Archive for July, 2017

New ‘IT’ trailer unleashes the fear

Posted: July 31, 2017 in Movies
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This latest (well it’s from last week unless you use Hella Movies as your go to for movie news, which I don’t recommend haha) trailer for IT shows more of the films scares. The mood of the film seems to be loyal to that of the book by Stephen King. Apparently there are some changes such as the film taking place in the 1980’s and the exclusion of a certain turtle and spider that fans of the book will be familiar with. That’s okay. The TV movie had the spider and it worked (did it? I saw that a LONG time ago and it was so scary. I’ve heard it doesn’t hold up so well though) and you will always have the book. I love the look of the film. Pennywise looks horrid and so scary and the kids look to be decent actors which is beyond important. Nothing takes me out of a movie quicker than kids doing ‘Hollywood Acting’. All the kids here seem natural which is a great plus.

The book is brilliant and I highly recommend it if you have not read it.

IT is directed by Andres Muschietti (Mama) and hits cinemas September 8th.

Justice League Comic-Con trailer

Posted: July 24, 2017 in Movies
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The new trailer for Justice League is the first to be released since Warner Brothers announced that writer/director Joss Whedon had come on board to help complete the film after Zack Snyder stepped away from the production. If there is a shift in tone from the first trailer I can’t say I see it. If anything the re-shoots I would guess are being done in such a way as to present Zack’s original vision while adding more character specific moments, which Whedon can accomplish in his sleep. I’m not one of those people who thinks Justice League will all of a sudden become a Joss Whedon movie. If anything I hope it ends up being an example of how creatives can collaborate to deliver a great picture. The stakes seem high enough in this new trailer that would warrant the aid of the Justice League and we get our first real look at the films villain Steppenwolf who looks appropriately villain like.

I think it all looks epic as hell. I’m rooting for the DC movieverse. The more success for both Marvel and DC the more great risks will be taken on bringing properties to the screen.

Justice League hits screens November.

This is my favourite trailer from this years Comic-Con. I’ve loved everything I’ve seen from this movie to date. It looks to have one hell of an attitude which I think the MCU can always do more with. Marvel Studios puts out quality films but when the odd one comes around that is just SO it’s own thing (Guardians of the Galaxy take a bow) it only helps to strengthen the MCU.

The film looks like a breath of fresh air and if the finished product manages to be as enjoyable as this trailer then we all win here folks. Director Taika Waititi has a great flair for comedy and I hope that Marvel have allowed him to put his stamp onto the MCU with Ragnarok. I can understand some folk may be a bit apprehensive with Waititi at the helm here through fear the film may become too much of a comedy but I wouldn’t worry about that. Comedy is really hard to get right. If you can nail the tone of a comedy and make it look effortless chances are you’re a more than competent filmmaker.

Thor: Ragnarok opens in the UK October 27th.

Stuff is happening here folks and it ain’t good! Young Will may have escaped the Upside Down last season but it looks like that dark world is not finished with him or his friends and family just yet. One thing that is crystal clear from this trailer is this new season looks more like a movie and that is what the Duffer brothers have said, in so far as season 2 will feel akin to Aliens and Alien.

The stakes seem bigger than before and the tone more action focused with the entire town at risk. My hope is the second season remains on course and stays true to the story and the whole show doesn’t attempt to cater to mass pop culture appeal and try and please it’s entire massive world wide fan base. I got faith in the Duffer brothers and if the trailer is anything to go by Stranger Things looks to be staying right on course.

Stranger Things Season 2 will hit Netflix just in time for Halloween. I won’t be covering the show now until after it’s aired (unless it’s to share a wicked poster, but no more trailers).

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Back in 2011 Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes wasn’t even on my radar and in fact I don’t think I saw it in cinemas. Once I did catch the film I regretted not seeing it on the big screen. I love that movie. It’s re-watchable and a tight sci-fi movie that packs an emotional gut punch and real stakes that paints a complicated picture of man and animal.

Okay. Don’t shoot but here it goes (and wow I actually do feel I need to apologise for this as his movies are critically applauded) but I was not a fan of Matt Reeves Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I found it cold and quite grim and it painted a pretty bleak picture of man and his inabilitiy to co-exist with others. I hopped for the best with War for the Planet of the Apes but I regret to say it felt like I was watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Part 2: Misery.

