Sunday, 23 March 2014



Darren Arronofsky's Noah has been in the pipeline for years now and was the project that bumped the Pi director off X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I am not sure if that's good or bad. A lot of noise has been made in the last few weeks leading up to the release of the film and much of that noise is concerning the film's take on the religious story. The story of Noah and the ark is one we are all aware of from a young age, animals in two by two and that but adapting stories from the bible is not always a lucrative task. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ cleared up at the box office, raking in $611 million from a modest $30 million budget but the Christian community were attracted to Gibson's film and no doubt the major reason for the box office in take. From the early reviews of the film, critics seemed to adore the film and it's messages, Arronofsky has installed messages about climate change and the environment, possibly in an attempt to add something to a flimsy source. The critics love Arronofsky and pretty much everything he has ever done, Black Swan and The Wrestler were revered and nominated and Pi and Requiem for a Dream have earned themselves a place in cult cinema history. But its an sung rule that just cause the critics love it, it doesn't mean the audience will.    


If you haven't heard about Gareth Edward's Godzilla what rock have you been hiding under? Everyone's eye is on 2015 for the biggest blockbusters this decade, with the likes of Star Wars VII and Avengers: Age of Ultron set to hit our screens it is no surprise. But be patient, watch the Godzilla trailer and the anticipation for Edward's take on Japan's favourite Kaiju will make you forget all about Iron Man and his buddies. It has been sixteen years since Roland Emmerich crashed through New York and then saw his film crash and burn at the box office.

So there has been enough time for everyone to forget about Emmerich's shoddy Hollywood remake and the film has been handed over to Monster's director Gareth Edwards. Noise has been made about whether Edwards can handle a film of this stature, creatively, financially and visually. The director made a name for himself with the 2010 tiny budget Monsters in which Edwards directed, produced, edited, all the special effects and no doubt made the tea. Godzilla's budget is $160 million, so bit bigger than Edwards' last project which was made for half a million dollars. But take one look at the trailer and you can see the film is going to be something special. Edwards has created a film that appears to offer everything critics and audiences love. 


I have yet to be bowled over by any of Marvel's recent offerings. In my opinion, the best so far has been Thor 2, I wasn't that amazed by The Avengers, Iron Man 3 irritated me and the less said about the first Captain America film the better. But I have never been so excited by a Marvel film as a I am about Guardians of the Galaxy. The recent offerings Marvel have been an uncomfortable mix of action and too much comedy, Iron Man 3 I am looking at you. But the trailer for Guardians looks like they have finally figure out the right mix of both, no doubt due to James Gunn helming the film. The film stars one of the most eclectic cast this year boasting the likes of Chris Pratt, Zoe Salanda, Karen Gillian, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace and Vin Diesel. It does not have the pulling power of Iron Man or Thor being less known as Marvel's many superheroes but the trailer has enough to get comic book lovers and the non-comic book going public to get excited. If the film does succeed in setting alight to the box office it will open the floodgates for Marvel to start adapting some more lesser known superheroes.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is Marvel's other 2014 offering and despite the recent good reviews and complete shift from the appalling first instalment but Guardians has a sharp shooting raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper, so yeah take that Chris Evans.  


Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy was loved by critics and audiences in equal measure but Jackson's take on that other Tolkin novel has been met with a little less love. Many criticised Jackson's decision to split a 276 page novel into three two hour long films.Yet after watching the first two Hobbit films it is clear Jackson's decision has paid off, I doubt six hours would have been a sufficient amount of time to cram in the likes of the Battle of Five Armies, the rise of the Necromancer and Smaug. With the climatic cliff hanger of The Desolation of Smaug, Jackson's next instalment, The Hobbit: There and Back again looks set to redeem the franchise from the jaws of the critics. Just imagine the Battle of Five Armies and some more Smaug, December cannot come quick enough.    


2014 sees the first year for a long time that we will not get a Pixar film. This is bad news for us but good news for Dreamworks. The animation studio released the first instalment How To Train Your Dragon back in 2010 and pretty much everyone who saw it loved it, it made you forget about the horrendous Shrek 4 and the Madagascar series. But it was pit to post by a small film called Toy Story 3 which won the Best Animated Film at the Oscar. This year, however, it is undeniable that Dreamworks will walk home with the golden statue with the absence of a Pixar film. 

There isn't that much in the way of competition. Laika, the people behind Coraline and Paranorman, are releasing excellent looking The Boxtrolls and the likes of Rio 2 and Peabody and Mr Sherman have no chance of beating HTTYD2. The only film that could pose a threat is Phil Lord and Chris Miller's The Lego Movie which had everyone pre-claiming that everything is awesome. Despite the massive amount of love for The Lego Movie I find it difficult to believe that The Academy will award the Animation award to anyone but How To Train Your Dragon 2.


