Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Movie News: Teaser For Paranormal Activity 2

What a treat! Paramount promised a teaser for the sequel to Oren Peli's low-budget smash hit Paranormal Activity before this weekend's opening of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, and they actually went through with it. Below you will find the creepy, albeit confusing, teaser for Paranormal Activity 2 which, thankfully, stars it's previous star Katie Featherston as she reprises her role - but for how long?

The synopsis for the sequel has been kept under-wraps -- something which is dreadfully uncommon in Hollywood nowadays. It's blatantly obvious the mystery shrouding the teaser is successful, leading myself to watching it multiple times in hope of cracking some sort of hidden code.

The film is directed by Tod Williams, and has an official US release date of October 22nd, pitting it against 3D sequel Saw VII.

HINT: Look out for the last shot involving the baby absent from his crib, yet is curiously standing in it in the mirror. Have we cracked a possible twist?


Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Movie News: Deathly Hallows Hits The Web!


The premiere of the brand new theatrical teaser for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I will undoubtedly cause havoc among fans of the phenomenal franchise.

Boasting what is the first half of the finale of the worldwide-smash series, we follow Harry, Ron and Hermione as they gather to collect the rest of the Horcruxes in all hope to destroy Lord Voldemort, the dark Lord whose attempts at killing 'the boy who lived' have been foiled for years. With his control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, little hope remains for the group.

With the uprise in teen fantasies such as Twilight and Percy Jackson, it's hard not to compare the two to Harry Potter - a series which has unarguably sparked many whose attempts at competing with the Potter franchise are painfully apparent. Still, those faithful to either the books or/and the films will be eagerly anticipating this two-part finale - and with a trailer this good, i hardly blame them.

The series has created stars such as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, but stars verterans such as Maggie Smith, John Hurt, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Imelda Staunton and countless others.

David Yates has helmed the final two chapters (as well as the previous fifth and sixth entries), and will be presented in both 3D and 2D. The first half has been scheduled for release November '10, and the second July '11.

Check below for the trailer which, sadly, is the beginning of the end of an era.


Monday, 28 June 2010

This Week's DVD/Blu-ray Choice, 28th June

An above-average week for rather poignant dramas, with my choice somewhat undecided between two. I shan't, however, succumb to Peter Jackson's rendition of Alice Sebold's novel The Lovely Bones, therefore sticking with an upsettingly under-publicised film.

My choice this week is Everybody's Fine.

Nanny McPhee director Kirk Jones helms the remake of the Italian original, Stanno tutti bene, with veteran Robert De Niro taking the lead role of the retired and sadly widowed Frank, an estranged father of four whose attempt at reconnecting with his children is foiled by their lack of involvement and enthusiasm to spend time with him. The spontaneous roadtrip leads Frank around the country in all hope to reuinte the family for a classic Christmas. The film was unfortunately criticised by many, but i couldn't help but fall in love with Robert De Niro. Conveying a multitude of varied emotions, an instantly relatable character makes the entire film worthwhile. It remains consistently well-written; witty and incredibly moving, with a perfect ensemble of co-stars ranging from Drew Barrymore to Sam Rockwell. A DVD purchase is fine, just make sure to buy a box of Kleenex on the way back from the store.

Friday, 25 June 2010

This Week's UK Cinema Releases, 25th June

-We begin the week with the wonderful Kristen Bell taking a crack at a romcom in When In Rome. Beth (Bell), an uptight New Yorker, travels to Rome for her sister's wedding and inadvertently begins an adventure of odd proportions when she thieves coins from the fountain of love, attracting the attention of those who threw the coins. This, unfortunately, tempers with her new-found relationship with Nick (Josh Duhamel), a charming ex-football player.

-Jigsaw receives competition by a nondescript foe in the form of The Collector. A man struggling under the weight of unpaid debts resorts to breaking into his rich employer's home, unaware that somebody has already set up camp in the deserted country house. With an array of gruesome traps set up around the house, be prepared for a less-than-settling 100 minutes.


