Stuff To Look At

Plenty of cinematic delights, including the last Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer, the latest X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer, Maleficent, Noah and more!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Above is the final The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer. Spider-Man is basically fighting everyone. Everyone. He really needs his Amazing Friends. Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dane De Haan and Jamie Foxx, The Amazing Spider-man 2 hits UK screens on 18th April 2014.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Here is the latest trailer for sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past. The film features characters from the original X-Men series as well as the younger versions from X-Men: First Class, taking place over two time periods. X-Men: Days of Future Past is released in the UK on 22nd May 2014.

Maleficent

The latest trailer for Maleficent suggests the film will be much more action packed than the standard fairy tale. Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent looks deliciously wicked, yet the trailer indicates that the film will show another side to the iconic character. Maleficent is released in UK cinemas on 30th May 2014.

Noah

I’m sure there are more than two of some of these animals in the latest clip from Noah. Just how big is this ark going to be to fit them all in, with sufficient provisions so they don’t start eating each other? I guess we will find out when Noah hits UK screens on 4th April 2014.

Pioneer

Well this looks tense and interesting. Based on true events, Pioneer is the story of a team of divers going to lay a pipeline in the North Sea. Reportedly due for a Hollywood remakePioneer is released in UK cinemas on 11th April 2014.

Snoopy and Charlie Bown: A Peanuts Movie

With Postman Pat and Paddington Bear getting big-screen features, it is not really a surprise that Snoopy is following suit. This teaser does not reveal too, much other than Snoopy is as cheeky as ever. Snoopy and Charlie Brown: A Peanuts Movie is due for release in 2015.

The Maze Runner

THe latest film to be based on a best-selling young adult movel that I haven’t read, The Maze Runner is an action thriller set in a dystopian world. I like the look of the maze in this film, but with my sense of direction I wouldn’t last too long. Starring Dylan O’Brien and Will Poulter, The Maze Runner is out in UK cinemas on 24th October 2014.

Rio 2

‘It’s a Jungle Out Here’ is one of the songs from the upcoming Rio 2. The animated sequel sees the return of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann and Jamie Foxx. Rio 2 hits UK screens on 4th April 2014.

Stuff To Look At

Film stuffs galore, including the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer, Machete Kills, Into The Woods and more…

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Here is the first Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer. The release of the trailer comes in the same week as the character’s creator, author Tom Clancy, passed away. Starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, and Kenneth Branagh (who also directs), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is out in UK cinemas on 26th December 2013.

Rio 2

Talking animal alert! Rio 2 features the voices of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann and Jamie Foxx. Blu, Jewel and their three children venture to the Amazon for a family reunion. Rio 2 is due for release in April 2014.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Here is the latest trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. This middle instalment features Orlando Bloom returning as Legolas, but a distinct lack of Gollum in the trailer at least. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is out in UK cinemas on 13th December 2013.

Machete Kills

Machete Kills is the follow up to 2010’s Machete. The film features more outlandish casting (including Charlie Sheen) and a more outlandish plot. Machete Kills hits cinemas on 11th October 2013.

Into The Woods

Meryl Streep Into The Woods

Well, Meryl Streep looks different. She plays the Witch in the first image released from Into The Woods. Based on the musical of the same name, Into The Woods is an amalgamation of a number of well-known fairy tales. The film also stars Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt and Chris Pine. It is set for a Christmas Day 2014 release in the US.

Frozen

Here is the first full trailer for Disney animation Frozen. With a talking snowman as a sidekick, the film seems perfect for Christmas. Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Idina Menzel provide the voices. Frozen   hits UK screens on 6th December 2013.

Film Review: Les Misérables

Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Les Misérables is a slickly produced musical with great performances.

