Previews: Last Christmas Trailer, Ready or Not, More!

Lots of film-related goodness in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the brand new Last Christmas trailer, Ready or Not, and the BFI Musicals season…

Last Christmas Trailer

The latest Last Christmas trailer was released today. The romantic comedy is about a young woman who works as an elf, and a stranger who works into her life. The film stars Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, and Emma Thompson (who co-writes and produces). Last Christmas is directed by Paul Feig, coming of the success of last year’s brilliant A Simple Favour. Last Christmas hits UK cinemas on 15h November 2019.

Ready or Not Trailer

Ready or Not has been receiving a great response in the US, and UK audiences only have to wait a few more weeks to see it. The film is about a young bride who must take part in her new husband’s eccentric tradition. The film stars Samara Weaving, Mark O’Brien, Adam Brody, and Andie MacDowell. Ready or Not lands on UK screens on 27th September 2019.

BFI Musicals Season

The BFI is launching a season of musicals at BFI Southbank and across the UK later this year. The season will celebrate the work of Gene Kelly, Barbra Streisand, Doris Day, and other icons of the genre. Highlights include UK-wide re-releases of Singin’ in the Rain, Tommy, and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. The BFI Musicals season runs from October 2019 – January 2020. Full details can be found here.

Isabelle Trailer

Isabelle is a new thriller with influences from Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist. The film is about an expecting young couple who move to a new home, and their unusual neighbour. Isabelle stars Adam Brody and Amanda Crew. The film will be released on digital platforms in the UK on 30th September 2019.

Film Review: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

With The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), Noah Baumbach delivers another great comedy drama. Strong performances and excellent writing combine to generate a absorbing picture. 

Harold Meyerowitz is a retired sculptor and a dysfunctional father. His adult children try to organise an exhibition of his work, but are hindered by their relationships with each other, Harold’s wife Maureen, and Harold himself…

Writer-director Noah Baumbach tackles family dynamics with his latest film. The Meyerowitz Stories centres on ageing sculptor and his three middle-aged children. Viewers get to explore various dynamics as the film progresses, although the action is focused on Harold and his two sons.  

The relationship between the family is revealed at a good pace. Baumbach is careful not to reveal too much too early. Yet it works well that viewers hear about the prodigal son before he appears on screen. What also functions well is that the audience see interactions between Harold and his sons separately, before these siblings share screen time. 

Characters in the film are developed in a natural way. Viewers are presented with initial archetypes, but these develop in a convincing manner, and are fleshed out beyond any stereotype. The writing is fantastic; characters converse in a natural manner. There is welcome humour among the serious conversation and dramatic realisations. The film could have done with more of Jean; there is certainly more to this character than the snapshot which is revealed.

Themes of extended family disagreements and a father with shortcomings play out well. The Meyerowitz Stories reaches a conclusion that feels realistic, rather than a forced ending. Dustin Hoffman is great, as are Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller. Yet it is the women who intrigue in supporting roles. Emma Thompson is wonderful, and Elizabeth Marvel stands out as Jean.

Noah Baumbach delivers yet again, showing a continuing talent for astute writing and assured directing. 

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is being screened at BFI London Film Festival in October 2017. The film will be released in selected cinemas and on Netflix on 13th October 2017.

Previews: Baywatch Poster, Logan, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including a moving Baywatch poster, The Eyes of My Mother, A Cure for Wellness, and more…

Baywatch Poster

Zac Efron promotes his new film in this moving Baywatch poster. The film, based on the 1990s television show, the film stars Efron, alongside Dwayne Johnson, Priyanka Chopra, and Alexandra Daddario. Baywatch hits the big screen on 31st May 2017.

The Eyes of My Mother

Gothic horror The Eyes of My Mother looks intriguing. The directorial debut of Nicolas Pesce, the film is about a young women whose dark curiosities are triggered following a tragedy in her life. Starring Kika Magalhaes, Will Brill, and Clara Wong, The Eyes of My Mother will be released in UK cinemas on 24th march 2017.

A Cure for Wellness Clip

A Cure for Wellness looks rather creepy, if the above clip is anything to go by. The film stars Dane DeHaan as a young executive sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a remote wellness centre. Directed by Gore Verbinski, the film also stars Oscar Isaacs and Mia Goth. A Cure for Wellness will hit UK cinemas on 24th February 2017.

Certain Women Poster

Following Meek’s Cutoff and Night Moves, director Kelly Reichardt’s latest film is Certain Women. The film stars Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart as three women trying to forge there own paths in the plains of the American Northwest. Certain Women is out at UK cinemas on 3rd March 2017.

The Great Wall Featurette

Matt Damon describes The Great Wall as a “full-on battle monster movie” in the above featurette. He also speaks about his character, and the plot of the film. The Great Wall also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, and Willem Dafoe. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the film is out at UK cinemas on 17th February 2017.

