This Week’s Movie News (24-28 Nov)

Star Wars Trailer! Apocalypse cast! Wonder Woman director!

 

Oscar Isaac cast as Apocalypse

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The next installment in the X-Men franchise already has its main villain, Apocalypse. Golden Globe nominated actor, Oscar Isaac, who will also appear in the next Star Wars trilogy in an unknown role, has landed the role of the title character. Variety reported that Isaac has been a favourite candidate from the beginning. The director, Bryan Singer said the following about the role:

“‘Apocalypse’ will have more of the mass destruction that ‘X-Men’ films, to date, have not relied upon. There’s definitely now a character and a story that allow room for that kind of spectacle.”

X-Men: Apocalypse will be released on May 27, 2016

Michelle MacLaren set to direct ‘Wonder Woman’

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Michelle MacLaren has signed up to direct her first feature film which will be no other than the Warner Bros and DC property, Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot. MacLaren is better known for her work in television and has directed some episodes of popular shows like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. It was also reported that MacLaren will not only direct the movie, but will also help develop the script.

Top Trailers of the Week

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Teaser Trailer

We’re still a year away from the movie and the teaser doesn’t give away any clue of the plot but that last shot of the Millennium Falcon with the iconic Star Wars theme has made me so excited. One thing that fans would like about the trailer, it has a more similar vibe to the original trilogy than to the prequels. And let’s be honest, that’s a very good sign for now. There is still hope for this franchise.

‘Pan’ Trailer #1

‘Jurassic World’ Trailer #1

Movie Review: Big Hero 6 (2014)

Title: Big Hero 6

Running time: 105 minutes

Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams

Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, TJ Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr, Génesis Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, James Cromwell

Summary: An action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax, a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”  

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Big Hero 6 is the first film from Disney Animation to come after the successful Frozen. This time the took one of their Marvel properties and put the characters in the futuristic city of San Fransokyo. As you have probably guessed it’s a mixture of San Francisco and Tokyo and it never needs to explain the name because the visuals say everything you need to know. It’s colorful, gorgeous and mesmerizing.

Tadashi and Hiro were wonderful male characters, which is really nice because Disney Animation doesn’t usually get the male characters right. They had a beautiful relation and a great brotherly dynamic. But the big stand out of the film is of course the adorable nurse-robot, Baymax. He is just hilarious and so lovable. The animation on him was perfect.

The other characters from the nerd team didn’t have much development but helped to enrich the story and they had very different and colourful personalities and each one brought something different to the group. I think Honey Lemon was a great role model for girls who are into science. GoGo not so much, though, but I loved that they were at the same level as the guys both in the academic aspect, and in the action and contributed as much to the story. The villain’s motivation was a bit weak and felt like a last-minute decision.

It’s great to see so much racial diversity in a Disney movie and also making science look cool and the movie turns out to be very inspiring. It’s very funny but at the same time deals with great themes like empathy, compassion and knowledge is power. Definitely Big Hero 6 is a movie with a lot of heart that adults will also appreciate. It’s everything you want from a Disney film and I would love to see a sequel to it.

9/10

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Title: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Running time: 123 minutes

Director: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Donald Sutherland

Summary: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and a nation moved by her courage. 

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There is this new thing in Hollywood of splitting the last book in every franchise into two films, which usually means that we get a really good second movie but a slow first part. Does Mockingjay suffer from that? At certain points. There is considerably less action, there are no Games, and it focuses more in political and propaganda themes, but telling an interesting story with more emotion than ever.

Katniss is still our reluctant hero, which sometimes can be a bit frustrating but that only makes her more human and realistic. We’re so used to young adult movies where there is a special kid who has to become the hero, that is so refreshing to see a regular girl be that character. Katniss is not the hero because she is special in any way but because what she represents and inspires. My only complain with the character is that all the focus is on her, which I understand because this is her movie and in the books you’re always inside her head, but if you’re going to do two films at least take time to also develop the characters surrounding her.

The-Hunger-Games-Mockingjay-Part-1-Katniss-Everdeen-2After two movies in the background, Gale finally has the screen-time to be one of the three main characters, though as I just said, he doesn’t have much to do besides being always next to Katniss and Liam Hemsworth doesn’t do much either with the character to make him stand out more.

