Archive for February, 2017

X-Men

Posted: February 27, 2017 in Movies
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The X-Men cinematic universe is entering an interesting phase of late in how the producers are expanding the scope of the universe with films like Deadpool and Logan. Two films that have been critical smashes and proud owners of strong R ratings. Last week news broke long-time series writer/producer Simon Kinberg might be taking over the series and stepping into the directors chair for the next main X-Men entry currently titled X-Men: Supernova, with an aim to shoot it this year, along with a New Mutants movie and the sequel to Deadpool. Not to mention the mutant TV invasion with FX’s Legion. I thought it would be cool to look back on the original X-Men movie to see where it all began and just how far we’ve come.

Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) was an odd pick to bring Marvel’s X-Men to the big screen. At the time of release (2000) Singer was known largely for smaller thrillers than comic book action. Generally speaking the gamble paid off and Singer ushered in a new kind of superhero movie that seemed rooted in a reality the audience recognised yet still managed to embrace it’s comic book roots.

X-Men is Wolverine’s movie. It charts his introduction to the world of the X-Men through Professor X and a chunk of the movie deals with Logan learning to trust in Professor X and learn to work with his fellow mutants and X-Men in order to thwart the threat posed by Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants, who are set on bringing down humanity. Fox were famously reluctant to spend too much money on a comic book movie and while the film never seems ‘cheap’ you can certainly tell Singer and his crew had to work within a tight budget. At times the film, clocking in at just over an hour and a half, feels more like a (pretty decent) TV pilot than an all out feature film. From characters, to plot, to action, the pace of the film feels way more restrained than it should and that’s probably down to the budget.

Where the film shines is in the casting and the smaller attention paid to it’s roster of mutants (yet that’s a doubled edged sword at times). Hugh Jackman is Logan/Wolverine and is one of the films and the series total standouts. The same can be said of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor X & Magneto. The downside to this amaze casting is when you factor in any X-Men movie will have a large cast to the nature of the team and as such other characters and fan favourites – Cyclops, Storm (and anyone else in later sequels not called Logan, Mystique or Magneto) get less of the spotlight. That can be frustrating for big fans of the comics like myself. While James Marsden and Halle Berry are proven talents yet get little to do in this first mutant outing and their characters deserved more. Fairing better is Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey. Janssen does the role of the teams leading lady justice yet you get the impression it’s only her comic book ties to Wolverine that have granted her character in particular that extra bit of attention. Someone needed to be the focus of the film and it makes sense they went with Logan but it could have easily been Cyclops, Storm or Jean.

Back in 2000 when I saw X-Men I felt it was a good first attempt and almost seventeen years later I still feel the same way. The characters are great, the acting very strong and the action, while smaller in scale to what modern audiences would be used to, compliments the more realistic tone of the film Singer establishes. I firmly believe X-Men is not an easy comic to bring to life and for that alone I can respect what Singer and his cast and crew were able to do but part of me still thinks Fox would be better off giving the main X-Men a home on TV where it’s easier to balance story, action and a lot of characters.

 

How cool is this? This short film is directed by Ridley Scott’s son Luke Scott, who directed last years Morgan. During the course of the film we get an introduction to the characters we’ll get to know during Alien: Covenant.

It basically focuses on the crew and their last meal before entering cryosleep but you get a decent idea of who is who and hints at what role they may play in the bigger picture so it’s defo worth a watch. I loved the little bait and switch towards the end of the short! Good job guys. Oh they all laughed….but my guess is no one will be laughing once Alien: Covenant arrives in May.

Have any of you guys seen Morgan? I felt the trailer had serious Alien vibes and I’d like to see what Luke Scott can do. Going from this small short he legit seems to have talent all his own.

