Previews: Alien: Covenant Clip, Atomic Blonde, More!

Lots of big films in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including an Alien: Covenant clip, Atomic Blonde, Beauty and the Beast, and more…

Alien: Covenant Clip

This Alien: Covenant clip gives viewers an insight into the crew and personalities in Ridley Scott’s latest film. Michael Fassbender returns in the sequel to Prometheus, and is joined by Danny McBride, Katherine Waterston, and James Franco. Alien: Covenant is set for release in May 2017.

Atomic Blonde Poster

Charlize Theron is striking in this poster for Atomic Blonde. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the film is about an assassin who is sent to retrieve a priceless dossier. The film also stars James McAvoy and John Goodman. Atomic Blonde hits UK screens on 11th August 2017.

Beauty and the Beast Clip

Emma Watson shows of her singing ability in this clip from the upcoming Beauty and the Beast. From this brief look, it seems as if a lot will be replicated from the original film, but it won’t be a shot-by-shot remake à la 1998’s Psycho. Dan Stevens and Luke Evans join Watson in heading up a enviable cast. Beauty and the Beast is out in UK cinemas on 17th March 2017.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Trailer

After success with Sherlock Holmes and its sequel, director Guy Ritchie turns his attention to another British fable. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword tells the familiar story of Arthur’s rise to power, albeit in an action-packed way. Starring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword launches on to UK screens on 12th May 2017.

Ghost in the Shell Poster

The artwork for Ghost in the Shell certainly is striking. Scarlett Johansson stars as Major, a cyber-enhanced human who is tasked with stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. Based on the Japanese manga of the same name, Ghost in the Shell hits UK screens on 31st March 2017.

Their Finest Trailer

Lone Scherfig’s latest film is about a female screenwriter tasked with writing a film to lift spirits during World War 2. Their Finest stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy. Based on Lissa Evans’ novel, Their Finest will be released in UK cinemas on 21st April 2017.

Film Review: 100 Streets

Jim O’Hanlon’s 100 Streets is a mostly engaging drama. Some of the film’s narrative strands work better than others.

Max is trying to win back estranged wife Emily. George is trying to make everything perfect for his wife. Kingsley is growing tired of the antics of his teenage compatriots. All these stories take place in the London neighbourhood of Battersea…

Directed by Jim O’Hanlon with a screenplay by Leon Butler, 100 Streets is a multi-strand drama that takes place in one area of London. The film focuses on three main strands, with overlap with varying characters. Although the stories entwine to a certain extent, each strand has its individual story to tell.

There seems to be a clear distinction between each of the three strands in 100 Streets. The clearest divide can be seen in the class of strand protagonist. Max and Emily represent the wealthiest of the area, and Kingsley the most deprived. George and his wife fall some way in between, although how a cab driver and a cleaner afford such a property in that area is questionable. What also distinguishes each strand is the different stage of life each protagonist is at.

Max’s descent is plausible at first, but too quick to jump from a little messy to utterly chaotic. George’s story is earnest, if a little weak. Kingsley’s story becomes more formulaic as it continues. His dilemma at the climax of the film is quite a predictable conclusion to the strand.

Performances in the film are decent. Idris Elba and Gemma Arterton are believable as the estranged Max and Emily. Charlie Creed-Miles does a good job; it is shame he isn’t given a meatier role. Franz Drameh is well cast as Kingsley.

100 Streets boasts a good cast, it is just a shame that the action does not unfold in a more compelling manner. There seems as if there are good stories to tell in such a format, but none of the strands quite make the cut.

100 Streets is out on DVD on 23rd January 2017.

Film Review: The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts is an atmospheric thriller that engages its audience. The film appeals with its tone, even if the plot is too conventional at times.

Helen is a teacher to students that are bound to wheelchairs and locked in cells – for the safety of the teachers and stuff. She strikes up a rapport with Melanie, a bright young girl. When an incident occurs at the base, Helen and Melanie have to fight for survival…

Based on Mike Carey’s novel (who also writes the screenplay), The Girl With All The Gifts functions as a dystopian thriller. The film is cold and atmospheric rather than a searing horror. Nonetheless, they are very effective moments of tension throughout the film. These are used sparingly, so the film feels like a moderate creep rather than a roller coaster.

