Previews: Queen & Slim, The Irishman, more!

Lots of tantalising clips in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Queen & Slim trailer, The Irishman, JT LeRoy, and more…

Queen & Slim Trailer

Here is the brand new Queen & Slim trailer. The trailer gives allusions of Bonnie and Clyde and Thelma & Louise with its couple on the run premise, albeit with a very contemporary edge. The film is written by Lena Waithe, and directed by Melina Matsoukas. Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, Queen & Slim is coming soon to cinemas.

The Irishman Trailer

Finally the trailer for one of the year’s most anticipated films is here. The Irishman sees Martin Scorsese re-team with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Harvey Keitel. Additions to the cast include Al Pacino, Bobby Cannavale, and Anna Paquin. Written by Steve Zalillian, The Irishman is about a hitman who worked alongside some of the 20th century’s most notorious figures. The Irishman will be released in select UK cinemas and on Netflix this Autumn.

JT LeRoy Trailer

JT LeRoy tells the story of one of the literary world’s most infamous hoaxes. The film stars Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Diane Kruger, and Jim Sturgess. Directed by Justin Kelly, JT LeRoy will be released in cinemas and on Digital HD on 16th August 2019.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood Trailer

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood feels like the kind of film we need about now. The film is about Mister Rogers and his friendship with journalist Tom Junod. Directed by Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), the film stars Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys. A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood is set for release in UK cinemas on 6th December 2019.

Zombieland: Double Tap Trailer

Here is the trailer for Zombieland: Double Tap. A belated sequel to the 2009 hit Zombieland, the film sees director Ruben Fleischer reunite with stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin. Zombieland: Double Tap hits UK screens on 18th October 2019.

Film Review: Maggie

Maggie

Henry Hobson’s directorial debut Maggie is a brooding drama with gothic accents. The atmosphere is powerful, even if the film lacks vitality.

A disease that turns people into zombies has spread across major cities. When Maggie, a teenage girl from the Midwest, is infected, she is released into the custody of her father to spend her remaining days with her family…

Although Maggie is a zombie movie, it does not fit the mould of this sub-genre. Instead, director Henry Hobson’s film is more of a drama than anything else. Maggie concentrates on family relationships in a difficult circumstance, particularly the relationship between father and daughter.

The film is a slow burner, focusing on relationship dynamics rather than a strong narrative progression. As such there are reflections on the past, and the difficult realisation of the circumstance. At times, it feels as if Maggie is reaching for emotion that isn’t there. Although the mood is consistent, it does not necessarily generate a strong reaction from the audience.

The setting of Maggie is interesting in that it eschews the big city epidemic for a more remote environment. The premise does have a certain hook in exploring what would happen in rural communities if such an outbreak was to occur. Nevertheless, the execution of the film renders it less absorbing than it could have been. Those expecting scares are likely to be disappointed.

The handheld camera gives a feeling of intimacy with the characters. However, this could have been toned down at times. The muted palette works well to give the film a look that matches its thematic tone. Abigail Breslin offers a decent performance as the afflicted teenage girl. Wade is an usual role for action star Arnold Schwarzenegger; his performance is fitting but not standout.

An interesting concept, Maggie is betrayed by a lack of vigour that undermines overall enjoyment.

 

Previews: Inside Out TV Spot, Maggie Trailer and More

A cornucopia of film-related goodness in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the latest Inside Out TV spot, a Terminator Genisys featurette, Maggie trailer and lots more…

Inside Out TV Spot

Here is the latest Inside Out TV spot. The Disney Pixar film has been doing fantastic business in the US, and looks certain to replicate that in the UK with its summer holiday’s release. With the voices of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling, Inside Out hits UK screens on 24th July 2015.

Terminator Genisys Featurette

The cast and crew of upcoming Terminator Genisys talk about protagonist Sarah Connor in this new featurette. The famous action heroine is played by Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke, who indicates that there will be nods to the original film in this latest instalment of the franchise. Terminator Genisys is released on 2nd July 2015.