This is the case with Peeta. Josh Hutcherson doesn’t appear as much as in the other two but gives an amazing performance. His role is very important and makes a shocking impression, especially the last shot was very intense. This time he turned out to be the best part of the movie for me.

Nowadays movies seem to have a lot of problems realizing the villain, giving him a proper motivation and charisma and, while President Snow has always been a great antagonist, this time Donald Sutherland owns it. President Coin was a good counterbalance. Julianne Moore might not be exactly the kind of actress I had in mind but she captured the essence of the character. All her scenes with Philip Seymour Hoffman were really good.

Mockingjay-Part-1-Phillip-Seymour-Hoffman-and-Julianne-MooreAnd I’m so happy they found a way to include Effie. She’s one of the best characters and the most fun to watch and in the third book she basically disappears and that’s something it always annoyed me about the third book.

Sadly Sam Claflin, who was my favourite part of Catching Fire, wasn’t as much in it, still he did really good with what he had. Finnick’s speech towards the end was very tasteful and well handled given the seriousness of the topic. But it’s also a big revelation about President Snow and the sequence that is taking place simultaneously and they kept cutting to was so distracting that I don’t know if people who haven’t read the books will get the importance of it.

From the new additions, Natalie Dormer as Cressida was a stand out for me, though I thought she would have more to do. I liked how her character was and I’m looking forward to see more of her in Mockingjay Part 2.

Mockingjay-cressidacastorRegarding the finale, I always imagined it would end at that point. It was the one that made more sense. Still, and this was one of the things that most concerned me walking in, it leaves you feeling like you’re missing half of the movie.

The story is very faithful to the book and quite inspiring, to the point some countries have decided not to release it. There’s of course a lot of set-up but instead of being tedious it became emotional, making the audience believe the angst and the suffering. At some points it felt a bit repetitive but surprisingly, even though not much happened, it was quick-paced and there weren’t many filler scenes.

In the end, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 might not be the spectacular movie we were hoping for after the amazing Catching Fire but it’s definitely leading up for a potential breath-taking Part 2.

7’5/10

This Week’s Movie News (17-21 Nov)

Pitch Perfect 2 and Cinderella Trailers! Young Jean Grey and Cyclops! Zoolander 2!

Actors considered for young Jean Grey and Cyclops

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X-Men: Apocalypse will take place ten years after the events in Days of Future Past, so the roles of Jean Grey, Cyclops and Storm are going to be recast as they will be teenagers in this story. It’s been reported that Bryan Singer is looking for an A-list actress to play Jean Grey but an unknown actor to play Cyclops. And in the short list for Jean Grey are Chloë Grace Moretz, Elle Fanning and Hailee Steinfeld and for Cyclops Ben Hardy, Charlie Rowe and Timothee Chalamet.

There’s no information yet on who could they be considering for the role of Storm but we need to keep in mind that the roles might not even go to these actors, as is all speculation for the moment.

Penélope Cruz joins ‘Zoolander 2’

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It seems the sequel to Zoolander is moving forward as Penélope Cruz has been confirmed to join the cast, starring opposite Ben Stiller, who will also direct the film again. It hasn’t been confirmed yet if Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell will be coming back to reprise their roles from the first one.

Brenton Thwaites in talks for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’

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It’s been reported that The Giver actor may join Johnny Depp in the next installment in the franchise, as he is in final negotiations to play Henry, a British soldier, replacing the Will Turner character, played by Orlando Bloom in the first three movies.

 

Top Trailers of the Week!

‘Cinderella’ Trailer #1

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Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Title: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Running time: 146 minutes

Director: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland

the-hunger-games-catching-fire-comic-con-trailerThis is going to be a spoiler review because after a year I assume you’ve already seen the movie and if not, you’re probably not going to. Let’s start by saying that Catching Fire is a much better movie than The Hunger Games. Francis Lawrence did a great job taking over Gary Ross, improving some things people didn’t like much about the first one (this time there’s less shaky camera) and capturing genuine emotion in the majority of characters.

