jupiter peak

Movies that deserve Oscars but won’t get any 2k15:
  • Best Whisper Scream, Jupiter Ascending, Eddie Redmayne
  • Best Detoxification of Masculinity, Magic Mike XXL, Channing Tatum
  • Best Redefinition Of Disability, Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron
  • Best Use Of A Man Staying In His Lane, Mad Max: Fury Road, Tom Hardy
  • Best John Cena, Trainwreck, John Cena
  • Best Butt, Crimson Peak,Tom Hiddleston
  • Best Excuse To Cry While Reexamining The Way You Think About Mental Health, Inside Out
  • Best Replacement Of Straight White Dudes By End Of Movie, Age Of Ultron
  • Best Scene Stealer, Ant-Man, Michael Peña
  • Gayest Movie of the Year that Wasn’t About Gay People, Man from Uncle / Victor Frankenstein
  • Best Modernization Of Existing Mythology To Reflect Modern America, Creed 
  • Best Use Of John Boyega’s Excellence To Shut Down Trolls On The Internet, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Best Movie That No One Saw But Should, Dope
2015′s Most Stylish Movie Villains

While 2015 may have had more frightening or imposing villains (say ‘hi’ Immortan Joe!), I’d wager that baddies don’t come more stylish or aesthetically pleasing than this lot. And what is evil if it doesn’t take the time to present itself properly, eh?

5. General Hux, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Black (or really, really, really dark grey, if you prefer) military gear has rarely looked as impeccable as it does on General Hux. While less ostentatious or glitzy than the other looks on this list, Hux’s wardrobe is striking on account of its polish and severity. And I can’t help but love that snazzy little cap of evil - it’s perfect for delivering the spittle-drenched Hitler First Order Youth revival speech.

Costume designer: Michael Kaplan

4. Lucille Sharpe, Crimson Peak

The costuming of Crimson Peak is as exquisite and morbid as the film itself. Lucille’s gowns are perfect metaphors for her corrupt, tortured soul, with the rich, mouldering fabrics of her dresses paralleling the decay of the titular ancestral pile. Gothic torment and psychological disintegration have never looked this good.

Costume designer: Kate Hawley

3. Victoria, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Victoria is a real big cat of the villain, slinking around with absolute confidence and self-assurance. Her costumes are to die for, elegant while recalling the experimental edge of ’60s fashion. Period costuming can go for slavish faithfulness at the expense of imagination, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. avoids that trap brilliantly by affording its arch villainess an appropriate but adventurous and diverse wardrobe.

Costume designer: Joanna Johnston

2. Stepmother, Cinderella

The costumes in Cinderella are some of the most exquisite creations ever committed to celluloid, and as much as I adore Cinderella’s butterfly dream gown (literal butterflies fly off it, people! It’s seriously like a Barbie I once had!) her stepmother’s wardrobe trumps it as a collective testament to her exquisite taste. The stepmother’s clothes are simply magnificent, and while she can justly be faulted for her character she is blameless when it comes to her sense of style.

Costume designer: Sandy Powell

1. Balem Abrasax, Jupiter Ascending

Who else could be in first place? While all of the villains of Jupiter Ascending have impeccable threads, no one in the film is more fabulously dressed than Balem Abrasax. He has not one, but two throat-covering collars embedded with planets and constellations. He has a flowing glitter cape designed to highlight his immaculate abs. He has Roman-esque bejewelled sandals. He has a punishingly tight rubber shirt. In short, his wardrobe has everything and IT IS GLORIOUS.

Costume designer: Kym Barrett

But those are just my thoughts. Are there any magnificently garbed villainous types I’m missing? 

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Spring skiing with puppies!!! ⛷🐶
A couple clips from yesterday’s Jupiter Peak tour at @pcski with @s.s._beansprout Lilly and Beans!
#SkiUtah #SpringSkiing #Puppies
#GoBigGetBabes
#SkiWithPuppiesGetAllTheBabes
#PostPuppiesGetLikes
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#GoldenGrams #GetIt?!?
(at Park City, Utah)

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Top 10 Movies of 2015

Since everyone and their mother is doing it, I present my top 10 films of the year. Excuse the absence of a cut, but I felt it worth presenting this post in full. Let me know what your picks would be/what you make of my choices!

10. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, dir. Christopher McQuarrie

I didn’t think any Mission: Impossible film could top Ghost Protocol for me, but Tom Cruise was clearly intent on proving me wrong. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation was one of the most fun experiences I had in the cinema all year, and it’s deeply impressive that the series continues to improve on previous instalments with more ambition and more eye-popping stunts. Rebecca Ferguson excels as Ilsa Faust, who’s easily the most compelling and intriguing character in the film. Watch out for the virtuoso sequence set at the opera - it’s beautifully handled, and the combination of music and imagery is nothing less than thrilling.

9. Phoenix, dir. Christian Petzold

I caught Phoenix at a London art cinema by chance, and was gripped from beginning to end. A German-language drama about a Holocaust survivor returning to a broken Berlin to find her old life shattered, Phoenix is a compelling but heartbreaking portrait of the darkest sides of humanity. The performances are extraordinary, with the pain and desperation of Nelly radiating from her every gesture and word. The final scene is unforgettable; the expression of dawning understanding and horror on a certain character’s face will never leave me.

8. Ex Machina, dir. Alex Garland

This was the first genuinely great film I saw in cinemas in 2015. Immaculately constructed, it generates an intense sense of foreboding and mystery from the outset, sparking off ideas and possibilities that the viewer is challenged to weigh up for themselves. You’re never sure what’s real and what’s illusion in this film, which is probably the most intelligent and thought-provoking investigation of AI I’ve ever seen. This film is essentially a three-hander, with the talents of Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac and Domhall Gleeson showcased to startling effect. Vikander is truly electric as the beautiful and articulate android Ava, and I challenge anyone not to feel a disquieting mix of relief and foreboding as she looks out upon the world in the film’s final sequence.

7. Inside Out, dir. Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen

Eminently deserving of the acclaim it has received, Inside Out is easily Pixar’s strongest film since 2010′s Toy Story 3. A beautiful and vivid dive into a young girl’s imagination, Inside Out manages the delicate tightrope walk between comedy and drama, exploring its subject matter with a firm but gentle touch. By literally making cartoon characters out of our emotions, the film surprises by investigating them in impressively mature and intelligent ways. Perhaps the best message in the entire film is that happiness is meaningless without the complement of sadness - while that may sound simple or even trite when expressed in words, it’s a profound truth that Inside Out recognises and celebrates.

6. Max Max: Fury Road, dir. George Miller

This film is the living embodiment of motion as poetry. One of the purest cinematic experiences seen for many years, Mad Max: Fury Road operates almost entirely on the visual plane. In this sense, it’s a testament to the sheer power of the image. While it’s a common refrain amongst cinema snobs that modern cinema is all about surface at the expense of story, such people forget that film is the art of the moving image. The visual experience is primary, and Mad Max: Fury Road never lets you forget this. A relentless, sun-scorched chase movie, Fury Road manages to be surprisingly rich, powerful and moving - it’s also a genuinely feminist blockbuster, and its female characters are all wonderfully distinct examples of strength and bravery. This was the blockbuster hit Hollywood needed, and is proves that resurrecting a 30-year-old franchise needn’t be a cynical last grasp at nostalgic filmgoers’ wallets.

5. The Man From U.N.C.L.E., dir. Guy Ritchie

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a wonderful surprise. As one of the few millennials to have seen almost every episode of the original 1960s series, I expected very little from the film adaptation. Therefore, it was a marvellous surprise to find it might have even surpassed the quality of the TV series that inspired it. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is easily my favourite spy movie of the year, offering up thrills, humour and romance in all the correct doses. Stars Arnie Hammer and Henry Cavill have fantastic chemistry, and Alicia Vikander is simply delightful as Gaby, a role that could have easily been bland and unmemorable in the hands of a less charismatic actress. While it’s packed full of great scenes, let me just say that the Nazi scrapbook sequence is one of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s highlights.

4. Cinderella, dir. Kenneth Branagh

Cinderella was the first film of the year to make me cry. A celebration of personal goodness and the victory of courage and kindness over cruelty, Cinderella won me over with its absolute sincerity and profound lack of pretension or cynicism. This is very much a straight telling of an ancient story, and it’s a film that’s in love with its own woozy romance and magic. While it’s overflowing with beauty, heart and emotion, my absolute favourite scene is Cinderella telling her stepmother “I forgive you” - and meaning it. She leaves the house she was kept a prisoner in free from bitterness or resentment, liberated from her suffering by her refusal to be mired in the wrongs of the past. It’s the single-most empowering moment Cinderella has ever been given in any telling, and it’s profoundly moving.