Logan Trailer

Wolverine has turned babysitter in this latest X-Men movie. The film sees Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart reprise their roles in a dystopian road movie. James Mangold directs, and the film also stars Dafne Keen. Logan launches onto UK screens on 1st March 2017.

Beauty and the Beast Poster

Emma Watson looks very much the part of Belle in this latest Beauty and the Beast poster. From the images and clips revealed so far, this live-action remake is keeping the visual style of the original animated film. Also starring Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, and Ian McKellan, Beauty and the Beast is out on UK screens on 17th March 2017.

City of Tiny Lights Trailer

City of Tiny Lights very much evokes the look and feel of a neo-noir of decades past. Liz Ahmed stars as a deadbeat private eye whose services are engaged by a high-class prostitute. Also starring Billie Piper, City of Tiny Lights will be released in UK cinemas on 7th April 2017.

Previews: Rings Trailer, Coco, More!

The first of this year’s previews of coming attractions include the Rings trailer, a new Blade Runner 2049 image, A Cure for Wellness, and more…

Rings Trailer

Here is the latest Rings trailer. The film is a new chapter in the horror franchise. From the synopsis, Rings does not appear to be directly linked to the characters from 2002’s The Ring, or its sequel. The cast includes Matilda Lutz, Jonathan Galecki, and Vincent D’Onofrio. Rings will hit UK screens on 3rd February 2017.

Blade Runner 2049 Image

Above is a new Blade Runner 2049 image. Not much has been revealed about the characters yet – is Ana de Armas’ character a replicant? Is Ryan Gosing’s? Who knows. Also starring Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto, Blade Runner 2049 is due open in UK cinemas on 6th October 2017.

A Cure for Wellness Trailer

A Cure for Wellness has to be one of this year’s most anticipated movies. This trailer reveals a little more about the plot, which concerns a young executive who is sent to retrieve his CEO from a mysterious “wellness” centre. Directed by Gore Verbinski, the film stars Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, and Jason Isaacs. A Cure for Wellness is due for release in UK cinemas in early 2017.

Mute Image

Here is a brand new image from Netflix’s upcoming Mute. Directed by Duncan Jones, the film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux. Set in the near future, the film is about a mute bartender and his search for his missing girlfriend. Mute will be released by Netflix in all their territories later this year.

Beauty and the Beast Video

Here is a short video featuring the leads from the upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie. If follows the clip of Emma Watson singing ‘Something There’, which was released a few days ago. Beauty and the Beast also stars Dan Stevens, and features the voices of Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The film is out in UK cinemas on 17th March 2017.

The LEGO Batman Movie Poster

I am thrilled to see that the upcoming LEGO Batman Movie features Harley Quinn. The film also sees appearances from Robin, The Joker, and Batgirl. Featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, and Jenny Slate, The LEGO Batman Movie will hit UK screens on 10th February 2017.

Patriots Day Trailer

Patriots Day is the latest film from director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Battleship). The film concentrates on the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Mark Wahlberg heads up a cast that includes John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, and J.K. Simmons. Patriots Day will be released in cinemas on 23rd February 2017.

Coco Image

Here is the first look at Coco, the latest animated film from Disney Pixar. The movie is about  a young boy who sets of a chain of events relating to a centuries-old mystery. Coco is directed by Pixar stalwart Lee Unkrick and Adrian Molina, who also wrote the film. Featuring the voices of Gael García Bernal and Benjamin Bratt, Coco is due to be released in UK cinemas in December 2017.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of aural-visual delights this week, including The Babadook, Dracula Untold and Serena. And the new trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Here is the official trailer for the first part of the final instalment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. The trailer reveals a little more about the plot, and shows Katniss in full-on action mode. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is released in UK cinemas on 20th November 2014.

The Babadook

The Babadook poster

I saw a trailer for The Babadook recently, and thought that it looked pretty terrifying. The quotes on this poster for the film appear to cement this opinion. Horror The Babadook hits the big screen on 24th October 2014.

Dracula Untold

Here is a clip from the upcoming Dracula Untold. The film is an origins story of the man who became the legenedary vampire. Starring Luke Evans and Dominic Cooper, Dracula Untold hits the big screen on 3rd October 2014.

Serena

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence reunite in Susanne Bier’s Serena. Cooper and Lawrence star as a newly wed couple in the 1920s who build a timber empire. Serena is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival and is released in cinemas on 24th October 2014.

Effie Gray

Here is a trailer for Effie Gray. Starring Dakota Fanning and Emma Thompson. the film tells the story of the marriage between Victorian art critic John Ruskin and his young bride. Effie Gray is out in cinemas on 10th October 2014.

