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.

Film Review: The Burning

The Burning

Writer-director Pablo Fendrik’s The Burning is an atmospheric Western. Genre influences are clear, nevertheless the film has enough meat to keep viewers entertained.

A farmer enlists the help of a mystery man in fending off mercenaries hell-bent on acquiring his land. When the farmer’s daughter is kidnapped, the mysterious Kaí sets off on a mission to rescue her…

The Burning is a highly stylised Western offers impressive visuals and tone. The film features a classic revenge narrative, as well as a number of other genre tropes. This results in a film which is aware of its roots, and pays homage to them, to a certain extent. It appears that writer-director Pablo Fendrik set out to create a classic Western, albeit in a different environment.

The Burning has a particular setting which works in the overall scheme of the film. Set in the Argentinian rainforest, the environment is remote enough for such action to take place. There is not a real indication of the temporal setting; the lack of technology suggests a non-contemporary setting, but the costumes do not indicate the classic Western era. This ambiguous environment sits well with other themes in The Burning.

The film’s opening sequence works well to convey brutality, but also to generate mystery. What follows is a traditional revenge saga, with a mysterious protagonist at the centre. As The Burning progresses, viewers find out a little more about Kaí, although Fendrik keeps a knowingly unnatural edge. The subtext in the film is almost so overt that it is simply text, yet the themes and the brooding silences generate a memorable atmosphere.

The climax of the film is a little overblown, particular with some overbearing sound design. Cinematography is excellent, with the use of light and colour really emphasising the setting, as well as providing a strong symbolic point to the themes. Gael García Bernal and Alice Braga offer good performance, often conveying mood and feeling through expression alone.

The Burning is a decent relocation of a classic Western story. Fans of the genre should be satisfied with this offering.

Film Review: No

No

Pablo Larraín’s No is a thoroughly engaging drama that attempts a sense of verisimilitude throughout.

In 1988, Chile’s military dictator Augusto Pinochet calls for a referendum to decide whether he would continue his rule. Leaders of the opposition ask advertising executive René Saavedra to head their ‘No’ campaign. Under the scrutiny of Pinochet’s watchmen, Saavedra attempts to pull off a successful campaign…

With No, Pablo Larraín tells the story of the Chilean national plebiscite of 1988 dominantly through a personal tale. Saavedra is an interesting protagonist to view events through. He strikes something of a balance in terms of outlook compared to other characters in the film. The sense of ambivalence at the end of No is striking.

Larraín’s film is based on real events, and the director tries to keep true to this. Real footage from the time of the plebiscite is interspersed with filmed scenes. The look of the film gives a particular quality which is in keeping with the late 1980s setting. The camera work is fluid, giving the impression of a documentary rather than a fictional drama.

The period setting is further heightened by the styling. The 1988 setting is unmistakable in terms of clothes, products and advertising. It was particularly important that the filmmakers got this aspect correct, with the focus on a television advertising campaign. Gael García Bernal delivers an able performance as protagonist Saavedra. The supporting is also good.

No slacks in pace on the rare occasion, but overall is a worthwhile and rewarding watch.

Film Review: Casa de mi Padre

A spoof of low-budget 1970s Mexican movies, Casa de mi Padre is a lot of fun. Not quite as laugh-out-loud hilarious as viewers may hope, Matt Piedmont’s film is entertaining throughout.

Armando Alvarez is a simple rancher, in the shadow of Raul, his more successful brother. Raul returns to the ranch with his fiance Sonia, just as their father is suffering financial difficulties. Painting himself as a business man, Raul’s dealings are more shady than he lets on. His business brings the Alvarez family into contact with Onzo, a notorious drug lord…

There is a sense of fun and silliness that imbues the whole of Casa de mi Padre. The film is fairly typical of the output of actor and producer Will Ferrell, in terms of comedy style. Those who are not keen on Anchorman and the like are unlikely to be impressed by this offering.

From the very beginning of the film, the intentions of Casa de mi Padre are made clear. The film sole purpose is to make the audience laugh. From the pre-credits scene, Casa de mi Padre is offered as a spoof of Mexican films from the 1970s. The mockery is in good humour rather than derision. The sites of humour are in fact things that could be attributed to any low-budget cinema.

The silliness of Casa de mi Padre is refreshing, compared to many of the film’s contemporaries. Piedmont appears to hark back to a time when cinema was not so polished. Although this is done to generate humour, it makes a nice change from the overly slick films that dominate Hollywood.

Will Ferrell is game for laughs as ever, starring as protagonist Armando. However, it is Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal who really delight with their outlandish performances. The music featured in the film is great, and often amusing.

Undoubtedly, more laughs would have been welcome. As an enjoyable spoof, Casa de mi Padre does the trick.