Previews: Rules Don’t Apply Trailer, Doctor Strange, More!

Lots of film-related goodness this week, including the new Rules Don’t Apply trailer, Hacksaw Ridge, Doctor Strange and more…

Rules Don’t Apply Trailer

Here is the latest Rules Don’t Apply trailer. The film is directed by Warren Beatty, who stars as Howard Hughes. The film is about a relationship between Hughes’ driver (played by Alden Ehrenreich) and an aspiring young actress (played by Lily Collins). Rules Don’t Apply is one of a number of recent films set in Hollywood’s Golden Age, following Café Society and  Hail, Caesar!. Beatty’s film is scheduled for release soon.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Trailer

Here is the new trailer for action-thriller Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The film is a follow up to 2012’s Jack Reacher. This instalment sees To Cruise return as the title character. I am hoping that filmmakers keep the same tone as the original film, even if there is no Werner Herzog. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back hits cinema and IMAX screens on 20th October 2016.

Doctor Strange Poster

Doctor Strange Poster

Here is one of the Doctor Strange character posters. Tilda Swinton joins a stellar cast (Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Womg, and Mads Mikkelsen) in Marvel’s latest film. Cumberbatch stars as Dr Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon who sets out to repair himself following an accident. Doctor Strange is out in UK cinemas on 25th October 2016.

Moana Featurette

Here is Moana star Dwayne Johnson and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda talk about mutual love and respect in this new featurette. The film is about a teenager who sets out on a mission to complete her ancestors’ unfulfilled quest. Moana will be released in UK cinemas on 2nd December 2016.

Fences Trailer

Denzel Washington directs Fences, based on August Wilson’s award-winning play. Wilson also writes the screenplay for the film, which is about a man struggling to raise his family in the 1950s. Also starring the brilliant Viola Davis, Fences is set for release soon.

20th Century Women Trailer

Writer-director Mike Mills follows 2011’s Beginners with 20th Century Women. The film is about three women at different eras of the 20th century. Starring Annette Benning, Greta Gerwig, and Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women will be released in 2017.

Hacksaw Ridge Trailer

Mel Gibson directs war drama Hacksaw Ridge. The film is about the true story of Desmond Doss, a soldier during World War II who saved many of his compatriots without firing a weapon. Starring Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, and Teresa Palmer, Hacksaw Ridge will be released in cinemas soon.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Trailer

Here is the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film is based on the magical world created by J.K. Rowling. Starring Eddie Redmayne, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out in 3D on 18th November 2016.

Film Review: Wrath of the Titans

As titans clashing in 2010 clearly was not enough, this time audiences feel the titans’ wrath. Jonathan Liebesman’s film is predictable fare, but watchable nevertheless.

Following Perseus’ defeat of the Kracken, the demigod is living a simple fisherman’s life while raising his son. When Zeus calls upon him, Perseus is initially reluctant. Perseus soon springs into action, however, when Zeus is held prisoner and humanity is threatened…

Wrath of the Titans is a sufficiently entertaining film, although the missteps are visible. The main narrative strand is fine, but not overly gripping or original. The theme of loyalty and bonds in the father-son relationship is overplayed throughout the film. It is really hammered in, when some less obvious allusions would have worked better.

Additional strands are either weak or unnecessary. The role of Agenor is unusual, as the character is not as crucial as his build up would suggest. Perhaps the screenwriters should be applauded for this small misdirection. Andromeda, however, is completely surplus to requirements in the quest portion of the film. Her role is extraneous for the most part, in fact. There is no real indicator of love interest between her and Perseus.

Other characters in the film are often one dimensional, partly in the case of the gods. The mythology employed and adapted by Wrath of the Titans is rich. Perhaps the screenwriters could have utilised this further, illustrating the power and limitations of the gods. The film seems to go back and forth in this respect, with a lack of set principles.

The effects are good overall. Sound works particularly well throughout the film. The style of filming does not work for the best interests of the action sequences, however. The very fast camera movement makes it difficult to ascertain what is happening at times. Viewing Wrath of the Titans in Imax can emphasise this. Ghosting in this ratio can also be a problem. Thankfully, the 3D is far superior to the first movie.

