Previews: 10 Cloverfield Lane Trailer, Sing Street and more!

Plenty of film previews this week, including the 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer, Sing Street, The Secret Life of Pets and more…

10 Cloverfield Lane Trailer

This is a bit of a surprise. From the 10 Cloverfield Lane trailer, it is unclear whether the film is a sequel, prequel or sidequel to Cloverfield. Produced by J.J. Abrams, the film features Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman seemingly as survivalists living in a basement. I’m sure more will be revealed soon. 10 Cloverfield Lane hits UK screens on 8th April 2016.

Sing Street Trailer

Set in 1980s Dublin, Sing Street is about a boy who is forced to transfer from a private school to a inner-city state school. Starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Aiden Gillen, the film is set to have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Sing Street will be released in UK cinemas on 22nd April 2016.

The Secret Life of Pets Trailer

This trailer exhibits why no one should ever have a pet snake. The Secret Life of Pets is about what domesticated animals get up to whilst their humans are at work. The film features the voices of Kevin Hart, Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet. I think it will be one of my favourite animated films of the year, if filmmakers get things right. The Secret Life of Pets is out on 24th June 2016 in the UK.

Money Monster Trailer

Julia Roberts and George Clooney team up again for real-time thriller Money Monster. Julia Roberts is the producer of host George Clooney’s financial show when they are taken hostage live on air. Directed by Jodie Foster, Monster Money is set for release in May 2016.

Hail, Cesar! Trailer

The more I see of the Coen brothers’ new comedy Hail, Cesar!, the more I am looking forward to it. The film stellar cast is enough of a draw, yet the film also looks as if it will be hilarious. Moreover, I have just noticed that Dolph Lundgren stars in this. Give the film all the Oscars next year! Hail, Cesar! sweeps onto UK screens on 4th March 2016.

Film Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a passably enjoyable action fantasy romp. Not quite an fun as viewers may hope, the film is entertaining nevertheless.

 As a young boy in the nineteenth century, Abraham Lincoln watches his mother die. Vowing to avenge her death as an adult, Lincoln is unaware of what he is up against. As Abraham Lincoln rises in the political sphere, by night he hunts vampires…

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter features an enticing premise. Painting one of the most famous American presidents as a Van Helsing-type sounds amusing and an interesting idea for a film. It is a shame that Timur Bekmambetov’s movie does not quite capitalise on the ridiculousness of the premise. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter should have been all out outlandish.

Instead, the film maintains a more serious tone. Abraham Lincoln moonlighting as a vampire hunter is played straight, rather than for laughs. Viewers are required to suspend their disbelief; unsurprising for a film with a strong fantasy vein. Nevertheless, some of the plotting is a bit problematic, including the motivations of some of the characters. The ambiguity over the intentions of one of Lincoln’s sidekicks, however, is a nice touch.

Bekmambetov has given Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a highly stylised look. This is only partially successful. The CGI-heavy appearance gives the film a synthetic air. The action sequences owe a lot to the films of Zack Snyder, with the speeding up and slowing down of action.

Benjamin Walker is well cast as the young Abraham Lincoln. Anthony Mackie plays Lincoln’s companion Will with well-suited selflessness. Dominic Cooper is good as Henry Sturgess, while Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes a believable Mary Todd.

Although there are some issues around motivations and the action sequences do not quite engross the way they should, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is entertaining throughout. Those seeking something totally outlandish may be better off looking elsewhere.

Film Review: The Thing

Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s prelude The Thing is an enjoyable sci-fi/action thriller, but it does not match its predecessor in terms of quality.

Columbia University palaeontologist Kate Lloyd is asked by scientist Dr Sander Halvorson to accompany him on a trip to Antarctica. His team of researchers have made a startling discovery; an alien craft buried deep in the ice. Also discovered is an alien life form, trapped in the ice. Halvorson requires Kate’s help to excavate the body, which the team presume is dead…

A prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing (which itself was a remake of 1951’s The Thing From Another World), the 2011 film features the same basic premise as these earlier films. There is less build up in this film; it lacks the careful set up of Carpenter’s movie. This is not a bad thing in itself, except that the main action then feels slightly overlong as a result. This is amplified by the fact that the film has little room to manoeuvre, due to its position as a prequel.

The 2011 film is not quite as tense as its predecessor, although it does have its apprehensive moments. Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s film imbues the same paranoia that was so pivotal in Carpenter’s movie, but not quite to the same effect. Some of the film’s most frantic sequences are well produced.

What is interesting to note is the choice of hero in The Thing. The film is a rarity within the genre in that it offers a female hero who is both smart and physically capable, and does not need to rely on her male-dominated companions. It is refreshing also that little is made of the fact that she is female. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is well cast as Kate; the sombreness she brings to the ole is wholly suitable.

The production design is great, especially in recreating the look of the 1982 film. The choice of title font and Universal logo at the beginning of the film is a nice touch, and may have viewers questioning whether they are seeing the correct film. Some of the CGI effects let the production down, giving a synthetic look to what should be monstrous special effects.

As a stand alone film, The Thing is an entertaining watch. However, to the many viewers familiar with the 1982 film, this prequel is inevitably inferior.