Whoa! This has been a big week in movie trailers. The new Man of Steel trailer is up, The Lone Ranger got its first full trailer, and the Tom Cruise-starring Oblivion set its first trailer on an unsuspecting public. In addition to this, a promising-looking upcoming Brit-crime film Welcome to the Punch brought out its own action heavy trailer, in order to remind us that us Brits don’t only make worthy period dramas. But this is all beaten by my personal favourite, Pacific Rim.
Tom Cruise plays a droid repairman (one of the last few on Earth) in Oblivion. A post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi directed by Joseph Kosinski, the guy who made… er… Tron: Legacy. Still, the early footage looks inviting, with strong production design, and as an avowed Tom Cruise fan, I still think the guy can make a comeback. Even if there’s a credibility gap when it comes to imagining him as a droid repairman.
Despite Zach Snyder’s reputation as a brash, showy, slo-mo merchant, the early footage for Man of Steel has retained a restrained, thoughtful, obtuse quality. Could it the steady hand of exec producer Christopher Nolan on the tiller? His brother Jonathan and David Goyer shaping the story? A young up-and-comer in Henry Cavill in the starring role? Or could it be that Zach Snyder finally grew up? We’ll know when we see it in 2014.
The Lone Ranger shouldn’t work. On paper, I mean. A remake of a 1930s radio serial and 1950s TV show? Get of out of town! Still, the Jerry Bruckheimer factor turned Pirates of the Caribbean from a theme park ride to a cinematic behemoth, Armie Hammer has the talent to carry a franchise, and it has kooky Johnny Depp… er, being kooky Johnny Depp, by the looks of things. It has an interesting visual style, as well it might, with Gore Verbinski on board. As maligned as the Pirates sequels are, it’s undeniable that Gore Verbinski has an interesting visual style, and hopefully he can marry it to the kind of storytelling he displayed in the first Pirates movie, or the still criminally under-seen Rango.
As an initially unlikely action star, James McAvoy showed some action chops in Wanted and showed he likes a genre pic with X-Men: First Class. Here, he plays an unhinged detective given one last chance at redemption in this anticipated Brit-thriller gathering plenty of buzz. Oh yeah, and it also stars Mark Strong. If that doesn’t excite you, I feel sorry for you.
And finally, we have Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Del Toro got sick of the pace of making The Hobbit, and went and make this, and boy, does it look exciting. We have monsters from the sea, giant robots, future Earth, Idris Elba, and…. GUILLERMO DEL TORO. In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m a little bit excited.
Excited by these films? Maybe you hate them? Either way, feel free to tell us why in the comments.
This is our first podcast, and the first in a series of exclusive interviews with Tony Guyan, Production Manager of the classic 1984 BBC children’s series The Box of Delights.
Pull your chair closer to the fire, help yourself to a warm mince pie and maybe a glass of something and listen as Tony serves up anecdotes on locations, cast and crew, giving a nostalgic and unique insight into what it was like to be part of a bit of TV magic.
Please do let us know what you think and Happy Christmas from RBTV!
Quentin Tarantino has a lot to answer for. In his wake has come a slew of verbose, pop-culture referencing crime flicks, trash-aesthetic exploitations films, and a dystopian cornucopia of film student imitators. Seven Psychopaths, writer-director Martin McDonagh’s second film, will inevitably be grouped with said postmodern post-Tarantino crime movies, but it deserves more than that.
Describing the film’s plot is something of an exercise in futility, but here goes: struggling screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) reluctantly accepts input on his abortive screenplay, Seven Psychopaths, from his seemingly-unhinged dognapping friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell). Throw into the mix Christopher Walken’s character, Hans, as Billy’s partner-in-crime, and psychotic gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a plan that gradually unravels, and a whole lot of violence, and you have a difficult plot to summarise.
The dark sense of humour McDonagh exhibited with In Bruges is evident throughout here, with violent punchlines to profane jokes. Like Tarantino’s movies, McDonagh’s films seem to inhabit a similar but different world to ours, that owes as much influence to the movies as it does to real life. Just like most films about writers, this film is ultimately about the process of writing, as Colin Farrell’s character struggles with writer’s block, and writer’s boozing. With moments that blur the line between Marty’s screenplay and the reality of the film itself, some might find the narrative too confusing or obscure for their tastes, but ultimately the film’s internal logic holds true.
Colin Farrell is as effective as he was in In Bruges, showing the same instinctive feel for McDonagh’s dialogue, and comic acting that often mark out his best performances. The rest of the cast are uniformly excellent, never better exemplified than in Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken’s elliptical, violence-free Western-style standoff in a hospital waiting room. However, the film itself is stolen right out from under the noses of everyone else by Sam Rockwell. His gleeful, eccentric performance gives the film its energy, and continues his fine career.
This film is violent. At times, distractingly so, with its graphic nature potentially unsettling even those who are familiar with his prior work. Catholic themes of crime and punishment pervade throughout, also something McDonagh fans will be well-versed in, but there is a streak of violence against women that could potentially leave a nasty taste in the mouth. Although women are shown perpetrating violence themselves, and violence against women is repeatedly condemned by characters, actions speak louder than words. Do I think Martin McDonagh is sexist? No. Did I find some moments troubling? Yes. But I think that is ultimately the point with this story, slight as it is. Your tolerance for violence and appreciation of film references will be key to your overall enjoyment of the film, and it is stimulating to see such a unique voice able to get his work released with some A-list stars. See it, you need to have an opinion on this.
