Emma Stone

Ep 217: Sherlock- The Final Problem and La La Land Review

The guys, joined by Sujoy aka @9e3k , get stuck into the season finale of the BBC’s Sherlock and there is much afoot!
Firstly a quick intro talking about Ben Affleck and his new film, Live by Night.  And then a battle between La La Land and all of Bollywood.

Sherlock, the final problem.  Upod travels down these roads:

– Are the writers taking the piss at the viewers’ expense?
– Why is Moriarty so prominent, after his death?
– Eurus…generally speaking, wtf?
– Concerns with believability

– A slight excursion sideways into Art Malik and his appearance in Mirzya, a recent Bollywood movie!

– And then the “The tasks of Sherlock”
– Horror themes throughout the episode
– The confusing, convoluted ending
– Where next for our intrepid detectives, Holmes & Watson

Check out more of Sujoy‘s work at OneKnighStand and Bollypop!

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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Review

“How did we end up here? This place smells of balls.” says the disembodied voice of Birdman; the alter-ego of Michael Keaton’s Riggan Thomson in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s ‘Birdman or (The Virtue of Ignorance)’. What’s Riggan doing whilst his inner demon and career-shading superhero delivers this opening line? Why, he’s meditating in the middle of his shabby, run down dressing room – hovering some four feet off the floor.
And so begins Riggan’s unhinged story; a man made super famous by his superhero role 25 years ago, now trying to resurrect his career by directing, producing and starring in a broadway play. The role was not written for Keaton, but the similarities are obvious.
Inarritu takes a single camera, cleverly making the whole thing look like its shot in one take – although obviously not, and practically shoves it in the faces of Riggan, and his nerve-wracking entourage including manager (Zach Galifianakis – a man on the edge of financial ruin), daughter (Emma Stone – just out of rehab) and cast (Ed Norton playing what I imagine is a cartoon version of Ed Norton and a twitchy Naomi Watts) as they all sink under the weight of their own self doubts and self importance at what feels like break-neck speed. No sooner have we dealt with one conflicting philosophical theory about art, acting, truth, or relationships then we are thrown into another – all set to a backdrop of clever set-ups like a play within a play which is actually a film although it feels like a play – see what I’m getting at?
The characters make fun of themselves, of each other, of roles they have actually played and eventually of things you as an audience member have watched and all of this should be too much and too clever for its own good were it not for just how wonderfully silly, bonkers and downright funny it is. You get the feeling that at any moment – and very much aided by the scatty drum score that accompanies every scene, that the whole thing will just end abruptly and derail, but it doesn’t, it very much goes the distance. This is because it’s brilliantly directed and every performance is outstanding; most notable of all being Keaton’s.
I’ve missed Michael Keaton. As a child of the 80s, I had two movie uncles; Bill. Murray and Michael Keaton. And whilst Bill Murray is your prickish, laid back movie uncle, gatecrashing your house party to serve tequila, Michael Keaton is the relative most likely to arrive at said party by driving a car through the wall with a goofy smile on his face – just me?
And although he hasn’t been completely missing from our screens for the past twenty years, he’s definitely been less prolific and apart from his TLC-loving captain spot in ‘The Other Guys’, has steered clear of the kind of insane-character stuff that gave him his fame in the 80s. But Keaton is best with the straight jacket off. Even as ‘Batman’ up against Nicholson’s scene-chewing Joker, with little to do in the way of impact except for wearing the costume, he nearly steals the show with his “Come on, let’s get nuts!” line. That’s because he means it!
Here, Keaton gets to pull out every trick he has and some we haven’t seen before as he lurches from one pre-show disaster to another. Comedy like this has missed his talents, and so have I.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is in UK theaters from today.
Paul Mcghie is an Award-Winning Screenwriter, Director, London Lift-Off Film Festival Judge and git. You can check out his feature project here. His work is on Vimeo or you can follow him on twitter @DirPaulMcGhie

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Gotham/How To Get Away With Murder and Frank Review Upodcast

Sometimes in life, they say less is more, but we beg to differ.  For this episode of Upodcasting, more is more!  We squeeze in a load of TV shows and 2 movies.  Well, 3 movies if you include Asim coming very late to the X-men Days of Future Past party.  It could even have been 4, but Ahmed is further behind as he hasn’t even watched Guardians of the Galaxy (sheesh, come on Ahmed, get with the programme already!).

With the three un-wise men back on form, Upodcasting gears up for the autumn with Ahmed first up talking about TV shows Legends and Forever (both showing in the UK on Sky).  Martin doesn’t really count as he’s been “catching-up on” the A-Team (yes, really), but we still manage to cover Gotham, which debuted this week on Channel 5 in the UK, and How To Get Away With Murder.  Gotham has the most potential arguably, even with a known and in theory limited universe.

Back to movie-world and we talk about Woody Allen’s latest, Magic in the Moonlight, starring Emma Stone and Colin Firth.  Perhaps harsh to compare it to Blue Jasmine (yes, Martin did call the best actress Oscar first) but then what choice do we have?  It seems like with Woody Allen you have to apply some kind of logic as to hit or miss: it’s been 2 years, there’s been a lunar eclipse and he hasn’t been to court, therefore it’s a winner.  Thankfully it’s a good one and a lot easier to discuss than Frank, our final movie.  Starring Michael Fassbender, Domnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhal but sort of not starring Michael Fassbender…this is certainly in the mould of an art-house movie and raises the question of artistic integrity and the motivations for artistic expression.  And that’s about as succinctly as we can express it without giving to much away.