In nineteenth-century France, prisoner Jean Valjean breaks his parole in order to start a new life for himself. He is pursued by the persistent Inspector Javert. Meanwhile, factory worker Fantine is driven to extremes in order to secure the welfare of her daughter…

Based on the popular theatre production, this film adaptation of Les Misérables has a epic feel to it. The sense of tragedy of Victor Hugo’s historical novel (as the title suggests), is conveyed in this most recent adaptation. Fans of the musical will know exactly what to expect.

The first half of Les Misérables is stronger than the second half. The final third in particular feels rather weighed down, not helped by the running time of 157 minutes. Nevertheless, the film is very watchable overall. With its themes of conscience, poverty, love and authoritarianism, Hooper’s film is dominantly sombre with peaks of emotion. There is some comic relief, but this is minor in comparison to the hardship and loss that punctuates Les Misérables.

Visuals in Les Misérables are rich. The sense of poverty and grime does appear authentic, and contrasts well with the few scenes of opulence. The songs in the film are great, often feeling truly emotive.

Russell Crowe is the weakest of the main cast vocally. Hugh Jackman offers a strong performance as Jean Valjean. Amanda Seyfried is suitably delicate as Cosette. Eddie Redmayne is solid as Marius, while Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter provide the much needed comedy. It is Anne Hathaway, however, who steals the show with a fantastic performance. Both her acting and her vocal performance really stand out. Elsewhere, Samantha Barks provides good support as Éponine.

This film adaptation of the musical really should please its audience. Les Misérables is a great example of a theatre adaptation finely executed.

5 Reasons Why The Dark Knight Rises Deserves Another Viewing

The Dark Knight Rises is out on home video from next week. I like the term home video, I hope it is used long after the last person to remember the magnificent video tape is dead. Anyway, Christopher Nolan’s film received its fair share of praise and criticism on its theatrical release. Having seen it a number of times, here are five great things about The Dark Knight Rises

1. A Fitting Conclusion To The Dark Knight Trilogy

The Dark Knight Rises provides an apt ending to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Referring back to events in the previous two films, The Dark Knight Rises wraps up events for all the continuing characters. Moreover the ending of the film is satisfying and in step with what has previous occurred in this Batman universe.

2. The Film Is Well Paced

Despite a common criticism that the film is overlong, I believe The Dark Knight Rises is perfectly paced. Without the substantial build up, the final third of the film would never have the impact it does. The initial slow build allows the characters and plot to develop, and generates tension for a remarkable final third.

3. The Soundtrack Is Excellent

Hans Zimmer’s score for The Dark Knight Rises is a fantastic accompaniment to the on-screen action.  At times bombastic, the score is memorable and an indispensable element of the film. It is also hugely effective, particularly in he scenes where Bruce Wayne attempts the climb.

4. The Film Delves Into The Batman Archive

Like the previous two chapters, The Dark Knight Rises references and borrows imagery from the comics, previous films and televisual outings of the caped crusader. Batman and Bane’s first meeting recalls imagery from the comics, while the reaction to the Bat Wing is not dissimilar to that in Tim Burton’s Batman. Even Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle appears to sometimes have an intonation to her voice reminiscent of Michelle Pfeiffer’s version of the character.

5. The Film Is Very Positive

Some critics have described The Dark Knight Rises as being gloomy, grim and depressive. I disagree with this contention; The Dark Knight Rises is one of the year’s most positive films. It is predominantly concerned with hope, played out most overtly through the Blake character. Rather than gloomy, the film is uplifting in its message, and at times exhilarating.

The Dark Knight Rises is released on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download from 3rd December 2012.

Trailer Round-Up

A bumper post of trailers to round off the week, with Epic, Jack the Giant Slayer and more…

Epic

What more do you want from an animated film than talking animals and a fun dog? Epic is the new animated feature from the makers of Rio and Ice Age. The film is due for release in May 2013.

Jack the Giant Slayer

The fairy tale gets a twist in Jack the Giant Slayer. Starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor, Jack the Giant Slayer has a touch of Lord of the Rings to it. The film will be released on 22 March 2013.

