Previews: Mission: Impossible – Fallout Featurette, More!

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Mission: Impossible – Fallout featurette, plus Mortal Engines, Mile 22, and more…

Mission: Impossible – Fallout Featurette

Here is the brand new Mission: Impossible – Fallout featurette. Producer and star Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie discuss the upcoming film, the sixth in the franchise. What is interesting about the series is that rather than starting off strong, and getting progressively weaker, the films have got better generally (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a particular highlight). Mission: Impossible – Fallout will hit UK screens on 25th July 2018.

Mile 22 Trailer

Here is the latest trailer for Mile 22. The action thriller is about an American intelligence officer who must smuggle an informant out of the country. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Ronda Rousey, John Malkovich, and Iko Uwais. Directed by Peter Berg, Mile 22 is coming soon to UK cinemas.

Black KkKlansman Poster

Above is the latest poster for Spike Lee’s Black KkKlansman. The film is based on the true story of first African-American detective on the Colorado Springs Police Department, who infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. The film stars John David Washington and Adam Driver. Black KkKlansman is out at UK cinemas on 24th August 2018.

The House with a Clock in its Walls Trailer

The House with a Clock in its Walls is a new fantasy adventure from director Eli Roth. The film is about a young boy who goes to live with his mysterious uncle in a peculiar house. The film stars Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. The House with a Clock in its Walls will be released in cinemas on 21st September 2018.

Mortal Engines Featurette

Here is a new look at the upcoming Mortal Engines. The film is directed by Christian Rivers, and co-written and produced by Peter Jackson. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the film is about giant cities that roam the Earth, enveloping smaller towns. Starring Hugo Weaving, Mortal Instruments will hit UK screens on 14th December 2018.

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BFI London Film Festival 2016 Launch

Today saw the launch of the BFI London Film Festival 2016. This year’s programme is bursting with cinematic delights. There are more galas than in previous years, and screen talk participants include Werner Herzog and Paul Verhoeven. Here are some of the films to look out for at London Film Festival 2016.

Headline Galas

The Birth of a Nation

The London Film Festival 2016’s opening gala A United Kingdom had already been announced, the Scorsese-produced, Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire looks like a lot of fun. Elsewhere, plenty of hotly anticipated films including La La Land, Arrival and The Birth of a Nation. Writer-director Nate Parker also stars in the story of an enslaved preacher who led a revolt in 1830s Virginia. Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals is also a headline gala. An adaptation of Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan, the film stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon. Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe stars David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o.

Strand Galas and Special Presentations

The Handmaiden

This year sees additional galas, which will take place on a purpose built venue on the Strand. They include The Handmaiden, from director Chan-wook Park. The film looks as sumptuous as Park’s previous film Stoker. Miles Teller stars in Bleed For This, based on the true story of boxer Vinny Paziena. Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq is the Sonic Gala. The hip hop musical features Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson. Andrea Arnold’s American Honey and Ava DuVernay’s The 13th are among the special presentations this year.

Official Competition

My Life As A Courgette

Paul Verhoeven’s Elle is amongst the Official Competition at London Film Festival 2016. Staring Isabelle Huppert, the film is an adaptation of a Philippe Dijan novel. Terence Davies’ A Quiet Presentation is a biopic of Emily Dickinson staring Cynthia Nixon. Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, about a young man struggling with his sexuality in 1980s Miami, looks like a great watch. In the First Feature Competition, Porto sees one of Anton Yelchin’s final performances, whilst animation My Life As A Courgette looks like a lot of fun. David Lynch: The Art Life is among the contenders for the Documentary Competition, as well as The Graduation. The latter is a documentary about a prestigious film school in Paris. Chasing Asylum, about the Australian government’s immigration policies, seems very topical.

Strands

The Salesman

The Love strand features Lovesong, director So Yong Kim’s film about a lonely young mother. It stars Jena Malone and Riley Keough. Highlights in the Debate category include Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman. A Separation‘s Farhadi has already won awards at Cannes. Mindhorn features in the Laugh strand. The film stars Julian Barratt as a washed-up 1980s TV detective. Dare features Christine, starring Rebecca Hall as the notorious television journalist. Paul Schrader’s Dog Eat Dog looks to be a highlight of the Thrill section, with Nicholas Cage starring alongside Willem Dafoe. Another David Lynch connection (Cage and Dafoe starred in Lynch’s Wild at Heart), Blue Velvet Revisited, features in the Cult strand.

I Am Not A Serial Killer

Cult also features I Am Not A Serial Killer, based on the young adult novel. The Innocents looks to be a highlight of the Journey strand. Anne Fontaine’s film is about a young doctor working for the French Red Cross in 1945. London Town, a coming of age film set in 1979 London, features in the Sonic strand. The Family strand includes Rock Dog, an animation featuring the voices of J.K. Simmons and Luke Wilson. Finally, Experimenta includes Have You Seen My Movie?; a must-see for cinema fans.

The full London Film Festival 2016 programme can be viewed here. The BFI London Film Festival runs from 5th-16th October 2016.

Film Review: Miracle at St. Anna

Spike Lee’s 2008 film finally gets a UK DVD release. For the most part, Miracle at St Anna is a well-executed film. It is surprising how long it has taken to receive a UK release, as it is a decent film.

Around Christmas 1983, a World War II veteran and post office worker shoots a stranger in an unprovoked attack. As police and reporter Tim Boyle search for a motive, they find a valuable Italian artefact, missing since the Second World War. In flashback, the story of four black soldiers and their mission to cross a river in Tuscany is told…

Based on the novel by James McBride, Miracle at St. Anna combines real events with the fictional account of a group of black American soldiers serving in Italy. Spike Lee’s intention to rectify portrayals of black soldiers involved in the war is clear. It is admirable the conviction with which he dedicates his efforts.

The film fits into war movie conventions throughout. Miracle at St. Anna does however maintain an air of mystery. Given the perilousness of war, it is unclear which of the soldiers and their companions will survive. The opening sequence, set in 1983, works well to evoke this sense of mystery, with few details given away at the introductory stage. At times it seems like there is a very elementary depiction of the good guys and the bad guys, this isn’t really the case. Shades of grey of both sides become apparent as the film progresses.

The only place where Lee’s film comes undone is its reliance on religious overtones. The reference to faith and the religious imagery feels rather overblown on occasion. The symbolism is already there, but it appears as if Lee really felt the need to spell it out. There is a suggestion that religion can overcome racial barriers. Whilst this may be the case, it seems like a one-sided agenda.

Performances are good throughout Miracle at St. Anna. Derek Luke brings both sensitivity and authority as Sergeant Stamps, while Laz Alonso is convincing as Hector. It is difficult not to be charmed by Omar Benson Millar’s Private Train and his adorable friendship with Matteo Sciabordi’s Angelo. Elsewhere, Valentina Cervi is well cast as Renata, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is decent in a minor role.

The battle sequences are wonderfully shot; they convey the horror and violence of war rather than the glory. Violence is prevalent in the film. It is sometimes used for shock value, but is never really gratuitous. The aim of these depictions seems to be to exhibit brutality rather than to excite.

Miracle at St. Anna is a worthy addition to the war movie genre, and offers some fantastically shot scenes. It has a few flaws, but is a worthwhile watch.

Miracle at St. Anna is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 27th June 2011.