Previews: Deepwater Horizon Featurette, Blair Witch, More!

Plenty to gaze upon in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including a Deepwater Horizon Featurette, the latest Blair Witch trailer and more…

Deepwater Horizon Featurette

Here is a Deepwater Horizon featurette. The film is about the events leading up to the  largest man-made disaster, in the Gulf of Mexico. Director Peter Berg follows up Battleship and Lone Survivor by reuniting with the latter’s star, Mark Wahlberg. Also starring Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson, Deepwater Horizon will hit UK screens on 29th September 2016.

Blair Witch Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for the upcoming Blair Witch. This sequel is set twenty years after the events of the original film. Blair Witch has good pedigree; it is produced by the original film’s writer-directors, and directed by Adam Wingard. After You’re Next and The Guest, it will be interesting to see how Winged tackles a modern horror classic. Blair Witch is out in UK cinemas on 15th September 2016.

Ouija: Origin of Evil Poster

Ouija: Origin of Evil Poster

This Ouija: Origin of Evil poster has a very retro look. A follow-up to 2014’s Ouija, this film tells the story of a mother and her daughters who unwittingly invite a spirit into their home. Ouija: Origin of Evil is helmed by Mike Flanagan, the director behind Oculus and Hush. The film is set for release on 21st October 2016.

La La Land Trailer

Here is the full trailer for La La Land. The film is an original musical directed by Whiplash‘s Damien Chazelle. Dream team Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling reunite for the film, which also stars John Legend and Rosemarie DeWitt. La La Land is scheduled for UK release in January 2017.

Rings Trailer

Rings is a sequel to successful horror The Ring, and the third film in the franchise. From the above trailer, it is not clear if the characters have any connection to the original, or whether it is a whole other story. Rings will hit UK screens on Halloween – 31st October 2016.

The Magnificent Seven Trailer

This trailer for The Magnificent Seven introduces viewers to each of the gang. Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the classic western sees Denzel Washington lead the gang of outlaws and bounty hunters. Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio also star. The Magnificent Seven rides onto UK screens on 23rd September 2016.

Film Review: Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor

Peter Berg’s rendition of a true story is brutally violent. Lone Survivor is a surprising survival story, but not a wholly compelling one.

Marcus Luttrell, a Navy Seal, is part of a small team on a mission to capture al Qaeda leader Ahmad Shahd. When they encounter an unexpected obstacle, the team are left to fight for their lives…

There is no escaping the fact that Lone Survivor is an incredibly military heavy film. Peter Berg’s latest is in the same vein as the director’s last film Battleship. Lone Survivor is littered with military language, that presumably intends to convey a sense of realism.

The film concentrates on the mission of four soldiers and the outcome that ensues when they are forced to make a pivotal decision. Viewers are not given much to get their teeth into in terms of the antagonist they are attempting to capture. Instead, Lone Survivor concentrates on what happens to these soldiers, with Marcus Luttrell at the centre of the action. The film would have felt more rounded if they audience were offered some background on his helpers later in the film, rather than a brief mention prior to the end credits.

This is just one aspect that makes Lone Survivor unequivocally pro-American military. Berg’s film has a similar feel to Act of Valour. There is no real space for alternative interpretation; Lone Survivor lacks the nuance to question US army actions, eschewing a balanced approach in favour of a categorical endorsement of the American military. The sequence of images before the end credits feel like a cynical ploy to draw emotion rather than the sincere tribute it should have been. This segment would have been more effective if it was shorter.

The handheld camera works well in the action sequences, but feels unnecessary in early scenes. The sound in Lone Survivor is used to great effect. Mark Wahlberg offers a competent performance as Luttrell, but it is the type of performance he has delivered before. Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster provide good support.

Lone Survivor will appeal to those who enjoy depictions of contemporary military combat. Other viewers may not be quite so enthralled.

Stuff To Look At

With the Oscar nominations being announced this week, here are glimpses of some of the nominees, plus upcoming features…

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s latest film The Grand Budapest Hotel boasts an enviable cast headed by Ralph Fiennes and featuring some frequent Anderson collaborators such as Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Tilda Swinton. As the above clip illustrates, the film concerns the adventures of hotel  concierge Gustave and new lobby boy Zero. The Grand Budapest Hotel is released in UK cinemas on 7th March 2014.

RoboCop

Above is a OmniFoundation public service announcement. It will be interesting to see if this new version is as scathing in its criticism of corporate power and corruption as the original. After all, it would be timely. RoboCop is hits UK screens on 7th February 2014.

Her

Spike Jonze’s Her has received five nominations at this year’s Oscars; perhaps not as many as fans were expecting. I am really looking forward to seeing the film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. Her is released in the UK on 14th February 2014.

Bad Neighbours

Zac Efron plays a college student and nightmare neighbour in upcoming comedy Bad Neighbours. The film has a likeable enough cast; if the jokes are frequent and amusing it should be entertaining fare. Bad Neighbours is out in cinemas on 9th May 2014.

Under The Skin

Under The Skin has been a source of interest at the festivals where it has been screened; the film gets a cinematic release on 14th March 2014. Starring Scarlell Johansson, Under The Skin is science fiction thriller.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Look at this exciting new poster for The Amazing Spider-Man 2! Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker for the second installment of the reboot, facing a plethora of villains. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is out in UK cinemas on 18th April 2014.

The Monuments Men

Matt Damon and George Clooney reunite in the above clip from The Monuments Men. I’m not going to lie, I am most looking forward to seeing Bill Murray in this. The Monuments Men is hits UK cinemas on 14th February 2014.

Lone Survivor

Marky Mark stars as a soldier in Afghanistan in Lone Survivor. The film is directed by Peter Berg of Battleship fame, so expect a lot of military talk. Lone Survivor is out in UK cinemas on 31st January 2014.

