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Its been a difficult few weeks for Star Wars fans who have been rocked by the death of Carrie Fisher. Even more so consider her reportedly large role within the upcoming instalment of the series. Fortunately, the filming for Episode 8 has wrapped and Fisher will be making a posthumous return, but what about the final episode in this trilogy that also considers her role extremely important?
If we take a step back and look at the latest Star Wars adaptation, we can see Disney and Lucasfilms have a potential solution. Peter Cushing or as some may know him, Grand Moff Tarkin was digitally imprinted into Rogue One. Cushing, who died is 1994 was brought back to life by VFX artists and magicians to reprise the iconic role with express permission from his estate. Personally, had I not been told, I wouldn’t have known about this until after the release of the film which prompted a lot of controversy. Towards the end of the film we also witnessed a young Princess Leia using the same technology but was far more apparent.
Its being reported that Disney have already begun talks with Fisher’s estate to utilise her image as Princess Leia so they can finish this trilogy. As of what the talks will consist of or if there will be any script/story changes, we can’t be sure, but its hoped by many that if they come to an agreement, Leia will be done gracefully, not overdone and her role heavily reduced or ended appropriately.
Considering the impact of the character on the universe and the film industry, I can see a deal going ahead. Fisher’s estate owes a lot to the Leia character and the fans that have supported them the over decades and I feel that justice can be done for both Carrie and Leia to round out her career with respectfully.
What do you think of this? Would you like to see Fisher maintain her role through CGI? Let us know in the comment section below!
Looking Forward to 2016
Another year always brings with it a heightened sense of hype for the new array of movies that are set to be distributed across out screens over the course of the next twelve months, 52 weeks, so many days, etc. and it is no surprise to say that 2016 is set to be another significant time for the self-proclaimed cinema lovers throughout the country with distinct directorial returns, sequels upon sequels within respective universes and of course, the treasured independent low-key masterpieces that tend to spring up out of nowhere and make stars out of certain hidden newcomers. With this in mind, it’s time to examine those films that are set to grace our cinemas over the course of the year and highlight some of my personal favourites that are set to be released throughout 2016.
The opening few months of the year always brings with it the head-scratching, elongated and highly overrated ceremonies that attempt to tell anyone and everyone what indeed have been the finest works of cinema over the course of the past six months or so. Of course, coming from that of a film critic, I can hardly snot my nose at someone’s attempt to proclaim whether films are indeed any good or not, but sometimes it does get rather harrowing when facing the prospect of a whole bunch of Oscar contenders within the space of 8 weeks or so. So to begin our year of film, we are treated to a wide range of films inherently laced with Oscar-based catnip, particularly films such as Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl and David O. Russell’s Joy, both of which have already had substantial attention drawn in its’ general direction. Elsewhere in the Oscar calendar, we have The Revenant, the new film by Oscar winner Alejandro G. Inarritu and a film that has a substantial amount of buzz regarding the performance of Leonardo DiCaprio. Could it finally be the year he wins an Oscar?
Also upon the grapevine is the new Tarantino film, The Hateful Eight, a film so ambiguous in its’ nature that Tarantino himself has decided upon himself to release different versions of the film depending on the time and place you see it. Okay Quentin, we get it, you love the old fashioned way of cinema. Please stop becoming an embarrassment in the eyes of a massive fan. Cheers. Not only do the big hitters get the floor but we also have the indie-sensation, Room, which like its’ predecessors has also gained substantial awards buzz, as well as Creed, the latest installment in the Rocky series, a series in which many thought it had truly run its’ course with Rocky Balboa in 2006 yet continues to flourish under the guise of Fruitvale Station director, Ryan Coogler. Ending the first month of the year is the biographical drama Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s take on the investigation into the widespread reports of child sex abuse cases in the area of Boston featuring a cast of A-Listers including Micheal Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams. Check it out.
Heading into February and March we have a wide range of distinct and different title heading our way including the new Coen Brothers picture Hail!Caesar! which, from the trailers, looks like a wacky, zany and completely ridiculous comedic venture similar to that of previous Coen pictures such as The Big Lebowski and Burn After Reading. Moving swiftly on we have the return of the mega-buck comic-based movies such as Deadpool and everyone’s favourite of the year already (NOT) Batman v Superman, directed by the self-proclaimed auteur of modern amazingness, Zak Snyder, the “genius” who brought us Sucker Punch and Man of Steel. Oh boy, how I am eagerly waiting. March also brings with it two of my own most anticipated pictures in the form of The Witch, a dark and delicious Gothic horror, and Anomalisa, a remarkable piece of animation which looks like something completely radical and is set to continue the rafter of success in the animation category over the past few years or so.
