Jumaniji: Welcome to the Jungle – Trailer

When four high-school kids discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of – Jumanji – they are immediately drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) “the top two feet of his body” and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle-aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan). What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji – you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves – or they’ll be stuck in the game forever…

I like the concept that they’ve gone with here. Taking the Jumanji mythos and running with it, giving it a bit of modern flavour and most of all, having fun with it!

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will open in December.

Okja – Review

A heart-warming commentary on the food industry and one girl’s fight to save her best friend, Okja is step forward in digital release films.

Okja is a Netflix production by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho. The film revolves around Okja, a Super Pig born from the first genetically modified Super Pig and raised by a farmer and his grand-daughter, Mija, in the South Korean mountains as part of an experiment/competition. After ten years, the Mirando Corporation – the owners of the Super Pig program come to take Okja, who has become the best Super Pig, and turn her in to food.

Mija follows the company to a holding facility to free her friend, she meets and is aided by the A.L.F. (Animal Liberation Front) who are trying to expose Mirando for the injustices and crimes they have committed against the Super Pigs.

Ahn Seo-hyun delivers a fantastic performance as Mija, a strong and brave character, and portrays the love and the connection between her and Okja beautifully.

Paul Dano plays Jay, the leader of the A.L.F and brings some nice complexities to his character. There is something about Jay and the A.L.F (including Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Daniel Henshall and Devon Bostick) that felt very Wes Anderson-esque, the characters all had their little quirks yet were all committed to the cause. The animal rights group at some points felt like they were in a different movie, something slightly hyper-realistic.

Tilda Swinton plays Mirando Corporation CEO, Lucy Mirando a slightly bizarre character who is driven to make this Super Pig scheme of hers succeed. Swinton has an amazing diversity in the many characters she plays, Lucy Mirando is no exception. She was a character that felt like she was never quite real and that’s the point. She has a facade of a caring and exciting CEO but behind closed doors wants only to differentiate herself from her father and her sister and will lie and bumble her way to that goal.

Now lets get to one of the standouts of Okja, Jake Gyllenhaal as Dr. Johnny Wilcox. At the inception of the Super Pig Program, Johnny Wilcox, a TV star zoologist was attached to work with the farmers and eventually judge who would be crowned the best Super Pig. Now, ten years later, he has fallen out of the spotlight and is now a washed up pawn for the Mirando Corporation who has had to make some moral compromises in the time he has worked for the company. Towards the end of the film, the reality really sets in on Wilcox bringing out a perfect example of why Gyllenhaal should play the Joker in the DCEU instead of Jared Leto.

The visual effects used to make Okja were fantastic, It was believable for majority of the film. She’s a cute Super Pig, so are her friends, the Super Pigs are sweet and passive creatures, which makes the Mirando Corporation’s practices all the more heartbreaking.

Okja is a unique film that wants you to think about where your food comes from and see through the spin that multi-national corporations try to sell you. With out revealing too much about the plot of the film, it’s also an example that while these companies may hit road blocks, the corporate machine can still carry on.

This film was produced by Netflix and has faced some criticism from traditional cinemas and critics before the film had even been seen.

Okja had its world premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2017. The film was met with boos, mixed with applause, during its premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, once the Netflix logo appeared on screen and again during a technical glitch (which got the movie projected in an incorrect aspect ratio for its first seven minutes). The festival later issued an apology to the filmmakers. However, despite the studio’s negative response, the film itself received a four-minute standing ovation.

Wikipedia

This is a step in the right direction for digital releases, there are many more notable directors and studios getting behind this sort of release and we can expect to see more high-quality original films coming out on Netflix.

Okja is a nice film with a talented cast and a big heart. It has a message but doesn’t beat you over the head with it. Purely and simply, its a bout a young girl who will stop at nothing to save her best friend.

4/5

Okja is available to stream on Netflix now.

Cinema Forecast: June 29th, 2017

The House

Scott and his wife Kate team up with their neighbors to start an illegal casino in his basement to earn money, after they destroy their daughter’s college fund.

Director: Andrew Jay Cohen
Cast: Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING TRAILER IS A ‘RED BAND’. THIS TRAILER HAS ADULT THEMES.

The First Girl I Loved

Seventeen-year-old Anne just fell in love with Sasha, the most popular girl at her LA public high school. But when Anne tells her best friend Clifton – who has always harbored a secret crush – he does his best to get in the way.

