From the classic 1953 Disney animated adaptation to Steven Spielberg’s Hook in 1991, many filmmakers have tried to reinvent J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan on the silver screen with varying results. The latest director to walk the plank is Joe Wright; giving us a new origin story for the boy who wouldn’t grow up, the occasional entertaining set-piece can’t stop Pan from being a forgettable, CGI-overloaded mess.
After Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class (2011) rejuvenated the series original director Bryan Singer returns with the daunting task of uniting two timelines and two casts in the ambitious X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). With both new and old characters to introduce and re-introduce, as well as the tricky mechanism of time-travel, there was tremendous potential for it to go horribly wrong. Which makes it all the more impressive that Singer gets it mostly right.
Taking inspiration from Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s beloved comic book storyline of the same name, Days of Future Past begins with a chilling battle in a dystopian future between powerful mutant-hunting robots – known as Sentinels – and a motley cadre of mutant survivors. In order to avoid extinction, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) uses her powers to send Wolverine’s consciousness back into his younger body in 1973 (both versions played once again by the ageless Hugh Jackman) to alter past events and change the course of history. To do so, Logan must enlist the aid of both a younger Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensher aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender), whose friendship is on the rocks.
Whilst we’ve seen arguably a little too much footage from Marc Webb’s upcoming Marvel superhero offering The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), almost the opposite can be said for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – a detail all the more surprising when you consider that its release is less than two months away (official UK release date has been set for 22 May). Since the reserved announcement trailer back in late October of last year, all we’ve seen is a deluge of character posters and a tantalising Instagram teaser. So today, 20th Century Fox have finally unveiled a second full-length trailer, and it’s decidedly more ostentatious.
DC’s jewel in the crown Superman marked his return to the silver screen this year with the somewhat divisive Zack Snyder-directed, Christopher Nolan-produced Man of Steel, but next year will be an all-Marvel affair for superhero blockbusters. We were given our first look at ‘Phase Two’ offering Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) last week, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) are two other highly-anticipated entries, but now the first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) has landed online. Based on the celebrated comic-book arc of the same name, the footage offers a tantalising glimpse of what is an elaborate undertaking.
There are few stronger motivators for decent people committing morally questionable acts than family. It’s this subject matter that director Denis Villeneuve – whose debut feature Incendies was Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010 – has utilised in Prisoners, a brilliantly dark and devastating thriller that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Read the rest of this review at Flicks and the City here.
The Wolverine claws its way into cinemas this week in what will be the character’s sixth appearance on the big screen. If you haven’t already, you can read my positive review here.
On behalf of What Culture, I got to chat with Tao Okamoto (Mariko), Will Yun Lee (Harada) and Rila Fukushima (Yukio) on what they brought to their respective roles. Have a read by clicking on the links.
Whilst Wolverine remains one of Marvel’s most popular characters, his latest big screen appearance is low on hype. Maybe it’s because it’s released in the same year as superhero juggernauts Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, or perhaps the critically-savaged X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) is still weighing on people’s minds. James Mangold’s The Wolverine (2013) presents us with a different kind of superhero movie, and whilst it gives us a solid examination of the ‘ol’ Canucklehead’, the film’s problems – many of which occur in the final third – prevent it from being the definitive take on the character.
Of all the big summer releases of 2013, James Mangold’s The Wolverine has strangely been the least marketed. That all changed last Sunday, however, when the first poster for the next chapter in the fan-favourite anti-hero’s saga was thrust onto the web. This was followed by more one-sheets and, as is now customary for big blockbusters, short teasers for the full-length trailer. Today, the full two-and-a bit minutes have been officially released, and the early indications corroborate what Mangold and star Hugh Jackman have been saying since The Wolverine began production; this is the Wolverine film fans have been waiting for, inspired by Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s much-loved comic book series.
Just in time for the holiday season comes DreamWorks Animation’s second feature of the year,Rise of the Guardians. Based on the series of books by William Joyce, this story of childhood heroes uniting to stop a common threat often feels like the child version of the Avengers, and it will doubtless entertain many a young audience as Christmas approaches. However, although it makes for fun viewing, Guardians is ultimately bettered by many of its contemporaries.
Read the rest of this review at Yin & Yang here.
DreamWorks Animation have released a second full trailer for their epic looking animated adventure Rise of the Guardians (2012), a film based on the children’s books by William Joyce (who also co-wrote the script). Directed by Peter Ramsey in his feature debut, it looks to put an interesting spin on childhood figures like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman, Jack Frost and the Easter Bunny, whilst telling a timeless good vs. evil story.
Watch the trailer on CineVue here.
Fundamentally, Real Steel takes two types of action films that we’ve had much of in the past – Robot and Boxing – and combines them, with a heartfelt Father-Son story at its core. It’s such a simple formula; I initially wondered why it had not been attempted previously. But does Real Steel land its punches, or miss the mark?
Read the rest of this review on Yin & Yang here.