Tag Archive: star trek into darkness


Now You See Me Review

A star studded cast embark on a game of cat and mouse as the FBI and Interpol attempt to catch four magicians who use the disguise of their magic show to conduct bank heists and give the stolen money to their audiences. This band of magicians are known as The Four Horsemen and are each solo artists brought together by a mysterious hooded figure and a series of tarot cards. When together the group pull off these bank heists as a way of being allowed entry to an exclusive group of magicians known as ‘The Eye’.

“The closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see”

The film opens every bit as you might expect: introducing the four characters separately, allowing for the audience to quickly get to know them and acknowledge their traits before they are put into the group dynamic. Up first is street magician J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) whose opening trick is cleverly conducted to work on the audience as well; then comes Merrit McKinney (Woody Harrelson), a mentalist who uses his ‘gift’ to find out dirty secrets about people and extort them of their money. The only female member of the group is Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), an escapologist and former assistant to J. Daniel Atlas. These three are joined by the only one of the magicians whose actual tarot card links to the Four Horsemen of mythology: Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) who seems to be more like a con artist than magician. These opening scenes are every bit as exciting as you would hope and introduce our heroes as being likeable characters, so much so that it has you gripped form the very beginning.

Jump one year later. Now we’re in Las Vegas watching the Four Horsemen put on a show under the watchful eye of benefactor Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) and magician defrauder Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). Here it is that the magicians pull off the bank heist that gets them noticed by the FBI. However, what the audience will notice is just how long this scene drags out and unfortunately it isn’t the only one. As with the case with real life magic shows, the magicians tend to lengthen things out, giving long speeches and explaining what they’re going to do before they do something completely different. While this may be all fine and well at real magic shows, when you have less than two hours on a cinema screen some of the waffle has to be cut down.

“These guys, they’re tricky”

But then that’s why Jesse Eisenberg impresses the most. If it wasn’t for Eisenberg’s charisma then perhaps Now You See Me would run the risk of being slightly dull, but every time Eisenberg appears on screen he hastens up the pace (if not only for his fast talking) but he inhabits the character; it feels like Eisenberg is the only one who has done his research and knows about magicians… which isn’t really surprising considering he was the first name attached to the project.

The other horsemen each have their own moments of glory (although arguably Isla Fisher’s comes at the beginning and never really rears it’s head again) with Harrelson providing a few sporadic laughs throughout, while Dave Franco provides one of the most exciting sequences of the piece in a fight scene with FBI agent Mark Ruffalo where trick mirrors, slight of hand and playing cards all come into use. It really stands out as one of the best action scenes of the summer which is remarkable considering the strength and special effects of the other blockbusters such as Iron Man 3 or Star Trek Into Darkness.

“Want to know how they did it? Just say the magic word”

While each individual actor gets their moment in the limelight at one point or another, it is a slight downfall that the four central characters seem to have very little chemistry with one another. The conversations at times seem jarred and the jokes not as free flowing as you would expect. Perhaps the worst part of the film is the completely unbelievable relationship between Mark Ruffalo’s character and the Interpol agent played by Melanie Laurent. Even the two actors don’t seem invested in that storyline.

Throughout the film there are (almost too many) hints towards the fact that there is going to be a twist so part of the fun comes from guessing what that twist is going to be. There is a little foreshadowing throughout but the reveal should still come as a surprise. It’s a great idea, but arguably poorly executed which is where it is going to be let down. However, this is just a small problem compared to the plot holes scattered throughout the plot and the pointlessness of Michael Caine’s character.

“First rule of magic: always be the smartest guy in the room”

Had it been released at any other time of the year Now You See Me could have very easily run the risk of bombing in the box office. But this is summer and people expect certain things from a summer blockbuster: they want to laugh, be entertained, see great action sequences, wonderful set pieces and big budget effects. And that’s what Now You See Me can deliver. It has it’s flaws but all in all is a thoroughly enjoyable film that can be filed under ‘hit’ for director Louis Leterrier.

My Rating: 6/10

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‘The Iceman’ Trailer

UK Release Date: 7th June 2013.

Stars: Ariel Vroman (director), Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer, James Franco, Stephen Dorff

Plot: The true story of Richard Kuklinski, the notorious contract killer and family man. When finally arrested in 1986, neither his wife nor daughters have any clue about his real profession.

