Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen Join 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past

Now usually I don't post many news stories on the site but this was one that could not be ignored purely for the fact that A) The follow-up to X-Men: First Class is one that just cannot be ignored and B) Two men who helped make the X-Men films such a global phenomenon are returning in roles that they made their own.

That's right, Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will be returning to the X-Men foray as Magneto and Professor X, respectively for Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days Of Future Past. This is the news that we had somewhat been waiting for and now Bryan Singer has confirmed this exciting development via his Twitter account.

The acquisition of the two legends of film means that Days Of Future Past looks set to bring us the famous comic story arc that sees future member of the X-Men Kitty Pride sent back to the past to warn the younger versions of the team that an apocalyptic future dawns upon them. In the future world, following the assassination of a huge political figure, war has been declared on the mutants and giant robots by the name of Sentinels roam to eliminate all mutants in existence. 

Despite a story that could prove a complicated one to transfer on screen, there is no doubt that this will be the most ambitious and heavyweight outing yet. With Bryan Singer back in the director's chair for a franchise he started, it certainly looks promising for a return to form and with The Wolverine also set for the near future things are looking good for those X-Men. Now all we need is a decent Gambit...

Source: Filmoria

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Cinema Review - Silver Linings Playbook

As we edge closer to the end of yet another year in cinema, 2012 is proving to be one hell of a ride for films. As is accustomed for this period of a year, the Oscar contenders are unveiling themselves thick and fast, and one that I would certainly put money on is David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) is a man whose life you could say is starting over. Having been recently released from a mental institute following a eight month stint, the bi-polar sufferer heads back home to reside with his parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) in order to remain stable. The problem for Pat is that he is still insistent that he will reunite with his wife, whom has put a restraining order against him following the revelation that she was having an affair.

After meeting with the sister of a family friend, Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), an equally unhinged and judged individual, Pat strikes up a rather dysfunctional yet blossoming relationship with her and soon the pair collaborate to aid one another's needs. As Pat seeks to regain the love of his wife, Tiffany's feelings for him grow stronger, but will Pat's 'silver lining' theory be proved true?

Silver Linings Playbook is a film of sheer brilliance that captivates from start to finish. David O. Russell continues his fine form from his previous Oscar banking chip The Fighter to bring to us yet another endearing and compelling drama. Bringing together a dysfunctional family and two hugely engaging central characters, the director creates a film that, despite being far from genre-specific, is a joy to behold and oozes realism and ultimately captivates.

In Cooper and Lawrence, the film possesses two whirlwind talents, and their performances are surely to be commended with Oscar nods. On one side Cooper copes brilliantly with tackling a bi-polar sufferer, awkward in conversing with others, unaware of his errors and intent on particular things in life. 

Lawrence, on the flip side, provides the standout turn as she breezes through with a performance that is a stamp of authority on her versatility as an actress, flipping a switch from seemingly controlled to outright unpredictably broken. The actress is going from strength to strength and I think it's fair to say this is her best showing to date. Both acts create characters that you will want to invest time in and many will find themselves drawn in by individuals who are hard not to care for.

Add into the fray a superb OCD father portrayal from the return to form Robert De Niro, as well as superb support from Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker and John Ortiz, and Silver Linings is a delight of a film. Russell has created a visionary piece of work that combines real-life issues, love, drama and comedy and comes out with the formula for success. Lawrence is groundbreaking, Cooper is exceptional, Russell's direction is nothing short of sublime and Silver Linings Playbook enters the Oscar race at the top of the tree.

Rating: 4.5 F's out of 5

My First Taste Of Poster Stardom...

It's every critics' dream to have their work showcased to the world, and fortunately for me I had some very exciting news of late that I have finally receive my first addition to a poster that is showcased in the tube stations in our fair city London.

The film in question is one that brings both laughter and horror in equal measure; the superb Ben Wheatley's follow-up to Kill List, black comedy Sightseers. I was lucky enough to catch a press screening at London Film Festival this year and without a doubt it is one of the funniest films you will witness this year.

Check out my four star rating for Filmoria included on the poster and click here for my review.

