Archive for March, 2012


UK Release Date: 30th November 2012

This is one of the best trailers I have seen in a long time; Rise of the Guardians looks as though it is going to be brilliant if it is as good as the trailer. Rise of the Guardians is the latest film from Dreamworks Animation and is based on the ‘Guardians of Childhood‘ book series. If this films does well it will no doubt spawn a series of films for Dreamworks.

Rise of the Guardians revolves around a group of Guardians from childhood folk tales: Tooth (the tooth fairy), E. Aster Bunnymund (the Easter bunny), North (Santa Claus), Jack Frost and the Sandman. These Guardians join forces when the Boogeyman attempts to overrun the world with total darkness by inspiring nothing but fear into the hopes, beliefs, and imagination of children all over the world

The voicing talents in this animated adventure film are very high quality. We have Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fischer and Alec Baldwin playing the good guys to Jude Law’s villain.

The trailer, as I mentioned, looks incredible. I think that this will definitely peak the interest of children all over the world and a lot of adults too. It seems like there is something for everyone. The trailer introduces the characters perfectly and the story, it does exactly what it needs to. The animation also looks superb; sometimes I feel that Dreamworks’ animation looks weak compared to Pixar but that can not be said here.

I can not wait to see this film and have very high hopes that I hope Rise of the Guardians exceeds.

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Whilst she currently dominates the box office with The Hunger Games, this is the first trailer of Jennifer Lawrence’s next film, House at the End of the Street which will target a different audience to her other films as this is a horror thriller.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Elissa who moves with her mother, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) to a house in a small, upscale, rural town. However, soon after their arrival events begin to happen that can not be explained by any kind of logic and Sarah and Elissa learn that the town is in the shadows of a chilling secret.

The trailer may seem a little underwhelming to a lot of people but I think that it is actually a very clever attempt at marketing.

“Before you experience the fear, before you know the pain, to witness the horror, to uncover the truth, you have to go back to where it all began” is what the trailer tells us and this is very neatly intercut between scenes of the film moving both forwards and backwards. The entire style of the trailer is backwards really, where we get the action at the beginning and the story explained towards the end of the trailer.

It’s impressively cut, the trailer, but doesn’t do much to entice the audience into seeing House at the End of the Street. Although, with the millions of new fans Jennifer Lawrence has thanks to The Hunger Games I wouldn’t be surprised if this film did pretty well.

21 Jump Street Review

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

Based on the television series from the eighties that made a teen idol out of Johnny Depp, 21 Jump Street is a loose sequel made for the big screen. We follow Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko, two new and hopeless police officers who end up getting sent to become part of an undercover operation. This operation includes the two officers going undercover in high school in order to find out who has been supplying a number of drugs to the students.

21 Jump Street is written by Michael Bacall, who also wrote critical success Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and Oscar nominee Jonah Hill who also portrays Schmidt. Hill’s co-star is Channing Tatum and the two are supported by Ice Cube, Dave Franco and Jake Johnson among others who all make this film what it is: a brilliant piece of comedy entertainment.

The film has, what seems to be, the quickest montage series in film as it takes place just five minutes into the story, if that! Opening with a flashback gives the audience a quick and easy indication as to what the two protagonists were like in high school and their relationship there. The story moves at a pretty fast pace to get to the beef of the story, the actual undercover work. This works well as it allows for comedy moments, not focussing on too much of the drama and getting the audience right into the action.

The comedy is fantastic. Some of the jokes are immature, some of the jokes are clever and the combination of the two works perfectly. There is physical comedy and verbal comedy which make for some real laugh out loud moments. Channing Tatum, although he has his critics, is hilarious in this film and Jonah Hill is also very funny. The two have a great chemistry on screen, stemmed from their off screen friendship, and gives a real belief to their friendship.

21 Jump Street is not a film that takes itself too seriously. And in doing so allows for some fantastic moments and in jokes which refer to the television series. These range from the subtle hint to ‘reviving a programme from the 80s’ to the television show being shown in the background of the final action scene and what will make fans of the television show happiest is that the real star of the show, Johnny Depp, even has a cameo!

