The Showreel | 15 [Feat. The Divergent Series: Insurgent]

Our weekly look at the latest news and trailers from the world of film, featuring some Bruce Lee, a teen insurgent and 5 films to make your week… It’s The Showreel!

Film News

Whiplash – The Short Version

Whiplash was a huge critical success around the world and picked up numerous award wins and nominations, including winning 3 Oscars for Best Film Editing, Sound Mixing and Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons. The reason the film was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay was due to the fact that it was based on a short film of the same name which was made by its director in order to secure funding to actually make the full length picture. It was premièred in January 2013 at the Sundance Film Festival where it secured $3.3 million and the rest, as they say, is history.

The 18 minute short film is known as a proof of concept and tried to showcase director Damien Chazelle’s vision for the full length picture. The short has a lot of the elements found in the full length Whiplash including J.K. Simmons honing his tone as the brutal jazz teacher. Check out the film below and if you haven’t seen the feature length film then please check it out also.

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Bruce Lee is Back (in a biopic)

Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, 1973 his last film, Golden Harvest, Hollywood, USA, 3 cuts, -
Bruce Lee being a badass

Alan Bennett, our spiritual leader and intellectual overlord here at HeadStuff, wrote a truly insightful article on his love of all things Bruce Lee for this month’s Legend of the Month. In the article Alan alludes to the fact that Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, the biopic of Lee from 1993 starring Jason Scott Lee. was somewhat enjoyable, however thoroughly inaccurate. There is no doubt that Bruce Lee is a legend and has not got the film treatment he deserves. Now his daughter, Shannon Lee, has released details of an upcoming biopic that will aim to tell the real story of Bruce Lee and his ideals. She said in a statement, “They haven’t captured the essence of his beliefs in martial arts or storytelling. The only way to get audiences to understand the depth and uniqueness of my father is to generate our own material.” She is going to act as a producer on the project along with Lawrence Grey and Janet Yang, however no cast or director are currently linked to the project.

It should be noted that this film has the official Bruce Lee Entertainment seal of approval as opposed to another biopic of Lee named Birth of the Dragon which has been written by Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele who previously penned Nixon and Ali. That film is to be directed by The Adjustment Bureau‘s George Nolfi however no cast has been attached as of yet.

Blade Runner Sequel Details Released

Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 1982 -
Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 1982

More details are emerging for the sequel to Blade Runner, the iconic and genre defining masterpiece from 1982. Originally it was suggested that Ridley Scott will return to the director’s chair however in a statement released last week we were informed that Denis Villeneuve will direct having previously brought us Prisoners and Enemy. The original screenwriter Hampton Fancher is also returning with Scott producing. Harrison Ford will also return to the role of Deckard and said of the script that “this is the best thing I have ever read”. It’s all very exciting.

Villeneuve has a unique style with thoughtful, incisive direction throughout, and has the capacity for utterly stumping the viewer and leaving plots dangling between understanding and the surreal, so having him at in the director’s chair will give the script a creative output that few others could manage. Many felt cheated by Ridley Scott’s most recent revival of one of his iconic inventions in Prometheus, and while it failed to capture any essence of the original Alien film, at least it attempted something new and original as opposed to the endless, needless remakes which litter our screens. Shooting for the Blade Runner sequel will start next year.

Trailer Review

Paddy O’Leary takes a look at a few trailers peaking his interest:

The Divergent Series: Insurgent   Dir. Robert Schwentke

Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.

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Part of the Divergent trilogy, Insurgent is the second instalment based from the worldwide best-selling young adult sci-fi saga by Veronica Roth. Neil Burger’s Divergent had very mixed reviews (our own Ged Murray likened it to “a Smiths song, filled with guns, for people who are too young to know who Morrissey is”) but it was a huge box office success. I watched it with the better half; she had read the books, assured me that the characters were for the most part well cast and visually the dystopian cityscape lived up to her expectations – she was very happy with the outcome. Having no knowledge of the storyline before hand, I found it quite blah. It didn’t grab me, it wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great.

