2019 BAFTA Nominees

The 72nd British Academy Film Awards will take place this Sunday, February 10th.

The Favourite leads with 12 nominations, followed by Roma and A Star is Born, which are both up for 7 awards.

Here’s a look at the key nominees:

 

You can find a full list of nominees for all awards here.

Edinburgh Napier alumni cast in new Netflix series

Blair Kincaid, who studied acting for stage and screen at Edinburgh Napier University, has been cast in new Netflix fantasy series The Witcher alongside Hollywood superstar Henry Cavill. 

Blair’s page on Spotlight.com states that the actor is “currently filming in the new Netflix epic The WITCHER,” and lists Napier/Queen Margaret, BA(Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen from the years 2013-2015 as his education.

The Witcher, based on the books by polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, follows professional monster hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) on a quest to spare his adopted daughter Ciri (Freya Allan) from a cruel fate.

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Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in new Netflix series The Witcher. (Credit: Netflix)

Blair will be playing Crach an Craite, a battle-hardened commander of the military forces of the Skellige Isles, who comes to the heroes aid several times over the course of the story. The Skellige Isles are home to seafaring warriors which appear to be inspired by a mixture of Celtic and Viking culture, who don tartan and belong to clans. They most resemble a group of real historical people known as the Norse-Gaels who were a hybrid culture of the Gaels and Norsemen. We can expect that Blair will keep his Scottish accent to play Crach.

Crach an Craite has been represented before in The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, a video game series also based on the books by Sapkowski, though the games act as a sequel to the books while Netflix’s series will be a direct adaptation of the novels.

Ian Dunn, lecturer in the Acting Department at Edinburgh Napier University, says that it’s not a surprise that Blair Kincaid will act in the Netflix series.

“He was a talented student and since he moved to London he’s been up for different jobs. It feels great that he got his chance and joined other successful acting students,” Ian Dunn says.

The Witcher is set to be released on Netflix in 2019, but we can assume it’ll be towards the end of the year as filming is still taking place in Budapest and the Canary Isles.

If Blair fairs well in this coming series, we can hope to see him join the ranks of famous Scottish actors such as Ewen McGregor, James McAvoy and Gerard Butler!

 

Rare pieces displayed at Mary Queen of Scot’s exhibition

 

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The exhibition has a copy of the 2019 movie script. (Credit: Daisy Smith)

Rare treasures are being displayed for two days only at a Mary Queen of Scot’s exhibition in Edinburgh.

The exhibition showcases pieces from throughout the ages from childhood letters, to copies of movie scripts, including that of the 2019 release starring Saoirse Ronan.

The film has catapulted Mary Queen of Scot’s back into popularity since its release into cinemas.

Visitors will be able to cast their eyes on Mary’s Great Seal, a childhood book and engravings of her execution.

The display will run today and tomorrow at the National Library marking the anniversary of her execution on February 8, 1587.

Dr Annette Hagen, curator at the National Museum, said of the exhibition:

“One of the highlights is the sequence of engravings we have of her execution because today is the actual anniversary of the execution.

“The big thing about today is that we are showing them in one place and people can come and get some interpretation from them. The rarest pieces are obviously the unique items and that is the letters.

“We have a letter she wrote at the age of 11 to her mother Mary of Guise and we are showing the very last letter she wrote six hours before her beheading her brother in northern France.”

An array of historic sites from across the country with links to Mary Queen of Scots will be showcased in a tourism campaign following the popularity of the 2019 film.

An interactive map has been created featuring 19 different locations which were either visited by Mary, or by the moviemakers. This includes her birthplace of Linlithgow and Holyrood House, where she lived in the 1560s.

The exhibition is free to the public and is open today and Saturday, February 9th at the National Museum of Scotland from 10 am until 4 pm.

Bicycle Matters do Matter

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Lorna Ramm, CineShrub Coordinator. (Credit: Linnéa Lind)


It’s Thursday evening and a small group of people have gathered on Guthrie Street for a film screening, but they don’t know exactly what they will see. The theme is bicycles. 

As bags of popcorn are handed out and blankets are offered, one of the viewers asks if it is okay if she takes her shoes off.

“Of course! This is meant to be like friends coming to a screening,” Lorna Ramm says, CineShrub Coordinator.

The Shrub is a charitable organisation that works towards a world without waste. The film screening tonight is part of the Bicycle Matters programme, which runs until the beginning of May.