I loved how Katniss was affected by what she had to do in the Games. Jennifer Lawrence did an amazing portrayal of the repercussions and brought so much gravitas to her performance, making Katniss feel like a real human-being. Just like in The Hunger Games, she proves to be the core of the movie and the franchise.

ID_D20_08568.dngIt was fantastic to see Peeta finally growing to be an interesting character. As I said in my Hunger Games review, I don’t think it was Josh Hutcherson’s fault that Peeta wasn’t a stand out in the first one but the poor way he was written. But this time he was more in the thick of the action and had also more emotional presence. I even bought the chemistry with Katniss this time around.

My favourite part though was the new character, Finnick. I was so excited when Sam Claflin was cast for the role because he fits perfectly, not only physically, but he also inhabits everything that makes Finnick so cocky but sweet and vulnerable at the same time in the books. Jena Malone was a great addition too and was phenomenal playing this kind of crazy role.

hunger-games-catching-fire-finnick-magsI’m still not fully convinced about Gale’s role in the story besides adding a bit of drama and a love triangle. And in this movie he has even less to do than in the first one. For what I’m seeing in the trailers, though, he will have a more prominent role in Mockingjay Part 1, so we’ll see how he develops when he has more stuff to do.

Regarding the changes from the book, they made more sense and worked better than in The Hunger Games. It would have been nice to see Bonnie and Twill to have an introduction of District 13 and having some tied with the big revelation at the end. Also, Katniss discovering that the arena was a clock was much better realized in the book, here it was just too easy and not very convincing.

But like its predecessor, it never feels as long as it is and the flow of the movie is perfect, even though some scenes needed to be rushed and there’s practically no action in the first half. Catching Fire also does a better job than The Hunger Games at explaining the government, the Capitol and in the world-building in general. The feeling of danger in the arena is not as dreading as it was in the first one, but it still keeps you engaged and caring for the main characters. With breath-taking sequences and a captivating story, Catching Fire comes very close to be a perfect movie.

9’5/10

Movie Review: Interstellar (2014)

Title: Interstellar

Running time: 169 minutes

Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastian, Bill Irwin, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Mackenzie Foy

Summary: With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history; traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.

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It’s difficult to talk about this movie without getting into spoilers, but I’m going to do my best. The major problem Interstellar has is probably the high expectations people will have walking into it, because when Christopher Nolan is involved the bar is set quite high. And, while Interstellar has a very interesting premise and the CGI is simply flawless, it is in the execution where it falls apart and the film overall is not as good as you would have hoped. Is it bad? No. But is it great? No.

Coming right after the McConaugheysance, Mathew McConaughey does a great job at showing the devastation of seeing your family age and making the audience connect with his character and understand the hard decisions he has to make. Mackenzie Foy, who plays young Murph is exceptionally good and the father-daughter relation was very well portrayed and is actually one of the things that keeps the movie together. On the other hand, the son was just a waste of screen time.

Anne Hathaway’s character, though, is quite inconsistent with her motivation and I never really got to care about her. And is a case of a poor-written female character. Thankfully Jessica Chastain has a more dimensional role and was really good specially in her video messages. I would have liked to see more of her on earth and explore more how the world is dying because, even though they keep telling you, I never got the feeling of the world being at stake.

And that’s another big problem. Because the premise is so complicated, everything needs to be explained and this leads to a lot of scientific talk between McConaughey and Hathaway. It’s a movie where you have to pay a lot of attention. If you zone off for a moment, you might be lost for the rest of it. And beware, it’s a really long movie.

In the end, Interstellar is an ambitious movie but Christopher Nolan was overreaching and at certain points it feels like he was improvising as he wrote the script, not really knowing where he was going. It tries to be so grounded in science but can’t follow that path towards the third act. And the ending is not emotional enough to make a huge impact after everything.

But, whether you like it or not, you can’t deny this is a must-watch film and an extraordinary visual experience, beautiful to look at and leads to very different opinions. There may be many misses with the story but is only because Nolan had the guts to make really bold choices and that is something that deserves appreciation and recognition.

