Previews: Rules Don’t Apply Trailer, Morgan and More!

Lots of trailers, posters and clips this week, including the Rules Don’t Apply trailer, a clip from Morgan, Same Kind of Different trailer and more…

Rules Don’t Apply Trailer

Here is the Rules Don’t Apply Trailer. Warren Beatty writes, directs, and stars in the Golden Era-set film. With Alden Ehrenreich in the cast, the film is instantly reminiscent of this year’s Hail, Cesar!. Ehrenreich stars as the driver to Beatty’s Howard Hughes. The film features a stellar cast, that includes Lily Collins, Alec Baldwin, and Matthew Broderick. Rules Don’t Apply is coming soon to cinemas.

Morgan Clip

This clip from the upcoming Morgan gives a bit of insight into the title character. The film stars Kate Mara as a troubleshooter sent to a remote location to investigate an accident. Also starring Paul Giamatti and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the film is produced by Ridley Scott. Morgan is out in UK cinemas on 2nd September 2016.

Arrival Poster

Arrival PosterThis is one of a series of posters for new ski-fi thriller Arrival. The film is about a mystery spacecraft that arrives on Earth, and the team who are sent to investigate. Denis Villeneuve directs the film, which stars Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker and Jeremy Renner. Arrival lands in UK cinemas on 11th November 2016.

War on Everyone Trailer

The Guard director John Michael McDonagh’s latest film combines dark humour with a buddy cop movie. War on Everyone stars Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña as New Mexican cops who set out to blackmail every criminal that crosses their paths. War on Everyone will hit UK screens on 7th October 2016.

Moana Trailer

Disney latest animation Moana is about a South Pacific teenager who sails on a daring mission to save her people. The film features the voice of Dwayne Johnson, and songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Moana is directed by Disney dream-team Ron Clements and John Musker. UK cinemagoers will have to wait until 2nd December 2016 to see if the pair can recreate their earlier magic.

Hell or High Water Trailer

Hell or High Water is a new crime thriller from the writer of Sicario, Taylor Sheridan.  The film stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as robbers who meet their match in Texas Ranger Jeff Bridges. Hell or High Water hits UK screens on 9th September 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Poster

Miss Peregrine Poster

This poster is a visual feast. Director Tim Burton always delivers on the imagery front. Based on the book by Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children looks like it will be weird and wonderful. Starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield and Samuel L. Jackson, the film will be released in UK cinemas on 30th September 2016.

Same Kind of Different as Me Trailer

Uncomfortably reminiscent of The Blind Side, Same Kind of Different as Me is based on the book of the same name. The film stars Renée Zellweger and Greg Kinnear as a couple who befriend a homeless man (played by Djimon Hounsou). Some of what is shown seems risible, but the film will probably appeal to fans of the book. Same Kind of Different as Me is set for release in 2017.

Previews: War Dogs Trailer, Finding Dory and more!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the War Dogs trailer, Star Trek Beyond, Finding Dory and more…

War Dogs Trailer

Here is the War Dogs trailer. The Hangover director Todd Phillips helms this action comedy. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star as two unlikely arms traders who travel to Afghanistan. Based on a true story, the film also stars Bradley Cooper. War Dogs reaches UK screens on 26th August 2016.

Star Trek Beyond Featurette

Rihanna talks about her love for Star Trek and her new song for the upcoming Star Trek Beyond. Justin Lin takes over directing duty from J.J. Abrams for this latest instalment of the franchise, which sees the crew of the USS Enterprise encountering a new threat. Star Trek Beyond will hit UK screens on 22nd July 2016.

Sully: Miracle on the Hudson Trailer

It is a bit strange to see the movie version of an event that many will remember took place less than a decade ago. Tom Hanks stars as the pilot who saved his passengers by landing the plane on the Hudson River. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film also stars Laura Linney and Aaron Eckhart. Sully: Miracle on the Hudson is released in cinemas on 2nd December 2016.

