Let the speculation begin as it has finally been announced that the title of Star Wars Episode VIII is indeed, The Last Jedi.
What exactly does this mean!? Obviously the names on the tip of everyone’s tongues are Luke, Rey and Kylo Ren. Will there be another death in the Skywalker family? Is Rey in fact a Skywalker? Will Kylo Ren be the last Skywalker? Who knows at this point, but it’s super hard not to believe that there will be some sort of a death, especially since the new Star Wars logo is red.
Directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars – The Last Jedi is released in cinemas December 15, 2017.
The film industry has been graced with a very large box full of actors, directors and so on over the past few years from Britain. It has now become so gracious that these British films are having more of a general release rather than just a limited, selected cinema release. The power of the Brits is so highly recognised, we’re dominating the box office with huge nominations in this year’s award season. Kicking off 2015 with the magical Theory of Everything, we’ve quickly received yet another grand performance in the form of a compelling, love story during the first world war.
Testament of Youth is a remembrance of youth and love based on the memoir of World War One by Vera Brittain, giving a more in-depth view of those not only left behind during the the war, but from a woman’s point of view. Alicia Vikander plays Vera, a strong, intelligent female lead who has overcome the struggles of sexism in that society to go to Oxford university and pursue a scholarship in literature. Falling in love with her brother’s best friend, who happens to be a dashingly handsome poet in the making, Roland Leighton (Kit Harington), life begins to fall apart as their youth is taken away from them when the war begins resulting in the men getting shipped off to the front leaving Vera behind. Unable to cope knowing her loved ones are out there serving in the war, she makes the decision to volunteer as a nurse giving her services to the war, keeping a close watch for any communications about her loved ones and experiencing the war from a new perspective.
Vikander leads the pack with a solid, emotional performance highlighting every aspect of love, romance, distress and the feeling of being hopeless and lifeless but plucking up the courage to be the backbone and inspiration for her men to get home safely. Her physical presence in the more silent scenes is where her performance really hits you the most. It’s heart wrenching. Vikander and Harington’s on-screen chemistry truly portrayed the perfect love story, but in general the chemistry and performances from everyone including Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan, Dominic West, Emily Watson and Hayley Atwell, were delightful.
The cinematography and locations chosen, especially in Yorkshire, were beautiful and helped to really capture the intensity and fear of not only the war, but that sense of emotion and personality of these characters during the war. Consolata Boyle did a more than superb job with the costume design adding even more character and dominance to the environment.
Outstanding performances, a perfect balance between romanticism and grief and the sheer brilliance of demonstrating the struggles of maturity when one’s youth has been stolen, this is not just a memoir, but is a testament of life itself. Testament of Youth is the perfect example of how far British film has come and where we stand now.
Happy late New Year guys! 2013 has been an incredible year for the world of film and video games, with an even better 2 years ahead of us (from what we know so far). It’s that time where we can reflect on what we’ve seen and played over the past year. It was actually quite difficult putting this post together considering there has been so much greatness in 2013, so forget about a “Top 10” etc, here’s a brief flash back at the cinematic awesomesauce poured over your chips.
First up, it’s very easy to say that Marvel had a fantastic run, and is still jogging their way to the far far away finishing line smoothly. Iron Man 3 (at the moment currently dubbed as the “last Iron Man”) was fantastic. Everyone had their own opinion on it, but really, it was superb. Getting to see Iron Man stripped down to just Tony Stark with anxiety attacks after New York aka The Avengers Phase one really put the icing on the cake. It was a brilliant way to start off Phase two and it was based around Christmas time (thanks to Shane Black) so there’s an excuse to watch it all year round.
Second in command, Thor: The Dark World was even better than the first. Based around mostly Greenwich, London and Asgard, Thor became the Thor we all enjoyed from The Avengers (not that we didn’t’ enjoy him in his first solo film, there was just something different) not to mention that devious brother of his, Loki. After his award winning performance, if there was an award just for superheroes, Loki is still the one you want to watch. Patiently, but very impatiently, you wait and can barely contain yourself when Loki is off screen. Saying that, Thor 2 has a really strong and entertaining story that really does grab a hold of you, without pulling you too far into the dark world. Quite frankly, you really wouldn’t want to end up there.