Overall, 21 Jump Street provides over an hour and a half’s worth of great entertainment. There isn’t a lot there to make you think but that’s not what it attempts to do. The objective is to make the audience laugh and it certainly succeeds. The ending very much leaves itself open for a sequel, which is already being talked about. If Hill and Tatum are back on board then it should be great. If you want to see a brilliant comedy film, then look no further than 21 Jump Street.

My Rating: 8/10

 

UK Release Date: 2nd May 2012.

Here we have a new red band trailer for the long awaited American Reunion. The studio has churned out disaster after disaster titled American Pie (Band Camp, Beta House, Naked Mile, Book of Love etc.) since the original three films but here is the natural successor, the real American Pie 4.

This film finally reunites us with Jim, Stifler, Finch, Oz and Kevin as they return to East Falls for their high school reunion. Since they first appeared on screen audiences have followed the characters through high school, college and even through a wedding. This is a long overdue sequel.

I have been after another film featuring the original cast for a while and after a shaky start with the original trailers I think that this one has real quality and will get fans of the series highly anticipating this piece of pie. With the success of The Hangover and its own sequel it seems like the time is right for this comedy franchise to return to the screen.

All of our favourite characters are back, even Oz who might have some explaining to do considering he missed Jim’s wedding. But it seems like everybody’s favourite idiot, Stifler, is on sure form as usual. I think that the trailer looks really good and captures the essence of the first three films whilst showing that clearly these characters have changed with their responsibilities. It will be interesting to see how the characters will behave now that they have all moved on with their lives.

Recently, at a Lexington Comic and Toy Convention, Jason David Frank stated that he would like to see a Power Rangers movie made in a darker tone to the series and that he thinks it could work in the style of Batman or something similar. This may mean nothing, except for the fact that Jason David Frank is the best Power Ranger to ever grace the series; he is Tommy Oliver, green ranger, white ranger, red ranger and black ranger. He is an absolute legend. So could a Power Rangers movie work?

Children all over the world from Japan to the USA to Britain have grown up with the Power Rangers, it is one of the longest running series’ on television and has been running every year since the original series was shown way back in 1993. The fact that the series is still being made proves its popularity among younger audiences but is that really reasoning enough to turn it into a big film franchise. Well why not?

Film executives and studio big wigs nowadays seem to focus on the money aspect of things and there is no doubt that with the Power Rangers popularity and the merchandising deals that could be made, the films could bring in a lot of money. The only problem is in attracting older audiences. I believe that some people, like myself, will remember growing up with the characters and would go and see a film if it was made for sentimental reasons if nothing else.

The Power Rangers is a classic story of good and evil, every series and every episode follows the same strict formula. There is no reason why this formula could not transfer onto the big screen. Hollywood audiences love a good battle between the forces of good and evil as we have seen with Harry Potter and the recent trend of superhero films. And on that note, why not give the series a try as a film whilst audiences are obsessed with superheroes, there’s nothing to lose.

There is no reason why Power Rangers could not be made darker for a more mature audience either. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles getting a reboot and the Transformers trilogy being made, why not try adapting another children’s classic for a more mature audience. Set the tone darker, keep the fight between good and bad, but add more adult themes. It would work!

I, for one, would love to see a new team of Power Rangers on the big screen and there are a lot of young, talented actors coming through that could be given their big break in a film of this nature. But if a big budget Power Rangers movie does ever get made, Jason David Frank deserves at least a cameo!

Keira Knightley: A British Star

Keira Knightley seems to have been around for a lot longer than she actually has. In fact, the English actress is still just twenty seven years old and along with Carey Mulligan and Gemma Arterton, she spearheads the representation of young, talented British actresses working in Hollywood.

Before becoming the big film star that she is today, Keira Knightley cut her teeth in television. As a child she had small roles in several episodes of television shows, including British institution The Bill. It is not common knowledge, but at just 14 years old Knightley appeared in the heavily criticised Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Despite the commercial success, it would take another couple of years for Keira to land the role that would launch her career.

After appearing in television series Oliver Twist, she made a couple more films specifically for television before showing up in the psychological thriller The Hole alongside Thora Birch. 2002 was the year that really kick started Knightley’s career. She picked up a role in a film centring around a young female Sikh’s rebellion against her parents as she joins a women’s football (or soccer) team; the film, of course, is the brilliant Bend It Like Beckham. This was a brilliant performance by the young Keira Knightley and really raised her profile within the film industry.