Ant-Man TV Spot

Marvel’s latest super hero to receive the big-screen treatment is Ant-Man. From the above TV spots and earlier trailers, the film looks to offer a fair amount of humour. Starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, Ant-Man launches its way onto the big screen on 17th July 2015.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation Poster

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation poster

Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in the five instalment of the Mission: Impossible film franchise. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation sees the IMF disbanded, leaving Ethan and his team trying to combat deadly terror attacks. With Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames also returning, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation bursts into cinemas on 30th July 2015.

Maggie Trailer

Arnold Schwarzenegger must once again play the hero in new thriller Maggie. The film is a teenage girl who is infected during a zombie outbreak, and her father’s efforts to protect her. Also starring Abigail Breslin, Maggie is set for release on 24th July 2015.

Ted 2 Trailer

So teddy bears coming to life is something that I dream about. Ted is a little lewd for my tastes, but the first film was enjoyable enoughTed 2 reunites Mark Wahlberg and Seth McFarlane, and brings on board Amanda Seyfried as Ted’s lawyer. Ted 2 hits the big screen on 8th July 2015 in the UK.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Trailer

The trailer for the latest instalment of the Paranormal Activity franchise is here. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension sees a family discover some old VHS tapes which hold a nasty surprise. The conclusion of the horror franchise is scheduled for release on 30th October 2015.

Vacation Poster

Vacation poster

Here is the latest poster for upcoming comedy Vacation. The film is the latest in the National Lampoon franchise, and sees a grown-up Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) taking his family on a road-trip vacation. Also starring Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth, Vacation is release in UK cinemas on 21st August 2015.

The Secret Life of Pets Trailer

I know what pets to all day; the nap and eat and nap some more. That is to say, they live the life. New animated comedy The Secret Life of Pets takes us behind closed doors. Featuring the voices of Louis C.K., Ellie Kemper and Hannibal Buress, The Secret Life of Pets  is set for release on 24th June 2016.

Fantastic Four Photo Shoot

Here are the stars of the new Fantastic Four film looking dapper. Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell star as the superhero quartet in the reboot of the Marvel franchise. Fantastic Four launches its way onto the big screen on 6th August 2015.

Spectre Vlog

Here is the latest blog from the set of new James Bond move Spectre. Director Sam Mendes discusses filming a scene that takes place amidst the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City. Starring Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz, Spectre will be released on 6th November 2015.

Magic Mike XXL Clip

The marketing for sequel Magic Mike XXL has been wonderful. This latest clip suggests the tongue-in-cheek attitude will continue in the film. Whereas the first film descended into schmaltz, here’s hoping this instalment will keep the tone humorous. The film is, after all, about male entertainers. Magic Mike XXL is released in cinemas on 3rd July 2015.

Film Review: The Call

The Call

Director Brad Anderson’s The Call is a suitably tense thriller which is let down by a ludicrous final third.

Jordan is an experienced 911 call operator. When she makes an error on a call, she is unsure whether she can go back to her front-line duties. When a young girl is kidnapped, however, it is Jordan who must keep her on the phone…

The premise of The Call is one that is interesting and probable enough. There is sufficient apprehension to retain the audience’s attention. The film offers a sense of mystery and suspense; in this way it is a competent thriller.

The Call‘s downfall begins in the film’s final third. The highly implausible incidents tot up, reaching a crescendo of incongruousness. What is for the most part a tense thriller descends into laughter at the ludicrous turn of events. It is difficult to take the final third of the film seriously.

It does not seem that the film is attempting to evoke a strong shift in tone. Nevertheless, the incidents in the final third seem so disjointed and implausible that it almost feels as if they have been included for comedic purposes.

The Call evokes shades of other thrillers and horror movies. This is most prominent through the antagonist. The film’s writers were clearly influenced by other films in trying to depict him as a psychopath. The Call works best when the audience is told very little about him, as this retains the sense of mystery.

Abigail Breslin offers a decent performance as kidnapped girl Casey. Halle Berry is adequate as Jordan for the most part; it is the script rather than Berry that is at fault later in the film. Special effects at the end of the film have a veneer of artificiality to them.

The Call does not quite fit the category of guilty pleasure. If the film had continued as it started, then it would have made for a more successful picture.

