Director Steven Caple Jr.’s sequel Creed II hits all the expected notes, but does it well enough to get viewers onside. The film is immensely entertaining.
A few years after his breakout fight, Adonis Creed’s star is on the ascent. As he rises in the boxing world, he receives a new challenge. His intended opponent is Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago…
A sequel to the 2015 hit Creed, this film sees Ryan Coogler pass the directing baton to Steven Caple Jr. (Coogler stays on as executive producer). Creed II picks up a couple of years after its predecessor. Protagonist Adonis Creed’s underdog becomes a champion, only for a new challenger to emerge. Creed II treads a familiar beat; the film will be reminiscent for fans of the Rocky franchise. The protagonist goes on enough of an emotional journey to engage with viewers. Likewise, there is development from Rocky Balboa, fitting nicely into the mentor mode adopted in the previous film.
With the reappearance of Ivan Drago, the film loops back to Rocky IV. Whilst not a remake of the 1985 film, Creed II follows a very similar narrative path. In a sense, it is both a remake and a sequel. The use of footage from the 1985 film further emphasises this. Although the film concentrates on Adonis’ journey, there is enough about the Drago family to give this opponent motive and backstory.
Caple Jr. does not shy away from the brutality of the boxing with some gory depictions. There are some nice shots; Adonis’ reflection in the trophy cabinet springs to mind. Music is used well, combining aspects of the Rocky theme with more contemporary tracks. Michael B. Jordan is convincing again as Adonis Creed. He offers both charisma and a heathy degree of authenticity. Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone provide good support. Dolph Lindgren is also a welcome presence. The return of a few characters from the original franchise is a nice touch.
Creed II is predictable in places, but this hardly matters when it is such an enjoyable watch.
Lots of film-related goodness in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including a new Creed II clip, Uglydolls, Missing Link, and more…
Creed II Clip
Here is a brand new Creed II clip. A sequel to 2016’s Creed, the film sees the return of Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, and Tessa Thompson. They are joined by a face from the original franchise; Dolph Lundgren reprises his role as Ivan Drago. Directed by Steven Caple Jr., Creed II will hit UK screens on 30th November 2018.
Here is the first trailer for animated adventure Uglydolls. Based on the toy brand, the film is about the residents of Uglyville, who confront what it means to be different. The film features original songs by Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe, and Blake Shelton. Uglydolls is set for release on 16th August 2019.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Poster
Above is the latest poster for the upcoming Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. Produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the film focuses on a different Spider-Man universe. With an all-star voice cast (including Mahershala Ali, Hailee Steinfeld, and Nicolas Cage), Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse is out in UK cinemas on 12th December, with previews on 8th and 9th December 2018.
Missing Link Trailer
Missing Link is the latest film from animation studio Laika. The film is about an explorer who discovers the world’s most legendary creature. Featuring the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, and Zoe Saldana, Missing Link is set for release on 5th April 2019.
Here is one of the latest posters from the upcoming DC film Aquaman. Nicole Kidman stars as Queen Atlanna in the film. She is joined by Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, and Willem Dafoe. Directed by James Wan, Aquaman will hit UK screens on 14th December 2018.
White Boy Rick Trailer
White Boy Rick is based on the true story. Set in 1980s Detroit, during the height of the war on drugs, the film is about a father and his teenage son, who becomes a police informant. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Brian Tyree Henry. White Boy Rick is being released in UK cinemas on 7th December 2018.
Some hotly-anticipated films in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the brand new Creed II trailer, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, First Man, and more…
Creed II Trailer
The new Creed II trailer was released today. The sequel to the very successful Creed, the film sees Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, and Tessa Thompson returning. They are joined by Dolph Lundgren, who reprises his role as the iconic Ivan Drago. Steven Caple Jr. takes over director duties from Ryan Coogler, who stays on as an executive producer. Creed II will hit UK cinemas on 30th November 2018.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix Poster
We are finally getting a look at the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The film reunites the X-Men: Days of Future Past cast, including Sophie Turner, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence. The cast also includes the new addition of Jessica Chastain. The film is the directorial debut of Simon Kinberg, writer of the previous two X-Men films. X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be be released in cinemas next year.