“We do repair workshops and screenings. It is all about maintaining bikes and making sure we don’t throw them away. We focus on bicycles for environmental reasons, as there are lots of times when people might take the bus or the car instead,” Lorna says.

She says that the best thing about cycling is speed and freedom:
“Cycling gives me the feeling of being unstoppable and being in my own space, to move forward and be in my zone rather than thinking about what’s going on around me.”

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“Cycling gives me the feeling of being unstoppable and being in my own space,” Lorna Ramm says. (Credit: Linnéa Lind)


The surprise film tonight turns out to be The Flying Scotsman from 2008. The beautiful cinematic piece is based on the true story about cyclist Graeme Obree, who becomes the world champion twice whilst battling mental health issues. He’s also famous for his innovative bicycle designs as he used parts of a washing machine to build a bicycle.

Two of the visitors tonight are India Lumai Fiorentino and Max Johnson, who both cycle in their free time.

“I really loved the film, it was inspirational. True stories are always the best; they give you true motivation, as it is a real story and not made up. There were a lot of messages in the film, like never giving up on your dreams,’’ India says.

When India was young, she often cycled but then stopped because she did not have the opportunity to continue. Two years ago, she took up cycling again when she moved to Amsterdam and bought a new bike.

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India Lumai Fiorentino and Max Johnson came to watch the film on Thursday evening. They both cycle in their free time. (Credit: Linnéa Lind)


“I pushed myself so I could cycle with no hands. I fell a few times and had a few accidents too, but that didn’t discourage me. I can literally search through my bag and look for things and put it back on. In fact, I feel really safe on a bike. Sometimes, I feel unsafe if I go out and it is dark but when I’m on a bike, I am never scared. And you can go fast,” she says.

Max agrees and says that he has cycled ever since he was a child.

“It gives me the ability to engage with the city in a completely different way. It makes Edinburgh even smaller, but in a nice way.”

“I don’t have any plans for building a bicycle with parts of a washing machine, but it might be great,” he says, laughing.

 

The Bicycle Matters programme is part of the Zero Waste Edinburgh project, which aim is to establish long-lasting strategies to reduce waste in the south side of Edinburgh’s Old Town. It is supported by a grant of £300,000 in funding by Zero Waste Scotland and the European Regional Development Fund until March 2020.

For further information about The Shrub, see their webpage here.

Entertainment weekly round-up

Olivia Hill takes you through the latest entertainment news including this week’s film releases.

 

You can watch the full trailers for all the films mentioned in this video below:

Bohemian Rhapsody

Pet Sematary

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

All Is True

 

 

Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

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Melissa McCarthy & Richard E. Grant. (Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures)

As the snow falls heavily on the skyscrapers and streets of New York City, writer Lee Israel suddenly finds herself without any financial security when she is fired from her job. Israel has talent but finds it impossible to make money from it, which pushes her towards the criminal activity of fabricating celebrity letters. The film is based on Israel’s 2008 memoir with the same name, in which she explained more about her path towards literary forgery.

Israel’s arrogance is palpable from the very start of the film, something actress Melissa McCarthy portrays genuinely. She doesn’t like anyone except her cat, who she seems to have great affection for. The love of her life. Although she appears in almost every scene of the film, it never gets boring. Her character is fascinating, even more so as it is based on a real writer. Israel doesn’t care about what others think of her, not in the slightest. She is fully herself. As she meets her extravagant drinking partner Jack Hock, played by Richard E. Grant, they explore the world of fabrication together. Grant is very convincing and entertaining and I specifically like their growing friendship that seems to make Israel find a little bit of joy in a world that she normally despises.

The director, Marielle Heller, managed to demonstrate Israel’s journey well – from the moment the downward spiral began with her money issues, all the way to her criminal career’s downfall. Despite its sadness, the film has many humorous moments. I found myself laughing out loud together with other viewers at the cinema at several parts. It was a very enjoyable watch and made me interested in reading the book. I think I will.

Watch the trailer below.

Film Review: Vice

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Christian Bale was completely transformed for his role as Dick Cheney (Photo credit: TheStranger.com)

Going to the cinema to see Vice? Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride of anger, confusion, laughter and pure brilliance, as you dive into the world of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The brainchild of Adam McKay, known by most for directing comedies including the Anchorman movies and Step-Brothers, Vice is an informative yet bizarre alternative take on the events that took place leading up to and during Dick Cheney’s time in the White House as George W. Bush’s Vice President. Bush’s presidency has been analysed and speculated over time and time again, but Vice provides viewers with a completely different take on the matter.