Hugh Jackman had returned as our favourite X-Men, Wolverine in… The Wolverine. After the first attempt to give Logan his first solo act in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it was time to move forward, rather than going back with all the origin stories and get serious. The Wolverine, set mostly in Japan, occurred after X-Men: The Last Stand, where he’s gone off on his own again with Dr Jean Grey stuck in his head, trying to make him feel guilty for killing her off (even though she killed Cyclops and Professor Xavier). This time however, some dude he had saved back in the day wants Logan’s power of not aging so he can live longer, trying to claim that Logan is ready to die and he’s not, oh the nerve! But anyways, it’s super awesome and Wolverine still has his sarcastic spark and don’t care attitude, even though he really does care and we meet this awesome red haired Japanese girl who literally can beat the crap out of you with her eyes closed. It was dubbed as the “Wolverine film we’ve always wanted” and it’s a fact that it really is. To top it all of, the post credit scene is to die for! It’s what connects the whole X-Men series to the next instalment Days of Future Past, out this year.
Moving away from Marvel and slipping into 5th gear, DC had a pretty good run too without a Batman film in site. RED has personally become one of favourite Bruce Willis films (it could actually be my favourite). With the success of the first, yes a sequel had been made with hope for a third. RED 2 adds Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins to the mix, with the original crew back for another beating (except Morgan Freeman obviously). The relationship between Mary Louise Parker and Bruce Willis onscreen is just so hilarious but sweet at the same time. She’s the type of girl we wish we could all be.
Next in line was yet another reboot for Superman hailed The Man of Steel. This was actually a huge surprise because its predecessors were never as good as the Christopher Reeve Superman, nothing had even come close. After saying that, Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan really hit the nail on the head, hammering it hard with this one. For an origin story, Man of Steel was unbelievably good. The new man with a cape, Henry Cavill donned the Superman closest to Reeve’s version without a doubt. Michael Shannon as General Zod was fantastic; the only downfall with the film was unfortunately Amy Adams. She’s a great actress, but being cast as Louis Lane was a huge disappointment and just did not work at all. It was actually quite awkward watching it. But other than that, one of the best things about Man of Steel were those camera angles used during the fight scenes and just the way it was filmed on a whole. To add to the excitement, at the SDCC (Comic-Con) it was announced that the Man of Steel sequel would have Batman in it, later on notifying us that Batman would be played by Ben Affleck. 2015 guys!
It wasn’t just Comic book adaptations that did well this year, Ron Howard’s Rush is definitely a front runner to win some sort of an award this year. The biopic tells the story of 2 F1 race car drivers who’s had this on going feud for years, until one of them gets involved in a life changing accident. The great thing about this film is that it’s not really a racing film; it’s not primarily focused on the races. It’s more about the relationship between the two drivers and you get to watch them grow. It truly is an amazing film.
Other films that came out for 2013 that were very enjoyable to watch were Now You See Me, World War Z, The Great Gatsby, Disney’s Frozen, Django Unchained (it was technically released in the UK 2013 so ha!), Bad Grandpa, Fast and Furious 6, The Conjuring and to end the year we had The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug which is a must watch for all LOTR fans and The Hunger Games Part 2: Catching Fire. Both films leaving you in a right pickle as their cliff hangers were just too intense. You get the feeling of your eyes welling up thinking “I have to wait a year to know what happens next?” [Insert that Kevin Hart picture that’s been surfing around the net]
The worst film without a doubt that was released in 2013 that I’ve seen was Texas Chainsaw. Where could one start with this pile of garbage. It was bloody terrible, honestly, don’t even bother try giving it a go. The story was weak, the performances were boring, there was no need for it to be rated an 18 either, it could have easily passed as a 15. There was just nothing to this film, nothing at all.
Ending on a high note, video games have had an exceptional year with the release of GTAV, Beyond Two Souls, Tomb Raider, God of War Ascensions, Assassin’s Creed Black Flag to mention a few. GOTY (Game of the year) definitely has to go to The Last of Us. Naughty Dog always produce the best, but The Last of Us just went beyond that. There are no words to describe how amazing the campaign is. The story is so strong, you’ll play it more than once and that’s a guarantee. The mechanics of the game is very easy to manage once you know the controls, the feel of the characters are realistic, the voice acting is incredible, the relationship between the protagonists Joel and Ellie is just mouth watering, I could literally go on and on. The Multiplayer at the moment is lacking a few more modes etc but they are working on it, so it’s just about being patient, but what there is of the multiplayer is awesome. Everyone is just waiting for that announcement for a Co-op now *wink wink*. Honestly though, if you haven’t played TLOU, it’s definitely worth playing. It truly is a masterpiece.
So that’s 2013! Done and dusted, bring on 2014!
After the huge hype for Marvel Studios’ last instalment, The Avengers, which definitely lived up to the hype and more, it was time to start phase 2 of the comic book series. Living up to The Avengers was possibly going to be the most difficult thing to do ever in terms of sequels etc as Joss Whedon had spoilt us with his perfection. Iron Man 3 is Marvel’s first attempt.