Finding Dory Clip

Baby Dory is just adorable. Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory shifts the attention to Marlin’s friend Dory. Along with her friends, Dory searches for answers about her past in this latest film. Finding Dory will hit UK screens on 29th July 2016.

Nerve TV Spot

From the directors of Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3, comes Nerve. Starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, the film is about a high school student who joins a popular online game. Nerve will be released in UK cinemas on 11th August 2016.

Morgan Trailer

Morgan is a science-fiction thriller produced by Ridley Scott. The film stars Kate Mara as a corporate troubleshooter is set to a remote environment to investigate an accident. Also starring Toby Jones and Paul Giamatti, Morgan is set for release in September 2016.

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: Saving Mr Banks


Saving Mr Banks is warm, humorous, and quintessentially Disney.

P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, is being pursued by Walt Disney to sign over the rights to the company. As she travels to meet the filmmakers, Travers reflects on her childhood…

Saving Mr Banks focuses on a short period when P.L. Travers met with Walt Disney and his creative team to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen. Over the course of the film, action jumps between the pre-production of Mary Poppins and the recollections of Travers’ childhood.

The two co-existing narratives act almost as the humorous (the 1960s) and the dramatic (1900s) sides to the film. Given the themes of fantasy, and the duality of characters, this device is effective. Saving Mr Banks is also successful when the two narratives intertwine.

Director John Lee Hancock’s film is about the power of whimsy as much as it is about memory and the relationship between recollection and the imagination. Saving Mr Banks is an endorsement of the effect of fantasy on its audience. In doing so, it promotes the output of the Disney company itself.

Saving Mr Banks is an interesting product as a film made by Disney about Disney. The film does promote the company, but does not shy away from depicting less flattering aspects. P.L. Trravers’ reaction to the company, and indeed to Walt Disney himself, is cause for frequent amusement.

Emma Thompson delivers an affecting performance as P.L. Travers. Tom Hanks is competent as ever as Walt Disney, whilst Paul Giamatti shines in a small role.

Saving Mr Banks is an entertaining back story to a much loved movie. With its comedy, emotion and spirit, the film does not disappoint.

Saving Mr Banks closed the BFI London Film Festival on 20th October 2013. The film is on general release from 29th November 2013.

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.


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.


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.

Film Review: The Ides of March

George Clooney’s The Ides of March is a sumptuous political drama. A good screenplay and great performances combine to produce a thoroughly absorbing film.

Stephen Meyers is a talented member of the campaign team for presidential hopeful Mike Morris, working under veteran manager Paul Zara. While Stephen believes in the idealistic Morris, others behind the scenes scheme in order to obtain power. Stephen quickly learns that there are those who will do anything to get their candidate ahead…

The Ides of March, based on Beau Willimon’s play, is a fairly simple morality tale set in a political context. The primary contests for politicians of the same party is a backdrop that Americans and non-Americans alike should find familiar. It is the deal making and scheming that goes on behind the scenes which are less well publicised.

Clooney’s film immerses viewers in a world of political game playing. The Ides of March is exceptionally well paced. It is one of those very rare examples of a film that could have gone on for another hour, as it is that enjoyable. The narrative works well because the core themes are complimented well by the characters and setting. Everything that occurs is entirely plausible; indeed, some of the incidents seem to have been derived from recent American history. The characters that populate the film also appear very realistic. This allows the audience to fully buy into proceedings.

Performances in The Ides of March are great all round. Lead Ryan Gosling, as well as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti stand out in particular. George Clooney directs the film with competency. It is a very polished production.

The Ides of March should satisfy both fans of political dramas and those with no more than a passing interest. Clooney has exhibited his flair for engaging drama with this superb film.

The Ides of March is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2011.

Film Review: Win Win

Tom McCarthy’s Win Win is an enjoyable enough film that features great performances. However, it lacks the sparkle which would make it a truly great film.

