Previews: Okja Trailer, The Mummy, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the Okja trailer, The Mummy, War for the Planet of the Apes, and more…

Okja Trailer

Here is the latest Okja trailer. Bong Joon Ho’s film is having its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Okja is about a girl who must stop a corporation from capturing her gentle friend. The film stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Paul Dano. Okja launches globally on Netflix on 28th June 2017.

The Mummy Featurette

This featurette on The Mummy reveals a bit more about the characters and the world of the film. The film is intended to be the first in a series of a franchise rebooting the Universal Monsters. Russell Crowe plays Dr Jekyll (the Robert Louis Stevenson creation), with Sofia Boutella starring as the title character. With a cast headed by Tom Cruise, The Mummy hits UK screens on 9th June 2017.

War for the Planet of the Apes Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes. The film completes a trilogy that began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The series acts as a prequel to the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes. Starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, and Steve Zahn, War for the Planet of the Apes is out in UK cinemas on 14th July 2017.

Baby Driver Poster

This poster for Baby Driver gives an idea for the tone of the film. Directed by Edgar Wright, the film is about a young getaway driver who hopes to ditch his criminal life. The cast includes Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, and Lily James. Baby Driver is released in UK cinemas on 28th June 2017.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard Trailer

Here’s hoping the film is as hilarious as the premise. Ryan Reynolds stars as the bodyguard attempting to protect Samuel L. Jackson’s hitman in action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard. With two likeable leads in an odd couple pairing, the film could be a winner. The Hitman’s Bodyguard is out in UK cinemas on 18th August 2017.

Wonder Woman TV Spot

Here is one of the new TV spots for the upcoming Wonder Woman. The first live-action film based on one of the most famous comic book characters, the film has been a long time coming. Directed by Patty Jenkins, and starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and Robin Wright, Wonder Woman launches onto UK screens on 1st June 2017.

IT Clip

Hopefully this adaptation of Stephen King’s IT lives up to the novel’s reputation. A group of kids (the ‘Losers Club’) must face their biggest fears when children start going missing in the town of Derry. Starring Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, IT is set for release on 8th September 2017.

Previews: Blade Runner 2049 Poster, Wonder Woman, More!

This week preview of coming attractions features a new Blade Runner 2049 poster, The Dark Tower, Wonder Woman, and more…

Blade Runner 2049 Poster

Here is Harrison Ford in the latest Blade Runner 2049 poster. Ford reprises his role as Deckard from the 1982 sci-fi classic. He is joined by Ryan Gosling, who plays a LAPD officer who unearths a long-buried secret. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 is released in UK cinemas on 6th October 2017.

The Dark Tower Trailer

Here is the first trailer for The Dark Tower. The film is based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel. Idris Elba plays the last gunslinger, in a battle with the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey). The Dark Tower will be released in UK cinemas on 18th August 2017.

Wonder Woman Poster

It is less than a month until the release of Wonder Woman, so here’s a new poster. Despite being far behind Marvel in terms of establishing a cinematic universe for their comic book characters, DC have beaten Marvel to the punch in having the first stand-alone film headlined by a female character. Gal Gadot stars as the popular hero, and is joined by Chris Pine, Robin Wright, and Connie Nielsen. Wonder Woman hits UK screens on 1st June 2017.

Valerian Poster

Here is a new poster for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I don’t know who Melo is, but it looks interesting. Valerian is a new sci-fi adventure from Luc Besson. The film stars Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, and Rihanna. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets hits UK screens on 4th August 2017.

Summer 2017 Summer Montage

Every year, the esteemed Amon Warmann creates a montage of all the Summer’s biggest blockbusters. This year’s edition features a variety of hotly anticipated movies, including Wonder Woman, War for the Planet of the Apes (a sequel to 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Check out the supercut above.

Previews: Rings Trailer, Coco, More!

The first of this year’s previews of coming attractions include the Rings trailer, a new Blade Runner 2049 image, A Cure for Wellness, and more…

Rings Trailer

Here is the latest Rings trailer. The film is a new chapter in the horror franchise. From the synopsis, Rings does not appear to be directly linked to the characters from 2002’s The Ring, or its sequel. The cast includes Matilda Lutz, Jonathan Galecki, and Vincent D’Onofrio. Rings will hit UK screens on 3rd February 2017.