The story of Iron Man 3 continues with the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) and life after New York (The Avengers). Unlike his other battles from the previous Iron Man films, this time, the battle of New York had really taken a toll on Stark, forcing him to suffer from panic attacks just from anyone mentioning New York. Struggling with the reality, his concrete place in the super hero community and lack of sleep, his main priority is in his obsessive tinkering with new suits rather than the love of his life, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). His excuse to her is that he needs to protect her in everyway possible. Mentally scarred, Stark then has to deal with a new villain on the scene going by the name of The Manderin (Ben Kingsley), a mysterious terrorist targeting the citizens of the US and Iron Man. With a few hiccups on the path of being the hero for the fourth (ok maybe three and a half, or three and a sixth… have it your way) time round, Stark is forced to face his fears and prove that without the suit, he’s still the Iron Man.
With the absence of Jon Favreau in the directorial department, Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Kiss Goodnight) takes a stab at wearing the big old boots Favreau had been in for the past two instalments. To be totally honest, he didn’t do a bad job either! From the opening credits, you could tell straight away, it was a different director. Black’s repertoire usually consists of Christmas time and partnership and he definitely brought this to Iron Man 3, which was very different to its predecessors.
Although there wasn’t much of a reason for why the Avengers were not helping out when Stark was getting a right beating, except for the mere fact that it was an “American Thing”, his buddy and now sidekick War Machine, now known as the “Iron Patriot” (Don Cheadle) had more of a helping hand this time around, building on his own character. (Especially with the rumours that he will be in the next Avengers flick) So there was definitely some partner, bromance action involved which was very entertaining indeed. If you thought the “Iron Patriot” was a bit too much, wait ‘til you hear his username and password. But there were many references to the Avengers and what happened in New York; it was quite weird and confusing to why there was not even one person involved, especially because the films are supposed to be connecting. We know it’s an individual film, but it just didn’t add up right.
The great thing that Black did with this feature was that he kept the sarcasm, one liners and the superbly cocky personality of Stark where it belonged, however, we got to see another side to Stark. It had a more personal, realistic and serious angle to it. Involving a terrorist and highlighting the theme of patriotism that realistically the US are very serious about, gave Iron Man 3 a bit more of an edge to it rather than just accepting the fact that it’s a comic book adaptation. With Tony Stark, he usually has everything handed to him on a silver platter because of celebrity status, now he really had to work for it. Watching Stark work without his suit most of the time (even in some of the key battles) was very pleasing. We already know how the suit works and what is achievable with it from the past two films. Saying that, Mark 42 was hands down his best suit. Here, we get to see it in action, working not only as a full suit, but with the ability to work different parts without wearing the full gear. The audience will have a lot of fun with that suit, as much as Stark did.
Speaking of suits, if you’re a big fan of the Iron Man suits, it’s almost a certainty that you’ll enjoy all the Marks coming together to help out in the grand finale. The suits do get more screen time than ever before, even though they are not on Stark himself.
As said before, the Iron Patriot gets a lot more screen time too. His armour bares a similar resemblance to Captain America’s suit, so it felt like the US always needed a patriot as a symbol to look up to, quite like Captain America, but for the present. And this is what the Manderin had signed up for, to be merely a symbol.
In terms of villains, it was quite refreshing watching Stark fight against villains that didn’t have any metal on them. Ben Kingsley brought a barrel of laughs with his version of the Manderin. Don’t be too fooled by his criminal, dark exterior. They also threw in Guy Pierce into the mix as a geeky, yet determined vermin Aldrich Killian, with tendencies quite like Robert Patrick’s T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Like the others, Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan also got quite a bit more screen time than usual. Potts was awesome, getting her groove on in the suit, and then turning into a crazy blonde version of Dr Jean Grey’s Phoenix. Although Favreau wasn’t directing, he did lend his hand at being an executive producer and building on his character/ body guard Hogan (with a mullet).
Built with loads of laughs, crazy action and awesome CGI/visual effects, Iron Man 3 was not a disappointment at all (though The Avengers is still number one). It’s also worth a 3D viewing.
4.5 out of 5 stars
We are just about a couple of months away from what we have all been dying to witness with our own eyes, The Avengers. Marvel has finally, yes finally released the official movie poster that you’ll be seeing very soon on your next trip to the cinema and a whopping 2 minute 24 second trailer that has all the greatness expected. Isn’t life great? From just a little over 2 minutes, I can honestly say, I think we all know who will win the Summer box office battle. I’ve watched it 5 times already, but at the rate I’m going, I’m going to be heading for a world record. My eyes are stunned, I’m speechless. This is no ordinary excitment. Somebody get me a straitjacket!
Though the poster says 4th of May yet the trailer says 26th April for the UK, It’s a little confusing but I will find out the official release dates.
Prepare to tinkle a little (or a lot)…