-Francis Ford Coppola returns to the screens with Tetro, centering around a man in search of his distant brother and uncovering his almost-finished play which gives an intriguing insight into the brothers' past.

-Woody Allen also returns with Whatever Works, with Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David. David stars as Boris, a self-proclaimed idealist who tends to project his personal views of religion and relationships on others, particularly Mississippi runaway Melody (Evan Rachel Wood). Producing an unlikely marriage, Melody's parents and family friends are less than impressed with the relationship between the duo.

-The final chapter of the adventures of the lovable ogre, Shrek Forever After, also hits this weekend with special advance screenings. The now-married, now-fathered, Shrek isn't happy with his life. His days are drawn out with satisfying his demanding family and the residents of Far Far Away, therefore missing his solo days when everybody and everything were terrified of him. Signing one of Rumplestiltskin's infamous contracts, his unwillingly signs away the day he was born to relive his glory days, awaking to no children, no friends and Fiona; an unloved warrior princess leading the resistance against Rumple and his band of sour-faced witches. Read my review for the final chapter here.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Film Of The Week, 24th June

The Orca whale has grown to become a worldwide phenomenon. From the countless shows around the world featuring astounding tricks and an almost theatrical display of charisma, the image of this 'killer' whale is renowned, but why?

1993 saw the introduction of one of the most powerful and unarguably heartwarming relationships formed on-screen ever; the relationship between a 12 year old street kid named Jesse and a three-ton Orca whale kept captive in an amusement park. Said relationship can be seen on the Simon Wincer directed and Warner Brothers produced family flick, Free Willy.

Disregarding the disheartening news surrounding the unfortunate events at Seaworld, the image of Willy has been untainted for many years, and is seen through the eyes of children as somewhat of a hero. Keiko - the real Willy - starred in two sequels to the hit film - both of which are respectable enough to maintain the same aspects which rocketed the first into family film history. Sadly, Keiko died in 2003, but his image - and his legacy - lives on in what remains to this day as one of the most inspirational films available to all ages.

Street kid Jesse (Jason James Richter) is forced to clean the mess he created in a small amusement attraction. Unbeknownst to him, the attraction he vandalized belongs to a stubborn three-ton orca whale. The two create an unlikely bond, with Jesse successfully training the whale - which he then later calls Willy. Sadly, the park executives have other ideas. Jesse, aided by his newly-formed friends, attempt to set the whale free.

Positive -
The companionship between the wonderfully cast Jesse (a rare find, if i do say so myself) and the affectionate whale is something most aspire to have. It's captivating, touching and, more importantly, believable. The story, whilst predictable and full of clichés, contains a strong, powerful message which is often so absent in family films nowadays.

Negative-
The cliché-ridden story isn't as enthralling for adults as it is for children and the constantly broody Jesse may grate on your nerves.

Other opinions...

"A well-made and entertaining children's film." - Philip Thomas, Empire

"The most rousing family adventure since E.T." - Bob Campbell, Newhouse News Service

"Pure magic. You will cheer!" - Joel Siegel, Good Morning America

Check below for a trailer for the family adventure!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Cinema Review: Get Him To The Greek

Judd Apatow has recently scored with hits such as the quotable duo The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, and has surprisingly re-defined the comedy genre, straying it from the all-too-familiar throwaway, laugh-a-second comedies and impressing audiences, and critics, worldwide with their fantastically quirky, raunchy and often offensive scripts. Sadly, anything involved with the genre is compared to such brilliance, leaving it either face-first in the dust, or competing with Apatow himself.

Still, when he isn't directing them, he's producing them. 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall saw him team with newcomer Nicholas Stoller, with writer/star Jason Segal scripting the fare and creating what would generally be the reason the film was a high-flying success; Russell Brand's care-free, high-spirited rock 'n roll artist Aldous Snow. With such a positive response, how could the character not be transferred into another film? Get Him To The Greek follows him, once again, on an entirely new, but equally as messy, adventure.

