Previews: Wonder Woman Trailer, Baby Driver, More!

A plethora of film-related goodness in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including Wonder Woman trailer, Baby Driver, Atomic Blonde and more…

Wonder Woman Trailer

Here is the latest Wonder Woman trailer. The film is something of an origins story for one of the most famous female superheroes. Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Connie Nielsen, the film is directed by Patty Jenkins. Wonder Woman hits the big screen on 2nd June 2017.

Baby Driver Trailer

Here is the trailer for Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. The film is about a young getaway driver who wants to ditch his criminal life. The film stars Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx. Baby Driver arrives in UK cinemas on 16th August 2017.

Transformers: The Last Knight Clip

This new clip does not reveal too much about the plot of the latest Transformers movie. Transformers: The Last Knight sees humans at war with the machines from another planet. Michael Bay’s film stars Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins. Transformers: The Last Knight is set for release later this year.

Life Poster

The latest poster for Life focuses has a suggestion of Gravity about it. Life is about a group of scientists aboard the International Space Station who discover a new life form. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds. Life is out in UK cinemas on 24th March 2017.

Atomic Blonde Trailer

Charlize Theron is deadly in this trailer for Atomic Blonde. She plays an MI6 agent tasked with delivering a priceless dossier. She is joined by James McAvoy and John Goodman. Atomic Blonde will hit UK screens on 11th August 2017.

Lady Macbeth Trailer

Lady Macbeth is the debut feature film from theatre director William Oldroyd. The film is about a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage to a man twice her age. The film stars Florence Pugh and Cosmo Jarvis. Lady Macbeth will be released in UK cinemas on 28th April 2017.

Rough Night Trailer

Rough Night is about a group of former college friends who accidentally kill a male stripper. The film looks like a cross between Very Bad Things and Weekend at Bernie’s. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, and Zoë Kravitz. Rough Night will hit UK screens on 16th June 2017.

Film Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows offers more of the same. Director Dave Green’s blockbuster is aimed at a juvenile audience; fans of the first film should be satisfied by this instalment.

A year after the Turtles’ defeat of Shredder, they cannot claim credit for their actions. When a new threat emerges in New York, the Turtles must team up with April O’Neil again to uncover the villains…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is made for a young audience. The film is teeming with CGI, silly dialogue, and formulaic plotting. As such, adults who accompany children to this film may find their minds wondering. Young children, however, should find the film’s vividness engaging enough.

Director Dave Green begins the film with an impressive opening shot. Indeed, there is some bold imagery of Manhattan in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. However, this does not make up for the lack of depth and decent narrative. The plot is wholly predictable. There is never a real sense of peril for either the Turtles or their companions. The narrative functions to introduce Krang, the main villain of the cartoon series. Yet, this antagonist features briefly during the course of the film, and does not have the presence to be considered a serious threat. Whilst it may be that focusing on human antagonists is an easier feat, the fear is that there could be several more films in this franchise.

The heroes are as one-dimensional as in predecessor Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There are some nice touches in the film, such as the subtle reference to the earlier series of films in a bar scene. However, producer Michael Bay’s presence is felt in April’s (Megan Fox) opening sequence. It is incredibly tired in its voyeurism; a scene that may have been passable in the 1990s but feels awfully dated now. The hijack sequence on the highway is well executed, but this is not enough the carry the film.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a CGI-laden blockbuster which will not appeal to the vast majority of adult viewers. Nevertheless, less sophisticated viewers may give the film a free pass.

Film Review: San Andreas


San Andreas is a by-the-numbers disaster movie that entertains as it exasperates. The film should appeal to those more motivated by action than story.

Experts in California are trying to predict earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault. When a catastrophic wave of earthquakes hit, a helicopter rescue pilot is determined to save his estranged wife and daughter…

Director Brad Peyton has produced a formulaic disaster movie with San Andreas. The film features all the familiar genre tropes. San Andreas is highly reminiscent of the films of Roland Emmerich; those familiar with his films will face few surprises here. Meanwhile, a shot of the US flag later in the film would make Michael Bay proud.