Director: Kerem Sanga
Cast: Dylan Gelula, Brianna Hildebrand

Monsieur Chocolat

From the circus to the music hall, from anonymity to glory, this is the incredible story of Monsieur Chocolat, the first black artist of the French stage.
The duo he formed with Footit met with huge and popular success in Belle Epoque Paris, before fame, easy money, gambling, and
discrimination wore out their friendship and Monsieur Chocolat’s career. The film retraces the story of this remarkable artist.

Director: Roschdy Zem
Cast: Omar Sy, James Thierree, Clotilde Hesme

The Mummy (2017) – Review

The first chapter in the rebooted Universal Monsters’ Dark Universe delivers a lot of set up and a bit of fun, but no real bang. The Mummy features Tom Cruise as Tom Cruise in a Tom Cruise movie that really wasn’t very Tom Cruise-y.

The Mummy is not a great film, but its fun. There’s enough action coupled with a little bit of mild horror and well-blow-average comedic levity to make it an OK popcorn flick to sit down and switch off. There’s not much to it.

Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton, a reconnaissance soldier that uses his job to pilfer and sell antiquities he finds in the Middle-East. During a mission he embarks on to find treasure he accidentally stumbles on an Ancient Egyptian tomb. Upon further investigation Annabelle Wallis’s character Jenny Halsey finds that the tomb was actually a prison holding a princess that seemed to have been scrubbed from history – Princess Ahmanet (played by Sofia Boutella).

Opening the prison has allowed her to return to power and escape. Ahmanet made a pact with Set, the God of Death, to bring him in to the physical world. In the past, she failed but now that she’s been released and now she wants to complete the ritual.

Cruise delivered an average performance, playing almost a caricature of himself. He pulled off some decent action sequences but nothing really stuck. Annabelle Wallis, brought nothing to the role of Jenny Halsey which had nothing in the script anyway, she was there to be a beautiful woman and barely a love interest for Nick. What she did provide was a link to the wider ‘Dark Universe’ through her job with Prodigium, enter Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll.

Crowe brought probably one of the more outstanding performances of the lacklustre cast. He portrayed your pretty standard version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (yes, Hyde also makes an appearance), with just a sprinkling of an organisation leader, a la Nick Fury from S.H.I.E.L.D in the MCU. His is a role I’d like to see developed further in the future of the Dark Universe. Now that I’ve mentioned the word developed, I should mention that there is no character development in this film, it seemed to all fall by the way-side while they set-up the franchise.

Sofia Boutella has brought fantastic physicality in her roles in Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond, her performance in The Mummy is no different. While she seems to never be a character with too much dialogue, what she does get to say isn’t bad. I’m not fluent in Ancient Egyptian but it sounded right (she also delivers about one line in English). She was a decent Mummy and provided a good looming threat.

The visual effects were pretty good, lots of sand and big sand storms, a bit of mummification and zombification and some Mercury which moved with a little too much life of its own in my opinion, but other than that I had no issues with it. Sound was good too but nothing stood out to me really.

The story flowed reasonably well providing a lot of exposition into not only the origins of The Mummy herself but really trying to push down your throat that this is the beginning of a new cinematic universe (just in case you haven’t worked that out yet). There was one plot point that seemed to break the in-universe rules they set up, but when you need something to happen and when you’re talking about a ‘world of Gods and Monsters’ you’re going to have to let some of these things slide.

The Mummy is a film its best to just switch off to and let it take you for a ride. The action in the film was enjoyable and the pacing was pretty good. One thing I want to praise the movie for is that it was only 107 minutes long! Though you could probably have thrown in an extra few lines of dialogue or a scene or two to either set up characters or show some development, I thought that the movie didn’t overstay it’s welcome. The mythology this film presented has piqued my interest in the Dark Universe (but that’s because I’m a sucker for Cannon), however the rest of the film was average, with nothing overly standing out.

2.5 Stars

The Mummy is in cinemas now.

Cinema Forecast: June 8th, 2017

The Mummy

An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

This film will hopefully mark beginning of a re-invigorated Universal Monsters franchise, bringing back old favourites like The Mummy, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man, Frankenstein’s Monster etc. They’re bringing some big names to this franchise. I think this is one to watch!

Director: Alex Kurtzman
Cast: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe

Churchill

A ticking-clock thriller following Winston Churchill in the 24 hours before D-Day.

Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Cast: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson

My Cousin Rachel

A young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

Director: Roger Michell
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, Holliday Grainger, Iain Glen, Pierfrancesco Favino

 

Movie News – June 6th, 2017

Wonder Woman is officially the biggest opening for a film directed by a female in Hollywood history.

Hollywood is notorious for being an industry dominated by men. Even now in 2017, women have to fight for the same pay for leading a film. I hope this is a step in the right direction. Wonder Woman opened to US box offices with over $100 million, the highest opening for a female directed film. What’s more is, this is a female led superhero film, something even Marvel hasn’t done. Admittedly, this should have been the first, it is Wonder Woman, but after almost 10 years Marvel still hasn’t pulled off this feat.

Patty Jenkins announced for Wonder Woman 2

Director of Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins has been announced to be directing the sequel. This is no surprise as not only was the film a huge opener in the box office, it would have been in her contract to deliver a sequel should the first find success. Jenkins has already said in an interview with EW that she knows where she wants the second film to go, “The story will take place in the U.S., which I think is right. She’s Wonder Woman. She’s got to come to America. It’s time.”

John Wick 3 will begin production later this year

Writer Derek Kolstad will return and will be working with Chad Stahelski on a third movie in the Keanu Reeves action movie. They have said that the film should go in to production in the American Fall.

Top Gun 2 gets a title and plot details, courtesy of Tom Cruise

After revealing that a Top Gun sequel was going to happen on Sunrise in Australia. Tom Cruise spoke to Access Hollywood giving us a title and a little of what we can expect.

“It’s not gonna be called Top Gun 2 it’s gonna be Top Gun: Maverick. I didn’t want a number. You don’t need a number. We’re gonna have the same tone that we had with the first one. Stylistically it’s gonna be the same. We’re gonna have the same score from Harold Faltermeyer. Aviators are back. The need for speed, we’re gonna have big machines. It’s gonna be a competition film like the first one, and it’s gonna be in the same vein, the same tone as the first one but a progression for Maverick.”

Last Weekend’s Box Office Report

# | Movie | Gross (in US$) | Days in Release | Total Gross (in US$)
1 | Wonder Woman | $5,035,387 | 3 | $5,035,387
2 | Baywatch | $2,589,935 | 3 | $2,589,935
3 | Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales | $1,852,832 | 10 | $7,367,546
4 | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 | $416,394 | 38 | $23,647,975
5 | King Arthur: Legend of the Sword | $352,073 | 17 | $3,645,866

Information gathered from The Numbers:
http://www.the-numbers.com/weekend-box-office-chart/Australia

Cinema Forecast: June 1st, 2017

Wonder Woman

An Amazon princess leaves her island home to explore the world and, in doing so, becomes one of the world’s greatest heroes.

This film is set in the ‘DCEU’ (DC Comics Extended Universe), the same universe as Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. While having seen Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman before might be beneficial, I wouldn’t say that it would be required. I have not seen this film yet but I have heard that this will be one to watch.

Director: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

Baywatch

Baywatch follows devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchannon as he butts heads with a brash new recruit. Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.

Director: Seth Gordon
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Jon Bass, Kelly Rohrbach, Ilfenesh Hadera

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING TRAILER IS A ‘RED BAND’. THIS TRAILER HAS ADULT THEMES.

Movie News – May 30th, 2017

X-Men film New Mutants to be a proper horror movie

Director Josh Boone has said “We are making a full-fledged horror movie set within the X-Men universe. There are no costumes. There are no super villains. We’re trying to do something very, very different.” The film was originally going to be a young adult film. New Mutants currently has Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy attached as cast members with Henry Zaga (13 Reasons Why) rumoured for a role and Rosario Dawson in negotiations.

Boss Baby 2 in development

It made money, this is no surprise. Alec Baldwin has been confirmed to return to voice the title character. The film is currently scheduled for a 2021 release date. Will the Boss Baby hype be well and gone by then?

Animated ‘The Jetsons’ movie to be developed by Sausage Party director

The project has been in the works for over 20 years, the original concept was to do a live action version akin to the Flintstones films from the 90s. They seem to have scrapped that idea in favour of animation, which is probably a good call.

-And now that I’ve just written that, I feel the need to watch and review the two Flintstones movies, The Flintstones (1994) and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000). Check back in the next little while!

