LISTED Film Previews – December 2011

This is it!! The final run down of the year, and what a year its been for films! We’ve had a lot of great films come past us this year, and a lot of terrible ones….. and a lot of ones that looked great but turned out to be terrible and ultimately disappointed me to the extent that I cried. Physically cried. Sad isn’t it? Please Hollywood, stop making disappointing films and just do good ones? Thanks, ‘preciate it…

Anyway, after that short distraction, I should probably mention that you can hear more film reviews, news and previews (and other things that rhyme) on May Contain Spoilers – the Film Review show that knew Soylent Green was People all along! You can “Like” our page on Facebook to get all the latest updates, links to our podcast and pictures of our competition prizes, or you can follow us on Twitter using @FilmSpoilers. And for a taste, you can follow this link to listen to the podcast of our show:

http://maycontainspoilers.jellycast.com/podcast/feed/2

But if you came here for Film Previews to get you in the Christmas mood then… well, there aren’t many Christmas movies out this month. Sorry. But instead, I packed this months previews full of some other awesome stuff instead. Just thinking of you, you know. Enjoy!

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (12A) (Dir. Guy Ritchie)

After the surprise break-out hit of the first film, Guy Ritchie brings back the crime-solving duo of Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and Watson (Jude Law) for a second action-packed adventure. In A Game of Shadows, Holmes and Watson are pitted against their fiercest adversary and the only man that ever matched Holmes for intellect – Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). Also returning is Rachel McAdams as Adler and a new addition of Noomi Rapace as Sim (which links to another release this month…) as the group go on a chase across Europe to stop Moriarty’s web of murders. If it’s as smart as the first, you can bet A Game of Shadows will be a massive hit across the board in time for the Christmas break. Released December 16th.

THE THING (15) (Dir. Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.)

Not actually the re-boot that everyone thought it might be, but instead a prequel to the John Carpenter 1982 original, The Thing stars Mary-Elizabeth Winstead as grad student Kate Lloyd working in an Antarctica research facility that has discovered an alien craft. This discovery not only leads to a confrontation between her and her research professor (Ulrich Thomsen), but a series of grizzly goings-on which explain all the events that lead right up to the opening of the original film. Expect big references to the original and plenty of thrills and flame-throwers. Released December 2nd.

PUSS IN BOOTS (PG) (Dir. Chris Miller)

A somewhat tenuous spin-off from the successful Shrek series, Antonio Banderas returns for the origin story of the scene-stealing feline as he teams up with mastermind Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) and Kitty (Salma Hayek) to steal the famed Goose that lays Golden Eggs. If you’re a huge follower of the Shrek series or have kids then it might be worth going to see, but the rest of us might remain cautiously sceptical for now. Released December 9th.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL (12A) (Dir. Brad Bird)

Having to compete with the possibly more anticipated Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is no easy feat for Ethan Hunt’s (Tom Cruise) fourth outing in the series. Although the M:I series is starting to die out a bit, Ghost Protocol looks like it will be going in a new direction as Hunt’s group must go rogue in order to clear the name of their organisation. Also starring Jeremy Renner before he appears as Hawkeye in The Avengers next year, Ghost Protocol looks to have everything that made the previous films successful, but with a darker edge. Released December 26th.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (15) (Dir. David Fincher)

Gradually becoming a slightly more acceptable American remake than others recently, this version stars Daniel Craig as the journalist Mikael Blomqvist who is aided by wanted computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) in his search for a woman who has been missing for 40 years. Although the original Swedish films were a massive hit this side of the Atlantic, the American remake is still sure to bring in crowds due to its much higher filming budget and big name cast/direction team, so it’s probably worth going to see even if it’s just to compare with the originals. Released December 26th.

As published in Listed Magazine and on http://www.listedmagazine.com.

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LISTED Film Previews – July ’10

For what I think is the first time of doing these, I’ve actually posted a review of one of the films I’ve previewed BEFORE I’ve been able to put up the preview! So, if you like the look of the Toy Story 3 preview, you can look below and read the actual review of it. Winner! Anyway, here’s a longer than normal list of what you should (and shouldn’t) make your way out to see this month:

SHREK FOREVER AFTER (PG) (Dir. Mike Mitchell)

Perhaps this film might be better titled as “Shrek Lets the Franchise Die”, after it all got a bit too repetitive with number 3. Going back to the roots of the story and re-establishing the characters all over again, a mid-life crisis stricken Shrek goes to Rumplestiltskin to cut a deal to feel like a real ogre again. But he gets tricked, and taken to an alternate reality where none of the events of the past films happened, Rumplestiltskin is King and Ogres are hunted and live together in colonies. Shrek must now gather together his friends and his Ogre missus Fiona and get back home again. All very touchy-feely, but are they perhaps running on the fumes left from the fires of all their old jokes? This franchise has been well and truly lived now, and it’s time to let it go. Is this likely to happen? With a rumoured Puss-in-Boots spin-off gathering a cast together, it doesn’t look promising. Released July 2nd.