Episode 711

Chuck, Dexter and 24: Legacy star Yvonne Strahovski will play the ex-wife of Boyd Holbrook’s character and the mother of Jacob Tremblay’s. No news yet if the role will be small or part of the main ensemble. Strahovski and co-star Olivia Munn are no strangers to kicking arse so it will be interesting to see if writer/director Shane Black gives the ladies some action scenes and outshine those marines! I’d be happy to see that!

The Predator should be with us around this time next year 🙂

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Alfie Allen is a brilliant actor, one only need see his work on TV’s Game of Thrones to see how great this guy is. A few years back Allen branched out into features with a key role in John Wick and he looks set to continue his work on film as the latest to join The Predator.

Details are slim on his character except that he will be an ex-marine (there’s already a few of those in this movie so maybe that’s a theme?) who works with the humans to fight The Predator.

The Predator is currently filming and it will be in cinemas around this time next year!

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Yesterday Fox teased the release of some sort of new look at Alien: Covenant during this weeks Legion (in the USA). To mark the occasion they released this pic of the characters gathering for their ‘Last Supper’. Oh dear…it all seems quite grim doesn’t it? Haha. Chances are most of these poor people will meet a horrible end during the events of the film. Hey who knows? Maybe this is a still from the end and everyone is fine?? Yeah…I doubt it.

Ridley Scott (Alien, Prometheus) returns to direct and you can check out Alien: Covenant this May.

 

 

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The next hunt has begun! Yesterday director/writer Shane Black tweeted out the first look at the awesome cast of The Predator in character! From left to right we have our first look at Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn and Keegan-Michael Key with Black himself in front.

Plot wise there isn’t much to go on. Black has said he feels that each entry in the Predator series should take on the form of a hunt, while Holbrook recently stated the film will have a Western vibe which already makes me feel like this entry will carve out it’s own identity from the other films in the series. Munn will play a scientist, Rhodes and Holbrook are playing ex-marines and buddies and Tremblay will play the son of Holbrook’s character and will have a key role in the films plot. As of now there’s not much info on the other characters and Black did say on Twitter this is the films partial cast so there could be more reveals to come! Black has said the film will 100% be rated R and will not shy away from the gore or action.

The Predator hits screens early next year. Are you as excited as me? I doubt it.

The Hills Have Eyes

Posted: February 17, 2017 in Movies
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Wes Craven The Hills Have Eyes is a good horror movie. Chances are if you have only seen the remake you may throw this one on and be like “What.The.Hell.Is.This?” Okay. I can get that. No argument the original Hills Have Eyes is dated and probably hasn’t aged as well as Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. Hell Craven himself would probably say the same thing as he brought about the 2006 remake himself but I gurantee if you stick with it the film does work.

The story has an American family run afoul of those who live up the hills in the middle of nowhere USA. Just an expanse of rocky hills, moutnains and desert. The backstory behind the killers in the hills is pretty scary stuff and heavy when you stop and consider it’s all down to one bad seed being sent off into the hills to die only to survive and breed and bring down his own nightmarish family upon those unlucky enough to fall victim to them.

A big theme of The Hills Have Eyes and one Craven revisits quite a lot is the idea of the victims turning the tabels on their tormentors and the Carter family are no exception. After the horros they are dealt throughout the film you totally get behind thier offensive stance as they go up against Pluto, Mercury and Jupiter. I love the theme of families going up against one another and the way in which the lines blur between society and all out survival instincts once pushed to the limit.

Michael Berryman’s Pluto is a standout of the cannibals, with fellow hill dweller Ruby (Janus Blythe) showing the audience a more sympathetic side of the sadistic family. Genre vet Dee Wallace does good work as always as Lynne Wood while Robert Houston lends weight and real escalating fear to brother Bobby Carter. Solid support also features from Russ Grieve and Virginia Vincent as mum and dad Carter. Shout out to Beauty and Beast the family dogs who give as good as they get!

I’d hesitate at calling The Hills Have Eyes one of Craven’s best films and I feel fine with that because I think Craven would agree. Yet it’s a good time for horror fans and that’s enough. Yep the costumes are over the top and it’s not the same Craven direction wise who would go on to deliver Elm Street, Serpent and the Rainbow and Scream but the kills are gory, the story is spooky and it’s a fun movie.