A record company (led by P. Diddy, in an unexpectedly hilarious form) sends off their new intern Aaron Green (Superbad's Jonah Hill) on the mission to drag out-of-control rock legend Aldous Snow (British comedian Russell Brand) back to L.A. to perform a comeback gig at the Greek Theatre - a gig which he played years earlier when the artist was in his prime. Unforeseeably washed up due to an offensive album, Aldous -- returning to his drug-addict, alcohol-infused ways -- must deal with his own problems, all-the-while attempting to please his new-found friend Aaron.

Renowned for his less-than-ordinary attitude towards life, it's no surprise that Brand's character exudes the similar outlandish, but entirely refreshing, tone. Gripping the bull truly by the horns, the all-out characteristics of the character is unique and channels the Brand (pre-Katy Perry) which we've all read about (My Booky Wook; an instant classic), but supplies the vast majority of sheer hilarity to the film. With every second word being profane and the insatiable urge to shock audiences, Brand may offend most ethnicities but those familiar with the comedian himself knows he never fully means what he recites.

Brand's pairing with comedy hotshot Jonah Hill is nothing short of brilliant. The duo are a perfect example of an on-screen partnership, boasting believable chemistry and two characters which fit hand-in-hand with one another. Whether it's a clash between the two or a more enlightening scene, both characters are incredibly well-written, with the undoubtedly quirky, often explosive, one-liners proving quotable well after the credits have rolled.

Similar to many of the Apatow-released flicks, Get Him To The Greek somewhat loses momentum half way, drawing out the story to something which is already too blatant. Rose Byrne, facing the brunt of the somewhat tedious scenes, sadly has little to work with. Underused and rather distasteful, Byrne's ex-wife to Aldous Snow is a throwaway character which merely provides as an excuse to delve into Snow's previous life - unusually presenting a swift change of tone, from potentially side-splitting to depressingly dark.

Despite the 20-or so rather dry minutes, it whips itself back into turbo-charged shape and - with the aid of P. Diddy successfully performing so far from his usual self - ends surprisingly poignant, with Brand's clearly auto-tuned singing sending you off with a gargantuan smile and, most probably, dirty thoughts centered around Brand in his glowing y-fronts. Either that or severely traumatized.

3.5/5

Today's Cinema Viewing


Get Him To The Greek

Starring: Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Rose Byrne, P. Diddy

A record company (led by music artist P. Diddy) sends it's intern Aaron Green (Hill) on the ultimate quest to prove himself; attempting to bring the out-of-control British rock star Aldous Snow (previously seen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall) back to L.A. to appear at a concert at the Greek Theatre. Cue the explosively funny and gross-out gags which will, no doubt, be offensive to many - if not all.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

This Week's DVD/Blu-ray Choice - 21st June

The lack of new releases on the shelves this week should emphasise the one which truly deserves recognition which, in my opinion, stands as one of the best films this year.

My choice this week is The Princess and the Frog.

Disney's return to hand-drawn animation proves successful with the critically acclaimed feature, focusing on one girl's lifelong dream to own a restaurant in New Orleans. Still, nothing is as simple as it seems as the evil Dr. Facilier turns the pompous Prince Naveen into a frog. Attempting to relinquish him from his curse, Tiana goes by the classic fairytale and kisses the prince, unwillingly turning herself into a frog also. The film is full of soulful tracks, all fused with a deeply heartwarming story. A blu-ray purchase is an absolute must due to Disney's track record for pitch-perfect audio and visual -- and the blu-ray/DVD combo never goes a-miss.

Cinema Review: Shrek Forever After

Dreamworks' animation spin-off company Dreamworks Animation opened it's doors in 2004, so far releasing thirteen computer-animated films. Undoubtedly competing with the brilliance of Pixar, Dreamworks are often a hit-and-miss. Smashing with films such as How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda, but tragically falling flat with Shark Tale. Still, this year sees the return of our favourite, now jolly, green ogre in the third, and final, sequel, Shrek Forever After.