Into the halfway point of the year we have anticipated sequels in the form of X-Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day 2, and of course, Captain America: Civil War, the continuation of the Marvel universe in which our beloved Captain seemingly has a tiff with Tony Stark and half the Avengers team excluding, of course, Thor, Hulk, and erm anyone else with their own standalone films out soon. How we love the MCU. More importantly, we also have the release of Oliver Stone’s Snowden, a biographical drama based on, you guessed it, Edward Snowden, as well as Zowie Bowie’s (I mean Duncan Jones of course) Warcraft, maybe the first attempt at making a proper decent movie based on a popular video game. Heading into July, we have the return of Spock and Captain Kirk in Star Trek Beyond whilst we have Paul Feig’s “re-imagining” of Ghostbusters featuring (EEK) Melissa McCarthy who somehow has managed to become the hottest thing in comedy since evs, much to my own bemusement. Adding to the shock factor is the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur around the same time. I mean come on guys, why?
Finishing off the year, where there are so little confirmed movies at this moment in time, is a rafter of movies such as David Ayer’s much anticipated Suicide Squad in August, Patient Zero in September featuring the Eleventh Doctor himself, Matt Smith, whilst October and November bring with it Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, the newest incarnation of the Harry Potter universe. Finishing off the year in style is the spin-off Star Wars pic, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Godzilla’s own, Gareth Edwards, whilst Macbeth’s trio of Fassbender, Cotillard and director Justin Kurzel reunite for the hugely anticipated live-action take on Assassins Creed. Surely not two good video game adaptations in the space of a year? 2016, you are spoiling us already. So all in all, a pretty fab year in film is upon us and we should all be rather excited. I am for sure, but the real question is, are you?
Oscars 2015: Best Supporting Actor
We are now on to the penultimate blog regarding this years Oscars ceremony, the focus of which is on the “Best Supporting Actor” category, featuring Hulk, Hamlet, J. Jonah Jameson, Tom Hagen and, oddly, Hulk again. In terms of bookies favourite, J. K. Simmons is the best bet to win the gong, and for the second time running, I completely agree with them. His performance as the ferocious Terrence Fletcher in Whiplash, transformed a film with a rather simple and, dare I say it, boring plot, into the most gripping cinematic experience I have witnessed in a long while. Hats off to him. As an added extra, I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Edward Norton or Ethan Hawke, pick up the award instead, for their roles in Birdman and Boyhood respectively, highlighting the strength of the nominations in this particular category this year. In terms of overlooked, James Gandolfini for The Drop, and, i’m calling it, Dave Bautista for Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s right. Drax the Destroyer. Instead, we have:
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J. K. Simmons – Whiplash
Next… Best Supporting Actress
Oscars 2015: Best Picture
It’s Award Season! Grab the coffee, get the red bull and ready the doughnuts, the annual celebrity get-together is within touching distance, and i’m rather excited. Last year’s ceremony was rather splendid, with Ellen DeGeneres keeping all of the Hollywood egos in check, supported by a wonderful raft of movies to celebrate and John Travolta introducing Adele Dazeem. This year promises to be another spectacular affair, with Neil Patrick Harris hosting and a wonderful array of films to spur on during this particular race. Within this blog I will be focusing on this year’s nominations, selecting the favourite in each category, along with my personal choices and nominations that may have been overlooked. So sit down, relax, and enjoy the ride…
Starting off this particular blog is, ironically, where the ceremony ends; the Best Picture category, which this year includes some real gems. In terms of bookies favourite, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood seems to be winning this particular race and it’s hard to not understand why, with it’s quite remarkable telling of one child’s experience growing up over the course of 12 real-life years. It’s emotional. It’s brilliantly acted. What more do you want? In terms of my own personal choice, Whiplash is the film that surprised me the most out of all the nominees, with it gripping me throughout, helped particularly by a striking performance from J.K. Simmons. In regards to overlooked films, I believe Under the Skin, Calvary, and even Guardians of the Galaxy, all should have been under consideration. Instead we have these:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Next… Best Actor
5. The Raid 2: Berandal
Godfather Part Two. The Empire Strikes Back. Aliens. Get the trend? Sequels that were arguably better than their predecessors and the Raid 2: Berandal nicely fits into this list. Action-packed, beautifully choreographed, and includes the character of “Hammer Girl”. Every film needs a character called “Hammer Girl”.
