Stuff To Look At

Here lies the brand new Interstellar trailer, plus Cinderella, Transformers: Age of Extinction, A Million Ways to Die in the West and more…

Interstellar

Here is the latest Interstellar trailer. Christopher Nolan’s hotly anticipated film stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. Interstellar will be released in the UK on 7th November 2014.

Cinderella

Hot on the tails of the upcoming Maleficent, another Disney classic is given the live-action treatment. Starring Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgård and Helena Bonham Carter, and directed by Kenneth Branagh, This teaser does not reveal much, except an awfully shiny glass slipper. I always thought glass shoes would be incredibly painful to walk in, yet Cinderella dances the night away in hers. Anyway, Cinderella is set for release on 3rd April 2015.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Here is the latest trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction. The most important thing you will see occurs in the last twenty seconds. Dinobots! Starring Marky Mark, Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer, although the humans are decidedly less important than the robots in disguise. Transformers: Age of Extinction hits UK screens on 10th July 2014.

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Above is a clip from the upcoming comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West. Without context, the clip seems only to offer a glimpse into the character of Albert, played by Seth MacFarlane, who also directs, produces and co-writes the film. A Million Ways to Die in the West is released in cinemas on 30th May 2014.

22 Jump Street

Here is a new clip from 21 Jump Street sequel 22 Jump Street. The film sees Schmidt and Jenko head to college. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum had good chemistry in the first film, which will hopefully be replicated here. 22 Jump Street hits UK cinemas on 6th June 2014.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I saw this trailer in Imax a few days ago, and it looks mighty impressive on the big screen. The follow-up to the 2011 hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes stars Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke. I am hoping for flashback sequences of baby Cesar, although great action will do just fine. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is released on 17th July 2014.

Summer of Cinema

Here is a compilation of all the big films that are being released this summer, from the Film Distributors’ Association. I didn’t recognise all of them, but there are some exciting films to come this season. If you can’t get enough of trailer compilations, I suggest you check out this blockbuster one by AMONymous.

Stuff To Look At

Well-known characters dominate this week’s round-up…

Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World

Just before Iron Man 3 hits cinema screens, the first poster for Thor: The Dark World has been revealed. The film reunites Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman. Thor: The Dark World is due for release on 30th October 2013.

Man of Steel

Here is the latest trailer for Man of Steel, one of the most anticipated movies of the summer. Can writers David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan once again weave their magic in a re-telling of DC Comics legend? We will see when the Zack Snyder-directed Man of Steel is released on 14th June 2013.

The Great Gatsby

The soundtrack has been one of the most talked about aspects of The Great Gatsby. Above is a sampler of some of the tracks used in the film. A mixture of covers of well-known songs and samples music from the era the film is set. What else would to expect from Baz Luhrmann? The Great Gatsby is released on 16th May 2013.

The Lone Ranger

Here is the latest trailer for The Lone Ranger. Despite being the sidekick to the title character, it looks as if Johnny Depp’s Tonto may steal the show. The Lone Ranger hits UK screens on 9th August 2013.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The second instalment in The Hunger Games trilogy has a first trailer. Catching Fire has a lot to live up to after the huge success of last year’s The Hunger Games. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is due for release on 22nd November 2013.

R.I.P.D.

A new action fantasy, R.I.P.D. looks like it could be a lot of fun. The film stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as two undead cops tasked with protecting the world from those who refuse to move to the other side. R.I.P.D. hits UK cinemas on 30th August 2013.

Film Review: Side by Side

Side by SideA documentary focusing on Hollywood and its use digital and photochemical film, Side by Side is a must-see for anyone with an interest in cinema.

Actor and producer Keanu Reeves explores cinemas use of photochemical film, and the more recent prevalence of digital film. Speaking to directors, cinematographers, actors and editors, Reeves uncovers the preference for each particular film type, as well as their advantages and limitations…

Side by Side is a fascinating look at contemporary Hollywood. The debate that the documentary focuses on is acutely current; concerning films that are being made as this film is being screened. Director Chris Kenneally offers viewers some context at the beginning of the film. Narrator Keanu Reeves explains the technology behind digital and photochemical film. This will not be enlightening to those with a familiarity with cinema, but will give others a better understanding and ensure that the documentary is universally comprehensible.