THE A-TEAM (12A) (Dir. Joe Carnahan)

And so continues the spree of the “Hollywood Re-Imaginings” this year, just going to prove that perhaps there really are only so many original ideas in the world. However the upshot of this series of seemingly unoriginal storylines is, simply, this film. Focussing on a group of Iraq War veterans (updated, for obvious reasons!) framed for crimes they didn’t commit, The A-Team now work as renegade heroes-for-hire, doing jobs that no-one else can. The A-Team has always had a massive fan base from the start, so this film was always going to deliver on the style of the original series. And I have to admit that after being against it, from the look of the trailers this will be about as big and bombastic as you can get! Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson are perfect for their roles as Face and Hannibal respectively, and after doing such an impressive job in District 9, Sharlto Copely looks like he can pull of a convincing “Howling Mad” Murdoch. And although no-one could ever really replace Mr. T, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is probably the closest thing you can possibly get to a new, younger B.A., so it’s not like the characters are changing much from the ones we know and love! You can also bet on a sequel happening in the next couple of years. Go and see it, fool! Released July 30th.

THE KARATE KID (12A) (Dir. Harold Zwart)

Only, is it REALLY anything to do with The Karate Kid at all? For the record, “Karate” is Japanese in origin – this film is set in China, has Jackie Chan re-imagining the character of Miyagi, and teaches Jaden Smith Kung-Fu, NOT Karate. The only reasons behind it being The “Karate” Kid are the characters and the same basic storyline. Having said that, this film could be worth a watch purely to see all the cool, impressive stuff Jaden Smith worked so hard to achieve during shooting, and could be good if you don’t compare it to the original in any way. But apart from that, sorry Jackie Chan – we love you, but probably not in this film. Released July 16th.

TOY STORY 3 (U) (Dir. Lee Unkrich)

The third instalment in the Disney/Pixar series that started it all is set to be the biggest selling film of 2010. Fact. Kids love it, there are jokes in there for adults, and the two previous films have been the helm of Pixar’s entire franchise – the jewel in the crown, if you will. Toy Story 3 starts off with seeing Andy all grown-up and leaving for college and leaving his childhood possessions behind. As such, Buzz (Tim Allen), Woody (Tom Hanks) and the rest of the original characters are given to a day-care centre where they meet new friends, and a devilishly dastardly Ken (Michael Keaton) and plot their escape. The script also comes from the same writer of Little Miss Sunshine Michael Arndt, so you can expect it to have the right ratio of heartstring-tugging scenes and laugh-out-loud moments that have given other Pixar films the reputation they now hold. Make sure to catch it in 3D! Released July 23rd.

PREDATORS (15) (Dir. Nimród Antal)

Not the remake of the original 80’s franchise starter it was first thought to be, Predators is now looking to be a pretty worthy new addition to the long run of hit-and-misses since the series began. A group of elite warriors wake up in the jungle without knowing where they are or who anyone else is, all the while being watched by an alien race of merciless hunters whilst they work out that they are no longer on Earth. Adrian Brody has worked hard to gain some “tough” credibility this year with Splice, and Topher Grace has been doing the same, making this an interesting cast. And with Robert Rodriguez backing this project (who, let’s not forget, brought us Desperado and Planet Terror), this is sure to give the Predator films the reinvigorating jump-start it so desperately needs after the sorry excuse that was AVP:R, and could well be better than the planned Alien prequel. Enjoy this while you can! Released July 9th.

INCEPTION (12A) (Dir. Christopher Nolan)

Taking a break from the Batman franchise, Christopher Nolan directs this thriller set in the “architecture of the mind” about a group of businessmen who can construct a dream world for their clients and then infiltrate it to steal their subconscious. All very compelling and interesting stuff, but it’s the look of the trailers that has everyone buzzing about this film, and could be the most anticipated major studio release of the year. Leo DiCaprio is on a roll with this too, alongside Shutter Island being released on DVD soon, he is proving he’s big enough to be in the major leagues of film stars. Let’s hope that this is paving the way for another Batman release too! Released July 16th.

As published in Listed Magazine Issue 29 and on www.listedmagazine.com