A Monster Calls – Film Review


(WARNING: This post contains spoilers for the film A Monster Calls)

Firstly, if you haven’t already seen this film, be warned, it is very emotional! The acting is amazing and you feel as though you are in the film yourself, living the hard times right alongside Conor and feeling all the up and down emotions with him.

The film uses a lot of close-ups in contrast with exposition shots which are effective in showing the important emotional side to the film. Conor, throughout the course of the film, feels a mix of emotions. sorrow, grief, anger, hatred, and joy at brief points as he goes through his Mother’s sickness and death whilst dealing with his own troubles with family and school along the way, all the time trying to keep a brave face on for the sake of his Mother and secretly being weighed down by the guilt of his wish for it all to be over.

The only flaws I found with the film were that some relationships were not explored in as much depth as they should, or could have been. In particular his relationship with his Father was not shown enough in my opinion, though this may have been to highlight the growing relationship with his grandmother who, initially, he was opposed to. Also, I had expected a friendship or truce of a sort to emerge between Conor and the boy who bullied him towards the end of the film though this, again, did not happen.

The story was one that’s not normally explored. When a film or story is about someone working their way through the grief at a 2413close death, often it starts as the person dies or very close to that point, mostly focusing on their recovery. Whereas A Monster Calls was all about Conor’s journey during his mothers illness as he was forced to accept the reality and face the truth and reveal his secrets in order to find his own peace with the situation.

One of the things about the film that most appealed to me was the inclusion of art. When Conor finds out his Mum wanted to go to art college he is clearly surprised and, after her death finds another connection to her through her artwork which lives on, surprised to find they had even drawn similar things – discovering his Mum had also met the monster during her own childhood. His mum tells him, on an old home movie, that “the life is in the eyes”, encouraging him to bring his art to life and add emotion and depth to it, teaching him that art is a medium to express yourself rather than just to be creative.

Overall, the film was excellent, really connecting with you and drawing you into their world.

Images were found from: http://www.rendyreviews.com/movies//a-monster-calls-review , https://showfilmfirstblog.com/2016/09/12/felicity-jones-admits-she-had-to-avoid-hitting-the-bottle-during-filming-of-a-monster-calls/ )


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – film review


(WARNING: this post may contain spoilers for the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)

If you already love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter then you’re bound to love Fantastic Beasts, set in America about 70 years before Harry Potter. The film follows Newt Scamander, a Magizoologist and aspiring author, carrying a case full of magical creatures he has taken into his care.

One of the best things about this movie, in my opinion, is the way you can relate to the characters, their personalities and individual quirks shown in depth, making them, though of a fictional magical world, seem more human and real. The creatures were no exception, Pickett the Bowtruckle being especially popular and becoming a part of Newt himself by living in his coat pocket and, though seemingly small and insignificant, saving lives at one point in the film.

In the creative industry, character is one of the most important things, whether in illustration or film, the characters are ultimately what the viewer will connect with most. And often it seems characters lose personality and development in place of a packed narrative, this film however doesn’t make that mistake. Fantastic Beasts keeps a mix of fast-paced action, slow moments and character personality and development as people who would not normally find themselves in each others company come together with the same goal. The attention to the small details in this film is something I haven’t come across in other films and should be used as an inspiration for future films.


(Image from: https://cinemabravo.com/tag/fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them/)

Avengers Age of Ultron – film


(Warning: this post contains spoilers of the Avengers Assemble and Avengers Age of Ultron films)

Marvel’s film “Avengrs Age of Ultron” was, in my opinion, a good film. Whilst I preferred the action and characters of the Avengers Assemble film the second film was appealing in other ways. The first film focused on getting the Avengers together and their relationships with one another, only a little focus placed on their backgrounds (possibly due to the fact that most of the characters have their own films dedicated to showing how they became who they are).

Avengers Age of Ultron introduced some new characters who we got to see develop throughout the film, as well as reintroducing the old cast and exploring them in a more personal in depth way, especially Hawkeye who we didn’t really know a lot about in the other films he appeared in.

One thing I didn’t like about the film was the character Vision, not because of the character or actor, but because, to me, he didn’t seem to be a necessary character. Yes, he had a few major roles, but they could have been done by any of the other Avengers and he wasn’t really explored in terms of conciousness and personality in the way Ultron was (probably because he had less screen time and didn’t appear until late in the movie) which made him a character that couldn’t really be related to, instead seeming like a kind of higher being.