What gives Side by Side distinction, and a seal of approval, is the variety of filmmakers that Keanu Reeves interviews. Most of these are well known Hollywood names, although Reeves also speaks to lesser known crew. The contrast in opinions that the film depicts is striking. Some directors fall firmly on the side of digital (James Cameron for example) while others are staunch film advocates (Christopher Nolan). With strong opinions like these, it is Martin Scorsese who appears as the voice of balance.

By talking to filmmakers and exploring the technical debates of the digital versus film argument, Side by Side investigates its topic without swaying a certain way. What becomes clear is the passionate way that the interviewees talk about cinema, regardless of their specific preference. Similarly, the makers of Side by Side choose not to weigh down on a particular side, letting the audience make up their own minds about the debate.

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.

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.

5 Criticisms That Won’t Be Made of The Dark Knight Rises

The third trailer for The Dark Knight Rises was released earlier today. It made me think of the criticisms levelled at predecessor The Dark Knight, and Christopher Nolan’s last film Inception. Undoubtedly there will be one or two people who will level these barbs at TDKR just to go against the grain. Nevertheless, looking into my crystal ball, I predict that none of these will be valid criticisms of The Dark Knight Rises

1. There Are Too Few Main Characters

A common criticism of The Dark Knight was that there were too many important characters vying for the spotlight. Bane and Selina Kyle are Batman’s adversaries in The Dark Knight Rises, plus there are new characters played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard. So it is doubtful that TDKR will be accused of having too few main characters.

2. The Plot Is Too Straightforward And Simple

An extension of the first point; given the number of characters that feature, it is unlikely that viewers will complain that the plot is too elementary. Inception and The Dark Knight were considered as being complex or convoluted by some, so it is probable that The Dark Knight Rises will follow suit.

3. The Production Values Are Poor

From the three trailers that have been released, as well as the first scene screening, it is difficult to accuse The Dark Knight Rises of  being a poorly produced affair. The effects in the football stadium sequence look amazing from the trailer. Other criticisms may be well-founded, but it will be difficult to argue that TDKR does not look like a superlative blockbuster.

 4. The Score Lacks Grandeur

After his bombastic Inception score, composer Hans Zimmer returns for The Dark Knight Rises. Given the grandiose nature of his previous scores, it would be surprising if TDKR does not follow suit. The trailers at least indicates the score will rival that of its predecessor.

5. Gotham City Looks Like Croydon

The Dark Knight Rises was filmed in Croydon, as well as a number of over locations across the globe. So whilst some of the footage will actually have been filmed in Croydon, it is highly unlikely that Gotham will look like London’s, ahem, finest borough. New York with hints of Chicago, it is doubtful that Gotham will bear any relation to Croydon.

The Dark Knight Rises is released on 20th July 2012.

2012’s Most Anticipated

As 2012 arrives imminently, I thought I would share some of my cinematic picks for next year. Below are the films I am most looking forward to seeing next year. These do not include films that I have already seen that are due for general release in the next few months, such as Shame or Martha Marcy May Marlene.

1. The Muppets

Although The Muppets was released in America months ago, it is not due for UK release until February. It seems that we have reverted back to the 1980s in that the UK is getting such a big movie as this months after the US. I love the Muppets, so cannot wait for the film. I have tried not to read too much about it, but all that I am hearing so far is positive. The Muppets is released on 10th February 2012.

2. The Raven

From the trailer, this film seems to have everything; macabre murder mystery, Edgar Allan Poe and John Cusack. I love Poe’s work and the premise of The Raven sounds great; Poe pursues a serial killer who bases his crimes on the author’s work. Hopefully the execution will do the idea justice. The Raven is released on 9th March 2012.

3. Prometheus

Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated new addition to the Alien franchise, the teaser trailer for Prometheus has recently been released. It does not give too much away, but it looks very interesting. Hopefully with Scott at the helm, Prometheus will return to Alien‘s combination of science fiction and horror. With a cast which boasts Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace, Prometheus is very exciting on paper. The film is released on 1st June 2012.