Mike Flaherty is a New Jersey lawyer struggling to make ends meet. When the opportunity to earn some extra cash arises, Mike takes it, even though it goes against his client’s wishes. His decision quickly comes back to haunt him however, when his client’s teenage grandson shows up unannounced…

Win Win is a drama with some amusing moments of comedy. The film works well, generating an engaging picture. Win Win is a bit of a slow burner; it never really springs to life, preferring to potter along. This is not really a problem, as the ambiguity over direction maintains interest in the film.

Mc Carthy’s film is immediately comparable with 2009’s The Blind Side. The films share a very similar premise, with football being replaced with wrestling in the 2011 film. Nonetheless, the films differ in their execution. Whilst The Blind Side takes on the cheesy air of a made-for-television movie, Win Win boasts great writing which ensures proceedings do not become schmaltzy.

The characters in Win Win are multi-faceted and well developed. This is especially true of protagonist Mike. There is some succinct exposition early in the film which effectively conveys why Mike finds himself in a financial bind. His actions are both good and bad; these areas of grey are what make the character appear so natural. Likewise, other characters in the film also appear realistic. Mike’s friend Terry becomes involved with the wrestling, but also has personal issues to contend with. Kyle meanwhile is not the typical moody teenager that he first appears to be.

McCarthy’s film offers some great performances. As ever, Paul Giamatti is incredibly watchable as protagonist Mike. Giamatti is well cast for the role, and utterly believable as the struggling lawyer. Bobby Cannavale is also great as Terry, responsible for many of the film’s laughs. Amy Ryan and Jeffrey Tambor also put in good performances, while Alex Shaffer captures the blankness of Kyle.

Whilst the writing is good, Win Win is not a particularly memorable film. The feel-good narrative lacks any real ingenuity. There is nothing that stands out about the film which would elevate it above other dramas in the same vein. It is sufficiently entertaining for the duration, but is unlikely to be returned to again and again.

Film Review: Ironclad

Ironclad is an entertaining picture that combines historical drama with violent war movie. What makes the film refreshing is that it tackles a little-known incident in British history, rather than being a yet another take on a more famous event.

In 13th century England, King John is pushed into signing the Magna Carter. Hiring Danish soldiers, King John wants to reclaim power over his country. Only a small group of Knights Templar stands between him and his goal. They must defend Rochester Castle against an immense assault…

Ironclad follows a fairly familiar chain of events. Even though it is based on a minor historical event, it is clear what the outcome will be. The incidents that lead towards this conclusion are similar to those featured in a sword and sorcery or epic film. At the heart there is the requisite quest for the protagonists. It is apparent that not all of the group will survive the onslaught, yet they are committed to the cause. Given that the film is set in the 13th century, the writers only use the basis of the event to build their story on. Therefore, despite its roots in reality, Ironclad functions much like The Lord of the Rings and other quest-heavy narratives.

Ironclad has the style of a war film, despite its largely uneven battle. There are shades of 300 in the violence depicted, as well as the sombreness of more serious fare such as Saving Private Ryan. Marshall is of the silent hero type, and thus very typical of this style of film. Elsewhere the familiar archetypes are present, with the wise old sage character, and the villain unrelenting in his brutality.

Jonathan English’s direction is frenetic when combined with the editing in the action sequences. No doubt this is to illustrate the chaotic nature of the events, as well as to disguise some of the more graphic violence. Nonetheless, at times this a bit too dizzying and detracts from the overall enjoyment.

Ironclad‘s production values are good, particular the production design and costuming. Despite being an independent picture, Ironclad shares many of the features of a big-budget studio production. Effects blend in, and the film has a very particular look with the dank scenery and palette of greys.

Casting in Ironclad is great, with the extras appearing authentic for the period the film is set. Paul Giamatti is solid as King John, seeming every bit the aggrieved monarch. James Purefoy offers a decent performance as Marshall, however the actor is in danger of being typecast with his numerous roles in period films.