In my own work, whether it’s writing or art, my favourite part is creating the characters, giving them names and appearances is just the first step. To make a relatable character that people will connect to and like, I feel you need to also consider personality, how they interact with others, future goals, status, and, most importantly, their history—the most interesting characters I’ve comes cross are the ones with in depth pasts. In Avenges Age of Ultron I liked the exploration of these pasts as it made the characters, despite all of their superhuman / God powers, seem human and ordinary and believable. Characters I hadn’t been sure about in the first film I now like having seen the second film and would actively want to watch films dedicated to that character which is important, not just for fans to engage, but for the filmmakers to have increased interest in their characters.

so as a conclusion: the film was great and the way it explored characters was inspiring to me and I want to find better ways of making my art characters appear to have a history despite being static characters on a page.

Zootropolis – film


Over easter I saw the new animated film Zootropolis. While I like anime, I’m not a big fan of cartoons or animated films normally, but I did enjoy this film. I liked it because the characters, whilst animal, were human like in behaviour and appearance (standing upright, wearing clothes etc) which meant you could relate to the characters in ways you normally can’t with others animated films. There was a lot of focus on stereotypes and withholding or subverting them within the film which was interesting for me as I often consider stereotypes when creating characters myself. What was more intriguing though was that the backgrounds of the character were explored which showed why the  chose to conform to or subvert the stereotypes, something I look into when designing characters in stories or art when I think about what made them who they are and how to portray them.


(image from: http://www.empirecinemas.co.uk/synopsis/3d_zootropolis/f4903)

Marvel’s Thor film


“Thor” is one of my favourite movies for a few reasons. My fascination with mythology, especially Norse, being one of them. I love the way the characters are portrayed, and how the ‘bad guy’, Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) is shows to have a past and a reason for what he does to get revenge on his brother Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth). Loki is both my favourite character in the film and the God in Norse Mythology that I’m most interested in.

I often find that Loki is misrepresented in many things about Norse Myhology. He is often said to be evil and the villain of the sTories, but whilst he has three titles “God of mischief”, “God of chaos” and “God of lies”, not one of those suggests to me that he is evil, which is one reason why the Marvel representation of Loki appeals to me: his deterioration into darkness and the reason for it are all shown on screen.

To me, the backstory of a character is one of the most important things about them, it’s what shapes them into who they are, I always try to consider that when I make my own characters, whether in art or in stories, so it’s nice to see it done so well in a movie I both love and find very inspirational.


(image found: http://marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Thor_%28film%29)

Colour inspiration

One of the most overlooked things about the world around us, I think, are it’s colours. I never really thought much about it until I heard a conversation about colourblind artists, and it made me think. One of the most appealing things about art, to me, is it’s colours. I like work with bold colour, not necessarily bright, but bold and clear rather than faded and pale. Although this does conteast my love of manga, typically read in black and white, but I find the use of grayscale and markmaking appealing in place of the colour in the images as it allows your mind to fill in colours yourself based on the different Gray tones used.

My favourite time of day is evening because of the colours of the sky at sunset and dusk. I find it fascinating to watch the sunset and how it changes the colours in the sky gradually, and how no two sun sets are ever the same. Whilst I don’t particularly enjoy drawing or painting landscapes or scenes from the world around me, preferring fantasy and imaginative illustrations, I draw a lot of inspiration from the colours and tones I see in the world and in art.

Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare before christmasHaving been told repeatedly I should watch Tim Burtons “Nightmare Before Christmas” I finally did exactly that! It’s not the sort of film I would normally watch but I found it fairly enjoyable considering that. I liked the use of colour in the film. In each zone the colours make it really clear rights from the start of the scene where the location is. Halloween Town, obviously, has a dark colour palette with the brightest colours being dull oranges and greens. Christmas Town’s colour scheme is bright and appealing with stereotypical themes and colours and the ‘human world’ is a mixture of loads of different colours, so even without a name given it’s clear that the scene takes place in our world. The colours schemes alongside Tim Burtons distinctive and unique style made the film enjoyable for me to watch despite it not being a film I would normally choose. To me, it’s proof of how important it is to choose details like colours carefully so the audience can pick up on things without unnecessary explanations having to be given.


(Image found: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107688/)