The premise of the film suffices as route to the action that follows, even if it lacks originality. The main problem with San Andreas is that the screenplay is woeful. Even the main characters are not really fleshed out, despite a running time of almost two hours. Dialogue in the film ranges from hokey to unintentionally humorous. It is a major detraction from the overall enjoyment of the film. At times, it almost feels as if San Andreas is being intentionally mawkish to generate laughs, but it is clear that the film is not knowing enough to do this.

The traditional disaster movie character types are present in San Andreas, with the all-American hero, scientific expert, children who need saving, and estranged spouse all making an appearance. Although the focus is on only a handful of characters, the screenplay does not do enough to make the audience care about them. Dwayne Johnson is not stretched as pilot Ray, while Paul Giamatti and Hugo Johnstone-Burt are among those given truly awful lines.

Where the film excels is in action and special effects. San Andreas features some excellent set pieces which generate a good level of tension and excitement. The 3D does not appear too gimmicky, and there are some fantastic shots of San Francisco.

For those who value action and effects above all else, San Andreas is just the ticket. Those looking for originality in the story or quality in the screenplay are likely to be disappointed.

Film Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction certainly offers spectacle, thanks to great special effects and sound design. It is a pity that not as much effort was put into the plot of Michael Bay’s film.

Five years after the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons took place in Chicago, all alien robots are considered to be a threat by the US government. With Autobots being hunted down, when an self-styled inventor buys an old truck, he thinks he has found a Transformer…

Like the previous Transformers movies, Age of Extinction suffers from the problem of visual style over narrative substance. It seems like a lack of thought has gone into the story and plotting, which detracts from the positive aspects of the film.

The plot of Transformers: Age of Extinction is riddled with holes. There are elements that are introduced at the beginning of the film that are swept aside, or not really dealt with in any tangible way. There are various narrative strands at play, which explains the lengthy run time. However, some of these strands do not tie in successfully with others.

Transformers: Age of Extinction suffers from the problem of having to juggle various narrative elements, yet even with this abundance of activity the film lacks depth and purpose. Bay’s film feels overlong; there is too much in the first half of the film that could have been trimmed down.

With the various elements being introduced at the beginning of the film, at one point it appears as if screenwriter Ehren Kruger may have something interesting to say about threat and the nature of alien. However this gives way to the everyman story of Mark Wahlberg’s Cade and his family, which simply is not engaging. At least Stanley Tucci’s character shows some personality. Any hopes of a more tangible narrative are dashed by the undisguised product placement and the most overt political propaganda (in order to appease or appeal to a specific market).

Transformers: Age of Extinction redeems itself slightly with the climactic action scenes, which offer spectacle and some excitement. Visual effects are superb, with action scenes looking fantastic on an IMAX screen. Sound also works well to cement a sense of spectacle.

Most viewers who flock to see Transformers: Age of Extinction will not care what the reviews say. However, even these cinemagoers may hanker for a little more depth and narrative coherency.

Stuff To Look At

A bumper post filled with trailers galore for the end of the week, featuring Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Nut Job and lots more…

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Cesar is such a badass. In this final trailer for the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes we are given more of an idea of the film’s narrative. But more importantly, apes on horses. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has big shoes to fill after the success of its predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but it looks up to the job, from this trailer at least. Rise of the Planet of the Apes hits the big screen on 17th July 2014.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Here is the second trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, which shows more action and drama compared to the comedy of the first trailer. It looks as if the film will continue Marvel’s run of hits. Even if the franchise isn’t as well-known as the Avengers sphere, people will go for the gun-wielding raccoon. Guardians of the Galaxy is out in UK cinemas on 31st July 2014.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Here is a new featurette for Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction. The video focuses on Marky Mark’s character, but really everyone just wants to see the Transformers. Or the Dinobots. Tranformers: Age of Extinction is released on 5th July 2014.


With the news that Colin Firth will no longer be voicing the bear, what will now become of Paddington? Who will the filmmakers find to voice the marmalade-swilling bear? Perhaps a Peruvian actor, for authenticity’s sake. In the mean time, here is the latest trailer for Paddington, set for release on 24th November 2014.