Sightseers is out in cinemas on 30th November, check it out!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Blu-Ray Review - Katy Perry: Part Of Me

Through the decades we have bared witness to the rise of a large number of unforgettable pop stars heading into the limelight and staggering the industry with record sales and a fan bases like no others. You only have to look towards the likes of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to see just how influential these individuals are, and one who certainly cannot be left unnoticed is Katy Perry.

Following the quirky star on her unbelievable world tour and focusing on her private life, Katy Perry: Part Of Me documents a key point in the songstress' life as she tackles a tour that is both physically and mentally draining. As she begins to feel the fatigue of jetting all over the world and performing night after night for the masses, Perry's marriage to comedian Russell Brand comes under strain, and soon the emotional aspect of her life takes over.

Tracking Perry as she scours the globe on her remarkable California Dreams tour, Part Of Me provides viewers with a look into how the star came to be, how life on the world tour pans out and offers up some of her performances around the globe. It really is the full package for anyone who has a remote interest in the pop star's remarkable rise to fame.

Presented in all its respendance and quirkiness that constantly surrounds Perry wherever she goes, the film looks absolutely stunning, whether it be her on-stage presentations to the meet and greets with her fans. But in stark contrast to the colourful nature, the scenes in which we delve into Perry and Brand's marriage soon bring about a more serious side to the story.

At times emotional and ultimately heartbreaking, the 'fairy tale' romance is deemed destined to fail as we witness Perry attempt to save a failing marriage before the eventual break-up, leaving the star emotionally ruined and almost on the edge of quitting her stage show. This really hits home amid the flamboyance of her tour and provides a realistic edge to the documentary.

Blending personal trauma, success and growth with a fascinating tour, Katy Perry: Part Of Me is the ideal documentary for pop music fans. It is beautifully presented and in Perry comes a focus individual who is both endearing and ever so interesting. Her life story is remarkable and the stage production is awe-inspiring for what is a wholesome and enjoyable ride of a film.

Film Rating: 3 1/2 F's out of 5

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Cinema Review - Breaking Dawn - Part Two

A year ago we were talking about the epic conclusion of the Harry Potter series and now we find ourselves in the midst of the final steps for the Twilight Saga, bowing out with Breaking Dawn - Part 2. Entering this final film of the series with yet more reservations and a feeling of expected disappointment, I was pleasantly surprised.

Continuing straight from the end of Part 1, Breaking Dawn's second leg sees Bella (Kristen Stewart) as a fully converted vampire, with her and Edward's (Robert Pattinson) daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy) growing at a rapid rate due to her half human half vampire state. Concerned by the rate at which their daughter is growing, the newlyweds also encounter problems when the Volturi are alerted about their daughter and a future battle looks set to be unleashed within the community of vampires.

Finalising what has become a global phenomenon, director Bill Condon concludes with what is the most ambitious and exhilirating entry of the series. Moving on from the underwhelming and overdrawn love triangle and focusing on a bigger scale event, Breaking Dawn Part Two excites and proves a breath of fresh air in what has been a fatiguing series.

Injecting some much-needed pulsating action and some real oomph to its central characters, Condon drives the Twilight saga onto smooth roads and sets events alight with some instances of pure genius. Despite the first hour trudging along at a steady pace, the final half is a joy to watch and in the final act comes a fantastic twist and an incredible battle that will make many film fans weak at the knees with excitement.

All the woes emanating from the previous instalments are vanquished in one swoop as the finale offers up a staggering beast of a twist and a powerhouse battle to usher in the saga's conclusion. More violent than we have experienced before, limbs are severed in abundance and shocks and surprises are served up in the battle that Twilight desperately required. 

Aside from a remarkable conclusion, Part Two serves up a superb performance from Kristen Stewart as she evolves in her role as Bella to flourish in freedom and bring a much less reserved portrayal compared to the rest of the films. She shows off her acting prowess and is the clear star of the show. Additionally  the forever reliable Michael Sheen hams it up to create the sinister bad guy of the piece and the likes of Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson offer improvements in their dominant male roles.