First Man Featurette
Above is a featurette on Damien Chapelle’s latest, First Man. Chazelle reunites with his La La Land lead actor Ryan Gosling in this story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon. The film also stars Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, and Kyle Chandler. Written by Josh Singer, First Man launches on to UK screens on 12th October 2018.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of the Grindelwald Trailer
Above is the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of the Grindelwald. The film is a sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Johnny Depp, and Ezra Miller return, and are joined by Jude Law. Based on a screenplay by J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of the Grindelwald will be released in UK cinemas on 16th November 2018.
Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler’s Creed is a fantastic boxing film which sparks new life into the Rocky franchise.
Adonis Johnson is the son of late boxing champion Apollo Creed. He seeks out his father’s friend and fellow former champion Rocky Balboa to train him. In retirement, Rocky is reluctant to train the young boxer at first, but Adonis perseveres…
A continuation of the Rocky saga, Creed focuses on a new face; the illegitimate son of late boxing legend Apollo Creed. The story concentrates on Don’s rise from self-trained amateur to professional boxer. Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler follows on from the success of his debut Fruitvale Station with an uplifting and entertaining boxing movie.
Creed works well as both a continuation of the Rocky story and a film in its own right. The film’s protagonist is a new face, with his own story to tell. Nevertheless, there is sufficient linkage to the Rocky franchise, as well as the significant inclusion of Rocky Balboa. Creed concentrates on the story of a burgeoning fighter, yet his relationship with Balboa and Balboa’s own narrative are crucial factors.
Creed is not so much a rags to riches tale as may be expected. Emphasis, instead, is placed upon acceptance. Adonis must fight in more than one way to have his career and right to box accepted. The relationship between Adonis and Rocky is crucial in building the protagonist’s background. The progressing relationship is depicted in a engaging and believable fashion, much like the other relationships in the film.
Fight sequences in the film are produced with exactly right of tension required. Coogler does a fantastic job of building tension to the fights. These are used sparingly, as are references to the previous Rocky films. This restricted use, of the famous theme for example, has a greater overall effect.
Michael B. Jordan delivers a solid performance as the title character. He is believable in his drive, and in his relationship with Balboa and Tessa Thompson’s Bianca. Sylvester Stallone reprises his most famous role with aplomb; the actor very much deserves the acclaim he is receiving.
Creed is a film that packs a punch. Most will find Coogler’s film very satisfying.
Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the final Spectre trailer, The Revenant, The Good Dinosaur and more…
Here is the final Spectre trailer. Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, alongside Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, and Ben Whishaw. The film, which also stars Christoph Waltz and Monica Belluci, sees Bond on a rogue mission where he finds out the existence of a sinister organisation. Spectre is released in the UK on 26th October 2015.
The Revenant Trailer
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu returns from his Oscar-winning success with Birdman with The Revenant. Starring Leondardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Will Poulter, the film is inspired by true events. The Revenant is set for release on 15th January 2016.
The Good Dinosaur Poster
Here is the poster for Disney Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. The film poses the question of what if the dinosaurs never went extinct. Arlo the dinosaur makes an unlikely young human friend in the film. The Good Dinosaur will hit the big screens in the UK on 27th November 2015.
Victor Frankestein Video
In the above video, James McAvoy speaks about tackling the role of Victor Frankenstein, and working with Daniel Radcliffe (who plays Igor). The film is a retelling of Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, with a focus on the psyche of the scientist. Victor Frankenstein is put in cinemas on 4th December 2015.
Ryan Coogler directs Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone in Rocky spin-off Creed. Michael B. Jordan plays the son of boxer Apollo Creed, who tracks down Rocky Ballboa in Philadelphia. Creed is set for release in 2016.
Previews of forthcoming attractions this week include the latest Ant-Man trailer, Irrational Man, Steve Jobs…
Here is the latest Ant-Man trailer. The film looks like it will have a healthy dose of comedy, and given that the film is about an ant-sized superhero, this will be welcome. Starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, Ant-Man hits the big screen on 17th July 2015.
Irrational Man Trailer
Woody Allen’s latest film Irrational Man stars Joaquin Phoenix as a philosophy professor who gets caught in a love triangle with two women. Emma Stone returns for her second performance in an Allen film whilst it is the first for Parker Posey and Joaquin Phoenix. Irrational Man opens in UK cinemas on 11th September 2015.
