Previews: Creed II Trailer, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, More!

Some hotly-anticipated films in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the brand new Creed II trailer, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, First Man, and more…

Creed II Trailer

The new Creed II trailer was released today. The sequel to the very successful Creed, the film sees Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, and Tessa Thompson returning. They are joined by Dolph Lundgren, who reprises his role as the iconic Ivan Drago. Steven Caple Jr. takes over director duties from Ryan Coogler, who stays on as an executive producer. Creed II will hit UK cinemas on 30th November 2018.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix Poster

We are finally getting a look at the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The film reunites the X-Men: Days of Future Past cast, including Sophie Turner, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence. The cast also includes the new addition of Jessica Chastain. The film is the directorial debut of Simon Kinberg, writer of the previous two X-Men films. X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be be released in cinemas next year.

First Man Featurette

Above is a featurette on Damien Chapelle’s latest, First Man. Chazelle reunites with his La La Land lead actor Ryan Gosling in this story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon. The film also stars Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler. Written by Josh Singer, First Man launches on to UK screens on 12th October 2018.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of the Grindelwald Trailer

Above is the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of the Grindelwald. The film is a sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp, and Ezra Miller return, and are joined by Jude Law. Based on a screenplay by J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of the Grindelwald will be released in UK cinemas on 16th November 2018.

Previews: Halloween Trailer, First Man Poster, More!

A profusion of film-related goodness in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the band new Halloween trailer, First ManBad Times at the El Royale, and more…

Halloween Trailer

Here is the brand new Halloween trailer. Forty years after John Carpenter’s horror classic, Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode. Directed by David Gordon Green, the film sees the return of Michael Myers, as he escapes from a secure facility. Halloween will hit UK screens on 19th October 2018.

First Man Poster

This is the first poster for the upcoming First Man. Directed by Damien Chazelle (La La Land and Whiplash) and written by Josh Singer, the film is about NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong. First Man, which stars Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, will be released on 12th October 2018.

Bad Times at the El Royale Trailer

Bad Times at the El Royale is the latest film from Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods). The film features an enviable cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges, and Cynthia Erivo. Bad Times at the El Royale is set for release on 10th October 2018.

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Trailer

Above is the first trailer for the third instalment of the franchise, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. The film catches up with a slightly older Hiccup and Toothless as they discover their destinies. Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera return for the latest instalment, which follows 2014’s How To Train Your Dragon 2. How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is set for release on 1st February 2019.

Home Entertainment Releases

Upcoming home entertainment releases include A Quiet Place. The critically acclaimed horror is directed by John Krasinski, and also stars Emily Blunt. A Quiet Place receives its Digital release on 30th July, and 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray on 13th August 2018. Also set for a home entertainment release is Game Night. The action comedy stars Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman. Game Night is released on Digital Download on 25th June and Blu-ray and DVD on 2nd July 2018.




Film Review: Breathe

Breathe is a by-the-numbers period drama which offers few surprises. Andy Serkis directs well, but the film feels rather generic.

When Robin and Diana fall in love, Diana follows him and his job to Kenya. When Robin contracts polio, he thinks his life is over. The couple and their friends must find a way forward that gives Robin a chance to live normally…

Breathe is obviously a personal film; it tells the story of the parents of Serkis’ producing partner Jonathan Cavendish. It is a story which isn’t well known, but is important in the history of accessibility for the disabled. So it certainly is a worthy story to tell. The advances made by Robin and the people who worked with him undoubtedly have helped progress options and freedom for those with severe mobility issues.

Whether this worthiness translates into a compelling film is another matter. Breathe does not stagnate at any point, the narrative progression feels steady and expected. Serkis often uses close ups to convey intimacy with the characters and between Robin and Diana particularly. The score suits the setting and style of the film. Locations are beautifully shot by Serkis and cinematographer Robert Richardson. Andrew Garfield delivers a convincing performance as Robin. He is becoming quite the reliable actor in delivering strong, believable portrayals. Claire Foy and Stephen Mangan are also good.

The biggest detraction from the film is that it follows a well-worn template. The British period biopic has been successful in recent years, with The King’s Speech and The Theory of Everything, and perhaps Breathe hopes to emulate this. The result, however, is that there is nothing in the film that isn’t predictable. The tropes of this genre are all here, including the brand of humour, the triumph in adversity narrative, and even the plummy accents.

There is a disappointment in an actor and filmmaker as inventive as Serkis delivering such a safe film for his directorial debut. Breathe itself will no doubt satisfy fans of this brand of gentle British period drama.

Breathe is opening the BFI London Film Festival on 4th October 2017.

Film Review: Season of the Witch

Inexplicable accents and Nicolas Cage’s inexplicable hair are just two of the more superficial problems with Season of the Witch. The film reeks of corner cutting, and neither the narrative nor the action sequences engage viewers.

Knights Behmen and Felson depart from the Crusades, uneasy with commands to slaughter unarmed people. After arriving in a plague-ravaged village, the knights are asked to transport a young woman accused of witchcraft to a remote monastery. Hoping to rid the village of the plague, danger ensues as the group embarks on a treacherous journey…

The plot of Season of the Witch is fairly typical of the sword and sorcery genre. Any mystery over whether the girl has supernatural powers is annulled by the lack of exposition. Season of the Witch does not provide the audience with a reason to care about the girl’s fate. Equally so, there is a lack of tension in what should be critical scenes, owing to a lack of character development.

The quest narrative employed by Season of the Witch features a number of clichéd set pieces, the outcome of which will surprise few. The inclusion of Kay, a young man who joins the group after the start of their journey, suggests that he will have a decisive role in the film. Although he plays a pivotal role in the climax, screenwriter Bragi F. Schut does not give Kay a reason to embark on the journey. A connection to either the girl or some underlying motivation for putting his life in danger never materialises, thus reducing the credibility of the story further.

Season of the Witch is set in the fourteenth century. At the beginning of the film, a sequence of Crusade battle covering over a decade is depicted. This attempt at historical context is at odds with the indeterminateness of the small village location. Moreover, Behmen and Felson are supposedly English knights, yet there is no attempt to conceal or explain their American accents. The film would have done better to root itself in an imagined past, rather than make reference to historical realities.

There is an over reliance on CGI for both the battle sequences at the beginning and the climactic scenes. The problem with this is that it does not look great, therefore giving Season of the Witch an artificial appearance. The filmmakers should have limited the use of CGI; the battle scenes at the beginning, for example, could have been eliminated or at least dialed down.

Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman do not give poor performances as Behmen and Felson, but are hindered by a sub-standard script. Likewise, Robert Sheehan as Kay and Claire Foy as the girl are both adequate in their respective roles. Christopher Lee makes a very brief appearance. It is surprising that an actor of his magnitude would opt to star in a dud like Season of the Witch.

Dominic Sena’s film lacks even the momentum that might have compensated for the poor script and synthetic-looking special effects. Season of the Witch is not a painful watch, but neither is it a particularly enjoyable one.