Spark is a generic adventure that will appeal mostly to the youngest of viewers. The film is mildly entertaining, yet too unoriginal to be memorable.
Spark is a teenager living on a rubbish dump on a shard, after his home planet was destroyed by power-hungry General Zhong. As Zhong prepares to take over the universe, Spark and his friends are the only ones who can stop him…
Spark (also known as Spark: A Space Tail) trends a recognisable path, as family-friendly adventures go. The film offers a familiar narrative, with predictable plot points. Director Aaron Woodley’s unique selling point with the film seems to be that the main characters are monkeys in space. However, most viewers will have seen anthropomorphic animals employed in a much more memorable fashion by the likes of Disney, DreamWorks, and others.
Characters in the film follow certain archetypes. Spark is the typical young hero in that he is eager but lacks knowledge. The protagonist is developed as the film progresses. Antagonist Zhong is over the top, but the hamminess works in a film such as this. Humour in the film does not always hit the mark. Some of the jokes are clearly aimed at young viewers, but even these don’t always generate laughs.
Perhaps the biggest drawback from Woodley’s film is the quality of the animation. It looks cheaply produced; the CGI backgrounds add little heart to the film. Notwithstanding, the cinematography is great at times. There is some decent movement (although this frenetic movement is used a little too often), and some well-composed shots. The film features a well-known voice cast, including Hilary Swank, Patrick Stewart, and Susan Sarandon. Stewart is the most memorable of these, yet none really benefit from the script.
The concept of monkeys in space evokes fun imagery, yet Spark fails to really ignite the imagination. Whilst it is by no means a torturous watch, the film is not a very exciting one either.
This week’s preview of coming attractions features the new Spark trailer, plus Snatched, Alien: Covenant, and more…
Here is thew new Spark trailer. The film is about a teenage monkey who must journey across the universe in order to save the galaxy. The film features the voices of Susan Sarandon, Patrick Stewart, Jessica Biel, and Hilary Swank. Spark launches on to UK screens on 26th May 2017.
Alien: Covenant Prologue
This Alien: Covenant prologue (The Crossing) bridges the gap between Prometheus and the upcoming Alien: Covenant. The clip explains what happened to the survivors of the previous film, and features Michael Fassbender’s character as narrator. The latest film in the Alien franchise also stars Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride. Alien: Covenant hits UK screens on 12th May 2017.
Amy Schumer shows off her comedy prowess in this clip from the upcoming Snatched. The film is about a mis-matched mother and daughter who take an exotic vacation together. Schumer is joined by Goldie Hawn, as well as Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack. Snatched is out in UK cinemas on 19th May 2017.
Here is the trailer for new comedy Wilson. The film is about a middle-aged misanthrope who reunites with his estranged wife. The film stars Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, and Judy Greer. Wilson receives its debut at Sundance London on 2nd June 2017, and will be released in selected cinemas on 9th June 2017.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle Trailer
Following the teaser last week, here is the full trailer for Kingsman: The Golden Circle. In this sequel to Kingsman: The Secret Service, the Kingsman headquarters is destroyed, leading Eggsy and co to discover an allied spy organisation. Director Matthew Vaughn and writer Jane Goldman return, as do Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, and Colin Firth. They are joined by Juliane Moore, Jeff Bridges, Halle Berry, and Channing Tatum. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is scheduled for release in September 2017.
Director Marc Webb’s latest film is Gifted. The film stars Chris Evans as a man single-handedly raising his niece (played by Mckenna Grace). The film also stars Jenny Slate and Octavia Spencer, and a one-eyed cat (according to the above clip). Gifted will be released on UK screens on 16th June 2017.
Plenty to see in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including The House trailer, Get Out, Aftermath, and more…
The House Trailer
This new The House trailer depicts an unusual way for parents to pay for their child’s tuition fees. Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler are the parents who decide to operate an underground casino to ensure their daughter can go to university. The comedy is the directorial debut of screenwriter Andrew Jay Cohen (responsible for the scripts of Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and others). The House is set for release in UK cinemas on 30th June 2017.
Kong: Skull Island Image
Here is anew image for the upcoming Kong: Skull Island. The film features a stellar cast that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, and John C. Reilly. The film reimagines the origins of the mythic Kong. Kong: Skull Island launches on to UK screens on 9th March 2017.