Married to the once-cursed Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and a father to three troublesome mini ogres, Shrek is ashamed to admit he wants more. His days are full of taking care of the children, maintaining the house his family resides in and overall pleasing those around him. The once feared ogre has grown into an everyday man - something which Shrek doesn't like. Stumbling into the devious Rumplestiltskin, his infamous contracts become increasingly apparent to Shrek once he unwittingly signs away the day he was born to relive his glory days, awaking to a disgruntled world. No children; no friends; and Fiona, an unloved, now-turned warrior, leading the resistance against Rumple and his evil band of witches.

Thriving on the uniquely plotted storylines, the classic fairytales are once again spun on their side, providing an undeniably fascinating, and more entertaining, look into the lives of the characters after the inevitable 'Happily Ever After'. The vibrantly cast of characters - voiced primarily by Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas - all join vocals once again in a film which technically retreads the plot of the first which captivated audiences worldwide back in 2001. Similar situations/places will hit you like a ton of bricks, but everything is revamped -- beginning with Shrek disregarding Fiona's need for a saviour and her one true love --, therefore working as a catalyst in the upheave of advertently inspirational events which unravel and progress throughout.

Adding to the villainous cast of characters is Rumplestiltskin (Walt Dohrn). While the writing doesn't equal to the likes of Lord Farquad or Fairy Godmother, he remains persistently scheming; a perfectly detestable, sly and wily man with certain repugnance that will unarguably feel mutual throughout audiences. Still, like the previous foes, the comedic principle isn't absent. Rumple's need to vary his wigs to match his mood is genius, and Dohrn's crafty tone is a match made in heaven; one of the film's many highlights is the talanted Dohrn, working on the acclaimed franchise since the first sequel in various departments.

Consistently - and rather astonishingly - moving, writers John Klausner (Shrek the Third, Date Night) and Darren Lemke work tremendously in capturing the essence of Shrek's earlier adventures, but flourish with adding an entirely new element containing a surprisingly deep message of unappreciating those which are most important in life, and only appreciating such things once they're non-existent. A message which, unfortunately, may not provide the desired effect with the younger audience, but those who have fallen prey to such problems will feel an instant connection.

Franchise regulars Donkey (Murphy) and an overly-obese Puss-in-Boots (Banderas) are on top form, provided with some of the most explosively funny one-liners in the film, and Fiona -- now a fully-fledged badass -- is equally as enjoyable, written wonderfully with our hero. It still astounds me how two computer-animated characters can sometimes contain more chemistry than two real-life actors.

While Shrek Forever After may be no competition for Pixar's Toy Story 3 this summer, it's an almost perfect conclusion to a much-loved franchise (bar the painfully dire third entry), bidding farewell to the characters which have defined a new generation of fairytales. Ending on a particular high note, this final chapter is both memorable and respectful of the originals which planted it firmly in animated history. What are you having in the morning? Waffles, of course.

4/5

Cinema Review: Our Family Wedding

The cutesy, undoubtedly beautiful, rising Hollywood star America Ferrera (best known for her title character in ABC's Ugly Betty) has recently branched out into the land of film. Starring most recently in Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon, her second full-length feature of the year is the romantic comedy-drama Our Family Wedding, directed by Rick Famuyiwa.

Cultures class when Lucia (Ferrera) and Marcus (Lance Gross) announce to their families that they're engaged - a hasty decision made primarily on the fact that the two are planning a quick departure to help the poor in Laos. Already at a feud, the fathers prove incredibly problematic in the arranging of the wedding and attempting to wrap their minds around the situation at hand.

The understandable culture clash remains the prominent subject throughout, with an unarguable emphasis on the repercussions produced by the spiteful, cheaply ineffective, one-liners spouted between characters. However, such problems are tremendously over-acted by the cast, bordering on the sloppy and downright annoying. Oscar winner Forest Whitaker seems entirely unfazed by the badly written character, with a case of bewilderment circling rapidly throughout my mind as to why he chose such a futile person to play. Carlos Mencia equals the stupidity of Whitaker. Despite their consistent bickering providing easy entertainment during the first five-six minutes, it down-spirals into something so contrived and implausibly dim-witted.

