Flying Solo: The Creative Differential

Hollywood lurched to the announcement this week that hot-property directing duo Chris Miller and Phil Lord – responsible for huge crowd favourite films like 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie – had parted ways with Lucasfilm and the stand-alone Han Solo film, with only weeks left in principal photography. Typically, the press release cited the less-than-sexy “Creative differences” as the reason for the surprise split. Less than 48 hours later, Lucasfilm announced that Ron Howard, the man behind Rush, The DaVinci Code and In The Heart Of The Sea, would assume the role as solo director on the project; the speed at which this all transpired not only raises questions in and of itself, but fails to answer some burning questions leftover from the removal of Lord/Miller.

Continue reading…

Movie Review – A Cure For Wellness

Director :  Gore Verbinski
Year Of Release :   2016
Principal Cast :  Dane DeHaan, Jason Issacs, Mia Goth, Adrian Schiller, Celia Imrie, Ashok Mandanna, Harry Groener, Godehard Giese, Tomas Norstrom, Carl Lumbly, Lisa Banes, Tom Flynn.
Approx Running Time :   146 Minutes
Synopsis:  An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem.

*********

I made it to the end of A Cure For Wellness. I sat there, bemused. I had this nagging, gnawing sensation in the back of my mind that I’d seen a film just like this before. I couldn’t place it, though, so I pushed that thought aside and sat down to write my review. I got half way through my review, before I realised where I’d seen A Cure For Wellness before. Or at least, seen it echoed. Think about it: you’ve seen A Cure For Wellness too, you probably just don’t know it. Sure, it’s spruced up by Verbinski’s crisp, rigid direction and production value that evokes the chilliest of horror classics, but with a few minor twists it could pass for a sequel film to one of Hollywood’s true masters.

Continue reading…

Trailer Trash! – Daddy’s Home 2 (Trailer #1)

Look, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Daddy’s Home – frankly, I thought the film sucked so badly it wasn’t worth even finishing – but I’ll be damned if I didn’t chuckle at this new trailer for the sequel, imaginatively named Daddy’s Home 2. Throw in Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell’s fathers’ respectively, and you have all the makings of a comedy classic (IMO). Check out the trailer after the jump!

Continue reading…

Movie Review – Limelight (1952)

Director : Charles Chaplin
Year Of Release :   1952
Principal Cast :  Charles Chaplin, Claire Bloom, Nigel Bruce, Buster Keaton, Sydney Earl Chaplin, Norman Lloyd, Andre Eglevsky, Marjorie Bennett, Wheeler Dryden, Melissa Hayden. (Uncredited: Geraldine Chaplin, Josephine Chaplin, Charles Chaplin Jr, Michael Chaplin, Oona O’Neill)
Approx Running Time :  137 Minutes
Synopsis:   A fading comedian and a suicidal ballet dancer must look to each other to find meaning and hope in their lives.

********

 Encapsulating the duopoly of Hollywood’s fascination with ageing, Limelight is a contrast in focus. Charlie Chaplin was entering the latter stages of his career, while co-star Claire Bloom gave one of the all-time great major film debuts; Chaplin’s American career was cut off following accusations of Communist sympathies during the Red Scare, which resulted in him being banned from re-entering the United States, and Bloom’s post-Limelight career was a blossom of stardom and celebrity. The film is one of Chaplin’s rare “serious” films, largely bereft of the laughs and the comedic tones of his silent films and instead giving us an actor working hard to establish a more mature style, and so viewers should approach Limelight with that in mind.

Continue reading…

Movie Review – John Wick: Chapter 2

Director :  Chad Stahelski
Year Of Release :   2017
Principal Cast :  Keanu Reeves, Riccardio Scamarcio, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Bridget Moynahan, Lance Reddick, Thomas Sadoski, David Patrick Kelly, Peter Stormare, Franco Nero, Peter Serafinowicz, Claudia Gerini, Tobias Segal.
Approx Running Time :   122 Minutes
Synopsis:  After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

*********

Pulsating, violent, epic: the second of a reputed trilogy of John Wick films lands upon our screens in an orgy of gunplay, bruising combat sequences and an admirable amount of exotic global locations. In many ways mirroring the hyperbolic carnage of the Raid films, John Wick: Chapter 2 takes the original movie’s relatively concise intimacy and expands on the world in which Keanu Reeves’ eponymous title character exists, that of “gentleman” assassins and codes of honour, giving it urgency and repercussions beyond Wick’s puppy’s unfortunate demise.

Continue reading…

Trailer Trash – Black Panther

Marvel’s iconic black hero, Black Panther, debuted with great fanfare in Captain America: Civil War. Now, he’s set to appear in his own solo film, and the studio has released an interesting first teaser trailer! Enjoy this African-set hero in his first full-fledged big-screen adventure!

Continue reading…

Movie Review – Boss Baby, The

Director :   Tom McGrath
Year Of Release :  2017
Principal Cast :  Alec Baldwin, Miles Bakshi, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Conrad Vernon, James McGrath, David Soren, Nina Zoe Bakshi, Tom McGrath, Walt Dohrn.
Approx Running Time :   98 Minutes
Synopsis:   A suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.

*******

Let’s face it: the idea of an animated, baby Alec Baldwin riffing on the same character he played in Glengarry Glen Ross, only without the cursing, was always going to sell to a studio executive. Sadly for that executive – or whoever it was that greenlit this turd – the end result is a film that might earn back it’s budget and then some, but will have the cultural impact of a lower Top 40 pop song or a direct to DVD indie film. Aimed directly at children, The Boss Baby is slick, eye catching and noisy, but lacks the adult-oriented thematic panache of Pixar or recent Disney to really give it any staying power. And in a world dominated by a glut of new film releases vying for eyeballs, or a studio hoping to catch the Next Big Franchise Thing, this film was never going to last long.

Continue reading…

Movie Review – Wonder Woman

Director :   Patty Jenkins
Year Of Release :  2017
Principal Cast :  Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock, Lilly Aspell, Emily Carey.
Approx Running Time :   141 Minutes
Synopsis:   Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, and a trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

*********

The fourth of DC Comics’ DCEU franchise following Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, it’s fair to say there’s a fair bit resting on the outcome of Gal Gadot’s solo film Wonder Woman. Whereas neither Zack Snyder’s or David Ayer’s films were met with overwhelming critical praise – and in the case of Suicide Squad, the exact opposite – incoming director Patty Jenkins, last seen guiding Charlize Theron to Oscar glory in Monster, had the chance to summon all the goodwill for this iconic comic book character and deliver a rousing spectacle film that would right the hitherto wobbly ship that was Warner Bros attempt to mimic Marvel’s successful MCU. Gadot was rightly singled out as one of the truly positive notes in Batman V Superman; now she has the chance to… er, flex her muscles in her own movie and showcase the best DC had to offer.

Continue reading…