Blade Runner 2049 Image

Above is a new Blade Runner 2049 image. Not much has been revealed about the characters yet – is Ana de Armas’ character a replicant? Is Ryan Gosing’s? Who knows. Also starring Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto, Blade Runner 2049 is due open in UK cinemas on 6th October 2017.

A Cure for Wellness Trailer

A Cure for Wellness has to be one of this year’s most anticipated movies. This trailer reveals a little more about the plot, which concerns a young executive who is sent to retrieve his CEO from a mysterious “wellness” centre. Directed by Gore Verbinski, the film stars Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, and Jason Isaacs. A Cure for Wellness is due for release in UK cinemas in early 2017.

Mute Image

Here is a brand new image from Netflix’s upcoming Mute. Directed by Duncan Jones, the film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux. Set in the near future, the film is about a mute bartender and his search for his missing girlfriend. Mute will be released by Netflix in all their territories later this year.

Beauty and the Beast Video

Here is a short video featuring the leads from the upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie. If follows the clip of Emma Watson singing ‘Something There’, which was released a few days ago. Beauty and the Beast also stars Dan Stevens, and features the voices of Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The film is out in UK cinemas on 17th March 2017.

The LEGO Batman Movie Poster

I am thrilled to see that the upcoming LEGO Batman Movie features Harley Quinn. The film also sees appearances from Robin, The Joker, and Batgirl. Featuring the voices of Will Arnett, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, and Jenny Slate, The LEGO Batman Movie will hit UK screens on 10th February 2017.

Patriots Day Trailer

Patriots Day is the latest film from director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Battleship). The film concentrates on the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Mark Wahlberg heads up a cast that includes John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, and J.K. Simmons. Patriots Day will be released in cinemas on 23rd February 2017.

Coco Image

Here is the first look at Coco, the latest animated film from Disney Pixar. The movie is about  a young boy who sets of a chain of events relating to a centuries-old mystery. Coco is directed by Pixar stalwart Lee Unkrick and Adrian Molina, who also wrote the film. Featuring the voices of Gael García Bernal and Benjamin Bratt, Coco is due to be released in UK cinemas in December 2017.

Previews: Pete’s Dragon Trailer, The Accountant and More!

Lots to see in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Pete’s Dragon trailer, The Accountant, Wonder Woman and more…

Pete’s Dragon Trailer

Here is the new Pete’s Dragon trailer. The film is a live-action remake of the animated classic. Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, and Wes Bentley are joined by Oakes Fegley as the title character. Pete’s Dragon will be released in UK cinemas on 12th August 2016.

The Accountant Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for The Accountant. The film stars Ben Affleck as a maths savant who works on the books for criminal organisations. Also starring Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons, The Accountant is out in the UK on 4th November 2016.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Featurette

Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson and others discuss the upcoming Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Directed by Tim Burton, Jane Goldman wrote the screenplay, based on the novel by Ransom Riggs. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children hits UK screens on 30th September 2016.

Office Christmas Party Trailer

Office Christmas Party is a new comedy from Josh Gordon and Will Speck, the directors of The Switch and Blades of Glory. The film is about staff who host an epic Christmas party to impress a potential client. With an ensemble cast that includes  Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, and Courtney B. Vance, Office Christmas Party makes its way onto UK screens on 9th December 2016.

Ben-Hur Trailer

Here is the second trailer for Ben-Hur. The film is an adaptation of the 1880 Christian novel, like the three film versions that have come before. This version stars Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, and Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur hits UK screens on 7th September 2016.

T2 Teaser Trailer

This feels like it has come from nowhere. A belated sequel to Trainspotting, T2 reunites director Danny Boyle with the original cast, including Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller. T2 is set for release on 27th January 2016.

Blair Witch Trailer

Another unexpected sequel to a 1990s film. Horror movie The Woods was revealed to be Blair Witch, a sequel to The Blair Witch Project. Blair Witch is directed by Adam Winged, who has had recent successes with You’re Next and The Guest. Blair Witch hits UK screens on 16th September 2016.

