Our weekly look at the latest news and trailers from the world of film, featuring a diddly-eye, a begorrah, and a topless Tom Cruise, along with 5 films to watch on TV this week… it’s The Showreel
A Director for Alien 5
The wonderful Alien universe is in disorder after the poor reception to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (I actually kinda liked it… it was a decent sci-fi… but it’s no Alien like), a string of atrocious Alien Vs. Predator movies (so, so bad) and the ageing of Sigourney Weaver (I’d say she could still kick a Xenomorph in the goulies… amiright?), however Neill Blomkamp has been decided upon to bring order to the franchise as he is set to direct the latest Alien film. Facts are sketchy so far, and the rumours even more wild and unknown. So, all we know is that Sigourney Weaver WILL return as Ellen Ripley, the heroine of the first four(ish) Alien films. And that’s it, that’s all we actually know. Blomkamp has said the film has a title that’s “bold”(so it’s probably not Alien 5 then), and it has a somewhat crazy storyline that is still in the process of being finished however he ruled out the rumours that the film is going to disregard all Alien films after Aliens. He also stated that his film will not change the plans for Ridley Scott’s own Prometheus sequel which is interesting, as Scott is on board as a producer for Blomkamp’s film.
Having seen the terrible reviews pouring in for Chappie, and having somewhat liked but mostly disliked Elysium, I am not as confident in Blomkamp as I was after the release of District 9. That film felt like a new force in sci-fi was amongst us and he was going to lead the way in both visual and contextual science fiction films. The emphasis on the visual in his last two films was at the expense of a solid, engaging storyline. The first two Alien films were especially interesting in terms of their subtext (Alien – the rape of men, Aliens – an analogy of Vietnam) so my hope is Blomkamp will return to the depth of story he found with District 9, while also maintaining the savage visuals he has based all his work on.
Lex Luthor Pics Revealed
The first image of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor from the forthcoming Batman Vs. Superman film has been revealed and it seems to follow the traditional view of the Superman’s arch-villain i.e. bald. Many thought the shiny-headed villain may take a different look for this melding of superhero stories but it seems they might not be straying too far from the source material, unless of course he wears a huge hi-top fade like Kid from House Party like a disguise… that would be awesome. The film’s director, Zach Snyder, released a statement along with the picture and said…
He’s not any of the Lexes that you’ve seen, that’s for sure, other than him being a captain of industry and one person to the world and another person to himself. And bald, of course.
There goes my hi-top fade idea. He continues…
Our Lex is disarming and he’s not fake. He says what he believes and he says what’s on his mind. If you can unravel the string and decipher what he means, it’s all there
Eisenberg has proven himself a solid actor and oozed a slimy aura in his role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, a character in many ways similar to Luthor, so it will be interesting to see what direction he takes Luthor in what is sure to be a number of appearances in the DC universe franchise. Still my biggest issue with this film is director Snyder who has shown great visual abilities however misses a lot in terms of substance, much like the last two films of Blomkamp as discussed above. There is no doubt this will be a huge cinema event though, and the build up to its release will be filled with leaked images and cryptic messages about what the plot, characters and feel of the film will be.
Stringer Bell Goes to Space
Speaking of Luthor (see what I did there? Ok, I know technically it’s Luther but what can you do?) anyways, Idris Elba has landed a role as the villain in the third Star Trek movie of the new reboot. Elba, who first came to stardom as the infamous and thoroughly engrossing Stringer Bell in HBO’s The Wire, has been linked with numerous big Hollywood roles including that of a certain James Bond, once Daniel Craig hangs up his machine guns and martinis. Star Trek 3 is to be directed by Justin Lin, who has previously brought us a few instalments of the Fast and Furious franchise and will be co-written by Simon Pegg who will reprise his role along with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Karl Urban. Rumour-watch 2015 thinks the Kilngons are going to be making an appearance, and that Elba will be one of the crinkly fore-headed anger-mongers but that remains to be seen. The film is slated for release in 2016. Sidenote: Justin Lin has directed 2 episodes of the new season of True Detective for which one cannot wait.
Idris Elba has also taken on a part in indie head melter Harmoine Korine’s latest film The Trap which seems to be building a pretty fantastic cast with James Franco, Benicio Del Toro, Al Pacino, and Robert Pattison linked with parts in the crime drama from the director of Gummo and Spring Breakers. Over the years Korine has made some of the oddest and subliminally unsettling films I’ve seen, with Gummo in particular taking film making to another level of expression. German film maker and all round cinematic hero Werner Herzog had this to say…
When I saw a piece of fried bacon fixed to the bathroom wall in Gummo, it knocked me off my chair. [Korine’s] a very clear voice of a generation of filmmakers that is taking a new position. It’s not going to dominate world cinema, but so what?”
That “fried bacon fixed to the bathroom wall” scene in Gummo should be thought in school. Maybe not primary school though. Watch it here if you really want to.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation Dir. Christopher McQuarrie
Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF.