Steve Jobs Trailer
Here is the debut trailer for Steve Jobs. The film comes with quite a pedigree; it is directed by Danny Boyle, written by Aaron Sorkin, and stars Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen. Steve Jobs will be released in UK cinemas on 13th November 2015.
The Walk Poster
The Walk is based on the true story of a man who walked between the two World Trade Centre towers in New York. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon and Ben Kingsley, and is directed by Robert Zebecks. The Walk hits the big screen on 2nd October 2015.
The Rocky franchise gets another instalment, albeit with a bit of a difference. Michael B. Jordan stars as the son of Apollo Creed, and sees Sylvester Stallone reprise his role as the boxing legend. Creed also reunites Jordan with his Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler. Creed is set for release on 27th November 2015.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl Trailer
The Diary of a Teenage Girl has already won praise at film festivals this year. The film is about a teenage girl growing up in San Francisco in the 1970s. Starring Bel Powley, Kirsten Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård, The Diary of a Teenage Girl will hit the big screen in the UK on 7th August 2015.
New comedy Masterminds tells the true story of a group of idiots who pulled off a $17 million heist. The film stars Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Own Wilson and Jason Sudeikis. Masterminds will hit UK screens on 7th August 2015.
A cornucopia of film-related goodness in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the latest Inside Out TV spot, a Terminator Genisys featurette, Maggie trailer and lots more…
Inside Out TV Spot
Here is the latest Inside Out TV spot. The Disney Pixar film has been doing fantastic business in the US, and looks certain to replicate that in the UK with its summer holiday’s release. With the voices of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling, Inside Out hits UK screens on 24th July 2015.
Terminator Genisys Featurette
The cast and crew of upcoming Terminator Genisys talk about protagonist Sarah Connor in this new featurette. The famous action heroine is played by Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke, who indicates that there will be nods to the original film in this latest instalment of the franchise. Terminator Genisys is released on 2nd July 2015.
Ant-Man TV Spot
Marvel’s latest super hero to receive the big-screen treatment is Ant-Man. From the above TV spots and earlier trailers, the film looks to offer a fair amount of humour. Starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, Ant-Man launches its way onto the big screen on 17th July 2015.
Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation Poster
Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in the five instalment of the Mission: Impossible film franchise. Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation sees the IMF disbanded, leaving Ethan and his team trying to combat deadly terror attacks. With Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames also returning, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation bursts into cinemas on 30th July 2015.
Arnold Schwarzenegger must once again play the hero in new thriller Maggie. The film is a teenage girl who is infected during a zombie outbreak, and her father’s efforts to protect her. Also starring Abigail Breslin, Maggie is set for release on 24th July 2015.
Ted 2 Trailer
So teddy bears coming to life is something that I dream about. Ted is a little lewd for my tastes, but the first film was enjoyable enough. Ted 2 reunites Mark Wahlberg and Seth McFarlane, and brings on board Amanda Seyfried as Ted’s lawyer. Ted 2 hits the big screen on 8th July 2015 in the UK.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension Trailer
The trailer for the latest instalment of the Paranormal Activity franchise is here. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension sees a family discover some old VHS tapes which hold a nasty surprise. The conclusion of the horror franchise is scheduled for release on 30th October 2015.
Here is the latest poster for upcoming comedy Vacation. The film is the latest in the National Lampoon franchise, and sees a grown-up Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) taking his family on a road-trip vacation. Also starring Christina Applegate, Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth, Vacation is release in UK cinemas on 21st August 2015.
The Secret Life of Pets Trailer
I know what pets to all day; the nap and eat and nap some more. That is to say, they live the life. New animated comedy The Secret Life of Pets takes us behind closed doors. Featuring the voices of Louis C.K., Ellie Kemper and Hannibal Buress, The Secret Life of Pets is set for release on 24th June 2016.
Fantastic Four Photo Shoot
Here are the stars of the new Fantastic Four film looking dapper. Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell star as the superhero quartet in the reboot of the Marvel franchise. Fantastic Four launches its way onto the big screen on 6th August 2015.
Here is the latest blog from the set of new James Bond move Spectre. Director Sam Mendes discusses filming a scene that takes place amidst the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City. Starring Daniel Craig and Christoph Waltz, Spectre will be released on 6th November 2015.