Zero Dark Thirty

Following the success of Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow returns with Zero Dark Thirty. The film tells the story of Osama Bin Laden’s pursuit and capture. Starring Jessica Chastain and Joel Edgerton, Zero Dark Thirty is out on 25th January 2013.

Oz The Great and Powerful

Treasure! Broken dolls! Lots of emerald! Munchkins! Fireworks! Michelle Williams looking lovely! A hot slice monkey in a uniform! Oz The Great and Powerful looks enchanting from this first trailer. The film is due for release on 8th March 2013.

Les Miserables

This film version of Les Miserables looks like an all-star spectacular. Starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried, the film is sure to pique the interest of fans of the musical as well as those less familiar with it. Les Miserables hits cinemas on 11th January 2013.

Lincoln

This trailer is ripe with the scent of Oscar nominations. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Abraham Lincoln in this sumptuous-looking historical drama. Lincoln is out in cinemas on 25th January 2013.

Film Review: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises is a triumph of contemporary Hollywood. It has set a bar that few superhero films will ever hope to reach.

Eight years after the death of Harvey Dent, Gotham city is a safer place thanks to the law enacted in the former district attorney’s name. The Batman has not been seen, and Bruce Wayne is living a recluse life holed up in Wayne Manor. A storm is coming however, one that looks to shake Batman from his retirement…

The Dark Knight Rises had big shoes to fill, given the commercial and critical success of its predecessor The Dark Knight. Thankfully Christopher Nolan’s film does not disappoint. From the very first scene, TDKR enthralls viewers. This is unrelenting, with the film absorbing viewers fully for its 164-minute duration.

Nolan’s direction is superb. Action sequences are thrilling, and the film moves along at a good pace. The third act in particular generates immense tension, with the climax a fantastic ending to both the film and the trilogy. There are moments in TDKR when it is difficult not to get swept away in the sheer exhilaration of it all.

Written by David S. Goyer, Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises perfectly balances bravura action with a meaty storyline. Characters get sufficient screen time, despite the abundance of them. New characters given depth, and appear authentic. The film features characters that have appeared in previous Batman films. TDKR offers different depictions of them that completely fit in Nolan’s universe. TDKR, like the previous two films, attempts the most realistic sphere for superhero movies. In keeping with this verisimilitude, themes that feature are very contemporary and resonant concerns.

Once again, Wally Pfister’s cinematography is wonderful. The film is really worth seeing in Imax; the footage filmed in this format is incredibly impressive. Hans Zimmer’s score is memorable, and the perfect accompaniment to the sublime on screen action.

Christian Bale offers a solid and completely believable performance, reprising his role as the caped crusader. Tom Hardy is barely recogniseable as Bane, while Anne Hathaway is excellently cast as Selina Kyle. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is also a highlight as police officer John Blake.

The Dark Knight Rises is a fitting end to a fantastic series of films. The film is impossible to fault. It is the perfect antithesis to the action-comedy romp of the Marvel films. Though this is most entertaining, The Dark Knight Rises is in a league of its own. At times dark, at times mesmerising, the film is wholly compelling.

Film Review: One Day

One Day is a well-written romantic drama that should satisfy its audience. Whilst it fulfils the conventions of the genre with its themes, the format of the film offers something a little different.

Dexter and Emma spend night of their university graduation together; the beginning of a long and tumultuous friendship. Over the course of twenty years, Emma and Dexter are visited on the same day – 15th July. Sometimes the pair are together, sometimes they are apart…

Based on the best-selling novel by David Nicholls, One Day features well developed characters that are convincing. Focusing dominantly on the two protagonists allows their characters the time and space to evolve. This is intensified by the fact that the film takes place over the course of twenty years. Visiting the protagonists briefly each year allows viewers to see the changes in their personality. One Day is concerned with such a pivotal time in a person’s life (from graduation to the late 30s), that the changes in character are significant, even if appearances remain quite similar.

