Previews: Star Trek Beyond Featurette, Cafe Society and More!

This week’s preview of coming attractions includes a new Star Trek Beyond featurette, Cafe SocietyLa La Land and more…

Star Trek Beyond Featurette

This new Star Trek Beyond featurette introduces a new character to the franchise, Jaylah. Played by Sofia Boutella, Jaylah is introduced as an ally of Scotty, played by the film’s co-writer Simon Pegg. Justin Lin directs the latest instalment of the series, with J.J. Abrams on board as a producer. Star Trek Beyond hits UK screens on 22nd July 2016.

Cafe Society Trailer

After its debut at Cannes, Woody Allen’s latest feature Cafe Society gets a UK release date. The film is set New York and Hollywood in the 1930s; a perfect backdrop for star Blake Lively’s classic Hollywood glamour. Also starring Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carrell and Kristen Stewart, Cafe Society arrives in UK cinemas on 2nd September 2016.

La La Land Trailer

Here is the first trailer for La La Land. The film has a lot going for it; it is the follow-up from director Damien Chazelle after his brilliant Whiplash. It also reunites Ryan Gosling with Emma Stone after Crazy, Stupid, Love and Gangster Squad. The pair star as a musician and an aspiring actress who fall in love in Los Angeles. La La Land will be released in early 2017.

Finding Dory Featurette

This featurette for the upcoming Finding Dory reveals the background to the sequel. A follow-up to Finding Nemo, Finding Dory concentrates on Marlin’s sidekick, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres. The film hits UK screens on 29th July 2016.

The Shallows Featurette

Will this be as tense as Jaws? There certainly have been some memorable shark films, so it will be interesting to see how The Shallows measures up. Blake Lively discusses her character in this featurette, which includes footage from the film. The Shallows slinks into UK cinemas on 12th August 2016.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Clip

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is a comedy featuring Zac Efron and Adam Devine. After putting an online ad for dates to their sister’s wedding, the brothers get more than they bargained for with Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is out in cinemas on 10th August 2016.

Power Rangers Poster

Power Rangers poster

Here is one of the latest posters for upcoming film Power Rangers. I never watched the show, so I don’t have the “stop remaking everything” attitude to this. The film’s cast includes Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, and Naomi Scott (pictured above). Power Rangers is scheduled for release next year.

Andy Serkis at Jameson Cult Film Club

Last Wednesday, Jameson Cult Film Club returned to London with a screening of Jaws at Greenwich Yacht Club. Prior to the screening, we were able to speak to Jameson Cult Film Club Curator Andy Serkis about the Club, Jaws, and directing…

What does your role as Curator of Jameson Cult Film Club entail?

I basically had input into choosing some of the films that are going to be screened. Just to introduce them, and be part of the event.

What is it about Jaws that you like so much?

I think it is one of the most complete films ever made really. In terms of writing, in terms of the tension, in terms of individual performances, in terms of the camera work. It’s just brilliant storytelling, it’s absolutely, totally immersive. The way it was shot was revolutionary, the use of animatronics was revolutionary. For all of those reasons it really moved filmmaking on.

If you were going to make Jaws now, would you use animatronics or motion capture?

What I love about Jaws is the fact that it still holds up today. Even though you know it’s an animatronic shark, your mind is tricked in such a way that you’re still terrified of it. If I was to shoot it now, it would probably be a combination. I would still want some real physicality of an animatronic puppet. It would probably be CG-enhanced, but I would probably use the basis of that still. The human brain, the way it is tricked in modern-day filmmaking, sometimes it can be flattened out. What is interesting is where you are just not sure what is real and what isn’t.

You are getting into directing, can you tell us a bit about that?

I have just come back from directing the second unit on The Hobbit, directing is an arena I have been getting into for some time. I have a company called The Imaginarium, which is a performance capture studio. It does live action films as well as visual effects and performance capture for films. Over the course of the next year, I am going to be directing two projects which will be announced quite shortly.

Find out more about Jameson Cult Film Club here.

Film Review: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a fantastic adventure film that ticks all the boxes. It is superbly crafted and will entertain audiences of all ages.

