Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Trailer Park: Les Misérables

Inquiétez pas, cette revue ne sera pas en Français!

Set for the big screen early next early (or late this year for some lucky international markets), the hugely successful West End musical based on Victor Hugo's classic novel is being brought to life cinematically by Oscar winning director of The King's Speech, Tom Hooper. Set in early 19th-century France, a paroled prisoner named Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) seeks redemption whilst avoiding the grips of the persistent Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) against the backdrop of the French Revolution of 1832. With a cast that also includes the likes of Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, Les Misérables looks set to be a surefire musical hit, as the new trailer released just this morning promises.

Not only has this spectacular and goose bump inducing new trailer spiked my interest in this film significantly, but from a personal point of view I also have an invested interest in the film having been considered for two extra roles within the film earlier in the year (it seems I'm just a bit too joyeux and not Misérable enough for them). So when I sit in the cinema studying and critiquing the film after it's release next January, I'll be paying particularly close attention to the extras in the background to see where I went wrong; admiring how much better they are than me!

Anyway that's quite enough about my failed career in acting, let's leave it to the professionals in this epic brand new trailer for Les Misérables. (P.S. oh and kudos if you were able to translate the opening line by the way!)

Les Misérables is released in cinemas across the UK on January 11th 2013.

Do the prospects of this big screen adaptation make you feel Les Joyeux or Les Misérables? Do you think it will be a blockbuster or lacklustre? Leave your comments below!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Trailer Park: Skyfall

After 50 years and 22 films, British secret agent 007 - James Bond makes his triumphant return to the big screen in Skyfall; a film that looks set to leave audiences around the globe both shaken and stirred!

Daniel Craig returns to the role of 007 for the third time after winning over most audiences with his premier performance in 2006's Casino Royale - a personal favourite of mine. Also returning is Dame Judi Dench who reprises her role as M; both of whom will be joined this time by Ralph Fiennes; briefly glimpsed in this trailer as Gareth Mallory, Ben Whishaw as Q, Bérénice Marlohe and Naomie Harris as Sévérine and Eve; the film's two Bond girls, and Javier Bardem as the villainous Silva. Not an awful lot is known about the film's storyline as it's all being kept under wraps, but the official synopsis does give us an brief idea:
Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
From the very little released about the film so far, it has to be said that it does look like it could be as every bit as spectacular as you'd want it to be; this brand new teaser trailer released this morning demonstrating that point exactly! With director Sam Mendes at the helm of this Skyfall, could we all be about to get a new favourite Bond film very very soon?...

Skyfall is released in cinemas across the UK on October 26th 2012.

Does the prospect of 007's imminent return leave you feeling shaken or stirred? Do you think it will be a blockbuster or lacklustre? Leave your comments below!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Review: The Cabin in the Woods

If you go down to the woods today, you'd better be prepared to laugh and scream your socks off!

When five teenage friends decide to go on away for a break to one of their cousin's cabin in the woods, none of them were expecting the horrors that they'd encounter as their getaway paradise quickly becomes anything but! With a unexpected secret force behind the unfolding events, one thing's for sure; the lives of Dana (Kristen Connolly), Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Jules (Anna Hutchison), Marty (Fran Kranz) and Holden (Jesse Williams) will never be the same again - that is of course assuming that they make it out alive...

On the surface, The Cabin in the Woods may appear to look like a cliched and generic horror film, and that's because it's designed to be! It's very hard to say a lot about this film without ruining it and it's twist that you'll have probably heard everybody talking about, but avoid it at all costs because seeing the film unaware will make that much more rewarding. What I will say is that the twist is what makes the film a stand out horror piece, even though it may appear for all intents and purposes to be anything but. The use of such over-cliched generic conventions from the horror genre these days will often make people groan and roll their eyes at the formulaic piece of horror that they'll have undoubtedly seen before a hundred times. What The Cabin in the Woods very cleverly does is takes all of these conventions and cliches from the horror genre and turns them on their head with a unique story that in many ways actually goes on to somewhat justify and explain them.