Check out the original The Hills Have Eyes. If you like it then by all means seek out the remake, which I have to say is the better movie in how it expands upon what is hinted at here.

 

 

 

My Bloody Valentine 3D

Posted: February 15, 2017 in Movies
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Yesterday I spent valentines day with Partick Lussier’s My Bloody Valentine 3D, a remake of the early 1980’s slasher movie My Bloody Valentine. The remake is a good example of a remake done correctly. It shows love for the source while putting enough of it’s own stamp on the source to stand out on its own merits. Mostly My Bloody Valentine is a fun slasher flick, with confident direction from Lussier, a good script from Todd Farmer and strong performences from it’s likeable cast.

The movie opens with a prologue that sets the tone perfectly for the film that follows, with not one but TWO massacres! Right away it’s clear that you’re in for a brutal but fun ride. Cut to a decade after these grissly events and the film focuses on a town and it’s inhabitants struugle to deal with the valentines massacre and if the nightmare is really over or not. Spoiler alert: it’s not. Otherwise you’d be left with a pretty short movie!

One of the films many plus points is the characters. Our lead trio Sarah (Jamie King), Tom (Jensen Ackles) and Axel (Kerr Smith)not only have good chemistry but each one gets a decent arc. There is a hint of a love triangle at the heart of the film that can often give the film a shade of soap opera but it works in the movies favour because it lends real stakes to proceedings. The standout for me is Kerr Smith’s Axel. He has the best character arc of the film and manages to be likeable throughout despite his questionable temper and life choices. Shout out to 80’s genre legend Tom Atkins (Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, Night of the Creeps) who shines in his role as a pillar of the community who has a connection to the original killings.

The focus on the town highlights not just the threat of the killings that have started up again but the idea of the mines (the origin of the horror) being sold off and the effects that will have on the town. There’s understandable pushback to this idea from some townfolk and it adds to the mystery of who is behind these new killings. Do the slayings have any connection to what went down a decade previously or are they mearly a ploy from a disgruntled miner who feels his/her job is under threat?

Kill wise the film is insane and brutal. There are several gasp worthy moments of slayings on show throughout the film and Lussier does not shy away from the red stuff. The look of the killer is really effective and iconic, so much so that I’m surprised and dissapointed the film did not launch a whole new franchise. The 3D works, I saw the movie at cinemas and was very impressed with the fun use of 3D and in the films favour it’s just as enjoyable in 2D.

My Bloody Valentine 3D is one of the best slasher movies to come out of the 00’s and a strong entry to the slasher genre. Like I said I’m gutted (no pun intended) we never got to follow these characters (those who live!) further and see what else lay in store as the film ends in such a clever way that it could have followed multiple paths for whatever form the would have been sequel may have took.

 

While the first teaser trailer focused on the incredible visuals this brand new trailer for Ghost In The Shell puts the focus on the action. I like the balance of stunning visuals and what seems like a lean and tested tale of revenge mixed with mystery and action. Those familiar with the original anime movie will see more call backs to the source in the new scenes while those of you unfamiliar will now have a legit idea of what this flick is about.

I hope Sanders keeps the pace lean and brings home a movie more like Deadpool or The Terminator. What I mean by that is great ideas, action and pace that leaves you wanting more and not a movie that over expands its own mythology and outstays its welcome.

Ghost In The Shell is directed by Snow White and the Huntsman’s Rupert Sanders and stars Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano & Michael Pitt. You can catch it at cinemas at the end of March.

Gill’s right hand lady Kolin makes the jump from Street Fighter III/Street Fighter V background character to full on competitor as the latest season two DLC character. As you can see from the trailer Kolin uses ice abilities along with some killer hand to hand combat.

Koli will be available 28/02/2017.