Let me say out of the gate I respect Matt Reeves as a film maker and a story teller and while I can appreciate he makes good movies I have to be honest to myself and explain that I am not a fan of his style. War for the Planet of the Apes is a bleak movie that seems to wallow in being grim. For sake of spoilers I won’t go into plot details except to say the story surprised me with how familiar it all was, not as an Apes movie, but just the overall arc and journey the characters take on. I’d seen it before and I could pretty much tell how everything was going to play out by the time the credits rolled which sadly made the viewing experience less than thrilling. On the flip side I felt that at the end of the film Reeves had said all he’d wanted to with this world and hopefully – as War by no means seems like a FINAL instalment in the series – some fresh creative blood can take over the series moving forwards, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to Wyatt coming back. I did like seeing a call back to a certain plot point that featured heavily in Rise of the Planet of the Apes that is best left to be discovered in the film itself as I don’t think any of the trailers touched on it.

Credit where credit is due the performance capture work and special effects in the movie are second to none and franchise star and main stay Andy Serkis’s commitment and love of the material can not be questioned. He’s very much as important to the series as any writer or director and I hope he continues to be. Steve Zahn’s Bad Ape (that’s his name, haha, not a character spoiler I promise) is a welcome addition to the series and brings some much needed levity at times to the grief the film seems to wallow in. Newcomer Amiah Miller does good work playing a character long time Apes fans will be aware of and opening up exciting plot possibilities for future instalments. Frustratingly the great Woody Harrelson is given the “the bad human” villain role. He does good work as you’d expect from an actor of his calibre but man I would have loved a more balanced movie akin to that of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Matt Reeves, I think, just hates humanity. Like I don’t know that for a fact obviously but that’s the impression I get.

The film looks gorgeous and Reeves knows how to shoot but I just wish it were a bit more fun and exciting. But hey. This is just my opinion and I recognize I am very much in the minority here. War for the Planet of the Apes is getting rave reviews so don’t let my less thank favourable reaction put you off seeing it. I love the idea of this new rebooted series and the places it can go, I just may not be rushing out to find out where if Reeves does stick around.

 

 

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Mavel and Sony have delivered a good movie with Spider-Man: Homecoming. It is crazy to think that Spider-Man is now on his third reboot in just a little over ten years. If this tells fans anything it is that Sony is unwilling to give up on delivering a quality product. Perhaps that is why once Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 2 showed signs of not hitting with audiences Sony felt it was time to re-think it’s approach to the licence and who better to help out than Spidey’s home Marvel? Captain America: Civil War introduced audiences to the MCU version of Spider-Man and Homecoming is his full on solo MCU feature debut and when all is said and done it’s a home run.

Spider-Man: Homecoming feels like a John Hughes teen movie with sprinkles of Super Hero adventure scattered throughout the films running time. Think Marvel Presents The Breakfast Club. It’s a great approach to the character, but just as important is the decision to cast young. Tom Holland, barely out of his teens, makes for a believeable teenage Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He is relatable as your everyday highschool kid yet able to sell his smarts and inherent heroics as Spidey. Nailing the casting for Spider-Man was always going to be what made or broke Homecoming, with Tom Holland Sony and Marvel have got a charismatic actor to anchor the series moving forward.

The plot of Spider-Man: Homecoming is the films other strong point. It’s very simple, despite the trailers – which don’t give everything away I promise – featuring Iron Man, multiple villains and other Easter Eggs. Homecoming at it’s core it very much a movie about a kid having to come to terms with the realities of being a super hero. At this stage in his hero career Peter wants to leap before he can crawl so to speak and so the lesson of Homecoming is for him to make mistakes and get some perspective. The way that is handled – through Michael Keaton’s excellent portrayal of The Vulture and how his arc interacts with Peter’s – is a credit to films writers John Francise Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. Homecoming is a smart movie, The Vulture isn’t an outright despicable guy and you can understand his reasoning for the choices he makes meanwhile Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and especially Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) can come across as assholes at times so you can forgive and understand Peter’s rash decisions as the kid is pretty much left to figure all of this Super Hero stuff out for himself. I mean look when you think about it Tony recruited Peter to take part in Civil War and then he’s basically giving him a taste of the major leagues and then dropped him off “We’ll call you, don’t call us” sort of thing? Any kid would be going out of their mind wanting to get back into the game!

Director Jon Watts handles the drama, the pace and the action with ease. The action in the film is never over the top or world threatening in nature and as such it’s a breath of fresh air having a more grounded threat and action that spirals out from that. The film takes a few twists and turns in it’s plot that I liked a lot and I felt the film was only stronger for them as they served the plot naturally and totally stayed true to the whole 80’s teen movie vibe. The comedy hits and the cast is rounded out with a likeable ensemble of young up and coming talent and seasoned vets. Another strength of Homecoming is the way it’s able to move away from the Spider-Man check list we’ve seen again and again. So there’s no Uncle Ben here or Gwen Stacy and such. Instead we get a focus on the characters who have comic counterparts but have yet to have a chance to really breath on the screen.