Curt (Chris Hemsworth), Holden (Jesse Williams) Jules (Anna Hutchison), Marty (Fran Kranz) and Dana (Kristen Connolly) investigate the mysterious goings-ons in The Cabin in the Woods

Not only does this well-executed twist make the film a love-letter to the horror genre and a film made for horror fans, but it also makes it incredibly funny, resulting very much so in a horror-comedy that is just as funny as it is scary; a rare feat that I have never seen pulled off as well as it is here. Whilst the cliched horror elements make you laugh at just how cliched they are, they do genuinely provide scares at the same time; and without revealing too much about the secrets behind the twist, I will say that Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford steal the show with many of the film's biggest laugh out loud moments in their roles as Sitterson and Holden respectively. Whilst mixing the horror and comedy genres has been attempted many times in the past, it has never been executed quite as well as The Cabin in the Woods has managed to do, with the laughs and thrills coming thick and fast, and often hand in hand. The comedy complements the horror, and the horror complements the comedy - and despite the cleverness of its twist, this is truly what makes the film work as well as it does.

As scary as The Woman in Black; as funny as The Muppets and Jeff, Who Lives at Home; and as much a love-letter to cinema as The Artist; The Cabin in the Woods perfectly balances comedy and humour with it's very clever twist to form a love-letter to the horror genre that packs as many laughs as it does genuine chills. After producing this and directing Marvel's Avengers Assemble, Joss Whedon seems to be the man of the moment - showing some of the other releases of 2012 just how it's done!

Verdict: 5/5

The Cabin in the Woods is still showing in cinemas across the UK.

Agree or Disagree? Leave your comments below!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Trailer Park: The Expendables 2

The Yorkie Bar of film returns - are you ready for another dose of 80's-tastic action?

This is the bit where I usually describe the story, plot and premise of the film, but let's face it The Expendables 2 isn't about that at all - it's just about the names, so here goes: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Did I miss anyone out?

The first film may not have been a masterpiece by any standards, but for pure adrenaline, action, fun and its awesome cast it very quickly became a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. Going even bigger for the sequel (who knew that was even possible!?) The Expendables 2 could be just as fun as the original, and this new trailer gives us hope of that too; with show stealing moments from Schwarzenegger who delivers some of the trailer's best, if not a little cheesy, lines which actually made me laugh out loud ("I'm Back!") - and with a cast like this, this film could do for 80's action heroes what Avengers Assemble did for modern superheroes!...

The Expendables 2 is released in cinemas across the UK on August 17th 2012.

Do you have to be Man or Mad to see this sequel? Do you think it will be a blockbuster or lacklustre? Leave your comments below!

Trailer Park: The Amazing Spider-Man

It really has been comic book superhero mania recently, with last week's UK release of Avengers Assemble (released in the US today), the final trailer for The Dark Knight Rises going online on Tuesday, and now a new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man hitting the web too (pun intended!).

Filling the spidey-boots and suit this time around is actor Andrew Garfield of The Social Network fame, who has the heavy task of getting to grips with his newly found powers and alter-ego, whilst of course avoiding the police, maintaining a relationship with girlfriend Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone), discovering the secrets and truths about his parents, and saving the world from the villainous Lizard (Rhys Ifans) - the big question is, when will he fit in time for his homework!?

Whilst a lot of people were sceptical about this reboot when it was announced years ago, it feels right to see this franchise being re-done, especially after the critically slated Spider-Man 3 pretty much killed the franchise back in 2007 - time has passed, and our expectations from the genre have evolved significantly; this new cast and style can only help to save the Spider-Man franchise in my opinion. I must admit that I although this film does unfortunately sit in the shadow of the other two major superhero films (Avengers and Batman), I really am looking forward to this film, and this new trailer in particular really has given us a lot to look forward to - this could be a hit that you didn't expect to see coming...

The Amazing Spider-Man is released in cinemas across the UK on July 4th 2012.

Are you excited for this franchise re-boot? Do you think it will be a blockbuster or lacklustre? Leave your comments below!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Review: Jeff, Who Lives at Home

A film with heart and humour, and a 30 year old living in his Mum's basement!