Nerve Clip

Nerve seems to the correct name for this film, is the above clip is anything to go by. The film is directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, who rose to fame through their film Catfish. Starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, Nerve is out in UK cinemas on 11th August 2016.

Kong: Skull Island Poster

Kong: Skull Island Poster

Kong: Skull Island is a reimagining of the cinema stalwart King Kong. The film has a more contemporary setting than the last version of the monster movie. Kong: Skull Island stars Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and John Goodman. The film is set for release in 2017.

Wonder Woman Trailer

The film many comic book fans have been waiting decades for is almost here. After her appearance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman finally gets her own film. Gal Gadot is joined by Chris Pine, Connie Nielson, and Robin Wright. Directed by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman will hit cinemas 2nd June 2017.

The LEGO Batman Movie Trailer

After the character was such a big hit in The LEGO Movie, it is no surprise that Batman gets his own film. The LEGO Batman Movie looks like it will be as amusing as its predecessor, if the trailer is anything to go by. With the voices of Will Arnett, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Cera and Rosario Dawson, The LEGO Batman Movie launches on to UK screens in February 2017.

Suicide Squad Video

This Suicide Squad video concentrates on Harley Quinn from the upcoming movie. The film features a roster of villains who are tasked with completing a mission for a US agent. Starring Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, and Viola Davis, Suicide Squad hits UK cinemas on 5th August 2016.

Film Review: The Congress

The Congress

The Congress is an experimental science fiction film that has successes as well as failures. It is a shame that the strength of the first third is not replicated in the rest of the film.

Actress Robin Wright is offered one last job, which her agent persuades her to take. Later on, the consequences of her decision effects her in ways she did not consider…

Ari Folman’s The Congress posits an interesting premise: technology rendering real actors obsolete. With the reliance on CGI, this is not too difficult to fathom. It is a fascinating set up, and one that retains the audience’s attention.

The introduction of the animated section still functions effectively. Given that the idea of avatars has been played out in films before, it is interesting to see where Folman will take it. However, the idea peters out. This segment feels overlong and lacks momentum. The audience is given too long to ponder on meagre bones.

The Congress recovers before its conclusion however. The final segment of the film takes themes back to the beginning. The finale feels fitting.

The Congress exhibits some great cinematography. The animated section shows real creativity. Given the premise, there are some amusing nods to the film industry.

Robin Wright is great in The Congress. The role is really interesting, and requires self-reflexivity which Wright delivers. Harvey Keitel is well cast as agent Al, while Kodi Smit-McPhee is believable as Aaron.

There are some great ideas swirling around, but this does not translate into a truly illuminating film. The creativity of The Congress should be applauded nevertheless.

The Congress is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2013.

5 Reasons Why The Princess Bride is Excellent

The Princess Bride

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of The Princess Bride, the film is being released on a new special edition Blu-Ray from Monday 25th March 2013. Here are five reasons why you should watch or revisit the 1987 fantasy classic…

1. The Princess Bride Bucked the Critical Trend

Unlike most fairy tale films released in the 1980s, The Princess Bride actually received mostly positive reviews. Critics such as Vanessa Miles (Films and Filming, 402, March 1988) praised the fact that the film made fun of the clichés present in other films of the genre released in the same period.

2. The Princess Bride is Endlessly Quotable

As well as the infamous “as you wish”, The Princess Bride‘s script is overflowing with memorable lines and phrases. Among the most famous ones are “inconceivable” and “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die”, although there are plenty more.

3. The Princess Bride Subverts and Reinforces Fairy Tale Tropes

The Princess Bride play on the conventions of fairy tale films. However, it also reinforces them; with Rob Reiner’s film fitting both fantasy and comedy modes. The latter is particularly evident through the character of Buttercup; a damsel in distress typical of this brand of fantasy.

4. The Princess Bride is Teeming with 80s Stars

The Princess Bride stars Fred Savage, one of the child stars of the 1980s. The film also features a host of other actors irrevocably associated with the most esteemed of decades; Chris Sarandon, Billy Crystal, Robin Wright. And, of course, André the Giant.

5. Columbo is in The Princess Bride

There really isn’t a greater reason than this.

The Princess Bride 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray features new featurettes, audio commentaries, as well as the original comprehensive documentary ‘As You Wish: The Story of The Princess Bride’. It is available from 25th March 2013.

