Before Marvel Studios released Iron Man in 2008 it was considered a risk. Few non-comic book readers knew of the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist before Robert Downey Jr. swaggered his way onto the big screen, and the rest is history. Risk has once again been the watchword in the build-up to Guardians of the Galaxy, the tenth film in Marvel’s ever-expanding cinematic universe. Granted, it’s a lot stranger than a man in a metal suit, but Marvel have since proven how adept they are at realising their characters on the big screen. Guardians is their reward for those previous nine pictures, and as directed by James Gunn it’s a delightfully fun ride.
Kicking off with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man (2008), the past six years have seen Marvel gradually build to become a blockbusting behemoth, the apex of which was ensemble adventure Avengers Assemble (2012). That success has granted Marvel the leeway to bring even more outlandish projects to the big screen, and in that regard Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) is easily their riskiest venture yet. Directed by James Gunn, it’s the first and only ‘Phase Two’ instalment that isn’t a direct sequel to what’s already been established. As is the custom for big releases, the past few days have seen the marketing machine ramp up ahead of today’s big reveal, and now we finally have our first good look at our ‘cosmic Avengers’.
Scott Cooper made his directorial debut with Crazy Heart (2009), a film that won Jeff Bridges an Oscar for Best Actor. For his sophomore effort Out of the Furnace (2013), Cooper once again manages to get the very best from his star-studded cast, but whilst there is admiration to be taken for foregoing a traditional revenge story, the well-intentioned narrative is sadly short on momentum.
Set in small-town Pennsylvania, Out of the Furnace centres on Russell Baze (Christian Bale), a virtuous blue-collar man who takes care of his dying Father and looks out for his little brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), an Iraq war veteran. An untimely accident sees Russell go to jail, and he returns to a girlfriend who’s moved on and a Father who has passed away. Worse still, his younger sibling has fallen into the world of bare-knuckle fighting in a bid to pay off his gambling debts. On the hunt for more lucrative bouts, Rodney begs bookie John Petty (Willem Dafoe) to set up a fight in the backwoods of New Jersey run by psychotic hillbilly Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson). When they don’t return and the police prove reluctant to get involved, Russell takes matters into his own hands.
J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot was a surprise hit back in 2009, satisfying diehard fans as well as being accessible to newcomers. Four years on, the follow-up Star Trek into Darkness is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Thankfully, the sequel takes everything that was great about its predecessor and amplifies it, in doing so producing an entertaining thrill-ride of a movie that is one of 2013’s must-see blockbusters.
The UK release of J.J. Abrams eagerly anticipated Star Trek Into Darkness is only seven days away. Ahead of this evening’s London premiere, the cast, director and writers gathered in City Hall for a press conference where there was talk of the challenges of making a bigger and better sequel, Scottish accents, and hairstyles.
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As the annual summer blockbuster season draws ever nearer, more and more previously confidential information on some of this year’s biggest releases are now beginning to be revealed. The latest to get in on the act is J. J. Abrams’ sci-fi sequel Star Trek into Darkness (2013). It seems more than likely that Abrams, who will now also be directing Star Wars: Episode VII, won’t be returning for any future Star Trek sequels, such is the competition between the two rival franchises. However, everything we have seen thus far suggests that he’ll be leaving this current franchise on a high, and a mouth-watering second full-length trailer released online today gives further credence to the early impressions.
As 2012 draws to a close – some might argue a disappointing year for the big budget Hollywood blockbuster – the first pieces of promotional material for the prominent releases of summer 2013 are already being unveiled online this week. The latest is the first mouthwatering teaser trailer for J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), a direct sequel to the impressive Star Trek (2009) that successfully revitalised the ailing sci-fi franchise. Images from the set revealed that British actor Benedict Cumberbatch would play the sequel’s central antagonist. What’s more, the full trailer will be released online next week, but today we have our first look courtesy of a short teaser – and it’s certainly a tantalising one.
Watch the trailer for Star Trek into Darkness at CineVue here.