The Judge

Robert Downey Jr. leads an all-star cast in The Judge. The film is about a city lawyer who returns to his hometown where his father, the town judge, is suspected of murder. The Judge is released in UK cinemas on 17th October 2014.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

TMNT Nicolas Delort

To celebrate the upcoming release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paramount commissioned artists across the world to make artworks based on the origins of the turtles called ‘The Legend of the Yokai‘. One of my favourites is the the one by Nicolas Delort. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is released in UK cinemas on 17th October 2014.

Lava

I don’t know exactly what this film is about, where the story will go, or why it has been made, but there is a singing volcano! And that is fine by me. Above is a short clip of Pixar’s Lava, which is scheduled for release in the UK in July 2015.

Draft Day

Draft Day is set on, as the title suggests, the day of the NFL draft. Starring Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, the film is about the manager of an American football team and the decisions he makes on that day. But really, the reason to see this film is that Frank Langella (aka Skeletor) is in it. Draft Day is set for release on 3rd October 2014.

Stuff To Look At

A veritable profusion of cinema-related goodness this week, with the new Tammy trailer, Under The Skin and Miss Piggy…

Tammy

Above is the first Tammy trailer. The comedy stars Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Dan Aykroyd and Kathy Bates. Apparently, Susan Sarandon plays Melissa McCarthy’s grandmother. I’m not sure how this is possible, given how young Sarandon looks. Perhaps she is aged up. Tammy is due for release in UK cinemas on 4th July 2014.

Under The Skin

Here is the full UK trailer for science-fiction thriller Under The Skin. Directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Scarlett Johansson the film has been receiving critical acclaim at its festival screenings. Under The Skin is released in UK cinemas on 14th march 2014.

The Love Punch

Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson star as an ex-husband and wife whose retirement fund is wiped out when their company is defrauded in The Love Punch. This comedy caper also stars Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie. The Love Punch hits UK screens on 18th April 2014.

Muppets Most Wanted

MUPPETS MOST WANTED

Miss Piggy looks resplendent. Her dress is designed by none other than Vivienne Westwood, who has also designed Miss Piggy’s key wardrobe for Muppets Most Wanted. The image above begs the question of whether Miss Piggy marries Kermit in the film. I wholeheartedly approve, particularly if Rowlf provides piano accompaniment. Muppets Most Wanted is released in cinemas on 28th March 2014.

Postman Pat: The Movie

Postman Pat can carry a tune?! This is apparently the case in the upcoming Postman Pat: The Movie. I am more interested, however, in the robots. And Jess of course. And the glimpse of robot Jess. Postman Pat: The Movie hits UK screens on 23rd May 2014.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

This teaser trailer has everything; Optimus Prime getting pumped with bullets, Marky Mark running around looking scared, Dinobots, and, erm, dragons. I’m sure more will be revealed as the release approaches. Transformers: Age of Extinction is due for release on 10th July 2014 in the UK.

The Legend of Hercules

This trailers is giving me shades of Gladiator and 300. Kellan Lutz plays the titular character in The Legend of Hercules. Having previously appeared in Immortals, Lutz is no stranger to ancient myth films. The Legend of Hercules is released in UK cinemas on 28th March 2014.

Yves Saint Laurent

Biopic Yves Saint Laurent looks slick, polished, and endlessly stylish. Pierre Niney stars as the young fashion designer who is catapulted to fame in the late 1950s. Yves Saint Laurent is released in UK cinemas on 21st March 2014.

Non-Stop

Liam Neeson has really carved out a niche as an abrasive but meritorious action hero of late. Non-Stop continues this trend, as the above clip from the movie illustrates. Also starring Julianne Moore and Lupita Nyong’o, Non-Stop hits UK screens on 28th February 2014.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel seems to be ticking all the boxes. Writer-director Wes Anderson is most admirable, and the cast, including the excellent Bill Murray, is enviable. Also, there’s a cat. The Grand Budapest Hotel is released in the UK on 7th March 2014.

Divergent

Based on the best-selling novel, Divergent stars Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller and Kate Winslet. The sci-fi film is set in a future where people are divided into factions based on their personality. Divergent hits UK screens on 4th April 2014.

G.B.F.

G.B.F. looks like a fun, high school-set comedy. The film is directed by Darren Stein, who helmed late nineties black comedy Jawbreaker. I’m hoping for the same kind of satirical style from G.B.F., which is released in cinemas on 21st March, and is available on demand on 22nd March 2014.

Film Review: Saving Mr Banks

SAVING MR. BANKS

Saving Mr Banks is warm, humorous, and quintessentially Disney.

P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, is being pursued by Walt Disney to sign over the rights to the company. As she travels to meet the filmmakers, Travers reflects on her childhood…

Saving Mr Banks focuses on a short period when P.L. Travers met with Walt Disney and his creative team to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen. Over the course of the film, action jumps between the pre-production of Mary Poppins and the recollections of Travers’ childhood.