Robert Schwentke will helm the sequel; Schwenke has directed the enjoyable RED and the horrific RIPD (he obviously likes his acronyms). Insurgent will take over where Divergent left off and get straight into some action-packed, CGI-heavy retribution. The sequel will surely make a shed-tonne of money in the box-office but with Schwentke in the director’s chair, I am unsure if this will surpass Divergent’s mediocrity

Bonus: This Super Bowl pre-game teaser trailer is an inexcusable, even laughable copy of the Matrix. What were they thinking?

Marvel’s Daredevil: Netflix Original

Lawyer-by-day Matt Murdock uses his heightened senses from being blinded as a young boy to fight crime at night on the streets of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood as Daredevil.

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I talked about the Netflix-Marvel mash-up previously here and it is nearly time for the first 13-part series to hit Netflix. All 13 episodes will be up on Netflix on April 10th, so yet another binge is already scheduled.

So I think this looks fantastic. It’s dark, it’s broody, it’s Hell’s Kitchen. Marvel has assembled a top cast and crew also. Drew Goddard, who has brought us Cabin in the Woods and is also lined up to take on the new Spiderman film, creates the series. The cast includes Charlie Cox (The Theory of Everything, Stardust) as Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket, Jurassic World) as the crime-lord Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin. The battling pair are supported by Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Death Proof), True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll and Mockingjay’s Elden Henson.

The trailer dives headfirst into the musky depths of two strong Daredevil essentials; the crime in Hell’s Kitchen, New York and the moral struggles of the Catholic Matt Murdock. As the first of the four series to launch, before The Defenders mini-series, I am looking forward to the future of this Marvel venture.

So What Films Are On TV This Week?

Pale Rider  (1985) – ITV4 – Wednesday 4th 11.00pm

Pale Rider starring Clint Eastwood -

A mysterious preacher protects a humble prospector village from a greedy mining company trying to encroach on their land.

Clint Eastwood and his love affair with Westerns lasted the guts of 35 years and culminated in Unforgiven in 1992 which effectively ended the genre in it’s traditional form. Prior to that Eastwood made a number of other fantastic westerns including this oddly spiritual and wonderfully shot feature. See also The Outlaw Josey Wales and High Plains Drifter.


Men In Black 3  (2012) – Film4 – Thursday 5th 9.00pm

Men In Black 3 -

Agent J travels in time to M.I.B.’s early days in 1969 to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history.

The third instalment of the franchise came nearly 15 years after the original Men In Black was released and shows signs that Will Smith is willing to return to his blockbuster roots in order to have a hit, with many other films failing miserably at the box office including Focus which was released last week. It is a lot of fun and looks pretty good too and is, sadly, Will Smith’s best film in years.


Papillon  (1973) – BBC2 – Friday 6th 11.35pm

Papillon Film -

A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.

Based on the extraordinary memoirs of Henri Charrière, Papillon is the story of hope, determination and endurance in the face of adversity. Adversity, in this case, is an inescapable prison island in South America where Charriére was sent after being convicted of a murder. Steve McQueen is fantastic as Papillon with support coming from a wonderful Dustin Hoffman.


Serenity  (2005) – Film4 – Saturday 7th 9pm

Serenity Poster -

The crew of the ship Serenity tries to evade an assassin sent to recapture one of their number who is telepathic.

Joss Whedon made a TV show called Firefly in 2002 and it was brilliant. But then it was cancelled, so off he went and made a film based on the show and the fantastic Serenity was the result. It’s a western set in space filled with brilliant action and subtle, clever comedy. Whedon, of course, would go on to direct The Avengers and it’s upcoming sequel due out this summer.


The Adjustment Bureau  (2011) – Film4 – Sunday 8th 9pm

The Adjustment Bureau -

The affair between a politician and a ballerina is affected by mysterious forces keeping the lovers apart.

Any film based on a story by science fiction master Philip K. Dick is worth a watch. Some are utterly fantastic (Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall) and some are utterly terrible (Paycheck, Next) but all are interesting in their intention. The Adjustment Bureau is not as good as Blade Runner, obviously, but it raises interesting questions at the very least. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt star.


Featured Image Credit here