Reporter Tintin and his canine companion Snowy are well known for solving mysteries and breaking big stories. When a model boat catches Tintin’s eye at the market, he decides he must have it. Tintin is warned against keeping it by a mysterious stranger. It is later stolen from Tintin’s home, but not before a clue is left in the young reporter’s possession…

The Adventures of Tintin is an adventure film of the highest order. Spielberg’s film combines everything you would want from an adventure: mystery, action, suspense, comedy and exotic locales. In this way it recalls some of Spielberg’s earlier work, such as the Indiana Jones films. There is also a very amusing nod to Jaws.

Spielberg directs the film deftly. The chase scene in Morocco in particular is spectacular, with the panning shots and overall fluid movement. There are some wonderful edits between scenes, with one scene seamlessly enveloping the previous one.

The screenplay by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat is great. Good deal of humour, which should appeal to both adults and children. The chemistry between Tintin and Haddock is most believable, and Thompson and Thompson do a good job of providing the comic relief. Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis do a great job of bringing Tintin and Captain Haddock to life, respectively. Smowy the dog also plays a pivotal role in proceedings. It is nice to see he is always given something to do while the focus is on Tintin; sniffing round the camel while his master speaks to someone, for example.

The animation is superb in The Adventures of Tintin. Unlike some of the other films that have used motion capture, there is a warmth to the characters. The detail is excellent; the strands of Tintin’s hair are incredibly lifelike. The film should give other filmmakers using this technology something to aim for. 3D also works very well in Tintin. It is a film with paying the uplift for to see in 3d on the big screen.

Fans of the books should be satisfied with this adaptation. It references it source material with a few nods, including the cute portrait scene at the beginning. Moreover, this film should bring new fans into the fold as previous knowledge of the stories is not required. From the great opening credits scene to the very last moments, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is immensely entertaining. Highly recommended viewing.

Film Review: The Reef

Shark movies are wide ranging in terms of quality. By no means the same calibre as Jaws, The Reef nevertheless is a worthy addition to this film sub-genre.

Luke takes his visiting friends on a sailing trip off the coast of Australia. The group is having a great time when the sailboat hits a rock and capsizes. With no land in sight, Luke and his friends must decide whether to wait to be rescued, or attempt to swim to the nearest island through shark-infested waters…

The Reef follows a formulaic narrative pattern, giving the audience a little time to get to know the characters before disaster strikes. A past relationship between Luke and Kate is revealed, a theme that is returned to throughout the film. Director and writer Andrew Traucki may have included this love story to give more depth to the characters (in turn giving viewers relatable protagonists), but it seems a little unnecessary. The past relationship between Luke and Kate is not explored in any detail; neither does it heavily impact on the decisions that they make. With some stilted dialogue, the relationship appears as a narrative device rather than anything more tangible.

There are a few other aspects of the script that seem a little flawed. When the boat capsizes, there does not seem to be a real sense of panic. This is emphasised when Kate decides to stay on the sailboat. Her choice is never explained (neither is her change of mind moments later), and the decision lacks the gravity that it should. The ending of The Reef also feels a bit rushed; what is explained could have been depicted in an extra five minutes or so to give a more well-rounded conclusion.

Where The Reef excels is in the way in which tension is generated. The cutting from surface level to under water shots and from the characters’ viewpoints to that of the shark effectively creates apprehension. Furthermore, the use of lighting in the capsized sailboat works well in enhancing the claustrophobia of the situation. The use of a real shark adds to the authenticity of the film, however the actual shark attacks could have been more visceral. There is a fantastic build-up to attacks, but the actual attacks lack the horror expected of them. Given the film’s low budget, perhaps there were limitations in this respect.

Damien Walshe-Howling is adequate as Luke, while Zoe Naylor appears a little stiff as Kate. It is Adrienne Pickering as Suzie who is most convincing. Pickering accurately conveys the terror of the situation, portraying emotions of distress and fear more authentically than the other cast members.

The Reef is very similar to Open Water, albeit with extra shark action. Viewers who like this type of thriller are sure to enjoy Andrew Traucki’s film as well. The Reef is certainly an effective enough deterrent from sailing, reiterating that it is indeed not safe to go back in the water.

The Reef is available on DVD from 24th January 2011.