The Expendables 3

Expendables 3

Look at all this potent 1980s/90s magic right here. The Expendables 3 is loaded with action stars; Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas are just two of the new members to join the crew. Nevertheless, I was thinking that The Expendables 3 was missing something. And that is Brigitte Nielsen. Seriously, why isn’t Red Sonja in this? Anyway, The Expendables 3 hits UK screens on 14th August 2014. You can view the latest trailer here.

Penguins of Madagascar

The Penguins of Madagascar get their own spin-off movie of the same name. Featuring the vocal talents of Benedict Cumberbatch, the popular supporting characters take centre stage in this new film. I am liking the use of Kenny Loggins in the trailer. Penguins of Madagascar is scheduled for release in December 2014.

Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 looks like it will be a good laugh. If I was constructing a robot, it would be for servitude purposes, not for fighting or crime solving, but each to their own. Big Hero 6 is set for release in UK cinemas in January 2015.

The Nut Job

The Nut Job is a new animated feature about a squirrel and his friends who go on a mission to break into a nut store. Nuts are great and that, but if you were going to all this effort, surely you would rob a chocolatiers? The Nut Job is released in UK cinemas on 1st August 2014.


Hercules Poster

Dwayne Johnson’s muscle veins are pretty scary in this new poster for Hercules. Interestingly, there used to be a WWF (before it was WWE) wrestler called Hercules. I am sure this movie isn’t a biopic of his life. Hercules muscles his way into UK cinemas on 25th July 2014.

No Good Deed

Here is the trailer for thriller No Good Deed. Starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, reminds viewers never to open the door to strangers. A fitting Halloween release, No Good Deed hits UK screens on 31st October 2014.


Pig is a really good name for a cat. Home sees Jim Parsons (in voice) sounding like a very familiar character. Still, the film looks like it will be a lot of alien culture-clash fun. Home is scheduled for release in the UK on 27th March 2015.

Stuff To Look At

Plenty of cinema-related stuff this week for your visual pleasure, including the latest Captain America: The Winter Soldier poster, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Paddington

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier poster

Here is the latest Captain America: The Winter Soldier poster. What the hell happened to Carter Baizen from Gossip Girl? Sebastian Stan returns for the Captain America: The First Avenger sequel, although he is looking a little different. More of the film’s posters are available to view here. Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits UK screens on 26th March 2014.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Damn, Optimus Prime. Here is the latest trailer for Michael Bay’s upcoming blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction. Like most I’m sure, I am looking forward to the Dinobots. Transformers: Age of Extinction is released in the UK on 10th July 2014.

Muppets Most Wanted

It’s time to play the music. It’s almost time to light the lights… The Muppets return in sequel Muppets Most Wanted, and in the video above they are joking about it in musical form. Kermit and co return to the silver screen when Muppets Most Wanted hits UK cinemas on 28th March 2014.


Above is a motion poster for upcoming biblical epic Noah. I like the idea of motion posters, they should be utilised more often. Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins, Noah is released in the UK on 4th April 2014.


Ah this teaser trailer reveals everything and nothing. Based on the literary bear with a penchant for marmalade, Paddington will hopefully be a fun-filled adventure. The trailer does not feature Paddington speaking, but he is voiced by Colin Firth so is sure to sound like a marvellously English gentleman. Paddington is set for release on 28th November 2014.

The Other Woman

Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann show off their comedy chops in The Other Woman. They are joined by Kate Upton as three women being cheated on by the same guy. I think it is clear where this is heading. The Other Woman will be released in UK cinemas on 28th April 2014.

Guardians of the Galaxy

I am mostly interested in Rocket Raccoon, I’m not going to lie. A raccoon who is a superhero? Yes. Guardians of the Galaxy sees Marvel go all-out fantasy in their latest comic-book franchise. The blockbuster will be released on 1st August 2014.


