Stuff To Look At

Plenty of stuff on upcoming movies this week, including the brand new Anchorman: The Legend Continues trailer, Disney’s Frozen, and more…

Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Here is the latest Anchorman: The Legend Continues trailer. Almost ten years later, one of the funniest comedies of the 2000s gets a sequel. The original cast are joined by a host of other stars, including Harrison Ford, Tina Fey and Sacha Baron Cohen. Anchorman: The Legend Continues hits the big screen on 20th December 2013.

Frozen

Here is the first trailer for Frozen, the latest animated comedy from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The trailer reveals little about the plot, which revolves around a girl trying to find her sister in a kingdom besieged by an eternal winter. Frozen is due for release on 6th December 2013.

The LEGO Movie

The first trailer for The LEGO Movie was released today. Featuring the voices of Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Elizabeth Banks, The LEGO Movie will be released in UK cinemas on 14th February 2014.

The Wolf of Wall Street

There was a palpable excitement (at least virtually) when this trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street was released on Monday. There is little not to like in this trailer of Martin Scorsese’s latest film. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill (and a monkey!), The Wolf of Wall Street is out 17th January 2014. I can’t wait.

The Wolverine

Here is the latest trailer for The Wolverine. I wonder if one day Hugh Jackman will become too old to play Wolverine. But for this upcoming film he still looks the part. The Wolverine will be released in 3D on 25th July 2013.

300: Rise of an Empire

300: Rise of an Empire is a prequel to the 2006 hit 300. The film has the same look as its predecessor, even though Zack Snyder is not at the helm for this adventure. 300: Rise of an Empire is due for release in March 2014.

Frances Ha

Here is the trailer for Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, co-written and starring Greta Gerwig. Worthy of the praise it has hitherto received, the film explores the friendships of a dance company apprentice in New York. Frances Ha is released in UK cinemas on 26th July 2013.

Despicable Me 2

Above is a short featurette with Steve Carell exploring the upcoming animated sequel Despicable Me 2. I am kind of relieved that there is a unicorn in this film as well. Despicable Me 2 hits UK screens on 28th June 2013.

Film Review: Magic Mike

Despite a promising first third, Magic Mike does not seem to know what it wants to be and what story it wants to tell.

Mike is a thirty-year old roofer with various sidelines. While he tries to get his custom furniture business off the ground, Mike works as a male stripper. Adam, a young college drop out, is in need of money when he takes a job on the construction site alongside Mike. Seeing his promise, Mike decides to shows him the ropes…

Magic Mike works best in the opening forty minutes or so, where it balances light humorous moments with a sufficiently engaging plot. The shift in the middle third, where humour is swapped for a more serious atmosphere, is not a successful move. The main problem with Magic Mike  is that it does not tell a convincing story. There is very little about the protagonist for the audience to get their teeth into. The crux of the narrative seems to be that he is more than just a stripper. The film offers little more than this other than a predictable journey of rookie stripper Adam.

Director Steven Soderbergh’s touch is apparent throughout the film, with the use of camera shots and angles. Soderbergh offers a little titillation in terms of the stripping routines, but reigns it back in so nothing too explicit is depicted. The scenes between protagonist Mike and love interest Brooke veer between inauthentic and cringe-inducing. This element, which is integral to the film, fails to engage viewers. Other tangents are half baked, and never really amount to anything.

Matthew McConaughey gives best performance of the lot as club owner Dallas. He brings a level of outrageousness really needed for the role. As Mike, Channing Tatum is awkward in his scenes with Cody Horn’s Brooke, who is terrible. Alex Pettyfer is suitably cast as Adam. The rest of dancers barely leave an impression, thanks to the minimal characterisation.

Magic Mike does not work as a tongue-in-cheek comedy romp to entice the ladies and gay gentlemen. As a drama, it is even more problematic.

Trailer Round-Up

This week has seen the release of the first trailer for new Bond movie Skyfall and the teaser for Anchorman 2. Also featured are The Campaign, Killer Joe and Cosmopolis.

Skyfall

Well isn’t this exciting? Albeit with less of the unreserved glamour of the Roger Moore days, Bond is back in what’s looks to be another frenetic adventure. The tube train excerpt is sure to strike fear in the heart of any London commuter. Quantum of Solace was a bit disappointing, but hopefully director Sam Mendes will return Daniel Craig’s Bond to the form of Casino Royale. Skyfall is released on 26th October 2012.

Anchorman 2

A belated sequel to a much-loved film is always tricky. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was a fantastic film, so the idea of a sequel is received with equal parts glee and skepticism. This teaser reveals nothing really about the film itself, but it is great to see Will Ferrell reunited with Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and David Koechner. Hopefully that hot piece Baxter will also return for the sequel.

