Author Laura Shearer

Currently Belfast based film reviewer, once a film theory student (BA 2:1, MA with distinction). I share a deep fascination with Asian cinemas and am mostly interested in cinematography. Documentary film is probably my favourite genre if I had to pick one. Monster movies, classic comedy like Chaplin or the downright bizarre are among my favourite viewings. My passion for film boarders obsessive like any cinephile would say. I’ll watch anything once, but can guarantee I’ll have something to say.

NP Approved tale-of-princess-kaguya-2

Everything Ghibli takes the form of a traditional Japanese fairytale in Isao Takahata’s new feature. Dazzling audiences with sumptuous visuals and enchanting fantasy, it’s all Studio Ghibli has owed as its global success to in a nutshell. Viewers of all ages will be drawn in by the stunning animation styles and unique way of storytelling, but as always there’s plenty more under the surface for those more discerning …

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What would the world be like without war between nations? Peaceful and battle free you’d suppose. As much as that seems to be true, it’s become clear that people and society enjoy the excitement and fear that goes with warfare. In a future version of Earth where nations are at ease with each other, the deployment of staged warfare has …

Special Edition dawn-of-apes-animals-attack

A hybrid of flesh eating piranhas are released into the rivers surrounding a summer resort, accidentally of course. No other animal attacking film has spawned so many follow-up or “inspired by” films as these beloved creatures. As natural flesh eaters and frantic in their feeding frenzies, they’re practically horror film fodder waiting to happen…

Special Edition audition

Horror films have been terrifying me since I first set eyes on them. As a genre, there are many reasons for the seemingly constant production and audiences keep coming back for the thrill of the scare. Asian horror films are in a complex league of their own, more often than not being the subject of a Hollywood remake. Sadly the …

Special Edition 08-maleficent

Disney is more famous for their animated feature films. As a corporation who is completely orientated by family entertainment, it’s no surprise that they have an invested history in live action family focused feature films. This list was such a joy to compose because it brought back a lot of forgotten gems from my childhood. One thing that made it …

Top Ten fHGzJ9M

Excuse me while I get over excited at the ridiculous nature of giant monsters on screen. As far as monster films go, things could only get better if you made that monster a giant monster. These on screen nightmares and terrors are some of the most iconic and baffling creatures I’ve ever seen. These beasts are set up as incomprehensible,

Film Festival Ai_Weiwei_The_Fake_Case_1-1

What really went on when legendary and iconic Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was arrested in China? This amazing documentary lays bare the artist’s life as it currently stands. Under the surveillance of the Chinese government after he was released from an 81 day jail sentence on 22nd June 2011, his arrest was made under the pretence of economic crimes. The key problem was…

Top Ten home_bg4

Vampires have been haunting our screens with their presence since cinema became a popular medium. Historically speaking, most global cultures have a version of the vampire legend and monster figure rooted deep within their folklore and this is something that literature has brought to the fore. Theorists such as Ken Gelder have categorised the vampire figure in cinema from its humble beginnings as a shadowy apparition to the modern day teen romantic. Vampires throughout their representations on the silver screen have transformed to fit the morals of the narratives and are mouldable characters that heavily influenced by the cultures their source material is taken from. The stereotypical vampire of Eastern European heritage earns its place through a fear of transmitting of plague and pestilence, converted to a fear of foreign cultures invading with the movement of trades across the seas. Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula is a prime example of this European imagery we initially conjure up when the word vampire is heard, but over the past decades the vampire has seen many forms in film.

NP Approved Under-The-Skin

Some of the best and most disturbing sci-fi films are set on earth itself. Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1959), Planet of the Apes (1968), District 9 (2009), are just a few of the unsettling narratives that use planet earth as their setting. Films like the original Star Wars trilogy used earth bound landscapes and made them seem other worldly, but director Jonathan Glazer uses these specific landscapes in a unique way for his impressively unique sci-fi. Glazer’s new feature is not shy of using the urban landscapes of Glasgow and rural back roads of the Scottish Highlands as the familiar setting for his modern sci-fi alien narrative. The desolate landscapes are mixed with busy cityscapes and the fact that these seem relatively familiar in terms of imagery use is the powerful impact.

Top Ten Jennifer-lawrence-stars-as-katniss-everdeen-in-the-hunger-games

It’s easy when asked to think about female action heroes to quickly round up female superhero characters.  The abundance of classic and contemporary female superheroes, from Wonder Woman to Cat Woman, all comic book based, is relatively astonishing.  Female action heroes can be more than those endowed with super human powers.  The involvement of the female character in action genre films has unfortunately the same history as female characters in the horror genre.  Often the damsel in distress or the trophy prize for the hero, as far back as Greek mythology this has been the fate of the female in heroic tales, and this has remained relatively constant in feature films.  For me, a female action hero is somebody who ultimately demonstrates the traits of a hero figure and as this top ten shows, somebody who defies the genre standards and represents something unique within the genre’s expectations.

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