Magic Mike XXL Clip
The marketing for sequel Magic Mike XXL has been wonderful. This latest clip suggests the tongue-in-cheek attitude will continue in the film. Whereas the first film descended into schmaltz, here’s hoping this instalment will keep the tone humorous. The film is, after all, about male entertainers. Magic Mike XXL is released in cinemas on 3rd July 2015.
With the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron last week, superhero movie season has just begun.Back in the late 1970-mid-1990s era, audiences were lucky to get one big comic book adaptation a year. Now, this is the tentpole genre, with several new superhero movies being released each year. Both Marvel and DC Movies have revealed a busy slate for the coming years. The reality is, however, that the new superhero hero movies are unlikely to be ‘new’ at all, with the plethora of remakes, spin-offs and reboots that are due to come out in the next few years.
New Superhero Movies
There are in fact some new superhero movies set for release – that is to say films that feature characters or concepts that have not been depicted on the big screen before. These include…
Marvel’s next cinematic release is Ant-Man, which hits the big screen on 17th July 2015. Despite not being one of Marvel’s better-known superheroes, Ant-Man first appeared in comics in the early 1960s. Not carrying the same exposure in other media as some other Marvel title characters, it will be interesting to see how Ant-Man fairs with audiences. Nevertheless, Guardians of the Galaxywas not harmed by a lack of mainstream audience consciousness.
Director David Ayer has been teasing fans will glimpses of the film on his Twitter account. Although some of the characters have appeared in feature films before (notably the Joker and Lex Luthor), Suicide Squad is classed as one of the new superhero movies because the story of this group has not previously been depicted on the big screen.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the lead role in Marvel’s Doctor Strange. The sorcerer first appeared in marvel comics in 1963. The film, which is set for release on 28th October 2016 in the UK, appears to be an origins story. Which is just as well, given that the superhero is not one of Marvel’s most popular characters.
Although there has been a television film (aired in 1974), as well as the famous television series, Wonder Woman has never starred in her own feature film. Perhaps the most iconic of all female superheroes, Wonder Woman will finally take centre stage in her own cinematic release on 23rd June 2017.
This category occupies the majority of forthcoming releases in the comic book adaptation genre. Many of the new superhero movies are sequels to films released in the last few years, including…
Ryan Reynolds reprises his role (from 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as the Marvel antihero in Deadpool. It is unclear how much of a crossover there will be with the X-Men series of films. But with the star power of Reynolds and the lure of a R-rating in the US, Deadpool is sure to bring in audiences when it is released on 12th February 2016.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
One of the most anticipated movies of 2016, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is a follow-up to 2013’s Man of Steel and seemingly a precursor to DC’s forthcoming The Justice League Part 1 and 2. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will offer viewers their first look at Ben Affleck as Batman when it is released on 25th March 2016.
Captain America: Civil War
2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier was one of the best Marvel films thus far, so expectations are high for its sequel. The film will feature a host of Avengers’ characters, including Iron Man, Black Widow and Hawkeye. It seems to be the closest fix to an Avengers movie until 2018, when Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 is released. Captain America: Civil War will hit the big screen on 29th April 2016.
The follow-up to 201’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse sees the return of director Bryan Singer. The film reintroduces a number of characters viewers of the first film series will be familiar with. This time they appear as younger versions, including Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler (pictured above). X-Men: Apocalypse will be released on 19th May 2016.
Another off-shoot of the X-Men franchise, the character is the subject of his own film when Gambit is released on 7th October 2016. This time around, the character is played by Channing Tatum, following Taylor Kitsch’s turn in the role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It has been reported this week that the character may not make an appearance in X-Men: Apocalypse, making it unclear whether Gambit is a sequel that relates to this world, or is a reboot of the character from the 2009 film.
The third-standalone Wolverine film is set for release on 2nd March 2017. Star Hugh Jackman indicated on his Instagram account that this would be the last time he would play the role. Little is known about the plot of the film; it does not yet have an official title. Perhaps the three X-Men film released before Wolverine 3 will have some impact in shaping the film.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
A cinematic adaption one of Marvel’s less-popular franchises, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge worldwide hit. The sequel, when it is released on 28th April 2017, has a lot to live up to. At the moment, it is unclear whether there’ll be any crossover with the Avengers universe, although one of Guardians of the Galaxy 2‘s stars hopes this will be the case.