4. The Dark Knight Rises

The grandaddy of them all, the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy will be one of the biggest movies of the summer. I recently watched the prologue, which was impressive on the Imax screen. Like others, I was concerned that I couldn’t understand Bane properly. The trailer looks magnificent, so as long as Bane’s voice becomes clearer, the film should be a fitting end to a fantastic franchise. The Dark Knight Rises is released 20th July 2012.

5. Frankenweenie

Another remake from Tim Burton, but at least this time he is remaking his own work. Frankenweenie was a live action short from the director’s time at Disney. Stills from the film were recently released; Burton aficionados are likely to find them reminiscent of Vincent, a short directed by the filmmaker around the same time as Frankenweenie. The stop-motion remake tells the story of a boy who tries to bring his dog back to life, a homage to Shelley’s Frankenstein. Frankenweenie is released 5th October 2012.

6. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings was a triumphant film series, and fans of the books were no doubt pleased when it was announced that the director would return for The Hobbit. On a personal level, I am excited for the film because I love Gollum. The trailer shows the return of familiar faces; hopefully the film will be of the same quality as the earlier series. The Hobbit is released 14th December 2012.

The Dark Knight Rises New Poster

I write ‘new poster’, but in reality this has been floating around for days. I thought I would post it as I like Batman, and it is an intriguing poster. It has been made clear that this is Christopher Nolan’s last Batman film, so the most literal translation is that Batman dies in the film. This would certainly hinder the possibility of any Joel Schumacher-style monstrosities. However, the protagonist dying seems a little too bleak. Perhaps it signals the end of Batman as a crime-fighting vigilante, and the beginning of his career as the guardian of Dick Grayson? After all, little is known about the character played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Whatever the case, it seems that Bane will prove more than a match for Batman, in terms of physical prowess at least…

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: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is pretty much the quintessential Michael Bay movie. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on your predilection for the director’s work.

Since the last war with the Decepticons, the Autobots have been living on Earth peacefully and helping the humans with their conflict problems. When the Autobots hear about a Cybertronian spacecraft that was found on the moon by humans, they race to get hold of it. The Autobots and humans must ensure its cargo does not get into the hands of the Decepticons…

Transformers: Dark of the Moon suffers from the same ailments as its predecessor, Revenge of the Fallen. It may look and sound great, but there is very little substance to the film beyond this. The narrative leaves a lot to be desired. Although the initial premise sounds quite adequate for a second sequel, its execution lets the movie down.

Lessons were not learnt from the last film. The pacing in Dark of the Moon is off; too much time is spent building up to the ending action. As a result, the ending is anticlimactic. It feels protracted; there are too many lulls before the big fight. Any momentum that had been building is offset but a lack of strong direction. The film goes on for far too long. There are plenty of scenes that could have been trimmed significantly, or even omitted altogether.

Screenwriter Ehren Kruger’s dialogue is terrible at times, especially from the machines. There is humour to be found in the film, particularly around the central character of Sam. However, the film relies on crude national stereotypes in its depictions of the Autobots and Decepticons. The cartoon series has much greater character development than this film. Elsewhere, the lack of attention to detail is just as palpable. New characters are introduced, yet some of them just disappear before the final third of the film.

The effects are superb, and the entire film has a glossy sheen. Dark of the Moon is also one of the rare cases where it is worth seeing a live-action movie in 3D. The sound is bombastic, pulsating through the action sequences. However, Steve Jablonsky’s score is sometimes reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s The Dark Knight soundtrack. This is compounded by a set piece where the action and location are strikingly similar to one in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film.

Performances vary throughout the film. Shia LaBeouf is amusing as ever as Sam. John Malkovich is good, but underused in his role. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, however, is atrocious. Although the role of Carly requires her to do little but look attractive and be rescued, she is incredibly inauthentic.

So much energy was expended in the special effects for Dark of the Moon, and it really shows in the end product. It is a pity not even a small percentage of this effort was put into the screenplay.