Stuff To Look At

Film stuffs galore, including the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer, Machete Kills, Into The Woods and more…

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Here is the first Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer. The release of the trailer comes in the same week as the character’s creator, author Tom Clancy, passed away. Starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley, and Kenneth Branagh (who also directs), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is out in UK cinemas on 26th December 2013.

Rio 2

Talking animal alert! Rio 2 features the voices of Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Leslie Mann and Jamie Foxx. Blu, Jewel and their three children venture to the Amazon for a family reunion. Rio 2 is due for release in April 2014.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Here is the latest trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. This middle instalment features Orlando Bloom returning as Legolas, but a distinct lack of Gollum in the trailer at least. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is out in UK cinemas on 13th December 2013.

Machete Kills

Machete Kills is the follow up to 2010’s Machete. The film features more outlandish casting (including Charlie Sheen) and a more outlandish plot. Machete Kills hits cinemas on 11th October 2013.

Into The Woods

Meryl Streep Into The Woods

Well, Meryl Streep looks different. She plays the Witch in the first image released from Into The Woods. Based on the musical of the same name, Into The Woods is an amalgamation of a number of well-known fairy tales. The film also stars Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt and Chris Pine. It is set for a Christmas Day 2014 release in the US.


Here is the first full trailer for Disney animation Frozen. With a talking snowman as a sidekick, the film seems perfect for Christmas. Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Idina Menzel provide the voices. Frozen   hits UK screens on 6th December 2013.

Trailer Round-Up

A bumper post of trailers to round off the week, with Epic, Jack the Giant Slayer and more…


What more do you want from an animated film than talking animals and a fun dog? Epic is the new animated feature from the makers of Rio and Ice Age. The film is due for release in May 2013.

Jack the Giant Slayer

The fairy tale gets a twist in Jack the Giant Slayer. Starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor, Jack the Giant Slayer has a touch of Lord of the Rings to it. The film will be released on 22 March 2013.

Zero Dark Thirty

Following the success of Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow returns with Zero Dark Thirty. The film tells the story of Osama Bin Laden’s pursuit and capture. Starring Jessica Chastain and Joel Edgerton, Zero Dark Thirty is out on 25th January 2013.

Oz The Great and Powerful

Treasure! Broken dolls! Lots of emerald! Munchkins! Fireworks! Michelle Williams looking lovely! A hot slice monkey in a uniform! Oz The Great and Powerful looks enchanting from this first trailer. The film is due for release on 8th March 2013.

Les Miserables

This film version of Les Miserables looks like an all-star spectacular. Starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried, the film is sure to pique the interest of fans of the musical as well as those less familiar with it. Les Miserables hits cinemas on 11th January 2013.


This trailer is ripe with the scent of Oscar nominations. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Abraham Lincoln in this sumptuous-looking historical drama. Lincoln is out in cinemas on 25th January 2013.

Film Review: Rio

Rio offers animated fun with its bird out of cage tale, as it were. Good animation and fun songs ensure that the film ticks along nicely, although Rio is pleasant rather than exhilarating.

Domesticated macaw Blu lives in Minnesota with his adoring owner Linda. When bird expert Tulio spots him, he offers Linda and Blu a chance to go to Rio so that Blu can mate with Jewel, the only other bird of their endangered species. Linda and Blu go to Brazil, but things don’t go exactly according to plan…

Rio treads a familiar path with its outsider who finds his way narrative. Children should enjoy the story, but older viewers may get a little restless with the predictability of proceedings. Carlos Saldanha’s film shows little innovation in terms of story, however the characters and set pieces sufficiently maintain attention.

Screenwriter Don Rhymer wisely eschews the more realistic aspects of the macaw’s need to reproduce. Instead, Rio becomes a love story between Blu and Jewel. Rather than dwell on the idea of producing offspring, the film instead concentrates on the blossoming and sometimes tumultuous relationship between the two endangered birds. This has the same desired effect, without the need to give too much detail in a children’s film.

The characters featured in the film are quite typical of this style of animation. There are the two protagonists and an array of amusing sidekicks. Nevertheless, what Rio does quite well is replicate the traits of each bird in their human counterpart. Like Blu, Linda lacks confidence and is very comfortable in her regular existence. Both human and bird have inevitable breakthrough moments, which turn out to be amusing and heartwarming, respectively.

Unsurprisingly given the title, most of the action takes place in Rio. Some of the depictions of the city are rather questionable, however. The slum areas appear remarkably empty for a location that is so densely populated. Moreover, the scene where street kid Fernando longingly looks into the home of a family is acutely reminiscent of the very similar elementary inference used in Santa Claus: The Movie.

Rio features an all-star cast, but has not relied on these names in the film’s advertising. Jesse Eisenberg is perfectly cast as Blu, bringing shades of Woody Allen-style neuroticism to the character. Anne Hathaway is feisty as love interest Jewel, while Jamie Foxx shows off his vocal talents as Nico. Jermaine Clement is fantastic as Nigel, particularly in the musical number.

Rio is a fun watch, featuring all the colour and energy you would expect for a film set in the vibrant city. While it ticks the boxes for an animated feature, Rio never reaches beyond these modest aims.