Here is the trailer for thriller Aftermath. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a husband and father who hunts down the air traffic controller who he holds responsible for the crash that killed his family. The film also stars Scoot McNairy and Maggie Grace, and is produced by Darren Aronofsky. Aftermath will hit UK cinemas on 7th April 2017.
Catfight is a comedy about two old college friends who meet again years later. When wealthy housewife Veronica and struggling artist Ashley clash, their rivalry lasts years. The film stars Anne Heche, Sandra Oh, and Alicia Silverstone. Catfight is out in cinemas and on VOD in 10th March 2017.
Get Out Poster
Get Out is a thriller about a black man who visits his white girlfriend’s family estate. Worried that her family don’t realise he is black, the reality is about to get much worse. The trailer can be viewed here. The film is written and directed by Jordan Peele, and stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams. Get Out hits UK screens on 17th March 2017.
Above is footage of Laura, a new character from the upcoming Logan. It reveals a little more about the young character who seems to have the same condition as the title character. Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Dafne Keen. Logan is out in UK cinemas on 1st March 2017.
Life is a new sci-fi thriller about a group of scientists who discover a new life form is space. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds. Directed by Daniel Espinosa, Life will be released in UK cinemas on 24th March 2017.
Everything Everything Trailer
This is the new trailer for Everything Everything, based on the best-selling novel of the same name. The film is about Maddy, a teenage girl with a condition that means she can’t leave her house, and her neighbour Olly who wants to be with her. Starring Amandla Stenberg and Nick Robinson, Everything Everything is coming to cinemas soon.
Here is the trailer for documentary Gleason. The film is about Steve Gleason, an American football star who is diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) at the age of 34. The documentary is directed by Clay Tweel. Gleason is out in UK cinemas from 17th march 2017.
Last night the Super Bowl took place. But more relevantly, some of the most anticipated movie trailers aired during the broadcast. Here are the Super Bowl 2017 trailers, ranked in the most subjective of manners…
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.10: Fast & Furious 8
This spot for Fast & Furious 8 displays the all-star cast of this sequel, but may give viewers a sense of déjà vu. The fast cars, the big set pieces; Fast & Furious 8 is definitely in the same mold as its many predecessors. The film is out on UK screens on 14th April 2017.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.9: Ghost in the Shell
This Super Bowl spot for Ghost in the Shell was released a few days ago, so offers little in the way of surprise. The spot is swift and to the point, giving an indication of the style of the film and the setting. Ghost in the Shell hits UK screens on 31st March 2017.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.8: Transformers: The Last Knight
This extended spot for Transformers: The Last Knight begins with the same voiceover as previous trailers for the film. This spot focuses on the spectacle of wide-scale destruction, images of Transformers only feature in the last few seconds. Transformers: The Last Knight hits the big screen in June 2017.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.7: Baywatch
This spot for the Baywatch movie gives the briefest look at the characters in this remake of the television show. Wisely, the focus is on Dwayne Johnson, who plays Mitch Buchanan. Fans of the original show will be hoping for an affectionate but humorous tribute. Baywatch is out in UK cinemas on 31st May 2017.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.6: Logan
This spot for the upcoming Logan shows viewers much of what has already been seen in previous trailers. However, as with previous trailers, the soundtrack game is strong, and the clips look interesting. With Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart reprising their roles, Logan launches on to UK screens on 3rd March 2017.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.5: Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge
This extended spot for Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (known as Dead Men Tell No Tales in the US) focuses on supporting characters and spectacle, with Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow only making an appearance in the final few seconds. This is a smart move; with the exposure of the actor’s private life, and indeed backlash against recent performances, it is probably best to downplay his role. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge is released in UK cinemas on 26th May 2017.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.4: John Wick: Chapter Two
This spot for John Wick: Chapter Two riffs on its release date competition, Fifty Shades Darker. The focus of this trailer is rapid-fire action, unsurprisingly. It works very well. John Wick: Chapter Two is out on 17th February, with previews on Valentine’s Day.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.3: Life
The tv spot that aired during the Super Bowl 2017 can be seen here. Above is the full international trailer for Life, a sci-fi thriller, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds. The full trailer lulls viewers into a false sense of security, but it seems that Life is a pretty serious film. UK viewers see for themselves when the film hits UK screens on 24th February 2017.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.2: A Cure For Wellness
A Cure for Wellness‘ TV spot takes the form of an American pharmaceutical advert. Given the premise of the film, it is most fitting. Gore Verbinski’s film looks aesthetically pleasing and narratively intriguing. Starring Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth, A Cure for Wellness is released in UK cinemas on 24th February 2017.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers No.1: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This extended spot for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has everything viewers would hope for from a preview of this film. A great soundtrack, wonderful visuals, a look at the film’s main characters, and sufficient humour. Baby Groot and co will return to UK screens on 28th April 2017.