Small Indie Comedy Jeff, Who Lives at Home follows the story of Jeff (Jason Segel, star and creative behind The Muppets), a 30-something who, as the title suggests, still lives at home with his Mother Sharon (Susan Sarandon). As Jeff stumbles his way absentmindedly through life, his successful brother Pat (Ed Helms) is struggling to cope with a marriage crisis with his wife Linda (Judy Greer); could Jeff's positivity, laid back attitude, questions of life and his unique takes on world around him, and Pat's contrasting down-to-Earth, stubborn attitudes be what each brother needs to help these two lost men find a way out of their problems and straighten out their lives?

With today's output of Hollywood comedy films often going for full-on gross out humour in order to entertain its audiences, it can often be hard to find a comedy film with both heart and humour. Jeff, Who Lives at Home fills that void with a film that will make you laugh out loud one moment, then emotional the next; whilst leaving you to genuinely think about the questions on life raised by Jeff's unique and quirky ways of seeing the world around him. The titular character of Jeff, who despite being a drug abusing louch who wanders aimlessly through life, exerts an abundance of likability thanks to a fantastic performance from Segel, who brings true emotion and life to his character, making him one of the most likable characters in film since Forrest Gump. His hilarious antics, unusual persona and his perceptions of life and the world around him often had the whole audience in stitches. This goes the same for scenes with Jeff and his brother Pat; where fast dialogue and slapstick moments thoroughly entertain, whilst presenting a strong brotherly relationship through their touching on-screen chemistry which drives the film throughout.

Jeff (Jason Segel) and Pat (Ed Helms) discuss issues in an emotional scene in Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Susan Sarandon's performance as the mother figure provides an interesting sub-plot that is as engaging and funny as the main plot between the two brothers, often at times providing a nice additional comic interlude to break up the brothers' scenes whilst helping the film to flow much smoother. Whilst her story perhaps isn't as prominent or important as Jeff and Pat's, it does bring humour and warmth with it, as well as tying in nicely to the whole film and its ending, which without spoiling anything could have you on the edge of your seat for the lovable Jeff. This particular scene at the film's climax provides a nice way to summarise the entire film; as a sequence that one moment had the whole cinema engaged and silent in an emotional scene, suddenly followed by the audience bursting into laughter within seconds. This skillful mixture of comedy and drama is the film's strong suit here and throughout, and is what made me leave with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a fantastically humorous and heartwarming story, with brilliant acting from Segel, Helms and Sarandon in performances that convey both the comedy and heart of the story and their characters, all of whom are relatable, likable and engaging. Whilst last weekend's big budget release of Avengers Assemble showed us that sometimes bigger can be better; Jeff, Who Lives at Home proves that sometimes even the simplest of films can move, entertain and have the biggest effect on us.

Verdict: 4/5

Jeff, Who Lives at Home is released in cinemas across the UK on May 11th 2012.

Will you or have you seen the film? What do you think of the film? Leave your comments below!

Trailer Park: The Dark Knight Rises

It's been a while since my last Trailer Park article, but a certain big release this morning has forced me out of retirement - very similarly to the film's main character and plot in fact (yes, I did just compare myself to Batman!)

Set 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, the supposed finale to Christopher Nolan's Bat-trilogy, sees a new threat plague Gotham city in the form of Terrorist Bane (Tom Hardy). When a threat this big strikes, Bruce Wayne a.k.a Batman (Christian Bale) is forced to don the Batsuit once again in order to save the day - but this time can he? The film sees the return of many franchise familiars including Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman who reprise their previous roles, and introduces a whole host of new characters played by the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard and Anne Hathaway; who dons her catsuit to play Catwoman in what promises to be a truly epic climax to an incredible trilogy of films.

The third and final trailer for The Dark Knight Rises was released this morning and brings with it everything you'd expect from it. Hardy's Bane looks set to even challenge the late Heath Ledger's widely acclaimed role as the Joker from the previous film for best villain, in a role which from footage and information released looks to be something incredible. With this trailer being put online just days after Avenger's Assemble hit UK cinemas, with many people calling it the best comic book film of all time - could The Dark Knight Rises very shortly make them reconsider? I think so...

The Dark Knight Rises is released in cinemas across the UK on July 20th 2012.

Are you excited for Christopher Nolan's epic Bat-finale? Do you think it will be a blockbuster or lacklustre? Leave your comments below!