Although Ashton Kutcher may look the part in this picture I have my reservations about his acting ability. Don’t get me wrong I think Ashton Kutcher is good in comedy roles, but this is a different kettle of fish. Here he as to portray a popular figure known all around the world, for some people I don’t think it is a stretch to say they saw him as some sort of technological messiah. The script is in safe hands with Aaron Sorkin who has a proven track record in dealing with stories of modern technological events with his work on The Social Network. In a recent interview Sorkin has revealed he the film will be made of just three acts all set before Jobs is due to go and stage and reveal a new technology. An interesting concept, after reading his biography I wonder how in just three scenes they will be able to give you the whole picture of a very complicated man though?
The first Monsters Inc has always been one of my favourite Pixar films. Mainly because of the inclusion of Billy Crystal and his wise cracks, but also the pacing and the story was immense. I always remember seeing the fur effects for the first time and being blown away. Monsters University may be the return to form that Disney Pixar have been waiting for.
With the forthcoming and highly anticipated spring 2013 release of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ prequel ‘Oz: The Great and the Powerful’ directed by Sam Raimi (Spider Man, The Evil Dead) it would be worth reflecting on Disney’s forgotten 1980’s predecessor ‘Return to Oz’ which was dismissed by audiences and critics alike when it was released back in 1985 but has since gained a strong cult following over the years from loyal fans of the L Frank Baum’s Oz books and of films from the 1980’s. It has since inspired the Scissor Sisters to write a song, ‘Return to Oz and numerous blogs and tributes have been written by fans all over the world. Here we look at how a film with such promise became a massive box office flop resulting in one of Hollywood’s greats Walter Murch never directing a film again and why it deserves to be considered a cult classic of the 1980’s.
The idea and for making another Oz film initially came from Murch himself in the early 1980’s who had previously won an Oscar for Best Sound Design in 1979 for Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’. Disney owned all the rights to the Oz books at the time and despite Murch never having directed a full length feature before Disney wanted to proceed and bought into the idea of making another Oz film.
Murch’s script was adapted from Baum’s books, ‘The Marvellous Land of Oz’ 1904 and ‘Ozma of Oz’ 1907 but his own ideas were clearly shaping the story. He saw his film as ‘one side’ of Oz and as un-official sequel of the beloved ‘Wizard of Oz’ and not a direct sequel and his Oz was a very different Oz to what Disney and film audiences had originally anticipated. There were strong connotations to the original Oz film such as the yellow brick road, the ruby slippers, Dorothy’s friend such as Tik Tok (Tin man) and Scarecrow, the Emerald City. However, Murch’s story was a much darker re-interpretation of Baum’s stories. Firstly it wasn’t a musical, this film was much more sombre in tone with much more dramatic realism throughout the film. Within the first twenty minutes we see Dorothy (played by 9 year old Fairuza Balk) unable to sleep as she keeps dreaming of Oz. She is subsequently whisked off to hospital by her Aunt Em (Piper Laurie) for electric shock treatment by creepy Dr Worley to help her sleep and this was only the beginning! Once Dorothy escapes and is on her way to Oz, she finds the yellow brick road all destroyed and cannot find her friend Scarecrow who has been turned into an ornament by the evil Nome King so she sets out to find him. Making new friends on the way she encounters the nasty Wheelers who were simply petrifying for the average 8 year old at the time. Dorothy is then imprisoned by the wicked Princess Mombi who has over thirty inter-changeable heads in her castle so for young fans of the original Wizard of Oz this ‘sequel’ would probably be remembered more like a childhood horror film.
The film was marketed by Disney as a sequel and child-friendly fantasy but had been given a PG rating instead of a G. Essentially the film wasn’t suitable for very young children so for those who went to see it at the cinema and were expecting a sweet Disney fairy tale like the ‘The Wizard of Oz’ found it petrifying. Critics at the time were centering more on how sinister the story was given the age group that the film was targeting instead of focusing on the real quality of the filmmaking and screenplay so the film performed poorly at box office. Murch’s production was massively mismanaged and ended up so over budget eventually leading to bankruptcy and Disney made a massive financial loss.
Despite all the production troubles, financial woes, and criticism ‘Return to Oz’ is a hugely entertaining film for those who like their fairy tales a bit more spooky and should be seen as a stand alone film and not a direct sequel to ‘The Wizard of Oz’. The stop motion effects are excellent and deserved far more recognition at the time of release. It is hauntingly imaginative full of quirky characters, such as Pumpkinhead, Tik Tok, Bellina (the talking chicken) and Scarecrow who all have a wonderful friendship with Dorothy. It is full of energy and creativity with a beautiful melancholic score composed by Dave Shire. The costumes, the sets, and lighting also attributed to making this a compelling and irresistible fantasy. Along with other 80’s classics such as ‘Dark Crystal and ‘The Never-ending Story’, Return to Oz’ is highly recommended deserves the 80’s cult classic following which it has gained amongst older children and adults over the past twenty seven years.
Reports are coming in that Matthew Vaughan has been confirmed as the director of the next Star Wars movie! This and the rumoured writers that are on board suggest a darker tone to the next triology. It could be what the fans hae been waiting for since Empire Strikes Back.
Check out Total Film for the full report.
This is why I love the internet, two of my favourite shows combined.
Steve-O is back with an interesting mix of Jackass and the X-factor. Contestants are judged on their ability to sing while suffering shocks or frights. These clips are highly entertaining and if the producers can keep thinking of ways to put of the contestants it could be a Saturday evening must watch!