LISTED Film Previews – November 2011

Now, by this point, you’re probably wondering to yourself “How come there have been all these previews of films coming out, and yet we’ve hardly seen ANY actual reviews of these films? Whats going on, Mister? Why are you doing this to us? Whywhy?” Well, I’ll tell you – I’ve been massively busy on other projects in the works (mostly being that I need an actual job so I can afford things… like food…).

One such project I mentioned in a previous post, and that is the new Film Review Radio Show/Internet Podcast I am now a part of called May Contain Spoilers! We go out live every week on Thursday nights at 9, and our podcast follows shortly after in the week so you can catch it even if you didn’t hear it live. To keep up with our shenanigans and stay up to date with our fantastic competitions and news, you can add us on Facebook by searching May Contain Spoilers, on Twitter through @FilmSpoilers or you can e-mail us for information or to suggest a Soundtrack of the Week at maycontainspoilers@thebayradio.com. So come along, have a listen and get involved in the action yourself – its guaranteed to be 100% better than trying to eat a shoe!!

Now that’s done, shall I tell you about what to see this month? Yes. Yes I shall…

THE RUM DIARY (15) (Dir. Bruce Robinson)

Johnny Depp is Paul Kemp, a freelance journalist writing for a newspaper in the Caribbean who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life. As he tries to carve out a niche for himself in the journalistic world of Puerto Rico, he begins to fall in with crowds of lost souls. And if you notice that it bears a resemblance to Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas then you might not be surprised that The Rum Diary is also adapted from a novel by Hunter S. Thompson and written and directed by Bruce Robinson, so you can expect a few trippy scenes here and there. Possibly not for the faint of heart, but definitely for those that enjoy a bit of madness mixed in with their drama. Released November 4th.

IN TIME (12A) (Dir. Andrew Niccol)

Starring Justin Timberlake in an altogether different role, this sci-fi thriller is set in the near future where people stop aging at 25 but can only live for one more year, meaning time is used as currency so the rich stay young forever and the poor die early. But when a young man (Timberlake) finds himself with an abundance of extra time, he is swiftly on the run from an elite police force lead by Cillian Murphey called The Time Keepers. While the trailer seems like Logan’s Run, there may be more to offer than first meets the eye. Released November 1st.

IMMORTALS (15) (Dir. Tarsem Singh)

Appearing at first a bit like 300 Again, Immortals tells the tale of Theseus (Henry Cavill), a mortal man chosen by Zeus (Luke Evans) to lead a fight against King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), a ruthless leader who is on a rampage through Greece with his disfigured army on a quest to find a weapon that could destroy humanity. While you can expect the action and effects to be just as stylised as 300 or Clash of the Titans, you can also expect more references to Greek mythology and the Greek Gods. While there might be a few reasons to see this in 3D, it’s also a good opportunity to see Henry Cavill in action before he takes on the Superman mantle in next year’s Man of Steel. Released November 11th.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1 (12A) (Dir. Bill Condon)

Those cash-cow teens (and the one that can’t keep his shirt on) are back again for the first part of the final film of the saga. In Part One of Breaking Dawn, we see Bella (Kristen Stewart) finally tie the knot with her sparkly Vampire lover Edward (Robert Pattinson), much to the dismay of muscly wolf-boy Jacob (Taylor Lautner). Only thing is, after returning from their steamy, private honeymoon, Bella discovers she’s pregnant and the Vampire sprog inside of her not only poses a threat to the Quileute Wolf tribe and the Volturi Vampire coven alike, but could also be killing her from the inside. Perhaps it’s a message about abstinence, but at the same time this movie has taken the giant leap from being a cult phenomenon to becoming just a tad ridiculous. Expect lots of teenage angst drama in the build-up towards next year’s final conclusion. Released November 18th.

As published in Listed Magazine and online at http://www.listedmagazine.com. Search “May Contain Spoilers” in Facebook for information on all these films and more.

LISTED Film Previews – August ’10

Once again, here be another bunch of cinema releases happening soon that I’d really like to go and see, but will probably not actually get the chance to do so. *Sigh* oh well, such is life I suppose. HOWEVER, I have made special arrangements with people as far as Scott Pilgrim goes, so expect me to be jumping around like spring on E by the time that gets released! Anyway, enjoy…

THE LAST AIRBENDER (PG) (Dir. M. Night Shyamalan)

Based on the kids cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang (Noah Ringer) is the last of the Air Nation Nomads and the successor in a long line of Avatars who have the ability to control all four elements. After being frozen, he is found by two siblings from the Water Tribe (including Jackson Rathbone from Twilight Saga), and his training begins for his ultimate task – to defeat the Fire Nation Lord and the scarred Prince Zuko (Dev Patel), and end their century-long war on the other three nations. This film might not be the most substantial release of the year, but it will definitely provide some cool effects and entertaining fight scenes, as well as being the biggest 3D release of the year alongside Toy Story 3, so it’s worth checking out for fun. Released August 13th.