The silver lining, however, remains within Ferrera herself. Her glowing nature and believability as any character is conspicuous. Sadly, the film never holds anything of worth for very long. The chemistry between her and Gross is entirely non-existent. Without any emotional connection, both characters fall flat with no method of resurrection due to the increasingly painful script.

Without any element of romance or above-ordinary comedy, what we're truly left with is a sinking, hollow ship with almost zero worth. While it does deal with problems faced within an interracial couple, they're dealt with so abruptly and, unfortunately, almost all have a comedic spin on them. Serious problems such as this - which can deeply affect a relationship - should be dealt with meticulously.

Regina King provides an escape within the film, but with a character so vastly underused any relevance she has is regrettably intertwined with Whitaker's moron of a character. Some scenes capture a certain poignancy (most revolving around the unappreciated wife Diana Maria Riva) which, for me, stands as the highlight.

An unfortunate film which would have worked wonderfully with a decent script, a makeover of characters and an unpredictable turn of events -- all of which can be thought up by a five-year-old. Shame on you, Wayne Conley and Malcolm Spellman.

1.5/5

Friday, 18 June 2010

This Week's UK Cinema Releases - 18th June

-This week kicks off with the first of two comedy capers, Killers, starring ex-Grey's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl and the handsome Ashton Kutcher. Single gal Jen (Heigl) jets off to France with her parents and bumps into her ideal man Spencer (Kutcher). Hitting it off instantly, the pair hastily marry. Life, however, is thrown into utter turmoil when Jen finds out that her beloved is in fact an ex-hitman whose the next target of the friends (who have been hired, who are also hitmen) which have weeded their way into the couples' lives.

-Next, the recurring Saturday Night Live skit spoofing the classic MacGyver, MacGruber, get the feature-length treatment. Will Forte stars as MacGruber, a dumb-witted secret agent who is thrown back into action with the intention of thwarting his archenemy's plans of blowing up Washington, D.C. with the nuclear warhead he has somehow maintained. The film also stars the brilliant Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer and Ryan Phillippe

-The always-gorgeous Emily Blunt teams with Brit veteran Bill Nighy, Harry Potter's Rupert Grint, Martin Freeman and Rupert Everett in the second caper of the week, Wild Target. A serene hitman (Nighy) plans to relinquish his risky career. All plans, however, are foiled when he finds himself drawn to the intended victim (Blunt).

-Last week's indie gem was Greenberg, this week we have Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt joining in Nicole Holofcener's Please Give; the story of two undoubtedly ballsy New York citizens earning a living by selling vintage furniture belonging to the recently deceased. The guilt gets the better of Kate (Keener), however, as the pair wait patiently for their neighbour to pass so they can inexplicably claim the products to expand their apartment.

-Spanish horror/thriller Hierro - taking a note out of The Orphanage, clearly - rattles up the more limited screens this week as the mother of a missing three-year-old gets an unsettling shock when a body of a boy surfaces in the place where her son disappeared. The mother, Maria (Elena Anaya), returns to the island of El Hierro to uncover the mystery and, potentially, find her son.

-America Ferrera's days as Betty are over, therefore it's only natural for her to star in other features. Cue the unarguably predictable Our Family Wedding, which sees Lucia (Ferrera) and her beau planning their wedding and, in a no-holds-barred effort, attempt to calm the feud between both fathers. Light-hearted Friday night viewing.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Movie News: Praise For Toy Story 3


The highly anticipated sequel to Pixar's explosively popular animated franchise Toy Story isn't released in the UK until July 23rd (a ridiculously unfair release date), but US fans will only have to wait a couple of hours.

Reviews all day for Toy Story 3 have been popping up all over the net, so it's only natural for those who are excited for the film to read them. If you weren't excited before, the praise given to the latest adventure belonging to Woody, Buzz and co. is sure to send you through the roof. It's rare for a sequel to live up to the standards of it's original, but a second sequel is just mindblowing. Pixar are undoubtedly on top form, so it's no surprise that they have maintained such originality, all-the-while containing the same invigorating, always heartwarming, essence which the original two were so rapidly coarsing with.