Keira Knightley is a brilliant English actress. Orlando Bloom is just English.

In 2003 Keira Knightley became the new Hollywood ‘It’ girl with the lead female role in smash hit Pirate of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (the best of the Pirates films) as Elizabeth Swann. Knightley put in a great performance in Curse of the Black Pearl and you can tell how good it is by the fact that she actually manages to make Orlando Bloom look like a half decent actor too. The Pirates franchise made Knightley well known to Hollywood audiences and she went on to star in the next two films in the series as well.

After breaking Hollywood Knightley appeared in British romantic comedy Love Actually alongside a whole host of British stars including Emma Thomspon and Hugh Grant. Unfortunately, her career seemed to stall after this (aside from the Pirates films) as she starred in King Arthur, Domino and The Jacket; all of which were flops with critics and audiences.

After failing to impress as an ‘action chick’ Keira Knightley moved into a genre that most audiences now would associate her with: the period drama. In 2005, Knightley portrayed Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice for which she was awarded her only Oscar nomination to date. Knightley continued to impress in this area with Silk, Atonement, The Edge of Love and The Duchess. Atonement saw Knightley nominated for a Golden Globe and a Bafta for her performance and left many critics puzzled as to why she had not been nominated for an Oscar as well.

Knightley gives one of her best performances in The Duchess.

In 2010, Keira Knightley appeared alongside other bright British talents Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield for Never Let Me Go. She then went on to appear in Last Night and then London Boulevard which teamed her up with one of the most hot and cold actors of our time, Colin Farrell. She was most recently seen on cinema screens in A Dangerous Method with Viggo Mortensen and the brilliant Michael Fassbender which details the birth of psychoanalysis from Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung’s friendship.

I think that Keira Knightley is one of the best young actresses that England has produced over recent years. And despite the fact she gets acclaim for a large majority of her performances it seems like she is forgotten when she doesn’t have a film out and so is very hard done by. She is certainly a talented actress and I think it’s great that she continues to make British films and resisting the lure of big budget Hollywood blockbusters.

Madagascar 3 Trailer

UK Release Date: 19th October 2012

Here is the trailer for the third chapter of Dreamworks’ brilliant Madagascar series. After escaping to Africa the animals (Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippopotamus) are on the run from authorities as they become Europe’s Most Wanted.

We pick up with our animal friends still trying to get back to their home in New York and their journey has brought them to Monte Carlo looking for the penguins. Their plan inevitably goes wrong and Alex and the rest of the gang have to go on the run. Fortunately, they find the perfect cover and begin travelling around Europe’s biggest cities as part of a travelling circus act. The circus is suffering until our heroes reinvent the act, Madagascar style.

Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer all reprise their roles from the earlier films and they are joined this time, most notably, by Sacha Baron Cohen and Bryan Cranston.

This is a really enjoyable trailer. It captures the humour of the films perfectly and to be honest, it is one of the funniest trailer I have seen for a long time. The jokes are sometimes clever, sometimes obvious, but it really appeals to audiences and will definitely get a lot of people excited about seeing if their heroes can make it back to New York.

Michelle Monaghan is one of my favourite actresses of recent years. She is obviously a very beautiful woman but she also has the acting abilities to match, yet not many people would know who you meant if you mentioned her name. I consider her to be a much underrated and outrageously underused actress.

Michelle, as so many film stars do, began her career with a few small roles on television, most notable in Young Americans and Law and Order. She had small roles in the films Perfume and Unfaithful but her big break came in 2002 when she starred in the hit television series Boston Public.

Boston Public set up Michelle Monaghan’s return to the big screen. She starred in It Runs in the Family (2003), Winter Solstice (2004) and had a small part in spy thriller The Bourne Supremacy (2004). Although she filmed scenes for Constantine and Syriana, they did not make the final cut unfortunately. In 2005 Monaghan appeared in North Country and Mr & Mrs Smith.

2005 also brought us Kiss Kiss Bang Bang which is one of my favourite films. Not only does it feature one of my favourite actors in Robert Downey Jnr. it also features Michelle Monaghan. Here, Monaghan plays an aspiring actress caught up in a murder investigation and she brings the character to life with a sort of alluring innocence and cute humour. This performance gained Monaghan recognition as she was nominated for both a Saturn Award and Satellite Award for her performance.