Helen is a good protagonist in that she is not as hardened as characters that surround her. The relationship between Melanie and Helen is sweetly portrayed. Their scenes are the most genuine interactions throughout director Colm McCarthy’s film. The pair face threat from within as well as external.

The horror is obvious, what works is the way the film builds up to this. There is a distinct mood to the film which is maintained throughout. As the film progresses, some of the ideas attached to the theme run out of steam. The film falls into familiar trappings in the second half. The brief moments of dark humour in The Girl With All The Gifts work well. The ending of the film is satisfying in its realism.

Gemma Arteton offers a decent performance as Helen. She has good chemistry with Sennia Nanua’s Melanie. Paddy Considine and Glenn Close are perfectly adequate in supoort roles which are not really fleshed out.

The Girl With All The Gifts is an interesting watch, with some great ideas floating around. Although it keeps its strong tone, more could have been done with the narrative.

Film Review: Gemma Bovery

Gemma Bovery

Gemma Bovery is a modern adaptation of Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel Madame Bovary. The film is both self-aware and charmingly twee.

Martin is a former Parisian who takes over his father’s bakery in a small French town. When an English couple move in next door, Martin can’t help but draw parallels between the wife and the fictional Madame Bovary…

Director and co-writer Anne Fontaine’s Gemma Bovery is something of an adaptation of the classic novel, as well as being a film about the novel. In Gemma Bovery, characters are not only aware of the existence of the novel Madame Bovary; they actively discuss or dictate events from it.

The film is as much about the narrator as it is about the title character. Viewers are positioned with Martin the baker, and much of the action occurs from his point of view. This use of a narrator, a fan of the original novel, is a good ploy to include references to the Flaubert story without awkward exposition.

The narrative of Gemma Bovery moves at an adequate pace. At times it can feel as if the story is jumping ahead without sufficient exploration. However, this makes sense as most of the action is presented from what Martin sees, rather than each detail of what actually occurs.

Camera work in Gemma Bovery frequently indulges in gentle voyeurism. Taking Martin’s point of view, there is a distinctive focus on Gemma’s face and body. There is a lightness to Fontaine’s direction, and indeed the overall tone of the film. Performances are decent; with Gemma Arterton well cast as her namesake. Fabrice Luchini also brings a jovial feel to Martin. There is a believable mix of French and English, given the characters and the setting.

Gemma Bovery is light and entertaining viewing. The film is sufficiently removed as to not attract comparisons to the novel it so overtly references.

Film Review: Runner Runner

Runner Runner

Runner Runner features an interesting enough premise, but the execution belies this fact.

Princeton postgraduate student Richie uses online gambling as a way to pay for his tuition fees. When he gambles his savings hoping to make his next instalment, Richie notices something unusual about the online casino. Richie travels to Costa Rica to track down the site’s owner, the mysterious Ivan Black…

Director Brad Furman’s film had the potential to be an entertaining and competent picture. The set up is interesting enough. However, the narrative is not particularly smart; shifts can be spotted a mile off.

The narration does not do Runner Runner any favours. The voiceover would have been fine as an introductory device, but it is carried the whole way through the film. The dialogue is poor at times, and the gambling analogies are overplayed. There are a couple of humorous lines, but more that are unintentionally funny.

For a crime thriller, Runner Runner lacks the tension required to really grip viewers. Furman fails to give the film a sense of apprehension in pivotal scenes. There is no sense of danger, even in what should be perilous situations. Similarly, despite the ongoing theme of corruption, the film feels sanitised rather than seedy.

Richie is a suitable protagonist, functioning as an everyman out of his depth. The constant voiceover does not really endear him to viewers however. Ivan is more of a caricature than anything else. Rebecca functions as a pretty face but not much else; the character is flimsy at best.

Performances in the film are adequate. Justin Timberlake is fine as Richie, while Gemma Arterton is given little to do besides wear flattering dresses. Ben Affleck offers a little swagger as Ivan, but is never really nasty. This is the fault of the material more than the performance.

Runner Runner is not irredeemable, but it is not a successful thriller either. A rather forgettable movie.

Trailer Round-Up

Plenty of new trailers this week, including The Call, The Frozen Ground,and Only God Forgives

The Call

Halle Berry plays an emergency call operator in The Call. Also starring Abigail Breslin, film looks like a fast-paced thriller, from the trailer at least. It at least serves as a warning to always keep your phone adequately charged. The Call is out in UK cinemas on 20th September 2013.

