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.

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

LISTED Film Previews – November/December ’09

Yes, it would appear that there really is no rest for the wicked, as although I’m on the other side of the planet I’m still posting up my film previews that I write monthly for Listed Magazine. Admittedly, I wrote all of these the week before I actually came out here, but I’m still taking the time to post them up so you can get your grubby great eyelids around them! Enjoy:

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON (12A) (Dir. Chris Weitz)

Twi-hards, rejoice! After the success of the first film, the eagerly anticipated second instalment in the Twilight series is soon to hit cinemas! After the vampire attack that nearly claimed her life in the first film, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and her Vampire love Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) settle into their new life together. But after an incident at Bella’s Birthday sheds her blood, the Cullen’s decide it’s better for Bella’s safety if they leave, never to return. Distraught and heartbroken, Bella finds comfort in her (now super beefy) best friend Jacob Black (Taylor Launter). But in doing so, Bella finds out that the Cullen’s aren’t the only family in Forks with a secret… Fans of the series will not be disappointed, as they can expect bigger effects, awesome werewolf fights, a loyal script adaption, and a lot more bite than the first film! Released 20th November

BUNNY AND THE BULL (15) (Dir. Paul King)

Quirky, weird and completely bizarre, this comedy comes straight from the writer of The Mighty Boosh. A young shut in called Stephen takes an imaginary road trip within the confines of his own apartment; based around mementoes for an actual trek he took around Europe years ago with his friend Bunny, whose sole intention on their trip was to fight a bull. Also starring Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt of Mighty Boosh fame, this looks like it might well be the unsung hero of the comedy films this year! Released 27th November

AVATAR (12A) (Dir. James Cameron)

James Cameron’s status as a director has always been one associated with breaking new ground in the film effects business, and Avatar is no exception! Visually epic and masterfully imagined, Avatar sees Cameron creating wonderful, in-depth landscapes of entire new worlds, all of which have been created with the most cutting edge technology possible! In the future, Jake Scully (Sam Worthington) is a paraplegic war veteran sent to the jungle planet Pandora inhabited by native blue humanoids called the Na’Vi. To blend in and perform his mission, Jake must undergo a procedure which will allow him to control a Na’Vi “avatar” and allow him to walk again. This could possibly be the most visually breathtaking film you will see all year, so don’t miss it! Released 18th December

SHERLOCK HOLMES (12A) (Dir. Guy Ritchie)

Bare-knuckle fist fights? Jumping away from explosions? Saucy situations in the bedroom? This is definitely NOT the Sherlock Holmes which we have previously seen. But then, this is Guy Ritchie taking a perfectly well known story and doing completely his own thing with it, the result being this more amped-up film of the legendary detective. Robert Downey Jr. stars as Holmes (before next summer’s Iron Man 2), and Jude Law co-stars as his companion Watson, which makes for a good acting team, but all the “mass-appeal action” might be a bit of a letdown. Only time will tell if this will actually be worth watching, or a total waste of time and effort. Released 26th December

As Published in Listed Magazine issue 23 and on www.listedmagazine.com

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