Super Bowl 2017 Trailers Bonus: Stranger Things
Ok so Stranger Things is not a film, but it is so fantastic that I had to feature it. The first season was a glorious homage to Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, David Cronenberg (and much more besides), and the second season seems to continue this tradition. This spot does not reveal much about the plot, but the kids are dressed as Ghostbusters. Stranger Things season 2 will be available on Netflix from Halloween.
Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including a moving Baywatch poster, The Eyes of My Mother, A Cure for Wellness, and more…
Zac Efron promotes his new film in this moving Baywatch poster. The film, based on the 1990s television show, the film stars Efron, alongside Dwayne Johnson, Priyanka Chopra, and Alexandra Daddario. Baywatch hits the big screen on 31st May 2017.
The Eyes of My Mother
Gothic horror The Eyes of My Mother looks intriguing. The directorial debut of Nicolas Pesce, the film is about a young women whose dark curiosities are triggered following a tragedy in her life. Starring Kika Magalhaes, Will Brill, and Clara Wong, The Eyes of My Mother will be released in UK cinemas on 24th march 2017.
A Cure for Wellness Clip
A Cure for Wellness looks rather creepy, if the above clip is anything to go by. The film stars Dane DeHaan as a young executive sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a remote wellness centre. Directed by Gore Verbinski, the film also stars Oscar Isaacs and Mia Goth. A Cure for Wellness will hit UK cinemas on 24th February 2017.
Certain Women Poster
Following Meek’s Cutoff and Night Moves, director Kelly Reichardt’s latest film is Certain Women. The film stars Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart as three women trying to forge there own paths in the plains of the American Northwest. Certain Women is out at UK cinemas on 3rd March 2017.
The Great Wall Featurette
Matt Damon describes The Great Wall as a “full-on battle monster movie” in the above featurette. He also speaks about his character, and the plot of the film. The Great Wall also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, and Willem Dafoe. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the film is out at UK cinemas on 17th February 2017.
Wolverine has turned babysitter in this latest X-Men movie. The film sees Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart reprise their roles in a dystopian road movie. James Mangold directs, and the film also stars Dafne Keen. Logan launches onto UK screens on 1st March 2017.
Beauty and the Beast Poster
Emma Watson looks very much the part of Belle in this latest Beauty and the Beast poster. From the images and clips revealed so far, this live-action remake is keeping the visual style of the original animated film. Also starring Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, and Ian McKellan, Beauty and the Beast is out on UK screens on 17th March 2017.
City of Tiny Lights Trailer
City of Tiny Lights very much evokes the look and feel of a neo-noir of decades past. Liz Ahmed stars as a deadbeat private eye whose services are engaged by a high-class prostitute. Also starring Billie Piper, City of Tiny Lights will be released in UK cinemas on 7th April 2017.
This week’s preview of coming attractions include the Lady Macbeth trailer, Raw, Logan, The Founder and more…
Lady Macbeth Trailer
This Lady Macbeth trailer is most striking. Based on a nineteenth-century novella, the film is about a young woman stifled by her loveless marriage to a much older man. Starring Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, and Paul Hilton, Lady Macbeth will be released in UK cinemas on 28th April 2017.
Raw is about a vegetarian student who is forced to eat meat during hazing rituals at veterinary college. So far so strange, but the coming-of-age film takes a darker turn. JuliaDucournau’s debut film was screened at last year’s BFI London Film Festival. Raw will hit UK screens on 7th April 2017.