The two co-existing narratives act almost as the humorous (the 1960s) and the dramatic (1900s) sides to the film. Given the themes of fantasy, and the duality of characters, this device is effective. Saving Mr Banks is also successful when the two narratives intertwine.

Director John Lee Hancock’s film is about the power of whimsy as much as it is about memory and the relationship between recollection and the imagination. Saving Mr Banks is an endorsement of the effect of fantasy on its audience. In doing so, it promotes the output of the Disney company itself.

Saving Mr Banks is an interesting product as a film made by Disney about Disney. The film does promote the company, but does not shy away from depicting less flattering aspects. P.L. Trravers’ reaction to the company, and indeed to Walt Disney himself, is cause for frequent amusement.

Emma Thompson delivers an affecting performance as P.L. Travers. Tom Hanks is competent as ever as Walt Disney, whilst Paul Giamatti shines in a small role.

Saving Mr Banks is an entertaining back story to a much loved movie. With its comedy, emotion and spirit, the film does not disappoint.

Saving Mr Banks closed the BFI London Film Festival on 20th October 2013. The film is on general release from 29th November 2013.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of film-related goodness this week, with the new Frozen poster, trailers for Seventh Son and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and more…

Frozen

Frozen poster

Here is the new Frozen poster, Disney’s upcoming animated feature. It really does not give too much away. Frozen centres on Anna, who sets off on an epic journey to find her sister. Frozen is set for release in the UK on 6th December 2013.

Seventh Son

From the first few seconds of this trailer, I could tell that I’m going to love Julianne Moore’s character in this film. Seventh Son is a fantasy action about a war between mankind and supernatural forces. The film is set for release in February 2014.

Mr Peabody & Sherman

Mr Peabody & Sherman poster

There’s an upcoming film featuring a talking dog and I wasn’t aware? Sacre bleu! Mr Peabody & Sherman is a comedy adventure about a dog and his ‘pet’ boy. This alone makes it a must-see film. Mr Peabody & Sherman is due to be released in 2014.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire is being released later this year. The trailer promises more brutality. The film follows on from the events of the first instalment. The final part is surely not too far away. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be released in UK cinemas on 21st November 2013.

Saving Mr Banks

Saving Mr Banks poster

Who is Mr Banks and why does he need to be saved? Well this poster does not reveal this, although I love the shadows cast in it. Saving Mr Banks tells the story of how Mary Poppins made it to the screen. Starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks is due for release later this year.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Celebrating his 95th birthday last week, it seems apt that a biopic is soon due for release. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom stars Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris as his wife Winnie. The film will be released in UK cinemas on 3rd January 2014.

Filth

Here is the latest trailer for Filth, which promises to be so much ruder than the trailer will allow. Based on Irvine Welsh’s novel, Filth is released in Scotland on 27th September and the rest of the UK on 4th October 2013.

Film Review: Brave

Disney Pixar’s Brave is visually sumptuous, much like other animated features from the company. Unlike their recent films however, this Scotland-set tale does not pack the same emotional punch.

Merida is a princess who prefers to practice archery than to be schooled in the customs of her position by her mother. When the ritual of her betrothal approaches, Merida is dead set against the traditions of selecting a husband. Merida and her mother clash, with some disastrous consequences…

Brave adheres to some family tropes, in terms of the animated Disney feature. Merida’s struggle is between following her own wishes and bearing the weight of responsibility that her position calls for. This tension is at play in most Disney animated films. Moreover, a parental clash is at the centre of Brave; not unlike The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas and others.

Brave differentiates itself from previous Disney efforts in a pivotal way. The emphasis in most of these films is in having the freedom to find happiness. This usually relates to a partner of choice, rather than one the protagonist’s standing demands. Brave distinguishes itself, and perhaps heralds a new era in Disney thinking, by featuring a protagonist who is happy in her independence and has no desire to marry. It is this aspect of the film, which is played out openly but not forcefully, that is most refreshing.

This recent effort from Disney Pixar does however lack the emotional pull of WALL-E, Toy Story 3 and others. The story is engaging enough, and unfolds to include fantasy and legend. Notwithstanding, it does not evoke the type of strong emotion that the aforementioned films excel at inspiring. That is not to say Brave is a bad film in any way, but merely that it is unlikely that viewers will form the same kind of attachment to it.

The animation in Brave is fantastic. The use of colour is superb, with the vibrancy of Merida’s hair contrasting nicely with the greener backdrops. Some great voice work is provided by Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson and others.

Brave is an enjoyable family film that should satisfy viewers. It is unlikely to take on classic status, unlike several of Disney Pixar’s films of the last decade.