The Frozen Ground

Watching this trailer, it’s hard to believe that John Cusack is the same guy who was in Say Anything. The Frozen Ground is based on the true story of the hunt for a serial killer in Alaska. Also starring Nicolas Cage and Vanessa Hudgens, The Frozen Ground hits the big screen on 19th July 2013.

Only God Forgives

Here is the latest trailer for Only God Forgives. Kristin Scott Thomas is barely recognisable. And Nicolas Winding Refn really does seem to like neon. Starring Ryan Gosing, Only God Forgives is out in UK cinemas on 2nd August 2013.

Pacific Rim

Monsters! Robots! Action writ large! Pacific Rim (I can’t with this name) is Guillermo del Toro’s future-set action blockbuster. If gigantic monsters started popping out of the ocean, I think I would just hide under the bed. But perhaps this would not make for a very exciting film. Pacific Rim hits the big screen on 12th July 2013.

Runner Runner

Justin Timberlake plays a college student who pays for his tuition through online gambling in Runner Runner. In fairness, he could be a mature student. The film also stars Gemma Arterton and Ben Affleck,  in his second role since his Argo success. Runner Runner is out on 27th September 2013.


Hawking is a new documentary on the life of the most famous living scientist in the world, Stephen Hawking. His fame seems to concentrate on his work as a physicist and his disability, so perhaps this film is an opportune chance to discover more about the renowned scientist. Hawking is released on 20th September 2013.

Film Review: Byzantium


Neil Jordan’s Byzantium is superb. Gothic mores are placed centre stage in this vampiric tale.

Clara and Eleanor move from place to place; their lifestyles meaning it is tricky to stay in one location for too long. Whilst Clara is more concerned about finding a new home, Eleanor is desperate to tell the story she has held on to for a very long time…

Director Neil Jordan was the perfect choice to execute Moira Buffini’s story. There are definite parallels between Byzantium and Jordan’s earlier Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. Byzantium also concentrates on the detractions of immortality rather than the violence of vampirism. This is not to say, however, that there is a lack of blood.

Byzantium is a very absorbing film. The sense of mystery is potent. Combined with the interesting characters and well-crafted narrative, it makes the film an engaging view. Pacing in Byzantium is good. The narrative is executed finely, feeding the audience Eleanor’s tale bit by bit. Some of the reveals are quite predictable, but this not detract from the overall enjoyment.

Vampire lore is employed and subverted in Byzantium. In spite of the modern setting, hallmarks of the gothic remain in the landscape of the dreary towns and space which Eleanor inhabits. This plays into the overall theme of loneliness.

Jordan’s direction is solid in both the frenetic moments and the more pensive scenes. There is some nice composition throughout the film. Effects are good for the most part; the film is only let down by some artificial-looking colouring.

Performances in Byzantium are strong. Caleb Landry Jones stands out in particular, while Saoirse Ronan is excellent casting as Eleanor. Gemma Arterton is also decent as Clara.

Byzantium is a worthy addition to the vampire canon. The film pays homage to its predecessors whilst putting its own spin on proceedings.

Stuff To Look At

The post in which I wax lyrical about new movie trailers. And inform you of the films set for release this summer. And get annoyed when I find out film characters share my name. The audacity…

Summer of Cinema 2013

Two weeks ago I went to the launch of ‘Summer of Cinema 2013’ to hear about upcoming releases and enjoy a mini burger (I love miniature food). There is lots to see this summer, from the big blockbusters (Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness) to films by Robert Redford and Sofia Coppola. Check out the compilation above.


Epic has a rather impressive cast voicing its characters. Among others, Colin Farrell, Amanda Seyfried and Christoph Waltz lend their voices. Beyonce voices a character called ‘Princess Tara’. Contrary to popular belief, this is not actually by nickname. Although I am not happy about the use of my name, I will reserve judgement until I see how this character plays out. Epic is released is UK cinemas on 22nd May 2013.

Much Ado About Nothing

A departure from vampires and superheroes, Joss Whedon directs a contemporary update of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Shot in twelve days and starring some of Whedon’s previous collaborators, the film is a far cry from the filmmaker’s recent output. I am looking forward to this foray into Shakespeare; it will be interesting to see if Whedon can handle it as well as he does big-budget comic book fare. Much Ado About Nothing is released on 14th June 2013.