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (PG) (Dir. Jon Turteltaub)

The second film of the year (along with Prince of Persia) which will further make Jerry Bruckheimer a formidable force in Hollywood, this film also comes from the same director/producer team as National Treasure. Nicolas Cage is Master Sorcerer Balthazar Blake, who recruits a seemingly average guy (Jay Baruchel) to assist him in his quest to keep New York City safe from his arch-enemy Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Expect kids and adults alike to be thoroughly entertained by the storyline and visuals of this film, to the extent that it might be successful enough to earn itself a sequel and Nic Cage a better reputation. The tagline reads “It’s the Coolest Job Ever”, and from the trailers that seems all too true! Released August 13th.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD (12A) (Dir. Edgar Wright)

Quite possibly the sleeper hit of the year, Scott Pilgrim is adapted from the series of comedy anime books centred on the layabout musician of the same name (Michael Cera) who falls for the new girl in town, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Only thing is, in order to properly date the funky-haired girl of his dreams, he must first fight (and defeat!) her Seven Evil Exes. Trust me when I say that this is going to be a comedy unlike anything else you have seen, combining together the best parts of the comic (literally, with “comic” text accompanying actions throughout) with awesome effects and the director of Shaun of the Dead backing it to make one single epic entity! Definitely catch this if you like quirky comedy of a different kind! Released August 13th.

THE EXPENDABLES (15) (Dir. Sylvester Stallone)

A film directed by Sly Stallone himself doesn’t sound like the deepest, most thought-provoking film in the world. But when it’s one that stars pretty much every significant action star of the last few decades, how can you really NOT be tempted to watch it? Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren are a team of mercenaries dispatched to South America to overthrow a dictator. Don’t be mistaken – this is going to be a big film! Released August 19th.

As published in Listed Magazine Issue 30 and on www.listedmagazine.com

Iron Man 2 (Contains Spoilers)

The second outing of the metallic hero sees the (nearly) entire cast of the original returning for the next installment in Marvel Studios various projects currently being undergone. I’ll admit that, along with Kick-Ass, Iron Man 2 is my big geeky pleasure of the year (well, until Scott Pilgrim VS The World, that is!) and I’ve been looking forward to this since the last one came out. But, I’ve been wary about films that I’ve gotten overly excited about before (for reference, go find my views on Alice In Wonderland *heaves*), but I’m happy to say that Iron Man 2 didn’t disappoint me!

Without reciting the entire film and everything that happened in each scene, Iron Man 2 had everything that it needed in there. There was a point when fans and critics worried about it suffering from the Spider-Man 3 disease of having too many bad guys come into the mix, but the way it was executed meant that it didn’t suffer at all. Mickey Rourke was basically a slightly Russian Mickey Rourke throughout this, but he is in the bad guy spotlight in this film. Everything that occurs is because of him, and Sam Rockwell playing Justin Hammer is merely a means to how Mickey Rourke’s Ivan Vanko/Whiplash is able to conduct all these things that happen throughout the film (even though the character of Ivan Vanko was actually Crimson Dynamo in the original story, as Whiplash was only ever Whiplash). Which is why it works so well that he first appears and has a face off with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man so early in the film. It means that they can break up the storyline of the film that much more with fight scenes earlier on, which means there isn’t any lengthy scenes of expositional nothingness… like with Spider-Man 3…

Then, of course, there is the constant undercurrent of Stark slowly (and pretty ironically) being poisoned by the Arc Reactor in his chest that he invented to keep himself alive, which then leads to his midlife depression and alcoholism which was famously tackled in the comics for some time. The ONLY bad thing I have to say about Iron Man 2 is that when he discovers a way to create a new kind of reactor to replace his that won’t kill him anymore, and will be even more efficient than his other one, he has to create a new element in order to do it and this happens a little to easily. BUT, having said that, this is entirely justified in the simple fact that he is Tony Stark, and if he can create a suit of armour that flies at over Mach 5 speeds and fires lasers, then why wouldn’t this be possible too? The only qualm over this is the fact that he had to go through the process of finding a hidden design for this in a model city his Father made in order to invent such a thing.

It does have to be said, however, that arguably one of the most impressive bits of the movie is the Suitcase Armour he uses during the first fight with Whiplash. It’s a little thing from the comics that some of the more die-hard fans might recognise and appreciate, and Jon Favreau and the writers did well to work it into the film. However, what I wasn’t much of a fan of was how Mickey Rourke made Whiplash look a bit more like someone who got lost on their way to an S&M gathering at the start. Luckily, this is rectified at the end when he turns up in an admittedly too-close-to-Iron Man-looking armour himself at the end, but is very much closer to how he should look – like more of a badass!