The year-by-year construct allows the audience to explore details of the characters’ lives for just a snapshot. The incidents that take place on this date are not always the most exciting, but they are believable. Moreover, it works well to retain the viewer’s attention. Not all the facts are made clear from the outset, so the audience must wait until detail is filled in later down the line.

The format of Lone Scherfig’s film calls for a reproduction of different periods from the last two decades or so. The most obvious way this is depicted is through styling and music. The costumes and styling are great in the movie, and are sometimes a cause for amusement. Those who are a similar age to the characters (or indeed older) will look back at the portrayal of the early nineties with a certain fondness.

The music used in One Day is integral in setting the period. The choice of songs is good, and really effective in defining the time frame. The graphics used to illustrate the date are also interesting. Attempting to place these in a different way for each year ensures some creative results.

Anne Hathaway gives a solid performance as Emma. She gives a good shot at her character’s regional accent, and is convincing in the film’s emotional moments. Jim Sturgess is also great as Dexter, while Ken Stott offers good support in a minor role.

The film can be a little syrupy, but at times is genuinely moving. One Day is a well-executed film that should do well with its intended demographic.

The Dark Knight Rises Teaser Trailer

Batman! In the first in what is sure to be a series of TDKR-related posts, here is the teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, you’ve all seen it by now, but watch it again in high-quality! Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film sees several new faces, including Tom Hardy’s Bane and Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle. The real question, of course, is whether the film will be as good as Batman and Robin. We’ll have to wait until 20th July 2012 to find out…

Film Review: Rio

Rio offers animated fun with its bird out of cage tale, as it were. Good animation and fun songs ensure that the film ticks along nicely, although Rio is pleasant rather than exhilarating.

Domesticated macaw Blu lives in Minnesota with his adoring owner Linda. When bird expert Tulio spots him, he offers Linda and Blu a chance to go to Rio so that Blu can mate with Jewel, the only other bird of their endangered species. Linda and Blu go to Brazil, but things don’t go exactly according to plan…

Rio treads a familiar path with its outsider who finds his way narrative. Children should enjoy the story, but older viewers may get a little restless with the predictability of proceedings. Carlos Saldanha’s film shows little innovation in terms of story, however the characters and set pieces sufficiently maintain attention.

Screenwriter Don Rhymer wisely eschews the more realistic aspects of the macaw’s need to reproduce. Instead, Rio becomes a love story between Blu and Jewel. Rather than dwell on the idea of producing offspring, the film instead concentrates on the blossoming and sometimes tumultuous relationship between the two endangered birds. This has the same desired effect, without the need to give too much detail in a children’s film.

The characters featured in the film are quite typical of this style of animation. There are the two protagonists and an array of amusing sidekicks. Nevertheless, what Rio does quite well is replicate the traits of each bird in their human counterpart. Like Blu, Linda lacks confidence and is very comfortable in her regular existence. Both human and bird have inevitable breakthrough moments, which turn out to be amusing and heartwarming, respectively.

Unsurprisingly given the title, most of the action takes place in Rio. Some of the depictions of the city are rather questionable, however. The slum areas appear remarkably empty for a location that is so densely populated. Moreover, the scene where street kid Fernando longingly looks into the home of a family is acutely reminiscent of the very similar elementary inference used in Santa Claus: The Movie.

Rio features an all-star cast, but has not relied on these names in the film’s advertising. Jesse Eisenberg is perfectly cast as Blu, bringing shades of Woody Allen-style neuroticism to the character. Anne Hathaway is feisty as love interest Jewel, while Jamie Foxx shows off his vocal talents as Nico. Jermaine Clement is fantastic as Nigel, particularly in the musical number.

Rio is a fun watch, featuring all the colour and energy you would expect for a film set in the vibrant city. While it ticks the boxes for an animated feature, Rio never reaches beyond these modest aims.