3. Crimson Peak, dir. Guillermo del Toro

I count Del Toro amongst my favourite directors, and I knew Crimson Peak was something special from the opening shot of a haunted Edith Cushing standing in the snow with blood on her hand. This is pure Gothic melodrama the like of which we last saw when Roger Corman was cheerfully cranking out lurid Edgar Allan Poe flicks for AIP in the 1960s, and it shows in everything from the ludicrously foreboding production design to the festering, moth-eaten fabrics of the costumes. This is a film about accumulating dread, and it drips atmosphere and promises the fulfilment of tragedy. While the twists in the tale perhaps aren’t as unexpected as some would like, I actually enjoyed the air of inevitability surrounding events - that’s precisely why the film starts where it ends. You know it will end in blood, chaos and horror, and the pleasure of Crimson Peak comes from seeing how that climax is reached.

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, dir. J.J. Abrams

I’ve been anticipating this film since it was announced back in 2012, and entering the theatre to actually watch it was something of a surreal experience. I felt somewhat deflated and disappointed after seeing it for the first time, but have since seen it two additional times - boy, am I glad I did! Once I knew exactly what to expect, I found the film far more enjoyable, engaging and interesting on subsequent watches. As derivative and tired as the core plot may be, The Force Awakens is an unabashedly fun and nostalgic return to the land of far, far away. I love the characters more with every new viewing, and I’m particularly attached to Rey and her journey. This film was always going to live or die on Daisy Ridley’s central performance, and she killed it - she is the heart and soul of the film, and The Force Awakens works because we quickly come to love Rey and attach ourselves to her plight and journey. I also appreciated the presence of a villain with a genuine internal struggle - I didn’t expect an intelligent and challenging investigation of evil from a Star Wars film, but I got one in Adam Driver’s performance as Kylo Ren. Imperfect and derivative as it may be, The Force Awakens is massively enjoyable and my second favourite film of the year.

1. Jupiter Ascending, dir. Lana and Andy Wachowski

Cinema is perhaps the closest antecedent we have to alchemy; it is an art that’s all about combining myriad elements and the input of thousands of disparate individuals with different skills and areas of expertise. Any movie that works on any level for any individual person is something of a miracle, representing the coalescence of countless ideas and influences into something that simply works. Therefore, it’s unsuprising that a concoction as weird as Jupiter Ascending took a serious critical beating and provoked widespread bafflement and head-scratching upon its release. It should, however, be no less surprising that a film that was passionately hated by some was passionately loved by others. It’s difficult to capture the feeling of giddiness I had upon watching Jupiter Ascending for the first time, but I knew upon exiting the cinema that I had to see it again. And again. And again. 

I’ve had the best part of a year to reflect on Jupiter Ascending and distil my thoughts on it into words, and I’m still not particularly good at it. But I’ll try.

Jupiter Ascending is the kind of the film that I would make if I had unlimited money. It’s the simple, proletarian fairy tale people have told for hundreds of years, albeit without the flying boots and the obsession with genetics. It’s the shriek-inducing roller-coaster through space I never dared dream might exist outside my imagination. It’s the paean to the qualities of human courage and goodness that I’d never seen presented on screen before, a distillation of our innate potential to rise up from nothing and achieve greatness and distinction without betraying or forgetting where we come from. Most importantly, it’s pure, unadulterated fun. I love it wholeheartedly, and have no qualms about declaring it my favourite film of the year.

2015′s best dressed heroines

Since y’all seemed to enjoy my rundown of the top five best dressed villains of 2015, I present a companion piece featuring the best-dressed heroines of 2015. The wardrobes of the wonderful ladies of the silver screen were marvellously diverse in 2015, and I’m just showcasing the cream of the crop with these picks. Let me know what your choices would be!

5. Carol, Carol

Carol is an immaculately produced film. Its sense of detail and period is exquisite, and this is best evoked through its incredible costuming. Cate Blanchett (who also featured on the villain list) could probably be effortlessly glamorous in a paper bag, but Sandy Powell’s costumes give her a remarkably sophisticated and exquisitely coordinated look that telegraphs her character’s fearless confidence. And yes - I feel morally compromised by that fur coat.

Costume designer: Sandy Powell

4. Edith Cushing, Crimson Peak

Edith Cushing’s defining costume is perhaps her flowing white nightgown. The nightgown is terrorised, torn and devastated as Edith endures trial after trial, and it comes to bear witness to her suffering. It moves and photographs beautifully, often making Edith look close to becoming one of the ghosts she fears so intensely. This is heightened, Gothic costuming at its most sublime and artful.