Fortunately, this isn’t an X-Men spin off in the same vein as Wolverine but about the useless Bobby Drake; it’s very different and much better than that. In a summer that’s going to be packed full of blockbusters like Iron Man 3, Fast & Furious 6, Man of Steel, Star Trek Into Darkness and Pacific Rim, The Iceman is going to be a film that sneaks under the radar.

The Iceman is a thriller that has been well received at film festivals and features a pretty good cast. Other than the fact that Chris Evans looks like the creepiest ice-cream man ever to walk the planet, everything looks great!

Despite being a contract killer, you are clearly going to care about Richard Kuklinski; just from the trailer you can tell this is going to be a great character. I can’t wait to see this one.

UK Release Date: 17th May 2013

Stars: JJ Abrams (director), Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Alice Eve.

Plot: After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

The poster for Star Trek Into Darkness was released earlier this week and that has been followed with this brilliant, action packed new trailer. There’s not a lot of things we can learn from this but one thing is that Cumberbatch’s unknown villain is out for “vengeance”, therefore making for a very interesting back story for the villain to have.

We don’t see too much of the crew of the Enterprise in their usual colour coded uniforms in the trailer and that might be an indication to the fact that Into Darkness may not be taking place in space that much. It seems as though a lot of the action will in fact take place on Earth.

This trailer does it’s job perfectly. Star Trek fans across the world have been waiting for their first real glimpse of action from the sequel and they will not be disappointed with this!

“In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys it” – that is the true story synopsis of The Monuments Men, to be directed by George Clooney. Clooney will also be starring in the film alongside a rather impressive cast: Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban. The latest big name actor to join the project is good friend and previous co-star of Clooney’s Matt Damon. Clooney is also co-writing the feature and it is set to start shooting in Europe at the beginning of 2013.

It has long been confirmed speculation, although not actually confirmed, that Jamie Foxx would be playing the main villain Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Well this week it has been announced that what everyone already knew IS true. Foxx seems very excited to be playing the role and he should make for a good villain. Another piece of casting news was announced this week regarding the sequel and that is that Dane DeHaan, of Chronicle fame, will indeed be playing Harry Osborn. Like Foxx, DeHaan has been linked with the role for a while now so it is good to get some solid confirmation about it.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger has made a swift return to acting since leaving his post as the governor of California, starring in The Expendables 2 and having an incredible four films slated for release in 2013. However, he will also be returning to Conan for The Legend of Conan. The Legend of Conan will not be a reboot or a remake but a catch-up with the old character, a greater hero story apparently. It will completely ignore the Jason Momoa update that was released earlier this year and absolutely flopped. Sylvester Stallone, a good friend of Arnie’s, has relatively good success when he brought back his famous characters (Rocky and Rambo) to the big screen a few years ago and Schwarzenegger will be hoping to do the same with Conan.

 

And how could I ignore the two posters that were released this week for two of the most hyped movies of the next year: Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel.

Superman Into Darkness

This week’s news comes from three of the biggest franchises in the geek world right now. Let’s start with Star Trek Into Darkness. Ever since LOST JJ Abrams has been known for keeping his projects very low key in terms of information that fans know and this has been true of the upcoming sequel to his Star Trek reboot. We’ve seen photos from set and we know Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the villain. This week an official synopsis has finally been released for the sequel:

When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis.

With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

This obviously still doesn’t give away any identity to Cumberbatch’s villain but it seems, from the synopsis, that Cumberbatch could be playing an old rival of Kirk’s from within the organisation of Starfleet that has become this ‘one man weapon of mass destruction’. Either way, it still sounds fantastic.

 

Next up. There has been a lot of talk about characters returning to the X-Men franchise for Days of Future Past. With the return of Bryan Singer as director of the franchise it seemed every more likely. Already James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and Michael Fassbender are set to reprise their roles but now we also know that Patrick Stewart AND Ian McKellen are both returning! Bryan Singer has also said that there are “more announcements to be made” which could hint at several other returning characters from the original trilogy. It has long been a source of speculation but these announcements have absolutely made it clear that this will tie together all of the strands of the film series so far (hopefully). And it will be great to see two Xaviers and Magnetos on screen (especially since Stewart and McKellen do it so well).

They’re two of the most lovable old fellows in the acting world.