Some questionable baby CGI and a rather odd young and old relationship aside, Breaking Dawn Part Two establishes itself as the best of the series with an epic final battle, a superb central lead performance and a much improved flow to proceedings. For Twilight fans this may feel like the perfect send-off, for people like me it sees the end of an average series, but capped off how it should be done.

Film Rating: 3 out of 5 F's

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Film Review - Excision

Teenage angst, blood-soaked dreams and aspirations to lose virginity – one title competing this year for the most surreal film of 2012 is undoubtedly Richard Bates Jnr’s Excision.

The story takes us into the life of misfit Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord), an aspiring surgeon and the ‘odd girl’ at school. Misplaced within her family, consisting of her two less-than-happy parents (Traci Lords & Roger Bart) and her cystic fibrosis-sufferer sister, Grace (Ariel Winter), Pauline suffers the footfalls of being the older and more responsible daughter whilst coping with the reality that she has no friends at school. 

Dreaming constantly of becoming a surgeon and harbouring thoughts of losing her virginity with her perfect intimate partner, Pauline’s life is a convoluted mix of sexual oddities, medical obsession and a distinct lack of belonging. Determined to prove her worth to her mother especially, Pauline takes her dreams and aspirations to the next level in one final attempt to prove her worth to her family.

A rather unforgettable and often unsettling film, Excision is driven by its oddities and a superb central character showcased by an exceptional performance from AnnaLynne McCord. From her misfit status at both home and school to her witty replies to those mocking her, McCord refreshes with a central protagonist who is troubled by teenage issues and ultimately fitting in. Her dreamt visions are harrowing and the plans in life seemingly unreachable but all the while we remain intrigued with this individual.

Visually striking yet menacingly haunting, her dream sequences are a concoction of bloodlust and eroticism, culminating in a sense of disturbia, yet impressing with every frame. Crimson red lashings of blood set against simplistic white sets and visions of autopsies; the moments within the realm of dreams are disconcerting but ultimately beautiful, unnerving but perfectly placed. Bates Jnr has indeed created a masterpiece of unsettling horror and combined it with some sharp and witty dialogue to create a monster that cannot be ignored.

A fantastic central performance backed by great turns from the co-starring personnel, Excision is a nightmarish vision of teenage angst, sexual fantasy and blood-drenched dreams. Many may scratch their heads in confusion but few will forget this truly unmissable and diverse outing.

Film rating: 4 F's out of 5

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Cinema Review - Argo

Ben Affleck is no stranger to critically acclaimed films, his previous directing efforts Gone Baby Gone and The Town both proving he possesses the abilities behind the camera to forge a whole new direction in his film career. This year, he once again returns to the pinnacle of filmmaking with one of the year's best films, Argo.

Based on a true story, Argo opens with the U.S. embassy in Tehran under attack from militants, resulting in six American personnel turning fugitive in Iran and seeking solace at the Canadian embassy until it is possible for them to return home. Unfortunately such a task is one that even the CIA and American government are experiencing mass difficulty with, until CIA specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck) hatches a plan that may well be unbelievable but could be the only answer to the sextet's safe return home.

That plan involves creating a fake movie named Argo, along with a fake movie company and all the trimmings, and using it as a cover to get the six 'recruited' as part of the cast and then sent back home on a plane. With the help of Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), Mendez has the lives of six people in his hands in what is an unbelievably tense series of events.

Argo is pure tension bottled up and unleashed all in one foray of drama unmatched by any this year. Ben Affleck once again shows his prowess behind the camera and also puts in a good turn in the lead role. For all those involved, an incredible cast to behold indeed, it is the comedic double act of John Goodman and Alan Arkin that steal the show, two veterans of film playing hilariously off one another and creating memorable characters.

Blending humour with heart-pounding drama, Affleck showcases to the world he is at his best when in the director's chair and after an impressive two films in the role, he knocks it out of the park with a film that will leave you with lack of nails and have you sitting on the edge of your seat. 

Simply incredible and amongst the best of the year, Argo is pure unadulterated cinema at its most dramatic. 

Film Rating: 4.5 F's out of 5