Muppets Most Wanted

This above advert for Muppets Most Wanted, which was screened during the Golden Globes last Sunday, is fantastic. Marketing for The Muppets was brilliant, and Disney look to continue the trend for its sequel. Muppets Most Wanted hits the big screen on 28th March 2014.

What is Battleship?

I went to see Battleship yesterday evening, and I am still mulling over what I watched. Many may be surprised that Peter Berg’s film inspires such meditation, but it truly does. After some deliberation, I have narrowed the possibilities down to three: Battleship is either a silly blockbuster, an uneven farce, or a sly spoof. Below, I shall elaborate on this (spoilers ahead)…

Silly Blockbuster

At face value, Battleship seems to be exactly this. A thread-bare plot, with more emphasis being placed on the set pieces than anything else. Peter Berg’s film perhaps illustrates the worst aspects of the modern blockbuster; scant attention paid to the script, a lack of characterisation and not even a decent high-concept premise. Instead, the film is filled with explosions, gunfire and hot young stars (Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna and Alexander Skarsgård). Well that’s all a blockbuster aficionado requires, right?

Uneven Farce

Perhaps Peter Berg intended Battleship to be a farce. Straight-faced characters deal with the most implausible of events, and keep striving no matter how absurd the situation becomes. Despite knowing nothing about the aliens and armed with only one gun, Samantha and co decide to ram into the satellite station, which is swarming with invaders.  The navy vetrans’ involvement. This is surely the stuff of farce. The reason it is uneven is because these events are not consistently funny, almost as if they had not been written for laughs. Although reflecting on them, Battleship would probably be even more amusing if viewed solely as a farce.

Sly Spoof

Battleship could be a spoof of the Michael Bay blockbuster packaged as a straightforward blockbuster for mass consumption. After all, the elements are all there. The poor dialogue of the Michael Bay blockbuster is elevated to ludicrous levels in Battleship. Berg’s film goes beyond Transformers by basing his film on a toy that does not even have a semblance of a plot, or actual characters. Even the volume and the level of implausibility are pushed to the limit. As a comment on the Michael Bay blockbuster (and, in fairness, a number of other directors), Battleship spoofs the lack of originality present. If the film does good business, then Battleship would have proved how audiences lap up even the most tenuous of films. At this stage, it is too premature to say ‘well played, Mr Berg’.

Battleship is out in cinemas now. Perhaps someone could let me know exactly what the film is.

Film Review: Battleship

There comes a time in everyone’s life when only trashy Hollywood nonsense will do. When that moment arrives, Battleship is the perfect watch.

Alex Hopper is going nowhere fast when his older brother signs him up to join the US Navy. Alex’s temper shows during an international naval games competition, and he fears for his future in the navy. Before his outcome is decided, an attack occurs during the war games exercise…

Peter Berg’s Battleship has several parallel’s with Michael Bay’s Transformers movies. Viewers could be mistaken into thinking they are watching a Michael Bay film, but for the lack of a slow-motion shot of the American flag. Battleship is also based on a Hasbro game, although it does not have quite the same animation heritage to draw from as Transformers did.

The plot of Battleship is slight to say the least. There is a little character development before the action commences, but this does little to make the main characters appear more three-dimensional. Instead, the audience is offered a handful of characters to root for, in order to humanise the action.

Dialogue is truly something in Battleship. There are some amusing lines during the course of the film. However, hilarity often ensues from the lines that presumably are meant to be serious. This adds to the overall enjoyment of the Battleship viewing experience.

Production values are pretty much faultless. Effects and production design are good, working effectively in the big set pieces. Some of the shots look as if they were meant to be filmed in 3D, with sharp angles  pointing in the direction of the audience. As it stands though, Battleship is a 2D film. The sound is bombastic, as expected from a blockbuster of this kind.

Kudos to the cast, who manage to remain straight-faced throughout proceedings. Taylor Kitsch is a better actor than the film betrays, as is Alexander Skarsgård. Rihanna actually does a suitable job in her acting debut.

Battleship is entertaining enough if it is not taken seriously. Those expecting anything more should give the film a wide berth.

Trailer Round-Up

Last week was a slow week for trailers, so I decided to carry any forward to this week’s round-up. Despite the teasers for the Prometheus trailer, it is not being unveiled until Sunday. But this week with have the first trailer for Dark Shadows, a new Battleship trailer, Now is Good and a new Mirror Mirror featurette.

Dark Shadows

From the stills released earlier this year, this was not what I was expecting from Tim Burton’s update of 1960s television show Dark Shadows. Set in the 1970s, the film appears to be far more camp than gothic. There is also more comedy than I was expecting. This is not necessarily a bad thing, readjusting expectations to view Dark Shadows as a comedy makes it appear rather fun. Dark Shadows is released on 11th May 2012.

Battleship

From the toy company that brought you Transformers… There are definite parallels between this Hasbro toy product-based film and the Michael Bay franchise. I am hoping Battleship is going to be the hottest mess of the year. It should be suitably ridiculous, and shouldn’t take itself too seriously. Whatever the outcome, at least the presence of Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgård will make the film easy on the eye. Battleship is released on 11th April 2012.

Now is Good

This looks as if it will be a bit of a tearjerker. Based on Jenny Downham’s novel Before I Die, Now is Good is about teenager Tessa, who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Dakota Fanning has proved herself to be a capable actress, but her English accent in the above trailer sounds less than authentic. Now is Good is released on 25th May 2012.

Mirror, Mirror

Having undergone a sensible name change, Mirror Mirror seems a very family-orientated film. It is a lot more camp than Snow White and the Huntsman, which is out later in the summer. Above is a featurette about Armie Hammer’s character in the film. Mirror Mirror is out on 2nd April 2012.