7’5/10

This Week’s Movie News (10-14 Nov)

New Age of Ultron Trailer! Suicide Squad! Daniel Bruhl in Cap 3!

Margot Robbie and Jared Leto rumoured for ‘Suicide Squad’

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The rumours regarding Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn have been going on for several weeks now and after a brief consideration at Cara Delevigne, the possibilities has considerably increased in the last week after Collider confirmed Margot Robbie’s involvement in Suicide Squad. There’s no official confirmation from Warner Bros. though.

Another actor who has been heavily rumoured for the film lately is this year’s Oscar winner, Jared Leto. Reports say that he’s being eyed for no other than the role of the Joker.

What do you think about this? Do you like Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn? And do you like the idea of re-introducing the Joker or do you think is too soon?

Matt Damon confirms return to ‘Bourne’ franchise

Film Title: The Bourne Ultimatum

After Matt Damon said over the summer that he was open to return to the character, now the actor has confirmed that Jason Bourne and director Paul Greengrass are coming back for the fifth installment.

“It’ll be in 2016 when the movie will actually come out. Paul Greengrass is going to do another one and that’s all I ever said. I just needed him to say yes.”

Jeremy Renner took over the franchise as Aaron Cross in 2012 in Bourne Legacy, which Universal pictures seems to be also developing a sequel for, instead of doing a crossover.

Christoph Waltz cast as Bond villain

Christoph Waltz

Chiwetel Ejiofor was initially considered to play the part of James Bond’s nemesis but according to recent reports it’s two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz the one who has landed the role. The production source said that “Waltz will play a significant role in the still untitled Bond 24 movie that will begin filming early next month. It’s not immediately evident whether the part is a friend, a foe, or a bit of both.”

Daniel Bruhl confirmed as a villain in ‘Captain America: Civil War’

The Weinstein Company & Netflix's 2014 Golden Globes After Party Presented By Bombardier, FIJI Water, Lexus, Laura Mercier, Marie Claire And Yucaipa Films - Red Carpet

Marvel announced on Friday that the German actor is going to be one of the villains in the third Captain America film. Even though he will not be the main villain in Civil War, Variety has reported that he could potentially be the main antagonist in Doctor Strange, which will come out also in 2016.

Producer Kevin Feige said the following about the casting:

“With Daniel’s ability to deliver intense, nuanced performances, we knew we had found yet another great actor to share the screen with some of our biggest heroes,”

And regarding the Civil War storyline:

“It’s a big storyline, this is the Civil War of the cinematic universe, inspired by comic book universe, but the Civil War that’s based on all of the other films, particularly ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’.”

Top Trailers of the Week!

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Trailer #2

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Movie Review: The Hunger Games (2012)

Title: The Hunger Games

Running time: 142 minutes

Director: Gary Ross

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland

Film Review The Hunger Games

Based on the trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games was the kick-starter of the new franchise that achieved to get to the level of Twilight at the box office. After the great response from both general moviegoers and critics, it’s been several the studios that have tried to emulate the success by adapting popular young adult novels like The Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, Percy Jackson and more recently Divergent and The Maze Runner. Still, not one of them have managed to be the hit The Hunger Games is and in some cases they haven’t even accomplished to get a sequel.

A major part of its success relies in the iconic lead character. Katniss Everdeen is the heroine of the story and is realistically and mesmerizingly well portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, who embodies all the qualities of the character from the book. The only aspect that for me wasn’t good enough was the chemistry between her and Peeta. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark is fine but some of the changes from the book regarding his character, kind of diminish his role and made him come across as needy.

With Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna and of course, the wonderful Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson as Effie Trinket and Haymitch Abernathy in supporting roles, the movie catched the essence of all these characters and what makes them so interesting and lovable despite their flamboyant or surly personalities.

I don’t think you need to read the books to appreciate the movie but it definitely helps to fill the gaps. The fist time I watched it I hadn’t read the books yet and some aspects of the Games and the Capitol weren’t clear enough.

It doesn’t feel long and the pacing is remarkably good given that the Games don’t start until an hour through the movie but it keeps you interested. The violence, even though it can’t be too explicit because of the rating, the fact that it’s kids killing other kids makes it intense enough. There was maybe too much shaky camera but it also added to the mess the Games are. Gary Ross did a great job and The Hunger Games is a perfect example of how the first installment in a big franchise should be.