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The first of two Scarlett Johansson films on the list, while also following The Raid 2 in being a better film than its’ predecessor, The Winter Soldier is a fantastic, paranoid spy thriller that differs slightly from the Marvel Film format in triumphant fashion with a great performance from Robert Redford and paving the way for dramatic changes within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A possibly controversial pick as many believed Gareth Edward’s take on Godzilla was rather boring and slow with it only properly showing the big guy himself towards the latter stages of the film, however after seeing Edward’s previous outing “Monsters”, i kind of expected this to be the case. The dramatic build up throughout the film led to an epic conclusion and personally, i thought the film was fantastic, especially that HALO scene. WOW.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
One of the main reasons Guardians of the Galaxy is so high on this list is that i went into the cinema with my expectations rather low. What a joy then to have witnessed probably the best addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe which not only included fantastic characters and laugh out loud moments throughout, but a brilliant soundtrack (Ooga-Chaka) and the best prison-breakout scene i’ve seen in a long time. Utterly charming.
1. Under the Skin
Now here is a change of tone. I missed Under the Skin when it was in the cinema so i chose to rent the Blu-Ray when it was released and it is fair to say i was blown away. Blimey Charlie. Firstly, it definitely isn’t a film for the masses with its’ dark tone, slightly ambiguous death sequences, and lack of dialogue but for me it was a perfect blend of art, sci-fi, and horror, something that i hadn’t seen in a long, long time. Simply, it is brilliant.
Let’s be honest, what do we really expect from a Liam Neeson movie? The answer is – Not much, not much at all. We also know his acting range which is rather short. Movies like Luc Besson’s ‘Taken’ demonstrate the exact character archetype and cast-typing that goes through every writers mind when they write a mid-level thriller on a budget. Although the Taken series is very beloved by myself. Mindless, simple and to the point action that is only a little exaggerated by the fact Neeson isn’t getting any younger and no emotional ties needed to connect to a rather cool frontman.
Walk Among the Tombstones is something a little different. Evidently the writers have tried to create something very difficult and provoking but in reality have created something extremely basic. With an intention to create something convoluted, the aim is to make it difficult to understand and to leave you dazed as you try to figure the mystery yourself before the puzzle pieces are fitted finally by the story. Any aspect of thriller was drilled out by the fact that there was no mystery. Nothing solid enough to bite into as everything is already being shown. Even in the trailers we know the back story of Neeson’s character ‘Matt Scudder’ before the movie even came out. Other than that, we hear about it towards the end rather than fairly early on if it mattered so little. The reality of Among the Tombstones is that we have a cop drama with very little drama and action. As an unlicensed PI, Scudder is called upon to investigate the rape, black mailing, murder and dismemberment of Kenny Kristo’s (Dan Stevens) wife. It soon becomes clear that these guys work over women of particularly dangerous men who are traffickers of illicit drugs. Their connection to the drug industry means that police contact will only end with them in jail. Forced to pay the ransom, the women never return and the money disappears. This time, its caught the attention of Neeson who takes it upon himself to end it, once and for all. See, not very elaborate…
So we’ve spoken out Neeson’s acting degree and its short tether. Now we must look at the rest of the gang. Eric Nelsen plays the character who originally introduces Scudder to Kristo. A troubled artist who left the army with a heroin addiction. With that sort of premise, his character could have been something intricately deep but he just sits in the background with a lit cigarette and little chance to flourish. As for Nelsen’s acting, it was rather bland. Simple and easy. Certainly not worthy of an Oscar and not worth loosing any sleep over when you forget his name. Dan Stevens is a man who has only recently popped onto my radar with The Guest released in recent week. With experience in Downton Abbey I feel its safe to say that he is a fairly solid actor. Although his lines weren’t great, he is convincing enough to make you feel sympathy for his character but once again he was let down by a rather disappointing script. As for our villains, don’t expect anything good. For a pair who have some ghastly scenes that managed to make me recoil into my shell, they had the worst directing ever. There is a significant difference between acting dark and psychotic and just plain nothing. There was nothing remotely scary about this pair, one of which does very little talking and looks like he’s continuously got a crowbar wedged up his arse. So bad that I won’t even grace their IMDB’s on this page. Or that I’m too lazy.
Is it worth a night out to see? Sure…A Wednesday with EE/Orange 2 for 1. A fairly dull movie with little to engage or excite. Action that is practically non-existent with a rather annoying child that appears throughout. 6/10.