Trailer Round-Up

Plenty of new trailers this week, including The Call, The Frozen Ground,and Only God Forgives

The Call

Halle Berry plays an emergency call operator in The Call. Also starring Abigail Breslin, film looks like a fast-paced thriller, from the trailer at least. It at least serves as a warning to always keep your phone adequately charged. The Call is out in UK cinemas on 20th September 2013.

The Frozen Ground

Watching this trailer, it’s hard to believe that John Cusack is the same guy who was in Say Anything. The Frozen Ground is based on the true story of the hunt for a serial killer in Alaska. Also starring Nicolas Cage and Vanessa Hudgens, The Frozen Ground hits the big screen on 19th July 2013.

Only God Forgives

Here is the latest trailer for Only God Forgives. Kristin Scott Thomas is barely recognisable. And Nicolas Winding Refn really does seem to like neon. Starring Ryan Gosing, Only God Forgives is out in UK cinemas on 2nd August 2013.

Pacific Rim

Monsters! Robots! Action writ large! Pacific Rim (I can’t with this name) is Guillermo del Toro’s future-set action blockbuster. If gigantic monsters started popping out of the ocean, I think I would just hide under the bed. But perhaps this would not make for a very exciting film. Pacific Rim hits the big screen on 12th July 2013.

Runner Runner

Justin Timberlake plays a college student who pays for his tuition through online gambling in Runner Runner. In fairness, he could be a mature student. The film also stars Gemma Arterton and Ben Affleck,  in his second role since his Argo success. Runner Runner is out on 27th September 2013.

Hawking

Hawking is a new documentary on the life of the most famous living scientist in the world, Stephen Hawking. His fame seems to concentrate on his work as a physicist and his disability, so perhaps this film is an opportune chance to discover more about the renowned scientist. Hawking is released on 20th September 2013.

Film Review: Rango

In an age where almost everything animated appears in 3D, Rango refreshingly does not opt for this route. Although the film is animated and rated PG, it is more likely to appeal to adults and older children rather than younger viewers.

Rango is a lonely chameleon who puts on plays with his toys to entertain himself. When Rango accidentally finds himself in the middle of the desert, he comes across the town of Dirt. Rango takes the opportunity to invent himself as a gun-slinging hero…

Directed by Pirates of the Caribbean‘s Gore Verbinski, Rango is not the typical animated feature. The film does not seem to fit the Pixar/Dreamworks mould of combining adventure, comedy, drama and romance. Instead, Rango is best described as a western. Given its characteristics, this category seems most appropriate. However, like a film such as Back to the Future Part III, Rango will sometimes adhere to conventions, and at other times play on the familiar archetypes present.

Given this western predilection then, it is perhaps unsurprising that Rango is more likely to entertain older audience members than the young children usually targeted by animated features. The film begins rather slowly, which won’t really entice youngsters with a short attention span. Moreover, those expecting a Disneyesque movie may be disappointed by Rango‘s offbeat style.

Although humour is present in Rango, it is a hard push to describe the film as hilarious. The comedy is more self-reflexive, with jokes about performing and genre that are likely to go over the head of some. Elsewhere the humour is quirky, with the film’s narrator becoming involved in the action, for example. The narrative is interrupted on two occasions with sequences that are interesting but bizarre. Nevertheless, they do not help in making Rango enthralling;  the film lacks a good narrative.

The animation in Rango is sumptuous. Nickelodeon, ILM and the other production companies have done a fantastic job with the aesthetics. The detail in particular is amazing. Although animation tends to look better in 3D than live action generally, hopefully Rango‘s inevitable success will attest that not every new feature needs to be produced in three dimensions.

Rango features a host of famous names voicing the array of characters. Johnny Depp is suitably cast as Rango, although it is difficult to ever lose sight that it is Johnny Depp voicing the character. Isla Fisher is decent as Beans, as is Abigail Breslin as the very cute Priscilla. Ray Winstone and Bill Nighy meanwhile conform to their usual bad guy roles.

Rango is a fun movie, and something different to the usual big-budget animated fare. However, the film lacks the heart that would take it from enjoyable to amazing.