Trailer Round-Up

This week has seen the release of trailers for some of this year’s biggest movies. If you have missed them, here is a quick recap…

The Avengers

Last week’s Super Bowl saw the premiere of the new trailer of The Avengers. The clip reveals the band of heroes from the Marvel universe. Spiderman is noticeably absent, although the clip below illustrates why one of Marvel’s most famous characters does not seem to appear. Although the trailer is short, it seems that Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk take centre stage. It will be interesting to see the role Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye will play, as one of the lesser known superheroes. The Avengers is released on 27th April 2012.

The Amazing Spider-Man

It was clearly Marvel trailer release week. The Amazing Spider-Man trailer was revealed earlier in the week, to much excitement. The first thing that sprung to mind was that it looks a bit CGI-heavy, much like 2002’s Spider-Man (the effects of which now look quite dated). The Amazing Spider-Man is being filmed in 3D, so perhaps the effects will look more seamless in this format. The aspect which is appealing at the moment is the casting of leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. The Amazing Spider-Man is due for release on 4th July 2012.

The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne series is one that I need to revisit. I liked the first film, but need to watch the two sequels again to solidify my opinion on them. This summer a new instalment is released, with Jeremy Renner taking over from Matt Damon. The trailer for The Bourne Legacy is a rather stylish affair for the first half, before the more traditional reveal of scenes. After his appearance in Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol last year and The Avengers this year, Jeremy Renner is fast becoming the go to guy for big action blockbusters. The Bourne Legacy is out on 15th August 2012.

Film Review: Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

The fourth film in the series and the first in five years, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol ticks all the boxes as far as providing an entertaining action blockbuster.

Having been away from the work of the IMF for a number of years, agent Ethan Hunt is implicated in a major terrorist act overseas. When the unit is shut down, it is up to Hunt to lead a small team of agents to clear the organisation’s name and expose the real culprit…

Director Brad Bird injects new life into the Mission: Impossible film franchise. After the unmemorable third instalment, the new film seems to have more energy. Part of the reason the film works well is because of the team dynamic. More pronounced than in the previous instalments, Ghost Protocol centres on Ethan Hunt leading a team of agents. The group are indispensable to Hunt’s mission, playing more than merely a subordinate role.

Ghost Protocol recalls a certain type of Bond film in its format. The film revolves around some big set pieces, with the downtime used mostly for expository gap-filling. The stunts in Ghost Protocol are even more elaborate than previous episodes, with Tom Cruise engaged in some truly frightening situations. The opening sequence in particular is reminiscent of the stand-alone action-packed beginning of Bond films. The opening credits sequence also hark back to the spy franchise, as well as the original Mission: Impossible television series.

The film relies on these set pieces to grab the attention. This is a successful tactic, although the film peaks too early with a particularly spectacular scene. Otherwise, the narrative is fairly standard for the genre, with little that will really surprise audiences.

Tom Cruise is on good form in Ghost Protocol; he seems to have a lot of energy and relish for the film. Jeremy Renner provides good support, as does Paula Patton. Simon Pegg brings humour, but is less convincing in more serious moments.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol should satisfy all those looking for a blockbuster this holiday season. It is stunt-heavy and very entertaining.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Trailer

After a five-year hiatus, Tom Cruise is back for the fourth instalment of the Mission: Impossible franchise. Ghost Protocol, directed by Brad Bird, is due to be released in December 2011. Cruise is joined by Jeremy Renner, who will hopefully inject some new life into the series. The cast also includes Paula Patton and Simon Pegg. While the above trailer is certainly action-packed, it remains to be seen how the film will fare. The previous three films have grossed a total of $2 billion, so Ghost Protocol has big shoes to fill…

Film Review: The Town

Like a phoenix risen from the ashes of Gigli and Jersey Girl, Ben Affleck lives up to his early promise with the accomplished crime thriller The Town. The film deserves its place at the top of the United States box office, and will most likely replicate this success when it is released in the UK this weekend.

Bank robber Doug McKray decides to befriend a woman who was taken hostage by his crew, to discover how much she has told police. When a relationship flourishes between the two, Doug finds it difficult to balance this new development with his life of crime…

Affleck proves himself to be a competent director with The Town. He appears as adept in directing big action sequences as he does with the quieter, more emotional scenes. The action scenes in particular are frenetic in their editing; cutting frequently between long shots, close-ups and different points of view. This goes a long way to generate the tension that runs throughout the film.

The Town deftly manoeuvres between the gritty reality of crime and poverty and a high-octane action movie. The film works well as it does not allow itself to get too entrenched in the pessimism of deprivation, yet at the same time has more depth than most run-of-the-mill action thrillers. To some, the romance between Doug and Claire may seem contrived, but it is integral in its function as a catalyst to propel the events that follow.

As protagonist Doug, Affleck is measured in revealing his feelings; maintaining a calm that make the spurts of aggression or emotion appear authentic and in-keeping with the character. There are the prerequisite shades of grey so ingrained in a character such as this. Neither wholly good nor bad, Doug weighs heavy with the burden of his actions but strives for something more than the Charlestown way.

Jeremy Renner is excellent as loose-cannon best friend Jem. Renner effectively portrays the violence of the character, thus illustrating a stark contrast between the outlook and ideals of the two best friends. Blake Lively gives an admirable performance as the sister of Jem, and sometime girlfriend of Doug. Lively exhibits a range greater than her Gossip Girl appearances would suggest. Elsewhere, both Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall put in decent performances in their respective roles.

The Town is an effective thriller precisely because it maintains the element of suspense throughout. It is never clear which way events will turn, or exactly how the film will reach its conclusion. Affleck’s aptitude for suspense demonstrated in The Town will undoubtedly produce much anticipation for his next effort.