Previews: Logan Lucky Trailer, Stronger, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the Logan Lucky trailer, My Little Pony: The Movie, Stronger and more…

Logan Lucky Trailer

Here is the new Logan Lucky trailer. The films sees director Steven Soderbergh teaming up with Channing Tatum once again for this new action comedy. Tatum is joined by an enviable cast that includes Adam Driver, Katie Holmes, and Daniel Craig. Logan Lucky will hit UK cinemas on 25th August 2017.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle Trailer

Here is the brand new trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The film is set in the same world as the 1995 film, albeit updated to be a video game rather than a board game. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is scheduled for release in UK cinemas in December 2017.

My Little Pony: The Movie Trailer

Will this new film be as good as 1986’s My Little Pony: The Movie? Only time will tell. After Hasbro re-launched the toy and media franchise in 2010, a new new movie seemed inevitable. This new film features an all-star voice cast, including Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoworth, Live Schreiber, and Taye Diggs. My Little Pony: The Movie arrives on UK screens on 20th October 2017.

The Greatest Showman Trailer

The Greatest Showman is a new original musical. The film is inspired by P.T. Barnum, and celebrates the birth of show business. Hugh Jackman headlines, and is joined by Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, and Zendaya. The Greatest Showman is set for release in UK cinemas on 1st January 2018.

Annabelle: Creation Poster

Here is the latest poster for Annabelle: Creation, which emphasises the creepiness of the doll. The film is a prequel, and details how the doll was brought to life originally. This latest horror is directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out). Annabelle: Creation hits UK screens on  11th August 2017.

The Dark Tower Featurette

This new featurette for The Dark Tower reveals a bit more about the main character in the film. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey star in the film, based on Stephen King’s novel. The Dark Tower is out in cinemas on 18th August 2017.

Stronger Trailer

Here is the trailer for drama Stronger. The film is based on the true story of the Boston man  whose iconic photo from the 2013 Boston marathon bombing was broadcast throughout the world. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Masley, and Miranda Richardson. Stronger will be released later this year.

Film Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mira Nair’s adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s novel hooks viewers through its storytelling. With a compelling central character, The Reluctant Fundamentalist keeps its audience guessing.

Changez Khan is a Lahore University lecturer being interviewed by American journalist Bobby. An American professor has been kidnapped and Bobby questions Changez’s involvement in the incident. Changez, who spent a number of years in America, begins to tell his tale…

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is all about the grey areas. It offers a depiction of its protagonist as multi faceted, with different ideals and motivations. It is tricky to second guess Changez’s ultimate beliefs; it is this aspect that keeps the audience engaged. There is a scene in the first half of the film which is played twice, once with Bobby’s interpretation and the other with Changez’s account of events. This is emblematic of the entire film; both are plausible but it is unclear which is correct.

The film walks the fine line in depicting both fundamentalists and the CIA in a balanced light. Director Nair makes no discernible attempt to paint either side in a negative light. This is why The Reluctant Fundamentalist works. Instead of painting characters as heroes and villains, the main characters are given depth and appear realistic in their conflicts.

Performances all round are good. Riz Ahmed offers a convincing portrayal as Changez, both as the son of a Pakistani poet and a high flyer in Manhattan’s financial district. Leiv Schreiber is strong as Bobby, while Kate Hudson does well in her supporting role. The music is sometimes overpowering, but visuals are pleasing throughout.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist explores the idea of fundamentalism and what triggers it in an interesting manner. Moreover, it is an engrossing personal tale.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2012.

Film Review: Salt

Angelina Jolie dons a series of unconvincing wigs in this unconvincing action thriller. Salt is one of those films that should be good, but ultimately fails to live up to expectations.

Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent, is accused by a defector of being a Russian spy who intends to assassinate the president of Russia in New York. Salt goes on the run after finding her husband missing, with her colleagues in close pursuit…

Salt begins similarly to Minority Report; with an insider being accused of a crime they have yet to commit. With Tom Cruise originally slated to take the title role, the similarities could have continued. Instead, with Jolie at the helm, the film takes a series of twists, none of which are particularly convincing. Furthermore, the ending is rather unsatisfying and comes across as a tad presumptuous.

Phillip Noyce’s film attempts to keep the audience guessing with its twists and revelations (any detail on this would be too much of a spoiler). However, with every twist the film becomes more incredulous. Salt falls into the gap between realist thriller and popcorn action flick. On the hand the film takes itself too seriously to be enjoyed solely for its action angle, and on the other it aims at a degree of realism that depreciates with the film’s descent into disbelief.

Angelina Jolie does a fair job as protagonist Salt, although her artificial hair situation is somewhat distracting. Liev Schreiber is believable as Salt’s boss Ted Winter, although it is the type of role he has been cast in a number of times before. Chiwetel Ejiofor meanwhile is underused as Peabody, the most convincing character in the film.

The action sequences are well crafted, and add some much-needed excitement to proceedings. Even these, however, are marred by implausibility. Salt, for example, jumps from a bridge onto a metal container of a truck, yet is so little injured by this that she is able to make similar jumps moments later. Elsewhere, top CIA and security service agents are portrayed as wholly incompetent, despite the importance of their roles.

If you are looking films in a similar vein, Bourne Identity, Minority Report or The Manchurian Candidate are all superior choices to Salt.