Now 17 years old, Andy has no use for the toys which defined his childhood. Woody, Buzz, Rex, Slinky and co remain in fear of being ditched by their owner. The fear becomes a reality however when they're mistakingly dumped at a day-care centre. There, untamed pre-adolescents and their grimy mits taint the idyllic experience, therefore the toys are left to team with their newly-befriended toys (Barbie's counterpart Ken, hedgehog Mr. Pricklepants and a scented teddy bear called Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear) to plan their great escape.

Two of the UK's top movie magazines Empire and Total Film have released their glorifying five-star reviews which has secured Toy Story 3 at the peak of 2010's Must See Movies.

"Funny, affecting and dramatically fearless...", conveys Total Film in a fit of sheer astonishment.

"The resulting caper is, like its predecessor, a paragon of good sequel-making", exclaims Empire's Dan Jolin.

The film was, from the get-go, destined for Box Office success, but whether it would be a successful, and admirable, sequel to one of the biggest franchises of all-time was left unknown until today. Fans of the lovable toys can rest in piece knowing their favourite characters have received a superior 'demise', with the series bowing out (possibly) with a satisfying end.

Below is a clip of the film where our group meets the dashing Ken.

Today's Cinema Viewing.

Killers

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck, Catherine O'Hara

Single gal Jen (ex-Grey's Anatomys star Katherine Heigl) is vacationing with her parents (Selleck, O'Hara) when she meets her supposedly ideal man (Kutcher). Shirtless and dripping water, the attraction is instant. Clearly wooed, the pair swiftly marry and move into an idyllic neighbourhood. However, their quaint lifestyle is turned upside down when Jen finds out her hubbie is a recently retired hitman, and their neighbours have been hired to kill the couple.

Movie News: Trailer for The Dawn Treader


"Return to hope. Return to magic. Return to Narnia".

The trailer for the latest entry in the Narnia series has surfaced, finally, throwing audiences back into the wondrously bewitching world.

Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince, now King, Caspian (Ben Barnes) for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. As per usual, they collide paths with mystical creatures such as dragons, dwarves and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.

The overall 'feel' of The Dawn Treader may stray from the franchises previous two entries down to the fact that Michael Apted (Enigma) has helmed the project. Still, the story will undoubtedly remain as captivating as ever.

The Chronicles of Naria: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is set for a UK release of 10th of December.

Film Of The Week, 17th June

The partnership between Mandate Pictures and filmmakers Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Drag Me To Hell) and Rob Tapert culminated in the creation of Ghosthouse Underground, the label formed primarily to financing, developing and releasing films of the horror-thriller genre. Some have been a success (The Grudge, The Messengers, 30 Days of Night), some have not.

Yearly, the company released a series of straight-to-DVD features (much like After Dark's Horrorfest), and this week's film of the week is one of those featured in the second batch in 2008, Dance of the Dead.

The teen horror-comedy focuses on a group of high school losers unmatched for prom, fighting off the horde of zombies heading for Cosa High with all intentions of munching on the unsuspecting teens. The usual tendencies of prom are thwarted; worrying about dates, showing off dresses, traveling in limousines. This group of socially awkward teens have something far more sinister - and let's face it, a hell of a lot more fun - to deal with.

Positive -
The opening scene, accompanied by the sincerely OTT titles, sets the tone of the film entirely. It really couldn't be more in your face, which i admire. The potentially unknown cast all deliver fun, albeit cheesy, performances, and it's, without a doubt, extremely well-written -- the countless cross-out gags are both cringe-worthy and downright hilarious!

Negative -
The plot isn't all that original. It's been done many times before before -- and possibly done better, Shaun of the Dead for instance.

Other opinions...