I actually couldn’t tell what accent Tom Hardy was doing to begin with. It gets clearer. Locke has been receiving critical acclaim thus far. The trailer does not reveal too much, but it looks intriguing. Locke is released in UK cinemas on 18th April 2014.

Grace of Monaco

Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth star in biopic Grace of Monaco. Set in 1962, the film revolves around the period of Grace Kelly’s life when she is wishes to return to Hollywood, after her royal marriage and the birth of her children. Grace of Monaco hits UK screens on 6th June 2014.


SabotageWhen I read the title of this film, my first thought was Alfred Hitchcock. I don’t think this is a remake, but I could be wrong. Arnold Schwarzenegger heads the cast of action thriller Sabotage, which is set for release on 9th May 2014.

Film Review: Pain & Gain

Pain & Gain

Perfectly balancing comedy with a crime thriller, Pain & Gain is a most entertaining watch.

Bodybuilder and gym trainer Daniel Lugo wants to live the American dream. He enlists the help of his colleague Adrian and recently released convict Paul in order to kidnap and extort a rich client. The scheme is not quite so simple, however…

From the very beginning, Pain & Gain grabs the audience’s attention and does not let go. The film is funny, and frequently laugh-out-loud hilarious. And yet the crime thriller elements work just as well, thanks to the chaotic nature of events.

Pain & Gain is based on a true story, despite the outlandish nature of the plot. The film astutely reminds viewers of this fact. The film has been criticised for making light of serious real life events. Looking at Pain & Gain solely as a film, it works incredibly well. Although the comedic elements are strong, this does not necessitate that the audience will side with the criminal protagonists.

The protagonists are well drawn. They are amusing, but in a laugh at them rather than laugh with them type of way. Film veers into black comedy in the second half, with some elements so macabre it is difficult not to be amused.

The tone of Pain & Gain is set immediately, and the film does not deviate from this. The context of the film is strongly drawn. The film remains humorous throughout, even as proceedings become increasingly dangerous and chaotic. The plot is sufficiently gripping, especially for viewers unaware of the actual case.

The mid-90s setting is conveyed authentically through the music and the costumes. Michael Bay’s style of direction is strong, with the turbulent nature of certain scenes emphasised by the frenetic camera work and editing.

Performances are great throughout Pain & Gain. Dwayne Johnson delivers his strongest performance to date as Paul. It is almost as if the part of Daniel was made for Mark Wahlberg, while Anthony Mackie exhibits great comedy chops..

Pain & Gain is Michael Bay’s strongest film for years. It is thoroughly entertaining and one of the best films of the summer.

Film Review: Act of Valour

Act of Valour functions as a propaganda video for the Navy SEALs. The dedication to realism at times takes precedence over the crucial need for an engaging story and characters.

When a CIA operative is kidnapped, a group of Navy SEALs are tasked with the mission to rescue her. What they find leads them to a terrorist plot. The same Navy SEALs must go on a mission to garner intelligence and foil the plot which threatens the lives of innocent citizens…

Filmed using real SEALs as the main cast, Act of Valour aims for realism in its depiction of combat sequences and military operations. In this function, the film is successful. These sequences do appear more authentic than those in other action films. Moreover, there is a real emphasis on preparation for attack, relying on strategy rather than just fire power.

This emphasis on realism comes at the expense of the narrative, however. The plot is fairly predictable, which would not be a problem in itself if the narrative was more engaging. Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh’s film lacks panache, every sequence others what you would expect, and little more. This is confounded by the fact that the main characters are one-dimensional. It is hard to summon the will to care with the minimal characterisation.

The staunchly pro-military, American pride theme that permeates the entire film will be a little off-putting for those viewers who do not share this mindset. The film is unequivocal in its support of military action, depicting Americans as the ones who take on terrorists and save the day. Act of Valour concentrates on pride, and offers the positive expression of military action without focusing on any other consequences of this.

Some of the dialogue is little more than exposition. The exchanges feel stilted, which is not helped by the actors. The SEALs who star in the film clearly do not have the acting training required for a big screen role. Elsewhere, Act of Valour is reminiscent of Michael Bay films, with its use of slow motion for dramatic effect.