Last Weekend’s Box Office Report

# | Movie | Gross (in US$) | Days in Release | Total Gross (in US$)
1 | Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales | $4,383,918 | 3 | $4,383,918
2 | King Arthur: Legend of the Sword | $797,882 | 10 | $3,038,692
3 | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 | $755,531 | 31 | $23,075,499
4 | John Wick: Chapter Two | $641,245 | 10 | $2,449,288
5 | Snatched | $613,625 | 17 | $4,974,583

Information gathered from The Numbers:
http://www.the-numbers.com/weekend-box-office-chart/Australia

Star Wars 40th Anniversary – Happy Birthday!

It’s the 25th of May and 40 years ago today, the film industry, the toy industry and fandom changed.

Star Wars has had an effect on the entire world over the last four decades. Now I’m not going to lie, I love Star Wars and I keep up with the new cannon as much as possible. You’ll probably see a lot of Star Wars related blog posts on this new revived version of NFB.

Vanity Fair has released some new photos  from The Last Jedi for their Star Wars Anniversary special. Plus a few little plot details.

The images of the glamorous people you’ll see in the gallery is from a planet called Canto Bight. Described as “a Star Wars Monte Carlo–type environment, a little James Bond–ish, a little To Catch a Thief and “a playground, basically, for rich assholes”.

Benicio Del Toro is playing a “shady character of unclear allegiances” who is never named in the film, but his character has been dubbed “DJ”. All director Rian Johnson has said is “You’ll see—there’s a reason why we call him DJ”. Now, I’m not one to speculate all that much but you look closely enough at DJ’s face and while it looks like its on the wrong side… he has a scar across his cheek. For those that have seen Star Wars Rebels… could he be Ezra?

Meanwhile, Laura Dern will play Vice Admiral Holdo, a prominent officer in the Resistance (and straight out of the Capitol of Panem). It also looks like Kelly Marie Tran’s character Rose, has a sister named Paige who will be played by Veronica Ngo. Paige will be a gunner that will be under the tutelage of Poe Dameron.

Check out the gallery below and head to Vanity Fair for all their Star Wars articles. There’s also a behind the scenes video that Vanity Fair released below the Gallery.

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Movie News – May 23rd, 2017

The whole point of NFB in its first incarnation was to bring the world of movies to my friends and family, keeping them up-to-date with what I would be talking to them about. Naturally, I wish to bring that back too.

I’ll be adding a little sprinkling of movie news every now and then to this blog for you to enjoy.

Universal Monsters franchise now has a new name, get ready, eventually, to experience the Dark Universe

Announced in a YouTube video featuring a mash up of their old Universal Monster movies, the Dark Universe is set to kick off with The Mummy next month. The franchise will not continue til Valentines Day, 2019 when their next film, Bride of Frankenstein will be released.

Tom Hardy to play Venom in a stand-alone movie

Directed by Zombieland‘s Ruben Fleischer, notoriously picky actor Tom Hardy will play Venom (and presumably Eddie Brock) in a MA rated Venom film that, as far as we know, will not be related to Spider-Man.

Amber Heard playing Mera in new Aquaman promotional image

A new promotional Image has been released showing a very colourful depiction of Aquaman’s (Jason Momoa) girlfriend/wife (depending on how far along their story line is), Mera. Aquaman is now in production in Australia and will be directed by James Wan.

Tom Holland cast as a young Nathan Drake in Uncharted prequel film

In what looks to be a film that will tie in to the game franchise, current Spider-Man, Tom Holland has been cast as a young Nathan Drake in an Uncharted film.

Joss Whedon will temporarily take the reins on Justice League

Zack Snyder will spend time with his family following his daughter’s suicide in March. While he was going to dive in to finish the film he has now decided to focus on his family. Warner Bros. offered to push back the Justice League release date but Snyder declined.

Whedon was going to be involved anyway writing the additional scenes for the re-shoots, but now he will be more involved behind the camera.

Last Weekend’s Box Office Report

# | Movie | Gross (in US$) | Days in Release | Total Gross (in US$)
1 | King Arthur: Legend of the Sword | $1,720,938 | 3 | $1,720,938
2 | Alien: Covenant | $1,465,347 | 10 | $5,288,766
3 | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 | $1,411,156 | 24 | $21,886,102
4 | John Wick: Chapter Two | $1,353,002 | 3 | $1,390,643
5 | Snatched | $1,201,763 | 10 | $3,987,043

Information gathered from The Numbers:
http://www.the-numbers.com/weekend-box-office-chart/Australia