The Seasoning House

Well, The Seasoning House is certainly not about the abode of spices. This revenge thriller looks pretty brutal. The Seasoning House is the directorial debut of special effects designer Paul Hyett. The film is out in cinemas on 21st June 2013.

In Fear

This trailer is almost haunting. It’s definitely the music. In Fear is a British horror film starring Alice Englert. It looks like a warning never ever to go on a car journey, and not just because they make you feel a bit queasy. Perhaps this is just me. In Fear is due for release in Autumn 2013.


Neil Jordan knows vampires. That’s why I am looking forward to Byzantium, unlike some other recent vampire flicks *cough Twilight cough*. Starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan, Byzantium is released in UK cinemas on 31st May 2013.

Thor: The Dark World

For the first minute-plus of this trailer I must have been in the majority of people thinking ‘yeah, but where the hell is Loki? I know Tom Hiddleston is in this film’. Looking rather bedraggled, Avenger Assemble‘s fantastic antagonist finally makes an appearance. Thor: The Dark World hits the big screen in the UK on 30th October 2013.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of stuff this week; a new Oz The Great and Powerful poster, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters trailer, something from Stoker and more…

Trouble With the Curve

Starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams and Justin Timberlake, Trouble With the Curve is a drama about a baseball scout. After Clint Eastwood films received a mixed reception at best, it will be a relief to some that he is not directing this one. Trouble With the Curve is out in cinemas on 30th November 2012.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Hansel and Gretel was always a disturbing fairy tale, so it is really no surprise that the filmmakers have chosen to go down the violent fantasy route with this cinematic adaptation. Starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arteton, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters looks like a lot of fun. The film is released in the UK on 15th March 2013.

Oz The Great and Powerful

This week the first poster for Oz The Great and Powerful was released. Directed by Sam Raimi, the film stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams. Disney’s last foray into Oz territory was the cult classic Return to Oz, so it will be interesting to see what this new film brings. Oz The Great and Powerful is due for release in March 2013.


This is not a trailer for Stoker, but a video that depicts the creation of the poster, along with clips from the film. I’m not entirely sure what Stoker is, but I am interested to find out more. Starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and Mia Wasikowska, Stoker will be released on 1st March 2013.

A Good Day to Die Hard

John McClane is back for another adventure in A Good Day to Die Hard. The last instalment did not quite match the much-loved earlier trilogy, so it will be interesting to see how this one does. Bruce Willis returns as McClane on 14th February 2013.

Django Unchained

Above is the latest trailer for Django Unchained. The trailer has director Quentin Tarantino’s stamp all over it. Starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained is released in UK cinemas on 18th January 2013.

Film Review: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

For a family-orientated blockbuster in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean, Prince of Persia is an entertaining enough affair. As expected, the special effects and action sequences excel, whilst the plot and dialogue are less impressive.

Adopted as an orphan boy by the Persian King, Dastan grows up in the royal family. After the king is murdered, Dastan must prove his innocence with the help of a mysterious dagger…

The plot is predictable, but that is hardly surprising considering the film is based on a video game. Likewise, the dialogue shifts between cheesy one-liners and overly grandiose sentiment. Nonetheless, these issues do not distract too much from the enjoyment of the film.

Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job as hero Dustan, whilst Gemma Arterton is perfunctory as the beautiful love interest, Princess Tamina. Ben Kingsley is adequate in his now customary role of knowledgeable older character/secret villain. With the film’s Middle Eastern setting, however, it is a shame that more of the actors aren’t from this region. It seems being “browned-up” is still deemed appropriate in 2010 Hollywood.

The special effects and wonderful landscapes make Prince of Persia a film that really should be seen on the big screen. Although the film is directed by Mike Newall, the influence of producer Jerry Bruckheimer are all too evident; the slow motion shots in the battle sequences, for example.

Prince of Persia is enjoyable enough for the type of film it is; it was never going to break new ground. Perhaps the real shame is what it signifies in modern Hollywood: before the numbers even come in a sequel is already guaranteed. Gone are the days, it seems, when a film actually had to do well before a sequel was even considered and green lit.