Here’s the trailer for Frank:

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Magic In The Moonlight Review

Wei Ling Soo, (real name Stanley Crawford) renowned magician and exposer of fake mediums and scam artists, is summoned to the south of France by an old school friend and fellow magician to reveal and expose Sophie Baker who is conning a wealthy American family.

An eccentric misanthrope who believes firmly in science and not spirituality, Colin Firth’s resolve is tested when he encounters a talented medium, played by Emma Stone. If there is a trick being played, will he find out and if not, how will that affect his own beliefs and existence?

There’s never any trepidation when it comes to a new Woody Allen and always a pleasure to see what he’ll give you next. Sure, some work better than others, but as I said to my friend, I’m pretty sure the scores for his films range _DSF0273.RAFbetween 62% and 89% so it’s all pretty decent.

There is much to like about this film, including British actors and the lead Colin Firth, playing a role that reminded me of myself. However, the main acting action is between Firth and Emma Stone. It is also a pleasure to watch a film that is not laced with cut after cut and so allows the viewer to enjoy the scenes, setting and photography.

The south of France is made to look lovely, without being the outright focus (see Midnight in Paris for a love letter to a location). It’s a wonderful journey that our magician goes on. The stuffy, cynical, sceptical expert is full of pithy put-downs and is firm in his beliefs that there is no meta-physical, there is no spiritual side. But once Sophie has him convinced otherwise his outlook changes permanently – opening-up to the beauty of the natural world and Sophie’s own beauty. In many ways this is familiar story – e.g. Along Came Polly – with a pretty woman making the man see the error of his unromantic, awkward ways and open his eyes to something new.

I had a lot of time for Colin Firth and it felt at times it was almost only his movie, as there was very little from the supporting cast. But what of Emma Stone and her lovely red hair? Her appearance was a surprise I’ll be honest, but a good one I have to say! I thought she was well cast in the role of the clairvoyant and love interest; a bright, romantic and keen foil to Colin Firth’s miserable Englishman.

Overall I like this film, nowhere near as much as I like Blue Jasmine, but I do really like it. And that’s despite knowing how all of the trickery was being done for most of the movie. Sit back, take some time away from exploding robots and enjoy a romantic journey through the south of France.

Magic in the Moonlight is currently in UK theaters.

Here is the trailer:


The Croods: Meet the Characters of Dreamworks PreHistoric Adventure

Dreamworks and Pixar have been competing animation studios from the start and lately Dreamworks has really been stepping up their game and have totally landed on my good boosk since the wonderful How To Train Your Dragon (and even MegaMind had it’s moments) I still find the celebrity voice work distraction but The Croods they have enlisted the talents of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone whose charm even seems to translates through animated pixels.

Supposed to be in stop motion and produced by Aardman Animations, director Chris Sanders took over and rewrote The Croods after the success of How To Train Your Dragon.

I have to be honest and admit I couldn’t figure out that the voice of the dad was Nicolas Cage as he hasnt been this subdued in any of his live action movies in years. It still is an element of Dreamwork movies that distracts me but this could defintely be a fun time for the kids at least!


The Croods is a prehistoric comedy adventure that follows the world’s first family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime when the cave that has always shielded them from danger is destroyed. Traveling across a spectacular landscape, the Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures — and their outlook is changed forever.



In cinemas March 22nd 2013


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The Amazing Spiderman Review Upodcast

Not just a pretty face

New Episode Of UPODCAST is LIVE: One the most recognisable and enduring of the Marvel super-heroes, Spiderman, makes a welcome return to our big screens with Mark Webber’s The Amazing Spiderman.  Upod shines its bright light on Hollywood’s most recent re-boot and asks “is the re-boot too soon?” and how it compares to the Sam Raimi beasts that precede it.  We take a closer look at the inner workings of the film and some hints of that follow.

Andrew Garfield picks up Tobey Maguire’s nerdy baton and then proceeds to throw it away; eschewing shyness for a more assertive role.  And things are the same for Emma Stone‘s Gwen Stacey – given far more sass than Kirsten Dunst ever was.  Once again we return to the Brits for bad-guy inspiration, with Rhys Ifans‘ Dr Curt Connors terrorising New York as The Lizard.

In addition to those leads, the casting also includes Josiah Bartlet and Sally Field as Peter Parker’s uncle and aunt and Denis Leary as Chief of Police (& Gwen’s father).  That’s a bloody decent set of parents and we haven’t even mentioned Irfan Khan’s somewhat under used and shady Dr Ratha.  More of him to follow in the next two installments?  It would be good to see.

So, what lies in store?  A good, but not great, blockbuster that has been re-shaped into something that we at Upod thought should have been all along.  There’s enough to keep all but the harshest critics happy and the makers have sewn the seeds for the next two parts.  Not as innovative as the Christopher Nolan Batman Begins re-make, The Amazing Spiderman nevertheless ticks all the right boxes and gives us a film more grounded in our reality than before.

Check out our new Upodcast below or subscribe in iTunes to never miss one!



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