 

And finally.. this is just a rumour for now but as we all know there is a Justice League film in the works at Warner Bros. and this week Zack Snyder hinted that his Superman reboot Man of Steel could be tied in to it all. However, that’s not the news I’m bothered about. The rumour doing the rounds this week comes from an insider that has said that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in line to take up the Batman cowl for the superhero team up that won’t be as good as The Avengers. Obviously, if he did this would be a natural progression as JGL’s character (Christopher Nolan’s Robin) in The Dark Knight Rises, it is hinted, takes on the mantle of Batman after Bruce Wayne hangs up his job. However, it is still unknown whether Justice League will respect what happened in The Dark Knight trilogy (probably not) so JGL could still play Bruce Wayne if this was to be done, but like I said… for now this is just a rumour.

UK Release Date: 14th February 2013.

Stars: John Moore (director), Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Amauray Nolasco, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Cole Hauser, Sebastian Koch

Plot: John McClane, who finds himself in Moscow, Russia and gets caught up in a terrorist plot with his estranged son.

A Good Day to Die Hard goes up against Star Trek Into Darkness for the worst name for a sequel next year and probably wins this contest, although on the big screen they will both be aiming for very different audiences. Here is the first tease of the fifth instalment of John McClane’s journeys.

This sequel has cast a couple of people I am very excited about. First up we have Jai Courtney playing McClane’s estranged son John ‘Jack’ McClane Jr and this is a fine casting choice. I have only seen Courtney once before and that was in the first series of television show Spartacus: Blood and Sand where he played Spartacus’ best friend Varro and it was obvious from this series that Courtney has enough ability to hold his own in an action film and he was clearly built for the genre. Then we have Amauray Nolasco, best known as Prison Break‘s Sucre who you couldn’t help but like and feel sorry for – my favourite character.

I’m not a big fan of the Die Hard series (aside from the original) or Bruce Willis in general but I think this teaser gives enough in its minute to entice old fans back to the cinema again; there is plenty of quick action scenes and a line from Willis at the end which I think is supposed to be a bit funny but I couldn’t really tell. And in true action film fashion there’s a quick glimpse at a woman showing off her body for no apparent reason.

I don’t think people who like Die Hard go and see these films for the story, they just want to see Bruce Willis killing foreigners and blowing shit up and there is clearly going to be plenty of that here. The addition of Courtney as McClane’s son also gives the franchise a chance of continuation once Willis departs.

This week’s news is all about some of the biggest franchises in cinemas today.

A couple of months back the X-Men: First Class sequel was given an official name. X-Men: Days of Future Past. For anyone who doesn’t know, Days of Future Past is a hugely successful and incredibly popular storyline among comic book fans and it deals with an alternative future where all mutants have been killed but for Shadowcat and Wolverine. An older Kitty Pryde transfers her mind into the younger, present-day Kitty Pryde, who brings the X-Men to prevent a fatal moment in history which triggers anti-mutant hysteria. Anyway, that’s not news. The news is that The Wolverine (sequel to the dreadful X-Men Origins: Wolverine) which was originally thought to be a stand alone film may not be as stand alone as everyone assumed. Set pictures have been released that feature a logo for the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning which would suggest that the film takes place in the future and Logan has opened up a new school for mutants in memory of Jean Grey. This could bridge the two strands of the X-Men franchises together and if done well it could be absolutely incredible and would allow for actors and characters from the two strands could both appear in the new film. Although a big factor in the success of this happening would be how it is written. Nothing has been confirmed as of now but when asked how The Wolverine would fit in to the X-Men timeline director James Mangold said on twitter “I can’t answer you now nor could I answer you before, but after everything is over I can answer, and that, in itself may be an answer”. Cryptic much?

James Cameron is currently busy preparing to make Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 which are being shot back to back, a brave move but considering how well the original film did back in 2009 you have to expect a success, especially with the time being taken on this project. However, this week Cameron has been talking about a fourth Avatar film. The director has said that after this original trilogy the fourth film and future ones would be prequels, in the same vein as Star Wars. There is obviously a long way to go before Avatar 4 even starts being written but if it does get made then hopefully it won’t be quite as bad as The Phantom Menace.

The rest of the news is pretty short, I must say that this week I have been rather excited about the X-Men news more than anything else. But anyway, the biggest other stories of the week involve future James Bond and Star Trek films. Daniel Craig has signed on to star in two more James Bond films which means he will be playing Bond probably into his 50s. And the new Star Trek sequel now has an official title: Star Trek Into Darkness. Yes, that’s really what it’s going to be called, and this is nothing but a major disappointment. I was expecting a much better title for what is one of the most highly anticipated movies of next year.