Whilst it’s a bit of a shame that Terrence Howard decided not to return for the second film, Don Cheadle does a very good job of stepping into his shoes as James Rhodes, who steps up to the plate as War Machine in this film. And he does a great job too – there’s I personally thought that Terrence Howard might have done differently apart from maybe bringing a bit more “cool” to the role. But considering that Rhodey is a captain in the Air Force, it’s tough to be too laid back in that position! Other new characters include the previously mentioned Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer (who, admittedly, does become a little annoying after a while…) and the amazingly sexy-looking Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanov/Black Widow, who obviously did a lot of training for her role and will most likely appear in more Iron Man/Marvel films in the future because of this.

As the film moves on, it becomes more and more obvious over the links to future Marvel/Avengers-related films as Samuel L. Jackson has lengthy appearances as Nick Fury in Iron Man 2 and mentions more and more the notion of grouping together The Avengers. Almost as a joke, Stark gets handed a partially dismantled shield of Captain America to prop up some machinery he is working on in his workplace. The biggest of these, however, is rewarded to those patient enough to stay until after the credits when we are treated to a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative travelling to a dig site in the middle of the desert – a dig site where they have found Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor. So, at least now we know which film to look forward to for next year, don’t we?

Overall, apart from some slightly slow areas and perhaps not being as consistently impressive as the first one, Iron Man 2 definitely ticked all the boxes that I expected it to – it had some very entertaining action sequences, new characters, a storyline with enough taken from the comics to please fans and enough things left to tie up that they’ll make another one (which is rumoured to be a crossover with a second/third Hulk movie), and some huge geek-out moments that will keep me interested until next year’s ones!

LISTED Film Previews – May ’10

Well, after FINALLY making my way to see Kick-Ass last month (it was, by the way, completely kick-ass! Very worth while!) right at the end of it’s cross-over from the UK to the US, I thought I’d bring you another set of previews with some more films I’m excited over that could be the highlights of this years film releases! So, if you can make it out to see these, I’d love your opinions. If not, you really should get out more…

IRON MAN 2 (12A) (Dir. Jon Favreau)

After the huge success and countless geek-outs at the end of the first film, Robert Downey Jr. is back in the Iron Man armour again for another CGI heavy dose of coolness. After publically announcing himself as Iron Man, Tony Stark (RDJ) is under pressure to share his hi-tech armour with the US Military. When he is unwilling to give up his invention, he must face powerful new enemies (Mickey Rourke as “Whiplash”) out for revenge, and create new Iron Man armours in order to outwit them. After geeking out at the new trailers, I can tell you that this is definitely one blockbuster worth getting excited about, and should be one of the more successful hits of the summer! Released May 7th.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (18) (Dir. Samuel Bayer)

The latest in a long line of not just horror/80’s films remakes, this re-hashing of Wes Craven’s original 1984 horror looks to fall pretty far below the mark. Jackie Earle Hayley (“Rorschach” from Watchmen) plays the razor fingered, dream-stalking serial killer Freddy Kreuger in this new version which quite frankly looks almost exactly the same as the original, scene-for-scene, save for better film quality and some fresh new talent/victims. The trailer itself is pretty spooky but that’s really about it, meaning the real nightmare here might be this remake! Go and see it if you’re bored, but otherwise just buy the box-set of originals for the same price. Released May 7th.

ROBIN HOOD (12A) (Dir. Ridley Scott)

Seeing Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe re-uniting after the success of Gladiator should be really exciting. That is, if you don’t mind seeing this version of Robin Hood done in that same style. Despite that, this Robin Hood story is not the typical, merry men story you might expect but instead charts the history of an archer in the army of Richard Coeur de Lion fighting against Norman invaders, who rises to become the hero and outlaw known as Robin Hood. After nearly not being made due to several script re-writes, this version of the Robin Hood story looks to be as epic as so many of Ridley Scott’s films are! Released May 14th.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (12A) (Dir. Mike Newall)

The first film of the year that will see Jerry Bruckheimer’s company on the way towards taking it home in boatloads, this is also the first (non-CGI) videogame-film that actually looks decent! Set in medieval Persia, Prince of Persia follows a rogue prince who sets out to prevent a dark force from obtaining a dagger that grants people control of the Sands of Time to rule the world. Also, seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of an action star is pretty new, so there may be more of these! The trailer looks pretty great too, recreating a lot of the stunts from the game. But then what did you expect from the studio that made Pirates of the Caribbean? Released May 28th.

As published in Listed Magazine Issue 27 and on www.listedmagazine.com

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