Our weekly look at the latest news and trailers from the world of film, featuring some Force Awakening, a moustachioed detective and 5 ways to procrastinate in front of your TV this week… it’s The Showreel!
Star Wars VII – A New Teaser
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Ah, that music. It just does something to you when you hear it. There are few scores that soar like that of John Williams’ most famous tune. And in fairness the visuals are pretty spectacular too, with J.J. Abrams showing a CGI restraint that was sadly missed in the prequels which almost doomed this franchise, albeit whilst making savage amounts of money. Everything looks great from the costume design, to the action sequences which show great action scope and excitement. Having the old cast in there gives The Force Awakens a familiarity advantage over the prequel films, and will (most likely) serve as a bridging mechanism for all future films, and thus the continuation of this famous franchise. But the fame of this franchise is at stake (as we discuss further in our next news piece), so lets hope it’s as good as it looks.
Blade Running With Ryan Gosling
It has been a very busy week for film news with the above Star Wars teaser and also a new teaser for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Amongst the melee of teasers and plot lines, further news about the forthcoming Blade Runner sequel were released with Ryan Gosling currently linked with starring alongside Harrison Ford in the Dennis Villeneuve directed sci-fi sequel set a few decades after the superb happenings of the original.
Having binged on a few Villeneuve films as of late (Prisoners & Enemy) and now with this casting news, the sequel to the hugely influential and mesmerising Ridley Scott directed original feels a lot more promising, but it still has an unusually large step to climb in terms of its essence if it wants to be regarded in the same league as the original 1982 masterpiece. In terms of science fiction films there are just 4 films that redefined the genre in popular culture, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Alien and Blade Runner. All sci-fi films since have been somewhat influenced by one or more of these four films. They are pillars of the genre, and while the likes of Metropolis and A Voyage to the Moon are integral parts of the foundation, these 4 films are key. We have already seen what happened to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, and Blade Runner 2 may receive the same treatment, even if it is a pretty decent film, and only because it has standards that are that much higher than anything else.
True Detective Season 2 – HBO
An anthology police detective series in which investigations seem to unearth both personal and professional secrets of those involved, both within or outside the law.
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The first season of HBO’s True Detective was huge, both in terms of its viewers and in terms of what it did for TV. It was a cinematic vision, and for eight hours it featured some of the best acting, writing and cinematography seen on the big or small screen in 2014. Considering the fact that Brad Pitt was linked with a part in the second season is testament to the ripple effect it had in Hollywood. It was moody, it was coarse, it was affecting and emotive and it was thoroughly frightening. So season 2 doesn’t have much to live up to, right?
In fairness it does look very good, and similar in tone to the first season, to which season 2 has no links or connection in any way, apart from whatever commentary show creator Nic Pizzolatto is weaving within the subtext. This is an important factor to consider when you sit down to watch it. It is standalone and while the first season was extraordinary, it was a separate entity.
Colin Farrell is a great actor, and whilst he might not be to the same level as Matthew McConaughey or Woody Harrelson, he has proven himself in films such as Saving Mr. Banks, In Bruges and, surprisingly, Fright Night. As for Vince Vaughan, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch, they prove that the season one’s legacy means they can now cast four Hollywood A-listers in a lowly 8 part TV show. It will be hitting the screens in June and it will be watched, and should be watched on its own merit, although it’s hard to forget its first outing.
Entourage Dir. Doug Ellin
Movie star Vincent Chase, together with his boys Eric, Turtle, and Johnny, are back – and back in business with super agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold.
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The boys are back in town for one last outing as the bunch of regular guys living amazing lives in Hollywood. Having watched all 8 seasons of the HBO TV show and vowing never to watch them again after the contemptuous final season, the news of a film was met with quite a bit of cynicism and surprise. Jeremy Piven’s character of Ari Gold was always the armband keeping this drowning baby of a TV show afloat and his character’s success is the reason the film has been made, both in real life and mirrored in the fictitious lives of Vincent Chase and company.
Shooing my cynicism to the side, it does look like a lot of fun and surely the thin emotional connections of the characters will be eschewed by all the attractive people who will undoubtedly litter the film. In fact, Entourage may feature more celebrity cameos than any film in history. It will be a fun film, there is no doubt about that but underneath the shiny veneer is a hollow, soulless, money grabbing bastard. It is a film about Hollywood after all.
So What Films Are On TV This Week?
127 Hours (2011) – More4 – Friday 17th 9.00pm
A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.
James Franco surprised a lot of people with his powerful, throughtful and mesmerising performace in this Danny Boyle film in which he has to carry nearly the entire screen time on his own. It is a fantasitc journey to go on and considering the fact that it is based on real life events makes it all the more intense. That Sigur Ros song near the end is pure gold too.
The Guard (2013) – Film4 – Saturday 18th 9.00pm
An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring.
John Michael McDonagh’s hugely successful film starring Brendan Gleeson is full of that dark wit and wry Irishness that many found enjoyably familiar. Although his follow up, Calvary, received very mixed reviews, it is great to have a talented film maker telling Irish stories in an Irish way.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) – BBC3 – Sunday 19th 8.10pm
After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace.
While not at all as terrible as the latest offering, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, this Indiana Jones outing does not have the charm or charisma of Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Last Crusade but is still a lot of fun and it does have the wonderful mineshaft train chase.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) – Film4 – Monday 20th 6.55pm
When a massive fire kills their parents, three children are delivered to the custody of cousin and stage actor Count Olaf, who is secretly plotting to steal their parents’ vast fortune.
It has been more than 10 years since this delightful and visually striking film was made and surprisingly no sequel followed, even though there is plenty further reading in the source materials. Jim Carrey was perfect for the role of Count Olaf and carries the film at a lightning pace, but without the imaginative effects and visual design it would have been a much poorer film.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007) – Film4 – Tuesday 21st 11.15pm
When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents’ jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother’s wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is in brilliant form alongside a great cast which includes Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Michael Shannon and Marisa Tomei. The director is the late, great Sidney Lumet whose previous work includes Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men, to name but a few. It’s tense and terrible and nerve racking stuff… sure it’s a Tuesday… what else would you be up to.