Created by the undeveloped mind of Luc Besson, Lucy appears on-screen. Sure, The Taken series is pretty cool. Terribly acted and the most generic storyline known to man repeated 3 times for money rather than filmmaking is the problem with it. Straight off the bat I was ready to tear into this wannabe Limitless. Unimpressed by the fact that they base the whole movie on the myth that we only use 10% of our brains (Busted by our favourite Mythbusters) and if we use higher percentages than that, we gain super powers. Unlocked by a synthetic drug, Scarlett Johansson is now super women. Granted super intelligence and ability to see “data waves” she can manipulate the world around her. Upon unlocking more of her mind, she gains more powers to manipulate the world around her. This whole idea is utter rubbish. I like sci-fi movies and super hero movies but this is ludicrous. It tries too hard to legitimise itself making it incredibly convoluted and the most boring piece of shite I’ve watched for many years.
There really is no plot to actually write about except that she wonders about using her powers to get the rest of the drugs. If she was so fucking smart, it would have ended 20 minutes sooner and we wouldn’t have had to go through one of the worst action scenes I’ve ever seen. Had the movie actually thought about what it was actually getting at, the outcome could have been plausible and engaging. So with no real story, what is left? How about acting? Yeah, um…
Scarlett, I love you with Marvel as Black Widow but this is just awful. As a character who is supposed to be emotionless (but somehow still has emotions…) your voice is as if you’ve given up on life (I don’t blame you with this script) and its excruciating to listen to. The scenes where you have emotions are so poorly acted, its as if you’ve never acted a day in your life and combined with the overall fuckery, it truly is a disgrace to watch such a star perform so poorly. I cannot stress this enough, if you’re going to use action, it needs to be fun, if you want to create something that uses sci-fi elements and A-list actors, you’re going to want to write a decent storyline and make sure they can act it! The acting isn’t just down to the main stars, the rest of the crew were just as bad. One particular Korean guy stands as the worst person I’ve ever seen on screen. You’ve probably seen him with the rocket launching sliding on his knees like he’s on stage with Motley Crue in the 80’s – awful hairstyle included.
I’m not doing a quicky review simply because I have other things to do or that I really cannot be bothered, this time, I’m so shocked as how bad this movie is, I really don’t know what to write. I would say that they were simply using both Morgan Freeman and Scarlett Johansson as crowd pleasers but the reality is that this will never work for this movie. I’m surprised it has the rating it does from the critics. To me, this movie wouldn’t even stand up as Sci-fi. Its poor quality and overly convoluted direction would turn Syfy pale if it was to ever appear on their channel. I wouldn’t bother wasting your money on this and suggest you experience something a lot more fun, perhaps Limitless or a drill bit to your testies. 5/10 for this one – Sorry Scarlett…
Everyone with half a brain knows that Transformers is bound to be a huge hit in cinemas. With Michael Bay at the helm, it makes it that much more special (Lets not talk about the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…). With Shia LeBeouf having his alcohol fuelled plagiarist mid-life crisis, Transformers return has had to make a change. Although its very unlikely that he was planned to feature in this instalment even before his impression of Lohan came too light, it feels empty not seeing the hero that we’ve followed for so many years. Now we have been lumbered with Mr Mark Wahlberg and it certainly isn’t the same. With his new reality TV series and the emotional pallet of a dead skunk it has led me to slowly lose faith in a big player in the movie industry and made me wary of the quality of the film.
Since the Chicago war in which the Autobots annihilated the Decepticons, NEST was shut down, the alliance between Humans and Autobots has ceased with them being granted asylum and a new task force was created to deal with the Decepticon threat and those who are hidden away on Earth. Although, not all is well with this new task force. Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), CIA and our lead villain has an alliance with a Transformer bounty hunter and Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) in providing Optimus to the bounty hunter and with his help all the Transformers, including the Autobots too Joyce, dead. Attinger stands to inherit a bomb from the bounty hunter that creates the very material Transformers are built from and a large sum of money from Joyce who is using the mineral to create his version of Transformers but under his control, thus cornering huge markets. Walhberg, who plays Cade Yaeger is simply a bystander who bought a truck which turned out to be Optimus. Some stuff blows up and now him and his ‘family’ are on the run from this shadow organization with the Autobots.
