From Orson Welles in 1948 to Roman Polanski in 1971, William Shakespeare’s Macbeth has undergone many stage and screen adaptations in its 400 year plus history. The latest attempt to translate it to the silver screen comes from Justin Kurzel. It’s only the second feature from the Australian director, but he accomplishes an impressive feat in distinguishing his take from all that has come before it. It’s just unfortunate that much of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter is undecipherable.
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.
Often said to be America’s ‘original sin’, slavery is a topic which has formed the basis of many a powerful drama. Most recently, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg have each analysed the subject in their own unique ways in Django Unchained (2012) and Lincoln (2012) respectively, and the next to do so will be Steve McQueen. After garnering acclaim for Hunger (2008) and sex addiction drama Shame (2012), the director’s latest endeavour, 12 Years a Slave (2013), will see him tackle the oft-examined topic in typically candid fashion, with the first trailer released online earlier this week.
It’s been 33 years since Ridley Scott’s Alien, a film which has since gone on to become a classic and is widely regarded as one of sci-fi’s most seminal pieces. After many sequels and spin-offs – some admittedly better than others – the highly anticipated Prometheus heralds Scott’s return not only to the genre, but to his universe, with the film being strongly marketed as a prequel and being said to have ‘strands of Alien-DNA’. Whilst Prometheus just about works as a standalone sci-fi movie, fans of Scott’s aforementioned work may be left disappointed.
Read the rest of this review on Yin & Yang here.