Performances in the film are adequate. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes knowingly ham it up, which make their scenes amusing. Sam Worthington plays the action hero in a suitable fashion. The accents in Wrath of the Titans are a bit of a mystery, with a variety of British dialects apparent, among others.

Some of the silliness makes the film more entertaining. Wrath of the Titans occasionally lets its humour override the solemnity of proceedings, and is all the better for it.

Trailer Round-Up

Four trailers of new movies to share this week, as well as a new a clip of Disney’s Brave. Spring/Summer offerings include a pregnancy comedy, a remake of an 80s television show, a fantastic Aardman animation, and a blockbuster sequel.

21 Jump Street

For those that are unaware, 21 Jump Street was a television show which made Johnny Depp a star in the 1980s. It was popular at the time, but never really gained a later cult following. It is for this reason I do not foresee a backlash against this new film version. According to the trailer, the film seems to retain the same premise as the television series; cops go undercover at a high school to investigate criminal activity. 21 Jump Street is out in cinemas on 16th March 2012.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Based on the New York Times bestseller, What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a comedy about pregnancy. The film features a host of stars, including Cameron Diaz, Chace Crawford and Chris Rock. The film also stars Jennifer Lopez, but hopefully she will not feature too heavily given the assemble nature of it. What to Expect When You’re Expecting is due for release Spring 2012.

Wrath of the Titans

A sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans catches up with Perseus ten years after the events of the previous film. Wrath of the Titans reunites the original cast of Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson. Like its predecessor, the film is released in 3D; hopefully the quality of this will have improved. Wrath of the Titans is released on 30th March 2012.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists

This week I was lucky enough to see The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. I can honestly say it is tremendous fun.The film features Hugh Grant as the voice of Pirate Captain, beloved by his crew but a weak contender for Pirate of the Year. The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists is released on 28th March 2012.

Brave

Set in Scotland, Brave is the newest animated feature from Disney Pixar. The animation in the clip above looks amazing. Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, appears to be very much in the same vein as other recent Disney princesses. From the clip above, Merida seems independent and strong-willed, traits that are associated with modern Disney heroine. Given its setting, Brave is released is Scotland on 3rd August 2012, with the rest of the UK able to catch the film on the 17th August.

Film Review: The Debt

The Debt is an accomplished thriller that audiences should find absorbing. The various aspects combine together effectively to produce an atmospheric film that retains a sense of plausibility.

In 1997, the daughter of two former Mossad agents publishes a book detailing their accomplishments. Rachel and Stefan, along with fellow agent David, undertook a mission to track down a Nazi war criminal in 1966. The team accomplished their mission with a few obstacles, but not everything is quite as it seems on the pages of their daughter’s book…

The one dominant factor that makes The Debt work so well is its excellent screenplay. The Debt, a remake of a 1997 Israeli film, was written by Matthew Vaughan, Jane Goodman and Peter Straughan. The characters are highly believable, as is the dialogue. The film plunges viewers into a world that will be foreign to the vast majority. Yet, the events that occur seem authentic given the context.

The format of the film allows tension to build in a naturalistic manner. This begins quite slowly, but exceeds to a very tense finale. It is the tension and mystery that grips viewers the most. For the most part, The Debt remains plausible. It is this facet that distinguishes the film from so many other recent thrillers that are let down by incredulous plot twists.

The Debt has a particular visual style that imbues the entire film. The colours are muted, and the film seems to be saturated by a blue tone. This is particularly pertinent in the scenes set in the apartment. The visual style of the film helps to enhance the sense of claustrophobia. Director John Madden, along with cinematographer Ben Davis and art directors Peter Francis and Dominic Masters, have done an excellent job in making these scenes appear cramped, closed and tense.

Performances in The Debt are good all round. Helen Mirren brings gravitas to the role of Rachel. Playing the younger Rachel, Jessica Chastain shows why she has been much in demand this year. Sam Worthington is controlled as the younger David, while Marton Csokas brings more personality as the young Stephan.