Now that NEST has thoroughly been pushed out of the picture, it feels as if they just blew away all of the past characters that could still have played a role and really strengthen the cast and add some familiarity to the screen. Lumbered with a new frontman, we have to be able to connect with Wahlberg from the bat and it’s just not possible. With the acting range of Steven Seagal’s back catalogue, Wahlberg cannot express emotion to any other degree than a blank canvas that shouts a lot. mixed with two young actors whose blockbuster virginity has been popped but have the likeability of women with a tramp-stamp. Paired with the fact that Nicola Peltz plays Tessa Yaeger, the stereotypical American blond popular girl who dates Shane Dyson (Jack Reynor), a ‘rally’ driver picked up by Red Bull who is a giant pussy when it comes to anything else. Then we have a few Youtube sensations appearing for small roles. Kassem G and TJ Millar (I know he does other stuff) were horrible. Annoying character, even when they didn’t speak. Many of their scenes were useless and are worthless additions to try and make something funny. Another bone to pick is the plug advertisements. Of all things, Beats Pill got its grubby hands on Michael Bay and he bent right over. The scenes were so painfully forced, you could see the souls of the actors die a little inside.
Now apart from all of this, this film is a ton of fun. Lured in by the addition of giant Dinobots, I was sold on the idea from the first trailer release. Although they only appear in the last 30 minutes, the action is heavy enough with plenty of witty moments to lighten up the mood. The range of vehicles was astonishing and seeing the first Transformer with the ability to transform into 3 forms (A Samurai, Bugatti Veyron Vitess and an attack helicopter) was cool too. The huge range of vehicles and Transformers was amazing and their general quality was incredible. At parts it slips and looks like its pasted onto the scene with little shading and the new transform style isn’t the nicest looking but the level of work, expertise and dedication that goes into making something on this scale shows the love and passion that everyone had working on this. I would like to put into question the prop designer on a gun used by Mark that is picked up from the armoury of the bounty hunter’s ship. With the size of the crew, how is it only the size of a standard issue rifle and shaped like a sword but extremely blunt?
With a few plugs confirming the next Transformers movie, hopefully the cast can be sorted and we get a better group of people to face it. Hopefully Shia will have woken up from whatever moment he is having and will be considered to return as the forerunner to the next title as I don’t think I can stand dealing with Mark Wahlberg in a movie that he doesn’t fit. The passion and effort that went into making this warrants a lot of more score alongside the fact that the movie is just pure craziness from the get-go. Unadulterated fun with giant dinosaurs and clever little twists and loveable Transformers. What’s not to love? 7/10
I have returned from the dark depths of university deadline season with only a few mental scars. So yeah, expect plenty of content over the next few weeks until I get slapped with another essay and a few exams…
Just a quick shout out, don’t go announcing a 3rd film before the 2nd has even released. You ruin it. So Friday we toddled into the cinema to watch possibly one of my favourite members of Marvel go kick some ass. Captain America is easily one of the most relateable characters within the Avengers with the strongest story so far.
Obviously, you would suspect by the title that the movie is about the Winter Soldier. If you’ve lived under a rock the past few months, it’s Steve’s (Chris Evans) best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan), you know, the one who fell off the train in the last one. So it turns out he’s not dead and that the movie actually does fuck all with his character. He appears for snippets but in reality he has little change to the outcome of the movie and probably should have called the movie something a little more relevant. Yet, as a story, The Winter Soldier is substantial. Moments, which for any Marvel fans will sit them there in shock. So in reality, Hydra were never defeated. Taking Bucky and wiping his memory and using him as their bitch assassin. Now one of my big pet peeves with the story is that SHIELD sent in Black Widow but told her boyfriend; Hawkeye to do one. Now when it comes to do, Hawkeye is an Avenger and should have been involved!
Compared to other Marvel Avengers, Captain was raised in a war and naturally, you have to accustom yourself to killing some bad people. This has been acknowledged and it truly is brutal. Not smashing them with a hammer or punching them with a massive suit of armour, he’s got a fast pace that is rarely matched and the shift between him and shield is incredibly fun to watch. Then we have Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) who pretty much climbs all over assailants and then the brand new Falcon (Anthony Mackie) who kinda just shoots people while flying around with these bomb ass wings. However, I don’t think I could ever see Anthony Mackie in a different light after Pain & Gain’s titty milk moment.
I’m not going to bore you with talk of the acting or screen play. We all know that Marvel as a production company nail all the special FX and the actors are not just pretty faces. The Winter Soldier probably stands as one of the best single hero Marvel movie in many years. Even with a few moments that are a little unnecessary, the movie flows quickly with extravagant actions scenes which seem more realistic compared to Iron Man. Although Tony Stark and Hawkeye should have made an appearance, Captain America deserves an 8/10.
PS – Quicky review is to get back into the swing of things, plenty more content on the youtube channel or follow me Instagram and Twitter on the right of the page!