breathes new life into some of the most misunderstood creatures that ever walked the earth. 

FILM RATING
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Prehistoric Planet Review: A Jurassic Triaumph for Apple TV+

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Life indeed does find a way.. as Apple TV+ showcases a documentary event that travels back 66 million years to a dominion when these extraordinary creatures roamed the lands, seas, and skies. The wonders of our world are brought to life like never before.

Dinosaurs continue to spark the imagination in all of us and with new updated scientific research and the latest imaging technology we can bring these titans to life. Throughout this five-night event, you’ll see a different terrain showcasing these creatures in extraordinary climates whether it’s the swooping sky, coastal depths, deep-sea, Icecaps, desolate desert, or fresh forests. What I’ve witnessed is that throughout each episode all dinosaurs of every kind are facing the one common thing which is the struggle to survive.

Prehistoric Planet which debuts on Apple TV+ May 23 teams up with the BBC Studios Natural History Unit, the team behind many successful nature documentaries such as “Planet Earth” and The Moving Pictures Company’s visual effects team who’ve worked on Hollywood movies such as 2019’s “The Lion King”. this is all thanks to a great partnership between Mike Gunton, the BBC’s most senior natural history producer and Hollywood director Jon Favreau. Filming took place in real-world locations and the result is absolutely astonishing, as the scientifically accurate dinosaurs are brought to life and showcase behaviour in ways we’ve never seen before.

PHOTO: APPLE TV+

The sequences and on-screen action are accompanied majestically by an original score from Academy Award-Winning Composer Hans Zimmer, a soundtrack I cannot wait to stream.

Within each of these episodes, the narration is provided most magnificently by David Attenborough, whose warm and friendly voice guides you through each story and brings informative information about each species of dinosaur to the forefront. His voice takes us on a ride through the calmer moments for example, when a Mosasaurus comes to the open waters by the coral and gets his scales shed and cleaned by reef fish and shrimps, his narration also takes us on tense and exhilarating journeys as in episode one featuring Coasts we witness the flight of the Pterosaur hatchings which reminded me of fighter jets and spitfires as the hatchlings launch off the cliffs towards the safe island only to be chased and unfortunately eaten by many of the larger and adult species whilst also being prey to the Hatzegopteryx, a 9-foot tall predator.

PHOTO: APPLE TV+

The series takes great care to not anthropomorphise, it shows animals just being animals which still share the same familiar instincts as the animals we have on planet Earth today. Whether that’s the preying of one animal such as the Velociraptor hunting in freshwater or a mating ritual where female ostrich type dinosaurs choose the male who’s decorated and made the best looking nest for her eggs. The nest-making skill can take several years to learn so some sneaky males resort to thievery and steal others branches and vegetation needed to cover the female’s eggs. This behaviour is something we now see in many species of penguins. 

Paleontological research is at the forefront thanks to palaeontologist Dr Darren Naish, the lead consultant on Prehistoric Planet and the ingenious team that bring this world to life and all in aid transport us back in time to the Cretaceous, the last dinosaur period. Thanks to Apple TV+ I was able to get an early look at each episode and throughout watching I was so impressed with the visuals and effects that help breathe these larger-than-life animals into the world It’s just so immersive with moments that’ll connect you to these titans such as a Tyrannosaurus Rex father caring for and protecting his young. I can honestly say it made the experience worth watching as we get a front-row seat showing what life might have been like, how they lived, breathed, ate, and yes even mated. Prehistoric Planet truly transports you through a portal and into this colossal kingdom. 

FILM RATING
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