There are two clear superhero reboots scheduled for release in the next two years, although some of the above films may fall into this category. Audiences can look forward to seeing new versions of…
The 2005 film Fantastic Four and its 2007 sequel were hardly great fan favourites, so there does not seem to be a great deal of upset at the reboot of the Marvel franchise. What is promising about this new version is the cast, which includes Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan. With a 2017 sequel already planned, Fantastic Four hits the big screen on 6th August 2015.
Yes a Spider-Man reboot has already been done, with the sequel to that reboot only being released last year. However a new reboot is scheduled for release in 2017, with a number of actors being discussed for the lead role. Although not much is known about this new film at the moment, Spider-Man will appear in next year’s Captain America: Civil War.
This is not the last of this swath of new superhero movies, with both Marvel and DC planning a slate that will continue until at least 2020. These include standalone films for Aquaman and Black Panther, sequels for Thor and others, and reboots such as Green Lantern. After Marvel’s recent dominance of the superhero genre, it will be interesting to see whether DC can regain some of their earlier magic. Despite the apocalyptic action depicted in the films, this is where the real battle lies.
An incredibly powerful film, Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station is essential viewing.
On New Year’s Eve 2008, Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident crosses paths with family, friends, colleagues and others during the final day of the year…
Based on the true story of Oscar Grant III, writer-director Ryan Coogler composes a snapshot of his protagonist’s life through a single day. The set up to Fruitvale Station leaves no doubt as to where the story is heading. Yet the film is insightful, revealing little by little the nature of its central character.
There are various shades to Oscar, and the story presented is an inherently personal one. It seems unfathomable that the story of the day could have been pieced together from those he came into contact with, however this does not really matter as the narrative that is weaved is compelling.
In basing his film on a real event, Coogler could have gone several ways. He chooses to paint a picture of a man, ordinary yet important to his family and friends. The structure of the film and the elements that Coogler decides to dwell on heighten the senselessness of what occurred.
The outcome of Fruitvale Station is illustrated in the shocking opening sequence. Nevertheless, as the film draws closer to its climax, the tension is not any less palpable for knowing the result. In fact, there is an aching inevitability which makes it all the more poignant.
Performances in Fruitvale Station are superb. Michael B. Jordan offers a defining performance as Oscar; portraying Oscar as profoundly human in his various shades. Octavia Spencer provides excellent support. The film’s camera work is also great.
Fruitvale Station is emotive viewing, exhibiting Ryan Coogler’s flair for strong storytelling. A must-see film.
Fruitvale Station is released in UK cinemas on 6th June 2014.
Chronicle is a highly enjoyable science fiction film. Don’t be deterred by the age of the protagonists; the film should satisfy a wide demographic.
Teenager Andrew decides to start filming his day-to-day life; a clear indicator of his detachment from fellow students and the social order of the American high school. When his cousin Matt and popular classmate Steve find something unusual at a party, they ask Andrew to come along and film it. The trio soon discover some unusual side effects…
Chronicle is a very entertaining directorial debut from Josh Trank. The reason the film functions so well is because it fulfils the regular super hero movie tropes, but in a way that is fresh and interesting. The screenplay by Max Landis is great in its ability to combine teen concerns with a science-fiction narrative.
Characters in Chronicle appear multi-faceted. At first, the three main players seem like broad stereotypes. However, complexities arise as the film progresses. The interactions between these three in particular come across as authentic. There is some good humour that helps to balance the later seriousness of Chronicle. The film’s initial set up works well to absorb viewers; there is sufficient mystery which is retained for a significant part of the duration.
The handheld camera works well in Chronicle. There seems more of a point to the characters filming, compared with many ‘found fotage’ films. The special effects are decent, with some impressive sequences. The film exhibits elements of certain 1970s films, notably Superman and Carrie. Thankfully Chronicle does not attempt to rip them off; they appear as slight influences instead.
Dane DeHaan is fantastically cast as Andrew. He certainly looks the part of the isolated teen, with mannerisms to match. Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan share great chemistry as Matt and Steve. Chronicle should certainly raise the profile of these three actors.
Josh Trank and Max Landis have produced a great film. Chronicle functions superbly as a sci-fi/superhero/teen movie hybrid and is highly recommend for those with an interest in any of these film genres.