Super Bowl 2017 Trailers Ranked

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.

Film Review: Life of Pi

Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is a sumptuous looking adventure. The director has successfully brought the novel to the big screen.

A writer travels to Canada to meet Pi Patel, who apparently has quite a story to tell. The tale begins when Pi is a young boy in Pondicherry, India. The son of a zoo keeper, Pi is about to embark on an adventure…

Life of Pi seems perfect for a Christmas release. A film suitable for family viewing which mixes fantasy and adventure. It provides perhaps an anecdote to what could be perceived as the overt fantasy offerings of the last decade or so, with Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings and the like. Furthermore, given that it is based on Yann Martel’s best-selling novel, it is likely to have even more of an appeal to adults over younger viewers.

Life of Pi excels in its storytelling. The bookend frame set up allows for the narrator to be present throughout. For those who do not know much about the story, this works doubly well as there is a sense of anticipation of what the adventure entails. The film is a bit too long, but that is the only real negative overall.

The theme of faith and belief runs throughout the film. In the earlier section, the views of Pi’s parents balance out, taking opposite ends of the spectrum. Nonetheless, Life of Pi is unequivocal in its promotion of faith. Rather than this being of a organised religion kind, belief in the film takes on a more spiritual edge.

Lee’s use of colour creates some memorable imagery. Visually, Life of Pi is a treat. The effects are good, particularly with the tiger. Suraj Sharma delivers a strong performance as the adult Pi. He is believable as the protagonist, with his performance indispensible to many scenes.

Although it could have been trimmed a little, Life of Pi is a solid adventure film.

Stuff To Look At

A bumper edition this week, with plenty of releases for 2013…

Man of Steel

I have always been more of a Batman child than a Superman one, but I did love the Christopher Reeve movies (maybe not the last one). After 2006’s underwhelming Superman Returns, this new version looks more appealing. Henry Cavil stars as the title character in the first full trailer for Man of Steel, due for release in June 2013.

Oblivion

Ageless Tom Cruise has been getting action-heavy recently, with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Jack Reacher and now Oblivion. This futuristic thriller sees Cruise’s character Jack Harper battle to save mankind. Also starring Andrea Riseborough, Oblivion will be released in UK cinemas on 12 April 2013.

The Wolverine

The follow-up to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine is due for release in July 2013. The film sees Hugh Jackman reprise his role from the X-Men franchise. This adventure is set in Japan, as the above poster suggests. I’m sure a trailer for The Wolverine will be released shortly.

The Lone Ranger

Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter together again, but not in a Tim Burton film? The emphasis in the above trailer is on the fact that it is the same team behind Pirates of the Caribbean. If executed correctly, The Lone Ranger should be a lot of fun, like the first film of that earlier franchise. The Lone Ranger is due for release next year.

The Croods

The latest animation from DreamWorks is The Croods, a prehistoric adventure film. The Croods features the voices of Nicholas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone. From the above trailer, I am liking the monkey. The Croods will be released in UK cinemas on 22nd March 2013.

Broken City

Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones star in Broken City, a crime thriller set in New York. My first thought on viewing this was ‘Russell Crowe’s weave!’. That aside, this tale of corruption could be quite good. Broken City is out on 1st March 2013.

The Last Stand

What is The Last Stand, you ask? Well it is Arnold Schwarzengger’s return to lead roles on the big screen. Schwarzenegger plays the sheriff of a small town where a notorious drug baron is trying to make his escape. The Last Stand, which also stars Forest Whitaker and Rodrigo Santoro, is out on 24th January 2012.

Hitchcock

Everyone loves a bit of Alfred Hitchcock, don’t they? The eagerly anticipated Hitchcock tells the story behind the making of Psycho. Anthony Hopkins stars as Alfred Hitchcock in the film which also features Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson. Hitchcock is released in UK cinemas on 8th February 2013.

Stuff To Look At

A veritable feast for the eyes this week, with the new teaser trailer for The Lone Ranger, excellent posters from the upcoming Frankenweenie, and more besides…

The Lone Ranger

The teaser trailer for 2013’s The Lone Ranger was released this week. Starring Johnny Depp, directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it is unsurprising that the teaser is reminiscent of Pirates of the Caribbean. Also starring Armie Hammer as the title character and Helena Bonham Carter, The Lone Ranger is due for release next year.

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie will be released in the UK on 17th October 2012, and will open the London Film Festival on 12 October 2012. To promote the release of Tim Burton’s new film, these fantastic retro-style posters have been released. The others can be viewed here. They are entirely in keeping with the style of the stop-motion animated black and white film. To coincide with the release, the exhibition The Art of Frankenweenie will open at the BFI Southbank during the festival.

The Master

One of this year’s most anticipated films will be released in the UK on 16th November 2012, with a special run at the Odeon West End from 2nd November 2012. Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master has been receiving critical acclaim and recently broke the takings per screen record when it opened in the US. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams.

The Hobbit

Several images and features from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey have been released in the last few weeks. These include new posters featuring the dwarves and new Hobbit-related apps. But what I want to know is where are the Gollum posters and apps? Until this time comes, here is an image from the film to sate Gollum fans. The first film instalment of The Hobbit will be released on 14th December 2012.

Gambit

Written by Joel and Ethan Coen and directed by Michael Hoffman, Gambit looks like a lot of fun. Starring Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Cameron Diaz, Gambit is a remake of the 1966 film of the same name. The film will be released in UK cinemas on 21st November 2012.

