The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX and BBC2, 2016)


Currently over on BBC 2 we have the incredible reenactments of the OJ Simpson Case. We get to see the interesting and compelling true story that had the media begging for more. The show appeals to both those who were there at the time and us younger audience who just want to know what all the hype was about. I decided to watch the show because not only did I want to know what the case was actually about but I was forced to watch for my drama course at university. Yep, if you haven’t guessed by now by my blog, I am a media student. (Yikes media at university, what a waste of time… shut up!)


The drama opened with real clips from the riots, giving the idea of a documentary and reminds the audience that the drama is based on true events. The drama sets the scene straight away and gives us a sense of mystery even though, if you have basic knowledge and / or access to the internet then you will know how it is going to end.

I felt that the drama reflected a film / cinematic style. If you have watched any of the great TV shows, such as ‘The Walking Dead’ or ‘American Horror Story’ then you will know that all the shows are trying to replace cinema. This is very much shown through the lighting, high budget, complex story and the number of actors and locations. We can also tell that the show is high budget due to the number of stars. We see Sarah Paulson and Connie Britton (American horror story), Chris Bauer (True Blood), David Schwimmer (Friends), John Travolta (Grease and Pulp Fiction) and Cuba Gooding Jr (What dreams May come). The number of big names in this show really drew me in and is probably what drew in a lot of their current audience. I seriously can’t get over Ross playing Kim Kardashians dad! Also I will warn you in advance John Travolta is looking old.  As there are a large number of characters we get to see the story from a number of sides, which added to the narrative and reflected the ‘VS’ nature of the show.

The programme reflected elements of an American drama rather than a British. The drama has some great shots and choice of music; it really is a fantastic watch. One of my favourite scenes in the first episode is when the characters attend the funeral. Outside there is fast and loud action/ music but inside the camera is static and calm, with people whispering. This perhaps indicates the difference between the two moods. Later within the scene OJ kisses his dead ex-wife, the camera then zooms out slowly and cuts to black. (Sorry for going more media studies than review but it is incredibly well made)

My second favourite scene is when OJ attempts to shoot himself in Kim Kardashians bedroom, as dark as that sound it is really funny. Trust me when you watch this you are kind of surprised about the fact that the Kardashian’s were involved with the OJ Simpson case.

oj 2

Currently we are still following the story of OJ over on BBC2 (UK) Monday evenings so I would encourage you to catch up on IPlayer and watch the third episode out soon.

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

Follow me on twitter @apriely31 and Instagram deathbyapril for more updates.




Locke (Steven Knight, 2014)

Films are usually ridiculously expensive to make, I mean ‘Avatar’ (James Cameron, 2009) had a budget of 237 million. However, sometimes you get films that seem like you could have made it yourself and probably would have cost you just the camera. Now, these types of films are usually horror movies. Some great examples include ‘Paranormal Activity’ (Oren Peli, 2009) which cost about $16,000 to make but made an almighty sum of 193.4 million in box office and ‘The Blaire Witch Project’ (Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick, 1999) which cost between $25,000- $60,000 and made 248.6 million.  And now in 2014 we get ‘Locke’ the winner of the British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay, another great movie that seems like all they used was a camera, a car, a voice recorder and a few actors.  Yes, Locke cost around £2 million to make but unfortunately only made around £5 million in box office. I believe that the £2 million was caused mostly by the fact that they hired the incredible Tom Hardy to play the main role and had voices from our very own Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott).


Locke is a film that consists of one present character Iven Locke (Tom Hardy) a construction worker, father and husband. All we get to see for about an hour and a half is his drive from Birmingham to London.  But we get to listen to a number of phone calls that he makes throughout his long drive. He phones his wife, his two sons, his work and the mother of his new born (yes a different character from his wife). For the length of the film we get to hear his life fall to pieces as he losses all he loves within one drive.


This incredibly simple and realistic film manages to hold the attention of the audience by only focusing on a very close up view of Tom Hardy (that’s all I need to see to be honest). But it’s is not the visuals that make this narrative form, it’s the sound. We get an entire story through the voice on the end of the phone and Locke’s reactions. We feel true worry for his work, anger for the mother of his new born and empathy for his two boys and wife. It’s the incredible voice acting that really brings this story together. Anyone who said that sound is not that important in films just show them this work of art and I promise you they will change their mind.  However, if you were worried that all you get to look at is the beautiful Tom Hardy, you get to see the odd shot of the road and a few road signs. I found it incredibly fun to point out where he is in Birmingham as I live about five minutes away from where the film began (great , now you know where I live).


On the other hand, from the eyes of a media student I find this to be an incredible film that caused me to literally geek out about the use of sound in the film but if you aren’t really into that then it may not be your cup of tea.  I first watched this in my room on my own (yeah great Thursday night) and loved it. I then watched it again with my flat mate the next day and she made me turn it off because she thought it was boring. We then put on ‘Unfriended’ (Leo Gabriadze, 2015), which is pretty similar to the very cheap budget horror film that turns out to be pretty good.

Side note: Unfriended cost $1 million and made $ 64.1 million at the box office. – Moral of the story make high quality but low budget horror films for a living and you will be rich!


Now that I have hyped up the voice acting, the physical acting is also truly convincing. Tom Hardy is able to show all the emotion expected, considering the fact that he probably didn’t have the phone calls whilst recording. He really makes the film because if he wasn’t in it, then the car would still be parked.

‘Wow what a great BMW commercial’

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

Follow me on twitter @apriely31 and Instagram deathbyapril for more updates.