After appearing in Mission Impossible III, Monaghan made another film that I really enjoy and consider to be one of the best written pieces of drama I have had the pleasure of viewing; the film I am talking about is Gone Baby Gone. Monaghan plays the female protagonist, Angie Gennaro opposite Casey Affleck as the two private detectives investigate the case of a missing child. Monaghan received plenty of acclaim for her performance.

She returned to comedy in The Heartbreak Kid opposite Ben Stiller before making Made of Honor with Patrick Dempsey. Her role in the drama Trucker won her an SDFCS Award for Best Actress and she then went on to star in Eagle Eye and had a part in Due Date, reuniting her with Robert Downey Jnr.

It seems like Michelle Monaghan has a taste for action films as she starred in Source Code, which I thought was a clever, very interesting film and again, she put in a fantastic performance. And before having a miniscule cameo in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol Monaghan made Machine Gun Preacher with Gerard Butler.

Looking over Michelle Monaghan’s career and at her upcoming projects it becomes clear that she is a very talented actress with a wide range of skills; be it comedy, drama, action or thriller you can guarantee that she will deliver a great performance. In my mind it is saddening that not enough people know about this woman. Monaghan has great acting ability and a couple of her films are among my favourites. I hope she can carry on at such a high standard and I recommend anyone to watch some of her films. It is impossible not to fall in love with this woman.

UK Release Date: 29th March 2013.

This is the first trailer of The Host, based on the novel by best selling author Stephanie Meyer, who also wrote the Twilight series of books that have dominated teen cinema for the last couple of years.

The plot is a lot different to Twilight, instead of vampires we now have aliens. Alien beings from another planet have invaded the earth and have begun to take over the bodies and minds of humans. Melanie Stryder’s body has been inhabited by one of the “souls” named Wanderer, but she refuses to fade away.

The film is being led by Saoirse Ronan, a young and upcoming actress who has received critical acclaim over and over again for her performances in Atonement, The Lovely Bones and Hanna. So the casting of Ronan in Stephanie Meyer’s latest adaptation is surely set to guarantee big box office takings.

Of course, this is only a teaser trailer and it does well to get the story of the film across. The images of the eye over and over again, as being the key to human soul, really add to the effect of human bodies being taken over by these aliens. I’m not too sure about the use of a series of stills of people who have all been inhabited as it just comes across as a little sloppy, but then again, there isn’t going to be any footage they can turn into a trailer at such an early stage so perhaps it was the best option.

The trailer may not get new fans too excited for the film but as for people who have read the book, I think they will be very excited at the prospect of this.

Jason Segel in Sex Tape

This is not the latest Hollywood scandal, but instead the How I Met Your Mother star’s upcoming movie. With Jason Segel playing the leading man, the project is currently looking for it’s director and leading lady.

Jason Segel’s co-writer on The Muppets, Nicholas Stoller, was attached to direct Sex Tape but has had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Stoller previously directed Segel in The Five Year Engagement but now, Jake Kasdan is favourite to get the job. Kasdan’s last film was Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz and he has also directed a few episodes of hit TV show, New Girl, so would be a great addition to the project.

The role of leading lady in the comedy is still up for grabs, so who will be making this Sex Tape with Jason Segel? Segel, himself, mentioned Reese Witherspoon as a possible choice, but with the This Means War star recently announcing her third pregnancy she may not want to do this. Emily Blunt seems another favourite; she stars with Segel in The Five Year Engagement and actually lives next door to the actor and the two are good friends. Other rumoured choices include Rose Byrne and Jennifer Garner.

One of these actresses could be Segel's co-star.

It seems like Jason Segel is taking his assault on Hollywood comedy seriously and is quickly trying to become a leading man. With roles in Bad Teacher, I Love You Man and Forgetting Sarah Marshall under his belt, Segel really broke through with mainstream audiences with The Muppets and is looking to use that success to move his career forward.

Segel is a fantastic comedy writer and isn’t too bad as a comedy actor either so he may have what it takes to become one of Hollywood’s best comedic talents.

Sex Tape is scheduled for a 2013 release.