8’5/10

Movie Review: John Wick (2014)

Title: John Wick

Running time: 96 minutes

Director: David Leitch and Chad Stahelski

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alfie Allen, Michael Nyqvist, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe

Summary: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.  

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It’s been a while since an action movie was this good. With mind-blowing stunts, John Wick is not just cheesy action and humor but a thrilling experience. It may lack of a complex story and well-rounded characters but when you get into a movie like this you’re not expecting a deep story but to have a great time, and that’s exactly what you get.

Keanu Reeves might not be an amazing actor but when put in the right role he can definitely surprise and even in the occasions where the dialogue isn’t great, he delivers it in a convincing way. And let’s just say, John Wick is such a badass. In the trailer his motivation may come across a bit cheap but it fits really well. By the way, that was the cutest dog ever.

Also the actors in supporting roles are very well utilized. Alfie Allen, whom I love in these kind of roles (yes, I’m one of the few who actually like Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones), is just a brilliant actor. Not to forget his on-screen father, Michael Nyqvist, Willem Dafoe and Adrianne Palicki in a smaller role but making the most of it.

One thing I found fascinating about this movie was the world-building. For example, everything involving The Continental, the hotel for hitmen with all its rules. I would watch a spin-off with Ian McShane just about that place.

My only let down with the film would be that I would have preferred a messier ending, which for a moment it seems it’s going to go down that path but then takes a different turn.

An action-packed movie that doesn’t fall into some of the genre’s clichés like the slow motion during the action scenes or turning the anti-hero quest into something noble. This is a quest for revenge and that’s enough for a story if you know how to do it and certainly John Wick does.

8’5/10

This Week’s Movie News (3-7 Nov)

Star Wars Title! Hobbit Trailer! Loki in Age of Ultron!

 

‘Star Wars Episode VII’ Title Revealed

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Principal photography for the next Star Wars film, has been completed and to celebrate it, Disney announced the title of the seventh installment in the franchise: The Force Awakens. This could well mean that the trailer or at least a teaser is not far away. Maybe Disney decides to release it in front of Into the Woods, which will hit theater in December, a whole year before JJ Abrams’ film comes out.

Idris Elba confirms Heimdall and Loki’s appearance in ‘Age of Ultron’

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Marvel and Joss Whedon must be really angry after the actor confirmed that he has indeed shot a scene for the Avengers sequel with Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki). We don’t know yet if he refered to a scene of the actual movie or if it will be an post-credit scene as it had been rumoured for a while. Whatever the case, it’s always great to see Loki back!

Christian Bale drops Steve Jobs’ role

Apple Jobs

If we announced last week that Christian Bale was going to play Steve Jobs in Danny Boyle’s next film this week it seems the actor has drop the role because he thinks he’s not right for the part. Leonardo DiCaprio had previously been in line to play the Apple co-founder before dropping off as well. It was reported that Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Bradley Cooper had been also under consideration, though is now Michael Fassbender the one rumoured to be in talks for the part.

‘Now You See Me 2’ synopsis released

One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their mind-bending spectacles, the Four Horsemen resurface in Now You See Me 2 only to find themselves face to face with a new enemy who enlists them to pull off their most dangerous heist yet.

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Lionsgate has also confirmed Daniel Radcliffe’s character, Walter, probably the main antagonist, and Lizzy Caplan who will play Lula, replacing Isla Fisher’s Henley Reeves as the female lead. The other new addition is Taiwanese actor Jay Chou.

‘Toy Story 4’ Confirmed

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Disney Pixar confirmed this week that Buzz and Woody will be returning to our screens in June 2017 by the hand of John Lasseter, who directed the first two movies. Now, the studio must have a lot of faith in the success of the film as they couldn’t have picked a more competitive time of the year. Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon 3 will hit theaters just the week before and Universal Pictures’ Despicable Me 3 two weeks after. It will definitely be an exciting month for animation.

Top Trailers of the Week!

‘Minions’

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