Costume designer: Kate Hawley

3. Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Rey’s costume is simple - as befits a humble scavenger - but surprisingly elegant and fluid. While practical and suitable for Rey’s day-to-day trials on the desert planet of Jakku, her outfit is also interesting in that it parallels the main look of the villain Kylo Ren. Both costumes have clear Japanese influences, and both feature similar flowing and elegant lines - the distinction between them is marked quite literally by the colours used, with the dirty white of Rey’s look communicating her purity of intent and connection to the light side, in marked contrast to Kylo’s severe black costume. 

Costume designer: Michael Kaplan

2. Cinderella, Cinderella

This gown is the ultimate princess dress. Sandy Powell had the challenge of bringing an iconic dress - Cinderella’s gown in the animated classic - to the screen, and she pulled it off with spectacular style. Ludicrously and overpoweringly ostentatious and vast, this dress is distinctly impractical - and that’s the point. Cinderella is a romantic, dreamy fantasy. and this puffed-up concoction of a dress is every bit as much of a wonderful dream as the film itself.

Costume designer: Sandy Powell

1. Jupiter Jones, Jupiter Ascending

This glorious dress is the costuming equivalent of a glitter explosion. The creation of Filipino designer Michael Cinco, this dress combines myriad influences to create something quite unlike any other wedding gown ever seen on screen. The dress is forced upon the character, and its ludicrous excess works precisely because we’re meant to find it ludicrously excessive. This dress is attempting to make a heavenly goddess out of a normal young woman, and it’s almost spectacular enough to make you buy into the lie.

Costume designer: Michael Cinco

  • People: Hollywood is all sequels, adaptations and remakes now. Give us original films!
  • Interstellar: *gets a lot of hate*
  • Jupiter Ascending: *called the worst movie of the year*
  • Tomorrowland: *is deemed underwhelming*
  • Crimson Peak: *is criticised because it was mismarketed*
  • People: Hollywood is all sequels, adaptations and remakes now. Give us original films!
Jupiter Ascending & Crimson Peak: Slaves to the Past

*This post will contain major spoilers for crucial plot developments in Crimson Peak and Jupiter Ascending. If you haven’t seen either film yet, come back to this when you have!*

Crimson Peak and Jupiter Ascending are both films with very strange and idiosyncratic influences. If you were to analyse their DNA underneath a microscope to pinpoint their origins, you’d find strains of The Duchess of Malfi, The Fall of the House of Usher and The Woman in White. Both films are laced with insanity, and are big on persecuted heroines, greedy relatives, and mother complexes (seriously, play a drinking game where you take a shot every time the word “mother” is spoken. I dare you, but take absolutely no responsibility for any liver damage you sustain).

While the films are obviously more different than they are similar (Crimson Peak is set in ye old Victorian times, and Jupiter Ascending is set in sparkly, expansive space, for a start), there are enough links and echoes between them to justify a comparative analysis. To keep this post somewhat focused and (hopefully) to make an incisive point, I’m going to focus on a theme that’s at the root of both films - the engulfing vortex of the past.

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Sparklie Awards - Best Double Act Winner!

316 of you voted, and the results are in! To remind you all, the nominees were:

- Furiosa and Max (Mad Max: Fury Road)

- Joy and Sadness (Inside Out)

- Rey and Finn (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

- Thomas and Lucille (Crimson Peak)

- Jupiter and Caine (Jupiter Ascending)

And the winner is…

Rey and Finn!

The partnership between Rey and Finn is one of the sweetest and most heart-warming seen in recent years. They have an instant rapport, and find it easy to relate to each other on account of their strangely similar early experiences - both grew up without their parents, having to face endless challenges and trials without a warm and guiding hand. In each other, they find true companionship and love for the first time - and that perhaps brings us to the nicest thing about this team up. While The Force Awakens teases romance between Finn and Rey, that’s not what their relationship is really about - instead of being centred around sex or romantic attraction, their bond is instead based on mutual respect and affection. They are completely devoted, with their care for each other bringing out their innate courage and resolve.

In an age where attractive young women and men are considered a romantic coupling by default as soon as they share a screen, I find the platonic nature of the relationship between Finn and Rey extremely refreshing and a great model that I hope other films will emulate.