Thursday 30th March

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story review

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – the latest container strapped to the back of the Lucasfilm juggernaut – has hit cinemas and is unsurprisingly delivering impressive returns at the box office.  Chief Features Writer Ian Cater went to see the movie for What’s On London and, after giving fans a chance to see it for themselves, sets out his views below.  Warning: this review contains spoilers.

As a lifelong lover of Star Wars, it’s hard to pinpoint precisely what makes the franchise so fantastic.  I used to think it was the crude but effective polarisation of good versus evil, diluted by a ‘real-world’ recognition that both have their day.  Or the way George Lucas allowed characters to develop over time, keeping the camera on a handful of heroes and villains in a crowded universe.  Or maybe the blend of humour and darkness, which became so horribly skewed towards the former (missing its target) in Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

But I was wrong.  Because Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has none of these qualities, yet still represents a welcome addition to the Star Wars oeuvre.

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Category: Cinema
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24th Raindance Film Festival, 21st September – 2nd October 2016

Tomorrow sees the start of the annual Raindance Film Festival in London’s West End – now Europe’s largest independent film festival.  Across 12 days, audiences will get the chance to see 90 feature films, 85 short films, an incredible Virtual Reality Arcade, and dozens of talks by the film industry’s great and good.  

Despite modest beginnings, Raindance has become a very big deal, helping launch the careers of Edgar Wright and Christopher Nolan, and providing a launchpad for films such as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? and Memento to achieve critical acclaim and commercial success.  

Ian Cater spoke to Raindance’s founder, Elliot Grove, about the inspiration behind it and what London film fans can expect to see at this year’s festival.

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Category: Cinema
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Him Tarzan, Me Very Impressed – ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ film review

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What’s On London were treated to an early screening of Warner Brothers’ The Legend of Tarzan this week, starring Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie and directed by Harry Potter’s very own David Yates.

As Shannon Rawlins reports, although the film is far from perfect, it’s an enjoyable and immersive ride with a number of strong performances and excellent use of CGI more than making up for certain plot gaps.

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Category: Cinema
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Interview with Liam Tamne of The Rocky Horror Show – “It’s great not having to wear many clothes!”

Since its first appearance in June 1973, Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show has become the world’s favourite Rock n’ Roll musical.  It has been performed worldwide in over 30 countries in every continent and has been translated into more than 20 languages.  To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Christopher Luscombe has created a brand new production which is touring the UK until December 2016.

As ever, the show promises to thrill, following squeaky-clean sweethearts Brad and Janet on an adventure they’ll never forget.  What awaits is a night of fun, frolics and frivolity with the scandalous Frank N Furter, rippling Rocky and vivacious Magenta, bursting at the seams with timeless classics such as Sweet Transvestite, Damn it Janet, and of course, the pelvic-thrusting Time Warp.

Shannon Rawlins of What’s On London spoke to Dr. Frank N Furter himself, Liam Tamne, about his character’s charisma, energy and heels …

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Category: Cinema
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Asli Bayram – A Rising Star

By Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Asli Bayram: if you haven’t heard the name yet, expect to hear it very soon.  Because although this talented actress, writer and former model has already done a great deal, she’s got the talent, hunger and grounding to achieve so much more.

Having earned acclaim for a series of challenging stage and film roles overseas, it’s time for her to break through in the UK.  And while she’s here, our politicians would do well to listen to her sensible views on tolerance and integration.

Asli Bayram being crowned Miss Germany in 2005.

Being crowned Miss Germany in 2005.

Writing about Asli Bayram isn’t easy, because it’s hard to know where to start.

Many choose her early career as a beauty queen, becoming the first Miss Germany of Turkish extraction in 2005.  Others focus on the prejudice Bayram faced growing up as a second-generation immigrant.  Some dwell on the awful tragedy in her life: witnessing her father’s murder at the hands of a neo-Nazi when she was 12 years old.

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Category: Cinema
Barney Douglas on the set of 'Warriors'.
Barney Douglas on the set of 'Warriors'.

Q&A: Barney Douglas, Director of ‘Warriors’

By Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Barney Douglas is a British documentary maker and Creative Director of Heavy Soul Films. Between 2007 and 2014, he was official video producer for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), producing features including the award-winning ‘Swanny’s Ashes Diaries’.  The series went on to receive over 15 million views.

‘Warriors’ is Barney’s first feature-length documentary, released in UK cinemas in November 2015 to critical acclaim.  The film tells the story of a group of Maasai warriors who form a cricket team and use the publicity to campaign against FGM in their community.  You can read a full review of the film here.

‘Warriors’ was released on DVD and iTunes on Monday 25th January 2016.  The original score, co-written by Barney, is also available on iTunes now.

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Category: Cinema

‘Warriors’ – A heartwarming story for those who don’t like cricket and those who love it

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By Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

It’s not often you’re asked to review a film about cricket, the Maasai tribe and female genital mutilation (FGM), but Barney Douglas’ directorial debut successfully draws these strands into a heartwarming and sensory piece.

‘Warriors’ is a work of genuine artistic merit that is – for the first time since 10cc’s Dreadlock Holiday – as enjoyable for those who don’t like cricket (oh, no) as for those who love it.  That’s because ‘Warriors’ isn’t really about cricket, despite England fast bowler Jimmy Anderson being the film’s Executive Producer.  Nor is it really about tribal culture or FGM.  It’s a documentary about role models and courage, about using a platform to stand up for causes you believe in.

And this is a message as applicable to Londoners as to anyone else.

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Category: Cinema
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What’s On London attends VIP Launch of Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter

Last week, What’s On London had the opportunity to attend the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour’s VIP Launch of their latest feature, Hogwarts in the Snow.  The Christmassy feeling hit us as soon as we walked through the door as we were greeted by a gigantic Christmas tree in the foyer which was beautifully decorated.

Following some magical drinks in the foyer which bubbled and produced smoke, we were shown through into the Great Hall which has been impeccably decorated with a number of Christmas trees lining the wall behind the tables with a giant wreath hanging over the fireplace.

Crackers and presents decorated in the various house colours adorned the Great Hall tables, while Christmas food including roast potatoes, peas, ham and turkey were piled on top.  Demonstrations were given of how the flames around the Christmas puddings were created before we were able to make our way around the tour.

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Category: Cinema