Whilst the film should be praised for providing more authentic scenes featuring military action, the lack of attention paid to narrative and character concerns make Act of Valour ultimately unsatisfying.

Act of Valour is released on Blu-Ray and DVD on 16th July 2012.

What is Battleship?

I went to see Battleship yesterday evening, and I am still mulling over what I watched. Many may be surprised that Peter Berg’s film inspires such meditation, but it truly does. After some deliberation, I have narrowed the possibilities down to three: Battleship is either a silly blockbuster, an uneven farce, or a sly spoof. Below, I shall elaborate on this (spoilers ahead)…

Silly Blockbuster

At face value, Battleship seems to be exactly this. A thread-bare plot, with more emphasis being placed on the set pieces than anything else. Peter Berg’s film perhaps illustrates the worst aspects of the modern blockbuster; scant attention paid to the script, a lack of characterisation and not even a decent high-concept premise. Instead, the film is filled with explosions, gunfire and hot young stars (Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna and Alexander Skarsgård). Well that’s all a blockbuster aficionado requires, right?

Uneven Farce

Perhaps Peter Berg intended Battleship to be a farce. Straight-faced characters deal with the most implausible of events, and keep striving no matter how absurd the situation becomes. Despite knowing nothing about the aliens and armed with only one gun, Samantha and co decide to ram into the satellite station, which is swarming with invaders.  The navy vetrans’ involvement. This is surely the stuff of farce. The reason it is uneven is because these events are not consistently funny, almost as if they had not been written for laughs. Although reflecting on them, Battleship would probably be even more amusing if viewed solely as a farce.

Sly Spoof

Battleship could be a spoof of the Michael Bay blockbuster packaged as a straightforward blockbuster for mass consumption. After all, the elements are all there. The poor dialogue of the Michael Bay blockbuster is elevated to ludicrous levels in Battleship. Berg’s film goes beyond Transformers by basing his film on a toy that does not even have a semblance of a plot, or actual characters. Even the volume and the level of implausibility are pushed to the limit. As a comment on the Michael Bay blockbuster (and, in fairness, a number of other directors), Battleship spoofs the lack of originality present. If the film does good business, then Battleship would have proved how audiences lap up even the most tenuous of films. At this stage, it is too premature to say ‘well played, Mr Berg’.

Battleship is out in cinemas now. Perhaps someone could let me know exactly what the film is.

Film Review: Battleship

There comes a time in everyone’s life when only trashy Hollywood nonsense will do. When that moment arrives, Battleship is the perfect watch.

Alex Hopper is going nowhere fast when his older brother signs him up to join the US Navy. Alex’s temper shows during an international naval games competition, and he fears for his future in the navy. Before his outcome is decided, an attack occurs during the war games exercise…

Peter Berg’s Battleship has several parallel’s with Michael Bay’s Transformers movies. Viewers could be mistaken into thinking they are watching a Michael Bay film, but for the lack of a slow-motion shot of the American flag. Battleship is also based on a Hasbro game, although it does not have quite the same animation heritage to draw from as Transformers did.

The plot of Battleship is slight to say the least. There is a little character development before the action commences, but this does little to make the main characters appear more three-dimensional. Instead, the audience is offered a handful of characters to root for, in order to humanise the action.

Dialogue is truly something in Battleship. There are some amusing lines during the course of the film. However, hilarity often ensues from the lines that presumably are meant to be serious. This adds to the overall enjoyment of the Battleship viewing experience.

Production values are pretty much faultless. Effects and production design are good, working effectively in the big set pieces. Some of the shots look as if they were meant to be filmed in 3D, with sharp angles  pointing in the direction of the audience. As it stands though, Battleship is a 2D film. The sound is bombastic, as expected from a blockbuster of this kind.

Kudos to the cast, who manage to remain straight-faced throughout proceedings. Taylor Kitsch is a better actor than the film betrays, as is Alexander Skarsgård. Rihanna actually does a suitable job in her acting debut.

Battleship is entertaining enough if it is not taken seriously. Those expecting anything more should give the film a wide berth.