As a massive Spider-Man fan I can say I walked out of Homecoming thinking it was a fun time at the movies and a credit to the source material. It’s not the best comic book movie I’ve ever seen and it never had to be. It showed up confident in what it is and did it’s thing and that I can appreciate and hope this new iteration of Spider-Man continues to do!

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Sorry Mortal Kombat (1995) I love ya to the moon and back but Netflix’s new Castlevania anime (clocking in at just four twenty five minutes episodes) is now the video game adaptation to beat! It’s a dark and faithful adaptation of the hit Konami video game series that spawned in the 1980’s on the NES and would go throughout the 90’s and 00’s to only gain momentum across the SNES, PlayStation, Nintendo DS and PlayStation 3.

The anime follows the plot of the third game in the series that sees a trio of heroes come together to take on Dracula as he lays waste to the surrounding country, threatening to unleash hell across the globe. It’s up to nightstalker Trevor Belmont, a young magician and Dracula’s son to stop the demons and save the day. At just four episodes the anime is pure build up and more of a prologue of what is to come in the already confirmed second season that will air in 2018 and see eight episodes instead of four.

With a voice cast that includes Richard Armitage (The Hobbit trilogy, Spooks, Hannibal), a script from famed comics writer Warren Ellis and fan service galore from producer Adi Shankar (he of the amaze short and super dark Power Rangers fan film and Dredd) the short season is a fantastic blend of horror, humour, adventure and rich mythology. Before release it was hyped as Game of Thrones meets Castlevania and that is pretty much a great way to sum it up. Free up some time and check it out. You won’t be sorry.

Doctor Strange

Posted: July 3, 2017 in Movies
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Doctor Strange is a character I was never that interested in, indeed my only exposure to him was through the excellent 90’s Spider-Man animated series. I’ve never read a Doctor Strange comic in my life. I was surprised that Marvel announced he would be getting his own movie and I will say the trailers most certainly stood out from what I was used to seeing from Marvel and the MCU. Up until Doctor Strange we had hardly any idea of how the world of magic and sorcery fit into the MCU. On that basis alone I wanted to at least check the film out.

The plot of the movie is “hero origin” as per usual. I don’t mean to sound dismissive (hey if the format ain’t broke don’t fit it right?) but Strange’s origin is a very familiar one. He starts off the movie ignorant and thinking he has his whole life figured out and then has everything turned upside down via a horrific accident. Unable to accept his fate he travels to the far east in order to seek out an ancient form of rehabilitation which ends up being far more magical than he could have ever believed. Throw in some villains, a potential world ending scheme and an arc of self discovery and you got the plot. What pushes Doctor Strange in more unique (and quite good ways) are the mystical elements and Inception like world manipulation on display that is used to great effect.

Even as I write my thoughts up on Doctor Strange I can sense they’re coming off more and more dismissive and that is not my intention. Doctor Strange is a decent film with great original touches yet its backbone just felt all too familiar and safe. Cast wise Benedict Cumberbatch is decent as Strange but the movie belongs to Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One. Her scenes are great and honestly I felt like she was the far more interesting character. The great Rachel McAdams is wasted in a throw away role as a nurse and sometimes lover of Strange. Honestly I wish Marvel would move away from these ‘nothing’ roles for great actresses. Chances are we’ll never see McAdam’s character again and I wouldn’t blame her should she choose not to return. Mads Mikkelsen plays the films big bad and he’s always good and he gets some help from underrated action star Scott Adkins. Adkins has one of the cooler moments in the movie that allow him to use his arse kicking talents. Chiwetel Ejiofor provides strong support as Mordo, a fellow mystic who teams up with Strange and has one of the better arcs throughout the film.

Doctor Strange is a film that I felt had more than enough hints of bold new ideas. You can’t accuse director Scott Derrickson of pulling back on the trippy and magic and for that alone the film should be applauded for going all in on the source. I just wish there was more to Doctor Strange himself (at least what we see here); maybe (I found myself thinking this last night) Marvel could have introduced Strange already established and not done a origin because it just seemed too safe. I’m under no illusions that it must be tough to maintain the MCU and it’s clear a lot of effort goes into it. Just this movie (and I stress movie here) was more like a pilot and with Ant-Man (which I’ve yet to see) and the inbound Captain Marvel and Black Panther I fear the MCU could start to become as safe as a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Ain’t nothing wrong with that but you gotta be in the mood for more of the same.