The Campaign

Before Anchorman 2 is released, here is another slice of Will Ferrell. The Campaign is a new comedy starring Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Sudeikis. Ferrell’s line during the trash talking sequence alone makes me want to go and see this film. The Campaign is out on 28th September 2012.

Killer Joe

This looks like it will be a combination of tense and absurd. William Friedkin directs Killer Joe, based on a play by Tracy Letts. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple. Killer Joe is released in cinemas on 29th June 2012.

Cosmopolis

David Cronenberg’s last film, A Dangerous Method, was a letdown. From this brief teaser, Cosmopolis immediately looks inherently more Cronenberg, which is definitely a good thing. Starring Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton and Juliette Binoche, Cosmopolis is released on 15th June 2012.

Trailer Round-Up

New trailers for The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus were released earlier this week. With the latest trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man being released last night, this has been a bumper week for blockbuster trailers. All we need now is something from new James Bond movie Skyfall

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom is the eagerly anticipated new film from Wes Anderson. The film boasts a stellar cast that includes Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton. Moonrise Kingdom is about two children who fall in love during the summer of 1965. The film is released on 25th May 2012.

The Amazing Spider-Man

The third trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man was released last night. The trailer reveals more of an emphasis on Peter Parker’s parents than the previous run of Spiderman films. Although the trailer looks good, The Amazing Spider-Man has been sandwiched between two superhero behemoths; Avengers Assemble has already done record-breaking business while The Dark Knight Rises is due for release two weeks after Spider-Man. Notwithstanding, given the popularity of this character, The Amazing Spider-Man is sure to bring in the crowds when it opens on 4th July 2012.

Magic Mike

I am not sure what Magic Mike is supposed to be, other than based on Channing Tatum’s former career as a stripper. Steven Soderbergh’s film could have been a male version of Showgirls, but instead seems to have a strong romantic string to the story. Channing Tatum showed off his comedy chops in 21 Jump Street, so hopefully these will shine through in Magic Mike. Also starring Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConughey, Magic Mike is out in cinemas on 13th July 2012.

Joyful Noise

The only thing you need to know about this film is that Dolly Parton in it. But if you want to know more, the film is about church choir group who enter a competition with new director Vi Rose (Queen Latifah) at the helm. The arrival of Randy (Jeremy Jordan), the grandson of G.G. Sparrow (Dolly Parton) shakes things up. Joyful Noise is released on 29th June 2012.

Film Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer is an enjoyable if not gripping legal thriller, overall. What appears at first to be a straightforward courtroom drama transforms into a rather bizarre crime case.

Mick Haller is a top defense lawyer who does most of his work out of the back of his Lincoln car. Haller’s services are requested by a wealthy young client, who strongly protests his innocence. As Haller takes on the case, he discovers that it is more complicated and dangerous than it initially seemed…

The Lincoln Lawyer is entertaining, but not without its flaws. The pacing in the film is uneven. There is too much build up before the more critical scenes commence. This leaves the significant sequences feeling rushed; it takes too long to this point. Moreover, the conclusion of the film is not as climactic as it should be, especially with the prolonged build up.

The case that is presented to Haller is really quite intriguing. It seems rather straightforward to begin with, but it quickly becomes clear that there is more than meets the eye. Rather than plain courtroom drama, The Lincoln Lawyer combines action and violence, making Brad Furman’s film more of a crime thriller. This works reasonably well, however the film would have functioned with just as much suspense, perhaps more so, if the action was kept in the confines of the courtroom.

The Lincoln Lawyer is very much a one-man show. That is not to say that Matthew McConaughey offers a particularly powerful performance. Rather, the character Haller dominates the entire film, leaving little room for the auxiliary characters. These side characters drift in and out of the film, with little time or exertion spent on developing them. It is a shame, as the movie could have been stronger if the supporting players had been given meatier roles.

Matthew McConaughey is adequate as Haller. It is refreshing to see McConaughey in something other than a romantic comedy. But while the actor exudes the charisma of the character, his mark is not so indelible in the more dramatic sequences. Ryan Phillippe is convincing as client Louis Roulet, offering a more commanding performance than the lead. Marisa Tomei, Willaim H. Macy and John Leguizamo are all good, but underused in their meagre roles.

Production values are decent, especially Jeff McEvoy’s editing. Music is also a plus; the film uses a mixture of classic and contemporary urban tunes. The Lincoln Lawyer is slick and entertaining, but lacks the execution to elevate the film beyond this.