This new poster for the upcoming Wolverine movie Logan evokes The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ever so slightly. With director James Mangold at the helm, this latest X-Men film sees a weathered Logan and a fading Professor Xavier trying to stop the destruction of the world. Starring Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, Logan bounds on to UK screens on 1st March 2017.
Viceroy’s House Clip
Here is a clip from the upcoming Viceroy’s House. I was thinking ‘this is a bit Downton in India’ then Hugh Bonneville popped up. Set during the final months of British rule in India, the film also stars Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, and Michael Gabon. Directed by Gurinder Chadha, Viceroy’s House will be released in UK cinemas on 3rd March 2017.
The Founder Trailer
You could probably sell most film’s on the charisma of Michael Keaton alone. The Founder, however, seems to offer more than this. Focusing on the salesman who turned McDonald’s into a international franchise, the film also stars Laura Dern and Nick Offerman. The Founder hits UK screens on 10th February 2017.
Plenty of great previews this week, including the new Logan trailer, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Loving, and more…
Here is the first Logan trailer, the latest film in the X-Men series. The film is set in the future, and sees Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart reprise their roles. Logan is directed by James Mangold, who helmed 2013’s The Wolverine. The film is set for release in cinemas in 2017.
Loving tells the true story of the Richard and Mildred Loving, who fought for their right to live as an interracial couple in late 1950s America. This featurette sees the the cast of the film, including Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, discuss the characters and the wider background. Loving will be released in UK cinemas on 3rd February 2017.
A Cure for Wellness Trailer
This trailer for A Cure for Wellness looks intriguing. The film is a psychological thriller from director Gore Verbinski. A young executive is sent to a remote wellness centre to retrieve his company’s CEO. Starring Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, and Jason Isaacs, A Cure for Wellness is set for release in early 2017.
Collateral Beauty Poster
Here is the latest poster for Collateral Beauty. The film is about an advertising executive, and the group of colleagues who get him to confront his grief. The film features a stellar cast, including Will Smith, Edward Norton, and Helen Mirren. Collateral Beauty will be out in cinemas on 26th December 2016.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Trailer
So for most of this first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it seems as if Marvel are withholding Baby Groot. But, have no fear, they deliver at the very end. The eagerly anticipated sequel sees the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy reunite. Brand new footage of James Gunn’s film can be seen at screenings of Doctor Strange (released on the 25th October). Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is scheduled for release in UK cinemas on 28th April 2017.
The Accountant TV Spot
Here is one of the latest TV spots for The Accountant. The film had its European premiere in London’s Leicester Square this week. The Accountant stars Ben Affleck as a freelance accountant for some of the world’s most dangerous organisations. The film hits UK screens on 4th November 2016.
Documentary African Cats is the quintessential Disney product in terms of narrative style and values. It is an enjoyable watch, even though it is light on educational content.
African Cats is a film that follows the stories of lions and cheetahs in the Serengeti. Sita, a lone cheetah must nurse her five cubs and teach them how to survive in the wild. Fang, meanwhile leads a pride of lions that includes lioness Layla and her daughter Mara. As the young animals grow, they learn just how deadly their environment can be…
African Cats functions very much in the same style as a Disney animated feature. The parallels between this film and The Lion King are clear. The narrative is akin to that of a Disney film, although the reality of the wild does not always match the narrative.
The emphasis of African Cats is firmly on storytelling, rather than informing. Children should find the film enjoyable, but adults may desire more educational nuance. African Cats concentrates firmly on two sets of animal families and their fortunes; there is very little about the species themselves or indeed other animals that feature in the film. There is little of the fact so ingrained in an Attenborough documentary, for example.
African Cats offers some beautiful images of the majestic landscape. The establishing shots are a particularly successful in portraying the vast natural surroundings. The animals are also beautifully shot. The film shies away from any really grisly depictions, despite some inevitable deaths.
Patrick Stewart narrates the British version of African Cats. The actor’s voiceover works well in the context of dramatic storytelling. Given the style of the film, the narration is not out of place, but perhaps would have been in a more traditional documentary.
African Cats is entertaining, although additional facts and information would have given the film more substance. Nevertheless, if it functions to get children curious about nature, it is definitely a good thing.