"Has cult classic written all over it" - Aint It Cool News

"Makes Carrie look like Pretty In Pink" - Bloody-Disgusting.com

"Easily the funniest zombie flick this year" - Dean Boor, Gorezone Magazine

Check below for a trailer for the flick!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Movie News: Second Trailer For Snyder's Owls Of Ga'Hoole

Adapted from the first three in the fifteen-book series written by Kathryn Lasky, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole has been transformed into a 3D CGI animation by the visionary director of Watchmen, Zack Snyder.

With the voice talents of Jim Sturgess, Ryan Kwanten, Emilie de Ravin, Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Helen Mirren and countless other big names, is it possible to not be full of sheer, mind-numbing excitement?!

We follow Soren, a young barn owl, who is kidnapped by the owls of St. Aggie's - an orphanage ruled by wicked rulers. Escaping with his newly-formed friends, the group flee to the island of Ga'Hoole where they attempt to assist the noble, wise owls to defeat the evil rulers.

Judging by both trailers released, we're in for a treat. Below is the most recent of the two, giving a furthered insight into the extensive and downright impressive animation and sequences which unfold.

The film will be released in the US on the 24th of September, and the 15th of October for the UK.

Movie News: Never Let Me Go Trailer

Below you will find the trailer for Mark Romanek's, the director of One Hour Photo, film adaptation of the novel written by Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go.

The film stars an impressive British cast, headlined by Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield and BAFTA-winner Carey Mulligan, and co-stars veteran Charlotte Rampling and Sally Hawkins.

The film centers around three children, Ruth (Knightley), Kathy (Mulligan) and Tommy (Garfield). Spending their childhood at a seemingly innocent boarding school, they grow into young adults and must face the impenetrable love they have for one another, all-the-while preparing themselves for the reality which awaits them.

A remarkable story of love and loss which, by the looks of the trailer, will thrive upon it's storytelling and performances. Never Let Me Go has Oscar written all over it!

DVD Review: Dying Breed

With the recent uproar in Australian horrors, the overwhelming feeling of sheer success is apparent. Greg McLean proving a pivotal point, bringing both Wolf Creek and Rogue - two horrors of which have greatly stood out within the countless array of mind-numbingly incoherent crap. The mind-set is almost perfect, staging some of the most brutally intense scenes which have the ability to consume the audience in a fit of absolute terror. Dying Breed, initially released in 2008, is the latest Aussie flick, but is it worth a mention amongst the superior?

Loosely based upon Alexander "The Pieman" Pearce, the Irish convict who became notorious for cannibalising his fellow escapees upon their flee through the West Coast of Tasmania, Dying Breed focuses on the fictional descendants of Pearce residing in a desolate camp, surrounded by miles of forest. A group, led by Nina, attempt to discover the supposedly extinct Tasmanian tiger, but inadvertently become embroiled in a plot far more sinister.

The story of two iconic legends interweaved is undoubtedly fascinating. A cannibalistic convict and an elusive, but highly dangerous, tiger provide the fore-ground for which the film is based. Opening with an intriguing written narration, the curse of the "based on true events" aspect of a horror film become painfully apparent, but never fully plays out. Writer/director Jody Dwyer goes all-out with the horror by incorporating the chilling story of Pearce, but sadly ditches the sub-plot of the tiger. Still, up until the last act, the film is somewhat solid.

Our female lead (Mirrah Foulkes) and her rag-tag group of nondescript characters (Saw writer/star Leigh Whannell, Wolf Creek star Nathan Phillips and Melanie Vallejo) play well both individually and together. Nina (Foulkes), lead by the evidence supplied by her sister (who was found dead in the lakes of the Tasmanian jungle), searches for her ticket for career-acknowledgment, but can't help unravel the mystery behind her sister's death. Once encompassed by the harsh, and rather atmospheric, terrain, the scenes become forceful. Remaining slow-paced, they're aided entirely by the ominous presence following them and the equally-as-enveloping score.