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Warrior (Gavin O’Connor, 2011)

Kumiko , The Treasure Hunter (David Zellner,2014)


As a Film cultures student we are forced to watch a movie each week to discuss in class. Now this may seem great, watching films in class but you would be wrong. We don’t watch them in class we watch them for class. As in our own time we are forced to go to a screening of some of the weirdest films I have ever heard of.  Last week’s film was Kumiko treasure hunter.  So basically by reading this and maybe even watching you can have an insight into a second year film cultures university module. Lucky you!

Kumiko is based on a Japanese girl (Rinko Kikuchi) who believes that the money that was buried in the snow within the film ‘Fargo’ (Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 1996) is real and is still there. Therefore, she takes a trip over to America in hopes to get to one of the coldest places in America (Fargo) in just a hoodie, to find the money. Throughout the film she encounters people upon her journey but due to the language barrier there is little dialogue. However, the film is still clear without much speech, a rarity in Hollywood.


Kumiko is not your traditional Hollywood film, there is no action or no love and worst of all there is no clear ending. The film starts off slow and pretty much stays slow throughout the whole film. There are parts where you think something could happen but you will usually be disappointed. I find the most action packed and edge of your seat part of the film is when she leaves her bunny ‘Bonzo’ on a train (what a Bitch) and when she runs away from paying a variety of bills. On the other hand, in terms of filmic techniques such as camera work, the use of colour and the use of sound it is a fantastic watch and text to analyse, hence why I was forced to watch it on my day off. Her simple red coat can compare to the use of colour in films such as ‘Shindlers list’ (Steven Spielberg, 1993) and ‘Sin City (Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, 2005), it’s powerful and sets her apart from all the other characters. However, I think her strange and shy personality does that anyway.


Kumiko is a very confused woman, who refuses to believe that the money in a film isn’t real. She is constantly told throughout and clearly can’t tell the difference between film and reality. However, you do have to admire the use of intertextual references (when the film includes references to other art works); we get to watch a lot of Fargo during this film so if you ever wanted to watch Fargo you no longer need to. With the film Fargo our beloved character creates a map of the fence and where the treasure is buried compared to where the character is.  Yes, our character is that clueless towards the difference of cinema and real life. Maybe Fargo just seems so realistic? I mean, the position of the money on screen could be very different from where the character was actually standing during filming and also the money is also prop money! So even if she found the money it would not be useable. I could just rant like this for days and if you have seen the film so could you.


The film does have clear plot and narrative but doesn’t really draw in your attention, I wouldn’t say I was bored but I would never have opted to watch it and I certainly won’t be watching it again any time soon.  The only interesting part of the film is the last 3 minutes where we think she has died but the film is very unclear on it. Again not like many Hollywood films. But if you want to watch it then be my guest, you may find it highly educational or you are in my class and missed the screening we had last Wednesday.

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

Follow me on twitter @apriely31 and Instagram deathbyapril for more updates.

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Warrior (Gavin O’Connor, 2011)

Warrior (Gavin O’Connor, 2011)

After the release of legend (Brian Helgeland, 2015) where Santa granted a lot of peoples wishes by casting Tom Hardy as both the leading rolls , I have decided to watch a few of his movies . One film that stood out in particular was Warrior. At first, from the title I thought it was a war movie but was pleasantly surprised when I found out it was a MMA movie (Mixed martial arts).  Yes, it is the kind of film that makes you want to fight after you have seen it.

Tom Hardy plays Tommy Conlon a tough fighter and soldier. When he was seen fighting at his local gym, he instantly gained attention from some important people and was able to fight for the world championship. Tommy is as hard as nails, with a troubled past and the ability to knock you out in one punch, he is the definition of bad ass! Unfortunately for Tommy, he is facing another bad ass, who wins all his fights because for some reason can’t be knocked out. So even though this is a big issue, the second issue is our component Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) is Tommy’s brother.  So who will win between a guy who relies on winning by knocking the component unconscious to win and a character who wins by never being knocked out? Don’t worry, you will only be asking yourself this for the whole film.


This is one of those movies that is just fantastic and really frustrates me. I love Tommy’s characters and you really feel sorry for him. Yes, he does tend to shout, hit and walk out of the arena as soon as he has won but never the less he is loved. I mean the guy can knock the toughest men out in one punch and rip the door off of a tank.  He’s a war hero that promises to give the winnings to his dead friend’s wife and children. The only problem is the older brother is equally great. He is a brilliant science teacher and a loving farther/ husband who desperately needs the money to save the house. It really is a lesser of two evils on who should win.  I won’t spoil who won but I wasn’t very satisfied with the ending.  I don’t often get angry at films but I did with this one.  I even got mad at the characters who cheered for the character I didn’t want to win.

One thing that also makes this film AMAZING is the acting performances from our beloved warriors.  A legendary badass plays… a legendary badass.  Now Tom Hardy may have started to complain that he is only ever being cast as tough and mean characters but he just does them so well. I mean Bane (The dark Knight rises), Bronson (Bronson), Eames (Inception), Max Rockatansky (Mad Max) and now recently John Fitzgerald (The revenant). So trust me when I say he is good.

Check out top ten Tom Hardy performances by watch mojo.

We get to experience a more realistic story line compared to some of his other roles, we get to see true conflict within a film, both physically and mentally as two brothers and a terrible brother must pick sides, fight and truly learn to love each other. It may sound cheesy but this film delivers it with 0 cheeses. You honestly feel like you are a part of the family, forced to pick which boy you want to stick with. Not quite team Edward / team Jacob but a pretty hard decision. Luckily, you have over two hours to make up your mind. (I got so bad during the end, I just googled who won).

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

Follow me on twitter @apriely31 and Instagram deathbyapril for more updates.

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Testament of Youth (James Kent,2014)