Ironclad is fairly standard in what it offers as a action film based on a historical event. The film is worth a watch, however, as it depicts a period of history that is not often featured in mainstream film, as well as an incident that is merely a footnote to a much more significant event.

Film Review: Barney’s Version

Barney Panofsky is sometimes an abhorrent protagonist, but this does not make his story any less interesting. Barney’s Version is an intriguing drama brimmed with great performances.

Barney Panofsky is a hard-drinking television producer, who has led a rather interesting life. Despite only being in love once, Barney has been married three times. His tumultuous life has provided moments of happiness and regret…

Told through a series of flashbacks, Barney’s Version focuses on the significant events of the protagonist’s adult life. These are dominated by Barney’s three marriages, but also feature his relationship with family and friends. Richard J. Lewis directs Barney’s Version with equanimity. The film spends sufficient time exploring Barney’s character, yet never feels stagnant.

Barney’s Version effectively combines drama with comedy and romance, as well as a rather intriguing mystery. This amalgamation of genres allows the audience to experience an array of emotions, much like Barney himself. The film seems to slide effortlessly from comedy to drama, thanks to Michael Konyves screenplay, based on Mordecai Richler’s novel.

Barney Panofsky is not the average movie protagonist. For starters, he is not conventionally attractive, yet manages to attract beautiful women. He has his vices, yet has also carved out a successful career for himself. He acts rashly and incomprehensibly, yet is still loved by his wife. For the numerous mistakes Barney makes, he also elicits sympathy and laughter.

Barney’s Version‘s supporting characters are as well developed as the protagonist. Miriam may love Barney regardless of his flaws, but she is initially wary of his intentions, understandably so. Miriam is perhaps character most identified with in the film, sharing with the audience a dubiousness about the central character. Barney’s father Izzy is depicted as having similar flaws as his son. Nevertheless, Izzy seems to have a greater appreciation of family not fully realised by his son. It is through these characters that both the best and worst of Barney’s persona is revealed.

Paul Giamatti gives one of his finest performances as Barney. He is thoroughly convincing as the title character, and excellent in exuding both humour and sadness. Rosamund Pike is perfect as the soft-spoken Miriam, while Minnie Driver is feisty as the second Mrs Panofsky. Dustin Hoffman brings empathy and fragility as Izzy, and Scott Speedman is bright as Boogie.

The makeup department have done excellent work in Barney’s Version. Despite the film covering a period longer than thiry years, Barney and Miriam are always believable in their appearance.  Pasquale Catalano’s beautiful score is utilised effectively in the film.

Barney’s Version is a well-executed film, with Lewis getting the best out of his cast. A highly recommended film.

Film Review: The Last Station

The Last Station tells the story of the final days of Leo Tolstoy, and the tumultuous relationship he has with his wife, the Countess Sofya. Rather than a biopic, The Last Station is more concerned with the relationship between the two protagonists and what it reveals about life.

Although the focus is on Tolstoy and Sofya, there is a parallel storyline featuring Tolstoy’s new secretary Valentin Bulgakov, and his relationship with Masha, a young female member of the Tolstoyan Movement. Much of the film is seen through the eyes of Bulgakov, and it is clear by the end that it is the lessons learnt by this young man which prove most telling.

The Last Station features an excellent cast, with Mirren and Plummer thoroughly deserving their respective Oscar nods. Mirren in particular is affecting as the troubled Countess. Both the love and the frustration that Tolstoy feels towards her is replicated by the audience, such is the power of Mirren’s performance.

The film emphasises a sharp divide between the discipline of the Tolstoyan Movement, in particular with Giamatti’s Chertkov, and the passion of love and freedom, as demonstrated by both Sofya and Masha. With Tolstoy preaching to Bulgakov the wonder of love, it is clear where the author’s allegiance lay, despite the movement named in his honour. Overall, The Last Station is an affecting and engaging drama, which exhorts the importance of love in a well-rounded life.