Transcending into pure madness, the death toll slowly, but surely, rises, with clear imprints of horrors such as Cannibal Holocaust and The Hills Have Eyes. Intensity builds up with certain scenes, one involving an underground passageway filled with bear traps, which winds a tight grip. Sadly, said grip is loosened a substantial amount during the third act, down-spiraling into something which appears disastrously rushed. A series of cut scenes and we have our finale, a possible deleted scene which merely seems stapled on to the upsettingly below-average climax. The overall message of having to stay hidden to survive is noticeable, but often seems like a tentative copy of similar films such as Wrong Turn.

One factor remains consistent, thankfully. Whether it's the grim surroundings or the grotesquely over-the-top deaths, the film oozes brutality. Faces are gnawed, legs are chewed, bodies are strung; this is horror. Where Dwyer's plotting lacks in originality, it thrives on its gore. Relentless and oftenly nauseating, it's a sure-fire hit with fans of copious amounts of blood and flailing, dismembered body parts.

By no means is Dying Breed terrible. Dwyer energetically attempts to fight her way to the surface by joining two legends. One, however, remains fairly unrepresented as the other merely entertains but descends into pure fantasy. A flawed piece of work, but entertains enough to refrain from falling in the bargain bucket.

3/5

Movie News: The Thing Prequel Hitting April, '11

Horror fans will be applauding the news of Universal's prequel to The Thing - a film which was successfully remade by John Carpenter in 1982 - receiving a very early April 29th, 2011 release date.

The film, helmed by Dutch director Matthijis van Heijningen Jr, has been shooting up in Toronto for the last few months, leaving pure suspicion on how the film will be wrapped up so quickly come April of next year. Still, this bold move will please fans of Carpenter's undoubtedly gruesome remake (which was brilliant!).

At an Antarctic research site, Kate Lloyd (Final Destination 3's Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and scientist Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomson) fued over a suspicious craft which has crash landed in the desolate landscape. Going against his wishes, Kate teams with helicopter pilot Sam Carter (Joel Edgerton) to pursue the life form which resides in the craft.

I, like many fans, will be praying that this decision regarding a hasty release date hasn't screwed up the film's capabilities of surpassing it's predecessor.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Movie News: Disney Pushing Oz Re-Imagining


The role, recently offered to Sam Mendes and Guillermo Del Toro, of director to Disney's next sure-fire hit re-imagining The Wizard of Oz is clearly something they wish to sort out with a quickened pace. Throwing it at everyone, and anyone, with a partial public following, their next go-to guy is Evil Dead director Sam Raimi.

With his Spider-Man franchise been given an entirely new reboot, and the series of World of Warcraft flicks a few years away from beginning production, Raimi is free. But will he accept? My bet is he wont.

Disney's clear urge to plant Oz, The Great and Powerful on somebody this year leaves speculation on whether there's room for any personal input.

The film is rumored to be at the telling-point of the Wizard, and his own personal adventures of traveling to the mystical land of Oz.

Robert Downey Jr has supposedly been asked to star as the title role, but with Sherlock Holmes 2 and a cavalcade of other projects being greenlit, it's entirely uncertifiable if he'll be able to fit Oz in this year.

This Week's DVD/Blu-ray Choice - 14th June

Plummeting from last week's many picks, i come with one this week with one mere release. Still, it's a cracker!

My choice this week is Crazy Heart.

Jeff Bridges won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Bad Blake, the washed-up country musician. Reduced to playing gigs in small and rather drab halls, Blake meets small-time New Mexico journalist Jean Craddock. Jean, along with her four-year-old son, forces Blake to reassess his life (which is usually full of one night stands and copious amounts of whisky). The plot remains simple, but thrives on the more-than-impressive talents by it's main actors (Bridges and Gyllenhaal, especially) - with the beautifully written title song, "The Weary Kind", also taking an Oscar. A DVD purchase would be fine.

WARNING: Teen 'horror' The Haunting of Molly Hartley is also released this week. If you value your life, you shall remain ten feet away from this atrocity. Not even Chace Crawford's charm can surface this abysmal piece of s**t.