Despite the recent trend of blockbusters shifting from the summer to a winter slot, films that come out between September and Decemeber are not typically expected to set alight to the box office especially original films not based on existing source material. So when Gravity went onto earn more money than any other films released in November it was a pleasant surprise. But Alfonso Cuaron's lost in space sci-fi epic may not hold onto that record for that long what with Christopher Nolan's Interstellar hits our screens this November 7th. 

In typical Nolan fashion very little is known about the director's first post-Batman project except it has a cast that can boast the likes of Matt Damon, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Michael Caine and David Oyelowo. All that is known so far is that the film tells the story of a bunch of astronauts, explorers and scientists who embark on a voyage to a newly discovered wormhole in and attempt to transcend previous human limitations. It is no surprise that the film has got everyone so excited, Nolan is one of the most exciting directors in Hollywood at the moment and the prospect of the director of Memento directing a film about wormholes has record breaker written all over it.


Way back in 1999 a little film called The Matrix hit our cinema screens everyone was excited by two new directors known as The Wachowskis. Fifteen years later and the name The Wachowskis is synonymous with disappointment. Their two Matrix sequels were terribly written and poorly executed, the less said about Speed Racer the better and Cloud Atlas was met with incredibly mixed reviews. 2014 sees the release of their first original film in a long time and it would be an understatement to say no one is excited for Jupiter Ascending. The film is based in a world where Gods rule over humans and Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a Russian immigrant who cleans toilets for a living but when Channing Tatum's Caine is sent to assassinate her by the Queen of the Universe. Before you ask, the Queen wants to kill Jones due to some mumbo jumbo about the stars lining up and her DNA possessing the potential for the next future leader of the universe. 

I am all for original science fiction films, Looper and Gravity are great examples of how this can be done well. But Jupiter Ascending is a poor premise with weak characters and terrible plot that sounds even more boring every time you read the synopsis. Much like The Wachowskis' other films the only thing it has going for it is it looks good. With a release slap bang in the middle of the Summer blockbuster season which means it has to go up against some of the biggest films this year. It is unlikely Jupiter Ascending will help the directing duo out of their rut of poor performances and will probably feature on most of our worst films of the year.


The last few years documentaries have seen something of a renaissance with the likes of The Act of Killing, Blackfish and The Imposter leading the way. This year sees the release of Dinosaur 13, a documentary based around the story of Peter Larson and his group of palaeontologists who unearthed the largest, most complete Tyrannosaur Rex ever found, they nicknamed the find Sue. The true drama of the documentary comes from the FBI and the National Guard's intervention when a battle for ownership over Sue began. The likes of the U.S. government, Native American tribes and competing palaeontologists all got involved in an attempt to secure Sue for their own reasons. Having screened at last years Sundance, Dinosaur 13 has everything a documentary needs and seen as Jurassic World isn't set for a 2014 release this is the closest were going to get to a Jurassic Park film so I will be first in line to get my tickets.


In the last few years the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Ryan Gosling and Tom Hiddleston have taken home the accolade of Man/Actor of the year. But this year Loki's tricks will loose out to Girls' Adam Driver. 2014 really seems to be the year Driver hits the big time. For the last few years he has been starring in Lena Dunham's HBO series Girls and has starred in the likes of Lincoln, Inside Lleywn Davis and Frances Ha. 

But he has been waiting for the role to set him up for the big time. And if the rumours are true J.J. Abrams has his eyes set on Driver to take on the role as the Star Wars VII unnamed villain role. A major role in the biggest film this decade will certainly open up every door for Driver. It is not only Star Wars VII on the cards but he also has Rose Byrne comedy This Is Where I Leave You and Martin Scorsese's Silence, starring alongside Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield. So step aside Gosling, Cumberatch and Hiddleston, there is a new guy in town.



I have cheated a bit here seeing as I have seen David McKenzie's excellent prison drama Starred Up (expect my review very soon), so I already know how that one turns out but Jennifer Kent's Australian horror chiller The Babadook looks set to buck the trend of dull horror films. First up, McKenzie's Starred Up is British cinema at its best and grittiest with an amazing central performance by Jack O'Connell. Next up is The Babadook, a horror film surrounding a creepy creature brought to life from a mysterious children's book. Just watch the trailer and you will be hiding behind your pillow and then quickly googling when the film is set to hit our cinema screens. In recent years, the horror genre has gone through something of a lull with franchises such as Paranormal Activity hogging all the screens. But Kent's first feature film behind the camera looks set to buck the trend.

Ever since I saw Animal Kingdom way back in 2010, I have kept a close eye on David Michod's IMDB page eagerly awaiting his next project. The Rover is set in a near future, post apocalyptic Australia in which Guy Pearce's Eric who has the task of hunting down a group of gangsters after they stole his last earthly possession. The trailer displays everything that I loved Animal Kingdom for and more, it is as if someone remade Mad Max with an awesome premise.The likes of Cavlary, Snowpiercer, Cronenberg's Map of Stars and The Amazing Spiderman 2 are in contention to break into my top ten 2014 film but fingers crossed these films manage to make it onto my top ten list for 2014. 

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