We see a transformed Christian Bale as Dick Cheney and Amy Adams as his wife, Lynne Cheney, as they try to work their way up the political ladder. Although at the beginning of the film the audience sees Cheney at a low point in his life, working a low paid job and caught driving while drunk, he manages to make his way into positions of power, before Bush (Sam Rockwell) eventually approaches him and asks him to run as his Vice President.

The film is unapologetically anti-right wing and you can feel the anger from the filmmakers seeping through throughout. It is clear Adam McKay wants the audience to view Cheney as evil and thankfully Christian Bale does a fantastic job of communicating this, even though he is playing a character who on the surface is quiet and subdued. Through his physical language and delivery of the script, Bale manages to portray a character who is calculating and power-hungry.

The film has a non-linear structure with scenes frequently cutting away to flashbacks and original footage, which perfectly accompany specific plot points to give what is happening in the story more meaning. This extra information and the narration by Jesse Plemons, is also helpful for those of us who aren’t experts in American politics.

Vice is also full of cleverly executed symbolism. An excellent example of this is while Cheney is trying to persuade Bush to agree to certain terms before Cheney agrees to be his vice president. We see shots of a fishing rod spliced in, eventually reeling in a large fish, just like Cheney reels in Bush. Not only is this a wonderful example of creative editing and cinematography, the thoughtful symbolism throughout the film helps viewers to understand what is going on inside Cheney’s head as he manipulates other characters.

Despite the creative and captivating filmmaking techniques and fantastic performances from the cast, in some ways Vice is an uncomfortable movie watching experience. Seeing how the selfish actions of politicians has destroyed lives and continues to cause chaos worldwide is not pleasant. The film is also entirely one-sided and some may argue that it’s not an accurate representation of events. However, the comic relief throughout the film helps distinguish these potential drawbacks. Vice is not a documentary and it’s not a history lesson, but it does make you think.

You can check out the trailer for Vice here.

Oscar nominations podcast

EN4 News reporters Bryce Arthur, Jade du Preez, Ross Hempseed and Liam Mackay chat about the 2019 Oscar nominees, announced on January 22 by the Academy Awards Committee.

 

Want more film chat? Listen to Liam talk about Scotland’s top flicks, read our Bohemian Rhapsody review, or read Jade’s Oscars article mentioned in the podcast.

 

TV and movie news round-up

In this video, Liam Mackay rounds up the latest television and movie news over the last week. 

Topics include the Oscar nominations and the National Television Awards. 

If you’d like to see more Arts and Culture videos, check out Liam’s top 10 movies filmed in Scotland!

Film Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

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Bohemian Rhapsody’s popularity has kept it in cinemas since October.

Actor Rami Malek brings the confident and charismatic Freddie Mercury back to life.

A solitary man moves confidently towards the stage at Wembley Stadium in London, wearing a white tank top and tight dark jeans. The viewer can only see the back of the singer, and once he’s up on the stage it almost feels like you are there with him. It is the 13th of July, 1985, and about 72,000 people have gathered at the Live Aid concert to be a part of Queen’s performance.

Viewers of this film are transported into the most fascinating and defining parts of Mercury’s life,  and get a look at the heart of timeless British rock band Queen. Despite the film having lots of music (well, duh?) and humorous bits, there is a palpable sadness and melancholy all the way through it. The director, Bryan Singer, has managed quite well to demonstrate the low points of Freddy’s life as well as the highs. Mercury often struggled with loneliness, love and identity as he entered the world of fame and it is noticeable.

Malek, the 37-year-old lead, looks very much like the real Freddie Mercury, but it’s his deft imitations of Mercury’s personality traits and characteristic movements that really elevate the performance. The other band members are portrayed impressively as well: Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor and Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon.

When I was young, I went to music school for six years and we used to sing Queen songs in the choir. So for me, the movie was strangely personal. I feel like many other viewers will share this feeling.

One of these song was the iconic six minute long anthem that the film was named after, written by Mercury for their album “A Night at the Opera”. As I sang their tunes at an early age, I made an emotional connection to the band – and I must say that the Queen cinema experience was a pleasant nostalgic journey.

Click here to see the trailer.

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