Film Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

If Carlsberg made movies… they probably would not be anything like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. However, if Night Nurse made movies…

No longer in possession of the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow finds himself in a bit of bother in London. When he meets Angelina, an old flame from his past, Jack is tricked aboard the ship of the notorious Blackbeard. The aging pirate needs Jack’s help to find the Fountain of Youth, which is also being pursued by Barbossa…

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a mess of a film that isn’t even laughably enjoyable. With a running time of almost two and a half hours, it is likely to leave some audience members in a comatose state. If the narrative was tighter and some scenes trimmed or altogether removed, Rob Marshall’s film would have been much more entertaining. As it stands, the fourth Pirates movie is incredibly dull.

The film features some fun action sequences, but these grow tired quickly as each set piece attempts to outdo the previous one. There are long periods in the film where the pace is very slack. The endless chases lack momentum as they are way too drawn out.

Whereas Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was a bit strange and difficult to get into, On Stranger Tides has more in common with the first two films. However, this instalment comes across as formulaic, offering very little in terms of innovation. Although Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann were fairly boring main characters, their absence is palpable. Their love story is replicated somewhat by Philip and Syrena; a poor substitute. The romantic narrative between preacher and mermaid is poorly executed. In attempting to fill a gap, it comes across as trite and underdeveloped.

The effects and staging are as good as ever. Clearly a lot of money was put into making the film; it is a shame that the end results to not justify the cost. Sound is also well used in the film. The 3D consists really of swords being pointed outwards, not exactly worth the uplift price.

Johnny Depp delivers his usual schtick as Jack Sparrow. His performance is not the problem though. The character, who was such fun in the first movie, is now as tired and uninspired as the narrative. In an attempt to inject new life into the franchise, a few new characters are introduced. Ian McShane is decent as Blackbeard, while Penelope Cruz is noticeably stagnant as Angelica. Her lack of movement was undoubtedly due to her pregnancy at the time of filming, but it really should not have been this obvious.

Sadly it seems likely that there will be at least another Pirates film, if not more. Given its sub-par quality, On Stranger Tides really should kill the franchise, but it probably won’t.

Film Review: Rango

In an age where almost everything animated appears in 3D, Rango refreshingly does not opt for this route. Although the film is animated and rated PG, it is more likely to appeal to adults and older children rather than younger viewers.

Rango is a lonely chameleon who puts on plays with his toys to entertain himself. When Rango accidentally finds himself in the middle of the desert, he comes across the town of Dirt. Rango takes the opportunity to invent himself as a gun-slinging hero…

Directed by Pirates of the Caribbean‘s Gore Verbinski, Rango is not the typical animated feature. The film does not seem to fit the Pixar/Dreamworks mould of combining adventure, comedy, drama and romance. Instead, Rango is best described as a western. Given its characteristics, this category seems most appropriate. However, like a film such as Back to the Future Part III, Rango will sometimes adhere to conventions, and at other times play on the familiar archetypes present.

Given this western predilection then, it is perhaps unsurprising that Rango is more likely to entertain older audience members than the young children usually targeted by animated features. The film begins rather slowly, which won’t really entice youngsters with a short attention span. Moreover, those expecting a Disneyesque movie may be disappointed by Rango‘s offbeat style.

Although humour is present in Rango, it is a hard push to describe the film as hilarious. The comedy is more self-reflexive, with jokes about performing and genre that are likely to go over the head of some. Elsewhere the humour is quirky, with the film’s narrator becoming involved in the action, for example. The narrative is interrupted on two occasions with sequences that are interesting but bizarre. Nevertheless, they do not help in making Rango enthralling;  the film lacks a good narrative.

The animation in Rango is sumptuous. Nickelodeon, ILM and the other production companies have done a fantastic job with the aesthetics. The detail in particular is amazing. Although animation tends to look better in 3D than live action generally, hopefully Rango‘s inevitable success will attest that not every new feature needs to be produced in three dimensions.

Rango features a host of famous names voicing the array of characters. Johnny Depp is suitably cast as Rango, although it is difficult to ever lose sight that it is Johnny Depp voicing the character. Isla Fisher is decent as Beans, as is Abigail Breslin as the very cute Priscilla. Ray Winstone and Bill Nighy meanwhile conform to their usual bad guy roles.

Rango is a fun movie, and something different to the usual big-budget animated fare. However, the film lacks the heart that would take it from enjoyable to amazing.

Film Review: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

For a family-orientated blockbuster in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean, Prince of Persia is an entertaining enough affair. As expected, the special effects and action sequences excel, whilst the plot and dialogue are less impressive.

Adopted as an orphan boy by the Persian King, Dastan grows up in the royal family. After the king is murdered, Dastan must prove his innocence with the help of a mysterious dagger…

The plot is predictable, but that is hardly surprising considering the film is based on a video game. Likewise, the dialogue shifts between cheesy one-liners and overly grandiose sentiment. Nonetheless, these issues do not distract too much from the enjoyment of the film.

Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job as hero Dustan, whilst Gemma Arterton is perfunctory as the beautiful love interest, Princess Tamina. Ben Kingsley is adequate in his now customary role of knowledgeable older character/secret villain. With the film’s Middle Eastern setting, however, it is a shame that more of the actors aren’t from this region. It seems being “browned-up” is still deemed appropriate in 2010 Hollywood.

The special effects and wonderful landscapes make Prince of Persia a film that really should be seen on the big screen. Although the film is directed by Mike Newall, the influence of producer Jerry Bruckheimer are all too evident; the slow motion shots in the battle sequences, for example.

Prince of Persia is enjoyable enough for the type of film it is; it was never going to break new ground. Perhaps the real shame is what it signifies in modern Hollywood: before the numbers even come in a sequel is already guaranteed. Gone are the days, it seems, when a film actually had to do well before a sequel was even considered and green lit.