Film Review: Rampart

A crime drama/character study, Rampart begins well but loses its way unfortunately. The film is flawed but still manages to absorb viewers.

In the Los Angeles of 1999, Dave Brown is a veteran cop in the LAPD. The division is embroiled in a scandal which sees their every move scrutinised. Not knowing for playing by the rules, when Dave is caught out he struggles to keep hold of his job and his family…

Rampart is a character-driven film. It focuses heavily on the protagonist; the plot is secondary to this. Although the film retains the attention, it is a shame more emphasis is not given to the narrative. The film takes place at such an interesting time in terms of LAPD history, that it deserved more time allocated to it. Rampart is set in 1999; the beginnings of the well-known scandal. The film would have been more satisfying overall if more of a link between this and the character of Dave Brown had been established.

As a protagonist, Brown appears three-dimensional. James Ellroy and Oren Moverman’s screenplay is successful in its creation of a realistic character. While Dave Brown is not a hero, he is not completely irredeemable either. It is this ambiguity that hooks the audience.

Rampart‘s cinematography is really interesting. There is a great use of colour and lighting, juxtaposing the brightness and beauty of California with the seediness of crime. The constant pans in one scene are less effective, however. Similarly, editing and cinematography in the club scene creates an unusual, but not persuasive, result. Sound works well, but the jarring noises in this scene seem unnecessary, with this short segment letting the rest of the film down.

Woody Harrelson delivers a dominating performance as Dave Brown. He brings both charm and a tension to the role. Sigourney Weaver is well cast in a supporting role. Brie Larson stands out as Brown’s teenage daughter Helen, as does Robin Wright as Linda.

Rampart is a well-executed movie. It is only disappointing because it should be more than it offers.

Film Review: The Conspirator

Robert Redford’s period courtroom drama is a bit of a slow burner. The Conspirator is sufficiently engaging, but lacks a strong sense of tension when it is really needed.

On 14th April 1865, president Abraham Lincoln is assassinated. In the wake of this shocking event, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to murder the president, vice-president and the secretary of state. Frederick Aitken, a Union war veteran and rookie lawyer is appointed to represent Mary Surratt, who faces the death penalty if found guilty…

The beginning of The Conspirator works incredibly well to set up the rest of the film. Particularly for viewers not familiar with all the details of the Lincoln assassination, this section conveys the chaos of the incident, as well as situating protagonist Aitken in the centre of the action.

James Solomon’s screenplay exhibits the unfolding drama from the viewpoint of Aitken. Giving some distance between the accused and her condemners, Aitken appears level-headed and a lonely voice of reason. Moreover, considering he was a Union soldier, Aitken is perfectly placed to initially hold contempt for Mary Surratt. Aitken’s struggle to uphold the oath he took to defend his client is palpable. As much as the film is about the case, it is also about Aitken’s beliefs and personal journey.

What makes The Conspirator interesting is the lack of exploration into Mary’s alleged crimes. Although these are documented in the court scenes, the film never sways too far in suggesting her level of guilt. The concentration is placed on the legal proceedings instead. Whilst the film comments on this, it leaves open questions about the extent of Mary’s involvement. This exhibits a maturity missing from many historical or courtroom dramas. Given that the facts of her situation will never truly be known, the film takes the wise option of not implying whether she is guilty or not.

Parallels between the events of the film and recent post 9/11 incidents are unmistakable. The hooded prisoners are just one of the visual indicators of this. Elsewhere, there is resonance in the words of Edwin Stanton, when discussing the aftermath of Lincoln’s death. There is also a reference to the Inquisition, with The Conspirator suggesting that these ‘witch trials’ replicate through history.

James McAvoy offers a decent performance as Aitken overall, although he sometimes fails to convey the gravity of the situation. Robin Wright is controlled as Mary Surratt, while Kevin Kline’s Edwin Stanton is unmoving in his determination. Tom Wilkinson is great as Reverdy Johnson, providing reasoned opposition to others in power.

The Conspirator deals with the facts in a balanced manner for the most part, and is an interesting watch because of this. It is just a shame that the film fails to provide the requisite tension in pivotal scenes.