Previews: Alien: Covenant Clip, Atomic Blonde, More!

Lots of big films in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including an Alien: Covenant clip, Atomic Blonde, Beauty and the Beast, and more…

Alien: Covenant Clip

This Alien: Covenant clip gives viewers an insight into the crew and personalities in Ridley Scott’s latest film. Michael Fassbender returns in the sequel to Prometheus, and is joined by Danny McBride, Katherine Waterston, and James Franco. Alien: Covenant is set for release in May 2017.

Atomic Blonde Poster

Charlize Theron is striking in this poster for Atomic Blonde. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the film is about an assassin who is sent to retrieve a priceless dossier. The film also stars James McAvoy and John Goodman. Atomic Blonde hits UK screens on 11th August 2017.

Beauty and the Beast Clip

Emma Watson shows of her singing ability in this clip from the upcoming Beauty and the Beast. From this brief look, it seems as if a lot will be replicated from the original film, but it won’t be a shot-by-shot remake à la 1998’s Psycho. Dan Stevens and Luke Evans join Watson in heading up a enviable cast. Beauty and the Beast is out in UK cinemas on 17th March 2017.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Trailer

After success with Sherlock Holmes and its sequel, director Guy Ritchie turns his attention to another British fable. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword tells the familiar story of Arthur’s rise to power, albeit in an action-packed way. Starring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword launches on to UK screens on 12th May 2017.

Ghost in the Shell Poster

The artwork for Ghost in the Shell certainly is striking. Scarlett Johansson stars as Major, a cyber-enhanced human who is tasked with stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. Based on the Japanese manga of the same name, Ghost in the Shell hits UK screens on 31st March 2017.

Their Finest Trailer

Lone Scherfig’s latest film is about a female screenwriter tasked with writing a film to lift spirits during World War 2. Their Finest stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy. Based on Lissa Evans’ novel, Their Finest will be released in UK cinemas on 21st April 2017.

Film Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

A blockbuster with entertaining action sequences, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows should satisfy most. The film continues much in the same vein as its predecessor.

In the run up to Dr Watson’s wedding, detective Sherlock Holmes is more concerned with a strange series of events. Holmes links these to one man; Professor Moriarty. Holmes and Watson team up once more to try and stop Moriarty’s plans. The pair also need to rely upon the help of others…

With the premise set up at the end of Sherlock Holmes, there is less of a build up in A Game of Shadows. The lack of required development allows for more action sequences. These work well; their frenetic style certainly grabs the attention. There is little downtime, with set piece following set piece. While these are fun, the ordering of events does get a little repetitive.

With Moriarty revealed as the target very early on, there is not the same emphasis on mystery as there was in director Guy Ritchie’s first Holmes adaptation. After all, mystery was the big selling point of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. However, there is enough to sustain the imagination, as well as a fantastic conclusion.

With Irene Adler having a marginal role in proceedings, the female character gap is filled by fortune teller Simza. She is given a fair amount of screen time, which is at odds with the significance of her role. It is not that the character is not sufficiently developed, but that Ritchie’s film lays the emphasis firmly on the relationship between Holmes and Watson. Moriarty is a welcome adversary for Holmes in that he matches the detective’s intellect.

Some of the big effects in the film look a bit synthetic. The stunts, however, are good. Ritchie does tend to overuse the slow-motion effects. These work well in the scenes with Holmes giving a narration of his intended action. They can get a little tiresome as they are employed in every action sequence, regardless of Holmes’ thoughts.

Robert Downey Jr. is solid as ever as Holmes. The actor has great chemistry with Jude Law’s Watson. Stephen Fry makes a welcome appearance, while Noomi Rapace is suitably cast as Simza. Jared Harris makes a decent Moriarty, although there is less emphasis on him as a villain than in some previous adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

Although there are some flaws, A Game of Shadows is a lot of fun. The humour works well, and combined with the set pieces and the sense of adventure, the film is likely to see healthy box office returns.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Trailer

Two Sherlock Holmes posts in a row; I am really spoiling that one Conan Doyle fan who visits this website. The trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows has been released. The film seems to be very much in the same vein as its predecessor. The trailer focuses upon what appears to be numerous action sequences, as well as Robert Downey Jr. in drag. Not sure how I feel about the latter. Those teases at Warner Bros also give us a look at Moriarty without giving too much away…

Film Review: The Wolfman

“Even a man who is pure in heart”, the remake begins, instantly impressing the weight of the original on this new version of the lycanthropic tale. In the current climate of the modern gothic in films such as Twilight and television series’ like True Blood, it is refreshing to see a Victorian-set gothic horror. Comparisons will be made to the recent Sherlock Holmes, of course, although The Wolfman feels distinctly unmodern.

Johnston’s film presents a highly stylised vision of late nineteenth-century Britain; all brooding mansions and London fogs. Much of the exterior London footage in CGI, however this does not detract from the fantastic realm that the audience is plunged into. The effect is heightened by the carefully controlled palette, contrasting the monochrome of the Talbot residence with the colour of the gypsies.

The story is inevitably predictable. There are no clever twists or shocks to surprise viewers. The film, however, does function as a gothic horror (as opposed to just gothic a la Bram Stoker’s Dracula), providing a handful of cheap frights that will easily unnerve jittery audience members. The transformation sequences fall on the side of grotesque rather than chilling, paying debt to the 1941 original.

Although the dialogue is at times grating in its attempt at the grandiose, Del Toro’s portrayal of Talbot is successful insomuch as it provokes sympathy. As the tragic gothic protagonist, Talbot struggles with the most seminal of the genre’s preoccupations: duality. The Wolfman invokes that traditional Victorian depiction of reservedness, which is most prevalent through the relationship between Talbot and Gwen. Despite their obvious love and affection for one another, the pair share a single kiss in the film; Talbot stares longingly at Gwen’s neckline rather than any further south.

The Wolfman is perfect as a slice of Victorian gothic escapism. But those searching for an intricate plot or a vein of originality are better off looking elsewhere.