The Debt may cause restlessness in audiences more acclimatised to breakneck pacing and constant action. Nonetheless, it is a solid thriller that should satisfy fans of the genre.

Film Review: Last Night

Massy Tadjedin’s Last Night is a commendable as directorial debut. The film is visually appealing but lacks the depth that a drama of this nature should have.

Joanna and Michael Reed have been in a relationship for years, and married fairly recently. When they attend a party, Joanna notices that one of Michael’s colleagues is a very attractive woman. Joanna is jealous that Michael is about to go on a business trip with Laura, but becomes distracted when she bumps into an old flame…

Last Night offers a microcosmic view of the complexities of infidelity. Concentrating on a couple and their dalliances with others, the film provides a snapshot into their lives. The entire film takes place over the course of less than two days, aside from brief flashbacks.

Writer-director Tadjedin’s intentions seem clear from the very beginning of the film. Last Night balances on a precipice; the film is engineered to keep the audience guessing about the faithfulness of the protagonists. Tadjedin attempts to maintain a level of intrigue as to how far each partner will go, whether they will individually succumb to the advances of others. It is rather disappointing that the characters live up to stereotypes in the end. At times, it seems that the film wishes to comment on the nature of infidelity, but in the end the narrative relies on banal conventions.

Perhaps what hampers the film most is the performance of the leading lady. Keira Knightley is distractingly bad as Joanna. The actress’ delivery is poor and her mannerisms seem false. Given how pivotal her role is, Knightley’s performance takes something away from the film.

Sam Worthington’s delivery is also a little hit and miss as husband Michael. His scenes with Eva Mendes’ Laura fare a lot better. Mendes is well cast as Laura. At the beginning of the film, Joanna’s slight frame is really accentuated when she changes clothes. Laura’s curvaceous figure seems the antithesis of Joanna’s emaciated-looking body, so it is easy to see why Michael would find her attractive. Guillaume Canet offers the best performance of the film as Alex, the ex-lover of Joanna. Griffin Dunne offers good support as Truman.

The shooting style is fluid, but is overindulgent in its aesthetics. The overlaying of sound on different shots, the minor flashbacks and flash-forwards, and some of the jump-cut editing are all unnecessary tricks. The locations featured in the film are glamorous enough not to need this superficial chicanery.

With different casting, perhaps Last Night would have been a better film. Even so, there would still be some issues with the dialogue and plot. A glossy effort with all too apparent flaws.

Film Review: Clash of the Titans

Seeing the film a few weeks after its release, Clash of the Titans is actually an enjoyable enough movie. Granted, this may be the case as expectations were significantly lowered by the considerable amount of negative press and reviews the film has received.

Louis Leterrier’s version makes a number of changes to the plot from the 1981 original. Sam Worthington’s Perseus no longer seeks the hand of Andromeda; instead he seeks revenge for the murder of his adoptive family by Hades. The focus in this 2010 remake is firmly on Perseus and the human characters, a lot less time is given to the gods, some of whom are ousted altogether from the film. The story, then, becomes very human, and similar to many other revenge quest themes in fantasy and other genres. In retrospect, the presence of the gods in the original film separated it from similar fare; something this remake perhaps should have kept intact.

The performances in the film are passable, with Gemma Arterton featuring as the love interest more for her looks than anything else. As villain Hades, Ralph Fiennes comes across as a little hammy, whilst Worthington’s changeable accent is distracting.

One of the main criticisms of the film is the use of 3D, which was tacked on in the post-production. Whilst one may expect it to look shoddy, in actual fact it is not that noticable. The use of 3D doesn’t necessarily detract from the film, but it doesn’t really add anything either.

As an epic fantasy adventure, Clash of the Titans is entertaining fare. Whilst younger audience members will most likely enjoy the picture, especially the action sequences, for older viewers this remake may bring about a nostalgia for the original. For all its blockbuster special effects, this remake can’t quite replicate Ray Harryhausen’s quaint but much-loved creations.