[youtube id=”gOW_azQbOjw” align=”center” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”750"]
Well, that looks like a lot of fun. Since when did Simon Pegg become an action star, what with Star Trek and all that also? I suppose he is still the comic relief but it’s just a funny place to be. Regardless, Tom Cruise seems pretty well ripped for a 52 year old man. Good at holding onto flying aircraft too… good skillset Tom!
The Mission Impossible franchise is onto its fifth instalment with the quality of the films varying somewhat, with the first being pretty good, the second being atrocious, the third being really good, the fourth being good-ish… so what is in store for the fifth? Some of the elements seem more suited to the current Bond franchise with a secret super skilled underground team of assassins infiltrating important things, but similarly to the fourth film, this one seems more like it will be a showcase for great action set pieces as opposed to plot driven sentiments. Each film has been directed by a different director and this time it is Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie who takes the helm. He also wrote The Usual Suspects. Which is nice.
The Yank Dir. Sean Lackey
Irish American Tom Murphy plans to find his dreams but instead takes himself and his friends on a journey of discovery to a land that defies his original expectations. He may discover that the grass isn’t always greener, even in Ireland.
[y[youtube id=”mPA5d4fcdIY” align=”center” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”750"]p>
There is a lot of cringe here… I’m not gonna lie. So much cringe in fact that Colm Meaney (who actually stars in the film) described it as a “dreadful script” and “awful”. And it is, from what I can see in the trailer, pretty feckin’ shite. It taps every cliche on the head with a shillelagh and knocks it back with a swig of the black stuff, but I’ll be damned if I don’t laugh when someone says “bollocks” in a film trailer. That final line is probably the highlight in what is otherwise a horrible slur on our great nation.
Now in fairness I don’t think many of us will actually be offended, nationalistically that is. I think the shame of all this will fall on poor Sean Lackey, the writer, director and star. It can be said however that at least he shows some sign of what Ireland is actually like, in terms of our assessment of the many, many Americans who take the whole “Irish” thing a bit far. But then counteracts that with a fine Irish cailín named Molly Sweeney. It does have Fred Willard in it, and Colm Meaney and yer man from Hardy Bucks. I think I’ll give it a shot when find it amongst the 2 for €2 section of Xtra-Vision.
So What Films Are on TV This Week?
Hitman – Film 4 – Thursday 26th 11.50pm
A gun-for-hire known only as Agent 47 hired by a group known only as ‘The Organization’ is ensnared in a political conspiracy, which finds him pursued by both Interpol and the Russian military as he treks across Russia and Eastern Europe.
Thursday is not a good night for movies on you TV. Hitman is actually the best film on TV that night and Hitman is not a good movie. It is so bad that once, whilst living in New Zealand, I was stunned when just before the 9pm news finished, one of the newscasters described all the plot holes of the movie before it came on the TV. Admittedly it was a slow news day but when the NZ Brian Dobson has to warn you of how bad the plot of the upcoming film is, you know you’re in trouble. Timothy Olyphant is in it though and he is pretty cool. But if Deadwood or Justified are on just watch them instead.
Patriot Games – More 4 – Friday 27th 9pm
When CIA Analyst Jack Ryan interferes with an IRA assassination, a renegade faction targets him and his family for revenge.
There were a number of IRA related films that came out in the early 90s and many of them were pretty average affairs (The Devil’s Own in particular) however this Jack Ryan follow up to The Hunt for the Red October had its moments and the directing by Phillip Noyce keeps things ticking along nicely. Sean Bean delivers a pretty strong performance as the IRA terrorist of choice and his accent is a lot more acceptable than most others at the time (I’m looking at you Brad Pitt and Richard Gere). Harrison Ford is his usual gruff and charming self as Jack Ryan in this entertaining if totally unbelievable thriller.
Looper – BBC2 – Saturday 28th 9.05pm
In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits – someone like Joe – who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.
Rian Johnson made a couple of really decent films prior to Looper, with Brick, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, being particularly fantastic. Here he teams up again with JGL in this thinking man’s sci-fi about paradoxes, time loops and crime. Some of it is very clever and filled with the wry humour found in Johnson’s previous films. Bruce Willis stars along with Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels. Interestingly Johnson has been lined up to direct the 8th Star Wars film after J.J. Abrams Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens comes out this December.
Milk – BBC4 – Sunday 29th 11.00pm
The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official.
Filled with Oscar worthy performances from Sean Penn and Josh Brolin, along with an honest and frank script by activist Dustin Lance Black, Milk is the sort of film that should be required viewing in the months leading up to our own vote on Marraige Equality. Gus Van Sant’s ability to fill scenes with silence and stillness has made him a prime force in American cinema and he just missed out on a Best Director nod for this film to Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire.
Road to Perdition – Film 4 – Monday 30th 11.10pm
Bonds of loyalty are put to the test when a hitman’s son witnesses what his father does for a living.
Tom Hanks shakes off some of his “all-American man” typecast in this dark thriller as a loyal but violent mob enforcer in depression era Chicago. Director Sam Mendes also pulled the last great performance from Paul Newman as the mob boss before his death a few years later. Jude Law is creepy and menacing while Daniel Craig shows early signs of his brooding, hulking abilities in what is a thoughtful, slow burning meditation on violence and family.
Feature Image Credit TV3.ie